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Bournemouth 0 Arsenal 2: Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the double as Gunners close gap

 


ARSENAL closed the distance to league leaders Leicester after a quick-fire double from Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had said his side could forget about league glory if they failed to beat Eddie Howe's men.

And he'll be relieved he doesn't have to eat his words after drawing five points behind the Foxes.

Ozil struck from close range in the 24th minute before the Ox got his first ever Premier League goal away from home just 88 seconds later.

Here are five things we learnt from Dean Court

1

Mesut Ozil’s right leg is usually reserved for standing on but when Olivier Giroud’s header dropped to him on his ‘wrong’ foot he did not hesitate to unleash a first-time shot into the roof of the net.

The German has added goals to his assists this season and is finally looking like the complete package who cost a club record £42million.

2

Arsenal might have kept their title hopes alive but they still don’t look as though they believe they can be Champions.

Arsene Wenger constantly talks about their mental strength but it is hard to remember the last time they really dominated an opponent.

3

Wenger no longer seems to trust Per Mertesacker.

The German has not played since being sent-off for fouling Chelsea striker Diego Costa and his lack of pace means that Arsenal did not risk him against Benik Afobe and will probably keep him on the bench against Leicester next week.

4

It’s all very well for Bournemouth to play neat, passing football but there has to be an end product.

They are still only five points clear of the relegation zone and need to show more urgency if they are to avoid being dragged into the scrap for survival.

5

Why did Arsenal sign Mohamed Elneny and rush Francis Coquelin back to fitness if they are going to persist with Mathieu Flamini in midfield?

Arsenal are not short of candidates to do the holding job and it is hard to believe 

PSG's Lavezzi agrees Shanghai Shenhua move

 

The Argentina star will become the latest player to head to China, with Super League clubs having already snapped up the likes of Jackson Martinez, Ramires and Gervinho

Paris Saint-Germain forward Ezequiel Lavezzi is set to join Shanghai Shenhua, Goal can confirm.

The Argentine will follow the likes of Jackson Martinez, Ramires and Gervinho to the Chinese Super League for €5 million (£3.8m), signing a two-year deal.

Lavezzi has been left out of the PSG squad that has travelled south for Sunday's clash at Marseille ahead of the completion of the move.
The 30-year-old is out of contract in France at the end of the season and was linked with the likes of Chelsea and Inter during the January transfer window.

Goal understands PSG were ready to loan Jean-Kevin Augustin to Angers until the end of the season but the youngster will be kept at the club as a result of Lavezzi's imminent departure.

Lavezzi has played 16 games in Ligue 1 this season, scoring two goals. He joined PSG from Napoli in 2012 in a deal reportedly worth as much as €30m.

Arsenal scrap ticket surcharge for Champions League showdown with Barcelona after fan backlash

 

 

ARSENAL have scrapped their proposed ticket surcharge for the club’s Champions League showdown with Barcelona.

The Gunners had planned to force all season ticket holders a fee between £18 and £30 to attend the round-of-16 clash at the Emirates.

Arsenal fans are treated to seven cup games per season on their annual ticket — with the Barca tie set to be game seven.

However the club announced it would incur an additional fee as it is a ‘Category A’ fixture.

But after a fierce backlash by fans on social media, the club has performed a late U-turn.

A statement read: “We have listened to our fans and recognise that there is confusion about the basis of our long-standing policy on charges for the seven cup games in our season ticket package.

“We believe that this policy, which last year resulted in a refund to fans and this year would result in a surcharge, is the fairest of the possible alternatives but we accept, on the basis of the reaction to our recent announcement, that we need to improve our supporters’ understanding of how the system works.

“It was never our intention that we would upset those fans who are amongst our most loyal supporters.

“Having listened to their feedback, we are announcing on this occasion that we will not ask fans to pay the additional amount due under our season ticket conditions for the game on February 23.

“We remain of the view that our approach to our season ticket package of 26 games is the fairest it can be and is designed so that our season ticket holders pay the correct price each season for the matches they watch.

“However, it is clear that our fans have not been fully aware of the fact that even if we do play 26 games in some years they will get a refund, which happened in 2014-15, whilst in other years they will need to pay extra.

“This is linked to the teams we draw in the cup competitions.

“The feedback since our communication last night has demonstrated that we need to find a way to create a better understanding for season ticket holders on how their season ticket is structured.

