Author Archives: Oli Price-Bates

I am the founder of Fresh Football, but spend most of my time over on FreshArsenal.com. I'm a big Arsenal fan and freelance sports writer.

Chelsea’s Possible Line Up Next Season Including Lukaku & 4 New Signings

Chelsea will be desperate to make some additions to their squad over the summer, with the club looking to build on their title win last season with an assault on Europe.

GK – Thibaut Courtois

There’s been reported interest from both Madrid clubs, but Chelsea will want to ensure they keep hold of Courtois who is one of the best keepers in Europe. He is a world class player that needs

Arsenal Duo Set To Clash In Confederations Cup

After both winning their opening group games, Chile will face Germany in a Confederations Cup clash, with the winner of the game almost certain to top the group and head into the knockout stages.

With Germany naming a weakened squad for the competition, Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi has been put at the heart of the countries defence and on Thursday night he will have to battle with Alexis Sanchez in a duel that will surely have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.

Alexis was a substitute in Chile’s first game against Cameroon but he came off the bench to set up both of his teams goals in a 2-0 victory. This highlighted his importance to the Chile attack and the manager will more than likely opt to start with the Arsenal man for this big game.

Mustafi and Germany made hard work of overcoming Australia in what ended as a 3-2 win for the World Champions.

On paper it looks like it will be a close game and the odds reflect that – Chile vs. Germany betting odds.

Whilst you’d back a full strength Germany to win the game, they do have a somewhat second-string side at the tournament, on the contrary, Chile have brought their star players including Alexis and Arturo Vidal.

For me, I think Alexis will prove to be the difference in the game, and considering it will be a fixture that will be watched worldwide, he will be keen to show the world what he can do, with his contract situation currently up in the air.

With the likes of Bayern Munich, PSG and possibly Juventus reportedly interested in signing the Chilean, could a top performance in this game see one of those clubs stump up the amount of money needed to see him leave Arsenal?

Another player that is worth looking out for in this fixture, is Germany’s Leon Goretzka. The young midfielder is attracting interest from several top European clubs and even Arsenal have been mooted as a potential destination. He scored in the opening game of the tournament but his ability to control the midfield is what he is known best for. He is quite a physical player for his age and that is arguably something that Arsenal need to add to their midfield.

There’s no doubt that there will be some scouts in the crowd for this fixture, watching Goretzka amongst others. There is plenty of talent on show and with all the big clubs in Europe looking to improve this summer, expect to see some players playing for moves and new contracts.

How You Can Become A Gamer Without Needing A Console

 

Many people believe that you can only be considered a true gamer if you have a dedicated console and play all the time. However, this is not always the case in the real world. There are plenty of games that you can play without needing a special console.

Here, we share with you a guide that allows you to learn how to become an expert gamer without ever needing a console or an especially powerful personal computer.

Understand Your Preference

We all have one or two games that we really prefer. You may be surprised to learn that most of us do not know about our own preferences. You need to learn about your personal preference by playing a few games first when you are free.

Some top casino games that many people enjoy include poker and blackjack. The amazing thing about these games is that they do not require you to use a console. You can go to a casino to play these games. However, if you like to stay at home, then there are several online casinos that allow you to play a game of poker from your mobile.

Understand Your Joy

Playing board and card games is fun and you can always enjoy playing against computer opponents. However, if you want to be a gamer, you need to compete against real opponents. The games that we have mentioned above are really fun to play with your friends, but they give you real joy when you take on the best players.

Online casinos and other gaming websites allow you to enjoy the benefits of competing against the real world. Not only does this give you the required satisfaction, it may also return monetary benefits as well. You don’t need to spend all your money though, and can easily enjoy playing at a lower value table if you want.

Stay Within Budget

A gamer understands when to back out and when to play aggressively. You need to be similarly selective with your budget. The right way to go about playing online games is to create a budget according to your income and then stick to it regardless of success or failure as a gamer. This means that you should understand the money that you are willing to lose in exchange for the experience.

On the other hand, even if you are successful, sticking to a budget will ensure that you do not lose everything that you gained with hard work and some good luck. Your budget should be in a comfortable range. Many people like to initially go aggressive and then start to second guess themselves while playing a game, which decreases their intensity level and clouds their judgment.

Remember, the ideal budget for playing games is the amount that you are willing to lose in case of a problem. There are times when you win over your budget and want to be slightly adventurous. However, the best way of gaming remains to stick to your budget, unless you want to go pro and really increase the bets.

Become an Expert

Although we believe that you need to stay within a budget, it is essential that you move to the upper echelons of gaming with time. You cannot remain a scrub if you want to become a gamer, and the best way to go about it will be to play at a higher level with higher stakes. If you cannot increase your budget gradually, then you can reduce your playing time.

Playing at a higher level at top gaming websites will ensure that you develop your skills and understand that you can excel in different card games. You can only hope to get better if you initially selected the right game to begin with. If you find yourself stuck in a game at a lower level, then it is time to move on to a next game. You may find a lot more success in that, if your initial selection was a mistake.

They say that practice makes perfect. The only way to improve as a gamer is to spend more time in playing and practicing your game. There are many card simulation games in which you can practice several playing strategies and techniques.

 

Arsenal’s Potential XI Next Season (3-4-3) Including Mbappe & 4 New Signings

Arsenal look set for a summer of mass change. Wenger has led Arsenal to a 5th placed finish this season, the first time in his tenure that the club have finished outside of the top four. With their title rivals spending big around them, the Gunners have no choice but to join in with the spending, or they may be left behind. The rumour mill is in full flow and Arsenal have already been linked with a move for several players in this window – in this article, I take a look at a possible lineup for Arsenal next season.

GK – Petr Cech

Cech has had an up and down season, but he finished the season strong and I believe he has re-affirmed his position as number one at Arsenal. Szczesny and Ospina are both set to be sold, so Wenger could be set to bring a new young keeper in, but for the time being at least, I think Cech will keep his place next season.

3 World Class Replacements For Zlatan Manchester United Could Sign This Summer

Zlatan suffered that terrible injury in April and it now looks as if his time at Manchester United is over. But who will replace the big Swede? United desperately need a reliable, experienced goal scorer, or two. Missed chances have cost the team too often in the past season and the club look even blunter in attack with Zlatan out injured. They desperately need external solutions this summer, and in this article I take a look at three potential replacements.

1 – Antoine Griezmann

League appearances: 34. Goals: 16. Assists: 7. 

The big money signing the world is almost expecting United to make this summer is Griezmann. With a reported £80million+ release clause, it looks as if United will come close to breaking the transfer record they themselves broke to sign Pogba last summer. Griezmann is of very different ilk to Lukaku, and if he were to lead the line for United it would force a stylistic change from United and Mourinho.Or could Mourinho see Griezmann as a wide forward and also look to bring in another centre forward, who is experienced in the Premier League and can lead a line on his own? In Atletico, Griezmann is often deployed in a two man attack, it’s unlikely that Mourinho would want to change to this system, having invested so heavily in midfielders last summer.

Holding Starts: The 3-4-1-2 Arsenal Line-Up That Would Beat Manchester United

If there is any hope whatsoever of Arsenal managing to finish in the top four this season, then they will need to beat Manchester United when Jose Mourinho’s men come to town on Sunday.

Arsenal had looked to of escaped their terrible patch of form when they overcame Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup. But a visit to White Hart Lane showed how they were still struggling to compete with the teams at the top. A home game against Manchester United is the perfect opportunity for Arsenal to bounce back, but can they? For me they need to make several major changes to the XI for it to work. Firstly, I’d like to see a switch to a high pressing 3-4-1-2 formation rather than a 3-4-2-1. Take a look at my team below…

GK – Petr Cech

Cech has improved in recent matches, but let’s just hope he doesn’t have to face a penalty! Amazingly in an Arsenal shirt, he’s yet to stop one.

Defence – Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal

Gabriel really struggled with the quality Tottenham had, so I’d like to see Holding come back into the team as the right central defender. He’s a player that has impressed whenever he’s been in the team and so deserves to start this game. For me, after Koscielny, he is the best defender Arsenal have.  So of course, Koscielny should captain the team at the heart of the defence and I’d like to see Nacho Monreal as a left centre back again.

Midfield – Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Bellerin needs to get back in the team. When he is on form he is one of Arsenal’s best players, he’s lost his confidence and keeping him on the bench will do nothing to help him regain that. Xhaka and Elneny should start in central midfield, Ramsey has been really poor in recent games, but Xhaka continues to be the better midfielder. When Xhaka has been partnered with Elneny in the past it has worked really well, I think they complement each other nicely. The Ox had a poor game against Tottenham, but I would like to see him tested as a left wing back. He’s played on the left often enough to be able to perform on that side of the pitch, and the Gunners will need his pace to help counter the threat of Antonio Valencia.

Attacking Midfield – Mesut Ozil

Get Ozil back in the hole behind the strikers where he performs best. I’d like to see two strikers ahead of Mesut, both with pace…

Strikers – Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez

A two-pronged attacking force would spring a surprise on United, and I think it would work very well. Arsenal have lacked pace and aggression in attack these last few weeks, and Alexis’ influence has been limited from wide areas. I would get him playing alongside Welbeck and pressing from the front, putting pressure on what will be a jaded United side. Arsenal need to set the pace of this game and set it high. If they can do that, they are capable of forcing mistakes out of this United team and getting the much-needed 3 points.

3 Better Alternatives To Kasper Schmeichel Manchester United Should Sign This Summer

Manchester United are targeting Leicester City stopper Kasper Schmeichel as a replacement for David De Gea, according to Sky Sports.

De Gea is expected to finally return to Spain this summer, with a move to Real Madrid on the cards. Schmeichel, who won the league with Leicester City last season, signed a new 5-year contract last summer. A move to Manchester United would surely appeal to the player, but United would have to submit a significant offer to persuade Leicester to part ways with the man who helped them to that historic Premier League title.

In my opinion, United should be targeting keepers of a higher calibre if De Gea was to leave. In this article I take a look at three options, that would be, in my opinion, better investments.

1 – Jan Oblak

Perhaps the dream replacement. Atletico are a great club, but they don’t have the financial muscle of clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid and you feel that if United came in with a substantial bid for Oblak in terms of transfer fee and wage, then his head would be turned and he would be willing to make the move. Oblak would not come cheap, but United would surely receive a substantial fee for De Gea if he were to move, so it cancels it out a bit. Oblak is just 24 years old, two years younger than De Gea and he’s already made 75 appearances for Atletico, as well as picking up 13 international caps for Slovenia. Oblak is certainly a level above keepers like Schmeichel and he’s arguably just as good as De Gea, some is Spain even consider him better.

Analysis: Would Alvaro Morata Be An Improvement On Diego Costa?

Chelsea will certainly need a striker in the summer if Diego Costa leaves. The Spaniard has refused to rule out a move to China, whilst their remains interest from former club Atletico Madrid. It did seem back in January that Costa would move on as there appeared to be a rift between the manager and himself.

Whilst his goal scoring form has faded since the turn of the year, Costa has still managed to score 19 league goals and in my opinion, when he is focused he is the best center forward in the Premier League. The question is, is he focused now? For me it appears he might already be angling for a move away in the summer.

Chelsea will face a very tough task in replacing Costa though, I recently looked at 3 possible alternatives to Romelu Lukaku they could sign.  One player that continues to be strongly linked is Costa’s international compatriot Alvaro Morata, who continues to struggle for regular game time at Real Madrid. If he can’t get that though, the question is, is he good enough to spearhead a Chelsea attack that will not only be looking to win the Premier League, but also compete in the Champions League?

Chelsea have already secured Champions League football and look the most likely to win the league, could Costa finish at the league’s top scorer and increase his value? Compare free bets and make the most of the Premier League title run in.

Morata physically looks well built for the Premier League. He’s strong and can bring others into play, something Costa also does for his teammates. But is Morata as deadly in front of goal? Considering he has only been given 15 starts (and 19 sub apps), Morata boasts a pretty impressive return of 18 goals this season. It’s worth considering that in La Liga there is the potential to ‘pad’ your stats against the lowly sides, but Morata has always had a reputation of turning up in the big games, and he has shown that at Madrid and Juventus previously. He’s also picked up 5 assists during his limited game time.

Morata has always been a player rated highly wherever he has been and that is telling. Something he has lacked in recent years is a killer instinct in front of goal but now 24, he is coming of age and becoming more prolific in front of goal.

It looks like Lukaku and Morata are the two front runners to replace Costa should he leave. Chelsea fans, who would you prefer? For me, Morata could be a shrewder purchase and he’d probably be a fair bit cheaper than Romelu, with Everton reportedly asking for £100million to sell him. A bid of half that amount would surely be enough to persuade Madrid to part with their second choice striker, especially with the Spanish giants seemingly looking to fund a major move for Monaco forward Kylain Mbappe.

