A tale of two wingers: Saka’s profile continues to rise as Pepe falters once more in Arsenal’s comeback draw at Man United

Arsenal’s meeting with Manchester United tonight saw the Gunners’ two starting wide-men endure an altogether-contrasting 90 minutes.

Arsenal recover to bag a point

United welcomed Unai Emery’s men to Old Trafford a short time ago, for a high-profile Premier League clash.

Visitors Arsenal came into proceedings in the better form of the two sides, having picked up three straight victories across all competitions.

Their latest Premier League outing saw the Gunners stage a remarkable comeback at home to Aston Villa last weekend, to eventually put Dean Smith’s men to the sword by 3 goals to 2.

Manchester United, on the other hand, fell to a 2-0 defeat at West Ham last weekend, before struggling to a penalty shootout victory over League One outfit Rochdale in the League Cup during the week.

When all was said and done in Manchester tonight, though, both sides were forced to make do with a point.

A dismal opening 45 minutes at Old Trafford was eventually lit up by one moment of quality, on the stroke of the interval.

A breakaway on the part of the hosts saw Marcus Rashford pull back for Scott McTominay on the edge of the box, with the Scottish midfielder having gone on to find the roof of the net in style.

Arsenal, though, came out for the second-half with renewed vigour, resulting in man-of-the-moment Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelling things up just shy of the hour mark, following a mix-up at the back for United.

The torrid conditions, coupled with a striking lack of quality over the remaining half hour, eventually resulted in both sides being forced to settle for a point, in what was, on the balance of play, a fair result.

Arsenal’s wide-men catch the headlines

Though they disappointed throughout large spells over the course of the 90 minutes tonight, Arsenal will likely feel the more satisfied of the two sides on the back of the clash, having showcased the character to come from behind in their 2nd-straight league outing.

There were highs and lows in terms of individual performances on the part of the north Londoners, with the likes of Granit Xhaka having struggled once again.

However, no two players more aptly-showcased the hit-and-miss nature of Unai Emery’s squad as a whole at present than Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka.

Pepe and Saka were handed starts along the flanks for Arsenal, to provide support to lone front-man Aubameyang.

The former of course stands as the capital giants’ most expensive-ever signing, having made the move to the Emirates from Lille this past summer for a fee of almost €80 million.

18-year-old Saka, on the other hand, has just recently-established himself as a first-team contributor at Arsenal, having come up through the club’s youth ranks.

Watching the performances of both players tonight, though, one could have been forgiven for questioning which player was one of Europe’s most highly-sought after attackers over the last couple of months, and which was an altogether-inexperienced rookie at the top-level.

Pepe, as he has for much of his stint in north London so far, looked completely off the pace at Old Trafford.

The Ivorian’s touch looked heavy, his link-up play proved sub-par, and his lack of composure in front of goal was at times borderline-embarrassing.

Based on current form, Alexandre Lacazette’s return to full fitness could very well see Pepe lose his spot in Unai Emery’s starting XI in the near future.

Saka sparkles

Then comes Bukayo Saka.

On the back of a Man of the Match showing in his season bow versus Eintracht Frankfurt two weeks ago, teenage sensation Saka was handed his 2nd-straight Premier League start tonight.

While his first, through no fault of his own, proved short-lived following the first-half dismissal of Ainsley Maitland-Niles versus Aston Villa last weekend, though, the English youth international’s latest performance proved one to remember.

On the balance of play in Manchester, Saka was probably Arsenal’s best player.

The gifted wide-man proved a thorn in the side of Ashley Young throughout proceedings, despite the Manchester United stopper being nearly twice Saka’s age.

The 18-year-old is simply a pure talent. Along with possessing a deft touch, turn of pace, the ability to beat his man and confidence befitting of a player far his senior, Saka has a football brain.

Unlike Pepe on the opposite flank tonight, the teen didn’t once looked flustered over the course of his 80 minutes on the pitch, with a superb all-round display (which included an impressive 5 tackles won) having eventually been capped by the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser.

