Tag Archives: arsenal

Sterling’s first strike keeps Arsenal behind till ‘end of the match’


The Belgium midfielder, who came off the bench in the win at Everton in midweek, tried to pick out Ilkay Gundogan but his errant pass betrayed a little rustiness.

Manchester City moved a step closer to the Premier League title as Raheem Sterling’s early goal gave the runaway leaders a 1-0 win against Arsenal on Sunday.


Pep Guardiola’s side made it 18 successive victories in all competitions thanks to Sterling’s second-minute header at the Emirates Stadium.

With 13 games left, City are 10 points clear of second-placed Leicester, who had closed the gap to seven with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa earlier on Sunday.

City have equalled the club record of 11 successive away victories in all competitions, set from May to November 2017.


They are the first top-flight team to win their opening 11 league matches in a calendar year.

Storming towards a third title in four seasons, City have won 13 consecutive league matches and are unbeaten in 25 games in all competitions since a defeat at Tottenham in November.

Incredibly, that was the last time they trailed in any league fixture.

Guardiola’s men weren’t even at their best on their return to north London, but they still had enough in the locker to hand Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal a third defeat in their last four league games.


“It was hard like we expected it would be. We suffered a lot. It’s difficult to play against Arsenal and Mikel. That’s why I give the players incredible credit for this victory,” Guardiola said.

“People look at our run of wins and think it’s so easy. I didn’t expect it. I’m more than grateful for these players for what they’re doing, but winning these games 1-0 is what we need to do.


“The last 10-15 minutes was brilliant. We know what we want to do. We want to make a big step.”

Borussia Monchengladbach have the next chance to stop City’s incredible winning streak in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday.

If anyone would have the secret to stopping City’s march to the title, it might have been Gunners boss Arteta.


The Spaniard served as Guardiola’s City assistant before taking charge of Arsenal last season.

But Arteta had to make changes as several of his players were fatigued after their midweek Europa League draw against Benfica.

“When we conceded the first goal it put us in a difficult situation. It was tough. With the formation and the players they use they are really comfortable,” Arteta said.

“After that the team reacted really well, were on top of the game and created chances but we lacked the quality in those situations to score the goal.”


Ruthless City

City ruthlessly pounced on the uncertainty in Arsenal’s reshuffled line-up as they took the lead after just 80 seconds.

Ruben Dias played a superb long pass to Riyad Mahrez and the Algeria winger lofted a cross into the six-yard box, where Sterling defied his diminutive stature as he rose above Rob Holding to head into the far corner.


Sterling’s 13th club goal of the season was his sixth in his last nine appearances.

He should have had another moments later when Kevin De Bruyne’s pass split the Arsenal defence, but this time Sterling delayed his shot and Bernd Leno was able to save at the forward’s feet.

Mahrez was tormenting Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney and he danced past him for a shot that deflected wide.


City’s De Bruyne was making his first start for over a month after a hamstring injury.

The Belgium midfielder, who came off the bench in the win at Everton in midweek, tried to pick out Ilkay Gundogan but his errant pass betrayed a little rustiness.

City nearly conceded against the run of play when Tierney’s volley forced a good save from Ederson.

They regained their momentum at the start of the second half and De Bruyne was just wide with an audacious chip from the edge of the area.


Leno had to save well from Gundogan’s 20-yard drive before De Bruyne’s volley whistled wide.

Joao Cancelo nearly gifted Arsenal an equaliser when his high backpass was volleyed straight to Mohamed Elneny by Ederson, but the midfielder blazed just wide.



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


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.


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.


“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.


“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.”



William Saliba blasts Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta.


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.


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.


“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.


“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.”



Mustafi’s new destination after decision to leave Arsenal.


Mustafi leaving would mark another exit this month for Arsenal.

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi is closing in on a move to Schalke which would likely see Ozan Kabak depart to join Liverpool.

Mustafi has struggled for game time this season, dropping down the pecking order under manager Mikel Arteta, and has been given the perfect pathway to leave the Emirates thanks to Liverpool’s interest in 20-year-old Kabak.


The Germany international, who hasn’t played for Arsenal since Boxing Day, is expected to make the move to the Bundesliga, ending a four and a half year stay in north London, though sources vary on any potential fee.

Mustafi facing Crystal Palace in 2019 | Warren Little/Getty Images

Football London say his contract will be terminated before the move is sealed, while ESPN’s James Olley claims Arsenal want a sum this window.


Mustafi leaving would mark another exit this month for Arsenal.

