Alexis Sanchez

Wenger believes Ozil, Sanchez will stay at Arsenal

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LONDON — Fresh from Arsenal’s first Premier League victory over North London rivals Tottenham since 2014, there was a spring in Arsene Wenger‘s step as he strode into his post-match press conference.

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Arsenal’s boss saw his attack-minded lineup dominate Tottenham at home as the Gunners secured an 11th-straight home win and sixth-straight home victory of the 2017-18 season to breath new life into their season.

With a dangerous three-pronged attack of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette destroying Spurs’ usually rock-solid defense on numerous occasion, Arsenal gave a taste of what can be achieved this season.

Consistency is key for Arsenal but keeping Sanchez and Ozil is more important. Their futures at Arsenal remain uncertain with the duo free to talk to non-English teams in January about a free transfer on July 1, both are likely to see what other clubs can offer them outside of the Premier League.

Speaking to the media afterwards, Wenger reaffirmed his belief that Sanchez and Ozil want to stay at Arsenal beyond the end of their contracts next summer despite the situation being totally out of his hands.

“The quality of the contract of the contract has to be good and enough for them as well, you know. I am convinced they love the club, they love the team but all the rest will be decided, when? I don’t really know,” Wenger said. “I’m not alone to master that. [Quality of the contract] is part of it. The whole thing has to be right, they have to be happy. I believe they love the club and they want to stay but there are other top clubs out there who offer good contracts as well.”

So, Wenger is bracing himself for Sanchez and Ozil to be offered big contracts from European giants as soon as Jan. 1 rolls around, then a barrage of transfer offers from other PL giants as they believe the duo will be available in cut-price deals. At this point, the Gunners must keep hold of the duo until the end of the season, even if it means they leave on a free.

With Sanchez scoring a cheeky goal, racing free on numerous occasions and forcing Hugo Lloris into several key saves, his signature on a new deal is essential for Arsenal to haul themselves back into the top four.

His desire and hunger was evident and he even had time to joke around in the second half, diving on his stomach to the delight of the home fans as he tried to slide towards a loose ball in the pouring rain in north London.

You can never question the Chilean’s desire but his displays have become more erratic over the past 12 months with this contract saga hanging over his head. Sanchez’s goal against Spurs was his first in 12 games against the so-called “big six” in the Premier League.

Ozil’s display yielded an assist and numerous eye-catching passes as Lacazette’s runs allowed Arsenal’s two contract rebels to have plenty of space in front of Spurs’ back three.

Wenger pointed to the fact that he has never once questioned their commitment and although Ozil and Sanchez’s futures remain uncertain, he believes they will continue to put their bodies on the line for the Arsenal cause.

“I know them well and I know when it is their turn to go on the football pitch they want to win a football game. They’ve shown their commitment again today. I’ve never questioned their commitment,” Wenger said. “They can have bad games but the problem is, but the problem is that when a player goes to the end of a contract and has a bad game everybody says ‘of course, because he goes.’ Their interest is to play anyway.”

Arsenal 2-0 Spurs: Classic Gunners

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  • Arsenal scores pair in 1st half
  • Mustafi stars at both ends
  • Gunners 1 pt back of second
  • Shots finish 14-14

Not so fast, Spurs.

Arsenal recalled North London Derbies of old with a strong 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Shkrodan Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez scored, while Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech also starred in the victory.

The fifth-place Gunners are a point behind Spurs and second-place Manchester United.

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Alexandre Lacazette cut a chance well wide and high of the bar in the first five minutes, while Spurs’ Harry Kane forced Petr Cech into a sixth minute save.

There were chances at both ends and a frenetic pace of play as the match approached the 20-minute mark, with Hector Bellerin‘s inviting cross unanswered by Arsenal.

Mustafi provided the derby breakthrough at the back post off a sweeping free kick to boost the Gunners into a 37th minute advantage.

And Alexis used great work from a lively Hector Bellerin to make it 2-0 before the break, belting an in-tight effort near the upper 90.

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The second half saw Spurs come out with an edge, no doubt buoyed by Mauricio Pochettino‘s vexed appearance, and Harry Kane burnished a dirty tackle to earn a yellow card.

