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Arsenal’s Christmas Challenge

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arsene wenger

Arsenal Football Club has had an inconsistent season so far to say the least. Often shrouded by news regarding the futures of manager Arsene Wenger and star men Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, their displays at times leave plenty to be desired.

There have been a few false dawns this season like their two nil victory over archrivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates – the first since Mauricio Pochettino took over at their North London rivals – but such performances have been few and far between for the Gunners in recent times.

Despite their mightily impressive home form that has seen them win 13 out of their last 14 Premier League home matches, a run of only 2 away victories so far this season has been a source for concern amongst fans who have been betting on Arsenal.

Their poor away form has proven to be their undoing so far this season has The Gunners are currently outside the top 4 in fifth. Another finish outside the top 4 will prove to be disastrous for the club as it is already difficult enough to attract quality players to The Emirates and even to keep their current stars – as is the case with Ozil and Sanchez who are seemingly running down their current contracts with the club ahead of summer moves away.

Ahead of a defining set of fixtures to end the year, Wenger’s men need to start performing at their best to keep their hopes of a top 4 finish alive. Trips to Crystal Palace and West Brom (grounds where they faced defeats last season) follow a very crucial home match against Liverpool who are currently 1 point ahead of The Gunners in fourth.

The last meeting between these two sides came on August 27th at Anfield, which saw Arsenal totally torn apart by Liverpool’s blistering attack. A 4-0 defeat to a rival so early in the season did nothing to inspire confidence in the team for fans who had already been calling for the manager’s ‘head’.

Arsene Wenger has since steadied the ship, with a semi-final berth in the Carabao cup already secured as well as a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League (a competition that offers another route into the Champions League for the winners) and as was established earlier are within touching distance of the much-coveted top 4 places.

There are a few absentees for The Arsenal ahead of Friday’s mega clash at The Emirates. Olivier Giroud will be missing from the squad as he picked up a hamstring injury in midweek’s Carabao Cup victory over West Ham United. Aaron Ramsey has been ruled out until the New Year at least, with the same injury as Giroud but defender Shkodran Mustafi has returned to the squad having recovered from a thigh injury in a timely boost to the manager.

The veteran manager is set to stick with a back four after abandoning the back three system that served them so well towards the backend of last season. The Gunners defense will have to be extremely focused to deal with Liverpool’s ‘fab four’ of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and the leagues’ top scorer Mohamed Salah.
The predicted lineup should see, Petr Cech in goal, in defense; Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Saed Kolasinac. In central midfield, Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere – in place of the injured Aaron Ramsey.

The attack will see, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi as the trio behind center forward Alex Lacazette.
It promises to be a very intriguing match, which offers a chance for The Arsenal to stake their claim for a top 4 finish and also a chance to attain vengeance for the demolition at Anfield.
A run of victories in their next three fixtures could see The Gunners firmly placed on the log ahead of another massively important game against Chelsea three days into the New Year at The Emirates.

The writer is a passionate Man United fan. He has good insights into the world of football especially the English Premier League.

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Arsenal

Defender Set For Arsenal Medical Next Week

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William Saliba

Saint Etienne defender William Saliba will undergo a medical at Arsenal next week after the two teams agreed on a deal for the player.

According to trusted journalist Charles Watts, the Gunners have been able to fend off North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign William Saliba.

The 18-year-old is presently in the United States with Saint Etienne and he’s expected to return to Europe at the start of next week.

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur made similar offers for the young French centre back but the Gunners edged their rivals due to the preference of the player.

He will sign a five-year deal with Arsenal in the new week before returning to Saint Etienne on loan for one season.

William Saliba will spend the 2019/20 season at Saint Etienne before joining his new team in the summer of 2020.

He became a known quantity in French football earlier this year after breaking into the first team at Saint Etienne towards the second half of last season.

William Saliba made 16 appearances for Saint Etienne last season in the league alone.

He has represented France at all the youth levels but the young defender is yet to make an appearance for the French national team.

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Club Supremo Confirms Arsenal Transfer

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William Saliba

Saint Etienne president Eduardo Caiazzo has all but confirmed that young defender William Saliba will join Premier League giants Arsenal this summer.

In a chat with French news outlet Le Progres, the Saint Etienne supremo revealed that the player will spend the new season at the club.

Arsenal have agreed on a deal for the young French centre back and he’s expected to sign a five-year deal until the end of the 2023/24 season.

