Tag Archives: The Emirates

Arsenal Vs City PL Match Preview

Finally, the new season begins.

 

Finally, the new Arsenal era begins.

 

Unai Emery’s first step in his Gunners journey to take the club back to the top of the game sees perhaps his toughest test of the season – against Champions Manchester City.

 

Emery has acted early in his efforts to fill the gaps in the squad, with five signings early in the window, and those signings may well be involved in some capacity, if our pre-season results are anything to go by.

 

That’s the kicker – for the first time in quite some time, we have no idea what formation or lineup Arsenal will have before they kickoff – and it’s mighty refreshing.

 

Emery has a hell of a task to get off to a winning start, but if there is a right time to play City, it is right now.

 

Unai-Emery-to-Arsenal-963894

 

With a host of their players either only just returning, or still on leave after their World Cup efforts, they will have a mixture of a weak and tired team, and they will be far from their strongest.

 

Still, a point would be good enough, especially as this is Emery’s first proper game in charge.

 

Let the games begin!

 

Team News

 

Emery will be unable to call upon club captain Laurent Koscielny until at least December, and Sead Kolasinac is out for around ten weeks. In terms of other injuries, Nacho Monreal has returned to first team training, but will not be risked, with Emery declaring in his first press conference that youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be given the job of holding down the left flank. Aaron Ramsey should be fit for the game.

 

In terms of who makes the team, who knows? If Emery is looking to keep it tight and hit on the break, then Lichtsteiner will be preferred to Bellerin. Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis look to be the preferred pairing in the centre, with AMN coming in on the left.

 

In midfield, Matteo Guendouzi has impressed, and Lucas Torreira will most likely be eventual first choice defensive midfielder, but both will be an outside bet of making the eleven. Guendouzi’s lack of experience will cost him, although a spot on the bench is still testament to how good he is and how highly he is rated. Lucas Torreira has not been in training for long enough to be a guaranteed start, so it could well be last season’s pairing of Ramsey and Xhaka – but Xhaka should benefit from a much clearer idea of his role this season.

 

We have an embarrassment of riches up top, but it is unclear who will play after some heavy rotation by Emery in pre-season. Most likely will be that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a wide forward, with Lacazette playing as a more traditional number 9, both being supplemented by the able talents of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil.

 

City will have the force of Aguero and Jesus available, and both Silva’s should be able to be called upon, although Mahrez should get the nod too, with Sterling still unavailable.

 

Pep has only signed Mahrez thus far, but his squad was already filled with talent, so a heavy recruitment drive was never on the cards. They will arrive at The Emirates with a gameplan, and we need to apply Emery’s instructions to the letter if we are to succeed.

 

We lost emphatically on three occasions to City last season, as we stumbled to 6th place and lost in the League Cup final. Things are a little different now, and we should at least provide a stiffer test than what we produced back then.

Let’s embrace the unknown!

 

Fingers crossed the Emery Era begins with a bang – and 3 points! UTA

 

Predicted Lineup – Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Mustafi, AMN, Xhaka, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

 

Predicted Scoreline – 2-2

Chelsea and spurs Money Woes is Deja Vu for Gunners

The current situations of Tottenham and Chelsea are, first and foremost, hilarious.

Chelsea owe billionaire owner Roman Abramovich over a billion pounds in unpaid, interest free loans that the Russian has forked out since his time as Oligarch of West London.

The money has seemingly dried up at Stamford Bridge. Case in point was last season’s curb on spending that led to Conte having an unhappy attempt at regaining the title with an ageing and limited squad.

Now, plans for a lavish new stadium to replace the decrepit Bridge have been canned, with Chelsea accountants having kittens and waylaying any plans for growth in an attempt to get out of the red and back in black.

Chelsea and their plans for a new stadium

Then there is Tottenham.

Our neighbours in North London are currently way over budget for constructing their new home, as they seek to complete it in time for the 2018/19 season.

At this moment in time, this is looking unlikely, and an option to retain Wembley as their home ground next season is looking more and more likely to be taken.

The money situation is not healthy either for spurs. With the new stadium causing Daniel Levy to dig deep and the playing staff failing yet again to win a trophy, tottenham are on the precipice.