Ozil set up Sanchez for a would-be third goal in the 76th minute, but Hugo Lloris quickly closed down the angle.

Mustafi had a fine intervention to block a late Kane shot, while Cech stopped Eric Dier from pulling one back late.

VIDEO: Pair of Arsenal goals have it 2-0 at half

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Goals from Shkrodan Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates Stadium have given Arsenal a 2-0 halftime lead in the North London Derby.

[ STREAM: Second half live ]

Alexandre Lacazette cut a chance well wide and high of the bar in the first five minutes, while Spurs’ Harry Kane forced Petr Cech into a sixth minute save.

There were chances at both ends and a frenetic pace of play as the match approached the 20-minute mark, with Hector Bellerin‘s inviting cross unanswered by Arsenal.

Mustafi provided the derby breakthrough at the back post off a sweeping free kick to boost the Gunners into a 37th minute advantage.

And Alexis used great work from a lively Hector Bellerin to make it 2-0.

Report: Alexis Sanchez, Julian Draxler in swap deal

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It appears Arsenal may have found a solution to saving some face when it comes to Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean forward, 28, has just over six months to run on his current Arsenal deal and it doesn’t seem likely that he will sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium.

With that in mind, a report from the Daily Star suggests that the Gunners are lining up a swap deal with Paris Saint-Germain for their German attacking midfielder Julian Draxler in January.

That’ll work.

Draxler, 24, has been a long-term target for Arsenal and although impressing for the German national team in recent years (he captained a young side to Confederations Cup success over the summer) the Schalke product has found it tough to break through at PSG with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani now on board.

The only problem with this deal is that from January 1 onwards Sanchez can speak to any non-English club about a free transfer on July 1 and he can arrange a move himself. That means that if he wanted to join PSG he could agree a deal for the summer, play out the season at Arsenal and then join the French giants on July 1 with a huge signing-on bonus.

But if, as expected, Sanchez wants to go to Manchester City he will have to wait until July 1 before he can negotiate a move to the Etihad Stadium and join up with Pep Guardiola. The thing is, he will be quite free this summer to do that as Chile failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Arsenal are said to not want Sanchez to join a Premier League rival in Man City (despite accepting a $70 million bid late on Transfer Deadline Day in the summer) but even if they did sell him in January they’d do well to get around $35 million for the former Barcelona star.

When it comes to Draxler, the report states that Bayern Munich also want the midfield and although his numbers in terms of goals and assists aren’t as impressive as Sanchez’s, he does have more power and pace than most of Arsenal’s other current midfield options, as well as possessing the poise to create chances and possess the ball. He seems every bit an Arsenal player.

PSG using Draxler as the bait to try and entice Arsenal to not ask for any cash in January is all about one thing: stopping Sanchez from joining Man City in July. When you think about it, this deal would work out best for PSG and Arsenal with the Gunners picking up an international caliber attacker four years younger than Sanchez and PSG getting yet another star forward without spending a penny on him.

Wenger gearing up for “big game, challenging one” at Man City

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It’s a big week for Arsenal, who can wrap up a knockout round place in the Europa League on Tuesday before taking its shot to sully Manchester City’s near-perfect Premier League season.

That match will have the Gunners on one day’s less rest than Man City and be played at the Etihad Stadium, though the PL leaders are in Napoli for their midweek match while Arsenal is at home to Red Star Belgrade.

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has not been hesitant to hand young players midweek matches, and that will almost certainly be the case as the Gunners gear up for City. A win at the Etihad against City, who did concede twice in a still comfortable win over West Brom, would close Arsenal’s gap to six points.

A loss would send them 12 back of Man City. Twelve.

From The London Evening Standard:

“It’s a big game, a challenging one because they are on a strong run,” Wenger conceded. “But it’s a good opportunity for us to show we have quality. At the moment they’re on a good run and people always extend these runs to the end of the season.”

“They have to be stopped it’s true, because if nobody does that they can run away. We still can focus on this game and try to give our best, prepare well and focus.”

Wenger also said he has no worries about Alexis Sanchez’s commitment despite a half-year of links between the Chilean and Man City. Can Arsenal surprise City and spoil the Mancunians’ run?

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