Laurent Koscielny is hurting his Arsenal legacy


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Arsenal departed London on Thursday as they are set to begin their preseason tour of the U.S. next week. There was, however, one notable player that was not on that plane to the States: Laurent Koscielny. The 33-year-old captain of the Gunners apparently refused to travel with his teammates.

The club confirmed this in a statement posted on their official website. “Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our preseason tour,” read the statement. “We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions. We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”

Certainly shocking to the club and fans, Koscielny’s decision is both embarrassing and strange. It is not a good look at all for a player that has been with the team for nine seasons to refuse to join his teammates for Continue reading “Laurent Koscielny is hurting his Arsenal legacy”

Adding Zaha would give Arsenal dynamic attack


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George Washington once said “make them believe that offensive operations, often times, is the surest, if not the only (in some cases) means of defense.” Arsenal have been championing this sentiment for years now. Despite the club’s clear issues in defense, the Gunners have submitted a £40 million bid for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha. Although the bid was quickly rejected, it is thought that Arsenal will return with another bid soon.

Zaha, now 26, has made it clear (through his brother) that he wants to join the north London outfit. This brother, Judicael Zaha, has claimed that there is a verbal agreement between Wilfried and Palace to allow the player to join a big club like Arsenal. Speaking with the Daily Mail, Judicael said, “Crystal Palace have told me that if an opportunity presented itself again for him to join a club who play European football regularly, they Continue reading “Adding Zaha would give Arsenal dynamic attack”

The type of player Arsenal could (eventually) get with William Saliba


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Arsenal are reportedly closing in on a move for Saint-Etienne center back William Saliba. The 18-year-old defender has been linked with the Gunners for weeks now and has even supposedly agreed personal terms with the north London club. Complications of the potential deal, however, involve his current club’s insistence in receiving the player back on loan for the entire 2019/20 campaign. Nevertheless, it appears that an agreement between the two clubs in the region of €25-€30 million could occur shortly.

While possibly loaning out a player like Saliba, especially in arguably the club’s biggest positional need at the moment, is not ideal, this would be considered a long-term investment for Arsenal. Saliba is widely considered one of the most highly-rated teenage defenders in Europe. Tall, strong, and quick, the Saint-Etienne defender has the potential to be the total package. Recently compared to Real Madrid’s Rafael Varane, Saliba is also an Continue reading “The type of player Arsenal could (eventually) get with William Saliba”

Player departures will be key to Arsenal’s summer


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Arsenal, much like the other big Premier League clubs, have gotten off to a slow start during the transfer period. Although Brazilian teenage prospect Gabriel Martinelli is reportedly set to join the north London outfit, the Gunners have yet to make a senior summer signing. This short delay, however, should not alarm Arsenal fans just yet.

There is wide speculation that the club is waiting to make an official signing until their new Adidas deal comes into place on July 1st. It would not make much sense to announce a fresh signing with the player sporting the old 2018/19 Puma kits. This concept is nothing new for Arsenal. When the team transitioned from Nike to Puma in 2014, the Gunners did not make an official transfer until the day the new kit was unveiled (Alexis Sanchez in July of 2014).

Along with the new Adidas kits, Arsenal also need to Continue reading “Player departures will be key to Arsenal’s summer”

A look at the Kosovo national soccer team’s impressive story


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Generally speaking, a Kosovo-Bulgaria football match most likely won’t receive too much attention around the sports world. Nevertheless, the 2020 UEFA Euro qualifying match between these two small countries on Monday was an exciting and important game.

After Bulgaria took a 2-1 lead in the 55th minute following a goal from Kristian Dimitrov, Kosovo’s 13-match unbeaten run was in jeopardy. However, a strike from forward Vedat Muriqi just nine minutes later leveled the score. Ending the match there would have kept the impressive unbeaten run intact, yet Kosovo kept pushing for the winner. Forward Elba Rashani eventually netted the dramatic fifth and deciding goal in the third minute of added time.

