Huddersfield vs Arsenal

Huddersfield vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners seek win in top four push

It took the contortion and lift off of all 5’6 of Lucas Torreira to produce an overhead kick seven minutes from the end to settle the last fixture between Arsenal and Huddersfield. The Terriers were sturdy, the Gunners barely created enough but Torreira’s acrobatic finish forced Unai Emery’s side into a 21 game unbeaten run in all competitions.

Arsenal face Huddersfield on Saturday in a different mood after they were soundly outplayed and defeated by Manchester City. There wasn’t much to glean other than Pep Guardiola’s men being miles ahead of the Gunners. Sergio Aguero, who took the match ball home, had more shots on target than the entire Arsenal side combined.

It is why the fixture against bottom-placed Huddersfield comes around at the right time. Unai Emery’s wards could easily flush the loss out of their systems and focus on their pursuit of a top-four spot, having slipped into sixth position. Read More

Manchester City vs Arsenal

Manchester City vs Arsenal Preview: An intriguing Spanish tactical tussle

Unai Emery’s reign began in earnest against Manchester City. The champions visited the Emirates Stadium in August and won 2-0. If Sunday’s rematch at the Etihad Stadium is essential for City, with less margin for error in the title race after defeat to Newcastle, it offers a chance to assess Arsenal’s progress in the subsequent six months.

City have won their last four games against Arsenal, scoring 11 goals. It highlights how one of Emery’s tasks is to improve Arsenal’s results against the best. He has started to do that at home, recording wins over Tottenham and Chelsea within a couple of months. He has a solitary point from three visits to top-six rivals.

It will be intriguing if Emery revisits a recent tactic in major clashes. He used Aaron Ramsey at the tip of a midfield diamond to great effect against Chelsea (and, arguably, in the FA Cup tie with Manchester United, when the Welshman was excellent despite defeat) and, while he was benched for Mesut Ozil against Cardiff on Tuesday, he should be restored to the side. Read More

Arsenal vs Cardiff City

Arsenal vs Cardiff Preview: Can Gunners break down a compact defense?

On paper Arsenal vs Cardiff City should be close to a foregone conclusion. This is the team in fifth place hosting the team in 18th, with a gap of 25 points separating the two. However, the tactics that Cardiff are likely to employ are the exact kind that Arsenal have struggled with this season.

Against the teams in the bottom half of the table the Gunners have averaged 2.5 goals per match, good for the fourth best total in the league. That number, however, is a bit on the flattering side as they have managed just 1.6 xG in those matches which is seventh best.

One of the more worrying things in this is the pure number of shots created. Arsenal are creating fewer shots this season than they had in the Arsene Wenger era and that has continued against the weaker teams. Against the bottom half teams this season they are averaging just 12.2 shots per match. That ranks 17th in the league against these clubs Read More

Arsenal vs Manchester United

Arsenal vs Manchester United Preview: Battle for 4th can take a back seat

A few weeks ago, Manchester United were an incredible 11 points behind Arsenal. Now, goal difference alone separates them. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revolutionised life at Old Trafford while Unai Emery seems to have lost a grip on things recently. After going on an amazing run a few months ago, Arsenal have lost four of their last nine in all competitions.

However, the recent win over an “unmotivated and mentally weak” Chelsea may have galvanised them. It was a big result and their first big game of three, with them facing Manchester City a week after United in the FA Cup.

While the rivalry between United and Arsenal isn’t what it once was, there’s still no love lost between the two sets of fans. While nothing beats a win over Liverpool for United, or a win over Tottenham Hotspur for Arsenal, the supporters will be well up for seeing their team knock the other out of this competition on Friday. Read More

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview: Emery’s side need more creativity

At the start of the season, if you had been told that by January Mesut Ozil would not be in the Arsenal starting line-up and Aaron Ramsay had agreed a deal to join Juventus, you would have assumed that Unai Emery had been able to forge ahead and enjoy a hugely successful first five months at the Emirates stadium.

Alas, you would be very wrong indeed.

Despite Arsenal casting aside two of their most talented players, they are currently stranded in fifth place, 16 points behind the leaders Liverpool. After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham last Saturday there were even ridiculously premature murmurings of ‘Emery Out’ among some frustrated Arsenal fans. The Spanish manager can sense this growing dissatisfaction, and addressed it this week.

