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Arsene Wenger says Arsenal can struggle to win games as opposition teams park the bus

Arsene Wenger believes it is getting harder to win in the Premier League as teams outside the top six are happy to park the bus in order to earn a point.
The Gunners have been frustrated in their last two matches, with their 1-1 draw away to Southampton followed by a 0-0 draw against West Ham at the London Stadium in midweek.
Arsenal will be hoping to secure all three points when out-of-form Newcastle come to the Emirates on Saturday but Wenger admits he is having to find new ways for his side to break down defences.
"The philosophy has changed because first of all the crowds accepts it," said Wenger.
"They start with the idea that if it's a 0-0 it's a good result. Every tackle they make the crowd is 'wahhhhy.'
"You would say as long as you don't score the first goal you're in a position where you have to take a gamble.
"What is even worse you know if you have not scored in the last 10 minutes you will have to go through one moment, a free kick or corner and that's what could've happened at West Ham.
"You can sit there and lose the game where you've have 70 per cent of the ball. It is a modern problem.
"The defence gives you a new problem, you have to find a new solution. We are not far from it because you feel the quality of the game is there but we have to be more efficient to finish what we prepare.
"Ideally you want both teams to have a go and play. If we find a solution and score, they will play.
"So we have to create a situation that makes the game attractive. And we have to think that we play well enough, on our side, to make the game attractive.
"I love to think that is our responsibility."

AC Milan remain under FFP monitoring after UEFA rejects voluntary agreement

AC Milan's application for a voluntary agreement to restructure their finances has been rejected by UEFA's independent Club Financial Control Body.
The club had hoped to present a refinancing programme that would bring an end to "ongoing monitoring" by the governing body of European football over Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
Eighteen-time Serie A champions Milan were bought by Chinese investors Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux in April and spent over €230m (£210m) on new players in the summer.
That outlay - and concern over Milan's ability to repay several loans to an American hedge fund - means the club are being monitored by UEFA's Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee.
Hedge fund Elliott Management is reported to have loaned Milan's Chinese owners - headed by businessman Li Yonghong - €180m (£157m) and a further €123m (£107m) to the club.
Together with approximately €50m (£43.6m) of interest, the loans must be repaid by October 2018, according to reports.
Should an investigation be launched and subsequent penalties be applied, Milan could face exclusion from continental competitions, if they qualify in the future.
A UEFA statement read: "The Investigatory Chamber of the independent UEFA Club Financial Control Body has reviewed the application for a voluntary agreement made by AC Milan as part of the FFP regulations.
"After careful examination of all the documentation and explanations provided, the Chamber decided not to conclude a voluntary agreement with Milan.
"In particular, the Chamber considered that, as of today, there are still uncertainties in relation to the refinancing of the loans to be paid back in October 2018 and the financial guarantees provided by the main shareholder.
"Milan will continue to be subject to the ongoing monitoring process and the situation will be assessed again in the first months of 2018."
The club signed Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Franck Kessie and Hakan Calhanoglu during the summer as they looked to challenge for the Serie A title.
Milan are currently competing in the Europa League and have qualified for the last 32, and it is hoped they secure a Champions League place in the 2018-19 season.
Should Milan fail to qualify for the continent's top tournament it is reported they will end the current campaign with €100m (£87m) of debt, and be forced to sell high-profile players to satisfy FFP regulations.
Those in danger of being moved on, according to the Italian media, would include talented goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and club captain Bonucci, the Italy defender.
Last week Milan director Marco Fassone told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "The funeral has come a bit early. The UEFA committee has made requests which would be objectively impossible to satisfy, not only by Milan but by any club. I am confident we can organise our refinancing by the spring."

How Tottenham can end City's streak?

