Arsene Wenger’s time as a footballing coach officially comes to an end

Arsene Wenger hasn’t admitted it but he might as well and that is, he will never coach a team again.

Since leaving Arsenal in the summer of 2018 Wenger has been tipped to join various clubs and national sides, some of those stories have been nothing but rumours and some Wenger has lent his words too. He has said from time to time that he would definitely be interested in managing a club again.

Just recently it looked like he was a shoe-in for the Bayern Munich job after the German giants sacked Niko Kovac. Wenger even spoke to the club and things seemed to be moving forward and then out of the blue he landed a job with FIFA. Wenger will the head of global football development, or in other words he has been put out to rest after a career in football.

One doesn’t just land such a job, not even Arsene Wenger and it is clear that Wenger would have had talks with FIFA over a few weeks possibly months before he took on such a role. Why then when being interviewed would be continually show an interest in managing a football club again?

The reason is Wenger can’t let go of the past and because of that the past won’t let him move on. In a nutshell Wenger cannot manage another club because his emotional ties to Arsenal are too great. It’s almost romantic but makes little sense. In taking a FIFA job that Wenger will be able to do blindfolded he is simply taking steps into a comfort zone. At 70 and with a huge career behind him can he really be blamed? In a way no, but it is the way that he left coaching clubs that leaves a feeling of, was that it?

Make no mistake for his first 6 years at Arsenal, Wenger should be seen as one of the greatest coaches. But for the majority of his time at the club the Gunners could not keep that level. By the time Wenger left, Arsenal looked in tatters, does a couple of FA Cup wins really make it better for Wenger? No league title in his last 14 seasons as a manager, and in many people’s eyes he was an elite one.

Had he shown more interest and taken the Bayern job he could have had one last hurrah. People might argue but he’s too old now, he deserves his rest. The reality is that Wenger could have stayed at Bayern only until the end of the season. Trophies are there to be won. What better way to end a career with a winning memory.

In taking the FIFA job it just seems that Wenger has opted for the easier role, but will it really, in the end, give him the satisfaction he craves?

 

 

Why Arsene Wenger needs one more managerial job and why that club should be Bayern Munich

Arsene Wenger will of course go down as one of the great managers of the modern game, but the way in which he left it with his time at Arsenal was on a sour note, a feeling of is that it? And Wenger deserves more, he owes it to himself.

The highly respected Frenchman has been without a job since the summer of 2018. He needed time away from football and that made sense. He’s made trips abroad, been invited to football gatherings and looks like he is genuinely enjoying life. But even at 70 in every interview he has had he has always maintained that he misses the game, and that he would love to coach again. And yet as the time passes by it looks inevitable that he never will. Well it did up until Bayern Munich sacked Niko Kovac, suddenly for Wenger there is an opening.

If reports are to be believed Bayern have now approached Wenger and made him their number 1 choice. Wenger himself has said that he would be interested, so surely it is just a matter of time? Wenger would be thrust into a very competitive Bundesliga season and of course Bayern are in the Champions League.

Not many managers out there have such loyalty as Wenger and his one worry returning as manager would be having to face his former club and the one he will always be remembered for coaching, Arsenal. Bayern does not represent that problem and it is unlikely the teams would meet in Europe, with Arsenal being in the Europa League and Bayern in the Champion League. The only way would be if Bayern were to finish 3rd in their Champions League group and that doesn’t look like happening anytime soon.

Wenger usually so secretive has spoken freely about what could happen and has been in contact with the club in the last few days. He has confirmed that brief talks have commenced and that more will follow next week. If all things go well Wenger could be the new manager of Bayern by the end of the month.

However there is still that feeling that Wenger wants to keep old memories and that his love for Arsenal would be tarnished if he didn’t make his time with the Gunners his final job in football. He needs to distance himself from that because he will be remembered as a great manager but we also tend to remember a manager’s final days in the game too. With Bayern he has a realistic chance of ending his glorious career on a high, and he needs to do everything he can to get that job.

