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Unai Emery has had just hands full at Arsenal since arriving to the North London club this summer. Taking over from Arsene Wenger was always going to be a difficult job for any new manager and it's a job that Emery has been getting his teeth stuck into.

The former Sevilla coach has had the difficult task of having to achieve immediate results and find his best team all at the same time. This has meant not only that free betting tips on the match are difficult to come by as it is very difficult to predict the maanger but also that a certain amount of players have had the chance to start for Arsenal this season during the early Premier League outtings. The win at Newcastle this weekend means that Arsenal and Emery have managed 3 victories on the spin, two of those away from home. The downside to this is that many of the squad players have not had a look in as yet.

The likes of Mohamed Elneny, Rob Holding, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Bernd Leno amongst others have not managed a single Premier League minute so far this season but that is all about to change.

On Thursday evening, Arsenal begin their Europa League journey when they host FC Vorskla at the Emirates Stadium.

It will be a good chance for Emery to rotate his squad and give the fringe players a chance to really impress the manager.

Emery hinted as much after the Newcastle United victory.

Emery said:  “We are going to change and use a lot of players for different competitions, but only thinking about the best performance for us to win on Thursday,”

“Every competition for me is about [doing as well as you can] and normally you use a different goalkeeper in those [other] competitions, but it’s about giving [your best] performance.”

“After the Champions League, the Europa League is the most important competition,” he noted on Friday.

“If teams cannot play in the Champions League, it is very important. When we opened this possibility that, when you win the Europa League, you play in the Champions League, it was the key to improve the interest in this competition.

“I have proven with my experience to know the best way to manage the players [in the Europa League]. My idea first isn’t to change 11 players for one competition and the next competition. Each match is giving us information for how we can play.”

Many Arsenal fans have been itching to see the likes of Bernd Leno after number 1 goalkeeper, Petr Cech has made some high profile errors passing out from the back this season. While we all expect Leno to be better with is feet, it is still unclear how his handling has been during sessions at London Colny.

Arsenal fans will also be excited to see another centre back on the pitch in an Arsenal shirt given the up and down nature of Shkodran Mustafi this season. It will be interesting to see if Emery sticks with one experienced defender alongside a youngster or if he will be brave enough to pair both Holding and Mavropanos for example.

What is unclear is what the manager will do at left back given that both Sead Kolašinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are both injured.

We could see a team similar to this on Thursday night:

 

 

 

 


Leno
Lichtsteiner Holding Mavropanos Monreal
Elneny Torreira Smith-Rowe
Mkhitaryan Welbeck Iwobi


 

Just days before the League Cup final, a little-known Swedish team pitched up at the Emirates for a second leg fixture in the Europa League. The match was deemed by most to be a mere formality, with the Gunners having won the first leg 3-0 in comfortable fashion. So, it was unsurprising that a vast number of Arsenal fans were unhappy that Arsene Wenger had to decided to put out such a strong team, considering a huge game at Wembley against Manchester City would take place just three days later.

But then the match kicked-off… with Arsenal playing in their “unlucky” blue away kit despite being the home side. Maybe it was the hint that this was not a night of normality.

How Did Östersunds Win at Arsenal?

No-one might have been betting on them, but straight from the off, Östersunds showed that they were not in awe of Arsenal. Something which certainly seemed to be the case in the first half of their home fixture.

They were comfortable on the ball, moved it forward well and pressed the Gunners across the pitch. Arsenal, on the other hand, seemed content with keeping the ball, without any emphasis on attack – effectively trying to run down the clock from the first minute.

Östersunds quickly realised they were more than capable of picking up a shock win at the Emirates, and they were rewarded for their positive play in the 22nd minute, when Rob Holding failed to clear the danger after moving out of central defence, which the Swedish side quickly punished, laying on a through ball for their wide man, Hosam Aiesh, who duly despatched from a tight angle. Nevertheless, the tie was surely beyond the reach of the Swedish minnows.

