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Brendan Rodgers is 'playing a game’ over taking the Arsenal job – Charlie Adam

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Brendan Rodgers is playing a game to incite an approach from Arsenal to be their permanent manager. That is the view of former Liverpool and Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam. Rodgers is understood to be on a lengthy shortlist of managers being considered by the Arsenal board to replace Unai Emery.

Rodgers’ stock is high after leading Leicester to second in the Premier League table, 13 points clear of Arsenal.

On Sunday, Rodgers all but admitted he had a release clause in his contract which if met will allow him to leave the King Power Stadium.

And Adam feels Rodgers would leave for the Emirates if the chance came.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: “He’s playing a game. I think he wants the Arsenal job. I think he would take the Arsenal job. I think he would walk out [on Leicester].

“They will have been conversations with his representatives. For a manager to say ‘yeah I have a buy out clause’ a lot of managers have a buy out clause.

“Don’t discuss what is inside your contract. If you are not trying to throw a little bit of incitement out there, just say ‘it is personal contract issues’.

“You don’t say ‘oh yeah there is a buy out clause’. I would refuse to admit there was a buy out clause.

“Arsenal obviously know there’s a buy out clause and he’s maybe playing a game a little bit.”

Sutton’s comments come after Rodgers played down his own words which revealed he had a release clause in his contract.

He said: “The message is clear and it has been and probably I’ll get asked again until they appoint someone, but it’s very simple. I’m very happy here.

“I made a choice nine months ago to come here for a purpose. The purpose was very clear in that I wanted to help this club move forward and looking to lead it forward with a group I feel has huge potential.

“Why would I want to move from that? OK, I moved after nearly three years at Celtic and people may look at me thinking: ‘Right, because a club like Arsenal, with the great institution and size, and all of that …’

“But it’s all about happiness and I couldn’t be happier here.

“My contract is until 2022 and the club haven’t said they want to release me from that.

“I was asked a question on my contract, talking about clauses and stuff like that there.

“I gave an honest answer, which was based around probably most managers have something in their contracts, and by all accounts that ‘opened the door’ for something.

“Logic looks at it and I repeat: I’m very happy here. There’s a lot for us to grow and develop over these next few seasons.

“We’re moving to a new training facility. I respect there will always be this speculation around jobs, and there’s probably a number of other managers but for me, I repeat, I’m happy here, very happy, and have great relations with all the people, and I feel I want to continue with that.

“Take from that what you want.”

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Is Sean Dyche the Obvious Choice to Manage Arsenal and Will Football Snobbery Discount him as an Option

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There’s been quite a swing in favour of support for Sean Dyche to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal and it’s rather surprising in the light of the big names available and all the usual suspects that the media continues to promote.

Many see him as a George Graham figure, one that will bring structure and discipline. A battler, a motivator and a no bullshit kind of guy, all of which may be true but would he instantly be discounted by supporters because his name was seen by fans as small time.

Would he also be subject to football snobbery because he managed Burnley ?

Dyche has worked miracles at Burnley with the expected tight financial restrictions and frugal framework that the bigger clubs manage to avoid with a single sponsorship deal.

Dyche has had to implement a strong team ethic and foster a togetherness that has kept them afloat and one which just a few seasons ago, saw them break into Europe. That journey revealed a lack of depth in his squad but Burnley’s failure isn’t that of Dyche himself.

The campaign had an impact on their premiership aspirations but Dyche is realistic enough to know that there was a likelihood of this happening. He is ever the pragmatist but to say that he has resigned himself to a lower level of expectations for his side or for himself would be to misjudge the man entirely.

His sides are determined, well organised, hard working and adventurous. They are the type of opposition that most supporters dread because if there’s anything amiss in your team’s preparation, Dyche and Burnley will find you out.

You tend to view his work with the view that in some ways he has outgrown his current home and is capable of so much more but will that somewhere be the Emirates ?

Sean Dyche is an outside bet at this time but with Arsenal’s top targets dropping like flies, perhaps his name will also pop up in the boardroom as it has on social media.

