Category Archives: Opinions

Match Preview: Arsenal FC vs Leicester City FC

Arsenal FC take on Leicester City FC on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium as the Gunners will go to any extent to grab all three points to stay in the top four. Mikel Arteta’s side survived a scare to overcome Watford 3-2 last time out, while the Foxes arrive having claimed a 2-0 advantage in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie with Rennes. 

Arsenal have won eight of their past ten games in the Premier League (D1, L1). The 25 points they have accrued during that period is the joint-most in the division, alongside Manchester City. The Gunners could become the first team to win five consecutive Premier League matches by a one-goal margin since Birmingham City in November and December 2009.

Leicester have won successive league matches for just the second time this season, keeping consecutive clean sheets for the first time in 13 months. They haven’t earned three Premier League wins in a row since January 2021. In their most recent away fixture, victory at Burnley ended a run of four straight league defeats, and no win in six, on the road.

Team News:

Arsenal FC: The Gunners will be without right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu as he struggles with a calf issue. It means Cedric Soares is due to start in defence, and Arteta could name the same XI who beat Watford as Arsenal look to make it five Premier League wins in a row. Emile Smith Rowe is expected to be back in the squad this weekend after a bout of COVID-19.

Leicester City FC: Wesley Fofana’s potential comeback against Rennes was ruined by a positive COVID-19 test. The 21-year-old who has just recovered from a devastating fractured fibula will likely be available for the second leg with the French side rather than the clash with the Gunners.

Head-to-Head:

Arsenal won the reverse fixture 2-0 and are looking to complete a league double over Leicester for the first time in six seasons. However, Leicester could win back-to-back away league games against the Gunners for the first time. Last season’s 1-0 victory ended their 23-match winless league run away to Arsenal.

Arsenal wins: 69

Draws: 45

Leicester wins: 33

Possible XI:

Arsenal’s possible starting lineup:

Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette

Leicester City’s possible starting lineup:

Schmeichel; Justin, Amartey, Soyuncu, Thomas; Ndidi, Tielemans; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho

Match Details: 

Arsenal vs Leicester is scheduled for a 4.30 pm GMT kick-off on Sunday, March 13, 2022.

Emirates Stadium in London will host the match.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

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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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Match Preview: Arsenal vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Bruno Lage’s Wolverhampton Wanderers will arrive at the Emirates Stadium in London to face Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. In the space of one month, the Gunners will be looking to have a second win over Wolves. The Gunners won 1-0 at Molineux back on February 10 and head into the midweek battle one place and two points better off than their opponents, having played a game fewer.

This game will be crucial for both teams as they will be looking to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. So, the game will be tight as both teams needed the three points. A win will certainly boost their run for the remainder of this season. A win could take Arsenal a point behind Manchester United with two games in hand. But it won’t be easy against Wolves, a team that has been transformed a lot under Bruno Lage.

Against Brentford, Arsenal had a dominant victory with the goals from Saka and Smith Rowe. Martinelli served his one-game ban following his Molineux red card in the win over Brentford, and the Brazilian’s return means that Arteta is blessed with a fully-fit squad for this crucial battle.

In February, Arsenal is having a terrific run. They opened the month of February with two wins from two in the top flight and could be considered as the leaders of the top-four chasing pack, currently sat sixth but only four points behind Manchester United with three games in hand.

Wolves will start the match after a narrow win over Leicester City last week. But it boosted their chance for a top-four spot, and against Gunners, they will need another three points to keep the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester United. 

Team News:

Arsenal: The exciting news for Mikel Arteta is the return of Gabriel Martinelli. Arsenal almost has a fully fit squad. Cedric Soares might start over Takehiro Tomiyasu as he had a great match against Brentford. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Yerson Mosquera and Willy Boly have returned to full training, and the Molineux crowd witnessed the very welcome sight of Pedro Neto making his first appearance of the season against Leicester following his serious knee injury. Rayan Ait-Nouri’s presence is in doubt after getting a knock against Leicester City. 

