Category Archives: Arsenal

Portsmouth Preview: Team News, Injuries and Lineups

Image result for portsmouth 1 arsenal 4 2009

Our last victory against Portsmouth

Portsmouth host Arsenal at Fratton Park with the intentions of progressing to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. Arsenal’s last outing against Olympiakos in the Europa League was a bitter pill to swallow with head coach, Mikel Arteta, admitting that lack of Champions League football will be damaging for the club this summer,

“I think the damage caused by the club not being in the Champions League for the third season is really big. 

“Every player in the world wants to play Champions League and, if you talk about having this option on the table, players are in a much more open way to join this club or to renew their contract or to convince anybody because we want to be in that competition. Financially the impact is enormous because the structure of this club is built to be in the Champions League and you can sustain that for one year or two, but then after you have to start making decisions.”

Those decisions will entail selling valuable assets to fund a rebuild, and with Aubameyang highly sought after – with Barcelona in particular keen to bring him to the Camp Nou this summer – there may be some pain in order to put things back together.

“We don’t have margin for error with those decisions, so they have to be very thorough and clear processes of where we have to improve and how we are going to do that, and then go forward with no excuses.”

There’s no time to cry over spilled milk, as there’s the FA Cup tonight, which offers the Gunners a shot of silverware under the new boss, as well as the prospect of yet another Europa League season as the winner of the competition gets an automatic slot in the second tier European tournament.

The last time both sides met in December 2009, Portsmouth was still in the Premier League but things went downhill for the club, as they suffered relegated to League One and almost got into administration twice. Portsmouth has not beaten Arsenal in any competition since winning a league match 5-4 in March 1958, drawing eight and losing 13 since then.

Arsenal Team News

I would expect Mikel Arteta to make some wholesale changes to the squad with half an eye on the West Ham game this coming weekend. Emiliano Martinez is odds on to continue in goal as the club’s cup keeper, while there should be a debut performance for new signing, Pablo Mari, that featured for the Under-23s alongside Rob Holding that is in dire need of games following his return from an ACL injury. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is another player that has found games hard to come by and with Bukayo Saka’s increased importance in the first team, he might get a runout at the back line.

Further up the pitch, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson , Matteo Guendouzi and Gabriel Martinelli will be expected to feature in tonight’s game in their bid to gain match fitness.

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

 

Portsmouth Team News

Portsmouth are in good form coming into the game, with four wins from the last five. The outfit are currently third in the SkyBet League One table and are odds to make a return to the Championship at the end of the season. Top striker, Ronan Curtis, is instrumental in that resurgence, scoring 11 goals in the league for Portsmouth with two more goals in other competitions. He currently has a knock and the club is sweating to get him fit for this all-important contest against Arsenal.

Portsmouth Predicted Lineup

Portsmouth 4-2-3-1 football formation

 

Injury Updates

Arsenal: Kieran Tierney (shoulder), Calum Chambers (knee), Sead Kolasinac (shoulder), Cedric Soares (knee). More updates on Arsenal.com

Portsmouth: Tom Naylor (knock), Ronan Curtis (knock)

Team Form Guide

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: D W W W L
  • Last Result: Arsenal 1-2 Olympiakos
  • Leading Goalscorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (20)

Portsmouth Form

  • Last Five Games: W W L W W
  • Last Result: Portsmouth 3-0 Rochdale
  • Leading Goalscorer: Ronan Curtis (13)

Gooner Daily predicts a 4 – 0 Arsenal win.

Kick Off – 8.45pm (GMT +1) at Fratton Park.

Sayonara.

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Watford 3-0 Liverpool: There’s Only One Invincible

Image result for sarr liverpool goal

26 wins, 12 draws, immortality. This record stood proud for the best part of 16 years (yes, it’s that long since we won the league) and it was heavily threatened by Jurgen Klopp and his rampant Liverpool side.

To be fair, it seemed really likely for the Merseyside outfit to break the unbeaten record with the ruthless way they went about playing their football. There were games where Liverpool’s sheer quality was more than enough to see them gain maximum points while there were other games when they had a bit of lady luck on their side with enough in the tank to see them through. 

