Welcome to Arsenal News

Here you’ll find a wealth of up-to-date information about Arsenal, one of the UK’s most popular and successful football clubs. Whether you’re a keen supporter, or you’re just interested to find out more, this site is for you. There’s plenty of facts, figures and statistics covering pretty much every aspect of the club, from its current players and upcoming matches, to in-depth game analysis and rumours about future developments.

Known as ‘The Gunners’, Arsenal isn’t just one of the UK’s top football clubs, it’s also one of the biggest in the world. Since its establishment way back in 1886, the club has gone on to enjoy much success and is now the world’s sixth largest football club in terms of revenue – it also has the fifth largest worldwide social media fan base for a football club. Since 2006, its home stadium has been Emirates Stadium in the London district of Highbury. It’s currently the UK’s third largest football stadium, with a maximum capacity of around 60,000 spectators.

Over the years, Arsenal has won a string of professional football games to cement itself as one of the UK’s leading football clubs. It’s one of many to take part in the Premier League and is one of the most successful to do so. Of the 20 Premier League teams, Arsenal currently ranks third in terms of total wins, behind only Manchester United and Chelsea. The club is also the most successful at the FA Cup, having won a total of 13 titles to date.

Arsenal’s fans often refer to themselves as ‘Gooners’ and home matches regularly sell out. The club is known for its distinctive team colours, with its kit nearly always sporting the well known combination of red and white.

So if you’re interested in learning more about this hugely successful and popular football club, you’re in the right place. This site is designed for anyone with an interest in Arsenal. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a ‘Gooner’ or not, you’re welcome to browse through the different sections and keep up to date with the club’s latest goings-on.

Arsenal 3-0 Stoke: Gunners stick it to Stoke in the final 20

 

For around 70 minutes Arsenal v Stoke yesterday was something to be endured rather than enjoyed. We had been poor most of the game – although better in the second half than in the abject first – and there was a growing fear that they might just nick something and leave us with little time to react.

Then, in the 69th minute, Stoke got a corner. Xherdan Shaqiri took it, curled it over everyone and saw it clatter back off the post. Arsenal got it clear, and from there it was like we woke up. Almost immediately Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found himself clean through on goal but Jack Butland stood up to make a save.

Calum Chambers had a chance from a corner, but he couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough, and there looked to be a bit more purpose to the way we were playing. So, when Mesut Ozil looked to have been fouled in the box and the referee pointed to the spot, it felt like we’d had just reward for putting on some pressure. Replays show that it was a generous decision, Bruno Martins Indi got the ball and Ozil kicked him as much as anything else, but I can’t explain to you how little I care.

Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the opposition get awarded a soft penalty (which is, of course, evidence of a great anti-Arsenal refereeing conspiracy), and sometimes you get them. Aubameyang, who had missed from the spot against Man City, made no mistake this time, shooting low and hard to the keeper’s left to make it 1-0.

Arsenal were emboldened. Butland had to make saves from Ozil and substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and from a corner Aubameyang got his second when the ball skidded into his path and he finished unerringly into the bottom corner. That was always going to be that in terms of the result, it sparked some enjoyable songs from the crowd about Stoke’s potential relegation, and you could see they’d lost their heads.

The foul on Lacazette for the second penalty was borne out of frustration, I’m sure, and while I was expecting the man who had scored twice already to knock it in for his hat-trick, he gave it to the French international who marked his return from surgery and injury with a goal to put him in double figures for the season.

Explaining why he didn’t take it himself, Aubameyang said:

I haven’t really paid too much attention to reaction, but from a cursory glance at Twitter I can see that some of the pundits have been critical about this, as if it means Aubameyang is not ruthless enough, or focused fully on scoring goals. To which I would say, that’s a strange accusation to make about a striker who scored 141 goals in 212 games for Borussia Dortmund and one who has 5 goals from 6 Premier League games for us. And by strange I mean utterly stupid.

I thought it was a great gesture, one that will benefit both Lacazette and the team, and shows this is a player who thinks more broadly than just how many goals he has at the end of the season. This is a team game, after all, and while nobody would have criticised him if he’d taken it himself, his decision to give it to his teammate is one to be applauded, not derided.

I guess when you win 3-0, somebody has to make a bit of a drama out of something, that’s just the kind of world we live in these days. For all the things you could be critical of having watched that game yesterday, that was definitely not one of them.

Generally, I thought we were poor, the first half in particular was worryingly bad and the way we conceded possession so frequently was hard to understand. I think a better team than Stoke might have made more of our carelessness, so we can be thankful that they’re as terrible as they are this season.

