I hate Thursday nights, but I have to get over it as the Europa League now has parity with the Premiership when it comes to the future of Arsenal Football Club (I cant believe i’m saying that!). Tonight we take on Belarus’s most successful team FC BATE Borisov and former player Aliaksandr Hleb, in the first leg of our Round of 32 fixture. Despite Ramsey and Ozil not travelling with the squad, we should have too much for the team from Barysaw, particularly over two legs.Continue reading “BATE Borisov preview: The road to Baku begins/Good luck Rambo”
Until this Sunday my favorite derby was April 25, 2004 at White Hart Lane when we clinched the title. It’s highly likely that I’m am still caught up in the euphoria of our 4-2 victory, but this game was special. Yes, we have had a strong home record against Spurs for years, but this felt different. It was a signal to the rest of the premier league, the doubting pundits and the fans that this team has quality and will not be bullied.
Thursday night’s 3-0 Europa League victory against Vorskla extended our unbeaten streak to 18 games. Despite a last-minute change of venue and minus 12-degree temperatures, the youngsters (especially Emile Smith Rowe) put in a mature performance and secured top spot in our group. Even with our impressive unbeaten record, the form is with Spurs going into Emery’s first North London Derby. Our North London rivals battered Chelsea 3-1 last week at Wembley, with Christian Ericksen and Son Heung-min putting on a clinic. The Dane in particular has Spurs purring again and will be the biggest threat on Sunday.
The Premier League returns to action this weekend after the international break. I will be eternally grateful to Gareth Southgate for returning excitement to the England team. Our 2-1 smash and grab victory against Croatia secured top spot in our UEFA Nation’s League group. After years of apathy, Southgate has injected a new spirit and belief into the players and the fans. With a pipeline of youngsters like Reiss Nelson and Jadon Sancho coming through, and players like Raheem Sterling, John Stones and captain fantastic Harry Kane not even at their peak, I’m very enthusiastic about our chances at Euro 2020.
Aaron Ramsey is set to leave Arsenal after a decade at the club. According to the Ornacle, Arsenal withdrew the offer of a new four-year deal, leaving the 27-year-old Welshman free to join another team at the end of the season.
This week the club formally announced that Ivan Gazidis will step down as CEO to join the legendary AC Milan. US hedge fund Elliott Management, founded my billionaire Paul Singer, recently acquired control of the club and were determined to hire Gazidis to oversee the awakening of the sleeping giant.
I have never enjoyed the September internationals. Two weeks without Arsenal and Fantasy Premier League is like having a Ferrari whilst on a driving ban. Lucky for us with transfer deadline day brought forward to before the season, the boredom wasn’t compounded by a traditional Arsenal transfer deadline day damp squib.
The Champions League draw is equally as exciting as transfer deadline day. However, as the iconic Juventus were grouped with Manchester United in this year’s draw, our main news story was Unai Emery banning fruit juice! How the mighty have fallen.
Its only game week three, but Saturday’s home fixture against West Ham feels like a must win. Following back to back defeats Unai Emery has courted a large amount of media attention with his instruction to play out from the back called into question. Despite the frustrating loss at Stamford Bridge and poor individual errors, the chances we created in the first half gave me confidence for our upcoming fixtures. Alex Iwobi’s goal to make it 2-2, completed a fantastic 18 pass combination which started with the ball being played out of defence. This wonderful passage of play was as exciting as it was incisive. A few more of those should shift the critical narrative already starting to spawn.
Manchester City look imperious. It will take a Hulk, Daenerys Targaryen, her dragons and a Pele to stop them this season. Our 2-0 loss to the champions on Sunday meant that Unai Emery became the first Arsenal manager to lose his first league game since Steve Burtenshaw in 1986. In Emery’s defence, I doubt any of the previous managers faced a team as remarkable as City. The efficiency of their passing, the way they effortlessly attack space with the ball and choke the opposition without the ball is frightening. Man, I wish Wenger made way for Pep a few years ago!