Category Archives: Match Preview

Chelsea Preview: Pile on the Lampard Losing Misery

Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard

Chelsea visit the Emirates Stadium on the back of a very wretched record under Frank Lampard, and even Graham Potter before him. Chelsea’s last victory was as far back as March 2023, when they defeated Leicester on the road, but since then, they lost at home to Aston Villa, endured a boring stalemate against Liverpool, which eventually cost Potter his job. Lampard surprisingly came onboard, losing to Wolves in his comeback fixture, then followed it up with an expected loss away to Real Madrid. Brighton came to town and ran Chelsea ragged, with Kepa Arrizabalaga keeping the score line respectable, even though it was still a loss. Real Madrid visited Stamford Bridge and stamped their authority, running out as 2-0 and Chelsea’s last fixture was yet another home loss to Brentford. 

In addition to the horrific losing streak, Chelsea has found scoring goals hard to come by, with just one goal scored in their last seven games, which is shocking, with the amazing amount of talent at their disposal. The Blues have lost 19 games in total this season and last lost 20 in a single campaign in 1987-88. The club has lost 11 of their 26 Premier League matches since Thomas Tuchel departed. Lampard has won just one of his last 15 Premier League games as a manager across his time as Everton and Chelsea boss, collecting just five points from a possible 45. That solitary win came at home to Crystal Palace in October 2022 (3-0).

Arsenal hasn’t also been in the best of form, with one victory, three consecutive draws and the crushing defeat to Man City that has seen their Premier League title charge falter, so tonight’s contest will be one that has a bitter taste in the mouths of everyone concerned with Arsenal. The Gunners know that its no longer in their hands, but will have to win every game and hope that Man City drops points elsewhere.

Mikel Arteta has stated that he’s not satisfied with second spot,

 “Within the disappointment and the spirit around [the club], we need to do two things – recognize what a lot of people around the club have done to get us back into the Champions League, which was already a difficult thing to achieve. 

“Not a lot of people were very optimistic that we had the ability to do that at the start of the season, and we need to start recognizing the good work that a lot of people have done to achieve that. 

“The second thing – which I like the most – is that even achieving that with six games to go – something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade at this club – that we are still not satisfied, still upset and we want more. If we want the club to be consistently with the best, that’s the mentality we need and that’s what I’ve loved most over the last few days.

“We can still achieve the Premier League because there are five games to go and there are a lot of things that are still going to happen. What we have to do is forget about what happened last week, learn from it and move on to the next game at home with our people for a London derby and put things right.”

Brighton’s loss to Nottingham Forest guaranteed Arsenal Champions League football, a feat that had not been achieved since the 2016/17 campaign, which is definitely a step in the right direction, and Arteta and his lads should be lauded for that milestone. However, we as fans can also understand the gaffer’s disappointment that the club’s current form has seen them drop valuable points, that has seen the title picture fade slightly away. 

The Gunners will need to sort out their defense, with the way they have been shipping goals in, with 11 conceded in their last four games. Some would be expecting some shake up at the back, and I think it’s time to give Jakub Kiwior a run out ahead of Rob Holding. Leandro Trossard is another player that needs to return to the starting XI, and Gabriel Jesus might be the one to give way, but that solely rests on Mikel Arteta. Thomas Partey is someone in need of a breather, with Jorginho fired up to play his former teammates. 

To team news, it seems William Saliba’s race is run for the campaign, as there have been no improvements from his back injury, while Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny remain long-term absentees following their successful surgeries. Granit Xhaka recovered from his bout of illness, but his performance against Manchester City showed that he probably was still ill. However, Fabio Vieira hasn’t done enough to knock Xhaka off his perch, so I expect the Swiss midfielder to continue in midfield. Chelsea has some injury concerns especially in defense, with Kalilou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Reece James all out. Frank Lampard’s love child, Mason Mount, is also out, and Armando Broja is still recuperating from his knee injury. We could see out former captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, get a run out, but he’s more suited to staying on the bench these days.

Arsenal vs Chelsea Predicted Lineups

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Jorginho, Odegaard; Martinelli, Trossard, Saka.

