Arsenal have a chance to win the Europa League and qualify for the holy grail of European football ( UEFA Champions League) when they take on familiar but capital rivals Chelsea in Baku next week. The mandate given to Unai Emery on his appointment was to finish the Premier League season in top four places and qualify for the UCL – after failing to achieve the former, the Spanish tactician have an outside chance to bag the latter if he defeats the Blues in Baku.
Emery is expected to field his best squad for the showdown but he will be without Armenian star Henrikh Mkhitryan, who will not travel with the squad over political reasons. Since the start of the season, Emery has tweaked the formation of the Gunners between 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 formations. Given the form of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, we expect to see the two goal poachers leading the frontline for the Gunners, but we take a swipe at the possible line-up of Arsenal without Mkhi.
Petr Cech has been the manning in-between the sticks for Arsenal in the Eruropa League but the star shot-stopper has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea in the role of Sporting director. While the report of his probable move has divided the fans of Arsenal, we expect him to retain his position given his experience. However, there is a call for Emery to field Bernd Leno and not gamble with the Czech.
Apparently, Emery prefers to play with three centre-backs – Mustafi, Sokratis and Koscielny are expected to man the heart of defense. The aforementioned trio have conceded goals but they are the best for the Gunners so far. They will be flanked by Nacho Monreal and Ainsley Maitland Niles.
The strength of the Gunners appear to be the middle of the pack. Although Granit Xhaka is prone to injuries, he is currently the best holding midfielder for the North London giants. He should anchor the midfield, and diminutive marksman Lucas Torreira should be deployed closed to him in the middle of the pack. With the steel provided by Xhaka and Torreira, Ozil can be deployed ahead of the duo as the creative player for Arsenal.
Aubameyang ended the Premier League season as top scorer in the League, you cannot ignore him. He’d fit into a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 formation along his pal Lacazette.
Arsenal to contend with Man United over signing of quality defender
Manchester United are expected to be in contention for Juventus defender Merih Demiral when the transfer window reopens in January.
Though the Red Devils upgraded their defensive unit when the captured Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bisaka’s services prior to the start of the season, they haven’t been too solid at the back of the pitch.
The Premier League giants have 12 conceded goals, and Solskjaer is set to make some changes to the list of defenders at his disposal.
According to Italian media Tuttosport (via Football-Italia), the Norwegian tactician has set his eyes on the Turkish defender with a view of luring him to the Theatre of Dreams in the winter.
However, Solskjaer will need to contend with Arsenal manager Unai Emery in the race for the 20-year-old. It is believed that the Gunners manager is impressed with the report he got from his scouts who monitored the youngster’s performance against Iceland on Thursday.
The under-fire Arsenal manager has seen his defenders conceded 17 goals in 12 Premier League matches this season, a record which has led to fans displeasure.
The Spaniard is equally linked with a move for Demiral’s services as part of his plans to improve his defence in the second half of the campaign.
The same source further revealed that Serie A side AC Milan are equally keeping a close tab on the player’s situation under Maurizio Sarri, and they hope to beat the two Premier League giants to his services.
Demiral is finding regular game-time too hard to get under Sarri who prefers Leonardo Bonucci, Danielle Rugani and Matthijs de Ligt.
Arsenal already identify Unai Emery’s replacement
Arsenal have failed to record a single victory in their four previous Premier League and the Gunners faithfuls are calling for Unai Emery’s dismissal as soon as possible.
The North London club were defeated 2-0 by Leicester City on Saturday, a result which put them in the sixth position with 17 points from 12 matches.
It was earlier reported that the Gunners hierarchy are willing to respect their contractual agreement with the former PSG manager by giving him the chance to be at the helm of affairs till the end of the season but that could change anytime soon.
According to Spanish media El Confidencial, the Gunners board members are losing their patience with the Spanish tactician and they are reportedly in search of his replacement.
The same source revealed that former Barcelona and Spain head coach Luis Enrique is being considered as the best man for the job.
Enrique, who surprisingly left his post as Spain head coach this year, is heavily linked with Gunners managerial position but it is left to be seen if he will accept the offer midway through to the campaign.
Former Manchester United manager José Mourinho was earlier said to be leading the race for the job but the Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi quickly debunked the rumors.
Arsenal star set to leave the Emirates in January
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is experiencing one of his most difficult times at the Emirates Stadium since his unhealthy incident with his own fans few weeks ago.
The Swiss midfielder was appointed the Gunners captain by Unai Emery at the early stages of the season, a decision which doesn’t go well with fans.
Unfortunately, Xhaka couldn’t keep the captain’s armband for a long period of time as he was stripped off the position following his avoidable spat with his own fans during their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last month.
However, situation got worse for the former Borussia Monchengladbach star who has failed to feature in the last three matches played the Gunners.
To worsen the player’s situation at the Emirates Stadium, report via the Mirror claimed that Unai Emery and his employers are ready to cash-in on his services in January.
According to the British media, Arsenal board members are willing to release the Switzerland international in January even if they won’t make much profit from his sale.
It should be recalled that the Xhaka joined the Gunners from Monchengladbach in a £34m deal, but The Mirror revealed that the Gunners are expecting inexpensive offer from potential suitors when the next transfer window commences.