While everyone loves seeing Arsenal play every weekend, it can sometimes be nice to sit back and see what else is on offer whilst we wait to see what the Gunners can do on Monday Night Football. We’ve already seen a handful of intriguing games take place across the Premier League, especially including teams that Arsenal will be battling it out with in the top four race, with Manchester United and Chelsea both struggling despite late goals that helped them to pick up three points and one point respectively.
Arsenal may be playing in the UEFA Europa League this season, but the manner in which they exited this year’s competition left many wondering whether or not they’re ready to dive back in at that level – or whether it would’ve been more beneficial to have a year away from Europe. Either way, they aren’t going to feature in the last eight of the knockout tournament in Germany.
Gabriel Martinelli arrived to the Emirates last summer from Brazilian side Ituano, and since then, the 18-year-old has impressed whenever given the chance with his pace, tricky feet and the general threat he poses for the opposition in the final third. He’s racked up a total of 14 goal involvements – 10 goals and four assists, in 25 appearances across all competitions. At around £6 million, it’s fair to say he was a very smart acquisition.
However, in an interview with FourFourTwo, the youngster himself has revealed that he was very close to joining Manchester United instead.
According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, Arsenal face a battle to keep hold of Bukayo Saka this summer.
The 18-year-old broke onto the scene practically immediately upon introduction to the first team. Deployed a few times in his preferred position on the left wing by Unai Emery, he was asked to do the best he can on the left defensive flank in the absence of both Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac.
Arsenal were able to surprise quite a few people with the manner of their performance against Manchester United. They weren’t tipped to cause a parade of issues against the Red Devils, but in the end, they beat them from pillar to post. However, while it was an impressive triumph, we don’t really feel like it’s going to be enough to suddenly crown Mikel Arteta as the club’s new saviour.
There’s still a long, long way to go before that happens, and it’s important to remember that the Gunners still weren’t even really that impressive. The game plan was great but that was largely down to Arteta, and against sides that aren’t in quite as much turmoil as United, it may not work out quite as well.
It took three games to get there, but Mikel Arteta has finally nailed his first win as the Arsenal manager. Speaking after the 2-0 win over Manchester United, he revealed it was a much more stressful experience than winning as a player.
It has been a long time since we’ve seen Arsenal play as well as they did in the first 45 minutes of that game. It feels fair to say that the likes of Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will probably be having bad dreams about it for a long while.
On Lucas Torreira:
He was really good again. He wants to fight for every ball. In training he fights for every inch. He’s starting to understand the whole picture much better, that’s what I’m trying to do [with him]. He’s been superb. In the three games he’s played under me, he’s been top.
On whether we have the ability to develop our battling qualities:
Yes. I think you have to have some of that naturally. Then you can be contagious with it. I think we have some really good role models at the football club. I think when we install a good culture and a good way of living together, more will come up. They just need a good platform, they need support, they need guidance. That’s why we’re here.
Everyone knew that Arsenal had to come flying out of the books in order to even stand a chance of success against Manchester United, and boy oh boy did they. They produced one of their best performances since the departure of Arsene Wenger, and they were able to see off the challenge of United pretty convincingly with a 2-0 win.
After the game, new boss Mikel Arteta was full of praise for his side as they look ahead to what they hope will be a bright year in 2020.
Arsenal are interested in signing Chris Smalling from Manchester United when his loan spell at AS Roma expires next summer, according to Mirror.
The 29-year-old centre-back was apparently very reluctant to remain at Old Trafford following the arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a whopping £80 million, obviously not liking the prospect of losing out on precious game-time in the season preceding Euro 2020 as he strives to be a part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the tournament. Roma were on the hunt for a central defender after Kostas Manolas left to join Napoli and Liverpool refused their offer of a loan for Dejan Lovren, and getting Smalling in seemed the obvious solution for all parties.
Granit Xhaka has been the target of some sharp criticism lately, with his performances continuously underwhelming. The Swiss international is known for his uncompromising battle style in the middle of the park, and he’s therefore expected to stamp his imprint and help Arsenal establish control over games. The expectations have only grown bigger after his selection as the team captain. However, it’s fair to say that he hasn’t lived up to those expectations at all.
The scrutiny the central midfielder finds himself under will only have increased further as he ducked down to let Scott McTominay’s shot sail over him and into the top corner in the 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday.