Paper News and Gossip: Arsenal Sparkle, AVB Bristles, Gerrard Talks Suarez
Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, and their efforts earn them top billing in the papers.
The Hugo Lloris injury continues to stir debate, and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has come out fighting.
All this and more features in Thursday’s iteration of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Jurgen Klopp Tips Arsenal for Champions League Challenge
The orchestra defeated the heavy metal band, as Arsenal toppled Borussia Dortmund, and BvB boss Jurgen Klopp has tipped the Gunners for Champions League glory.
Prior to the game, in an interview with the Guardian, Klopp likened Arsenal to an "orchestra" and his Dortmund to a rock band.
It turned out his team were the ones silenced, as Arsenal weathered a storm before Aaron Ramsey sealed a smash-and-grab raid with a second-half header.
Klopp felt his side paid the price for not taking their chances but was full of praise for Arsenal.
Yes, they can win it. They are young, healthy and have good technicians. They won a clever game tonight and could go to the final and win it - so long as they don’t play Bayern Munich. ...
It was 50-50 wasn’t it? They had their first attempt on goal in the 63rd minute and they scored.
We had a lot of super moments, but we were not precise enough. We had 11 shots before they scored and sometimes it was like they were defending with four legs.
Aaron Ramsey Is Arsenal's Inspiration
Aaron Ramsey lifted Arsenal to a 1-0 win over Dortmund, and his performance earned widespread praise in the written press.
Ramsey has been in stunning form this season, and his header against Dortmund was his 13th goal of the season (for club and country).
The Mail’s Martin Samuel led his column with Ramsey and was hugely impressed with the Wales midfielder.
In his column, Samuel wrote:
Aaron Ramsey has scored 13 goals already this season. That alone takes some explaining. This, his fifth in European competition, requires more understanding than most.
It wasn't just against the run of play, but against all logic. Borussia Dortmund had been the best team on the night. Most observers make them among the finest teams in Europe. They won their previous Bundesliga game against mid-table Stuttgart 6-1. And before Ramsey's intervention after 63 minutes, Arsenal had not created a single goalscoring chance of note in the Westfalenstadion.
In the immediate aftermath, however, so great was Dortmund's shock at going behind that Arsenal could have won by three or four.
Samuel also went on to pay tribute to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who he feels got his tactics exactly right:
It was a brilliant result and a performance that shows the growing maturity of Arsene Wenger's side. Arsenal were subdued and unimpressive in the first-half, but kept the scores level, the way grown-ups do. They were resilient and soaked up Dortmund's pressure - and then they pounced as the Germans tired, the hallmark of the best teams in Europe. One chance, one goal, three points.
We have seen it done to English teams often enough, and admired the continentals for their ruthlessness. Had the scoreline and the performances been transposed we would right now be eulogising on the subject of German efficiency. So this was Arsenal playing an imported game, and playing it to perfection.
They waited, intelligently, for the Germans to get sloppy and made them pay.
Andre Villas-Boas Points Finger at Romelu Lukaku over Hugo Lloris
The fallout from Hugo Lloris' bang on the head continues, and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has come out fighting.
The Tottenham boss had been criticised for allowing his keeper to play on following his head injury against Everton on Sunday.
The Portuguese came out on the front foot in his press conference prior to Spurs' Europa League clash with Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday.
Per Williamson's piece, Villas-Boas said:
I want to believe that Lukaku’s leg was not left late to clash into Hugo’s head. I find it remarkable that nobody has actually found out if he could have avoided the goalkeeper and I am disappointed that Lukaku hasn’t contacted Hugo.
I don’t question Lukaku’s integrity, but I think he could have jumped over perfectly.
Lloris has trained with the Tottenham squad this week, but Villas-Boas would not confirm if the keeper would be in the team against Sheriff.
Ashley Young's Manchester United Future Is on the Line over Diving
Ashley Young was a hate figure on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of a Manchester United's win over Real Sociedad, and his manager David Moyes is set to lay down the law—writes the Mirror's David McDonnell.
Young has earned a reputation for diving, and he incurred the wrath of the social media site's users following the incident that won United a penalty in Sociedad.
He has been warned in the past to clean up his act, and McDonnell says Moyes will speak to him once again and warn him that his future at the club is on the line.
In his piece, McDonnell writes:
Ashley Young faces a fight for his Manchester United future after another warning from boss David Moyes to stop diving.
