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For all the talk of Arsene Wenger leaving or staying at The Emirates, it seems the Arsenal hierarchies are making contingency plans to replace the legendary manager, and a host of names have been bandied around. From the world class, superstar coaches such as Massimiliano Allegri, Laurent Blanc and Diego Simeone, it seems Arsenal have not identified a coach with a growing reputation in Europe. Step forward, Leonardo Jardim The Monaco manager had worked wonders with the modest French club, guiding them to The Champions League semifinals, French Cup semifinals, French League Cup finals and are on the cusp of a Ligue 1 title. He would feature high on the list over promo codes to replace Arsene Wenger should the manager leave.

With a Monaco team that have delved from the massive spending days of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, and have embraced a philosophy of blending in youth and adding them to experienced hands. The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar and Benjamin Mendy have all earned plaudits for their performances this season and it has been down to their manager, who has been responsible for that remarkable upturn in form. He blends youth with experience, and his attacking philosophy is perhaps the best in Europe, with his side known for goal scoring in almost every match. At 42, he fits into the mound of young managers getting the top jobs, and his unheralded arrival will probably work well for him, as Antonio Conte will testify at Stamford Bridge.

Jardim is known for his progression of youth, a philosophy that Arsenal is synonymous with. Under Arsene Wenger in recent years, the club have somewhat regressed in the league as they have gone 13 years without a league championship, and Jardim will prove a master class if he does get to sign. His Monaco teams are on the cusp of Ligue 1 glory even with the financial might and clout of PSG, meaning that he can mix it with the bigger boys irrespective of the club budget. He is renowned for getting the best out of players, and just like Mauricio Pochettino, is famed for improving players, as the likes of Sidibe, Fabinho, Bakayoko and Lemar, as well as reviving Radamel Falcao, who performed so badly in his two years in England.

Another reason that may well work for them is that apart form the Portuguese; the other managers they are looking at are not likely to coach the Gunners. Luis Enrique will probably go for a sabbatical, Diego Simeone is obsessed with coaching Inter Milan and why will Max Allegri want to leave Juventus when he is on the cusp of a Treble? Jardim has done wonders with a youthful Monaco side, and one can only imagine what he can do with a bigger, more financed, stable club like Arsenal. And just like Wenger, who also won Ligue 1 ahead of more fancied clubs; he may well be the new man to take the English game by storm.

He won't be the first.....

 

Arsenal and Manchester City face off on Sunday at Wembley in what promises to be a crucial game in the outcome of what a successful season will mean for both clubs. The FA Cup offers Arsene Wenger and City counterpart, Guardiola the chance to end the season on a high and ahead of the clash at Wembley, we take a look at The Gunners probable lineup ahead of the clash. Arsenal have lost just twice in their last 10 matches against City, a stat that may well see Gooners rushing over to NetBet Sport to put their money where their mouth is. Those statistics which will give them confidence heading to the tie at Wembley, for a place in the showpiece later next month.

Goalkeeper:

Petr Cech should come in for this one. David Ospina had been the regular cup keeper, but is still out due to injury meaning Cech should come in and try to thwart the likes of Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne. A 4-time previous winner of the competition, he offers a calm presence in front of goal.

Defence:

After trying 3 at the back against Middlesbrough, Wenger may likely revert to type against City. Captain, Laurent Koscileny should pair German, Shkodran Mustafi in the centre of defence. The pair had been unflappable at the beginning of the season, but had suffered a dip in form in recent months, yet, they are the best bet on defenders at the club. Hector Bellerin should come back into the defence and hope to cause damage against City's ageing left side of defence. At left back, Nacho Monreal should offer balance as Wenger looks to win the match and progress to another FA Cup final, having won the prestigious cup 6 times.

Midfield:

Granit Xhaka and Mohammed Elneny should get the nod in the pivot. Both players will be looking to halt City's attack and continue with their good cop-bad cop role, as Xhaka is a destroyer, while the Egyptian is a calm presence. In attacking midfield, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Chamberlain should occupy the forward role. The pair of Sanchez and Ozil was majestic against Boro and are expected to offer a threat to City's defence.

Attack:

Oliveir Giroud should come in for this one, as his aerial presence will threaten City. The Frenchman has come in for a lot of stick this season, and is fighting for his future at the Emirates.

Predicted lineup: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Elneny, Sanchez, Ozil, Chamberlain, Giroud.


