Arsene Wenger says that he feels sorry for not having given 100% satisfaction to every supporter of Arsenal.
The fans staged a protest against the regime of Wenger, which has failed to yield a league title in the last decade. Even though there have been two FA Cup trophies during this period, it is not seen as a recognition of the club’s stature. Arsenal are primarily judged upon their ability to win major honours like the Premier League and challenge in the Champions League. However, both these aspects have not happened since 2003-04 and this has led to fans calling for his departure.
The protests inside the stadium were held at the 12th minute as a symbolic gesture that the club has now gone 12 seasons without winning the league title. Even as there was dissent amongst some supporters, there was praise for Wenger in various quarters of the stadium. Prior to the match, the Frenchman claimed that he committed to Arsenal during a difficult financial times even when there were offers from several other clubs. His commitment to stay was revealed as the reason behind banks offering the club almost £ 400 million in loan to construct the Emirates stadium, which has been a major source of revenue for the club in the last five years.
Arsene Wenger claimed that it was the perfect display from his players after they managed to do the unimaginable by qualifying for the Champions League last 16 by the skin of their teeth.
Arsenal looked seemingly out of the group stages just after they suffered two back-to-back defeats at the start of the campaign. These two defeats looked even worse when considering that title favourites Bayern Munich were the opponents in the next two games. Arsenal were not expected to even get a point against the German team in these two games. A huge lifeline came in the form of a shock win over Bayern at the Emirates stadium.
This coupled with other results going their way meant that Arsenal went into the last group game still with a chance to qualify for the last 16. Olympiakos, meanwhile, had the simple task of holding onto even a draw. Arsenal had to win by two or more goals in order to stand any chance of qualification. They comfortably achieved this target with goals from Olivier Giroud being a crucial factor. The Frenchman scored a hat-trick just at the time when it mattered the most for the gunners, who will now look towards the knockout round.
Following the hugely entertaining snooker shootout between West Ham United duo Andy Carroll and on loan gunner Carl Jenkinson, their attempts to emulate baize stars Judd Trump and reigning world champion Stuart Bingham have raised a few sporting eyebrows.
In the video from online bookmaker Betway, Jenkinson beats Carroll in a surprising high standard game with both players making some great pots. The loser had to clean the other players boots which is a relatively tame wager compared to some sporting stars but all the same Jenkinson will of have the bragging rights all week.
The video was produced to celebrate West Ham sponsors Betway launching their sponsorship of the UK Snooker Championships in York taking place at the moment.
Since the Hammers duo squared-off on the snooker table, it’s got many people thinking which other football face-offs would be most entertaining throughout various different sports, including boxing, golf and even darts! Gunner’s duo Walcott and Cazorla star in this run down of potential off the pitch face offs.
With many of today’s Premier League footballers possessing such an array of talents, even beyond the pitch, here are 10 sporting meetings that would be truly amusing between some of the current top-flight division stars.
Jamie Vardy v Theo Walcott: 100 metre sprint
Officially the two quickest players in the Premier League this season, both Vardy and Walcott have captivated the top tier with their incredible pace, but who wins over 100 metres?
Leicester City have rallied to an amazing top four position at this early stage of the campaign, thanks massively to Vardy’s goals and devastating speed in attack. Such is his swiftness going forward, England boss Roy Hodgson selected the Foxes speed-demon for his Three Lions squad.
Within that same international lies Arsenal’s Walcott, who has proved he is truly one of the fastest stars in top-flight history, and what a rapid rivalry this would be over 100 metres. Watch your back Usain Bolt.
Dimitri Payet v Michael Carrick: Golf
Fore! With their pinpoint accuracy on the pitch, both Hammers midfielder Payet and Manchester United maestro Carrick would make for an intriguing match-up on the golf course.
The latter Old Trafford playmaker is already known for his astute golfing ability away from football, having competed at many club events against teammates and coaching staff, but could he output Frenchman Payet?
West Ham’s star man has burst onto the top tier scene this season with his clinical passing range helping Slaven Bilic’s men, and his deadly skills should be easily transferable on to the green for a golfing showdown with Carrick.
Peter Crouch v Fraser Forster: Basketball
Both Crouch and Forster are undoubtedly two of the Premier League’s tallest stars, meaning a basketball one-on-one would prove quite entertaining.
Although, Southampton and England international stopper Forster possesses great handling abilities, which would surely leave Stoke City targetman Crouch defeated on the court floor.
There may be no need for emulating high-flying legend Michael Jordan’s jumping exploits here, with both capable of simply dunking for fun from a standing position!
Diego Costa v Lee Cattermole: MMA
It’s safe to say that neither of these two Premier League hard men would throw the towel in during a bout, with both players seemingly always up for a fight, and it’s an MMA meeting that would sell itself!
