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

MesutOzilArsenal1Training (Getty)


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:


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.


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.


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)


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.

  • Pingback: Thursday Kickoff: Özil believes in Arsenal title chances; Vucetich could be next Mexico coach; and more | halftimesoccer.com

  • Good Jeremy

    I have to say that I am disappointed in Arsenal for having the most expensive tickets. With the way they have a firesale of their top players every couple of years and act like they are on a shoestring budget I would expect their tickets to be a lot more reasonable.


    • Tony in Quakleand

      So much of what is said about Arsenal is nonesnse. Here are the last three years of player sales and purchuses:

      2013: Spent 42,500.000 : received 10,000,000
      2012: Spent 52,300,000; received 43,700,000
      2011: Spent, 53,150,000; recieved 70,700,000

      Net spenders. And spending just under 50 million a year is hardly not spending. They bought in Ozil, Corzola, Monrealm Giourd, Poldoski, Merscecaer, Artea – pretty good players. While I would rather have kept RVP and Cesc, selling Nasri for 20 million in 2011 seems like good business. I expect them to spend 20 to 30 in the Janaury window.

      Their ticket prices have more to do with the financing of the stadium deal than anything else


      • Travis

        The perception that Arsenal never spends is due in large part to the fact that they rarely do the huge purchases. Last I saw they actually have the 3rd highest wages in the EPL, might be 4th at this point


      • Paul

        Perhaps the idea that Arsenal is cheap is that they only are the 3rd or 4th biggest spenders by wages in the league, yet they insist that they are contenders. When Rooney threatened to leave, Manchester did what they had to in order to hold onto him. Of course it always helps to actually be a contender.


  • Travis

    What Perez said about Ozil after he left was tacky and unprofessional. The president of one of the biggest clubs in the world should just wish departing players all the best and thank them for their time there.


  • Increase

    How hard is it for African Teams to remember who is actually allowed to play? Cape Verde and like 4 other teams have done this in qualifying. It’s a shame as they won but honestly? Pay attention to your suspensions. The teams you are playing seem to be.

    It’s hardly going to improve the AFC reputation if teams cant handle basic management issues like that. I hear people say we need more teams from Africa in the world cup but….between their really weird qualifying set up and this kinda stuff. I doubt they will soon. It’s gunna be 5 slots for a while.


    • Travis

      Not sure why it is that hilarious, yes Arsenal is in a dry spell but historically they win trophies and lots of them.


      • Travis

        Yes please judge a clubs history based off of 8 years as opposed to the 100+ years it has been in existence. All clubs go through bad spells, this is one for Arsenal at the moment. They will return and compete for titles again.


  • Joamiq

    The first item in Quick Kicks seems to partially cover the same subject as the preceding item as if said preceding item wasn’t there… and then the article that it links to doesn’t actually mention Tunisia… strange.


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