Arsenal v Swansea Betting Preview – Gunners must come good tonight

Arsenal were far from being favourites when they hosted the Champions League winners Barcelona last week at the Emirates, but they performed admirably and due to a couple of lapses in concentration they lost 2-0 in the final 20 minutes.

Then at the weekend they went to Old Trafford, and due to the Gunners shocking the League leaders Leicester in their previous Premiership game they were made quite short favourites, but there is no way I would ever tip a team to win that hasn’t won at that venue for ten years in the Premiership. And it’s lucky I didn’t because they duly lost 3-2. I’m still not quite sure why everyone was so shocked by the result.

But tonight they very quickly have got a chance to redeem themselves at home to Swansea, who are gradually creeping closer to the relegation zone and have won just three of there last 18 games, and now have to face a wounded Arsenal. Arsene Wenger could hardly hope for a better opponent to get his team back out of the doldrums and to pull themselves back up to just three points behind Leicester.

Unsurprisingly Arsenal are a very short-priced 1/3 favourites with William Hill, with the Foxes way out at 8/1 to get a shock win, and they are even as high as 4/1 to even get a draw. There may be quite a few takers for that considering Arsenal’s current form,and the history watchers will make the suggestion that Leicester have come away from London with at least a point in the last three seasons, so why can’t they do it again?

Well I’ll tell you why. They sold Wilgried Bony and Joe Allen last year and they simply have not performed at the same level ever since. They have lost their self-belief and their best players and are just as likely to roll over as any other bottom six team nowadays. Wenger knows that his title chances will disappear down the drain if the Gunners don’t take the points today, and there is no better man able to get his team to bounce back after a disappointment.

Arsenal will play safe at the back and go to hit Swansea on the break, and I am certain they will get at least one past their old keeper Lukasz Fabianski. So I am going to tip the excellent value for Arsenal to win to nil, which is Even Money with William Hill. To make it even more attractive you could use this William Hill Promotional code 2016 and get extra betting money to add to your stake.

So get on an easy Arsenal win and their rock solid defence to keep a clean sheet. You know it makes sense!

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Anyone who had not really been watching the Arsenal games all that closely this season and then watched us blow Aston Villa away in the FA cup final yesterday could have been forgiven for thinking that Arsene Wenger had finally seen sense on the defensive midfield situation and spent some big money in the summer or January transfer windows.

But as we know, Francis Coqwuelin was already an Arsenal player, it was just that he never played or did not impress on his rare chances. After a storming second half of the season, however, the Frenchman has become a fixture at the heart of our team and his performance at Wembley yesterday was even better than usual.

So maybe Arsene Wenger has decided that he does not really need a Morgan Schneiderlin or an Arturo Vidal because Coquelin will be our first choice. But with the risk of an injury and the number of games the Gunners will play next season, we still need cover and according to a legitimate dating sites free report, the Frenchman is going for the Swansea City star Ki Sung-Yeung.

The report claims that we have already begun talks with the Welsh club and they are ready to accept £15 million for the South Korean. Great news for Coquelin but would you prefer Arsenal to go for someone else?

Should Arsenal take this free-scoring Premiership striker for 20m ?

Wilfried Bony could be on his way to Arsenal at the end of the season according to whispers emanating from North London. The Ivorian was signed by Michel Laudrup during the summer and he has impressed in his first season, making 47 appearances for the Welsh club and scoring 25 goals in all competitions. Arsene Wenger is in the market for a new striker and while the likes of Carlos Vela, Karim Benzema and Danny Welbeck have been mentioned, it is understood that he could opt for the powerful Swansea City striker.

Bony, 25 would like to move to Arsenal as it is so obviously a step up from his former club and he would have a chance of playing in the UEFA Champions League, but Swansea are known for staying firm when it comes to transfers. Despite Arsenal’s long pursuit of their captain Ashley Williams last summer, the South Wales club refused to sell and dug their heels in.

Swansea signed Bony from Vitesse in a deal worth 12 million Pounds but have slapped a 20-million Pound tag on him in a bid to frighten off potential suitors. His 16 league goals have alerted some of the bigger teams of the Barclays Premier League including Everton and Tottenham. The Swans might have to sell the striker if any club comes close to this valuation and the man himself shows an inclination to move. However, for a fee of 20 million Pounds, they reckon they can find a replacement in the transfer market.

Interestingly, Bony went on trial at Liverpool in 2007 but was not offered a contract. At the beginning of the season, BBC listed Bony as one of the signings to look out for in the 2013-14 season. He is a member of the Cote d’Ivoire national team and made his debut in 2010 against Burundi.

Is it worth Arsenal forking out the 20m or will Bony be a one-season wonder?

Arsenal need Giroud and must not sell him this summer

There have been a fair few suggestions over the past couple of days that French international striker Olivier Giroud has been transfer listed by Arsenal Football Club in the last week. A string of bad performances over the course of this season has meant the club has apparently lost faith in him. There were also rumours that the move was because of his indiscretions in a hotel and his wife wanting to return to France.

There are two things that will contrast opinion at the moment and why the Giroud fans will continue to prosper in their own little way. First off all of course, Giroud scored what was set to be the winning goal in the 2-2 draw against Swansea City. But let me remind you that Giroud had not done anything else productive at all in that game. I cannot remember a single other shot from the Frenchman, only a couple of failed attempts of trying to get the ball out from under his feet. Even his passing and his holding off the ball seemed to have been lost.

Secondly, Giroud now has 19 goals for the season. A stat which in its own right is okay I suppose for a central striker, however when you look at the games those goals have come in, and at what times of the season they have been at, you will see that although sometimes he has the ability, he lacks consistent conviction in front of goal and that is no place for someone who is supposed to be a first choice striker at a club that is ambitious to win the league.

However saying that, just because Giroud doesn’t deserve to be Arsenal’s current first choice striker, it doesn’t mean that he should be sold. Giroud has proven that he can play in the Premier League; the problem is that he is not consistent enough at the highest level. Therefore, although there is no doubt that we should look to bring in another central striker and a top quality one too, Giroud shouldn’t necessarily be sold. I reckon if he was to be sold; the club wouldn’t receive more than £8 million for him, showing just how much his value has dropped.

Therefore that money wouldn’t be worth re-investing in a new backup striker, and I think Giroud could do the job there. I think he’d be willing to fight for his place at Arsenal and maybe that would bring the best out of him.

Even Wenger is getting excited about Arsenal

Arsenal added to their record breaking run of away wins and an incredible run of form that has seen just 1 loss in the past 21 games overall. The Gunners haven’t seen a loss aside from Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, since March 2013, when we failed to get any points away to local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, so it was extra special that our win took us clear of the spuds yesterday.

Things really have changed from that date and Arsenal only seem to be improving week by week. And this time around, after beating West Brom in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, Arsenal followed that game up with a well fought victory and three points over Swansea City at the liberty stadium.

The win puts Arsenal on top once again and the Gunners now have 15 points out of a possible 18, with our closest challengers Spurs on 13. Arsenal are currently 4 points ahead of Chelsea, 5 ahead of City and an astonishing 8 points ahead of Manchester United, giving the Gunners a real boost that we can finally make something happen this year.
In fact Wenger too has admitted that his side is performing just like it used to in the club’s glory days, although of course we now have very different players.

In an interview after the game, Wenger said: “There is nothing better than winning. The first half was quite difficult, we were slow in our combinations and Swansea were sharper than us. It was a question of being patient without making mistakes. After we were much stronger and playing at our level. We took advantage of the chances we have created. We have substance in the team and we could see that today in the second half. We came out with purpose in our game and that was important.”

Wenger seems to be as impressed as the fans, player’s and media are alike, however we can thank nobody more than Le Prof himself, who despite all the criticism and controversies against him, he still manages to do the job for Arsenal, 17 years on since he joined the club. Next up we face Napoli in the Champions League, so bring on the Italians and more significantly Higuain!

Arsenal quoted a fair price for Ashley Williams?

Arsenal have been persistently linked with a lot of attackers this summer, most notably in Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain whom we seem set to sign in the coming week, whilst we’ve also been linked a lot with Wayne Rooney and Julio Cesar, both who are still very much in the papers, however one player who has gone off the record in the last few weeks is Swansea defender Ashley Williams.

A few weeks back Arsenal were reportedly set to make the opening bid for the Welsh international defender, only to receive a response from Swansea stating that they value the 28 year old at £10 million. I think that’s a very extortionate price for a player soon approaching 30 years old, not to mention the fact he’d probably play a very limited role at Arsenal. So despite his quality, I for one am pleased Arsenal seem to have ended their interest in Williams, however we cannot be certain and for all we know Wenger still probably has his eye on the player.

The reason for this topic to be brought back up is the fact that there are some new quotes relating to the development on this story and I thought not only does it possibly show how my valuation of the player is wrong, but also the constant understanding that British players are overvalued.

Ashley William’s teammate Ben Davies, told the Metro; ‘Last season I would say Ash was one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, I cannot think of many who were better than him. The job he did was incredible and a price of £10million or more to sign him is completely justified. You see some of the money that gets spent in this league on players who are unproven in the Premier League. I think £10million is more than a fair price.’

I completely disagree and although perhaps he is worth £8 million or so in that range, I think there are much better players and defenders especially available for the same price or lower. We need to consider that fact that it’s likely he wouldn’t be a starting XI player, as Mertesacker and Koscielny are much better and then we have the star Vermaelen who may not of performed well last season, but definitely still has quality. If Wenger is looking for a central defender, then surely it won’t be for anything more than a backup or even 4th choice replacement for the surely outgoing Johan Djourou, so in my opinion William’s definitely isn’t the answer for Arsenal and the money can be used much more to our advantage elsewhere.