Chelsea: Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Fofana, Chilwell; Fernandez, Kante, Gallagher; Felix, Havertz, Sterling

Injury / Suspension Updates

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), William Saliba (back)

Chelsea: Kalilou Koulibaly (hamstring), Marc Cucurella (thigh), Reece James (hamstring), Mason Mount (pelvis), Armando Broja (knee)

Form Guide

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W D D D L
  • Last Result: Man City 4-1 Arsenal (De Bruyne 7′, 54′, Stones 45′, Haaland 90′ | Holding 86′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka (15)

Chelsea Form

  • Last Five Games:  L L L L L
  • Last Result: Chelsea 0-2 Brentford (Azpilicueta OG 37′, Mbeumo 78′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Kai Havertz (9)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2-1 win.

Kick Off – 8.00pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.

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Man City Preview: All or Nothing

Man City has been a dominant force in English football for quite some time now, and that dominance has seen Pep Guardiola’s outfit win four of the last five Premier League titles, with that Liverpool win in the 2019/20 season being the only blip, and as expected, Man City finished as the runners up. The club has also won four of the last six League Cups and one FA Cup in the 2018/19 season, following the win in the 2010/11 campaign.

Pep Guardiola’s arrival in 2016 has come with a huge wave of success, with the Catalan manager amassing an impressive 11 trophies including almost winning the Champions League two seasons ago. This campaign hasn’t been any different, with Pep guiding Man City to an FA Cup final showdown with eternal rivals, Manchester United, as well as a semifinal berth with a measure of revenge in their minds, when they take on the UEFA Champions League defending champions, Real Madrid, and of course, the Premier League two-horse title race with Arsenal. 

Mikel Arteta signed two key players from Man City last summer and their collective experienced galvanized the way the team plays, offering a different perspective from how Arsenal used to operate as an attacking unit. In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners had a forward that was more or less a poacher, waiting to feed off the ammunition supplied from his teammates in the final third, and in Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal got a defensive forward that tried to focus on buildup play, rather than finishing. Both strikers departed and Arsenal signed Gabriel Jesus that revitalized the attack with his determination, team work, creativity, sultry skills and work rate, even though his finishing leaves a lot to be desired. Oleksandr Zinchenko, however, was a God sent, as his presence in the team has seen him occupy two positions, left back and central midfield, adding some dynamism to the plays of Granit Xhaka and Gabriel, and if you add Gabriel Martinelli’s output, making Arsenal’s left side of attack as potent as the right side that primarily features Ben White, Martin Odegaard and Starboy, Bukayo Saka.

After what has been a roller coaster of a season, Arsenal visit the Etihad Stadium tonight knowing that anything less than a victory might all but seal their Premier League title winning fate, as a direct repercussion from the terrible results the Gunners have garnered in the weeks leading to this all-important clash with Man City. 

This is a particularly wretched fixture for Arsenal, with the Gunners losing 11 consecutive top-flight games to Manchester City, their longest losing streak versus any opponent in the club’s league history. Pep Guardiola’s City side have won all six Premier League home matches against Arsenal by an aggregate score of 17-3. Both sides have already met twice this season, with Man City knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the fourth round and sweeping the Gunners aside in their Premier League clash in February. The Cityzens are particularly in a hot streak at home, winning all 11 games this calendar year, and you’d have to go back to their clash against Brentford before the FIFA World Cup for the last time they dropped any points in their home turf. In Erling Haaland, they have one of the world’s most potent finishers, with the Viking chieftain just two goals shy of breaking Alan Shearer and Andy Cole’s 34-goal Premier League record. The cyborg has scored 48 goals thus far this season, which is more than the amount of goals Manchester United have scored in the Premier League this campaign. 

Arsenal has been unbeaten in 10 games, following that messy 1-0 loss to Everton in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge, but they followed that with seven wins in a row before a disappointing run that saw Arsenal drop points against Liverpool, West Ham and most recently, Southampton. Arsenal can take solace from the fact that Man City concede a lot of goals with Ederson keeping just six clean sheets in the last 20 games he started between the sticks. Mikel Arteta will be looking to break his hoodoo against Guardiola, as he has lost all six Premier League clashes with his former mentor.

To team news, Man City will be sweating over the fitness of Nathan Ake that has been nursing a thigh injury. Guardiola had the luxury of resting the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, John Stones, Ruben Dias and Rodri in the FA Cup semifinal win over Sheffield United, so you’d expect them to all start tonight. 

Arsenal still has the same absentees from previous encounters, and its very likely that we might not see William Saliba in action this season, as his back injury remains a challenge. The medical staff are hoping surgery might not be required to mitigate the issue, but his chances of featuring again this campaign might be slim to none. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mo Elneny are still out, and Granit Xhaka will be having a fitness test to confirm his availability for tonight’s clash.