4 New Signings Including Mbappe: How Arsenal Could Look In A 3-4-1-2 Next Season

The Gunners are in desperate need of reinforcements in the summer, and whilst they have looked better with 3 at the back, they still lack the personnel to effectively perform in that system. In this article, I take a look at how the Gunners could look in this formation next season with four next signings…

GK – Petr Cech

Arsenal are looking to bring in a new young keeper in the summer but Cech is likely to keep his place between the sticks for at least one more season. His performances have picked up in recent weeks, though he still hasn’t saved a penalty for Arsenal!

Holding Starts: The 3-4-1-2 Line Up Arsenal Can Beat Tottenham With On Sunday

Arsenal travel to Tottenham on Sunday in what will be an epic North London Derby. The Gunners need all three points to stay in the hunt for Champions League football next season, whilst Spurs still have an outside chance of the title if they pick up maximum points. 

Poor form has prompted a rare tactical change from Arsene Wenger as he looks to show he can compete with the best managers in the world. The way his team performed in the FA Cup semi-final was reassuring, but perhaps the biggest test of this new 3 man defence formation will come on Sunday when Arsenal will attempt to quieten their noisy neighbours.

Wenger opted to change the team around a bit at home in midweek against Leicester, after 120 gruelling minutes against Manchester City last weekend, he will have had one eye on this North London Derby, a match he knows that for his future, he cannot afford to lose.

Wenger will go back to a full strength team here, but what is his best eleven in this new formation? Here’s the team I would go with…

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Big Pete man an important save in the semi-final and kept a clean sheet against Leicester. He seems to be regaining some form between the sticks, like the rest of the team, so should keep his place.

Defence: Gabriel Paulista, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding

Arsenal changed things around in midweek, giving Monreal a chance to impress in central defence. I think for this game Holding must come back in, and Arsenal should go with the same central defenders that played so well against Manchester City in the FA Cup. It’ll be another big test in this game for a young Holding, but he showed he plays with composure beyond his years with his brilliant accomplished performance at Wembley last week – there’s no reason he cannot have another great game at White Hart Lane.

Midfield: Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Granit Xhaka, Nacho Monreal

I think Arsenal would benefit from playing two more natural defenders in the wing back positions for this fixture, but Ox is in such good form he has to start. With Ramsey struggling to impress, I’d like to see Ox centrally alongside Xhaka in the centre.

Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil

I’d like to see the shift to a 3-4-1-2 to allow Ozil the free role in the middle. I think having him in wide areas may not help in a game that will be played at such a high pace. In this number 10 role he can create from deep and have two fast strikers ahead of him to provide the width and make the difference.

Strikers: Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez

I would go with two strikers, I think Arsenal have looked better when they’ve taken Giroud out the lineup and gone with Alexis alongside Welbeck up front. The duo have pace in abundance and a ridiculous amount of stamina between them, which means they can play a pressing game from the front

Man United & Arsenal Told It’ll Cost £17m To Sign Former Gunner This Summer

Arsenal, Manchester United and other clubs interested in Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup have been told they will have to stump up £17million to sign the 24-year-old this summer, according to Talk Sport

Arsenal approved the sale of Ozyakup to Besiktas after he failed to break into the first team, but he was always a player that was highly rated in the youth ranks at the club, and it was considered somewhat a disappointment when he chose to leave.

Could he return to Arsenal?

The Gunners on paper, do not need a new central midfielder. But with concerns over Santi Cazorla’s long-term fitness, Wenger could be looking for a new conductor in midfield. Is he good enough to replace Cazorla? I would say no, I wouldn’t rate him as good enough for the starting line up and I would also suggest he is of a different style to Cazorla. Cazorla is a conductor but he links the midfield to attack, I’d suggest Wenger would be better going for someone else, someone more mobile to partner Granit Xhaka in midfield.

Where would he fit in at United?

Ozyakup is known for his passing, boasting an 87% success rate in the Turkish league so far this season. He is a player who likes to play deep in midfield, normally as a defensive midfielder. As well as his good passing range, he is known for his defensive ability. Ozyakup averages 1.2 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.6 key passes per game. He’s a player that likes to dictate the pace of the game and could be a replacement for Michael Carrick at United, who can no longer be relied upon week in week out, especially if United go into the Champions League next season.

Whilst United will surely have their eyes on players already established at big clubs, Ozyakup would be a relatively cheap purchase and he’s a player that could provide the perfect foil for the superstars alongside him in midfield, for example, Paul Pogba. Ander Herrera has also excelled this season, but he’s not a player to sit and dictate the tempo of the game, so Ozyakup could work well between the duo in a 4-3-3 formation.

Who is he more likely to join?

There’s no strong evidence that suggests either Arsenal or Manchester United have more than an interest in the player. But I would say of the two clubs he is more likely to move to Old Trafford in the summer. Something I am nearly certain on though is, that Ozyakup will not be at Besiktas next season.

 

Giroud Out, Bellerin Starts: The 3-4-1-2 Arsenal XI That Should Line-Up vs. Leicester City

Arsenal host Leicester City in the Premier League on Wednesday night, as they look to get their quest for Champions League football back on track. 

The Gunners will be high on confidence after their semi-final win over Manchester City and with Liverpool losing at the weekend and the Manchester sides playing each other in midweek, Arsenal have a chance to gain some ground in the race for the top four. 3 points would put the Gunners right back in the mix – but how should they line up? I take a look below.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Cech has not won enough points for Arsenal this season, but on Sunday he helped his team reach the final with a wonder save from Yaya Toure’s shot. He will keep his place between the sticks and rightly so after that key FA Cup moment.

Defence: Gabriel, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding

Arsenal need to keep this back 3 together for a bit. Mustafi is a top defender but he’s not fit at the moment and he has struggled recently. I do feel, however, that he would do really well as a right centre-back in this formation, but whilst Gabriel is playing well – keep him there. Holding was arguably man of the match against City at the weekend and he just looks so comfortable in this team. It’s amazing really considering his age and the fact he’s playing in a new formation – Arsenal look like they’ve signed a real gem for just £2million.

Midfield: Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Monreal

Oxlade-Chamberlain was man of the match at Wembley, but he picked up a knock and Arsenal should not risk him against Leicester City if there is any question marks over his fitness. Bellerin will be fresh and ready to impress, I’m sure he can also thrive in this new wing back role. The rest of the midfield should remain the same. Ramsey was the only player to put in a concerning performance at Wembley, but there’s no point in changing too much when the team is on a high.

Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil

I would like to see Arsenal go with a 3-4-1-2 rather than a 3-4-3 as this allows for us to play with two strikers and also put Ozil in his favourite number 10 position.

Strikers: Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck

Giroud has struggled in this new system, so despite the misses at the weekend I would like to see Welbeck partner Alexis in a two-man attack. The duo have a high work rate and lots of pace, so I would like to see Arsenal press high with these two setting the tone. Welbeck desperately needs a goal, because every other part of his game is perfect – and really suits Arsenal and this new formation.

3 Better Alternatives To Lukaku That Chelsea Should Sign This Summer

Chelsea are being strongly linked with a big transfer move for Romelu Lukaku in the summer. It looks as if Diego Costa could be on his way out the club and Antonio Conte will be keen to secure a big name striker to lead the line.

Whilst it goes without saying that Lukaku is a very talented striker (the top scorer in the Premier League at the time of writing), he is, in my opinion, not the best option for Chelsea, especially with Everton reportedly slapping a £100million price tag on the player.

Below I take a look at 3 possible alternatives to Lukaku that Chelsea should pursue.

1 – Kylian Mbappe

Chelsea have the money to get this deal done. Most of Europe’s top clubs will be in the market for Mbappe this summer but with the future of Diego Costa up in the air, Chelsea could offer Mbappe both Champions League football and a place in the starting eleven. Wherever he goes, if he does move, Mbappe will want guarantees that he will be playing regular football and I think he’d have a good chance to do that at Chelsea. He would cost a lot but so would Lukaku and for the little bit extra Chelsea would probably have to pay to sign Mbappe, I think they would be getting a player with much more potential. Yes, Lukaku has already proven himself in the Premier League and would probably make more of an instant impact, but Mbappe has the potential to be the next big thing in world football, I feel Lukaku has technical limitations that will never enable him to reach such a level. When you’re spending the kind of money that it would take to sign either of these players, I think you need a player that is capable of being very very special and Mbappe is just that.

3 Giroud Replacements That Would Be Brilliant In A 3-4-2-1 Formation For Arsenal

Arsenal have adapted to a 3-4-2-1 formation and it seems like they are performing well in it in its early stages. Arsene Wenger, should he be in charge next season, will have been encouraged by the positive performances in this new system and may consider changing to it permanently.

But not every player is excelling in the formation. One who has visibly struggled in both games where the formation has been deployed is Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman has been in and out of the XI this season and has been linked with a summer move back to France. If he continues to struggle in what might be Arsenal’s future formation, then the Gunners could be open to selling him in the off-season.

If he does move on, Arsenal would be in the market for a replacement. Below I take a look at 3 possible replacements that would be better suited to this new look Arsenal side.

1 – Andrea Belotti

A phenomenal striker that has somewhat flown under the radar this season. Belotti has scored a ridiculous 25 Serie A goals in 30 appearances, also notching up 5 assists. It’s a brilliant record that at his age (23) deserves more recognition than he is getting.

But the big clubs are not ignoring his form. Arsenal are one of many clubs to be linked with a move for Belotti, who would cost in excess of £40million. It’s extremely hard to find goalscorers in the current market but Belotti is a natural one. He is a striker that works very hard and can play a pressing game from the front, likes Alexis Sanchez. If Alexis were to stay and Arsenal played a 3-4-1-2 formation I think the Chilean would partner perfectly with Belotti. Both are hungry and energetic forwards that can provide width when needed. As an attacking pair they could provide energy and hunger up top and help give Arsenal a new identity. The Gunners are often too passive in attack but if these two partnered up that would all change.

Report: Man Utd ‘Willing To Spend Big Money’ To Sign Brazilian Ace

Manchester United are already looking ahead to the summer and would like to make some big money signings it seems. The likes of Antoine Griezmann have been linked, but they are also being linked with a move for a Brazilian defender…

The player in question is Marquinhos. Widely regarded as one of the best young prospects in the game, the PSG man is said to be high on the wish list of Jose Mourinho as he looks for defensive reinforcements in the summer.

The report comes from Goal who state: “Ligue 1 champions PSG are, however, reluctant to sell one of their key players and Goal understands they will not consider a sale in the summer, even for a bid of €100m.

Jose Mourinho’s side would be willing to offer €10m per year in wages to attract one of the top young defensive players in Europe as they look to build a team capable of winning the Premier League title.”

Mourinho has already invested big in his defence with the signing of Eric Bailly, but it seems he would like to add another central defender. Phil Jones continues to struggle with fitness whilst Marcos Rojo and Christ Smalling have failed to perform to the level Jose wants.

Marquinhos would walk into the United XI at the moment, most likely to partner Bailly at the heart of the defence. It would be a fairly inexperienced defence though, which would be something new for Mourinho, who has always favoured having at least one experienced head in his back four.

But it is clear United need some fresh young legs in their team and Marquinhos would be a fine addition. He is a player that can play out from the back with a very impressive 93.5% pass success rate in Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season.

Whilst he has shown promise at PSG, he is far from the finished article, but Mourinho will be confident in helping him become a better player. Mourinho did a great job with Varane at Madrid.

Marquinhos’ defensive statistics are not incredible this season (1.6 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 3.6 clearances per 90) but he has the raw attributes to become a top player.

Another advantage of signing Marquinhos is his versatility. Although United have a top quality right back in Antonio Valencia, they do lack quality depth in that area and Marquinhos has experience of playing in this position.

In my opinion, Mourinho will bring in another defender in the summer and Marquinhos is a very good candidate. He would be a significant investment for United but as we have seen with the signing of Paul Pogba, United are not afraid to do that. Marquinhos would probably cost in excess of £50million, but I don’t think United will be afraid to invest such an amount in a player that is only 22 and has already proven himself at the top level.

Despite his youthful age, Marquinhos has managed to play nearly 100 games for PSG and has already been capped 17 times for his country.

Manchester United look set to spend big this summer with a huge move for Griezmann being talked up.

The 3-4-3 Formation Arsenal Could Line-Up With vs. Manchester City

Arsene Wenger made a bold decision on Monday night, to shift to a back 3, something he has not done during his reign at the club. Will he stick with this formation against Manchester City on Sunday in the FA Cup semifinal?

