Premier League Game of the Week: West Ham United 3-3 Arsenal

31 goal attempts, 12 shots on target, six goals and a point apiece this London derby between West Ham United and Arsenal had everything, and was quite possibly the most enjoyable Premier League game so far this season.

In an odd season which is still reeling from the effects of Covid-19, the missing link remains with no fans. However something’s never change. In one corner West Ham forever in the shadow of their London neighbours, the highly successful Arsenal and a team who the Hammers have a poor record against with just 1 win over the Gunners in the league in the past decade. Then there is Arsenal who player for player are a better side than West Ham, but find themselves below them in the league and trailing David Moyes side by seven points and with the same games played.

If one was to take just this season as a measure of greatness then West Ham are a few miles ahead of Arsenal, that doesn’t mean the superiority has been switched to the extent of how Chelsea have surpassed Arsenal, but it is getting there. This was underlined by the 32nd minute of this match when West Ham were leading  3-0. But Arsenal dug deep, they showed their old self and the harm they can inflict on West Ham by means of Alexlandre Lacazette and the ever impressive Martin Odegaard who reminded one of the great Dennis Bergkamp with his slick and professional timing on the ball.

Arsenal have been a poor side domestically this season, but against West Ham and indeed in the last few weeks they have showed a bright glimmer of the future under Mikel Arteta.

Jesse Lingard has been one of West Ham’s smartest moves in years, the other was the purchase of Tomas Soucek and both players influenced the game early on. Lingard scored his 5th goal in the league for the Hammers and then two minutes later assisted for the young Jarrod Bowen to add a second. There was a moment of disbelief that West Ham were 2 goals up against a side they found so hard to beat for decades. But here we were. Just past the half hour mark Soucek, arguably West Ham’s best player of the past 10 years made it 3-0. These felt like crazy times and the picture painted on Arteta’s face said it all.

But don’t let a sleeping tiger relax too much and when Arsenal got a goal back just before half time there shot a warning sign. The goal looked to have been scored by Lacazette, the player on the best form for Arsenal currently but replays showed that it took a wicked and quick deflection from Soucek who was unfortunately awarded the goal.

The next goal would win the game for West Ham or for Arsenal get them right back into the mix and it went Arsenal’s way. It happened just after the hour mark when West Ham defender Craig Dawson who has had a very good season put the ball into his own net. It was actually a great finish by Dawson, comical because of the end result, but a finish indeed. With half an hour to go this was feeling like the perfect set up for Arsenal as the game remained end to end stuff. Both teams had their gloves off and any type of managerial tactics were not going to suffice here. Also without the fans it was nice to see how an atmosphere can still be built up when there is all to play for and both sets of teams are playing well, and playing to win.

Arsenal’s third goal arrived from the creation of Nicolas Pepe and the head of Lacazette, there were just eight minutes remaining. The result started to look inevitable, that Arsenal were going to come back from 3 down and win the game 4-3. That never materialised, had it West Ham would have been crushed. Without it they were deflated but a point was a point at the end of the day. Even so Moyes’ side almost won it with what would have been one of the most spectacular goals in Premier League history.

Declan Rice, the defender, took the ball from his own half and went past a few players looking for the pass. He didn’t find it as he advanced on the Arsenal goal and within that fleeting moment decided to take a shot, why not? It would have been a goal for the ages, for the Gods and most certainly for You Tube. However it came to nothing and every neutral watching the game sighed as the dream goal became just a well worked chance, to be forgotten in time.

The match ended 3-3 and did little for Arsenal, although with that point they did move up to 9th place. The damage was more inflicted on West Ham who remain in 5th place and are 2 points behind Chelsea but now have no games in hand.

The Hammers Champions League place has been dented, but hasn’t been denied.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

The north London derby at least for spectacle didn’t disappoint and it was Arsenal, so overshadowed in the past 3 years by Tottenham who took the spoils in a 2-1 victory.

The Gunners are trying to finish the season strong after another disappointing campaign in which they have flirted with the bottom half of the table, and even after this victory the club are still 10th.

There was entertainment so to speak even before a ball was kicked given that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had dropped star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the bench. The reason? Protocol and Aubameyang had turned up late for the pre match set-up.

As for the game Arsenal needed to start on a positive note and they did. Though there were no early goals the Gunners came out the block firing and were camped in Tottenham’s half with wave and wave of attacks. It seemed that it would be inevitable that Tottenham would concede. There was also a tinge of disappointment that Tottenham, who have had the better season so far than Arsenal, were letting the Gunners boss the game.

But such is this season it took the first shot on target for Tottenham to score and go 1-0 up. It was an important goal of course, but what a goal too. Erik Lamela would be hero an villain of this game but this was his heroic moment. Lamela shot at goal and the ball went through the Arsenal defend as if guided by the’ force’. What actually happened and it was more noticeable on the replay was that Lamela’s shot was the rabona one. The infamous shot that was actually invented 76 years ago in Argentina. It was a stunner that even Arsenal fans had to praise. As for Lamela, well he’s done that before in an Europa League tie six years ago for Tottenham.

Unfortunately for Tottenham though they were not able to calm the game down and try to sucker punch Arsenal again. A Jose Mourinho led team 1-0 up away from home in a big game, usually means 3 points for the club he is in charge of. However Tottenham were unlucky as Arsenal equalised soon after. The goal was kind of scored by new signing Martin Odegaard who was obviously delighted with it. But his shot took a huge deflection that left Tottenham goal keeper Hugo Lloris with no chance to stop it.

Arsenal had been the more attacking team, more was expected of Tottenham but it was questionable if this game should have still been 0-0.

The biggest talking point that has split pundits, media and the fans was the penalty that Arsenal were awarded late on. Alexandre Lacazette miskicked the ball and Davinson Sanchez came into him at the same time. The penalty looked harsh for some and for others was a stone cold one. That could be debated. It was enough however to win the game for Arsenal who had finished it with 3 shots on target. For all their attacking prowess in the match the Gunners had ended up with the same shots on target as Tottenham.

To add insult to injury for Tottenham Lamela was sent off as the visitors were losing their grip on the game.

The result is a blow for Tottenham’s top 4 chances as they slipped 6 points behind that objective but they do have a game in hand to play over 4th placed Chelsea, so that chase isn’t over just yet.

For Arsenal the goal is to lift the team up so they have a strong finish to the season and the Gunners have now gone a month in all competitions undefeated and could be heading in the right direction.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Arsenal 4-2 Leeds United

Arsenal won their first game since January 26th by beating Leeds United 4-2 and the day was capped off as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick. Aubameyang much like Arsenal this season has underperformed so it was a nice symmetry to proceedings and the Gunners will now have one eye on a European finish after their 10th win of the season.

Aubameyang scored the opening goal of the game with just 13 minutes played as he used quick feet on the edge of the area to shoot into goal and that set the game up for the Gunners. Five minutes before half time and it was 2-0 to Arsenal as Illan Meslier was adjudged to have fouled Bukayo Saka. Whilst it did look like a penalty on repeated views the keeper made next to no contact. Aubameyang made no mistakes in slotting home.

It looked like Arsenal would head into half time with a 2 goal lead but Hector Bellerin an unlikely player to score made it 3. The player burst through and from an acute angle tried his luck and it went in. Leeds also had their chances but Marcelo Bielsa’s side found themselves 3-0 down and this game looked over.

If the match wasn’t finished by the end of the first half it certainly was two minutes into the second half as Aubameyang again scored to complete his hat-trick. He headed in from an unmarked position and to be fair this was a simple goal for the forward, and now it was 4-0.

However this is Leeds, and the way the club play means that they can always get score goals. Perhaps Arsenal could be accused of taking their foot off the gas a little but Leeds started to enjoy more of the ball and chances soon after and pulled a goal back through Pascal Struijk. Raphinha had assisted from the corner and Struijk rose high above the Arsenal defence to put in.

On the 69th minute Leeds scored another through a smart move finished off by Helder Costa now it was 4-2 and there was a small chance perhaps that Leeds were going to stage a dramatic comeback.

