Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Van Persie in the hunt for medals, not money

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By Phil O’Connor

As the annual Arsenal transfer soap-opera gets underway, it’s worth wondering why such high-profile players leave one of England’s best clubs every year.

Should Robin van Persie sign for Manchester City, much will be made of their financial muscle, but they are not the only club in England with resources – indeed, Arsenal are one of the richest clubs in the world and could easily afford to offer competitive wages.

But after seven trophyless years, it doesn’t take long to work out why Van Persie is likely to follow Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri through the exit doors in north London. It’s medals, not money, that makes Arsenal players move.

Premier League wages are generally so high that even after a season or two at the top level, players are financially independent for the rest of their lives – provided, of course, they manage their money properly. But that money cannot fill a trophy cabinet, and players like Van Persie need to win titles to feel that they have been successful in their careers.

Arsenal finally tackling their problems

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By Phil O’Connor

Perhaps stung by criticism from the likes of Patrick Viera and Emmanuel Petit, Arsenal’s stunning 5-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur was built not just on pretty passing but on solid tackling too.

Viera and Petit provided the steel in midfield for Wenger’s first great Arsenal side, and both have recently been critical of their slide towards mid-table mediocrity.

Va-va-voom. Vintage Henry scores on Arsenal return.

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The clock said 68 minutes, and no one at the Emirates Stadium in north London was looking at the action on the pitch as the fourth official held aloft his lit-up board to signal the re-introduction of Thierry Henry to English football.

Ten minutes later and he’d scored the game’s eventual winner. Comebacks don’t get this good this often.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Who can Arsenal actually buy?

With Cesc Fabregas gone and Samir Nasri possibly on the move too, there is a lot of gloom around Arsenal at the moment and Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool did nothing to help the mood.

Arsenal fans are for the first time questioning the stewardship of Arsene Wenger and have demanded some top signings to prevent yet another trophyless season.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer scores and the power of the pub

Let's be honest here, people, predicting the English football scores has proved to be a lot trickier than many of us imagined.

You'd have thought that the frankly obsessive interest most of us here at Reuters Soccer Blog Heights take in football would see us approach this competition with the pitiless, sweeping brilliance of Celta Vigo in their 'EuroCelta' heydey of 1998-2000*.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Is Eduardo’s two-match ban too harsh?

UEFA's decision to hand Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva a two-match ban for diving has infuriated the Croatian media, many fans and national team coach Slaven Bilic.

"It is a shameful decision, especially in view of the fact that Eduardo personifies everything that's decent in professional sport," Bilic told Zagreb daily Vecernji List after learning the verdict.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Wenger makes his point with customary elegance

"Highly intelligent" and "Arsene Wenger" sit neatly together in countless newspaper columns outlining the exploits, achievements and travails of the cerebral Arsenal manager.

Consequently there was no elaborate deconstruction required following an interview with a French television channel at the club's training ground this week.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Which soccer players would make good Star Trek characters?

With the new Star Trek film out, we thought we'd have a bit of fun and see which soccer players could play the famous characters.

They've changed all the actors anyway and brought in a youthful crop, so why not?

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