Former outcasts Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have left permanently in recent weeks, while Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba were sent out on loan.

Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson are among the youngsters who could still leave on loan before the deadline.


Mustafi joined Arsenal in 2016 for a fee around the £35m mark but never convinced the club’s fanbase that he was a long term solution to their issues in central defence, mainly due to his penchant for making disastrous mistakes.

He made 31 league appearances in 2018/19 but his numbers have dwindled in the following two campaigns.

Regarding Liverpool, NoRM reported on Monday that the club had started negotiations over a loan deal for Turkish defender Kabak.

Mustafi joined Arsenal in 2016 | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Negotiations are now in a more advanced stage, as per the Athletic. Reporting differs on whether it will have an obligatory or optional buy clause, with the Athletic going for the former and the Times’ Paul Joyce citing the latter. The loan fee would be around the £2m.


Liverpool have had Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip struck down by injury this season, leaving Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to fill in at the back.

A deal for Preston centre back Ben Davies is also expected to be announced on deadline day after the Anfield club agreed a deal worth in the region of £2m for the 25-year-old.



Mikel Arteta discusses ‘ins and outs’ at Arsenal.


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.


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.


“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.


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.



Mikel Arteta gives update on Aubameyang return.


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.


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.


“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.


“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.



Manchester United Manager, Ole backs Cavani despite sluggish Arsenal play


Those misses proved costly, as Man Utd failed to find the net at the Emirates Stadium, dropping two more points in the Premier League title race

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Edinson Cavani to ‘score a few soon’, after the Uruguayan’s poor finishing cost Manchester United a potential two extra points in a goalless draw against Arsenal.

The Red Devils were not at their best on Saturday, but they did carve out two gilt-edged opportunities for the 33-year-old, but the usually reliable striker first somehow hit Bernd Leno with his close-range effort, and then acrobatically fired wide late on.

..But coach Solskjaer was upbeat after the match, and he backed Cavani to hit a rich vein of form following his poor display against the Gunners.


“He’s there, I was a striker myself, I had periods when I don’t score, the gaffer [Sir Alex Ferguson] and everyone around me would say ‘you were there to miss the chances’,” Solskjaer said.

“To score you have to miss a few and he’ll definitely score a few soon.”

Speaking about the game as a whole, Solskjaer maintained that Man Utd created enough chances to beat Arsenal, and claimed that they ‘controlled the game’ despite the Gunners arguably coming closest, when Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick rattled the crossbar.

“We created enough chances to score, we’ll work on that and get them going again. We look at it as one step forward after Wednesday night,” he said.


“I felt that we controlled the game, the free-kick that hits the bar can always go in, but they didn’t bother us too much. We were a little bit passive outside the box, they had a few too many shots, but David wouldn’t be bothered by too many of them.”

The draw leaves Man Utd trailing Manchester City by three points in the Premier League table, while the Citizens still hold a game in hand over their fierce rivals.



West Bromwich in talks with Arsenal.


Arteta is yet to be convinced that dropping him into a relegation scrap with a team who play a drastically different style of football will provide that.

West Brom are in talks with Arsenal over a loan deal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, though the Gunners are yet to decide whether a spell at The Hawthorns would be beneficial for him.

Maitland-Niles has been on the fringes of Mikel Arteta’s squad this season and has racked up a reasonable 21 appearances in all competitions. Just six of those have come from the start though, leading to reports of frustration at his role in the squad.


The 23-year-old is targeting a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championship and that is not something he is likely to attain unless he is starting regularly.

A source has told NoRM’s known Media that West Brom have made a move to sign him on loan, but they are not the only club looking at him as Southampton and Newcastle are both keen. Sam Allardyce’s men believe, however, they are favourites to land Maitland-Niles because they would be willing to play him in his preferred central midfield role.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein also says that the Baggies are ‘pushing hard’ to bring him in, but Arsenal still believe he could have a role to play in their season and only want to send him out if it will benefit his development.


Ornstein’s report notes that there is interest from an unnamed ‘current top four’ Premier League team, potentially Leicester or West Ham, who were sat in fourth at the time the piece was written.

Arsenal would prefer to send him to one of those sides, but the Hammers can no longer be in the running after securing the services of Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard on loan until the end of the season – a deal that West Brom were also hoping to conclude.

With just days left of the transfer window, then, we may be in for an interesting stand-off – do the Gunners ship him off to the lower reaches of the table, or wait for their preferred option at the risk of no move coming off?

The loan signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid pushed him further down the midfield pecking order, while Hector Bellerin, Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney are each preferred to fill the full-back positions where Maitland-Niles has proven a capable deputy.