Imagine Chelsea’s ‘Dirty Diego’ contesting Sunderland’s ‘Bonecrusher’ Cattermole in the octagon, with the ferocious pair having dealt with their previous opponents with more than just their fists previously.
Costa, fighting from the blue corner, and Cattermole, emerging from the red corner, would make for an all-action match-up, with the latter known for his aggressive challenges, but he would need to be alert for those crafty, backhand tactics from his Brazilian-born opposition.
Although, if Costa was to face defeat at the hands of Wearside foe, his coach Jose Mourinho is always on hand to point the blame elsewhere!
Robin van Persie v Daley Blind: Darts
These two international teammates, and former Man Utd allies, have proved they can mix it with the big boys of darts before, with esteemed friends such as Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld.
Both have been seen practising their throw with these darting sensations, though it’s potentially Fenberbahce frontman Van Persie who would edge out his compatriot on the oche, with his prolific precision.
However, based on their recent Netherlands form and fortunes, there’s unlikely to be many roars of 180 in this Dutch darts duel!
Adnan Januzaj v Ashley Young: Diving
Next up are two players who would make Tom Daley proud! Both Old Trafford pair Young and Januzaj have been known to hit the ground quite often, despite a lack of contact.
The prancing pair could therefore put their skills to better use in the pool, perhaps enjoying a close diving encounter.
With Januzaj currently offloaded on loan to Borussia Dortmund, it’s Young who is currently providing the theatrics in England, and his elegant technique in the fall, coupled with a perfect sense of timing, would surely see him emerge victorious.
Jason Puncheon v Eden Hazard: Rugby namely conversions
During the course of this current campaign, there have been saved penalties and other spot-kicks that were narrowly missed; then there was Hazard and Puncheon’s efforts from 12 yards.
The pair forgot midway through their run-ups that they were in fact playing football, therefore needing to keep the ball below the crossbar. Nevertheless, their penalty attempts fitted in well during a time when the Rugby World Cup was in progress.
With their spot-kicks reaching new heights, in more than ways than one, both would endure a close rugby penalty shootout against each other, following their obvious labours to show off their other sporting talents this season.
Wayne Rooney v Phil Bardsley: Boxing
Let’s get ready to rumble, again! Last season, video footage emerged of Man Utd and England skipper Rooney being floored by a strong hook from Sunderland defender Bardsley at the former player’s home.
After such a vicious knockout, we all want to see a rematch between the pair of Premier League punchers. Could Wayne ‘Lights Out’ Rooney finally overcome previous conqueror Phil ‘Bulldozer’ Bardsley?
It’s a boxing meeting we would love to see, though Bardsley would enter the ring as an overwhelming favourite for another Rooney rumbling, with the Three Lions captain having showcased a lack of clinical instinct so far this current season.
Santi Cazorla v Juan Mata: Horse racing
To be a truly great jockey, you need a superb sense of balance, and a low centre of gravity always helps, which makes both Spain international playmakers Cazorla and Mata perfect for a match-up as jockeys.
The Grand National would be a much more exciting race with two of the smaller, more compact Premier League stars leading their horses towards victory.
Whether it’s on the flat course or fences, this Spanish duo could be involved in a thrilling ride, but which one of these top-flight craftsman would be the front-runner and who would be trailing behind the pack?
Wilfried Bony v Kurt Zouma: Weight lifting
Chelsea centre back Zouma and Manchester City targetman Bony are two of the strongest players in the top tier, possessing sublime strength which has seen them bulldoze their way past opponents in the past.
In a true contest of strength, which Premier League powerhouse would out-lift the other? Both are known for their unwavering ability to hold off opposing players, but in this goliath weight lifting battle, we may witness Bony prove his Hercules-like strength!
The Premier League has not even reached its midway point but already there are certain clubs that are so far away from the top spot that it’s almost impossible for them to have any hope of winning the Premier League title of this season.
In the previous season of the Premier League, Liverpool snatched the 2nd spot and was only 2 points away from winning the league however in this season things have taken a huge turn as the team of Brendan Rodgers would be grateful if they are even able of securing a Europa League spot.
With 2.5 million weekly listeners and live and exclusive Premier League commentary rights, the UK’s largest commercial sports radio station has even more good news – the launch of talkSPORT.co.uk
The new talkSPORT website will see the arrival of an online platform to match the radio and magazine output that has made talkSPORT the home of great sporting debate.
These are exciting times at talkSPORT Towers and the newest addition to their digital family will offer up-to-the-minute sports news, all the latest transfer rumours, football results and great competitions. They’ve also linked up with footballscores.com to make sure fans are always up-to-date.