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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Graham Ready for Return to Highbury

LONDON -- When George Graham walks into Highbury Stadium on Saturday, he will find himself in the unusual position of using the visitors' dressing room.


Now in charge at Leeds, Graham is returning as a manager to Highbury for the first time since he was fired by Arsenal last year in a scandal over transfer payments.


It will be an emotional moment for Graham, who led the Gunners for nine years. "A lot of good things have happened in my life and a lot of them happened while I was at Arsenal,'' he said. "I have no regrets. I look forward to going back there.''


Graham was dismissed by Arsenal and suspended by the Football Association for one year for allegedly receiving illegal transfer payments. He returned to soccer management this season when Leeds hired him to replace Howard Wilkinson.


The transition has not been easy.


After eight games in charge at Elland Road, the club is fourth from bottom with only 10 points.


Arsenal, meanwhile, is doing well under new French manager Arsene Wenger. The club is second with 21 points, three behind leaders Newcastle.


"We'll be underdogs at Highbury and rightly so,'' Graham said. "As long as we show a bit of spirit and passion, I'll be happy.''


In other games, Newcastle is flying high after its 5-0 hammering last Sunday of Manchester United but they will be without injured striker Alan Shearer.


A draw will be enough to keep Newcastle at the top of the table. A defeat would give Arsenal and Wimbledon a chance to pull level on points.


Wimbledon, seeking to extend its amazing run to eight straight victories, plays at Middlesbrough.


It has been a remarkable turnaround for Wimbledon, which started the season with three straight defeats.


Blackburn Rovers, bottom of the English premier league without a win this season, have parted company with manager Ray Harford.


Harford, who resigned, had been under increasing pressure since taking over from Kenny Dalglish last season. He decided he could take no more following Tuesday's 1-0 home defeat by second division Stockport in the League Cup third round.


In Division One, first-place Bolton plays Friday at third-place Barnsley. If Bolton slips up, Norwich can move to the top Saturday with a victory at Birmingham City.


In Scotland, Rangers and Celtic continue their battle for supremacy.


Rangers, with 22 points, are at home against Motherwell. Celtic, two points behind, play at Hibernian.


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European champions Juventus will be looking to fire a shot across the bow of title rival AC Milan this weekend, when they do battle with AS Roma in the Olympic stadium.


Milan's morale suffered a major setback here two weeks ago, when they were thrashed 3-0 by a rampant Roma side, and Juventus could rub salt in the wound by winning Saturday. Juventus will start the match with the confidence of being league leaders.


Coach Marcello Lippi will almost certainly revert to a 4-3-3 formation, led from the front by Croatian Alen Boksic. Angelo Peruzzi returns between the posts for a fixture that has brought Juventus little success over the past two years -- one win, one draw and two defeats in their last four league meetings. (Reuters, AFP)








Roma's Argentine coach Carlos Bianchi will meanwhile be hoping for an end to his side's erratic form. The victory over champions Milan sparked a frenzy of speculation that this could be their season. But it has been followed up two defeats against SC Karlsruhe in the UEFA Cup and then 2-1 to Verona.