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The UEFA Champions League is a long-running, prestigious championship organized season after season by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). It is a series of events that features the best of European football, and not only the national teams of individual countries but individual teams from each one. But this wasn't always the case. This is one of the 5 things you didn't know about the UEFA Champions League: until 1992, it didn't exist. Its predecessor, European Champion Clubs’ Cup or simply "European Cup", was similar to the FIFA World Cup, only reserved for European national teams. Things changed, though, allowing clubs to make it to the competition, making the championship more exciting for the fans. But let us take a look at other facts that you might not have known about the UEFA Champions League.


The UEFA Champions League has an anthem, called "Champions League", composed by Tony Britten. The anthem is an adaptation of George Frideric Handel's "Zadok the Priest" (Coronation Anthem), performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Starting his career as a theater musical director, Britten moved on to film and television - he is known for his work on big screen productions like Robocop, Once Upon a Time in the North and others. The anthem is played before every match and every television broadcast of the matches. It has never been released commercially.


UEFA international referees have an age limit of 45. After reaching this age, they have to step down. This rule has been introduced to ensure the highest level of fitness possible. Before even being considered as an international level referee, the refs need to pass a fitness test. An international referee is initially placed in Category 4 of the five experience-based categories established by UEFA. Refs from Spain, Germany, Italy, England, and France are placed directly into Category 3, though, due to their high-level football leagues. Each referee is evaluated twice every season and their level is revised - but they can't be promoted to the "Elite" category from any other, only from Category 1.

The trophy

There is only one UEFA Champions League trophy, and it is always in the possession of the League. To get a full-sized replica of the trophy, a club has to win the championship five times in a row. Only a handful of teams has managed such a feat - Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Milan, Liverpool, and Barcelona. Spanish clubs have managed to accumulate the highest number of wins in the history of the competition - 15 - followed by England and Italy with 12 each.


Two months into the season, two months away from the transfer window opening and after a hit and miss start to their campaign the age old question is being posed by Arsenal fans - who are we going to sign?  Arsene Wenger is nothing if not consistent in his playing of the transfer market - consistently infuriating for the majority of their supporters.  
Wenger managed to get a couple of rare pieces of business sewn up early in the summer and with Kolasinac and Lacazette's signatures it looked as though Arsenal could finally have been putting their money where their mouths were as part of Europe’s elite. But calamity struck again on the final day of the summer window - Alexis Sanchez’s proposed move to Man City falling through had a knock on effect on their £90 million bid for Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar.  
A case of play it again Arsene when the window opens up again in January? Absolutely. Whether or not Sanchez leaves in January or at the end of the season Arsenal will be losing their Chilean dynamo. Add to that the huge rumours from inside the club that Mesut Ozil is surplus to requirements and it doesn't take much to realise Arsenal are in desperate need of stellar acquisitions and fast. 


In the meantime, the Gunners have drifted to fifth in the table and, despite the comfort of a big win over Everton, chances of an elusive title seem distant to say the least. At a price of around 66/1 in the outright win markets, it’s a figure where bonus betting is the only option, as opposed with putting our own money on the line.
Arsenal fans will be praying that big business is done early but it’s not only replacing Sanchez and Ozil that needs to be done, as ever there are huge questions over defensive frailties. With the above in mind and Wenger desperate to return the club to the Champions League Arsenal should be the biggest players in the January window, so here are the top 5 transfer targets for the Gunners:  
Thomas Lemar: 

The one that got away, although this was more down to the failure to get Alexis Sanchez's deal to Manchester City over the line. Will Wenger be coming straight back in for the France international? A lot could depend on whether Monaco qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League - they are currently bottom of their group, (strange as this may seem to Gunners) and failure to do so could see the chance of European silverware at Arsenal, albeit the Europa League.  


