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You would think that coming off the back of 6 consecutive wins would be exactly the sort of motivation a team would need for their next home match. Unfortunately for Arsenal this past weekend saw the gunners disappointingly dropped 2 points against visiting side Middleborough.

Since the end of August they’ve managed a brief unbeaten run which included a handful of away results and a memorable 3-0 home win against London rivals Chelsea.

Now since a rather lacklustre performance against an underperforming lower team over the weekend, and one that certainly lacked ideas and any sort of inspiration in that final third, there’s already concerns that this could be a bit of pre-winter lull for Arsene Wenger’s side.

Footballs a fickle mistress and it’s a sport where the critics and fans alike can turn on their team or even their manager at the flip of a switch. Wenger’s side are currently in second place in the Premier League on level points with both Manchester City and Liverpool who sit respectively either side of them.

So is this recent performance really something to concern fans? It’s certainly too early to tell whether or not the team are experiencing a little bit of a crash before we head into the final few weeks of this first half of the season.

But there were still plenty of things on show during that monotonous 90 minutes on Saturday that we should be potentially concerned about.

The team only managed 5 actual on target attempts at goal at the weekend and only one of those shots actually troubled the Boro keeper. Unsurprisingly it was Arsenal who were able to hold most of the possession through the game but possession is only as good as the chances you create as a team, and that’s simply something that Arsenal were not managing against the North Yorkshire visitors.

It was a game they expected to win, in fact everyone expected them to win as even the best betting websites around were predicting. The fact was that Boro battled hard and quite frankly looked like the better team throughout much of the game.

Middleborough were resilient during the game and were able to fend off pretty much anything Arsenal could throw at them, which sadly wasn’t a whole lot. In the after match interviews Wenger commented on the fact that his side were dominant in possession but put it down to tired legs and tired minds which resulted in the lack of imagination and creativity in front of goal.

Aside from their EFL match earlier this week, their next Premier League match will be a lunchtime game against Sunderland on Saturday and it’s crucial that Arsenal are quickly able to figure out exactly what went wrong and what they need to do to rectify the situation.

There was a lot of complacency and a real lack of drive from the vast majority of the team and it’s important that players aren’t suffering from a bout of over-confidence which is leading them to make mistakes and not work as hard as they should be.

A win over minnows Reading does not a title challenge make. Just look at Manchester United hammering Fenerbache only to get hammered themselves by a lacklustre Chelsea. Arsenal need to tread carefully and not get ahead of themselves.

There is still a long way to go until May,

 

 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has thrown down the gauntlet for Alex Iwobi to find the lost piece of his game by upgrading his scoring tactics, especially because he has developed nervousness within the 18-yard box. The Nigerian international played in the No. 10 role on Tuesday night in their 2-nil win against Reading in the EFL Cup tie. Wenger said he watched the midfielder linking play with his teammates smartly, as soccer lines adjusted their odds to reflect the superb performance by the London club.

Over the years, attacking midfielders at Arsenal have always desired to be accorded the roaming role just behind the striker, and Iwobi seemed to have displayed a performance that would trigger the manager to cement his presence in that position. However, the current obstacle for Iwobi is Mesut Ozil, who Wenger prefers over others in the No. 10 position. Even though Iwobi had an impressive all-round performance against Reading, he could not convert any goal. At least one goal could convince Wenger that he is ripe to replace Ozil in that position.

When Oliver Giroud came in as a substitute, he set up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain superbly on 74 minutes with a perfect pass, but Reading’s goalie, Ali Al-Habsi, read the ball and punched it away from the danger zone. The ball landed on Iwobi’s path like manna from heaven to offer him a big chance of scoring his third goal for Arsenal. However, instead of taking a first-time shot, he mistimed his stride to make the ball stick under his studs. So far, the Nigerian international has only scored two goals for his side.

Wenger expressed that the 20-year-old does not have the characteristics of playing as a winger, but he has the potential to take up the No. 10 role because he can push other players forward. Furthermore, his passes through the lines are well-timed and accurate, meaning he has what it takes to make perfect passes to other players. Wenger added all the positives endowed to Iwobi, the midfielder need to work on his finishing capturing an all-round talent. He has to tone down his nervousness, especially when he is in a good position to score.

After 898 days, Carl Jenkinson made an emotional return to Arsenal when he played in the EFL Cup against Reading. For the last two seasons, the right back has been on loan at West Ham United during which he suffered an injury on his cruciate knee ligament in January. He resumed his defensive duties for the first time after recovering fully from the injury. Jenkinson expressed his joy saying Arsenal even though he has been out on loan for two years. He added that he has always wanted to improve his game elsewhere and come back to his club ready to play superbly.

Even though the right back cherished his time at West Ham, he improved his abilities by playing a lot of football for the great club. The English professional footballer relished every moment at their London based rivals, but he feels great returning to Arsenal this season. He believes his fitness and playing as many games as possible is the recipe to keep grafting away as well as taking every opportunity to play well.

