So whats the secret to nearly 100 matches unbeaten? From reading the other comments this might be true I am starting to think that somehow you have done something. if its true you haven't then I take my hat off to you.
So whats the secret to nearly 100 matches unbeaten? From reading the other comments this might be true I am starting to think that somehow you have done something. if its true you haven't then I take my hat off to you.
Secrets? Plenty of rotations in order to keep the players as fresh as humanely possible (as Spain's national team proved yesterday you can't do jack with a bunch of overworked and fatigued players), tactic rotations in order to not be as easily readable for the AI... and massive amounts of luck every now and then (as there have been cases of matches I'm surprised we came out alive... that final against Gremio...^^U).
Other than that, I don't know what to tell you (other than I'm sure that bad results end up coming sooner than later as there's no infallible formulae and luck can't last forever).
Thank you for dropping by and feel free to keep doing so whenever you wish.
View attachment 139035 We started the month (and the year) visiting Viccarage Road to play the first leg of the Capital Cupo semifinals, the match was easier than we could expect and managed to grab a comfortable win thanks to a brace scored Charlie Austin, who started the month in the best way possible.
Pol Zacarés and Neil Kitching made their debut with the senior squad in this match.
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Back to the Emirates for more cup action, Cardiff came all the way to London to play the 3rd round of the FA Cup. The match should have been easier than it actually was as the bluebirds were on the verge of getting something positive out of the Emirates without doing anything in a match they deserved to lose by an outrageous margin... But hey... We keep advancing rounds in the cup and that's what truly matters in the end.
Andy Leigh made his senior debut in this match.
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Back to the league for a little bit of good old fox hunting, Leicester came all the way to the Emirates to get back home with a beating and they even helped us with a two own goals.
Absolutely horrible match for the foxes who were unlucky in basically everything for an hour and a half and superb match for a Lewis Cook who is becoming one of the big surprises in the Emirates so far.
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Everything must come to an end, and that also include our league flawless run as well. Guardiola's lads seemed to have learnt their lesson since our last match and this time around they weren't so easy to handle. The match itself was absolutely even in every aspect with neither side willing to give out even an inch and what could be summed up as a constant trade of blows... specially between Sergio Agüero and Alexis Sánchez who were stellar and scored a hat trick each.
In the end 3-3 in a match where neither side deserved to lose.
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It was time to stop mourning for the end of our flawless run, move on and redeeming ourselves and sadkly for the Hammers... they simply had to be hammered.
Impressive performance of our lads who simply gave no choice to West Ham to do anything other than cower in fear, Charlie Austin lead our offensive forces in this match and John Stones scored a braced (sadly it wasn't a hat trick) in a match that the hammers won't be forgetting any time soon.
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Time to visit more neighbours before the Cups break, this time our destination was Selhurst Park where Crystal Palace put up quite a fight in a match that was decided thanks to our Spanish connection (Bellerín-Keita) and Giroud's accuracy... that seemed rather off... until this match.
In the end we grabbed a relatively comfortable 0-2 against a really respectable opponent.
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It was time to seal our pass to the final in the Capital One Cup, this time around it was a relatively easy yet... let's admiting boring match where a team filled with rotation players and youngsters had no excessive troubles to beat a Watford that didn't even try to overturn the first leg result.
It's also worth mentioning that Luka Pavic has yet to concede one goal in his Capital One Cup campaign, he's been impressive so far.
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After the Capital One Cup... It was time once again for the FA Cup, Birmingham City came to Emirates for our 4th round match, where our lads only needed the first 30 minutes to see them off with little to no trouble thanks specially to Charlie Austin who seems to be on fire (are the defenses terrified?)
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And we closed the month with...SALT, massive amounts of SALT! We visited the always hard Goodison Park to play against Everton... Everton was usually known for being a really offensive team able to play an attractive football able to jeopardize anymore... But oh boy... NOT ANYMORE, not with Quique Sánchez Flores at charge...
Now the toffees are a rocky, overly violent and unpleasant team to deal with... I miss you Bob.
We found ourselves against an Everton that I don't even know how they ended up with 11 men on the pitch (and how we didn't get any major injury while we're at it) and with a referee that disallowed us two (I'm pretty sure they were legal if you ask me but hey...) goals and allowed an off side goal to our perennial transfer target Ross Barkley (don't you worry Ross, I'll rescue you eventually), Zivkovic managed to get an equalizer... and pretty much that's that... It wasn't our day as we played against twleve players and Sergio Romero was literally having the best day of his whole career.
In the end we went back to London with the biggest disappointment in the whole season.
View attachment 139026 Despite losing our flawless status we still have a comfortable margin on top of the league.
Player of the Month
View attachment 1065798 Charlie is not a player that usually gets too much game time, but this month he really knew how to take advantage of the chances he got.
-Arsenal will play against Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup final.
-Tough luck for Arsenal as they will face Liverpool in FA Cup's 5th round, the match will be held in the Emirates Stadium.
-Arsenal has established an affiliation link with Spanish side Club Atlético Osasuna. It's believed that Óliver Gil made this affiliation choice personally.
-Héctor Bellerín ends up as the second best player of the month, beating Kevin De Bruyne and only being beaten by Sergio Agüero.
-Héctor Bellerín also managed to claim the Best Young Player of the Month award beating his team mate Lewis Cook and Burnley's Andrei Ivan in the process.
-Krystian Bielik (on loan at Huddersfield) ends as this month second best young player in the Championship.
-Despite the two blunders suffered during this month, Óliver Gil (Arsenal) the Best Manager of the Month award, Pep Guardiola (Man City) ends up second and Alex Neill (Norwich) ends up third.
-Sunderland sacks John Benjamin Toshack, Rostov's former manager Martin Kushed is appointed as his successor.
-Newcastle sacks Steve McClaren and appoints Tim Sherwood as his successor.
(Author's note: While I'm aware that the gipsy ethnicity is not implemented in the FM, Heredia is a surname that's heavilly associated to the gipsy ethnicity... So I found it could be a fun detail to use this association)
Overall: There has been quite of movement during this month of January in the Emirates, but nothing related with the first sqaud as pretty much every movement was focused at the academy.
In the out the department nothing major, only loans for some of younger prospects (some even after a mere few days of just landing here).
So without further ado, let's focus in the ins.
View attachment 139024 Juan Manuel Gámez Heredia (regen), let's call him "Juanma" from now on... shall we?, comes from Real Betis' academy for a sum slightly lower than 500k. He might be a tad green for now but he has the potential to become a good Premier League center back in the future.
It's also worth mentioning that he's the first player of gispy ethnicity in joining Arsenal.
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Andre Dozell comes from Ipswich Town and we had to pay quite a sum for him: 5 millions up front that could potentially become 7,25 depending on clauses.