“We will commit ourselves to communicating this, and the rationale, very clearly to our fans going forward so that there is no such confusion in the future.

“Work has already started to address this.”

 

Man City 1 Leicester 3: Robert Huth and Riyad Mahrez on target in breathtaking victory at title rivals City

 

LEICESTER took one giant leap towards the Premier League title with this demolition of Manchester City.

The Foxes swept title rivals City aside at the Etihad as Robert Huth stole a brace either side of Riyad Mahrez’s majestic finish.

The giant German had the visitors one-up within three minutes, getting on the end of Mahrez’s free-kick and bundling the ball over the line after tangling with Martin Demichelis.

Algerian Mahrez struck three minutes into the second period, turning the Citydefence inside out before blasting past Joe Hart.

And things became even more surreal when Huth stepped up on the hour to plant a looping header over Hart.

 

Sergio Aguero nabbed a late consolation to ensure a frantic finish but the visitors held on.

It leaves Claudio Ranieri’s men six points clear of City, and eight ahead of Spurs before their clash with Watford this afternoon.

Here are five things we learnt from the Etihad:

1

LEICESTER can win the league if they play like this for their 13 remaining games.

The have pace and skill from front to back but the most important added ingredient is being fearless.

2

CLAUDIO RANIERI pulled off one of the great Premier League performances by going to the Etihad and smashing City.

3

N’GOLO KANTE may not get the headlines like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez – but he is just as important.

Mops everything up and isn’t bad going forward either.

4

MANCHESTER CITY didn’t need their Pep talk this week.

Guardiola’s arrival undermines Manuel Pellegrini and that is a big issue in the title race.

5

YAYA TOURE is the first option to sub off when it goes wrong.

 

Sir Alex Ferguson picks perfect Sepp Blatter replacement to rebuild rotten FIFA

 

The Manchester United legend and wealthy wine buff backed the Swiss-Italian to replace Sepp Blatter and restore some respect to the corruption-riddled governing body.

The Scotsman said: “In my role as ambassador to UEFA over the last few years I’ve got to know Gianni very well. I must say that all the help he’s given me has been without question really really valuable to me.

“I think he’s got good professionalism, discipline, organisational ability and knowledge of the game and I wish him every success in his quest to be a FIFA president.”

Infantino, general secretary of UEFA since 2009, was bowled over to have the backing of one of the world’s most successful managers.

“I’m grateful to Sir Alex for his support. It means a lot to me coming from one of football’s most respected and accomplished managers.

“I’m also grateful to the growing number of FIFA’s Member Associations and Confederations that have now pledged their support to me.

“I am humbled by this and in their belief that I am the right candidate to help take FIFA forward into a new era of trust, respect and renewal.”

Jose Mourinho on brink of agreeing to take Manchester United job, according to reports

 

JOSE MOURINHO is on the brink of agreeing to take the Manchester United hotseat, according to reports in Italy.

SkySports Italy journalist Alessandro Alciato tweeted that the Red Devils were very close to reaching a deal with jobless Mourinho.

And he speculated about the tantalising prospect of a Pep Guardiola-Mourinho Manchester derby.

Boss Louis van Gaal being pilloried for his turgid style of play and dearth of results, Alciato’s comments would suggest the Old Trafford club has already moved to secure one of the game’s biggest names.

It is understood United would like Van Gaal to see out the remaining year of his contract before being replaced by Mourinho at the end of next season.

The Special One has been without a job since he was sacked as Stamford Bridge chief following a dire run that saw the champions drop to within sight of the relegation zone.

But with titles in England, Italy with Inter Milan and Spain with Real Madrid, the 53-year-old’s stock remains exceptionally high among Europe’s elite sides.

And, most importantly, Mourinho covets the United job more than any other.

He reportedly wrote an astonishing six-page love letter to United, outlining how he had changed his antagonistic ways and was prepared to embrace the Old Trafford philosophy.

Van Gaal, on the other hand, is determined to cling on to his United job and see out his deal — as United would like him to, results permitting.

After a run of games that saw his side drop out of the Champions League places, LVG’s men roared back to life with a 3-0 win over Stoke on Tuesday.

Jamie Vardy: Leicester striker is 'like Marco van Basten'

 

Jamie Vardy has been likened to Dutch legend Marco van Basten following his stunning strike against Liverpool.

