ARSHAVIN HAPPY FOR ZHIRKOV

Andrey Arshavin has admitted his frustration after enduring Arsenal’s ‘pitiful’ trophyless season.

“There was nothing special last season for me to think back about,” Arshavin told The Sun. “The season was normal – even pitiful.”

In contrast, Arshavin heaped praise on league victors Chelsea and compatriot Yuri Zhirkov, admitting their win was well-earned.

“I am happy for Yuri Zhirkov, who won the Premier League with Chelsea,” he added.

“They deserved the trophy, as they were the strongest during the season. We didn’t win much for fans doing football spread betting.

ZHIRKOV: HARD GAMES TO COME

After our marvellous 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, a win that saw us leapfrog the champions back to the top of the league, the bookies have shortened our title odds and the pundits have revised their tips, once again, to dub us champions-elect.

With five league games remaining, three of which will be played at Stamford Bridge, and a two-point cushion at the top of the table, it’s fair to say that the destiny of the title is in our hands.

However, Yuri Zhirkov, our Russian winger / makeshift full back, has spoken out in the aftermath of our triumph in the North West to warn that the title race is far from over.

‘It is far too early to become deluded,’ he said. ‘The champion’s race continues. We have some hard games ahead – particularly those against Liverpool and Tottenham. We are determined to win our remaining games.’

OBI MIKEL BACKS ZHIRKOV

John Obi Mikel is backing Chelsea teammate Yury Zhirkov to fill the void left by Ashley Cole’s injury.

Zhirkov appears the prime candidate to replace Cole at left-back.

“Ashley is going to big a loss for us because he is a very important player for this team,” Nigeria midfielder Mikel told chelseafc.com.

“But we have Yury, who can play in that position as well, and this is football, these things happen.

“We feel really bad that something like that happens to him at this time in the season, we don’t want it to happen to him at any time of the season, but with such important games coming up it’s going to be a big blow.”

ZHIRKOV KNEE TROUBLES

Chelsea’s marquee signing over the summer was the £18m acquisition of Yuri Zhirkov from CSKA Moscow, but since his arrival he has played a whole 20 minutes of competitive football.

‘I suffered a painful blow on the knee early in the game against Germany,’ Zhirkov said to Paris Sportifs.

‘It ached a little afterwards, but there was no sign of a continuing problem.’

The problem with his right knee just won’t go away, and the problem is that no-one knows what is causing it. When he looked like he was close to full recovery he was allowed to join the Russia team to face Germany in a crucial World Cup Group match, and it seems that he aggravated the injury straight away.

Again it looked like the problem went away, he was finally picked to play Atletico Madrid in last weeks Champions League match, and, again, the problem returned.

‘After the match with Atletico, the knee swelled up terribly and the doctors couldn’t explain exactly what was happening.

‘There was even a theory that my body was reacting to a complete change in climate, food and every else.’

‘There was talk of an operation, but now, after pumping out liquid on the knee, it is more or less normal, thank God’

ZHIRKOV FIT IN A WEEK

Yuri Zhirkov has allayed fears that he needs an operation on his right knee.

Chelsea’s marquee summer signing has been unable to make his debut following an £18million move from CSKA Moscow.

The Russia winger, 26 today, hopes to return to training in the next few days but will not be fit to face Fulham in the west London derby on Sunday.

Instead, he is targetting the home tie against Burnley on Saturday week as the perfect game in which to make his bow.

Zhirkov has dismissed reports in Russia that he was set for a lengthy absence because of surgery.

‘I don’t know who spread these rumours, but they don’t correspond to reality,’ he said.

‘My condition has improved and the doctors say that in two or three days I will be able to return to training, although not fully. I’ll work on an individual program.

‘All will be clear after an examination on Thursday. I was feeling pain and noticeably limping when running, but now that’s behind me. I just need to tone up the leg.’

Zhirkov has been troubled by a compound knee injury that worsened after his appearance for Chelsea against AC Milan on the clubs’ pre-season US tour.

VALBUENA JOINS MOSCOW

The French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena has joined Dynamo Moscow after having played for Marseille for over 7 years. The experienced midfielder went on saying during a press conference that Dynamo Moscow have a real project and true ambitions of winning titles, this was one of the main reasons on why he decided to join the Russian club.

“There is a lot of emotion. I promised myself not to cry but I spent eight years here, I experienced fantastic things, titles, and league cups. I’m proud of that, but the page turns today. I did so much here and everything OM has given me has been positive. All of my coaches have mattered to me but I don’t forget Jose Anigo and Pape Diouf who trusted in me when I was coming from a small club. My greatest pride is to have succeeded here’’

‘’But it was time to move on. Dynamo showed a lot of interest in me. The coach, Stanislav Cherchesov wanted me since 2008 when I played against Spartak Moscow. I liked what he had to say. And the club has a real project. They want to win everything. I want to help them progress.”

Valbuena joined Dynamo Moscow on August 1st and he will be eager to help his new club in their journey of not only competing in the Russian League but also in their upcoming games of the Europa League.

Dynamo Moscow is also being linked with Jean Armel Kana Biyik of Rennes. Biyik is a 25 year old Cameroonian defender who has lured the attention of not only Dynamo Moscow but also Palermo, West Ham United and the Scottish champions Celtic.

Palermo is believed to be on the verge of signing Biyik although no official news has been released by either the Italian club or the player.