However it wasn’t to be and to their credit Arsenal defended well and held on. It was a mature performance from Arsenal who showed their attacking abilities in the first half and apart from a few errors were then able to shore up defence. We have seen in the past from Mikel Arteta’s side how they have failed to keep a lead so this was an important result for the Gunners.

Arsenal leap frogged Leeds with this win and have 34 points. They are only six points adrift of a possible European place and 2 points behind their arch rivals Tottenham albeit that Jose Mourinho’s team has an extra game to play.

As for Leeds they slipped down to 11th but the club will be more than safe this season and have 32 points.

Arsenal will play league leaders Manchester City next weekend at home and that is sure to be quite a spectacle whilst Leeds are away to Wolves and Wolves would overtake Bielsa’s side with victory.

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FA Cup Game of the Round: Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United

The FA Cup took over from the Premier League for the last week as the 3rd round kicked off and that meant that Premier League clubs could partake. There were not many all Premier League clashes to take place but the one that did stand out was Arsenal v Newcastle United.

Even though both teams did make some changes, many players who ply their trade every week in the Premier League still played. Arsenal won the game 2-0 after an epic battle and the result would have given the Gunners a major confidence boost. Including their good league form Arsenal have now won the last 4 competitive games in a row.

Arsenal were the favourites going into the match and being at home only underlined that status and the Gunners who started with a strong team including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front started better than the Magpies.

Indeed the first half was dominated by the Gunners who found seven good chances and 3 shots on target. Steve Bruce’s team were under pressure from the first whistle and managed zero shots on target in the first 45 minutes which summed up their game and tactics.

Newcastle woke up in the second half and created more chances but this continued to be Arsenal’s to lose and they really should have scored within the 90 minutes. With the game locked at 0-0 we went into extra time as the new rules state no replays at least for this season- however it is something we should expect to be the norm from now.

The game plan looked simple enough for Newcastle who had been the inferior team but had held on to a 0-0, they were going for the penalty shoot-out and riding their luck. And everything was going to plan for the visitors until the 19th minute of extra time when Arsenal finally broke the dead lock.

Of all the players to give the Gunners the lead it came down to youngster Emile Smith-Rowe who scored after being set up by Alexandre Lacazette. Lacazette has been in super form for Mikel Arteta’s side of late.

The goal came so late it seemed to demolish any plans Newcastle had of a penalty shoot-out and the final nail in the coffin was provided by Aubameyang 3 mins from the end. The striker who has been desperately lacking form latched on to an assist from Kieran Tierney to grab the winning goal and hopefully for him to reinstall some much needed confidence.

The win seemed more important for Arsenal who need to keep up their winning momentum and good form. As for Newcastle they need to get back to winning ways but they still look too good to get involved in a relegation battle. In this season and the way it has been going not having to play the extra cup games could benefit Newcastle and so they can fully concentrate on trying to finish as high as they can in the Premier League.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has become a reflection of Arsenal’s dire form

Arsenal sit in 15th place with 30% of the Premier League completed, it is their worst start to a campaign in 40 years and perhaps this season for the Gunners has been building up for some time. There have been hints even in the last few seasons with Arsene Wenger in charge- the major difference though is that Wenger’s Arsenal never ever got this poor.

Despite the difficulties since Wenger’s departure, and the travails of both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta there has been one drop of stardust that everyone at the club could count on, one superb player that stood up, scored goals and ultimately won games for Arsenal and that man was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The French born Gabon international was the real star of Arsenal, he was the Thierry Henry of this generation- a driving force and a natural winner, and it was his goals that inspired the Gunners to what felt like a surprise FA Cup win last season, a surprise yes but also a deserved one as Arsenal rolled back the years in that competition.

Aubameyang shouldn’t be questioned on the face of it since he has scored some very important goals, if he scores, Arsenal win games, at the very least they remain in the match with a chance.