Head-to-Head:

Arsenal wins: 59

Draws: 28

Wolves wins: 32

Possible line-ups:

Arsenal possible starting lineup:

Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Lacazette

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting line-up:

Sa; Kilman, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Neves, Dendoncker, Marcal; Trincao, Jimenez, Podence

Kick-Off: Thursday 24 February

Kick-Off Time: 19:45 (GMT)

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Referee: Martin Atkinson

 

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Thierry Henry – The King 👑

Thierry Henry, full name Thierry Daniel Henry (born 17 August 1977, Châtillon, France), is a French football player and coach. He scored goals for the national team, More than any other player in French history, considered one of the most prolific strikers—the scorer of their era. French Thierry Henry spent most of his club career at Arsenal, where he spent eight years winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups while becoming the club’s leading player in the Premier League. Best scorer in history. One of the greatest players of his generation, he has amassed a wealth of trophies during his illustrious career at the club. He became Arsenal’s top scorer in all competitions, scoring two goals in the Champions League win over Sparta Prague on 17 October 2005, breaking Ian Wright’s record of 185 goals.

On 1 February 2006, he scored against West Ham United, breaking Cliff Bastins’ record of 150 goals and becoming Arsenal’s all-time leader in league goals. Thierry Henry set a club record with 174 goals during his eight seasons at Arsenal. In mid-2004, Thierry Henry won the 2003-04 Golden Boot, became UEFA’s top scorer (30), and helped Arsenal win the Premier League again. France entered the European Championship in 2000, and Thierry Henry scored the winning goal for France in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and won the best player of the tournament.

Thierry Henry didn’t necessarily start with a clinical advantage in terms of goals. Still, he worked hard as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger asked him to and quickly became one of the most feared players in the Premier League, eventually becoming League top scorer (the magic mark of scoring 30 goals at a time). Thierry Henry was designed more like a winger when he came to Clay Fontaine, a French football academy ahead of its time and trained David Trezeguet and Nicolas Anelka; Henry was turned into a striker by the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. However, when he arrived at Arsenal two weeks before his 22nd birthday, Henry had to contend with more than a repositioning. France’s top scorer (51 goals) Henry played for his old club from 1999 to 2007 and was loaned out again in 2012. Henry was named the greatest Arsenal player of all time after scoring 228 goals in north London.

However, most remember Thierry Henry from his time in France, the brilliant goals he scored for Arsenal when he played the most exciting and attractive football in the country (and perhaps the continent). In total, he made 123 caps for France and is the country’s all-time leading scorer. Henry’s first spell at Arsenal is where, if you hadn’t witnessed it yourself, you’d think the praise was a gross exaggeration. Henry’s early days at Arsenal are synonymous with the simple fact that he didn’t score in his first eight matches.

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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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Arsenal to Barcelona: The best transfers

On the deadline day of the winter transfer window, Barcelona signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after he terminated his contract with Arsenal. The player signed a contract until 30 June 2025 with an option to agree departure on 30 June 2023, and his buy out clause is 100 million euros. 

The Gabonese striker is the ninth player who moved from London to the Catalan club. The eight other players who left Arsenal for Barcelona in the past years were: 

Aleksandr Hleb

Thomas Vermaelen

Alex Song

Emmanuel Petit

Marc Overmars

Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Cesc Fabregas

Thierry Henry

Let’s have a look at the players who had great success after the big move:

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas came through La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy, leaving at 16 when he was signed by Premier League club Arsenal in September 2003. He was a well-established player in the first XI of the Gunners after several injuries. 

After a long spell with Arsenal, he returned to Barcelona in 2011. During his three-year spell at the Camp Nou, Fabregas played alongside Xavi and Andres Iniesta and won a La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, the FIFA Club World Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and two Spanish Super Cups. He returned to London in June 2014 to Arsenal’s cross-town rivals Chelsea for a fee of 30 million pounds, and in his first year there, he helped to secure League Cup and Premier League triumphs.

Thierry Henry

One of the most decorated footballers in the history of European football. Henry made his professional debut with Monaco in 1994 before signing for defending Serie A champions Juventus. He joined Arsenal in 1999 for 11 million pounds. 

Under long-time mentor and coach Arsene Wenger, Henry became a prolific striker and Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer with 228 goals in all competitions. He won the Premier League Golden Boot a record four times won two FA Cups and two Premier League titles with the club, including one during an unbeaten season dubbed The Invincibles. He spent his final two seasons with Arsenal as club captain, leading them to the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. 

In June 2007, he transferred to Barcelona. In the 2008–09 season, Henry was a crucial part of the club’s historic treble when they won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. In 2010, he joined New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer but returned to Arsenal on loan for two months in 2012, before retiring in 2014.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Van Bronckhorst was part of an Arsenal side that memorably won the Premier League in 2002, sealing the victory at the home of fierce rivals Manchester United.

