Match Preview – Leicester City vs Arsenal (044)

Arsenal will look to extend their lead over Manchester City at the top of the table with a win on the road at Leicester. Arteta’s men found their feet again after a string of frustrating results with a convincing 4 – 2 victory over Aston Villa, featuring a goal from Saka, Zinchenko’s first goal in the Premier League, former Gunner Emi Martínez scoring an own goal and Martinelli putting the ball in the back off the net in the 98th minute to secure the three points. 

Arsenal have enjoyed several successes at the King Power Stadium, with three successive wins over the last few seasons, and Leicester have only won three of their eleven games at home this season; and only one since October. In the reverse fixture earlier this season, we won 4 – 2 with Jesus scoring a brace, and Xhaka and Martinelli scoring one each too.

In regards to injuries, Arteta has announced that Partey may be available, probably from the bench, as the Ghanaian has missed the last two games with a thigh injury. Gabriel Jesus will be unavailable although he is managing outdoor training now following a knee injury he picked up playing for Brazil at the World Cup. Emile Smith Rowe will probably find a place on the bench, hopefully we will see a cameo from him as he returns from injury.

My predicted lineup:

GK: Aaron Ramsdale – No goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets on the road this season that Ramsdale (7). He has been putting in some shifts for us recently, although some errors have resulted in us conceding. That said, he has made some show stopping saves and we would not be as threatening without his ball distribution from the back.

RB: Ben White – Despite a bit of a messy first half, White linked up beautifully with Saka in the second half of the Aston Villa game to keep the momentum going and has put in shift after shift at the back for us this season. Tomi is a good backup but would never displace White at his best.

CB: William Saliba – Saliba’s form is starting to pick up again after a bit of a dip following the World Cup. He consistently defends well and often makes the last man tackle to save Ramsdale from having to make a save.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – Mr Reliable. Rarely has a bad game despite some mistakes, he always manages to redeem himself and is vital to our back four. He times challenges to perfection and is an amazing team player.

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – After scoring against Aston Villa, Zinny is undroppable. No, he isn’t the best defensively and in those kind of games where we need to sit back and defend Tierney is the man for the job. His unique position sees him play as both a defensive and attacking midfielder, in the defensive position. He is vital to our build up.

CM: Jorginho – Jorginho’s signing for Chelsea received mixed responses. He has definitely stepped up to the play with Partey’s injury and proved any doubters wrong. He is a fantastic back up and a great option to have off the bench to spice things up when the pace drops. Hopefully we will see a lot of him even after Partey returns from injury.

CM: Granit Xhaka – Xhaka is another essential player to this season’s success. Ødegaard’s deputy, he rattles the rivals and his new style of play this season has really elevated the quality of football that we play. 

AM: Martin Ødegaard – Ødegaard is undeniably having the best season of his career; scoring game changing goals and setting up beautiful assists, he has really stepped into the captain’s role and is proving anyone wrong who doubted that he was the right person for the captaincy. Last game he had 7 key passes which shows just how important he is.

RW: Bukayo Saka – Starboy Saka scored our first goal against Aston Villa last week and it wouldn’t be a Premier League game without him on the right. His form is incredible and with a new contract in the works, it looks like Arsenal’s future is in safe hands. 

ST: Eddie Nketiah – Eddie has done well to come and replace Jesus through injury, however his form is starting to dip. He failed to score against Aston Villa despite having opportunities handed to him on a plate, but he is an amazing player and will hopefully find some form again in this fixture. 

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – Martinelli found himself displaced from the starting XI by star signing Trossard. He came off the bench to score a beautiful goal where he went alone and he works tirelessly every game to make an impact. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Arsenal to Play Sporting in Round of 16 EL Tie (043)

The Europa League round of 16 draw has just taken place, revealing that Arsenal will play Portuguese side Sporting after a 4 – 0 win over Midtjylland saw them win 5 – 1 on aggregate. Statistics are on our side for this match, as in four meetings we have never lost; two wins and two draws, and in the Europa League competition this is 1 win and 1 draw. The first leg will take place in Portugal on 9th March at 20:00. Bellerin will be reuniting with his teammates as he is Sporting’s number 19. 

