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EPL: Arsenal players vote for new captain

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Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, asked members of the squad to vote for their preferred captain, defender Rob Holding has revealed.

Emery introduced a pool of five skippers following his appointment last summer but saw his original choices decimated by the summer departures of Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey.

Granit Xhaka has so far worn the armband in the Premier League this term but is yet to convince in the role and was booed by his own fans during last weekend’s win over Aston Villa.

Mesut Ozil is the only other member of the initial five still at the club.

Holding, who captained the side after Ozil was substituted during their 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, has revealed Emery recently conducted a poll to decide who gets the armband.

“He likes his five captains. We all did a vote the other week so we’ll see what happens and see who gets named.

“It was just a case of writing names down and then giving them to the manager and he will go through them – obviously with his input – and we’ll see what happens.

“I have no idea [when an announcement will be made], but there is a lot of leaders in that team who are helping each other out and pushing each other on.

“Now that we’ve got these five captains that the manager has brought in it’s spreading the leadership group rather than having one person to dictate it. You’re getting more input, it’s generating a good environment,” Holding told Sky Sports.

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Qualified countries in Euro 2020

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Six countries have already booked their spots at next year’s European Championships.

They are Belgium, Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

Belgium qualified for the finals on Thursday, with a 9-0 victory at home to minnows San Marino and Russia joined them on Sunday with victory in Cyprus.

Spain secured their place in the finals draw with a 1-1 draw in Sweden on Tuesday, while Poland beat North Macedonia 2-0 on Sunday.

With seven wins out of seven, Italy are also through.

The top two teams (20 in total) in each group qualify automatically.

Four more nations will qualify via playoffs, qualification for which is based on UEFA Nations League performance.

The draw will be held on Saturday, November 30 in Bucharest, Romania.

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Chelsea suffer six injury blow ahead of EPL clash with Newcastle

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Chelsea have suffered six injury blow ahead of their English Premier League, EPL, clash with Newcastle United this weekend.

According to Evening Standard, Mateo Kovacic and Ethan Ampadu were the latest Blues players to pick up injuries during the international break on Sunday.

Both players lined up against each other on Sunday evening as Wales played a 1-1 draw with Croatia in a Euro 2020 qualifiers encounter.

Kovacic was replaced by Barcelona midfielder, Ivan Rakitic after a strong challenge from Tottenham’s Ben Davies, while Ampadu was replaced by Bristol City’s Joe Morrell just three minutes into the second half after a hard tackle from Bruno Petkovic.

However, Chelsea defender, Andreas Christensen sustained a groin injury during Denmark’s 1-0 win over Switzerland.

Chelsea youngers, Reece James and Trevor Chalobah withdrew from the England Under-21 squad last week ahead of their matches against Slovenia and Austria due to ‘fitness concerns’.

Midfielder, N’Golo Kante picked up a groin injury in the warm-up before France’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on Friday.

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Why I retired from international football at age 32 – Mikel Obi

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Former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, has revealed why he retired from international football at the age of 32.

TIMELY POST recalls that Mikel Obi announced his retirement from Super Eagles following the conclusion of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Egypt.

Mikel said he retired from international football because he wanted to give chance to the younger players in the Super Eagles squad, adding that he does not have many years of football in front of him.

The former Chelsea star spoke to Trabzonspor’s weekend magazine on why he quit the Super Eagles at the age of 32 years.

Mikel said: “I served the national team for 13 years, a larger part of those years as captain. In this process, we have achieved significant successes as a team. I first wanted to leave in 2013, but as a result of our negotiations with the authorities, I decided to continue.”

“We currently have very talented young players. They’re all bright. I think these players can handle the challenges. I had to make room for them. Besides, I don’ t have many years of football in front of me. I want to focus on my team.”

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