Author Archives: varun gandhi

How Arsenal just saved spending £30m in the January transfer window

Here is how the Gooners have saved themselves from spending money in the market!

Arsenal’s pursuit of a centre midfielder was widely publicised during the summer transfer window. Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans was one of Edu’s top objectives.

During the transfer window, it was reported that the Belgian was interested in a move to the Emirates Stadium and that he would be ready to wait out the final year of his Leicester deal before making a decision.

However, if a rival made an offer this summer, Arsenal would consider it.

Due to a lack of depth and quality in the midfield, the Gunners wanted to buy a midfielder, and it was rumoured that Tielemans would be available for £30 million.

However, a deal failed to materialise. According to Sky Sports, Mikel Arteta’s side ‘cooled’ their interest in the Belgian towards the end of the window.

So far this season, it has shown to be a gift in disguise, as not only has Tielemans failed significantly, but Charlie Patino is beginning to show why he is highly regarded at the club, and there is potential for him to salvage a midfield slot.

Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are two players that are now untouchable in the team. Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohammed Elneny are the two reserve players, but their quality levels do not match that of the two starters.

Instead of wasting the dough in the January transfer window, Edu may be patient and wait for Patino to obtain the necessary experience before next season.

The 18-year-old demonstrated his immense talent during his senior debut against Sunderland last season, capping off an outstanding substitute cameo with his first senior goal.

This led to Arteta singing the praises for the youngster, saying: “He’s [Patino] a player that has a lot of personality. I’m delighted for him because he’s a kid that we like so much. To have his debut and score like that is something special.”

The promising teenager is now on loan at Blackpool for the remainder of the season, gaining important experience and getting acclimated to the physicality of first-team football, which will be crucial when he returns to the Gunners ahead of next season.

And the kid has had a good start with the Seasiders, which was highlighted by his debut goal against Millwall last weekend.

If the youngster continues on this path, it will demonstrate why Arteta was correct not to spend big money on Tielemans, and he might save £30 million by believing in Patino’s abilities.

 

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Big test for the Gunners on Sunday

The Gunners are coming off their best start to a season since 2004, having won all five of their first five games. Despite United’s slow start, this is likely to be their toughest test yet.

A long list of injured players could make the task even more difficult. Martin Odegaard had to leave the game against Aston Villa on Wednesday night due to an ankle injury, and Aaron Ramsdale was also injured.

This adds to Arsenal’s injury list, which already includes Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, and Mohamed Elneny.

The lack of depth in the squad is something the Gunners sought to address on transfer deadline day as they made a late more for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz.

However, after having three bids rejected, Edu was ultimately unable to secure a deal for the Brazilian, meaning that Arsenal go into this particularly condensed World Cup season with perhaps less strength in depth than they would have liked.

While the end to their summer window was somewhat underwhelming, the confidence flowing through Mikel Arteta’s side right now is unlike anything we’ve seen in years at the Emirates.

The Spaniard’s project is well underway and a statement victory on Sunday would certainly send a message out to the rest of the division.

United’s upturn in form coincided with Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia’s respective introductions into the XI and both will continue in defence on Sunday.

Varane has established a stout partnership with summer arrival Lisandro Martinez.

Ten Hag should have new acquisition Antony available to him for the first time, but the Brazilian will likely be named among the substitutes with Casemiro poised to make his maiden start for the Red Devils.

Prediction

I believe this is where Arsenal’s perfect start could come to an end.

The Gunners have been excellent in their first five games, and while United haven’t been particularly impressive despite their recent upturn in form, Old Trafford remains a difficult place to visit and win.

Mikel Arteta may also be hampered by several major injuries, and while Lokonga stepped up against Villa in the week, Sunday’s game will be a much more difficult proposition.

Both managers want their teams to dominate the ball and control the opposition without it, so it should be an interesting tactical battle.

A chess match is in store, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the spoils shared on Sunday.

That’d be a pretty good result for the Gunners considering their injury crisis.

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Arsenal handed a boost in their pursuit of Youri Tielemans

Arsenal’s pursuit of Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans has been aided as the Foxes seek a replacement for the Belgium international.

Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar has been identified as a potential target for Brendan Rodgers’ side this summer.

The Frenchman has previously been linked with Arsenal, but it is believed that manager Mikel Arteta has shifted his focus to Tielamans.

The Leicester midfielder’s contract at the King Power Stadium expires in less than a year. While the Foxes want to avoid losing the 25-year-old for free next summer, they are sticking to their £30 million asking price.

The former Monaco star has made 120 Premier League appearances for Rodgers’ side and has secured a starting spot in Belgian coach Roberto Martinez’s squad ahead of the World Cup.

The Gunners have signed Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Fabio Vieria during the summer transfer window. Both of the latter can fit into the Gunners’ engine room, but Arteta is still keen on bringing Tielemans to north London.

The Belgian’s path to the Emirates has been paved after Foot Mercato reported that Leicester are interested in signing Aouar.

The Lyon playmaker also has a year left on his contract at the Groupama Stadium and has piqued the interest of a number of European clubs, including Leicester City and Premier League newcomers Nottingham Forest.

The Frenchman scored 10 goals in 35 Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon last season, as Peter Bosz’s team finished eighth and missed out on European football.

Rodgers’ side have yet to sign a player this summer, but they are hoping that a move for Aouar will kickstart their transfer window.

Odegaard: ‘I have to do it my way’

Newly appointed captain Martin Odegaard believes Arsenal will use last season’s disappointment of finishing outside the top four to our advantage in 2022/23, returning ‘hungry and ready.’

Odegaard also discussed his pride in taking the captain’s armband full-time, how the new signings are settling in, the challenge posed by Palace in the opener, and how he tried to persuade his compatriot Erling Haaland to join him at the Emirates.

When asked if he feels any pressure on taking on the captaincy role at Arsenal, he said:

“I don’t feel any special pressure with it. Obviously there’s a little bit more responsibility, but I think I will do a lot of the same things. I always try to do my best for the team. I’m not going to change too much just because it’s a permanent thing now.

“I will do the same things and obviously when he wants me to be the captain I’ve done something right so keep going in that direction, maybe learn and grow a bit with time. But I have to do it my way and that’s what I will try to do. I enjoy the responsibility and hopefully, I can do it in a good way.”

 

 

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Arsenal are interested in signing Bayern star

With only a year left on his contract at the Allianz Arena, the £58.5m-rated star has been linked with a return to the Emirates Stadium.

According to CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs, Arsenal is keeping an eye on Gnabry’s status after missing out on acquiring Raphinha, who is expected to join Chelsea or Barcelona.

Gnabry, who was admired by former manager Arsene Wenger, only appeared 18 times during his initial tenure with the Gunners, but each of those came while Mikel Arteta was still on the field, which could aid the Spaniard if negotiations begin.

Since leaving north London, the 26-year-old has risen to become one of Europe’s greatest attacking players, helping him win many trophies with Bayern Munich.

But Gnabry might cost Arsenal around £50 million, which is comparable to what they would have had to spend for Raphinha, but they know that waiting 12 months could see them secure the German on a free transfer once his contract expires.

As a result, despite Arsenal’s interest in re-signing Gnabry, O’Rourke does not anticipate him to return to the Emirates until the end of the season.

“I think Gnabry has been on the radar of Arsenal, although I don’t think it’s a deal they’ll be able to do this summer.

“Obviously his connections with the club having previously been there before he returned to Germany, so he knows all about the club.”

Despite not reaching the heights of prior years, it was another great season in terms of goals and assists.

He scored 17 goals and set up 10 assists for his teammates to help Bayern win another Bundesliga title, with his WhoScored rating ranking sixth in the squad.

Only Robert Lewandowski (35) has more goals than the ex-Gunner, and only five other Bayern Munich players had more assists in Germany’s top division.

Gnabry was also among the top six players in terms of shots, critical passes, and dribbles per appearance, demonstrating that he’s still a classy operator at the highest level and would thus be an excellent acquisition for Arteta, whether this summer or in 2023.

Meanwhile, the Daily Star reported in April that Spurs manager Antonio Conte is also interested in Gnabry.

