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Armed mugger who set upon Arsenal players jailed for 10 years

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Armed mugger, 30, is jailed for 10 years for attempting to rob Arsenal footballers Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac of luxury watches worth £200,000

  • £350,000-a-week star Mesut Ozil and friend Kolasinac targeted in Hampstead 
  • Scooter-riding thugs armed with knives tried to box in his G-Wagon in July 2019 
  • Despite blade being jabbed at face, Kolasinac chased them throwing punches 
  • Ashley Smith, of Islington, London admitted attempted robbery and jailed today
  • His accomplice, Jordan Northover, 26, of West Yorkshire, will be sentenced later

Ashley Smith, 30, (pictured) pleaded guilty to trying to steal from Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Harrow Crown Court today

Ashley Smith, 30, (pictured) pleaded guilty to trying to steal from Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Harrow Crown Court today

A moped mugger who tried to rob two Arsenal stars of their £200,000 watches armed with knives, a screwdriver and knitting needle has been jailed for 10 years.

Ashley Smith, 30, pleaded guilty to the ‘quick and violent’ attempted robbery in which he and accomplice, Jordan Northover, 26, tried to steal the player’s watches in Hampstead, northwest London on July 25. 

CCTV footage shows Kolasinac, known as ‘The Tank’, jumping out of the passenger seat of Mesut Ozil’s £165,000 4×4 to fight off Jordan Northover, 26, who prods him with a sharp knitting needle, while Smith sits on a moped.

The robbers ambushed the players when Ozil was picking up one of the luxury timepieces which had both been delivered to his teammate’s address.

Northover jabbed Kolasinac with the needle in front of Ozil’s newlywed wife who watched in horror from the car.

Playmaker Ozil, who earns £350,000 per-week, then sped away down the wrong side of a mansion-lined road in Childs Hill on July 25 and took refuge at a Turkish restaurant.

Smith and Northover admitted attempting to rob the two Arsenal footballers at Harrow Crown Court.

Smith appeared in court today via video-link and masked his face with a blue scarf.

He remained expressionless but his mother sobbed in the public gallery as he was jailed 10 years.

Sead Kolasinac (muzzed by police) turns to face the moped gang trying to rob him and Mesut Ozil for their £200,000 watches and didn't flinch as he tried to beat them up despite the knife

Sead Kolasinac (muzzed by police) turns to face the moped gang trying to rob him and Mesut Ozil for their £200,000 watches and didn't flinch as he tried to beat them up despite the knife

Sead Kolasinac (muzzed by police) turns to face the moped gang trying to rob him and Mesut Ozil for their £200,000 watches and didn’t flinch as he tried to beat them up despite the knife 

The masked men appeared ready to stab the Arsenal star but police today praised the footballer and said the robbers 'didn't bargain for him fighting back'

The masked men appeared ready to stab the Arsenal star but police today praised the footballer and said the robbers 'didn't bargain for him fighting back'

The masked men appeared ready to stab the Arsenal star but police today praised the footballer and said the robbers ‘didn’t bargain for him fighting back’

Smith, 30 – who was described by judge Ian Bourne QC as a prolific ‘career criminal’ who was well known to police – was out on licence for a 42-month sentence for burglary in 2017 when he tried to carry out the street robbery on the Arsenal stars. 

He had been released in connection with a burglary offence in January. 

Jailing him the judge said: ‘An offence of attempted robbery took place on July 25 this year when him and another man attempted to rob the victims of watches said to be values at £200,000.

‘I have also been assisted by watching film from CCTV which have shown some of the events that took place in this residential area of London, indeed within feet of the address where Kolasinac was living on July 25 this year.

‘The two defendants had planned this crime, I’m satisfied, although it’s not possible to say whether they were targeting these two individuals.

‘It’s fair to say they planned this attack with great care, armed themselves with pointed weapons capable of causing significant injury one said to be a knitting needle one said to be a screwdriver.

‘They had stolen a moped and they were disguised in dark clothing and helmets so they could not be recognised.