The other fixtures are as follows:

Union Berlin vs Union Saint Gilloise
Bayern Leverkusen vs Ferencváros
Juventus vs SC Freiburg
Sevilla vs Fenerbahçe
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Feyenoord
Manchester United vs Real Betis
Roma vs Real Sociedad

A look back at how Arsenal made it to the round of 16 this season:

Matchday 1 of 6 back in September saw the Gunners win 2 – 1 away from home against FC Zurich who won only one of their six fixtures. Matchday 2 was postponed until October, but saw a less than convincing 1 – 0 victory at home to PSV. Matchday 3 was more in the spirit as we glided to a 3 – 0 victory courtesy of goals from Eddie, Holdini, and Vieira over Bodø/Glimt. The reverse of that tie was another 1 – 0 victory as Saka was the man who made the difference with a 24th minute goal. The only fixture we have lost so far in the competition was a 2 – 0 defeat away to PSV, but the boys bounced back as we ended the group stage with a 1 – 0 win over FC Zurich. 

Matt Turner has been excellent his debut season for Arsenal, conceding only 3 goals in the six game we have played thus far. As the competition intensifies, we can expect to see the first team players making their way back into the starting XI, and perhaps the reserves coming on towards the end of the game if Arteta feels we have been dominating.

As Arsenal were the group winners, we have the advantage of playing the second leg at home, giving us the chance to bounce back with a stadium full of fans if things don’t go so well in Portugal. Despite Sporting being tough competition I have faith that the boys will win and even bring back a European trophy this season. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Mo Elneny Signs! (042)

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has recently signed a new contract with the club, extending his stay in North London until 2024. The 30-year-old Egypt international has been with the Gunners since 2016, and his new deal will keep him at the club until the summer of 2024.

Elneny’s time at Arsenal has been somewhat up and down. After joining the club from Swiss side FC Basel, he made a promising start, but his performances soon began to decline. He was eventually loaned out to Turkish club Besiktas for the 2019/20 season, where he played regularly and regained some confidence.

Upon his return to Arsenal, Elneny found himself playing a more significant role in the squad under Mikel Arteta. The Spanish coach has been a vocal advocate of Elneny, praising his work rate, professionalism, and tactical awareness.

Despite not being the most technically gifted player on the team, Elneny has become an important part of Arteta’s midfield setup. His defensive abilities and ability to break up play have been key in helping Arsenal become a more organized and solid team.

Elneny’s new contract is a testament to the progress he has made over the last few seasons. While he may not be the flashiest player on the team, his hard work and dedication have earned him the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff.

The signing of Elneny to a new deal also shows that Arteta and Arsenal are committed to building a team that values teamwork and selflessness over individual talent. While the club has struggled in recent years, Arteta seems determined to build a squad that can compete at the highest level while also playing attractive, possession-based football.

The news of Elneny’s contract extension has been met with mixed reactions from Arsenal fans. Some believe that he is not good enough to play regularly for a top-four Premier League team, while others appreciate his work ethic and value to the team.

Regardless of fans’ opinions, it’s clear that Elneny’s signing is an important piece of business for Arsenal. With the likes of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey also in the squad, the Gunners now have a solid core of midfielders who can compete at the highest level.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how Elneny’s role in the team evolves over the next few seasons. With Arteta likely to continue to build a team that values tactical discipline and hard work, Elneny could continue to play a key role in the midfield setup.

Overall, Elneny’s new contract is a positive development for Arsenal. While he may not be the most glamorous player on the team, his professionalism and work ethic have earned him the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff. With his future at the club now secured, Elneny can continue to focus on helping Arsenal become a top-four Premier League team once again.