It’s anyone’s guess, but surely after getting back to winning ways against Boro, Wenger will be tempted to stick with what got him the 3 points on Monday and what the team have been working on in training most recently.

Below I take a look at the 3-4-3 eleven that, in my opinion, would be best equipped to help Arsenal advance to another FA Cup final…

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Cech hasn’t won Arsenal many points this season, so it would be nice for him to make the difference in this semi-final. He’ll certainly need to have a good game to keep City at bay and keep the Gunners in the tie.

Defence: Gabriel, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding

Mustafi is out with an injury still, so it looks like Arsenal will go with the same back three that they selected against Boro. Holding may seem the obvious player to drop out due to his age and inexperience, but his performance against Boro and whenever he has featured for Arsenal means he deserves to keep his place. Monreal is an option as a left-sided centre-back too, and I personally would rather him than Gabriel, but Wenger will not do that.

Midfield: Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs

Arsenal opted for Monreal and the Ox as wing backs against Boro, but I think both of these players would struggle in those positions against a team with City’s attacking quality. Here I’d like to see the quick full-back duo of Bellerin and Gibbs. Both players can offer a good attacking threat, but they also have the pace and defensive experience to do the dirty side of the role. Monreal’s lack of pace would see him get seriously exposed on the left and I feel Gibbs is better equipped to handle the threat of City down the right.

In the centre, I think Xhaka is an essential part of the team, whilst the in-form Ox should be his partner. Contrary to popular belief, I think Ramsey did very well against Boro, but Ox has shown more consistency in recent weeks and does not deserve to get dropped.

Attack: Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil

Giroud seriously struggled in this formation at Boro and I think he should certainly be dropped for the game against City. I’d have Alexis as the main man through the middle, with the pace of Walcott and creativity of Ozil supplementing him either side. Giroud is often selected for his added height to help Arsenal defend and attack set pieces, but with three central defenders in the team I think we will be fine in this department, and this is hardly a strength of City’s.

Report: Arsenal Will Try To Beat Chelsea To Signing Of £50m-Rated Defender This Summer

Arsene Wenger surprised a few on Monday night when he opted to switch Arsenal to a 3-man defence. He hoped that the decision would see similar success to Antonio Conte’s.

Chelsea were struggling in the early stages under Conte but after changing to a 3-man defence they produced stunning form that will surely see them lift the title. Title challenging manager Pochettino has also demonstrated tactical flexibility, successfully implementing 3-man defence on several occasions. Arsenal won against Boro on Monday in the new formation, but they didn’t flatter. It’s clear that if Wenger wants to implement this system in the long-term then Arsenal need to make some signings. According to The Mirror, this is exactly what Wenger wants to do, and he’s willing to heavily invest in a special Premier League talent to do just that. The player said to tickle Wenger’s fancy is Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, a player widely considered amongst the best in his position in the league, however his club value him at £50million. With the likes of Chelsea interested, Arsenal may have to pay close to that amount as a summer bidding war is likely.

But if Arsenal are to seriously compete for major honours, they need to start winning these bidding wars. If van Dijk is the player the club want and the player the club need, then they should do everything in their power to sign him. Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and even Calum Chambers all have the potential to be successful in a 3-man defence, but there is something that Arsenal don’t currently have amongst their rank of central defenders and that is a strong, aerially dominant centre-half. Van Dijk ticks those boxes and also has a lot of technical ability – something that would make him well suited to Arsenal’s style of play and also a great spearhead for the defensive 3.

He’s a good age to invest in too, at 25 years old he has established himself in the league as a top player and still has his prime years ahead of him.

Van Dijk has won on average 4.7 aerial duels per game won in the league this season – greater than Mustafi (3.8) and Koscielny (3.7). The Dutchman’s 6ft 4’ presence will be one of the biggest additions to the Arsenal back line if he were to arrive. Arsenal have lost too many points this season via a lack of defensive authority, particularly in aerial duels and with organisation. A back three of Mustafi, van Dijk and Koscielny would make Arsenal very hard to beat and certainly aid their title challenge next season.

Southampton will be reluctant to sell another top class player this summer, but there must be a reluctance to some degree that van Dijk will want to move on and play European football next season. Will Arsenal flex their financial muscle and beat Chelsea to this signing though? It seems the Gunners missed out on N’Golo Kante for financial reasons and they will not want to let another top quality Premier League established player join a title rival.

Arsenal Fans React As Reports Suggest Bundesliga Defender Has Joined The Gunners

Whilst Arsenal might be having managerial problems, they are also having some consistent problems on the pitch. With the end of the season approaching, Arsenal cannot afford to dither in the market and allow rivals to sign quality talent ahead of them. It seems that despite all the noise around Wenger’s future, he and the club have already managed to sign a very highly rated Bundesliga talent…

Left-back has been an area of concern all season, with the previously consistent Nacho Monreal falling out of form. Kieran Gibbs, Arsenal’s current backup option also hasn’t managed to offer much in terms of quality and I am sure that a new left back will have been high on the wish list for many fans this summer. It seems Arsenal may have already bagged a top talent in this position. With Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, many of Europe’s top clubs have been lining up to agree a pre-contract deal with him. Arsenal appear to have won that race, with Juventus and Everton amongst the clubs who reportedly missed out.

Kolasinac is considered to be a very good player at both ends of the pitch. Defensively he is solid and known for his good tackling. He stands at over 6ft and is good in aerial duels, a rare trait for a full back and something Arsenal need. He has averaged 2.9 tackles, 2.1 clearances and 3.6 interceptions per 90 minutes this season – a very impressive set of defensive statistics.

In an attacking sense he’s scored 3 goals and assisted 5 in 21 Bundesliga appearances this season, a phenomenal return for a full-back.

Another poor performance from Monreal against Middlesbrough just fueled the fans thirst for a new left back. Here’s some reaction to the Kolasinac news…

In my opinion this is a really good signing for Arsenal. Wenger showed he could switch to a wing back system in the game against Middlesbrough, and Kolasinac would thrive in such a system. You can see from the goals and assists he’s produced this season that Kolasinac has the potential to tt

5 Changes, Koscielny Starts: The Much Changed Arsenal XI That Should Line-Up vs. Middlesbrough

Arsenal are in a bad place at the moment, but with no announcement on Arsene Wenger’s future, the players and fans must focus on the remainder of the season and pick up the points they need to finish in the top four. We take a look at what needs to change in the Gunners next game.

On Monday night they face a Middlesbrough team that are equally as desperate for Premier League points and it will not be an easy game as the Gunners once again face an away game on a Monday night against a relegation candidate.