It is worth noting just how many goals Aubameyang has scored for the Gunners, it currently stands at 74 in all competitions. In the league he has netted 56 goals from 97 appearances. This summer when Arsenal were quiet in the transfer market all the fans could talk about was if Aubameyang was going to sign a new contract, if the answer was no then he would be available to leave for free next summer meaning that Arsenal may have cashed in on him before this new delayed season had started.

And Arsenal waited and waited, contract negotiations had been on going we were told since March 2020 and yet Aubameyang finally put pen to paper on September 15th, three days after the new season kicked off. He had made Arsenal sweat but at the end of the day the club are known to be notorious for offering lucrative contracts for players over 30. Aubameyang is 31 but his class was so much that Arsenal were willing to give him a new 3 year contract with improved rates.

Arsenal looked like a new team at times last season under Arteta, more creative, more demanding and with more passion that was sadly missing in the last few months with Emery, and the FA Cup win simply seemed to underline that Arteta was the right man to take Arsenal forward. But three months into the new season it is painfully obvious that Arteta isn’t the right manager.

This isn’t a critic on Arteta who may well turn out to be a fine coach, but the timing seems wrong. Why would a club like Arsenal opt for Arteta who had no experience at managerial level? It seems that being Pep Guardiola’s number 2 at Manchester City and the fact that Arteta played for Arsenal was enough qualification. And yet a club like Everton who have been in the shadows of Arsenal for decades appointed one of the best and respected managers in world football in Carlo Ancelotti, that just seemed to speak volumes about how far Arsenal have fallen and that is just one example.

But back to Aubameyang, the free scoring brilliant striker who signed THAT contract extension. It may amaze to find out that despite playing this season Aubameyang has not scored a single goal since he signed his new contract. He has scored just 2 goals this season from 12 games which came in the Gunners first match of the season, a 3-0 win over Fulham, since then there has been nada as Arteta would say in his natural tongue.

In the past we have seen when Aubameyang does the business so do Arsenal. He is the clubs guiding light not just in getting goals but encouraging the team to do better and believe more in themselves. There just seems to be a lack of purpose at the club presently, as if the Gunners are waiting for Aubameyang to get that first goal which could spark some sort of revival. He will have to hurry up as Arteta’s job is surely on the line though.

Mesut Ozil will ask for forgiveness if he is smirking at what is happening at Arsenal after the play maker was frozen out of the squad by Arteta. Ozil could point out that when everything clicked he provided assists for Aubameyang something that the Gambon international is certainly missing. At the same time Ozil did disappear in many games.

The cure for what is happening is a simple goal, a little luck which in turn could start a winning run. But it has been an unfortunate turn of events, the new contract signed and then up until now nothing to show for it.

Arsenal’s next two games are against tough opposition in Southampton and then Everton, lose both of those and everything could come to ahead. We could be speaking about a possible relegation battle. But football can turn on a sixpence is the old saying, and win those matches with a few Aubameyang goals and everything changes. For now though these are worrying times for Arsenal, Arteta and Aubameyang.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Arsenal 1-2 Wolves

Arsenal have lost again. In losing 2-1 to Wolves the Gunners have made their worst start to a top flight campaign since 1981!

How times have changed at Arsenal where once facing Wolves at home would have been looked at as an easy three points. Now there is trepidation and fear and some of the Gunners team showed that at the weekend.

The match got off to an awful start as David Luiz, the Arsenal defender and Raul Jimenez the Wolves forward accidentally clashed heads when the ball was being crossed in from a corner. Luiz missed the ball and caught Jimenez instead with a loud thud. The reaction of the Wolves players said it all about Jimenez who had to be stretched off. It has been reported since that Jimenez has a fractured skull and will almost certainly be ruled out for the rest of the year and will be looking for a mid January return.

As for Luiz he somehow continued at least until half time after Arsenal had given him some tests on the touchline. However the club need to look at themselves especially with the latest news from the FA who want to look into head injuries in football and the long term implications. The fact that the Gunners took Luiz off at half time speaks volumes.

For the next ten minutes the game looked like it would be petering out with all thoughts on Jimenez but Wolves remembered with respect that there was a game to be won. A ;lucky bounce off the cross bar after a good Wolves attack opened the scoring for Pedro Neto.

