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Arsenal began life without Arsene Wenger and under Spanish successor Unai Emery with a 2-0 home defeat courtesy of reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in their season opener.

Goals in either half from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva at the Emirates ensured City, who won the league by a record margin racking up 100 points last term, consigned the Gunners to a third consecutive loss to Pep Guardiola's side across all competitions without scoring.

Emery blooded four of his five summer signings in the game - two from the start in Greece centre Sokratis Papastathopoulos and holding midfielder Matteo Guendouzi - and a couple more off the bench.

Switzerland captain and full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner was pressed into service down the left-hand side when Ashley Maitland-Niles picked up an injury and Uruguay international Lucas Torreira replaced Granit Xhaka in midfield with 20 minutes left.

The Betfair Exchange odds on Man City to win league 2019 have shortened slightly, while the Gunners are also as big as 50/1. A top-four finish (and a return to the Champions League), meanwhile, is out to 11/5.

City was about as tough an opening to the Emery era as possible, so the loss Arsenal suffered must be placed in that context. They remain leading fancies for the Europa League with all bookies, however, because of the new manager's superb track record in that continental competition when he was at Sevilla.

As part of a defence that conceded twice at home, Sokratis' Gunners bow could have gone better and it was interesting to see Emery select Petr Cech in goal as captain over new keeper Bernd Leno - a reported £19,000,00 summer arrival from Bundesliga boys Bayer Leverkusen.

France Under-20 international Guendouzi was pitched straight in at the deep end having never played top-flight football and after just 30 senior appearances at Lorient. Although initially a nervy display, the youngster grew in stature but it was a surprise to see the tenacious Torreira, who demonstrated his own qualities sitting in front of his country's defence at the World Cup finals, on the bench.

Lichsteiner, meanwhile, is a wily veteran with a decade of experience playing in Serie A under his belt first with Lazio and then Juventus before joining Arsenal on a free. Although signed to perhaps impart some of that defensive nous to Hector Bellerin - a similar type of attack-minded full-back - he could continue down the left side of the back four if Sead Kolasinac or Nacho Monreal do not return to match fitness.

Aaron Ramsey showed the most drive and vibrancy in midfield against City, while Mesut Ozil was nominally on the left wing until the Welshman was taken off for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went out wide. 

Things don't get much easier for Emery as he faces fellow Premier League newcomer Maurizio Sarri and London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next after their comprehensive 3-0 win at Huddersfield Town. The Gunners haven't won there since October 2011, so have there work cut out for them.

 

If you’ve never heard of prediction betting before don’t worry, neither had we.

That’s why we asked the team at FanBet to tell us more, after all, they coined the phrase.

How does it work?

Prediction betting is a simple experiment where you enter your daily picks first, and then see the odds.

We are trying to determine if making your picks first and then entering your bet amount based on the odds, is a more profitable strategy for sports bettors.

Odds are made by bookmakers and often the underdog receives inflated odds to sway your betting picks. Or you may think bet x has better value and place a wager accordingly.

Whatever your strategy, it’s nice to have a second data set to analyse.

With this in mind we built a simple betting game, called Pick 6 Predictions.

Each day there are 6 fixtures to predict.

These are typically football matches.

You only see the games, no odds info.

You make your picks purely based on the head to head matchup.

Once your picks are made, you open your betslip and see the odds.

Here you place free bets with a daily bankroll of 1,000 credits.

The game tracks your win/loss ratio, pick percentage and weekly bankroll.

You win ACCA style bonus credits for 4 or more correct picks out of 6 per day, as well as rewards for your trophy cabinet.

The top player at the end of the week wins a cash prize, paid into Paypal.

Football Predictions

At present we display the football predictions for the daily games below the Pick 6 Game.

This gives you insight into the daily picks being made by players.

There is no fee to play the game but you must be over 18 to win a cash prize.

In time we will add your picks history so you can see your statistical performance with this strategy over time, and then decide on the best way to place sports bets moving forward.

For more information or to test a prediction betting strategy, visit https://www.fanbet.com/pick6

The FanBet prediction game features 6 daily games, 7 days a week.

Winners are announced every Monday.

The game works best on mobile devices.

The end of Arsene Wenger’s reign has ignited a feeling of optimism within the hearts of countless Arsenal fans who had found only contempt with their managerial complacency. Following in some pretty enormous footsteps is Unai Emery, the former Valencia, Sevilla and Paris Saint Germain boss.

Emery is not alone in riding this tidal wave of optimism, joining the Spanish gaffer is a raft of intriguing signings. Stepping into the unknown often is the harbinger of emotions like fear and trepidation, but after more than two decades under the Wenger’s yoke many fans feel naught but excitement.

