Arsenal – West Brom: Match Preview

Arsenal travel to the West Midlands in the early kick off today, to face Tony Pulis’s West Brom side in the Premier League.

 

The Gunners will be hoping for a win, although it will be a difficult game with West Brom playing a physical game, not suited to Wenger’s side. This will probably mean that the manager will start Giroud up front, with the intention of stopping the Baggies dangerous set pieces from finding the back of the net.

 

With the combination of Xhaka and Ramsey working well in the previous match against Lincoln, it looks like they’ll get another go in the midfield. Wenger spoke to the press about the Swiss international earlier in the week, stating that he needs to try and sort out his tackling as he’s earned a bad reputation because of it.

 

Wenger will have to make a big call on whether to keep Oxlade-Chamberlain in the midfield or to put Ozil back into the side, behind the front three. Either side of Giroud we’ll likely see Alexis and Walcott, both of whom started in the last game and both played well. The Englishman certainly looked our most dangerous player going forward in that game. Saying that it’ll mean another game on the bench for Lucas Perez and little or no game time for Danny Welbeck.

 

With just one win in our last four Premier League Games, it’s now time that Arsenal really start to put the pressure on and try to secure that Champions league qualifying spot that we all dream of…

Arsenal to appoint a Sporting Director

The Telegraph has reported that the Gunners hope to sign a Sporting Director soon to handle the transition following Wenger’s departure.

 

With the feeling growing that the 67-year-old will leave at the end of the season, Arsenal has come under fire for not having a board member with much footballing experience to handle appointing a new manager.

 

It is suggested that if Wenger decides to leave, the Arsenal board will look to bring in a Sporting Director to undertake some of the burdens that in the past have all been piled on the Frenchman.

 

With the ‘Director of Football’ role becoming more popular in England, Arsenal may be the latest club to take it on. However, with each club the responsibilities of the position do vary. It can range from acting as a middleman between the board to the manager to negotiating transfers for the manager.

 

Before Wenger’s arrival and in his early years David Dein acted in this sort of role, negotiating transfers on behalf of the management and finalising deals for the club. However, as he left the reigns were passed down to Dick Law, though he has a less visible role and is more of a negotiator for the club.

 

Some of the names that have been mentioned as favourites to fill the sporting director role range from Ramon Rodríguez Verdejo, Michael Zorc to former Arsenal players: Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp.

 

With the former playmaker being the likely out of the former players. Pires has already stated that he’d be interested in the role last year: “Yes, that [being sporting director] is my objective. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I need to talk about it with the owners and Arsene Wenger. I’d love this job, I love to talk with the players.

Arsenal 5– Lincoln City 0: Player Ratings

That’s exactly what the Gunners were after, a convincing win and a place at Wembley, with one step closer to silverware.

 

Petr Cech – 7
Didn’t have much to do, however, he made some strong saves in the first half to keep Lincoln out.

 

Hector Bellerin – 8
Was great going forward with the ball, made us a real threat down the right-hand side.

 

Shkodran Mustafi – 7
Lincoln didn’t trouble the centre back, the only incident he was involved in was when he got an elbow in the face early on.

 

Laurent Koscielny – 7.5
Played well, whether that’s because the Lincoln offence was poor or his defending was top notch.

 

Kieran Gibbs – 8
Played well down the left-hand side and managed to get an assist for the own goal.

 

Aaron Ramsey – 8.5
He couldn’t finish any of his chances, although he still managed to get a goal and have a 92% successful pass rate.

 

Granit Xhaka – 7
Managed to get the play going from far back and had a great passing range, but like normal he managed to pick up a yellow card early on.

 

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain– 6
Was doing well, but a hamstring opportunity forced him off before half-time.

 

Alexis Sanchez – 9.5
Played great in the second half and mediocre in the first. Managed to get a goal and his exceptional free kick rocked the woodwork.

 

Olivier Giroud – 8
Got a goal and managed to hold up the player well for the other forwards.

 

Theo Walcott – 8.5
One of our most threatening forwards and managed to break the deadlock early on, so that the goals kept on coming in.

 

Substitutes
Lucas Perez – 6.5
Mesut Ozil – 7.5
Francis Coquelin – 7

Arsenal – Lincoln City: Match Preview

After the Gunners humiliating defeat against Bayern this week, Wenger’s team host Lincoln City in the F.A cup quarter-finals this weekend.

 

With Arsenal crashing out of the Champions league and sitting in 5th position in the Premier league; this looks like Arsenal’s only opportunity to progress further in a competition and maybe get their hands on silverware this season.

 

After the defeat there has been more calls for Wenger to resign at the end of the season and even more reports of players wanting to jump ship come the Summer; Ozil, Sanchez, Chamberlain and Ospina to name a few.

 

However this will not be an easy fixture for the North London club, with their opponents ‘the Imps’ currently top of the national league after 34 matches, and favourites for promotion to the football league.

 

The French manager is likely to rotate his team slightly and give those on the fringes of the team a bit of game time. Ospina will start in net, as he does in every cup competition and we’ll likely see the return of  Rob Holding, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles into the team.

 

Conversely,  Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil are all doubts for the game due to illness, maybe there’s a bug going round at London Colney, who knows.

 

Nevertheless whatever the line up the Gunners ‘should’ have too much quality for the non-league side. Though anything is possible, as the East midlands team have already knocked out Premier League opposition in the last round.

 

A win will see the Gunners one step closer to silverware and a defeat I dread to think…

Arsenal – Bayern Munich: Match Preview

After Arsenal’s defeat against Liverpool at the weekend, what more could the Gunners want then a game against one of Europes biggest clubs that beat you 5-1 just a few weeks ago?

 

Arsenal play the German champions in the return leg of the Champions League last 16 tonight, to get through to the net round is an impossible task. The Gunners would need to score four goals, without conceding.

 

However with nothing to lose, what kind of side will Wenger decide to play. Will tempers of died down and we see the return of Alexis Sanchez to the starting line up? Wenger even denied any kind of a bust up in the press conference for the European match.

 

With Mesut Ozil out with illness, it means that not too much can be rotated. We might see the return of Aaron Ramsey for Coquelin and David Ospina for Petr Cech. However, these are hardly changes that will have Carlo Ancelotti quaking in his boots.

 

With Alex Iwobi struggling for form, hopefully we will see Lucas Perez come into the starting line-up. Even though Wenger is reluctant to start the Spaniard, despite always impressing. The only way to get anything positive from this game is if Wenger goes for broke, imagine a front three of Welbeck, Alexis, Perez with Chamberlain in behind.

 

With four defeats in the last six games it can only get better for the North London Club, well hopefully anyway. With all hope of any progress in the Champions league gone, we can only hope for a performance to inspire future games.