70 seconds later, Östersunds had the ball in the back of the net again. On the opposite flank Ken Sema latched on to a looping ball, easily losing Calum Chambers with a neat bit of skill and fired across goal into the bottom corner. 23 minutes in, and Östersunds were leading Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates, and were just one goal away from levelling the tie.

Arsenal kept it tight for the rest of the half and emerged for the second half with a point to prove. Within a couple of minutes, Arsenal packed men into the box as the ball was crossed in, but Mukiibi made a hash of the clearance, allowing Sead Kolašinac to emphatically fire the ball into the roof of the net. The goal wasn’t met with celebrations, but instead an element of relief.

The game opened up radically after this point, with Östersunds fearlessly throwing men forward as Arsenal looked to catch them out on the break. Despite their best efforts, the Swedish side couldn’t complete their impossible mission, but no-one could doubt who the better team was on the day, with the Gunners again booed off the pitch.

Who Are Östersunds?

Östersunds’ win over Arsenal is all the more impressive when you take a look at the club’s short history.

The club represents the tiny city of Östersund, found slap bang in the middle of Sweden with a population of just 50,000. It was founded in 1996 as multiple clubs in the city merged, however the club stayed in the country’s third tier until it was relegated to the fourth tier in 2011. This proved to be a defining moment for the club, as the club’s chairman, Daniel Kindberg, met with other officials at the club to figure out exactly why they do what they do, and what the club represents. With this in mind, he returned to the position of Director of Football, and appointed young English manager, Graham Potter, as manager.

Who Is Graham Potter?

Potter had no management experience, although had played professionally in England for the likes of Southampton, Stoke and West Brom, before retiring at the age of 30. Potter recognised the difficultly of getting into management in England, and so set about it in an alternative fashion, acquiring a degree in Social Sciences from the Open University before working as a football development manager for the University of Hull and then Leeds Metropolitan University. At Leeds Met, he also completed a master’s in leadership and emotional intelligence.

Potter was recommended to Kindberg by Swansea’s Graeme Jones, and set about creating a club culture that focussed on developing players not just for football, but also as human beings. The Englishman led Östersunds to a remarkable rise, winning back-to-back titles to rise to the second tier, and then gaining promotion after three years into the Swedish top flight. Östersunds established themselves quickly at the top of the Swedish game and shocked the nation when they won the Svenska Cupen to qualify for the Europa League.

Nobody expected them to win a match in Europe, especially after drawing Turkish giants Galatasaray in the second qualifying round. However, Östersunds upset the odds once more, beating them 3-1 on aggregate, before beating Fola Esch and PAOK in order to reach the group stage. This would surely be in the end of the road for them though, with Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin and Zorya in their way. Instead, they well to just one defeat, securing their qualification with a game to spare, before drawing – and almost stunning - Arsenal in the knockout stages.

It’s safe to say we haven’t heard the last of Östersunds.

It was always going to be a long shot, so much so that A range of bookmakers have Arsenal at 33/1 to win the Premier League, but two weeks in to the new season, they have managed an underwhelming 0 points. While this isn’t a good start, they have come up against two top teams; champions Man City and Chelsea. Most recently, Gunners fans had to endure a crushing 3-2 defeat to Chelsea. Sadly, the score line doesn’t reflect how Arsenal played, with a poor defence and at times lacklustre attack. But how did each player get on individually?

Petr Cech 

Made a few fine stops - including one against Barkley in the second half. Couldn’t do a lot for the goals. 6

Hector Bellerin

Defensively sloppy, and to blame for the first goal. Positionally all over the place. Fairly effective going forward. 5

Sokratis 

Good tackling throughout. However, once he’s caught out of position there’s no hope, as he’s too slow. 6

Mustafi 

Out of the game for the first half, and was bypassed easily. Improved in the second half, but is still at the heart of Arsenal’s defensive woes. 5

Monreal 

Good going forward to help score Arsenal’s first. Caused some problems with his runs down the left side. 7

Guendouzi 

Fantastic showing from the young midfielder. 100% past accuracy in the first half. Emery has a real talent in his squad. 8

