Arsenal Top-Four Dream is Kept Alive

Recently, we’ve experienced an incredible match when the Gunners clashed against the Red Devils of Manchester United. As you all know, Arsenal was able to end the 25-match unbeaten streak of Manchester United in the Premier Leagues with a great score of 2-0 at the Emirate Stadium. At the same time, Arsenal has revived all hopes of securing a spot on the top four of the league after the goals scored from Danny Welbeck and Granit Xhaka.

The game was indeed Arsenal’s first competitive win over Manchester United under the management of Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese coach preferred to keep his players fresh for their Europa League match instead of keeping their chance of staying in the top four position in the Premier Leagues alive. The last time United lost a match was in October, and rotating the life-up for the Arsenal Vs Man Utd match has proved to be fatal for Mourinho.  Now with just a couple of matches left, the Gunners are keeping their fingers crossed to move up a rank on the table.

The Gunners managed to stay in the hunt for this much coveted fourth place in the Premier League during their awesome match against Southampton lately. The goals came in from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez in the second half. This was Arsenal’s 4th win in their last five matches and if they can move within just one point of Liverpool, they can beat Stoke City.

It was Sanchez who played fabulous in the second half and slotted home in the box after wrong-footing two of the defenders. Giroud later came in as a substitute and nodded one in from a close range. Southampton was not threatening, with only one chance in the first half when Gabbiadini got a close range shot and forced Petr Cech to make the save. After this defeat, Southampton stays in their tenth position on the table. On the other hand, Arsenal has moved up to the fifth position, with only three points separating them from Manchester City, who are currently clinging to their fourth spot.

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Arsene Wenger seems to be handling the pressure well and has made his team deliver on the pitch despite many fans wanting him to step down. This short recovery of the team could mean that we will continue seeing him manage the team. He would most probably have to prove that he can still make Arsenal reach the top -four position in the Premier League for the twentieth year in a row. With their confidence boosted after their last few wins, we can only expect to see them bring out the best of football for this end of season.

Arsenal: The Chaff from the Wheat

It’s time to sit down, accept Arsene Wenger will be the manager of Arsenal for next season, and focus on what we need in the team to be Champions come May. There’s going to be a lot of talk about possible players coming in, with Kylian Mbappe and Riyad Mahraz looking real possibilities, but before we start getting excited about the new action men we need to clear some space in the toy box. There were some real disappointments last season but who should be cast aside and who should we hold on to like a Macron handshake?

Goalkeepers

So, an easy kick-off, as Petr Cech must stay. He hasn’t had the best of seasons, but Liverpool’s costly errors between the sticks proved what a tricky position this can be to get right. David Ospina should also remain and have game time in the Europa League and League Cup, shared with the young rookies Damian Emiliano Martinez and Matt Macey.

Defenders

Talk of Hector Bellerin moving is disturbing and, as one of the best in his position in the world, he must be retained. Laurent Koscielny is also a keeper and Nacho Monreal has done enough to be retained but shouldn’t be the first choice at left-back. Carl Jenkinson seemed to be out the door in January and should certainly be gone this transfer window. He’ll likely be joined on the bus out of Emirates Stadium by Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, and Calum Chambers. All of whom showed some promise but are unlikely to be representing a Premier League club with title ambitions ever again.

It’s been a long time since Per Mertesacker showed promise but his performance in the F.A. Cup final coupled with his experience and voice in the dressing room make him a valuable squad member. With Sead Kolasinac arriving on a free transfer from Schalke, we’re left with Shkadran Mustafi, Gabriel Armando de Abreu, and Rob Holding; of those three, Gabriel should be moved on.

Assuming Wenger continues to play three at the back, that gives us Koscielny, Mustafi, and Kolasinac, with Mertesacker, Monreal, and Holding as back-up. Bellerin is superb at right wing-back and we require someone of his quality to be brought in to take up the left wing-back role.

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Source: FC Arsenal Live via Facebook

Midfield

Who knows how our season might have turned out had one Santiago Cazorla not been so needlessly risked and subsequently injured. Hopefully, those injury woes are a thing of the past and he can form a midfield partnership with Granit Xhaka, with Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny providing cover in the centre. That leaves no room for Francis Coquelin, who has not been up to standard, and Alex Iwobi, who looks unlikely to ever make the grade.