Coming into the game at Vicarage Road, the league leaders were in their usual bullish confident mode, thinking that the quality of their prolific striking trio, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were going to do the damage. In the first half, there were half chances for both sides, but Watford seemed likelier to score and that duly happened when Ismaila Sarr reacted quicker than Andrew Robertson to nick it past Alisson Becker in goal. Alisson has had an exemplary clean sheet record this season, so you could understand the sheer elation the Watford fans felt when Sarr opened the scoring. The Senegalese starlet doubled his money when he latched onto Troy Deeney’s through bal in behind the defense and chipped it past Alisson to send Vicarage Road into raptures. Two goals became three when Sarr turned from scorer to provider with the forward receiving a gift of a pass from the usually reliable Trent Alexander-Arnold and cushioning it for Deeney that fired the ball into an unguarded net.

This sensational defeat to Watford saw Liverpool go unbeaten for 44 games in the Premier League stretching back to January 2019 when they lost that crucial title decider to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Fans were hopeful, lemme rephrase, Arsenal fans remained hopeful that Liverpool was going to lose a match this season, and the game against Manchester City was earmarked as that game, which coincidentally was the 49th game. Survive that fixture and Arsenal’s eternal 49-game unbeaten record was going up in flames.

So here we stand, the morning after, still mourning the Europa League heartbreak on Thursday night, but are filled with joy with the prospect of Liverpool finishing the campaign with their unbeaten record dead and gone. I don’t know or care how they react to this defeat, as my affiliations will always be with Arsenal football club.

Here’s a shout to Ismaila Sarr and Troy “Cojones” Deeney, for ensuring that Liverpool’s Premier League trophy won’t be made of gold. 

That’s simply because, there will only be one invincible.

Sayonara

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Just Another Day After a Europa League Exit

Image result for arsenal lose to olympiakos

The Europa League draws took place earlier today and the Round of 16 fixtures were released as listed below

  • Istanbul Basaksehir vs FC Copenhagen
  • Olympiakos vs Wolves
  • Rangers vs Bayer Leverkusen
  • Wolfsburg vs Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Inter Milan vs Getafe
  • Sevilla vs Roma
  • Frankfurt/Red Bull Salzburg vs Basel
  • LASK vs Manchester United

If the Gunners had done what we expected from them in Thursday’s Europa League clash with Olympiakos, it would be an all English affair, with the winner of that fixture facing off against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Arsenal’s run to the Europa League final in the previous campaign saw them ease past BATE Borisov, Rennes, Napoli and Valencia before that embarrassing defeat to Chelsea in the finals in Baku. They bowed out in the semifinals two seasons ago, after a run that saw them defeat Ostersund, AC Milan and CSKA Moscow before losing to eventual winners, Atletico Madrid, and also denying Arsene Wenger his last hurrah in the club.

Looking at the projections, one expected the trend to be semifinals, finals and you know, but football just has a way of serving you that L. The defeat to Olympiakos in the Europa League still leaves a sour taste in my mouth and I can only imagine how our club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, feels at the moment,

“I don’t even know. “It can happen but I do not know how I missed this chance.

I was tired, I had some cramps but it is not an excuse.”

The anguish wasn’t felt only by our captain. His teammates and the fans felt a kick in the gut as that turned out to be the last meaningful attack of the game. Yes, we expected to see out the Greek champions because we thought we were a superior side but in the end, teams get judged on their performances on the pitch and Arsenal wasn’t anywhere near good enough against Olympiakos in the Europa League Round of 32 clash, and have been eliminated from the competition.

Where do we go from here? We can start by providing a much improved performance against League One outfit, Portsmouth, at the famous Fratton Park stadium. I would expect Emiliano Martinez to get a run out in goal for the only competition he’d feature this season. I can imagine how it felt for Martinez, featuring in all the Europa League games only to lose his place to the more senior keeper in the knockout phases.

In defense, the likes of Rob Holding and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are due for a game and one wonders if we would catch a glimpse of the new signing from Flamengo, Pablo Mari. He played for the Under-23s in their loss to Chelsea last week and there were loads of good reports, while Hector Bellerin and Dani Ceballos watched from the sidelines. My main concern is the fitness of Skhodran Mustafi that turned out to be a vital cog in Mikel Arteta’s oiled up machine,

“I don’t know [how bad it is]. He said to me ‘I cannot play anymore’. I’m not sure if it was a cramp or a muscle injury. I am sure there will be a few of those [types of injuries] because players were exhausted, they played four times in 11 days and it was physically a very demanding game.”

Following this Europa League exit, the Portsmouth game is of heightened importance, as it offered the Gunners a chance of winning silverware this season, in a competition like the FA Cup, where Arsenal are the record holders with 13 points. We will get more information on the Portsmouth game in the coming days. Even though we don’t like the idea of it but it’s gonna take place on a Monday yet again.

Sayonara

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