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Monday night and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

According to the Daily Star, Cech will be back fit again to face Middlesbrough, in which case he will come back into the line-up. If this story is not true, then I’d like to see Martinez start between the sticks again. He didn’t have his best game against Palace by any means, but he’s a promising keeper that needs minutes.

Defence: Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs

I think something needs to change at the heart of the Arsenal defence. Neither Mustafi nor Gabriel have been good enough recently but Mustafi is the senior of the pair and should keep his place in my opinion. Koscielny will hopefully be fit again and walk back into the XI, if not young Holding should come in for Gabriel. I think Holding has really impressed when given the chance for Arsenal so far, and he is already more mature mentally than Brazilian Gabriel. At left-back, it was another shambolic display from Monreal against Palace, Gibbs isn’t great, but he deserves a chance to show he is better than the Spaniard.

Central Midfield: Granit Xhaka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Before his injury ‘The Ox’ was arguably Arsenal’s best player and now he is fit again he needs to be put back into central midfield, the position where he impresses most. His contract situation is up in the air at the moment and if Arsene wants to keep him, he needs to play him more regularly. Alongside Xhaka I think Arsenal would have a bit of everything at the base of the midfield, this would enable them to break down a resilient Boro team.

Attacking Midfield: Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez

Dropped from the squad against Palace, now could be the game to bring back Iwobi. He has a point to prove and after another quiet performance from Theo Walcott at Selhurst Park, Iwobi could regain his first-team place with a good performance against Boro. They are a team that will be tight and hard to break down, so Iwobi’s creativity may be needed from wide areas.

Striker: Olivier Giroud

Wenger has given Danny Welbeck an extended run in the team but that has seen Olivier Giroud sit on the sidelines for an extended period of time. In my opinion, he again deserves to come back into the starting eleven, with Welbeck struggling to find the net in his recent appearances. Giroud will be need to help combat the physicality of Middlesbrough on Monday night, with West Brom and Crystal Palace exploiting those weaknesses in recent weeks.

Remember the game is live on Sky Sports tonight and Fresh Football readers can get Sky Sports for a full day for just £6.29. You can redeem the fantastic day pass offer by clicking here.

Stay tuned to our social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter for match reaction.

3 Key Battles That Will Decide The Result Of Middlesbrough vs. Arsenal

It’s a huge game at both ends of the table. Arsenal travel to Middlesbrough for what is a must win game for both teams. 

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Monday night and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

The match will be close, with Boro defensively sound and they showcased this in their 0-0 draw at The Emirates earlier in the season, a match they were perhaps unlucky not to win.

We take a look at 3 key battles that will decide the outcome of this game…

1 – Alvaro Negredo vs. Shkodran Mustafi

Negredo has been in a poor patch lately, but Boro desperately need him to start scoring goals if they are to have any chance of staying in the Premier League. Negredo will have the chance to target two central defenders that have really struggled of late, with Mustafi and Gabriel collapsing at Selhurst Park in Arsenal’s most recent fixture. Koscielny is likely to come back into the team after recovering from injury, so Negredo will certainly target the vulnerabilities of Mustafi.

3 Key Battles That Will Decide The Result Of Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Is this the biggest game of the season for both clubs? If Chelsea win, the title will surely be theirs, if United win, their bid for the top four will look strong. Mourinho cannot afford another embarrassment against his old club, we take a look at 3 key battles that will decide the winner of this game. 

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off UK time) and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

1 – Antonio Valencia vs. Eden Hazard

Valencia has arguably been the best right back in the league this season, but on Sunday he will come up against a hugely talented Eden Hazard, and he doesn’t have to defend against this calibre of player very often.

Hazard is in the mood this season and has been a vital part of a Chelsea team that is close to winning the Premier League. Another big performance from Hazard could potentially win Chelsea the title on Sunday. If Conte’s men take three points at Old Trafford, they can surely be considered the Champions – they will have passed nearly every test. For Chelsea to get the three points, Hazard needs to be at his best. At the same time for United to get anything from the game, Valencia needs to show why he is being touted as the best in the league – and stop Hazard from performing.

Report: Arsenal Set To Win Race And Sign Highly-Rated Bundesliga Defender For Free

Arsenal’s managerial uncertainty hasn’t stopped them making moves in the transfer market, with the latest reports suggesting that the Gunners are closing in on the signing of a new left-back.

Left-back is certainly one of many areas where Arsenal will be looking to improve over the summer and Schalke full-back Sead Kolasinac could be set to join the club for free, with Goal reporting that the Gunners are confident of landing the Bosnian defender.

The 23-year-old is primarily a left-back, but can also fill in as a central defender or in defensive midfield, so his versatility will certainly be attractive. Juventus are one of a number of top clubs that have been linked with a move for Kolasinac, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Arsenal and other foreign clubs will have been allowed to negotiate a pre-contract with the player since January due to the Bosman rule.

Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal have struggled to consistently convince in the left-back role, and it has been a long time since either put in a memorable attacking or defensive performance. Gibbs is one of a number of squad players that could be set to leave the club in the summer. He has been at the club for some time now but with just one year remaining on his contract and the player not able to hold down a

Gibbs is one of a number of squad players that could be set to leave Arsenal in the summer. He has been at the club for some time now but with just one year remaining on his contract and the player not able to hold down a first-team spot, he could be allowed to leave should a suitable offer arrive.

How good is he?

The calibre of club showing an interest in Kolasinac show that he is a very talented player. Is he what Arsenal need?

Despite being just 23, Kolasinac has been an ever-present in the Schalke XI for some time, making over 100 senior appearances for the club. Kolasinac is considered to be a very good player at both ends of the pitch. Defensively he is solid and known for his good tackling. He stands at over 6ft and is good in aerial duels, a rare trait for a full back and something Arsenal

Kolasinac is considered to be a very good player at both ends of the pitch. Defensively he is solid and known for his good tackling. He stands at over 6ft and is good in aerial duels, a rare trait for a full back and something Arsenal need. He has averaged 2.9 tackles, 2.1 clearances and 3.6 interceptions per 90 minutes this season – a very impressive set of defensive statistics.

In an attacking sense he’s scored 3 goals and assisted 5 in 21 Bundesliga appearances this season, a phenomenal return for a full-back.

He’s nowhere near the speed of Hector Bellerin, but he is deceptively quick for a man of his size and strength – from what I’ve seen he is quicker than Arsenal’s current first choice left back, Monreal.

