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Martinez's woe at wretched Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Gilberto wants to end career at Arsenal

Gilberto hopes to agree a new deal with Arsenal and finish his career at Emirates Stadium.

The 31-year-old was handed a rare recent start in his preferred central midfield role as a much-changed Gunners line-up played out a goalless draw at Slavia Prague last night to secure their place in the Champions League last 16.

The Brazil captain admits it has been somewhat uncomfortable watching from the outside as Arsene Wenger's young team have made such an impressive start to the campaign, with Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini in superb form at the heart of the side.

However, the 2002 World Cup winner is determined to win back a regular place and earn himself a new contact.

'It is not just down to me, but it would be great if I extend my contract with the club and finish my career here. We will see if the club has the same feeling,' said Gilberto, whose current deal still has 18 months to run.

Gilberto has been linked with a move to Juventus and also Valencia when the transfer window opens in January.

However, he declared: 'I am not thinking about leaving the club now.

'I prefer to think that I have the condition to get back in the team. I will do my job, do my best to achieve that. This is what I have in mind.'

The Brazilian was quick to play down reports he had fallen out with Wenger over the manager's selection policy, with Gilberto often asked to fill in at centre-half when needed.

'This is not true,' he insisted. 'If I have said something to Arsene, it would never come out in the papers. I would go to him and speak to him face-to-face; we have great respect for each other.

'Everyone knows I am not 100% happy to be on the bench, that's normal - but I am being professional and doing my job.

'I respect everybody in the squad, I respect him and I respect his decision. It's the only thing I can do.'

Wenger, meanwhile, was the first to admit his 100th game in the Champions League proper was anything but a classic, played out in wretched conditions.

The visitors were unable to break down a resolute Slavia side, who were determined to prove a point following their 7-0 humiliation at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago.

Indeed, it was not until the closing stages when substitute Emmanuel Adebayor sent a tame header goalwards that Arsenal carved out a clear opportunity.

A fine save from keeper Manuel Almunia to deny Zdenek Senkerik with 15 minutes left and a dubious penalty claim for the home side were about the only two notable moments as the Gunners extended their unbeaten run to 26 consecutive games in less than emphatic style.

Wenger has indicated he would be prepared to rotate his team again should he feel anyone else needed a 'breather' for the trip to Sevilla later this month, where victory would secure top spot in Group H, and the possibility of a favourable draw in the next round.

Full-back Gael Clichy backed his manager's thinking.

He said: 'When you play every three days, you need a rest sometimes and that was the right thing for the manager to do.

'I think Cesc and Alex (Hleb) will benefit from the rest and hopefully you will see it in the next game at Reading on Monday.

'Of course, Alex and Cesc are great players so we will always miss them, but we played quite well and those who were out there did their best.

'It was windy, raining and the conditions weren't perfect. The pitch was a bit soft and they were well-organised too.

'But we are still pleased with the result because it means we are sure to go through.'