He wasn't originally one of our targets, but after seeing teams like Man U, Liverpool and our pesky neighbours insterested in him... We knew we had to go and ****** him.
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James Bree comes from Barnsley academy (like other of our signings: John Stones), who got 1,5 millions for him. He could end up becoming a good choice as Héctor Bellerín's competition in the right back and a more than solid plan B if Jack Deal's retraining into right back isn't succesful for some reason.
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Michal Duda (regen) is a regular in Czech Republic U21's national team and has experience in his country's top flight. While he can play on the left flank his forte is the role of defensive midfielder where he can shine and becoming one of the best in the whole Premier in the future.
I expect great things from him.
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Peter Sudimak (Regen) is a bit of a gamble, he maybe doesn't have the potential of other keepers like Pavic, Owen or Etwi but he could become a solid Premier League keeper nonehteless. Besides it was quite the bargain as he only costed us 75k.
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Wouter Etwi (Regen) was a case similar to that of Roger Pauly in summer, he wasn't a primary target but his agent literally offered him to us and we couldn't say no. He's a regular in Netherlands U19's squad and comes from Ajax's academy... that pretty much translates into success.
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Felipe Tomaguilla (regen) is quite an extrange case, he's a gigantic striker (201 cm tall) with Peruvian nationality and English citizenship that comes from Fulham's academy.
He might not be our best offensive prospect but he's rather interesting as he could become a more than decent Premier Legue striker and maybe playing here will allow him to be acknowledged by England U19's manager (like it happened to Al Clark and Danny Owen).
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Patryk Kalinowski (regen) was yet another finding made by Jonker and my staff seems to be fascinated by his potential as they consider that he can be one of our best players in a not so far future, he could even perform decently in top flight leagues... as it proved the fact that Scottish, Polish, Austrian and some occasional mid to low table Italian team asked for his loan only a day after landing here!
I'm thrilled by his potential and his versatility (as he somehow reminds of me of another signing we made this year: Mohamed Houbaine).
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We managed to ****** one of South America's greatest talents and for quite a bargain: 2,5. Sergio Díaz is a player who can become a world class striker in the future and we expect great things of him. Sadly he'll spend the next two years in Osasuna as he couldn't get a work permit... But two years getting first team football in a Liga BBVA squad could prove more than beneficial for him in the long run.
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Thiago Maia was a player we were following for quite some time but we didn't decide to make a move until we got a suitable affiliate to send him as we knew he wouldn't get the work permit. He'll spend the next two years in Osasuna like Díaz but as soon as he gets the Spanish nationality he'll be a key player for our first squad (and our most than likely replacement for Coquelin).
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Felix Horn Myhre is what I called the mother of all bargains... as I can't believe he went unnoticed for all this time in a modest low division Norwegian squad and only costed and his cost was surreal only 5,5 k.
He could become a more than decent Premier League defensive midfielder in the future, but with a bit of training he could become an impressive centerback... So maybe that's something to consider...
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That's a huge Baby, Baby (regen), real name Derik Willian Kammerbauer, is a towering Brazilian (194 cm, as tall as Mertesacker) midfielder with German citizenship that is considered by Brazilian media as the next Gilberto Silva... So it was fitting for him to come here.
We signed him from a modest Série C club for just 200k and the lad has potential to become a good defensive midfielder in the future... But truth to be told I can't shake the feeling that he's way more fit to act as a centerback with such a physique, so a retraining for him is something to truly consider.
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As if one Koscielny wasn't enough... Krzysztof Koscielny (regen) comes from Lech Poznan academy and got quite the interest as teams like Real Madrid, Bayer München and PSG were following him too, and it's no wonder why as he could easily be our best offensive prospect and star Premier League material in a not so far future if he develops properly.
Overall: Most of our future transfers will join us at the end of the season, but for a couple of exceptions that will do it once they are 18 y.o.
Only one of them (Gayá) has a guaranteed spot in the first squad for the next season, while others might end up going on loan or becoming a part of the squad depending of how many players leave the team at the end of thes season... But they will be an active part of the serior squad sooner or later.
View attachment 128676 After last month's bittersweet ending, we started this month at home against Sunderland with the need of finding our way to victory once again. The black cats could literally do nothing as the lads neutralized them completely, both Aboubakar and Austin managed to grab a brace that gave us a comfortable (and neeeded) 4-1 win in the end.
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Time for a short trip to Turkey in order to play against Galatasaray in the first knock out round, the Turkish champions played very solildly with the intention to stall us out in order to grab a more than vital advantage in the second leg... but sadly for them Özil scored an important goal near the end of the match that will be extremely important for the second leg.
We won the battle of Istanbul, hopefully we'll win the war too.
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Back to the league but not to England, as it was time to visit Wales in order to play against Cardiff. Despite having to heavily rotate the starting eleven the lads performed really well against against a Cardiff that despite barely doing anything had chances to give us a scare or two, but thankfully Aboubakar's impressive hat trick prevented any major scares from happening.
In the end solid win against a lucky blue birds that got more than they deserved.
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Back to England, back to London, back to the Emirates... back to having bad luck. This game had anything a manager would wish to avoid at all costs: silly own goal scored by Gibbs (your days at the club are numbered fella), a couple of disallowed (yet legal) goals, a really serious injury as poor Richairo Zivkovic will be out for three months (he will miss the whole season)... Thankfully it also had a brace scored by Aboubakar which in the end was more than enough to secure the three points.
The only positive thing in this whole match was Baby's debut with the senior squad and it was a really solid and satsifactory one...
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Time for the FA Cup, where Liverpool paid us a little visit in the 5th round. It was a frantic match where the reds managed to take an early advantage thanks to a penalty as silly as innecessary made by Coquelin that Markovic knew how to transform, from that point on the frenzy as we managed to put an equalizer just for them to get the advantage yet again, just for us again to grab an equalizer that would last until the end of the first half.
In the second half however our lads, led by a stellar Giroud that would end up scoring a hat trick, proved too much for Klopp's pupils that despite never giving up were unable to keep up in the end.
In the end a well earned 5-3 win in an incredibly epic match that keeps us alive in the FA Cup for one more round at the very least.
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Incredibly poor and pathetic performance of our lads, even if the match against Liverpool in the FA Cup paid a great toll on their condition... it's simple unacceptable.
The Potters knew how to take advantage of our fatigue and toyed with us from minute one to minute 90, however luckily for us they were unable to kill us off and that costed them dearly as Giroud managed to rescue an undeserved win by scoring an extremely late goal (minute 90).
In the end undeserved 1-0 win in the worst league match I've seen since the time I'm here.
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Time for some Wembley action, as it was the Capital One Cup final against a Sheffield Wednesday that surprised the whole country by making it this far.