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For all the team building talk that has surrounded the Gunners for the past few seasons, the Gunners have relied mostly on the attacking prowess of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. While the latter is still going strong – with 4 goals, it is the form of Mesut Ozil that has dipped down in recent months.

In the upcoming verses, we determine why the lack of form of Ozil – camouflaged by the winning streak of the Gunners, is a good thing for the North London club.

Having played six matches in the Premier League this season, Ozil has no assist to his name. This is relatively strange for a player who was revered as the King of Premier League assists only last season. To demonstrate how his form has gone down, a glance at recent history would be vital.

At this stage last season, Ozil had managed to assist three goals for his teammates. While Arsenal fans could suggest that he is creating the same number of chances this season, Ozil has created “only” 13 chances this season, compared to 29 from the last one.

So, what has gone wrong? Is Ozil still tired having played his part in Germany in the Euros? Has Wenger, by the omission of Giroud, deprived Ozil of the recipient of his assists? Has Arsenal taken a step backward?

While Ozil could ponder on the first two questions, we’re in a position – thanks to stats, to answer the third one. With Ozil on top form at this stage last season, Arsenal had acquired 13-points from the opening 7 games, 3 less than what they have amassed this season.

What about the goals? Unsurprisingly, given the above-mentioned stats, the Gunners have scored more this season– 16 compared to 10 from last season. Thus, while Ozil might have all the reasons to worry, the Gunners fans might show no sympathy with the German forward.

So, what has changed? Firstly, the playing style of the Gunners. With Giroud at the heart of their attack last season, Arsenal couldn’t afford to press from the front. However, with the installation of Sanchez up front, the Gunners play with more fervor and vitality. To watch more such events get Arsenal tickets now.

The number of long balls has reduced, opposition defenders are harried out to give balls, and as evinced from their win against Chelsea, Arsenal no longer retains possession for the sake of possession. Instead, they always look to attack with a minimum number of sideway passes.

While Sanchez deserves the lion’s share of credit, it would be wrong not to give credit to Theo Walcott. For the umpteenth time in his Arsenal career, Walcott was linked with a move away from the North London club in the summer. Add to it the humiliation of being left out from the England’s Euro squad – though some might argue it was a blessing, and Walcott seemed to be heading out of the Emirates.

However, what no one could have predicted in the summer is the response of the English winger. With Sanchez shifted to the striker role – and Giroud to the bench, Wenger gave Walcott the freedom to play on the right. He has repaid the faith by providing a return of 3 goals in the first seven games of the season.

Thus, while the fans of Ozil might not be happy, the Gunners’ faithful have no reason to worry as long as other players continue to chip in with their performances.

 

For over 12 seasons Arsenal have had to get used to being always the bridesmaid and never the bride, as they consistently finished in the top 4 but rarely looked likely for the title. In a season where reigning champions Chelsea, and Manchester City, went off the boil, Liverpool and Manchester United were still in transition, Arsenal managed to close the gap at the top but were a world class striker away from winning the league. Here we examine Arsenal’s Premier League odds based on their form following the closure of the transfer window.

Premier League

Not only have Arsenal remained unbeaten following the closure of the transfer window, but they have also enjoyed four back to back wins. The first of which was against Southampton, after initially going behind to an early Petr Čech own goal, the Gunners came back with a world class goal from Koscielny and a penalty from Cazorla in stoppage time to win 2-1 and take all 3 points.
This was followed by an away trip to Hull at the KCOM Stadium. Hull have had an impressive start to the season with caretaker manager Mike Phelan leading the Tigers to two wins in the first two fixtures (the first of which against reigning Premier League champions Leicester). However they were no match for Arsenal with two goals from Sánchez and one each from Walcott and Xhaka. Robert Snodgrass’s penalty was nothing more than a consolation.

Without question, the most impressive performance by Arsenal so far this season was a 3-0 win over Chelsea on the 24th September. The Gunners were firing on all cylinders while the Blues looked lost at sea and seemed to be particularly missing their captain John Terry. Sanchez and Walcott scored within four minutes of each other, while a third from Özil all but finished the match before half time. Finally, Arsenal’s away trip to Burnley looked like it was heading for a 0-0 draw until Koscielny came to the rescue once again in the 93rd minute, which means that Arsenal head into the international break full of some much needed confidence.

Champions League

After two group stage fixtures Arsenal are comfortably sitting joint top of group A. The Gunners would have been happy enough with an away draw with PSG which they followed up with a 2-0 home win over Basel. They then host Ludogorets Razgrad on October 19th before the return legs of the group stage. Overall Arsenal fans should be pleased at being handed a relatively easy group which they should progress from quite comfortably.

Key Players

For all the talk about Arsenal lacking a world class striker (Giroud is good but has never looked consistent) Arsene Wenger made the signing of Lucas Pérez as the club’s new no. 9. However Pérez has only featured so far in an EFL Cup match against Nottingham Forest (in which he did score). Instead, Alexis Sánchez has found himself in a new position as the striker where he has found a new release and could prove himself to be the world class forward that Arsenal have been missing all along. Arsenal have also looked strong at the back with Laurent Koscielny leading the back 4 as captain in the absence of Per Mertesacker while the signing of Shkodran Mustafi looks like the ideal defensive partnership.