If you find yourself becoming enraptured by this new dawn and succumb to the punters fancy, odds of 25/1 can be found for the Gunners to end a fourteen year wait for the domestic title.

The January arrivals of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan, allied to the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsay and Mesut Ozil, guarantee that Arsenal remain razor sharp in the attacking third. What is needed, and has been needed for some time, is solidity. A steel to calcify the erratic, flaky, silky play.

A move to a more robust style has been signalled with this Summer’s signings. The central defence, an area of weakness for years now, has been addressed with the acquisition of Borussia Dortmund’s towering colossus Sokratis, for in a deal worth a shade over £14million. At thirty years old, the Greek is very much a signing for the here and now, a welcome change from the slew of speculative gambles. Tall, strong and adept on the ball Sokratis is a fine replacement for the perennially injured Laurent Koscielny.

Another veteran drafted in is Stephan Lichtsteiner the right back who has dominated Juventus’ flank throughout their recent reign of domestic dominance. At thirty-four he has lost some of his mobility, but as he recently shown in the World Cup against Brazil, shackling the wonderfully gifted Neymar, what he lacks in pace he more than compensates with aggression and intelligence. More key than his on-field abilities will be his dressing room influence. Known widely within the game as an unflinching, uncompromising winner, his mindset should morph Arsenal’s band of enigmatic hipsters into a hardened bunch.

Marshalling the defence from his goal line will be Bern Leno, fresh from another assured Bundesliga season with Bayer Leverkusen. After the rapid decent of Petr Cech and the continued turmoil of David Ospina, a composed presence in goal, one that doesn’t infect the defence with terror, will be a welcome addition.

Finally, Arsenal are looking for someone to balance out their offensive midfield. A number of viable candidates are available yet it seems the Arsenal hierarchy have identified the Uruguay and Sampdoria’s bundle of energy Lucas Torreira. Much to the chagrin of many an Arsenal supporter, Torreira has decided to postpone a decision on his domestic career to focus on his national side.

Still, the deal should progress whenever Uruguay find themselves eliminated. Torreira has been one of the most unheralded players of the World Cup so far, zooming around the park, looking as though fatigue is a concept completely alien to him. His role in linking a world-class defence in Godin and Gimenez with a spell-binding attack of Cavani and Suarez is pivotal.

Change can be a daunting prospect for fans, but with a manager with fresh ideas and summer signings that have been acquired with a specific role in mind, a return to contender status is a realistic ambition.

 

Arsenal fans can finally look forward to a summer transfer window with genuine optimism after Arsene Wenger’s departure ushered in a brave new chapter for the club. Transfer windows under the Frenchman leadership followed a similar pattern, characterised by indecision, timidity and a failure to land top targets. There was also an on-going failure to address weaknesses in the squad, particularly when it came to securing defensive reinforcements and a holding midfielder. But it is a brave new world now, with Unai Emery in the dugout, Sven Minislat heading up the recruitment team and Raul Sanllehi pulling the financial strings.

There are no guarantees that Arsenal will crack the transfer market this summer, but the early signs are positive. Experienced Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner has already joined the Emery revolution on a free transfer, and a £17.5 million deal for Borussia Dortmund’s tough-tackling centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos should go through when the new Bundesliga financial year starts on July 1. The club are also rumoured to be targeting Freiburg centre-back Caglar Soyuncu. Arsenal appear determined to overhaul a defence that let the side down time and time again last season.

The Gunners are well stacked going forwards, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang supported by the creative talents of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, plus Alexandre Lacazette and exciting youngster Eddie Nketiah also in the mix. Alex Iwobi may even deliver on his potential. Stranger things have happened. There seems no need to sign attackers, a step change from Wenger always seeming to target forwards rather than defenders. Arsenal have been a shambles defensively for years now, and fans were constantly frustrated at Wenger’s refusal to address an issue that was glaringly obvious to even casual armchair fans. It now seems that there are sensible people in charge and that they are determined to give Emery a fighting chance next season.

The challenge is vast. Check out the best-reviewed betting websites on the market, and you will see that Arsenal are all the way out at 28/1 to win the Premiership title next season. They have been left well behind by their rivals over the last few years, and the bookmakers predict they will finish sixth again next season. Man City are the odds-on favourites to successfully defend their crown, and they have also been installed as early Champions League favourites ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Liverpool, who reached the Champions League final in May, are second favourites in the betting at 5/1 after embarking on an ambitious recruitment drive this summer. Jose Mourinho’s heavy-spending Man Utd are 7/1, and Chelsea and Tottenham are both hovering around the 14/1 mark.

