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Wenger: "I trust our mental strength"

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called on the team to concentrate on themselves and not what Bayern Munich are capable of when they line up in the last 16 of the Champions League at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow night.

While the Gunners head into the European tie on the back of Saturday's deflating 1-0 home FA Cup defeat by Blackburn, and currently only fifth in the Barclays Premier League, Bayern look in ominous form.

Wenger told journalists today that nil nil would not be a disaster but the team will try to score goals.

Bale: 'My best is yet to come'

Gareth Bale sent out a warning to Tottenham's rivals by declaring he is yet to reach his peak.

Bale came to Tottenham's rescue once again last night by scoring two sensational free-kicks to hand Andre Villas-Boas' men a 2-1 victory over Lyon in the Europa League.

Bale celebrates after his two goals helped Tottenham to beat Newcastle last weekend
Bale celebrates after his two goals helped Tottenham to beat Newcastle last weekend Credit: PA

Without the 15 goals scored by the in-form Welshman, Spurs would sit 10th in the Barclays Premier League, rather than fourth.

"It's probably the best I've been playing so far in my career, but I've still got room for improvement," Bale said after the 2-1 win.

"Season after season I have to improve in all areas. I just want to keep doing that, keep working hard and, hopefully, keep getting better.

"I've just got to keep my head down, keep working hard, keep trying to keep my form."

Arsenal sweat over fitness of key trio

Arsenal will check on the fitness of captain Thomas Vermaelen (ankle), midfielder Jack Wilshere (thigh) and defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Blackburn at Emirates Stadium.

Jack Wilshere has been in inspired form of late for club and country
Jack Wilshere has been in inspired form of late for club and country Credit: PA

Full-back Carl Jenkinson is suspended after being sent off in last week's Barclays Premier League win at Sunderland.

Ivory Coast forward Gervinho could be back in contention after returning from the African Nations Cup. Left-back Kieran Gibbs remains out with a thigh injury.

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Chelsea's FA Cup squad boost

David Luiz, Demba Ba, Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel are available for Chelsea's FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford on Sunday after missing the Europa League win at Sparta Prague.

David Luiz has been one of Chelsea's most consistent performers all season
David Luiz has been one of Chelsea's most consistent performers all season Credit: PA

Luiz was suspended, Ba ineligible and Moses and Mikel rested, after winning the African Nations Cup with Nigeria, while John Terry and Ashley Cole were unused substitutes.

Andre Santos joins Gremio

Arsenal defender Andre Santos has joined Gremio on loan until the end of the season, the Barclays Premier League club have announced.

Santos moved to Arsenal from Fenerbahce in August 2011, but has failed to hold down a regular place in Arsene Wenger's first team.

Andre Santos has played 36 games for Arsenal
Andre Santos has played 36 games for Arsenal Credit: PA

The form of Kieran Gibbs and the arrival of Nacho Monreal means the Brazilian left-back has made only six starts for the Londoners this season and he has now been given a chance to play regular football back in his homeland.

Many had expected Wenger to hang on to Santos until the end of the season once Gibbs was ruled out for two months with a thigh injury, but the Arsenal boss has decided to let the £6.8million man depart for the Porto Alegre-based club.

Wenger will not be able to use Monreal in the Champions League as he is cup-tied, but the Frenchman is happy enough to deploy Thomas Vermaelen in that position in the competition.

Allardyce's West Ham future uncertain

West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce, has said that he will not shed light over his future at Upton Park.

The 58 year-old has been in charge since last summer and guided the Hammers back into the Barclays Premier League at the first time of asking.

Sam Allardyce watching his team being defeated by Aston Villa at the weekend
Sam Allardyce watching his team being defeated by Aston Villa at the weekend Credit: PA

Co-owner David Gold released a statement yesterday saying contract talks with Allardyce will not open until top-flight safety has been assured.

"As David Sullivan and I have always maintained, we will sit down and discuss Sam's contract situation once our Premier League status has been confirmed and not before," Gold's statement read.

"This is purely because the three of us don't want anything to distract attention from our aim of finishing as high up the Premier League table as possible."

Bale brace sinks Newcaslte

Tottenham beat Newcaslte 2-1 at White Hart Lane thanks to a brace from in-form Gareth Bale.

The Welsh International wasted no time and scored within five minutes, his dipping free kick beating Tim Krul from 25 yards.

Bale scoring his first goal from a free kick against Newcastle.
Bale scoring his first goal from a free kick against Newcastle. Credit: PA

Newcastle pulled one back after half an hour, Yoan Gouffran's shot taking a wicked deflection inside the box to leave Hugo LLoris stranded.

Newcastle dominated large parts of the game but Bale, like he has done so many times this season, swung the game in Spurs' favour.

The 23 year stealing the ball from Stephen Taylor in defence before slotting the ball between the legs of Krul to make it 2-1.

Bale has now scored all of Tottenham's goals in their last three matches and has 19 goals for club and country this season.

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