Arsene Wenger speaks out against Christmas Eve fixture; while Arsenal considering January move for Serie A defender. Former England manager tips Jack Wilshere to shine at World Cup; while former Gunners midfielder insists Mesut Ozil does not deserve to be recalled to starting lineup.
5. Arsene Wenger speaks out against Christmas Eve fixture
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he would rather not play on Christmas Eve amid speculation that his side’s clash with Liverpool could be moved to December 24.
The Premier League was reportedly considering switching the match to a 4pm kickoff on Christmas Eve. Although, chief executive Richard Scudamore has since confirmed that a late start will not happen.
However, Sky is still eager to show a match on December 24, and the prospect of a 12.30pm kickoff has not yet been ruled out.
“I know that we have to adapt to the schedule dictated by the televisions. But overall I would say if that happens personally I think it should not, not any game should be played after 2pm,” Wenger told reporters.
“Personally I would prefer to be at my home on Christmas night and celebrate Christmas. But I still feel that could happen if we played early on the day and what you wouldn’t like to sacrifice is the evening with the family for people. But overall we go towards society religion isn’t considered anymore in any decision and where people want as well to watch football in the Christmas period.”
The fixture could still be in doubt due to a possible lack of stewards willing to staff the match on that date.
4. Arsenal considering January move for Nikola Maksimovic
Arsenal are reportedly considering a January move for Napoli centre-back Nikola Maksimovic.
Maksimovic joined Napoli from Torino at the start of last season. But he has found playing time limited at the Stadio San Paolo.
The Serbian started just nine Serie A games since his €25m (£22.6m) switch, including only one so far this term.
Football Italia claims that Arsenal scouted the defender during the recent international break and are now pondering an approach.
Arsenal may face competition for his signature, though, with Inter Milan also reportedly interested in the defender.
3. Mesut Ozil does not deserve to be recalled to starting lineup – Paul Merson
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has insisted that Mesut Ozil does not work hard enough for the team.
Merson has insisted that the Germany international doesn’t justify being recalled to the starting lineup for the meeting with Watford.
“I wouldn’t put Mesut Ozil back into the side,” he told Sky Sports News. “He doesn’t work hard enough for the team. He is a top player but the least you can do is work hard.”
“If you have got talent you have had a result – and he has talent. But I have seen players with much less talent than him have a bigger impact on games, which can’t be right.”
Ozil has started four of Arsenal’s seven Premier League games so far this season.
2. Glenn Hoddle tips Jack Wilshere to shine at World Cup
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle has tipped Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere to shine at next summer’s World Cup finals.
The ex-Tottenham Hotspur coach backed the midfielder to bounce back from his recent injury nightmare and play a key role for the Three Lions at the tournament.
“We haven’t got that little bit of magic that can unlock the door and I think Jack Wilshere if he can get fit and keep playing… [could be the man to provide it],” Hoddle told talkSPORT.
“He is a footballer. I saw him play in the Europa League a couple of weeks back and he was excellent. He has got a lovely bit of vision, a good pass on him, and I can see him releasing players with pace.”
“There are a lot of exciting players going forward and I just think we haven’t seen them because we are lacking that central midfield player that is going to unlock the door and see pictures.”
Wilshere played no part in England’s qualification campaign due to persistent injury woes. But he is now back to full fitness and is said to have been guaranteed game time by Arsene Wenger.
1. Arsenal receive injury boost ahead of Watford trip
Arsenal have received an injury boost ahead of this weekend’s Premier League trip to Watford.
Four players are back in contention following layoffs, including Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck, according to Football.London.
Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny and Sead Kolasinac face late fitness tests; while Francis Coquelin is expected to return to the squad after recovering from a hamstring problem.
The news will come as a welcome boost for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, after losing Shkodran Mustafi to a hamstring injury during the international break.