Category Archives: arsenal

Guardiola react after Mikel Arteta’s move to turn Arsenal into title contenders.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta, admitting the Gunners could soon find themselves battling for the Premier League title.

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Arteta spent three years working under Guardiola at City before taking the plunge into first-team management with Arsenal in December 2019, but his first 14 months in the job have been about as turbulent as they could possibly be.

Arteta led Arsenal to FA Cup glory last season but was tipped to lose his job just a few months ago, with the Gunners closer to a relegation battle that the top four, but he has managed to steady the ship and slowly lead his side up the table – something which Guardiola confessed had impressed him.

Pep Guardiola has huge faith in Mikel Arteta | Pool/Getty Images

“I did not inspire him,” Guardiola said of his former protegee in the build-up to the meeting between the two sides on Saturday (via Sky Sports News). “What he knows he knows for himself. I am not any influence. What he is doing, all credit to him and his backroom staff.

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“All I can say is the last months show me that all managers need time and he is not an exception. What I see in the last two months every game Arsenal played is better than the opponent.

“Tomorrow we will have an incredible performance. They have an exceptional build-up, they have quality and they have energy. They have [Bukayo] Saka, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and all the players with the quality in the middle.

“In the early future, they will be real contenders to fight for the titles. Most of the time [when Arteta and I worked together] we took decisions together and I took decisions with the influence of Mikel. I don’t know if I influenced him – he has to answer this.”

Arteta has also been incredibly complimentary of City, insisting that Guardiola has built the best team in world football.

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“The football they are playing and consistency of results, take all that in and it makes them the best team,” Arteta confessed (via BBC Sport).

“They have weaknesses like every team but at the moment teams have struggled a lot to find any of that because I think first of all defensively they have been really, really strong. I think they are the best team in Europe at the moment.”

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Mikel Arteta offers update on Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey.

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Arteta also revealed that striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has travelled with the squad, despite a video emerging on social media which appeared to show the Gabon international breaking COVID guidelines by getting a tattoo.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed that left-back Kieran Tierney has travelled with the squad to face Benfica on Thursday, but midfielder Thomas Partey will miss the fixture through injury.

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Tierney hasn’t been seen since January’s 3-0 win over Newcastle United, missing no fewer than six games after picking up a leg injury, but he returned to training this week.

As for Partey, he was forced off during the recent 1-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa with a hamstring injury, and Arteta confirmed during his pre-match press conference that Thursday’s game will come too soon for the Ghanaian.

“Thomas didn’t travel. He’s not there yet, he’s still training individually,” said the boss (via the club’s official website). “Kieran has had one session with us and is part of the squad.”

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Arteta declined to offer any insight on Partey’s injury, but Goal’s Charles Watts revealed on YouTube that there is reason to be optimistic about his recovery.

“Thomas Partey is certainly not going to be involved yet, with that hamstring issue,” Watts said. “He’s still a couple of weeks away, although he’s supposedly, from what I hear, doing very well and pretty happy with the progress that’s been made. Still, he’s not going be involved this weekend against Man City.”

Arteta also revealed that striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has travelled with the squad, despite a video emerging on social media which appeared to show the Gabon international breaking COVID guidelines by getting a tattoo.

“Yes, he’s here,” Arteta bluntly replied when asked if Aubameyang had travelled.

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“Whatever we do with our players, we keep it internal. It’s true that a lot of the members of our squad have extended families at home and if a player does something that is not within the regulations obviously, the club acts immediately but always privately.

“We tried to advise every player and make sure that they know all the rules and that we have to stick to those rules all the time. If someone doesn’t do it, obviously we have to act immediately, so again, I cannot tell you who every player lives with, but we do and when somebody does something you shouldn’t be doing, obviously it’s going to get found out from us and there will be consequences. And if not, there won’t be.”

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William Saliba blasts Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta.

