Chelsea door ‘not shut’ for Terry

Lesotho Times - - News -

LON­DON — Arse­nal boss Arsene Wenger ac­knowl­edged his side are play­ing catch-up in the Premier League ti­tle race af­ter their goal­less home draw with Southamp­ton on Tues­day night.

The Gun­ners are with­out a win in four league games and have failed to score in the past three.

They are fourth in ta­ble, five points be­hind lead­ers Le­ices­ter.

“We have to catch that back and we have a dif­fi­cult pro­gramme, es­pe­cially away from home,” Wenger told the club’s of­fi­cial web­site.

“We need to re­spond quickly away from home now.”

Arse­nal have only won once in the league this year, draw­ing 3-3 at Liverpool and 0-0 at Stoke, and los­ing 1-0 at home to Chelsea prior to Tues­day’s match.

Asked if he was wor­ried his team’s sea­son would tail off, Wenger said: “It’s too early to say that. It’s true that we’ve had a stut­ter­ing start in 2016.

“Our Jan­uary was bad, start­ing from the last minute at Liverpool, and then at Stoke.

“Where we es­pe­cially have a big deficit is in our two home games. We played with 10 men for the whole game against Chelsea and to­day we cre­ated 10 chances and didn’t score.”

Le­ices­ter’s 2-0 win over Liverpool means they re­tain top spot, while Arse­nal have dropped below Manch­ester City and Tot­ten­ham, who won at Sun­der­land and Nor­wich re­spec­tively on Tues­day.

“Le­ices­ter won again and now I am sure that ev­ery­body will take them very se­ri­ously, es­pe­cially in the me­dia, so they will be un­der pres­sure as well,” said Wenger.

“But we don’t have to look too much at Le­ices­ter or Man City. We have to win foot­ball games. We have to fo­cus on how to re­spond quickly and win our next game, that’s all we can do.”

The Gun­ners cre­ated a num­ber of good chances against Southamp­ton but were un­able to con­vert them, with Saints goal­keeper COB­HAM — In­terim Chelsea man­ager Guus Hid­dink be­lieves there is still a chance cap­tain John Terry could re­main at the club be­yond this sea­son de­spite an­nounc­ing his de­par­ture, he said on Tues­day.

Terry, 35, said that he would be mov­ing on at the end of the cur­rent cam­paign af­ter Sun­day’s FA Cup win at Mil­ton Keynes Dons, while mak­ing it clear he would pre­fer to fin­ish his ca­reer at Stam­ford Bridge.

The club re­sponded by say­ing that Terry, who has made 696 ap­pear­ances for Chelsea over 21 years, could yet be of­fered a new deal, which Hid­dink echoed.

“It was said by John and he’s en­ti­tled to make up his mind, that’s true, given his con­tract ex­pires at the end of the sea­son,” Hid­dink said.

“But on the other hand, the club still want to have the di­a­logue and to have an open door still. It was a bit sur­pris­ing, but he’s en­ti­tled to do so. No spe­cific de­ci­sion was made yet. You have to see what’s com­ing up with the tran­si­tion of the man­ager as well. That’s all I can say about this.”

Terry has made it clear he would not seek to join an­other Premier League club and he is ex­pected to re­ceive of­fers to play in China, the Middle East and the United States.

And Hid­dink be­lieves the cen­tre-back’s gen­eral fit­ness sug­gests he can main­tain his cur­rent level for some time yet.

“I like him very much, the way he’s play­ing and that he’s com­mit­ted to the team,” the Dutch­man told a press con­fer­ence at Chelsea’s Cob­ham train­ing base south­west of Lon­don. He will be (com­mit­ted), I can as­sure you, be­cause we’ve had some con­ver­sa­tions in the last few days about all kinds of things in foot­ball.”

He added: “The door is not shut. Di­a­logue is al­ways pos­si­ble. But John’s sta­tis­tics -not just that, but also the view we have on him, I have on him — he’s very fit.

“He’s not what you nor­mally see in a 35-year-old or 36-year-old player, that you feel you are get­ting a bit slower and can­not ac­cept you’re in a dan­ger zone for red cards etc. But none of that for John. He is fit and per­form­ing as he has been while I’ve been here. And he will do. We’ve spo­ken about that, and he will be very pro­fes­sional, but also work hard as well.” — AFP

Chelsea cap­tain John Terry.

arse­nal’s Me­sut Ozil fails to beat Fraser Forster once again on Tues­day night.

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