Written by: Farhan Ahmed (@GunnerSince96)

Aston Villa 2 – 4 Arsenal – Match Report (041)

A thriller at Villa saw the Gunners take all three points in a dramatic end to a dramatic game with two stoppage time goals, including an own goal from former Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez. We came from behind twice before storming to victory, with Oleksandr Zinchenko scored his first goal for The Arsenal to bring us level at 2 – 2 with an absolute stunner from outside the box. There were two changes from the team that lost to Manchester City on Wednesday; Ben White returned to the starting XI and Trossard displaced Martinelli in his first Premier League start for Arsenal. Jorginho retained his place as Thomas Partey has a muscle injury and Emile Smith Rowe had a place on the bench as he returns from injury. 

We started in the worst way possible with Aston Villa opening the scoring within just six minutes. Zinchenko lost the ball in midfield and Villa sprung a counter attack as Ollie Watkins made his way into the box, poorly marked by Saliba as the shot flew past Ramsdale and Arsenal fans felt a pit of dread in their stomachs that the beginning of the season had been merely a fluke and everything was starting to unravel now.

Bukayo Saka clapped back with an absolute screamer. Ben White had a cross hardly cleared and Saka smashed the ball into the roof of the net leaving Martinez with no chance to respond and claiming his 10th goal of the season so far. The level playing field didn’t last long, though, as Coutinho managed to put a low ball past Ramsdale and we entered the break 2 – 1 down.

After returning to the field, the boys looked lively with both Xhaka and Nketiah attempting to drag us back into this game. Zinchenko was the man for the job, as Ødegaard unknowingly set up a beautiful assist to him outside the box and the Ukrainian hit the shot low and hard first time, just managing to squeeze it in the post. This was Zinny’s first Premier League goal and it was a beauty. 

The full focus was on getting the third goal to take all three points back to the Emirates. Eddie came close but was off his game today as he hit the ball over the bar. Arteta responded to Eddie struggling by bringing on Martinelli for Trossard, Martinelli being lethal in these all or nothing situations. Villa had a shot saved which resulted in Ødegaard having a huge chance.

The late drama began in stoppage time as Jorginho had a shot from 20 yards out rebounded off the bar and put into the back of the net by the back of Emi Martinez’s head. The away end went mental, even more so as Martinelli scored to seal the deal in the 98th minute after Vieira played him in beautifully from clearing an Aston Villa corner. Full of drama, the best way for football to be played, we left Villa Park with the much-deserved three points which saw us regain our rightful place at the top of the table after Manchester City drew 1 – 1 with Nottingham Forest in some late drama.

Next up is Leicester away, who we previously beat 4 – 2 at home back in August. This will be another must win game to keep trying to extend our lead over City. Hopefully in this fixture Trossard will start for Eddie and we may even see Emile Smith Rowe feature. Personally, I hope to see Tierney get some decent game time soon as Zinchenko did have his moments which cost us today and Tierney is much better at sitting back when we need to defend, as well as putting in beautiful crosses for someone like Martinelli or Saka to get on the end of. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Arsenal 1 – 3 Manchester City – Match Report (040)

Undoubtedly the biggest game of the season so far, Arsenal lost their position at the top of the table after suffering a 3 – 1 loss at home to Manchester City, who only top the table on goal difference, having played an extra game than us. The match was already shadowed by news that Thomas Partey was being left out as a precaution with a muscular injury. He was replaced by deadline day signing Jorginho, who played incredibly well as Partey’s backup. Th only other change was Tomiyasu starting for Ben White at right back.

We started the game fiercely, with a chance for Xhaka which was fired over, and Eddie had a shot blocked after Jorginho played him in beautifully. Then Haaland had a chance but no goal came from it. Th best chance of the half fell to Eddie Nketiah in the 21st minute as Zinchenko’s cross was a beautiful one, but it caught Eddie on the shoulder rather than his head and it was hit wide.