As I said yesterday, the enjoyment from this game would always come from beating them and contributing to their struggles. Taking the three points, and putting a dent in their goal difference, made those final 15-20 minutes quite enjoyable overall, but there wasn’t much else to like about what we did, how we did it, or the kind of football we tried to play.Maybe we can put it down to post-Interlull rustiness, it is something we’ve seen before and it was referenced by Aaron Ramsey afterwards, but it felt very much like more of the same stuff we’ve seen often this season.

Still, on the plus side we got the win, got some minutes under our belt before Thursday, hopefully got ourselves a bit sharper, Lacazette is back and scoring again – he made a real impact when he came on for Welbeck, and we made Stoke very, very unhappy which really trumps everything else this morning.

When you hear them sing songs about Aaron Ramsey walking with a limp, you can’t help but hope they end up going down and staying down. I mean, I hoped that anyway, but that kind of stuff just reinforces it. If this win helps that happen, then it’s a small bright spot in what has been a pretty dark season in the Premier League.

It’s impossible not to mention the crowd, or lack of it, and I don’t really buy into Arsene Wenger’s explanation that Easter was a contributory factor to people staying away (although he did mention how little there is to play for in the league now). It is a consequence of our season overall, and the fact that beyond sticking it to Stoke this was a game which had little going for it.

Thursday, however, is a different proposition. It’s a European quarter-final in a competition which has real meaning, so fingers crossed there’s a better turnout because despite the players saying the strange atmosphere didn’t make any difference, it can’t be easy playing in that kind of environment. Anyway, we’ve set ourselves up reasonably well for the CSKA encounter, and the focus can now turn towards that for the rest of the week.

James and I will be here this morning to deliver a bank holiday Arsecast Extra for you. If you have any questions or topics for discussion, send to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – and that’ll be ready before lunchtime.

Until then.

 

Lacazette back in training as Elneny signs a new deal

The last round of international friendlies takes place today, and genuinely I don’t really know which Arsenal players are going to be involved. I don’t think there’s too many, and once these games are done and dusted it’s uninterrupted Arsenal between now and May, starting with Stoke on Sunday. In the meantime, there’s been a fitness boost with the return of Alexandre Lacazette who has been out of action since mid-February after surgery on his knee. At the time it was reported he’d be out of action for around 4-6 weeks, so this fits very much in that schedule, and his comeback is very welcome. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sidelined for the Europa League because of stupid UEFA rules, we’re missing some firepower for our European games. Danny Welbeck got a couple against AC Milan, and that will certainly have done his confidence some good, but to have Lacazette back is a boost for what remains of our campaign. We also saw Aaron Ramsey taking part in the session after he was supposed to have undergone a ‘small procedure’ during the Interlull. It was obviously very small as he’s in full training and hopefully now available for the rest of the season. As our most productive central midfield player he is going to be very important for what we need to do against CSKA Moscow and beyond, so fingers crossed he stays fit. Meanwhile, a central midfielder who is going to the World Cup this summer has signed a new deal with the club. Mohamed Elneny put pen to paper on a new long-term contract which was announced yesterday, and the Egyptian international seemed rightly pleased about the whole thing: That’s him pictured with Arsene Wenger and new contract dude, Huss Fahmy, and I think this is a decent move for all concerned. Every squad needs players like Elneny, who work hard, can come into the side and be reliable, consistent performers. He’s very rarely a 9 out of 10 player, but also very rarely anything less than a 7 out of 10 player. He does tend to err on the cautious side of things in possession at times, but in recent games has shown a bit more incision and ambition with his passing. However, we have other players in the team whose job it is to try and make things happen so to have someone who can keep the ball moving and not be wasteful or careless with it is no bad thing in my opinion. He also seems like a good character, doesn’t complain when he’s left out of the side – sometimes a bit unfairly I think – and when he does come in you pretty much know what you’re going to get from him. It’s in contrast to some of our other midfield players whose level of performance can tilt much further towards either end of the spectrum, for good and bad, and with doubts over the futures of a couple of them ensuring we have some squad stability is important. That said, his renewal does raise questions about the way we manage the squad and the players. Last summer Arsenal were willing to let him go to Leicester but he turned down the move to stay and fight for his place, so from being considered surplus to requirements he’s got a new contract (I guess that’s to his credit for the way he plays/trains etc, but it makes you wonder about the decisions we’re making). We have a similar situation with Jack Wilshere who was told by Arsene Wenger last summer that if he found a new club he could go. You don’t need to even read between the lines to understand what message was being sent there. The manager was telling a player he didn’t really want him anymore, didn’t consider him important to his plans, and now we’re in a position where Wenger is telling is he’s urging Wilshere to sign a new deal:
I push him to stay and I think he’s an Arsenal man. We want him to stay and we’ve made a proposal.
It’s quite the flip-flop, and if you’re Jack Wilshere you could understand being reluctant to sign on. As much as he loves the club having grown up with us, when your manager tells you that you can leave, then offers you a new deal but with a cut in your basic salary while everyone around you is getting increases – some of them very substantial ones – you might ask yourself if you wouldn’t be better off or valued more highly somewhere else. If you were being generous you’d say his situation, and that of Elneny, speak to somewhat muddled thinking on the part of Arsenal. In some ways it’s not a bad a thing to change your mind on a situation and recognise that a player you thought wasn’t up to it still has something to offer. It shows you don’t have a fixed position no matter what, that evidence to the contrary can alter your thinking, but a more cynical outlook is that we’re just making it up as we go along because there’s a lack of real planning and strategy to what we do and how we do it. Anyway, Elneny is signed up, and hopefully there are a few more to come over the next few weeks and months. For now, I’ll leave you with yesterday’s Arsecast Extra, discussing the manager how his future is tied to the Europa League, the development of young players, and Gunnerblog’s dismissal of soup. Also, the long-awaited FIFA match up between us is taking place at 9pm tonight, it’ll be streaming on YouTube and I’ll put links up on @arseblog closer to the time. Have a good one.

