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Arsenal v Wolves preview: duo ruled out, Ramsey axed by Emery + prediction

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Arsenal welcome Wolves to the Emirates Stadium this afternoon looking for a win to keep in touch at the top of the table.

Tottenham’s narrow win at Crystal Palace yesterday means we’re now four points off the top four so we have to beat Wolves this afternoon or risk being cut adrift from the Champions League qualification places.

We warmed up for the game with a dour 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night. The result secured safe passage to the knockout stages of the Europa League but the game was overshadowed by a serious injury to Danny Welbeck.

While the draw wasn’t the result we wanted, it did extend our unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions so the squad will be full of confidence as we prepare to welcome newly-promoted Wolves to north London.

The Midlands club started the season in great form but they’ve struggled in recent weeks and lost 3-2 at home to Tottenham last time out so boss Nuno Espirito Santo will be desperate to get back on track with a positive result today.

Team News

Welbeck is facing an extended spell on the sidelines with a suspected broken ankle while we also lost Stephan Lichtsteiner on Thursday night after he limped off with a hamstring injury.

Nacho Monreal is unlikely to be risked today after only recently returning to training from a hamstring injury while Mo Elneny remains out with a thigh problem. Laurent Koscielny is working his way back to fitness and could be back in contention after the international break.

Emery is set to recall a number of players with the likes of Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette coming back in after being rested in midweek.

Wolves will hand a late fitness test to Jota but otherwise they have a fully-fit squad to choose from – which must be nice!

Preferred line-up

Sokratis returned on Thursday and I hope he keeps his place in the middle of defence and I’d like to see Rob Holding playing alongside him as he’s been solid recently. Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin should start in the full-back positions.

I was disappointed with Aaron Ramsey’s performance in midweek as he failed to take his chance to show Emery he deserves a regular starting spot. The Welshman is expected to be axed this afternoon and it’s hard to make a case that he deserves to start ahead of Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka or Mesut Ozil right now.

Obviously Alexandre Lacazette should replace Welbeck up front while I’d go with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi on the wings with Henrikh Mkhitaryan dropping out.

football formations

Wolves XI:  Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Costa, Jimenez, Cavaleiro

Predicted Score

Arsenal are on a fine unbeaten run having not tasted defeat since mid-August and we haven’t lost to Wolves in our last 19 meetings, and I don’t see that record being under threat today. Wolves have struggled to score all season so this is a good opportunity for our to secure another clean sheet. I’m going for a 2-0 home win with Lacazette to get on the score-sheet.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Wolves



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Transfer news: £60m star reveals he almost joined Arsenal as player arrives for trial

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The interlull is in full swing but there is still plenty of Arsenal-related news floating around so here are a couple of transfer bits for you to get your teeth in to….

As reported by talkSPORT, Riyad Mahrez has confirmed he almost joined Arsenal in 2016 but Leicester blocked the move before he eventually moved to Man City for £60m two years later.

Mahrez was instrumental in helping Leicester stun the world by winning the Premier League and unsurprisingly he attracted interest from Arsenal after being named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2016.

At one stage a move looked inevitable and Mahrez has confirmed he was close to sealing a transfer to the Emirates after holding talks with Arsene Wenger before Leicester block the deal and forced him to stay at the King Power.

The attacker has expressed his frustration at being denied his move to Arsenal back in 2016 but he eventually got a big move after sealing a £60m switch to Man City in 2018.

He told France Football:

“After the title, if I’d left for a top team, it wouldn’t have been the same story. For me, it’s clear that I lost two years at the highest level. I lost two years! Because instead of arriving at City at 27, I could have been there at 24, 25.

“Leicester blocked me. They told me: ‘You’re not leaving, you’re not leaving’. My agent had spoken to [Arsene] Wenger who really wanted me. It was nearly all done with Arsenal in 2016. I was really frustrated.

“It wasn’t easy to go from being the best player in the Premier League to being a part of a team fighting against relegation. It’s not the same job. Everyone is waiting for you around the corner.”

Mahrez would have been an excellent signing for Arsenal in 2016 but we failed to sign him and team mate Jamie Vardy so they’ll join the long list of players Wenger ‘nearly’ signed.

Next up and according to TeamTalk, Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett is spending the week on trail with Arsenal as he bids to try and secure a move to North London.

