Tag: Arsenal

Photo credit: TottenhamHotspur.com
Photo credit: TottenhamHotspur.com

Pochettino warns Spurs fans of “very tough period” coming during stadium build

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These are indeed great times for Tottenham Hotspur, both on and off the field of play — the first team currently sits third in the Premier League and has an outside shot at this season’s title, while the club pushes forward with the construction of a brand new, 60,000-seat stadium in north London.

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If you’re a Tottenham supporter, you’re undoubtedly giddy with excitement over what the future may hold for your club.

Spurs fans may want to pump the brakes just a bit, though, Mauricio Pochettino cautioned on Thursday, for as brilliantly as the 2015-16 season has been thus far, “a very tough period” awaits the club ahead and following its move to the new stadium — quotes from Ham & High:

“We have in front of us a very tough period. From Spain I hear a lot – because I read a lot, always using Google Translate from English to Spanish – that [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger says ‘the toughest period of the club was in the period that we built the stadium’. And now I think that you need to know, and the people need to know, that this is a very tough period for us.

“I think that the people are excited to see how we play but we need to be careful, because we need to arrive to the new stadium in a very good condition to try to fight for everything and try to show that we are one of the best clubs and teams in the world.”

The above passage is but a tiny excerpt from a four-and-a-half-minute quote from Pochettino, which was mostly unsolicited and prompted by a question about why the club chose not to, or failed, to sign a backup striker during the recently concluded January transfer window.

In short, it wasn’t for a lack of funds or the stubbornness of chairman Daniel Levy, but for Pochettino’s unwillingness to unsettle a squad with a player that can’t actually improve the team, for the sake of signing someone: “It’s easier for me to say ‘ok, we bring this and this and this player’, but if we don’t believe that it can improve our squad, why?”

[ MORE: Preview — Tottenham vs. Watford, Saturday, 10 a.m. ET ]

As for the stadium, Pochettino and Co. are right to look no further than their north London rivals to realize the many effects building a new stadium will have on the club, from the very top to the very bottom. That Arsenal were able to remain a UEFA Champions League qualifier every year before, during and after the construction of the Emirates Stadium — emphasis on the “after” and the hundreds of millions of dollars required to pay it off, meaning they were seriously strapped for cash in the transfer market — is truly remarkable and a testament to Wenger’s abilities as a manager.

Have Spurs found their Wenger? Only time will tell, and Pochettino has a long, long, long way to go in order to be compared to his north London counterpart, but the early returns have been promising. To do it during the good times is one thing; to do it during the lean years a whole other challenge that’ll test Pochettino, and Spurs, in ways they’ve never before known.

Wenger slams Arsenal’s finishing as untimely goal drought increases title pressure

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Arsene Wenger Manager of Arsenal gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on February 2, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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LONDON — Despite creating a glut of chances and coming up against Fraser Forster in sensational form, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was not a happy man.

[ MORE: Koeman hails “magic” Forster

Wenger, 66, hit out at his forwards as they missed several glorious opportunities during the 0-0 draw with Southampton on Tuesday.

[ VIDEO: Vardy scores stunner

With the draw the Gunners are now without a win in four Premier League games and have failed to score a goal in their last three outings. That run has seen them drop to fourth place in the table as some of Arsenal’s fans booed and jeered their team off the pitch at half time and after the final whistle.

Wayward finishing from the likes of Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil has Wenger worried.

“We produced quite a good performance, especially in the second half, and created 10 goal chances but at the end of the day we come out with no goal. I believe that the performance we wanted to produce was there but we can, of course, not be happy with the way we finished our chances,” Wenger said. “That is the most disappointing. Some players missed some chances that usually they take. Our finishing is very bad at the moment. We have now played three games without scoring a goal and in all three games we had chances that we don’t take and at this level it is important.”

Forster denied Arsenal on 10 occasions with some superb saves, as Southampton towering 6-foot 7-inch goalkeeper made a stunning reflex stop from Ozil in the first half, twice denied Theo Walcott in the second and also denied Giroud and Sanchez in his sensational display. That said, Wenger still believes his team created too many quality chances to not win the game.

“You rate the quality of the chances you create and the quality of the finishing. The quality of the chances we created today was high, The quality of the finishing was poor. That differential explains the 0-0,” Wenger said. “It is maximum frustrating because when your team puts the energy in and creates the chances. When you have no chances and you come out of a game you say ‘okay, there was not more in it.’ But when you come and you think there was much more in the game, like that, when you have our ambition, it is of course frustrating.”

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Despite the draw Arsenal remain just five points off the top and Wenger believes all his team can do is keep winning games to put pressure on the teams above them.

He also brushed off talk of his team being under pressure and called for a “less pessimistic” outlook as Arsenal is still in the PL title hunt and have a UEFA Champions League last 16 clash against Barcelona coming up at the end of the month.

That said, the Gunners have slipped behind the pack in recent weeks and Wenger knows they must regain their scoring touch to get back on top of the Premier League.

“Leicester won again and now I am sure that everybody will take them very seriously, especially in the media, so they will be under pressure as well,” Wenger said. “We are not going to look too much at Leicester or Manchester City. We have to win football games and focus and respond quickly and win our next game. That’s all we can do. It is a dream to think we will catch the others if we do not win our games… and in the last three games we have taken two points.”

