Tag Archives: Unai Emery

Manchester United vs Arsenal

About 15 years ago, Manchester United versus Arsenal was the hottest fixture in the Premier League calendar. As the cliche goes, it’s the game you would be looking for as soon as the fixture list came out.

But nowadays, as much as the Sky Sports marketing team are trying to pretend otherwise, it just doesn’t have the same gravity.

The days of the Ferguson-Wenger rivalry are over, along with the two side’s title hopes for the foreseeable future. There are no furious wrestles for top spot in the Premier League, but a desperate clammer for the Europa League. 

The Solskjaer-Emery rivalry just doesn’t feel like it will have the same kind of bite to it. And it’s a rivalry that, should the current form of both sides continue to slump, probably won’t be around for much longer. 

Both sides currently sit outside the ‘top six’, but a win for the Gunners would see them fly up to fourth, behind Leicester City on goal difference. A win for United, meanwhile, would put them level on points with their London opponents.

The two sides have already met twice in 2019 since Solskjaer took over. The first was in late January, near the start of the Norwegian’s now baffling winning streak. It was a game and a result that actually felt like more than just United’s players being happy that someone with a nice smile had taken over as manager. 

Solskjaer displayed some real tactical nous. Jesse Lingard lingered in kind of false nine position, teasing the Arsenal backline. Romelu Lukaku would then use his pace and power to exploit this space, and drift wide to pillage the inevitable gaps left by Sead Kolasinac. 

It was a result that felt like it gave some real substance to United’s burst of form under Solskjaer. Something that showed that it wasn’t just a new manager buzz that was spurring them on. 

But fast forward a couple of months to their Premier League meeting in March, and the Red Devils slumped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium. The wheels had come off whatever vehicle Solskjaer was at the wheel for. 

It was Arsenal’s first victory against Man United since May 2017, having lost three of the four games since. But now they seem the slightly more likely side to pip the points tonight based off recent form.

United capped off a disappointing 2-0 defeat to West Ham last weekend with a midweek scare against Rochdale in the League Cup. A strike from 16 year old Luke Matheson sent the match to a nervous penalty shootout, which United were able to edge through on. 

The signs aren’t encouraging for the Red Devils, although they were able to pull off what now constitutes as a surprise victory against Leicester this month. 

United have generally struggled in games which they’ve seen a lot of the ball, such as against Crystal Palace. But when facing teams that want to play and have their share of the ball like Leicester and Chelsea, the Red Devils have been able to release their counter-attacking weapons. 

This has the potential to trouble Arsenal’s defence, with David Luiz and Sokratis both struggling this season. Sokratis lacks speed and has looked shaky in possession, while Luiz’s recklessness has seen him punished several times already. 

Isolating both in one on one situations could see them struggle, although United will be without Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Both players’ direct running abilities would have been a serious danger to the Gunners’ centre back partnership.

Instead, it is likely to be Mason Greenwood who they will face. Unless Solskjaer decides that Lingard should be played up front, like he surprisingly did against West Ham. 

Greenwood has certainly shown potential and willingness to run at opponents, so if he can fully realise his talents against the Gunners then he could be a threat. 

But that is not to forget Arsenal’s own talents up front. Alexandre Lacazette remains sidelined but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicholas Pepe both look set to start, with Dani Ceballos in the team to help supply them. 

Arsenal’s front line this year is incredibly promising, in stark contrast to their defence. United, meanwhile, have bolstered at the back with Harry Maguire, who looks to be forming a good partnership with Victor Lindelof. 

But with Martial and Rashford injured and a lack of a creative attacking midfielder, the Red Devils look very light in attack. It will be a fascinating battle between two teams who have greatly mixed abilities throughout each of their sides. 

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Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal: Gunners’ new faces fail to impact as Reds run rampant

Dominant Liverpool put forth a stunning display at jumping Anfield as they strolled past Arsenal 3-1 to stretch their winning streak in the Premier League to 12.

The matchday 3 of the Premier League saw Liverpool going toe to toe with Arsenal at Anfield, which promised to be a mouthwatering clash between two attacking units. Anfield has turned out to be a nightmare for Arsenal in the recent past as they witnessed a sheer humiliation in their recent trips to the Red Half of Merseyside. With an eye-catching business in the transfer window, Arsenal were seeking a positive result after recent catastrophes against The Reds.

However, it didn’t turn out be an outing their twelfth man had hoped for.

Liverpool, with their sheer class, quality and attacking proficiency were capable of achieving a grip on the game from very early stages. Full-backs Alexander-Arnold and Robertson were under constant spotlight, turning the game into a crossing session in the first half.

Liverpool’s error did hand gunners with some really good chances of scoring but they couldn’t capitalise on them. At last in the dying moments of the first 45, a breakthrough came. It was Reds’ defender Joel Matip who put Reds in front and their all hard work of the first half was paid off. It was more of psychological relief.

Neither of the two made the changes in the half time. The start of the second period was electric for Reds and David Luiz’s blunder of pulling Mohamed Salah’s shirt offered Liverpool to double their lead from the spot. The Egyptian, with a sublime penalty, fired Liverpool to a two goal lead and it started feeling like Arsenal’s past trips to Anfield are going to be repeated.