A late, come-from-behind victory is always exciting to watch in any sport. Yet this Kosovo win was particularly meaningful for many reasons. With their unbeaten run extended to 14 matches, Kosovo currently has the longest streak without a defeat Continue reading “A look at the Kosovo national soccer team’s impressive story”

5 positions that Arsenal need to strengthen this summer


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The summer transfer window is a time in which clubs address their weaknesses from the previous year and strengthen the squad as best as possible. For Arsenal, bolstering the team this summer is essential. Money, however, could be a bit of an issue. The club’s failure to secure a Champions League place reportedly slashed their transfer funds in half.

Nonetheless, head of football Raul Sanllehi, managing director Vinai Venkatesham, and head coach Unai Emery will look to find reasonable deals for incoming players. Taking the 2018/19 season into account, the Gunners will most likely look at senior players in five different positions.

Center Back

Central defense is most likely Arsenal’s biggest weakness at the moment. Although they have numbers in defense, it is time to finally shake things up at the back. The error-prone Shkodran Mustafi could be headed out the door this summer, as could an aging Laurent Koscielny. Continue reading “5 positions that Arsenal need to strengthen this summer”

Arsenal need reinforcements to switch to a 4-3-3 next season


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With Arsenal officially in the offseason now, it is time to start planning for the 2019/20 campaign. The Gunners endured a fairly disappointing 2018/19 season, plagued by injuries and underwhelming performances at important times. However, this summer could provide a decent chance to make some significant changes to this Arsenal team. One of these alterations could be with the formation that head coach Unai Emery deploys.

The Spaniard was flexible with his formation and system throughout his first season in north London. Initially starting with a back four, Emery was essentially forced to add an additional center back because of injuries and a leaky defense. Despite this, Arsenal played with a back four in defense during most of their 22-game unbeaten run early in the season. Historically speaking though, Emery has appeared to favor a traditional back line of four, rather than deploying three center backs and two wing backs. Continue reading “Arsenal need reinforcements to switch to a 4-3-3 next season”

Palermo sold again; We take a look at the club’s recent rocky history


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Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo, known around the world as just Palermo, have one of the more interesting stories in modern club football. In most cases, fascinating teams in sports tend to have a winning history. This, however, is the case for the Sicilian-based club.

Palermo have never finished atop of the Serie A standings, nor have they ever collected a significant trophy in their 119 years of existence (outside of five Serie B titles). Unfortunately for fans of the Pink and Blacks, the compelling story of the club in recent years has mostly surrounded their ownership, rather than on-field success.

When Maurizio Zamparini bought Palermo in 2002, the club had not played in the Italian top flight for 30 years. The Italian businessman’s early reign with the team seemed to be headed in a positive direction. After all, Palermo went from the second tier in Italy to Europa League

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Bernd Leno has settled in nicely at Arsenal


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Bernd Leno’s Arsenal career did not necessarily get off to a great start. After all, he began his time in north London behind Premier League legend Petr Cech as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper. While allowing time to adapt to a new league may not have been shocking to some, the German was finally given the reins following a mid-match injury to Cech in September. Since taking over the number one spot between the sticks, Leno has not missed a single Premier League match.

However, it has not always been easy for the German. It took nine league matches for the keeper to keep a clean sheet for a full 90 minutes. And while clean sheets involve much more than just a goalkeeper’s performance, Leno was making his fair share mistakes on the pitch during this stretch. His three errors leading to goal on the season are the second-most in the Continue reading “Bernd Leno has settled in nicely at Arsenal”

4 potential Aaron Ramsey replacements at Arsenal


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As Aaron Ramsey is set to depart Arsenal after 11 seasons in north London, the Gunners will have a significant hole to fill. The Wales star has been an important figure in the squad during his time at the club. He was instrumental in ending Arsenal’s nine-year trophy drought in 2014 and helped guide the team to three FA Cups in four years.

The reigning Arsenal Player of the Season, however, fell out of favor for much of the current campaign by new boss Unai Emery. Despite this, Ramsey has continued to make an impact from the bench. Now that the 28-year-old midfielder is on his way to Juventus in the summer, the Arsenal brass is reportedly already targeting players to replace the outgoing Ramsey.