Remember this, George Graham wasn’t the name supporters wanted back in 1986. Then he was the manager of Millwall who were in the old second division but the Scot had enormous success and is often mentioned by fans in the same sentence as Chapman and Wenger. Just saying.

READ MORE: Ivan Gazidis is the Bonafide Villain of the Arsenal Panto and is Ultimately Responsible for the Chaos at the Club and the Lame Appointment of Unai Emery

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Sokratis calls on team-mates to 'do the dirty work' against Man City and backs Arsenal to 'explode'

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Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos calls on team-mates to ‘do the dirty work’ against Manchester City as he backs Gunners to ‘explode’

  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been a regular at centre back so far this season 
  • Arsenal drew at Standard Liege after Monday’s victory against West Ham 
  • The Greek has issued a rallying call ahead of the Gunners’ game against Man City

Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes a home win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City this weekend can see Arsenal‘s disappointing season ‘explode’ into life.

The Greek defender has called on his team-mates to do the ‘dirty work’ and ensure they match stuttering City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Arsenal have won just one of their last 11 games in all competitions and had to battle from two goals behind to earn a 2-2 Europa League draw at Standard Liege on Thursday night.

Sokratis in action on Thursday night, when Arsenal came from 2-0 behind to draw 2-2 in Liege

Sokratis in action on Thursday night, when Arsenal came from 2-0 behind to draw 2-2 in Liege

The Greek has been a regular in a struggling side during the opening four months of the season

The Greek has been a regular in a struggling side during the opening four months of the season

The Greek has been a regular in a struggling side during the opening four months of the season

SOKRATIS IN 2019-20  

  • Appearances: 17
  • 90 mins completed: 16 
  • Goals: 1
  • Assists: 0
  • Clean sheets: 2
  • Yellow cards: 4
  • Red cards: 0 

Statistics according to Transfermarkt  

The Gunners have gone almost four years without a league victory over City, who won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium last season in Unai Emery’s first game in charge.

Arsenal currently sit ninth in the table as their domestic season threatens to fizzle out before Christmas – but Sokratis feels victory on Sunday could kick-start the campaign.

‘Of course it is a very difficult game.’ the 31-year-old said of the challenge of hosting Pep Guardiola’s side.

‘Sometimes, these games are games where you can explode. I think we need one good game in our home to explode and I hope we will have that on Sunday.

Freddie Ljungberg was placed in interim charge of the first-team after Unai Emery's sacking

Freddie Ljungberg was placed in interim charge of the first-team after Unai Emery's sacking

Freddie Ljungberg was placed in interim charge of the first-team after Unai Emery’s sacking 

‘But, first of all, we have to run all together, try to help each other and intensity is the most important thing in football, of course you have to have quality but to show the quality you have to first show intensity, win the duels, be tactically-organised.

‘I think now the manager tries to explains what he likes from us and I think he gave a lot of attention to the organisation and we work very hard until now. I hope things in the future are going to be better.’

A 3-1 win at West Ham on Monday night ended a nine-match run without a victory and, having battled back in Liege, Papastathopoulos feels confidence is starting to return to the ranks and can be bolstered once again this weekend.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang celebrates his goal against West Ham United on Monday night

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang celebrates his goal against West Ham United on Monday night

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang celebrates his goal against West Ham United on Monday night 

‘I think it’s coming back,’ he said.

‘It’s a big point this. We lost confidence because we didn’t win for a long time. It’s important also, it’s normal for (young) players. 

‘They don’t have the experience before to live this, to lose their confidence. As a team we lost confidence. Now we try to find balance.

Arsenal host Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Sunday in a pivotal clash for both teams

Arsenal host Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Sunday in a pivotal clash for both teams

Arsenal host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday in a pivotal clash for both teams 

‘Maybe. If we win, create and be more organised the confidence is there. It’s not about quality. The team has quality. 