Arsenal are in a bit of a quandary, because a lack of Champions League football means they cannot invest as much as their rivals. Yet they have to do something to catch up with them, so they need to box clever in the transfer market. Poaching wunderkind Yacine Adli from PSG would be a good start. It is the sort of transfer that would evoke the early days of Wenger’s reign, plucking the likes of Nicolas Anelka from Ligue 1 and turning them into superstars.

It will also require more nastiness in the dressing room, according to former player Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman this week accused Arsenal of being too nice during his time at the club, and the buck has to stop with the manager. Emery is by all accounts a workaholic, and he seems a lot more demanding of his players than Wenger ever was. There is plenty of talent in the Arsenal squad and they simply need a bit of a kick to rediscover their potential.

Mauricio Pochettino has done well on a comparatively small budget at Spurs, and if Arsenal are to break back into the top four they need Emery to evolve their tactics in a similar fashion. Pressing and possession are Emery’s hallmarks, and that can only be positive if it drags Arsenal kicking and screaming into the modern era. It is time to end a culture of niceness and usher in a new chapter defined by hard work and a layer of steel to underpin the creative flair. Then Arsenal might return to the summit of English football once more.

Gunners fans might be eagerly awaiting the new season – and the start of Unai Emery’s Emirates reign – but the World Cup offers a feast of football to satisfy our appetite until that comes around.

This summer, eight Arsenal players will take to the field in Russia. Here’s our guide to how they might get on:

Danny Welbeck

Arsenal’s sole representative in the England squad for this tournament is Danny Welbeck. The 27-year-old actually has a much better record in a Three Lions shirt than he does for the Gunners, with 16 goals in 39 caps for England compared to 15 goals in 80 league games for Arsenal. He scored England’s second goal in a 2-0 win over Costa Rica in the final friendly before the squad flew out to Russia but he’s likely to be a back-up choice for Gareth Southgate, with Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford ahead of him in the pecking order.

Mesut Ozil

The German international arrives at the tournament on the back of a spat with Martin Keown. The ex-Gunners centre half accused Ozil of not being ‘fit to wear the shirt’ on occasions last season – a comment that caused his agent to brand Keown ‘envious and stupid and boring’. He remains a favourite for Joachim Low, however, and will be a key part of Germany’s bid to retain the trophy. If the World Cup final odds are anything to go by, we can expect them to have a decent chance of doing just that.

Nacho Monreal

The Spanish defender found his shooting boots this season. After three goals in five seasons previously, the 32-year-old netted six times for the Gunners. Yet, as with Arsenal, it’s his defensive flexibility that attracts him to Julen Lopetegui and helped him secure a place in the squad ahead of the likes of Marcos Alonso at Chelsea. Monreal faces tough competition to get a starting berth in one of the best squads in the tournament.

David Ospina

Ospina is certainly no stranger to cup football, given that he’s behind Petr Cech in the pecking order when it comes to league games, and will head to Russia as Colombia’s first-choice goalkeeper. Manager Jose Pekerman has stood by Ospina despite a dip in form towards the end of the qualifiers – and a mistake in a recent friendly against France. He’ll be out to prove himself worth of a start to Unai Emery in a Colombia side that could well come up against England in the second round.

Mohamed Elneny

The Egyptian midfielder has recovered from an injury suffered in the 4-1 win against West Ham to take his place in Hector Cuper’s squad. Elneny, who particularly impressed in the Europa League this season, was part of the Africa Cup of Nations team that finished runners up last year and will be hopeful of progressing from a group that includes Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay. The prospects for Elneny and The Pharaohs probably rests in the fitness of talisman Mo Salah, however.

Alex Iwobi

The Nigerian attacker is ‘excited’ to prove himself under Unai Emery, and will get a good chance to shine in Gernot Rohr’s side. Iwobi, a nephew of Super Eagles legend Jay Jay Okocha, scored the goal that secured qualification against Zambia and should feature in the starting line-up. He scored in the warm-up friendly against England and bagged a brace in a 4-2 friendly win over Argentina that was played in Russia last November.

Stephan Lichtsteiner

The Swiss veteran makes the move to the Emirates for the start of the season and Gunners fans will get a perfect chance to take a close look at him in group games against Brazil, Costa Rica and Serbia. Lichtsteiner, who has won seven straight Serie A titles with Juventus, is captain of Vladimir Petkovic’s team and actually netted three times in a qualifying campaign that saw them reach Russia with a play-off win over Northern Ireland. Switzerland are well-placed to qualify behind Brazil, but are likely to come up against champions Germany in the second round.

Granit Xhaka

Lichtsteiner is joined in the Swiss squad by Granit Xhaka. The 25-year-old had a mixed season in an Arsenal shirt, but is likely to be a key figure at the heart of the Swiss midfield. His keen eye for goal has seen him net nine times already for his country – and you wouldn’t be surprised to see him fire in a ‘goal of the tournament’ thunderbolt.

