There is certainly no doubt that every Arsenal fan and his dog loves Lukas Podolski, not only for his talents on the football pitch but also for his faultless character, gritty attitude and also his great sense of humour. Despite moving on loan to Inter Milan in January, The German international is on the good books of most Arsenal fans and has also claimed recently that there is a chance that he will play for Arsenal again. But will he?
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Although it could be argued that the international break has arrived at the wrong time for Arsenal, who have hit a superb run of form in the Premier League, it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise as Arsene Wenger may welcome three key players back from lengthy injury layoffs in preparation for the Liverpool game.
The big matchup of this weekend sees Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City taking on Arsenal at the Etihad. This match was played last season in mid-December 2013 and ended in humiliation for Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger, as his team were comprehensively outclassed and beaten 6-3 by a rampant City side. Arsenal stayed top of the table, but this win moved City within three points of the leaders, simultaneously sending out an ominous message to their title challengers.
City occasionally dropped points away last season, but they were consistently impressive at home, dismantling teams comprehensively, with this game no exception. Arsenal did put up a gallant effort, but in reality they were destroyed by a rampant City side.
The weekend’s big game sees Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United travel to the Emirates to take on Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. Last season, fans endured rather than enjoyed this game, a grim goalless stalemate played out in mid-February after a lacklustre performance from both sides. Arsenal missed their chance to return to the top of the Premier League following a 5-1 mauling at Liverpool, while then United manager David Moyes was desperate to bounce back from the 2-2 draw at home to bottom club Fulham.
Saturday afternoon sees the Gunners make a long northerly trip to face newly-promoted Burnley. As The Clarets were in the Championship last season, our regular Beat Your Manager! column doesn’t have a lineup list from last season to talk about and instead has come up with a novel topic that last season’s stats can usefully answer.
Beat Your Manager! Fantasy Football is a game similar to “Football Manager”, but applied to live football, where you manage your favourite Club and pick lineups, bench, formations and substitutions, all in real-time. When fans play the game, the Beat Your Manager team can measure the popularity of different players, by looking at how frequently they are selected for the starting lineup, substitutes bench or not selected at all.
Saturday afternoon sees the cross-England trek of northerly Hull City down south to play Arsenal at The Emirates, a game that last season saw the hosts score twice in the first two minutes of each half to take a comfortable 2-0 home victory. This fixture was last played on Wednesday 4th December 2013, with Nicklas Bendtner’s first Arsenal goal since March 2011 and Mesut Özil’s careful finish from an Aaron Ramsey pass helping the Gunners beat Hull to keep their lead at the peak of the Premier League.
Sunday afternoon sees the return of Arsenal to Stamford Bridge, a fixture that was infamous last season for the 6-0 thrashing the hosts meted out to the visitors. The game was over by half-time, with goals from Eto’o, Schürrle and Oscar complementing Hazard’s penalty. Oscar added another after the break, before substitute Salah administered the coup de grace to make Wenger’s 1000th game as Manager one to forget.
The game was also notable for Andre Marriner wrongly sending off Kieran Gibbs for blocking Hazard’s curling effort with his hand, despite Oxlade-Chamberlain’s protestations that he was the culprit.
The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has rubbished the idea of signing another striker. by OG
When asked about the reports of the injured standing striker Oliver Giroud, the Arsenal boss said in response that there is no need in filling the vacuum left by the Frenchman.
Wenger said: “We have many players that fits into the position, such as world cup winner Lukas Poldoski, Yaya Sanogo and also (when the England international returns to fitness) Theo Walcott, and summer deal Alexis Sanchez who can fit in well”
Just like last season, most of the pundits are writing off the chances of Arsenal winning the Premier League title before we have even got started. And the likes of Michael Owen, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher are using the same old reasons to back up their predictions. Namely, that Arsenal have not the power and fighting qualities we need to stand up to the likes of Chelsea and Man City.
Apology To Wenger by OE
Good day to all the Arsenal Fans out there, I’m an AKB; I once wrote an article slating Wenger but It wasn’t because I doubted his capabilities but because we were so close to winning the EPL last season, and when the series of injuries came, I couldn’t understand why we did not reinforce. It felt like the right thing to do at that point, but I realized that any player we had opted for would have been a temporary solution & not a permanent one. So to Wenger I render my sincerest apologies.