Belfast Telegraph

Giroud calls for focus in Arsenal's trophy pursuit

By Matt McGeehan

Olivier Giroud wants Arsenal to maintain focus, not look too far ahead and carry the momentum of recent results in their trophy quest this term.

The Gunners travel to Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup fourth round tonight after four straight wins - over Manchester United, Watford, Bayern Munich and Everton.

"We need to keep focused on what we are doing well. We have a lot of confidence and we want to show that we can get stronger and stronger," Giroud said.

"If we carry on like that then we will be difficult to beat, especially with our efficiency.

"I don't want to look too far forward because we need to keep it up and carry this momentum on.

"We also want to qualify for the (knockout stages of the) Champions League so we've got big games to come, so let's see if we can keep it up."

Petr Cech will start in goal for Arsenal as David Ospina (shoulder) remains out.

Cech's most recent appearance in the competition came when Chelsea won the trophy against Tottenham at Wembley on March 1.

Meanwhile, the Gunners have been fined £60,000 after breaching football agent regulations in the transfer of Calum Chambers from Southampton.

The Football Association also warned Arsenal over their future conduct following Chambers' move from Saints on July 26, 2014 for an undisclosed fee in the region of £11million.

Agent Alan Middleton was fined £30,000 and given a suspended three-month ban for his part in the same matter.

A statement from the FA read: "Arsenal have been fined £60,000 and warned as to their future conduct after breaching the FA's football agent regulations.

"The charge was in relation to the transfer of Calum Chambers from Southampton to Arsenal on July 26, 2014.

"Arsenal admitted part of the breach but denied another, which was found not proven following an independent regulatory commission. The charges against Mr Middleton, which he denied, were found proven."

The written reasons for the sanctions described the incident as a case of "partial" fronting, where an unauthorised and unlicensed agent was involved.

A statement from Arsenal read: "We acted in good faith throughout and had no reason to believe that the player's representative was not authorised to be involved in the transfer negotiations.

"The FA fully recognised that there was no intention to mislead on Arsenal's part. We have improved our procedures to prevent this happening again."

Middleton was warned to his future conduct, sanctioned for breaching regulations, fined £30,000 and "suspended from all agency/intermediary activity for a period of three months".

However, the ban is suspended for 18 months from October 23, 2015 "unless he commits an offence contrary to the agents regulations or the FA's regulations on working with intermediaries during this time," the FA said.

Responding to the outcome, Middleton, of Cassius Sports Management, said: "I am pleased that the FA commission found that the only case to answer was a minor procedural error which was a genuine oversight.

"Lessons have been learned and we have implemented measures that would ensure such an error could not happen again."

Meanwhile Claudio Ranieri will rest striker Jamie Vardy for Leicester's Capital One Cup trip to Hull to keep him fresh for their assault on the Barclays Premier League.

The Foxes sit fifth in the table, having lost just once this season, and Vardy is the league's top scorer with 10 goals.

"Jamie will come with us but he will not play," he said.

"I'll change a lot, like the other (cup) matches. I have a very good group and they deserve to play and I'll change everyone, more or less."

Capital One Cup: Hillsborough, 7.45pm (Sky Sports 1)

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