Almost all the talks involving Arsenal concern the build-up to the big Sunday clash against league leaders Manchester United, as this daily column will provide you all the latest news and previews ahead of the game, including quotes from the Arsenal perspective, and lots of other stories, all related to Arsenal, and also some transfer fodder. Head over this way to get an in-depth preview of Sunday’s Arsenal v Manchester United clash.
Koscielny, Arteta To Miss Man Utd Clash
Arsene Wenger has revealed the three players who will sit out of Sunday’s game against Man Utd at the Emirates, and the absence of centre-back Laurent Koscielny is a huge blow to the Gunners. Club captain Mikel Arteta and fellow holding midfielder Mathieu Flamini are also out, but there is good news in the sense that Francis Coquelin is fit for the game.
Wenger said in his pre-match press conference: “Laurent Koscielny will certainly be out, he has a hamstring strain and it looks like it will be three weeks, something like that. Both [Arteta and Flamini] are out. Francis should be okay for Sunday, yes.”
Wenger Threatens Press Conference Walkout
Wenger was pressed about his midweek decision to bench Petr Cech for the Champions League clash against Olympiakos, and the Frenchman snapped when asked about Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s recent jibes that he is under little pressure at Arsenal to deliver, unlike the other managers at other clubs.
Wenger defended his choice of goalkeeper in the loss to Olympiakos, and even threatened to stop the press conference when Mourinho was mentioned. He said: “I’m comfortable with either goalkeeper, they are both world class. I had to leave one out. I make the decision I think is best for the team on the day. I am accountable on the results of my team and the way we play football. Stop that or we stop the press conference.”
It seems the mere mention of Mourinho is enough to get under the skin of the vastly experienced manager, who earlier this week celebrated his 19th anniversary of joining the club.
Ozil Relishing United Test
Star midfielder Mesut Ozil is relishing the upcoming test against United, and says he and his team-mates are keen to prove themselves with a win against a big team. Ozil said to Arsenal Player: “The anticipation and the expectation is obviously big. We just want to prove ourselves and get the three points. When you prove yourself against big teams, your self-belief increases because you believe in yourself more.”
Ozil further believes the recent spate of red cards handed to his team-mates have somewhat hindered the Gunners’ performances, and is convinced that if Arsenal avoid their mistakes, they can do well against United. “If you look at our team, in the last few weeks we’ve been weakened by red cards. But if we can prevent that, I’m convinced that we can do well against big teams. We’ll show that against Manchester United,” the German added.
Wenger One of the Best, But Ferguson the Best
Wenger’s opposite number this Sunday, Louis van Gaal, might have had a little more than a year’s experience in English football, but the Dutchman has already overseen his team’s rise to the top of the league table for the first time since he was appointed last summer. Van Gaal has praised the long-serving Wenger, but rates him a rung below United’s legendary Alex Ferguson.
“I think he [Wenger] is doing great work. When you can, like Sir Alex Ferguson, stay at a club for such a long time, you have to be very good, otherwise you shall not succeed. So I think Arsene Wenger is one of the best coaches of this world, and the same thing — I think Sir Alex Ferguson is the best, because he won the most titles, for example,” said Van Gaal in his pre-match press conference.
Ex-Man Utd Star Tips How Arsenal Can Overcome a Disciplined United
Television pundit and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has offered some valuable advice to the Arsenal players via his weekly Telegraph column. Neville feels Arsenal should be better prepared and more alert to the dangers posed by United, rather than just going out there and thinking about imposing their own brand of football on their opponents.
“They have to prepare themselves to deal with the strengths of the opposition before they can impose their own brand of football.
“So the arrogance and naivety would be these Arsenal players waking up on Saturday morning and not seeing the dangers posed by United, who are better organized, with a better defensive structure. It would be a mistake for Arsenal just to wake up thinking: we play better football, we keep better possession of the ball, we can break United down,” Neville wrote.
It seems Arsenal and transfers couldn’t stay away from each other. And this time Metro have cited Catalan paper Sport to report that Barcelona target Nolito could be arriving in north London in January. Nolito, who came up through the ranks at Barca and is currently having a productive time at Celta Vigo, has been interesting the Spanish champions but according to the report, the player’s exorbitant release clause has put them off.
And this brings Arsenal into the fray, with Sport even suggesting that the Gunners could strike a deal with the player in January. Nolito’s release clause is £17.6m, but Sport say Celta may be willing to lower their valuation to £14.8m, just to make Arsenal take interest in the player.
Other reports suggest Arsenal are in a fight with PSG and Chelsea for Porto’s Algerian winger Yacine Brahimi, according to Tuttomercatoweb. While according to Daily Mail, the Gunners are keen on sending young forward Alex Iwobi out on loan.
Social Media Arsenal
Apparently, a list of 59 players, who are on the shortlist for the 2015 Ballon d’Or, has been leaked and is now all over the media. Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina have made the cut, and Ospina, who has been on the end of some severe backlash from the Arsenal fans ever since his mistakes cost the Gunners all three points against Olympiakos on Tuesday night, has taken to Twitter to apologise for the mistakes.
(1/2) Thanks for including me on the #BallonDor list..It’s been a tough week and I’m gutted about the game. Mistakes happen in football,
— David Ospina (@D_Ospina1) October 2, 2015
(2/2) but I train hard and I will make sure I come back stronger. Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far, it means a lot.. #AFC
— David Ospina (@D_Ospina1) October 2, 2015
It must have come as a surprise to the goalkeeper to have made it this far in the Ballon d’Or stakes, and perhaps his tweets were a sign of his unadulterated delight. But there are also a few eyebrow-raising inclusions in the 59-man list, which include QPR’s Massimo Luongo and Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony. Not so happy times then for Ospina.