Bale brace boosts Spurs; Chelsea, Arsenal win

Updated 10 February 2013
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Bale brace boosts Spurs; Chelsea, Arsenal win

LONDON: The unstoppable Gareth Bale scored twice in Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League yesterday while rivals Chelsea and Arsenal also won to add spice to the race for the Champions League spots.
Chelsea stayed third in the standings, a point ahead of Spurs, after a 4-1 home success over third-bottom Wigan Athletic while 10-man Arsenal lost Jack Wilshere to injury but still beat Sunderland 1-0 away thanks to Santi Cazorla’s strike.
Arsenal leapfrogged Everton into fifth with David Moyes’ side visiting leaders Manchester United today. Second-placed Manchester City can cut United’s advantage to six points if they win at Southampton in a late Saturday night match.
Basement side Queens Park Rangers suffered a big blow in a 4-1 defeat at Swansea City but fourth-bottom Reading failed to increase the six-point gap with a 2-1 loss at Stoke City. Mid-table Norwich City and Fulham managed a goalless stalemate.
Spurs’ Wales midfielder Bale netted his fourth and fifth goals in four games for club and country to again almost single-handedly inspire the north Londoners in the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot.
“Newcastle were on a good run of form, so it was always going to be a hard game,” Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas told the BBC.
“We stepped it up in the second half and showed team spirit to get three points. Both sides had chances. We showed more determination in the second half and took control.” Bale struck first with a dipping free kick after five minutes with James Perch failing to jump in the visitors’ wall before Lewis Holtby wasted three chances to increase the lead.
Newcastle’s French forward Yoan Gouffran then grabbed his first Premier League goal since signing last month when his effort was deflected in midway through the first half but he later needed oxygen for a shin injury and was substituted.
Spurs lost their way slightly and introduced Emmanuel Adebayor with the Togo striker only having returned from the African Nations Cup on Friday despite his team being knocked out last Sunday.
The home side’s pressure eventually paid off against a side who had won their last two games when Bale ran through and finished with aplomb after 78 minutes before missing an easy chance for a hat-trick in stoppage time.

Arsenal duo Wilshere and Theo Walcott, instrumental in England’s 2-1 friendly win over Brazil on Wednesday, again combined to set up Cazorla for the 35th-minute winner at Sunderland.
The Londoners were utterly dominant in the first half but the situation changed after the break with midfielder Wilshere limping off and defender Carl Jenkinson being sent off for two bookings after 62 minutes.
Arsene Wenger’s side held on in the face of late pressure but Rafael Benitez’s Chelsea avoided any home nerves against plucky Wigan.
Ramires finished off in style after a good pass by Fernando Torres for the 23rd-minute opener and Eden Hazard doubled the lead 11 minutes into the second half.
Shaun Maloney pulled one back after 58 minutes but England’s midweek goal hero Frank Lampard again underlined why most Chelsea supporters want him to be offered another contract when he made it 3-1. Marko Marin added a fourth in injury time.
QPR, four points adrift at the bottom, were never in the game at Swansea with striker Loic Remy missing through injury and fans will be aghast at their weak display.
Cut-price Spanish striker Michu continued his sensational debut Premier League season with two more goals in the 4-1 thumping to take his season’s tally to 15.


Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

Updated 20 April 2018
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Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is to leave at the end of the season after a reign of almost 22 years that made him the most successful boss in the Premier League club’s history.
“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” the Frenchman said in a statement issued by the Gunners on Friday.
Wenger, 68, has been with the North Londoners since October 1996 and is by far the longest-serving current manager in English football.
He will be out of contract at the end of the season.
Arsenal are currently a distant sixth in the league but are in the semifinals of the Europa League, which represents their only realistic route to the Champions League next season.
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity,” said Wenger, who urged the fans to stand behind the team to end the season on a high.
Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke said it was “one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.
“One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch,” he said.
“His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.”
Wenger won three Premier League titles, including going unbeaten for an entire season, seven FA Cups and took Arsenal into the Champions League for 20 years in a row. They won the league and FA cup double in 1998 and 2002.
The club said a successor would be appointed as soon as possible with German Thomas Tuchel, out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund almost a year ago, installed as the early bookmakers’ favorite.