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Serge Gnabry Joins West Brom on Loan

Gnabry celebrating his only goal at Arsenal colors

In a club as ambitious and competitive like Arsenal, there are some players that have formed in the inner core of the club while there are others that contribute in some capacity to make the club a driving force in England. I would have said Europe as well but elimination from the Champions League first Knockout Round for five seasons in a row and made me to realistically lessen my expectations in Europe.

While it’s always good to have the experienced heads around to rally the troops when the chips are down, what about the youngsters that are hoping to make the grade at the club? Take the case of Jeff Reine-Adelaide that wowed the crowd in the Emirates Cup, showing glimpses of his sheer quality. How long would the fans have to wait before he breaks into the first team and with the vast array of talent currently at the club, would his chance come sooner, rather than later?

Yaya Sanogo is another player that falls into that class. Acquired from AJ Auxerre a couple of seasons ago for no coin and a big bag of raw potential, Sanogo was offered a couple of chances to show what he was made of and it’s fair to say that he has been able to grasp the opportunity afforded to him. C’mon, the manager dropped his alpha-dog in attack, Olivier Giroud, for an untested lad in the Champions League knockout round against Bayern Munich – is there any bigger show of faith a youngster can get from his manager? Right now, Sanogo is at the Amsterdam Arena with Ajax and this was simply because he couldn’t get ahead of Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck in attack. With Walcott signing a long-term deal and Giroud doing his bit to fight for a starting berth, I don’t see Sanogo making it here at Arsenal.

Which brings me to the curious case of Serge Gnabry. After impressing at youth level, Wenger handed him his professional debut in the 2013/14 season and he enjoyed a run of games that saw him score his first goal against Swansea as well as winning a vital penalty in the away victory over Crystal Palace. Gnabry’s performances were recognized by FIFA and he was even nominated for the Golden Boy award that was eventually won by Juventus’ Paul Pogba.

Just when Gnabry thought things would go on for the better, he suffered a knee injury that kept him out for a long long time. He missed almost the entirety of last season but he made his long-awaited comeback in February when the Arsenal Under-21s played against Newcastle.

Gnabry made his first appearance for 11 months after recovering from knee injury

Gnabry is a star in the making and at this stage in his Arsenal career, he can’t continue to feature for the Reserves, so a loan move to West Brom is great for the player. At least, he’d get some first-team experience at the club, and that’s what Arsene Wenger is hoping for as well,

“We know Serge is ready to play in the Premier League, but we know as well that what is needed for him is to get 25 to 30 games to show that he can produce it on a regular basis and cope with it physically.”

I’m happy that Gnabry remains in the Premier League and I wish him all the very best.

Sayonara.

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West Brom 0 Arsenal 1: Gunners Return Back to Winning Ways in the League

West Brom 0 – Arsenal 1 (Welbeck 60′)

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference (via Arsenal.com)

The win against Dortmund was definitely going to serve as a confidence booster and with the heavy December fixture list coming up, it was paramount for the manager to rest a couple of players which saw the young English duo of Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain get some time on the bench. The return of Laurent Koscielny to the first team was pleasing to see and with the commanding center back returning to the mix, Nacho Monreal returned to his favored left back position. There was also a change in attack as Olivier Giroud was flanked by Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez.

The game began with the Gunners controlling possession but like the Manchester United game, there were a series of spurned chances but thankfully, it didn’t come back to haunt us. Or maybe it did if Saido Berahino’s header was a few inches lower (more on that anon). One of the most notable highlights of the first half was seeing Aaron Ramsey’s desperation to score that elusive goal. Since his strike against Everton way back in August, Ramsey has not been on the score sheet and it’s glaring that it’s starting to get to him. His primary task on the day was to provide adequate support for Mathieu Flamini but there were times he left the team exposed, especially that particular moment when he was sloppy in possession which allowed West Brom a swift counter attacking chance but he had his defense to thank for mopping things up at the back.

Sadly, there was yet another injury concern as Monreal looked to be in some discomfort and he was replaced by Gibbs, a player Wenger may have preferred to rest throughout the game given his fitness record. However, his introduction turned out to be a stroke of genius as the young lad put up an all-action efficient performance. It was no surprise when Arsenal’s goal came from that flank with some intelligent football from Santi Cazorla. After receiving a pass, he turned on the afterburners to make mincemeat of Andre Wisdom before showing off his ambidexterity with a left-footed dinked pass to Danny Welbeck that powered his header home. That was Welbeck’s first goal in eight games so it would have done his confidence some good bearing in mind that he has been shifted to the left wing to accommodate Giroud.

It was good seeing the Frenchman start a game for the first time this season and he offered the Gunners a focal point in attack, holding up play and offering a physical presence both in attack and defense. He almost marked his start with a goal when Ben Foster decided to take off a page from the Chronicles of Almunia up but Giroud failed to punish the goalie as his shot missed the goal by some margin. Even when the Frenchman got substituted for the Ox, I’d noticed that Welbeck still stayed on the left wing, with Alexis Sanchez spearheading the attack. The Chilean hotshot had a rather tame afternoon with his only noteworthy contribution in attack being that lovely pass he chipped for Ramsey but the Welsh Jesus chose to use his legs when his head would have been the better option.