The report says Bassett will train with the U23s this week but the 18-year-old is hoping to earn the chance to train with the first team and make up the numbers with several players away on international duty.

Bassett says Arsenal are his ‘favourite club’ so he’s delighted to have been given the chance to show what he can do and he’s desperate to learn from such a great club.

According to TeamTalk, Bassett told the Denver Post:

“As most people already know, this is my favourite club, I don’t know which team it will be because it’s an international break for them. Hopefully, there will be a couple of guys missing with the first team and I can get with them. But I’m just excited to get over there and show up basically.

“When Arsenal came over here and played us, you could see there are little things that they do that I just don’t quite have yet. I’m eager to learn from them. Picking up things from every player will help improve my game. It’s going to be a great learning experience.”

Stan Kronke, Arsenal’s much maligned owner, also owns the Colorado Rapids so it looks like the connection between the two clubs has led to Bassett being given an opportunity to have a trial at London Colney.

The teenager is highly rated in the US and Bundesliga side Freiburg tried to buy him last year following a successful trial but Colorado knocked back their proposal in favour of keeping hold of the player.

Bassett has scored two goals and provided one assist in his 20 MLS games this year and was selected for the MLS Homegrown All-Star game. It remains to be seen whether he has what it takes to make it at Arsenal but it sounds like he’s ready to work hard to try and secure a move to the club. Good luck to the lad.



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Arsenal and Tottenham backed for transfer battle for ‘perfect’ Leicester star

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Leicester City star Ricardo Pereira would be an improvement on both Arsenal and Tottenham’s first-choice right-backs, claims former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy.

Pereira has become one of the top right-sided defenders in the Premier League since joining Leicester from Porto in the summer of 2018.

And Cundy has suggested there should be a transfer battle between north London rivals Arsenal and Spurs for him.

Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin is just returning to full fitness from a long-term injury, making his first Premier League appearance since in the 2-0 loss to Leicester on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Serge Aurier has received criticism for his performances this season, with Spurs choosing to sell England international Kieran Trippier in the summer.

So Cundy reckons Pereira would be a better option for both sides.

“I know [James] Vardy gets all the plaudits, I know [James] Maddison does and he was brilliant at the weekend,” Cundy said on talkSPORT.

“But Ricardo Pereira, and this is not just based on what I’ve seen this season and at the weekend, last season as well.

“He scored a brilliant goal against Manchester City, he gets in those advanced areas.

“He is the perfect example of what a modern day right-back is – they’re not just a defender.

“[Trent] Alexander-Arnold, you look at what he does – he’s not just a defender.

“But Ricardo Pereira is certainly one of the best right-backs in the country, I think Leicester are incredibly fortunate to have him.

“They paid around £20m for him but you think about other clubs that are looking for a right-back – Arsenal.

“Arsenal’s always going to be that team that you compare Leicester to, and Spurs.

“Spurs, their right-back is nowhere near as good. They just released Trippier of course and Kyle Walker moved on a couple of years ago.

“That’s the sort of player that Spurs should be having at right-back.”

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MLS wonderkid Cole Bassett 'handed week-long trial by Arsenal'

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MLS wonderkid Cole Bassett ‘handed week-long trial by Arsenal’ ahead of potential January move for 18-year-old Gunners supporter  

  • Colorado Rapids teenager Cole Bassett will train with Arsenal’s Under 23 side 
  • Arsenal supporter Bassett scored two goals in 29 games for the Rapids in 2019
  • Colorado Rapids and Arsenal have connection through Stan Kroenke 

Arsenal have handed a week-long trial to Colorado Rapids wonderkid Cole Bassett after the 18-year-old impressed during his breakthrough MLS campaign. 

Bassett, who is a big Arsenal supporter, will train with the club’s Under 23 side ahead of a potential move in January. 

The trial period will be made easy to facilitate as Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke also owns MLS outfit Colarado Rapids.   

Arsenal want to have a close look at Colorado Rapids wonderkid Cole Bassett

Arsenal want to have a close look at Colorado Rapids wonderkid Cole Bassett

Bassett, speaking to The Denver Post, said of his trial in England: ‘As most people already know, this is my favourite club.

‘I don’t know which team it will be because it’s an international break for them.

‘Hopefully, there will be a couple of guys missing with the first team and I can get with them.

‘But I’m just excited to get over there and show up basically.’

Bassett scored two goals in 29 MLS games during the 2019 season.  

 



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