Arsenal, without doubt, have a star in the making on their hands in the form of Saka.

However, though it is early doors in terms of his Arsenal career, the performances of Nicolas Pepe must, at this point, be starting to represent a genuine concern for Unai Emery and co.

Unai Emery doesn’t think he has a communication problem with Arsenal players

Arsenal ready to subsidize Mesut Ozil January loan departure – Mirror

Mesut Ozil & Kieran Tierney reportedly left out of Arsenal squad for Man United

Arsenal pair Mesut Ozil and Kieran Tierney were not spotted as part of the club’s travelling squad to take on Manchester United tonight.

Man United vs Arsenal

The Gunners are set to go head-to-head with United at Old Trafford in a couple of hours’ time.

Arsenal head into proceedings on the back of a morale-boosting couple of weeks.

After throwing away a 2-goal lead at Watford following the international break, the capital giants have since rebounded with 3 straight victories.

First, Unai Emery’s men put Eintracht Frankfurt to the sword by 3 goals to nil in their Europa League opener, before an incredible comeback win over Aston Villa last weekend was followed by a 5-0 drubbing of Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.

As such, ahead of kick-off in Manchester tonight, Arsenal sit 8th in the Premier League table, with 11 points.

The north Londoners, though, would jump back into the top-4 with a win.

Ozil omitted

Ahead of the highly-anticipated Old Trafford showdown, meanwhile, late news regarding the Gunners’ matchday squad has emerged online.

As per a growing number of sources across social media, Unai Emery has opted not to call up either Mesut Ozil or Kieran Tierney to face United.

The latter’s omission is of course more understandable, with Tierney having only made his first appearance of the season versus Nottingham Forest last week.

Ozil being left out, though, is no doubt set to raise quite a few eyebrows.

Manchester United, meanwhile, are expected to have both Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford available for selection.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, on the other hand, looks set to miss out:

Unai Emery doesn’t think he has a communication problem with Arsenal players

Arsenal ready to subsidize Mesut Ozil January loan departure – Mirror

Man United provide explanation for Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s absence vs Arsenal

Manchester United have this evening revealed why Aaron Wan-Bissaka is not part of the club’s matchday squad to take on Arsenal.

United welcome Arsenal

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are currently locked in action with the Gunners at Old Trafford, in a high-profile Premier League clash.

Hosts United headed into proceedings looking for an improved display, after struggling to a penalty shootout victory over League One outfit Rochdale in the League Cup last week.

This came on the back of the Red Devils falling to a hugely-disappointing 2-0 defeat at West Ham in their last Premier League outing.

As such, ahead of kick-off in Manchester this evening, United sat in a lowly 11th-place in the English top-flight table.

Wan-Bissaka misses out

An hour prior to proceedings getting underway at Old Traffird, meanwhile, the starting line-ups of both sides were announced.

Visitors Arsenal set out as follows, with Calum Chambers and Bukayo Saka handed starts, but no room in the matchday squad for the likes of Mesut Ozil or returning pair Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin:

Manchester United were boosted by the return of Marcus Rashford, and Paul Pogba being deemed fit enough to to feature from the off.

One notable omission from not only the Red Devils’ starting XI, but their matchday squad, however, was Aaron Wan-Bissaka:

As such, United have since taken to social media to provide an explanation for their summer signing’s absence tonight.

The stopper is not injured, but has come down with a bout of tonsillitis:

Manchester United vs Arsenal live streaming: Watch Online & Confirmed Line-Ups

Man United planning to launch bid for Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic in January – The Athletic

Eden Hazard on Real Madrid struggles: ‘I am not yet a Galactico’

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard has today opened up on his difficult start to life in the Spanish capital.

Hazard joins Real

Following months of mounting speculation, Zinedine Zidane’s Blancos finally clinched the signing of Chelsea star man Hazard back in June.

The Belgian made the move to the Bernabeu for an initial fee of £89 million, despite having had just a year remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

Taking to Facebook on the back of his ‘dream’ transfer being made official, Hazard posted the following message to Chelsea’s fans:

‘Leaving Chelsea is the biggest and toughest decision in my career to date.’