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This Arsecast Extra was recorded with ipDTL  

Arsenal Gentleman’s Weekly Review

Arsenal Gentleman's Weekly Review
You may think of me as an anachronism. An Edwardian era relic. An antediluvian moustachioed vagabond that somehow embodies the values of one hundred years ago. Yet you would be surprised, nay, shocked, nay stunned, to learn that I am something of a philanthropist. A caregiver, if you will. I have developed a deep yearning to help the less fortunate of our society. In recent years I have begun to visit those who rarely venture outside the stifling environs of their own home, due to agoraphobia, or crippling anxiety, or in today’s case, super morbid obesity.
I have been visiting my charge at his home near Watford in Hertfordshire for some years now. Since others and I have been taking a keen interest in his wellbeing his quality of life has improved immeasurably. He still has to sleep in a specially reinforced bed, adapted from a zoo’s operating table for megafauna such as the rhinoceros or the elephant, and his armchair remains a steel-reinforced affair that began life as a three-person sofa. It still hugs his enormous girth at the hips. A local charity has paid for a cook to provide sustenance for this poor soul, whose calorific requirements run to ten thousand or more a day; sometimes he simply shouts “BIG MAC SOUP,” at which command the cook sends an assistant to the local McDonalds hamburger restaurant for six ‘Big Mac’ hamburgers with accompanying French fries and milkshakes, deposits them in a blender and brings them through to our lad, who devours it by simply tipping the muddy liquid into his mouth straight from the jug. Such gluttony is to be pitied, rather than mocked. One myth about people of fifty stones or more is that they are somehow ‘jolly’. Spend ten minutes with this creature and you would soon be disavowed of that option, for he is the most ill tempered personage you will ever meet. Yet his most unfortunate character trait is what his psychiatrists are calling ‘Extreme Hubris’. This manifests itself by the uttering of foolishly proud, overconfident and arrogant statements, which at some point are proved completely and utterly wrong, bringing about not so much a comeuppance as a startling humiliation. A local tentmaker has taken pity on this poor soul and been manufacturing bespoke items of clothing for him; a pair of jeans, with a waist of 90 inches. A pair of pyjamas adapted from a pair of large silk curtains. And a football kit, for in one of the great humanitarian acts of our age, a local club have given this fellow a job. I knock on the door. His assistant answers. “Good afternoon Gent. He’s in the front room.” As usual. What greets me is a vast rear end, his custom-made jeans barely covering half of it and his gluteal cleft is in full view. He is shouting at the television, which is playing the children’s animated drama Peppa Pig. “You need a bit of cojones, Daddy Pig, a bit of nuts.” He takes a sip of his Big Mac Soup. “And you, Peppa you want to fight with me, I’m gonna beat you all day.” He passes wind, loudly and moistly. He changes the channel. It is ‘Bob the Builder’, a tale of a helpful tradesman and his pals. “Bob, you need cojones, you’re never going to get that building built.” Again, he changes channels. It is Blue Peter. “You’re never going to be able to make that thing out of cardboard. You need some cojones. Some nuts.”
“How long has he been like this?” I whisper. “Since Sunday,” says his assistant. “Ever since he waddled back through the front door with his two walking sticks on Sunday evening he’s been like this.” So there we have it, ladies and gentlemen. The perils of hubris.
 