The Leicester City frontman enhanced his growing reputation with a 30-yard shot that flew past Reds keeper Simon Mignolet on Tuesday.

It was the first of two goals for the England international in a 2-0 win.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's match with Manchester City, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said the goal was "amazing - you can put him with Van Basten".

What was Louis van Gaal thinking? Javier Hernandez named Bundesliga’s best player for a third month straight

 

BAYER LEVERKUSEN hotshot Javier Hernandez has been named Bundesliga Player of the Month for the THIRD month in a row.

The ex-Manchester United striker has made a mockery of the Old Trafford hierarchy who deemed him surplus to requirements by hitting 21 goals in 24 games in all competitions with Germans Leverkusen.

With seven strikes in his last five matches — including a hat-trick against Borussia Monchengladbach — Chicharito has been in scintillating form at the BayArena.

But despite scoring 13, the 27-year-old still trails Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (20), Robert Lewandowski (19) and Thomas Muller (14) in the Bundesliga scoring charts.

But he has sent a stark message to both United and Real Madrid, where he spent a year on loan from Old Trafford last season.

Although Hernandez insists he hold no grudges towards the Red Devils.

He said: “It was nothing personal, but every manager has his own plan. When people criticise Van Gaal, that’s their opinion.

“When I hear people think I could have stayed there to play longer, I’m glad. I had four great years in Manchester, I was champion twice.”

The Mexican international enjoyed a blistering start to his Premier League career, hitting 20 goals in his debut season in 2010-11 after a move from home country club Guadalajara.

But Louis van Gaal’s United appointment saw him fall out of favour and head to the Bernabeu on loan, where he limped to nine goals in 33 outings.

He would only make three further appearances for United this term before moving to Germany in a deal worth an initial £7.3million.

 

Joe Hart’s Manchester City future in danger as Pep Guardiola lines up Claudio Bravo bid

 

PEP GUARDIOLA wants to replace Joe Hart with Barcelona keeper Claudio Bravo, according to reports in Spain.

It was confirmed on Monday that the Bayern Munich boss, 45, will take over the reins at Manchester City at the end of the season.

The Spaniard is set to conduct a mega-money Galactico revolution at the Etihad — with Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Aaron Ramsey all linked with moves to the North-West.

But Spanish daily AS claims that Chilean stopper Bravo is at the top of Guardiola’s wishlist.

Bravo, 32, splits time between the sticks at the Nou Camp with German international Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

And it is believed he is open to a move away from the European Champions to secure an undisputed No1 spot.

AS reports that Guardiola sees the ball-playing keeper is perfect for his trademark tiki-taka style — spelling trouble for current City custodian Hart ahead of Euro 2016 this summer.

Bravo has a release clause of £30.5million, which City will be more than capable of meeting.

The Chile international has spent 10 years in La Liga and is said to be keen on a chance to prove himself in the Premier League.

Barcelona are aware of Guardiola’s interest and will fight to keep Bravo, who has started 18 league games this season, at the club.

Arjen Robben blasts Bayern Munich mole who revealed players’ unhappiness under Manchester City-bound Pep Guardiola

 

ARJEN ROBBEN has told the Bayern Munich ‘mole’ he should be ashamed of himself.

Reports surfaced in Germany recently about players being unhappy with manager Pep Guardiola’s treatment.

And Robben is furious at whichever team-mate leaked the information — adding that, while kind of behaviour also happened at former clubs Chelsea and Real Madrid, it is much more frequent at Bayern.

Guardiola — who is leaving the club to take over as manager of Manchester City in the summer — is alleged to have criticised certain individuals about their weight in front of his team-mates and has also introduced strict rules to control player conduct of the pitch by making them all sign in and out on their days off.

However, Robben, 32, insists the information should have been kept within the camp.

When asked about the leaks, he said: “I’ve been at Chelsea and Real Madrid and these things happen everywhere.

“That doesn’t mean it’s OK. It’s embarrassing. This type of behaviour does not belong in football.

“Since I’ve been here, this kind of situation has already happened three or four times.

“They are things that, sadly, keep on repeating themselves. We are asking ourselves why this is happening, but can never get an answer.

“The guilty man, however, cannot look himself in the mirror anymore and this is the worst thing.”

Thomas Muller, however, took a more light-hearted approach.

He added: “Before talking about a mole, we need to find it. Even if there are some holes in my garden.”

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