‘I hope you understand I had to pursue my next chapter, just as each and every one of you should when you have the chance to pursue your dreams.’

‘Now it’s in the open I would like to put on record one thing was always clear to me, I have loved every moment at Chelsea and not once did I ever consider, nor would I have left for any other club.’

‘Everything will work out fine’

However, despite having arrived in Madrid amid widespread fanfare, Hazard has struggled to live up to expectations over the early weeks of the season.

The Belgian has managed just 4 competitive appearances in the colours of Los Merengues, and has yet to notch either a goal or assist.

As such, on the back of his latest disappointing display in the Madrid derby over the weekend, Hazard has since been questioned on his form, and what he needs to do to improve.

The 28-year-old, though, does not seem overly concerned, and assures ‘everything will work out fine’:

‘I am not yet a galactico, I have to be the one to prove that I can be out on the pitch.’

‘We all know the history of the number seven jersey in this club and I have to be the one to prove that I can be the best in the world.’

‘I want to enjoy myself on the pitch, give the maximum, not only in games but also in training. I don’t doubt myself, I don’t doubt my coach. It’s all a matter of trust.’

‘I’m confident and sure everything will work out fine.’

Eden Hazard of Real Madrid during La Liga match between Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium{ in Madrid, Spain. {iptcmonthname} 28, 2019. (Photo by A. Ware/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

‘The criticism doesn’t affect me. I haven’t noticed much. I know when I work to the fullest, everyone expects me to score three goals in each match.’

‘I think I can do better, I am also critical of myself, but working every day. Maybe I have a little delay because of the injury, but I am 100 per cent.’

‘I now have to demonstrate my level and improve so the fans are proud of me.’

Quotes via Goal

Real Madrid lining up Jose Mourinho as Zinedine Zidane replacement – Times

Jorginho opens up on winning over Chelsea’s fans: ‘Last season, it was impossible’

Jorginho opens up on winning over Chelsea’s fans: ‘Last season, it was impossible’

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has this evening provided an insight into his difficult first campaign on the books of the Pensioners, as well as winning over the club’s fans with his impressive early-season form this time around.

Jorginho’s Blues stint

Italian international Jorginho made the move to Stamford Bridge from Napoli last summer, following Maurizio Sarri from the Stadio San Paolo to London.

However, the 27-year-old, much like his now-former boss, subsequently endured something of an up-and-down debut campaign with Chelsea.

A change of system for the Blues saw Jorginho moved into N’Golo Kante’s position at the base of the the club’s midfield, albeit in a deep-lying regista role, as opposed to Kante’s previous defensive-minded role.

And while the former Napoli standout went on to showcase that he is very much capable of controlling the tempo of proceedings when Chelsea are in possession, his defensive shortcomings were all-too regularly highlighted by the all-action stylings of the Premier League.

Andre Gomes battles for possession with Jorginho during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Everton FC. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

‘Stay for at least another four years’

The early weeks of the new season, though, have seen Jorginho look much-improved.

Having seemingly settled further into the physical requirements of English football, the gifted Italian looks better equipped to control Chelsea’s midfield, with Jorginho himself citing ‘more determination’ on the defensive side of the ball as key to his upturn in form.

This has understandably resulted in the Blues’ faithful warming to their midfield orchestrator, with Jorginho having today been questioned on his initial struggles at Stamford Bridge, as well as the battle to win over Chelsea’s fans.

Speaking in an interview with the Sun (via Football-Italia), the former Verona star explained:

‘It’s amazing because last season it was impossible.’

‘I’m very happy how they have changed their mind about me. I have worked a lot.’

‘I never said anything. I just work and work and work and I think the results are coming. I am very happy with that.’

‘It is an opportunity for me to show I’m here not just for the Coach (Sarri). I’m thankful of what we did together because it was amazing.’

‘We worked four years together and I’m very thankful for what I learned from him. But I’m here also for my quality — but the people could not see that last season.’

