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MORNING ROUND-UP: Are Arsenal really in for Falcao?

by Aidan Elder | February 23, 2013

MAIN HEADLINES

  • ARSENE SAYS HE’S AFTER FALCAO
  • ENGLAND’S NEXT STEP ON THE ROAD TO THE GRAND SLAM
  • DRESS REHEARSAL FOR THE GRAND NATIONAL AT FAIRYHOUSE

Football

In recent weeks, Arsenal fans have had to endure the type of disappointment they haven’t experienced since Francis Jeffers arrived at the club, but there is a piece of exciting (and suspiciously timed) good news to keep them happy – they’re going to sign Atletico Madrid goal machine, Falcao.

Needing to throw the rank and file supporters a bone after exiting the FA Cup and laying the foundations for exiting the Champions League, Arsene Wenger says he has money to spend and he wouldn’t be averse to spending a lump of it on the Colombian striker. When asked about the possibility of signing Falcao Wenger teasingly responded:

We can do it. If we find a player of top, top quality we will take him

The French manager also confirmed that he has no intention of resigning, which is good news for those loyal to the man who reinvigorated the club, but bad news for anyone hoping for the end of moany Piers Morgan tweets.

Arsenal take on Aston Villa today in a game even they should be able to win. The Gunners are 4/11 to win against a Villa side getting worryingly few of the ‘too good to go down’ clichés thrown in their direction.

Elsewhere, Manchester United visit QPR where they’re 4/7 favourites to claim another unimpressive, but grindingly effective win.

Rugby Union

After a little break, it’s time for round three of the ‘you’re allowed to make derogatory archaic stereotype-based remarks about people who are the same as you’. Yes, it’s the Six Nations and England face the next obstacle en route to a potential Grand Slam. France are that obstacle and although they’ve lost to Italy and Wales so far this tournament, they’re still moody and Gallic enough to produce a top quality performance to end the Sweet Chariot’s hopes of a clean sweep.

England go into the game as the strong 1/3 favourites for victory (Evens -7 points on the handicap) against Phillipe Saint-Andre’s faltering side, but as ever, Les Bleus are capable of picking themselves up, getting their fashionable designer stubble in order and producing a win at Twickenham.

Elsewhere, we get to see if Wales’s revival is the real deal as they visit Rome where they are 2/7 favourites to overcome Italy. Tomorrow Ireland take on Scotland in Murrayfield in a game local publicans like to call ‘Christmas’.

We’ve got a great Money-Back Special on the England v France and Scotland v Ireland matches. If Chris Ashton or Brian O Driscoll score a try in either of these matches this weekend, we will refund all losing try scorer bets on that match.

Racing

Today’s horse racing is good in its own right, but what happens today will undoubtedly have a bearing on how we view upcoming events. A number of runners at Kempton and Fairyhouse will do their best to ensure a trip to Cheltenham next month with strong performances today, but it’s the Aintree Grand National that will grab most of the attention.

Prince De Beauchene and Seabass – second and third favourites for the National respectively – will lock horns at Fairyhouse today. Throw in one Quito de la Roque into the mix and you’ve got yourself one very interesting Bobbyjo Chase. Willie Mullins, trainer of the favourites for today’s Grade Two contest, was his usual understatedly confident self ahead of the race explaining:

It’s a tougher contest this time, but he seems in good order and the ground won’t be a problem

Newcastle has been lost to snow, but we still have interesting cards from Kempton, Fairyhouse, Chepstown and Lingfield along with action from further afield with racing from Turffontein, Kenilworth and Hippo Chile.

#17sleepsuntilCheltenham

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