Left-back Ed­mil­son happy in his dual role at City

Wenger ad­mits Ar­se­nal were to blame for Alexis Sanchez’s missed drugs test

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - RODNEY REINERS

MAN­AGER Arsene Wenger said yes­ter­day that Ar­se­nal were re­spon­si­ble for striker Alexis Sanchez miss­ing a drug test on the day he com­pleted his move to Manch­ester United, and that the player’s ab­sence had been down to spe­cial cir­cum­stances.

Sanchez, 29, was due to be tested at Ar­se­nal’s train­ing com­plex on Mon­day but had al­ready trav­elled to Manch­ester to com­plete a swap deal that saw Ar­me­nia in­ter­na­tional Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan head­ing the other way.

“Hon­estly, on the ad­min­is­tra­tion side cer­tainly it would still be our re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause, on the day, he had not moved, so maybe it will be down to us, to our re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Wenger said.

“I don’t know what hap­pened but usu­ally we try our best to get our play­ers avail­able and co­or­di­nate well.”

Wenger said the club had not yet been con­tacted by UK Anti-Dop­ing (UKAD) or the English Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion ( FA), but that Ar­se­nal had noth­ing to hide.

“I’m quite re­laxed be­cause we have noth­ing to hide here. He has been tested so many times here, it is no worry he has any dop­ing prob­lem, just a bad day for him to be tested,” the French­man added.

“It’s a spe­cial event for him to miss a drugs test be­cause he will cer­tainly be some­where else with his agent.”

Em­bat­tled Real Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane said yes­ter­day that he would re­sign im­me­di­ately if he felt he was no longer able to get through to his play­ers at the cri­sis-hit club.

The stumbling Euro­pean and Span­ish cham­pi­ons were sent pack­ing from the King’s Cup by Madrid min­nows Le­ganes af­ter los­ing 2-1 at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu on Wed­nes­day.

They sit fourth in the league stand­ings, a re­mark­able 19 points adrift of runaway lead­ers Barcelona.

“If I thought my mes­sage wasn’t get­ting through I would leave here to­mor­row,” Zi­dane said.

The French­man was only re­cently hailed as a mas­ter man­ager of Madrid’s fa­mously tem­pes­tu­ous dress­ing room for lead­ing the team to his­toric back-to-back Cham­pi­ons League tri­umphs as well as end­ing a five-year wait for a league ti­tle.

His qual­i­ties as a coach have been thrown into doubt this sea­son, how­ever, as he has been un­able to re­sus­ci­tate his side, who have lost three and drawn two of their last eight games in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Real’s only re­al­is­tic chance of sav­ing their sea­son is in the Cham­pi­ons League, where they face Paris St Ger­main in the last 16.

“Foot­ball is full of good and bad mo­ments and I have to try and turn this sit­u­a­tion around and I still feel strong,” Zi­dane added. – Reuters FOOT­BALL IS not just about op­por­tu­nity – it’s the abil­ity to recog­nise the po­ten­tial of the op­por­tu­nity and then mak­ing the most of it. So, with Cape Town City blessed with two top- qual­ity left- backs – Ebrahim See­dat and Ed­mil­son Dove – op­por­tu­nity be­comes that much more crit­i­cal.

City are back in ac­tion to­mor­row af­ter­noon when they are in the Free State to face Bloem­fontein Celtic in a PSL fix­ture at the Dr Molemela Sta­dium ( kick- off 3.30pm) – and, if the sec­ond­placed Capeto­ni­ans want to stay in touch with log-lead­ers Mamelodi Sun­downs, then this is a fix­ture they can­not af­ford to lose.

The com­pe­ti­tion be­tween See­dat and Ed­mil­son for the left- back slot has been an in­trigu­ing con­test. Nei­ther has let the side down. Head coach Benni McCarthy has the lux­ury of know­ing that, it doesn’t mat­ter who he picks of the two, he is guar­an­teed a good per­for­mance.

Ear­lier on in the sea­son, See­dat was the man in charge of the jer­sey. He turned in some good dis­plays, with Ed­mil­son of­fer­ing sup­port from the bench.

But, with See­dat tak­ing some time off to sup­port his wife giv­ing birth, Ed­mil­son was drafted into the start­ing side again. And he hasn’t looked back – the 23-year-old Mozam­bi­can has been one of the more im­pres­sive per­form­ers for City in re­cent weeks.

“I feel very good to be play­ing reg­u­larly again,” said Ed­mil­son. “I am feel­ing more fit which helps me to get for­ward a lot more to help in at­tack too. There is a healthy com­pe­ti­tion for left back be­tween my­self and See­dat, so he pushes me to keep do­ing well.”

In Celtic, City are up against a dif­fi­cult op­po­nent, es­pe­cially at their home ground. The Bloem­fontein side has had an er­ratic time of it, but are nev­er­the­less in a com­fort­able ninth po­si­tion on the PSL stand­ings.

“It’s al­ways dif­fi­cult to travel to Celtic be­cause they have good home sup­port and they know how to use their home ad­van­tage,” said the classy Mozam­bi­can left-back. “They have been do­ing well in the league and they beat us in the first round.

“We know that we can ex­pect a tough en­counter, but we are all up for it. We man­aged to get some points away from home this sea­son, and I am look­ing for­ward to this chal­lenge.”

City are, of course, still on a high af­ter de­feat­ing arch-ri­vals and neigh­bours Ajax Cape Town in the Cape derby last week. It was the fourth time the Cit­i­zens have emerged vic­to­ri­ous in the derby since the for­ma­tion of the club.

Ed­mil­son was happy to have played his part in last week’s tri­umph, but ad­mit­ted it was time to look for­ward; the derby suc­cess is over, now the fo­cus was on the three points against Celtic.

“It was a very good oc­ca­sion for all of us to play in an­other derby,” he said. “We re­ally en­joyed our­selves in the match, es­pe­cially to get the three points and an­other clean sheet.

“We had a good team per­for­mance to get the win and to keep Cape Town blue. I was happy to do my job in de­fence and at­tack for the team.”

BACKPAGEPIX

LET’S MAKE SOME TROU­BLE: Percy Tau cel­e­brates a goal with Khama Bil­liat of Sun­downs in a re­cent match. The Chiefs de­fence will have their hands full when these dan­ger­men call the shots tonight.

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