FOOTBALL: ROUND-UP - Anelka given a two-day deadline

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The Independent Online
ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal's manager, yesterday gave his unsettled striker Nicolas Anelka 48 hours to find a new employer or abide by his contract with the London club.

"If in 48 hours, Anelka has not found a club we will consider him an Arsenal player and that he's coming back home to us," Wenger said after watching his side draw 2-2 against Saint-Etienne in France. "In 48 hours, Arsenal will withdraw their accord to put Nicolas Anelka on the transfer market. There are the sudden desires of the players but there are, in fact, also duties because there is a contract."

The 20-year-old Frenchman, determined not to return to London next season, looked set to move to Lazio last week but negotiations carried out by his brothers broke down.

Wenger said: "The situation is very bad for Anelka's career. He doesn't gain anything with this and the club also loses. Arsenal and Lazio are in agreement so the fault lies with the player. What's happening this summer is abnormal because the contracts between players and clubs are no longer controlled by the directors," he said.

Nwankwo Kanu secured the draw for Arsenal in their friendly against last season's French Second Division winners. He struck in the 22nd minute and set up the equaliser for Fredrik Ljungberg two minutes later as Arsenal recovered well from a bad start. Saint-Etienne took advantage of hesitation in Arsenal's makeshift defence to score through the Brazilian Aloisio and Patric Revelles in the first 10 minutes.

West Ham managed a 1-1 draw in Finland to edge past Jokerit and make it through their Intertoto Cup third round tie 2-1 on aggregate.

The Hammers lost the 1-0 advantage they gained in the first leg at Upton Park when Tero Koskela punished them for wasting early chances by sending a weak shot past their goalkeeper, Shaka Hislop, in the 32nd minute.

Despite dominating possession, West Ham were unable to find a way through the determined Jokerit defence, but the Finns' resistance was finally broken 20 minutes from time. Paolo Di Canio was upended on the edge of the penalty area following a neat exchange with Paul Kitson, and Frank Lampard netted an unstoppable shot.

Michael Owen is near the end of a "long dark tunnel" and will be back in training within 10 days, the Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier, said yesterday after his side's impressive 2-0 win over Feyenoord at the Carlsberg Challenge in Belfast.

Owen's fitness problems and the length of time it is taking him to recover from a hamstring injury has been dominating Houllier's mind in recent days. He said: "For Michael, when he starts training again it will be the end of a long, dark tunnel for him. I can see that being within a week to 10 days."

Houllier had a difference of opinion with the club's physiotherapist, Mark Leather, over Owen's treatment, and the England international striker was sent to the German specialist Dr Hans Muller-Wohlfahrt, who looks after Bayern Munich and the German national side.

Houllier's new-look side was inspired to yesterday's victory by Vladimir Smicer. The Czech came on as a second-half substitute to turn the game for Liverpool with a spectacular goal, and then Titi Camara added the second. Smicer limped off with a recurrence of an ankle injury that had delayed his arrival to join the squad until Friday.

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