Category Archives: Match Preview

Bayern Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

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Arsenal’s last trip to Allianz Arena was horrible

Did you guys see what happened last night?

So we were paired in the same group with Paris St. Germain and they literally ran us ragged in the course of both legs (we still drew both games heh!) but they gave Barcelona a footballing lesson at the Parc des Princes and I don’t see the Catalans coming back from that resounding defeat. Hell, if PSG decides to forfeit the game, they would still win on aggregate. Elsewhere, a profligate Borussia Dortmund lost by a lone goal to Benfica but it’s a deficit that can be overturned in Germany, provided they find their scoring touch again. The German side was uncharacteristically wasteful, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being the waster-in-chief.

The Gunners reward for winning their group is a clash with Bayern Munich, a team they have become all too familiar playing with. The Germans have edged past Arsene Wenger in recent meetings, knocking the Gunners out on two Round of 16 occasions, as well as the 5-1 demolition in the group stages last season. In Arsenal’s five trips to Germany, they have managed one win, one draw and three defeats.

Since Carlo Ancelotti took over from Pep Guardiola, the Bavarians haven’t been commanding in Europe, losing to Atletico Madrid and even minnows, FC Rostov, which earned them a second place finish. They struggled to beat Inglostadt last week but that victory sent them seven points clear of this season’s Bundesliga surprise package, RB Leipzig. Ancelotti will be hoping for his big guns in attack to turn up but in Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller, they have a considerable threat even though both forwards have found it hard to get on the scoring act in recent weeks.

On the injury front, Bayern will be without Jerome Boateng that is still nursing a shoulder problem but they will be boosted with the fact that Franck Ribery has been passed fit to feature for the first team.

Predicted Lineup: Neuer; Alaba, Hummels, Javi Martinez, Lahm (c); Kimmich, Thiago, Vidal; Robben, Lewandowski, Mueller.

Wenger has already confirmed that David Ospina would remain in goal despite the quality of the opposition, stating that the team is where it is because of Ospina. His performance against PSG away was out of the top drawer and he has gone on to put some impressive showings in this season’s Champions League. Granit Xhaka come be in line for a return against German opposition and he will be pretty familiar playing at the Allianz Arena from his Borussia Monchengladbach. It seems like he would start but the manager will be hoping for a better performance from Mesut Ozil. The German has been in shocking in recent weeks and I am hoping he will pick up some form.

Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are still out injured, while Per Mertesacker and Matt Debuchy aren’t match fit enough for selection. Nacho Monreal returns to the team after getting a breather against Hull. It is believed that Lucas Perez has picked up a knock as news surfaced that he didn’t train with the squad.

Predicted Lineup: Ospina; Bellerin, Koscielny (c), Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Coquelin, Ozil; Iwobi, Sanchez, Walcott

It’s going to be an interesting game and I only hope the Gunners get a positive result.

We have had our fair share of negativity this season.

Sayonara.

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Bold Predictions for the Champions League Round of 16 Fixtures

Champions League trophy, Coupe des clubs Champions Europeeens during the UEFA Champions League final match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid on May 28, 2016 at the Giuseppe Meazza San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Yes, it’s been a while since I published a post on this blog and to be honest, I really missed writing about Arsenal and football in general. A whole lot has happened since my last article on the blog and of course, Arsenal just had to Arsenal their way out the Premier League title race, leaving the FA Cup and the Champions League as the only realistic targets in what could prove to be Arsene Wenger’s final hoorah with the club? That’s just me echoing what Ian Wright said. Somehow, everybody seems to know a lot about the manager and his future these days.

Enough about that, let’s move to the article of the day! Champions League football is back again as we neutrals brace ourselves up for some wonderful football from Europe’s 16 best clubs. The group stages saw some shocks and surprises, especially with some ‘big’ clubs finishing in second place but the draws were made and we know what to expect in the next two days.

Without further ado, here are Gooner Daily’s bold predictions for the Champions League Round of 16 fixtures.