City responded, with Saliba mistiming a header and Tomiyasu making a mess of a back pass to Ramsdale, Kevin De Bruyne managed to put the ball in the back of the net from outside the box. The first significant mistake of the game was punished harshly. 

Tomiyasu soon had a chance to redeem himself with levelling the playing field, but his shot clipped the bar. Ederson was then given a yellow for time wasting, ridiculous to be doing this early in the game, which just showed how worried City were with our enthusiastic and dominating start to the game. 

Eddie then almost scored, and his effort was cleared off the line, but in the buildup to the goal, he was fouled by Emerson who really should’ve seen a second yellow and been sent off. However, the Gunners were awarded only their second penalty of the season, and there was never any doubt as Starboy Saka sent Ederson the wrong way. The first half ended 1 – 1.

With no changes at half time, the teams returned with them both giving it their all. My personal highlight of the second half was Arteta’s challenge on De Bruyne in his technical area to prevent City taking a quick throw in.

The drama continued as City were awarded a penalty after a questionable tackle on Haaland by Gabriel, but was then ruled out by VAR as Haaland was offside in the buildup, and Gabriel’s yellow card was rescinded. 

A City free kick caused a mad scramble in the box, with Jorginho clearing an attempt off the line and a mistake from Zinchenko saw Haaland close in on goal, but Ramsdale did fantastically to keep it out. In the 71st minute Grealish scored as the ball deflected off of Tomiyasu and just beat Ramsdale.

With only 15 minutes remaining, Arteta started making his substitutions. First came Trossard on for Martinelli, then shortly after, Arteta was waiting to bring on Vieira for Jorginho and White for Tomiyasu, when City scored for the third time of the night. There was never any doubt from City that Haaland would score when left tin open space, striking the ball with his right foot. 

The scoreline most definitely did not reflect the play from Arsenal, but too many mistakes cost us in preventing us from picking up even a point. Arsenal definitely created the most chances but were just not clinical enough with the final touch. Looking at the positives, though, Jorginho did an amazing job in replacing Thomas Partey, which is no easy feat. He put in a hell of a performance and I hope we get to see him feature more regularly for us. It was also good to see Reiss Nelson back on the bench although he didn’t get any game time. It is games like these that scream for Gabriel Jesus and hopefully we will be more ruthless in putting the ball away when we play the reverse fixture at the Etihad in April, with the vital Gabriel Jesus back in the squad.

Next up Arsenal play Aston Villa on Saturday in the early kick off, which will hopefully see the boys emulating Liverpool’s 9 – 0 thrashing of Bournemouth earlier in the season as they suffered defeat to Manchester United. 

Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson

Arsenal 1 – 1 Brentford – Match Report (039)

Despite Leandro Trossard scoring his first goal for Arsenal, it wasn’t enough for Arsenal to take all three points which would’ve seen us go eight points clear at the top of the table. It was definitely a frustrating match, so many chances were created but the clinical last ball was just never there. Arteta’s team were unchanged from their shock loss away to Everton last weekend, which was a bit of a shock as personally, I expected Tomiyasu to start for Ben White and Trossard to start for Martinelli.

We started well, with Eddie trying to play into Martinelli but he couldn’t quite pull the move off. From then on, the first half of the match was full of let offs. Brentford easily could’ve been 2 – 0 up by halftime as they were incredibly threatening on the counter attack. A cross landed for Rico Henry, who made poor contact with the ball and sent it wide. The first let off of many, and it just proved why they were unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games. The first half was scrappy and uncomfortable to watch, definitely not the arsenal side we have grown used to watching this season.

We looked different after the break. Saka and Ødegaard both had shots saved by goalkeeper David Raya. Arteta then looked to the bench and brought Trossard on for Martinelli, and within five minutes he had bagged us a goal; Saka sent in a low cross to the far post where Trossard tapped it into the net, and the stadium erupted. 