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Saliba hasn’t exactly shied away from the chance to bash Arsenal since returning to France, recently telling L’Equipe (via GFFN) that he was surprised to have been given up on so quickly.

Arsenal centre back William Saliba has criticised Mikel Arteta for not giving him enough time to prove himself at the Emirates Stadium this season.

A £27m arrival from Saint-Etienne, Saliba did not play a single minute for the Gunners this season and was eventually shipped out on loan to French side Nice in January, winning the club’s Player of the Month award the same month.

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It was a confusing situation, particularly with Arsenal struggling defensively for a large part of the first six months of the season, and Saliba has confessed he was unimpressed with the way Arteta handled the whole thing.

William Saliba was unimpressed with his situation at Arsenal | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

“It is clear that so much has changed in the last year,” he told RMC Sport’s Top of the Foot. “When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change in my personal life as well.

“He judged me on two-and-a-half matches. I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready. I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that. When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.

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“I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you’re part of a team is a better feeling for me.”

Saliba hasn’t exactly shied away from the chance to bash Arsenal since returning to France, recently telling L’Equipe (via GFFN) that he was surprised to have been given up on so quickly.

“There were a lot of factors I think because when they were finishing their league season, I was in quarantine at home, where I could only run 1km in my house,” he explained. “And then there was this thing about the [Coupe de France] final, we didn’t know if I was going to be able to play or not.

“What I mean is as soon as my contract finished (with Saint-Etienne), I wasn’t able to train until an agreement was found. That was for two weeks, I wasn’t training, and the others had already started training again.

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“After that, then I went over there at the end of July, they had one more week, so I was training all alone. They came back from holidays two weeks later and I was still training by myself. When they came back I played in two friendlies, but I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t played for six months. I had no preparation and to pick up rhythm, you need to play matches.

“The coach told me I wasn’t ready, I thought ‘That’s normal, these were just two matches and I hadn’t played for six months’. After that I waited for my chance, I waited for him to play me more to get a rhythm. But that’s football, it’s like that, it’s behind me and I took the experience.”

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Mikel Arteta discusses ‘ins and outs’ at Arsenal.

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Arteta hasn’t shut down the possibility there could be another late addition if a good opportunity presents itself.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has refused to say whether Ainsley Maitland-Niles will stay or go on transfer deadline day, but has confirmed the Gunners are working on a number of possible deals and hasn’t ruled out any late arrivals.

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Maitland-Niles, who turns 24 this year, has only been sparingly involved in the Premier League this season and has made most of his appearances, which have come all over the pitch, from the bench.

Leicester, Southampton, Newcastle and West Brom have all been linked with loan swoops for the England international, who might command more regular game time away from Arsenal.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also being name-dropped as a potential target for the Magpies.

“We have decided [who could leave on loan today] and we are working on it. You will find out before 11pm,” Arteta said of the situation, via Arsenal.com.

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“I cannot speak about any individual players. What we want to do, the conversations we’ve had, the various reasons. Let’s see if we can get something done tonight,” the Spaniard added.

It has been reported that Arsenal would prefer Maitland-Niles to get game time as a full-back should he secure a move, although the player himself would rather get chances in midfield.

Leicester are said to be Maitland-Niles’ preference, but the Foxes pose a potential threat to Arsenal in the fight for European places, meaning the Gunners would rather he joins Southampton.

Arsenal have already signed goalkeeper Mat Ryan and midfielder Martin Odegaard on loan this winter, but Arteta hasn’t shut down the possibility there could be another late addition if a good opportunity presents itself.

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Crystal Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt is one player who has been and the Gunners have been in the market for a player in that position to provide cover for Kieran Tierney and free up Bukayo Saka to play further forward more permanently where he is more dangerous.

Pochettino has been in pursuit of Dele Alli since taking the PSG job, with the England midfielder out of favour at Tottenham.

“The last day of the transfer window is always unpredictable so things can happen. They might happen, they might not happen. We are on it,” Arteta said on possible incomings.

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Mikel Arteta gives update on Aubameyang return.