‘It is clear they had been looking for candidates to rob and they can be seen driving up and down the road in the period before this attempt took place.

Jordan Northover, 26, has pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to rob the Premier League stars with Kolasinac running down the pavement trying to fight them.

Jordan Northover, 26, has pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to rob the Premier League stars with Kolasinac running down the pavement trying to fight them.

Jordan Northover, of West Yorkshire, (pictured) admitted attempted robbery and will be sentenced at a date to be fixed

‘It is said and it is obvious that both of these defendants are prolific career criminals.

‘They recognised an opportunity to rob both victims and Mr Ozil who was in the vehicle with his newly wed wife and they moved in armed and dangerous.

‘They positioned the moped closely next to the vehicle and between them produced these weapons which they threatened Mr Kolasinac with and it’s clear were thrust in the victim’s direction and made contact with him.

‘It is clear the two of them hadn’t counted on Mr Kolasinac fighting back and he behaved incredibly bravely with knives pointed in his direction at a time when he knew he was in possession of extremely valuable items which men might use whatever they needed to obtain the watches.

‘The images show the way he moved round the car and attempted to engage with the robbers and he then was able to get in the car which was able to move away driven by the other victim.

‘That wasn’t the end of it because they got back on the moped and pursued the car along the high road and indeed attempted to stop the vehicle by throwing stones at the car and causing a significant amount of damage.

‘Fortunately an alert member of the public saw the moped being parked near to the park, near to Borehamwoood where they retreated and she contacted police and as a result police were able to trace CCTV footage of the two men getting off the moped and going into the public house.’

Sead Kolasinac can be seen taking on one of the attackers who wears a helmet and was armed with a knife as he tried to rob him and Ozil - but left empty handed

Sead Kolasinac can be seen taking on one of the attackers who wears a helmet and was armed with a knife as he tried to rob him and Ozil - but left empty handed

Sead Kolasinac can be seen taking on one of the attackers who wears a helmet and was armed with a knife as he tried to rob him and Ozil – but left empty handed

Mesut Ozil (dyed blonde hair) was pictured talking to officers outside Turkish restaurant Likya on Golders Green Road in north London after the attack this summer

Mesut Ozil (dyed blonde hair) was pictured talking to officers outside Turkish restaurant Likya on Golders Green Road in north London after the attack this summer

Mesut Ozil (dyed blonde hair) was pictured talking to officers outside Turkish restaurant Likya on Golders Green Road in north London after the attack this summer

Mesut Ozil (far right), his wife Amine Gulse (far left) with Sead Kolasinac and his bride Bella Kolasinac on their wedding day in June in Baden, Germany

Mesut Ozil (far right), his wife Amine Gulse (far left) with Sead Kolasinac and his bride Bella Kolasinac on their wedding day in June in Baden, Germany

Mesut Ozil (far right), his wife Amine Gulse (far left) with Sead Kolasinac and his bride Bella Kolasinac on their wedding day in June in Baden, Germany

The judge added: ‘This is a high culpability offence, using weapons to threaten and indeed to cause violence, thrusting the weapon towards Mr Kolasinac who must have been terrified at the events taking place immediately outside his house.’

Prosecutor Michael Bisgrove told the court today Smith has 30 convictions dating back to 2008 including burglary, robbery, ABH and theft.

He said: ‘The attempt as you will see from CCTV was quick and violent.

‘The defendants were riding a stolen moped, both of them were armed and as they dismounted both they withdrew weapons.

‘They were both heavily disguised such that neither could be recognised.

‘They’d been out that day for some time and had been looking for opportunities to rob.

‘Both are prolific offenders and they saw this opportunity shortly before 5pm and took it. They hadn’t counted on one of the victims fighting back.’

The prosecutor added: ‘Mr Kolasinac was having none of it. He fought back and the defendants moved away.

‘Mr Kolasinac then managed to get into the car and drove off. It didn’t end there because the defendants pursued the car, they threw items such as stones at it. He crossed through lanes of traffic to escape and he drove to the French restaurant still pursued.