There is no questioning Lemar’s quality, an attacking midfielder who loves the style that Arsenal sides are renowned for playing with, passing pace and movement. Predominately left footed and with excellent dead ball skills he could be the perfect signing to link with French teammates Lacazette and Giroud. The obvious stumbling block could be that price tag though.        
Julian Draxler:  


The German international was very close to signing for Arsenal this summer, Wenger was in Paris on the final day of the window and although not widely reported due to the Thomas Lemar bid this was apparently the transfer Wenger wanted the most. Draxler has seen his stock fall somewhat since the arrival of Neymar and Mbappe at PSG and with him posting a picture of an Arsenal shirt with close friend Sead Kolasinac's name and number on, the rumour mill is now in overdrive that he will join his former Schalke teammate at the Emirates.  


Draxler is very much the opposite of his languid countryman Ozil, he is an adaptable attacking midfielder, happiest coming in from the left flank but he offers more physically than Ozil and would be suited to the rough and tumble of the Premier League. At around £35million he offers a cheaper alternative than Thomas Lemar.   
Adrien Rabiot:  


The PSG central midfielder offers elegant passing and a defensive quality that is still missing in the current Arsenal side. Rabiot is reportedly unhappy with opportunities and contract negotiations at PSG and has publicly stated his desire to play in the Premier League.  


Arsenal as always offers a French sanctuary and there have been many comparisons made between Rabiot and Patrick Vieira, tall, strong tackling with an eye to deliver killer passes going forward, Rabiot could offer what Xhaka, Coquelin, Elneny, Abou Diaby, Flamini, Diarra...(to name a few) have failed to deliver since the Arsenal legend departed well over a decade ago.    
Karim Benzema:  


The eternal struggle for Arsenal; for years every Arsenal fan has heard the rumours that Benzema is unhappy at Real and ready to leave the Bernabeu. Again if you believe the rumours (probably not given the history of this tug of war) this still appears to be the case.  


Everyone knows that Benzema offers goals, a strike rate of nearly 1 in 2 at Madrid. Again IF Wenger could manage to pull this, the Rabiot and Lemar deal off he would have a huge contingent of French players who share the Gallic flair we know Wenger loves. It worked once before in the days of Viera, Pires, Wiltord and Henry - could this be the second coming?  
Nikola Maksimovic:  


Aside from the much talked about replacement of Ozil and Sanchez it could be argued there are bigger fish to fry for Wenger. Many pundits have for years labelled that the real problems for Arsenal stem from their porous defence.  


One solution could come from the Serbian international Nikola Maksimovic. The 25 year old has spent the last 4 years in Italy, arguably the home of defensive football, firstly for Torino and since last season Napoli. With 19 caps for the Serbian national side the 6ft 4inch central defender has drawn comparisons in his homeland to former Manchester United defender and compatriot Nemanja Vidic. Maksimovic is unhappy with the lack of first team football at Napoli and Arsenal could well take a chance on him at around the £20 million mark.  
Historically Arsene Wenger hasn't been a big player in the January transfer window; very few would disagree that he will have to come out and act swiftly to avoid embarrassment at the end of the season. Imagine the apocalyptic scene with Arsenal fans if the Gunners failed to recruit this window, saw Sanchez and Ozil leaving on free transfers, failure to qualify for Champions League and Spurs above them in the final standings? Surely then Wenger would be the walking dead.


Four years ago, Mesut Ozil’s £42.5 million transfer to Arsenal was that year’s Neymar moment. The deal set a new record for the club, and also made the attacking midfielder the most expensive German footballer ever.

Yet today, he looks like becoming the latest in an ever growing list of bad news stories coming out of Emirates Stadium, where financial mismanagement and wasted opportunities are becoming seen as business as usual.

Contract stand-off

The 28 year old star of World Cup 2014 is currently in a contract stand-off with Arsenal, and the upshot is that he will be at liberty to leave next summer. Already, his name has been linked Manchester United, and from the player’s perspective, the idea is a compelling one.

During their time together at Real, Jose Mourinho demonstrated that he knew how to get the best out of Ozil, something that Wenger has patently failed to do. On the increasingly rare occasions, he has taken to the field, he has looked like a man out of place, which is exactly what he has typically been.