Do they spend what available loot they have to keep their key men? Or do they put it toward strengthening, and cash in on one of their big players?

The likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli both know that if they were to talk to interested parties, they would be hearing figures that absolutely dwarf their current deals. They know they can get far more elsewhere, so a contract extension must be a lucrative one for both of them.

Then there is the likes of Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Eric Dier. All are wanted elsewhere, and all would command far more than they currently earn at spurs.

Levy knows this, but if he pumps all of the available cash into keeping them, then the status quo remains, and they can’t significantly strengthen. Pochettino has worked wonders at the club, but the bottom line is that even with their current squad, they are still potless.

So something must give.

Meanwhile, Gooners are sitting back and enjoying the cash crises that both clubs are embroiled in.

You see, we’ve been there, and we had to make those tough calls, we had to shed our leading lights, we had to endure the cheap purchases that risked much. We had to pay back the bills – and yet we managed to do so whilst maintaining a Champions League place.

What Arsene Wenger managed to do in the years that followed the completion of The Emirates is nothing short of miraculous, and should be seen as one of his finest achievements. He managed to keep a side that contained the likes of Philippe Senderos, Manuel Almunia and Andre Santos, and kept them on the straight and narrow, instilled the same attacking values that he had done throughout his tenure.

Chelsea enjoyed the fruits of Abramovich’s deep pockets unhindered for nearly fifteen years, spending lasciviously and flagrantly ignoring the concept of a healthy balance and an independent outlook to club ownership that didn’t involve relying so heavily on one man.

Now the piper is knocking on the door and wants to collect.

Chelsea, in order to truly keep their place amongst the elite, NEED to move to a new stadium, to build that complex. The longer they stay at The Bridge, the worse their situation will get, and the risks become ever greater.

Spurs need to ride out 3-5 years of cost-cutting and balancing the books. These years will either see them maintain their position as one of the perma-Champions League clubs, or they will slip and find it much harder to find their way back.

What about us though?

Well, we’ve got our new home, and we’re raking it in – but with our new owner almost invisible and minding the pennies, it isn’t as if we are out of the woods. It means that the positions that our London cohorts find themselves in is a leveller – and the next few seasons will be us duking it out for the supremacy of the capital.

Should be a real slugfest.

Arsenal Vs Atletico Madrid Europa Lge Semi Preview

Arsene Wenger placed this season’s emphasis on the Europa League well before he declared his intention to leave at the end of the season.

And now it is the only chance we have of silverware that is available, and it’s also the only chance we’ve got left to give Wenger a fitting au revoir.

We line up against Atletico Madrid in this Semi-Final first leg at The Emirates with a severe defensive problem. It isn’t through injury though, it’s simply that we can’t keep a clean sheet.

Arsenal Vs Atletico Madrid in the Europa League Semi-Finals

In a tie where away goals are worth their weight in gold, this means that Diego Simeone’s side will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Shkodran Mustafi and co – and maybe just putting one foot into the final in the process.

Our defence at least has no injury woes to deal with, so Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal should be the four that lines up to face Diego Costa, Griezmann and the rest of Atleti. Petr Cech is still injured and David Ospina will most likely take the gloves should Cech fail to prove his fitness.

Arsene Wenger named the side most likely to play Atletico against West Ham, in order to gain fluency and battle-readiness. So that would mean starts for Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi, but there are a few variables that might shift the side.

Firstly, there is the injury to Mohamed Elneny. The Egyptian could well be out for a few weeks and this means that Granit Xhaka will have no defensive cover compared to when he partners Elneny, so the Swiss midfielder will have to be at his very best to combat the runs of Saul Niguez.

Then there is Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere. Both missed the hammering of the Hammers in the weekend – Ozil through illness and Jack via a knock – and with Mkhitaryan still not fit – it means that if Ozil is still not recovered, we could have a playmaker shortage. If Jack can’t prove his fitness, then our midfield could be short too.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles proved that he is an able stand-in when he came on to replace the injured Elneny, and the youngster could well get the nod to give our side that much-needed cover at the back. Wenger will know a single away goal could rule out any dreams of a final shot, so he could keep it tight and pack the midfield.