Then of course, there were the West Brom chances. Berahino has been on the spotlight after his run of games with goals but recently, that well has kinda dried up. West Brom’s first chance of the game arrived when Berahino cut in from the left but his attempt hit the side netting. There was also a clean strike from Craig Gardner that took a deflection of an Arsenal player (Ramsey I think) but it seemed as if Emiliano Martinez had it covered. West Brom’s best chance arrived when an unmarked Berahino leaped in the air to nod the ball goalwards but the cross bar spared Martinez’ blushes. The young lad has kept two clean sheets in succession and this is down to the fact that the players in front of him have offered him better protection. He also grew in confidence as the game progressed and this was epitomized by the Argentine goalie claiming a cross even with Koscielny odds on to head the ball away to safety. That act made the French defender hit the turf with Martiniez falling like a heap on him, but he and Mertesacker commended the young goalie for commanding his box, which is what you’d expect your goalie to do

The end of the game had a rather nervy feel but getting three points from the Hawthorns was a step in the right direction. With the game against Southampton (a team above Arsenal) coming up, it would afford the Gunners a chance to continue to surge for a top four place, because challenging for the title is more or less out of our hands, despite Chelsea dropping points in the Stadium of Light. The Gunners currently have 20 points and are just two points off fourth placed Manchester United. With Southampton currently six points ahead of the Gunners, reducing the gap to three points would go a long way in building up the confidence of the lads.

Winning breeds confidence and it feels so good coming back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Thanks to that guy, Danny Welbeck.

Sayonara.

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Lessons Learned From Arsenal’s Victory Over West Brom

Giroud’s goal takes his tally to 22 for the season

If Everton had managed to get a superior result against Manchester City on Saturday, this game would have had a greater significance but as the events turned out, Arsenal had already secured a fourth-place finish before the ball was even kicked on a warm Sunday afternoon. Unlike Arsenal, West Brom had other fish to fry as they are currently flirting with relegation so getting a positive result in the match was quite important to them but in the end, all it took was an Olivier Giroud header to settle the score.

In the wake of Arsenal’s win over West Brom, Gooner Daily has decided to reflect on the game and share a couple of lessons that were learned…

Aaron Ramsey’s Absence Left a Void in the Team

This season, Aaron Ramsey has risen to prominence to become a very indispensable member of the club and after a blistering start to the campaign, he suffered a thigh injury that kept him out for the best part of four months. Since his return in the tail end of last month, Ramsey supplied an assist against West Ham, scored and created an assist against Hull and he was directly involved in Giroud’s match clincher against Newcastle.

Sky Sports reported that he was having a thigh problem, so Arsene Wenger opted to give him a rest. Mathieu Flamini deputized in Ramsey’s stead and as expected, he alongside Mikel Arteta hovered around the center of the park, even though there were moments when Flamini drifted forward to no devastating effect.

With Ramsey out injured, his impact was keenly felt.

We Probably Have Witnessed Sagna’s Last Game at the Emirates

Sayonara folks!

After amassing a whooping 279 appearances over a period of seven consistency-laden seasons, Arsenal fans may have witnessed Bacary Sagna at home for the last time, especially with the Daily Mail reporting that he is set to hold talks with Manchester City after the FA Cup final.

Sagna has been a devoted servant to the club for many years and his absence would leave a vacuum in Arsenal’s defense, but we can only hope that he would be replaced with a player of equal or even better quality. It has been an honor watching Sagna maraud the right flank all these years but I guess the saying is really true that all good things come to an end someday.

For those that don’t know, here are 30 reasons to love Bacary Sagna.

Giroud is a Dependable Striker, But he Needs Someone to Share that Burden With

Despite all the vitriol and abuse he has suffered from his fans this season, Giroud’s stats (via WhoScored) show that he has had a great season by his standards.

His historical data with his previous clubs also show that he does better in his second campaign with the clubs he has played for. When he plied his trade with Tours FC in the French Ligue 2, he scored 14 goals in his debut season for the club before scoring 24 goals in the next season. After securing a move to Montpellier, Giroud scored 14 goals for the French outfit before his 25 goals (21 goals in the Ligue 1) helped his team secure a maiden Championnat title against all odds.

He scored 17 goals in his first campaign with the Gunners but he was deemed not good enough, as filling the boots of a lethal forward like Robin van Persie is no mean feat. This season, Giroud’s surpassed his previous goalscoring tally with the club and despite scoring 22 goals, many fans still believe that the club needs to sign a new center forward.

If Arsenal wants to challenge for the Premier League next season, they need to get a striker that would share the goalscoring burden with Giroud.

A Fortress Called the Emirates Stadium

With 19 games played at the Emirates this season, Arsenal lost its first game against Aston Villa in August and went on to record 13 victories and five draws. While the Gunners dispatched “weaker” opposition with consummate ease at home, there would be some regret in the fact that when the Gunners faced off with the juggernauts of the Premier League, they failed to secure victories, earning creditable draws in the process.

Arsenal would seek to build on this next season and hopefully, the Gunners can produce better results against the big clubs next season.

Sayonara.

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