Arsenal

Mikel Arteta
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Arteta praises Saka, Willock, speaks on transfers, Mustafi injury

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Arsenal’s day got a little dicey in stoppage time of a 2-1 win over Bournemouth in the FA Cup’s fourth round, but it was mostly very comfortable at the Vitality Stadium.

A lot of that comes down to Bukayo Saka‘s exceptional day on the left flank. The 18-year-old had a goal and an assist, and is proving a big part of Mikel Arteta‘s plans to return Arsenal to glory.

“Mikel is trying to bring back the philosophy of the Arsenal way,” Saka said after the win, via the BBC. “We did that well in the first half, not so much in the second half.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Saka took a lay-off from fellow teen Gabriel Martinelli to make it 1-0 in the fifth minute, then crossed for Eddie Nketiah‘s 26th-minute insurance goal.

A Sam Surridge stoppage-time marker for Bournemouth made an otherwise easy day feel a bit tricky at the end.

Arteta had praise for his youngsters, especially Saka and midfielder Joe Willock.

“They were terrific,” he said, via Football.London. “Their courage to play and make big decisions. I think Joe can be an outstanding player in that position.”

Saka came through the system as a left winger, but Arteta has asked him to help fill in at left back.

“What I like is that he put his head down and he is very willing to learn the defensive principles.”

Arteta also admitted that a Cup run would be great for the team, adding that Shkrodan Mustafi’s injury is a big cause for concern. He said the club has a clear plan for the rest of the transfer window, and that he wants Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay in London.

“We will have to assess him but normally it is not good,” he said of Mustafi. “We had a clear intention of what we want to do in the market and if we can do it, fine.”

Arsenal moves past Bournemouth to reach FA Cup fifth round

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Bukayo Saka had a goal and an assist as Arsenal beat Bournemouth 2-1 in FA Cup fourth round action on Monday.

The result seals another trip to the South Coast, as the Gunners will visit Portsmouth in the fifth round.

Saka and Eddie Nketiah were the goal scorers as Arsenal did the job without Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and David Luiz in the Starting XI.

Sam Surrridge scored for Bournemouth in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time. That gave a tension to the other four minutes of stoppage which did not exist in the rest of the match.

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Saka drifted into the 18 to wallop a Gabriel Martinelli layoff into the upper reaches of the goal, the ball zipping from post-to-post with fury.

The 18-year-old Saka picked up an assist on Arsenal’s second goal, his cross seeing its way to Nketiah for a straight-forward finish in the heart of the 18.

Saka now has three goals and six assists in 23 appearances for Arsenal this season.

It wasn’t strictly positives for the Gunners, as Shkrodan Mustafi was stretchered off with an injury in the 62nd minute.

Bournemouth got one back when Simon Francis‘ cross was dummied by Dan Gosling, Surridge using a clever touch to set up his shot past Emiliano Martinez.

It’s Surridge’s first senior goal for Bournemouth, though the 21-year-old has managed 29 goals between Yeovil Town, Swansea City, and Oldham Athletic.

LIVE, FA Cup: Bournemouth v. Arsenal

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Bournemouth host Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round on Monday (kick off, 3 p.m. ET) as the Cherries and Gunners will both fancy their chances of a lengthy cup run.

[ LIVE: Follow Bournemouth-Arsenal ]

In all honesty, both Eddie Howe and Mikel Arteta could do without this game as they aim to improve their position in the Premier League table.

Bournemouth picked up a vital win against Brighton last time out to push themselves towards safety, while Arsenal picked up a morale-boosting draw at Chelsea after playing for over an hour with 10 men.

Howe and Arteta will acknowledge that their main aim is to stay in the Premier League and finish in the top four respectively but both will be extremely tough in the final months of the season.

It is always tough to strike the balance about how serious to take the FA Cup for teams in tough situations in the PL but more often than not the competition is a bit of a distraction for players as league form goes out of the window.

Arteta’s first game in charge of Arsenal was a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth in December and this will be a tight, tough game down in the wind and rain on the England’s south coast.

Success in cup competitions will likely save Arsenal’s dismal season as Arteta’s banged up side have shown plenty of hunger in recent weeks and an FA Cup and Europa League double would certainly salvage plenty of pride from the 2019-20 campaign.