 

1. Christopher Nkunku

Most Arsenal fans will be somewhat familiar with Nkunku by now. After all, the 21-year-old Frenchman was a January target by Continue reading “4 potential Aaron Ramsey replacements at Arsenal”

3 reasons behind Arsenal’s recent dip in form


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Times have changed quite a bit for Arsenal over the last few months. The Gunners were previously firing on all cylinders, recording a streak of 22 games unbeaten. However, since mid-December, Arsenal have managed to win just six of their last 14 total matches. Oddly enough, the Gunners went through a similar spell around the same time last season, losing eight of 13 total matches from January 7 to March 4.

Nevertheless, Arsenal fans have taken to Twitter to find out why the north London club has taken a step back in recent weeks. While there can be a multitude of reasons, there appear to be three main causes for this dip in form.

1. Injuries

The Gunners have endured some seriously bad luck when it comes to injuries this season, especially in defense. Of the team’s 10 senior defenders, nine have missed matches due to injuries. Only veteran right Continue reading “3 reasons behind Arsenal’s recent dip in form”

Assessing Arsenal’s January transfer window


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The January transfer window slammed shut on Thursday evening with Arsenal making just one acquisition. Versatile midfielder Denis Suarez joined the Gunners from Barcelona in an initial loan deal worth £2 million. Arsenal do, however, also have the option to purchase the player in the summer from the Catalan club for a fee reportedly in the £18 million range. While it was a relatively quiet transfer period for the north London club, the Suarez deal is a perfect example of a low-risk, high-reward player purchase.

Suarez, now 25, is a creative midfielder than can play multiple positions on the pitch. Talent has never really been an issue when it comes to the former Barcelona, Sevilla, Villarreal and Manchester City player. He has always usually performed fairly well when given regular playing time. These opportunities, however, were dwindling at Barcelona.

The Spaniard thrived at Sevilla (under Unai Emery) and Villarreal when

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Francis Cagigao would be logical Sven Mislintat replacement at Arsenal


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With the news of Sven Mislintat departing Arsenal finally official, the north London club will have to fill a significant piece of the puzzle behind the scenes. Mislintat is widely regarded as one of the best scouts in Europe, helping both Borussia Dortmund and the Gunners find exceptional young talent.

Though the German was only at Arsenal for just over a year, he is partially responsible for quality acquisitions like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, and Konstantinos Mavropanos.

As Mislintat departs, the Gunners will have to hire a new head of recruitment. While they are certainly big shoes to fill, Arsenal already have a person at the club that should fit in quite well in this role: Francis Cagigao. A former Arsenal youth player, Cagigao has been a scout with the team for over 20 years now. The London-born former midfielder has spent his recent years in Portugal, Continue reading “Francis Cagigao would be logical Sven Mislintat replacement at Arsenal”

5 players Arsenal should target in January


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Arsenal completed their 2018 fixture list with a 5-1 away loss at the hands of league-leaders Liverpool on Saturday. Outside of two controversial penalties awarded to the home Reds, the heavy defeat came down to multiple individual errors by Arsenal’s defense. While the big match on Merseyside is done, the Gunners can help these habitual defensive mistakes from happening in the future by signing at least one quality defender in the upcoming January transfer window.

Along with defenders, there is also a need for pacy playmakers in this team as well. With that being said, here are five players that Arsenal should consider signing in January to significantly strengthen the team:

 

Kalidou Koulibaly

Arsenal desperately need a world-class defender and Koulibaly would be the perfect match. The 27-year-old Senegal international is most likely the top center back that could possibly move in January. Seemingly happy with his current club Continue reading “5 players Arsenal should target in January”

Arsenal desperately need defensive reinforcements in transfer window


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Arsenal’s unbeaten run ended at 22 games following a 3-2 defeat away to Southampton on Sunday. Much like how the season has been going for the Gunners, defensive issues once again became an achilles heal. The rare victory for the Saints came after a woeful stretch of accumulating just five points in their last dozen Premier League matches.

Injuries and suspensions forced a plethora of defensive changes for Unai Emery’s side on the south coast. Rob Holding and Sead Kolasinac were unable to travel for the match due to injuries, while Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis both served one-game suspensions due to receiving too many yellow cards on the season. Along with this quartet of defenders on the sidelines, Arsenal also welcomed back Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal into the starting XI following injuries of their own.