Arsenal are on the look-out of playing the 7th match of this season’s Premier League game after a brilliant this at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday which saw us winning the Blues 3 goals to nothing.

Manager Arsene Wenger men will be traveling to Turf Moor Stadium to be playing Burnley by 4:30pm and you can also get the best gambling odds, which would see most bookmakers place their money where the form of the club lies.

Currently Arsenal on seated on the third position on the Premier League table and it expected of the gap between the North London outfits and Arsenal reduces if win Burnley this weekend.

Merson claim the coming game against Burnley is the type of game Arsenal should win to prove they serious in doing business and winning the title.

Merson said as quoted by Sky Sports: "This is Arsenal. They were irresistible against Chelsea and Basel but this, on a Sunday afternoon in Burnley, will tell you if they have a chance of winning the Premier League.

"It should be 4-0. Burnley shouldn't be able to live with Arsenal if they pass the ball around like they have in the last few games.

"But that won't happen. Burnley will set up 4-5-1 and make it very difficult.

"If Arsenal get the first goal it sets them up but we have seen it all before, which is why I wouldn't be shocked if Burnley won.

"If Arsenal win this then at the start of the October they are players in the title race, but if they don't then it's the Arsenal we know from recent seasons."

Arsenal will be without Coquelin again this weekend as the ace is suffer from a knock on his leg in first half of the clash against Chelsea in his attempt of stop the Blues from netting their first goal of the match.

However, I don’t personally think we are going to feel the absent of Coqueil as we have Xhaka who can fill the void and also deliver a quality service like the French ace.

On the other hand, Chelsea will have to wake up from their sleep as they are schedule to be playing Hull at KC Stadium on this weekend.

Merson also said Chelsea might bounce back and get back to their good forms in the defence or face further defensive crisis.

"Chelsea really need to get back to winning ways. I couldn't believe what I was watching against Arsenal last weekend, it was unbelievable. He said.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they drew this because Chelsea are all over the place at the back and they need desperately need John Terry back.

"I'm going to go for a Chelsea win just because of what happened to Hull against Arsenal in their last home game when they were beaten 4-1."

On Sunday October 2nd Arsenal travels Burnley to play the seventh round of the Premier League 2016-17. If Arsenal would go on to clinch another win Wengers’ men would extend their winning streak to five games in a row.

All the major bookmaking companies have Arsenal as steep favorites to win the game against Burnley. Predictions from various betting blogs have the same idea. The offensive trio consisting of Iwobi, Sanchez and Walcott should be too much for the Burnley defense. Özil is providing assist as usual and if Arsenal can maintain possession throughout the game it should be another three points.

Iwobi, Sanchez and Walcott could tear up the Burnley defense

Real Madrid has the BBC (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano) and FC Barcelona has the MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar). Arsenal has the ISW (Iwobi, Sanchez, Walcott). It’s an ambitious comparison, but given the impressive displays as of late it’s hard not to be excited by the trios’ mobility and the excellent way they are linking up with each other.

Theo Walcott has been the one stealing the headlines as of late. The former wonder kid is now is now 27 years old and shows clear signs that he has the capacity to become the player we’ve always hoped. Walcott scored the second goal in the 1-4 win away against Hull City. He didn't feature in the League Cup against Nottingham Forest (0-4 win) but he found the net again when he scored the second goal in the impressive 3-0 win against Chelsea. Most recently he scored both goals in the Champions Leauge at the Emirates against Basel in a 2-0 victory. So needless to say Walcott is on a heater. Actually, it might even be unfair to call it a heater as that suggests that he’s on a temporary run. Walcott genuinely seems to be a better player than last season. It’s a bit ironic to say that Walcott can become a “late bloomer” as he became England's youngest ever senior football player aged 17 years and 75 days. But when you look at the contrast between a young promising 17-yearold Walcott and his recent performances, one could argue that it’s a fair point to make.

Alex Iwobi has been given the chance to play on the opposite side of Walcott. And he has been doing excellent. It’s hard not to be intrigued about Iwobi. The talented, aggressive and strong Iwobi has provided three assists in 218 minutes of play in this season of the Premier League. Iwobi is very attack-minded and sometimes he leaves Monreal exposed at the back, but against a team like Burnley that doesn't have the most threatening offensive qualities we should be all right.

Alexis Sanchez has also been doing great recently. He scored two goals against Hull City and bagged one goal and one assist against Chelsea. The last game against Basel he provided both assists to Theo Walcott in the 2-0 victory.

Plenty of options

Arsenal feels like a well-oiled machine at the moment. Even if the attacking trio up front won’t deliver on Sunday against Burnley we’ve got plenty of attacking threat in Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Between them they have scored five goals and provided two assists this season in the Premier League.

  • 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