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By Brahma Chellaney
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Arsène Wenger
First-place Arsenal lost momentum in the Premier League Sunday, allowing a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Everton, while Fulham beat Aston Villa to give new manager Rene Meulensteen his first victory.
One third of the way through the Champions League group stage, it's no longer too early to start drawing some conclusions. As expected, Europe's big teams are already starting to pull ahead. Here are five thoughts to chew on from this week's matches:
A spectacular double from Robin van Persie helped Manchester United begin its Premier League title defense with a 4-1 win at Swansea.
English football — called soccer in the United States — is "100 percent clean" of cheating, declared one of the sport's highest ranking official, following hundreds of complaints the games in Europe and around the world have been fixed.
Lionel Messi's four-goal burst ensured that he and Barcelona returned to the top of the Associated Press Global Soccer rankings this week.
Two minutes, 34 seconds. That's all it took for Robin van Persie to score in his first match against Arsenal and, in doing so, prove how ridiculous it is to imagine that his former team somehow struck a canny deal in selling him.
Sshhh! Don't say this too loudly, but early signs point to Arsenal being a genuine Premier League title contender.
UEFA has imposed a three-match touchline ban on Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger for comments directed at the referee after his team's Champions League elimination this month.
Cesc Fabregas is finally returning to boyhood club Barcelona.
Robin van Persie is in Arsenal's starting lineup for the second leg of the Gunners' second-round, second-leg game at Barcelona in the Champions League.
Arsenal's Robin van Persie will be sidelined for three weeks because of a knee injury and will miss next week's Champions League match at Barcelona.
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will miss Sunday's League Cup final against Birmingham because of a hamstring strain, adding to the Gunners' injury problems as they seek their first trophy since 2005.
"As long as we are five points ahead you cannot rule ourselves out even with the best desire," manager Arsene Wenger said. "So let's keep that cushion. It shows you that it will be a tough Premier League and the consistency in the end will be rewarded."
"My job is to make the fans happy, but we haven't lost a game because of that (not spending)," Wenger said. "We are ready to spend, but until we buy players we have to win football games and it is not an excuse not to win the game today."