Arsenal beat West Bromwich Albion by 3-1 at the Emirates on Sunday, condemning the Baggies to a return to the Championship this summer and making sure Sam Allardyce fails for the first time in his mission to keep a team in the top tier. Emile Smith Rowe got on the end of a low cross from Bukayo Saka to open the scoring in the 29th minute, and Nicolas Pepe doubled the Gunners’ lead six minutes later with a fine strike after cutting in from the right attacking flank. The visitors got some hope of avoiding defeat back after Matheus Pereira made a good run through the middle and fired past Bernd Leno in the 67th, but Willian had the final word with a nicely hit free-kick just before the end.
It’s been a while since Arsenal had what can be universally described as a good season. Though many expected plenty of positives from the first whole campaign of Mikel Arteta in charge, it hasn’t really been the case. The team are sitting in 10th place in the Premier League, and have been watching the Champions League on TV for four years. Reaching UEFA’s elite competition through top-four placement is practically mission impossible, but the Europa League can still provide the path to the desired destination – providing Arsenal win it, of course.
Seems a bit sad, doesn’t it?
Mesut Ozil spent seven and a half years at Arsenal. He wore the No. 11 shirt for five, until the club parted ways with Jack Wilshere on a permanent basis in 2018. Then Ozil took the No. 10.
Ozil and Arsenal have reached an agreement to have the contract binding the player to the club until the end of this season terminated with immediate effect, as reported by multiple sources, and the former Germany international is expected to be confirmed as a Fenerbahce player any day now. Plenty of people have been debating his legacy at the club and whether he’ll be missed, but some of his now former teammates have already begun discussing who gets the No.10 shirt.
Emile Smith Rowe started on both occasions in Arsenal’s back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion in the last few days. The two results certainly produced a glimmer of hope among the supporters that this team might actually do more this season than stay out of the relegation battle, but most probably, nobody is as excited by what happened in those matches than the 20-year-old midfielder.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” he told Arsenal Media (via the club’s official website). “It’s a dream for me to play for this club. I’m so happy and grateful that the manager’s shown faith in me and given me the chance. I’ve just got to keep training hard, and then when I get the opportunity I’ve got to take it.”
Arsenal are set to make a short trip across town to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the reverse fixture of that infamous 2-2 draw at the Emirates earlier this season.
It seems that Arsenal could be in for some big squad surgery, well it is needed anyway. The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech, Carl Jenkinson, Nacho Monreal and Stephan Lichtsteiner will leave as free agents.
Then there are the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil who have all been linked with moves away from the north London club.
A limited transfer budget this summer
Despite needing to heavily strengthen their squad this summer, Arsenal’s hierarchy will reportedly only allow £40million to spend this summer. In Premier League terms that is chump change, especially as the Gunners will receive major revenue via the Premier League television deal.
In yesterday’s article, I talked about Unai Emery getting the balance right in his selection choices for Europa League games. On Thursday night, the Spaniard got his team selection spot on, as the Gunners recorded a comfortable 3-0 win against Vorskla in Kiev.
The game was a good showcase for some of Arsenal’s youngsters to impress, as Emile Smith-Rowe and Joe Willock both got on the scoresheet for the Gunners in a comfortable victory.
On Thursday night, Arsenal recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Qarabag in the Europa League. It had the potential to be a tricky game, as the team from Azerbaijan had been dangerous on home soil in the competition of late.
However, Arsenal took the three points and the game was topped by the fact that youngster Matteo Guendouzi and Emile Smith Rowe both scored their first senior goals for the team.
A good platform for the youngsters
As much as Arsenal boss Unai Emery respects the Europa League, the Spaniard will also rotate his squad in the competition. At this stage of the competition, the Gunners can get away with, as the opposition are not the strongest in the world.
Arsenal’s under-21 team opened their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a 3-0 win over Coventry on Wednesday night. The game was significant as the likes of Joe Willock, Emile Smith-Rowe and Eddie Nketiah scored the goals for the Gunners.
The trio have all been in and around the Gunners senior squad in the last 12 months. In fact, Nketiah burst onto the Arsenal first team last season. The youngster is once again part of the first team squad for this season.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery has brought seven youngsters into first-team training during the international break. With a number of the Gunners senior players away on international duties with their national teams, it seems the Spanish boss has used the break as a chance to view some of the clubs youngsters more closely.
Youngsters promoted to the senior squad
The seven youngsters promoted to the senior squad are Gedion Zelalem, Emile Smith Rowe, Charlie Gilmour, Nathan Tormey, Tolaji Bola, Julio Pleguezuelo and Robbie Burton.