News filtered through this week that influential Spanish playmaker, Santi Cazorla will have no part to play in Arsenal's grueling end of season campaign. A campaign where it would be far more enjoyable to get your bet365 bonus code rather than watch most of this season.

The 31-year-old central playmaker had gotten injured in October, and was initially feared to be out for just some weeks, but in typical Arsenal fashion, there has been a setback to his recovery.

Cazorla, prior to his injury was an enigmatic figure and was particularly magnificent when the Gunners walloped Chelsea 3-0 back in October, a game which many thought would herald a shift in power from the Blue side of London back to the early 2000s best of Arsenal.

The player who joined from Malaga five years ago has been an influential player of Arsenal's squad under Wenger, offering quality and leadership, two traits that is all too absent in the squad at the moment.

Legendary boss, Arsene Wenger has come in for major criticism following the way his players have wilted under intense pressure again this season.

The future of the Frenchman, whose contract at the Emirates Stadium runs out this season is up for discussion, while the futures of star forwards, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil is also unclear, with both players having contracts that expire at the end of the 2017/2018 season.

The atmosphere at the club is toxic, amid fans unrest, and would not have been helped by news of further Cazorla setback. The midfielder is one player Arsenal fans can relate to, a man who reached the very top via learning curves through teams like Villarreal and Malaga..

Players such as Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka have failed to step up and offer that individual quality that Cazorla brings to the pitch. Coquelin is not a passer while Xhaka's poor disciplinary record means he can't be trusted enough in the biggest games.

With the Top 4 looking distant in the horizon and an upcoming feisty FA Cup semifinal clash against Manchester City in April, Wenger needs every player available and the absence of Cazorla will surely be felt.

In the six months he has been out, the Gunners have flattered to deceive in that time, having a host of inconsistent results and recording some calamitous scorelines in that period.

Cazorla offers the balance that the Arsenal midfield craves. A link between the attack and defence, keen for a pass and also adept at scoring beautiful goals. He makes the entire team tick and players like Mesut Ozil and Sanchez have admitted that having Cazorla behind them offers them some relief that the ball won't be lost to the opponent through misplaced passes as the former Malaga man is very difficult to dispossess off the ball.

If Wenger, Sanchez and Ozil do stay in North London till next season, then the return of Cazorla will surely be a lift. How the fans will love to have their Spanish maestro back..........

There has been plenty of speculation over his future in recent months, but Mesut Ozil has finally confirmed his desire to stay at Arsenal to see out his objectives with the London outfit. The news has come at a point where Arsenal and co could really do with a boost to try and get back into the top 4 before the end of the season is out, an objective that is looking unlikely after the recent 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace. There were rumours Ozil would be heading for an Emirates exit to try and rekindle his relationship with Real Madrid, and recent rumours even suggest he was aiming for a move to Manchester United so he could work with Jose Mourinho again. Luckily for Arsenal, Ozil wants to stay in London, and all he needs to do now is put pen to paper to make it a certainty.

Will Arsenal Have to Finish in the Top 4 to Keep Ozil?

For a start, Arsenal players and management will need to get their heads down to see the rest of the season out in style. Arsenal are out of the running for every competition this season, and so it means their only possible accomplishment is to try and finish in the top 4 so they have the chance to compete in the Champions League next year. Ozil has confirmed he wants to stay at Arsenal but that doesn’t mean anything yet until he signs a contract, something he’s likely not willing to do until he knows what the future holds for Arsenal next season. You may feel that if Arsenal do not manage to achieve a top 4 finish this season then Ozil could quickly change his mind and make a move to a more ambitious club.

What Else Will Arsene Wenger Have to Ensure Ozil Of?

Arsene will likely sit down with Mesut in the coming weeks to ensure him things will pick up at Arsenal before the start of next season. Wenger will likely tell Ozil of his transfer plans and what possible world-class players he will bring in to improve the squad to compete for the title next year. The Arsenal board have apparently made £200 million available to Arsene Wenger, so it would be wise of Arsene to let Ozil know what’s going to happen in terms of transfers.

What Will Mesut Ozil Really Do this Summer?

Any football fan knows that just because a player says one thing in the media doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Ozil has yet to sign a new contract, which is why many think he could still head for the doors. When you hear of a player announcing his desire to stay at a club it usually means they are currently in contract discussions and the player is looking to push things forward, but it could also mean the player is only going to stay for the right price.

