Monday Morning Kick: Santi Cazorla rescues Arsenal (EPL Links)

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  • Arsene Wenger says Arsenal can finish second in the league – Wenger has recently seen his side beaten by Blackburn in the FA Cup and Bayern Munich in the Champions League. But he believes they can secure the runners-up spot in the league, despite being nine points behind second-placed Manchester City with 11 games left. “Man City is not out of reach. It could be a tight fight until the end,” said the Arsenal boss… (BBC Sport)
  • Premier League and League Cup final: 10 talking points from the weekend – Jack Rodwell rises against Chelsea, Harry Redknapp is running out of time and Swansea could yet pay for their glory… (The Guardian)
  • David Beckham helps seal PSG win on debut against Marseille – The former England captain joined PSG on a five-month deal last month and came off the bench to make his debut at the Parc des Princes, helping to lay on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury-time second. The opener had arrived from a player signed with the long term in mind: Lucas Moura, a fellow January arrival, scored a deflected first-half goal… (The Guardian)
  • Swansea City’s journey from the brink to League Cup glory – Swansea had to wait 100 years for their League Cup celebration party, but this was a victory 10 years in the making. Bradford City were outclassed 5-0 by a club who in 2003 were four divisions below them and on the brink of dropping out of the Football League… (BBC Sport)

  • Chelsea stay deep, narrow and compact but City find a way through – Chelsea played negatively, and afforded City too many goalscoring opportunities. Roberto Mancini surprisingly played Yaya Toure behind Sergio Aguero, a combination he’s rarely used this season. Jack Rodwell started alongside Javi Garcia, while Vincent Kompany wasn’t fit, so Kolo Toure started at the back… (Zonal Marking)
  • Man Utd’s Ed Woodward: the man behind the Glazer financial plan – He’s a former investment banker and key Glazer family ally, seen as a driving force behind Manchester United’s commercial growth. While Ed Woodward, 40, may not be a household name, he has built a strong reputation during his eight years at the Old Trafford club… (BBC Sport)
  • Joie de vivre back in Toon – On a day when Newcastle fans celebrated their Gallic imports with an array of flags and berets, the team’s French connection made the difference against a resurgent Southampton. The Toon players were welcomed onto the field to the strains of the French national anthem, Tricolors were waving in the stands and there was even a four-minute can-can display at half-time… (ESPN)
  • Cazorla the super Spaniard – If you tried to sit an Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City fan in a room together to discuss who has the best Spanish playmaker, the argument would probably never end. It’s an issue that Vicente del Bosque has the privilege of deciding upon when selecting his national team, and up to now David Silva has tended to be favored over both Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata… (ESPN – Tactics & Analysis)
  • Boga shines as Chelsea down Barca in NextGen clash – He has only recently turned 16, but France Under-17 international Jeremie Boga is quickly making a name for himself in the 2012-13 NextGen Series following a string of fine performances. On Wednesday evening, his attacking midfield talents were key to helping his Chelsea side to a place in the quarter-finals with an excellent 2-0 away victory over Barcelona… (ESPN – The Scout’s Notebook)
  • Brendan wants Ben Arfa – Hatem Ben Arfa is under increasing pressure to sign a new contract at St James’ Park amid interest from Liverpool, theDaily Mirror reports. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is a keen admirer of the 25-year-old and has made enquiries about securing his services in the off-season… (ESPN – On the Move)
  • David de Gea and acceptable imperfection – Question one. Does a great footballer need to be good at everything that a footballer can do? No. Most of the great footballers — with the possible exception of Johan Cruyff, who was ridiculous — weren’t great at every single thing that a footballer can be great at. Pelé, I’m guessing, couldn’t man-mark. Which is fine, because if you’ve got Pelé in your team, then not only would asking him to do a job on the opposing number 10 be something of a waste of his talent, but it might also amount to an arrestable offence. Not even Rafael Benítez would stoop so low… (SB Nation)
  • In which we compare Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott – Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott are both good footballers with a lot of potential. They play for clubs with similar stature in the current world game (don’t lecture me about history), make similar wages, score similar amounts of goals, run similarly fast, and similarly took longer than expected to become really good players.Arsenal and Tottenham supporters like to argue about them… (Cartilage Free Captain)
  • Wayne Rooney: Unfulfilled talent and past his best? – When 16 year old Wayne Rooney scored THAT goal against Arsenal in 2002, he was being lauded as the most exciting young player on the planet. He was going to be the man who would win England the World Cup, be the best player in the world and be the finest footballer ever to represent his country… (SoccerLens)
  • Skrtel: “I Wouldn’t Be in the Lineup If I Was Fit” – Martin Skrtel has confirmed he has fallen out with Brendan Rodgers while the increasing likelihood of a summer move sets the stage for wholesale changes in defence that could lead to another rebuilding season… (The Liverpool Offside)
  • Americans Abroad: Weekend in Review – It may not have been a dream performance, but for the first time in five months Brek Shea can say he played in a competitive game.  Three weeks removed from having made the move from FC Dallas to Stoke City, Shea made his debut for Premiership club in a 1-0 loss to Fulham on Saturday. Shea came off the bench in the 24th minute to replace injured teammate Matthew Etherington and was deployed on the left side of the Potters’ midfield… (Soccer by Ives)

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