The player will then return to Saint Etienne on loan for the 2019/20 season.

William Saliba will return to Arsenal next summer after his loan spell at French Ligue 1 Saint Etienne.

The 18-year-old broke into the first team at Saint Etienne last season and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The young defender played 16 times for Saint Etienne in the league last season as the club missed out on Champions League football to former French champions Lyon.

Saint Etienne finished the season in fourth spot thus missing out on a Champions League spot that only a top-three finish would guarantee.

Champions Paris Saint Germain (PSG), runners-up Lille and Lyon will represent France at next season’s Champions League.

William Saliba is yet to make his senior debut for the French national team.

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AS Roma Sign Arsenal Target On Loan

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Italian Serie A giants AS Roma have completed the signing of midfielder Jordan Veretout from fellow top flight side Fiorentina.

French midfielder Veretout has joined AS Roma on loan with the obligation to sign him permanently at the end of his loan spell.

His transfer was confirmed on Saturday by AS Roma.

Jordan Veretout was linked with several clubs this summer before settling for AS Roma who recently appointed Paulo Sousa as their manager.

The Italian capital club was without a manager until his appointment.

Experienced manager Claudio Ranieri took charge of the team earlier this year (March) on a temporary basis till this summer.

The last permanent manager Eusebio Di Francesco resigned from his post in March shortly after the last 16 exit from the Champions League.

AS Roma were knocked out by Portuguese Super League giants FC Porto.

The Italians will pay €16m for Veretout next summer after the end of his one-year loan deal.

Arsenal were one of the clubs interested in him as a possible replacement for Aaron Ramsey who has signed for Italian champions Juventus.

The Gunners are still a body short in midfield after the free transfer exit at the end of his Arsenal contract.

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Arsenal Transfer Target Teases Fans With Social Media Video

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Everton Soares

Gremio attacker Everton Soares has teased Arsenal fans with a social media video amidst the intense transfer rumours linking the player with a move to the club during this summer’s transfer window.

The Arsenal target raised the hopes of the Gunners fans with the video which showed that he’s learning the English language.

Latest media reports claimed that the Gunners are closing in on a move for the Brazilian international attacker.

It was revealed that the North London giants have agreed on a £36m deal for Everton Soares as they try to bolster their squad with a new winger this summer.

Arsenal were said to have reached an agreement for £25m in upfront payment plus £11m in add-ons.

Everton Soares has scored five goals and also added one goal for Brazilian Serie A club Gremio in 13 games in all competitions this season.

The 23-year-old has been in very good form for both club and country.

Everton Soares was an important player for the Brazilian team that won the 2019 COPA America tournament earlier this month.

He was the man-of-the-match for the Selecao who sealed their ninth title in the history of the tournament by beating Peru 3-1.

Everton Soares is seen as a cheaper replacement for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha at Arsenal.

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Top Scout Reveals Reason Behind Controversial Arsenal Exit

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Popular scout Sven Mislintat has revealed the reason behind his controversial exit from Arsenal earlier this year.

The German talent spotter talked about his Arsenal exit in a chat with his native media outlet 11freunde.

According to Sven Mislintat, Arsenal broke their promise to him about the sporting director role before adding that the two parties had different ideas on the future and that ultimately led to his exit from the club.

Sven Mislintat made his name as one of the best talent spotters in European football while he was at German Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

He was credited with the signings of players like Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and many more.

The German scout left Borussia Dortmund for Arsenal in November 2017.

He spent over a year at Arsenal before his controversial exit in February 2019.

During his time at Arsenal, he masterminded the record signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January 2018.

The Gunners paid £57m to sign the Gabonese international striker from Borussia Dortmund.

Earlier reports had claimed that he had a disagreement with the Arsenal hierarchy over the loan signing of Denis Suarez.

In the end, he was vindicated as Denis Suarez was a flop at the club.

Sven Mislintat had agreed to a sporting director role with the previous Arsenal management under Ivan Gazidis but the position changed when Raul Sanllehi was made the head of the new management team at the club.

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3 interesting reasons Arsenal should consider signing Kalidou Koulibaly

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Kalidou Koulibaly

As the season draws by the day, Arsenal continues their search to sign players ahead of the new season.

It’s crystal clear that the club needs reinforcements in every position even as players like Petr Cech (retired) and Aaron Ramsey (Juventus) has left the club at the end of last season.