With a team full of reserve players and academy prospects, they carried us all the way to the finals so they should be the ones to actually enjoy this special moment, we played against a team that put a fine performance with a offensive football that managed to go and grab a deserved advantage and put an end to Pavic's clean sheet record (Pavic has made a terrific Capital One Cup campaign as he didn't concede a single goal until the final), but thankfully Austin would put the equalizer just three minutes later.
The owls managed to keep up with us until almost the end of the match where Grealish would score a goal that allowed us to retain the title one more year.
We retain the Capital One Cup, and also even if the Owls couldn't managed to win the cup they earned my respect.
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We closed the month against Galatasaray in the second leg of Champions League's 1st knock out round, unlike the first leg the Turkish champions were unable to do anything and had no choice to go back home after getting a sound 3-0 beating that somehow feels a tad too short.
However it also might cost us dearly in the end as we lost both Andrija Zivkovic and Santi Cazorla for a month each.
View attachment 128668 We regained our winning streak and that gets us closer to our second consecutive league title.
Player of the Month
View attachment 128667 Vincent seems to have finally gotten over his poor season start and he starts to show his lethal instinct once again.
-Arsenal will face Southampton in the FA Cup Quarter Finals, the match will be held at the Emirates Stadium.
-Vincent Aboubakar ends up the second best player of the month, only beaten by Mepmhis Depay (Man U), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham) ends up third.
-Lewis Cook ends up as the third best young player of the month, Real Madrid's loanee Martin Odegaard (currently at Stoke) and Dele Ali (Tottenham) end up first and second respectively.
-James Bree (on loan at Sheffield United from Arsenal) claims the best young player of the month award in the Sky Bet League 1.
-Arsenal's loanee Patryk Kalinowski (Currently at Hearts) claims the best player of the month award in the Scottish Premiership.
-Kaylen Hinds (on loan at Kilmarnock from Arsenal) claims the young player of the month award in the Scottish Premiership.
-Controversial choice in the Premiership as Roberto Mancini (Tottenham) claims the best manager of the month award. The Italian manager beat Óliver Gil (Arsenal) and Mauricio Pochettino (Watford) despite the fact the Spurs played (and therefore won) one match less than both Gunners and Hornets and (that also made a flawless month each with 4 wins).
-Chelsea's patience ran dry and they finally decided to sack Frank De Boer, Real Sociedad's manager Marcelo Bielsa was appointed as its successor.
"Is it that time of the year once again huh?" I asked as I made it to the youth training facilities, today was the day where the new youth candidates batch played a friendly against our U18 squad.
"It sure is" Jonker answered me without even turning back. "So this will become a yearly habit huh"
"Like I told you last year, these kids come here from all our country's corners... heck in some cases from way beyond our borders" I said as I noticed two kids coming from some of our affiliate clubs in France... and Thailand. "The very least they deserve is my respect and my presence here".
"Suit yourself then, my friend". Jonker replied while resigning himself to have me here whether he liked it or not.
"How do you see this year's batch?"
"Similar to last year's if you ask me" Jonkers bluntly answered "Somewhat lacking in quantity, but better quality wise than last year's. There's three prospects than can potentially become senior squad material in a not so far future if they develop properly".
"I can't wait to see them then".
The match reminded me to the one I attended last year: The U18 squad commanded by Baby, who's been in superb form as of late, managed to gain the upper hand incredibly early in the game and by the end of the first half the U18 had a more than comfortable 3-0 advantage.
However the candidates team seemed to react almost immediately during the second half and offered a completely different image, thanks to both Barry Craig (who ended the match with 1 goal and 1 assist) and young French player Eddy Alves, who has come all the way here from Lorient's academy (and claimed an assist of his own by the end of the match), the candidates team almost managed to make a miracle and fell only one goal short of getting a draw.
In the end 3-2 in a match where the candidates put up a great fight.
"Gotta hand it to them... they almost... whoa!" I lost my train of thought as I was swarmed by quite a few of the potential youth recruits, that seemed thrilled to see me here watching them play. Some of them even asked me for an autograph or a photo. "I'll never get used to this I think..."
"It's hard being succesful eh?" Jonkers jokingly asked me, as if trying to tease me.
"Guess so..." I answered a bit puzzled "I never expected to make such an impact here after all".
"By the way, what do you think of these kids?"
"Same as you basically, I think that those three can make it really far... I'll leave the final judgement and the paperwork to you then".
"Consider it done" Jonker made a pause before changing subject "Should I scout for more players to join our ranks this year?"
"Yes, most of the U18 player will make to the U21 next year and I can somehow expect a lot of loan offer for quite a few of our current U21 players"
"Should I focus on English talent once again?"
"Not really... It would be nice if you gave some preference to English talent, but it's not that big of an issue"
"I see.. I'll start searching as I soon as possible".
"Perfect, keep up the good work".
View attachment 126965 Still lacking in quantity, but quality seems to be increasing this year... That's a relief.
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The best of the batch, if he develops properly he has potential to be a star winger for Premier League standards.
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French kid with Portuguese descent coming from Lorient's academy. He somehow reminds me of a younger and side reversed Raphaël Guerreiro (which is funny since Guerreiro will also be a Gunner starting next season), he has the potential to give Bellerín one **** of a run for his money.
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This kid shares both name and birthday with me (I'm 17 years older than him though), and according to the U18's staff this kid can become the new "Sol Campbell", I'm not so sure about that... But what I'm sure is that he can end up becoming an important part of our defensive line for the next 15 years if he develops properly.
View attachment 126949 We start the month visiting Carrow Road, om a match where the canaries managed to strike first but our striking force led by an impressive Aboubakar managed to turn things around and in a solid way as Norwich ended up conceding 6 goals.
We grabbed an important and impressive win against a group of canaries that ended up being shot down.
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Back to the Emirates for our first match against Southampton, as we would have to play this exact match a few day later due to FA Cup, it was an even and tough match where the Saints managed to play against us on equal ground and where our centerbacks had to act as strikers in order to solve the match.
In the end a solid yet really hard to achieve 2-0 win thanks to Stone's leadership.
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Same match, different competition. The saints visited the Emirates for the second time in four days in order to play the FA Cup quarter finals, this time around the main difference was that our offensive players were actually accurate and thanks to an impressive Giroud we managed to keep advancing rounds in the cup against a great Southampton that never gave up and kept fighting until the very end.
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Back to the league once again, Watford visited the Emirates and I gotta say that since Pochettino is Watford's manager this team has started to become something to be wary of, the Spanish hornets (with players like Masip, Tello or Jurado on their ranks they pretty much earned this monicker) put up a brave fight and even took advantage over us TWICE, but sadly for them an impressive Aboubakar... who scored a poker of goals and Capoue's massive stupidity, that left his team with 10 players managed to ruin Watford's more than awe inspiring effort.
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We finished the month visiting Old Trafford in a match that could special for us, if we won this match and if Manchester City didn't managed to grab a win against Tottenham we would be able to retain our league title.
