The Beast Called Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez scored a brace in Chile's 3-1 win over Uruaguay

injury? What injury?

So we heard the news that Alexis Sanchez suffered a hamstring injury in the Chile camp and had to sit out the stalemate against Colombia. Without their talisman, the Chileans put up a dogged defensive display and earned themselves one point. That game was a rough as you’d ever see, as I saw players tackle the hell outta each other.

Then they said he was going to be out for six weeks. Trust Arsenal fans and their panic attacks. Some fantasy football managers even sold the Chilean maverick, as many as 96, 651. His value even dropped by 0.1m but I didn’t care. I trusted my Alexis to be the beast he is and shake off the injury. Then I saw how other footballers ‘pulled out’ from their national teams due to injury scares but not Alexis. He was determined to play for the South American champions in their crucial home clash against Uruguay.

That determination payed off as the Chilean brought his A-game for his nation, scoring two well taken goals in the 3-1 win against Uruguay.

That win has put Chile in fourth place with 20 points, behind table toppers, Brazil, that are on 27 points (won six in a row) as well as Uruguay (23 points) and Ecuador (20 points).

Alexis returns to England to catch a few days rest before playing for the Gunners in the all-important clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford. There are many demons that need to be banished on Saturday. First off, Arsenal hasn’t won a game in the league on that ground since 2006. Thanks to Danny Welbeck, the Gunners sealed an FA Cup victory there two season’s ago. The Gunners record on that ground is simply shambolic and Arsene Wenger’s head to head against Jose Mourinho is pathetic to say the least.

However, the Gunners can know that they would have one of their best players available for selection this weekend.

The beast called Alexis Sanchez.

Sayonara.

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Some Interesting North London Derby Stats

Image result for kane goal ospina

The North London derby comes up on Sunday as the Gunners host their fierce rivals, Tottenham, in what would prove to be an important fixture in this season’s title race. The Gunners are three points ahead of their rivals and would be hoping to inflict some damage on them, as Tottenham currently has the proud record of being to only unbeaten team with 10 games gone.

Without further ado, here are some interesting North London Derby stats

Head to Head

Arsenal haven’t defeated Tottenham in the last four North London derbies with the White half of North London earning themselves four draws, and of course, defeat their neighbors when Harry Kane put his name in Tottenham folklore with a brace against Arsenal. However, the Gunners have quite an enviable record against Spurs with one loss in their last 20 games. In this 20 game haul, the Gunners have recorded 12 victories.

Goals!

In the last 43 meetings with Tottenham, Arsenal has scored at least once. For some reason, the Gunners don’t just know how to fire blanks when they face off against Tottenham, which is bad news for those Fantasy Football Managers with Spurs defenders in their teams. It’s also worth noting that Tottenham’s last clean sheet against the Gunners came some 14 games ago. With the form Arsene Wenger’s men have been in this season, I expect that tally to rise to 15.

Clash of the Managers

Since Arsene Wenger took over in 1996, he has played 11 different Tottenham managers but twitchy ol’ Harry Redknapp has the best record, with three wins, three draws and three defeats in nine games against Wenger. Who can forget that crazy 4-4 at the Emirates in Redknapp’s first season. Martin Jol turns out to be the worst of the pile, as he has never recorded a victory in his career against Wenger with four draws and five defeats.

However, the young and vibrant Mauricio Pochettino has never lost to Arsene Wenger in the Premier League with the Argentine amassing one win and three draws in the four league meetings. However, his only loss to Wenger came in a Mathieu Flamini-inspired League Cup win.

For info on the other managers that have faced off against Wenger, you can check it out here.

Sayonara.

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Reviewing Arsenal’s Injury Situation Ahead of the North London Derby

Image result for walcott bellerin

Injuries, they say, are part and parcel of the beautiful game.

Arsenal is a club that has always been plagued with injuries in the past, and this season is no different. Gooner Daily would like to look into the injuries suffered by the club’s players chronologically , the impact of their injuries as well as the alternatives available in those playing positions.

Danny Welbeck (knee) – Injured since April 2016

Just when he had managed to get ahead of Olivier Giroud and scored a couple of goals, That Guy Welbz suffered a nasty knee injury that ended his season abruptly, as well as killing off any hopes of the Englishman participating in Euro 2016. It’s fair to say that the Gunners have moved on without Welbeck but he will be a welcome addition to the club, after he completes his rehabilitation. Knee injuries usually take a long time to recover, so we may need to proceed with caution with Welbz. Let’s also remember that he suffered a long term injury with his knee before he made his comeback in that epic 2-1 win over Leicester. That’s just a fading memory right now. Shame.

