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Arsenal’s Christmas Challenge




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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The Chelsea star who inspires Arsenal teenager revealed

Timothy Aiyeku



Callum Hudson-Odoi

North London outfit Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson has pointed to Callum Hudson-Odoi as the Chelsea player who inspires him.

Callum Hudson-Odoi has seen only a few appearances in the Chelsea team but that did not stop his call-up to the England senior national team under manager Gareth Southgate.

Reiss Nelson is currently on a loan deal with the German Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim and has shown good quality which is already catching attention from a number of teams but there is no way the North London outfit will want to part ways with him.

The Arsenal teenager stated that he has played against Callum Hudson-Odoi in the youth league, noting that they are friends and have gotten along with each other for a long time.

He stressed that Callum Hudson-Odoi has been inspiring as he always makes a player push harder for a bigger level, noting that his call-up to the senior national team is another big inspiration for him.

However, there are suggestions that the North London outfit could ask Reiss Nelson to return to the Emirates Stadium as he has shown he is ripe enough to compete at a bigger stage and in a big side like Arsenal.

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Arsenal Target Berates Sacked Solari For THIS Reason

Segun Amuda



Keylor Navas

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas has launched a scathing attack on former manager Santiago Solari for the lack of opportunities handed to him while he was in charge of the team.

Keylor Navas told Spanish media outlet Cadena COPE that he won’t have been given any chance to play under Solari no matter what he did.

Under Santiago Solari, the Costa Rican international shot-stopper was confined to the bench with Thibaut Courtois being made the club’s first choice goalkeeper.

Keylor Navas was the undisputed number one goalkeeper at Real Madrid until Thibaut Courtois signed for the club last summer.

Belgian international Courtois joined Real Madrid from Chelsea in a £35m deal with Mateo Kovacic joining Chelsea on a season-long loan until this summer.

Keylor Navas was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal during the January transfer window as a result of his struggles for game time under Santiago Solari.

The 32-year-old didn’t leave the club and his fortunes have turned for the better after he was reinstated into the starting XI by new manager Zinedine Zidane.

French football legend Zidane was reappointed last week following the dismissal of Solari who paid the price for some poor results.

Keylor Navas was the first choice goalkeeper as Real Madrid won three successive Champions League titles under Zidane between 2016 and 2018.

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Arsenal Star Slams Loan Cancellation Rumours In Cryptic Way

Segun Amuda



Denis Suarez

Arsenal midfielder Denis Suarez has slammed transfer reports claiming that the Gunners won’t make his loan deal permanent this summer in a cryptic way.

One-cap Spanish international Denis Suarez is on a short-term loan at Arsenal from Barcelona having joined the Gunners during the winter transfer window.

Arsenal have the option to make his loan deal permanent this summer but reports in the British media claim that the Gunners won’t exercise that option.

According to the publication from The Sun, Arsenal will turn their attention to other transfer targets rather than spend at least £18m to sign Denis Suarez to a permanent contract at the club.

Denis Suarez took to his official Instagram account to debunk the aforementioned reports as he posted a picture of him in training with a shut up emoji.

The Spaniard is yet to start a game for Arsenal since his loan move to North London in January.

He’s presently behind the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi. To this effect, he has been restricted to only a handful of appearances from the substitute bench.

Denis Suarez joined Arsenal mainly because of Gunners boss Unai Emery whom he played for while the Spanish tactician was the Sevilla manager.

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PSG Treat Arsenal Target As A Prisoner – Agent

Segun Amuda



Adrien Rabiot

Paris Saint Germain (PSG) midfielder Adrien Rabiot is being treated like a prisoner by the club according to his agent/mother Veronica.

His agent lashed out at PSG in her interview with popular French news outlet L’Equipe as she revealed that the player has been barred from the club.

Adrien Rabiot has been ostracised at PSG after the young midfielder refused to talk with the club over a new deal.

His current deal with PSG is expected to run out this summer and the player has already told officials that he won’t renew his contract at the club.

Adrien Rabiot is a former Manchester City player and he has been linked with a return to the Premier League.

English top flight sides like Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are all keen on a free transfer move for him alongside Spanish champions Barcelona.

His last appearance for PSG came on the 11th of December against Serbian side Red Star Belgrade in a Champions League clash.

French international Rabiot came off the bench as PSG beat Red Star Belgrade 3-1 to seal top spot in Group C.

His next destination is unclear at this point but it’s clear that Adrien Rabiot will leave PSG upon the expiration of his contract this summer.

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Ex-Arsenal Striker Open To Lyon Switch

Segun Amuda



Olivier Giroud

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has openly talked about the possibility of leaving England for French Ligue 1 club Lyon at the end of this season.

The former Arsenal striker could leave Chelsea at the end of the current season when his Blues contract expires.

Giroud told Footmercato that a return to France is eye-catching especially Lyon.

The French World Cup winner pointed out that Lyon president Jean Michel Aulas publicly talked about a possible transfer for him as he pointed out that he wants to feel important again.

Olivier Giroud became a Chelsea player in January 2018 after he joined from London rivals Arsenal.

The 32-year-old put pen to paper on an 18-month deal with Chelsea until the summer of 2019 after the Blues paid £18m to secure his signature.

Since his transfer to Chelsea, Giroud has already played second fiddle in the striker’s department.

Ex-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte used star player Eden Hazard as a false nine at the expense of Giroud last season especially when first choice striker Alvaro Morata was not available and current Blues boss Maurizio Sarri repeated the same thing earlier this season.

Olivier Giroud has rarely enjoyed first-team opportunities since his move to Chelsea except in inferior competitions like the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

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17-Goal Attacker Focused On Lille Despite Arsenal Transfer Rumours

Segun Amuda



Nicolas Pépé

Lille winger Nicolas Pepe is maintaining his focus on the French Ligue 1 club despite transfer rumours linking him with several major European clubs including Arsenal.

