The Preview Show: Arsenal vs Chelsea

On this weeks preview show we discuss Petr Cech’s decision to retire, the Arsenal U23s impressive victory over Man City, the future of Sven Mislintat and look ahead to Arsenal vs Chelsea.

My thanks to Stamford Chidge (@StamfordChidge) for joining me.

Join Broadcaster Harry Symeou for a weekly discussion on all things Arsenal. We review the latest fixtures, look ahead to those coming up and cover the hot topics surrounding the club. This show is brought to you by the @sofasportspod, the @FNXNetwork and hosted by @HarrySymeou.

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Arsenal vs Spurs | Carabao Cup | Match Day Blog

The more I think back to the weekends defeat at St Mary’s and the abrupt end to our 22 game unbeaten run the less disappointed I feel about the whole thing.  I think we could all agree that if we were to cast our minds back to the day Unai Emery was appointed and were told that 17 games into the Premier League campaign we’d be 3 points outside of the Champions League places having only lost to City, Chelsea and Southampton we’d have been pretty pleased.

In many ways, I’d rather Southampton (a club for whom I have no ill feeling) were the ones to beat us  because I wouldn’t have fancied going into the Carabao Cup quarter final with the fear of Spurs being the ones to finally turn us over.  The club who notoriously released a DVD of the 4-4 draw back in 2008 would have been talking about it for at least 124 years had they been the ones who finally brought the run to a halt.

I’m not sure how to feel going into tonight’s game and I guess that stems from the fact I have no idea  what sort of team Unai Emery will select.  Shkodran Mustafi is back in full training and Sokratis Papastathopoulos returns from suspension so the hope is we’ll be far more competent in the central defensive positions this evening.  I could be way off the mark here, but I believe the weekends defeat will have altered Unai Emery’s approach to tonight’s fixture.  

It’s important that Arsenal bounce back immediately and collect as many points as possible before the trip to Anfield on December 29th so what better way to boost the morale amongst the group and get the fans back on side than to knock our fiercest rivals out of the Cup and register a second victory over the spuds in less than three weeks!

No matter how much you value or disvalue the Carabao Cup any fixture versus Spurs is a must win, whatever the competition or however high it sits in your list of priorities as supporter.  I’ve made no secret over the years of my careless attitude towards the League Cup but the minute the name Tottenham Hotspur was drawn everything changed.  

Taking all of the above into account this is the line up I’d start with this evening:

Cech, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Lacazette and Aubameyang.

Nacho Monreal would slot into the left centre back position with Maitland-Niles operating at left wing back, that’s assuming Sead Kolasinac remains sidelined.  I thought that would have been a smarter approach on Sunday too, AMN showed last season he’s composed and confident enough to come in and do a job but whilst I’m not convinced Emery feels the same way that’s what I’d personally go with.

I’d like to see Alex Lacazette start as the central striker, his hold up play is noticeably better and he gives us a bite, grit and determination that I’m just not seeing from Aubameyang at present.  The Gabonese forward has certainly chipped in with his fair share of important goals and so it’s almost impossible to leave him out, however as we’ve seen on many occasions this season he carries that goal threat even whilst operating from the left thus creating space for Lacazette to come back into the side.

Mathieu Flamini’s not around anymore to bag a brace and break Tottenham hearts as he did back in 2015 so it’s over to the new crop to make it happen.  I’m not overly confident ahead of this one but I’m certainly glad it’s at our stadium and not theirs, oh wait they don’t have one! Not a finished one anyway! 


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Arsenal sign Torreira

Arsenal have completed the signing of Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira.

The former Sampdoria player joins for a fee believed to be in the region of £25m and is said to have chosen the Gunners over Serie A giants Napoli.

Torreira impressed during his countries impressive World Cup campaign and has received high praise.

“In Lucas Torreira, we have signed a young player who is a very bright talent in the game. A midfielder with great quality, I have enjoyed watching his performances for Sampdoria in the past two seasons, and we all saw him do very well for Uruguay in the World Cup.” -Emery

More to follow…


Calum Chambers signs contract extension

Calum Chambers has signed a new long term contract with the club.

At 23 years of age the former Southampton defender has already made 83 appearances since joining the club back in 2014.

Unai Emery said: “I’m delighted Calum has extended his stay with us. He played an important role last season and will be part of my plans this season.”

Congratulations Calum!

VAR: Success or Failure?

The World Cup has taken centre stage this past couple of weeks and whilst it’s been entertaining, enthralling and most enjoyable I think we can all agree VAR has been a major talking point.  Joined by former professional referee Keith Hackett and football journalist Harry De Cosemo we discussed the VAR’s implementation so far.

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Transfer Talk: Episode 3

Host @HarrySymeou is joined by Sports Reporter @cdavison_afc to reflect on the signing of Bernd Leno and the news Jack Wilshere will be leaving the club, ending his 17 year association.

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Bernd Leno: Incoming?

Name: Bernd Leno

Nationality: German

Position: Goalkeeper

Previous Clubs: VFB Stuttgart

Bernd Leno has represented his country at every youth level & won the U17 UEFA Championship, he was also a member of the German Confederations Cup winning side in 2017.

Leno has made 361 professional appearances to date, so he comes with great pedigree and experience for a goalkeeper who’s just 26 years of age.

Leno was unfortunately left out of the upcoming World Cup squad that have travelled to Russia this summer.

By now I’m sure everybody is aware of the negotiations between Bayer Leverkusen & Arsenal football club in relation to the transfer of this highly rated German goalkeeper.

Arsenal have reportedly met the goalkeepers £21.9 million release clause with the deal being reportedly set for completion as early as next week.

The arrival of Bernd Leno will come as a relief to many Arsenal supporters this coming season with performances of current No1 goalkeeper Petr Cech being well below par during the 17/18 season.

Cech was culpable for 6 errors which led to direct goals last term, with the error at Swansea away being the first time I personally called for him to be replaced, However with Cech taking the No1 shirt for this upcoming campaign i see David Opsina being the goalkeeper to be moved on this summer. For what its worth, a regressed petr cech is worth more off the field than Ospina so it makes sense for him to stay and help guide a young Bernd Leno.

Cech is a model professional who has won most things, is well respected at the club and I believe his knowledge and advice could well help Leno take that next step!

For anybody unsure on why Bernd Leno will improve Arsenal then let me tell you, as a Bundesliga fan I’m very excited by the arrival. He has made mistakes during his time at Leverkusen and im certain he will make a mistake or two at Arsenal.

Unfortunately even the best in the world make mistakes so keep that mind for when he does!

He will assert himself quickly, is a very commanding goalkeeper with excellent shot stopping ability. He will inject that brickwall belief amongst the Arsenal fanbase in time, his distribution is pin point & isn’t the type of goalkeeper to hesitate under pressure.

Whoever the two Central defenders are in front of him they’ll be lucky to have him. Sven Mislintat has been a huge admirer of Leno from his days at Borrusia Dortmund and recently it emerged that Napoli were keen on taking him to Serie A. Real Madrid have also been known to keep tabs on the German, but luckily for Arsenal it seems pen to paper is all thats left for this deal to be concluded.

Words: Ben Turner