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Southampton Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Image result for welbeck goal arsenal southampton salt

This hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Gunners in the past but in their bid to finish the campaign in the Champions League positions, they need to end their hoodoo and get all three points. I’m pretty sure that the netbet odds for the Gunners to finish in the top four would be very high. Arsene Wenger has mandated his team to win all their games after that terrible slump the team suffered that saw them win just six in 16 games in the manager’s worst ever run in the club.

Things got really toxic and many just couldn’t wait for the campaign to be over with the manager’s head on a plate but as it stands, Wenger’s future is the least of our problems. We have barely three weeks of football left which includes four league matches and one cup final, so the team has to show some consistency that has seen them win four in their last five games since the switch to three at the back.

The new-look Arsenal side is clearly not there yet in terms of the fluidity as it’s evident that the players are still getting used to the new tactical setup, but the results have been very good, especially with wins over both Manchester outfits in recent weeks. However, the Gunners would be itching for some revenge after their 4-0 drubbing in the hands of the Saints last season at St. Mary’s. This is one of the grounds the team tends not to flourish too well but the lads know that anything less than three points would end their quest for a Champions League berth. Arsenal’s last win in this ground was December 2003, and in the club’s last five matches at St. Mary’s, they have suffered two defeats and three draws. However, the Gunners smashed in five goals in the FA Cup fourth round against a rather weakened Southampton side

Team News

Southampton are set to welcome their star forward, Charlie Austin, back to the fray after he suffered a shoulder injury early in the campaign. The English forward played for the Under-23s on Friday night, alongside Matt Targett, that had been injured for a while too. Talismanic defender, Virgil van Dijk, and back up goalie, Alex McCarthy are still long-term absentees.

The Gunners on the other hand would be sweating on the fitness of Laurent Koscielny that picked up a knock in the win over Manchester United but Wenger would be hopeful to have Lucas Perez in the dugout to bolster his attacking options. It has been a very underwhelming season for the Spaniard and there is talk of the forward opting to leave the club this summer for regular football elsewhere. Granit Xhaka is another player that picked up a knock but I’d expect him to start tonight after he was substituted for Francis Coquelin in the remainder of the game. Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) and Santi Cazorla (achilles tendon) are still out.

Predicted Lineups 

Southampton (4-3-3)

Southampton 4-3-3 football formation

Arsenal (3-4-2-1)

Arsenal 3-4-2-1 football formation

Team Form

Southamptom Form

  • Last Five Games: W L L D D
  • Last Result: Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
  • Leading Goalscorer: Charlie Austin (9)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W W W L W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 2-0 Man Utd
  • Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (24)

 

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 1 Arsenal win.

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Betting Odds for Who Will Replace Wenger at Arsenal

Image result for Allegri

The talk about who will replace beleaguered Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is seemingly never ending. It is, of course, far from certain that Wenger will even leave the club in the summer. Whilst the thought of the Frenchman staying will send shivers down the spines of many a Gooner, others are keen to see him stay. Whatever side of the fence you sit on, the debate about who should – and indeed who will – replace Wenger is a fascinating one.

Here we take a look at the key candidates for the Arsenal hot seat when, finally, Wenger does leave the Emirates. If you fancy a bet on any of these men it is worth noting that the market for next Man United’s next manager ran for well over 10 years before Sir Alex Ferguson finally retired! Now that is something to really scare the “Wenger Out” crowd!

 

Massimiliano Allegri – Odds 5/1

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri is the current favourite to be the next Arsenal boss. Priced at odds of 5/1 with BetVictor, the Italian could, perhaps, move to the Emirates with a Champions League success on his CV.

As a player he was something of a journeyman but his managerial credentials show him to have made steady progress. He replaced Antonio Conte at Juve in 2014 and is tactically adept. He has signed well and his defensive organisation would be much-welcomed at Arsenal. His calm style would be popular with players accustomed to Wenger’s management approach and a win record of almost 71% at Juventus suggests he could deliver silverware.

 

Diego Simeone – Odds 6/1

What Simeone has done at Atletico Madrid is quite remarkable. He is the 6/1 (Betfair) second favourite for the Arsenal job. He broke the Barca-Real duopoly in Spain to win the 2014 Liga title and could be about to guide his men to a third Champions League final in four years. Given he has sold a catalogue of superstars for huge profits and still thrived, he would be hugely popular with the Gunners’ money men.

Image result for diego simeone

However, much of his success has come through signing South American players who could struggle to get work permits in the UK. Moreover, his overly defensive style would not sit well with many of the fans.

 

An Outsider for Job?

Beyond the top two that dominate the betting to replace Wenger are a host of dark horses. Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Brendan Rodgers, Patrick Viera and Rafa Benitez are all priced at odds shorter than 20/1.