Atletico were going to be bereft of Diego Costa, but the former Chelsea man has miraculously recovered to take his place back in the side. Juan is definitely out though so at least if we spread the play to the flanks we could get some joy.

This game could be decided in the first leg. If we have one of our games where we concentrate on our attack and our press – you know the games where we pull a result out of the bag and get a win when we’re very much expected to lose – then we could take a very favourable scoreline into the tie at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

If we concede though, we could crumble.

There is at least an air of excitement in the fanbase though, with a last four Euro tie being somewhat of a novelty of late. Let’s hope we can continue our adventure and pull one of our famous results out of the bag.

Predicted Lineup – Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Welbeck, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette

Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

Arsenal Vs West Ham PL Preview

With the news of Wenger finally declaring the end of his two decade stay at Arsenal, it’d be easy to forget we’ve got a Premier League match against West Ham to hurdle.

Arsene Wenger’s final games will rightfully hog the headlines, but the man himself will make sure that our team keeps their heads. Hopefully the players will rally behind his cause and end this season on a high.

That starts versus the Hammers.

Arsenal at The Emirates take on West Ham in the PL

It’s a home game, and our form at The Emirates is far removed from our away form – which is the worst in the top four divisions in England in 2018.

Not only that, but opposition boss David Moyes doesn’t have the greatest of records against Wenger.

In terms of team news, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back in action but the Armenian will most likely be restricted to a role on the bench, in anticipation for our real priority – Thursday’s Europa League Semi-Final first leg against Atletico.

A pattern has emerged in recent league fixtures, where several members of our team have been rested to save their legs for our European adventures. This may mean that Mesut Ozil is kept wrapped up, and that opens the door for Jack Wilshere, who has been in poor form of late.The England midfielder is in the last few games of his contract, and with a new manager inbound and the World Cup coming, Wilshere needs to step up.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started with Alexandre Lacazette in our last game – the abysmal 2-1 loss to Newcastle – but our goal came as a direct consequence of both of these strikers linking up. They both could feature in the same way in this game. Danny Welbeck has been in decent nick of late, and with the likelihood of rotation being pretty high, Welbeck could get the nod, as well as Alex Iwobi.

Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey are both fit, but one at least will most likely be left out for resting purposes. Mohamed Elneny has been in rude form lately and the Egyptian should be playing this match.

Our defence pretty much picks itself, but Shkodran Mustafi has been pretty dire in terms of high profile errors. The German could well be left out if Wenger were picking simply on form, and Calum Chambers would the probable replacement.

West Ham have drawn their last two games, versus Chelsea and Stoke – and Andy Carroll was the man that rescued a point against the Potters. The big striker has a history of scoring against us and whoever lines up against him will have their hands full.

West Ham have other threats too, but David Moyes has rotated his dangermen recently, and the one in favour right now is Joao Mario, with Lanzini on the bench. Marko arnautovic is another who is capable of producing game changing performances – in short, this game could be a toughie.

West Ham have shown real battling qualities to rescue points in their last two games, and with the side now six points away from the relegation zone, Moyes’s main task when he took over is so nearly achieved – avoiding relegation.

Still, they’ve got a really tough run-in and they’ll be looking to wrap things up as they come to The Emirates. We need to send them packing and get our winning habit back on track. For Wenger and our season.

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Welbeck, Wilshere, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 to The Arsenal

Arsenal Vs Watford PL Preview

Kickoff – 1330GMT

The first steps have been made in forgetting the awful form we’ve had recently, with our impressive 2-0 win against Milan in the San Siro, now we take on Watford in a bid to arrest our slide away from the top4.

This is looking to be an insurmountable task. Our neighbours sit in 4th spot, a massive 13 points better off than we are, with only 27 points left to play for. In realistic terms, we need to win our remaining games, and hope tottenham or Liverpool implode in order to sneak into the coveted Champions League spots.

Before we even begin to think about the implications of such an elaborate plan, we need to win a bloody game domestically first. That starts against the Hornets.

Watford have enjoyed a good recent run against us, beating us the last time we played at The Emirates. We also had the Troy Deeney episode, where the burly striker claimed it was our lack of – for want of a less savoury term – Jacobs, that meant we were easily steamrollered, rather than contentious decisions.

