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Arsecast Extra 13 – 21.04.2014

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Here's this week's Arsecast Extra: I'm joined as always by James from @Gunnerblog.

On this week's bumper 50 minute (on a bank holiday no less) show the warm glow of a nice 3-0 win away from home at Hull, the form of Aaron Ramsey causes a moistening of gussets, Lukas Podolski's goals, Everton's continued good form, and your questions about Mikel Arteta's tooth, January regrets, the Mugsmashers, footballing cliches and much, much more.

Per and Mik on schedule + Arsecast 296

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Morning all, welcome to Friday. It's all right for us, commuting, drinking coffee, looking forward to the weekend and generally being grand?

But what about the Arsenal players who have no time to even wash their faces with a battered flannel because of the schedule they face. After getting back from Naples early on Thursday morning, they got a bit of a rub down and then today they're off to Manchester to face City.

Arsenal

Hull vs Arsenal: Gunners’ Midfield Reunion Key in Cup Final Warmup

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Hull vs Arsenal: Gunners' Midfield Reunion Key in Cup Final Warmup - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

In a precursor to the FA Cup final, Arsenal travel to the KC Stadium tomorrow to meet Steve Bruce's overachieving Hull City.

This match should see Arsenal's fist choice midfield of Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Mesut Ozil reunited for the first time since the Boxing Day match against West Ham.

Monday Kickoff: Arsenal facing injury crisis; Atletico not concerned over Costa’s knee; and more

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By DAN KARELL

The sweat on Arsene Wengers brow is dripping from his forehead as he worries in anticipation of a mid-week English Premier League clash against West Ham.

Following a 120-minute performance from Wenger's squad on Saturday afternoon, the Gunners usual strength in midfield has been decimated with almost everyone dealing with either injury or fatigue.

European Weekend Rewind: Everton defeat Arsenal; Atletico hang on to win; and more

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By JUSTIN FERGUSON

For the last 16 seasons, Arsene Wenger has managed Arsenal to a top-four, Champions League-qualifying spot in the English Premier League table.

After Sunday's trip to Goodison Park, the Gunners are going to need some outside help if they are to make it 17 straight.

Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta apologises for Chelsea defeat

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Mikel Arteta has said sorry to Arsenal fans for the "embarrassing" 6-0 defeat at Chelsea last weekend. The Spaniard vowed that he and his team-mates would strive to make amends for the thrashing. He told the club's official website: "It's not good enough with the way we started the game. "If you give the ball [.

Top Six Premier League Bad Boys of the Season so far

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Top Six Premier League Bad Boys of the Season so far - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

With the likes of Mario Balotelli and Joey Barton out of sight (for now), there is room for a new batch of bad boys to vilify!

While none of the players on my list are 'pantomime villains' as the aforementioned two most certainly were, this bunch have been noticeably card-happy this season, falling nicely into the necessary parameters I've set.

What They Said: Arteta targets trophy win, Fellaini backs Moyes to shine

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What They Said: Arteta targets trophy win, Fellaini backs Moyes to shine - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Mikel Arteta has stressed on the importance of winning a trophy this season, saying it would represent a big turning point for Arsenal.

The Gunners are without a trophy since 2005, but they have the best chance to end that drought this season.

Tactics Column: Arteta provides the drive for Arsenal in an advanced role

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There were many moments of individual and collective brilliance in Arsenal's 4-1 FA Cup win over Everton, but it was the contributions of Arsenal's two elder statesmen, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky, that stuck in the mind. Of course, Arteta was involved in the major flashpoint of match, finishing with aplomb a penalty which had to be retaken, highlighting his mental toughness.

The pressure’s on, can Arsenal react?

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Morning all.

Another tough week looms ahead. There's the small matter of Manchester United and Liverpool (again), and the very real need to change the mood around the club.

Any kind of humping, like the one we got on Saturday, is bound to affect the perception of where we are, what we're doing and how we do it.

Premiership : It Was Like A Car Crash At Liverpool, Says Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta

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It has been a nightmare of a weekend for Arsenal fans, and a comparatively sunny one for Liverpool ones, after they were hit with that meteoric 5-1 disaster on Saturday.

While nothing is guaranteed in football (you could be planning your tactics all week or all year!

Arsenal should have Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta fit for Liverpool clash

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The @Arsenal boss at his pre-match press conference #LFCvAFC pic.twitter.com/OVzJpE9aFs Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 6, 2014 Arsenal midfielders Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta should be fit for this weekend's trip to Liverpool, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed. England international Wilshere is back in contention, although his is a slight doubt for the Liverpool clash, [.

Old wine, or new bottle, or old wine in new bottle?