 

Jamie Vardy has ensured his legend status at Leicester City after Arsenal are beaten

At the time of writing Leicester are sitting in 2nd place in the Premier League and there are now genuine memories, hopes and wishes of what the club did in season 2015/16 and that is winning the Premier League. The clubs win over Arsenal by 2-0 just reinforced that fact that the Foxes are back.

Leading that title chase is Jamie Vardy. The striker breathes and bleeds Leicester and has been a constant within the teams most successful era of their history, simply put he installs belief, the will to win and most importantly he just keeps on scoring goals.

Vardy opened the game up against Arsenal with just 15 minutes left to play in a match that was terrifically entertaining and end to end stuff but ultimately one that looked like Brendan Rodgers side would end up dropping 2 points at home. It was headed for 0-0 until Vardy’s great goal which crushed Arsenal and then Leicester went onto score a 2nd moments later through the impressive James Maddison.

Vardy’s rise to top goalscorer in the Premier League has been stunning given that he was playing non-league football at the beginning of this decade with Halifax Town. But he is Leicester through and through. He has 11 goals already this season from 12 games and is on course to beat his best Premier League total of 24 goals when the Foxes won the league.

At the weekend he scored his 111th goal for the club in the league and there looks like no signs of the player slowing down. What is remarkable is that his career in the top flight did not kick off until he was 28 and it would felt to him that his football career had simply passed him by. He is an exception to the rule that you can still make it at the very top. One can count on your hand the amount of players that have risen from the ashes to perform well when they have gotten older, Ian Wright would be one of those players too.

Perhaps the British media have given the striker scant praise over the years, and it’s true that he isn’t the most prolific striker in England or Europe for that matter. But he does score goals, and does get himself in the right places in the area- he’s simply always there and always a threat.

Vardy is 32 but at this rate he has another 2-3 seasons with Leicester to keep on proving how important he has been at the club. Surely whatever happens now he has his foothold in the history of the club and also a staute will be awaiting him at King Power Stadium. How long can Leicester keep pushing Liverpool and Manchester City is anyone’s guess.

They remain the league’s outsiders and you get the feeling that Vardy and Leicester will love it that way.

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Unai Emery’s job is under threat at Arsenal

The Arsenal fans have made it clear that Unai Emery is now under severe pressure with some wanting him sacked as manager after just 18 months in charge. This comes after the Gunners have recorded just 2 wins from their past 9 games.

Emery has struggled with Arsenal overall and despite coming to the club with a good resume, winning the Europa League on a few occasions with Sevilla and the French league with PSG it has been difficult for the Spaniard to find the right balance with the team he has. Players on long contracts that he couldn’t sell like Mesut Ozil isn’t his fault and that remains some of the fall out from former manager Arsene Wenger. But fans believe that Emery simply isn’t getting the best out of his players and they could well be right.

What let down Wenger in his final years with the club was not qualifying for the Champions League and their dismal away record and that has continued under Emery. Reaching the Europa League final last season felt like a step in the right direction but what did it matter when they lost 4-1 in the final? No Arsenal fan wants to remember that run after that.

A glance at the Premier League table would see Arsenal in 5th place and wanting your manager sacked for that would seem harsh. But the bigger picture is that the club have slipped 6 points behind Chelsea who have a new young manager in Frank Lampard and have had a transfer ban this past summer.

Whilst the Gunners have only lost two games they have only won 1 game in their past five matches and have gone 3 games without a win. The other damning fact is the way they are losing points at home. Take the Crystal Palace match where they found themselves 2-0 up within 10 minutes. The old Arsenal circa 2005 would have gone on to win that match 5-0. This one let Palace back into the game. Of course one will argue that VAR stopped them from winning 3-2 with a bizarre decision but Arsenal should never have been in that situation in the first place.

Then there was the Wolves game again at home and again winning the match. Wolves were let back in the match and actually could have won it.

This is an Arsenal team who look hollow and without Pierre-Emerick Aubamyang they look devoid of ideas and goals.

The Arsenal fans may want Emery out but the board won’t panic yet. However if the club continue this form he may well be in trouble come the end of the year. Arsenal have a lot of thinking to do as the clubs ‘transition’ period continues for another season.

