Paper News and Gossip: Arsenal Facing '5 Cup Finals', Hillsborough Tributes

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterApril 16, 2014

Paper News and Gossip: Arsenal Facing '5 Cup Finals', Hillsborough Tributes

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth

    Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud believes the team are facing "five cup finals" after the 3-1 win over West Ham United lifted them back into the top four.

    Fifth-placed Everton play host to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, but the Gunners star insists his team must maintain their place in the Champions League for next season.

    Arsenal have four Premier League matches remaining this season before facing Hull City in the FA Cup final at Wembley next month.

    Wednesday's newspapers also report on the Hillsborough memorial service, 25 years on from the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield.

More Than One Cup Final Ahead for Arsenal, Says Striker Olivier Giroud

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud insists the team face four cup finals before their appearance in the FA Cup finale at Wembley against Hull City, reports Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.

    The France international was on target in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Tuesday, which sent the Gunners above Everton and back into the top four of the Premier League.

    Arsenal face a battle to secure a 17th successive season of Champions League football next season, and Giroud is quoted as saying:

    In my opinion, we have four finals to go in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup.

    We have to win every single game and we will be expecting a mistake from Everton.

    Meanwhile, Simon Yeend of the Daily Express claims Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic is on Arsenal's radar for a summer transfer.

Hillsborough Remembered 25 Years on from FA Cup Semi-Final Tragedy

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    Tim Hales

    The memorial service to remember the 96 Liverpool supporters who died in the Hillsborough tragedy 25 years ago has been given prominence in Wednesday's newspapers.

    Tony Barrett of The Times (subscription required) offered the poignant story of Victoria Hicks, who wrote Liverpool match reports after games.

    The 15-year-old lost her life on the Leppings Lane terraces, and her parents only discovered the articles after her passing.

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers spoke movingly of his respect for the victims and their families during the memorial service at Anfield, as Dominic King of the Daily Mail reported.

    I’m surrounded every day of my life by inspiration. I walk in (to Melwood) every day past the statue of Bill Shankly and the European Cup. We train on the pitch graced by all the great names. Within my team I have some fantastic players of true greatness.

    You don’t struggle for inspiration when you’re Liverpool manager, working for this great football club. But without doubt the single biggest source of inspiration for me is every match day at Anfield, when I arrive at this ground and see the memorial and the 96 names, 96 individuals who were loved, cherished and went all too soon.

    Those we lost. You are the true inspiration for us. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and supporters. 

    You’ve all stayed together to fight for the name of those you’ve lost. That’s what inspires me every day of my life.

    Everton manager Roberto Martinez also spoke at the service, as Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph reported.

    Martinez said:

    I was only 15 in April 1989, a football-mad kid in a football-mad family, like any of you today.

    We could not believe or comprehend the horror of receiving the news their loved ones would not come home from a football match.

    What happened afterwards was not right or fair but, as my chairman said last year, they took on the wrong city. I do not have to tell you that Everton are with you. Everton remembers. We will always.

Chelsea Confident Diego Costa Will Leave Atletico for Blues, Claims Report

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    Andres Kudacki

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is confident Diego Costa will join the Blues in a £50 million deal in the summer, claims John Cross of the Daily Mirror.

    The Atletico Madrid star is set to agree a £185,000 per week contract with the Stamford Bridge club, according to the article.

    Meanwhile, Chelsea have also been linked with a transfer move for Hamburg midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, reports Charles Perrin of the Daily Express.

    However, the article claims Mourinho will face competition from Atletico boss Diego Simeone for the 20-year-old.

Manchester United Continue Chase for Luke Shaw and William Carvalho

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    Sang Tan

    Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, while William Carvalho is also on the Old Trafford wanted list, reports Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail.

    The article claims United manager David Moyes is determined to beat Chelsea in the race for England international Shaw with a £30 million offer for the teenager.

    Ladyman also claims Old Trafford chief executive Ed Woodward is working hard to clinch a deal for Sporting defender Carvalho.

    Charles Perrin of the Daily Express says United are preparing to offer Bayern Munich star Toni Kroos £260,000 per week to lure him from the Bundesliga champions.

    David Wright of the Daily Express claims United striker Bebe will make a decision on his future in the summer.

Manchester City Set to Offer Striker Edin Dzeko New Contract

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Manchester City are poised to open negotiations with striker Edin Dzeko over a new contract at the club, reports Phil Thomas of The Sun (subscription required).

    The Bosnia international had looked set to leave the club under Roberto Mancini with Inter Milan, Valencia, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg reportedly interested in the forward, claims the article.

    However, Dzeko has emerged as an important squad member under Manuel Pellegrini, and the club are keen to keep him at the Etihad Stadium.

    Meanwhile, Pellegrini has backed Vincent Kompany to bounce back from his disappointment over the defeat at Anfield, where his error helped Liverpool win 3-2, reports Martin Blackburn of The Sun (subscription required).

    Pellegrini is quoted as saying:

    Vincent is fit and he is in the squad list.

    He started at Liverpool because he is the captain. He said he was OK and the doctor said that too so I don’t regret that.

    I don’t like to analyse the individual performance with the media.

    I talk with the players and when we win or lose, it is the responsibility of the whole team. I think it is very important also to have experienced players like that who have won titles.

Gareth Bale Set to Make Copa Del Rey Final Impact After Cristiano Ronaldo Injury

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Gareth Bale will take centre stage in the Copa del Rey final for Real Madrid, reports Antony Kastrinakis of The Sun (subcription required).

    With Cristiano Ronaldo injured for the final against Barcelona on Wednesday night, the spotlight will fall on the Wales international at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium.

    Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti is quoted as saying:

    This morning I knew I couldn’t count on Cristiano.

    We will miss him but we have many players and confidence in this team that has always reacted well when missing players. We can do that in the final.

    We have lost a player of incredible quality but maybe his absence will give everyone more motivation.

    In the games we played without him, we have played well, running more and playing more together.

    I expect the team to work well as a block.

    There won’t be any problems with motivating the players tomorrow. We’ve planned it well.

Bits and Pieces: Aston Villa, Nicolas Anelka, Gus Poyet, Dan Petrescu

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    Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

    Aston Villa have suspended assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa over bullying allegations, claim James Nursey and Neil Moxley of the Daily Mirror.

    The article claims that the pair, who worked under Villa manager Paul Lambert, have had allegations made against them over incidents at the club's training ground.

    Atletico Mineiro say they will not sign former West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka after the player took too long to report to the Brazilian club, writes Mike Dawes of the Daily Mail.

    Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has dismissed speculation he will quit the club, and he is determined to save the Black Cats from relegation, reports Damian Spellman for the Daily Mail.

    Southampton will target former Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu as their new manager if Mauricio Pochettino leaves the club, reports Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror.