Eyebrows raised at Wenger´s Arsenal team for Bournemouth

Some Arsenal fans and football pundits were left a little confused in midweek after Arsene Wenger chose to hand a rare start to Olivier Giroud. Not because the French international forward is no good but because he finally got a start in a match that was probably the least suited to the big man´s talents as a player.

After starting him against PSG though, we all expected him to be in the line up for the game against Bournemouth in the Premier League today, as it looks to be the ideal sort of encounter for Giroud, against a deep lying and determined defence, but Wenger has surprised everyone again and left Olivier on the bench.

Instead he has gone back to Alexis Sanchez through the middle with Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain on either side of him. Another noticeable and unexpected change is the inclusion of Matthieu Debuchy at right back, so let´s hope the forgotten French defender will rise to the occasion.

In midfield the boss has opted for Xhaka and Elneny and dropped Coquelin and Ramsey so it will be interesting to see if they can answer the manager´s call for someone to take over the mantle o9f Santi Cazorla and get Arsenal playing like we were before the Spaniard picked up an injury.

Debuchy, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal
Elneny, Xhaka
Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Subs: Gibbs, Gabriel, Ramsey, Giroud, Ospina, Iwobi, Coquelin.

Can Arsenal beat Sunderland without Cazorla, Walcott and Xhaka?

We saw last week in the draw against Boro how much Arsenal can miss the creative spark of Sanri Cazorla in the middle of the pitch, making the harsh red card shown to our summer signing Granit Xhaka even more annoying. The Spaniard is still not fit to play after picking up an injury and the Swisss international is serving the final game of his ban so once again Arsene Wenger is forced to go with Elneny and Coquelin in midfield.

At least Aaron Ramsey is back on the bench so if we are struggling to break down Sunderland as we did in last week’s game the boss can turn to the Welshman on the bench. Arsenal’s usual injury problems seem to be back with a bang as Nacho Monreal and Theo Walcott are also absent from the squad, so Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs start.

Apart from that we have the same side and we also have the option of Giroud from the bench so with the likes of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez having had a rest this week you would still expect Arsenal to be too good for struggling Sunderland.

Or will the creeping injury crisis bite us on the bum?

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The Arsenal and Chelsea teams are out for today’s big Premier League clash and there are a few surprised and talking points from both sides. The biggest news for me and from an Arsenal point of view is the continued absence of the Chelsea captain and centre back John Terry.

The veteran defender was possibly due to return today and I reckon it is a massive plus point for Arsenal’s chances of winning that he hasn’t made it, because that leaves Cahill and Luiz and the Brazilian has been making lots of mistakes since coming back from PSG.

Chelsea do not even have a back up centre back on the bench so that could be even better for us. The other big talking point from the visitors is the inclusion of Fabregas who has not had much game time under Conte. From Wenger’s selection the big absentees are Granit Xhaka and Olivier Giroud even though the French forward is fit enough to make the squad.

Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal
Coquelin, Cazorla
Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi

Subs: Gibbs, Lucas Perez, Giroud, Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Holding, Xhaka.

So the boss has stuck with the same Arsenal line up that put four past Hull City last weekend. Will they be good enough to get another vital win today and end the long run of EPL games against Chelsea without a victory?

Arsenal team for Southampton a BIG risk from Wenger?

While most Arsenal fans have been looking forward to seeing the two late transfer signings in action after the international break, I am not so sure that too many of us would have started with both MUstafi and Lucas Perez against Southampton today.

Mustafi is not such a surprise but to see the Spaniard start in the centre forward position with Olivier Giroud as well as Alexis Sanchez on the bench seems to be a bit of a risk. There is no Granit Xhaka either, and the manager hinted before the game that energy levels after international duty may have been the reason behind his surprise team selection.

THe players that do start, including the Spanish striker and Coquelin and Cazorla in central midfield, did not travel and so should be fresher, but I think that Wenger is hedging his bets a bit with the Champions League trip to face PSG on Tuesady on his mind.

Has he risked too much?

NO Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal face 4 games in 10 days

Even though Arsene Wenger has declared himself happy with what Arsenal were able to do in the summer transfer market this year, spending more than ever to bring in Lucas Perez, Mustafi, Holding, Xhaka and Asuno to strengthen the squad in key areas, the international break did not come at a very good time for us.

The boss told Arsenal Player that it would have been nice if the Gunners were able to carry on where we left off with the fluency and penetration we saw away to Watford but he does believe that our squad now has the quality and quantity that we need to fight on the four fronts of the Premier League, Champions League, FA cup and the EFL cup.

He said, “I believe that we have the strength and the numbers that I wished and that we can compete now on all fronts.

“That’s what we want to show. We can focus now completely on competition, that is quite important and hopefully the victory at Watford will give the belief and confidence to our group of players to have a successful game [against Southampton].

“We want the players to score from crosses but to do that you have to go in the box and go for the goal, so I am pleased that Ozil, for example, gets in the box and scores a header,” said Wenger. “It can only encourage him to do it again.

“[International breaks] are a little bit of a problem [for maintaining fluency], so I have to analyse how everybody came back, what kind of intensity they had to cope with and the fact as well that we play three days later again.

“Certainly, for some players, four games in 10 days plus the travelling is not really feasible at the top, top level. That’s why you have a strong squad and I will focus on the players who could prepare properly for the game.”

That sounds to me like the players that played most recently for their countries will not be risked and the two that got back latest and with long haul flights from South America were Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina, so I think we can expect to see the Chilean on the subs bench for the start of today’s clash with Southampton.

He can always enter the fray if we need him but I think it is a good idea to keep him fresh for the away match with PSG on Tuesday. Wenger still has good options up front with Giroud, Walcott, Iwobi, Lucas and the Ox so do you agree that Alexis should be rested today?

Liverpool boss right to expect direct tactics from Arsenal?

I am not sure what to9 make of the comments about Arsenal made by the Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp this week, as he prepares to bring his team to north London for the opening round of Premier League games. Perhaps the German is playing a bit of mind games and maybe trying to get his opposite number Arsene Wenger to change his own approach or even to relax and expect today’s visitors to play a certain way.

What Klopp said about our tactics is not what you expect to hear about Arsenal under Wenger, as the general consensus is that we are too settled on our passing and fluent style of play instead of being pragmatic, but that is what Klopp says we did against his side last season, focusing on long balls to either Mesut Ozil or Olivier Giroud and playing in a much more direct way.

The Liverpool manager said, ‘Arsenal is usually a football playing team but last time against us there was a lot of long balls and always to Olivier Giroud [who scored two goals in the match].

‘The second ball was to [Mesut] Ozil, they caused us a lot of problems in this game. That was a big threat on that day.

‘We knew about it because a lot of teams chose this way against us so it we could have defended on this day better.

‘It was not about what they did, it was about how they did it because it was highest quality with how Giroud and Mesut Ozil, especially, on this day performed.’

Of course there will be no Giroud and Ozil in the Arsenal team today, so if Klopp expects a direct game he may come unstuck. If Theo Walcott starts as the centre forward as many expect, I do not think Wengeer will want to many aerial balls into the box, but he could go for a more solid system and try to use a counter attacking style to exploit the extra pace up front.

How do you think Arsenal will play?

Great bets to give Arsenal fans interest in the Euros

With no Arsenal games for the next few months, we can at least console ourselves by watching some of our best players performing at the Euro2016 tournament in France this summer. I have been looking around at some good bets to give us an interest in the competition while keeping an eye on the form of our Gunners.

A lot of Gooners in the UK will be looking for Jack Wilshere to regain his earlier Arsenal form in the qualifying Group where he won the Man of the Match for England in 5 out of 6 games. The Lions are 8/1 fourth favourites to win the competition, and if you think Our Jack can be the man to galvanize them to victory it may be worth backing Wilshere at 66/1 with Betfred to win the Player of the tournament, or if you are feeling very lucky try Aaron Ramsey at 150/1.

Okay enough of the fantasies, let’s look at some realistic bets from Betfred that could actually win us some money. I personally don’t think that England can win it, but the 11/2 that Betfred offer on the Lions to win all three Group games seems very reasonable. And a fair Ramsey bet is for Wales to reach the QuarterFinals at 4/1. These are Betfred specials but if you sign up using this Betfred promotion code 2016 they will also give you £30 in free bets to play with!

Arsenal have other players at the Euros though, and with Giroud and Koscielny playing for the favourites France and Mesut Ozil appearing for the World Cup winners Germany, we can expect one of those to go all the way to the Final. My favourite longshot is for Germany to win it and Muller to be top scorer at 16/1. If Ozil continues providing chances that could be a very good bet. Also I’ll do Ozil to be named Player of the tournament at 20/1. I can see both those bets winning me money!

If you think that Giroud’s hat-trick in our last game shows that the Frenchman is coming back to form, it may be worth having a saver on France to win the competition and Giroud to be top scorer at a very tasty 28/1. I’m going to do all of these wagers and I’m pretty sure I’ll still have some interest going on all the way through to the Final.

What do you think is the best bet out of that lot?

Which Arsenal player will bring back the Euro16 winners medal?

Arsenal have six current players (I haven’t included Granit Xhaka) set to feature in this summers Euro16 tournament in France, but which one is most likely to bring back the trophy and the bragging rights to the Gunners dressing room?

