Breakfast Briefing: Wenger wants Arsenal to dominate and Vertonghen returns for Spurs
Arsene Wenger has issued a rallying call ahead of Arsenal's crunch fixture against Liverpool this Saturday, saying his charges have to dominate the game at Anfield to kick off what will be a difficult month. There's the small matter of nullifying SAS - Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, but the Arsenal manager believes his team have the mental and physical strength to pull through.
Bitter rivals Tottenham have also received a welcome boost ahead of their game against Hull City, as Dutch defender Jan Vertonghen returns from a month's absence. Spurs captain Michael Dawson has hailed the return of his "world-class" defensive partner, adding that the club needs as many players fit ahead of a tough fixture list.
It's all kicking off at the other end of the table too as clubs scramble to avoid the dreaded drop. West Ham's Mark Noble has thrown down the gauntlet at Upton Park, challenging his teammates to "dig in and get results" in order to escape the relegation zone.
Likewise, Sunderland signing Liam Bridcutt is aware of the task that faces his new club after the high of beating arch rivals Newcastle in his debut appearance. The former Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder has realised that every game from this weekend on is a 'must win' for the Black Cats and is looking forward to the challenge.
But the award for the most cliched soundbite of the day goes to Tony Pulis, as the Crystal Palace manager declares that his team is preparing for "14 cup finals" as they bid to stave off relegation. "The crucial thing is to get one point more than the team that finishes third from bottom," Pulis says. Good to know the gaffer has it all worked out.
The drama continues at Swansea, even as interim manager Garry Monk more or less hangs up his boots and prepares to steer the club to safety. Sacked predecessor Michael Laudrup is demanding an explanation over his dismissal from the Welsh club, even as he takes legal advice regarding the manner of his removal.
Turns out Joe Kinnear wasn't the only one leaving Newcastle's ranks this month, as reserve team manager Willie Donachie resigns amidst reports he hit one of his own players. It's certainly not been a great week at St. James Park, but striker Shola Ameobi is adamant that the team will not left off-field matters distract them from preparing to face Chelsea.
Promising Manchester City youngsters will now have the option of developing their skills in America after New York City head coach Jason Kreis revealed he was looking at potential targets from their parent club to fill his four overseas loan slots. The 41-year-old was appointed last month, but has already started planning for the 2015 MLS season.