That said, there is still a long, long way to go for Arsenal.

Click on the link above to follow the action as it happens, while we have you covered right here on Pro Soccer Talk with the reaction and analysis on the final game of the fourth round.

Transfer rumor roundup: Aubameyang to Barca; Lemar to Arsenal

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With just a few days to go until the January transfer window shuts, things are heating up across the Premier League as clubs prepare to shuffle their packs and have a roll of the dice ahead of the final months of the season with Arsenal set to feature heavily as the clock ticks down.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Here’s a look at some of the latest rumors popping up around the PL.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.


The Telegraph are reporting that Barcelona are seriously pushing for a move for Aubameyang, 30, in the final days of the window as they have to replace the injured Luis Suarez, with Valencia’s Rodrigo another option.

Aubameyang has less than 18 months left on his current Arsenal deal and this is probably the last chance the Gunners have to sell the Gabonese striker for anything close to what he’s worth. Per the report, Arsenal want over $65 million for Auba.

The experienced striker has been sensational since arriving from Borussia Dortmund two years ago, scoring 57 goals in 91 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions.

Can Mikel Arteta afford to lose Aubameyang? No, not really. He is their leading goalscorer and talisman but after his recent red card at Crystal Palace the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Alexandre Lacazette have stood tall with the young Brazilian striker in particular showing he can fill the considerable void Aubameyang would leave behind.

With the Gunners 10 points off the top four with 14 games to go, selling Aubameyang would be like waving the white flag on their hopes of getting to the Champions League next season. It must be noted that the striker has been a little more outspoken in his new role as a leader and more involved with supporters’ groups who are speaking out against the running of the club. Maybe cashing in now rather than losing him for next to nothing in the summer would be a smart move for Arsenal as it would allow Arteta to rebuild the squad and give it a more youthful look.


Various reports state that Thomas Lemar could arrive at Arsenal from Atletico Madrid as the Spanish club left him out of their squad for the 0-0 draw draw with Leganes on Sunday.

Lemar, 24, has found life tough in La Liga and with Edinson Cavani reportedly ready to arrive from Paris Saint-Germain, Diego Simeone is keen to move on Lemar. The French international winger, who burst onto the scene in 2017 as a key member in Monaco’s Ligue 1 title-winning team, would be available on an initial loan deal.

He was linked with a move to Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham in the summer of 2017 before joining Atletico in 2018 and Lemar is said to be keen to get his career back on track with a move to the Premier League. He has scored just four goals in 64 appearances in all competitions for Atletico Madrid.

Do Arsenal need a winger? Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson are their main options out wide, so all of a sudden there is a little bit of a gap there with Mesut Ozil played centrally by Arteta and Aubameyang often starting off the left.

Report: Arsenal in talks to sign Mari

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Arsenal are still in talks to sign Spanish center back Pablo Mari despite the player returning to Brazilian club Flamengo after being in London.

Our partners at Sky Sports in the UK believe that the plan was always for Mari to return to Brazil as Arsenal and the reigning Brazilian champions are locked in talks about an initial loan deal for the 26-year-old.

The deal would be a loan with an option to buy in the summer and would give Mikel Arteta some much-needed depth in central defense.

Mari moved to Man City in 2016 but never played for City as he was loaned out to Girona, NAC Breda and Deportivo La Coruna before he left City last summer on a permanent deal to Flamengo. He has since won the Brazilian title and Copa Libertadores with Flamengo and played in the FIFA Club World Cup final against Liverpool as they lost 1-0 in extra time.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

With Callum Chambers out injured until next season, plus David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis out of form, Arteta’s main aim is to shore things up at the back.

Since he arrived in December the Gunners have become tougher to beat and are playing with more energy but individual errors, especially defensively, continue to cost them dear as they sit 10 points off the top four with 14 games to go.

If Arsenal can improved defensively then a top four push, or at the very least a run to the Europa League final, isn’t out of the question and adding Mari or another center back is key for Arteta in the final days of the window.

Arsenal have been linked with Jerome Boateng, Dayot Upamecano, Mykola Matviyenko, John Stones and many other center backs this month but it seems like a deal for Mari would perhaps be the easiest to get over the line before Friday’s deadline.