Arsenal to Face Chelsea In League Cup Fourth Round
Arsenal FC have been paired with their crosstown rivals Chelsea in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
The Gunners edged past West Bromwich Albion on penalties in their third round clash at the Hawthorns on Wednesday night while the Blues had seen off lower league outfit Swindon Town a day earlier.
The two London rivals will now be facing each other in the week commencing October 28, with the winner getting a place in the competition’s quarter-finals.
Bendtner Earns Wenger’s Praise
Arsene Wenger praised Nicklas Bendtner after the Big Dane fared surprisingly well in last night’s League Cup third round win over West Brom.
In what was his first official game for the Gunners in two years, Bendtner, 25, created the opening goal for youngster Thomas Eisfeld before successfully slotting the ball past the Baggies goalkeeper in the ensuing penalty shootout.
After the game, the Gunners boss passed some nice comments about the returning striker, mostly praising his confidence and encouraging him to work hard to keep up his level of play.
Arsenal.com have quoted Wenger as saying: “One thing you don’t question too much with him is his confidence. I believe for Nicklas Bendtner the most important thing is to stay fit physically and after that he has the talent. In England you know him well. For him it’s important that he’s consistently present and he works hard physically because he has the top qualities.”
Bendtner had a great chance to score himself but missed. Analysing the unconverted opportunity, Wenger said: “He took too much time. What happened to him is what happens to many strikers when they have too much time to score. Wait and wait and then wait for too long but overall I think his game was positive.”
About the Gooners’ positive reaction to seeing Bendtner in action again, he added: “The fans were absolutely fantastic. Even when West Brom came back to 1-1 they encouraged us and they encouraged Nicklas. Overall I think he had a good game for a guy who has not played for such a long time on his own up front. He did very well.”
Lehmann Doesn’t Believe Ozil Is Worth £42.5M
Retired German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann believes his former club Arsenal FC paid through their nose for his compatriot Mesut Ozil, but it got overshadowed by Real Madrid overpaying so much more for Gareth Bale.
The Gunners acquired Ozil on the transfer deadline day for a club record transfer fee of £42.5million, but only after Los Blancos finalised the Bale deal by paying Tottenham double the amount Arsenal paid for the German playmaker.
Lehmann believes both Arsenal and Real paid more than they should have. However, he does believe that the Ozil deal was comparatively better of the two.
German sports website Spox has quoted Lehmann as saying: “In all honesty, Arsenal paid too much for Mesut Ozil. But that’s because Gareth Bale went to Real Madrid for so much more money. Nobody is worth that much. The Ozil deal was much better. I don’t see a €50m difference between the two players. That’s how that market works when a club like Real Madrid loses the plot.”
Cazorla Hoping Ozil Leads Arsenal to Title Glory
Santi Cazorla feels the addition of Mesut Ozil to bArsenal squad has boosted their quality significantly, and the club can now genuinely challenge for major trophies this season.
In an interview with Sphera Sports, Cazorla said: “Hopefully we win the title, but it is too early to talk about it. The beginning is very good. After the first loss the team is performing at a good level. We are consistent, that is what we lacked last season. Furthermore, the incorporation of Mesut Ozil has given us a big leap in quality. Hopefully we can now become one of the great teams and that gives us the chance to fight for the title.”
The former Malaga and Villarreal playmaker is nursing an ankle injury these days but is hoping to be all healed up and ready to play when SSC Napoli visit the Emirates Stadium for their Champions League group stage match next Tuesday.
“I hope to be back shortly. Every day I’m feeling better and I’m working on all ways to reduce my downtime. It all depends on how I train and strengthen my ankle. As the days go by I am doing more things and if all goes well I will try to return for the game against Napoli, but that’s not certain,” he added.
Ozil Exit Hasn’t Hurt Real – Ancelotti
Mesut Ozil’s sale to Arsenal FC hasn’t hindered Real Madrid’s offensive game at all, the Spanish club’s manager Carlo Ancelotti has claimed.
The new Gunner was Los Blancos’ primary creative outlet in midfield during his three-year stay in Madrid. After his exit, it was suggested that Real might struggle on the attacking front, but so far, that hasn’t been the case, with his replacement, Isco, shining brightly as the team’s new number 10.
Talking to the press last weekend, Ancelotti was in bullish mood as his charges had scored 10 goals in the previous two games. While not undermining Ozil’s talents, the Italian did say that his team’s offence is as as potent as it was with the former Werder Bremen schemer in it.
“Ozil has great attacking qualities but in the last two games against Galatasaray and Getafe we have played without him and we’ve had no problem scoring goals; we scored 10 and we could have scored 15,” Ancelotti said. “We are still very good going forward even without Ozil.”
It should be noted that after those comments, Real struggled in their Wednesday-night’s 2-1 win over the newly promoted Elche CF. A dubious Cristiano Ronaldo-penalty in the 96th minute saved them from dropping two points.
Their performance was so poor that Ancelotti had to admit: “We have to play better. if we play as we did tonight we will not win the [upcoming] derby.”