The Wenger-boys

Arsenal have a tough sequence of games that will test their credentials as title contenders.

Written by Associated Press | London | Published: October 29, 2013 2:31 am

Arsenal,who suffered a humiliating Capital One (League) Cup quarter-final defeat by fourth tier Bradford City last season,will again rotate their squad when Chelsea visit the Emirates in the last-16 on Tuesday.

Manager Arsene Wenger has used the competition in recent years to blood youngsters and field fringe players and did so when a second-string side edged out West Bromwich Albion in a penalty shootout in the third round.

“I will rotate against Chelsea but play with a team that has a good chance to qualify as well. That will be the target,” Wenger told the club’s website.

Arsenal have not won the trophy since 1993 when they beat Sheffield Wednesday. They lost to Chelsea in the 2007 final and to Birmingham City at the same stage four years later. Adding spice to the tie is the Premier League positions of the two clubs,with Arsenal two points clear of their London rivals at the top of the table.

Wenger’s team have a tough sequence of games coming up that will test their credentials as title contenders. Arsenal host third-placed Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday and then,after travelling to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League,they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford.


“You worry about fatigue a little bit but not too much. Sometimes when you play every three days you look tired and then in three days you are flying again. It goes a bit in cycles,” Wenger said.

There are four other all-Premier League clashes.Manchester United,who came back from 2-1 down to beat Stoke City 3-2 on Saturday,should prove too strong for struggling Norwich City at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

On Wednesday,Newcastle United entertain Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur host Hull City again,three days after a 1-0 league victory for the Londoners at White Hart Lane. Southampton also travel to Sunderland on Nov. 6. Championship leaders Burnley will fancy their chances of causing an upset when they host West Ham United on Tuesday.

Burnley,who spent one season in the Premier League in 2009-10,have won eight and drawn one of their last nine league games.

Two other second-tier sides welcome Premier League opposition. Surprise 2011 winners Birmingham,who stunned Arsenal at Wembley with a late Obafemi Martins winner,entertain Stoke while Leicester City,who won the trophy in 1997 and 2000,take on Fulham.

‘Phantom goal’ match won’t be replayed‘

BERLIN: Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-1 Bundesliga win over Hoffenheim last week helped by a phantom goal will not be replayed despite the ball going in through a hole in the netting,Germany’s sports court said on Monday.

In a decision which the court admitted may not be satisfactory to fans,the Hoffenheim appeal was rejected because there was at no point a violation of the rules by the referee.

Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling’s 70th-minute header flew just wide of the post and hit the side netting but went through a hole and ended up in the goal.

Referee Felix Brych awarded a goal after consulting his assistants,putting Leverkusen 2-0 ahead at the time and triggering an outcry over the blatant mistake and the need for goalline technology in Germany,a tool already in use in other domestic and international competitions.

“The decision may be unsatisfactory from a sporting point of view but it is according to the rules and laws,” judge Hans Lorenz,who heads the German football association’s (DFB) sports court said in his decision.

“Referee Felix Brych took an incontestable factual decision. The claim that he broke rules was dropped by Hoffenheim even during the process.”

Lorenz had earlier heard testimony from Brych and Kiessling as well as the assistants. He had also greeted last season’s Bundesliga top scorer with a humorous comment.

“Finally you get a call-up from the DFB,” Lorenz had told Kiessling,who has been consistently overlooked by Germany coach Joachim Loew despite superb performances for Leverkusen in the past few seasons.

Kiessling had been accused by fans of seeing the ball go in from the side and not telling the referee,a claim which the striker vehemently denied. Kiessling said that he initially thought Hoffenheim goalkeeper Koen Casteels had scored an own goal. Hoffenheim have the right to appeal court’s decision within one week,the DFB said. —REUTERS

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