The in-form Pepe has been in superb form for the better part of the last two seasons and his quality has not gone unnoticed with the big boys of European football.

Apart from the Gunners, German champions Bayern Munich, Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona and Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur are also interested in the Ivorian international player.

He spoke to Canal+ about his future and the aforementioned transfer rumours.

The 23-year-old revealed that his focus is to continue playing well for Lille before adding that his representatives are in charge of transfer issues.

Nicolas Pepe scored 14 goals for Lille in the last campaign as the former French champions escaped relegation from the top flight.

The Ivorian attacker has scored 17 goals and provided eight assists in the French Ligue 1 this season.

His goals have propelled Lille to one of the Champions League places.

Lille are in second position on the French Ligue 1 table at the moment.

Lille owner Gerard Lopez has already warned his potential suitors that they will have to pay at least €50m to sign him this summer.

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Ex-Arsenal Attacker Targets Silverware At Man United

Segun Amuda



alexis sanchez

Former Arsenal player Alexis Sanchez has disclosed that his target at Manchester United is to win silverware with the club.

Alexis Sanchez became a Manchester United player in January 2018 after joining the Red Devils from Arsenal in a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Sanchez and Mkhitaryan basically swapped clubs during the winter transfer window of last season.

Since his transfer to Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez has endured a frustrating time at the club.

The former Barcelona and Udinese player talked about his Manchester United career in a chat with Inside United as he revealed that he wants to win trophies at Old Trafford.

In addition, Alexis Sanchez said that he wants to make Manchester United fans happy and that he was distraught after the FA Cup final loss to Chelsea last season.

Sanchez and Manchester United enjoyed a good run to the FA Cup final before they were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea.

Eden Hazard scored the only goal of the game from the spot after the Belgian international player was fouled by Phil Jones in the box.

Alexis Sanchez has scored just five goals in 41 appearances in all competitions since his transfer and he’s presently recovering from a knee injury sustained during the 3-2 home win over Southampton last month.

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£43m Arsenal Target Confirms Lyon Interest

Segun Amuda



Nicolas Pépé

Lille forward Nicolas Pepe is one of the most sought-after young players on the European football stage having attracted the interest of several clubs in the continent.

Major European clubs including Arsenal are keen to sign the Ivorian international player.

The 23-year-old has been in sensational form for Lille since the start of this campaign.

He has scored 18 goals and also provided 11 assists in 32 games in all competitions.

Nicolas Pepe has been speaking about his long-term future at Lille amidst the intense transfer rumours linking him with a move away from the club.

In a chat with Canal+, Pepe confirmed that he could have left Lille for fellow French club Lyon last summer but he opted to stay at his current club due to the promise he made to manager Christopher Galtier.

Lille are expected to cash in on Nicolas Pepe when the transfer window reopens in the summer with clubs like Arsenal and German champions Bayern Munich keen on his signature.

Recently, Lille owner Gerard Lopez confirmed that the player is attracting the interest of Premier League clubs before adding that it will take at least £43m to prise him away from the club.

Apart from Arsenal and Bayern Munich, French giants Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Liverpool have also been linked with the young winger.

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Arsenal Loanee Cleared After Head Injury Scare

Segun Amuda



david ospina

Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina has been cleared by doctors after he sustained what looked like a head injury during an Italian Serie A game at the weekend.

The Colombian shot-stopper is on a season-long loan deal at Napoli from North London giants Arsenal and he suffered the aforementioned injury during Napoli’s home clash with Udinese.

He initially suffered a brutal collision with Udinese attacker Ignacio Pussetto before the Colombian national team goalkeeper collapsed towards the first half of the Serie A game.

Ospina was treated on the pitch after the collision with Argentine striker Pussetto.

The Arsenal loanee was taken to hospital on Sunday and he has been released after doctors cleared him as confirmed by Napoli.

David Ospina has played 21 games for Napoli since he joined the club from Arsenal on a temporary deal until the end of the season.

The former Nice player requested for a loan transfer from Arsenal at the start of this season after the Gunners signed a new goalkeeper.

Arsenal signed Bernd Leno from German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in a deal worth £22m.

The signing of Leno pushed David Ospina to the third position on the goalkeeper’s pecking order at Arsenal behind Bernd Leno and ex-Czech Republic international star Petr Cech.

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Man Utd Plot Loan Exit For 23-Year-Old Arsenal Target

Segun Amuda



Andreas Pereira

Three-time European champions Manchester United are reportedly plotting a loan transfer out of the club for Red Devils midfielder Andreas Pereira.

According to the publication from The Sun, Manchester United are ready to let Andreas Pereira leave the club on loan if he signs a new four-year contract to commit his long-term future to the Red Devils.

Andreas Pereira, 23, was linked with a move to Arsenal before and during the January transfer window but those transfer rumours have cooled down in recent weeks.

Apart from the Gunners, the Belgium-born Brazilian international was also touted as a possible transfer addition for West London giants Chelsea, West Ham United and Spanish club Valencia.

Andreas Pereira initially had few months left on his Manchester United contract before the club activated the additional year clause in the contract to take him till 2020.

Manchester United want to tie him down to a long-term deal at the club.

Andreas Pereira has figured heavily in the Manchester United team more than ever under the guidance of interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He scored his first goal for the club during the comeback win over struggling outfit Southampton last month.

Andreas Pereira started the second half fightback by scoring the equaliser for Manchester United who had to overturn a 1-0 deficit to beat the Saints 3-2 in their Premier League clash in February.

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