Tag Archives: ludogorets

Basel 1-4 Arsenal: 5 Keypoints From The Match

This match was set up to be the typical Arsenal Euro tie.

A necessity for rotation would see a weakened side rock up to St Jakob Park and lose with an insipid performance – only to see the result they were hanging on for come to fruition. 

Well, the script didn’t come into play, as the Gunners ran riot and won handsomely – all while rotating the squad just enough to rest some first teamers. 

Not only that, but Ludogorets defied the odds and grabbed a point in Paris – thus handing the Gunners top spot in the group.

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid may lay in wait in the knockout stages, but Arsenal have finished top of their group for the first time in five years.

A hat-trick from Lucas Perez and a fourth from Alex Iwobi earned the win in Switzerland, and the potentially tricky match against Stoke on Saturday will be a lot easier knowing Mustafi, Cech, Theo and a few others will be far fresher than if they were to have played against Basel.

Also, confidence will have been imbued within some of our players who have flitted in and out of the side. 

All positives! 

Here are 5 key points from the 90mins:
Lucas Perez up to speed

The Spaniard was only declared fully fit last week, and played in the EFL Cup loss to Southampton. Yet he showed great instinct to score his first two and grabbed his Hattrick with his right foot with a smart finish. Lucas could be a great option with so many fixtures coming up.
Gibbs with 3 assists

Gibbs has been the epitome of professionalism while Montreal has been enjoying first choice status, but he hasn’t been resting on his laurels. The Englishman has improved, and his final ball and attacking runs caused havoc against Basel. Great to see.
Alexis and Özil given 40winks

Much of the talk before the game was whether our two star players would be given a rest. They weren’t, as Wenger chased the unlikely prospect of top spot in the group. It paid off, and the two players were taken off in the 74th minute. Not much, but better than the whole 90. Every little will help with the slew of games coming up.
Holding highly regarded

Rob Holding was given another start, and the young lad continues to impress. Alongside Koscielny, he showed excellent positioning and aerial prowess. If he continues this progress, what a player we will have in the future.
Top spot matters

People will deride the fact that we have finished 1st, stating that we will still likely get a tough draw with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid potential opponents. What does come into play will be home advantage – the second leg will be at home. A slim plus, but a plus nonetheless – and any advantage is a good one in the knockout stages.
There was more to take from the game, such as another solid game from Gabriel and Iwobi looking a little more assured than of late, but the above really stood out as the big talking points of the game.

We took top spot, we won convincingly again and we took care of our squad. 

Good times. As Arsenal fans, we should enjoy them when they’re here. That’s why we are fans. 

Onwards to the Stoke game! 

Ludogorets Vs Arsenal – Champions League Preview

Only in action three days ago, Arsenal continue to plough through the fixture congestion with another match, this time in the Champions League versus Ludogorets.

The corresponding fixture at The Emirates saw a hatful of goals for the Gunners, and the 6-0 scoreline will see the Bulgarian champions keen to avoid such a massacre in front of their own fans.

Mesut Ozil was the architect that night, scoring his first hat-trick in professional football, and the German will be at the forefront of Arsenal’s pursuit of top spot in the group

With such a large amount of matches, the team sheet will no doubt see changes – especially as the weekend’s Premier League game is the North London Derby. Arsene Wenger will no doubt have one eye on this game, but he has ample players at his disposal and rotation should mean both games can be tackled with confidence.

Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud made their welcome returns from injury last week, and both could start this game, as their positional rivals have played three games in a week. Alexis Sanchez and Mohamed Elneny may just miss out as over-exertion could be an issue, or Francis Coquelin could be benched. The centre of midfield is hotly contested, with those three plus Granit Xhaka vying for roles – the Swiss international has seen out his three match ban and will be looking to play as soon as possible.

There are injury doubts however. Santi Cazorla had a fitness test in the weekend and didn’t travel with the squad, and Theo Walcott is another who was left home in order to keep fitness levels topped up and injuries fully healed.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has deputised well in Walcott’s absence, and he seems to have found consistency to ally with his tremendous talent. He should retain his place in the side, as well as Alex Iwobi. Carl Jenkinson made his first appearance of the season in last weeks EFL Cup win over Reading, and he may just get the nod over Hector Bellerin – such is the Spaniard’s importance to the team and the fact that Wenger intimated in his press conference that he may well be rested. 