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End of the year, and part of the ritual is to take stock, and look forward towards the future with glorious plans and renewed expectations. And what a fantastic year this has been for Arsenal fans! At the midway stage in the Premier League last year, Arsenal was lying 7th, well off the pace for Champions League qualification, and even off Spursday football places.

Old wine, or new bottle, or old wine in new bottle?

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End of the year, and part of the ritual is to take stock, and look forward towards the future with glorious plans and renewed expectations. And what a fantastic year this has been for Arsenal fans! At the midway stage in the Premier League last year, Arsenal was lying 7th, well off the pace for Champions League qualification, and even off Spursday football places.

Arsenal player ratings vs Chelsea: Sagna and Ozil the Gunners’ best

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Arsenal player ratings vs Chelsea: Sagna and Ozil the Gunners' best - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Arsenal and Chelsea played out a 0-0 draw on Monday night, with neither side able to break the deadlock in what turned out to be a cagey affair.

The hosts had the lion's share of the ball, but only started to get glimpses of Petr Cech's goal in the last 20 minutes.

Arsenal player ratings vs Napoli – Flamini & Koscielny outstanding

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Arsenal player ratings vs Napoli – Flamini & Koscielny outstanding - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Arsenal were beaten 2-0 by Napoli on Wednesday night but the result was enough to see the north London side progress to the knockout rounds of the Champions League at the Italians' expense.

Napoli 2 Arsenal 0: Wenger was right to bench Ramsey

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Napoli 2 Arsenal 0: Wenger was right to bench Ramsey - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Arsenal progressed through to the knockout rounds of the Champions League on Wednesday night, despite being beaten 2-0 by Napoli in Italy.

The Gunners knew that they only needed to avoid losing by three goals, and Arsene Wenger set his team up with damage limitation in mind.

GIF It: Mikel Arteta sent-off (Napoli vs Arsenal)

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Mikel Arteta tips Nicklas Bendtner to bolster Arsenal’s title bid

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Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has tipped Nicklas Bendtner to play his part in the club's title challenge after his goal against Hull on Wednesday evening. The former Gunners outcast could be a vital player over the busy Christmas period, claims Arteta. And he says Bendtner has earned his returns to the teamsheet and the scoresheet.

Mikel Arteta: technical leader

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In last year's edition of the Indian Premier League (a cricket tournament which brings together the best players from around the world to play alongside stars of the domestic game), 4 out of the 8 teams did something almost unheard of in sport: they dropped their captains. In cricket that's a big deal as captains do everything from establishing a code of conduct, to being the eyes of the coach on the field.

Arsenal vs Marseille: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up & Prediction

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Arsenal vs Marseille: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up & Prediction - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Arsenal will face Marseille in the Champions League Group F tie at the Emirates on Tuesday, where a victory for the Gunners will put them in a strong position to qualify to the next round.

Tactics Column: Arsenal’s passing play stutters against Manchester United

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The sophistication and swagger that has been the hallmark of Arsenal's play deserted them at Old Trafford on Sunday, going down 1-0 against Manchester United. The galling thing for Arsene Wenger after the game was that there weren't any prolonged periods where Arsenal moved Manchester United around, and during the few occasions that they did, it was without the same intensity.

Tactical Analysis: How Manchester United Overcame Arsenal

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Robin van Persie continued to haunt his former employers, as his first half header pushes Manchester United within five points of league leaders Arsenal.

Van Persie returned to the starting eleven to lead the line ahead of Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa. Michael Carrick and Phil Jones formed a midfield duo, while Jonny Evans partnered Nemanja Vidic at centre back.

Arsenal united as they look to extend their lead at the top!

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It's been a while since I have enjoyed seeing real fear etched across United fan's faces before a crunch game with the Arsenal. Realistically, the Gunners can open the gap at the top to 11 points on Sunday no mean feat at this stage of the season and I think their fans are more than aware of that.

Arsenal united as they look to extend their lead at the top!

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It's been a while since I have enjoyed seeing real fear etched across United fan's faces before a crunch game with the Arsenal. Realistically, the Gunners can open the gap at the top to 11 points on Sunday no mean feat at this stage of the season and I think their fans are more than aware of that.

Character, Desire and Strategy: Symphony drowns Heavy Metal!

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Notwithstanding the fantastic results that Arsenal have been producing most weeks and in midweek games since the beginning of the year, and the consistency with which the team have been turning whinging disbelievers and useless pundits into muppets, if there was ever a moment when the good guys proudly donning their red and whites on the field had to prove a point, this was it.

Character, Desire and Strategy: Symphony drowns Heavy Metal!