DIFFICULT LIFE

Anzhi Makhachkala manager Gadzhi Gadzhiev has stated that the club are more likely to be relegated at the end of the season. This stunning admission comes in the wake of several financial problems at the club. After being funded by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov for the last few years, the club splashed out heavily on players like Samuel Eto’o. Even more than the transfer fees, the wages paid to some of the players made them the best paid in the world. However, after running into problems in his personal and professional life, Kerimov has been faced with severe financial difficulties.

This has translated into Anzhi Makhachkala being pulled out of Kerimov’s purse. This has left the club stranded and they have had to sell star names like Willian for massive fees to clubs abroad. In the case of Willian, the Brazilian midfielder joined Chelsea for a fee believed to be worth around £ 30 million. After the sale of such important players, the club has been managing through with youth team players.

This has consequently resulted in a massive drop in form, as they have managed just one win in the last 22 matches. They are now bottom of the Russian league table and Gadzhiev says that they have only a 20% chance of being in the Russian top division next season. The club were in the lower leagues of Russian football before Kerimov arrived. He funded the club with several new players along with top class infrastructure to go along with it.

“Our chances of staying in the PL are 20 to 30 percent,” said the manager about their survival chances. Anzhi Makhachkala were knocked out of Europe after suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar earlier in the campaign. It looks highly unlikely that they will be in Europe in the near future.

ANZHI BLOW

Anzhi Makhachkala’s season suffered a huge blow and started going down since the moment when Samuel Eto’o and Willian were offloaded to Chelsea and the financial support from the billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov appeared to have diminished compared to previous seasons.

The Russian club is currently located at the very bottom of the Russian Premier League having only secured 12 points so far and victory at this advanced stage of the league.

Gadzhi Gadzhiyev is the head coach of Anzhi Makhachkala and he has already stated his concerns about being relegated as he is almost certain that there is little which can be done at this point in time in order to avoid getting relegated.

“Our chances of staying in the PL are 20 to 30 percent,” Gadzhiev said in comments posted on Anzhi’s Twitter feed.

They are already are making plans of boosting their squad for the upcoming seasons with the Spanish forward of Swansea City, Michu on their watch-list. Michu has been suffering from a series of injuries that have kept him out of action for the majority of the season.

Even with his consistent number of setbacks that Michu is prone to be facing in recent times, the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala is interested in securing his services when the transfer window opens in the summer.

Suleyman Kerimov and the rest of the staff members have already noticed the mistake it was to sell some of their biggest stars such as Eto’o and Lacina Traore which is why they will be attempting to bring back quality players to the team starting off with the Spanish forward of Swansea City.

CHELSEA STEP IT UP

Chelsea’s current campaign has been given a significant boost as they have sealed crucial victories against Manchester City and Manchester United, not only that but the recently closed transfer window saw them securing the services of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah as well as seeing Juan Mata making his way out of the club and into Manchester United.

According to the Portuguese coach, he stated that Matic and Salah are the future of the club as they have the abilities and ambition to make an impact with the club.

“Matic has grown as a player during his time in Portugal and he has come back to this club as a fantastic all-round midfielder,” Mourinho told Chelsea magazine, the club’s official monthly title. As for Salah, he is a young, enthusiastic player with great pace and we have seen that he can score goals and create chances for his team-mates’’.

Chelsea’s victory against Manchester United was an important accomplishment not only for the club as they keep on piling the pressure against the other top teams of the Premier League but it’s a more significant and meaningful event for Mourinho as he became the fastest manager on securing 100 victories in the English League.

“My first thought after the Manchester United game was not for my 100 wins but that it was a good win for Chelsea, because that is what matters at the end,” Mourinho added.
“Of course I am pleased mainly because it means that Chelsea have picked up 300 points from those 100 games we have won together.”

Samuel Eto’o was awarded with the man of the match award during Chelsea’s match against Manchester United as the former Barcelona player scored all 3 goals that helped his team defeat the side of David Moyes.

CHELSEA WANT SIGNINGS

With the winter transfer window just around the corner, Chelsea is a club that has been linked with a series of players that are rumored to be leaving the Premier League club meanwhile some others were linked to join the side of Jose Mourinho.

Ac.Milan’s Mario Balotelli is believed to be a target of Jose Mourinho but the agent of the former Inter Milan player said that no offers or talks have been made involving the player, besides it seems hard to believe that Ac.Milan are willing to let him go considering that he still has not even had 1 year since joining the Italian club.

Juan Mata has struggled under Jose Mourinho, the Spanish midfielder has failed to secure a regular spot in Chelsea. If Mata wants to ensure he gets playing time it would be ideal for him to make a switch to another club, Inter Milan is believed to be preparing a bid for Mata.

If Mata does decide however to remain in Chelsea, his chances of being featured in Spain for the 2014 World Cup will be up for grabs as Vicente del Bosque will only be looking at players that are fit and having plenty of playing time in their respective clubs and a team that has so many stars as Spain, it will be hard for Juan Mata to secure a spot in the starting lineup.

Michael Essien is another player that might be seeing his way out of Chelsea in this winter as his agent Fabien Piveteau has already confirmed.

“It’s true that he could leave Chelsea this winter.Several big European clubs playing in the Champions League have made enquiries and it should play out in the next 10 days or so.”

At this point it’s not a secret that Jose Mourinho wants to boost his attacking department as his own forward have been struggling to score goals in this season and Diego Costa is a big target for the Portuguese tactician however if Mourinho wants to sign Atletico Madrid’s star he will have to offload his backup goalkeeper Courtouis as the Spanish club is interested in signing him on a permanent deal.