Theo Walcott is still a great player, with a good goal and assist ratio and should obviously be retained along with Lucas Perez, who didn’t really get a chance last season. I would have been in favour of keeping Ales Oxlade-Chamberlain but if The Ox has had his head turned and is unsettled, we should get as much as we can for him. The same is true of Jack Wilshere; if you can’t hold down a place in Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth team, you’re not going to walk into the Arsenal team.

That leaves us with a few youth players to get some minutes in the cups and the elephants in the room, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. It goes without saying that they should be retained and a marquee signing or two early in the transfer window might just be enough to convince them that their future with the Gunners has the prospect of glory, despite what the bookmakers might think; Arsenal are an outside 12/1 for the 2017/18 title in the early football betting.

If they can’t be retained, Arsenal should make sure they don’t ply their trade in the U.K. next season and spend an obscene amount of money replacing them.

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Source: Arsenal via Facebook

Attack

This is easy; Yaya Sanogo is on his way, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud remain at the club, and we spend big on a colossal centre forward who can guarantee twenty plus goals per season.

It’s crazy season for transfer gossip and rumours but let’s sort our house out first and only retain those that can make a meaningful contribution to the team. It’s a make or break season for Wenger and, without European football to really worry about, he needs to sculpt a team that’s capable of making up an 18-point gap and he can’t do that with deadwood lolling around the club.

Why Finishing 5th Could Be A Massive Blessing For Arsenal

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So Arsenal finished the season in 5th. Now the dust has settled, does it matter?

I do find it amusing that it is widely accepted that Arsenal have had an awful season. Yet despite having a “disastrous” season, we were in touching distance of Manchester City and Liverpool for the Champions League spots. If we were in crisis, then how about those two North West clubs?

Yes, between January and April we have been awful and yet we finished 5th. People need to get a grip – seriously, after a “disastrous” season most teams get relegated.

For me 5th doesn’t matter and in the cold light of day, is a blessing.

The Europa League is a joke. The sooner we agree on that the better. It’s a poorly organised competition and playing on Thursday nights is a massive burden on a Premier League season. We have two choices; take it seriously or use the kids.

For me it’s a no brainer. Play the kids. First of all it would be a great experience for them, and secondly they could do well in it. If you listen to Jose Mourinho, the repeatedly goes on and on about how much of a pain the competition is, despite wanting to win it so they get Champions League football next season.

But the message it clear – far too many additional fixtures, played on a day which severely interferes with the domestic calendar. If you want to win it then fine, but the road to success can cause major problems, and even then you’re not guaranteed to win it.

If we treat it like a European “League Cup” and play the youngsters, then we’d only have the Premier League and FA Cup to concentrate on. The Champions League has been a distraction in many ways, and a problematic one considering we don’t get further than the last 16 anyway. Why not focus on the Premier League instead? This gives us the perfect excuse.

Look at Chelsea this season. No Champions League football and they win the league. And Leicester City the season before. No Champions League football, and they win the league.

Simplistic perhaps, but if we had a real chance at actually competing for the Premier League, it would be next season.

Did Arsene Wenger Finish Outside The Top 4 On Purpose??

Let’s be honest here, for the last few months if you’re an Arsenal fan like me then you’ve probably just been sick and tired of all this “Wenger In / Wenger Out” crap and been bored senseless of all the speculation over Arsene’s future.

The club at the moment is a complete mess; we have owners who do fuck all – I’ve heard more noises from the Loch Ness Monster than I have from Silent Stan – and why does Ivan Gazidis get paid? Seriously? Is there another Chief Executive in world football that does less than him?

Arsene Wenger is a great man who is carrying all of Arsenal’s problems on his own shoulders and the fans know it. Silent Stan, Ivan Gazidis and the Arsenal board have been a completely disgrace with their treatment of Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans – deciding not to talk about what their intention are. What do they want? Do they actually want the club to be successful??

There are a million questions that need answering and it’s just mind-boggling how quiet the Arsenal board are. They’re more than happy for Arsene Wenger to take the bullet week in, week out and it’s just pathetic. The Arsenal board in its current form is destroying the reputation and trust the fans have in the club.

Arsene Wenger made a series of revealing comments after the Everton game yesterday, admitting that his future disrupted the players and had an affect on the teams performances. That was the first time he admitted that and it’s quite interesting to see why he’s decided now is the time to admit the truth.