David Ospina will continue as the club’s Champions League goalkeeper, and Nacho Monreal has returned to full fitness, although Kieran Gibbs should keep his place.

So many players to choose from, which means Wenger can shuffle accordingly and put out teams for the hotly contested London derby on Saturday, as well as this fixture in Sofia that will have a huge bearing on who nabs that important top spot in the group. 

Even with all of these prospective changes, it is testament to Arsenal’s strength in depth that all positions have more than adequate cover, which allows a breather for the game changers in the team.

Ludogorets, despite the first fixture ending in humiliating defeat, are no pushovers, and will be looking for revenge. They have some players who can cause real damage, and Jonathan Cafu will be looking to add a few extra zero’s to his potential transfer figure.

The Gunners have maintained their excellent run, but Gooners are painfully aware that November usually brings an annual dose of misery – it is Wenger’s least successful month on average.

Can Arsenal end their November hoodoo? Can they continue to go toe-to-toe with PSG in the pursuit of their Champions League group top spot?

This season shows no sign of slowing down, and the action continues tonight!

Predicted Lineup – Ospina, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Elneny, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Iwobi, Giroud.

Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 Arsenal.

Arsenal Vs Ludogorets Razgrad – Champions League Preview

It seems that Arsenal matches are akin to buses – you wait an age for one, and then a gaggle of them turn up all at once.

Our 3-2 victory over Swansea in the past weekend saw the winning run extended to six games in all competitions – and our only loss in the last seven months is our unlucky 4-3 opening day defeat to Liverpool.

Form to please even the most diehard of negative fans, and this match against Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad is the first of a Champions League double with the two sides. Maximum points from both fixtures would see the Gunners close to a guaranteed Last16 spot.

With five goals already this season, Theo Walcott has already matched his last seasons tally, and on the form he is enjoying, the England wideman is surely one of the first names on the teamsheet. 

There will more than likely be changes in this game, with Middlesborough up next in the Premier League representing three games in just seven days. Rotation will be key to surviving the gruelling schedule, and with our squad in rude health, it could be the opportunity some players have been looking for.

David Ospina will predictably be recalled in his role as ‘cup keeper,’ and in terms of the defence, Nacho Monreal may be rested after a difficult time in the win over Swansea – Keiran Gibbs stands by to fill in.

Granit Xhaka’s controversial red card may mean he plays this game as he will be suspended for the Premiership game against ‘Boro, or alternatively, Wenger may opt for the fit-again Coquelin to partner Santi Cazorla to induce a rhythm between the pair as the Swiss player sits out three games. 

Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey are nearing full match fitness, but again will miss out according to Wenger in his pre-match press conference. Danny Welbeck and Per Mertesacker are still injured.

What of Lucas Perez and Mohamed Elneny? Both will be champing at the bit to get some minutes under their belts, and with the games coming thick and fast, both will surely get some pitch-time – but will we see them in this game?

The biggest decision surely must be whether to play Alexis or not. Keeping the keen Chilean on the sidelines doesn’t seem to be the easiest task – and seeing as he has been involved in our last four goals (three assists and one goal), he is a vital cog in our lethal attack. However, a period of recuperation so he can prepare for the Premier League game against ‘Boro may be just what the doctor ordered. 

Only Wenger knows who he will pick, but he will have to pick a strong side – Ludogorets are no pushover. 

The Bulgarians may have never won an away Champions League game, but Arsene will be keen to ensure Arsenal will not be their first scalp. Our home record does bode well though, with five clean sheets in the last eight European games meaning that our concentration has not been purely on attack.

Every game that crops up is a chance for a player to establish himself, but also an opportunity to keep the confidence flowing with another win. 

Three points in this game would give us a great chance to finally claim top spot in the group – and hopefully avoid a tough draw in the round of 16. 

Predicted Lineup – Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Xhaka, Cazorla, Iwobi, Ozil, Walcott, Sanchez.

Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 Arsenal.