Author Archives: enigma106

Reading Preview: Time for the Fringe Players to Step Up

Image result for chamakh goal reading

Arsenal has been on an amazing run lately which culminated in 9 consecutive wins up until Saturday, when Middlesbrough pooped Arsene Wenger’s birthday party. In fairness to Boro, it wasn’t a stroll in the park for the Gunners as Petr Cech earned his pay with some excellent saves to keep the game at bay. On the other end of the pitch, Victor Valdes had a stormer and the scoreline was a reflection of the proceedings.

With the Premier League shoved to the corner for some EFL Cup action, Arsene Wenger is set to rest his first team starters, allowing the second string side to take center stage. The official site showed pictures of the players training and it was nice seeing Carl Jenkinson in action. For a player that has missed so much action after suffering that nasty knee injury while on loan at West Ham, it would be a proud moment for Corporal Jenks wearing the sacred Red and White again.

Arsenal Team News

There would be wholesale changes to the squad with Emiliano Martinez in goal for Petr Cech. David Ospina is the club’s Champions League goalkeeper and possibly the FA Cup goalie, so I don’t expect him to be the custodian in goal against Reading today. In defense, I expect to see the British triumvirate of Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and the exciting Rob Holding playing alongside the fit-again Gabriel Paulista. These four players are badly in need of games and would be hoping the midfielders and attackers do their business to ensure they qualify for the next round.

In midfield, I believe we would see Mohamed Elneny in action but with Mesut Ozil, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla set to be rested, we could see Jeff Reine-Adelaide and possibly Alex Iwobi in the creative midfield role. I would also expect the ‘forgotten’ Olivier Giroud to be flanked by Lucas Perez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox has been pushing hard for a starting berth and this would be offer another opportunity for the young Englishman to strut his stuff.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck (knee), Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Granit Xhaka (suspension)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Reading Team News

Arsenal’s opponents will not be pushovers and the recent draw with Boro would be a stark reminder of the team not to underrate any side. Jaap Stam’s side aren’t doing badly in the Skybet Championship, fresh off a 1-0 away win over Rotherham that has seen them languish in eighth place. Reading has featured in three EFL Cup rounds before the draws cast them against the Gunners. They had already dispatched Plymouth Argyle, Milton Keynes Dons and Brighton. The Gunners will have to be mindful of John Swift that is currently leading the scoring charts for the Royals with four goals.

Reading Injury / Suspension

Reading has a clean bill of health

Reading Predicted Lineup

Reading 4-3-3 football formation

Team Form


  • Last Five Games: W W W W D
  • Last Result: Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough
  • Leading Goalscorer: Theo Walcott (8)


  • Last Five Games: L D D L W
  • Last Result: Rotherham United 0-1 Reading
  • Leading Goalscorer: John Swift (4)

Gooner Daily predicts a 4 – 1 win.


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Ozil on Fire as Arsenal Destroy Ludogorets

Image result for ozil ludogorets

Arsenal 6-0 Ludogorets

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

Since that disappointing opening day defeat to Liverpool in August, Arsenal had gone 10 games unbeaten with eight wins on the trot. The new-look formation has come to stay but one of the major improvements has been the introduction of Shkodran Mustafi to the side, and he has forged such a great understanding with the team’s leader on the pitch, Laurent Koscielny. This new look side has played so many games together but the manager hinted that he would rotate the side a bit without changing the core of the team. This paved the way for Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The visitors had earned a point on their last European travel to Switzerland, so they were brewing with some sort of confidence, and their passing play was quite impressive but Arsenal hit them on the break and the opening goal was a thing of sheer beauty. Sanchez sprang through on goal, left a defender for dead, noticed the goalie was off his line and he executed a delicious chip Carlos Vela would have been proud of. The away side responded to the setback with some good attacking play but the Gunners had David Ospina to thank for a flurry of good saves. Just before the break, Arsenal doubled their money from the man on fire, Theo Walcott. After receiving a pass from Mesut Ozil on the edge of the box, the Englishman swerved in a curler that beat the goalie before smashing the back of the net. His confidence is sky high at the moment and he’s getting everything he deserves from his outstanding play this season.

The Gunners went into the break in high spirits and didn’t take their foot off the pedal. At the restart, they made it three when the Ox latched onto a loose ball to sidefoot it beyond the hapless goalie. Then we tuned into the Mesut Ozil show. The first came from a brilliantly executed counter attack that saw the German break the offside trap and he used his right foot to place the ball past the goalie. Wenger summoned new boy, Lucas Perez, to replace Walcott, and he fed the German with two key passes that led to his first hat-trick in Arsenal colors. For the first assist, Lucas raced onto a loose ball and teed up Ozil with a one-time drilled effort, allowing the German to show off his technique by blasting the ball which skidded off the surface before beating the goalie. The final goal of the game was from more great work from Lucas and Ozil was there again to fire the ball home.

The German tried to return the favor to Lucas but they weren’t in the same wavelength. Besides the goals, there were some outstanding performers on the night. Francis Coquelin had a stormer, with 93% pass accuracy, 54 passes, eight tackles won, six interceptions and one block. The ‘Kostafi’ combination was all shades of awesome, and David Ospina showed why Wenger favors him over Petr Cech in this competition. In three Champions League games, Ospina has kept two clean sheets and he had to earn those shut outs because his goal was well under threat on some certain occasions.

At this stage last season, Arsenal had played 12 games and scored a meager 15 goals. This term, Arsene Wenger’s men have 32 goals in the same amount of games. The team is firing on all cylinders and this sentiment was shared by Mustafi. Credit has to go to Arsene Wenger for finding a formula that has worked brilliantly for him. Rotating the squad was a good move to keep the players fresh and I would expect an overhaul for the Reading game after the team hosts Middlesbrough over the weekend.

With PSG beating Basel, Arsenal will need to keep piling up the victories to ensure they finish their group phase campaign in top place. Till then, let’s bask in the euphoria of such another resounding and satisfying victory.


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In the End, it’s the Three Points that Matter

Team celebrate v Burnley

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

Yesterday’s game was quite frustrating. We have seen the Gunners have sweep teams apart in recent weeks and we might have become spoiled but Burnley gave Arsene Wenger’s men a run for their money.

That was the Gunners third game in eight days and I expect Wenger to at least shuffle things to a bit but it was a case of if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I might associate things to fatigue but I will also credit Burnley for a resilient defensive performance.

Against the run of play, the home side had the best chances of the game with Sam Vokes heading just wide and Keane clipping the cross bar but there was a moment when Alexis Sanchez had a goalscoring opportunity in the six yard box but he glanced his effort wide.

Late on, the Gunners surged for a late hurrah and had Theo Walcott to thank for a header across the goalmouth that was converted by Laurent Koscielny. It was one of the scrappiest goals you’d ever see but the fans didn’t care. With Arsenal’s fellow title rivals securing wins, it was important to get maximum points in a ground like Turf Moor.

The international break is around the corner, and I’m hoping there would be no injuries.


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