Of course as a free signing there is little risk involved here and the Gunners could even sign another left back on top of Kolasinac if they wanted to replace both Monreal and Gibbs. The Gunners need to invest a lot of money in their team this summer and the chance to make a first team improvement for free would be brilliant.

 

3 Big Name Players Who Could Be Set To Leave Chelsea This Summer

Chelsea are having a brilliant season on the pitch, but off the pitch it looks like they may have some issues to deal with come the summer. Here are three players that could reportedly be leaving the club in the summer…

1 – Diego Costa

Costa started the season in brilliant form but since the rumours of a move away started in January, he has struggled to score consistently. There have been rumours he is not happy in London and these appear to have been confirmed in his latest quotes.

Costa revealed after his team beat Bournemouth at the weekend: “I am happy at Chelsea, I am not necessarily saying that I am happy with my life in London. But that is something totally different.”

Costa is a player who plays with emotion and when his head is not in a good place, his performance certainly suffers. At his best and his most focussed, in my opinion, he is one of the best number 9’s in the world. It will be very hard to replace him, but the likes of Lukaku have been linked.

Swansea Star Sigurdsson’s Suitors Set For Summer Showdown

The latest Premier League odds for relegation continue to fluctuate. Yet, where Swansea City AFC is concerned, the outlook remains bleaker than a cold front in November across the Gower peninsula.

Unlike the condemned duo beneath them (Sunderland and Middlesbrough), the Swans do remain in realistic contention for survival after a traumatic season. However, a 3-1 home defeat to Tottenham on April 5, provided further illustration of the guile and assertiveness that the Swansea XI sorely lacks on home turf.

Another Swansea defeat at the weekend, 1-0 at the London Stadium, represented a paltry return of one point from the last twelve for Paul Clement’s men. That is prime relegation form by any measure, but more especially so at this stage of the season.

Without the endeavour and diligence of set-piece expert Gylfi Sigurdsson, Paul Clement’s ailing Swansea side would already be consigned to certain relegation. Regardless of Swansea’s Premier League status (or lack thereof) in 2017/18, the Icelandic midfielder will be a wanted man by clubs across the continent this summer.

Blue is the Colour, is Chelsea the Name?

Relegation for Swansea would merely serve to make the probable inevitable. For Sigurdsson, a move to Stamford Bridge would represent just reward for seasons of hard graft with a Swansea squad that, it could be argued, no longer deserves his services.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is now mere weeks away from winning the Premier League title on his first attempt. As a front three, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Pedro have proven to be unplayable at times this season, with Hazard particularly emerging as Chelsea’s most dangerous all-rounder after a poor season in 2015/16.

With Chelsea’s attacking potency taken into account, it is difficult to see how exactly Sigurdsson would fit into Conte’s setup on a regular basis. There will, however, be the additional distraction of Champions League football for Conte and his battling blues next season, which at least makes Sigurdsson’s entry into the starting XI via squad rotation a possibility.

Additionally, Sigurdsson’s ability from set pieces could be an asset when it comes to stealing away goals, at Europe’s most famous fortresses, in the knockout phase.

‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’ for Sigurdsson?

Curiously, most bookmakers believe that Goodison Park is by far the likeliest destination for Sigurdsson, with such a move priced at around 4/1.

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku appears all but bound for a summer departure, and on current form, his value should easily hit the £60 million mark. This return on investment, combined with the wealth of Iranian billionaire shareholder Farhad Moshiri, represents a summer of unprecedented opportunity for the blue half of Merseyside.

In the event of his arrival at Goodison Park, Sigurdsson will likely contest the so-called “Number Ten” role with boyhood blue Ross Barkley.

Amongst Everton fans, opinions of Barkley remain mixed. However, Barkley’s omission in favour of a new face could well destroy what is currently a good dressing room spirit, but there is also room for great improvement at set pieces. While the aging Leighton Baines is a certified maestro from the penalty spot, it is also worth noting that Everton have been deprived of a true set piece specialist since the departure of Mikel Arteta in 2011.

The only feasible way in which Sigurdsson could play alongside Barkley would be at the centre of a ‘false nine’, in front of a solid defensive midfield trio of Davies, Schneiderlin and Gana. Ronald Koeman would, however, consider many other alternatives before even dreaming of resorting to a ‘false nine’.

Ultimately, developments around this particular move are worth watching. However, the move itself is not necessarily one to back as of yet.

A fine claret?

With a Chelsea move considered unlikely by bookmakers, Sigurdsson may find solace at another London club. Following in the footsteps of former Swansea teammate Andre Ayew, Sigurdsson would find himself a highly-valued part of an intriguing project at the London Stadium.

In Robert Snodgrass, Slaven Bilic already has a set piece expert at his disposal. Undeniably, the combination of Snodgrass and Sigurdsson in the same starting XI would see West Ham reach peak capability in the centre of the park. Yet, without adequate strengthening in the wide areas, West Ham will continue to experience barren runs of form next season.

In the wing play department, Michael Antonio arguably remains West Ham’s MVP, but like Sigurdsson, he is not without his suitors. Should Antonio depart, Sigurdsson’s task of stabilising West Ham’s playing style could be greatly complicated by the presence of an unknown quantity in the wide area.

Though second-favourites to sign Sigurdsson, at around 7/1, West Ham can offer him a relatively easy transition from Swansea. Whether Bilic can take the initiative is quite another matter. 

 

3 Top Quality Forwards West Ham Are Reportedly Trying To Sign This Summer

There’s no doubt that West Ham need reinforcements in the summer, no matter who their manager may be. One area that certainly needs strengthening is attack. Several players have been linked in recent weeks. We take a look at three of the latest, and how realistic a move for them could be.

1 – Alvaro Morata

West Ham have approached Real Madrid and made an enquiry as to the availability of striker Alvaro Morata according to Don Balon. He was brought back to Madrid from Juventus but despite good goalscoring form, he has not been given the game time that he wants and perhaps deserves. With interest in Monaco’s Mbappe, Madrid could well be open to selling Morata this summer – but would West Ham have a realistic chance of signing him, or would it be a waste of time? Reports suggest he would cost in excess of £50million and demands in excess of £100,000 per week. Add that to the fact that clubs with European football are interested and it looks extremely unlikely that West Ham would be able to tempt Morata to the club. Especially with the way this season is finishing.