At this point it would have been easy for Arsenal to crumble and be sorry for themselves but they soon hit back through Gabriel. The defender rose well to score a great goal and looked to be the unlikely hero of the day for the Gunners. However just before half time a Wolves break again and the ball found Neto looking for his second of the day, his shot was blocked but the reaction of the Arsenal defence, just like for the first goal, was too slow and Daniel Podence who has emerged as a quality player for Wolves pounced to drive the ball into the net for 2-1.

The game finished 2-1 and perhaps the saddest realisation was that Arsenal who had to obviously chase the game in the second half did not record a single shot on target throughout it. Neither did Wolves but Nuno Espirito Santo’s team didn’t need too.

There will be a lot of head scratching going on at the Emirates because in the summer, towards the end of the season, there seemed to be a path, a clearing of the leaves and mist left by Arsene Wenger’s final seasons and layered upon once more by Unai Emery. Arteta seemed to be the man that Arsenal needed. A string of results in the league led to an incredible FA Cup run which seen the club beat Chelsea in the final and win silverware from a season where they looked destined to come up short.

And yet here we are just four months later and if you thought Arsenal salvaging 8th place on the last day of the season was heroic think again. After 10 games Arsenal are in 14th position with 13 points. Five points from a Champions League place doesn’t seem like the end of the world but they are also just six points from the bottom three. If Arsenal were to keep to this standard for the rest of the season they would end up finishing with under 50 points.

Simply put one can look up at the starting 11 for Arsenal and wonder with all conviction if they actually have a good team anymore? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a brilliant player, but he has gone off the boil over the past few weeks. Questions will now turn to next weekend when Arsenal will face Tottenham away from home and what a crunch game that promises to be.

Some believe that a heavy loss could result in Mikel Arteta being sacked. The omens do not look good for Arteta with Arsenal having lost more games than won now and the fact that this latest home defeat was their third in a row, only sharpens ink on the P45.

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Should Arsenal be judged on how they have reacted during the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the world and affected jobs and businesses the likes we haven’t seen since perhaps the second world war. But football clubs especially in the Premier League have still spent hundreds of millions on players over the last transfer window and it has become clear that even with no fans in attendance TV money certainly talks.

Good luck to the clubs and the structure of the Premier League, because a lot of hard work and promotion has gone into the product to make watching football in England’s top tier the most popular in the world. And this article is not about attacking one club in the Premier League but only because certain stories have surfaced that simply seem a little mind boggling.

The owners at Arsenal for example have made some questionable decisions that in a sensitive time have made very little sense. The first of which was letting 55 admin staff leave. Yes it’s true that the staff were not really needed anymore because of the virus meaning that there was less work available. But these were loyal staff and one wonders if the owners of the club really made the best choice, if not for them the right one?

It had been reported that the 55 staff laid off were going to save Arsenal just over £1m, that’s a lot of money, but in Premier League terms it feels more like a drop in the ocean. Countered only days after Willian joined the club on a free from Chelsea but was then given a reported £10m signing on fee. That’s one employee receiving 10 times the amount of 55 laid off staff and their years salary.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta came out and said that he understood the clubs decision. But did he really? Was this really what Arteta was thinking? He’s just been given the managers job and hardly wants to come across as controversial but of course was asked the question which would have put him in a position.

Just recently Arsenal made the decision to let their mascot leave the club, a mascot that had spent many seasons at Arsenal and only on a small wage not that much more than the minimum. Again the decision in black and white made sense. Mascot’s are not needed at empty grounds. But Arsenal can afford the mascots wages until hopefully the pandemic blows over within the next 6-12 months and Arsenal can afford their admins wages and try to give them different roles within the club.

But of course football is a business and money seemingly can’t be lost unless it is lost on a player or a manager. Arsenal isn’t a badly run club but maybe they have made some questionable decisions and of course like everyone else have been caught out by the virus. But if you’re spending £45m on one player, the recent purchase of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid one does have to wonder why loyal staff couldn’t have somehow been kept on for a small fraction of that price?

