ARSENAL ON MANCHESTER UNITED’S TAIL
Arsenal are now just a point behind English Premier League leaders Manchester United – but Wednesday night’s victory over Stoke at the Emirates came at a cost.
Winger Theo Walcott is definitely out of Sunday’s Carling Cup final against Birmingham after he picked up an ankle injury in the 1-0 win while captain Cesc Fabregas is now a major doubt.
Fabregas limped out during the first-half of Wednesday night’s win with a hamstring injury that now threatens his Carling Cup hopes.
Fabregas said on Twitter: “I don’t know if I’ll make Sunday or not but all I know is that from this moment to Sunday, I won’t sleep if it’s necessary.
“I’ve waited too long to captain a final for Arsenal and I won’t give up till the last second.”
England winger Walcott is definitely out while Laurent Koscielny and Robin Van Persie are struggling with back and hamstring injuries respectively.
Arsenal boss Wenger said: “Theo Walcott has an ankle sprain and he is out. For how long, I don’t know, but he is definitely out of Sunday.
“Fabregas has a hamstring problem. It is impossible to see how serious it is. We will know on Thursday.”
The Gunners moved within one point of EPL leaders Manchester United, who still have a game in hand, thanks to a first-half goal from Sebastien Squillaci in a scrappy tie at The Emirates.
Manager Wenger added: “This kind of wins shows that your team is really hungry for success.
“We were less sharp on the creative side but you could tell that my side didn’t want to make a mistake and that was a very positive sign for me.”
TERRY’S WARNING FOR UNITED
Chelsea captain John Terry has warned Manchester United they could blow their EPL lead – and the Blues are ready to take advantage.
The Premier League champions finally found form on Tuesday night with an impressive 2-0 Champions League win away to Copenhagen.
Terry believes that victory can act as a turning point for his team’s season even though they currently trail United by a whopping 12 points at the top of the EPL table.
Stamford Bridge plays host to a mouth watering clash between Chelsea and United next Tuesday with Terry adamant the race for the title isn’t over yet.
“The chances of us making a comeback in this championship are really small but they are still alive,” insisted Terry.
“It’s been done. Man United did it to Newcastle many years ago. It’s possible and a little bit of pressure...
“Even those games at the end of last year, us going to United knowing we needed to win, there’s an awful lot of pressure on those games.
“Going to Old Trafford then and winning can only do us the world of good in years to come and this year.”
Wolves are the only team to beat United in the Premier League this season but Alex Ferguson’s side have won just three of 12 away games, drawing the rest.
Terry added: “At times, we see that they can be beaten, they can be got at. They’re certainly not invincible.
“Blackpool, they got in their faces and did very well for 60, 70 minutes.
“But what they did show, once again, was their experience. That experience, we’ve also got here as well.
“They’re a very good side but I don’t think anybody should be fearful of them.”
The big game on Tuesday is a ‘must-win’ for Terry who added: “Who knows what game plan they’re going to come down with?
“They’re playing well, so they’ll probably be confident of coming down and getting something, which will hopefully suit us.”
CITY WORRY OVER TEVEZ
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has admitted he is worried about how long captain Carlos Tevez will stay with the club.
Speculation about Tevez’s future intensified again when his agent Kia Joorabchian claimed his player would be happy to return to Brazilian side Corinthians.
Tevez is under contract to City until 2014 but Mancini knows it will be difficult to make the Argentinean striker see out his deal.
“In football, it is impossible to know what will happen in the future. I hope Carlos can continue to play here,” said Mancini.
“I’m happy for Carlos because he has scored 50 goals for Manchester City and I hope he can continue to score.
“For the moment Carlos is here, he plays for Manchester City. He is important, but in the squad there are more than 20 players who are all important.
“It is normal when you have a striker like Carlos, or Mario Balotelli or Edin Dzeko, that it is important they play. But I don’t know what will happen next year.”
Mancini has also confirmed that goalkeeper Shay Given is unlikely to play again this season as he faces a second shoulder operation in less than a year.
“Shay has this problem in his shoulder and I think he needs three months to recover,” Mancini said.
“He has the same injury that he had last year and I think that he needs an operation.”
EUROPEAN PREMIER LEAGUE BRIEFS
Barcelona will turn their attentions to Spurs star Gareth Bale if they fail to land Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas this summer.
Reports in France have again linked Arsenal with Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro.
Bolton have been told on-loan Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge will cost them £10million if they want to sign him on a permanent deal.
Chelsea’s Russian star Yuri Shirkov has threatened to quit the club if his struggles to play regular first team football continue.
Spanish side Hercules want Chelsea winger Florent Malouda and are prepared to pay £7million for his services while Juventus have been linked with Blues defender Jose Boswinga.
Aston Villa could replace American goalkeeper Brad Friedel with West Ham’s Robert Green next season.
Liverpool have rejoined the chase for Blackpool captain Charlie Adam, also wanted by Spurs.
Arsenal target Eden Hazard has told his Lille club bosses that he would prefer to move to Spain next season.
Tottenham may try to sign Inter Milan striker Victor Obinna when his successful loan spell at West Ham comes to an end.
Liverpool want Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila, described in France as the new Patrick Vieira.
Nigerian international striker Kala Uche, currently with Almeria in Spain, is being tracked by Fulham and West Ham.
Reports in England again suggest that the Qatari Royal family will try to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has claimed Fernando Torres was over-priced when he moved from Liverpool to Chelsea for £50million in a record British transfer deal.
Newcastle United expect to have winger Hatem Ben Arfa fit again by April as he recovers from a double leg break.