“I made a mistake at the end of the rehab (from my groin problem), but I think I will be back soon.” Arteta admits it has been tough watching from the sidelines. “It is obviously very frustrating when you cannot perform, when you cannot be out there, training or any of the basics to contribute to the team on the pitch – it makes it really hard,” he said. “It is part of the job and we have all been there. “This season we have probably had more injuries than ever, so sometimes you learn other things when you are out. “It has been frustrating and I am trying my best to get back to the level I want to be at. “Whenever it comes, I will take it.” Arteta believes Arsenal can sustain their challenge. “We have got the best squad since I have been here, for sure the best squad in numbers and quality,” he said. “We are in a really strong position now compared to where we were in November. “Three months ago, to be in the top four was an achievement and now it is not good enough. “In the next two weeks we can determine where we are and what we can do from then on.” The 33-year-old Spaniard is set to miss Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading at Wembley as he recovers from a minor ankle problem picked up on his return to action with the Under-21s following a calf injury which sidelined him since the end of November. Manager Arsene Wenger is keen to retain the services of Arteta, who is out of contract in the summer and expected to agree a 12-month extension. In Arteta’s absence, the Gunners have moved up into the top two of the Barclays Premier League with a run of eight successive victories. The former Rangers and Everton man is determined to first get himself fully match fit and then sort out the formalities of a new deal. “My only aim is to get back fit and try to perform on the pitch. As long as I do that I am sure that I will continue with this club, with the relationship I have with the club and the respect I have from everybody here,” said Arteta, who signed on transfer deadline day in August 2011. “If I don’t do that then I am not going to be here because I don’t want to be somewhere where I cannot perform at my best and give what I think I can give. “In May, when everything is fine, we will sit down and talk and it will take five minutes.” Arteta is set to step up his rehabilitation next week, and could be back in contention for the showdown against Chelsea on April 26. “I am not far. I have done five or six sessions with the first team and I am feeling good,” he said. “I don’t feel I am ready to start, but I’m almost there. It has been a long process, I don’t want to rush it. Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is confident it will take just “five minutes” to put the finishing touches to a contract extension once he is fully fit and back in the squad. Press Association
MASON CITY — A plea change hearing is scheduled for next month for a Mason City man accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl. 34-year-old Ruben Ramirez was accused by authorities of committing a sexual act with a 15-year-old girl sometime in February and March at his residence in the 500 block of North Adams. Police say that Ramirez was aware of the girl’s age at the time. Ramirez was charged in May but he failed to appear for a court hearing in June, with a nationwide warrant being issued for his arrest. He was located in the Dakota County Jail in Nebraska and was brought back to Iowa where he was arraigned last month, entering a written plea of not guilty to one count of third-degree sexual abuse. His trial was scheduled to start on Tuesday, but online court records show that his attorney filed a written plea of guilty to the charge. Third-degree sexual abuse is a Class C felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. Ramirez is scheduled to be in court on December 3rd for his plea change hearing.
MONEY The Southampton man has started just two Premier League games this campaign, scoring once, and appears to be available for the right offer. Latest Football Stories RANKED 1 Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move huge blow Southampton could lose striker Manolo Gabbiadini in January as Fiorentina consider a move.La Viola have been struggling for goals this season, scoring just 18 time in 12 matches and only managing one against relegation battlers Frosinone last time out. Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? BEST OF Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions no dice REPLY REVEALED Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Southampton ace Manolo Gabbiadini. The Italian giants have already got several options as they plot their transfer activity for the coming window.Nicola Sansone, currently on the fringes at Villarreal and once of Sassuolo, is under consideration, while Besiktas forward Ryan Babel is another possibility as he seeks out a move.Corriere dello Sport also believe Lyon starlet Martin Terrier could be ideal for the role, along with Ismaila Sarr from Rennes.And Gabbiadini is also on their watchlist as they look for a proven goalscorer to join their ranks and fire them up the Serie A table. ADVICE Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ shining Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade REVEALED Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury