Eddie Nketiah

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Lacazette’s desire epitomizes resilient Arsenal

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Arsenal are back in the hunt for UEFA Champions League qualification as the Gunners ground out a 1-0 win against West Ham on Saturday.

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Mikel Arteta’s men have lost just once in 10 Premier League games since he took charge and although they crashed out of the Europa League last week, they are through to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup and have a newfound grit, determination and a little bit more savvy about their play.

Teenagers are keeping established stars out of the team and there’s a new hunger about their play.

They’ve improved defensively and the game-winner on Saturday, Alexandre Lacazette, has scored three times in his last four games despite losing his starting spot.

Youngster Eddie Nketiah has started up top in recent weeks but the Frenchman is hungry to fight for his place and that attitude sums up this Arsenal squad right now.

“I’m happy to score for the team. We worked hard. It was a difficult game. I’m happy. They deserved more because of the chances they created. This is football, sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. It is my job to give the manager a big headache. I’m struggling to make the first team but I’m happy to score again today. I know that now I have to play well again the next game. Everyone wants to give their best and it’s normal that whenever we do that we will perform as a team,” Lacazette told the media afterwards.

Arsenal are five points off fourth place and have a game in hand, albeit at Man City on Wednesday, and with fifth place potentially becoming a Champions League spot this season it is a really interesting point in their campaign.

Despite their obvious defensive flaws Arsenal are keeping clean sheets and although West Ham coughed up plenty of chances on Saturday, Bernd Leno again made plenty of fine stops, while Dani Ceballos is running the show in midfield.

This Arsenal team have been written off by everyone this season and are somehow still in the hunt for the UCL. That makes me think there’s something more about them under Arteta than meets the eye. The Gunners are now a banged up and resilient bunch playing like underdogs instead of the top dogs, and how often have we able to say that over the last decade?

Despite their tough remaining schedule, beware of the Gunners down the stretcH.

Arsenal snatch victory against West Ham

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Arsenal beat West Ham United 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday as Mikel Arteta‘s side rode their luck but kept their unlucky push for Champions League qualification alive.

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A late goal from substitute Alexandre Lacazette, which was awarded via VAR after it was initially ruled out for offside, was the difference as West Ham’s Michail Antonio was guilty of missing several glorious opportunities.

The Gunners are in ninth place on 40 points and are five points off the top four. West Ham remain in 16th place on 27 points.


3 things we learned

1. West Ham unlucky: The Hammers came up against an in-form Arsenal goalkeeper and missed plenty of good chances throughout. David Moyes‘ side played well and were solid enough defensively but they couldn’t take their chances.

2. Arsenal have Leno to thank: The German goalkeeper has had a very good season for the Gunners with a few errors here and there more than canceled out by consistently decent displays. Leno denied Antonio and Haller on multiple occasions and has been a big part of their newfound defensive solidity.

3. Lacazette continues to fire: He’s now scored three goals in his last four games and Lacazette has found his mojo. With Eddie Nketiah doing well in recent weeks, Lacazette has had to be patient and he keeps giving Arsenal a cutting edge off the bench when they need it most. He may not be around next season but right now Lacazette is doing his best to make sure the Gunners stay in the top four (or five) battle.

Man of the Match: Bernd Leno – Several fine stops and a calming influence on his defensive unit. Jarrod Bowen also played very well for West Ham.


The Hammers squandered a glorious chance to take the lead early on as Michail Antonio raced clear and tried to set up Sebastien Haller but got it all wrong as he two v. one situation didn’t work out.

Moments later Arsenal almost went level as Mesut Ozil‘s shot was blocked superbly by Aaron Cresswell. Haller then had a great chance after being played in by Mark Noble but his first touch let him down and the chance came and went.

Arsenal then went closer to taking the lead as Sokratis hit the bar with a header from Aubameyang’s cross as the end-to-end nature of the game continued.

Antonio then missed a glorious chance from inside the six yard box as he somehow flicked wide.

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At the start of the second half the game continued to be open as Eddie Nketiah was played in by Bukayo Saka but his shot was blocked. Then Antonio had another great chance but his header was saved by Bernd Leno as the West Ham forward should have scored.

Arsenal struggled to take the game to West Ham late on as the Hammers launched several dangerous counter attacks through Jarrod Bowen and Antonio.

But then Arsenal snatched all three points as a deflected shot found Ozil who nodded the ball onto Lacazette to finish and although the offside flag was raised, VAR was used and Ozil was clearly onside and the ruling was overturned.

