Category Archives: Arsenal

European Super League: The Brexit of Football?

After the controversial introduction of VAR into the Premiership, on Sunday the whole football world was talking about the threat of six English clubs threatening to take part in a breakaway Super League.

The so called big six comprising of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham confirmed that they had joined with six leading clubs in Italy and Spain over a highly selective and largely closed tournament that would in effect replace the Champions League.

The move, which represents a huge challenge to the Premier League, The Football Association  and UEFA, paves the way for the biggest shake up of club football in a long while.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan are also committed to joining the Super League, although certain clubs in France and Germany have not yet signed up.

Understandably this has caused outrage in the football world with the Premier League urging their clubs to walk away from this idea before serious damage will be done.

Indeed, the FA and UEFA have warned that they would not sanction a breakaway, referring to the fact that players and clubs could no longer compete in official competitions. Players could also be banned from International tournaments as well.

This whole idea is completely out of order and just feels that the so called ‘big six’ are wanting to make even more money than they already do so. They are plain and simple greedy owners. They don’t have the wishes of the fans at heart. They are only interested in getting even greedier than what they already are.

This is about big money, not football issues anymore. The rebel clubs still want to continue playing in domestic competitions, but we all know that would be just a good excuse to play a B side.

On a personal note I totally agree with Gary Neville’s points made on Sunday. They don’t have the fans interest at heart. They should be punished heavily, which I totally agree with.

Points deduction would be the best punishment possible, or an even better idea would be to relegate all six of the clubs. They certainly wouldn’t like that thrown at them.

How on earth can the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham seriously consider themselves to be classed as one of the ‘Big Six’. Both have had a bad season and in fairness haven’t won anything of significance for a long time.

Fans would clearly not want to watch a Super League with the ‘Big Six’ playing the same sides on a regular basis as this would become very boring. 

It appears that even managers are not happy about this stupid idea. Today there was a big rumour doing the rounds that Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham for refusing to take training on the back of the proposed Super League.

Let us hope and pray that this doesn’t take off as it will have massive implications. 

This is terrible news for the rest of the football clubs that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Clubs in the EFL Championship, League One and Two and Non-League clubs– some of which have now dissolved- desperately need financial help. Surely the owners of the ‘Big Six’ should realise this and think about other clubs and not themselves. Unfortunately in today’s crazy world of football that won’t be the case.  They only want to line there ever rich bulging pockets even deeper.

This is further proof that chairman of the ‘Big Six’ really haven’t got a clue about how football should be run. To them it is about making as much cash as possible before they walk away. This story certainly has the makings of the Brexit of Football.

Gunners’ fans voice displeasure at rumoured ‘Ajaxenal’ kit

Arsenal’s reported new home kit for the 2021-22 season has been shared online and many fans have already made their feelings known regarding the new design.  

The shirt was shared by FootyHeadlines and will be mainly red, with white sleeves and side panels.  It will also feature navy stripes on the collar.  The kit is reportedly set to go on sale in July. 

The strip has prompted much talk among Gunner’s fans, however, who are comparing it to the Dutch side Ajax’s famous colour. Indeed, many believe that the strip looks more like four-time Champions League winners rather than the team from North London. 

One fan has already tweeted saying: 

Dressing up as Ajax won’t get us playing in the UCL lads” 

Another, meanwhile, named it:

“Ajaxenal”

While one supporter even went as far as praising the Dutch side, who are set to face Roma in the Europa League quarter-finals this week. 

They wrote:

“It’s Ajax FC we’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.” 

Finally, another said: 

“If we’re going to commit to relying on a bunch of youngsters, may as well go 100% Ajax.”

Some supporters have also jokingly suggested that it was in fact a ploy to get fan favourite Marc Overmars to return to North London.  

Overmars is currently the Director of football at the Dutch club, but is rumoured to be leaving before too long and fans would clearly welcome the chance for the Dutch winger to replace their current Director Edu, whose position has come under intense scrutiny.  

The Gunners reported third kit design, meanwhile, has gone down much better with the supporters as it is invoking memories of a classic jersey from 1994-1996, referred to as ‘Blue Lightening’. It will perhaps rekindle memories of the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright. 

