While the start to Arsenal’s Premier League return after the restart was shaky, the last few games have seen them rise back up and put in a few really good performances. Of course, they’ve still got a long way to go before they can be viewed as serious European contenders, but there appears to be a bit of a spring in their step right now – and it’s been a while before we’ve been able to say that.
Archive for the ‘Arsenal Opinion’
The expectation was that Arsenal would come flying out of the blocks against Norwich City, mainly because they really had to if they wanted to keep their European hopes alive. Sure, they’ve got their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City to look forward to, but the Premier League still feels like a more realistic avenue for them if they’re serious about playing in either the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League next season.
There’s no rest for the wicked in the Premier League as teams up and down England’s top flight attempt to push forward towards a positive end to the campaign. One team who is caught up in that mire is our beloved Arsenal, and while it may seem unlikely, it does still feel like there’s a chance they could end up qualifying for some form of European competition next season.
The next step towards doing so will come against Norwich City who, as we all know, have their own set of problems to deal with.
Arsenal are apparently contemplating a move for VfL Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst. That, at least, is what the press in Germany are saying at the moment.
At the age of 27, Weghorst is Wolfburg’s top scorer this season, with 20 goals from 42 appearances in all competitions for his current club. Standing 6’5″ tall, he is obviously a threat from the air, but he’s quite good with his feet too. He passed through the ranks at several Dutch clubs before eventually moving to the Bundesliga side from AZ Alkmaar in 2018, and he has managed to earn four caps with Netherlands so far.
While the FA Cup may not be viewed as a competition that has all too much of a spark left these days, we still think there’s something to be said for just how much the fans enjoy watching the drama unfold. This past weekend, we saw four fascinating quarter-final matches take place as Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all booked their place in the final four.
Arsenal have a most dis-satisfactory record when it comes to seeing players they develop at youth levels blossom into proper first-team stars in the club shirt. Those of us who follow the Bundesliga have repeatedly been made aware of the quality of a certain Serge Gnabry, who is now terrorizing defences across the German top flight. The same, if to a lesser extent so far, can be said of Donyell Malen, currently at PSV Eindhoven and reportedly on the radars of a number of top European clubs. AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer is another good example, as David Ornstein points out in his “Ornstein on Monday” column for The Athletic.
It has been a season rather loaded with controversies for Matteo Guendouzi. He was called out for a bout of poor behaviour at Arsenal’s training camp in Dubai in the winter, with head coach Mikel Arteta reportedly not impressed, and he put on a show of anger at the end of the Gunners’ defeat away to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
Five minutes before the break, the Seagulls forward Neal Maupay rather thuggishly bumped into Bernd Leno as the Arsenal goalkeeper caught the ball near the edge of the box. He was probably trying to make the German either drop the ball or step over the line, but the result of the contact was that Leno lost his footing and landed awkwardly, getting injured in the process and having to make way for Emiliano Martinez.
Four of the five Bournemouth players whose contracts are about to expire have agreed to and signed extensions, enabling them to play for the club for the rest of the Premier League season. The situation required all clubs to find such solution regarding the soon-to-be free agents, as the last few rounds are scheduled to break through the end of June deadline.
The one player that refused to do so is winger Ryan Fraser, and manager Eddie Howe revealed in a press conference today (Friday) that the Scottish winger won’t be involved at all anymore. He only wants players fully focused on the battle against relegation which his team is now facing.
Arsenal were never really favourites to beat Manchester City at the Etihad on the first day of the Premier League being back in action, but the manner of the 3-0 defeat does leave somewhat of a sour taste.
Coach Mikel Arteta organized his team initially in a 4-4-2 shape, with Shkodran Mustafi joined by Pablo Mari in the heart of defence, flanked by Kieran Tierney on the left and Hector Bellerin on the right. Granit Xhaka partnered Matteo Guendouzi in central midfield, with Bukayo Saka and Joe Willock in wide roles. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah were given the task of causing danger in front of the defending champions’ goal.
Dani Ceballos has reportedly dropped a big hint that he could leave Real Madrid this summer permanently.
The midfielder joined the Gunners from Real on a season-long loan last year, and Arsenal reportedly have an option to turn the deal into a permanent one for around €40 million, which many believe they don’t have the finances to do at the moment. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly caused a lot of clubs to change their plans regarding transfers, and it’s expected will be seeing a lot more loans and swap deals than outright contract purchases.