Anderlecht 1-2 Arsenal: Late turnaround hands Wenger timely birthday present

Goals from defender Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski at the death gave the Gunners a much-needed win over the Belgian outfit, despite Andy Najar’s second-half opener

A late Lukas Podolski goal gave Arsenal a dramatic 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

The striker struck in the 90th minute to give the Gunners all three points, with Kieran Gibbs having cancelled out Andy Najar’s opener two minutes earlier with a superb volley.
The result leaves Arsenal on six points, and gives them their second win in the group stage, following their 4-1 success over Galatasaray.

More to follow…

Fabregas could be next Chelsea captain, hints Mourinho

The Spaniard has notched nine assists in his first 10 appearances for the Blues and his manager now says he can understand why he wore the armband at Arsenal

Jose Mourinho has suggested that Cesc Fabregas could one day succeed John Terry as Chelsea captain.

Fabregas has made an exceptional start to his Blues career since joining from Barcelona in a €36 million deal in the summer, racking up nine assists in his first 11 appearances in all competitions.

Many Arsenal fans have watched their former idol’s performances with a mixture of sadness and frustration, and Mourinho has now twisted the knife further by hinting that Fabregas could one day inherit the armband from Terry.

“[Fabregas] is a better guy than I thought”, the Portuguese told ITV. ”He’s a fantastic guy, he’s a fantastic professional.

“Now I understand why at the age of 19 or 20 or 21 he was Arsenal captain.”

Mourinho then added: ”When I am the manager at Chelsea the armband will go to another arm that has been in this club for many many years.

“But one thing is [the leader’s] brain needs to be connected with the manager, and his brain is connected to mine during matches.”

Give me 'a fraction more', Wenger tells Arsenal stars

The Gunners boss believes that his team are a little shy of doing themselves justice after five draws in their first eight Premier League games

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants “a fraction more” from his squad in order to start getting results that do themselves justice.

The Gunners have won two and drawn five of their first eight Premier League games of the season, putting them 11 points behind leaders Chelsea at an early stage.

“Look, we have lost only one game in the Premier League but we have not enough points with what we produced,” Wenger told reporters.

“Top-level performance is to make the maximum with your potential and sometimes in games you need a fraction more.

“That’s what we want to do – give a fraction more to be really efficient in what we do.”

Midfielder Jack Wilshere agrees that his side are not far away from getting it right and points to the narrow nature of some of their drawn games but believes that, with a little extra concentration, Arsenal will pick things up.

He observed: “In big games this season, we have been so close. In the Manchester City game, we were close to winning and then a lack of concentration [happens] and we draw the game.

“If we had won one of those … but we are confident we can do it. We played Tottenham at home as well and feel we should have won the game, we dominated possession. If we can just concentrate a little bit more defensively, then we are confident we can do that.”

Ospina out for up to three months, confirms Wenger

The Colombia international suffered a recurrence of a previous thigh injury in the Champions League win over Galatasaray and will now face a prolonged spell on the sidelines

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina has been ruled out for up to three months after suffering a thigh injury, Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

The Colombia international, who joined the Gunners from Nice earlier this summer, was left out of the Gunners squad for games against Chelsea and Hull with fitness issues, and will now face an enforced absence after scans confirmed that a previous injury suffered at the French club has flared up.

His injury means that Emiliano Martinez will play against Anderlecht in the Champions League on Wednesday – with Wojciech Sczcesny suspended – and will continue to deputise during Ospina’s lay-off.

Wenger expressed his regret at playing Ospina during the European win over Galatasaray following Sczcesny’s red card and admits that him suffering the injury was a result of a lack of preparation.

“It is exactly the same (injury) . He had his first injury in Nice, it was a knee problem and I think he was a bit rushed back,” Wenger told a press conference.

“He didn’t use his legs so his muscle became weaker, then he got injured during the World Cup. And after that he came to us injured, from the World Cup. It took him two months to play a game.

“I had to bring him on against Galatasaray without a warm-up, without being prepared and he had a recurrence of that injury. That means he is out for two to three months.

“Now we have to be really careful because he has a recurrence of a thigh injury that’s very difficult. It’s a long-term injury.”

The goalkeeper’s fitness worries only deepen Arsene Wenger’s selection issues, with another six players, including Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny, also currently sidelined.

Flamini: Injuries no excuse for Arsenal form

With the likes of Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny all sidelined, the Gunners have won just two of their opening eight league games this season

Mathieu Flamini has warned Arsenal’s mounting injury worries are no excuse for poor form from the rest of the team.

Arsene Wenger is without a host of first-team players, including Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny and required a last-minute goal to secure a 2-2 draw against Hull on Saturday.

Arsenal have won just two of their opening eight league games, with five draws stunting their progress, but Flamini feels the fit members of the squad should not be looking for easy excuses.

“We’re having injuries but we don’t want to hide behind any excuses,” the midfielder told reporters.

“We’re facing the truth – we didn’t win on Saturday and we’ll try to find a solution for the next games.”

Arsenal travel to Anderlecht on Wednesday with more selection dilemmas, this time in goal.

First choice Wojciech Szczesny is suspended while back-up David Ospina is injured, meaning Argentine youngster Emiliano Martinez is likely to start in Belgium.