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Maradona told to keep quiet

Al Wasl chairman Marwan bin Bayat has told manager Diego Maradona to stop complaining about a lack of transfer funds. Maradona has been public about his frustrations over his inability to spend during the January transfer window, claiming the lack of funds means he cannot help the United Arab Emirates Pro-League outfit compete with the top clubs. Al Wasl are currently are out of title contention down in fifth spot in the UAE top-flight, and bin Bayat told reporters that the Argentine needs to re-adjust his focus. “He hasn’t said anything to me directly and we’ve told him to follow procedures and to put his requirements down on paper for next season and that we will discuss things with him,” bin Bayat told Sport360. “We’ve asked him to focus on the technical aspects of the club rather than the financial issues and it’s always a matter of trying to keep Maradona happy.” The 1986 World Cup winning captain Maradona had said earlier this week: “I want to be able to compete, I want to be able to fight for the top spots, and this is basically my right and I still stick by my opinion.” “We talked about some of the challenges facing Al Wasl team, we’re trying to find solutions to benefit the team.”

Can Arsenal recover from their Milan mauling?

Arsenal suffered one of their largest European defeats under Arsene Wenger last night, as Italian giants AC Milan hammered the Gunners 4-0 at the San Siro. The English side were completely outplayed and outthought by their illustrious opponents. Underdogs The Gunners went into the tie against the Rossoneri as underdogs and they lived up to that tag. Every department of the team was second best to Milan’s. At times it really was like men against boys as Arsenal struggled to get a foothold in the game. Defence I hate to keep blaming the Arsenal defence for defeats but the whole backline were awful last night. Ironically their best player in the first half was probably centre-back Laurent Koscielny, who exited the pitch just before half-time injured. The rest of the backline looked shaky to say the least. Even the usually reliable Thomas Vermaelen looked poor last night. People can argue that they were up against world class talent such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho but most of the goals they conceded were preventable. Ineffective The midfield didn’t offer their defence much help in subduing the Milan attack though. The likes of Alex Song, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey didn’t seem to have an effect on the game at all. That meant lone striker Robin Van Persie was feeding off scraps all night. The Dutchman came into the game more in the second half when Arsene Wenger replaced Theo Walcott with Thierry Henry but he still couldn’t find a way past a resolute Milan defence. Experience The Arsenal team that faced AC Milan was very inexperienced. The likes of Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny and Aaron Ramsey all still young players in terms of playing Champions League football and struggled against a much more savvy AC Milan side. Even the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Mikel Arteta are inexperienced at Champions League level. Quite simply the team that Arsenal put out wasn’t good enough to compete with their opponents. Déjà vu At this point last season Arsenal’s campaign collapsed. The Gunners went out of three cup competitions in the space of a month and also dropped out of the race for the Premier League title. I just hope for Arsenal fans and Arsene Wenger’s sake that this defeat doesn’t cause I similar fall from grace. The Gunners visit Sunderland in the FA Cup on Saturday and they will have to bounce back quickly. Since Martin O’Neill’s arrival the Black Cats have enjoyed a revival and they won’t be pushovers. This is where Arsenal will have to show they have some sort of mental strength. This mental strength has been missing since the days when the North Londoners were claiming trophies. The current squad seems to have a fragile mental state. Now is the time the Arsenal players showed that they have what it takes to play for a big club like Arsenal. If they don’t then the Gunners season could drift away just like last season. The difference is if the Arsenal players let this season drift the Gunners could miss out on the lucrative Champions League spots. It would be a disaster for Wenger’s men not to make Europe’s elite competition next season. Not only would it harm the club finances but it would also harm the whole morale of the club. The fans are already starting to turn against Arsene Wenger and I think that would be the final nail in his coffin as Arsenal boss. Impossible Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny has stated that it’s not impossible for the Gunners to recover from the 4-0 deficit. Nothing is impossible in football but it’s very difficult. I think Arsenal need to try to forget about the Champions League and move on. They really need to win a trophy and they are still in the FA Cup. The game at Sunderland now has an extra importance. Wenger’s men simply have to win or their season could unravel yet again. Can Arsenal recover from their poor display in Milan?

Attwell dropped from Premier League

Referee Stuart Attwell has been axed from the Premier League’s elite list of officials after a string of high-profile blunders. Attwell’s recent errors included the sending off of then-Bolton defender Gary Cahill at White Hart Lane in December for allegedly preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. The card, given for a challenge made on the halfway line, was later rescinded but the 10-man Trotters lost the Premier League clash 3-0. Mike Riley, head of the referees governing committee, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), suggested that while Attwell may have found the Premier League too demanding, his step-down does not signal the end of his top-flight career. “Throughout his career in the Select Group, Stuart has demonstrated great courage and mental strength in responding to the challenges that he has faced,” he said. “He has shown many of the attributes of a top flight official but the Premier League is an exacting standard with huge demands.” “This is not the end for Stuart. There are several match officials who have returned to the National List and benefited from it.” “Stuart has a high level of maturity and responsibility and I’m convinced that he has a long-term future as a referee at the very highest level.” Attwell, 29, greeted his relegation with optimism and has vowed to return to England’s top flight. “I have learned a great deal from my involvement in the Select Group over the last four years and I am now looking forward to building on that valuable experience,” he said. “I strongly believe I have a lot to offer refereeing, and I now look forward with commitment and enthusiasm to the new challenge that I am undertaking.” “This is supported by a determination to continue my career development, and return to the Select Group as soon as possible.”


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