No matter how far England get, Gunners fans will have plenty of stars to cheer on in Russia.

As strange as it may sound, sixty-million pound is no longer a lot of money. Sure, to you or I, such a sum would leave us with our jaws close to the floor, eyes bulging, panting in disbelief, but for new Arsenal Manager Unai Emery, it is far from sufficient if he is to guide the Gunners to the summit of English football.

A Premier League news update suggests that this is indeed the level of finances that Emery will have to work with, a figure that prompted ex-Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit to say, “When I hear about the amount of money Emery has to spend, I can't believe it. Where are you going with £60m? You're going nowhere.”

Without the lavish bank balance needed to compete with the likes of Chelsea and the two Manchester Clubs, Arsenal will be forced to be shrewd in their acquisitions; something both Emery and the new head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, are well accustomed to.

The area in the biggest need of improvement is in goal.

David Ospina has proven time and again that as a back-up he is ideal however he lacks both the physique and the mindset needed to guide a club of Arsenal’s stature to the places they want to go. And while Petr Cech will go down as an all-time Premier League great, time has caught up with the towering Czech, to the point he now looks little more than ordinary.

An outlandish suggestion would be to sign the now free-agent, Gianluigi Buffon. As he has proven with both his Serie A and Champions League exploits, Buffon remains a player who orbits the top tranche of keepers. What goes against the Italian is his age, and after having their fingers burned already with Cech, perhaps a more youthful purchase is in order.

A player who ticks the boxes marked ‘young’, ‘talented’ and ‘affordable’ is Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno. The 26-year-old with over 200 Bundesliga appearances, is widely reported to be available for a fee in the region of £22million. The one chink in Leno’s armour is his concentration, a weakness that has seen him repeatedly make unforced errors, most notably in the Champions League. However, with more games under his belt and some more hands-on coaching, it is not unthinkable that Leno could be included in the top bracket of keepers.

The final goalkeeper worth consideration is Paris Saint Germain’s Alphonse Areola. Having been scouted intensively for the last four years, there is little to the Frenchman that will surprise the Arsenal hierarchy. Working with Emery for the last two years, building a fine working relationship, a reunion may just be on the cards.

Entering a transfer window without Arsene Wenger’s hand on the tiller for the first time in twenty-two years, there is a sense of both excitement and urgency around the Emirates stadium. The lethargy that has blighted many a transfer has now been lifted, something of paramount importance in a World Cup year where any delay will see a huge hike in prices.

 

 

Unai Emery and the team tasked with targeting transfers will have to work extra hard to acquire quality players for next season.

As life after Wenger begins, Emery is tasked with at least doing better than the club’s underwhelming 2017/18 season. While many fans had expected a little more backing from the board, the former PSG and Sevilla boss has been handed just £50 to strengthen the team. Like when we look for the best free bets, Emeri will need to place emphasis on value when choosing his new recruits.

Wenger’s 22 years in charge saw some of the greatest players of the modern era don the famous red shirt. Highly influential in the clubs transfer dealings in that time, there was something of a departure from the Frenchman’s autonomous control towards the end of his tenure. Sven Mislinat and Raul Sanllehi’s presence will now be felt even greater with Emeri at the helm, and it is will be interesting to see how this works out.

Potential targets

A name which seems to be popping up quite a lot in the media and on fan boards is Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The Borussia Dortmund man joined the club at the same time as former players who are now at Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. This link is definitely one which has substance, given the Dortmund connection. Arsenal fans seem split on the transfer, with some optimistic about the defender’s potential and others (probably unrealistically right now) hoping for an alternative, multi-million signing.

Another player being strongly linked with the club is Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini. The 21-year-old is reportedly being chased by other clubs in Europe, including Serie-A champions Juventus. According to these reports, the midfielder has a £26 million contract release clause, which will be within budget for Emery if this is true.

Fans will be aware of the link between Arsenal and former Stoke City player Steven N’Zonzi. Given Emeri’s former links with Sevilla, there are outlets suggesting that the Frenchman – who has been included in France’s World Cup squad – will link up with his former boss at the Emirates. N’Zonzi is an exciting target for some Arsenal fans, despite his role in a team with the now relegated club. Transfer targets like the Frenchman are bound to leave fans polarised approaching the new season.

Minor Expectation

A large number of the Arsenal faithful had lost their faith in Wenger a number of years ago. When it came to the former boss leaving the club at the end of the season, those same fans would have expected to have felt a little more optimistic. Instead, the board has brought in a gaffer who many are not yet warming to, despite the season a few months away.

With just a £50 million transfer budget, Unai Emery will have his work cut out when it comes to getting the best out of the current players and one or two signings which will be bargain-basement, according to many.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more