However, Arsenal and Tottenham are set to face stiff competition from Real Madrid for his signature.

Gnabry’s contract is coming to an end in June 2023. This has caused him to be concerned about his future.

Sky Sports in Germany reported a month ago that Bayern Munich wants to sell the winger this summer for roughly 40 million euros (£34 million).

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Gabriel Martinelli approached by Chelsea’s Jorginho to switch international teams

After a poor start to the season, the 20-year-old has been a key member of Mikel Arteta’s side since the end of November, even keeping Emile Smith Rowe out of the starting XI.

His efforts have earned him his first call-up to Brazil’s senior team this month, and the Selecao will be looking to secure the future of one of the Premier League’s most exciting young players.

Arsenal’s youngster arrived at the Emirates in 2019 and has created a name for himself in north London. Martinelli is a rising star who has already helped his country win Olympic gold in Tokyo.

He recently received his first call-up to Brazil’s senior team, having previously only played for their minor teams.

Martinelli has dual Brazilian-Italian citizenship, and Chelsea’s midfielder, who was instrumental in the Azzurri’s Euro 2020 success, attempted to entice the Arsenal man away from the South American team.

Jorginho himself might have played for Brazil but chose not to, a decision Martinelli will not follow.

Gabriel Martinelli revealed that Jorginho made a sly attempt to switch his international allegiance but he never considered representing anyone but Brazil!

His comments

He was if anyone approached him about playing for Italy, and Martinelli told Globo about it:

“No-one spoke to me, only Jorginho once said to me, ‘I hope to see you in March, something like that, but no-one [official] spoke to me, no.” He added: “As I’ve said before, my dream was always to play for Brazil. I was just waiting for the opportunity to play for Brazil.”

Martinelli has established himself as a regular at Arsenal in recent months, taking up a position on the left side of a forward line. His finishing talent has earned him a spot as a possible No. 9, although the player prefers to operate in vast areas.

At the international level, this will mean he will face a lot of competition, which the youngster is well aware of.

He said: “I prefer to play on the wings, the left side especially. But I also like to reach the box a lot with a chance to finish. I can also play on the right side, but my favorite position is on the left-wing, cutting inside and getting as close to the goal as possible. We have many stars in our squad, but I will try to take advantage of the opportunity I have in the best way possible.

“All of the players are great, each of us has our own strengths. Neymar has his, Vini has his, [Ajax winger] Antony has his. I will do my best to get my place in the World Cup squad.” Brazil face Chile and Bolivia in the next week which could provide the Arsenal man with a chance to impress.

“With a world cup right around the corner – one of the best tournaments in the world – I want to go and play.”

Martinelli has been joined in the Brazil squad by Arsenal teammate Gabriel, with the defender also looking to make his debut.

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Premier League: Arsenal travel to Watford

Arsenal who are on 45 points and are positioned 6th on the table, travel to Watford on Sunday.

The gunners have a staggering 3 games in hand over West Ham and Manchester United who are just above them on the table.

West Ham are only above thanks to goal difference and the Red Devils have a slim 2 points lead.

Irrespective of other results, if Arsenal can manufacture wins from their game in hands, they can propel themselves to a much higher position.

Maybe even break into the top 4, which seemed miles away in the initial phase of the season!

Now to convert these, games in hand to points in the bag, their first checkpoint is in the form of Watford, who finds itself languishing at the bottom.

Watford is 19th on the table is looking like a side destined to go down.

But let’s scrutinize these two teams and see if we can salvage some reasons for Watford to be excited about this game!

it’s the basement boys vs potentially the top 4 boys, it’s Watford versus Arsenal at Vicarage Road!

History:

Watford and Arsenal have shared the pitch on 33 occasions and it’s safe to say Arsenal dominates this contest by a fair margin.

The gunners have won 19 matches compared to the 12 of Watford, and the match ended in a stalemate on a couple of occasions

Also in much recent history, Watford is winless against Arsenal in their last 7 meetings. Losing 6 and drawing once. 

Form:

Arsenal in their last 5 matches (all competition) have won 3 games, lost once, and settled for a draw once.