Of course, it would have been stupid to say otherwise before the end of the season but to admit it at all seemed like a shot to the board and owner Stan Kroenke. It also seemed like a dig at the board when Arsene said he’s turned down every single offer from other clubs from around the world, to help transform the club, and that he loves Arsenal. From that it appears Arsene Wenger is telling the world that he is perhaps the only man at the club who actually cares about Arsenal.

And it would make sense. The owners are always absent and their lack of public comment is deafening. Do they care? Do they fuck?

What do the owner care about? Money. We’ve seen that from Stan’s other sports franchises that he only cares about taking a yearly profit from his teams, and on the whole, they’re not successful on the pitch. Because that’s not what matters to him.

And look, business is business. Every successful businessman is out to make money but in football you want a billionaire who actually respects the fans and wants to see success for their club. Stan is clearly not that man so thank you very much for the last how many years you’ve been here, but fuck off.

And that got me thinking – did Arsene Wenger finish 5th on purpose? He’s not getting enough backing to improve the club and he knows better than anyone that the best we can do is finish in the Top Four and reach the last 16 in the Champions League. What’s the best way to shake things up? Not get into the Top Four.

Arsene Wenger is now the man with all the power because where do the Arsenal board go from here? There’s no way in hell they would recruit someone else now as Arsenal aren’t such a big attraction without Champions League football and they know it would take a magician to get Arsenal back into the Top Four – or Arsene Wenger.

This could be a power play by the Frenchman who has for all intents and purposes been left to hang out to dry by the board. Finishing 5th isn’t a disaster but sends out a message to the Arsenal hierarchy that they shouldn’t forget who’s in charge and if you want to fuck with Arsene Wenger then he’ll make sure your yearly profits that you take from the club year in, year out, take a hit.

Pundits Name Their Odds on Favourites to Replace Arsene Wenger Next Season

With the Premier League season reaching its conclusion, there’s only one major topic of discussion surrounding Arsenal right now:

Arsene Wenger – should he stay or should he go?

If recent reports are anything to go by, most fans are ready to show Wenger the door.

Following April’s embarrassing 3 – 0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace, we discussed how an increasingly vocal majority of fans are clamouring for the man’s exit from the Emirates Stadium.

On the one hand, there’s a certain sadness about all this.

This is the man that led the Gunners to one of their most successful runs in the club’s history, taking them to their first Premier League title only a year after he joined the club in October, 1996.

From there, a slew of trophies followed, creating a compelling argument that the recent poor form may just be a phase and that -given enough time- the Frenchman could once again lead Arsenal to glory.

That argument alone however may not be enough to prevent Wenger from moving on. If anything, it seems that the writing is already on the wall, with everyone from the BBC and Sky sports to the top bookmakers naming their odds on favourites to become the new Arsenal manager next season.

Here’s a look at just some of the big names tipped to replace Arsene Wenger, with their odds, as you may want to get in on the action. Coral betting by Freebets.uk may have several offers and promotions for punters, if they like any of the following names to actually be the next Arsenal manager.

Thierry Henry (20/1)

The Arsenal legend has always been on the list to take the helm at his old club, but he became a firm favourite after subtly hinting in an interview with French television station Canal+ that he would be interested in the role if it became available.

Ronald Koeman (20/1)

Tying neck and neck with Henry is current Everton boss, Ronald Koeman has been heavily tipped to take over from Wenger following an impressive run since joining the Toffees last summer.

According to The Independent, Koeman’s form at Goodison Park has not gone unnoticed by Arsenal officials, who apparently see him as the “perfect candidate” to lead the club back to prominence.

Rafa Benitez (16/1)

Currently plying his trade at Championship side Newcastle United, the former Liverpool manager has been linked with a move to the Emirates for some time now, though most reports claim that this would be a “shock” move given who else is in the running for the job.

Luis Enrique (16/1)

On March 1st, Luis Enrique announced that he would not be staying on at Barcelona once his contract expired in June.

Almost immediately, the Spaniard’s name was put forward as a viable contender for the potentially vacant Arsenal manager’s job.

Enrique has enjoyed mixed success since starting his managerial career in his runs with Roma and Barcelona, but his experience in high level European football could make him an attractive prospect for the role.

Patrick Vieira (12/1)

The rumour mill has been running rampant as of late with talks that former Arsenal star Patrick Vieira could leave his current managerial role at New York FC and head “home.

After being such a pivotal part of the Gunners’ success in the early 2000s, Vieira certainly knows a thing or two about what it takes to get Arsenal on top, and would likely be welcomed by the fans with open arms.