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The rise of Sheffield United in the Premier League has been impressive

At the beginning of the season it wouldn’t have been a surprise to have seen Sheffield United who had just been newly promoted to the Premier League from the Championship to be amongst the favourites to be relegated. But the Blades have started the season well and are proving critics, fans and pundits wrong.

Currently the club are in 6th place, if they finished in that position expect them to react like they have won the league and that would be richly deserved not mentioning it would be good enough to claim a place in the Europa League. So just how have Sheffield United been able to prove the doubters wrong this season?

The bulk of the side remain the same from the Championship and that was the call to arms from manager Chris Wilder who didn’t want to give the club a huge face lift just because they had been promoted to the Premier League. He has recognised that the players that got them here needed to stay as merit and has only tweaked the club slightly. For example in has come John Fleck from Coventry, Ollie Norwood for just £2m from Fulham, John Lundstram, who cost £700,000 from Oxford, and David McGoldrick, the latter also being a free. Paul Mitchell has come in for the backroom staff and gelled well within the set-up too.

Training has excelled under Wilder too where he has picked out one day in specific to run his players around. What the end result is better fitness and that seems to have showed later on in tough and physical games.

All of this hard work and careful recruitment is paying dividends and the clubs recent form has been superb. They have gone their last 4 matches without defeat, the last one coming against Liverpool at the end of September and even that match only ended 1-0 with a lot of pundits pointing out that United were always in the game and that could have ended in a draw.

The recent win over Arsenal by 1-0 just underlines how hard this team have focused to keep clean sheets. They have conceded just once in their last four games and last weekend they overwhelmed  Burnley winning 3-0. And that is the point right there, they are upsetting teams you would expect them to drop points against and for now are beating teams that they should be. Next weekend they will play under fire Tottenham and that should be a fascinating game. How longer can the club keep their good form up? Right now they are looking at 60 points for the season which would be a fantastic achievement.

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Things begin to unravel for Unai Emery – and the next few months will determine his Arsenal future

Even in the immediate aftermath of Arsenal’s Europa League final defeat by Chelsea in May, this season felt decisive for Unai Emery. The Spaniard may be under contract at the Emirates Stadium until the summer of 2021, but a break clause inserted in his deal gives the club the right to pull the trigger at the end of the current campaign. Having failed to either win Europe’s junior tournament or finish in the top four of the Premier League last term, it is absolutely pivotal that Emery does one of the two this time around.

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Top 5 Premier League flops in 2019/20

The Premier League has been able to bring in some of the very best players over the years. With buckets full of money through television deals improving your team hasn’t been that hard, but that doesn’t mean there have been some poor buys when clubs have previously thought that they have either got a bargain or spent a small fortune of what they believe to be the next best youngster.

This season alone makes no exceptions. Below we have a top 5 list of the biggest flops in the Premier League so far. True these same flops could end up being amongst the very best players come the end of the season, but with all justification all of these players have hardly got off to the starts that their clubs would have wanted. Yes it is early in the season but let’s not forget we are almost at a third of the way through.

Moise Kean- Everton

Moise Kean cost Everton £25m and that seemed like a bargain. Kean who was playing for Juventus at the time has been seen as Italy’s next best striker. He is 19, quick, versatile and very confident. Once it looked like Juventus had wrapped up last seasons Serie A title he got his chance in the team and came in and couldn’t stop scoring goals. He scored 6 from his 13 games in the league. Everton were quick off the mark to get him, but he has been a shadow of the player that graced Juventus. From his 9 games so far in the league he has yet to score, and has been some what of a disappointment.

It has got to the stage now where Marco Silva, the Everton manager has been starting him from the bench. Obviously the change of country and culture has not been easy on the player and let’s admit he is still only 19, he probably has a bright future ahead of him. For now Everton looked to have overspent and what will Kean be realistically thinking? One day training with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, the next can’t start a game at Everton.

Pablo Fornals- West Ham

A lot was expected of Pablo Fornals whose silky attacking play was supposed to make West Ham a better team going forward. But he has been very quiet, and is now enjoying more time warming the bench. Fornals has never scored many goals but in his role as an attacking midfielder he is supposed to supply them. Fornals is yet to score in the league but did do so in the Carabao Cup. Costing £24m from Spanish side Villarreal Fornals has been a big disappointment so far, he simply doesn’t seem settled with the pace of the game and looks at this point to be too predictable. He is West Ham’s 2nd ever most expensive signing.