‘[The criticism made me] a little sad. I just had to work hard and change their minds — and to make them know they had made a mistake about me.’

‘This season, we are playing with more long balls. So less short passing. It has changed a little bit but the mentality is the same – to press the other team and try to have control of the match.’

‘I have to be there to control all the team. If I leave my position it is a big problem for everybody because there will be too much space in the midfield.’

‘I try to do what the Coach wants so I can adapt myself. He wants the ball forward quicker and not have too much short passing. So I am trying to do that. Yes, it is simple.’

Willian on Chelsea after Brighton: ‘I think we have to be more clinical’

Barcelona eyeing Chelsea’s Willian on free transfer – MD

Mixed news for Man United ahead of Arsenal: Pogba & Rashford in/Wan-Bissaka out – MEN

The Manchester Evening News have provided a late personnel report on the Manchester United squad, set to take on Arsenal tonight.

United host Arsenal

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will welcome the Gunners to Old Trafford in a few hours’ time, for a crunch Premier League clash.

Both sides head into proceedings having secured their places in the Last-16 of the League Cup in their most recent outings.

First, Arsenal put 5 past Nottingham Forest without reply, in a hugely-impressive showing on the part of the north Londoners.

United were made to work considerably harder for their win, though, after being taken to a penalty shootout by League One outfit Rochdale.

Their latest respective Premier League outings, meanwhile, saw Arsenal mount an incredible comeback to put Aston Villa to the sword, but United downed by 2 goals to nil at West Ham amid a dismal display.

As such, following the weekend’s results, Unai Emery’s men sit in 8th in the English top-flight table, 3 places clear of the Red Devils.

United team news

A win for Manchester United tonight, though, would see the hosts move level with Arsenal.

And a final insight into the squad likely to be at the disposal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has this evening been provided.

In a boost to the prospects of the Red Devils, as per the reliable Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, both Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford look set to be part of the United setup.

On a far more concerning note, however, summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka is nowhere to be seen:

Man United have found right manager in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – McTominay

Solskjaer: Man United will look at forward area the next time we recruit

West Ham fearful Lukasz Fabianski could be out for three months – Guardian

Bournemouth 2-West Ham 2

West Ham faced Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Hammers have had a solid start to the season, losing just once in the league vs Manchester City.

While Manuel Pellegrini’s side didn’t come away with three points vs Bournemouth, they still managed a 2-2 draw.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Creswell got West Ham’s goals on Saturday.

 

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Before Sunday, Cress hadn’t scored since April 2018. Now he’s got two in a week. This man is on

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The 2-2 draw with Eddie Howe’s side put West Ham 4th in the league with 12 points.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Manuel Pellegrini, Manager of West Ham United looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at London Stadium on September 1, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Fabianski injured

While West Ham came away with a point on Saturday, they did suffer an injury blow.

Lukasz Fabianski has started all of West Ham’s league outings this campaign, including vs Bournemouth.

However, Fabianski had to be taken off in the 34th minute vs the Cherries.

Now, on Monday, a report from the Guardian has provided West Ham fans with a rather negative update on their main keeper.

According to the Guardian, West Ham are fearful that Fabianski could be out of action for at least three months.

The report also claims Fabianski had a scan which showed he has sustained a torn thigh muscle.

West Ham have Roberto and David Martin as potential replacements for the Poland international.

Roberto has featured three times for West Ham this season, twice in the League Cup, including in the 4-0 defeat to Oxford United and also as Fabianski’s replacement on Saturday.

See also: Manchester United vs Arsenal betting tips: Premier League match preview & predictions

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Tottenham vs Bayern Munich betting tips: Champions League match preview & predictions

 

AFCON made Mahrez believe how good he can be – Guardiola

Mahrez wins AFCON

Riyad Mahrez took part in the African Cup of Nations over the summer with Algeria.

Mahrez was a key member of Algeria’s squad and captained them in the majority of their games.

Algeria would make it all the way to the 2019 AFCON final, where they faced off against Senegal.