In 2003, he joined Barcelona from Arsenal on a loan deal and in 2004, he moved on a permanent transfer. He was an instrumental player in Barcelona’s 2005–06 UEFA Champions League victory, being in the starting line-up of the final, having played every Champions League match for Barcelona that season.

 

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Thank you AUBA

After a dramatic end to the winter transfer window, Arsenal fans hoped that the club would sign a new player to strengthen the attack instead of seeing their ex-captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leave. Arsenal released a club statement on their website stating, “Aubameyang leaves club by mutual consent.” Arsenal fans believe that the captain’s armband is cursed at their club. Aubameyang was given the captains role by their former manager Unai Emery, and this also continued under the current manager Mikel Arteta. Arteta has observed and stated that Auba has had disciplinary issues in recent years.

This was first seen in the North London derby last season when he was not part of the starting lineup, with Arteta citing disciplinary issues. This continued in this season when he was not part of the squad against Southampton in the Premier League while Arteta again cited disciplinary reasons. A few days later, Auba was removed from the captaincy role by the manager. Aubameyang was purchased from Dortmund on the deadline day of the winter transfer window for a then club-record fee of £56 million. However, the ending does not do enough justification. Four years later, he decides to leave the club and join the Spanish giants Barcelona on the same day.  Let us have a look at his time in Arsenal.

AUBAMEYANG 2018-22

He was bought into the club by Arsene Wenger to improve the attack. Scoring in his debut league game against Everton gave the fans what they wanted to see. He scored ten goals in his first half-season appearances and provided four assists in 13 league games. Auba was the last goal scorer for Arsenal under the spell of Arsene Wenger.  His goal-scoring form from the German league made him the leading man in attack.  Starting the new season under new manager Unai Emery, Auba scored his first season goal against Cardiff City.  In the 2018-19 season, Auba was on a roll and scored goals pretty often; this resulted in reaching the ten goals mark before anyone else in that season. He ended the season by scoring two goals against Burnley, making him the season’s top scorer alongside the Liverpool duo Salah and Mane with 22 goals. However, the ending of the season was pretty upsetting as they lost the Europa League finals to their London rivals Chelsea 4-1. He also won the Player of the Month for his five goals scored in September.

In the new season, 2019-20, he scored goals crucial in Arsenal’s successful season. Auba turned into a clutch player in the FA Cup, where he helped his team beat the defending champions Man City 2-0, scoring both the goals. They then played Chelsea in the finals of the FA Cup. Chelsea opened the scoring in the 5th minute, Auba then equalised in the 28th minute by converting a penalty and then scored the winner in the 67th minute. He became the first African to win the FA Cup as a captain. He finished the season with 22 league goals. Further, he could not continue the goal-scoring run in the next season, although the manager gave him enough chances.

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Three biggest flops in Arsenal’s history

Many famous football players have flourished when they made the move to Arsenal. Thierry Henry, one of the EPL top scorers, is one such player who achieved tremendous success after moving to the London side from Juventus. However, there are many examples of others who failed to shine at the Gunners, despite receiving many opportunities at the club.

Marouane Chamakh

Marouane Chamakh had made a big name for himself at Bordeaux. The former Morocco international had helped the Girondins win several major trophies, including the Ligue 1 in 2009. Famous for his excellent heading ability and link-up play, the forward notched 56 goals for the French side in 230 league appearances. When Chamakh joined Arsenal on a free transfer in the summer of 2010, fans were greatly excited to see his play at the Emirates Stadium. He looked very promising in the beginning for the Gunners but soon fell out of favour with Arsene Wenger after failing to make a big impact. During his time in London, he managed to score only eight goals in 40 league matches. Chamakh went on to join West Ham on loan in January 2013 before signing for Crystal Palace. Arsenal released him from the club after the expiration of his contract in 2014.

