Author Archives: enigma106

Granit Xhaka: The Key to Arsenal’s Title Chances?

Image result for xhaka leicester

Arsenal were much improved last season as the Gunners secured a second-place finish behind shock champions Leicester City – but many fans were left disappointed as they fell short in their pursuit of the Premier League title.

This season, Arsene Wenger’s men will look to go one better as they hunt their first league crown since 2004; and summer signing, Granit Xhaka, could be the man to lead the club back to the summit of English football.

If truth be told, the Switzerland International’s arrival has taken Arsenal’s midfield up a notch. On paper, Wenger now has the best middle formation in the top flight at his disposal and Xhaka’s skillset will prove crucial throughout the campaign.

The Switzerland star, who impressed for his nation at Euro 2016 this summer, has settled quickly into life at the Emirates Stadium and he looks ready to play a key role for Arsenal this season. After all, Gunners fans are expecting big things after Wenger paid around £35 million for the former Borussia Monchengladbach man.

The club are currently in the middle of a mini-injury crisis right now – and Xhaka’s versatility and ability to adapt to different formations could prove useful as Arsenal look for a quick start to the season.

At the time of writing, Wenger’s men are 6/1 to lift the title in bet365’s Premier League betting markets and the Gunners will need Xhaka to be at his very best to stand any chance of achieving their ultimate goal. On his day, the Swiss star can control a football match; and Arsenal’s flair players will benefit from his calming presence in front of the back four. As David Seaman said, Arsenal are lacking a Patrick Vieira – Xhaka could be the next best thing…

Xhaka won’t be a serious threat going forward but he could get involved in the opposition half if Wenger opts to play Francis Coquelin alongside him. In Xhaka and Coquelin, Arsenal have two competent central midfield players and the Gunners will reap rewards from the added reassurance throughout the core of the team.

Arsenal will need plenty of luck on the injury front to stand a genuine chance of lifting the title but Xhaka’s presence and ability to change games could prove decisive at key moments during the campaign. Going forward, he can provide key passes but defensively, he is also sound and he is one of the very best at breaking up attacks.

The Switzerland man has exceptional vision and he may form a lethal partnership with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott in attacking areas. Xhaka isn’t the finished article just yet but he is certainly a talented prospect and Gunners fans will be excited to see him in action…

Sayonara

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Football Draws and Chambers Out on Loan?

Arsenal defender Calum Chambers started in club's 4-3 season-opening defeat by Liverpool

The transfer window will be closed in less than a week and the fans are still wondering whether the club is signing any new players. For some reason, the same guys seem to be linked with moves to the club and in Joel Campbell, the Gunners have shown that he was probably surplus to requirements, with the winger going on loan to Sporting CP.

With the vast amount of players that could feature in Campbell’s position, you can say that he may / may not be missed but with Arsenal’s ever-increasing injury list, you can never tell. Campbell was a guy that got his chance when so many first team players were out injured and many fans would feel he utilized the opportunities afforded to him.

It seems like there would be another Gunner that would be joining the long loan list but his case is quite puzzling because the team is heavily depleted in that playing position. According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal is exploring the possibility of shipping out Calum Chambers on loan. The young ex-Southampton defender has managed to make 59 appearances in three seasons with three seasons with the club and he hasn’t really reached the heights expected of him.

He struggled a bit in preseason and the writing was on the wall for Arsene Wenger to go into the transfer market to sign a new center back following the injuries to club captain, Per Mertesacker, and Gabriel Paulista, but he kept the faith with an inexperienced back line in the form of Chambers and Holding. Sadly, their naivety at the back, coupled with lack of protection from the holding midfielders and all round shitty performance cost Arsenal three good points at home, to add to the consistent torrid opening start of the new campaign.

Even though I usually don’t take such transfer news with a pinch of salt, it would make no sense whatsoever for the club to allow a center back go with no replacement in view. I have seen all that Shkodran Mustafi shit but he’s not a Gunner, so my focus will always be on the players available to us, not some super mutant player from Krypton. We will have to monitor the situation well and hope the club makes the right decision on his future.