He did start as recently as two weeks ago, however, and it isn’t believed Arteta would be against keeping him around as cover for the second half of the season.

What Arsenal decide may come down to how hard the player pushes for a move. As things stand, he is keen to go out on loan but hasn’t forced the issue – something that may change ahead of Monday’s deadline.



Aubameyang to miss Manchester United clash.


Partey and Smith Rowe were both forced off last time out against Southampton, while Tierney missed the game altogether, but all three made it back to training in time to be in contention.

Arsenal are again expected to be without striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Saturday’s visit of Manchester United.

The Gabon international has missed the last two games, FA Cup and Premier League meetings with Southampton, as he has been taking care of his mother, who has been suffering with an illness.


He took to Twitter on Wednesday to explain his absence and reveal that his mother has made progress in her recovery, leaving some fans hopeful that Aubameyang may be back in time for Saturday’s game.

However, according to football.london, that will come too soon for Aubameyang, who will remain away from the squad for at least one more game.

“Yes, he’s our captain and one of the most important players,” manager Mikel Arteta said when asked about Aubameyang’s absence. “We are doing everything we can to have him as quickly as possible.


“But understanding that he’s been through difficult days that he had to support his family. We were here to support him as well with the time that he needed to get that sorted.”

While being with Aubameyang is obviously a huge blow, Arteta has been handed a boost elsewhere as Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney were all part of training in the build-up to the United clash.

Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard was also part of training and is now in line to make his debut for the Gunners, with Arteta revealing his excitement at the prospect of working with such a fascinating young player.

“He hasn’t played that many minutes in Madrid but he’s been training hard and he looks so excited, as we are, to have another big talent at our club,” the boss added.


“He’s a specialist to play in the pockets, to play in the eight or ten 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.”



Arteta hopes Odegaard stays at Arsenal beyond loan.


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.


“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.”


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.”



Madrid’s Odegaard arrives Arsenal on loan.


Gunners coach Mikel Arteta was also delighted with the transfer, stating that Odegaard will offer ‘quality offensive options’ to his current crop of players.

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Real Madrid star Martin Odegaard on loan until the end of the season.

The Norwegian midfielder travelled to North London to put the finishing touches on the deal on Sunday, and with the details in place, all that was missing was the official confirmation from the clubs.


Now, the Gunners announced Odegaard’s arrival in video form on their Twitter account, offering pictures of the 22-year-old in their famous red strip for the very first time. The midfielder has taken the number 11 shirt, leaving the number 10, previously worn by Mesut Ozil, open to one of his new teammates.

Odegaard’s signature has softened the blow of the German’s Emirates exit, with fans disappointed in how the former talisman’s career ended in North London. They can now look forward to witnessing Madrid’s playmaker in action, after he struggled to make his mark in their first team under Zinedine Zidane.

The youngster enjoyed a breakout season at Real Sociedad last year, and Los Blancos decided not to allow him to rejoin their rivals on loan for another campaign. Odegaard was expected to become an integral part in the champions’ midfield, but he ended up making only seven La Liga appearances in 2020/21.


That absence from their plans allowed the Gunners to jump in and land themselves an excellent piece of business. Arsenal technical director Edu was full of praise for the club’s new signing, thanking Madrid for their collaboration in allowing the move to come to fruition.

Martin Odegaard to play for the Emirates Stadium on loan from Santiago Bernabeu. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

“We are delighted to welcome Martin to the club until the end of the season. I would like to thank everyone at Real Madrid and Martin’s representatives for their collaboration in making this loan move happen.

“Martin is an exceptional talent and we are strengthening our squad by introducing an exciting offensive player to the club for the remaining months of this season.”

“It’s great that we’ve secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season. Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while.


“Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we’re all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May.”

• Emile Smith Rowe’s career on the line •

For Arsenal, Emile Smith Rowe has undoubtedly been the saviour of the season.


Since his arrival to the Gunners’ Premier League starting lineup, Arsenal have been fantastic domestically.

He has led them to four wins and a draw in the last five games, offering up three assists and transforming their season.

Emile Smith Rowe might have to bench for a year? (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

The 20-year-old has given Arsenal the sort of creativity they were hoping to find by spending big in the January transfer market, and he’s turned the Gunners back into a genuine threat.

It’s now understood that he’s due to be rewarded with a bumper new contract, but on top of that, Arsenal are now looking to reward Smith Rowe with an enormous threat to his young club career.


Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard has now sealed a six-month loan switch to the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal stressing the need to bring someone in to rotate with Smith Rowe and steer them through to the end of the season.

On one hand, that’s absolutely right. Relying so heavily on a 20-year-old with seven Premier League appearances to his name is a recipe for disaster. Arsenal need someone to help shoulder the burden, 100%.


However, that replacement probably shouldn’t be someone who is coming to the Emirates to take most of Smith Rowe’s minutes.

Smith Rowe needs regular game time if he is ever going to blossom into the kind of player Arsenal feel like they can rely on. He doesn’t need to play 38 games and 90 minutes every week, but he needs to be playing more often than not.

Unfortunately, you have to say that same thing about Odegaard as well.


The 22-year-old former wonderkid has found his career at somewhat of a crossroads. Despite an impressive loan spell with Real Sociedad last season, he’s not yet at the level he needs to be to star for Real.

Martin Odegaard tries new career at EPL. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

Zinedine Zidane handed Odegaard a grand total of 367 minutes this season – five starts and four substitute appearances – forcing the Norwegian to head out on loan to try and find more minutes.

He’s chosen Arsenal, with manager Mikel Arteta understood to have personally convinced Odegaard to pick the Emirates as the perfect spot for his development. That probably means Arteta has promised him minutes.

Odegaard will rock up to Arsenal expecting to be a regular starter, but the problem is that Smith Rowe currently demands – and deserves – the same. There’s only one No. 10 spot, just ask Mesut Ozil.


For Arteta, there needs to be a delicate balancing of the situation, but there’s a real possibility of nobody winning. If Smith Rowe plays too much, Odegaard doesn’t play enough. If they play 50:50, both will be lacking.

To have two wonderkids fighting for one spot can be a recipe for disaster. We’ve seen plenty of players choose to walk away from their clubs because of a lack of confidence in their development path – Tariq Lamptey leaving Chelsea for Brighton is a recent example.



Arsenal’s win at Southampton means alot to Bukayo Saka


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.


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.


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.


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.



Thomas Partey return boost Arsenal’s European hopes.


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.


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.


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.



Richard Garlick becomes new director of football operations at Arsenal.


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.


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.


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.



Aston Villa disgrace Arsenal in 0-3 away win.


Aston Villa went up a gear in the second half with Jack Grealish pulling the strings in midfield and it was no surprise when Watkins headed home in the 72nd minute.

Aston Villa returned to winning ways in stunning fashion as Ollie Watkins scored twice in a 3-0 away thumping of an abject Arsenal in drizzly north London on Sunday.

The visitors had already seen a John McGinn goal ruled out for a harsh offside decision when Bukayo Saka, under pressure from Trezeguet, put into his own goal after 25 minutes.


Watkins struck again three minutes later after a rapid counter-attack to seal the points.

Two consecutive defeats had halted Aston Villa’s early season charge but they moved back up to sixth with 15 points from eight games.

Inconsistent Arsenal are down in 11th with 12 points after four wins and four defeats so far.


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


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.


“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.”


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.”


Final score: Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United


Arsenal scored two quick-fire team goals to extend Sheffield United’s point-less start to the Premier League season – although the Blades did manage their first goal.

2020/2021 Premier League
Saka (61′)
Pepe (64′)
McGoldrick (83′)


Match Report
The Gunners did not really get going until the 60th minute when Bukayo Saka celebrated his first England call-up with a header from Hector Bellerin’s cross.

Three minutes later they doubled their lead with Nicolas Pepe’s good run and finish into the bottom corner – finishing off a move with 19 passes.

They looked completely in control until David McGoldrick curled home the Blades’ first league goal of the season.

But it was not enough to affect the outcome and United have now lost seven consecutive top-flight games for the first time since 1975.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal move onto six points from three games, having lost 2-0 to champions Liverpool last Monday.


Match Events
0′ The match is about to start!

5′ Leno makes a timely clearance


12′ Basham makes an important deffence

29′ Nketiah’s header too straight

37′ Aubameyang’s shot over the bar

38′ Yellow Card! Berge booked

44′ Aubameyang’s bycicle kick stopped

61′ GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Sheff Utd (Saka)

64′ GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Sheff Utd (Pepe)

78′ McBurnie’s long shot parried by Leno

83′ GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Sheff Utd (McGoldrick)

Arsenal XI: Willian, Luiz, Aubameyang, Leno, M.Elneny, Bellerin, Tierney, Ceballos, Gabriel, Nketiah, Saka

Subs: Lacazette, Xhaka, Runarsson, Pepe, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Willock

Sheff Utd XI: McGoldrick, Basham, Stevens, Baldock, Robinson, Egan, Lundstram, Osborn, Burke, Berge, Ramsdale

Subs: Sharp, Fleck, Norwood, W. Foderingham, M. Lowe, McBurnie, Ampadu


Final Score: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal


Game is over and the final score is Fulham 0-3 Arsenal. Willian and Gabriel shone as Mikel Arteta’s side swept to three points away at Fulham.