Nicklas Bendtner

Nicklas Bendtner is an academy graduate of Arsenal who spent a long time at the London side. However, his spell at the Gunners wasn’t successful on the whole, with his off-field antics, injuries and inconsistency stopping him from living up to his true potential. The Danish footballer made 171 appearances across all competitions for the Londoners, scoring 47 goals and creating 22 assists in the process (stats from Transfermarkt). Although regarded as a flop at Arsenal, Bendtner also had some memorable moments at the London side when he showed how good he can be on his day. One of these displays came in the 5-0 win over Porto in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2009. The forward smashed three goals to became the second player in the club’s history to earn a hat-trick in the European competition. He also has the distinction of scoring the fastest goal by a substitute in the Premier League, with the Dane striking against Tottenham Hotspur in 2006 six seconds after leaving the bench.

Shkodran Mustafi

Shkodran Mustafi is also one of the biggest flops at Arsenal. The Gunners splashed a tremendous £35 million to secure a deal for him in the summer of 2016. Before arriving in London, the centre-back had proved his skills at Sampdoria and Valencia. There were lots of expectations that he would do well at the Emirates Stadium. However, the German defender failed to make an impact at the Premier League outfit, despite being given plenty of opportunities. He developed a reputation for errors and so became a target of criticism from the Gunners’ fans. Mustafi clocked up 151 appearances across all competitions during his time at the club, netting nine goals and creating five assists in the process. Arsenal failed to finish in the Top Four last season. They are currently scouring the market for signing talented players like Ben White in this transfer window, as per thefootballreports.com.

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Has David Luiz done enough to remain at Arsenal beyong this season

Arsenal completed an unexpected deadline-day move for Chelsea defender David Luiz so much to the surprise of many football fans across the world.

Though many Arsenal fans believed Unai Emery would sign two or more players during the final day of the transaction period, only few persons would ever have imagined seeing Luiz at the Emirates Stadium prior to the start of the campaign. This was as a result of the intense rivalry between both clubs; there were few hours to the end of the summer transfer window and the Brazilian star wasn’t getting any younger.

David Luiz’s departure was sanctioned by Frank Lampard, the deal was sealed by both clubs and the Brazilian was unveiled to the Gunners faithfuls who had mixed feelings about the players move to the Emirates Stadium. How has he fared, nine months after the famous move from West London to North London? We take a look at his performance under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta to see if he deserves to be offered a new contract or not.

Defensive Duties

The Brazilian has been a mainstay in Arteta’s starting lineup since he joined the team and he has somehow lived up to expectations. He has featured in 32 matches in all competitions and has a record of 1.5 aerial duels won per game. He won 75 tackles in all competitions before the season was brought to an unexpected break in March.

Nonetheless, the 33-year-old still has to add more qualities to his overall performance if he must remain with the North London club for more seasons. Luiz is definitely one of the most experienced defenders in the team and his young teammates are obviously looking up to him for inspiration. Our ratings —6/10

Goalscoring Record

Though the defender’s main assignment is to prevent opponents from scoring or going past them, Luiz was expected to score some breathtaking free-kicks just as he did during his time at Chelsea and PSG. Unfortunately, he hasn’t replicated such form for the Gunners. His goal scoring ratio has drastically dropped as he has scored just two goals and an assist in 32 games. Our rating 5/10

Conclusion

The Brazilian defender is a great player but his overall performances has dropped a bit, which could affect his chances of being with the North London club for long. Considering his age and his desire to return to his former club Benfica, it might be impossible for Arteta and his employers to retain the Brazilian star after this season. I guess the Gunners executives would love to invest big on a more and adventurous centre-back in the summer transfer window.

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Kai Havertz to Arsenal: What will he bring to the team?

We discuss today on gooner news, the potential signing of Kai Havertz to Arsenal. The 20-year-old Germany international has been linked to Arsenal in a rumoured £70m move with Manchester United and Manchester City also in the race for his signature.

The German Bundesliga finally returned from its two months break last weekend and so was Kai Havertz who scored two lovely goals for Bayer Leverkusen against Werder Bremen on Monday. The young striker was one of Arsenal’s major transfer targets during the winter transaction period but the German side failed to sanction his sale to the Premier League outfits.

Though the Bundesliga side has made it clear they want to keep their precious jewel beyond this season, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta isn’t giving up on his hope to lure the 20-year-old German international to the Emirates Stadium before next season. In the meantime, we face stiff competition from Chelsea and Liverpool in the race for the player’s services as both clubs are keeping close tabs on his performances.

However, should we end up beating all other interested suitors to his signature, the questions on everyone’s mind would be — what will Havertz bring to the team; is he really needed by the Gunners and who should serve as a sacrificial lamb during the upcoming transfer window?