For the first time since Mauricio Pochettino took charge of Tottenham in 2014, the club is enduring something of a slump. Their Champions League performances this season have been superb -- they have more points than any other in the competition -- but their league results have been underwhelming.
Progress under the Argentine had, until now, been constant. From fifth in his first season, to third in his second season, to second last season, Spurs have been travelling in the right direction in terms of style and results. But now they find themselves challenging for the Champions League places rather than the title -- mainly because they're failing to take points from their direct rivals.
Spurs lost 2-1 to Chelsea, 1-0 to Manchester United and, most surprisingly, 2-0 to Arsenal when many expected them to dominate at the Emirates. None of these results are disgraceful on paper, but Spurs are no longer underdogs in these top fixtures. Their 4-1 victory over Liverpool shows Tottenham still have an appetite for the big occasion, and the tactical nous to outplay comparable sides, but it's increasingly becoming a distant memory.
The other reason Tottenham aren't fighting for the title, of course, is because Manchester City appear unstoppable. This weekend's trip to the Etihad, then, is an opportunity to set the record straight in two different respects -- to show that Spurs can win big matches, and to prove City are fallible. Ending the unbeaten record of Pep Guardiola, who Pochettino has clashed with both in Spain and England, is added motivation.
Guardiola and Pochettino's meetings when in charge of Barcelona and Espanyol, respectively, were fascinating. Pochettino was one of the few managers in La Liga who ordered his side to press extremely high, essentially taking on Barca at their own game. Pochettino attracted plenty of praise for this approach -- sometimes they successfully managed to nullify Barca's passing moves, sometimes they were thrashed. But Pochettino isn't a manager who believes in parking the bus against Guardiola sides, and we can expect an aggressive approach this weekend, too.
The problem for Pochettino, though, is the number of defensive injuries he's forced to contend with. Victor Wanyama is a long-term absence, Toby Alderweireld will be out until February, while Davinson Sanchez's three-match suspension is a particular problem because it means Eric Dier is required in the centre of defence, rather than midfield. Which means you can almost consider this four absences in the central, defensive positions -- Alderweireld and Sanchez from defence, and Wanyama and Dier from midfield.
If that sounds like it's stretching the point, it's worth remembering that Tottenham need to be solid, disciplined and aggressive this weekend -- in the central midfield zones where David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne operate.
These two, more than anyone else, get Manchester City playing good football. They're the two most prolific assisters in the league, No. 10s converted into No. 8s. Last weekend, Jose Mourinho used Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic in borderline man-marking roles against them, and while City dominated at Old Trafford, Silva and De Bruyne weren't at their creative best. It was the movement of Raheem Sterling that caused more problems, while City's goals came from set pieces.
Does Pochettino have anyone who can play those roles against Silva and De Bruyne? You suspect he would have fielded both Dier and Wanyama in those roles, if he were able to call on a fully fit squad. Without them, Pochettino needs to do something clever.
In that 4-1 win over Liverpool, Spurs' most impressive domestic performance of the year, Pochettino fielded an all-technical midfield trio of Harry Winks, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, but that seems unworkable against this City side. Alli and Eriksen probably don't have the defensive discipline for this task, while Winks endured a difficult game against Brighton in midweek.
There are less creative, more combative players in reserve, but Moussa Sissoko has been used in more of an attacking role and Mousa Dembele hasn't yet demonstrated he's up to full match fitness. A combination of these two seems like a huge risk, and you wonder whether Pochettino would consider playing a makeshift centre-back in order to push Dier back into midfield. Ben Davies, for example, has appeared comfortable on the left of a three-man defence -- and in a match where centre-back play is about positioning, mobility and pace rather than strength or aerial power, he could do a job in a four-man defence. The problem there, however, is that he'd be playing alongside fellow left-footer Jan Vertonghen, and neither would be comfortable playing to the right.
Pochettino is regarded as one of the most astute and original tacticians in the Premier League, and this weekend may require something truly innovative to stop Manchester City. There is, after all, simply no template for stopping them -- they've only failed to win against Everton, having been reduced to 10 men from an early stage. Pochettino can hardly simply pray for a red card.
Alternatively, Pochettino might decide his only option is to revert to Plan A: pressing high and remaining ultra-compact. If Tottenham don't have the individuals to nullify City's two most dangerous players, they must nullify them in a collective sense. Don't deny De Bruyne and Silva space by tracking them, deny them space by squeezing the defensive and midfield lines. Don't try to dispossess them, but instead press higher, forcing Manchester City's makeshift centre-back combination of Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi into mistakes. Tottenham haven't pressed as intensely as in previous seasons, but it might be their only option.
What Tottenham must remember, too, is that this City defence can be exposed. Mangala and Otamendi are not world-beaters. Left-back Fabian Delph, while performing reasonably well in his unfamiliar left-back role, has made mistakes in traditional defensive situations. Pochettino will know all about how to exploit the weaknesses of Kyle Walker, too. Spurs must attack. To dare is to do, as the Tottenham motto says. Pochettino must heed that advice.

Wolves win again as Sheffield Wednesday's slump goes on

Wolves extended their lead at the top of the Championship table with a first-half goal from Ruben Neves giving them a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday.
The home side had to play the last five minutes with 10 men after Morgan Fox received a red card.
The result sees Wolves go seven points clear of their nearest challengers, Cardiff.
Meanwhile, the pressure is mounting on Wednesday's head coach, Carlos Carvalhal, who has not seen his side win in their last six outings.
Wolves made the brighter start with Ivan Cavaleiro putting a low shot wide following Diogo Jota's burst forward.
Leo Bonatini then looked to create an opening, producing some trickery on the right-hand side of the area before seeing his cross deflected into the grateful arms of keeper Joe Wildsmith.
Wednesday's first chance fell to Adam Reach, who spurned a great opportunity following a Jordan Rhodes knock-down, firing well wide from inside the area.
Wolves keeper John Ruddy was then forced to make a good save, getting down to his right to keep out a header from Joost van Aken.
The visitors took the lead when a free-kick from Cavaleiro was headed out only as far as Neves (34), who drilled a low, 20-yard shot inside Wildsmith's left-hand post.
Cavaleiro threatened to break free in the right-hand side of the area but Wednesday skipper Glenn Loovens nipped in to make an important clearance.
Looking to make a positive start to the second half, Wednesday were on the attack soon after the restart with Liam Palmer screwing a shot well wide from the edge of the box.
Wolves responded with Bonatini causing problems once again on the right-hand side and Van Aken had to be at full stretch to divert the ball for a corner.
Romain Saiss then put a glancing header wide from Cavaleiro's free-kick.
Bonatini slipped inside the area after receiving the ball from Matt Doherty but then regained his footing and put a low shot wide.
Carvalhal made a double substitution, sending on strikers Lucas Joao and Atdhe Nuhiu in place of Rhodes and Jacob Butterfield.
Joao had a good chance just a minute later, putting a close-range header over after meeting Palmer's cross.
After that, the hosts never threatened to mount a comeback and they had Fox sent-off five minutes from time when he picked up his second yellow card following a foul on Helder Costa.
Cavaleiro, who had been a thorn in Wednesday's side all night, put a low shot wide before making way late on.