With this season going the way it is, Deeney is looking like he could be right, but we have a chance to right a wrong here too.

Watford’s new boss Javi Gracia is still seeking to find his best layout for his team, especially defensively. They won their last game, 1-0 against bottom side West Brom, but they were far from convincing. Indeed, before Deeney struck the sole goal of the game, West Brom could easily have been ahead. It is evident that the Hornets are far stronger in attack than in being watertight at the back, and if that lends itself to an open game, it also increases our chances too.

We’ll have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back after being cup-tied for the Europa League, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil looking to have found some form in our win over Milan, we could stretch Watford thinly across The Emirates turf. Alex Iwobi could come back into the side to rest Jack Wilshere, as Arsene Wenger will be loath to upset a winning side for the return leg on Thursday.

Granit Xhaka has played a large amount of consecutive games, but Aaron Ramsey is just coming back from injury, so it is tough to call which player will be rested, with Mohamed Elneny most likely coming in to replace. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is an outside call for a midfield spot too.

Our Spaniards, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, both missed out the trip to Milan, and both are outside bets to make this game, with Bellerin a little more likely to return, given his less severe complaint. Laurent Koscielny could be rested too, but his performance against Milan’s attack spoke of a man returning to some form. Rob Holding stands by.

Watford boss Javi Gracia has an embarrassment of riches in attack. Troy Deeney will most likely lead the line, but Stefano Okaka and Andre Gray are both excellent options. Ricardo Peyreyra, Richarlison, Carillo and even Abdoulaye Doucoure are all threats from their respective positions too. If they want to funnel play wide and isolate our full-backs, they’ve got the personnel to do so. We’ve got to be switched on at the back.

This is something that’s been bereft in our play, minus our showing on Thursday. Jack Wilshere talked in the media about using the Milan performance as a barometer, that we must play like this every game. He’s spot on. We need that level, as we’ve shown that when we dip, we can’t skate by and pick up points.

So, let’s get another win and attempt to string together a run that we so badly need toward the end of the season. Redeem yourselves boys – oh yeah, and try and get Cech his 200th clean sheet? It’s been dragging on for far too long! #UTA

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Chambers, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Elneny, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Aubameyang

Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 to The Arsenal

Arsenal Vs Chelsea – Match Preview

This game is a return to The Emirates for us, which should see us turn in a decent performance, right?


Currently, we have no idea what version of our side will turn up. Our performance in our last game – the 1-1 draw against West Brom – was slow and contained very little attacking threat. We will need to raise the level well above that if we’re to win this game, as Chelsea come to The Emirates on the back of some good form.


The Blues last game was a 5-0 thrashing of Stoke, and they can afford to rotate their attack and not feel any impact. Pedro, Fabregas and Willian are just three names that can come in after not featuring regularly and freshen up tired legs. Antonio Conte will have had this game in the forefront of his mind, so to see his team win at a canter in their last game would have afforded Conte breathing space with his substitutions and his selection.


We have some real worries on the injury front. The usual suspects – Nacho Monreal, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey – are still sidelined, but our 1-1 draw against the Baggies hurt more than just our league position.


Laurent Koscielny and Sead Kolasinac both limped off in the game, and Mesut Ozil failed to make the matchday squad. All three are integral to our side, so we will be sweating on them all the way until the eve of the match. Should these three miss out, then Per Mertesacker, Ainslie Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi all wait for selection.


Mesut Ozil will be especially missed for this match. His absence in the 1-1 draw against Pardew’s Albion saw us plod and look out of ideas in the final third. It was clear what the German brings to the side during the game, and his brain could prove the difference between victory and defeat.


If we are to make a dent in Chelsea’s team, then it could be in the centre of the park. Tiemoue Bakayoko is a really great player, but the midfielder is struggling to maintain the levels needed for the physicality of a whole Premier League campaign. If Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere both press him and have a blinder, we could run the game and keep the ball away from dangermen Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata.


The ominous facts are that Chelsea haven’t lost in six games, and haven’t conceded in the league for four matches. They have a settled backline and have been lucky enough to avoid key injuries. If Antonio Conte can name a similar side to the one that defeated Stoke, then we may find the going tough.


