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Wenger Insists Arsenal Are “In Good Shape” Despite Woeful Start To The Season

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The Gunners, who won three Premier League titles under the Frenchman including an Invincibles honour, are bottom of the pack.

They have lost their first three games of the season, scored no goals and conceded nine, with five of them coming against champions Manchester City.

It comes after a summer of heavy spending, with Mikel Arteta splashing more than £100m on six new players as pressure has grown on the Spaniard.

But Wenger, who has been retired from management since 2018, believes all is not lost in North London.

Speaking to BILD Live [via football.London] , the former Gunners boss said: “Today the club is in good shape.

“They had two tough games [against Chelsea and Man City], the team has potential and I hope they can come back.”

The Gunners are looking to improve on last season’s performance, finishing eighth to miss out on European football for the first time in 26 years.

While they have spent £100m-plus on new players including Martin Odegaard.

Wenger’s absence is being felt, though, as fan and former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash said the club has suffered since his departure.

Speaking to Compare.Bet earlier this week, the 51-year-old said: “It’s interesting you say ‘Since Wenger left’ because there were so many people who were so determined to get rid of Arsene Wenger.

“I guess sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for and the club has never managed to stop that slide out of the top four.

With fans even cheering Man City’s goals in the 5-0 rout, Wenger believes the Gunners have ‘potential’

When you have success in sport, it’s a fragile thing. It’s so hard to create it, but sustaining it is so difficult. In football, with the amount of money flying around, it’s incredibly difficult.

“Wenger did it for so long and we had so many good times as Arsenal fans but now some reality is hitting a little bit and they’ve been struggling.

“I think Arsenal spent some money in the transfer window and we’ve yet to see the impact of that money spent.”

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Balogun to critics: You can’t criticise me for not trying

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Leon Balogun

Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has defended his commitment to the Nigeria national side after recent criticisms directed at him over his performances.

The Rangers Glasgow’s defender has come under scathing criticisms following the country’s defeat to Central African Republic during their 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos last Thursday.

The centre-back was held responsible for the late goal conceded against the minnows following a mix-up with his defensive partner William Troost-Ekong, allowing CAR forward Karl Namnganda through on goal before slotting past Francis Uzoho, in goal for the Eagles.

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However, the 33-year-old redeemed himself by scoring against CAR in the second game of the double-header clash in Douala, Cameroon – his first strike for Nigeria since he made his debut in 2014.

In an interview with ESPN, the centre-back said he had always given 100 per cent for Nigeria.

You’ve seen me play for a few years now. And you know that when I step onto the pitch I always give 100 per cent and I am always passionate,” Balogun said.

“Whether I am having a good performance or a bad performance, you can never actually criticise me for not trying. That is what I always give, that is the least I can do.”

Punch

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2022 WCQ: Super Eagles Beat CAR In Douala To Maintain Group C Lead

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Nigeria’ Super Eagles defeated their Central African Republic counterparts 2-0 in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier decided at the Stade Japoma de Douala in Cameroon.

First half goals from Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen ensure that the three-times African champions picked maximum three points away after losing at home to CAR in the first leg match last Thursday in Lagos.

The result sees the Super Eagles five points ahead of CAR and Cape Verde, while Liberia are bottom of the log with just the three points after three matchdays.

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Lagos SWAN berates Iheanacho over unruly behaviour

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The Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Lagos Chapter, on Saturday berated Super Eagles’ striker, Kelechi Iheanacho over his disrespect to a journalist, Yinka Oyedele of Brila FM, during an encounter in Lagos.

Iheanacho’s attitude, according to a statement by Lagos SWAN’s Chairman, Debo Oshundun, was unsportsmanlike.

“The attention of SWAN Lagos Chapter has been drawn to Super Eagles’ striker Kelechi Iheanacho’s disrespect to one of our members, Yinka Oyedele of Brila FM.

“Oyedele, according to our findings, was arrogantly shoved off by the Leicester City forward while the reporter was making an attempt to interview him after the team’s training on Tuesday.

“Lagos SWAN frowns at this embarrassing act and disrespect to a journalist.

“Oyedele, a professional in the practice, doesn’t deserve such ill treatment from Iheanacho or any national team player,” he said.

Oshundun added “We urge the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to as a matter of urgency call the player to order.

“It is also not out place for the football house to educate the players on etIquette and relationship with the men of the fourth estate of the realm and fans alike.

“Such measures if put in place would prevent future occurrence.

“The Super Eagles take a prime place in every Nigerian journalists’ hearts and treatment such as this can only discourage reporters from doing more and giving their best for the course of our darling national team.

“We wish the senior national team and Iheanacho the best of luck in their reverse 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture against Central Africa Republic on Sunday,” he said. (NAN)

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