Arsenal 3-1 AC Milan: Gunners convincing winners over two legs despite media pearl clutching

Arsenal went through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 3-1 win over AC Milan at the Emirates last night. Two goals from Danny Welbeck and a Granit Xhaka strike added to the 2-0 win in Italy last week to give us a hugely convincing 5-1 victory on aggregate. For a team that’s been well and truly in the doldrums in recent times, that’s a pretty impressive outcome. Not one I was necessarily expecting either, but during a difficult period where criticism has been rife – and not undeserved – I think it’s right to credit the players and the manager for what we’ve done over the two games. I mean, the takeaway from these 180 minutes of football for me, at least, is that Arsenal scored five times against a team that had been on a thirteen game unbeaten run and had conceded just four goals in total in that period. They came into this tie in better form and for Arsenal to win so convincingly was what I would seek to build my story around if I were writing about it. That doesn’t seem to be the case for others though, as the penalty awarded to us yesterday has dominated the headlines and back pages. I’m not one for media conspiracies or anything, but I guess ‘Arsenal win comfortably’ isn’t quite as catchy as ‘Danny Welbeck’s shameful dive overshadows Arsenal win and embarrasses English football – even Gunners fans were appalled’. No, I did not make that up. That was the headline to John Cross’s piece in the Mirror, and at this point we should point out that sub-editors, not journalists, write the headlines, but inside the piece John said:
The game will be remembered for Danny Welbeck’s blatant dive to win a penalty. It was a moment that should embarrass English football and maybe even shame a few others to stop diving once they see the reaction as even Arsenal fans were left appalled. And, ultimately, it was the moment that decided the whole tie because Welbeck dived just at a time when AC Milan were threatening to stage a fightback.
I engaged with John on Twitter about this. Not to defend Danny Welbeck, because I think it was a dive, but with the contention that ‘it was the moment that decided the whole tie’, which is frankly an absurd thing to say. Over the two legs Arsenal scored five times, Milan just once, and while I do understand that it happened at a key moment in the game, to suggest it has embarrassed English football is hyperbole of the highest order. Was it as embarrassing as one of the richest clubs in the world crashing out of the Champions League playing the most atrocious brand of safety-first football you’ll ever see? Was it, perhaps, as embarrassing as the chief executive of the FA conflating the Star of David with the Nazi swastika or the ISIS badge? Or maybe as embarrassing as the FA Chairman signing a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Qatar, where homosexuality remains illegal and flies in the face of the some of the genuinely good work that has been done in that regard in England (like the Rainbow Laces campaign)? Give me a break. Even the one man who has every right to be outraged if he wants, Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso, wasn’t as shrill and hysterical as elements of the English press, saying:
He is a striker. He has to do what he does, but we can’t use that as the entire influence of English football. Even when I was a player, I always tried to get away with something.
Game, set and match really. Also, the laser-focus on Welbeck for one dive in his career that I can think of is remarkable when there are players at other clubs who have more dives this season than Greg Louganis could manage if he appeared in a hundred Olympics. I’m happy to call it a dive, I don’t like it when our players do it, but what do people want beyond that? Be critical of Welbeck if you want – making sure of course that the same values apply to every player who dives, whether he’s English or foreign – but the idea that he has somehow brought shame to English football is nonsensical. He did what countless players have done before and will do in the future without anywhere near as much fuss. I mean, Milan had a player booked for diving last night. Where’s the outrage? Did it have an impact on the game? Yes. Did it decide the entire tie? My hole did it. Arsenal scored five goals. FIVE.

5

Milan one. In fact, if you want to look back at the game the biggest problem the visitors had last night wasn’t Welbeck, but their own inefficiency in front of goal. They had good chances, as early as the first minute, and had they not been as wasteful they could have really changed the trajectory of the game. That was something that was in their hands, under their own control, and they fluffed their lines repeatedly. They embarrassed Italian football with their wastefulness. In seriousness though, over the course of those two games the best team has gone through. We got a bit of good fortune with Granit Xhaka’s second, the keeper and his sweaty palms won’t want to watch a reply, and throughout we played some nice stuff without always being able to find the final ball. Welbeck put the icing on the cake late on when he pounced on the rebound after Ramsey’s header from a Wilshere cross was saved, nodding home from close range for his second of the night. And I bet you he went home last night feeling good about himself because he’s got back on the scoresheet, and so he should. It’s important for us and our Europa League campaign that he got back on track a bit so last night was pleasing in that regard. It means we’re in the draw which takes place today, and our potential opponents are: Atletico Madrid, Marseille, Lazio, Sporting Lisbon, RB Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg, and CSKA Moscow. Varying degrees of difficulty there, but we’re now at the point of this tournament when a place in the final starts to appear in the distance. I think we can take plenty of encouragement from what we’ve done over the two games against Milan, and whoever we get is going to be tough anyway, so bring it on. If we go the distance we’ll have to beat some good teams, but then that’s what happens when you make progress in a tournament like this and it’s exciting. It’s also good to have something that keeps the season alive, keeps the players focused and gives fans something to look forward to. I think we need that. We’ll have the draw for you over on Arseblog News as soon as it happens, and because of the late football last night James and I will have an extra Arsecast Extra for you this morning. If you have any questions or topics for discussion, please send to both of us on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog with the hashtag #arsecastextra, and you can dive right into that before lunchtime. Until then, have a good one, and I hope the shame that Arsenal have brought to English football isn’t too much for you to bear this morning.  

