Table-toppers can recover from midweek setback and see off Dagenham on home soil
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League Two Accumulator: We’re with Wycombe all the way
Arsenal and England forward Theo Walcott is finally closing in on a return to action, having been sidelined since January by a serious knee injury. The 25-year-old required surgery to repair damaged cruciate ligaments and missed the World Cup finals last summer, while he is yet to feature for his club so far this season. However, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed that Walcott is close to being in consideration for the Premier League clash at Sunderland on Saturday, with the Londoners 8/11 with bet365 to secure a victory. The Frenchman told reporters: “I’m not sure about involving Theo. Certainly next week. “He has to get used to contact again. It takes time to get used to being kicked again. He has a game that exposes him and he needs to feel completely confident. “Fitness-wise he is there to play a part in the game, on the contact front he needs a bit more time.” Wenger already has a lengthy injury list to deal with, while Jack Wilshere misses the clash with the Black Cats due to suspension.
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Soccer – Walcott on the verge of a return
Sebastian Larsson expects his Sunderland side to show a big reaction to their humiliating 8-0 Premier League drubbing at Southampton last weekend. The Black Cats play host to Arsenal on Saturday and are 9/2 with bet365 to secure a much-needed victory, with midfielder Larsson keen to move on from a sorry story a week ago. He told the Gazette: “We were embarrassed, that’s the only word for it. What else can you feel? Let’s be honest. You have to hold your hands up and say it should never have happened. “It did, we can’t change it, but we can move forward and try to make up for it. We’ve dealt with it the way we think is right and now we have to look ahead. “There will be a reaction against Arsenal, you can be sure of that.” However, the omens for the Wearsiders are not good, with Arsenal winning 3-1 at the Stadium of Light last season before thumping the Black Cats 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium later on in the campaign.
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Soccer – Larsson backs Sunderland to react
Paul Nicholls Exclusive: Our most transitional season yet but we are investing and building for the future. Bring it on!October 24th, 2014 / betfair
Betfair ambassador and eight-times, and current, National Hunt champion trainer Paul Nicholls believes Jonjo O’Neill probably deserves to be the bookmakers’ favourite to win the trainers’ title this season but he is relishing the challenge ahead. Here he sets the scene for the new season in his exclusive Betfair column…
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Paul Nicholls Exclusive: Our most transitional season yet but we are investing and building for the future. Bring it on!
Andrew Atherley says Swansea can get back on track with victory over shot-shy Leicester in the Saturday teatime kick-off…
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Swansea v Leicester: Swans have the goal power to put a smile back on Monk’s face
Samoa will not shirk the challenge but McNamara’s men possess too much star quality
Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini says his side must ignore a lengthy injury list and secure a Champions League win at Anderlecht on Wednesday. Arsene Wenger is currently without Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina, while suspension for regular number one goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny means that third-choice Emiliano Martinez will make his Champions League debut. However, Flamini does not want to hear any complaining about the absentees and instead wants the Gunners to go out and ensure they take all three points, with Arsenal 4/5 with bet365 to win in Belgium. He commented: “We’re having injuries, but we don’t want to hide behind any excuses.” Arsenal have opened their Champions League Group D campaign with a 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund and a 4-1 victory over Galatasaray. Meanwhile, their only previous meeting with Anderlecht came in the 1969-70 Fairs Cup final, when the Gunners overturned a 3-1 first leg loss to win 3-0 at Highbury and lift the trophy.
Soccer – Flamini ignores injury problems
Cristiano Ronaldo has said he will not be concerning himself with Lionel Messi and is only interested in helping Real Madrid win the first ‘El Clasico’ of the new La Liga season on Saturday. Luis Enrique’s Barcelona will make the hotly-anticipated trip to the Spanish capital having had an extra day’s rest from Tuesday’s 3-1 win against Ajax in the Champions League. Ronaldo and Camp Nou icon Messi have long been pitted together as big rivals for the world’s best-player tag, but the Portugal superstar says Saturday’s showdown is not about individuals. The Catalan capital title-chasers have only dropped two points from their opening eight games in the top flight and have yet to concede a goal in Spain’s La Liga. Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo says Los Blancos need to beat Barca to have any hope of usurping their rivals in the title race and is expecting a massive test. “It will be a difficult match because Barcelona are playing well,” he told the official club website. “I’m not going to play against Messi, I’m going to play against Barcelona. They are a great team. Real Madrid and Barcelona are playing each other.” Real Madrid are currently priced 11/8 by bet365 in the match betting and the draw is quoted 13/5. Barcelona are available to back in the 90 minutes market at 7/4.
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Soccer – Ronaldo not interested in sideshow
Rafael da Silva has said Manchester United should not fear the visit of leaders Chelsea on Sunday and demanded his team-mates make their own Premier League statement. The west London club have only dropped two points from their opening eight games – in a 1-1 draw against Manchester City – and have not lost in six previous meetings against the former champions. Young defender Rafael says Louis van Gaal’s men are relishing the visit of Jose Mourinho’s early-season pacesetters and said they can inflict a first defeat on the capital club. “Everyone is beatable,” he told the club’s official website. “We have to do our best, of course. They are playing well. “We’re playing at Old Trafford though and we’ve been getting results there so they are definitely beatable.” The 24-year-old is convinced Van Gaal’s new signings are starting to have an impact at Old Trafford and feels victory against Chelsea could give the supporters a huge lift. He added: “Football is about results and, when you don’t play well and draw, like on Monday night [2-2 at West Brom], of course everyone will speak. But hopefully we can play well against Chelsea and, if we get the result, it would be very positive for us and the whole team.” Manchester United are currently priced 9/5 by bet365 in the match betting and the draw is quoted 12/5. Chelsea are available to back at 7/5 in the 90 minutes market.
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Soccer – Rafael won’t hide from Chelsea test