Per Mertesacker (knee) – Injured since August 2016

Shortly after his announcement as the club captain with Mikel Arteta hanging his boots, the BFG led his team for the first time as the team’s #1 citizen on the pitch against RC Lens but suffered an awkward knee injury that has kept him out of the side for quite some time. It’s rather unfortunate to see the calamity that had befallen Mertesacker but the club went ahead to since Skhodran Mustafi, and he has been an indispensable player thus far, forging a formidable partnership with Laurent Koscielny.

Mertesacker is expected to return in the second half of the season but it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with Gabriel Paulista and Rob Holding still at the club, eager to get their chance in the first team.

Chuba Akpom (back) – Injured since October 2016

The young striker’s only appearance of the season came in the 4-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in September. I actually expected Akpom to be loaned out in the summer but he stayed behind and he hasn’t had any opportunities in the Premier League, with his only chance coming up in the EFL Cup. While I really like the lad and his style of play, I just feel he’s not cut out for life at the Emirates and we should do a Gnabry on him. But hey, what do I know.

Lucas Perez (ankle) – Injured since October 2016

Lucas Perez has featured sparingly for the first time since his 17.1m move from Deportivo de la Coruna, but he opened his goalscoring account with a brace against Nottingham Forest. It looked like Wenger was prepared to give Lucas an extended run in the EFL Cup but he suffered a rather unfortunate injury when he got tackled on the ankle that will sideline him till December, realistically. For a player that was trying to settle into his new team, that was a big blow.

Lucas is one of those players that add to the depth of the team and he has shown his quality in the handful of outings he has been given by his manager.

Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon) – Injured since October 2016

The diminutive maestro featured in the 6-0 win against Ludogorets at the Emirates and hasn’t returned to the team since he was substituted. The Achilles tendon seems to be a tricky one and even though the club has the adequate depth to replace Cazorla, he has become one of the players that make up the spine of the team. The club has the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka and the fit-again Aaron Ramsey to fill the Cazorla role but I’m sure the club are doing what they can to ensure he’s fit enough to play in the eagerly anticipated North London Derby.

Theo Walcott (hamstring) – Injured since October 2016

For those that don’t know, Walcott, has grown in stature this season to become a very important player to the team and with eight goals to his name, he’s the joint-top scorer at the club with Alexis Sanchez. Since Wenger changed to this new-look formation, Walcott has been one of the beneficiaries as his timely runs into space has been exploited by his teammates, leading to a hatful of goalscoring opportunities.

He has also matured as a footballer, and his defensive output has been staggering this seaosn, in stark contrast to the ‘Walcott’ we used to know. According to WhoScored, Walcott has made 1.7 tackles per game, 0.8 interceptions per game, 0.9 clearances per game and 0.5 blocks. That’s usually zero all through. He is vital to this new formation and I hope he passes the fitness test for Sunday’s showdown.

Nacho Monreal (muscle) – Injured since October 2016

When I think about how Jonathan Cafu turned Kieran Gibbs inside out on Tuesday night, then I’d appreciate how underrated Monreal is. An efficient and ever-consistent performer, Monreal’s good works go unnoticed until we are forced to use Gibbs in certain games. It’s not like Gibbs is cow dung, but sadly, he’s no where near Monreal’s level when it comes to consistency, he’s the guy that just followed up an assist on Saturday with a horror show on Tuesday.

Monreal will have a fitness test ahead of the NLD and I’m here hoping he will be fit enough to make it.

Hector Bellerin (knock) – Injured since November 2016

Maybe there was a plan to rest him against Ludogorets but news emanating from the Gunners camp was that the young Spaniard picked up a knock in training and had to be left out of the team that did the business in Sofia. With the Ludogorets game done and dusted, the onus is on Bellerin to see whether he will be fit enough to start against Tottenham.

In his absence, there is a Matt Debuchy that is clearly out of favor and a Carl Jenkinson that is on his road to recovery after 10 months out of the beautiful game.

Kieran Gibbs (shoulder) – Injured since November 2016

I don’t know if it’s the after effects of that Jonathan Cafu’s dribble that has affected Gibbs’ shoulder but losing him alongside Monreal would be calamitous to the Gunners. He had tried to stay fit on the bench for quite some time and he has captained the team twice in the EFL Cup but with Wenger stating in his recent press conference that Gibbs has suffered a shoulder injury, it’s really awkward. Let’s hope he or Monreal recovers in time for the NLD.

Sayonara

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