But heading into this one, they are coming off the back of 3 consecutive victories.

Watford in their last 5 matches has suffered 3 defeats and a draw with Manchester United, which was also their latest affair.

Their only victory came against Aston Villa, at Villa Park via a single 78th min goal scored by Bonaventure.

Trivia:

Watford has earned just seven points from 45 available in the Premier League versus Arsenal (W2 D1 L12), with four of these coming in their last three home games against them (W1 D1 L1).

Arsenal has scored in all 15 of their Premier League encounters against Watford, with the Gunners only having a higher 100 percent scoring rate in the competition against West Brom (26/26).

Watford has won just three of their 20 Premier League games in March (D3 L14), the second-lowest victory rate in the month of any team with more than three seasons in the competition (15%), trailing only Ipswich Town (13 percent).

Prediction:

Considering all the facets like history, Watford’s terrible form in the month of March, and most importantly their recent run of form, it’s hard to imagine anything other than an Arsenal victory.

Yes, they play at Vicarage Road, but even the home advantage may not be enough in the face of a mountain of a test in Arsenal.

The premier league is not easy and it can still stun you, surprise you, but if Arsenal play to their full potential, at least on paper the North London boys should be winning this one comfortably!

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Let’s talk about ‘The Invincibles’

Chelsea finished with 95 points under Jose Mourinho, Liverpool with 99, and City with a perfect 100. All of these teams are outstanding, and they have broken numerous records along the road, but none of them can claim to have gone undefeated throughout the season.

That patent only belongs to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

Arsenal went undefeated in all 38 games in the 2003-04 season. They won the league with a total of 90 points.

The achievement of being undefeated has never been replicated since.

26 victories, 12 draws, and 0 defeats. The Invincibles truly stand out as the best Premier League side ever!

So, let’s put that incredible 03/04 season under the microscope and vividly talk about it!

The Competition

Wenger and his men did not have an easy ride to the league’s victory, they had fierce competition throughout their way.

Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United were the defending champions and they were not going to bow down. This was the peak of the Ferguson-Wenger rivalry and both the clubs were eminent to outdo each other.

In the same season, Manchester United signed one exceptional teenager from Portugal. He played as a winger and his name was Cristiano Ronaldo.

On the other hand, there was a new competitor in town. Roman Abramovich brought Chelsea in the same year.

Now with the wallet size quadrupled, Chelsea signed some exceptional players like Hernan Crespo and Claude Makelele to join their already established players like Damien Duff and Joe Cole.

Chelsea was ready to challenge the old elites of Arsenal and United for the title.

The team

Arsenal typically used a 4-4-2 formation, though it may also be referred to as a 4-2-3-1 due to the manner Dennis Bergkamp dropped into the ‘No.10’ position between midfield and attack.

The team is best known for its attacking prowess. Thierry Henry was at the pinnacle of his talents, finishing second in the Ballon d’Or voting in 2003 and fourth in 2004, and even though Bergkamp was towards the end of his career, he had not lost his remarkable mobility or vision.

Robert Pires, a left-winger, supplied a secondary source of goals, scoring 14 in the league, while Patrick Vieira, a central midfielder, was both the team’s heart and intellect. On the right, Freddie Ljungberg was a ferocious box-to-box player who raised his game for the big occasion.

The Gunners were also excellent defensively, conceding only 26 goals. At center-back, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure were a wonderful combination of athleticism and intelligence, Jens Lehmann brought international class in goal, while Ashley Cole and Lauren were a dynamic full-back duo.

Finally, champions

The Gunners‘ 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February was a defining moment in the title race. Wenger’s team came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Liverpool 4-2 at Highbury.

Finally, the title was sealed when Arsenal drew 2-2 with north London rivals Spurs at White Hart Lane, capitalizing on second-placed Chelsea’s loss to Newcastle.

On the final day of their unbeaten season, they defeated relegated Leicester City 2-1.

What Arsene Wenger accomplished was nothing short of magic. To go undefeated the entire season is truly a remarkable feat. A feat that no other manager including Ferguson and Pep has achieved.

Arsenal 03/04, undoubtedly the best team ever in English football.

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