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Aubameyang’s absence was particularly felt in the stalemate with the Red Devils, and Arsenal will be hoping that he is able to rejoin the playing squad ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confessed he is unsure when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return to action, with the striker now in self-isolation after leaving the country last week.

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The 31-year-old travelled to Southampton with the Gunners on 23 January for their FA Cup tie, but he left the squad to be with his sick mother, meaning he has had to miss their last three matches.

Arsenal were able to beat Southampton in the league on Tuesday and held Manchester United to a draw on Saturday without Aubameyang, but Arteta is obviously keen to have his star striker back at his disposal.

And speaking about Aubameyang’s possible return, the Spanish coach admitted he is unsure when the forward will be allowed to return to Premier League action, as he is now serving a period in self isolation after leaving the country.

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“We have to follow the rules and the protocols right now and the protocols say he cannot be involved at the moment,” Arteta told the Evening Standard after the goalless draw with United.

“He had a family issue he had to attend to and these are the consequences to that.”

But Arteta stated he ‘doesn’t know’ of any expected return date for the Gunners’ captain, and ensured that the club will ‘follow the rules and the protocols’ over his period in quarantine.

“I don’t know. We are working with the Premier League and government about it. He’s been looking after his family and now he’s in quarantine.

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“We have to respect that and the doctor is managing the situation currently.”

The Gunners face Wolves in midweek before travelling to take to on Aston Villa on Saturday.

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Arteta hopes Odegaard stays at Arsenal beyond loan.

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Odegaard wanted to leave Madrid because he wasn’t getting the game time he thought he would when his parent club cut short his previous loan at Real Sociedad last summer.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has already said it is possible for Martin Odegaard to stay at the Emirates Stadium beyond his initial loan from Real Madrid because he is the exact type of player the Gunners have been looking for in his position.

Odegaard has joined Arsenal on a short-term deal until the end of the season, an arrangement expected to cost the club around £2.8m in a loan fee and wages.

But there is no option to secure his signature permanently, so any transfer at that stage will have to negotiated with Real.

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“He certainly has all the qualities and characteristics that we are looking for, for that position,” Arteta said as he addressed the media, via Arsenal.com.

“Then [staying] will be down to two things. First of all, how well he adapts here and how much of an impact he can have in our team. Secondly, what Real Madrid and the player think about it because he’s owned by Real Madrid and the player has a big say in that too.”

“He’s a player that we followed for some time and we believe that he’s got some special qualities that we have been missing,” Arteta said.

“I’ve followed him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad, which is my hometown. I know him really well. I’ve been really impressed. He’s a such a talent. He needs the right environment, he needs a little bit of time but I think he’s got the qualities to be a success for us.”

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Discussing the role Odegaard will play for Arsenal, Arteta went on to explain: “He’s a specialist to play in the pockets, to play in the No. 8 or 10 positions. He can play off the sides. He’s a really creative player who’s really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces. He has the capacity to create chances and to score goals.

“Something that he has improved a lot is his work-rate without the ball as well, so it’s another option to give us more creativity for sure in the final third, and give us more options to set up in different ways against certain teams.”

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Arsenal’s win at Southampton means alot to Bukayo Saka

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The goal put the game beyond Southampton’s reach but it was just the latest, decisive impact that Saka has had while operating down the right-hand side.

A month ago, Arsenal were being written off as relegation fodder, while Southampton were being tipped as unlikely top four contenders.

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It is testament to the fine job that Mikel Arteta has done in motivating his squad that when the two sides met in the Premier League on Tuesday night, the Gunners managed to secure a fairly straightforward win.

In the past, conceding in the opening three minutes might have been enough to down Arteta’s mentally fragile charges. However, on Tuesday this was not the case. Instead, the Gunners rallied brilliantly, eventually securing a 3-1 victory.