Xhaka

Got his season off to an awful start, and can’t see him starting for much longer. In my opinion, a loose cannon who should be replaced. Caught out too often. Reckless too, with two yellows in two games. 3

Iwobi 

Excellent performance from the Nigerian. Direct attacking and caused real problems. One of Arsenal’s brightest sparks at the moment. Scored the key equaliser. 7

Ozil 

Couldn’t make an impact on the match, and we saw another quiet performance from the #10. Had one good chance early on, but otherwise invisible. Needs to improve. 5 

Mkhitaryan 

Scored Arsenal’s first goal to make it 2-1. A good finish. Played well and set up the second too. 7

Aubameyang

Missed two easy chances, including one from 6 yards that went blazing over the bar. Yet to score in the league, and needs a confidence boost soon. 4 

SUBS 

Torreira

Looked lively when he came on. Caught out by Chelsea’s attacks a few times - but still better than Xhaka and should replace him. 

Ramsey 

Quiet after coming on, not making much of an impact. 5

Lacazette

Disappointing mistake for Chelsea’s third goal, and didn’t track back to make amends. 4 

The Gunners still need time to adjust to Emery’s style of play, as they were uncomfortable playing the ball out from the back. On too many occasions, Cech would pass the ball out to a centre back - only to get it back again and send it long. Like I said, Arsenal need time to adjust. But a lack of points is starting to take its toll. Now that they are through a rough patch (facing Chelsea and City), we should start to see Emery’s tactics come to fruition.

Arsenal began life without Arsene Wenger and under Spanish successor Unai Emery with a 2-0 home defeat courtesy of reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in their season opener.

Goals in either half from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva at the Emirates ensured City, who won the league by a record margin racking up 100 points last term, consigned the Gunners to a third consecutive loss to Pep Guardiola's side across all competitions without scoring.

Emery blooded four of his five summer signings in the game - two from the start in Greece centre Sokratis Papastathopoulos and holding midfielder Matteo Guendouzi - and a couple more off the bench.

Switzerland captain and full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner was pressed into service down the left-hand side when Ashley Maitland-Niles picked up an injury and Uruguay international Lucas Torreira replaced Granit Xhaka in midfield with 20 minutes left.

The Betfair Exchange odds on Man City to win league 2019 have shortened slightly, while the Gunners are also as big as 50/1. A top-four finish (and a return to the Champions League), meanwhile, is out to 11/5.

City was about as tough an opening to the Emery era as possible, so the loss Arsenal suffered must be placed in that context. They remain leading fancies for the Europa League with all bookies, however, because of the new manager's superb track record in that continental competition when he was at Sevilla.

As part of a defence that conceded twice at home, Sokratis' Gunners bow could have gone better and it was interesting to see Emery select Petr Cech in goal as captain over new keeper Bernd Leno - a reported £19,000,00 summer arrival from Bundesliga boys Bayer Leverkusen.

France Under-20 international Guendouzi was pitched straight in at the deep end having never played top-flight football and after just 30 senior appearances at Lorient. Although initially a nervy display, the youngster grew in stature but it was a surprise to see the tenacious Torreira, who demonstrated his own qualities sitting in front of his country's defence at the World Cup finals, on the bench.

Lichsteiner, meanwhile, is a wily veteran with a decade of experience playing in Serie A under his belt first with Lazio and then Juventus before joining Arsenal on a free. Although signed to perhaps impart some of that defensive nous to Hector Bellerin - a similar type of attack-minded full-back - he could continue down the left side of the back four if Sead Kolasinac or Nacho Monreal do not return to match fitness.

Aaron Ramsey showed the most drive and vibrancy in midfield against City, while Mesut Ozil was nominally on the left wing until the Welshman was taken off for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went out wide. 

Things don't get much easier for Emery as he faces fellow Premier League newcomer Maurizio Sarri and London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next after their comprehensive 3-0 win at Huddersfield Town. The Gunners haven't won there since October 2011, so have there work cut out for them.

