Wilshere close to new deal
Sat, 15 Dec 2012 23:22:00
Andre-Pierre Gignac's first goal since his return from injury moved Marseille level at the top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win at nine-man Toulouse on Saturday.
Gignac returned from a broken foot off the bench late in the midweek win at Bastia and saw Cheikh M'Bengue and Franck Tabanou sent off before his 47th-minute introduction.
Andre Ayew had also missed a first-half penalty but France striker Gignac decided the contest against his former club on 68 minutes.
The win lifted OM level with Lyon at the top, although Les Gones can move clear tomorrow when they face a tough trip to big-spending Paris St Germain.
Champions Montpellier moved into the top half of the table for the first time this season as they secured a third consecutive win - 4-0 over Bastia.
After Marco Estrada's sensational 14th-minute opener, second-half goals from Emanuel Herrera, Younes Belhanda and Anthony Mounier ensured the recent resurgence of Rene Girard's side has now started to gather real momentum.
The 4-0 scoreline was Montpellier's biggest win of the campaign - beating the 3-0 success over Ajaccio only last weekend - as their disappointing start has started to fade from memory.
Sixteen-year-old winger Neal Maupay came off the bench to score a dramatic late winner as Nice came from two goals down to beat Evian 3-2 at the Stade Municipal du Ray.
Maupay was given his Ligue 1 debut in the 87th minute and duly rewarded manager Claude Puel, who saw his side move up to fourth, with a volley in the first minute of stoppage time.
That looked unlikely when strikes from Yannick Sagbo and Cedric Barbosa put Evian two goals to the good inside 13 minutes, but a goal in either half from Dario Cvitanich levelled proceedings before Maupay notched late on.
Troyes picked up only their second league win of the season, 3-2 over Ajaccio to move off the bottom of the table - but came close to throwing away the victory at the death.
Jean-Marc Furlan's side headed into the game having collected just nine points from 17 games, but raced into a three-goal interval lead thanks to strikes from Stephane Darbion, Benjamin Nivet and Fabien Camus at the Stade de l'Aube.
The visitors finally got going in the closing stages - pulling one back in the 89th minute through substitute Paul-Bastien Lasne and reducing the deficit further in stoppage time when Johan Cavalli's free-kick flew in off the head of Troyes defender Granddi Ngoyi - but they had left their charge too late.
Brest claimed their first away win, 2-1 at fellow strugglers Sochaux. Cedric Bakambu gave the home side the lead in the second half but goals from Kamel Chafni and Eden Ben Basat turned things in Brest's favour.
A first goal in six games was not enough for Reims to claim a much-needed win as they drew 1-1 with Lille.
Despite the recent profligacy of Hubert Fournier's team they led with just six minutes on the clock through Anthony Weber.
However, just when they looked on course to claim a first win since October 6, the home side conceded an equaliser to Dimitri Payet.
Manager Arsene Wenger takes his misfiring side to bottom club Reading on Monday night looking for a response to the Capital One Cup humiliation by Bradford.
Wenger insists he has full confidence in his squad, who have been criticised for a string of below-par displays this season which have left them well off the pace in the Premier League.
And Wilshere's intention to commit himself to the club will be a welcome boost for the Gunners.
"I am talking to the club and I probably will be committing my future to the club in the next couple of weeks," he said.
"I know the team are going through a bad stage at the moment, but that is like any team."
The 20-year-old also sees no reason why Arsenal cannot turn things around in 2013.
"We can still realistically win everything we are in. I know we are a long way behind in the Premier League, but football changes quickly," Wilshere said at a FIFA 13 Ultimate Team appearance in a Q&A reproduced on www.skysports.com.
"If we win three games and another team loses a couple and draws one, we are back in it. It is not in our hands so we need a bit of luck.
"We are in the last 16 of the Champions League, that is going to be difficult, but we know in the Champions League anything can happen. It is two games and we can beat anybody. We showed that at home before when we beat Barcelona. There is no reason why we cannot do it again.
"We have got a hard game against Swansea in the FA Cup, but if we win that and a couple of big teams go out, anything can happen in cup football."
Wenger's position has come under scrutiny following one of the most testing spells of his 16 seasons at the helm.
But Wilshere is in no doubt the 63-year-old remains the best man for the job.
"For me, there is no question he is the right man. You cannot start questioning him because we have had a few bad results. The players have to look at themselves," Wilshere said.
"Every year he has been in the Champions League and there is no other manager who has done that. He has built a legacy at this club. He changed everything from when he came in 15-16 years ago. He brought the Total Football, if you like, to Arsenal - the passing game.
"He has also been great for me, has shown great faith in me from when I was young. He stuck with me when I was injured and has still stuck by me."
Despite all of Wilshere's positive rhetoric, the fact remains Arsenal have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
The midfielder accepts that run cannot be allowed to drag on towards a barren decade.
"It is something we have to change. It is there and it adds to the pressure. It has been too long for a club like Arsenal," Wilshere added.
"We used to win trophies in the past so there is no reason why we cannot.
"We have got good players. Maybe there is just a mental block we need to get over. When we get our first one, it can all start to happen."