Tag Archives: Emirates Stadium

Race for the top 4

The Premier League is now a 2 horse race. Most may argue that it always has been, and Tottenham’s midweek meltdown at Chelsea ended any hopes the North London club had of being included in that esteemed group.

With just 10 games left to go, and 2 crucial Champions League spots up for grabs, a look at the remaining fixtures of Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea could provide valuable insight over who will consolidate their place in the top 4.

Tottenham

Spurs look to prevent a 3rd loss in a row in the league when they play Arsenal tomorrow. It could be the first time they’ve lost 3 in a row since 2012 when they lost to… Arsenal. Spurs will want to gain ground on their North London rivals and try to cement their position in 3rd place and try to avoid being dragged into the fight for 4th place. Tottenham have 6 of their last 10 remaining games at home, although 3 of those are London derbies where current form has no relevance. Spurs will also have a big say on where the Premier League title could end up as they still have to travel to Liverpool and City before the end of the season. Spurs getting Harry Kane and Dele Alli back to full fitness will be key to their run in.

Key games: Liverpool, Manchester City

Arsenal

In contrast to Tottenham, Arsenal has just 4 of their remaining 10 fixtures at home, one of which sees the North London side face up against a resurgent Manchester United. If the Gunners were to lose that game it would see them lose ground to one of their top 4 rivals. Their next 2 fixtures are the North London derby followed by Manchester United’s trip to the Emirates. If Unai Emery’s men can come out of those 2 games still in the hunt, they will be encouraged by their remaining games as ‘on paper’ they have the most favourable run-in of the 4 sides. With the upturn in form of Ozil and Mkhitaryan, along with the always dangerous duo of Lacazette and Aubameyang, Arsenal will fancy their chances of a return to the Champions League for the first time in 3 years.

Key games: Tottenham, Manchester United

Manchester United

The Red Devils have six of their remaining fixtures at home starting with Southampton tomorrow afternoon. United will be hoping to build on their incredible run of form since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho. They currently have the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League and have just broken Sir Alex Ferguson’s record for consecutive away wins with their 8th in a row coming via a comfortable 3-1 victory at Selhurst Park despite having an injury-ravaged squad. Confidence is obviously high and will need to be as United still have massive games on the horizon with Arsenal, Chelsea and a Manchester derby still to play. With noisy neighbours City still to play, that could have huge ramifications on their quest for a top 4 place. United will relish the challenge, seeing as though Solskjaer’s men have recently beaten Arsenal and Chelsea in cup competitions. The reverse league fixture against Sarri’s blues was frustrating for the North West giants after an undeserved last-minute equaliser from Ross Barkley stopped the Red Devils taking home all three points. United finish the season with 2 bottom-table sides in the shape of Huddersfield and Cardiff that barring a dramatic turn of events will already be relegated. They still have an array of talent to return, including Martial, Herrera, Mata and Jesse Lingard. Ole will hope this caps off his resurrection of the team and consolidate his push for the managerial position.

Key games: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City

Chelsea

The Blues, like Arsenal, only have 4 home games left, the first of those being this weekend against a Wolves team that won the reverse fixture in December. However, the West-Midlands side lost midweek to struggling Huddersfield, whereas Chelsea go into the game after a big win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. After the embarrassing scenes in the Carabao Cup final, Maurizio Sarri will be hoping to get Chelsea back in the right mood and push for a spot in the top 4. Chelsea kicked off the season in extraordinary form but as time has gone on the future of the manager has been called into question with many Blues fans fed up with the Italian’s ‘Sarriball’ style of football and the placement of Ngolo Kante in the wrong position. Chelsea still has big games remaining, with trips to Liverpool and Manchester United still to play, and with their involvement in the Europa League, this could make their chances of securing a top 4 place difficult. However, should Chelsea win those games, everything looks good for the Blues. If the West London side could win the Europa League, it would grant Sarri’s side automatic Champions League qualification, rendering any Premier League slip-ups irrelevant.