The London outfit had some weaknesses within the team last season as they failed to finish in the top four positions in the Premier League.

With a lot of defensive inconsistency and the need for squad depth, the Gunners must sign quality players to improve the defensive unit.

One of the players credible and suitable to excel in Arsenal’s defense is Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly even as we take a look at some of the individual qualities he can bring to the Unai Emery’s Arsenal.

Genuine Physical Presence

Arsenal might be renowned for its flair and free-flowing movement at the back as we have seen from Spanish fullback Hector Bellerin. But, the Gunners needs a physical presence at the back four as this will be to their own advantage in a 50-50 situation.

Arsenal has been physically overpowered in almost occasion defensively with Nacho Monreal struggling to cope with strikers like Anthony Martial and want away forward Romelu Lukaku.

But with the physical presence, Koulibaly brings alongside his aerial awareness expect the Napoli star to be an instant hit at the heart of the defense for Arsenal.

Defensive Stability

The African star has been a source of encouragement for African players aspiring to ply their trade as a defender in Europe.

That’s why the Senegalese center back would be a good addition to the squad even as Unai Emery and Arsenal benefits from his ability to withstand pressure from attacking opposition.

He’s in good shape as he’s inspired his Senegal’s side in the AFCON 2019 alongside Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.

A possible move for the player will ensure increased stability for Unai Emery and Arsenal even as the club aims (struggle) to keep French player and skipper Laurent Koscielny at the Emirates.

The Player’s Mental Assertion

The player has got good mental ability as he’s inspired Italian side Napoli in the Italian Serie A. The player’s ability to coordinate the defense, make interceptions is one of the reasons why Napoli may not let him go as he is a prized asset to the club with a lot of interest for his services from big teams in Europe.

But the big task is can Arsenal splash the cash for the player’s signature even as they are in a form of hold-up via the signing of forward Wilfred Zaha from Crystal Palace?

Unai Emery’s and the club must take a bold step in signing the player as he will bring some level of assertion Arsenal needs in the defense. The way the player handles possession is a delight to watch even as he makes intelligent break-up at the heart of the defence.

This is an interesting fact about his overwhelming quality as he’s got a strong mentality to flourish at Arsenal as a player.

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Arsenal Doctor Lands In Brazil For Player Medical

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everton soares

Arsenal are reportedly closing in on a move for Gremio forward Everton Soares this summer.

This is according to The Sun which revealed that an Arsenal doctor has landed in Brazil for the player’s medical.

It was revealed that the Gunners have agreed to a £36m for the young Brazilian attacker.

Arsenal have made an initial bid of £25m plus £11m in add-ons for the player.

Everton Soares is seen as a cheaper option by Arsenal in comparison with Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha who has an asking price of £80m.

Arsenal had earlier made a £40m for Zaha which was swiftly rejected by their fellow Premier League club.

Wilfried Zaha is still keen to leave Crystal Palace for his dream transfer to Arsenal.

Everton Soares was watched by Manchester United during the just concluded COPA America tournament in his native Brazil.

The Gremio attacker was a key player for the Brazilian national team at the tournament.

He won the man-of-the-match award during the final between Brazil and Peru.

Brazil defeated Peru  3-1 to win a ninth COPA America tournament as hosts.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery wants to add a new winger to his squad this summer as he prepared his team for the new season.

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Arsenal Retain Interest In Everton Soares For This Reason

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Everton Soares

North London giants Arsenal retain interest in Gremio forward Everton Soares amidst their pursuit of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

According to Sky Sports News, the Gunners have made Everton Soares their first alternative in the event that they are unable to sign Wilfried Zaha this summer.

Ivorian national team player Zaha is the top priority for Arsenal manager Unai Emery in his quest to sign a winger this summer.

Arsenal have made their intentions known on Wilfried Zaha but their first offer of £40m was turned down at the start of this month with Crystal Palace holding out for more money.

Crystal Palace have demanded at least £80m from Arsenal for their star player and it remains to be seen whether the Gunners will be able to convince the Eagles to sell Zaha for a lesser amount.

The player has already informed the club that he wants to leave for Arsenal this summer.

In the event that Zaha don’t get his dream move to Arsenal, the Gunners will turn their attention to Everton Soares who was one of the best players at the just concluded COPA America tournament on his home soil.

He helped Brazil to win the tournament via a 3-1 win over Peru in their final clash.

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