£200m Invested: 3 Incredible Summer Signings Man Utd Want To Make This Summer According To Reports

Despite the money Jose Mourinho has spent in his first season at Manchester United, his team still look a long way from title challengers. A long unbeaten run in the league has papered over cracks in all honesty, with several home draws in recent weeks frustrating the fans.

Instead of battling for the title, United now find themselves in a struggle to finish in the top four. There’s a very real possibility that they will miss out on Champions League football again. The United attack is ageing and is struggling to make the difference week in week out. Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic could leave the club this summer, and that would free up significant funds for United to go and invest in new attacking midfielders and forwards. We take a look at 3 top quality players United could bring in with an investment of around £200million…

1 – Robert Lewandowski

According to DonBalon, a Spanish source, Mourinho may not choose to extend the contract of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, or at least, he may look to sign a new first-choice striker. According to the same report, Lewandowski of Bayern Munich tops the list. I don’t need to write about what type of player he is, or his statistics in recent years, it goes without saying that adding him to the team would be a significant improvement.

Convincing Munich to sell will not be easy. They have no obvious back up to Lewandowski, and world class strikers are hard to find on the market. A bid in excess of £60million would surely be needed to convince the German’s to part way with the deadly Polish striker.

5 French Internationals Arsenal Could & Should Sign This Summer

Arsene Wenger has suggested that the best players in the world are coming from France, with that in mind, if he is still the manager of Arsenal in the summer, who should he sign?

We take a look at 5 internationals that Arsenal should be in the market for…

1 – Kingsley Coman

The 20-year-old has had a fantastic start to his career and is widely regarded as one of the best young wide players in the world. He’s a fantastic talent but he is only being used sparingly by Carlo Ancelotti, leading many to believe he could be available this summer, despite Bayern having an option to buy. Coman has the right to refuse a move to Bayern, even if they activate the clause. According to Telefoot in France, Arsenal have made an enquiry. Coman would more than likely come in and play on the left wing, possibly as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez.

‘Outstanding’ Fans Drool Over World Class Performance From Arsenal Midfielder vs. West Ham

Arsenal grabbed a much needed 3 points against West Ham on Wednesday night. The Gunners managed to rediscover their form and at the heart of a great team performance was Mesut Ozil. 

Ozil has been widely criticised during the Gunners terrible recent run of form, but he proved the difference against West Ham on Wednesday night, in a game where Arsenal needed the three points.

Often criticised for his work rate, Ozil was always on the move for Arsenal, coming deep to control the game when required and tracking men defensively to ensure that West Ham could not build any attacking momentum. 

Ozil broke the deadlock, curling in an effort from distance and ten minutes later he managed a perfect pass to assist Theo Walcott who put the game out of sight. In these tight home games where away teams set up to get a point, Ozil needs to shine like he did tonight and make the difference. Hopefully, this performance will have boosted his confidence and he can continue to deliver performances of this calibre for the rest of the season. 

Ozil was at his creative best, managing 5 key passes and an assist. He completed 3 dribbles and 2/3 crosses. Ozil was involved heavily throughout the game, completing a massive 93 passes with a 86% success rate. We saw Ozil do some dirty defensive work today too, he looked energised and made 2 interceptions and 1 tackle.

Here’s some reaction from the fans to Ozil’s performance against the Hammers…

https://twitter.com/JMonk21/status/849741743025205251

In my opinion, Ozil has been harshly criticised in recent weeks. He’s not been good enough, but he’s been the one player to often get the criticism when in reality the entire team have been poor. 

Despite this, he has not been good enough personally and as a world class player, he really needed a game like this to stamp his authority on the team. Hopefully this will silence the critics, but Ozil needs to deliver this kind of performance more frequently, and also against the big teams, otherwise he will continue to be scapegoated. 

120 Passes, 89% Success Rate: Arsenal Fans Praise ‘Excellent’ Midfielder After Performance vs. West Ham

Arsenal got back to winning ways in the Premier League on Wednesday night, and there were several brilliant individual performances that will have pleased the Arsenal fans. One summer signing was particularly impressive…

Xhaka signed for Arsenal for £30million in the summer and he has divided opinion ever since. The Swiss international has endured a difficult season, often played out of position and his discipline or lack of it, has really damaged his reputation.

In this game though, the Swiss international was majestic in defensive midfield. With Mohammed Elneny alongside him, the former FC Basel pair controlled the game against West Ham. 

Although he plays deep in midfield, he is a very creative player with a great eye for a long pass and he’s neat and tidy in his short passing. With Santi Cazorla out, Arsenal needed a midfielder to step up responsibility and become the controller in midfield, conducting the game. 

Xhaka was never hiding from the ball and often positioned himself in useful areas of the pitch to be the outlet for his defenders when they were under pressure. He was the base of all of Arsenal’s attacking movements and disciplined in his defensive actions. 

Here’s some statistics from his performance: In perhaps his best game in an Arsenal shirt to date, Xhaka completed a massive 120 passes with an 89.2% success rate. He attempted 13 long balls and was accurate with 9 of them. Defensively he was solid, making 4 tackles and 1 interception. Offensively he was influential, making 3 key passes, despite playing in the deepest midfield position. 

Here’s some tweets showing how fans reacted to Xhaka’s performance against the Hammers. 

 

In my opinion, Xhaka is a top quality midfielder that Arsenal must build their midfield around. The club can no longer depend on Cazorla, who is becoming injury prone and moving into the latter years of his career. 

He’s has addressed his attitude problem recently and has become much calmer and more reliable on the ball. Arsenal need this kind of performance from Xhaka for the remainder of the season if they are to be successful in the FA Cup and qualify for the Champions League for a 23rd consecutive year. 

2 New Signings & New Formation: How West Ham Could Line-Up Under Jaap Stam Next Season

Jaap Stam has been linked with a move to West Ham this summer, with uncertainty growing over the future of Slaven Bilic at the club. Whilst West Ham have publically backed Bilic, poor results for the rest of the season would surely give the club no choice but to look at other managers.

Here’s a look at how the Hammers could line-up under Stam, who is having a fantastic season at Reading currently.

GK – Darren Randolph

Randolph has worked his way into the West Ham team ahead of Adrian and in my opinion, will keep his place in the West Ham team next season. He’s earned the right to play a full season as the Hammers keeper. He’s had some games to forget (Man City), but also some to remember (vs. Southampton and Bournemouth). West Ham would be better off spending their budget on other areas of the pitch and leave Adrian to compete with Randolph for the goalkeeper spot.