Nicolas Pepe- Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe was incredible last season for French Ligue 1 side Lille, his 22 goals from 38 games helped greatly in Lille upsetting the odds and finishing as runners up to PSG thus qualifying for the Champions League.

It was first a surprise that Pepe did not opt to stay with Lille on their European adventure instead choosing Arsenal who are playing in the Europa League this season. But of course the lure of playing for a famed club in the Premier League and a better salary was enough for the player. Here’s the thing though, Pepe has scored just once in his 9 league games. Possibly we can point to the fact that Pepe does not start every game and also Arsenal manager Unai Emery hasn’t always been using the player as a classic centre forward, they have Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang for that. But when he isn’t scoring goals one has to wonder who will for the Gunners?

It’s not all bad for Pepe, he has shown flashes of his brilliance and has scored a few goals in the clubs Europa League campaign. But at a cost of £72m it’s fair to say that the Gunners would have expected a little more from the player.

Harry Maguire- Manchester United

Harry Maguire was so good for Leicester at the back that he has become an England international and had a very good World Cup tournament last summer. This led Manchester United to go big on the defender and splash out £80m on him. But the magic simply hasn’t clicked. United were very leaky before Maguire joined and remain that way. Even when they rarely win games these days they keep on conceding. Maguire has been a very solid player and knows how to score goals from set pieces, inevitably he is going to become better and feel more fitted in at his role with the Red Devils. For now the club are going to suffer a little before that happens.

The big question mark is the initial fee. How can any player cost so much when they have won zero trophies? Of course the fee isn’t Maguire’s fault at all, that’s what it takes for an English international in the Premier League to join another team in the same league. The pressure is on Maguire though to establish himself within the team, for now it almost feels like he is hiding.

Tanguy Ndombele- Tottenham

When you think of how far Tottenham have come in the last few seasons, it makes how they have started this one mind boggling. They didn’t lose any key players in the summer and yet seem to have returned to a mid 1990s version of themselves. They will get better of course, this is the Champions League finalists from last season, but for now they have quite a few problems on their hands.

Famous now for not spending big money in transfer windows, they spent almost £60m acquiring the signature of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon. This felt like a strange decision, given that Ndombele who had had a decent season for the Ligue 1 side clearly wasn’t even their best midfielder last season. However trust had to be put into Mauricio Pochettino, that’s who he wanted and that is who he was going to get. Ndombele has scored a couple of goals and made an assist and that isn’t too bad, but again much more was expected of him, he needed to be the glue that sets the quickest in this very talented team of players. It might still happen, for now there has to be question marks over whether Lyon saw Tottenham coming with that fee.

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Is VAR and a lack of common sense ruining the game we love?

Yet again the talking point of the weekend is not so much the football but VAR and one wonders if common sense is now ruining the game we love?

There are so many different issues after a few months of VAR and that can be normal when a new service is implemented but it has also been evidently frustrating for fans. Now when your team score, you cheer with uncertainty, you just never know if play will be called back. It is even harder if you are at a game. Take yesterday’s match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace as a huge example. The game was locked at 2-2 but Arsenal had taken the lead, it was a goal, but it wasn’t. Fans in the stadium honestly had no idea what was going on. Replays were not shown, no explanation was given, but there was a long delay. The goal looked legitimate, but VAR had spotted something between two players in the build up something and nothing if truth be told and Arsenal were denied what most probably would have been the win.

The offside rule is another problem. How can a player be deemed to have an advantage or looking for one if their nose, or hair or foot is offside? This isn’t VAR’s fault of course and it is only going by the laws of the game, but they are silly ones at best. The same problem is the hand to ball, ball to hand rule in the penalty area. How can it be a penalty when no obvious cheating is involved? We now have a situation where an opposing player can now fire the ball into a defenders arm and get given a penalty, stone wall in some people’s opinion, this seems almost warped and is ruining the game.