Arsenal 0-0 Southampton: Forster’s heroics halts Gunners

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  • Forster makes incredible saves
  • Gunners slip to fourth
  • Saints unbeaten in four

LONDON — Arsenal and Southampton played out a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium with the home side frustrated by a terrific display from Fraser Forster.

[ MORE: Wenger laments goal-shy Gunners ]

The towering 6-foot 7-inch goalkeeper — who had missed nine months out with a serious knee injury up until last month — was in superb form to deny Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott on multiple occasions. He made 10 saves in total to deny the Gunners as Arsene Wenger stood frustrated with his hands on his hips.

Saints threatened on the break but were outplayed for most of the game and Ronald Koeman‘s side will be more than happy with a point, as Forster has not conceded in four-straight games since returning from injury.

[ MORE: Koeman hails “magic” Forster

Arsenal slip to fourth on 45 points, while Saints rise to seventh on 34 points.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Southampton started brightly as Shane Long and Sadio Mane looked dangerous on the break but the best chance fell to Arsenal as Sanchez’s superb long pass found Ozil and his delicious first touch set him up for a shot but Forster saved well down low.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The visitors continued to look sharp on the break but Arsenal should’ve been 1-0 up after 20 minutes. A cross from the right was flicked on by Giroud and Ozil prodded towards goal four-yards out but somehow Forster’s outstretched arm clawed the ball wide. Incredible save.

Before half time Saints settled down and Mane’s cross was cleared to the edge of the box where it found Oriol Romeu who curled just over the bar. Great effort.

A set-piece then caused Arsenal’s defense all kinds of problem as they first failed to clear the ball properly and then a flick on found Mane clean through but the Senegalese forward scuffed his shot harmlessly wide. The Gunners pushed hard to go ahead before the break but half time arrived with the game scoreless.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Forster pulled off another marvelous stop, as Giroud’s curling shot looked destined for the top corner but the towering England international punched it away with one hand. Magnificent stop.

Arsenal continued to turn the screw and Giroud play in Ozil after he ghosted into the box but his cross couldn’t find Joel Campbell at the back post. Mane then raced free but sent his shot straight at Petr Cech, while Forster denied Giroud once again with a comfortable save at the back post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Forster then saved brilliantly from Theo Walcott twice, Laurent Koscielny sent a header over the bar, James Ward-Prowse cleared an effort off the line and Forster, once again, tipped Sanchez’s header wide as Arsenal’s fans cursed their luck. Saints had a penalty shout denied when Long’s shot appeared to hit Gabriel’s hand, but the visitors were more than happy to walk away with a point following Forster’s heroics.

Some of the home fans booed at the final whistle but this game was all about one man: Take a bow, Fraser Forster.

Arsenal’s Debuchy, Sunderland’s Fletcher headed to Ligue 1 sides

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08:  Mathieu Debuchy of Arsenal holds off Erik Lamela of Spurs during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium on November 8, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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A pair of Premier League veterans are making moves to France.

That Arsenal right back Mathieu Debuchy would be going back home on loan isn’t a terrible surprise, but the other name might really have you scratching your head.

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Debuchy left Lille in 2013 and made an instant impact alongside friend Yohan Cabaye at Newcastle United, earning a move to the Emirates Stadium. But he’s set to get some playing time at Bordeaux, which recently sold a pair of stars to the PL in Henri Saivet (Newcastle) and Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland).

Sunderland is loaning Scottish striker Steven Fletcher to Marseille. Top of mind, the 28-year-old Fletcher is the first British player to head to OM since Joey Barton in 2012.

Fletcher has been little used by Sam Allardyce, and has four goals for club after scoring 7 for Scotland in 2015.

The move seems a bit shortsighted for Allardyce, though that could be a board room demand given Sunderland’s acquisitions in January. Debuchy is surplus at Arsenal and an understandable move.

FA Cup fifth round draw: Manchester City traveling to Stamford Bridge

during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on August 16, 2015 in Manchester, England.
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LeagWith the FA Cup fourth round nearly complete, and only a pair of replays to come, the fifth round draw took place today with the competition heating up. 11 Premier League teams are still alive in the competition, and we got six of them directly facing off.

The big one came right out of the gates, as the first two teams drawn were Chelsea and Manchester City, who will square off at Stamford Bridge the weekend of February 20th.

Tottenham drew Alan Pardew‘s Crystal Palace, who are in serious decline having lost four straight Premier League games and are winless in league play since December 19. However, the magic is still alive as they’ve knocked out two straight Premier League foes in Southampton and Stoke City, both in the new year.

Everton will visit Vitality Stadium, the site of their ridiculous 3-3 draw with Bournemouth earlier this season.

Other Premier League teams still in the mix include Arsenal, who will host Hull City at the Emirates. Arsenal took four points from their two league meetings with Hull last year before the Tigers were relegated. The winner of the Liverpool/West Ham replay will travel to Blackburn. West Brom will travel to Reading only if they should take care of Petersbrough in a replay. Finally, Manchester United has a road visit to League One side Shrewsbury Town, who beat Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday with a goal seven minutes into stoppage time.

Full FA Cup Fifth Round Draw:

Chelsea vs. Manchester City

Reading vs. West Brom/Petersbrough

Shrewsbury Town vs. Manchester United

Blackburn vs. Liverpool/West Ham

Tottenham vs. Crystal Palace

Arsenal vs. Hull City

Bournemouth vs. Everton

Watford vs. Leeds