Unai Emery confirms Granit Xhaka as the permanent Arsenal captain

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has said that Granit Xhaka has got the nod for the permanent Arsenal captaincy following a voting session with the first-team squad. The Switzerland international has already led the team in six of the opening eight matches this term and he has now been named as the official club-captain.


Speaking in a press conference, Emery revealed that he had given the team with a list of values and qualities to decide on the next captain and Xhaka topped with the most number of votes, he told: “I gave them [a list of] values and qualities to decide the captain and we used the vote; I wanted to know their opinion on that.

“[Xhaka] is mature and he has experience, and we are living all the time under pressure, under criticism as coaches, as players, as a club. The most important thing is to stand up in each moment, go ahead and show his quality with his behaviour, with his commitment. In the dressing room the players voted for him as the first.”
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Jorginho set for long-term stay at Chelsea – Agent

The agent of Chelsea star Jorginho has said that the midfielder is committed to the Blues on a long-term basis. The Italy international joined the west London outfit from Napoli during the summer of 2018 and he has since been a regular in the centre of the park where he has taken up the holding midfield role.

Speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss, agent Joao Santos said that the Italian has no plans of parting ways with the Blues in the near future. He added that the 27-year-old will remain committed to the club for another four years at the least, he told: “We have mid-to-long-term project with Chelsea, similar to when he joined Hellas Verona and then Napoli. There are five years left on his contract and let’s say he’d like to stay for at least another four years.”

Jorginho had a mixed first season with the Blues and he was criticised by the fans whenever the club succumbed to a defeat under former boss Maurizio Sarri. Nonetheless, he ended the campaign on a high with a string of consistent performances and he has slowly become a favourite for a section of the supporters under new head coach Frank Lampard.

The west London giants have not made the best of beginnings to the season and they are presently with just five points from the opening four matches. Still, there have been plenty of positives in the attacking department and Lampard needs to find the solution at the back such that the team can notch up regular victories.

Chelsea return from the international break with a testing challenge at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Blues could only secure one point against the Wolves last season and they can anticipate another tricky game, considering the west Midlands outfit fare better in front of their fans. Nuno’s side are currently two points behind Chelsea at the present point of time.

Nicolas Pepe credits Unai Emery for quick integration at Arsenal

Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe has said that manager Unai Emery has aided his quick integration into the first-team affairs. The Ivory Coast international made the move from French club Lille earlier this month and he has since featured for the Gunners off the bench in both Premier League games.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Pepe said that he has been able to quickly learn the new strategy and tactics at the north London club courtesy of the manager with whom he has no language barrier, he told: “It’s been really good because he speaks French and it has been much easier for us to communicate. I am new, the strategy and tactics are new and it really helps that I can get the coach’s assistance. Now I need to learn English and this is something he is helping me with also.”

Pepe has featured for just over an hour during the opening two league games and there have already been some glimpses of his overall quality. While he has not been to influence the proceedings upfront, he has come up with a few tricks to outsmart the opponent which has certainly pleased the Gunners faithful.

Nonetheless, the Ivorian has come to the club with the main objective of guiding them back to the Champions League and he spoke about the same saying: “I chose to come here because it’s a club with a lot of ambition. They have the dream of coming back to the Champions League and I am also an ambitious person, so the choice was very logical.”

Arsenal have made their best start to the Premier League in a decade and they are currently on six points after the opening two games, and just behind leaders Liverpool on goal difference. They are scheduled to tackle the table-toppers during the forthcoming league clash at Anfield, where they have failed to secure a point during the past three visits.

Sky is the limit for City’s Raheem Sterling says Kyle Walker

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has backed Raheem Sterling to reach greater heights after standing out for the Citizens in the past couple of seasons. The England international has become a consistent performer under the guidance of manager Pep Guardiola and he helped the Citizens secure an unprecedented domestic treble last term after contributing 25 goals and 15 assists.

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Walker said that his compatriot will only keep getting better, should he continue to take the advice of Guardiola, who has worked with the likes of Lionel Messi at Barcelona, he quipped: “If he keeps listening and getting advice from the gaffer and takes it on board, the sky is the limit. The manager has worked with the best in [Lionel] Messi.”

Meanwhile, Sterling had brought up a bad impression on some people after the gun tattoo prior to the previous World Cup but he has managed to overcome the same with the recent fight against racism. In response to that, Walker added: “He definitely got bad press when it wasn’t really called for. He was a scapegoat and was targeted. I can assure you, there a lot of players who have done a lot worse than Raheem and nothing has been said about them. He deserves full credit to come out the other end and stay true to himself. It shows his character.”

