Category Archives: Arsenal

Chelsea vs Arsenal: Preview & Combined XI

The pressure could be potentially heaped on Arsene Wenger’s shoulders in Sunday’s first Super Sunday clash as he takes his side to Stamford Bridge to face Champions, Chelsea. 

Arsenal have a torrid record against last season’s top six failing to win in the last 13 outings to them as well as losing seven of their last eight at Stamford Bridge.

The Gunners have lost two on the bounce on their travels and have not lost three straight league away games since 1954.

Chelsea meanwhile, have looked more their usual self since losing on the opening weekend against Burnley.

Alexis Sanchez is fully fit to play Sunday after featuring in Thursdays win over FC Koln in which Theo Walcott (calf) limped off, whilst Santi Cazorla (ankle) and Francis Coquelin ( hamstring) are definitely out.

Chelsea’s only injury problem is midfielder Danny Drinkwater who is expected to be out until the end of October after sustaining a calf problem; Eden Hazard however, is in contention for his first start.

Arsenal’s last win against last season’s top six was a 2-0 win away at Manchester City back in 2015 and have since drawn five and lost eight on their travels against these clubs.

Chelsea have won their last five home Premier League games against Arsenal since 2011 and the Gunners have not kept a Premier League clean sheet away to Chelsea in twelve attempts.

Combined XI

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech (Arsenal)

There is no doubt Thibaut Courtois is now one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but Cech for me who of course is a former Chelsea favourite has to get the nod. The nine-time Czech player of the year is the all time clean sheet record holder in the Premier League and I felt I had to include him despite current form which you could argue a case for Courtois.

RWB: Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)

Whilst it has to be said Moses had a stellar season last year after it looked his Chelsea career was over, Bellerin for me is the better of the players.

The Spaniard scored in Arsenal’s 3-1 over FC Koln on Thursday night and will need a top display against Chelsea on Sunday.

CB: Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) 

The French international on his day is crucial for Arsenal and just about beats Gary Cahill in to this team. A solid performance from Koscielny could be the difference for the Gunners on Sunday and he will be pivotal in Arsenal’s chances.

CB: David Luiz (Chelsea)

My first 3 choices in this XI may have been Arsenal but unfortunately for Arsenal fans this is where it goes fairly Chelsea based! There is no doubt that most people and even Chelsea fans must have thought it seemed rather a panic buy from Chelsea when they re-signed David Luiz for a reported £34 million. However, lo and behold, the Brazilian international came up trumps last season and was crucial in Chelsea’s success.

CB: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 

Azpilicueta, or ‘Dave’ as he is known to the Chelsea fans has been an extremely versatile signing for them since arriving from Marseille for just £7 million, a fee which seems an absolute bargain with how good he has been. The nineteen-capped Spanish international can play anywhere across the defence has been utilised heavily in back three under Antonio Conte.

LWB: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)

It was quite remarkable the impact the Spaniard had on his arrival to Chelsea. The fomer Real Madrid prodigy arrived last summer from Fiorintina for around £24 million and has started this season in fine form once again already scoring two goals.

Midfield: N’golo Kante (Chelsea)

Gary Lineker famously said before the 2016/17 season that if Chelsea were to sign Kante from Leicester City they would win the league which they ended up accomplishing. He has since been likened to former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makélélé due to his playing style and role. The French international has also been named in the PFA team of the year two years running.

Midfielder: Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) 

There is no doubting the ability of the former Arsenal man, he has been there doing it for years in the Premier League, minus his stint at Barcelona, he can easily control the play of any team he is in and is the second all time assist holder in the Premier League behind Ryan Giggs.

Forward: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 

Hazard has had his doubters in his time at Stamford Bridge in terms of the heights he will reach but there is no question he put them to sleep with an incredible 2016/17 campaign. Hazard is one of the best players in the world currently and will be a menace for Arsenal to defend against with the Belgian international in contention to start for the first time.

Forward: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea) 

We haven’t seen enough of Morata and Alexander Lacazette in the Premier League so far this season to judge who will have the better season Morata has just edged it in terms of who I have been most impressed with so far. His clinical finishing and excellent movement will cause Arsenal problems on Sunday if he is at his best but equally it will be interesting to see how Lacazette does in the battle between the two.

Forward: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Finally we have Chilean international Alexis Sanchez. One of the most talked about summer transfers which involved a reportedly ‘done deal’ for him to go to Manchester City, Sanchez remains professional and scored a wonderfully struck hit against FC Koln from outside the box on Thursday night. The Gunners would have been in real trouble this season if Sanchez was to leave.

I have actually been rather kind to Arsenal with this XI a lot would still argue Moses over Bellerin and perhaps Cech isn’t the ‘keeper he used to be. I don’t believe there is a case for Ozil in this side it would mean substituting Hazard or Sanchez which even Arsenal fans wouldn’t agree with. Then in terms of midfield I can’t find any case for putting Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka or Mohammed Elneny, over the two chosen. 

 

Arsenal v FC Koln Preview

Arsenal welcome German side FC Koln to the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League tonight (Thursday).