On the flipside though, we are the home side that needs the points more – in the recent wins we’ve had over Conte’s side we have shown that if we take the game to them from the first whistle, then we can win it – there is no room for the methodical, slow football that we are prone to at times. Chelsea will destroy that tactic quickly.


The league table doesn’t lie. The gap between us and the top of the table is a massive one, and the gap between us and the top 4 is widening. What is clear is that the first half of the season wasn’t good enough, and we need to improve if we are to have any hope of breaking back into the Champions League. That is the aim this season, as well as a decent punt at the Europa League. If 

we fail at either, then this season will have been the worst in Wenger’s tenure.


Time to be ruthless. Win or bust. Mike Dean and co may have a bearing in the future, but if we play well enough, it shouldn’t matter.


Predicted lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Mertesacker, Chambers, Xhaka, Wilshere, Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, Welbeck, Alexis, Lacazette.


Predicted scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool – Match Review

Arsenal failed to turn up in the first half and blew Liverpool away in a devastating second half spell, but had to make do with a share of the points in a whirlwind game at The Emirates.




Arsenal wenger again opted for four at the back and a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ainslie Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi getting nods to start. The changes didn’t have much of an effect though, as Liverpool edged into the game.


The first ten minutes we played with a good intensity, but our moves broke down and we gave Liverpool the initiative they needed to get into the game. Philippe Coutinho started a counter in his own half and continued his run, closely marshalled by Jack Wilshere. The delivery into the box got a crucial deflection, sending the ball skywards and Coutinho got his head on the ball to float it over Petr Cech and into the far corner.


Liverpool were in the ascendancy, as they were catching us cold repeatedly. Mo Salah was looking every inch the dangerman, and Cech pulled off some impressive saves to keep the Egyptian at bay.


Liverpool kept coming, and it was a real wonder how the away side were not stretching their lead, but some basic mistakes in their passing and some good work by Bellerin and Maitland-Niles were keeping the space to a minimum at crucial times.


The Reds were still creating chances quite easily though. We weren’t able to escape the high press, and the pressure was building. 


On the 44th minute, Liverpool missed out on doubling their lead, Salah denied by a wonderful low save from Cech, and Mane acrobatically missing the rebound chance.


The referee’s whistle couldn’t come quickly enough, and the second half had to bring improvement.


It would take a while though.


Before that, Liverpool went two up, as the pattern of the first half continued. Mo Salah got his goal, with a low shot that got a crucial clip off of second half sub Shkodran Mustafi’s leg, sending it just out of the grasp of Petr Cech.


2-0 down, at home, and looking as limp as Donald Trump’s hair. This could have gotten ugly.


Instead, the response was quite terrific.


Within a minute, we had woken up. This is something I’ve gotten used to as a Gooner, seemingly unable to kick into the high gears we’re capable of unless we’re under duress. This was duress indeed, but Hector Bellerin swung in a marvellous cross to the back stick, where Joe Gomez had switched off and let Alexis steal in and plant a header into the net.


The fires were lit, and the crowd could sense a shift. So could the players, as two minutes later, we were level from nowhere.


Granit Xhaka, always implored to shoot by the Gooner faithful, actually did so, and from 25 yards, his shot had plenty of fizz, but Mignolet should’ve parried it over, instead, he let the pace deceive him and the ball smashed into the net.


2-2 and we were on the crest of a big wave. This was a role reversal, Liverpool couldn’t cope with our forward impetus, and Jack, Mesut and Alexis were in their element.


Two minutes later, we were ahead, and it was a beautiful goal. Mesut carried it forward, and played it into the willing Lacazette, who had his back to goal. He held it and Ozil carried his run on. Lacazette scooped the ball behind him and the ball found the German, who finished sublimely.


Where had this come from? This was the Arsenal who had destroyed tottenham and should have destroyed United, this was the Gunners team that most of our opponents can’t deal with.


We didn’t stop there, and we continued to knock on the door, but the two goal advantage didn’t come. We would pay for it too.

