Arsenal are gearing up for today's north London derby against Tottenham as they look to haul themselves back into the title picture.
After European disappointment in midweek, where they were dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich, the Gunners will be hoping to get back to winning ways in the best possible fashion: winning at the home of their fiercest rivals.
Here's the latest on the Gunners as they prepare for that huge clash including comments, media reports and team news.
Wenger compared to legend Chapman ahead of 1,000th Gunners game
Arsene Wenger will take charge of Arsenal for the 1,000th time when his side do battle with Cheslea at Stamford Bridge next Saturday.
David Conn examines Wenger’s reign in his piece in The Guardian, and he compares the Frenchman to another legendary Arsenal boss, Herbert Chapman.
Chapman, who helped revolutionise the Gunners and English football during his nine years in charge of the club, is still considered by many as one of the greatest managers the game has ever seen. And Conn draws comparisons between the inspired policies both he and Wenger looked to employ during their respective tenures:
Wenger pioneered and embodies not only the more cerebral football revolution that has taken place, the famous introduction of proper nutrition and the sparkling passing style that buried sneers of "boring Arsenal" but also the club's institutional change, from homely Highbury to the 60,000-seat stadium named after the United Arab Emirates' state airline.
Chapman, who lasted as manager only nine years, from 1925-34, before dying young, was a broader visionary, embracing modern fitness, professionalism and big-money signings for the team, as well as greater press projection and the brilliant coup of having the nearest tube station named Arsenal.
After a trophy-laden first nine years with the club, Wenger has since overseen a nine-year silverware drought with the Gunners. This season they have been knocked out of the Champions League and fallen off the pace in the Premier League, but they remain overwhelming favourites for the FA Cup.
According to Conn, success in that will usher in Wenger’s “third era” as Arsenal boss. An era in which he looks set to splash the cash:
He failed crucially to sign a striker for this season, a deficiency likely to cost him another title. Arsenal are favourites for the FA Cup, though, and ending the trophy drought would be a breakthrough. Approaching 1,000 games in office, the French coach who pioneered Arsenal's modern era is looking ahead to many more and promising a third distinct period, in which he will spend the huge money he has always sniffed at and win again.
Adebayor stirs the pot ahead of derby showdown
Tottenham forward Emmanuel Adebayor has called on his team-mates to get stuck into Arsenal in today’s north London derby, claiming his former side “can’t handle it” when they’re put under pressure.
The Togolese forward is already an unpopular figure with the Gunners’ faithful, and he has done little to endear himself ahead of what promises to be a ferocious derby game, per Darren Lewis in The Mirror:
Arsenal are a good team when they have the ball. When they don’t, they are not that good. When you put them under pressure, they can’t handle it.
They don’t have a lot of physical presence. Apart from Flamini, I don’t see anyone who puts themselves into a proper battle.
Rosicky is not that type of player, Cazorla is not the type of player who defends. Arteta is trying to do it, but that’s not his job.
They don’t have anybody who can say, ‘If I have to kick, I will kick. If we have to fight, I will put myself at the front of it’. That’s how we have to play. Push them and force them to make errors.
These comments are sure to rile those of an Arsenal persuasion ahead of what is typically a volatile contest. Some Gunners fans have been quick to remind their former employee that he's a player that didn't always handle the pressure too well himself:
Anyway, here's me pointing out what an idiot Adebayor is for Metro http://t.co/puHSxZZIhB— DailyCannon (@DailyCannon) March 16, 2014
Adebayor was sent off in the derby game at the Emirates last season and his Spurs side must be careful to play with their heads rather than their hearts in this one. Especially after the Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood confirmed he wants a “blood and thunder” derby game, per BBC Sport.
If they play on that emotion, as the more experienced, technical and more composed outfit, it could work to Arsenal's advantage.
Gibbs a derby doubt, Kallstrom could make Arsenal debut
Kieran Gibbs is a doubt for the north London derby, but Nacho Monreal should be fit to replace him at left-back, per BBC Sport.
It's also reported that Kim Kallstrom could make his long awaited Arsenal bow following his January transfer. Arsenal will be without Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey for this one, so the Swede looks set to bolster Arsene Wenger's midfield reinforcements.
Yaya Sanogo is also reportedly fit but is likely to start on the bench. Theo Walcott remains a long-term absentee.