Bukayo Saka kneel-slides to jubilate. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

The credit for such a result should not go to just one man – whether that be Arteta or a player – as collectively, the north Londoners were very strong. Despite this, someone who is worthy of extra special praise is Bukayo Saka.

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Deployed as a right forward, Saka once again impressed. Since being move to the opposite flank by Arteta five games ago, the Gunners form has improved dramatically. Prior to the switch, Arsenal had won just four of their opening 14 games.

Since swapping him, they are unbeaten, with Saka registering six direct goal involvements in as many games. His latest two contributions were very impressive as well. Just before half-time, Saka slipped free of Jake Vokins and raced onto Alexandre Lacazette’s through ball. Despite travelling at ridiculous pace, he showed the speed of thought to skip past the onrushing Alex McCarthy before firing the ball into the empty net.

After the break, he was at it again, this time returning the favour to Lacazette with a tremendous assist. Drifting free of his marker at the back post, Saka was found by Cedric Soares’ long ball. Without breaking stride, Saka latched onto it before putting an appetising ball across the box for Lacazette to bundle home.

Bukayo Saka celebrates in Style. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

Of course, it would be overly simplistic to put Arsenal’s sudden upturn in fortunes down to the tweaking of one player’s role, but his success in the position does suggest that his long-term future could lie there.

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What were you doing at 19?
Previously this season, when deployed as a wing-back, there was a feeling that Saka could not influence things enough in the final third. There is little danger of that now and the England international’s efficient, yet attractive performances have played a significant role in transforming Arsenal stodgy, predictable approach play.

Considering he has only been able to legally buy a pint for just under 17 months, that is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

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Thomas Partey return boost Arsenal’s European hopes.

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The Gunners’ second arrived when he took the ball inside his own half and quickly moved it onto Emile Smith Rowe, who drove forward and found Bukayo Saka in the area.

For a team embroiled in an identity crisis for much of 2020, Arsenal have enjoyed quite the start to the new year.

Their 3-0 victory over Newcastle was their sixth win in seven in all competitions, but for all they went in on an impressive run of form, there was something extra to their performance that suggested things are only going to get better.

And when I say something extra, I of course mean Thomas Partey.

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The Ghanaian was back in the starting lineup for the first time since December’s dreary defeat to Tottenham, and even though he was tentative and leggy as he returns to fitness, he drove absolutely everything for Mikel Arteta’s team.

His involvement in their first goal was majestic. Taking the ball from Bernd Leno in a fairly innocuous position, he turned on the burners to advance into a yard of space, and found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a spectacular long-range pass.

It was the sort of service the captain has lacked all season and his eyes lit up as he brought the ball down. He did the rest, of course, taking it past Emil Krafth and hammering the ball into the roof of the net.

He kept things simple where he had to, but even his sideways passing had conviction. The Gunners’ second arrived when he took the ball inside his own half and quickly moved it onto Emile Smith Rowe, who drove forward and found Bukayo Saka in the area. It was the sort of fluid, purposeful attack Arsenal seemed unable to string together earlier in the season, yet with Partey back in the side, it was a feature of their play.

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It was a game Arsenal dominated, creating 18 chances to their opponents’ 4, and they didn’t spend much time without the ball. They didn’t spend much time without the ball because Partey, alongside his partner in crime in Granit Xhaka, didn’t allow Newcastle a second to breathe, constantly harrying and recycling the ball to make things happen.

It was the kind of game that might have got the better of Arsenal previously. Even as recently as Thursday’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace, they had problems breaking against a team who defended from the edge of their own third.

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Richard Garlick becomes new director of football operations at Arsenal.

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Garlick will work alongside Edu in the operations team at Arsenal, where he will be responsible for negotiating player contracts and dealing with agents.

Premier League director of football Richard Garlick is poised to leave his position in 2021 in order to take up the role of director of football operations at Arsenal.

The Gunners are in need of a new director of football following the departure of Huss Fahmy in November in a mass behind the scenes restructuring program.