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Notwithstanding the fantastic results that Arsenal have been producing most weeks and in midweek games since the beginning of the year, and the consistency with which the team have been turning whinging disbelievers and useless pundits into muppets, if there was ever a moment when the good guys proudly donning their red and whites on the field had to prove a point, this was it.

Monumental Mertesacker, midfield stubbornness and observations from Arsenal’s win in Dortmund

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Monumental Mertesacker, midfield stubbornness and observations from Arsenal's win in Dortmund - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Arsenal took a major step towards qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League last night with an excellent 1-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

Another great game of Football?

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Big night ahead. Can we really beat last season's finalists at their massive ground?

There will be 80+k fans in the Signal Iduna Park including two of our very own AA'ers and very excited they will be!

Given the manner of our home defeat there is cause for cautious optimism I really believe we can get something from the game.

German Revenge Part II

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5 points clear at the top is a nice little gap to have before playing Manchester United, especially when facing the quality of opposition that we will be shortly (referring to Dortmund here of course!) I'm not going to sit here and claim we will the League, but you'd be mad not to be enjoying the style and manner of our performances this season.

German Revenge Part II

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5 points clear at the top is a nice little gap to have before playing Manchester United, especially when facing the quality of opposition that we will be shortly (referring to Dortmund here of course!) I'm not going to sit here and claim we will win the League, but you'd be mad not to be enjoying the style and manner of our performances this season.

Arsenal Star Looks Forward to Difficult Match Against Borussia Dortmund

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The positivity and confidence appears to be back in Arsenal's game once again after a great performance against Liverpool on Sunday. The 2-0 win over Liverpool not only earned them a five-point advantage in the table, but it also gave them a much needed win ahead of the trip to Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund's late winner at the Emirates stadium coupled with the loss to Chelsea a few days later appeared to have taken the early season confidence out of the team.

When is a test not a test? Arsenal 2 – Liverpool 0

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I hate playing Liverpool, when it is a match that has a lot riding on it I hate it even more. The first two trophies I watched Arsenal win Liverpool were the side in our way, so with those in the memory bank I shouldn't be as fearful. And even though our record against them has been good in the last few years there was the FA Cup Final and the Champions League Quarter Final, last minute penalties in the League and dodgy offside goals all weigh heavy on my mind when we come to play the red half of Scouseland.

Photo: Mikel Arteta with ‘on fire’ Arsenal team-mate Aaron Ramsey

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Another great win today!! This guy its on fire!!! pic.twitter.com/MmjeECq1Oo Mikel Arteta (@m8arteta) November 2, 2013 Mikel Arteta's first thought after beating Liverpool? Suit up and get a photo with man of the moment Aaron Ramsey. The Spaniard posed with his Arsenal team-mate and gave a little review of the Welshman's efforts in his [.

FA Cup

Arteta wants 5 wins, but Podolski’s unhappy

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Morning all, welcome to a brand new week and one that is going to prove quite testing indeed, I reckon. After 120 minutes on Saturday, and with players in zones of both red and danger, it'll be interesting to see what kind of team Arsene Wenger can cobble together for tomorrow night's game against West Ham.

Sp*rs preview: up for the cup

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FA Cup third round today and the small matter of a North London derby to entertain us.

The last time the two sides met in the cup was in the 2000-1 season when we played them in the semi-final at Old Trafford. Goals from Pires and Vieira saw us through that day. Today, the manager has something of a balancing act on his hands in terms of his squad.

Arsene Wenger

Too much valium and not enough amphetamine

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You don't have to read many Arsene Wenger interviews to recognise his constant emphasis on the collective of football. His most devoted students, such as Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas, have all been inherently unselfish players, noted as much for their goal provision as their goal scoring.

Tactics Column: Winning ugly, the final frontier

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"Arsène Wenger believes that with a little organisation, simple instruction and faith in playing the game his way, their talent will see them through." Mikel Arteta

A 25 years younger Arsène Wenger might have been a little stung by the accusations that he doesn't do "tactics".

Pre-Mugsmashers injury ponderings, Gibbs, squad of yore

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In today's blog, an impassioned diatribe on why all football pundits are dicks and why you should send flaming bags of poo to their doors.

I kid, I kid. About the flaming poo part, obviously.

It's quiet again as we head towards our Anfield trip on Saturday. There's been no team news, as yet, but there were a couple of little worries towards the end of the Crystal Palace game.

The Rest

Napoli 2-0 Arsenal: caveat qualification

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Match report By the numbers Player ratings Video

If the home game against Napoli was our best performance of the season, last night's return fixture is probably up there with our worst.

Two second half goals for the home side, along with late winner in France for Dortmund, mean that we finish the group in second place and as such can draw one of 5 rather tasty teams in the round of 16.