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Arsene Wenger has known Gérard Houllier since both men started their careers in the French championship 28 years ago, but the Arsenal manager confessed this week to being surprised that today he will once again sit in the opposite dugout to his old friend.
The 2-0 Champions League defeat to Braga highlighted problems that threaten to wreck a promising season
Blackburn Rovers 2 Aston Villa 0
Robert Pires is heading back to the Barclays Premier League after agreeing a short-term deal with Aston Villa.
Arsenal winger Samir Nasri maintains players in the Barclays Premier League are not "evil", but feels referees should do more to protect players.
The Premier League table shows Manchester City are Chelsea's closest rivals, yet the defending champions do not seem to consider them as genuine challengers, despite their 1-0 defeat at Eastlands 10 days ago.
It may not be much comfort to the ruined physiotherapist Steph Brennan but there might just be a day when he can look back on the "Bloodgate" affair and remember that in the worst days of his life – and the sport to which he attached himself – he showed a degree of moral discernment.
World Cup Lives
Spanish midfielder attacks Benitez on eve of key Europa League tie for beleaguered Liverpool
Wenger: Nobody would deny that we are in front of Tottenham / Redknapp: Arsenal do not have what it takes to win the league
Fans of the World Cup will see Henry's protest as evidence the event is not losing its lustre
If only Arsène Wenger, English football's principal patron of the beautiful game, could have dragged himself a little further over the line of denial he has always drawn against outrages committed by his own players.
Villarreal will face Arsenal tomorrow night still reeling from their worst 90 minutes of the season and the loss of one of their best players – Spain international winger Santi Cazorla, whose fractured fibula rules him out for the rest of the season. In need of a straightforward three points, sealed early enough in the game to allow him to take off his most important players, coach Manuel Pellegrini looked on in horror as Cazorla was carried off and Robert Pires sent off.
Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen was widely derided for his comical dive at the Emirates last weekend but, he tells Ian Herbert with disarming candour, he was tired, the pictures were misleading – and others do much worse
Atletico Madrid captain Maxi Rodriguez has issued a belated apology following his angry reaction to being substituted against Barcelona on Sunday.
Barcelona 3 Real Mallorca 1