Fahmy had been in the role since 2017, having previously worked at Team Sky, and was instrumental in bringing Mikel Arteta back to the club as manager in 2019.

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According to the The Athletic, Garlick will take up the vacant position at the Emirates later in 2021, departing his role at the Premier League having been in the post since 2018. He is currently responsible for football operations, youth and coaching criteria and young player education.

A qualified solicitor, Garlick has a history of working in an administerial position at club football level, having previously held the role of director of football administration at West Brom prior to joining the Premier League.

This will take some of the responsibility off the shoulders of Edu, who has been balancing a selection of negotiating duties following the departure of Fahmy.

However, Garlick will not be in his new post in time to deal with any incomings and outgoings at the Emirates during the January transfer window.

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Arsenal currently sit 11th in the Premier League having put a run of three straight wins together after an underwhelming start to the season.

The Gunners are nine points off the Champions League spots and 11 points off the drop zone, and face back-to-back home games over the course of the next seven days with the visits of Crystal Palace and Newcastle.

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Arteta speaks on whether Mustafi is leaving.

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However, Arsenal have already loaned out William Saliba to Nice and are set to allow Sokratis Papastathopoulos to leave the club in the coming weeks as well, so Arteta has no plans to shrink his centre-back group any further.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi will not be leaving the club this month as he is needed to cover for the first team.

Mustafi has been limited to just three Premier League appearances this season – a total of 43 minutes – so it was widely expected that the 28-year-old would be shipped out in some capacity, with Barcelona tipped to push for Mustafi’s signature on loan.

“His future right now is here,” Arteta said. “I’m trying to help. We have Papa that probably is going to leave the club in this window, William that has already gone on loan, so we don’t have that many right now.

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“Gabriel’s been out now for a period, David [Luiz] has been injured, so the situation is completely different to before.”

Arteta was then asked to defend the need to keep five centre-backs on the books (six if you include the injured Calum Chambers). Rob Holding and Pablo Mari are currently shining for the Gunners, but Arteta was adamant that Mustafi may still be handed some opportunities before the season comes to a close.

“Musti came back from a really difficult injury when he got injured at the end of last season,” he added. “Up to that period I think he was doing really well, I think his performances were increasing and getting better and better.

“When he came back it was a moment when we had seven or eight centre-backs so he had to get his performance level up. I think physically he still needed some time, then he started to play some games in Europe which I think he did well as well.

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“And now it’s about when do you make the next step to be a starter, and the reality is that we have to change for different reasons, use different personnel.

“He’s been very close in a few games but now we’ve found as well a partnership that is giving us clean sheets and sometimes when you do that it’s difficult to change, but he’s still in contention.”

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#Newsworthy

I am disappointed – Arteta speaks after Arsenal’s defeat.

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Speaking after the match, Arteta discussed an array of matters having now seen his side gain nine points from their opening five league matches of the 2020/21 season.

There were chances for Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a tight affair, but the contest was settled by Raheem Sterling’s first half strike.

While the 1-0 scoreline demonstrates a vast improvement from the club’s most recent trip to face City, the end result was nevertheless the same. Having had chances in the match, Arteta claimed he was proud of the performance, but was disappointed to see his side play so deep.

“Upset obviously not to get anything from the game the way the game went because I felt that we kept growing and growing and having more belief that we could actually get something from it,” he said.

“At the same time I’m extremely proud about the way we played individually and collectively to put the performance that we put in tonight in this stadium. It’s not an easy thing to do. I think we had a real go.

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“It’s upsetting to see your team so deep. In the second half we were really aggressive, we played in the opponents’ half, they had a lot of issues to get out of our pressure. We could have created more, I think, in the final third.

Much of the talk pre-match centered around whether deadline day signing Thomas Partey would jump straight into Arteta’s starting lineup, but the Spaniard opted to keep the £45m addition on the bench for the Etihad showdown. On the topic, Arteta insisted it was too soon to thrust the Ghanaian into action.

