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Today's Backpages and Blogs: Lassana Diarra dropped himself from Arsenal games

The Sun - Mathieu is one of the best
Martin Keown reckons in-form midfielder Mathieu Flamini is vital to Arsenal's title charge. Flamini, 23, has kept Brazilian star Gilberto on the sidelines for much of the season.

The Times - Arsenal doubt over Philippe Senderos
Arsenal will check on the fitness of defender Philippe Senderos (knee) ahead of the game with Birmingham. Johan Djourou (groin) is definitely out, so Justin Hoyte, Bacary Sagna or Gilberto could be asked to move to the centre alongside William Gallas as Arsene Wenger, the manager, recalls his first-team regulars following the midweek Carling Cup tie.

The Mirror - Diarra out of Toon
Lassana Diarra has priced himself out of a move to Newcastle - after demanding a £90,000-a-week contract.

The Independent - United put one over on Arsenal in money league
Arsenal are just ahead in the chase at the top of the Premier League but Manchester United delighted in surpassing their rivals' turnover yesterday with annual results that suggest the Glazers have not been entirely the disaster they once threatened to be at Old Trafford.

The Guardian - Diarra's desire to leave Arsenal made him ask to miss cup semi-final
Lassana Diarra admitted to Arsene Wenger that he was not in the right frame of mind to play against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night, as he was preoccupied with his proposed transfer away from Arsenal.

The Daily Mail - I knew I wasn't good enough for Arsenal, says Birmingham star Larsson
Sebastian Larsson is adamant his close friend Cesc Fabregas will be clutching a Premier League winners' medal in May, but insists he made the right decision to leave Arsenal - because he simply was not good enough for Arsene Wenger.

The Daily Star - I’m Gunner win back my place
Brazil skipper Gilberto has ended speculation about his Arsenal future by vowing to stay and fight to win back his place.

A Cultured Left Foot - A Question Of, Or Questionable Attitude?
The centre of the park is taxing the minds of the media at the moment. The Guardian reports that it was Lassana Diarra himself who asked to be omitted from the Spurs game, rather than being a Wenger ‘punishment’ as some have suggested.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on January 11, 2008 10:26 AM in News| Players
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