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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: 'Wenger should leave Arsenal at the end of season'

Football Briefs: 'Wenger should leave Arsenal at the end of season'

Last updated on: February 27, 2018 23:35 IST

'Whether he stays at the end of this season, I could not make a case. I am not sure anyone can. This development of mediocrity has to be arrested.'

Arsene Wenger

IMAGE: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reacts. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has launched a scathing attack on the club's manager Arsene Wenger, saying he could not make a case for the Frenchman to extend his reign beyond this season.

Arsenal lie 27 points behind leaders Manchester City in sixth position and were beaten 3-0 by Pep Guardiola's side in Sunday's League Cup final, leaving the Europa League as their only realistic trophy target following an early FA Cup exit.

Wright, who played 213 games in seven years at Arsenal, says the club were stagnating well before the League Cup final drubbing.

"There are excuses (from Wenger) and he is mollycoddling a team," Wright told the BBC.

"Whether he stays at the end of this season, I could not make a case. I am not sure anyone can. This development of mediocrity has to be arrested."

Arsenal last won the league title in 2004 and have not won the Champions League during Wenger's 22-year reign with the FA Cup and League Cup the club's only silverware in recent years.

Wright, who retired in 2000, believes Arsenal should change managers as soon as possible as it will take the club years to regain their status as one of Europe's elite competitors.

"I want Arsenal to challenge again, for them to sign players who will get you excited. I want someone in the boardroom who will lay it down...," Wright added.

"How long would it take Arsenal to get back? It will take them a few years. Everyone is progressing and moving forward in that top five.

"Arsenal are going the other way... It is a long road."

The 54-year-old also questioned Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke's interest in the club after the owners disregarded the fans' opinions to hand Wenger a new deal at the end of last season.

Former Arsenal player Nasri gets six-month doping ban

Former Arsenal and Manchester City player

IMAGE: Former Arsenal and Manchester City player. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has been banned for six months for a doping offence, UEFA said on Tuesday.

The disciplinary board of European soccer's ruling body found the Frenchman "guilty of using a prohibited method in accordance with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibited list". Nasri's lawyer said the case was the result of a drip treatment the player took at a Los Angeles clinic after falling ill and vomiting while on holiday in 2016.

The former France international was playing for Sevilla on loan from Manchester City at the time.

UEFA gave details of the case last month when it said it turned down a request for Nasri in February last year to be retroactively granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).

Nasri took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which dismissed the appeal in December, allowing UEFA to proceed with a disciplinary case against him.

The 30-year-old, who won the last of his 41 international caps in 2013, rejoined Manchester City at the end of his loan last July and was sold to Turkish club Antalyaspor in August. He left my mutual agreement at the end of January and is now a free agent.

Nasri’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Courtois backs Chelsea to seal Champions League spot

Thibaut Courtois

IMAGE: Chelsea goalkeeper goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Chelsea have the quality to secure a top four spot in the Premier League as the race for Champions League qualification heats up, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said.

After a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie this month, Chelsea were defeated 2-1 by Manchester United in the league last Sunday and lie six points behind the second-placed team in fifth position.

Runaway leaders Manchester City hold a 13-point advantage, having played one game fewer than the rest of the top five, leaving United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool to battle it out to be the best of the rest.

"It stays the same, it is tough," Courtois told the club's website (www.chelseafc.com).

"City are obviously far away but for the second, third and fourth spot there are five teams so it will be hard until the last match of the season.

"But I think we have enough quality as we saw on Sunday and we showed it against Barcelona. I think we are a very good team but there are some other good teams around us as well."

Chelsea now face crucial fixtures against City and Crystal Palace as they look to regain their footing in the league, after three defeats in their last five matches.

The reigning league champions travel to Barcelona for the second leg of their last-16 tie on March 14.

Kane must leave Tottenham to win trophies, says Villas-Boas

Harry Kane

IMAGE: Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates scoring a goal. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane must eventually leave the Premier League club if he wants to win trophies, former manager Andres Villas-Boas has said.

