Thursday Kickoff: Özil believes in Arsenal title chances; Vucetich could be next Mexico coach; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Özil believes in Arsenal title chances; Vucetich could be next Mexico coach; and more

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Thursday Kickoff: Özil believes in Arsenal title chances; Vucetich could be next Mexico coach; and more

MesutOzilArsenal1Training (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Barely an Arsenal player for ten days now, new signing Mesut Özil is already endearing himself to the fans.

In his first press conference in London since joining the club, Özil spoke about a range of topics, but notably backed his young Arsenal side to make the jump this season and compete for a title. However, he said he knew that it would be tough to adjust to the pace and physicality of the English Premier League.

“I know the team, I know that talent we have here and I think every player wants to be successful,” Özil told the BBC. “I have watched a lot of Premier League games. It is very physical here but I am really glad to play in the best league in the world. I want to prove myself in England and I look forward to playing here. I know I will prove myself here.”

The German international is already being tipped to make his debut this Saturday when Arsenal visit Sunderland. In other news, Özil’s father Mustafa has hit out at Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, calling him a dishonorable man and is threatening court action for inflammatory statements towards Mesut.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

VUCETICH RUMORED TO BE NEXT MEXICO MANAGER

Recently sacked manager Victor Manuel Vucetich is the popular name making the rounds to become the next head coach of the Mexican National Team.

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has announced a press conference for 1pm on Thursday to announce their next head coach, after falling to the U.S. on Tuesday evening, 2-0, falling to fifth in the Hexagonal table and being in danger of missing the World Cup.

The 58-year-old Vucetich began the summer in his fourth season with Monterrey, but was fired just a few weeks into the season due to poor form. During his managerial career, Vucetich has won the first division title five times, second division title twice, Copa Mexico once, and the CONCACAF Champions League three times consecutively.

In 2010, Vucetich was offered the Mexico job but turned it down to stay with Monterrey. The FMF is looking for a new head coach for the second time in a week after firing Jose Manuel de la Torre following the embarrassing loss at home to Honduras, and realizing that Luis Fernando Tena wasn’t the best man for the job after the defeat in Columbus.

FIFA SANCTIONS CAPE VERDE, REMOVES THEM FROM CAF PLAYOFFS

Cape Verde, who delighted many with a nice run in the 2013 African Cup of Nations knockout rounds, have been sanctioned and removed from the third round of CAF World Cup qualifying by FIFA.

After an official complaint from the Tunisian FA, FIFA announced that Cape Verde did indeed field an ineligible player during a match between the two nations on September 7, forcing the island nation to forfeit the match and pay a fine of $6,447 (CHF 6,000). The player in question is Fernando Varela, a Portuguese born central defender who has played 26 times for Cape Verde in his career.

Varela was given a four-match suspension in March for unsporting conduct to a referee and was still supposed to be suspended for the Tunisia-Cape Verde match. The decision to forfeit the match means that Cape Verde, who had qualified for the next round of qualifying as leaders of the group, now instead have their World Cup hopes dashed as Tunisia take their place.

QUICK KICKS

Both the Congolese and Tunisian FAs have appealed to FIFA over potential ineligible players used by opponents in recent games. (REPORT)

Despite freezing their season-ticket prices this season, Arsenal still are the most expensive ticket in the English Premier League at a minimum of $1,555. (REPORT)

Atletico Madrid are hoping to move into their new stadium by the start of the 2016/2017 stadium, replacing the nearby Vicente Calderon. (REPORT)

The Republic of Ireland FA has parted ways with manager Giovanni Trapattoni after losing to Austria on Tuesday. (REPORT)

Afghanistan have won their first ever international trophy with a 2-0 victory over India to take the SAFF Cup. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Özil’s comments? Do you see Vucetich becoming the next Mexico head coach?

Share your thoughts below.

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