‘But to show the quality you have to do the dirty work. If you do the dirty work and you’re organised you can win, you can do a lot of things. 

Ljungberg will be hoping to have both Nicolas Pepe and Hector Bellerin fit after the pair missed the trip to Belgium with knee and hamstring injuries respectively.



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THE WOMEN'S FOOTBALL COLUMN: Things are adding up for an Everton future in the Champions League

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THE WOMEN’S FOOTBALL COLUMN: Things are adding up for an Everton future in the Champions League under former accountant Willie Kirk… and taking on champions Arsenal doesn’t even hold the same fear factor now

  • Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are enjoying a revival in the WSL 
  • The Toffees are mounting a challenge to enter next season’s Champions League
  • Everton are an attractive proposition and could recruit well in the next window 
  • League leaders Arsenal come to town on Saturday but it won’t be an easy tie 

Everton‘s revival under former accountant Willie Kirk is in full swing. 

As Arsenal head to Merseyside on Saturday lunchtime, they do so knowing that a trip to the Pure Stadium is a much more difficult prospect than it once was.

Everton have won four of their last five home games in the FA Women’s Super League – a record all the more impressive given their last four wins took 27 matches to rack up. 

Everton have won four of their last five home games and present a tough challenge in the WSL

Everton have won four of their last five home games and present a tough challenge in the WSL

The Toffees are level on points with fourth-placed Manchester United and just six behind Manchester City in third. UEFA’s new proposals to send three English sides into the Champions League don’t come into play until 2021-22, but Kirk may wish it was sooner.

When the former Hibernian and Bristol City head coach took on the troubled Toffees 12 months ago, rooted to the bottom of the table, Kirk admitted the players’ primary concern was whether he would take their Christmas holidays away from them.

As the festive period looms once again, the mind-set in the Everton dressing room is somewhat different as they prepare to welcome the reigning champions Arsenal for what Kirk hopes could be one of club’s last home fixtures at Southport.

Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are galvanised and climbing the WSL

Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are galvanised and climbing the WSL

Under former accountant Willie Kirk, Everton are galvanised and climbing the WSL

THE FA WSL 

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Everton v Arsenal, Sun 15 Dec, 1230pm

PLAYER TO WATCH: Chloe Kelly (Everton)

Chloe Kelly has two goals in two games

Chloe Kelly has two goals in two games

Chloe Kelly has two goals in two games

Even though the club have lost 10 games against Arsenal in the FA WSL – three more than against any other opponent – there’s no longer a sense of this fixture being decided before a ball has even been kicked, despite Joe Montemurro’s side inevitably running out favourites on Sunday.

If Arsenal’s lethal in-form striker and league top scorer Vivianne Miedema finds the net against Everton – and there’s every chance she will having scored in each of her last five league appearances – she will equal Kim Little’s club record (6) in the competition set back in October 2018.

Everton’s hopes largely rest with striker Chloe Kelly – a former graduate from Arsenal’s Centre of Excellence – who learned her trade playing street football on an estate in West London. 

Somewhat of a breakthrough star of the 2019-20 campaign so far, the 21-year-old credits much of her side’s progress since last season’s 10th place finish to the cohesion and competitiveness Kirk has instilled since his arrival.

Chloe Kelly (right) has been identified as one to watch from a talented Everton team

Chloe Kelly (right) has been identified as one to watch from a talented Everton team

Chloe Kelly (right) has been identified as one to watch from a talented Everton team

Though not all of Everton’s players have bought into the Scotman’s ways, with some of those on the fringes of the squad or barely making the bench likely to make a swift exit in this forthcoming transfer window opening on 27 December.

Some might argue Everton are punching above their weight, but Kirk has undoubtedly made the club a more attractive proposition – so much so that Sportsmail can reveal potential new recruits have been approaching the club’s management with a move to Merseyside in mind, not just the other way around.

Along with three points against the Gunners this weekend in the final league outing of 2019, completion of the club’s new Walton Hall Park home will also be high up on Kirk’s Christmas wish-list.

 



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