It was a really hard game where fatigue massively paid its toll and the Red Devils were vastly superior from minute one to the final whistle... But sadly for them they where unable to take advantage of said superiority and we knew had to take advantage of our few chances.
In the end thanks to this 0-2 and a 1-1 draw between Citizens and Spurs we became Premier League champions for the second time in a row.
View attachment 126939 Vincent is on the way to becoming England (and maybe Europe)'s top goal score once again.
-Arsenal will face either Swansea or Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup semifinals.
-Arsenal will face Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League quarterfinals.
-Óliver Gil (Arsenal) claims the best manager of the month award, beating Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) and Roberto Mancini (Tottenham) in the process.
-Vincent Aboubakar (Arsenal) ends up as this month's best player in the Premier League, beating Kostas Mitroglou (Cardiff) and James Wilson (Crystal Palace) in the process.
-Serge Gnabry (Arsenal) is appointed as best young player of the month in the Premier League, James Wilson (Crystal Palace) and Dele Ali (Tottenham) complete the podium.
-Gedion Zelaem (on loan at Brentford from Arsenal) ends up as the second best player in the Championship, Will Hughes (Derby) ends up third and Emerson Hyndman (Fulham) claims the monthly award.
-Stephy Mavdidi (on loan at Blackpool from Arsenal) ends up as the second best player in the League One.
-Ainsley Maitland-Niles keeps impressing on Scotland as the Arsenal loanee (currently at Celtic) ends up as the best player in the Scottish Premiership, another Arsenal loanee Patryk Kalinowski (currently at Hearts) ends up second.
-Swansea City sacked Garry Monk, Glasgow Rangers' manager Mark Warburton was appointed as his replacement.
-Stoke City and Mark Hughes part ways after almost four years together, there's not appointed replacement as of now and U21's manager Glyn Hodges will act as a temporary solution for the time being.
View attachment 126727 Is there a better way to start a month than having a North London derby by any chance? Tottenham visited the Emirates for what promised to be yet another exciting derby, Özil gave us an early advantage by scoring after only five minutes... but the Spurs managed to get an equalizer shortly after the first half hour thanks to a(n offside) goal scored by former Monaco and Deportivo player Iván Cavaleiro, however when it seemed that the first half would end up in a draw... once again Aboubakar came to the rescue.
In the second half the score didn't change, but that late goal scored by Vincent seriously hurt our neighbours' morale who seemed unable to fight back and should be thankful to go back home with only a 2-1 loss.
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We visited Stamford Bridge in a match... where we should feel lucky to leave alive after the 90 minutes. An irregular season left a strong despair feeling on the blues and Bielsa sure managed to let his lads know to do whatever it takes to achieve victory... No matter the cost.
True, they were better than us when it came the offensive area (oddly enough) but it's also true that they were a bit... overzealous when it came to tackling, I don't know what's more astounding: how many fouls they made, how come they ended the match with eleven men or how we managed to get back to the Emirates with no casualties.
In the end a disappointing 0-0 that left us with both pride and body hurt.
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Oh the irony... A team known as the "Aspirin team" gave us a massive headache. Time to the Champions League's quarterfinals against a surprising Bayer Leverkusen that put up a more than brave fight. Gnabry managed to score a vital goal... or so we thought, since "Chicharito" Hernández scored the 1-1 just 3 minutes later... Thankfully for us Giroud showed why he excels in this competition scoring a brace that almost gave us the pass to the semifinals.
Also it's worth mentioning that Rich Colin made his continental debut in this match.
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Tough and even match between two teams that had to deal with Champions League's fatigue issues, Andrija Zivkovic got us an early advantage against a Liverpool that seemed to dormant up to that point... only to wake up a minute later where former Spur and current Red idol Harry Kane scored the 1-1, but their joy was shortlived as former Toffee Johnny Stones scored a penalty giving us the advantage once again.
In the second half the match lost intensity as Liverpool seemed unable to react and our lads managed to nullify whatever comeback attempt made by Klopp's lads.
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Back to the Champions League when it was time to face a Bayer Leverkusen that firmly believe in its comeback options. The Aspirin team got an early advantage... that was swiftly foiled by an outstading Giroud.
The German squad kept fighting fiercely to try and make a miracle... but sadly for them it was not their day, as one of our youngsters, Keith Blake engraved his name in history by scoring the second goal for us.
We make once again to the Champions League semifinals against a magnificent team that never stopped believing in the miracle and put up the bravest of fights.
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Time to move to Wembley, in a match where we were forced to use a "C" squad filled with kids due to Champions League fatigue and a short injury crisis that sure screwed us over.
Despite that the lads were vastly superior and Giroud, who's also the top goal scorer in this cup too, gave us an incredibly early advantage in what it seemed it could become a massacre for the swans.
However it was not the be the case, as the score would not move again despite our superiority against a Swansea unable or rather UNWILLING to do anything other than parking the bus in front of their goal... They look more like 11 upside-down turtles rather than a football squad.
However they struck lucky as Sigurdsson scored a thunderbastard shortly before the 90th minute... and after that back to the turtle strategy hoping for a penalty shoot out that luckily would end up being their undoing, thanks to a great Luka Pavic that stopped three penalties and Felix Horn Myhre that scored the winning one.
Felix Horn Myhre and Barry Craig made their debut with senior squad.
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Back to the league, this time we visited a Newcastle that truth to be told I don't even know why they're so low in the league table... with the kind of football they play they should be fighting for Europa League spots at the very least...
The Magpies gave us one **** of scare as they managed to end the first half with a 1-0 thanks to a corner header scored by Slovakian centerback Skriniar.
In the second half we slowly managed to get our rythm back and put an end to Newcastle's dominance thanks to Aboubakar that scored a brace once again (I lost count of how many of those he got since his arrival) and Cazorla's leadership in the midfield.
In the end a 1-2 against a Newcastle that sure knows how to handle us... but not to finish us off.
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And for the month's finale: The slaughterhouse. Alan Pardew is a madman, Alan Pardew is a savage, Alan Pardew is on its way to the Championship...AND HE FULLY DESERVES IT.
West Ham visited the Emirates in a match, where like in past ones, were more focused on trying to stop our players by whatever means necessary... And they learned said lesson by heart as two players end the match injured... including Aboubakar for the second time (luckily enought this time was only for a week, last time were three months).
When it comes to football itself... Not much to say, we where vastly superior from minute 1 to the final whistle and only Aboubakar's injury and Walcott's lack of accuracy prevented the final result to be way bigger.
In the end comfortable yet insufficient 2-0 against a team that focus kicking legs rather than balls.
-Arsenal will face Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
-Arsenal will face Atlético de Madrid in the Champions League semifinals, the victor will face either Juventus or Bayern München in the final.