“When a club changes manager, it is because they want something new,” he said. “The challenge is to identify the good things, but also obviously, there were lots of things to change and improve here.”

Ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the Emirates on Saturday evening, one of the most pressing issues Emery needs to improve is the lack of creativity in his side. Read More

West Ham vs Arsenal

West Ham vs Arsenal Preview: The Felipe Anderson Show

The post-FA Cup third round action kicks off with West Ham vs Arsenal, a London derby at the Olympic Stadium. One man looks likely to be key for the home side.

Here are the stats Felipe Anderson leads West Ham in: Twelve points, goals, key passes, xG chain, xG assisted, tackles, fouls suffered, passes blocked and successful dribbles.

Basically if there is an important statistic, you would have a good chance of being correct saying that Anderson is leader in that stat for West Ham. One of the more surprising statistics is that the difference between Anderson and the next highest player in the Twelve Rankings, Declan Rice, is larger than the difference between Rice and all other players in West Ham’s top 11 this season. Read More

Arsenal vs Fulham

Arsenal vs Fulham: Stunned Gunners seek reprieve against Ranieri’s men

It was a disasterclass for Arsenal. Poor clearance, sprawling defenders and harebrained challenges. The 5-1 shellacking at Anfield against Jürgen Klopp’s men felt like a blitz that the leaden-footed Arsenal players were ill-equipped to deal with. Liverpool’s menacing front three pumped in four goals before half-time after Arsenal had opened the scoring.

If Liverpool’s first goal could be explained away as a mix-up and an unfortunate ricochet that saw Roberto Firmino produce a no-look finish for the tap-in, the Brazilian’s second goal was symptomatic of the state of Arsenal’s defenders and defending. Bobby seemed to tap dance through the defence on an ethereal bop beat blaring within the Kop.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos went one way, Shkodran Mustafi went the other and Lucas Torreira’s hapless slip made it all worse. Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac gave away two penalties which Liverpool scored to complete the masterclass on how not to defend. Read More

liverpool vs arsenal

Liverpool vs Arsenal Preview: Expect(ed) Goals At Anfield

When it comes to this fixture, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal never really recovered from a remarkable match in February 2014. Liverpool were four goals up inside 20 minutes, and the visitors were fortunate to ‘only’ lose 5-1.

The Gunners have picked up just two points from their four visits to Anfield since, conceding a total of 12 goals across those games. But since Unai Emery took charge, Arsenal have generally shown far greater levels of fortitude. Liverpool vs Arsenal certainly won’t be a walkover for the home side as it has been in the past two seasons.

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Southampton vs Arsenal

Southampton vs Arsenal Preview: Lean pickings in Gunners’ defence

So here’s the fact: in Arsenal’s defence, Rob Holding is out; Shkodran Mustafi is out, Sokratis Papastathopoulos is suspended, Dinos Mavroapnos is out. Three out of the four defenders who have featured heavily at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

In the face of a really threatening opponent, Unai Emery would probably be pulling his hair out, cursing in broken English. However, it’s only Southampton, 19th in the table, joint-second worst attack in the Premier League with only 13 goals scored in their last 16 matches; a perfect game to ease Laurent Koscielny back into the side as the Gunners head into a testy and packed schedule in the festive season.

Koscielny made his first appearance in months in the Europa League on Thursday against Qarabag, after his absence since May due to an achilles injury. Emery is likely to pair the French defender with Nacho Monreal, the left back who is also just returning from the sidelines.

Emery’s other options include veteran right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson, who has not made an appearance since November 2016. Not the most ideal bunch, especially if the boss persists with three centre-backs. Read More

Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town Preview: 21 gun salute?

Arsenal head into the busy Christmas period in good shape in the top four race. They are currently tied on points for the last Champions League spot with Chelsea and behind their north London rivals in third by two points.

This weekend they face a tough task, hosting Huddersfield Town. Huddersfield themselves are in a tough situation currently sitting in 17th place just outside of the relegation spots.

Have Arsenal sorted out their defensive issues?

One of the reoccurring issues for Arsenal over the years has been a leaky defense. That trend has continued under Unai Emery, at least until the last few matches. Over the last three games Arsenal have switched to a back three and that has coincided with much better defensive numbers.

The only problem for Arsenal is that even with better defensive performances recently, one of their three primary center backs is now feared to be out with a potential major knee injury. Read More