Man City vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups

Man City: Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Laporte; Stones, Rodri; Mahrez, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Martinelli, G. Jesus, Saka.

Injury / Suspension Updates

Man City: Nathan Ake (thigh)

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), William Saliba (back), Granit Xhaka (illness)

Form Guide

Man City Form

  • Last Five Games:  W W W W W
  • Last Result: Man City 3-0 Sheffield United (Mahrez 43′, 61′, 66′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Erling Haaland (48)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W W D D D
  • Last Result: Arsenal 3-3 Southampton (Martinelli 20′, Odegaard 88′, Saka 90′ | Alcaraz 1′, Walcott 14′, Caleta-Car 66′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka (15)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 -2 draw.

Kick Off – 8.00pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.

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Southampton Preview: JUST. WIN. PLEASE!!!

Granit Xhaka continues goalscoring run with opening goal at Southampton

Southampton arrive at the Emirates tonight on the back on such a dismal run of form that has seen them rooted to the foot of the Premier League table with relegation imminent. Southampton are currently four points from safety, and with the Saints losing games pillar to post, the prospect of them coming out of the encounter against Arsenal with anything of note is slim to none. However, they take an Arsenal side whose confidence has been rocked from two disappointing away results against Liverpool and West Ham that saw Mikel Arteta’s men pick up comfortable two goal leads before throwing them all away, making next week’s Wednesday’s clash against Manchester City an All or Nothing encounter. One thing we know for sure is that Bukayo Saka will remain the team’s spot kick taker, as confirmed by the big boss himself

Arsenal’s record at home has been very good, with 38 points from 15 games played, and they will be latching to this amazing home form, as well as the backing from the Emirates faithful to spur them to another great performance. Arsenal has won 11 of their past 12 home league games versus teams starting the day bottom of the table, only dropping points in a goalless draw against Burnley in January 2022. Southampton are winless in six league games (D2, L4) and have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of the previous five.

Arsenal is currently four points ahead of Manchester City and will take the lead to seven points, this weekend, as the Cityzens have Sheffield United in the semifinals of the FA Cup, after progressing to the semifinals of the Champions League following a victory of Bayern Munich. These essentially means that Man City will have a couple of games in hand, which they will eventually play based on the fixture schedule, and are odds on to close the gap.

To team news, Arteta has confirmed that Gunners might still be without William Saliba, that hasn’t played since the back injury he suffered in the painful loss to Sporting CP in the Europa League Round of 16. His absence, coupled with Takehiro Tomiyasu undergoing surgery, has the Gunners stick with Rob Holding and in all honesty, the Englishman hasn’t covered himself in glory, but I guess we will have to keep managing him for the time being. Jakub Kiwior is still going through his adaptation period, and his baptism of fire against Liverpool in Anfield can only spur him to do better in the future. We also lost the massive influence of Oleksandr Zinchenko in the West Ham game following a groin issue, and Kieran Tierney did okay in his stead, and will be expected to keep his place, before probably going to the bench in the Manchester City game, depending on Zinchenko’s fitness.

To Southampton, Tino Livramento remains a long-term absentee following surgery from an ACL injury suffered a while ago, but they will also be without Mohammed Salisu, Mislav Orsic and Juan Larios. Che Adams is also a doubt after suffering calf injury, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be ineligible to play his parent club. 

Arsenal vs Southampton Predicted Lineups

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Martinelli, G. Jesus, Saka.

Southampton: Bazunu; Perraud, Bednarek, Bella-Kotchap, Walker-Peters; Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Sulemana; Alcaraz, Onuachu

Injury / Suspension Updates

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Eddie Nketiah (ankle), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), William Saliba (back), Oleksandr Zinchenko (groin)

Southampton: Tino Livramento (knee), Mohammed Salisu (hip), Juan Larios (muscle), Che Adams (calf), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (ineligible)

Form Guide

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: L W W D D
  • Last Result: West Ham 2-2 Arsenal  (Benrahma 32′, Bowen 54′ | Jesus 7′, Odegaard 10′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Gabriel Martinelli (14)

Southampton Form

  • Last Five Games:  L D L L L
  • Last Result: Southampton 0-2 Crystal Palace (Eze 54′, 68′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Che Adams (10)

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 0 victory.

Kick Off – 8.00pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.

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