1. What Will He Bring To The Team?

* Huge Attacking Threat

Havertz is known for his ability to make tireless attacking runs as he can juggle the ball really well. He will definitely add more threats to the Gunners attacking prowess due to his attacking style of play. He knows how and when to dribble, his through balls in the final half of the pitch are impressive and will surely help the Emirates outfits in the desire to lift first Premier League title in 16 years.

* More Depth to the Gunners squad

The player’s versatility is another reason why the Arteta should push on with his plans to capture the 20-year-old star. Havertz has featured as an attacking midfielder, a centre forward, a right midfielder and centre midfielder for club and country. Therefore, signing Havertz simply means adding more depth to the team as he can be called upon to feature at any of the aforementioned positions, depending on Arteta’s tactical approach to games.

2. Is He Needed At The Moment

Judging by the Gunners underwhelming display at the attacking department this season, it won’t be out of place to advise that Havertz should be brought to the team’s set up to support Aubameyang, should the Gabonese remains with the team.

3. Who Should be the Sacrificial Lamb?

Either Mesut Ozil or Alexandre Lacazette should be allowed to leave in the summer in order to create space for the youngster. As much as Ozil is an experienced figure in the team, his overall performances throughout the season have left so much to be desired. Just like Ozil, France international striker Lacazette is also far from convincing and his recent controversy isn’t helping matters. Nonetheless, it is left for Arteta and his employers to decide who should be placed on the outgoing transfer list.

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Should Granit Xhaka leave Arsenal?

It all began on the 25th of May 2016 when a certain Switzerland international completed a stunning £35m move to the Emirates Stadium from Borussia Mönchengladbach despite interests from other interested suitors. He wasted no time before becoming a regular starter under Arsene Wenger despite massive competition for a place in the Frenchman’s team. Though sometimes makes some unexpected howlers, the 27-year-old is seen as an inspirational figure to his teammates on and off the field of play.

Controversial Moment

His importance to the team got to a whole new level when he was reportedly voted as the team captain by his teammate during Unai Emery’s time at the helm of affairs. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the beginning of his trying times as many fans weren’t impressed with the player’s decision to make him the captain.

Things got out of control between the Xhaka and the fans during a Premier League game against Crystal Palace last year. He was booed by his own fans and he furiously replied ‘fuck off’ while walking off the tunnel. He was immediately stripped of the captain armband and couldn’t make Emery’s team list in many subsequent matches as part of the club’s decision to punish him for his unruly action.

Should He Consider Moving Out Of The Emirates Stadium?

Though Xhaka is enjoying life under Mikel Arteta, he is far from becoming a fan favourite and it is not advisable to remain in a club where you struggle to gain supporters’ affection. It was revealed during January’s transaction period that Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin were strongly interested in his services but he turned down the chance to part ways with the Gunners.

Considering the unhealthy relationship between Xhaka and Arsenal fans, it might be good for the centre midfielder to search for a new team where his services will be appreciated. In addition, the 27-year-old midfielder might fail to command regular action next season if Arteta eventually signs top defensive midfielders, such as Ndidi or Thomas Partey, who are both linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.

Our Final Verdict

Considering the quality of players who could join the team in the summer and his relationship with the fans, I believe putting an end to his four-year stay at the Emirates Stadium might be the best decision. Returning back to Germany will be a great idea as he won’t spend much time getting used to the ways things are done in the country’s top-flight league.

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Three reasons why Unai Emery failed at Arsenal

Unai Emery was hired by Arsenal board members as Arsene Wenger’s replacement after many reports linked top managers with the position.

Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri was first tipped to be the next Gunners boss, before highly-rated and experienced tactician José Mourinho was listed for the job.

Former Real Madrid Manager Rafael Benitez was equally linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium, but it was the former Sevilla and Paris St-German boss who won the race.

Much was expected from the 48-year-old due to his successful Europa League campaigns with Sevilla where he won back-to-back trophies.

Emery showed great promises in his early days in the dugout as he recorded 11 straight wins and played 22 matches without defeat. That’s not all, he equally led his team to the Europa League final only to be thrashed 3-1 by Chelsea.

Unfortunately, his second season as the manager was a total contrast to what he did in the first term as he was far from convincing.

His team were obviously uncoordinated on the field of play and he lost too many matches, which eventually led to his dismissal.