The Citizens are scheduled to begin their league campaign with an away game at West Ham United but prior to that, they have a Community Shield encounter against Liverpool. With both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus reporting late after their Copa America exploits, Guardiola has recently said that Sterling could find himself leading the line which he has done with success during the club’s pre-season tour of Asia. He has bagged four goals and an assist from four pre-season games.

Herrera reveals reason for leaving Manchester United this summer

Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera has said that he had differences with the Manchester United board which meant that he had to pursue a fresh challenge elsewhere. The 29-year-old was in a contract standoff with the Red Devils for the past year and he eventually decided to move on after the expiry of the deal last month.

Speaking to Marca, the former Athletic Bilbao graduate revealed that he did not feel important with the club’s plans for the future and that influenced the decision to join Les Parisiens, he said: “I don’t like looking at the past but there were differences regarding the project and my importance within it. I was very happy, I have a lot to thank the club for, the fans and also Solskjaer. He did a lot for me to stay but things didn’t happen. They [United] arrived late [with the contract offer] and, by then, I’d already made the decision to play in Paris.”
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Juan Mata reacts after signing new contract with Manchester United

Spanish midfielder Juan Mata has ended the continued speculation regarding his future by signing a new two-year deal with Manchester United. The 31-year-old was widely fancied to leave Old Trafford earlier in the summer with the Red Devils reluctant to offer him a multi-year contract but they have eventually agreed to meet his demands.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Mata said: “It is a real honour to continue to represent this amazing club and our incredible fans. I have been at Manchester United for five years and I am proud to call Old Trafford my home. I am looking forward to working with Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his fantastic coaching staff; the vision that they have for the club is truly exciting and I am so happy that I will be a part of that.”
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Frank Lampard speaks on speculation linking him with the Chelsea job

Former Chelsea star Frank Lampard has indicated that he is focused on the managerial role at Derby County amid the speculation linking him with the Blues job. The 40-year-old has done tremendously well during his debut season in management and he has the opportunity of propelling Derby to the Premier League, should they beat Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.

Amidst this, there have been reports suggesting that he could take over at the helm at Chelsea this summer but Lampard has stressed that he is concentrating on the Rams duty for the moment, he said: “When I started out in management, people said; ‘Your dream must be to be Chelsea manager.’ It’s an easy link. My dream was to do as well as I can day in and day out to be successful. I can’t call that one. Those things happen or they don’t or whatever. My focus is completely on the here and now. I find it quite difficult because (Chelsea) have got a game coming up. More importantly for me we’ve got a game coming up before that.”
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Liverpool midfielder admits it would be sad to end the season without a trophy

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted that it would be disappointing to end the campaign without winning any silverware. The Reds went toe-to-toe with Manchester City in the pursuit of the Premier League title but they were eventually finished as the runners-up with the Citizens outclassing them by the solitary point.

Still, the Reds have the opportunity to end their seven-year trophy drought with the Champions League crown and Wijnaldum insists it would be really sad to come up with nothing in the final against Tottenham Hotspur, he said: “If you look back when you’re on vacation on this season, I think everyone will realise we had a really good season, a wonderful season. Ninety-seven points, we’d normally be champion with.
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Morrison hails team performance in must-win game against Brighton

Cardiff City captain Sean Morrison has hailed the performance of the team following their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on the road on Tuesday night. The Welsh outfit had faced a must-win game to keep their survival hopes alive and they managed to do so with Morrison and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing finding the scoresheet.

Speaking after the game, Morrison acknowledged that the club were facing a do or die situation on the night and they managed to excel in flying colours with the three points, he said: “It was do or die tonight. It was a very important game. We’ve got two very tough games ahead of us and tonight was of great importance.
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Ben Johnson Happy to Sign New Contract with West Ham

Ben Johnson has been able to agree a new contract with West Ham that will keep him at the club for the next three years. The 19-year-old featured in the Premier League for the first time in the 1-0 loss against Manchester City. However, he has been featuring regularly with the first team in training. After making 16 appearances for the under 23 squad is so far this season, the defender appears to have impressed manager Manuel Pellegrini sufficiently to earn himself a new contract. This is yet another commitment from West Ham to promote from within, as the youngster has been with West Ham since seven years of age. After starting out as a winger, the 19-year-old soon became a regular at right back.

His versatility will be one of the talking points for West Ham as they look to strengthen the squad going into the summer. He has also spoken fondly about his debut, which was against one of the best teams in the Premier League. Despite his lack of experience, Johnson was able to put in a decent performance. The 19-year-old is aware that he needs to keep working hard in order to feature more regularly in the first team. Interestingly, Johnson is related to former Tottenham captain Ledley King, who happens to be his cousin. Former England defender Paul Walker is also related to Johnson.
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