Penalties are given far too easily, but at the end of the day when VAR was supposed to clear up match day controversy it is actually simply adding to it. So what is the solution? First off common sense needs to prevail, it is easy to tell if a player is putting themselves in a position to cheat or take an advantage or handle the ball or mistakenly do so. VAR needs to be quicker in its decisions and perhaps VAR should be less used and let the referee be able to make decisions. One area where VAR is needed is offside because the linesman’s job seems obsolete now, too many are too poor at their job. And what VAR does spectacularly right is when a player is NOT offside and is able to rule that out.

I think it’s fair to say that even if you are for VAR, the system has made too many errors and the judgement really hasn’t been there on a consistent basis. That’s fine it is new, but perhaps this has all been rushed out far too quickly? The football, the players and the goals should be the talking point of the weekend, not VAR and that is the bottom line.

6 classic Manchester United vs Arsenal Premier League matches from the rivalry’s golden era

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United, November 1997

Arsene Wenger’s first full season in charge of Arsenal ended in a dual domestic triumph, with the north Londoners winning a domestic double of Premier League title and FA Cup. They beat Manchester United to top spot in the top flight by a single point, which means their two wins against their closest challengers proved decisive.

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Premier League 2019-20: New signings, new rules

The premier leagues kicked off a few weeks ago. Manchester City is striving to win the championship for the third time in a row.

Liverpool, runners-up team in the last season, opened the campaign against Norwich. However, two main points of contention have been the rules and the video assistant references, both seemingly a big factor in the battle for the championship this season.

The Premier League has experienced three managerial appointments, and 11 football clubs made significant transfers. The 2019-2020 premier league season is expected to be more exciting than any other, and Betway gives you an opportunity to place your bets, so don’t miss that chance.

Manchester City gathered 198 points in the previous two seasons. They are battling to be recognized as the first club to with the title for a third consecutive year since a hat-trick of titles for Manchester in the 2007 to the 2009 era. Liverpool, who collected 97 points is expected to be the leading rival team for City.

New signings

The premier league has experienced the normal turnover of teams, managers, and players this season. Manchester United signed England defender Harry Maguire at £80m from Leicester City. This was one of the biggest signings of this summer, as the Red Devils received £74m from Italian club Inter for Romelu Lukaku.

Arsenal spent £72m to get winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille while Manchester City welcomed Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Rodri for £62.8m. They also bought Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo at £60m. Tottenham Hotspur spent £53.8m to get Tonguy Ndombele from Lyon. Note that this was their first signing since January 2018. Chelsea signed Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid at £40m and this was possible despite the transfer ban due to the fact he was registered with the team last season (on loan).

Sheffiled United, a promoted club broke the transfer record for the fourth time as Aston Villa spent more than £100m on transfers. Furthermore, another promoted team, Norwich, has signed 11 new players for smaller fees, free transfers, and loans.
Brighton, Newcastle, and Chelsea hired new managers. Maurizio Sarri resigned from Chelsea to join Juventus and Frank Lampard, a club legend, took up the mantle. Rafael Benitez’s contract at the Magpies ended, and he was replaced by Steve Bruce, the former Sheffield boss. Chris Hughton’s contract at the Seagulls was
terminated, and management hired Graham Potter.

Video assistant referee and new laws

The video assistant referee device that is now a common thing in football has been introduced to the premier league.

This is the first time the system will be used in EPL. According to the EPL’s guiding principle, the VAR will be used for visible and clear mistakes, missed incidents in the
four forms of match-changing events. They include mistaken identity, straight red cards, goals, and penalties. The Premier League intends to use this technology less frequently for other competitions to keep minimum intrusion to the game.
Many new rules have been introduced this summer, and they will make a debut in the EPL.

For instance, there are some changes in the wording of the handball rule. Unintentional handball is a crime in case it results in a goal. However, the law applies if the arm of the player is above the shoulder or makes the body bigger.

The Premier League will consider the head-to-head outcome to separate clubs level on goals scored, goal difference and points. The league has also introduced a winter break. However, there will be games on two weekends. Five games will be played
on the weekend of 8th February while the other five on the following week. Remember to take advantage of Betway and to place your bets so you have a better chance to make money.