Kane won the league's Golden Boot award for the last two seasons and is chasing a third as he sits atop the charts with 24 goals in 27 matches.

"If he has a hunger for trophies and for notoriety he would have to leave Spurs, if he has no hunger for that, but (wants) recognition and stability, he would stay at Spurs," Villas-Boas,

who managed Tottenham from 2012 until December 2013, told British media.

"Spurs are in that breakout moment of becoming a great football team - the (new) stadium, infrastructure, training ground is there, the team is building up, very well managed.

"The trophy cabinet is still what is missing for this great club. That is in the end what footballers chase - glory, winning. I think for Harry, one or two more years at Spurs wouldn't be bad and then see how the club develops..."

Tottenham have finished in the league's top three positions in the last two seasons but are yet to win any silverware since their League Cup triumph in 2008.

The Portuguese also said that he was not the best coach for the 24-year-old during his reign at Tottenham, saying that Kane was sent out on loan or used sparingly in the league and Europa League as Roberto Soldado was chosen to play in most matches.

"His real breakthrough came with Tim Sherwood a few months after I left (but) I had good, fond memories of him," Villas-Boas said.

"Of course, I was surprised at how well it turned out for him and the striker he has become - so powerful, a record-breaking striker.

"I attribute this to his own merit, (he is a) really well-driven individual and I'm glad for him that he has been able to turn it around."

Manchester City's Fernandinho out of Arsenal clash

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho will miss Thursday's Premier League clash at Arsenal after failing to recover from a hamstring strain he picked up against the London club in the League Cup final over the weekend.

The 32-year-old was replaced by Bernardo Silva in the second half at Wembley on Sunday as goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva earned Pep Guardiola his first trophy as the English side's manager.

Premier League leaders City said the initial prognosis had suggested the Brazil international's injury was not serious.

"No timescale has yet been set for his return but the Premier League game against the Gunners on Thursday will come too soon," City said in a statement on their website (www.mancity.com).

Fernandinho has played in every league match so far this season, scoring three goals along the way.

ISL: Dynamos end Mumbai's Play-offs hopes with 5-1 win

Delhi Dynamos fired in four goals in the last 20 minutes to end Mumbai City FC's hopes of making it to the Indian Super League (ISL) Play-offs as they routed the visitors 5-1, here today.

Nandhakumar Sekar (5'), Matias Mirabaje (73'), Manuel Arana (81'), Kalu Uche (84') and Lallianzuala Chhangte (90+1') scored for the home side while Everton Santos (49') got the sole goal for Mumbai on the night as their playoff hopes were dealt a cruel end.

With this defeat Mumbai are seventh with 23 points from 17 matches and with just one match left to be played, they can reach a maximum of 26 points.

Fourth-placed Jamshedpur FC already have 26 points, and since they play FC Goa (24 points) in their last league match, one of the team will have more points than Mumbai.

This was Delhi’s second successive victory after the incredible 4-3 comeback against defending champions ATK and they have now remained unbeaten in their last five matches, winning three of them.

Had Delhi started in a similar fashion, they would have been today challenging for a place in the playoffs. Instead, they are now placed eighth with 18 points from 17 matches and can at best finish in the same position.

Mumbai’s loss also means Chennaiyin FC have now become the third team to qualify for the semi-finals with 29 points.

I-League: Bagan blank Arrows, keep title hopes alive

Mohun Bagan kept their title hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over Indian Arrows in the Hero I-League match in Vasco on Monday.

Bagan who had the lion's share of exchanges and ball possession scored through Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka (26th) and Akram Koghrabi (41st) to take their tally to 27 points from 16 matches.

They are now placed fourth in the table while the young Arrows who finished their league engagement with 15 points from 18 matches are at the bottom.

Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos made five changes from their loss against Aizawl FC in their previous game. Bagan made only one change from their win against NEROCA in the last match.

Bagan controlled the proceeding and probed into the rival half with steady flow of passes and mostly played the long ball to unsettle the rival defence.

But in the 26th minute Jitendra Singh failed to clear a long ball inside the box, Dicka who was close to Jitendra found the net with a back volley to take his tally to 12 goals.

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