West Ham still had time to squander a few more chances as Haller went close and so too

Mikel Arteta: Arsenal ‘on right path’ after FA Cup win

Mikel Arteta
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Arsenal posted a comfortable-enough 2-0 win over Portsmouth in FA Cup action at Fratton Park on Monday, easing into the quarterfinals.

Manager Mikel Arteta and veteran David Luiz are happy with the progress but continue to plead for patience with the process.

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“I’m really enjoying working with this group of players. It’s a process. I know everything has to be today or yesterday but in football it doesn’t happen like this. I’m seeing a lot of things I’m happy with but there is a lot of room to improve.”

It would be a major boon for Arsenal to collect a trophy so early in the Arteta era. The Gunners have claimed 13 FA Cups, more than anyone else in England. Manchester United is second with 12.

“There is a long way to go,” Arteta said. “But we’re on the right path. We’ll see what happens in the draw. We’ll keep going because we love this competition.”

Arsenal leader Luiz said the club is on the right track, especially given the fine performances from young players like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

The teens were joined by fellow youngsters Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, and Matteo Guendouzi in the Starting XI, and 22-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles came off the bench.

“We need to be humble and understand we are not there yet,” he said. “Tonight I was pleased with the team and the young boys, they have a great mentality and understand what is need at a high level. We need to be ready to react and understand football.”

Arsenal hosts West Ham United on Saturday.

Arsenal handles Portsmouth to advance in FA Cup

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Arsenal clinched the first spot in the quarterfinals of the 2020 FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Monday.

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Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Eddie Nketiah scored for the Gunners, whose 13 tournament titles are the most in the history of the competition.

Arsenal hosts West Ham United on Saturday.


Three things we learned

1. Gunners steady despite Europa ouster: Arsenal’s home disappointment to Olympiacos in the Europa League last week might’ve been its only hope of Champions League football. There was plenty of focus on how the Gunners would react, even given substandard competition, and Mikel Arteta‘s men did well enough. Seventy-five percent of the ball and only one big chance allowed show a real professional win, even if their attackers’ finishing deprived them of a blowout score line.

2. Pablo Mari makes solid first impression: Arsenal’s January addition took some time to get up to speed because Flamengo was out-of-season when he arrived from Brazil. The towering former Man City center back didn’t have a ton to do and was credited with 100 touches, five clearances, three blocks, 89 percent passing, and a quality 12-of-16 connection on long balls. Promising, albeit against a League One side.

3. Torreira injured: Lucas Torreira needed to be removed from the match with a lowe leg injury after tangling legs with Pompey’s James Bolton. A trainer was shown holding his ankle in place and Dani Ceballos took his place, though reports said he did not require a hospital visit. Torreira has played in all but three of Arsenal’s Premier League matches this season.

Man of the Match: Martinelli was clever and Mari’s strong debut adds sentimentality to the shout, but Sokratis was probably the Gunners’ top player.


Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli drove the end line to cut back for Eddie Nketiah but the chance resulted in a corner.

The Gunners went ahead when Reiss Nelson crossed into the traffic from the right flank and Sokratis burst onto the ball to smash home.

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Pompey had some good moments in the latter stages of the first half, and would’ve been content to be down one.

Arsenal made it 2-0 with the help of some poor defending, Nketiah running onto a cross and keeping his cool as the ball bobbled in traffic.

Report: Arsenal to let Lacazette leave for a Champions League club

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Arsenal and Alexandre Lacazette have an agreement in place for the 28-year-old forward to leave north London if the club fails to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, according to reports out of the UK.

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With only two years remaining on his current contract, this summer is an ideal time for all parties to part ways in the event that Arsenal finds itself out of Europe’s premier competition for a fourth straight season.

Lacazette will turn 29 not long before the summer transfer window opens, representing the Gunners’ last opportunity to re-sell a player who previously cost them close $70 million in the summer of 2017. As for Lacazette himself, he believes that a player of his caliber should be in the Champions League every season and he is apparently more than happy to leave Arsenal to fulfill his destiny.

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Despite being named Arsenal’s Player of the Season (13 goals in the Premier League, 19 in all competitions) less than a year ago, Lacazette has endured a thoroughly disappointing 2019-20 campaign and was recently dropped by manager Mikel Arteta, who preferred 20-year-old academy product Eddie Nketiah over the former club-record signing.

Lacazette has scored just six PL goals this season and has just one in his last nine league outings.