Should Arsenal just forget about Williams?

Ashley Williams has been persistently linked with Arsenal over the last month, suggesting that there may be some real truth to the stories. Arsene Wenger is believed to be keen on the Welsh International but Swansea are reportedly quoting a value of £10 million, which I personally can’t see Wenger paying.

When it comes to Arsenal, £10 million is a lot of money and I just cannot see the Gunner’s spending so much on a player that would ultimately play no more than a bench and squad rotation role at the club. I personally don’t rate Williams at all, and so I’m not sure what all the hype is about, but taking into account that a lot of people are very keen on him, then he must have that special something.

In recent weeks talk has gone quiet over the 28 year old, suggesting that interest had ended after Swansea quoted that £10 million price tag. And now the Welsh club chairman Hew Jenkins has told the media that no official contact has been made over Williams.

Jenkins stated; “While there seems to be constant speculation about Ashley Williams, I can honestly say that I have not had one call from anybody about him. There have been all sorts of stories in the press about what is happening with Ash but I have never heard anything from anyone.”

So it seems that once again the story is nothing but media hype. As reiterated throughout the article, I would hope that Wenger looks elsewhere. I mean apart from experience in the Premier League, there are a lot of other defenders available that in my opinion are much better than Williams and are available for a cheaper price. I don’t think this story is anything more than the usual Phil Jagelkia to Arsenal rumour that goes round every year. I mean on a £70m budget, would you honestly happily spend £10m of that on a player approaching 30 that would play no more than a squad role, not to mention the fact we currently have Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Djourou and Miquel challenging for the two CB spots.

Laudrup thinks Arsenal were lucky to get three points

The Swansea manager Michael Laudrup was decidedly unimpressed with the football on display in the second half of yesterdays game against Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium, and thinks that the Gunners only took the points because of a “scrappy goal” that gave us the lead.

Admittedly Michu blew a couple of chances in the first half, but considering Alex Chamberlain also hit the bar twice I think we could consider it even stevens….

The Swans manager said in this mornings Premier League News: “I thought it would be a draw.”

“In the first half we saw some good football from both sides. They had a couple of chances and we had a couple as well, with maybe the biggest one for Angel”

“In the second half there was much less good football in my modest opinion. There was a lot of play in midfield and not really many shots on target and I thought it was going to finish 0-0.

“But you know when things are like this that the first goal many times will decide the game, and that is what happened. It was a strange goal, but that decided the game.”

Well I am sorry Michael but the fact is that Arsenal DID score and you didn’t, and then we scored AGAIN! That doersn’t sound like a 0-0 draw to me!

Wenger needs to talk to Hoffenheim for young star midfielder

The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is looking high and wide for talented midfielders, and the Frenchman has reportedly eyed one of Swansea’s most promising players this season, Gylfi Sigurdsson. The 22-year-old had an amazing season scoring 6 times in 11 games from midfield, but Arsenal’s will have to try and persuade his home club to let him go as he is only at loan at the Swans.

The midfielder is on loan from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, and according to him despite the intense interest he’s been getting there’s nothing he can do about the situation given his two years left of contract with the German side.

“I still have a couple of years left on my contract at Hoffenheim, so there is not much I can do at the moment,” said Sigurdsson.

“It’s out of my hands.”

Wenger’s search for top midfielders will surely continue as the Frenchman wants to avoid another season like this one when he had virtually no reserve options in the midfield after Jack’s injury and Fabregas’ and Nasri’s leaves.

The midfield section is likely to get weaker before it will have a chance to get stronger, as Ramsey’s place at Arsenal is not looking too secure after what was a horrible string of performances for the Welsh midfielder this season except for some occasional good games.

Rodgers – Swansea beat Arsenal at their own game

The Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has tried very hard to get his team playing the passing game made famous by Arsenal, and he is over the moon that his team of unknowns beat Arsenal’s stars at their own game.

In the first half, Swansea were so successful that they had over 65% of the possession, a figure very rarely seen against Arsenal and Rodgers couldn’t help but praise his players.

“It’s something we all inherently believe in and we’ve had success with it,” he said. “The players show great courage to pass the ball, sometimes we make mistakes but I’ve got a great belief they can play and pass, even against the best teams.

“It was always going to be a fantastic football game. Arsenal have been doing it for years, Arsene Wenger has brought his club on a million miles regarding the ethos and philosophy of the game while we’re only just beginning.

“To beat a top team and a top manager was fantastic, the players were brilliant – I’m very, very proud.”

Maybe it’s time for Wenger to introduce a Plan B to counteract teams that can play the passing game better than Arsenal themselves!