2020/2021 Premier League
Lacazette (8′)
Gabriel (49′)
Aubameyang (57′)

Match Events

0′ The match is about to start!

0′ KICK-OFF! Who can win this match?

7′ Odoi’s shot stopped

8′ GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Arsenal (Lacazette)

18′ Odoi’s cross too high

21′ Elneny’s shot blocked

27′ Willian’s free-kick hits the post

37′ CLOSE! Aubameyang’s attempt stopped

46′ Kebano’s free-kick cleared off

47′ Aubameyang’s cross blocked

49′ GOAL! Fulham 0-2 Arsenal (Gabriel)

55′ Yellow Card! Bellerin booked

57′ GOAL! Fulham 0-3 Arsenal (Aubameyang)

67′ Leno denies Mitrovic’s effort

73′ CHACNE! Xhaka’s shot blocked

78′ Aubameyang’s good chance blocked by Hector

79′ Subs! Ceballos replaces Xhaka

83′ Bellerin’s cross blocked on the box

86′ Subs! Nketiah in, Lacazette out



Fulham XI: D. Odoi, T. Cairney, T. Ream, N. Kebano, M. Hector, Ivan Cavaleiro, J. Bryan, J. Onomah, H. Reed, M. Rodák, A. Kamara

Subs: Le Marchand, Areola, Knockaert, C. Christie, B. De Cordova-Reid, Mitrovic, Anguissa

Arsenal XI: Willian, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Leno, Xhaka, M.Elneny, Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, Tierney, Holding, Gabriel

Subs: Kolasinac, Macey, Pepe, Ceballos, Willock, Nketiah, Saka.


Arsenal still keeps Coutinho in sight


Bayern Munich have confirmed Philippe Coutinho will return to parent club Barcelona, marking the occasion with a ‘thank you and goodbye’ message for the Brazilian.

Coutinho won the Champions League with Bayern during his loan spell, scoring in the quarter-final and replacing goalscorer Kingsley Coman in the final against Paris Saint-Germain.

The German champions had an option to make the move permanent but have opted not to exercise it, prompting links with Arsenal.


As part of the club’s message to the outgoing player, Bayern board member Hasan Salihamidzic described Coutinho as “outstanding”.

He said: “Even though FC Bayern and Philippe Coutinho are parting ways after just one season, his commitment in Munich has made it clear what an outstanding player he is.”

While Coutinho has been linked with Arsenal for much of the summer, the arrival of Ronald Koeman as Barcelona’s new manager means the future of a number of Barca players may be affected.

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Ceballos joins Arsenal yet again


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.


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.

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Happy New Month

From Arsenal’s flopp to Bayern’s UCL – Sergi Gnabry


Serge Gnabry has reflected upon his rise after helping Bayern Munich to win the Champions League.

Gnabry featured as Bayern beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final in Lisbon but made just one Premier League appearance while on loan at West Bromwich Albion from Arsenal in the 2015-16 season.

The winger was always seen as a very talented player and, having overcome the setbacks caused by injuries and that challenging loan spell, he has proceeded to fulfil his vast potential.

Gnabry told NobleSports Relaibe source: ‘Winning that trophy is the best thing that could have happened. The spirit we talk about came through and we are the best team in Europe. It was always going to be difficult and in the end we came through.


‘As long as it was 0-0, they have some incredible talent, lucky they didn’t score and happy we did.

Coman scored the winner in the 59th minute with a header following a cross from Joshua Kimmich.

Gnabry was full of praise for the impact that his team-mate made.

He said: ‘The King helped us extremely, We knew it was going to be difficult for them and for him to come in and score was incredible.’

One of Bayern’s strengths is their ability to keep pushing forward, with the club having a squad with a healthy mix of young and experienced players.

Gnabry says that the Bayern youngsters are eager to replicate the success that the club has enjoyed in the past.


‘For sure, it has always been said the spirit in this group is crazy, we have a strong bond and hopefully we can build on it.’

Rio Ferdinand revealed that he met Gnabry on holiday a few years ago when the German was at a difficult stage in his career.