Unfortunately this didn’t last long, as within ten minutes Ivan Toney had scored a frankly unmissable goal. The goal was given despite a long VAR check, which has since been confirmed was the WRONG decision as Lee Mason ‘forgot to draw on the lines’ as Norgaard was offside in the buildup to goal. In the Premier League, supposedly the biggest domestic league in the world, this is simply unacceptable as this could have a huge impact on our title prospects going forward. 

Following the equaliser, both Zinchenko and Partey had attempts at goal but neither were successful and we couldn’t find a way through. The game ended all square at 1 – 1, a frustrating result but better to come away with one point than none. This is only the second time all season that we have dropped points at home, and we are currently unbeaten at the fortress.

Next up is our title rivals and current champions Manchester City. After the frustrating 1 – 0 loss in the FA Cup, this game has a lot of importance as we need to win to prove we are serious about winning the league. This is the first time we will have faced City in the Premier League this season.

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Welcome to the Arsenal, Jorginho! (038)

After Brighton made it clear that Moises Caicedo wasn’t for sale in this January transfer window, Arsenal turned to Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to help plug in any gaps. The Brazilian has signed from Chelsea for a deal worth £12 million on an 18 month contract with the option to extend by one year.

Though this is a controversial signing, with Gooners getting #NotJorginho trending after the announcement we were interested in signing him, he will bring experience with him being 31 years old. He has also been very successful with Chelsea, winning the Champions League which is a dream for Arsenal next season. He is also a much improved option to cover Thomas Partey, should he get injured, as his usual cover, Sambi Lokonga, is set to go on loan to Crystal Palace, which in my opinion is a much needed developmental loan as Sambi seems to be the only player Arteta has signed not to flourish under him; Tavares is playing brilliantly in Ligue 1 and even academy players are bringing a higher level of play than Sambi, so this loan will be vital in the decision to keep or sell him.

Many are comparing Jorginho to Elneny, who is set to be out for the rest of the season with an injury picked up in training. It has been a stinker of a season for Elneny, who will have missed at least 75% of it through injury. When comparing Jorginho to our current midfield, he actually doesn’t do too badly. In 18 games he has scored two goals, created seven chances and made twenty one interceptions, compared with Thomas Partey on 16 games with two goals, fourteen chances create and nineteen interceptions. It is also important that these statistics are from the Premier League; he is already Prem proven and can compete at the highest levels which is essential for us in the title race.

With Jorginho only costing £12 million, it leaves us in a good position financially to buy midfield reinforcements in the summer, such as Declan Rice who is expected to cost around £80 million. It feels as though we have come away with a reasonable deal as we have upgraded on replacements, and it has to be said that £80 million for Caicedo who would have been a backup is a lot of money. Arteta clearly backs the player and he has rarely been proven wrong when putting his trust in a player, so it is essential that we all come together to support Jorginho as we continue the title charge!

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

Introducing Leandro Trossard (037)

Arsenal have completed the signing of Belgian International 28-year-old Leandro Trossard for £27 million. With the disappointment of missing out on the highly rated Mykhailo Mudryk, the Gunners have moved on fast to look for alternatives to improve their squad depth to be stronger in the attacking positions and to push for the League title for the remainder of the season. It is clear that Arsenal needed some reinforcements in their attack as they push for the League Title. With Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson on the treatment table, this January was do or die for Arsenal to add to their already established squad. The Gunners were always a big admirer of the Belgian as Mikel Arteta has said in an interview ‘Leandro Trossard will bring composure and versality to Arsenal, and he was willing to join the club those are the players that we want at the club’.

Leandro Trossard is a very clever buy from Arsenal as he brings Premier League experience to a young Arsenal team and it will not take him a while to adapt to the League. Although, Mykhailo Mudryk was highly rated by Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal boss pushed to sign him, the idea of paying close to £100 for a 22-year-old with zero Premier League Experience under his belt and only this season the young winger came onto the spotlight would have been an immense risk for the Gunners to take, not to mention that it would take him longer than it would Trossard to adapt to the physicality and pace of the Premier League. Once Gabriel Jesus is fit again, Mikel Arteta will have a stronger bench to call upon if his side needs a late goal. 