Looking back to the manager’s short spell as the Gunners boss, we picked out three major reasons why the Spaniard failed to deliver.

1. Poor managerial skill at the top level

Being a manager is more than giving instructions to players or creating weekly team list, it has to do with the manner with which you relate with the players in the team.

It has a lot to do with the way you react to emerging issues in the team and in the media. It’s quite unfortunate Emery doesn’t realize how bad he was when it comes to managing the players at his disposal.

Firstly, creating an unhealthy and appalling relationship with Mesut Ozil — one of Arsenal’s best players — was his first error at the North London club.

Though the former German international wasn’t consistent in his performances, there’s a better way Emery could get him back to his best other than excluding him from team list.

Xhaka’s captaincy row and controversial moment with the fans was equally mishandled by the manager which further buttressed the fact that Emery needs to improve his managerial skill if he must succeed in future endeavors.

2. Lost the dressing room

Another reason why Emery didn’t stay long as Arsenal manager was his inability to control the dressing room. He totally lost control over his players and the solidarity wasn’t there at all.

He created a division in his team as some folks belonged to Ozil’s group while some are for Xhaka and Aubameyang respectively.

It is said that a family divided against itself cannot stand, and that was a clear picture of what happened to Unai Emery’s team.

3. Largely depleted or off-form squad

Emery inherited a squad of players who are low in confidence and are mentally unprepared for greater challenges. Unfortunately, the manager didn’t help matters as he was involved in many controversies with his players.

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Arsenal’s rising academy stars that could replace Aubameyang next season

Arsenal’s Hale End academy has witnessed the promotion of many youngsters to the first team. Players like Alex Iwobi, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Smith Rowe all graduated from the youth squad to the main team before some of them left for greener pastures.

Bukayo is currently the latest successful player produced by the famous academy, and certainly won’t be the last as there are some top teenagers who are close to gaining a spot in Mikel Arteta’s squad.

In this post, we shall be discussing on the top three youngsters who will likely make their first-team debut during next season. Who are the players?

1. Folarin Balogun

Folarin Balogun is a deadly striker who has a very bright future ahead of him. The 18-year-old is highly rated by the club’s hierarchies due to his goalscoring ability which saw him converted 25 chances in 19 Premier League (U18) matches last season. The England U19 international is a powerful striker who is comfortable using both legs. His dribbling skills and confidence in front of goal are other qualities that distinguish him from most of his peers.

In fact, some media outlets are tipping him to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyamg next season should the Gabonese striker decide to leave North London this summer. What’s the player’s chance of making his first-team debut next season? 70% I would say.

2. Miguel Azeez

Azeez, 17-year-old centre midfielder, was included in the Gunners Europa League squad prior to the start of the season, which further signifies how he’s highly rated by the North London club. He needs no introduction to many Arsenal fans because his beautiful goal against Aston Villa in one of U18 fixtures was well celebrated by the fans on social media.

The goal was enough to bring him to limelight and he has since been in Arteta’s list of youngsters to be promoted. Apart from his eye for goal and attacking potentials, Azeez’s defensive qualities are equally topnotch as he possesses the energy to make tireless runs during matches. Having featured for the U23 team, Azeez is really close to breaking into Arteta’s team and we believe he has 65% of doing so next season.

3. Sam Greenwood

Scoring 12 goals in 14 games is not an easy task to accomplish, but that was achieved by Greenwood while playing for England’s U17 team. His versatility remains his strongest potential as he can feature as a right winger, left winger or centre forward.

Greenwood has become one of the highly-rated youngsters in the Hale End academy despite joining the youth team last season. He is tipped to make it through to the senior team next season as we give him 70%.

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Emmanuel Adebayor ranked amongst Arsenal’s best former players from Africa

The Gunners are known for the opportunity given to African players to feature in their team. African stars including Emmanuel Frimpong, Yaya Sanogo, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Nwankwo Kanu, Alex Iwobi, Gilles Sun, Jehad Muntasser, and Carlin Itonga have all featured for the North London club in the time past. Many of the listed players had a very successful spell with the team while others failed to live up to expectations before leaving the Emirates Stadium outfits.

However, we shall be unveiling the top five players who had a memorable experience at the Emirates Stadium. So, Who are the best players to have featured for the Gunners in history?