Manager Arsene Wenger is expected to rest several first team player however Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez are both expected to start.

Petr Cech,Laurent Koscielny,Aaron Ramsey,Mesut Ozil ,Granit Xhaka ,Danny Welbeck and star summer signing Alexandre Lacazette have all been left out of the squad.

Fc Koln have certainly brought fans aplenty as videos over social media have saw them signing and dancing down the streets of London ahead of the 8.05 pm kick off time .

After Manchester United’s Europa League success saw them make a return to this season’s Champions League French manager Wenger said he would rather reach that tournament through the top four in the Premier League.

However this is a great chance of silverware for the Gunners and one that they should really be taking seriously.

French striker Oliver Giroud is also expected to start the clash days after admitting he was very close to leaving the Emirates over the summer.

“it’s true that I was close to leaving the club because I said I wanted to play” he said, this game gives him a big chance to shine to start alongside Lacazette in Sunday’s big Premier League showdown with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

With the focus very much on that clash on Sunday this is why Wenger is expected to rest so many key stars.

However Koln have had a nightmare start in the Bundesliga and sit rock bottom after the first three fixtures so this should be a comfortable victory for the North London side.

 

Is football for the fans anymore?

It’s been a crazy summer for football this year with some crazy numbers coming from the amount that clubs have spent with Neymar and Mbappe etc. The money from the new Premier League television rights deal is well and truly coming to fruition with Premier League spending and revenues on the up. Even in the Championship spending has increased with Wolves paying 14 million pounds for Ruben Neves (just one player!)

 

With all of this money you would think that this would benefit English fans who follow their teams week in week out right? It couldn’t be more wrong as the price of season tickets are going up and kick off times for matches are set to change for an international audience.

 

So this begs the question do clubs really care about their local fans who pay their money to support them through the good and the bad times?

 

The answer to that question has to be a no. English clubs are charging a monumental amount of money to go to football matches and even when they are there the cost of food and drink is extortionate.

 

Premier League newcomers Huddersfield are the only exception from that statement as their cheapest season ticket comes in at just 175 pounds which is amazing considering the start they have had. In reality Arsenal’s cheapest season ticket comes in at just over 1000 pounds. That is a ridiculous amount of money to expect from a working class fan base.

 

Even in League One Bradford City fans were charged 28 pounds at Peterborough for a pay on the gate match. 28 Pounds for an away game in League One is scandalous and shows the director that English Football has taken.

 

On top of the prices clubs have all gone into the corporate fan bases which gives people the opportunities that most fans can’t afford. An example of this is Manchester City’s new Tunnel Club which offers people the chance to meet players and get up close and personal with the management team in exchange for a hefty price. City have alienated their fan base by taking opportunities away from their traditional working class fanbase and giving them to people who can afford to pay for the privilege. It’s not just Man City who are guilty of this as it can be seen up and down the country.

 

I’m not saying that the people who go to matches in corporate hospitality are wrong because they have paid for the service and fair play to them. Whats wrong is that most English clubs no longer see their traditional fan bases as the most important.

 

Another example can be taken from the recently named Carabao Cup. The third round draw for the competition took place live from China at 4:15 AM (GMT) meaning most British fans were sleeping when their teams draw took place. A spokesman for the FSF said: “In our 2017 national supporters’ survey fans expressed increasing frustration at instances of overseas audiences apparently being prioritised over domestic supporters. Holding the draw in Beijing at that time can only increase the sense of disconnection many domestic fans feel.”

 

Do you think that English Football is losing touch with its fans and becoming corporatised? Let us know in the comments section below…

 

 

Should Leicester City sign this free agent?

Leicester City have made a poor start to the current 2017/18 Premier League season having won just one of their opening three games with the other two coming in as losses.

 

With this in mind and the fact that the transfer window has slammed shut should Craig Shakespeare go after a free agent to bolster the defence of his squad?

 

The free agent that Leicester could make a move for is Bacary Sagna who is the versatile right-back that Leicester could be looking at adding to the squad. Sagna will bring with him a wealth of experience at the top of the game having played for Arsenal, Manchester City and he also made 65 appearances for the France senior team.

 

Sagna is available to join another club outside the transfer window as he is a free agent after leaving City earlier this summer and he is set to be one of the most in-demand free agents on the market.

 

The 34-year-old spent three seasons at City after joining from Arsenal on a free transfer, making 85 appearances in all competitions for the Etihad club during his time there.

 

The right-back started 17 Premier League games last season, but his contract at the Etihad was not extended when it expired in June with City bringing in two new right-backs in Kyle Walker and Danilo.

 

Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare is keen to bring in cover and competition for regular right-back Danny Simpson, and Sagna would fit the bill as he would have no problem settling in having spent the last 10 years playing in the Premier League.

 

Do you think Bacary Sagna would be a good addition to the Leicester City team? Let us know in the comments section below.

Summer Transfers – Who’s made the best business?

As the summer transfer window has now come to its penultimate end, the world of football has seen the biggest transfer in history take place with €222 million forward Neymar taking the prize on his move to PSG.