Algeria would come away with a 1-0 win in the final with Mahrez completing the full 90 minutes.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – AUGUST 25: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City looks on during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester City at Vitality Stadium on August 25, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Pep on Mahrez

Mahrez has since returned to Manchester and had a solid start to the 2019/20 campaign.

In seven Premier League appearances this season, three of which have come off the bench, Mahrez has scored two and assisted five.

Pep Guardiola has also recently been speaking about Mahrez and stated he thinks the AFCON made the winger believe how good he can be.

Guardiola also praised Mahrez’s mentality and his form this season:

“I think the Africa Cup made him believe how good he can be. He knows it, but I think it helps to win this kind of trophy for Algeria, for his country.

“It was so important for him. And from the beginning, he arrived (back) with an incredible mentality, positive and the way he plays.

“He has the feeling when he gets that ball in that position, the 18-yard box close to the area, something is going to happen.

“It’s a feeling and I think all the spectators can have that feeling and that is because he has a gift. He has something special.”

“All this season he is playing outstanding. The action on the first goal, the second one, the two assist he did, one especially to Raheem.

“His commitment defensively. One year he was the best player in the league so he is an exceptional player. I’m happy for him because he’s playing at an incredible level.” As quoted by the Mirror.

 

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Buzzin

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Man United have found right manager in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – McTominay

Solskjaer & Man United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was made Manchester United interim manager in December of 2018.

The former United player had an excellent start to life in the Old Trafford dugout, going undefeated in his first 12 Premier League outings as Man United boss.

However, shortly after Solskjaer was appointed as United’s permanent manager, their form began to decline pretty quickly.

Man United’s away form is particularly troubling.

After their 2-0 loss away to West Ham on the 22nd of September, it was revealed Solskjaer had failed to win his last nine away games in all competitions.

Man Utd have also failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 11 away matches in all competitions.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 12: United player Scott McTominay in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

McTominay backs Solskjaer

Solskjaer also has the exact same points total from his first 27 PL games as his predecessor Jose Mourinho had in his final 27 Man United league games.

Man United have also won just one of their last five Premier League games.

And they only edged past Rochdale in the League Cup thanks to penalties.

However, despite United’s poor form, especially away from home, Scott McTominay believes Man United have found the right manager in Solskjaer:

“It takes time for a new manager coming in.

 “It’s not all of a sudden just going to click straight into place.

“Once Sir Alex left, it was going to take time for the club to find the right manager, and I do believe that we have the right manager now in Ole.

“You see different eras in football teams – everybody goes through transitional stages and we’re going through one right now.” As quoted by the Mirror.

See also: Manchester United vs Arsenal betting tips: Premier League match preview & predictions

Manchester City vs Dinamo Zagreb betting tips: Champions League match preview & predictions

Tottenham vs Bayern Munich betting tips: Champions League match preview & predictions

Video: Brighton | Lampard | Mount | Willian | Abraham | Jorginho | Pulisic | Chelsea Ladies.

Welcome to today’s five-minute Chelsea news update – all the latest news featured over the weekend. There is plenty to feature today including:

The reaction to the 2-0 win over Brighton with comments made post-match by Frank Lampard, Mason Mount and Willian

Chelsea Academy – Documentary companies are now looking to feature the most successful Academy in the country in a behind the scenes film.

Tammy Abraham talks Frank Lampard and credits his pre-match advice before Norwich as key to his goal-scoring form so far this season.

Barcelona in for Willian on a free transfer. The Spanish giants join Juventus in the race to sign him next summer if he does not agree a new contract at Chelsea.

Paul Merson – Chelsea will dominate the Premier League within two years.

Jorginho love-in with the Chelsea fans – he has say on last season, the recent reaction from the fans and the change to our playing style under Frank Lampard.

Paul Merson – Chelsea are stronger than people think.

Christian Pulisic reveals his frustrations at a lack of playing time but has been told by Frank Lampard of what he needs to do to get back into the team.

Chelsea Ladies beat Bristol City 4-0 to make it two from two in the Womens Super League!
All this in just FIVE minutes!

What do you think of the video? Post your comments below!

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