For the current crop of players and manager Mikel Arteta, they will hope that this new kit change sparks a substantial improvement and better things to come next season. 

What are your thoughts on the rumoured new kits Arsenal fans? Feel free to give us your thoughts in the comments below….

Martin Ødegaard Makes Temporary Switch to the Emirates

Real Madrid midfielder Martin Ødegaard has completed his loan move to Arsenal for the remainder of the season.

The Norwegian has been struggling for game time at the Bernabeu and is desperate to recapture his promising form that he showcased during a fruitful loan spell at Real Socieded last year.

The young playmaker started Los Blancos’ first two La Liga games of the season after being recalled early in the summer from his two year loan deal in San Sebastián, with the view that he was ready to make the step to become a regular under Zidane, his old Real Madrid B coach.

Yet, the attacking midfielder has featured only once as a starter in a league game since, a 1-1 draw against Villareal at the back end of November.

With Zidane still opting for a midfield three of Kroos, Casemiro and Modric and with the likes of Isco and Asensio providing cover, Ødegaard was not prepared to kick his heels on the bench and instead pushed for a move away to get the regular game time he craves.

The Athletic understands that the player’s preferred destination was a return to Sociedad, where Ødegaard shone last year, not least in helping La Real knock his parent club out of the Copa De Rey in a pulsating 4-3 victory at the Bernabeu last February. Madrid were unwilling to let him go to a direct rival, given Real Sociedad’s fine start to the campaign.

Arsenal emerged as another potential destination given their need to recruit competition in the number ten position for Emile Smith-Rowe. The Englishman has been in fine form since being entrusted with a starting birth against Chelsea on Boxing Day, recording three assists and scoring once in the past five games.

Yet, Smith-Rowe is just 20 and has struggled with injuries in the past and, given the condensed nature of the season with games coming thick and fast, the Gunners sought to find an eligible candidate to ease the burden on the academy graduate.

Ødegaard ticks a number of boxes having been one of the most creative players in Spain’s top flight last season. Only five players created more scoring chances than Ødegaard in La Liga last season, and the 22-year-old also ranked in the top 10 for successful dribbles.

The year before, when he was on loan at Vitesse in the Netherlands, he created more chances than any other player in the Dutch top flight, and finishing third in the assists chart behind Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech.

A call from Arteta, detailing how he will fit in at Arsenal, is reported to have persuaded the player to opt to move to London, which is set to be announced later today after the Norwegian undergoes a medical this afternoon. Arteta is hoping to have him available for the Gunners game against Manchester United on Saturday night.

The deal represents a rather low risk transfer from Arsenal’s perspective, it is a simple six month loan deal, with no option to buy and the Gunners will cover his modest £38,000 salary and pay a poultry £2 million loan fee for the duration of the deal.

They will also be bringing a hugely exciting talent to English shores, six years after the Norwegian had spells training with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United before opting to sign for Real Madrid.

One should therefore be reminded that it is not long ago since Ødegaard was viewed as one of the most highly sought after youngsters in Europe.

He burst onto the scene in his homeland in April 2014 when he made his debut for Strømsgodset, becoming the youngest player to feature in the Tipperligaen, Norway’s Premier division at 15 years and 118 days. He became the league’s youngest goalscorer just a month later when he found the net in a 4-1 win against Sarpsborg on 16th May.

By the end of the season Ødegaard had scored five goals in 23 league games, in addition to making seven assists, as his side finished fourth. He trained with Real Madrid the following January and they won the race for his signature, announcing his signing at the end of the month.

He initially was put into Real’s B team, Real Madrid Castilla, to help him adapt to his new surroundings, but he regularly trained with the first team, something which caused friction between the player and then boss Zidane.

He made his senior bow for Los Blancos aged just 16 years and 157 days, becoming the club’s youngest debutant. He has since featured just seven more times for the first team, opting to go out on loan, spending three years in Holland, two with Heerenveen and one with Vitesse after a year and a half with Real Madrid Castilla.