Strong cases can be made for all of those men, whilst Leonardo Jardim has impressed at Monaco and is available at 20/1. Ronald Koeman, doing a solid job at Everton, is available at the same price and may also tempt punters – and Arsenal supporters.

However, we think that the board will have learned from Man United’s errors. Howe has done a fantastic job at Bournemouth, likewise Rodgers at Celtic. However, replacing an icon such as Wenger is a nigh on impossible task. Only a proven, experienced and single-minded individual has any hope of success.

For that reason we feel that Benitez may be a decent option at huge odds. The Spaniard has won a huge range of honours, including leagues and cups in Spain, England and Italy. Two Europa Leagues and a Champions League are further highlights, whilst he can work at all levels as several promotions have also shown.

He has managed Real Madrid and Inter Milan and has been doing this job for almost 25 years. At 57 he is in the peak of his managerial career and odds of 20/1 look well worth a punt to us given the Newcastle board are yet to fully convince the Spaniard of their ambition.

 

Please note that the stats, facts, analysis and odds for this article were provided by  Football Betting Hub

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Video Assistant Referee – Good or Bad Move for Football?

After officials watching on TV told the referee Deulofeu was onside, the decision was reversed

Change they say, is one of the constant things in life.

However, there are some certain things that come with change. If you have been used to seeing one thing happen the same day all your life and someone pops in from nowhere and makes some modifications to that thing, it can be met with agreement or some sort of resistance and that’s the dilemma we are expected to face in the wake of the newly launched VAR, or Video Assistant Referee, which was brought into the limelight in Spain’s 2-0 victory over France.

For the benefit of those that didn’t have the opportunity to watch the match, here are some extended highlights

It was a pretty straightforward game with two European juggernauts locking horns in a friendly encounter. The Spaniards opened the scoring after our very own Laurent Koscielny conceded a penalty, but this was after Antoine Griezmann had a goal that was rightly disallowed after the referee consulted with the video assistant referee in a remote location. Apparently, the referee and VAR could communicate via the headset but it was really awkward seeing how it panned out, as Griezmann and his teammates had exchanged hugs with the home fans celebrating what they thought was a goal, only for it to be ruled out when the ref finished his discussions with the VAR.

There were some time lag as the events elapsed but France took it on the chin and got on with the game. Later on, Gerard Deulofeu scored a goal for Spain but the linesman was swift to raise his flag like he had some eagle-eyed vision or something but the ref decided to consult his VAR who probably did some video playback and analysis which took up to one minute. Then he overturned the decision of his linesman and awarded what proved to be the match winning goal for Spain.

Didier Deschamps was magnanimous with his comments after the game,

“It is verified and it is fair, why not?. It changes our football a little. It is against us today, but if we have to go through this, it will be the same for everyone.

It is the evolution of football. That is how it will be.”

Well, it’s just a friendly game that didn’t mean much to both sides, which was also a very good platform to use the VAR initiative, so it’s all well and good, but would Deschamps had made the same comments if it was in the European Championship finals? It’s one thing to have a goal disallowed when the game was tied at 0-0 and to top that, you were chasing the game at 0-1 then your opponent scores what is believed to be an offside goal, then it’s overturned? Some Mourinhos *coughs* managers would go berserk.

The idea of the VAR worked its weight in gold in the game but there are other sides to it. Speaking in alignment with the initiative, the referee’s decision making was spot on, as he accepted to use the aid of the VAR to help him with such a huge footballing decision as awarding a goal. We can talk about countless occasions where goals were wrongly given or ruled out, so having this option can prove very vital in order to maintain transparency in the beautiful game. At first glance of Deulofeu’s effort, the linesman taught it was offside and did his job by raising his flag up. Many referees would have believed in their assistant’s judgment 100% and award a free kick to France but VAR proved that it was a wrong decision.

This would help in subsequent decisions like goals, penalty decisions, red cards and of course, the rare case of Andre Marriner awarding Kieran Gibbs a red card for an error committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. These are very key decisions that affect the outcome of games, so it would be nice if the VAR continues to be used in this regard.

My only delta with this technology is the time wasting bit. It took the ref one whole minute, I mean, a frigging minute to decide whether he wanted to award the goal to Spain or give France an indirect free kick. What if the linesman was actually right and it was actually an offside? A whole minute would have wasted and we would have come to the same decision that we should have had 60 seconds ago. Another delta would be the technical knowledge of the so-called ‘Video Assistant Referee’ – would he be as useless as those touchline Champions League officials that would see Javi Martinez foul Theo Walcott blatantly as still act like they saw nothing?

In the end, the pluses seem to overshadow the deltas but its going to be interesting to see how football teams embrace this change.

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