“We will see how quickly we can make it with him but as well we have to respect that process and that time for him because he only trained a day really with us,” he said.

“It’s a lot of new information, it’s a completely different game model for him to understand. We have to respect a little bit that. When he came on he looked good.”

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It looked as if the Gunners would be handed a lifeline late in the first half, as Kyle Walker’s high foot came within inches of connecting with Gabriel Magalhaes’ head in the penalty box.

Hoping for a VAR review, referee Chris Kavanagh opted to blow the whistle for half time seconds late, indicating no second look had taken place.

“You need everything to go your way to get a win here and obviously when you have the three or four big chances we had you have to put them away because you know that in your box that’s going to be the case,” Arteta concluded.

“It’s that situation, I’ve seen it back, I just ask for the refs to watch it back and I don’t think they checked it because it took two seconds for the whistle to go.

“I am disappointed with that.”


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‘This is my home’ Aubameyang officially extends his stay at Arsenal

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Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has given Arsenal a major boost at the start of the Premier League season by signing a new deal.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has ended speculation over his future by agreeing a new, three-year contract extension with Arsenal. The Gunners captain’s previous contract was due to expire next June, but he has decided to commit to the Premier League club.

Aubameyang commits future to “special club” Arsenal
A prolific striker, Aubameyang has scored 72 goals in 111 appearances since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of 60 million euros in January 2018.

“Signing for this special club was never in doubt,” Aubameyang told Arsenal’s official website. “It’s thanks to our fans, my team-mates, my family and everybody at this club that I feel like I belong here. I believe in Arsenal. We can achieve big things together. We have something exciting here and I believe the best is to come for Arsenal.”

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In his first full season with Arsenal in 2018-19, Aubameyang scored 22 goals to be a joint winner of the Premier League Golden Boot. Last season, the 31-year-old enjoyed another superb campaign, with 29 goals in 44 appearances across all competitions. He scored both of the Gunners’ goals in each of their respective FA Cup semi-final and final victories over Manchester City and Chelsea and continued his superb Wembley form with a fabulous strike in last month’s Community Shield encounter with Liverpool, which Mikel Arteta’s side won on penalties.

Arteta thrilled with Auba decision
As speculation mounted over Aubameyang’s future, Arteta expressed confidence he would sign renewed terms and the manager is delighted to have got his man. “It was important for Pierre-Emerick to stay with us,” he said. “He’s a superb player with an incredible mentality. Being the player to have taken the least amount of time to reach 50 goals with this club tells you everything you need to know about him and his way of working. He’s an important leader for the team and a big part of what we’re building. He wants to be up there with the best players in the world and leave his mark. He can achieve that here.”

Hammers up next
Arsenal began their Premier League campaign with a 0-3 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage, where Aubameyang completed the scoring, and they are back in action at home to West Ham on Saturday.


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Ceballos joins Arsenal yet again

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Arsenal are close to completing the signing of Dani Ceballos on loan for the second successive season.

The deal doesn’t include an option to buy for the Gunners or anything similar.

Real Madrid still want to keep the midfielder on their books and the player himself doesn’t want to give up on his dream of making it at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

With Zinedine Zidane still in charge, though, the 24-year-old knows he must seek a move away from Los Blancos in order to play regularly.

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According to LaSexta, talks between Arsenal and Real Madrid were already at an advanced stage when Ceballos trained at Valdebebas on Monday.

Confirmation of the agreement between the two clubs is expected to be made on Tuesday.

Arsenal was the player’s preferred destination – he thinks he can keep improving under Mikel Arteta.

Ceballos made 37 appearances in his first loan spell at the Emirates Stadium last season.

The Spaniard is the latest player to leave Real Madrid this summer after Reinier Jesus and Takefusa Kubo.

Exits for Brahim Diaz, on loan to AC Milan, and James Rodriguez, permanently to Everton, are also pending official confirmation.

Must Read

Real Madrid regects ‘Bayern loan offer for T.Kubo’


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Happy New Month