Gnabry explained to Ferdinand that he had lost confidence and was trying to get back on track. It is safe to say that he has managed to achieve that aim.

Speaking on BT Sport, Ferdinand said: ‘I was on a beach in Dubai and he popped up with Bellerin and he was really down. He sat down on the sunbed and told me he had lost confidence and was trying to rebuild his career.

‘It was hard work for him, but there he is today, it is how you react to knockbacks, he applied himself right and he is a great young lad.’

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Arsenal Fixtures for 2020/21


Arsenal have a tough set of opening Premier League fixtures to negotiate, playing Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United all away from home in the first seven games.

Mikel Arteta has a solid platform to build from after finishing the season on a positive note with a surprise win in the FA Cup but the three tough away days could dent any early momentum they were after for the 2020/21 season. In the Premier League, the Gunners have not won an away match against a ‘big-six’ side in their last 25 attempts.

A trip to newly promoted Fulham is their opening day fixture, followed by another London derby at The Emirates against West Ham.

Fans may be allowed back into stadiums by the time Arsenal face Tottenham in the first north London derby of the season on December 5 with the corresponding fixture at The Emirates set for March 13. Arsenal end the season with a home fixture against Brighton on May 23.



12: Fulham (a)

19: West Ham (h)

26: Liverpool (a)


3: Sheffield United (h)

17: Manchester City (a)

24: Leicester (h)

31: Manchester United (a)


7: Aston Villa (h)

21: Leeds United (a)

28: Wolves (h)


5: Tottenham (a)

12: Burnley (h)

15: Southampton (h)

19: Everton (a)

26: Chelsea (h)

28: Brighton (a)


2: West Brom (a)

12: Crystal Palace (h)

16: Newcastle (h)

27: Southampton (a)

30: Manchester United (h)


3: Wolves (a)

6: Aston Villa (a)

13: Leeds (h)

20: Manchester City (h)

27: Leicester City (a)


6: Burnley (a)

13: Tottenham (h)

20: West Ham (a)


3: Liverpool (h)

10: Sheffield United (h)

17: Fulham (h)

24: Everton (h)


1: Newcastle (a)

8: West Brom (h)

12: Chelsea (a)

15: Crystal Palace (a)

23: Brighton (h)

The key dates of the Premier League 2020/21 season
The Premier League has revealed the 2020/21 season will start on Saturday September 12.


The season is scheduled to finish on Sunday May 23, 2021 – just 19 days before the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament kicks off.

The transfer window opened on Monday July 27 and will close on Monday October 5 at 11pm. An additional domestic-only window will run from October 5 to 5pm on October 16 but Premier League clubs will only be able to trade with EFL clubs.

Premier League ins and outs
Who has your team signed? Who has been shipped out?

Check here for a comprehensive list of all the Premier League ins and outs from the 2020 summer transfer window, which opened on July 27 and closes on October 5.

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Willian says goodbye to Chelsea; reveal his misson at Arsenal


Brazil star, Willian has said Arsenal is a big club and he has come to help the team win trophies.

Willian, 32, on Friday, joined the North London side on a three-year deal after his contract expired with Chelsea.

He said Arsenal is a big team and deserve to win trophies, pledging to give his best to the club on the pitch.

“I come to try to win trophies because this club deserves to win again, and I think you have to do the best as possible to win every game,” he told Arsenal’s website.


“I always train hard and go on the pitch giving 100 per cent to help this team to win games and to win titles as well.”

He joins Arsenal on a free transfer with Chelsea unwilling to offer the multi-year contract he desired and is reportedly set to earn £200,000 ($261,000) a week.

The 2012 Champions League winner said Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta is having a “new project” with the Gunners which he wants to be a part of.

Arteta himself believes Willian’s experience will make a “difference” for the 2003/2004 Premier League winners.


“He has the experience of everything in the football world but to still have the ambition to come here and contribute to bringing the club where it belongs,” the Spaniard explained, saying he is impressed with the talks he had with the player.

File photo: Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang holds the winner’s trophy as the team celebrates victory after the English FA Cup final football match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on August 1, 2020. Arsenal won the match 2-1. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

Arsenal’s technical director, Edu described his compatriot as a player with a “lot of fantastic attributes” and said he has known Willian “very well, since a long time ago” from working together with the Brazilian national team.

Willian was on the bench earlier this month when Arsenal defeated the Blues 2-1 to win their 14th FA Cup.

He won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and the Europa League in his seven years stint with the Blues.

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