‘This must have been a terrifying incident which could have been a lot worse.’

Fellow Gunners star Sead Kolasinac was seen warding off the attackers with his bare hands after leaping from the luxurious Mercedes

Fellow Gunners star Sead Kolasinac was seen warding off the attackers with his bare hands after leaping from the luxurious Mercedes

Fellow Gunners star Sead Kolasinac was seen warding off the attackers with his bare hands after leaping from the luxurious Mercedes

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks as best man to Ozil at his wedding to Amine Gulse by the Bosphorus in Istanbul last month

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks as best man to Ozil at his wedding to Amine Gulse by the Bosphorus in Istanbul last month

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks as best man to Ozil at his wedding to Amine Gulse by the Bosphorus in Istanbul last month 

The court heard the moped had been stolen earlier from an address in Hackney

Smith and Northover were well-known to police and were recognised in the footage.

Susan Meek, defending, argued that while the weapons were used simply to threaten ‘Ozil didn’t even flinch.’

‘While I’m not suggesting they weren’t weapons or intended to be threatening to the victims in this case, it is clear they weren’t knives,’ the barrister said.

‘They were there to threaten with them rather than to use.

‘When one sees Northover tapping Ozil on the arm no doubt frightening, there was no lunging taking place and no stabbing motion taking place.

‘This defendant has been afflicted by a drug addiction and a difficult childhood.

‘He is sorry and he calls it a scummy thing to do because when he wants drugs that’s what he ends up doing.’

Smith’s mother wept in the public gallery next to his sister as the defence barrister said his family would support him through the sentence.’

Ozil is known for his love of flash timepieces and last year splashed out on a £30,000 special-edition ‘Invincible’ Rolex watch made in collaboration with Thierry Henry.

He also owns £6,600 special edition titanium Cyrus Kuros watch.

Both players were uninjured after the robbery bid but they had to miss several matches at the start of the Premier League following concerns over their security.

Northover, of HMP Wealstun, West Yorkshire, admitted attempted robbery and will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.

Smith, of Cardinals Way, Islington, admitted the same charge. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.



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Arsenal on scouting mission as Gunners eye January transfer for Granit Xhaka replacement

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Arsenal are lining up a replacement for Granit Xhaka as the midfielder looks destined to leave the club in January.

With the 27-year-old ostensibly on his way, Arsenal have identified a successor in teenage sensation Dominik Szoboszlai.

According to Football Insider, Gunners scouts will be despatched to Cardiff to watch the Red Bull Salzburg star represent Hungary in their Euro 2020 qualifier against Wales on Tuesday evening.

The club are said to consider Szoboszlai as a genuine replacement for Xhaka, despite his relative inexperience, and they could act in January.

Arsenal’s attempts to sign him in the summer were unsuccessful as other deals took precedence but Xhaka’s expected departure would add a layer of urgency to the pursuit.

Szoboszlai has been monitored by the north London club throughout this campaign and has impressed in the Champions League as well as Austria’s top flight.

Juventus and Inter Milan are also reportedly interested in the Szoboszlai, though, as Salzburg face a fight to keep the player, who they have under contract until June 2022.

Whether or not Salzburg qualify for the Champions League round of 16 could be key to the club’s chances of keeping Szoboszlai; they are currently four points adrift of the qualification spots with two games remaining.

Xhaka has not played since telling fans to “f*** off” as he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month, owing his reaction to online abuse with which he reached boiling point.

The Swiss was stripped of the club captaincy by Unai Emery following his actions and told the Spanish coach he was not ready to return for the side’s last outing against Leicester.

It looks increasingly likely that Xhaka will leave in the January window with Newcastle and AC Milan both seriously interested in the player, whose Emirates Stadium deal expires in June 2023.

Before the international break Emery suggested Xhaka could never play for Arsenal again.

“As a coach I have a responsibility for the team. We need a player like Granit Xhaka.” Emery said.

