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Wilshere and Koscielny to be fit for Bayern clash, Vermalaen struggling

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Arsenal fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny have been declared most likely to be fit for the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 fixture against Bayern Munich.

The Gunners had their hearts in their mouth after Wilshere limped off during the weekend’s victory over Sunderland. The England International was involved a nasty collision with Alfred N’Diaye which saw the youngster’s hobble off and end the day with a heavily bandaged thigh.

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Petr Cech to face Sparta Prague despite broken finger

Chelsea keeper Petr Cech will be playing with a broken finger in the Europa League clash against Sparta Prague, reports the Sun.

The Czech Republic International left Sparta Prague and joined the European Champions 11 years ago. The shot-stopper is eager to face his former club despite the injury. The Blues number 1 had missed the weekend Premier League fixture against Wigan, but he’s been training hard to face his former club.

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Hodgson wants Lampard to continue career in Europe

Roy Hodgson has instructed Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard to continue his playing career in Europe, should the Blues release him at the end of the season. The England coach believes that 34 year-old Lampard is likely to reach the century mark for the national side, but he must play in Europe to make it easier for the manager to assess him regularly, revealed ESPN Soccernet.

The Blues midfielder was the star of England’s 2-1 friendly victory over South American giants Brazil as he netted the winner on 60 minutes. Lampard had come on at half-time to replace Tom Cleverley in midfield and put in a superb 45 minute performance for The Three Lions.

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International Friendly Wrap: England, Germany and Spain win; Italy hold Netherlands

The midweek international friendlies provided the perfect opportunity for nations to gauge their preparations for next year's World Cup and judging by last night's performances, England and Germany could be the teams to beat in Brazil in 2014. England turned on the style in their 2-1 win over Brazil at Wembley to mark FA's 150-year celebrations as Ashley Cole became the 7th player to notch 100 caps for the Three Lions. However, it was Frank Lampard who stole the limelight with his winner after coming off the bench. Meanwhile, Germany broke their French hoodoo as they came from behind to beat France 2-1 to register their first win over the Les Blues since 1987. Mathieu Valbuena gave France the lead in the first half only for Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira to start the New Year in style for Germany.

However, there was no happy ending for the Netherlands as the Dutch were forced to settle for a late draw against Italy after Marco Verratti scored an injury time equalizer to cancel out Jermain Lens' opener. Elsewhere, Barcelona-dominated Spain registered a comfortable 3-1 win over Uruguay with a goal from Cesc Fabregas and brace from Pedro. There was also victory for Argentina who killed off the game inside the opening 23 minutes with goals from Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain leading them to a 3-2 win over Sweden.

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Arsenal legend Liam Brady tips Wilshere for greatness

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Former Arsenal star and current Arsenal Head of Youth Development, Liam Brady believes that Gunners star Jack Wilshere has the quality to develop into a true England veteran in the same league as Paul Gascoigne, Glenn Hoddle and Wayne Rooney.

Wilshere had shown great promise on a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers although his Arsenal and England careers have been marred by recurring injuries. However, the 21 year-old has made a strong return to action this season and has often been Arsenal’s most impressive player on the pitch. Roy Hodgson even called up the promising youngster to the national side for their mid-week friendly against Brazil.

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Ashley Cole: England’s least adored centurion?

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole will enter an elite group of players on Wednesday night, becoming the 7th man to make 100 appearances or more for England. However, the veteran defender admits that he does not enjoy the same legendary status as the previous six centurions to don the whites of England.

While Bobby Moore and Sir Bobby Charlton are remembered by fans for winning the 1966 World Cup, Billy Wright and Peter Shilton are respected former England captains. Steven Gerrard and David Beckham are also English legends in their own right despite their lack of trophies at the international level and Cole knows that he does not enjoy the same level of recognition despite his 100 match milestone.

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Walcott targets central striker’s role under Roy Hodgson

Arsenal ace Theo Walcott has already convinced Arsene Wenger to employ him in a central striker’s role at the club and the 23 year-old is now planning to establish himself in a similar role in the England national team.

Walcott has been a first team regular at Arsenal since making his debut in 2006 and the player has dazzled in a right winger’s role over the years. However, following the departure of Robin van Persie last summer, the club have struggled to slam in the goals and Walcott has often stepped in to rescue the Gunners. Walcott insisted on a central strike role and despite his initial reluctance, Wenger gave in to the player’s demand, using the pacey forward there occasionally.

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