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Arsenal: Arsene Wenger Admits Top Four Will Be Tough For Gunners

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Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has accepted that his team may not finish top four spot this season, the first time in two decades.

The North London club are currently sixth in the Premier League table with seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City with eight games left to play, and they face Middlesbrough on Monday at the Riverside following their 3-0 away defeat to Crystal Palace

When asked about the chances of The Gunners making it to the top four position, Wenger replies “Massive. We might get there, we might not get there, but the only thing to get there is to believe we can do it and that’s what we have to focus on.”

“It’s not the fear to fail, it’s the desire to make it and that’s the only chance we have to make it.

“It’s not been very enjoyable [this week] as you certainly know. But bad moments are part of our job as well. You focus to prepare and make sure you respond in a strong way in your next game.

“What is happening at board level is not down to me. I focus on what is down to me, the performance of the team and what the fans are interested in is the performance of the team.”

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Premier League Set To Resume On June 17

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Premier League football is poised to return after a three-month shutdown, with top-flight games in England provisionally set to resume on Wednesday, June 17.

The resumption of soccer in England follows Germany’s Bundesliga, which began play last week. It adds momentum to a comeback of sports, with several North American leagues also making plans to find a way back to play. Serie A, which has been suspended since March 10 in hard-hit Italy, announced on Thursday that it would also return, on June 20.

The Premier League’s return would come after weeks of uncertainty amid disagreement among teams over the possibilities. Germany’s successful return to action earlier this month, with the league completing two rounds of action without incident, helped build consensus among executives of England’s leading teams who would have faced huge losses should the season be called off.

The agreement still requires final clearance from British authorities.

In recent days, momentum had been building that the league would return to action after similar moves to complete the season without fans in a growing number of leagues across Europe. English teams earlier this week agreed to protocols for the resumption of full contact practice, a necessary step before competing in games again.

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English Premier League Plans to Resume June 17
The most-watched league in the world will return, pending a signoff from health authorities, but will play in stadiums without fans and with stringent health protocols. Italy’s top league also announced its return.

The Premier League’s return adds momentum to a return of major sports leagues in the pandemic.
The Premier League’s return adds momentum to a return of major sports leagues in the pandemic.Credit…Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock
By Tariq Panja
May 28, 2020

LONDON — The English Premier League, the most-watched sports league in the world, plans to resume play on June 17 after a two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, league officials announced on Thursday.

The resumption of soccer in England follows Germany’s Bundesliga, which began play last week. It adds momentum to a comeback of sports, with several North American leagues also making plans to find a way back to play. Serie A, which has been suspended since March 10 in hard-hit Italy, announced on Thursday that it would also return, on June 20.

The Premier League’s return would come after weeks of uncertainty amid disagreement among teams over the possibilities. Germany’s successful return to action earlier this month, with the league completing two rounds of action without incident, helped build consensus among executives of England’s leading teams who would have faced huge losses should the season be called off.

The agreement still requires final clearance from British authorities.

In recent days, momentum had been building that the league would return to action after similar moves to complete the season without fans in a growing number of leagues across Europe. English teams earlier this week agreed to protocols for the resumption of full contact practice, a necessary step before competing in games again.

The first games on the schedule will be Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United and Arsenal’s visit to Manchester City. Those games were postponed earlier in the season because of a clash in the calendar.

Several setbacks had suggested that the Premier League might not find a solution to completing the season. Some players raised doubts about returning to action during the pandemic, and a number of smaller teams objected to the possibility of having to play the remaining games at neutral sites. Some of the more high-profile games are almost certain to be played at secondary venues to help manage crowds.

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Shenhua ‘Open’ To Man Utd Keeping Ighalo Until January

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Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua are reportedly open to allowing Odion Ighalo to remain at Manchester United after it was revealed that Chinese Super League’s foreign players are banned from returning to China until October

As the border restrictions may prevent Ighalo from returning to his parent club Shanghai Shenhua, in time for the start of the new season in June, Shenhua are now willing to allow Odion Ighalo remain at Manchester United until January, according to Sky Sport.

This comes days after Ighalo’s agent Ladi Salami confirmed that an extension is close to being agreed between Manchester United, Shanghai Shenhua and Odion Ighalo.

Ladi Salami told FootMercato: “On the one hand, the Super Eagle [Nigerian] feels very good in Manchester with which it is very close to a salary agreement.

“Negotiations with the Chinese are ongoing and are going well.”

”On the other hand, in view of the latest regulations in force in the Middle Empire, it is almost impossible to offer such amounts.’

Since signing for Manchester United on a short-term loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua back in January, the Nigerian International has made a valuable contribution, scoring four times in just three starts.

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Shenhua Offers Odion Ighalo N180m-A-Week Contract

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Shanghai Shenhua has reportedly offered Odion Ighalo a new deal worth around £360,000-a-week (N180m) amid interest from Newcastle United.

According to The Times, Ighalo is set for a return to China. His Manchester United loan deal ends in six days, which was the agreed length when the Red Devils signed him in January.

Of course, things have changed since then. The global pandemic means that Ighalo hasn’t been able to see out the season at Old Trafford, as was initially intended.

Ighalo wants to stay at United, but talks between the two clubs have allegedly stalled. It now looks like the striker will be heading back to China on Sunday.

In order to try and keep Ighalo happy long-term, Shanghai Shenhua have allegedly offered him a new deal. Ighalo would be earning £75million over four years if he accepts, which is around £360,000-a-week.

Ighalo’s desire to stay in England may be a problem though. He’s a boyhood United fan, and fans have taken to him quickly despite initial bemusement at his arrival in January.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports recently claimed that Newcastle want him. Their huge takeover could go through soon, providing them with major backing in the transfer market.

Newcastle may be able to rival Shanghai Shenhua’s riches, but whether that is a good idea is another matter.

Ighalo turns 31 this summer and played just 61 minutes of Premier League action before the pandemic hit, so paying such huge money for the ex-Watford man would be a big risk.

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