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Wenger: I won’t panic

first_imgManager Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal will not “panic buy” as they look to strengthen a depleted squad in the closing days of the transfer window. Wenger, though, insisted as he prepared his side for Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham, who have spent big this summer, that he was not about to embark upon a mad rush for any last-minute additions. “We will not panic buy, that is for sure. You can believe me. It is not in my strengths to panic,” said Wenger, who expects both midfielders Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey to be available this weekend. “You need good players in every position, and especially you need an attitude and way to play the game. The players here know the way we want to play and that is important. If we can add players who can integrate with that style of play we will do it. “We work very hard on that, if we cannot we will not do anything stupid just for the sake of saying that we have done something. We do what makes sense or not, that is simple.” France international Flamini, 29, left the Emirates Stadium in 2008 to join AC Milan when his contract expired, but was released by the Italian side and on Thursday was confirmed as Arsenal’s second signing having trained at the club earlier this month. Wenger admitted once his injury crisis deepened, the prospect of bringing Flamini back looked more appealing. “At the start I didn’t want to sign him I am completely honest about it,” he said. “I didn’t envisage doing it. Circumstances and his attitude convinced me to do it. “I didn’t expect him to be in that mental state and in that physical shape. Our job has a great quality, it is a good teacher of humility, so you always have to be ready to change your mind, and he changed my mind.” Wenger, however, conceded the loss of Podolski was a major blow, the forward, who scored twice in the win at Fulham last weekend, limped out of the Champions League play-off win over Fenerbahce. “[It’s a] Grade Three hamstring [injury]. That means it’s eight to 10 weeks. It can be more – to be fully match fit, you can count three months,” the Arsenal boss said. Arsenal’s comfortable 5-0 aggregate win over the Turkish side saw them through to the group stages for the 16th successive campaign, where they will face 2013 runners-up Dortmund, Marseille and Napoli. Wenger said: “It is difficult, but exciting as well because it is a group of a very good level. “We played Dortmund two years ago. We did well against them and Napoli has done well last year. Marseille we played two years ago as well. “It is a similar group to what we knew two years ago, every game will be of a huge importance because it could be down to a point or goal difference in the end.” Wenger, however, stressed full focus must be on producing a positive performance at the Emirates Stadium once again, having lost the opening Barclays Premier League game to Aston Villa. “What is important for us is to get on a winning run. We have now [won the last three games we have played] so it is important we continue that,” said Wenger, who will have centre-back Laurent Koscielny available again following his one-match suspension after a red card against Villa. “It is a good opportunity for us to show our strengths against Tottenham because they have as well strengthened well their team. I am confident that we will have a very good performance.” With Germany forward Lukas Podolski, set for up to three months out because of a hamstring injury, joining England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta on the sidelines, Wenger has seen his options further reduced, despite Mathieu Flamini rejoining the club on Thursday. Arsenal, who failed in bids for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye earlier this summer, but did complete a free transfer of France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, continue to be linked with the likes of Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria at Real Madrid, along with St Etienne defensive midfielder Joshua Guilavogui among others. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Dodgers notes: Carl Crawford miffed by All-Star ballot snub

first_imgCrawford was not only an All-Star in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010, he was the All-Star game’s Most Valuable Player in 2009.The Dodgers on the All-Star ballot were chosen by general manager Ned Colletti along with representatives from Major League Baseball, a Dodgers official confirmed.The team will promote Crawford as a write-in candidate.Puig is technically on his first ballot, but was nearly voted in by the fans last season courtesy of the NL All-Star final vote. Puig received more votes than anybody in Final Vote history except Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who beat him out with 19.7 million.The rest of the Dodgers’ All-Star ballot representatives were predictable: Adrian Gonzalez (first base), Dee Gordon (second base), Hanley Ramirez (shortstop), Juan Uribe (third base) and A.J. Ellis (catcher). Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The three outfielders on the ballot aren’t exactly attractive All-Star candidates at the moment. Neither is Crawford for that matter.Puig is hitting .254 with a .338 on-base percentage and a .437 slugging percentage. Kemp’s slash line is 211/.297/.456, Ethier’s is. 194/.247/.284, and Crawford’s is .222/.231/.317. New set-up for Wilson?The Dodgers are considering a removal of reliever Brian Wilson from his current set-up role, according to manager Don Mattingly.Wilson surrendered four runs in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 7-3 loss to the Phillies, giving him two losses in just six appearances this season.After spending 17 days on the disabled list with elbow irritation earlier this month — and not allowing a run in 24 outings last season — one can’t help but wonder if Wilson is healthy.“I think he’s healthy. If he’s not, he’s not telling us,” Mattingly said. “I feel like it’s just execution. He says possibly getting him regular work will get him back in a groove.”Wilson faced six batters Thursday, gave up three hits, hit one batter and intentionally walked another before he was relieved.He only hit 94 mph on the radar gun with two of the nine fastballs he threw Thursday. One was fouled off by Tony Gwynn Jr. and the other hit Ryan Howard. Last year, Wilson’s fastball was averaging between 93 and 94 with a high of 96 mph. Puig to the big screen?Just as the waters were calming after a Los Angeles Magazine story chronicling Puig’s defection from Cuba was published, it made another wave.The film rights to Jesse Katz’s story have been sold to “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner’s production company, RatPac Entertainment, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The magazine story details Puig’s attempts to escape Cuba and eventually his successful defection courtesy of smugglers working for a Mexican drug cartel. Puig was then held captive by the smugglers for three weeks when the man who sponsored his defection didn’t pay them before he eventually crossed the U.S. border and was signed by the Dodgers to a seven-year, $43 million deal. center_img The irony of being left off the All-Star ballot wasn’t lost on Carl Crawford.The Dodgers outfielder’s four All-Star selections are tied with Adrian Gonzalez for the most of the team, but he was passed over in favor of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig when the ballot was released Friday.“To not even have a chance, I mean, I’ve got the most All-Stars of anybody on the team,” Crawford said. “Now there’s not even a chance. I don’t know how I’m supposed to take that.”Only three outfielders per team are allowed on the ballot. The Dodgers’ request to add a fourth was denied, according to a Dodgers official.last_img read more