With the value of players sky rocketing over the last couple of seasons, it’s interesting to see which signings will be worth their price tag, and which players will not fill their boots.

Lets start with Manchester City. The Manchester club were the biggest spenders in the Premier League this summer spending £220 million on a number of assets that Pep Guardiola has hand picked himself.

Firstly, there is the young goal keeper Ederson, the young lad from Benfica has now been handed the label of most expensive goal keeper in the world, being bought for £35 million by the Mancunians. A big gamble again from city with their choice of keeper but the early days of this season have shown that he seems a much more reliable and a stronger figure to have between the sticks. I think every City fan is praying for a world record bargain here with the 23 year old.

Man City have then gone on to add at the back, with Englishman, Kyle Walker coming in from Tottenham, Danilo from Real Madrid and Benjamin Mendy coming in from the French champions, Monaco. These are additions that needed to be made by Guardiola as the ageing back line was being exploited for its flaws at numerous stages last season.

With the new system Guardiola is trying to embroil into the City philosophy, the fresh injection of youth and pace could be exactly what City need to be able to break their poor run of disappointing form in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons – as its been quite obvious that is where the Blues have faltered.

My favourite signing the Catalan manager has brought in for city is Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese play maker is another signing from Monaco who has turned a number of heads so far this season with his impressive ball control and his eye for a pass.

The £43 million midfielder was a player who impressed against City in the Champions League last season, so the many city fans watching in great expectation will be itching to see how much Bernardo delivers – as he so far seems the perfect replacement for the Spaniard, David Silva who may arguably head to a slow decline as he gradually gets older.

Arsenal. I’m not too sure what is going on there. Mr Wenger is staying for another season, which has recieved mixed opinions. The biggest signing the Gunners have made is French forward, Alexander Lacazette, for a club record £52.7 million. This got all Arsenal fans excited after he scored a great header on the opening day of the season.

He seems to have the potential to fill the spot of the big striker they need to be scored 20+ goals a season, a position they’ve arguably needed to fill since Henry. However, what else have Arsenal done? With the poor performance away at Liverpool hovering over their shoulders, Arsene Wenger is under a substantial amount of pressure to deliver a positive season this time around – but can he do it with the squad he’s got? I’m not sure.

Arsenal have not spent enough money in my opinion this summer, and with Alexis Sanchez wanting to leave, it would be thought that it would most definitely cause a stir of upset in the changing rooms. Also, injecting all your trust into such a young lad as Rob Holding at the back, I just can not see the Gunners turning around any success this season.

Moving across London, to Chelsea. I think the uncertainty behind Antonio Conte’s future at the start of the summer has prevented them from making some of the signings that he wanted to make. However, if I was a Chelsea fan I would not be complaining about Alvaro Morata coming into the ranks.

The £75 million man has impressed so far with a goal and assist on his debut, and seems to have the knowledge of a highly experienced centre forward with his impressive link up play and movement with his teammates.  This is a lad I am excited to see make the most of his opportunity at Chelsea this season as it looks like Diego Costa is not playing for Conte’s side again.

The signing of Monaco midfielder Bakayoko is another good singing who highly impressed for the French side last season. A £39.7 million fee sounds reasonable for the young lad, who is bound to slot perfectly into the departed Nemanja Matic’s spot.

The injection of youth and strength is what Conte will need this season, if they want to compete in both the league and the Champions League this season.

Manchester United and Jose Mourinho have made some excellent business this season (as much as it hurts to say) with Romelu Lukaku signing for £90 million from Everton, he seems a guarantee to score goals this season. The addition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for another season is also a move I think Mourinho needed to make, to make the more regular games much easier to manage.

The signing that has caused the most turned heads for United this season has been the former Chelsea man, Nemanja Matic. An interesting singing from United as I did not think Chelsea would be open to letting him leave – but football is football.

He has controlled the midfield well when he’s played, and it’s allowed Pogba to have more freedom, which is what I think he’s needed. I think United have made some good business this window, and you cant deny that the front line is looking as strong as ever. It will be interesting to see how United cope with their league form when the Champions League gets into full flow.

My favourite signing in the Premier League that I have been most surprised by is Renato Sanches signing to Swansea from Bayern Munich on loan. The promising centre midfielder has shown great potential for his club when he has been given the opportunity and for his national side of Portugal. It will be interesting to see how well he does this season, but I’m confident he will be a great addition for the Swans.

Finally, how could I finish this post without mentioning Paris Saint Germain. Is it unfair? The French club have spent 220 million Euros on Neymar from Barcelona which has taken every football fan by surprise. He is bound to do well and in my opinion, he’s next to win the prestigious Ballon D’or after Messi and Ronaldo have had their time.

As well as Neymar, the Paris side have managed to sign French wonder-kid Kylian Mbappe on loan. The young lad has impressed massively as Monaco and has had every leading side in world football interested.

Are they now good enough to win the Champions League? Who knows. But I’ll definitely be watching in great expectation when watching that forward line.