“But also, I don’t know if he’s going to play again. I don’t know, because if he is available in his mind to continue helping us and continuing defending the Arsenal shirt, I think time is giving us that solution.

“And then, if I decide he is in the group with us, if he is ready and 100 per cent in his mind with the decision to help us and to play with his quality helping us. Because we know we need that quality and that player.”

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Arsenal team news: Injury updates and return dates on Ceballos, Tierney, Xhaka

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Arsenal could welcome Dani Ceballos back from injury this weekend but Granit Xhaka’s availability remains unclear.

The Gunners welcome an out-of-sorts Southampton to Emirates Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.

Manager Unai Emery is under pressure after a winless run of five games and is reportedly two poor results away from losing his job.

As a result, the Spaniard needs as strong a squad as possible at his disposal, so which players are returning from injury to help the side?

Dani Ceballos

The midfielder appeared to pull up with a thigh injury during the draw against Vitoria and was replaced despite his eagerness to continue.

“This weekend I cannot be on the field with @Arsenal I am forced to take a break, but I am already working to recover from this injury!” he tweeted after the game.

Ceballos has not featured for Spain over the international break, however, and is primed to be in contention for the weekend.

Granit Xhaka

The former club captain has not played since telling fans to “f*** off” after reaching boiling point as his substitution was cheered at the end of October.

Emery said the Swiss told him he was not ready to return and hinted that the midfielder could not represent the club again.

As Xhaka looks destined to leave in January it is unclear whether Emery will welcome him back into the squad.

Kieran Tierney

The left-back was left out of Scotland’s qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan at Arsenal’s request.

The club have been careful to ease Tierney back into action following his hip injury and wanted to ensure his pre-planned recovery programme was adhered to.

As a result, the defender should be available for selection against the Saints.

Emile Smith-Rowe

The 19-year-old has endured an injury-hit campaign and just as he seemed destined to return before the international interval, he suffered a muscle setback.

As a result the creative midfielder was omitted from the the Europa League tie against Vitoria in Portugal.

It is believed, however, that Smith-Rowe will be in contention to make the matchday squad.

Reiss Nelson

The winger is recovering well after suffering a knee injury at the start of October.

He was named on the bench for Arsenal’s recent Europa League draw at Vitoria but did not make it onto the field.

Although he is not thought to be ready for the starting line-up, Nelson has progressed well in the international break and could work his way back into Emery’s plans with more match fitness.

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Arsenal hero urges club to sack Unai Emery ‘now’ and uses Liverpool and Man City example

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Arsenal must sack Unai Emery now because his players are not playing for him like Liverpool and Manchester City’s are for their respective managers, claims former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell.

Arsenal chiefs have publicly backed head coach Emery, saying they fully believe he is the right man to take the club forward.

That is despite the Gunners suffering their worst start after 12 league games of a season for over 30 years.

And Campbell believes he has not seen enough from the Arsenal players to suggest they can turn it around under Emery.

“Should the board act now?” Campbell said on AFTV.

“For me I think Unai Emery’s a nice man, he’s a nice man, but I don’t want nice men, I don’t want a nice man. He’s ruining a lot of people’s weekends to be honest.

“I could take a defeat if the team performed. I could take a defeat. I’m not saying I like defeats, I said I could take a defeat if the team perform and get beat.

“But when they don’t perform, and they’re not performing, and they’re throwing away leads on a regular basis, for me, sorry, there’s got to be change and there’s got to be change now.

“As far as I was concerned, the board would need to act now to rectify and to steer the ship in the right direction because the players to me look as though they’re not focussed they’re unfocused.

“They look like they haven’t got that togetherness, like you see with Liverpool and Man City.

“Even though they’re 3-0 down, Man City are grafting, they know exactly what to do, they’re sticking to the game plan.

Arsenal look like they’ve got no game plan. They’ve got no plans whatsoever and that’s why it’s so disjointed and that’s why we’re throwing away leads on a regular basis.”

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