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Wilshere warns Arsenal not to lose “future captain” Ramsey

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West Ham United man Jack Wilshere knows a thing or two about working out contracts with Arsenal, and has issued a stern warning to the Gunners when it comes to Aaron Ramsey.

Wilshere says Ramsey should be a “future captain” for Unai Emery, and that allowing the Welsh player to leave — for free, no less — is a head-scratcher.

[ MORE: Spurs injury update ]

Given the players’ long-term friendship, it’s fair to say Wilshere knows his stuff when he intimates that Ramsey would appreciate more time in North London, and he poses this question.

From The Islington Gazette:

“I think you’ve got to look at the situation and ask: ‘How many top teams in the Premier League and elsewhere could he get in?’ And you’d have to say them all – and that speaks volumes about the type of player he is.”

This is pretty true, aside from Man City. And you’d have to give Ramsey a shot of making his presence felt there as well.

Emery is trying to forge a new identity for Arsenal, and Ramsey’s had his fair share of injury issues, but allowing Ramsey to walk does seem a bit silly.

Arsenal beaming: ‘The fans can choose who scored the best goal’

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A player knows his team has played a pretty darn good game when one of the post-match questions is which goal was the best one?

“The fans can choose who scored the best goal, the best thing is that we scored,” said Alexandre Lacazette after Arsenal’s 5-1 pummeling of Fulham on Sunday at Craven Cottage.

[ RECAP: Fulham 1-5 Arsenal ]

Manager Unai Emery deferred in a similar fashion, saying the club’s “best performer was every player,” but there’s no denying the swagger is back at Arsenal.

Emery’s men have won six-straight Premier League matches and nine overall. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are on fire atop the attack, and there wasn’t room for Mesut Ozil in the XI on Sunday.

No, the club hasn’t faced a monster since its 0-2 start to the season and yes, Fulham is as poor a defense as you’ll find, but it’s difficult to take anything away from a humming Gunners attack.

And Emery is feeling good with a hold on a Top Four spot heading into the international break.

“I believe in us, we believe in our process but also we must keep taking confidence. I think we are in the first competition in the war. It is very difficult but we must prepare, continue improving and show big commitment.”

By the way, Aaron Ramsey scored the best goal. No shame on the others, but his finish combined with the build-up is magnificent.

Classy Arsenal dance past Fulham

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  • Lacazette, Schurrle trade first half goals (WATCH)
  • Bellerin big part of second half rush
  • Ramsey, Aubameyang with beauties

Arsenal is humming under Unai Emery, winners of six-straight league matches and nine in all competitions after a 4-1 blowout of Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang each scored twice, and Aaron Ramsey also netted for the Gunners.

Arsenal moves third with 18 points, while Fulham has five points and sits in 17th.

The Gunners lost their first two matches of the season, to Man City and Chelsea, but have not since tasted defeat (or even a draw).

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Following Lucas Vietto’s missed chance in the opening moments of the match, it was all Arsenal for the wealth of the opening half. Alexandre Lacazette moved USMNT defender Tim Ream to create a yard of space and belt past Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Andre Schurrle struck on the counter attack to cancel out Lacazette’s close range opener, as Fulham and Arsenal are locked at 1 thanks to magic from the London clubs’ respective German and French stars.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bettinelli made an outstanding save when Hector Bellerin hammered a knuckling shot toward the far post to open the second half.

Lacazette made Bellerin’s offer a bonafide warning sign, shooting off a bounce that may’ve took the slightest of touches off Ream’s foot outstretched before bounding past a diving Bettinelli.

And then Ramsey.

Bellerin’s cute flick helped the ball move from the right wing to the left wing, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clipped a cross to the top of the box. Ramsey swept his back leg behind him to spin the ball inside the far post.

The riot continued with ease, Aubameyang making the most of interplay between Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bellerin to settle the ball with class before ripping a shot beyond Bettinelli.

League Cup Weds: Liverpool hosts Chelsea; Arsenal, Spurs at home

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Five more quarterfinal spots are up for grabs as the League Cup continues on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Man Utd-Derby recap, League Cup wrap ]


Liverpool vs. Chelsea

There’s plenty of intrigue regarding this one, as Liverpool and Chelsea meet in the League Cup just a few days before they head to Stamford Bridge for a Premier League match which could flip the top of the table.

Don’t expect Jurgen Klopp to ratchet anything down, though. From LiverpoolFC.com:

“If I see one player tomorrow who goes into the game and I have the feeling that he thinks it’s only the League Cup, then he could have a real problem. But I know there will be no player. I don’t think so, the players don’t think so. Tomorrow night is a football game at a sold-out Anfield so we will be there with all we have. That’s all we’re thinking about. Then, if we go to the next round, then we’ll play that game again with all we have. That’s the only way I know.”