We have Petr Cech appearing for the Czech Republic, and also the departed Tomas Rosicky. We also have (the nearly departed) Wojciech Szczesny in goal for Poland, but I think we can safely exclude them from the possible winners. If you do want to take a chance on them then Poland are around 50/1 and the Czechs are right out at 100/1

This leaves four more Gunners and they are in three of the first four favourites for the trophy. England and Jack Wilshere are currently priced at 8/1, while Mesut Ozil’s Germany are the second favourites at 4/1, while we have both Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud in the France side, who are 7/2 favourites playing with home advantage.

All Arsenal fans will be keen to see how Jack Wilshere shapes up on his return from injury for England, but I don’t think you will find many supporters outside of England that will actually believe that Roy Hodgson’s side could emerge victorious exactly 50 years after England won the World Cup.

So, depending on your opinion of what’s the best football live betting site in UK, you should check out the best prices on France and Germany, although, again, looking at it from an Arsenal point of view, France may be playing at home, I wouldn’t fancy any team to win a trophy with Giroud as their main striker, lol. Would you?

So I am going to go with the World Cup Winners and our very own super assist-king Mesut Ozil to bring back another trophy. I think I will also have a little punt on Ozil to win the Player-of-the-tournament (around 25/1) if he carries on providing chances like he did all season for Arsenal, even if they weren’t converted!

The Arsenal stars I’m backing for Euro 2016

The playing season is over for Arsenal, and it is time to prepare ourselves for the upcoming European Championships, but that doesn’t mean I will be putting my club shirt away for the summer.

Eight of our players have been selected for their respective countries provisional squads for Euro 2016, and I will be keeping a close eye on a number of them for different reasons.

Jack Wilshere is our only star set to grace the England side this summer, and while my priority will be for Jack to return from international duty injury-free, I will of course also be cheering on the Lions. I’m usually one to have a sentimental bet on our side to win the tournament, but the 9/1 (10.0) available is a little short for my liking.

Ramsey is set to star for Wales in the competition, where they will come up against England in the group stages. The Welsh are a worthy value bet to win the group at 11/2 (6.5), with Russia and Slovakia both in the group also.

Rosicky is no longer with us, but he still remains in my heart, and will be lining up alongside Petr Cech in the Czech team this summer. They are an outside bet to win their group at 10/1 (11.0), but for that to happen I would expect our number one to have to have an outstanding tournament, which would hardly be a surprise occurrence.

Mesut Ozil and on-loan goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could be set to battle with Poland and Germany in the Group C together, although the latter is not guaranteed a starting place. The German star is 20/1 shout to pick up the Player of the Tournament, and with his side amongst the favourites to win the competition, that could prove to be a huge price.

New signing Granit Xhaka will come up against team-mates Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny in Group A, and will be an exciting watch for those not quite in the know about the creative midfielder. The striker is the bet to look at though, with Anthony Martial and Antoine Griezmann likely to free up plenty of space for the striker in the final third of the playing field. Giroud is 14/1 (15.0) in the betting to top the goalscoring charts, which for me, is HUGE for the central striker of the favourites and hosts of the tournament.

What will you be backing this summer?

Arsenal boss on why he’ll start Walcott against Aston Villa

With Arsenal having produced one of our most lacklustre performances of the season, and there have been a few, in March against Watford to blow the chance of a third FA cup trophy in a row, Arsene Wenger and the Gunners have just one game left to salvage some pride from a pretty poor and definitely disappointing campaign.

So the Frenchman will want Arsenal to put on a show against the visitors Aston Villa today and that means goals. But with Olivier Giroud still struggling for form and with Danny Welbeck having been struck with another heavy injury blow, who will provide the attacking cut and thrust for us?

From the words of Wenger ahead of this final game, reported by Metro, it sounds like the boss is going to hand a rare start to Theo Walcott. The Frenchman was talking up the ability of the England flyer and explaining why a game in which the Gunners are expected to dominate is the perfect one for Walcott to use his pace and movement, which Wenger claims is second to none.

He said, ‘The quality of his runs are the best I have seen.

‘The quality of his movement around the box, when you play against deep-lying defenders or go on the counter-attack is completely top.

‘When you dominate the midfield, Walcott always becomes very dangerous.

‘The problem is when you do not dominate the midfield he is not the player who comes and takes the ball and plays a passing game.

‘His game is the quality of the runs and for that you need to dominate the midfield to make him dangerous.’

With Mesut Ozil apparently fit again and with Arsenal up against the worst team in the league by far that is also devoid of any confidence or form, is this the perfect chance for Theo to remind Arsenal fans and the England manager Roy Hodgson just what he can do?