Although Moyes refused to publicly condemn Young in the immediate aftermath of the incident, it is understood the Scot was going to have a quiet word.
(Sir Alex) Ferguson warned Young he was gaining an unwanted reputation as a diver, and there is a danger that referees will view him as one from now on. His propensity for diving has given Moyes a fresh headache and created a culture of mistrust around the player.
Moreover, Moyes may feel he cannot trust Young, particularly in games of significance, if there is a danger of him getting booked for going to ground too readily and potentially getting himself sent off.
Young has also come under fire from players, past and present, with former Germany international Dietmar Hamann saying, per the Independent's Gordon Tynan, the winger is a worse diver than Luis Suarez.
Steven Gerrard's Warning for Liverpool over Luis Suarez
Steven Gerrard has insisted Liverpool have to up their game to ensure Luis Suarez is not tempted into looking for a move next summer.
Suarez was one of last summer's biggest sagas, as he was strongly linked to a host of clubs, notably Arsenal, but Liverpool kept hold of their man.
The striker has been in stunning form since returning from suspension, but the rumours of a January move have already begun, as reported by Adrian Kajumba of the Star.
Gerrard has no fears over a January exit for Suarez but feels Liverpool have to stay competitive to entice the Uruguay international into staying.
The Mirror's Chris Richards has the quotes:
Luis is in good form. The team are playing well, so January won't be a problem.
But come the summer, I think depending how Liverpool have done will determine what goes through Luis' mind.
His goals, his performances and his form will be the key to whether we finish in the top four.
Gerrard is a huge admirer of Suarez's ability, and he ranks him above Fernando Torres in the order of great strikers to have played for the club.
Per Richards' piece, Gerrard said: “The only player who comes close to producing what Luis has done in a red shirt is Fernando Torres—but Luis just pips him.”
Swansea's Michu Injury Blow
Michu limped out of Swansea's 1-0 loss to Cardiff on Sunday, and manager Michael Laudrup has revealed, per Cadden's piece, that an ankle injury on top of existing knee problems have forced the Spain striker onto the sidelines.
Michu has been sent back to Spain for treatment, and Laudrup hopes the break will be the tonic Michu needs.
In Cadden's piece, Laudrup said:
Michu is one of our most important players and was our top scorer last season, but he has been struggling, is not 100 percent and unfortunately he is out for three or four weeks.
He has not been at his best but that is because he has been struggling with both his knees for many weeks, but he wanted to play.
With this ankle injury, hopefully he can get both his knees sorted as well. He will be away in Spain for a few days for some injections.
Arsene Wenger Sights Fixed on Diego Costa
Wenger may well be on cloud nine following Arsenal's win in Dortmund, but the Star's Gary Jones reports the Frenchman has his eyes fixed on January transfer targets.
And according to Jones, it is Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa who has caught Wenger's attention.
Per Jones' piece, Wenger said:
He had already grabbed my attention last year through his determination, his strength to move forward.
He also possesses technical quality and a cool head when carrying out his finishing touches.
There is something animal in his determination, in his hunger. You can feel that he is a player who, before arriving at a very high level, has fed his thirst and his hunger.
Jones claims sources in Spain have said Wenger is keeping close tabs on the striker's situation and that the Frenchman is ready to spend big to land him.
Bits and Pieces: Hazard Axed, Liverpool Eye Capel, City Target 'New Robben'
Financial worries are engulfing Sporting Lisbon, writes John Cross of the Mirror, and he claims Liverpool are readying a cut-price bid for winger Diego Capel.
Also under Cross' byline in the Mirror is a report suggesting Manchester City have trained their sights on Groningen winger Richairo Zivkovic. Cross' piece dubs him the new Arjen Robben. High praise indeed.
Everton have sent Arouna Kone for an operation on his knee, and the Star's Gary Jones reports it could end the striker's season.
The race for Manchester City's Abdisalam Ibrahim is hotting up, with the Star's David Wright claiming Everton, Hull and Crystal Palace have joined Newcastle in the race for the midfielder.
Crystal Palace are likely to be without midfielder Adlene Guedioura for six weeks minimum after he punctured a lung and broke two ribs, according to the Express.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta is a January target for Napoli, now managed by former Blues boss Rafa Benitez, writes the Star's Nick Lustig.
Manchester United are planing for life without Patrice Evra, and the Express' Ben Jefferson claims Sevilla's Albert Moreno is the latest left-back to come on their radar.