 

If you’ve never heard of prediction betting before don’t worry, neither had we.

That’s why we asked the team at FanBet to tell us more, after all, they coined the phrase.

How does it work?

Prediction betting is a simple experiment where you enter your daily picks first, and then see the odds.

We are trying to determine if making your picks first and then entering your bet amount based on the odds, is a more profitable strategy for sports bettors.

Odds are made by bookmakers and often the underdog receives inflated odds to sway your betting picks. Or you may think bet x has better value and place a wager accordingly.

Whatever your strategy, it’s nice to have a second data set to analyse.

With this in mind we built a simple betting game, called Pick 6 Predictions.

Each day there are 6 fixtures to predict.

These are typically football matches.

You only see the games, no odds info.

You make your picks purely based on the head to head matchup.

Once your picks are made, you open your betslip and see the odds.

Here you place free bets with a daily bankroll of 1,000 credits.

The game tracks your win/loss ratio, pick percentage and weekly bankroll.

You win ACCA style bonus credits for 4 or more correct picks out of 6 per day, as well as rewards for your trophy cabinet.

The top player at the end of the week wins a cash prize, paid into Paypal.

Football Predictions

At present we display the football predictions for the daily games below the Pick 6 Game.

This gives you insight into the daily picks being made by players.

There is no fee to play the game but you must be over 18 to win a cash prize.

In time we will add your picks history so you can see your statistical performance with this strategy over time, and then decide on the best way to place sports bets moving forward.

For more information or to test a prediction betting strategy, visit https://www.fanbet.com/pick6

The FanBet prediction game features 6 daily games, 7 days a week.

Winners are announced every Monday.

The game works best on mobile devices.

The end of Arsene Wenger’s reign has ignited a feeling of optimism within the hearts of countless Arsenal fans who had found only contempt with their managerial complacency. Following in some pretty enormous footsteps is Unai Emery, the former Valencia, Sevilla and Paris Saint Germain boss.

Emery is not alone in riding this tidal wave of optimism, joining the Spanish gaffer is a raft of intriguing signings. Stepping into the unknown often is the harbinger of emotions like fear and trepidation, but after more than two decades under the Wenger’s yoke many fans feel naught but excitement.

If you find yourself becoming enraptured by this new dawn and succumb to the punters fancy, odds of 25/1 can be found for the Gunners to end a fourteen year wait for the domestic title.

The January arrivals of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan, allied to the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsay and Mesut Ozil, guarantee that Arsenal remain razor sharp in the attacking third. What is needed, and has been needed for some time, is solidity. A steel to calcify the erratic, flaky, silky play.

A move to a more robust style has been signalled with this Summer’s signings. The central defence, an area of weakness for years now, has been addressed with the acquisition of Borussia Dortmund’s towering colossus Sokratis, for in a deal worth a shade over £14million. At thirty years old, the Greek is very much a signing for the here and now, a welcome change from the slew of speculative gambles. Tall, strong and adept on the ball Sokratis is a fine replacement for the perennially injured Laurent Koscielny.

Another veteran drafted in is Stephan Lichtsteiner the right back who has dominated Juventus’ flank throughout their recent reign of domestic dominance. At thirty-four he has lost some of his mobility, but as he recently shown in the World Cup against Brazil, shackling the wonderfully gifted Neymar, what he lacks in pace he more than compensates with aggression and intelligence. More key than his on-field abilities will be his dressing room influence. Known widely within the game as an unflinching, uncompromising winner, his mindset should morph Arsenal’s band of enigmatic hipsters into a hardened bunch.

Marshalling the defence from his goal line will be Bern Leno, fresh from another assured Bundesliga season with Bayer Leverkusen. After the rapid decent of Petr Cech and the continued turmoil of David Ospina, a composed presence in goal, one that doesn’t infect the defence with terror, will be a welcome addition.