If you look back at his glory years at Real, and his instrumental role in helping Germany achieve World Cup glory, he had the freedom to play a far more attacking role than he can for the Gunners. Is it simply a case that the Arsenal system and he do not mix, or is this another case of Wenger being unable to get the best out of a world class player?

Transfer odds from the casino world

The popular press might be treating Mesut Ozil’s departure as a foregone conclusion, but to get an objective view, the best place to look is at the sports betting sites. Online casinos like provide links to the latest betting odds, and provide valuable clues as to what is likely to happen and when.

As far as Ozil’s future is concerned, the bookmakers have him at 5/2 to be wearing a United shirt next season. Barcelona are a 4/1 shot, while a move to Inter Milan is at 9/2. If you think he could be on his way even sooner, the betting sites will offer 8/1 for a move to Manchester United before 03 February 2018, while the idea that he might depart to Inter on a loan deal over the coming months is rapidly gaining traction, and quoted at 11/2.

Impact on Wenger

If Ozil departs as expected on a free transfer, it will put additional pressure on Arsene Wenger. Questions over his future have been somewhat quieted by the recent run of good results on the pitch, but these cannot entirely silence the doubters’ grave misgivings about the way things are handled behind the scenes.


Wenger is currently at 33/1 in the ever popular “next Premiership manager to leave his post” stakes, but expect these odds to shorten considerably if the Ozil move comes about, and the dissenting voices to become more vociferous than ever. 

It is a fair bet that even the most hard-hearted Gooner sometimes has to feel a little sorry for Arsene Wenger. He must have breathed something of a sigh of relief when the transfer window finally slammed closed last month, after lurching from one disaster to another.

The phrase “financial mismanagement” has been thrown around, and while that is a little strong, it is fair to say that if he played Monopoly the way he manages a Premiership team, he would have the stations mortgaged and be desperately trying to negotiate safe passage past Park Land and Mayfair.

Yet even now, Wenger finds himself on the wrong end of two free transfer headlines, relating to the almost certain departure of Mesut Ozil and the increasingly likely non-arrival of Leon Gorezka.

Online bookmakers predict a United coup

The betting sites are all agreed that both midfielders will be wearing United shirts next season. After the summer madness of Neymar’s record deal, the “will he or won’t he” surrounding Sanchez and the deadline day frenzy, the best football betting sites generate as much traffic these days regarding who will end up where as they do in relation to the matches themselves.

Goretzka was widely expected to sign for Barcelona, but having ruled themselves out of the chase, the battle is now seen as a three way one between the Gunners, United and Bayern Munich. The bookies have United as hot favourites to seal the deal, and slot him into the midfield to replace outgoing skipper Michael Carrick.

At the same time, Mesut Ozil will also be out of contract at the end of the season. If signing Lucas Perez from Deportivo for £17 million only to send him back there again on loan seemed bad, the thought of Ozil, who cost a record £42.5 million in 2013, walking out of the door on a free transfer defies belief.

Again, United is the most likely destination. Ozil and Mourinho formed a successful relationship at Real, and it is one that both parties are likely to want to rekindle. Bookmakers are quoting odds of 5/2 on it happening next summer.

More midfield woes

While The Red Devils are getting their midfield shop in order in good time, things are far less clear at Emirates. Alexis Sanchez is also out of contract at the end of the season. Given the strong rumours of a move to Manchester City during the transfer window and the fact that there is no sign of a new deal in the pipeline, it has to be assumed that he will be on his way next year.

Alex Iwobi told The Sun the loss of Ozil and Sanchez would be “a huge setback” to Arsenal’s hopes of playing in the Champion’s League.

Bookmakers have Sanchez at 6/4 odds to complete the move to City in January’s transfer window. If that happens, Wenger will need to have his eyes open and chequebook at the ready, or Iwobi’s words could well come back to haunt him.

Arsenal head to Watford on Saturday aiming to extend their four-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.

After a shaky start to the season the Gunners won six out of seven matches in all competitions during September. They are currently fifth in the league, six points behind leaders Manchester City.

Watford have been one of surprises packages this term, with just one defeat in their opening seven games taking them to eighth in the standings.