If you fancy having a free bet on Ozil’s future, the best way of finding one is to have a look at some of the latest free bet promotions provided by Freebets.UK to see if any tickle your fancy. Freebets.UK is the only site you’ll ever need to get up-to-date with the latest free betting promotions.

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Will Ozil stay or will he go? Fans will be glad he has finally announced his desire to stay at the club, but they will want him to put his pen to paper as soon as possible so they can secure his services for another few seasons at least. If Ozil doesn’t sign a contract within the next month or so we could see another club abroad snap up his services pretty quickly, so Arsene will need to be careful and offer him the contract he wants.

The upcoming summer period could be described as one of, if not the most important times in Arsenal’s recent history. So many possible scenarios have been painted in the media over the last few weeks about manager Arsene Wenger and his decision to either stay or leave at the end of the current campaign.

Another angle to consider is the playing staff at the Emirates Stadium – and in particular, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who will both have just 12 months remaining on their contracts in the summer. Can the Arsenal hierarchy convince both stars to stay, if Champions League football is attained, or will both leave North London for big fees, to either rival Premier League clubs, or most likely on the continent.

The next window promises to be a very interesting period on so many levels for Gunners’ fans and here we will look at five players who could join this summer to bolster the playing squad.

Bellerin 2.0?!

Lorik Cana is the only Albanian footballer ever to grace the Premier League with Sunderland, however, Arsenal may look to firm up their interest in Albanian full-back, Elseid Hysaj who currently plays for Serie A side Napoli. The 23 year-old who is more adept on the right side of defence, has garnered interest from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in recent months, and now Premier League clubs including Arsenal have joined the chase for the rising star. The Gunners have Hector Bellerin as their number one right-back, but the young Spanish defender’s future is also open to question. With that in mind, Hysaj would provide strong competition for the young Spanish raider, or be a capable replacement if he left the club.

Time to splash the cash

A long standing issue with many Gunners fans is their clubs real inability to splash the big money on top stars. Everton’s Romelu Lukaku looks set to leave Goodison Park this summer, and the powerful 23 year-old striker could be on the radar for the Arsenal board. Bringing Lukaku to the Emirates would add another dimension to the Gunners strikeforce – and the potential of many goals. Lukaku has hit 23 Premier League goals so far this season for Everton – at an average of one in every 119 minutes of play – and although the Belgian international would be an expensive purchase of around £70m, the statement of intent shown by Arsenal to return to the summit of English football would be a huge boost for supporters.

Eye catcher

Everyone of an Arsenal persuasion knows that the Gunners look to buy young players – and Ajax’s 17 year-old defender, Matthijs de Ligt is already catching the eye of many top clubs. De Ligt broke into the Ajax first team back in October and has currently made eight league appearances for the Dutch giants. With fine physical attributes for his age, De Ligt has already been thrusted into full international honours with a first half appearance in the Netherlands 2-0 defeat in Bulgaria in March. Dutch clubs ultimately sell their best players, and Arsenal could steal a march on the rest of Europe by clinching the signature of De Ligt this summer.

Rising star

If the Gunners midfield is depleted this summer with potential outgoings, then Schalke’s Leon Goretzka could be a new recruit to replenish options. Goretzka is another player with time on his side at just 22 years of age – but has already gained plenty of experience in the Bundesliga. After making his debut for Schalke, following a transfer from Bochum back in the 2013/14 season, Goretzka has grown into a firm favourite at the Veltins Arena. With just over one year remaining on his contract, Goretzka could be attained at a knock-down price of around £20m for the promising German international.

Young stopper

The goalkeeping situation within the Gunners’ squad is also likely to be reshuffled this summer, with David Ospina likely to leave for new pastures. At 34 years of age, Petr Cech is still a fine custodian, but surely Arsenal will be looking to get younger men to fill the position – so step forward Sunderland keeper, Jordan Pickford. With the Black Cats marooned as an obvious bet for relegation, Pickford’s performances have been one of the rare highlights for Sunderland fans this season. Pickford would provide stern competition for Cech if he arrived this summer, and looks to be a player who will be challenging for full international honours in the near future.