Dude probably sweats while playing checkers.

Alisson Becker will give way to Simon Mignolet between the sticks for Liverpool, and what will the tactics tell us — if anything — for the weekend rematch?

Arsenal vs. Brentford

Less than 13 miles separate Arsenal and Brentford, and the visiting Bees are having another season which spawns hopes of making a fixture like this part of the Premier League slate. Unai Emery‘s men have a Saturday morning visit from Watford, so expect a few changes at the Emirates Stadium. Here’s Emery:

“Against Brentford I am going to prepare the best performance for us, but I’ll be giving chances and opportunities to the players who are playing less in the competition. Also maybe the young players can have opportunities to play in this game if I think it’s the best for us to give them this opportunity of starting in the first XI, but the first thing about the best performance is thinking about winning.”

Elsewhere
Spurs vs. Watford
West Ham vs. Macclesfield Town
Nottingham Forest vs. Stoke City

Tuesday scoreboard
West Brom 0-3 Crystal Palace
Burton Albion 2-1 Burnley
Wycombe Wanderers 3-4 Norwich City
Bournemouth 3-2 Blackburn Rovers
Preston North End 2-2 (3-4 PKs) Middlesbrough
Blackpool 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Wolves 0-0 (1-3 PKs) Leicester City
Oxford United 0-3 Manchester City
Millwall 1-3 Fulham
Manchester United 2-2 (7-8 PKs) Derby County

Europa League preview: Arsenal, Chelsea debut; Red Bull Derby (of sorts)

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The Europa League group stage begins Thursday, with two London giants taking part in a relatively unfamiliar competition.

[ MORE: Full Europa League schedule ]

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have played in the tournament finals in recent years, but for the most part are Champions League mainstays.

This season, however, it’s the UEL leading one to Greece and the other to a visit from a Ukrainian side.

Both are involved in our five matches to monitor amongst the 48-team field on Day 1.

5 (tie). Villarreal vs. Rangers / Celtic vs. Rosenborg

The Old Firm rivals with plenty to prove kick off their group stages on Wednesday, in turn saying something for Scottish football.

For Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers, that means the chance to make good on their first full European tournament since the 2010-11 Europa League. They took the long way, winning four qualifying rounds to earn these nights. Now what? Perhaps their toughest test yet in Villarreal.

For Brendan Rodgers‘ Celtic, it’s an opportunity to show that while the Champions League has been a bit too rich for their blood, a Europa League group stage with Austrian, German, and Norwegian competition isn’t a problem for the best team in Scotland.

4. Arsenal vs. Vorskla Poltava

Forget the opposition: Unai Emery sees the Europa League as the opportunity to put more silverware in the halls of Arsenal HQ. From Arsenal.com:

“Every title for us is very important. In 2000, Arsenal played the final against Galatasaray but didn’t win. And also, Arsenal played the final in 2006 in the Champions League and also didn’t win. In my career, the ambition is very important for continuing to improve and continuing to achieve the objectives in my career personally and with the team. I want to play for every title going forward.”

There’s no reason to expect anything but a win for the Gunners against a team in just its second European group stage.

3. Marseille vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Frank McCourt’s Olympique Marseille still doesn’t sound quite right, so let’s go with the manager. Rudi Garcia’s Olympique Marseille has a lot of weapons, including a trio of World Cup winners in Steve Mandanda, Florian Thauvin, and Adil Rami. Their Bundesliga visitors feature a Mexican national teamer (Carlos Salcedo) and an American (Timothy Chandler), but eyes will be trained on a Frenchman: Sebastian Heller has three goals and an assist in three league appearances this season.

2. PAOK vs. Chelsea

With all respect to Vieirinha and Amr Warda, this shouldn’t be a major challenge for Maurizio Sarri‘s men. Yes, even with Eden Hazard, Mateo Kovacic, and David Luiz being rested in London.

But it gets our circle because Sarri has called it the most difficult challenge of their group stage. BATE Borisov and MOL Vidi (formerly Videoton) are the other members of Group L. From ChelseaFC.com:

“I have seen the four matches played by PAOK in the Champions League play-offs. My staff have seen the matches of the Greek championship. I think I know everything.

“We want to play with our characteristics, to control the match with our ball possession, but I know tomorrow will be difficult. They are a good team. They have won against Basel, Spartak Moscow, they drew against Benfica in Portugal. We have to do a very good match if we want to gain points.”

1. RB Leipzig vs. Red Bull Salzburg

UEFA would prefer to avoid matches like this, even presumably one-sided ones, as two clubs owned by Red Bull square off in a meaningful competition. The pair being in the same group will be even trickier when there are chances to affect the next round fate of their brother club (The clubs aren’t technically deemed to have the same ownership, but it’s difficult to conclude the relationship isn’t a healthy one).