Laurent Koscileny's return to the squad is a boost to Arsenal boss Arsenal Wenger, especially with Shkodran Mustafi suffering a serious groin injury playing for Germany last week.

Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck are also back in contention, while Wenger will make a late check on Alexis Sanchez following his involvement in Chile's World Cup defeat against Brazil.

Ozil may face a fight to get back into the starting XI after a front three of Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi impressed in the 2-0 win against Brighton.

Watford will be without Nathaniel Chalobah after it was confirmed he needed surgery on a knee injury. Craig Cathcart and Mauro Zarate are still recovering from their injury problems.

Arsenal have an excellent recent record against Watford, winning eight of their last ten meetings in all competitions.

The Gunners are on offer at 13/20 to win on Saturday, with Watford available at 4/1 and the draw priced at 16/5.

Striker Alexandre Lacazette is 15/4 to score the first goal, but check out all the latest first goalscorer odds before wagering on the game.

Arsenal have kept clean sheets against Bournemouth, Chelsea, West Brom and Brighton in their last four league games, so the 17/2 on offer for a 2-0 victory makes plenty of appeal.

With the home side likely to try and keep things tight, odds of 4/1 for Arsenal to win and the game to have under 2.5 goals also looks tempting.

Arsenal recorded a 3-1 victory on their last visit to Vicarage Road and are priced at 11/1 for a repeat performance.

Ozil scored during that fixture and is available at 11/4 to bag another goal during Saturday's game.

While Arsenal have enjoyed success against Watford in recent times, Marco Silva's side could cause the Gunners some problems.

Three wins, three draws and a defeat has put Watford just a point behind their opponents and there could be some value in backing them to take something from this game.

Watford have drawn two of their home games this term and the 7/1 available for a 1-1 draw will certainly attract some punters.

Their only defeat at home was a 6-0 rout against Manchester City, and Arsenal can be backed at 150/1 to match that feat.

Arsenal have conceded eight goals this season, giving hope to Watford that they can find the target this weekend.

The Hornets have scored first in four of their seven games this season and joint top scorer Abdoulaye Doucoure could be worth an interest at 22/1 to open the scoring.

Boyhood Arsenal fan Andre Gray may also fancy his chances of getting amongst the goals and he is on offer at 5/2 to score at any time during the game. 

While Arsenal haven't scored away from the Emirates Stadium this season, it's difficult to see that run carrying on much longer.

Four clean sheets in a row have given Wenger's side a platform to climb up the table and they should prove too strong for their hosts this weekend.

Watford have failed to score in their last two home games and the 9/4 on offer for Arsenal to win to nil looks a solid wager.

FIFA 18 has been out for just over a week now with millions of people across the globe picking up a copy and playing the game.

FIFA 18 had been one of the most anticipated FIFA installments in recent memory due to the continuation of the Weekend League, a feature introduced in FIFA 17 to the Ultimate Team mode in which FIFA players all over the world compete with one another for prizes.

The biggest draw for FIFA fans is undoubtedly the aforementioned Ultimate Team. Thanks to Ultimate Team, FIFA has become an esport. Over the past several years, esports have become a wildly successful and entertaining spectator sport with revenue estimated to be in the billions.

The top two FIFA 17 esports tournaments handed out cash prizes to the tune of $100,000 for the winner of the Ultimate Team Championship Series and $200,000 to the winner for the FIFA Interactive World Cup.

Viewers of these FIFA esports tournaments were able to watch them online live and bet on them live like they would a real football tournament. FIFA 18 is expected to be even bigger in terms of esports tournaments and prize money, so of course, players are on the lookout for the best players possible.

So, without further ado, here are the best Arsenal players in FIFA 18.

Arsenal’s highest rated player – Alexis Sanchez

It is no surprise that Alexis Sanchez is both Arsenal’s highest rated footballer in FIFA 18 and one of the highest rated in the Premier League. Despite playing as and excelling as a striker for long periods of last season for the Gunners front line, the Chilean’s position is left midfield on FIFA 18. But with very high pace, dribbling and shooting stats, Sanchez could certainly be played as the spearhead of an attack.