It is strange to feel slightly disappointed with a draw after being two goals down, but Roberto Firmino’s 70th minute goal should have been stopped. He received the pass just inside the box and central, but he had space. His markers were nowhere to be found, and he took full advantage, his finish intending to go over Cech, but the keeper got a hand to it, but not enough to keep the ball looping in.


The rest of the game was the perfect advertisement for the craziness of this competition. One attack at one end was swiftly followed by another at the other end. Both teams could have won it, but the game saw no more goals and ended all square.


Wenger has still been unable to beat Klopp in five meetings, but this game could have been so much worse. We showed great resilience in getting back into the game, and our attack spluttered into life, at least for five minutes.


Onwards and upwards, we go to Selhurst Park next week, with three points much needed to close the gap on the top 4. 

Making The Emirates A Home

A home ground is more than a mere location to play. It is meant to hold significant meaning to supporters who take their seats each week, it is meant to be as much of a home to us as when we all return back to our own domain.

Intrinsically linked through symbology and memory, the home ground is supposed to be partizan not only through the reception visiting teams get when on the pitch, but also before they even set foot inside the building.

At this present moment in time though, our home, The Emirates, holds no bearing on away teams nor their kin. It is also the same for the majority of our own fans.





Speaking personally, I adore The Emirates. Its modern lines are a sign we are keeping up with the relentless pace of the modern game. The icons who stand arm in arm with their legendary brethren on the facade of the ground recall amazing visions and inspire hope and fervour. Inside, there is no gap between the pitch and the stands, which can be a killer for modern stadia.


The Emirates is a great place to play football – but it is not quite home yet.


We were spoiled with Highbury. The amazing night games which packed just over 38,000 fans into it were the stuff of goosebumps and wild celebration. The inside and out represented Arsenal and our values down to an art-deco T. It was perfect. Marble halls and floors, memories and heroes.


No one wanted to see Highbury consigned to the past. If we could have stretched the capacity of the ground, then it surely would have been a better bet than the financial shackles we would have to endure. However, this was never an option that was on the table.


The thing that makes a ground a home is triumph under floodlights, trophies held aloft by your captain, players performing amazing things on the way to glory. Memories make the place. Trophies do too.


Winning the FA Cup’s recently have helped inch us toward adoration, but we are not there yet, by any stretch. Players who have illuminated games with their skill in our shirt have also gone a fair way to securing our love, but Highbury casts a large shadow over our new ground, larger than it should be given the difference in size.


It was necessity that we moved grounds. To compete at the highest level, a higher attendance was absolutely necessary. 


Now we must concentrate on forging a past that pushes the future. 


We had all of our 13 title wins at Highbury, and ten of our FA Cup wins. We had two European trophies in our trophy cupboards in those Marble Halls. We had the birth of our ethos there too.


Herbert Chapman. Ian Wright. Cliff Bastin. Alex James. George Graham. Arsene Wenger. George Male. Bob Wilson.  Liam Brady. George Armstrong. Peter Storey. David O’Leary. The best back 5 ever to grace English football. Dennis Bergkamp. Thierry Henry. The Invincibles.


They are tied to Highbury, they are tied to the best moments which personify Arsenal and being a Gooner.


Until we lift a title at The Emirates, then the link between our ground and us will be weaker than it should. Liverpool will go through the same thing when they depart Anfield, and Chelsea too with Stamford Bridge – the same rule doesn’t apply to tottenham as they have not exactly got much to hark back to….


Statues of titans who wore our shirt outside the ground give The Emirates an edge we all love, and the ring of trophy placards around the stands is a great touch, but until one of them is the silhouette of the Premier League trophy or European Cup, then we will look upon the Emirates as a great place – not THE place.

Arsenal Vs Man United Match Preview

So, it’s time for another round of Arsenal versus United.




This game has been the poster boy for the Premier League for decades. It may have tumbled down the pecking order a little in recent years with the surfacing of Chelsea and City, but it matters no less to us fans.


Now, there is also the added bonus of inflicting misery on Jose Mourinho – who doesn’t want to do that?


Both teams are in form. United have won four of their last six – their losses were against Chelsea and Huddersfield – and they lie in second spot, four points above us before the game.


We have won four on the bounce since our loss to City, and have conceded precisely zero. That is the key to any confidence we carry into this game. Our defence has been exemplary and the trio of Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal are really acting as a unit.