Finally, Arsenal are looking for someone to balance out their offensive midfield. A number of viable candidates are available yet it seems the Arsenal hierarchy have identified the Uruguay and Sampdoria’s bundle of energy Lucas Torreira. Much to the chagrin of many an Arsenal supporter, Torreira has decided to postpone a decision on his domestic career to focus on his national side.

Still, the deal should progress whenever Uruguay find themselves eliminated. Torreira has been one of the most unheralded players of the World Cup so far, zooming around the park, looking as though fatigue is a concept completely alien to him. His role in linking a world-class defence in Godin and Gimenez with a spell-binding attack of Cavani and Suarez is pivotal.

Change can be a daunting prospect for fans, but with a manager with fresh ideas and summer signings that have been acquired with a specific role in mind, a return to contender status is a realistic ambition.

 

Arsenal fans can finally look forward to a summer transfer window with genuine optimism after Arsene Wenger’s departure ushered in a brave new chapter for the club. Transfer windows under the Frenchman leadership followed a similar pattern, characterised by indecision, timidity and a failure to land top targets. There was also an on-going failure to address weaknesses in the squad, particularly when it came to securing defensive reinforcements and a holding midfielder. But it is a brave new world now, with Unai Emery in the dugout, Sven Minislat heading up the recruitment team and Raul Sanllehi pulling the financial strings.

There are no guarantees that Arsenal will crack the transfer market this summer, but the early signs are positive. Experienced Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner has already joined the Emery revolution on a free transfer, and a £17.5 million deal for Borussia Dortmund’s tough-tackling centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos should go through when the new Bundesliga financial year starts on July 1. The club are also rumoured to be targeting Freiburg centre-back Caglar Soyuncu. Arsenal appear determined to overhaul a defence that let the side down time and time again last season.

The Gunners are well stacked going forwards, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang supported by the creative talents of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, plus Alexandre Lacazette and exciting youngster Eddie Nketiah also in the mix. Alex Iwobi may even deliver on his potential. Stranger things have happened. There seems no need to sign attackers, a step change from Wenger always seeming to target forwards rather than defenders. Arsenal have been a shambles defensively for years now, and fans were constantly frustrated at Wenger’s refusal to address an issue that was glaringly obvious to even casual armchair fans. It now seems that there are sensible people in charge and that they are determined to give Emery a fighting chance next season.

The challenge is vast. Check out the best-reviewed betting websites on the market, and you will see that Arsenal are all the way out at 28/1 to win the Premiership title next season. They have been left well behind by their rivals over the last few years, and the bookmakers predict they will finish sixth again next season. Man City are the odds-on favourites to successfully defend their crown, and they have also been installed as early Champions League favourites ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Liverpool, who reached the Champions League final in May, are second favourites in the betting at 5/1 after embarking on an ambitious recruitment drive this summer. Jose Mourinho’s heavy-spending Man Utd are 7/1, and Chelsea and Tottenham are both hovering around the 14/1 mark.

Arsenal are in a bit of a quandary, because a lack of Champions League football means they cannot invest as much as their rivals. Yet they have to do something to catch up with them, so they need to box clever in the transfer market. Poaching wunderkind Yacine Adli from PSG would be a good start. It is the sort of transfer that would evoke the early days of Wenger’s reign, plucking the likes of Nicolas Anelka from Ligue 1 and turning them into superstars.

It will also require more nastiness in the dressing room, according to former player Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman this week accused Arsenal of being too nice during his time at the club, and the buck has to stop with the manager. Emery is by all accounts a workaholic, and he seems a lot more demanding of his players than Wenger ever was. There is plenty of talent in the Arsenal squad and they simply need a bit of a kick to rediscover their potential.

Mauricio Pochettino has done well on a comparatively small budget at Spurs, and if Arsenal are to break back into the top four they need Emery to evolve their tactics in a similar fashion. Pressing and possession are Emery’s hallmarks, and that can only be positive if it drags Arsenal kicking and screaming into the modern era. It is time to end a culture of niceness and usher in a new chapter defined by hard work and a layer of steel to underpin the creative flair. Then Arsenal might return to the summit of English football once more.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more