Tuesday’s Fixtures

Paris St. Germain vs Barcelona (Parc des Princes)

PSG’s reward for failing to win their group was a clash against Barcelona and like Arsenal, I’m sure they’d get pissed off with the prospects of playing such a team with Barcelona’s caliber. PSG is one of the strongest teams in Europe and their striker has one of the most enviable goal scoring records in the last. Both teams come into the game with good form as well as good football on display, so I i will not be surprised if this match ends in a draw

Prediction: PSG 2-2 Barcelona

SL Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund (Estadio da Luz)

Benfica is running away with the Portuguese Super Liga with just two losses in 21 league but they are facing a fearless Dortmund side that have been worth their weight in gold in the Champions League this season. Dortmund hasn’t been in good form in the Bundesliga though, with just two wins in their last seven, dropping them to fourth place on the log and they would still be gnashing their teeth following a rather surprising loss to Darmstadt 98 last weekend.

Kostantinou Mitroglou and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be looking to lead the lines fo rtheir respective clubs, but I feel both teams have enough in the tank to edge out each other to a stalemate.

Prediction: Benfica 2-2 Dortmund

Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid (Bay Arena)

Bayer Leverkusen’s form has been indifferent this season and they find themselves languishing in ninth place, which is a far cry form a team that are perennial qualifiers to the Champions League. Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, will be hopeful to better their current record in the competition, which stands at two final appearances in the last three seasons.

Antoine Griezmann has been the subject to speculation of a big money move to England next summer but that news will continue to generate momentum as the campaign progresses but Diego Simeone’s first task is to ensure his lads qualify from the two-legged affair with some German machines.

Prediction: Leverkusen 0-1 Atletico

Manchester City vs AS Monaco (Etihad Stadium)

Manchester City has gone through some rough patches this season with Pep Guardiola feeling the heat of becoming a Premier League manager. With five league defeats this season, including the 4-0 mauling in the hands of Everton, their title challenge is fading but in Europe, they have a different challenge in the form of AS Monaco. The club from the Principality is currently leading Ligue 1 and in their captain, Radamel Falcao, they have a player reborn with 22 goals this season (16 in Ligue 1). Man City can take some solace in the fact that Falcao struggled in England but they will also have to contend with the threat of the wonderkid, Kylian Mbappe, fresh from a hat-trick against Metz last week.

The goals have been distributed evenly for City but with Sergio Aguero regaining his place following an unfortunate injury for new hotshot, Gabriel Jesus, the Argentine forward would want to prove himself to his boss by banging a couple past the French outfit.

Prediction: Man City 2-1 Monaco

Wednesday’s Fixtures

Real Madrid vs Napoli (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu)

Real Madrid are on the ascendancy in La Liga, battling hard with their arch rivals, Barcelona, at the top of the La Liga table but they have to be weary of Napoli that are currently third in Serie A. Gonzalo Higuain’s departure caused a huge void in attack and it seemed to have been curtailed with the arrival of Arkadiusz Milik, but his long term injury affect the Italian club, even though Dries Martens and club captain, Marek Hamsik, have been coming up with the goods with 31 goals between them. Both players scored hat-tricks in the recent 7-1 demolition of Bologna but they will have to be mindful of the fact that Real Madrid houses the world’s best player and one of the finest attackers of his generation, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo scored only two goals in the group stages and Madrid ended up with a second placed finish, but they would be happy to have been paired with Napoli. The Italians are good on their day, but the class and quality of Los Merengues will shine through on the night

Prediction: Madrid 3-1 Napoli

Sevilla CF vs Leicester City (Estadio Sanchez Ramon Pizjuan)

Leicester City comes into this game in the worst of forms and I can’t see anything more than a resounding Sevilla home victory. In their last seven Premier League games, Claudio Ranieri’s side has drawn one and lost six consecutive games, and to add to their woes, Leicester has failed to score a league goal in 2017. Last season, Jamie Vardy scored 24 and Riyad Mahrez scored 17 as the Foxes upset all odds to win their maiden League title. Their defense of the crown has been shambolic, and even though they managed to hold unto Vardy and Mahrez last summer, both players have scored only eight goals in the league (Vardy five, Mahrez three).

Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yadder and Luciano Vietto have been banging in the goals regularly and in former Gunner, Samir Nasri, they have a potent creative force tha has managed to get on the scoring act himself.

Prediction: Sevilla 3-0 Leicester

FC Porto vs Juventus (Estadio Dragao)

FC Porto have been chasing SL Benfica in their league and are currently on a five game winning streak but they are set to lock horns with the undisputed kings of Italian football, Juventus. The Old Lady paid over the top to secure the services of striking sensation, Gonzalo Higuain, from Napoli and he has fired 21 goals for his new team, with three coming in the Champions League.

Juventus remain one of the unbeaten sides in the competition and I expect this to remain when they take on Porto.

Prediction: Porto 1-2 Juventus

Bayern Munich vs Arsenal (Allianz Arena)

As an Arsenal fan, it has become quite frustrating being paired against Bayern Munich. In the last six games with the Bavarians, Arsenal has always finished second best and that 5-1 drubbing in the Gunners last’ meeting in Bavaria. The Gunners will also have to bear in mind that Bayern creates the most chances (14) almost every game week with the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Thomas Mueller and co.

The Gunners are going through a shaky spell at the moment with one win in three but this would be one hell of a challenge for the Gunners to come out from this game with anything. Maybe the odd away goal.

Prediction: Bayern 2-1 Arsenal.

 

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Stoke Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

We are back to the Premier League with Arsenal taking on a Stoke side that has picked up form in recent weeks. Considering their poor start to the season, Mark Hughes has steadied the site at the Bet365 stadium, winning five and drawing three of his last nine Premier League matches. However, Stoke’s record at the home of Arsenal is downright terrible with the Potters getting their last win as far back as 1981. The Gunners have beaten Stoke in their last 14 home games, notching up eight clean sheets in the process.

Arsene Wenger did well to shuffle the squad in midweek, making six changes to the side, and he must be very happy with the result, as the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Lucas Perez in particular, contributed immensely to the overall outlook of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they return to the bench today but the bottom line remains that they can put up a good shift when they are called upon. Arsenal would have fitness tests for Hector Bellerin and Per Mertesacker, while Francis Coquelin returns from his suspension. Stoke on the other hand, will be sweating on the fitness of Marko Arnautovic and Bruno Martins Indi, as both players received knocks in their victory against Burnley.

With the current table toppers, Chelsea, playing West Brom on Sunday, the Gunners can have a psychological advantage if they beat Stoke with two goals, as it would send them to the top of the table. With several teams scalping for points, it would be important for the Gunners to get three points today.

Injury Updates

Arsenal: Per Mertesacker (knee), Danny Welbeck (knee), Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon), Chuba Akpom (back), Matt Debuchy (hamstring), Yaya Sanogo (calf), Hector Bellerin (ankle – doubt)

Stoke: Ryan Shawcross (calf), Phil Beardsley (knee), Geoff Cameron (knee), Ibrahim Afellay (knee), Stephen Ireland (leg), Jack Butland (ankle), Marko Anautovic (hip – doubt), Bruno Martins Indi (face – doubt)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: D W L W W
  • Last Result: FC Basel 1-4 Arsenal
  • Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (13)

Stoke Form

  • Last Five Games: W D L W W
  • Last Result: Stoke 2-0 Burnley
  • Leading Goalscorer: Joe Allen (4)

Predicted Lineups

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Xhaka, Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott; Sanchez

Stoke (4-2-3-1): Grant; Pieters, Muniesa, Martins Indi, Johnson; Imbula, Adams; Arnautovic, Shaqiri, Diouf; Walters

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 0 Arsenal win.

Sayonara.

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