They will need to when facing Lukaku, Pogba and Rashford.


They possess very different traits, so we will be stretched. Our midfield has to be awake to the runs of Pogba, so the improved showings of Ramsey and Xhaka is crucial to our hopes.


In terms of who makes the team, our fantastic 5-0 win over Huddersfield in midweek came at a cost. Alexandre Lacazette was subbed at half time due to a groin injury, and he may be ruled out for the foreseeable. Seeing as December is crammed full of fixtures, he could miss a fair amount of games.


Step forward Olivier Giroud. He scored two in the second half of our 5-0 smashing of the Terriers, and he will need to be at his best against United.


We were all surprised when Wenger named a full team for the Huddersfield win. We all expected a few changes to prepare for this match, but Wenger opted to maintain rhythm and an unchanged side, aside from the inclusion of Ozil.


Now, the argument must be made that if players can’t maintain levels for three games in eight days, then the level of professional sportsmen they claim to be must be called into doubt. On the other hand, this is arsenal, and fitness is no god-given right.


Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott are both available for inclusion, and Jack Wilshere will be hoping his positive cameo against the Terriers will do his stake no harm.


United have a wealth of options in attack, with Rashford, Ibrahimovic, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku and Lingard all vying for a limited number of spots. Jose will have his defence drilled though. Away from home against a rival, he will have his team set up not to lose, rather than all out to win. Professional, pragmatic, but bloody boring.


We are still unbeaten at home, and we need to continue that if we are to keep the pressure on the top3 – and keep the gap between us and that lot down the road.


Predicted Lineup – Cech, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.


Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

Arsenal Vs Huddersfield Town Match Preview

This may seem one of those games that we could take our eye from and still get the points.

We are The Arsenal though. We know there are no gimmies.

Let us look at the facts.










Huddersfield lie in 11th spot. Their last game was a heartbreaking late loss to runaway leaders Manchester City, where the Terriers can feel aggrieved not to have picked up a point at the least.


David Wagner’s team have already beaten Man United this season, and are looking like they more than deserve their place in the top flight.


Aaron Mooy is the fourth  most successful crosser in the entire league this season, and the third most successful tackler. They have a disciplined attack, perhaps lacking a few goals of course, but they pose a threat. It is their defence that will be the tough part of the game, and we will need every bit of nous we can muster.


We cannot afford to shift concentration toward the weekend and our crunch game against Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. 


Huddersfield deserve more than that.


We will probably rotate our team to a degree though. We do have a squad that can allow a few changes without impacting too much on our strength.


Mesut Ozil will most likely miss a second consecutive game with illness. Our attack could well be heavily changed with the depth we have. Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck are players who can jump into the side without losing any attacking power. Theo 

Walcott should be back after illness, but a spot on the bench should beckon rather than an instant return to the side.


Our midfield could also see a few changes. Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey have been in great form of late, so a drop to the bench could disrupt our rhythm. Three games in a week however may be too much for them to be at optimum levels for the United game. This paves the way open for a combo from Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny and Jack Wilshere. Although Jack has primarily been used as an attacker, his natural role will be in the centre. This could be his chance to shine.


Laurent Koscielny has intermittent tendonitis issues, so a rest for the Frenchman makes good sense. Per Mertesacker, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are vying for his spot in this game.


We toughed it out against Burnley, and we may have to do the same again. Huddersfield will clam up the midfield and look to utilise set plays a little more, as they lack the attacking players Burnley have. They don’t have any less grit and ambition though. 


They know they can get a result at The Emirates.


We need to knock the confidence they have out of them early on. An early goal could prove the difference. The later we leave it, the more buoyed they become, and the higher the panic rises in the stands.


The players that come in must perform higher than they have done in the last couple of Europa League games. If we are to continue our assault on the top 4 and keep our spot there, we need three points.


Lastly, we need the confidence for the United game. Our team normally feed from it, and we have to be at our best to beat Jose’s United, who will be as stubborn as ever.


Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Coquelin, Wilshere, Kolasinac, Welbeck, Iwobi, Giroud.


Predicted Scoreline – 3-1 to The Arsenal.