Football

Evening report: December 21

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Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal to maintain their ascent towards the Premier League top four by beating Wigan on Saturday.

The 5-2 win at Reading on Monday means the Gunners have now lost just once in their last six outings, and has lifted Wenger's side up to fifth in the table.

Rafa Benitez has praised the work ethic he has seen from Fernando Torres since reuniting with the striker at Chelsea.

The Spaniard has notched six goals in the Blues' last five outings - which represents something of a return to form after a patchy season so far.

Roberto Mancini says there will be no complacency from Manchester City when they take on struggling Reading this weekend.

The Royals visit the Etihad Stadium looking for only their second win of the season while City seek to keep up the pressure on Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson says it will be "fantastic" to welcome Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford when Manchester United face Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16.

Ronaldo will be facing United for the first time since he left the club in 2009, after spending six years there during which time he became a global superstar.

Andre Villas-Boas says Tottenham's strikers will have to be on top of their game against a top class Stoke defence on Saturday.

The Potters head to White Hart Lane as big underdogs - despite their seven-game unbeaten run - but AVB feels they possess one of the leading defences in Europe.

And finally, Barcelona's vice-president has revealed that Eric Abidal will sign a new deal with the Catalan giants once he has made his comeback.

The France international resumed regular training earlier this week, after a nine-month spell on the sidelines following a liver transplant, and Barca are determined to support the defender and keep him at the club.

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