Arsenal 2-0 Brighton: Alexis provides a moment of magic as Gunners win again

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A 2-0 win over Brighton yesterday made it six wins from our last seven games, the 0-0 at Chelsea the only ‘blip’ on our record since that defeat at Anfield. It was an odd kind of game, and I think the 12 noon kickoff played a part in that. Everyone’s just a bit more subdued at that time of the day but generally it was a pretty comfortable victory bar one or two moments which saw the visitors threaten. I suppose you could be concerned that almost every time we play there seem to be moments like that, where the width of a post or the fingertips of Petr Cech would see the complexion of the game change, but when it comes right down to it we focus first and foremost on results and those have been positive. After Alexandre Lacazette had rattled the post in the second minute, Nacho Monreal opened the scoring for us a few minute later, finishing with his right foot after efforts from Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin had been blocked. It was his first Premier League goal since scoring against Swansea in March 2013, and it opened up the game a bit. Brighton, whose game-plan was to sit deep and deny us space in which to attack had to come out and play, and they did so quite well. A clever free kick routine saw a shot from distance crash back off the post and the rebound skewed wide so there were warning signs there. Nevertheless, Arsenal had control, and better decision making would have seen us extend the lead before the break. You can understand Lacazette’s desire to shoot, but his left-footed effort was tame and with Alexis free outside him the pass would have been the better option. We stepped things up from an attacking point of view in the second half, Alexis was key to that as he drove the attacking play throughout. He created, he had attempts himself – denied a goal only by a deflection which took a shot inches wide – and it was his ingenuity and touch of class that brought about the second goal. On television, because they were showing a replay of a Brighton shot that preceded it, we didn’t quite get to see how well worked the move was, but this graphic illustrates it nicely (via arsenal.com stats centre): We moved the ball with pace and precision, something that they found hard to deal with when we got it right, and the backheel from Alexis found Iwobi whose finish can only be described as emphatic – particularly from a player whose shooting is often a bit more tame than you’d like. At that point the game was more or less won. Arsene Wenger brought on Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott to inject some freshness into the last 20 minutes, but those changes ended up sucking the life out of us from an attacking perspective. If there is a complaint about yesterday it’s that we didn’t really turn the screw and score more goals. It felt like one of those games where we could have done that, and afterwards the manager picked up on it, saying:
Offensively we were certainly not ruthless enough.
Maybe the confidence isn’t quite there in this team yet, but you could see the green shoots at times. The Iwobi goal, a  move in the first half which presented another chance to the Nigerian, and a really slick second half break which saw a close-range Ramsey effort well saved were evidence of the kind of football Wenger wants his team to play. However, there were plenty of other moves and decisions which lacked that incision, and two goals from 25 shots isn’t quite as efficient a return as you’d expect. We are on a run of fixtures from which there’s an expectation of three points, so we’re doing what we need to do. It wasn’t exactly thrilling yesterday, and while there are no bonus points for artistic impression we might just need to think a little more about goal difference and being a bit more emphatic when there’s an opportunity to move that in a positive direction. Still, when it comes right down to it it’s three points, another win, and another clean sheet – that’s four in a row in the Premier League and we haven’t conceded a goal since Anfield. It’s also about the nicest complaint you can have when you can say you won but didn’t quite do it well enough. Ultimately it’s points on the board and that really is the main thing. All in all though, a decent win and we’re now into 5th in the table, level on points with Chelsea. The players go away now on international duty – bar the injured ones like Koscielny and Ozil – and we’ll pick up again in a couple of weeks time with a trip to a currently high-flying Watford. James and I will be here later with an Arsecast Extra for you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, please send to @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra. We’ll have that before lunch for you, until then.   The post Arsenal 2-0 Brighton: Alexis provides a moment of magic as Gunners win again appeared first on Arseblog ... an Arsenal blog.