West Coast Eagles sign Elliot Yeo to a five-year contract extension

THE West Coast Eagles have received an early Christmas present with Elliot Yeo signing a long term deal with the club.

Yeo has put pen to paper on a five-year extension which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2023 season.
The 24-year-old is coming off his best season for the Eagles, securing All-Australian honours and taking out the John Worsfold Medal in 2017.
“It’s a great feeling to have the contract settled at this early stage so I can concentrate on the pre-season and preparing for 2018,” Yeo said.
Following the retirements of experienced stars like Matt Priddis, Sam Mitchell and Drew Petrie, Yeo will be part of a new generation of leaders at the Eagles.
The utility says he is looking forward to taking on the extra responsibility in 2018.
Yeo was drafted by the Brisbane Lions with the 15th pick in the 2013 AFL draft.
He requested a trade to the Eagles at the end of the 2015 season and has barely missed a game over the last three years.
He was also a member of West Coast’s 2015 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn.
Eagles football boss Craig Vozzo believes Yeo’s best football is still to come.
“Clearly, Elliot is a very important player for us and we expect him to be central to our short- and long-term plans, so it makes sense to sign him on a long-term deal,” Vozzo said.
“To have him committed to the club until at least the end of the 2023 season is a terrific outcome for both Elliot and the club.
“Although Elliot won the John Worsfold Medal in 2017, we believe he has his best football ahead of him and we are all excited about that.
“He also has an important role to play with the leadership of our young players and he is continuing grow in that respect as well.”

ARL Commission election faces fresh challenge

The constitutional reform the NRL clubs fought so hard to gain could be at risk after the candidate most favoured to join the ARL Commission accepted a job with the Gold Coast Titans.

The decision of former Broncos chairman Dennis Watt to overlook a potential role on the ARL Commission in favour of the Titans executive chairman position has thrown a spanner into the works.

It has the potential to divide the clubs as they seek to agree on two club-appointed directors to the commission.

Watt was the candidate with the most support from the clubs to represent them on the commission, however his withdrawal a month out from nomination day leaves the clubs scratching for options. understands some clubs will be reluctant to vote in favour of the constitutional reform they recently agreed upon if they aren’t convinced the right candidates have been put forward.
Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys is the other frontrunner for the two club-appointed roles to join the two state-appointed directors on a new-look commission that needs to be voted in at the February annual general meeting.
The NSWRL and Queensland Rugby League and 15 of the 16 NRL clubs need to agree to enforce the constitutional reform at the AGM.
Before that, the clubs must put forward all commissioner nominations to South Sydney Rabbitohs chairman Nick Pappas by January 19.
A minimum of 10 clubs must agree on the candidate before they are voted on to one of two club-appointed commissioner roles.
There has been a push by some clubs for Pappas, who has been entrusted with the task of collating candidates, to join the commission however it is understood he is intent on continuing with the Rabbitohs.
Bruce Hatcher and George Peponis, the respective chairs of the QRL and NSWRL, will be the two state-affiliated directors on the new 10-member commission to be set up once the constitutional reform is signed off.

Griezmann will be allowed to leave – Simeone

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists the LaLiga giants will let star forward Antoine Griezmann leave at some stage.
Antoine Griezmann will be allowed to leave Atletico Madrid "at some point", according to coach Diego Simeone.
Griezmann, 26, has been linked with an Atletico exit, with Manchester United among the clubs reported to be interested.
But the France international is contracted until mid-2022 at Atletico, the club he joined from Real Sociedad in 2014.
However, Simeone said Griezmann would be free to leave the LaLiga giants, just as Diego Costa and Arda Turan once were.
"I love my players a lot and I love to see them grow. I am not ungrateful," he told L'Equipe.
"If a player comes to me and says, 'Coach, I have a once in a lifetime chance to play for a certain team, I want to leave'. If he did all he could for me as Griezmann does, I'll say it's no problem. I know that he needs to grow.
"Of course Griezmann will be able to leave at some point, the same way Costa and Arda Turan were allowed to leave."
Griezmann has scored seven goals in 18 matches in all competitions this campaign, having netted at least 25 times in each of the past three seasons.