 

Arsenal have been crying out for major trophies in recent years, and are starting to resemble something of FA Cup specialists. The Gunners have won the hallowed competition two times in the past three years, but a win in this year’s competition will even be more significant for the future of much-maligned boss, Arsene Wenger. The Gunners boss has come in for criticism after a dreadful season so far, which reached its peak after a 10-2 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League first knockout round. The FA Cup offers a respite, and all seems to be going in their favour after being handed the likes of Sutton United and Lincoln City in the 5th and 6th rounds respectively. Maybe you won't see a lorry load of Arsenal fans running to place a bet via CrownBet on the Arsenal due to low confidence in the team but this represents Arsenal's best chance of a trophy this season without question.

The race for the Champions League places is heating up as the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City continue to garner points, leaving Arsenal in sixth position, though with two games in hand. However, one of those games is against Southampton, who have proved having a major nut to crack in recent years for the North London outfit. Another reason for optimism is that Arsenal tend to tear up scripts when faced with intense pressure. One can only look back at Arsenal's remarkable run to finish second last year, though part of the credit should be given to Tottenham after they suffered their meltdown and capitulation towards the end of the season.

Arsenal can also point to their recent record against Manchester City, next month's opponent at Wembley. In the last 10 matches against the Citizens, Arsenal have won five, drawn three and lost just twice. However, City do have Pep Guardiola as their manager, a man famed for his success rate in cup competitions over the years. Arsenal do have an advantage, as no other manager has won the competition more times than Wenger's six. The wiry old man loves the competition, and has the trophies to show for it. The likes of Chelsea and Tottenham still remain in the competition should Arsenal get past City in the semis, however, the likes of Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte and his Tottenham counterpart don't have the experience of having won a domestic cup competition in their managerial career, despite their track record.

The fans want Wenger out at the end of the season, when his current deal runs out while the futures of both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil is generating a lot of worried glances at the Emirates. Wenger's deal runs out at the end of the season, and is no rush to ink a new deal. Sanchez and Ozil have contracts that run out at the end of next season and will be likely to push on with the FA Cup to appease the fans who might be disillusioned with them if they do leave North London. Sanchez, in particular is more likely to leave, and is a fierce competitor who will enjoy the Wembley stage to show his quality to the watching eyes of all football stakeholders all over the world.

 

It is always said that a coach should bow out when the ovation is loudest. And for Wenger, there will be no bigger ovation than winning the FA Cup. For all his success in England, he deserves to bow out on a high, and Arsenal have all it takes to win the Cup. Who will begrudge an old man a fantastic end to his career?  

He is an undeniable talent, and on that will be sorely missed should, as expected he leave the Emirates this summer. But would have we already seen the high-water mark of Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal career, and would selling him be such a bad idea?

It’s certainly a controversial sentiment, anyone who has witnessed the German in full flight knows they are witnessing one of the most elegant and creative footballers on this generation.

Mesmeric, enchanting skills – no better exemplified than his wonderful finish against Ludogorets in the Champions League earlier this season – have made him a fans favourite and resulted in admiring glances from Arsenal’s European rivals.

But there is of course another side to Ozil’s game that taints the World Cup winner’s achievements for many fans. Quite simply: he goes missing in the biggest matches.

Last season was the peak of his Arsenal career to date, with his slide rule passing helping to clock up 19 assists in the Premier League alone (in fact earlier his season he had the highest assist to game ratio of any player in the history of the Premier League)

By contrast this season he has made less than a quarter as many chances, as Arsenal have failed to build on last season’s achievements.

Of course this isn’t the first campaign in which Ozil has failed to live up to expectations at the Emirates, after an excellent debut campaign he struggled during his second season at the club.

It’s also worth remembering that he failed to make a real impact at former club Real Madrid until his third La Liga season when he made 24 goals and scored ten

With Arsenal’s season in serious jeopardy, can the decorated German pull a rabbit out of his hat a few more times in service of a club that truly loves players of his type? The days of loyal players like Dennis Bergkamp might be at and end, but The Gunners have never needed some strong shifts as much as they do now from the German.

Next up is a must win game against Man City at the Emirates. In current form bookies might just entertain giving punters a free bet on Ozil scoring or even making an assist, safe in the knowledge they are unlikely to pay out.

But Arsenal fans can hope that this is one big game he does grab the scuff on the neck. In full flow there is no finer player, but there is nagging suspicion we may have seen his best days in North London.

Graphics courtesy of football predictions site KickOff.

  • 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