Elsewhere, the second round of EFL Cup fixtures were concluded and the draws for the third round are out. The Gunners got a favorable tie against Nottingham Forest, and it would be interesting coming up against Henri Lansbury, one of Highbury’s favorite sons. As expected, there were some Premier League clashes with the most exciting being the Leicester vs Chelsea game.

The pots for the Champions League are out as well and as expected, the Gunners would be paired against of the European juggernauts this campaign.

Pot 1: Real Madrid (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Leicester City (England), Bayern Munich (Germany), Juventus (Italy), Benfica (Portugal), Paris Saint-Germain (France), CSKA Moscow (Russia).

Pot 2: Atletico Madrid (Spain), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Arsenal (England), Sevilla (Spain), Porto (Portugal), Napoli (Italy), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

Pot 3: Basel (Sui), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), Lyon (France), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Club Brugge (Belgium), Borussia Monchengladbach (Ger)

Pot 4: Dinamo Zagreb (Cro), Monaco (France), Besiktas (Turkey), Legia Warsaw (Poland), Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria), FC Copenhagen (Den), Rostov (Rus)

Obviuosly, I would prefer CSKA Moscow or Benfica and to some certain degree, Paris St. Germain, but I’m not entirely confident of my club’s abilities when they pair up against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. The first two names on the list have dealt terrible blows to Arsenal in recent times, so I will be hoping for a good draw, so I’d keep my fingers crossed.

Sayonara

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Leicester 0-0 Arsenal: A Fair Result in the Grand Scale of Things

Rob Holding v Leicester City

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

There wasn’t total meltdown following the loss to Liverpool but the fan base of the club were in anguish following a terrible display at home ot Jurgen Klopp’s side. A game against the defending champions wasn’t on to look forward to but they also suffered a shock loss in the League opener against Hull City. The injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi paved the way for Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to get into the side. There was also a shake up in defense as the new vice-captain, Laurent Koscielny, led his troops to battle, having cut short his holiday rest. Koscielny’s return to the side saw Calum Chambers resume his bench warming duties.

The game itself was fiercely contested encounter but kudos should go to Mark Clattenburg for not allowing himself to be fooled by the home side’s antics in the box. On another day, Mike Dean an official would have pointed to the spot for Koscielny’s invisible challenge on Danny Drinkwater or Hector Bellerin’s invisible touch on Ahmed Musa. You know, these things happen.

Still some players have to be mentioned for their outstanding performance on the night. Rob Holding is one of them, putting up a great shift after the torrid time he got on his debut. For a player so young, that lad is very solid, and with his performances from preseason up until this moment, Chambers deserves to spend some time on the bench. With Koscielny next to him, Holding looked very coordinated and tidy in possession. Another positive in my opinion, was the return to action of mercurial midfield maestro, Mesut Ozil and our alpha-dog in attack, Olivier Giroud. Alexis Sanchez is a great chap but he’s no center forward and these games have proved it.

Theo Walcott flattered to deceive yesterday, as he put up one of the frustrating shifts we’ve become accustomed to seeing, while I feel the Ox should have done better with his end product. The inconsistency we continue to face with our English lads. It was a game that could have gone either way, so in my honest opinion, a draw was a very fair result in the grand scale of things. Confidence isn’t as high as we would want, but at least the lads are doing what’s required of them – at least, some of them.

The clean sheet was vital at the home of the defending champions, and the Gunners can do their bit to get their first win of the campaign against Watford next weekend before the international break. Wenger waxed lyrical about Holding’s performance in his presser,

“I believe he had an outstanding performance for a young boy who has never played in the Premier League and played against top strikers today. So I can only reiterate that I am happy to speak about him because it’s good for English football that a young boy gets a chance in a big club in England and shows that he will be a quality player.”

He took a rather offensive demeanor when he was asked about transfers but it’s something we have come to terms with as fans. The club will never release its transfer secrets in public so we have to take a patient approach, even though we are aware that the transfer window closes in 10 days.

Do have a happy Sunday.

Sayonara.

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