The tie had swiftly turned into the favor of hosts. The European Champions were in complete control and looked to cause Arsenal more of problems. On the 58th minute mark, Salah yet again fired Liverpool to a three-goal lead. But this time, the goal was sumptuous. With a sublime turn, he nullified David Luiz and then struck a well taken shot to the left bottom corner. Liverpool 3- 0 Arsenal.

Lucas Torreira scored a late consolation goal for arsenal which injected small unrest in the stands of Anfield. However, it ended as Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal.

Liverpool have started yet another season on a big high while Arsenal’s 100% start in the Premier League season has been broken. However, despite the result, there are some positives for Arsenal. Nicolas Pepe showed glimpses of what he can do while Torreira’s impact after coming from the bench is also a positive.

Player Ratings:

Liverpool:

Adrian (7), Van Dijk (8), Matip (9), Robertson (7), Alexander Arnold (7), Wijnaldum (6), Henderson (7), Fabinho (8), Mane (7), salah (9), Firmino(8).

Subs: Milner (6), Oxlade chamberlain (6), Lallana (N/A).

Arsenal:

Leno (6), Luiz (4), Sokratis (6), Monreal (5), Maitland Niles (6), Xhaka (6), Guendouzi (6), Willock (6), Ceballos (6), Aubameyang (5), Pepe (6).

Subs

Torreira (7), Lacazette (N/A).

 What Next?

Liverpool face Burnley in matchday 4 at Turf Moor, while another tough clash awaits for Arsenal as they face arch-rivals Tottenham next week.

Should Arsenal set their sights on the Europa League?

Written By Sean Fisher

With Arsenal currently out of the top 4 and out of all domestic competitions, could the Europa League be Arsenal’s saving grace?

After their recent 3-0 win over BATE, Unai Emery’s side progressed to the round of 16 of the competition where they are set to face French side Rennes.

The 2019 Europa League final is set to be hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan. And come the 29th May, the Gunners will be hoping to return to the city for the second time this season following their 3-0 triumph over Qarabag in the group stages.

The city of Baku may become a familiar sight for many players after it’s Olympic Stadium was chosen to host 4 matches during the 2020 Euros, including a Quarter Final match on the 4th July.

The competition is Arsenal’s only real hope of silverware this season after crashing out of the FA and Carabao Cup. Winning the Europa League wouldn’t just present Emery with his first trophy with Arsenal, but would also earn his side Champions League qualification, concluding his first season as a successful transition from the Wenger era.

With Emery at the helm, Arsenal fans should be quietly confident of their chances in Europe this season. The Spaniard boasts an impressive record in the Europa League, winning the competition 3 seasons in a row when in charge of Spanish side Sevilla. This places Emery alongside Giovanni Trapattoni as the only managers to have won the competition 3 times, the latter winning the honour with Juventus twice and Inter Milan.

Should Arsenal go on to win the cup, Emery would achieve what Wenger couldn’t in the shape of a European trophy. Wenger reached the final of the Europa League in 2000 but eventually bowed out to Galatasaray via penalties after a scoreless game.

Arsenal’s only previous success in the competition came back in 1994 during their Cup Winners’ Cup campaign, before it was re-branded the Europa League in the 98-99 season. But it seems Arsenal have the right man in charge to help bring European success back to the Gunners.

The Arsenal side at present are 3rd favourites to win the competition behind London rivals Chelsea and Italian giants Napoli, but are first faced by a difficult challenge when they fly to France for their first leg clash against Stade Rennais F.C. on the 7th March.

The French side progressed into the round of 16 after beating Real Betis in a goal-filled tie that ended 6-4 on aggregate. With the French side scoring frequently this season, they could present a heavily-criticised Arsenal defence with a few problems in their road to the final.

Is it realistic for Arsenal to target European success this season?

‘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.

Could​ Wolves swoop for this England International?

After promotion to the Premier League, Wolverhampton Wanderers have been making big noises in the transfer market after the signing of Portugal international Rui Patricio. The club with the envy of many Championship teams last season as they were able to attract high profile players such as Ruben Neves and Leo Bonatini to name a couple, and went onto win the league title. Now in the big time, they will be looking to improve on their already talented playing squad to ensure they are playing in English footballs top flight for many years to come.

With this in mind, the club is linked with England international Jack Wilshere.

The Sun is reporting that Wolves are one of a number of clubs who are linked with the midfielder. Since announcing he is going to leave Arsenal the other week, there has been plenty of speculation as to where he will be playing his football next season with West Ham one of the early front-runners for Wilshere, but reports in the Daily Star today suggest there is a stumbling block as the ‘Hammers’ are only willing to offer him a one-year deal.

If Wilshere isn’t willing to sign a one-year contract with West Ham, then Wolves should look to advantage and make a swoop for him. Despite the club already blessed in the midfield with the likes of Ruben Neves and Romain Saiss, having a creative midfielder with Premier League experience could prove crucial next season.

Wolves fans would you like to see Jack Wilshere at Molineux next season? Let us know in the comments section…