He initially struggled at Heereveen and the demands of senior football in a more competitive league. He was in and out of the team and didn’t score his first goal for the club until his 15th appearance, as their president admitted that they were struggling to find his best position.

The following campaign he established himself as a regular and began to show glimpses of what he was capable of. The 2018/19 season at Vitesse was when Ødegaard really stepped up to the plate and thrived in the Eredivise.

He often started on the right wing in a 4-4-2, and under the tutelage of Russian manager Leonid Slutsky, was given the license to be the side’s main attacking outlet. He was often seen dancing past opponents with his quick feet and acceleration before calmly finding the perfect pass or fashioning an opportunity on goal. He ended that season with 8 goals and 11 assists, a healthy return for a 20 year old.

Having proved a point in Holland, Ødegaard was rewarded with another loan spell, (originally agreed to be for two years) at fellow La Liga outfit Real Sociedad and he immediately hit the ground running.

Routinely deployed as an attacking midfielder in a 4-3-3 at San Sebastián, the Norwegian managed 90 minutes in 19 of La Real’s first 21 games last season, putting in a particularly impressive display as a second striker in a 2-0 win over Athletico Madrid.

His mazy runs from midfield, defence-splitting passes and his routinely energetic displays propelled Sociedad into the Champions League places before lockdown hit.

Both his and his club’s form tailed off once football returned, with Sociedad finishing sixth and qualifying for the Europa League. In the 10 games of the season he didn’t play 90 minutes once as he struggled with tendonitis, a problem which has also plagued him recently in Madrid. He ended the campaign with seven goals and nine assists and as one of the standout performers in the league.

Those stats convey just why Ødegaard is frustrated at his lack of opportunities at the Burnabeu and also why Arsenal fans are so excited at his projected arrival. There are some skeptical supporters wary of getting too ahead of themselves, having drawn parallels of Ødegaard’s move with that of Denis Suarez’s two years prior.

The Spaniard, liked Ødegaard arrived with a promising reputation from Real’s rivals Barcelona in January 2019 on a sixth month loan deal to get regular game time before returning to star for his parent club.

It didn’t pan out that way for the now Villareal midfielder, who played just six times over the course of the remainder of the campaign after a pelvic injury in just his second game with the Gunners left him struggling to regain full fitness during the rest of his disappointing spell in North London.

It remains to be seen whether Ødegaard is still affected by that injury, and having not played competitively in two months, patience should be granted upon his arrival as the Norwegian quickly tries to integrate himself to his new teammates and the new league.

Nonetheless, if he can replicate his early season form at Real Sociedad last campaign, he could be the man to really propel Arsenal up the table and deep into the Europa League and may represent a huge coup for the Gunners.

https://247-football.com/2021/01/24/mesut-ozil-completes-fenerbahce-move/

Mesut Ozil completes Fenerbahce move

Arsenal attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil has completed his transfer to Turkish side Fenerbahce. 

The German playmaker made 254 appearances for the Gunners since he joined them from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, but the 32-year-old fell out of favour with Mikel Arteta and was left out of Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads since the start of the campaign. 

The World Cup winner recently came to an agreement with the North London club to terminate his contact, which enabled him to join a new club and subsequently travel to Istanbul to complete the transfer.

In a message to the Arsenal fans, Ozil said: 

“I’d like to thank the club for this amazing journey over the past seven-and-a-half years. The support I have felt from the team and fans during my time here has been truly incredible and something I will always be grateful for. Together we won trophies for the first time in years and created memories that will last a lifetime.”

In addition, following Ozil’s departure Arteta said:

“Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins. These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.”

Indeed, the German has always expressed a desire of wanting to play in Turkey as he explained to NTV earlier this week:

“I am a Fenerbahce fan.

That is why I am very happy to be coming to Turkey with Fenerbahce. I’m very excited.  God gave me the chance to wear this jersey.  I will carry it with honour and do everything that I can for the team.”  

During his time with the Gunners Ozil scored a total of 44 goals and registered an impressive 77 assists.  His first two seasons with the club resulted in winning back-to-back FA Cups.  It was, however, the 2015/16 campaign, which resulted him providing a phenomenal 19 assists for his team, one short of the legendary Thierry Henry’s record, while he created an outstanding 146 chances.   