Furthermore, the risks of Leandro Trossard not working at Arsenal will be minimal and not be seen as waste of money if Trossard doesn’t hit the ground running as this is short team investment from the gunners to help them cross the finish line and win the Premier League title for the first time in 19 years, as well as Trossard will not be guaranteed to be a starter with Martinelli, Saka and Nketiah being on top form this season for the Gunners. The reason Leandro Trossard is a clever buy is that not only he was cheaper but also more versatile than Mudryk, as he can play various positions in attack to make it more unpredictable for the opposition to defend against the Gunners. Trossard’s best strength is his versatility enabling to play all three positions in attack would enable Arsenal to give a rest to regular players like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, who have started every match this season for the North Londoners if Mikel Arteta chooses to rotate the team in some fixtures. An additional strength is that the Belgian will bring to this Arsenal side is his eye for goal. Leandro Trossard has already seven goals this season including a hat trick against Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the season, the Belgian has proved that he is a big game player having scored 13 goals against the traditional ‘Big 6’. The 28-year-old Belgian international contributed to 0.4 goals per 90 for Brighton which most of them came from the Left Wing. Trossard is a very composed player around the box and loves to link up with his teammates well.

Leandro Trossard will also give Arsenal more maturity in the dressing room for the young players to look for advice when they need to step and perform to a higher level. The conclusion being although Leandro Trossard was not Mikel Arteta’s primary target the Belgian is smarter buy than Mykhailo Mudryk because of the price, the versatility and being experienced in the Premier League. The Arsenal fans are eager to see Trossard in action and that could come up sooner than expected. The Belgian could feature against Manchester United on Sunday as Arsenal completed the signing on Friday midday wich will enable the club to use their newest signing. 

Written by: Andrei Petrescu (@ArsenalLover__)

Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 2 Arsenal – Match Report (036)

Arsenal made the trip to the Tottenham Stadium to face their arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur’s in a match which is predicted to be a classic. Arsenal is chasing the League title whilst Tottenham will need to make ground on the top 4 race. Both needed a victory, with Tottenham’s 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace last week they came in with strong beliefs for today’s encounter. On the other hand, a disappointing draw at home against Newcastle left Mikel Arteta and his players displeased. The Gunners had the chance to increase their lead at the top of the Premier League with Manchester City dropping points against Manchester United yesterday, the Gunners had the chance to take a huge advantage in the title race, which they executed perfectly, and Spurs is the perfect opposition to do it against. As predicted, Mikel Arteta started with the same lineup from the Newcastle game. 

Always dangerous in the derby Arsenal need to pay attention to the old enemy Harry Kane as he edges close to become Tottenham’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Arsenal kicked off from left to right. In the early stages of the match Spurs dominated the ball as they gained confidence from the home crowd, but the Gunners were pressing really high, and it seemed that that could be a weakness. Oleksandr Zinchenko won a free kick in the Arsenal half as Spurs attempted to copy Arsenal’s tactic by pressing really high up the pitch to stop the build up of play by Arsenal.

Great attack by Spurs as Kane dropped deep to feed Ryan Sessegnon but a poor cross by the left winger. Tottenham tried to play from the back, but Hugo Lloris didn’t see Eddie Nketiah closing him down and the Frenchman nearly gifted Arsenal the lead, but a volley by Eddie Nketiah was really well save the Frenchman and he apologised to his teammates. Arsenal were really starting to put Tottenham in trouble and looked to open the scoring, but a Ben Whites cross was misplaced for a Tottenham goal kick. It seemed Arsenal were targeting the left-hand side as Ryan Sessegnon was not playing great defensively, Bukayo Saka and Ben White were causing him a lot of trouble down that flank.

