Category Archives: Arsenal

Watford Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Image result for ozil goal watford

Under the new guidance of Italian gaffer, Walter Mazzarri, Watford are yet to hit the ground running, earning themselves a opening day draw with Southampton before narrowing losing at home to Chelsea. The Italian manaher has quickly set up a 3-5-2 tactical formation that is so renowned in his native country, reminiscent of his formation in his Napoli days.

Watford has a shambolic record against Arsenal in the league, losing all six games when both sides met. However, they ran out as 2-1 winners when they visited the Emirates in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup last season. Their last win over Arsenal came as far back as 1988, when Rick Holden scored a lone goal for the Hornets.

Arsenal hasn’t started the campaign as well as they would have hoped with just one point from their first two games. Arsene Wenger’s worst start as Arsenal manager came in the 2011/12 season where his side amassed a meager two points from a possible nine before hitting the ground running and finishing the campaign in third place.

Watford Team News

The team would be spurred by the new signings, Daryl Janmaat, Younes Kaboul and Roberto Pereyra but you would expect to see more of them after the international break. Mazzarri fielded a make-shift squad that suffered a shock home defeat to lowly Gillingham, so you would expect the big guns to come to the party when Arsenal comes around.

Watford Injuries / Suspensions

Brice Dja Djedje (foot)

Watford Predicted Lineup

Watford 3-5-2 football formation

Arsenal Team News

According to the boss, Olivier Giroud is still a ‘little fraction physically behind’, which means that there is a likelihood for Alexis Sanchez to retain his place as a center forward. The manager remains optimistic about the fitness of Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey with the duo scheduled to return after the international break. There is some ‘good news’ on Gabriel Paulista’s ankle injury, as the boss has confirmed he would be back in six weeks.

Arsenal Injuries / Suspensions

Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson, Danny Welbeck (knee), Alex Iwobi (thigh), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Serge Gnabry (lack of match fitness)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Team Form

Watford

  • Last Five Games: W L L D L
  • Last Result: Watford 1-2 Chelsea
  • Leading Goalscorer: Etienne Capoue (2)

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W W W L D
  • Last Result: Leicester 0-0 Arsenal
  • Leading Goalscorer: Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers (1)

 

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 0 win for Arsenal.

Sayonara.

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Roundup of UEFA Champions League Draws and Two Players Set for Medicals?

Champions League group

The UEFA Champions League is the next best thing in football after the FIFA World Cup and down the years, the biggest of clubs have taken turns in winning European club football’s elite competition. Unfortunately, Arsenal hasn’t joined the prestigious bunch that have won the Big Ear trophy with the club’s only shot at glory arriving in 2006 but Ronaldinho’s FC Barcelona did what we have become used to in recent times – whoop the Gunners.

The draws were made yesterday and there weren’t much surprises, as we saw a repeat of some fixtures yet again. Here’s a quick roundup of the draws.

Group A

The Gunners have been handed a relatively favorable group, with their fiercest competition in the group coming from perennial French Ligue 1 champions, Paris St. Germain. The French side have won the French division for two seasons in a row and the French Cup three years on the spin. There would also be a homecoming for Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka when the Gunners take on FC Basel. Arsenal would keep half an eye on Bulgarian outfit, Ludogorets, that shocked Liverpool a couple of seasons ago.

Group B

SL Benfica has been one of the most consistent teams in qualifying for the Champions League but they haven’t had much success going to the latter stages of the competition. They’d come up against a SC Napoli side that lost their talismanic striker, Gonzalo Higuain, to Juventus this summer. Dynamo Kyiv and Besiktas complete the group.

Group C

FC Barcelona would want to get their hands on the trophy against after suffering the heartbreak of exiting the competition way earlier than expected. They would have two explosive encounters against one of their favorite sons, Pep Guardiola, as he comes to the Nou Camp with his new team, Manchester City. Brendan Rodgers and his Celtic side will have their work cut out for them if they want to advance from the group and there’s also Borussia Monchengladbach to contend with, as it’s expected that they must have invested with the huge sum they received from Arsenal for Xhaka.

Group D

FC Bayern under the leadership of one of the competitions recent winners, Carlo Ancelotti, would have some measure of revenge in their eyes when they take on last season’s finalists, Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone has done an amazing job with those lads, getting into two finals in three seasons, only to suffer heartbreak to the same club on both occasions. PSV Eindhoven is another team that has struggled in Europe in recent seasons, and they would probably challenge for a Europa League spot with Russian side, Rostov.

Group E

After a couple of campaigns in Europe’s second tier, Tottenham’s strong performances last season, earned them a spot in the Champions League. The Spurs have a rather comfortable group, coming up against Monaco, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow.

Group F

The defending champions, Real Madrid, will have every other team focused on taking the title away from them, and they can look no further than Borussia Dortmund, that hurt them pretty bad in 2012. Sporting CP and Legia Warsaw complete that group.

Group G

After their fairy tale campaign last season, Leicester City, will get a taste of Champions League football as they played host to Club Brugge, FC Porto and FC Copenhagen. I’d say they got a rather soft landing in the competition but we would need to see how consistent they would be.

Group H

Juventus will be favorites to be on cruise control in Group H and they would receive opposition from Lyon, Dinamo Zagreb and Sevilla. I trust Sevilla to crash out of the group stages, go into the Europa League and win it again.

 

Elsewhere, there have been a lot of buzzing at the Emirates with BBC Sport reporting that the Gunners have reached an agreement with Deportivo de la Coruna for the services of forward, Lucas Perez, after activating his release clause. According to the Guardian, all rumors about the club’s interest in Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi turned out to be through as the defender is set to complete a move to North London.

It is believed that both players would have their medicals in London Colney today but we would be watching the situation closely as it develops.

More on them in the coming days.

Sayonara

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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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