-Despite that draw, Arsenal's gaffer Óliver Gil claims the Best Manager of the Month award. Against all odds Mark Warburton (Swansea) ends up second and David Moyes (Man U) ends up third.
-Arsenal's loanee Donyel Malen (currently at Oldham Athletic) ends up as the second best young player of the month in the League One.
-Kaylen Hinds keeps impressing in Scotland as the Arsenal loanee (currently at Kilmarnock) ends up as the third best young player in the Scottish Premier League.
-Steve Bruce appointed as Stoke's manager.
-Sunderland's patience ran out once again and Martin Kushev was sacked, U21's manager Andy Welsh takes charge as temporary solution for the third time in a year until a replacement is appointed.
-Keith Blake engraved his name in history as he became the youngest goal scorer ever in the Champions League (17 years and 163 days).
(Author's note: This will be kind of a two posts in one since June only had one match and it was pointless to make a single post to just show one match)
Season Finale (Part I): May
View attachment 125775 We started the month with what seems to be becoming a yearly tradition: a match against Atlético de Madrid. While it might seem the easiest of the remaining opposition, the Colchoneros managed to knock Barcelona out of Champions League with relative ease and its starting attacking duo is the most inspired in the whole Liga BBVA this season (Jackson Martínez and Luciano Vietto).
Things started incredibly good for us as we dominated them during the whole first half with a superb Alexis Sánchez who seemed to be on fire.
However Atlético was far from being considered dead as they managed to scored one goal shortly after the second half start thanks to a relatively lucky shot by Koke, Sánchez gave us some peace of mind once again by completing his hat trick but Atlético never gave up and kept fighting until the very end... with satisfactory results thanks to a brace scored by Luciano Vietto.
In the end we grabbed a good yet bittersweet 3-3 that could prove vital against an incredibly brave Atlético.
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Back to the Premier to play against a Leicester that I don't understand how it's not faring better in the league table, the foxes managed to strike first thanks to a corner header scored by De Laet, but such early goal seemed to spur my lads, who led by a inspired Andrija Zivkovic, managed to conquer the King Power Stadium by sheer force... with some unexpected results: Callum Chambers and Lewis Cook scored in this match.
We grabbed a comfortable win thanks to a superb Andrija Zivkovic and his top notch assists.
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Atlético came to the Emirates in one of those matches that can shorten people's lifespans. The Spaniards gave us the scare of a lifetime when Jackson Martínez scored a goal that left us without final... Thankfully for us it was time for Alexis to show once again, as the Chilean scored a brace that seemed to neutralize the Colchoneros.
In the second half the match was pretty even with Atlético trying to make a miracle and our lads trying to exterminate any possible comeback attempt... which was eventually done thanks to Keita that scored the third goal for us shortly before the match's end.
We made it! Our second consecutive Champions League final, Bayern München and the Millennium Stadium awaited us.
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Swansea visited the Emirates and truth to be told we had a bone to pick with them after they forced to do such an embarassing display in the FA Cup semifinals, it was time to make them pay.
This time Warburton's lads chose to go all out... and oh boy, what a mistake it was... If you give us spaces you gonna regret it... Sure the Swans had their chances, but they were wide open and our lads knew how to take advantage of that...
In the end a comfortable win against a team that should consider itself lucky to leave the Emirates with only two goals conceded.
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Time to put an end to the Premier League with a visit to Turf Moor in a match that didn't have that much of a story behind: since we had two finals ahead of us, I chose to used a rotated team in order to prevent fatigue and injuries and it worked.
Burnley played a good match and put up a good fight but sadly for the Clarets our accuracy up there seemed to be higher and that was more than enough to grab the win in the end.
The most remarkable thing happening in the match was Luka Pavic's league debut (he already made his senior debut and is somehow of a regular in cup matches, but had yet to play in league) that proved to be quite satisfactory.
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The month reached its great finale in the best way possible: in Wembley against a great opponent such as Manchester United.
David Moyes' second arrival to the Red Devils seems to have worked wonders and we knew we had to play a flawless match if we wanted to conquer yet another FA Cup (it would be 4th in a row for Arsenal, the 2nd in a row for me).
The match started in the best way possible with us scoring twice thanks to Mesut Özil and Jack Grealish, but Man U managed to fight back by scoring a goal in the 45th minute that could have left a heavy impact on our lads' morale.
Thankfully the Red Devils were unable to take advantage of Depay's goal and the they were unable to score yet another goal... while for us once again Baldé Keita managed to finish the work by scoring the third goal.
We claimed yet another FA Cup but after paying a great price: Olivier Giroud ended up injured and he would miss the Champions League final.
View attachment 125768 No more jokes, no more snarky remarks about us being born to be 4th... We retained the league title and we're a force to be feared.
-Uwe Rössler appointed as Sunderland's new manager.
-Óliver Gil (Arsenal) claims the manager of the month award beating Marcelo Bielsa (Chelsea) and David Moyes (Man U) in the process.
-Lewis Cook (Arsenal) ended up the best young player of the month, beating Demarai Gray (On loan at Leicester from Tottenham) and Andrija Zivkovic (Arsenal).
-Kaylen Hinds (On loan at Kilmarnock from Arsenal) ended up as the second best young player of the month in the Scottish Premier.
-Dan Crowley (On loan at Rangers from Arsenal) ended up as the best player of the month in the Scottish Premier.
Season Finale (Part II): June
View attachment 125766
We got a date with history for the second time in the short span of two years, as we had the chance to do what nobody had done before: winning two consecutive Champions Leagues.
But it was not meant to be an easy task as we had to play agains Bayern München. The Bavarian giants managed to overcome a 3-1 disadvantage against Juventus and they had the most devastating striking force in the whole continent: Lewandowski-Aubameyang... while on the other hand... we lost Giroud.
The match started incredibly well for us as Özil got us an early advantage that Aboubakar expanded shortly after the first half's end.
In the second half Arturo Vidal scored the first goal for them thanks to a (nonexistant) penalty but thankfully Aboubakar once again gave us a solid advantage.
That gap didn't kill Bayern off as the Bavarian squad went all out from that point and they were nearly unstoppable, thankfully for us Horn had a good day and Bayern fell one goal short of reaching the extra time.
We managed to engrave our name in history once again in a match that ended up becoming one **** of a war of attrition.
Player of the Month
View attachment 125762 Aboubakar managed to fill Giroud's European gap and scored a brace that gave us our second Champions League.
-Vincent Aboubakar (Arsenal) claims the FWA footballer of the year award.
-Kyle Walker (Tottenham) claims the PFA footballer of the year award.
-Controversial choice for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, as Alex Oxlade Chamberlain claims the prize...despite being in a "questionable" age range for claiming such title... and making a more "modest" campaign compared to other contestants such as Dele Alli (Tottenham), James Wilson (On loan at Crystal Palace from Manchester United), Andrija Zivkovic, Lewis Cook and Serge Gnabry (Arsenal) among others...