A foul on Eddie Nketiah in the 11th minute of the game, saw Martin Odegaard take the free kick, but Thomas Partey’s header went way over the bar. Tottenham players have surrounded the referee after a blatant handball by Thomas Partey stopped a possible Tottenham counter but no booking for the Arsenal defensive midfielder. A very clever spin by Thomas Partey which opens tons of space in the midfield and then he plays a clever lobbed ball to find Saka. Arsenal took the lead after a massive howler by French captain Hugo Lloris who parried the ball into his own net. It did not come as a surprise as Arsenal started in a better manner and totally deserved the lead.

Huge chance for Spurs as a ball by Eric Dier found Ryan Sessegnon; a great reverse ball in for Son but Ramsdale came on top with a great save. Arsenal were consistently targeting the left side of the Spurs defence.  Good build up play from Arsenal once again and Martin Ødegaard took a shot from 20 yards out, but Lloris came out on top this time.

Am amazing volley from Thomas Partey after the failed clearance of Ryan Sessegnon but it was the woodwork that saved Tottenham this time around; this could have been the goal of the season contender. Every time Arsenal had the ball they attacked with an intent of doubling their lead as the Tottenham defence could not handle Arsenal’s momentum. Tottenham players were clearly getting riled up as Cristian Romero fouled Gabriel Martinelli and the defender took a booking for the dangerous challenge. In the 36th minute an amazing attack by Arsenal ended in a goal as Bukayo Saka plays Martin Ødegaard in a central position and Hugo Lloris could not stop the low shot by the Norwegian. Arsenal deservedly doubling their lead as the Tottenham players hang their heads in shame.

Harry Kane with a late chance in the first half as he tried to head the ball home following a cross from Højbjerg, but was unsuccessful. Arsenal headed into the break with a 2-0 lead and Tottenham did close to nothing to trouble the Arsenal goalkeeper.

Tottenham were early on the pitch for the second half as Antonio Conte needed his men to put up more of a fight in this 2nd half of the game, which resulted in more intent and urgency from Spurs in the 2nd half. Kulusevski cut in on his stronger left foot after a pass from Harry Kane but his shot went over the bar. Kulusevski was once again in the mix as he won the ball in the Arsenal half which was then passed to Harry Kane, but Aaron Ramsdale saved it for a Spurs corner. The chances were coming thick and fast for Spurs, as this time Ryan Sessegnon receives a through ball by Harry Kane but again the wall protecting the Arsenal goal prevented to all from finding the back of the net. As they have done in the past, Tottenham played much better in the second half than in the first, maybe the halftime team talk by Antonio Conte works every time. Kulusevski whipped a cross to the back post but to no avail as there were no Spurs players there to tap the ball into the back of the net. It seemed that Kulusevski was the main creator for Spurs in the 2nd half, but the Tottenham players were not as clinical as Arsenal were in the first half.

The tension started to rise once again an already booked Cristian Romero caught Granit Xhaka this time but the Spurs defender did not get booked. Arsenal played on and smart control by Nketiah but a very poor shot which didn’t trouble Hugo Lloris.

Arsenal needed to keep the ball for a few minutes to slow the pace of the game down as the Tottenham players were onto the Arsenal players like hyenas as expected. Kulusevski was causing Arsenal all sorts of problems since the 2nd half began. In the 60th minute the game was more even than it was in the first half, it looked like Tottenham had woken up from the terrible first half, something typical with Spurs this season. With Tottenahm pushing men forward and with nothing to lose the space opens for Arsenal as Xhaka plays in Nketiah but a poor touch and Arsenal could not score the 3rd to end the contest. 

Tottenham looked to bring on attacking reinforcements as Richarlison was introduced into the game to replaced Doherty. The tackles were flying in from Tottenham, they were running out of time to score, with 20 minutes until the full time whistle and Arsenal are pleased to just waste more time and slow the tempo of the game in their favours. 

Another dangerous free kick was awarded to Arsenal after a foul by the already booked Cristian Romero but Xhaka shot over the bar.