5. Emmanuel Adebayor

The Togolese striker is fifth on the list following his relative success during the three years he’s spent at the Emirates Stadium. The highly controversial star joined the Gunners in 2006 from Monaco and he went on to feature in 143 matches scoring 62 goals in all competitions.

The 2007-08 season was arguably his most productive campaign in the Gunners’ red and white jersey as he found the back of the net on 30 occasions from just 40 starts. Unfortunately, Adebayor didn’t win any trophy with the team before he was captured by Arsenal rival Manchester City in 2009.

4. Alex Song

The Cameroon legend rightly occupies the fourth position due to his breathtaking performances he put up throughout his days with Arsene Wenger’s men. Unlucky not to be part of the invisible Gunners, Song joined the team in 2005 from Bastia (first on loan before the deal was made permanent) and he stayed at North London for seven years. Though the defensive midfielder wasn’t consistent in his early days with the team, he can prevent best players from going past him whenever he’s in fine form.

He would be remembered for his wonderful display in his last few seasons with the club when he finally showcased his potentials and quality. Unfortunately, that wasn’t good enough to prevent the French manager from sanctioning his move to Barcelona in 2012. Did he won any trophy with the Gunners? Sadly No

3. Kolo Toure

The inspirational and sturdy Ivorian deserves the third spot, thanks to the defensive prowess he showcased throughout his days with the team. Despite coming from a lowly-rated Ivorian side ASEC academy in 2002, the former Liverpool man stood his ground against amidst intense competition for spots in starting lineup. He established a formidable partnership with Sol Campbell at the heart of the defence, and he played a massive role in the team’s record-breaking run to 2003-04 EPL title without a single defeat.

2. Lauren

This is another Cameroonian on the list and he justifiably stays in the second position. He was part of the ‘invincible’ squad having joined the Gunners in 2000 through to 2007 in which he played 241 games scoring nine goals in the process. He helped Arsene Wenger’s men to two EPL titles, and he did these same with his country as he led them to two back-to-back AFCON trophies.

1. Nwankwo Kanu

44 goals in 198 games, Nwankwo Kanu tops our list of best five African legends that have featured for the North London club. Despite spending just five seasons under Wenger, the versatile player won two EPL titles, two CAF player of the year awards and two BBC African player awards. It will interest you to know that he was part of the highly-rated invisible Gunners team.

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Dani Ceballos deserves a lengthy spell at Arsenal

Arsenal’s display against West Ham United on Saturday wasn’t the best performance we’ve seen from Mikel Arteta’s men this season but they would be happy with the 1-0 victory.

The Gunners took the lead at the latter stages of the game as second-half substitute Alexandre Lacazette found the back of the net in the 78th minute.

Though the French striker deservedly made the headline for his inspiring cameo, one player was arguably the major reason why the Gunners maintained a clean sheet against the Hammers.

Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos continued his scintillating performance for the team on Saturday. Fresh from his man-of-the-match display against Portsmouth during the week, Ceballos was included in Arteta’s starting XI against struggling David Moyes’ side.

The Spaniard was brilliant at the middle of the park as he showed the defensive aspect of his game. He snatched the ball from West Ham players on 14 occasions ( The Sun)

Apart from acting as an unstoppable ball-winner during the weekend, the 23-year-old was equally important at the final half of the pitch.

He initiated many of the Gunners attacking moves which almost led to goal if not for their wastefulness in front of goal.

Considering the fact that he made 86 successful passes, he had 100 touches on the ball, and impressive numbers of interceptions against the Hammers, Dani Ceballos was obviously one of the best players on the pitch.

The Spanish star is currently in his best form since he returned from his two-month injury, and Arsenal fans are getting used to the player’s consistent performances on the pitch.

Unfortunately, Ceballos is just on a season-long loan from Real Madrid and he is expected to return to the Spanish side at the end of season.

His recent displays for the Emirates Stadium outfits must have caught Zinedine Zidane’s attention and the Frenchman will love to improve his midfield by integrating Ceballos into his plans for next season

However, It remains unknown if the North London Club can reach an agreement with Los Blancos to make him stay permanently ahead of the next season.

Since he joined the Gunners last summer , Ceballos has featured in 24 games and has been involved in three goals (two assists and one goal) in all competitions (Transfermarkt)

Arsenal fans will hope to see another great performance from their newly found unsung hero when they tackle Manchester City at the Etihad on Wednesday.

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