Ozil was subsequently named Arsenal’s player of the year that season, but he was never able to reach those lofty heights again despite helping his side reach the Carabao Cup final in 2018 and the Europa League Final in 2019.  

What followed was a decline in performance, a retirement from international duty and a sense of unfulfilled promise from player who promised so much. 

https://247-football.com/2020/11/23/should-arsenal-make-a-move-for-christian-eriksen-in-january/

Will the presence of fans in some stadiums affect results?

March 9, 2020 was the last game that involved fans watching their team live.  The match was Leicester City vs Aston Villa and resulted in a 4-0 victory for The Foxes. 

Who would have thought though that it would have taken until December to see fans to witness competitive sports in some of the lands most famous stadiums again? 

Well, if you’re a supporter of a team living in COVID-19 Tier One or Two areas some fans will be able to watch their side live for the first time in almost nine months. This means 51 of the 104 clubs across the Premier League, EFL and Women’s Super League able to host a maximum of 2,000 supporters.

Which teams can have fans in stadiums again?

This means good news for Premier League’s London clubs: Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Fulham. While also on the list are South Coast clubs Southampton and Brighton as well as the Premier League Champions Liverpool and their rivals Everton. 

The other ten sides in the top flight, however, will have to wait to welcome back supporters.  Being in Tier three areas such as Manchester and Yorkshire they will continue to play games behind closed doors.  This means: Manchester United, Manchester City, Burnley, Sheffield United, Leeds United and Newcastle United .  While midlands clubs Leicester City, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton and West Brom will also have to play games without their fans. 

In addition, away fans from tier three areas will be unable to travel to games in tier two stadiums. 

Indeed, on Thursday Arsenal will have the honour of being the first English team to play a competitive match, a Europa League tie against Austrian side Rapid Vienna.  Being in a Tier 2 area, the Gunners will be able to play in front of 2,000 of their own supporters for the first time in nearly nine months. 

Unsurprisingly, however, the 2,000 tickets were sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale.  The first Premier League games, meanwhile, to take place in front of fans are set to be West Ham United’s encounter with Manchester United and Chelsea’s home game with Leeds United. 

Will allowing supporters in certain grounds be fair?

The awkward question remains. Will having supporters back in certain grounds affect the outcome of the match? 

Crystal Palace Manager and former England Coach, Roy Hodgson said:

“It will make a bit of a difference at Selhurst Park than it will do at some other stadiums, where the capacity is so much higher. 

“But I don’t think it is a question really of what difference the fans are going to make, I think it is more of how nice it is going to be for those fans who are selected to be one of those who gets a ticket to see a match live again.”

While Fulham boss Scott Parker said: 

“It’s a breath of fresh air, it’s what we all want. It’s what the fans want and what we want as a team.”

Understandably not everyone is in agreement.  Leeds United Manager Marcelo Bielsa, whose side falls into the category of a tier three area, meaning supporters will have to wait a little longer to see their side live, said:

“It shouldn’t be about the category, or the consequences of being in a category, it should be about trying to maintain the competition as equal as possible with things that are controllable. 

“I am just looking at common sense, which perhaps doesn’t go.  The presence of fans has an effect on the results.” 

Boton Wanders boss Ian Evatt, whose side play in League One and will also have to continue playing without the support of fans in stadiums, said:

“Without getting into a big political debate I just cannot believe the way (it has gone).  For me, we’re a country and we should all be together, regardless.  It should be one for all and all for one.”

What do you think?

It must come, therefore, as no surprise to see the football world split down the middle following this government announcement. There certainly is a compelling case for both arguments, on the one hand watching football without fans in the stadiums is not the same as stated by former Manchester United Manager, Sir Matt Busby. 

Busby was once famously quoted as saying:

“Football is nothing without fans.”

There is, however, the legitimate question of fairness and equal competition when it comes to competitive sport.  How do you create a level playing field?

Personally, however, I can’t wait to see to see fans bring the atmosphere and magic back to the sport again, no matter whom they support! 

Feel free to share your views in the comments below.