Fiorentina-Juventus: despite the two tough losses, la Viola showed some intriguing stuff up front against both Napoli and Genoa. The potential is there, but the whole team needs to tighten up and build up some chemistry. Franck Ribery is primed to get more minutes after the break and they should finally counter-balance a line-up that is always too reliant on Federico Chiesa. The ones that will benefit the most are the centre-forwards and for the time being Kevin-Prince Boateng will likely be the top option until Dusan Vlahovic and Pedro find their footing. Gaetano Castrovilli has already shown that he can be dangerous with his cuts, while Erick Pulgar hit the net twice on penalties and will have more opportunities to put his shooting prowess to good use in a slightly modified role. Continue reading
The last time Arsenal lured a player away from Old Trafford, it resulted in a player of their own heading in the opposite direction. The signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January was widely viewed to be a shrewd one for the Gunners, making the most of a bad situation. They were always going to lose Alexis Sanchez, with the Chilean’s contract up at the end of the season, and so this saw them at least get something for the want-away forward.
This time, Arsenal are looking to lure Juan Mata away from Manchester United, according to reports, and they won’t even have to send a player of their own in the opposite direction as part of a trade. Mata, just like Sanchez was at Arsenal last season, is out of contract at the end of the campaign, meaning he could soon be a free agent. The Spaniard will be able to talk to other clubs from January.
Counter reports claim that United will offer Mata a contract extension to ward off any interested parties like Arsenal, but a move back to London could appeal to the former Chelsea playmaker. There are reasons to believe that the 30-year-old would wish to leave Man Utd for the Gunners.
Unai Emery is building something at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal rediscovering their identity over the early part of the season. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd reign appears to be crumbling around him. Mata hasn’t always found his best form under the conservative Mourinho and so Emery could get the best out of him as he enters the twilight of his career.
Arsenal are once again a team that places emphasis on technical ability and use of space, and that is something that would suit Mata. He would also find a place in Emery’s team on the right side of the attacking line, where the Gunners are currently lacking. Or he could be used in a more central role, where there could be a position to fill if Aaron Ramsey indeed leaves the club at the end of the season.
Mkhitaryan has struggled to rediscover his best form since making the move to Arsenal from Man Utd in January, with some fans even calling for the Armenian to be dropped from the team in recent weeks. There have been glimpses of his relationship with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, his former Borussia Dortmund teammate, but nothing sustained.
Some may argue that Arsenal should be looking to sign up and coming talent rather than ageing stars like Mata. The point could also be made that Emery needs speed on the right wing, not the tactile vision and passing of Mata. But it’s rare that such an accomplished player becomes available for free. Arsenal should take that opportunity if they are presented with it.
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In another installment of the EuroFantasyLeague Podcast, Jamie & Dave discuss the Alexis Sanchez / Henrik Mkhitaryan swap deal, talk about the snow in Durham and pay tribute to two of football’s greats, Cyril Regis and Jimmy Armfield.
With another round of Premier League action done and dusted, it’s time to take a look at which midfielders excelled and which ones were left eating their dust.
Continuing the theme of our early-season position spotlights, it is now the turn of all midfielders in the Premier League to get their shot at getting their name on EuroFantasyLeague! Continue reading
The 2017/18 season of the Premier League is a couple of weeks old now, and while some sides have leapt out of the gates at blazing speeds others have sauntered out at little more than a meaningless wander.