- Arsene Wenger unfazed by talks of a new deal as Chamberlain and Theo face former club.
- Chelsea manager Di Matteo meanwhile has given his verdict on Malouda’s stay at the club.
- Sergio Aguero could be making a comeback at Stoke after suffering a serious injury on the first matchday.
- Manchester United welcome back Fletcher as Scholes, Ferdinand and Giggs are on the verge of centuries.
Arsene Wenger not rushing into a new contract while praising the rise of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
Arsenal have placed their latest contract offer for manager Arsene Wenger to consider as Arsenal ready themselves for the visit of new boys Southampton. Despite enjoying a successful spell at the club that has now lasted 16 years, Wenger seems to be in no hurry considering his current contract runs out in 2014. The Frenchman wants to access his performances and has assured that his decision would be made keeping Arsenal’s best interests in sight.
“I’m an Arsenal man,” said the 62-year-old Wenger. “I think I’ve always shown that. I have to consider if I do well or not. If I don’t do well, I have to consider my future.
“At the moment we are not there. Two years is a long time in my job. I just want to do well for the club as long as I can and accept all the rest.”
On Saturday, Arsenal will be hosting the Saints, as Chamberlain and Walcott face their former club for the first time since joining Arsenal. Both the players are Southampton academy products and will hope to put up a strong display against their former employers. Arsene Wenger has spoken highly about 19 year old “Ox” in the buildup to the game.
“He is ahead of schedule, because I didn’t expect him to be honestly in the national team at the moment. He is ahead of what I have planned. When you come from, basically, youth team football to that level, it’s like you go from primary school to university – and you have to learn quickly.
“It can be damaging if a guy thinks, ‘Hey, look who I am.’ It could be bad if he was a bit big-headed. We have all been young – I’m not sure that we would have dealt well with the situation. It is not easy.
“But he is not like that. In his case, it’s good. He is very level-headed, very humble. So I think it’s good to experience the tactical level of the other players in England. Honestly – because I feel he needs to get the tactical urgency – for him it is good.”
Sergio Aguero Return Boosts City before Stoke and Madrid Visits
The player who scored the League winning goal for Manchester City last season, Sergio Aguero, has returned to full training. This, after a nasty injury caused by Nathaniel Clyne in the opening weekend. The return of the Argentine would be a huge boost for the defending champions as they face 2 tricky away games at Stoke and Real Madrid in the Champions League, within the space of four days.
“We will try with Sergio this morning. Sergio is not 100% but his knee is okay. Maybe he will be on the bench.”
In other injury news, Mario Balotelli seems to be recovering well from a laser eye treatment. Gareth Barry is not close to return with his abdominal injury troubles. Despite the injury to Micah Richards, Mancini has him firmly in his plans.
“Micah is injured 40 days. He can play right back and right central defender. This year I think he will probably play more games than last year and we have to have one or two players more. This year if we change, we play three, and two wide. I think maybe Micah can play right centre back.”
Chelsea Prepare for a Feisty London Derby with Malouda out of the First Team Picture
Chelsea will travel to Loftus Road on Saturday evening after a perfect start to their League campaign. Captain John Terry and Ashley Cole have both shaken off knocks and are available for selection. Juan Mata has also returned to Cobham after an extended break, and the manager will make a late call on the Spaniard’s inclusion keeping an eye on the midweek game against Juventus. Marko Marin is also close to first team football after his first competitive game in Chelsea colours against Liverpool in the U-21s. The club have also confirmed that Florent Malouda will now be a part of the U-21s and is a no more a part of the first team setup. Roberto di Matteo said:
“We have taken a decision as a club to put Malouda with the Under 21s. In the past there has been some expression from the player as well to maybe part company and it hasn’t happened, so in the end we moved forward and we brought in some other players and those are the players we are going to work with this season. The other players have accepted the decision and they have to focus on what is there to achieve this season.”
Irrespective of what the manager says, the club should have tried harder to offload Malouda if he wasn’t a part of their plans. Both the club and player are to be blamed for such a situation. The club had offered Malouda an inflated contract after some excellent displays towards the end of their double winning season. Ever since, the Frenchman’s form has dipped as was visible last season and now the management are apparently stuck with the player as he refuses to take a pay cut and is visibly happy to run down his contract. A senior player continuing speaking to the first team while reluctantly playing for the U-21’s could cause another implosion, as seen with Anelka and Alex.
Darren Fletcher in Squad for Wigan Game, as Scholes, Giggs and Ferdinand Near Records
After 10 months on the sidelines, Darren Fletcher returns to the first team fold and is included in the Manchester United squad for the Wigan game. Fletcher’s last game for United was in November last year against Benfica. The 28-year old midfielder has now made three Reserve Team appearances and is regaining match fitness. His return will boost the United midfield that looked beleaguered against Southampton till the entry of Paul Scholes.
“The next step is when we can involve him in the first team. He’s in the squad, simply becuase I think it will give him a boost. It’s a chance to progress.”
The game against Wigan could also be a landmark for Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand who will be making their 700th United appearance, 600th Premier League appearance and 400th United appearance. A victory at the end of the day would make it very special for all three loyal servants of the club.