Obviously having this many issues at the back is hardly ideal. Coping with four

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The rapid rise of Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka


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Last year at this time, very few, if any, Premier League fans had even heard of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. At the time, the Crystal Palace defender had yet to play a senior level match for the south London club and only managed one appearance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo U20 team. Finally, after being with the club for nine years, the 20-year-old right back was able to break into the first team under manager Roy Hodgson back in February.

With fellow defenders Martin Kelly, Joel Ward, and Jeffrey Schlupp all nursing injuries at the time, Wan-Bissaka was given his first Premier League start with the team on February 25th. Though Palace fell 1-0 on the day, the youngster was widely praised for his play on the day. Impressive as that appearance may have be, it is even more remarkable considering the rookie was up against a very strong Tottenham

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Why Unai Emery should consider Arsenal sticking with a 4-3-1-2 formation


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Arsenal have sputtered just a bit following a string of 11 consecutive victories. While they have still not yet lost a match in nearly three months, the Gunners recorded four draws in their last five overall matches. During these last five games, Arsenal have managed just six total goals. Compare this to the five matches prior to this mini slump in which the north London outfit scored 14 total goals.

Because of their somewhat shaky defense, Arsenal need their offense to be firing on all cylinders for most of their matches. With players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Mesut Özil, they are certainly capable going forward. However, one issue with this team is fitting these pieces into the right places.

Both Aubameyang and Lacazette are quintessential strikers. The dynamic duo is equally capable of scoring 20, 25, or even 30 goals per season in the center forward position. Continue reading “Why Unai Emery should consider Arsenal sticking with a 4-3-1-2 formation”

Exploring Lucas Torreira’s impact on Arsenal


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When it was reported that Arsenal were in fact keen on signing Lucas Torreira this summer from Sampdoria, many fans of the north London club rushed to YouTube to see what kind of player they were possibly getting. A relative unknown to most Premier League fans at the time, Torreira’s highlights and statistics from the Serie A outfit were quite impressive. Football fans from around the world quickly released just how good the pint-sized player was during the 2018 World Cup.

The 22-year-old midfielder rarely made a mistake during Uruguay’s run to the quarterfinals, with his best performance coming against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal side in the round of 16. Following this successful tournament by the youngster, the Gunners finally made the signing of Torreira official.

To fend off possible bids from other clubs and to also make installment payments on the player’s transfer fee, Arsenal actually paid around £4.4

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Top 3 reasons for Arsenal’s transformation in Premier League


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Despite losing their first two matches of the current campaign, Arsenal have rebounded quite nicely. In fact, they have not lost a match since the Chelsea defeat back in August. The 10 consecutive victories in all competitions is a feat the club has not accomplished in over a decade. With the Gunners firing on all cylinders, let’s take a look at the three main reasons for the sudden surge from Arsenal.

 

1. Fresh Ideas

Unai Emery’s appointment as head coach has undeniably given the team a shot in the arm. From footage of training to the confidence shown on the pitch during matches, the squad seems happy and loose. Though some have strangely ridiculed certain aspects of Arsenal’s practices, it is clear that whatever they are doing is working. Emery seemingly has a plan of intense training, followed by more enjoyable team-building exercises to end the day. This has Continue reading “Top 3 reasons for Arsenal’s transformation in Premier League”

Top 3 best and worst Arsenal kits from Puma era


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Earlier in the week, Arsenal finally officially announced that they are partnering with Adidas following the completion of the current campaign. The five-year deal with the German sportswear manufacturer is reportedly worth £300 million ($391 million), which would be the third largest annual kit contract in world football (only behind Barcelona and Manchester United).

The Gunners previously partnered with Adidas from 1986 to 1994. During this stretch, Arsenal had some of their most iconic kits. Most notably were the away uniforms from when the Gunners won the league at Anfield in 1989 and the ever-popular ‘bruised banana’ kits from 1991-1993. Many, if not most Arsenal fans, are already calling for Adidas to recreate this yellow/black away kit for the next season.

With the five-year Puma deal coming to a close, let’s look back at some of the best and worst kits that they produced for the north London club.

 

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