-Vincent Aboubakar (Arsenal) ends up the League Topscoarer with 30 goals.
-Andrija Zivkovic (Arsenal) ends leading the top assister with a total of 12 assists.
-Thibault Courtois (Chelsea) ends up being Chelsea's only redeeming point and claims the Golden Glove.
-Óliver Gil (Arsenal) claims the Manager of the Year award for the second time in a row.
-Outrageous, controversial and downright disrespectful choices at the team of the season: despite clearly dominating the composition there is a grand total of...ONE player from Arsenal in the squad (Aboubakar), Manchester City is the team with most players in it...despite their disappointing season.
-Kaylen Hinds (On loan at Kilmarnock from Arsenal) ends up as the as the second goal scorer after scoring 15 goals, ending just goal short of claiming the Top Goalscorer in the Scottish Premier.
-Dan Crowley (on loan at Rangers from Arsenal) puts a golden end to its superb campaign by claiming the Young Player of the Year award in the Scottish Premier.
-Olivier Giroud ends up as the top scorer in the Champions League once again after scoring 13 goals, Alexis Sánchez ends up 2nd with 10 and Mesut Özil 3rd with 7.
-Mesut Özil ends up as top assister in the Champions League with 6 assists.
-While England seems to disrespect Arsenal's achievements, Europe doesn't as a total of SIX players make it to the Champions League's Dream Team: Timo Horn, John Stones, Nacho Monreal, Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez and Olivier Giroud.
-Alexis Sánchez ends up as the Best Player in Europe, beating Jame Rodríguez and Cristiano Ronaldo in the process.
-QPR's unlucky relegation ended up becoming the last nail in Steve Clarke's coffin, Zeljko Petrovic will be his replacement in Loftus Road.
-Ronald Koeman and Southampton part ways after yet another disappointing campaign.
-Everton sacked Quique Sánchez Flores after the Toffee's more than disappointing campaign, once again the toffees came to fish in Watford as Mauricio Pochettino was the man chosen as his replacement.
-Guardiola's English adventure ended up being extremely short lived as the citizens sacked him after only one year (apparently only the English FA though of City's performance as "good"), his replacement has generated major upsets all around England: José Mourinho will be the new boss in the Etihad.
View attachment 125756 Similar yet different season in England compared to last year's. Arsenal managed to retain its league title and is starting to become a force to be feared both on domestic and on continental level.
Manchester United seems to have somehow since Moyes' second arrival as the Red Devils managed to become the #2 contestant on the Premier.
There were quite of pleasant surprises such as Watford that managed to qualify to Europa League and both Leicester and Burnley that ended above the Top 10 and fell incredibly short of European football.
But there were also quite high number of disappointments such as Manchester City who ended up behind their neighbours, Chelsea and Liverpool who failed to secure Champions League spots despite their investments (specially Liverpool that bought Harry Kane for 51 millions).
Also bad news for all the Premier League squads as West Ham was lucky enough to avoid relegation in the last game... The infirmaries of the whole Premier will be at full capacity for another season.
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Arsenal seems to be becoming a FA Cup specialist as the Gunners retained the title for the 4th time in a row, however their run was not easy as they had to play against Liverpool in an epic and hectic match and almost got knocked out by Swansea in the semifinals, in a match that went all the way down to the penalty shoot out.
On the other hand Manchester United managed to steamroll its way to the finals, with their most remarkable performance was a solid 4-0 thrashing against Tottenham.
In the finals Gil's lads were able to beat a solid Manchester United side thanks to an incredibly good first half and solid defensive performance on the second half.
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This year's Capital One Cup was full of surprises as it was dominated by Championship sides such as West Bromwich Albion, that managed to knock out Chelsea, and a surprising Sheffield Wednesday that reached the finals against all odds.
Arsenal on the other side made its way to the finals with a team full of young prospects and had a hard time to retain its title against the Owls that managed to strike first and refused to go down without putting up one **** of a fight. ___________________
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It seems to be quite a trend in the major leagues, just like it happened in England, Real Madrid managed to retain the league title with both ease and authority against a disappointing Barcelona that claim the runner up spot in the last game of the season and by sheer luck and a disappointing Atlético that despite having the most lethal striking force in the whole Liga BBVA will have to settle to play Champions League football...in August.
There were quite a few surprises as Valencia ended up third after being second for most of the campaign and Málaga and Espanyol will play in Europa League against all odds.
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Real Madrid gets to celebrate yet another double as they also managed to retain its Copa del Rey, after some fine performances including a couple of 1-6 thrashings and beating its arch rival in the final by a short... yet in the end sufficient 1-0 win. ___________________
View attachment 125751 Bayern München is yet another team to join Europe's current "trend" as the Bavarian giants achieved the same feat as Real Madrid and Arsenal, they retained their league title stomping their opposition, as neither Bayer Leverkusen nor Borussia Dortmund could do anything to prevent it.
The most remarkable thing is however, Darmdstadt's relegation, the modest team pay the high toll of playing European football with a squad that is not ready for it and they'll play in the 2.Bundesliga one year after making an absolute miracle.
View attachment 125750
Another great league, yet another double. Bayern München gets to retain its Pokal but it was quite a tricky way as they had to beat teams like Köln and Borussia Mönchengladbach in order to reach the fnals. In the final its opponent was the same as last year's: Borussia Dortmund, but unlike last year the Bavarian squad managed to win the trophy with ease thanks to a solid 4-1 win. ___________________
View attachment 125749 She might be old... but ****... she's ruthless. Like it happened in England, Spain and Germany, Juventus managed to retain the Serie A with a comfortable lead against both Napoli and Roma, but the most remarkable thing of this year's Serie A was the disappointing performances of both Milan's team as they both will miss European football next year.
On the other hand is worth mentioning Sassuolo's extraordinary campaign as they finished 5th against all odds and will play Europa League next season.
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The Coppa will be back to Rome, but it will switch sides as Lazio was unable to retain the title they claimed against all odds last year.
The biancocelesti did well to qualify to the finals, where they were soundly beaten by their neighbours: AS Roma, the giallorossi had to see off teams like AC Milan and Juventus and they did it with relative ease... Specially against the Vecchia Signora that got a humbling 4-2 aggregate loss against the Giallorossi.
View attachment 125734 Despite having the best squad and the highest budgets in the whole country, PSG fails to claim the Ligue 1 for the second year in a row... And the most surprising part is that Laurent Blanc is still on charge!
Olympique Marseille fell one point short of making yet another miracle and this time the league title go to Monaco as AS Monaco led by an impressive Bernardo Silva claimed the Ligue 1.
View attachment 125730 PSG gets to retain the Coupe de France in what it could easily be the Parisiens only redeeming point in the season, PSG had once again to suffer more than necessary to get the French cup, including agonic wins against Rennes (on extra time) and Le Havre (like last year) before beating Monaco on the penalty shoot out... If this is the best PSG can do, then I can only predict dark times for the Parisiens.
View attachment 125729
Just like it happened last year, the team that claimed the league ended up claiming the League Cup, Monaco ended up claiming the trophy against a PSG that seemed to perform better than shown during the whole season... but ended up failing where it mattered most: the finals.
View attachment 125728 Sporting managed to get their revenge against Porto, claiming the league title one year after losing it against the Dragões, it was a tight fight against both dragons and lions but in the end it was the lions who got to slash their way to the title with a short two points difference.
On the other hand, the eagles seem still unable to soar as they got another disappointing 3rd position for the second time in a row.
View attachment 125727
Surprise in the Taça de Portugal, as Sporting Braga (often regarded as Portugal 4th force to some extent) lifted the title in an edition where neither of the strongest sides managed to make it to the semifinals. Braga had to suffer more than necessary to win a modest Estoril in a match that dragged all the way to the penalty shootout, but in the end the other Sporting got to add another piece of silverware to its name.
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This time there were no surprises at the Taça da Liga as the Top 4 teams managed to make it to the final stages, but in the end the title became another struggle between the country's two greatest squads and following the same script seen in the league: Sporting claiming the title after a even fight between lions and dragons.
View attachment 125725 Ajax seems keen on following the "trend" as they also managed to retain their league title, but the news in Netherlands are not about the league champions but rather on the opposition's performance as both Feyenoord and PSV offered and extremely poor performance and didn't make it to the Top 3...
It's also worth mentioning the incredibly campaign of both Heerenveen and Vitesse that surprised the whole country by finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
View attachment 125724
The Dutch cup seems the perfect scene for modest teams to get their chances to shine as this year's champion has proved: PEC Zwolle has lifted the title after beating Heerenveen in the finals with a short yet sufficient 1-2 win.
The only big team that made a decent Cup campaign was Ajax that made it to semifinals just to lose against Heerenveen.
View attachment 125723 The European season started with... A Premier League match, Arsenal and Manchester United faced each other in a match where the Red Devils had the most chances but the Gunners controlled the possession and had more accuracy despite having less chances.
View attachment 125722
This Europa League's campaign had the same script as last season's: Team knocked out of Champion League make it all the way to the finals and claim the title.
Real Madrid was forced to play Europa League after their disappointing Champions League run, knocking out teams like Everton, Internazionale and Man City before meeting with Shaktar Donestk in the finals.
Despite the final result the Ucranian side actually played a good match that was decided by Real Madrid's lethal accuracy.
View attachment 125721
Arsenal made history after becoming the first team that won the Champion League two years in a row. The Gunners started their campaign in a relatively tricky group with both AC Milan and Schalke 04 and came out on top comfortably.
They played against Galatasaray, Bayer Leverkusen and Atlético Madrid, who managed to beat Barcelona in the quarter finals, in order to make to the finals in a path that despite being relatively easy...was trickier than it seems.
On other hands Bayern München became a comeback specialist this year, as they overcame a 2-1 disadvantage against Porto, a 2-1 disadvantage against Liverpool and 3-1 disadavantage against Juventus.
The final was an exciting match where Bayern tried to overcome a 3-1 disadvantage but fell one goal short and Arsenal knew when to strike and when to suffer.
Like it happened last year the lions seem to enjoy keep playing with fire, it was yet another season where München's second team was closer of relegation spots than promotion and in some points of the competiton they were even in relegation themselves.
However a good series of results in the last two months left them in a relatively comfortable position in the league table with 10 points above relegation and 10 point below promotion spots.
Their cup run was a bit longer than last year's since they actually beat the first round... Just to lose agains a Bundesliga squad, Mainz, in the second.
Once again it was a boring and plain season for the Txuri Urdin who for some reason seem to lack any kind of ambition any other than to achieve a comfortable position in the league table.
Despite having a nice squad (partially assembled by myself) the team from San Sebastián offered to their fans yet another disappointing season as they finished 10th and 14 points away from European spots... At least they seemed to try last year.
In the Copa del Rey their performance was even more disappointing as they lost in the 4th round (the round where all the Liga BBVA enter) throwing away a 3-1 advantage against Espanyol.
It was another so close yet so far season for the Viola as they saw how they let European football escape their grasp TWICE during this season.
Their league campaign wasn't bad as they were always in the fight for European spots but in the end they fell 3 points short in a struggle that ended up winning Sassuolo.
In the Coppa Italia they almost had it aswell... as they made an extraordinary campaign until they reached the semifinals as Lazio proved to be too much for them in the end... Once again so close yet so far...
View attachment 125718 Petr Cech: The Czech goalkeeper started really well the season, keeping his starter position from last year's but an injury gave the chance to Horn that ended up stealing that spot... Even with all that Petr enjoyed plenty of game time and proved to be vital. He will be important next year too but he should have in mind that game distribution might not be so even by then...WILL CONTINUE Timo Horn: We bought this lad last year for less than 10 millions, left him one year on loan to keep growing on the Bundesliga... And look at the results: Regarded as one of the best keepers in the whole continent. Timo started the season as backup and ended up regarded as competition for the likes of Neuer and Buffon by the UEFA. He'll stay and he'll be our starter keeper for next year... and decade if you ask me...WILL CONTINUE Luka Pavic: One of Jonker's discoveries and one of the most pleasant ones at that. Bought from Hajduk Split's academy this season, he's been switching his duties on the U21 squad with the role of thrid keeper, putting more than satisfactory performances during the Cup runs, specially on the Capital One Cup where he only conceded one goal. He'll repeat this same role for the next season and he'll hopefully be ready to become Cech's replacement when the time comes.WILL CONTINUE
