Wenger’s woes continue

Arsene Wenger watches Arsenal from the stands

Every picture...chief executive Ivan Gazidis closes his eyes, while Wenger rants about life's injustices

Arsene Wenger could be in trouble with UEFA after communicating with Arsenal’s bench in the Champions League qualifier against Udinese.

The Frenchman was serving a one-match ban imposed for disparaging remarks he made about the referee following Arsenal’s defeat to Barcelona in last season’s competition.

Wenger, who could be seen fidgeting nervously in the stands while watching his disjointed Arsenal side cut apart by an enterprising Udinese side, was warned at half-time to stop passing on messages to his assistant Pat Rice. It’s unclear what these messages were, but every now and again Rice would stand up and wave his arms frantically before returning to his seat on the bench. All to little effect as Arsenal laboured to an unconvincing 1-0 win.

To show his displeasure with UEFA’s stance, Wenger refused to attend the post-match press conference. That will show them.

Staying put

Wesley Sneijder is staying with Inter. So says the club’s president Massimo Moratti, who claims the Dutch forward was never for sale and that any reports of negotiations over his transfer were false. Although, it was only two months ago that he said the same about Samuel Eto’o, and the Cameroon striker is currently negotiating a move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

Speculation about Sneijder resurfaced amid reports that Eto’o was poised to leave.

“There have never been any kind of talks about Wes. It doesn’t matter whether Eto’o stays put or leaves the club. Sneijder was untouchable before the situation with Eto’o and he has become even more so now Eto’o could leave. Long story short, Sneijder is going nowhere,” Moratti told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Moratti also conceded that given the current economic climate facing many clubs in Europe, Inter were unable to compete financially with Anzhi for Eto’o.

“He (Eto’o) goes for the financial fair play and because when you get an offer like that it’s hard to refuse it. The financial fair play is serious, not a joke: whoever doesn’t respect the parameters will be out of European competitions.”

Try telling Manchester City that.

Goal of the day

The surprise result in last night’s Champions League qualifiers was Czech side Viktoria Plzen’s 3-1 away win against FC Copenhagen. The Danish champions reached the knockout stages of the competition last season, but look unlikely to reach the group stages this year.

The best of the goals was the third, a venomous left-footed strike by Martin Fillo.

Social media updates

Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri has denied earlier comments posted on a Facebook account suggesting he was set to leave the Gunners on bad terms.

Inevitably, the Frenchman communicated his displeasure via the medium of Twitter.

“Just to make things clear i dont have a facebook so i never said i was leaving with bitterness the guy who said that use a fake account.”

Meanwhile, in a two-for-one social media special, Facebook have announced that they will be screening an entire match from the first round of the FA Cup. Ascot United and Wembley FC is the game in question.

The world’s oldest knockout competition and arguably the most devalued, is in desperate need of an overhaul and new sponsors Budweiser believe they have come up with just the thing to revive the moribund edifice.

“As a long-standing supporter of football globally, Budweiser is committed to bringing the world’s most prestigious knockout competition closer to the fans,” marketing director Ian Newell said in a statement.

“What better way to demonstrate this than by broadcasting the very first kick to a global audience via Facebook.”

And if that fails to restore the competition’s prestige, no doubt next year’s final will be screened in 140 second segments on Twitter.

Car trouble

Mario Zagallo, who as a player and coach was involved in Brazil’s first four World Cup triumphs, was let off lightly by a gang of car thieves near his home in Rio.

Zagallo’s car was blocked by another vehicle with four armed men inside, who then threatened the former national team coach with handguns – but when they saw who it was they chose not to steal his car.

The 80-year-old was a member of Brazil’s 1958 and 1962 World Cup-winning squads, coached the 1970 team and was also involved with the successful 1994 side. Even amongst the carjacking community, that kind of record accords you some respect.

Here is some archive footage of the 1958 final, with Zagallo scoring the fourth in Brazil’s 5-2 win over hosts Sweden.

Follow the money

CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer has denied he is being investigated by the FBI.

The American official is best known as the man whose bribery allegations brought down FIFA vice president Jack Warner and led to the lifetime ban of Mohamed Bin Hammam.

The revelation of an FBI investigation into Blazer was first made by reporter Andrew Jennings, who released a report on Saturday detailing a string of accusations against Blazer and his oligarch-style lifestyle.

Warner, no doubt cackling maniacally as he spoke, claimed there would be further revelations about his nemesis.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “In the fullness of time much more will be revealed. The avalanche is yet to come.”

Strike action

No sign yet of any compromise between the Spanish league (LFP) and the Spanish players’ union (AFE). The latest talks intended to avert a strike, broke down with no sign of agreement.

The AFE, quite reasonably one would have thought, have demanded protection for players’ salaries at those clubs that go bust.

“We haven’t reached any kind of agreement,” LFP president Jose Luis Astiazaran told reporters after the meeting. “The AFE have dug their heels in. There are important differences, but we will have to continue moving forward.”

Time is running out with the AFE having called strike action for the first two weekends of Spain’s top two divisions, which are scheduled to kick off on Saturday.

Messi mania

Excitement in India is growing at the prospect of seeing Lionel Messi in the flesh.

More than 15,000 tickets have already been sold for next month’s FIFA-sanctioned match between Argentina and Venezuela match at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium. You’d think they could have arranged to stage the game at a location that was more convenient for the players. Like Mars for instance.

Move back on?

Chelsea expect to complete the signing of Romelu Lukaku from Anderlecht in the next 24 hours.

The 18-year-old striker was scheduled to finalise his switch to Stamford Bridge last week, only for the move to stall. Lukaku’s father, Roger, last week admitted the family were “very nervous” about the situation.

However, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas moved to reassure the Lukakus that the player would be moving to England.

“He is one of those players we couldn’t afford to lose because of his potential and that’s why we made the move in the market even though our team is competitive enough in that sector of the field,” said Villas-Boas.


In a move that will cement his popularity among Arsenal fans, the club’s former striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, is set to join local rivals Tottenham on loan.

Having already surpassed Ashely Cole as the number one hate figure among Arsenal fans when he ran the length of the pitch to celebrate after scoring for Manchester city against his former club, the Togo striker is really going for broke with this one.