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What is stopping Aubameyang from signing a new contract at Arsenal?

You either love the club you play for or you don’t? You either believe they have ambition to match your own, or you don’t? So why hasn’t Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed new contract yet?

It is a question that every Arsenal fan wants to know, but it is also interesting for any fan of football. Speculation has been raging since the beginning of the year as it became clear just how important Aubameyang is to Arsenal. Since his arrival in 2018 the Gunners have struggled by their standards, but Aubameyang has got them out of jail so many times his boots may might as well hold chance and community chest cards from Monopoly.

In short Aubameyang is a quality player, perhaps Arsenal’s one and truly only quality player. He scores goals, he creates goals, he is a delight to watch and is worth every penny of the reported £56 million that Arsenal gave Borussia Dortmund for him.

As it stands Aubameyang is entering his final season with the club, one which has not been able to qualify for the Champions League since his arrival. Surely this is the competition he wants to play in. He is 31 now and time is running out. Arsenal’s options are for him to sign an extended contract, or sell him within the next month, otherwise he will go for free at the end of this season coming up.

Usually statistics can be overused and to some extent make little sense in relevance of how the game is actually played out, but in a strikers case, all is transparent, after all they are on the pitch to do one thing, to score goals, that really is their job. And Aubameyang is surely one of the deadliest strikers in Europe. But there is irony that he is playing for a top club in Arsenal, but who are going through one of their worst situations of the past 30 years. Forget the recent FA Cup win, that was great and yet again it was Aubameyang’s goals that brought home the trophy, remember instead that the Gunners finished 8th this season. That was poor, and shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet.

So for much of the year the papers and media around the world have told us Aubameyang is going to sign a new contract, no doubt about it. The season because of the delayed response to the pandemic finally ended in mid July, we are now in September and no contract has been signed that we are aware of. In mid August the rumour mill went into overdrive when Aubameyang himself tweeted an hour glass suggesting that there would be a countdown and he would be signing a contract. Three weeks later we have nothing.

Maybe admin is simply getting in the way, maybe he is asking for too much, contract tweeks and the like, and it really is only a matter of days before he signs. But even if he does sign, which of course will be great news, why did it take him so long? During the season made sense in a way as he wanted to know if Arsenal would be in Europe next season, and what would their standing be? Could it be that he is waiting to see who Arsenal sign?

It looks likely that Aubameyang will sign, with just a few days until the new season kicks off that would feel like a low blow to the club if they had to sell him. At the same time the window doesn’t close until October 5th.

But even if he signs the fact that he has waited this long almost shows a lack of belief in his employers, and one has to wonder if that is a good thing or not going into the new season.

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Is Aubameyang bigger than Arsenal as the Gunners beat Chelsea in FA Cup final?

All of a sudden Arsenal seem back. After a poor season which saw Unai Emery sacked before Christmas and former player Mikel Arteta brought into the dug out it seemed like Arsenal would be waiting a long time for any type of silverware. However they have ended the season by winning the FA Cup against the odds.

Arsenal came from a goal down to beat Chelsea 2-1 to lift their 14th FA Cup which is a record. Indeed Arsenal have won 4 cups in the last decade and their name is becoming part of the cup itself- just go ahead and put red and white ribbons on permanently why don’t you?

A burning desire and their name to be scripted onto the cup seemed to come when they upset Manchester City at the semi-final stage. Arteta had changed up the system and even David Luiz was playing with confidence. This was the first glimpse that under Arteta Arsenal could end up being a force to be reckoned with.

In the final it was going to be incredibly difficult given that the last time Arsenal had faced Chelsea in a cup final was in the 2019 Europa League showpiece where Chelsea simply outplayed the Gunners as the game went on and ended up running out 4-1 winners. Sure Eden Hazard who is now at Real Madrid orchestrated the win but still that game surely had to be playing on some of the minds of the players?

Maybe then it was to no surprise that Chelsea took a 5th minute lead through Christian Pulisic who has been outstanding this season for the Blues. With 56 points earned this season the American international was the 3rd best player for Frank Lampard’s team.