The German architect – Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil has actually seen his overall rating decreased from 89 to 88 since FIFA 17. The German playmaker is not without his critics, he was criticized throughout various parts of last season, a lot of it due to his extremely laidback approach during important football matches but the former Real Madrid man is without a doubt a world class midfielder with a wand of a left foot. Expect Ozil to be a popular choice of playmakers in Ultimate team, Ozil and Sanchez as your number nine and number 10 sounds like a frightening proposal for your opponents.

The new boy – Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette, due to his phenomenal stats is already one of the most expensive Premier League players in game. His pace, dribbling and shooting abilities mean that the Frenchman will score goals for fun in game whilst the striker can also be used to make a strong French squad. The former Lyon striker has already been featured in FIFA Ultimate Team’s ‘Team of the Week’ which saw his overall rating pumped up to 86. Let’s just hope the Frenchman can be as prolific as a certain other former French international striker that turned out for Arsenal 15 or so years ago…

The Legends – Thierry Henry and Robert Pires


Who better to incorporate into your FIFA Ultimate team than arguably the best player to have ever graced the Premier League - Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. There are three different versions of Henry’s card, all representing different stages in the Frenchman’s career, but of course his highest rated one is when he graced the green grass of Highbury. Henry is certainly one of the best cards on the entire game and with good reason – the French marksman is fifth on the Premier League all-time leading goal scorers chart with 175 Premier League goals.

If you have the cash, ensure that you partner Henry up with his former club and international team mate – Robert Pires. Just make sure they don’t chat to each other about penalties. 

The Back Line

Arsenal have an extremely sturdy defence on FIFA 18. Koscielny is a number one choice for most FUT players who favour a Premier League squad – his defensive and pace stats are top notch for a defender whilst Mustafi is highly rated too. Although Cech has seen his overall rating fall some way behind his Premier League counterparts – Courtois, De Gea and Lloris – the Czech is still a very reliable choice for your goalkeeping spot.


Every Arsenal fan knows unless a miracle happens, Alexis Sanchez will be leaving Arsenal this summer and it appears the club is already working to sign a replacement for want-away Chilean. This is as reports claim Arsenal are interested in signing Antoine Griezmann in the summer.

And to further buttress the reports, various bookmakers are also starting to hint at a possible surprise Griezmann to Arsenal deal. The 26-year-old was reportedly on the verge of joining Manchester United last summer but for the transfer ban slammed on Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann was just few days ago 10/1 odds to join Arsenal from the likes of betulator but after current Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette announced he would try to convince Griezmann to sign for Arsenal the odds have been shorted to just 4/1.

Although Manchester United are likely to still be interested in signing the Frenchman next summer, but does Arsenal have any chance?

It is obvious Sanchez will leave Arsenal either in January or in the summer transfer window and signing Griezmann will make perfect sense but will Wenger sanction such a deal especially considering Atletico Madrid are very unlikely to agree to sell him for less than his £92 million release clause (which is only valid in January, it becomes £184m next summer) especially as they can get same elsewhere?

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will know that they can’t afford not to buy a replacement for Sanchez should the South American leave this summer. Most Arsenal fans would certainly like to retain Sanchez and just add to the team but with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, who are much more ambitious than Arsenal still interested in him, it will be a big surprise if the former Barca star remains an Arsenal player beyond this season.

Signing Griezmann will certainly make sense but I personally believe Wenger won't do such a deal not because Griezmann isn't good but because of the amount of money involved. Wenger is more likely to go for Julian Draxler rather than Griezmann as Sanchez's replacement. It is a shame but it is one fact that most Arsenal fans who are not deluded will agree to. Inasmuch as Wenger remains Arsenal's manager, Arsenal are very unlikely to spend 100 million on a single player.

If Griezmann leaves Atletico in the summer, and I think he will, he is more likely to go to Manchester United or PSG. Both clubs have more money than Arsenal and are not afraid to spend it. Arsenal can by all means afford Griezmann but they certainly won't be signing him if the likes of PSG, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barca are still interested in signing him.

  • 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