Substitution for the Gunners as the booked Martinelli was taken off to be rested against Manchester United for next weekend. Then a series of small chances by Tottenham as Arsenal failed to clear the ball numerous times, the ball found Richarlison but his low shot was well saved by Aaron Ramsdale. The Gunners resisted a tough second period of the game as they kept a clean sheet against their arch rivals away from home. 

 Absolutely great performance by the Gunners as they move 8 points clear at the top of the Premier League. Next for the Gunners a visit from the in-form Manchester United. After the final whistle blew a Tottenham fan came onto the pitch and kicked the Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Written by; Andrei Petrescu (@ArsenalLover__)

Oxford United 0 – 3 Arsenal – Match Report (035)

An unsurprising seven changes from the side that grew 0 – 0 to Newcastle, Matt Turner made his first start since October and Emile Smith Rowe came on from the bench for the first time since September, a huge relief to see. We played Oxford United away in the fourth round of the FA Cup in our white kit as part of the ‘No More Red’ initiative to take a stand against knife crime, a ‘cursed’ kit which saw us knocked out of the same competition on the same day last year to Nottingham Forest. 

The first half was incredibly frustrating and underwhelming. Slowly but surely the game started to settle down and Arsenal B managed to link a few passes together. Tomiyasu had an early chance but it was easily claimed by the Oxford goalkeeper, McGinty. There was not a lot of drama, a few physical challenges on Saka and Tomiyasu, otherwise we just knocked the ball around without any real drive or determination to put the ball in the back of the net. The best chance of the first half came from Eddie, who hit the ball just over the crossbar from close range in a very crowded box.

In the second half, Eddie had a chance which he didn’t capitalise on, and then it was Turner’s turn to be alert to deny Taylor as he came rushing off of his line to claim his ball. After an hour of unsatisfactory football from Arteta’s perspective, he sent on the reinforcements; Xhaka replaced Lokonga and Zinchenko for Tierney. The dynamic totally changed after this substitution as we suddenly looked much more of a threat.

It only took Arteta’s substitutions to make an impact. Vieira took a free kick after Martinelli was fouled and swung in a beautiful cross to set up Elneny, who scored a bullet header. He enjoyed his moment and celebrated in front of the away fans. 

The goal seemed to make the youthful side a lot calmer, and Eddie doubled our lead only seven minutes later. He calmly rounded the keeper to put the ball in the back of the net of an open goal. As recently as two seasons ago, Eddie would likely have panicked and missed this shot, so it was a real credit to his development and maturity this season. This marked Vieira’s second assist of the night, a definite player waiting to burst out.

A lot of fans were worried as Saka picked up a knock and was promptly replaced by Emile Smith Rowe. Arteta has since confirmed that Saka is fine, and it is an exciting prospect to see the duo back together on the pitch again. Martinelli then set up Eddie to make the score 3 – 0. Eddie has been immense since Jesus’ injury, with four goals in four starts since the World Cup, rewarding Arteta’s faith in him in the summer. Smith Rowe almost scored on his return but the shot was deflected and went just wide. 

The first half in particular was difficult to watch. The midfield in particular were lacklustre and really highlighted the importance of our lack of squad depth in that area; if Partey or Xhaka were to get injured we would find ourselves in a very tricky situation, and it is clear Arteta knows this as Partey didn’t set foot on the pitch. One big shock for me was that Saliba was left back in London. The Frenchman has not been playing like his usual self since his lack of game time at the World Cup and this would have been the perfect opportunity to get some game time and get back to himself, but it was Gabriel that started instead, the only one of the usual four starters in the Premier League.

Next up in the FA Cup we play Manchester City in a trip to the Etihad. Psychologically, this will be a massive game as it is the first time the two side will meet this season, but if history repeats itself and we beat City we will be on track to win the FA Cup, but let’s not jinx it! In the Premier League, we play Spurs in the second North London Derby of the season, this time taking the short trip to White Hart Lane. Personally, I’m hopeful for a victory, despite our abysmal track record away to Spurs, but at this point even a draw would feel disappointing. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)