Chelsea started brightly but couldn’t find a 2nd and there was just that feeling creeping in that they were not putting this game to bed. With under 30 minutes played Arsenal were awarded a stone wall penalty and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who else? stepped up to take and convert it and the game was back on.

Whilst the 2nd half had it’s lull periods Arsenal were looking more and more of a threat, how much difference from their second half performance in the Europa League. Chelsea hoped for extra time but the Gunners could sense blood and Aubameyang got his brace and the match winner with just 3 minutes left to play.

True Chelsea will feel that Mateo Kovacic’s sending off was harsh, though he was already on a yellow card. It’s unfortunate though that VAR perhaps isn’t used in the big decisions like this, because on this occasion the referee looked to have got it wrong. It’s also worth pointing out that Kovacic has racked up 8 yellow cards this season from just 14 starts in the league.

This cup win feels like a turning point for Arsenal though because finishing 8th in the league represents their worst season in a generation. Arteta has said the win was his most important of his career, now he will be hoping that his statement won’t hold true in a decades time.

The last word has to go to Aubameyang. He has scored 22 league goals this season and assisted in a further 3, meaning that he has contributed to almost 50% of Arsenal’s league goals. He has been phenomenal, the one truly world class player in the side that can change a defeat into a draw and a draw into a win.

Aubameyang stands above as the lead man in this Gunners side and the club will be hoping that he will sign a new contract and stay with the club. They most likely have little chance of that happening if Barcelona or Real Madrid come knocking but given how teams have had to step back somewhat following the pandemic maybe that call won’t happen and maybe Aubameyang will realise that at Arsenal he is the king of the hill, at another club that might not to be the case.

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Finishing 8th is terrible for Arsenal but there might be light at the end of the tunnel under Mikel Arteta

What a disappointing season it has been for Arsenal. Not many fans could have predicted that the Gunners would have fallen so far, finishing 8th in the Premier League for a club like Arsenal is just not acceptable.

It was an odd season for the club who saw 2 different managers in charge, this coming after having the same one in Arsene Wenger in the hot seat for two decades. Unai Emery was sacked at the end of November after a poor run especially away from home and Mikel Arteta was brought in.

Arteta’s arrival did raise eyebrows simply because this was his first managerial job but he had been working under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City for several seasons and that was deemed good enough for the job at the Emirates.

Arteta has a win rate of 55.5% with Arsenal since December, at the same time and with more games under his belt Unai Emery had a win rate of 55.1%. Also when Emery was sacked Arsenal were in 8th place in the league, in that respect Arteta has not improved the club. From the 20 Premier League games that Arteta was in charge for the Gunners earned 33 points. On average in a season Arsenal would currently finish on around 60 points under Arteta, again no huge improvement.

But these are all small steps and under Arteta the play of the team and the way he has changed up the system is showing positive signs. Arsenal lost 5 times under Arteta in the league, four of those were away from home and it is clear that the Gunners will need to improve on their away travels.

But what has been encouraging is some of the results the club have churned out. Beating Liverpool, only the 3rd club to do so this season was impressive even if the league title was over by then.

Despite a poor season by Arsenal’s standards their season isn’t over just yet, and this is why there could be light at the end of the tunnel under Arteta. The young manager has steered Arsenal into the FA Cup final where they will meet Chelsea in an all London derby. Even without fans present this is sure to be a cracking game.

Arsenal will want revenge after last seasons Europa League final where Chelsea crushed the Gunners. A trophy would justify for now Arteta’s appointment and really give the club a boost they need ahead of the new Premier League season which is due to start on September 12th.

On the face of it then Arsenal haven’t improved under Arteta, stats wise. However overall there has been quite significant improvement on the pitch. He has his own philosophy which is natural and it is taking time to implement that onto his team. We have seen flashes of it.

The future is looking a little brighter for Arsenal, you just have to look deeper to find it, but surely Arteta will find his way and next season will be a huge improvement for the Gunners.

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