Key games: Liverpool, Manchester United

An exciting end to the season is virtually guaranteed, and the race for those final Champions League places begins tomorrow!

Wayne Edge @oasis1711

‘Sexy Football’ – Özil becomes the highest scoring German in Premier League history

Özil declares ‘sexy football’ in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Leicester City at the Emirates on Monday night. Captaining the team, Özil had potentially his best game in a Gunners shirt yet. Often accused of being lacklustre in recent performances, Özil silenced his critics with a goal, an assist, and played a key part in one of the most spectacular team goals seen in a long time.

The Foxes who haven’t won on Arsenal soil since 1973 took the lead in the 31st minute through a counter-attack in which recently called up England star Ben Chilwell beat the pace of Hector Bellerin, who unfortunately turned the ball in off his own boot. After Leicester had deservedly took the lead, Arsenal suddenly awoke, bagging the equaliser just before half time with a stunning off the post finish from captain Mesut Özil, making him the highest scoring German in Premier League history.

The second half saw the Gunners come out with force which is typical Arsenal, with 14 of their 19 goals this season coming after the break. A brilliantly guided pass from Özil freed up Bellerin, who was able to tee up the readily waiting super sub Aubameyang to bury his 7th of the season after only being on the pitch a matter of moments.

The third Arsenal goal was something of absolute brilliance, started by none other than Özil himself. After manager Unai Emery moved him back to his preferred position in the middle, the pay off was superb. Within 7 passes, Leicester were cut open. A guided pass from Lucas Torreira bought on a stunning back heel from Özil. He then masterminds a dummy to Lacazette, before his second touch to Aubameyang resulted in his second, and the final goal of the game.

Özil took to Twitter moments after the game to say he was ‘proud to captain the team and club’ and says the Gunners played some ‘sexy football’.

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When the players returned to training Tuesday, Aubameyang posted a story on Instagram showing Özil watching back his own goal, with the caption ‘I’m the best’.

Bellerin hailed Özil a ‘born champion’ who has been through a lot of ups and downs in his career. This comes after Mesut retired from international football due to racist remarks and being accused of not being ‘creative’ enough. The critics have certainly been silenced after that performance.

Three potential replacements for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

With the news that Arsenal legend, Arsene Wenger will leave the Emirates at the end of the season. Wenger has enjoyed unrivalled success at Arsenal, and despite the turmoil he has endured over the last few seasons, is still the greatest manager in the clubs history. After his illustrious career in North London, attention now turns to his possible successor, with many possible candidates being considered.

Diego Simeone- Simeone has done a brilliant job at Atletico Madrid, managing to break the stranglehold the big two have on Spanish football, and making two Champions League Finals in the process. His style of play would go against the traditions at Arsenal, with his preferred counter attacking style being a polar opposite to the possession based flair Arsenal fans have got used to over the last 22 years, but this change could be exactly what Arsenal need. Young, hungry and with a proven track record at the highest level, Simeone would surely be top of most Arsenal fans wish list.

Luis Enrique- The ex Barca gaffer excelled in his first job at the Nou Camp, winning nine trophies in his three years. Enrique would offer Arsenal a seamless transition from the Wenger years, with his style of play being very similar to that of Wenger. The current bookies favourite, is already rumoured to be in discussions with the Gunners, and is a young coach that is readily available should Arsenal come calling. His record proves what he is capable of achieving, and is another coach Arsenal fans will be excited about.

Eddie Howe- A slightly controversial choice, that is unlikely to happen, but wouldn’t a young English coach getting a job at a top six club be good for English football? Howe has done a superb job at Bournemouth, taking a struggling cash-strapped League Two club to the Premier League, and done it by playing good football to boot. He has not changed his style of play since gaining promotion to the Premier League, a very gutsy move from a young manager, but one that has paid off and seen Bournemouth become an established Premier League side.

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.