View attachment 125717 Carl Jenkinson: This lad has been amazing! He came back after two okay-ish seasons at West Ham just to act as Bellerín's replacement and ended up becoming one of the most pleasant surpises of this season, solid at defense and surprisingly good as assisting...The only reason he's not starter XI material is that he has to compete to Bellerín. His performances have allowed his return to England's national team. If he's able to keep up this rythm he'll continue for quite a long time in the Emirates. WILL CONTINUE John Stones: In only season he has become in a vital part of our squad, he's become our leader in defense, our penalty specialist... and fans love him already. I knew he would be a great signing... He went even beyond my expectations. Needless to say he will continue. WILL CONTINUE Calum Chambers: He had quite a tricky role as he was meant to act as the fourth centerback yet he never complained and worked hard both on the pitch and the training grounds, when it comes to his performances he ended up having more game time than expected and his performances were more than satisfactory. WILL CONTINUE Nacho Monreal: He's been on the verge of leaving the club due to his age and Gayá's arrival on July, but his performances gave him the right to stay (best leftback in Europe), he has to be ready for next year as he will have serious competition for the starter position for the first time in years though. WILL CONTINUE Laurent Koscielny: Kind of tricky situation, since he lost his position to Stones and despite performing well his physique is starting to lose its edge as he's been more prone to both injury and fatigue... His future will depend on whether Mammana decides to keep growing on Napoli one more year or he decides to come back to prove his worth. DOUBTFUL Per Mertesacker: I expected a similar case to that of Laurent but he proved me wrong as he's been superb this season and played almost as much as Stones, he'll stay and he'll do so as captain starting next year. WILL CONTINUE Héctor Bellerín: This lad is incredible, the growth he experienced in two years can't be described with words, when I arrived was a promising rightback and now he's one of the best of the world in his position. He does everything and does it almost flawlessly...Needless to say...He'll stay for the next decade...or more...WILL CONTINUE Kieran Gibbs: Monreal's case...on reversal. He had a spot for next year as Gayá's backup but, his injury proness, his performance drop and and his constant complains to the press about the lack of game time have earned him a ticket out of the Emirates... Not his condition as Arsenal grown player could save him as both Bellerín and Gnabry will be 22 by the time the next Champions League campaign starts. His next destination: Manchester United... If he thinks that he'll be a starter over Luke Shaw he's up for a nasty surprise though. WON'T CONTINUE
View attachment 125716 Lewis Cook: Another pleasant surprise, he was meant to start as the third choice (last resort-ish so to speak) and he pulled off quite the underdog as he became the our starter defensive midfielder against all odds, his performances allowed him to go with England's national team (not the U21, the main one). He'll be regarded as the starter choice for next season. WILL CONTINUE Mikel Arteta: What I feared the most came into reality with Mikel's, his physique couldn't keep with English seasons' rythm and he lost the few weight he had in the team... He also realized this as he announced his retirement by the end of June. His influence will be missed but hopefully he'll return as a coach like Rosicky did. WON'T CONTINUE Francis Coquelin: This lad is kind of unlucky... In most teams he would be a permanent starting XI material, however here has to compete to two youngsters that seemed to have more future than him... and ended up losing his spot to Cook. Even with all that, he's still regarded as valuable to the time and should get plenty of game time to try an earn his role back. WILL CONTINUE Kristoffer Ajer: The third wheel... so to speak. He's been performing well so far, but I expected more coming from him... Maybe a loan to a top flight team will prove to be the right move for him. It worked for Jenkinson and Gnabry and seems to be working for Mammana, Mas, Hinds, Maitland-Niles...ON LOAN Andrija Zivkovic: I bought this lad for 1 million last year and he was about to go on loan this season... However, he took advantage of Ox's move to City and he easily became one Europe's best young wingers... Starter in the right flank, top assister in the Premier... this lad is a monster...and his value is 29 times higher after just a two years span. WILL CONTINUE Paul Kim: One of the most promising prospects of our academy and one of my favourites too, he was a part of the U21 squad but I've seen myself to use him more than expected due to injuries and he eventually became a part of the senior squad at the end of the season... better regarded than Walcott even. He'll be a permanent adition to the senior squad next season. WILL CONTINUE Jack Grealish: His last season was superb (he earned the Golden Boy after all), this year...not so much. He made a fine season, but somehow I get the feeling that his performances have dropped. He'll be a part of the squad next season, but he should be mindful of that as there's plenty of talent ready to replace him on his side. WILL CONTINUE Aaron Ramsey: His role, influence and performance were as vital as they were last season, when he performs well the rest of the team plays well... He'll stay, keep his position and to top it off will become Vice Captain starting next season. WILL CONTINUE Theo Walcott: There's almost no positive words I can find when talking about him... Last year he lost his role as third striker to Charlie Austin, this season he lost his position to starter right winger to Andrija Zivkovic... and by the end of the season even Paul Kim played more than him. The only reason he has to stay is that another player in the striker area will leave, and I'm not even sure if that's reason enough... If he stays he'll be on thin ice (as it would be strike three) he better be ready as he's about to face a sink or swim scenario. DOUBTFUL Santi Cazorla: Difficult case... He's a great player and good influence for the young ones, but this year has played less than I would like him to and next season with Barkley around his game time will shorten even more...I want him to stay, but his age and the amount of people in his position don't help, I'll be up to him in the end. DOUBTFUL Serge Gnabry: Another pleasant surprise, it seems that his time at West Brom worked wonders on him as he became an important part of the team and his ability to play in every area of the midfield is a great help. He seems to keep attracting the interest of great squads... but unless a great offer comes...He'll keep being a gunner. WILL CONTINUE Jack Wilshere: Our ol' Jack of Trades keeps being as useful as last year, he's not getting as much game time as other players but he's contributing as much as the rest... if not more. In a two or three years span his role might come to an end as quite a few of our prospects can (and most likely will) outclass him by then, but for now he gets to stay. WILL CONTINUE Baldé Keita: He was meant to become Ox's replacement and he has done a more than convincing job at it, as he performed well as winger (both sides) and even as a striker if needed. He'll stay next season and hopefully with a bigger role. WILL CONTINUE Mesut Özil: He's a really tricky player to deal with as he's eager to complain as soon as he misses a couple or three matches... But if you can keep him "happy" he can solve you a match on his own... He'll stay, without complains hopefully. WILL CONTINUE Alexis Sánchez: One of the best (if not the best) left winger in the world, we're lucky to have him and he gave us a lot of joyous moments to keep in our memories (like the semifinals against Atlético). He's not leaving no matter what. WILL CONTINUE
View attachment 125715 Richairo Zivkovic: He started with a tricky role as the 4th striker has literally almost no game time to prove his value, but he still managed to take advantage of whatever time he had. Sadly a three month injury halted his progression and he missed almost the whole season's finale. He'll be going to Lorient on loan as I feel he needs to get plenty of game time in order to keep developing (and more after a knee injury). ON LOAN Vincent Aboubakar: What can I say about this man? England's defences are terrified, when he has an inspired day nothing can stop him... as his 61 league goals prove. He'll stay as he's a vital part of our success. WILL CONTINUE Charlie Austin: This case saddens me and pains me. He was not used as much as other players but he was still a good member of the team both as a player and as mentor figure for the young ones, but he eventually got tired of waiting for chance and wanted to move on... Sadly I couldn't say no to him, he'll start a new adventure in Scottish football starting next season. Good bye and good luck my friend, the Emirates' door shall always be open for you if you ever want to come back. WON'T CONTINUE Olivier Giroud: If Aboubakar has been vital for us in England, Giroud has been vital in Europe... Against all odds he scored 24 goals in two Champions League campaigns, we owe a huge part of our European campaign to him. He's earned the right to retire here...If he wants that is. WILL CONTINUE