Arteta Is New Arsenal Head Coach

Arsenal have appointed Mikel Arteta as their new head coach on a three-and-a-half-year deal. Arteta leaves his role as Manchester City assistant manager and replaces Freddie Ljungberg, who took over as interim head coach following Unai Emery’s sacking at the end of November. “This is a huge honour,” said Arteta, whose coaching team has yet to be announced. “Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world. We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with (club owner) Stan and (director) Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.

Ljungberg oversaw two draws, two defeats and one victory during his time in temporary charge, and departs his role with Arsenal 10th in the Premier League table. Arteta returns to the club for whom he played 150 games between 2011 and 2016, winning two FA Cups and two Community Shields in the process. City and Pep Guardiola were intent on Arteta remaining at the Etihad Stadium, but the offer from the Gunners proved too enticing for their former midfielder to turn down. The domestic treble winners were angered by Arsenal’s approach for the Spaniard after pictures emerged of Gunners chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and lawyer Huss Fahmy leaving his Manchester home in the early hours of Monday morning.

The Gunners lie 10th in the Premier League table, trailing the top four places by seven points with just 17 games gone. First up for Arteta is a trip to his other former Premier League side Everton, who have also recently sacked manager Marco Silva. Duncan Ferguson is in temporary charge for the game against the Gunners, with Carlo Ancelotti looking likely to take over on a permanent basis.

Arsenal Transfer Rumours 20-Dec-2019

Mikel Arteta is to be the next head coach of Arsenal. His official unveiling is only hours away. It has been a hectic week for the Gunners that began with a meeting at the Spaniard’s house in the early hours of Monday morning following a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend. Everton are up next for the north Londoners, with Freddie Ljungberg preparing to lead the team out for one last game as interim head coach before Arteta takes the reins. The Spaniard will be in the stands for the match against the Toffees, along with Carlo Ancelotti – the Italian is set to be installed as manager at Gooidson Park with Duncan Ferguson in charge against Arsenal.

Every transfer window brings with it new rumours of an exit for Mesut Ozil but after an apparent breakdown in relations between the player and the club over his criticism of China the intrigue around Fenerbahce has increased. The Turkish Super Lig side have long been linked with the 31-year-old and according to Fotomac a loan deal could be on the cards in January. One player who is expected to play a key role for the new Arsenal head coach is midfielder Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan won over fans in his first season at the Emirates Stadium by adding some much needed tenacity in midfield to chase down opponents and protect the back line.

Phil Babb highlighted the importance of his role for the Gunners if Arteta is to try and bring in what he learned at City at London Colney, with Fernandinho a key cog in Guardiola’s machine. With the Brazilian trusted to sit back and prevent the opposition from blowing the Premier League champions away on the counter-attack, he frees up the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne to roam forward. It is this role, as the safety net behind the more advanced midfielders and in front of the defence, that Torreira has been tipped to fill.

In a poll conducted by football.london, Arsenal supporters have named the three positions that need attention in the transfer market and the three players they think Arteta needs to fill them. RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha are among the names picked out by fans to fix issues in the squad.

Arteta Expected To Be Announced As New Arsenal Manager

Mikel Arteta is expected to be named as Arsenal’s permanent head coach – but what are the qualities that have seen him move into pole position for the job? Arteta is in advanced talks to become the permanent successor to Unai Emery at the Emirates Stadium. Talks between Arsenal and Manchester City are ongoing and progressing well, with City boss Pep Guardiola expecting Arteta to make a quick decision over his future. Arteta is about to become Arsenal head coach 18 months after he was first interviewed for the job. He came very close to being appointed in the summer of 2018 after Arsene Wenger left but at the last minute, Arsenal decided to give the job to Unai Emery instead.

Arteta’s appointment will receive a mixed reception from Arsenal fans. Many are concerned by his lack of managerial experience, others are more open to the idea of bringing in a former Arsenal captain to rebuild the playing side of the club. As far as the Arsenal board are concerned, they have long been impressed with Arteta and it was only a last-minute change of heart that saw Emery appointed ahead of him 18 months ago. Arteta fits the bill because he is an outstanding young coach who has played for Arsenal and knows what it means to play for and represent the club. He has worked under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City for three years and, like Guardiola, came through the Barcelona system as a player. He has played an important part in making City one of the best sides in the world. He works closely with individual players and has been credited with playing a key role in the development of young players such as Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.

Arteta wants the Arsenal job and he will cost a lot less in compensation and wages than other big-name managers. Arsenal are expected to pay City less than £1m and Arteta’s estimated annual salary of £5m is less than half what managers such as Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp earn. Arteta’s ability to speak English fluently is also an important factor in his appointment. Emery struggled to communicate effectively with the media and fans and Arsenal were determined to make sure their new manager was a good English speaker. It also helps that Arteta speaks Spanish when it comes to dealing with club executives such as head of football Raul Sanllehi. Manchester City’s current manager Pep Guardiola. In an interview with my colleague Geoff Shreeves, Pep said he’d definitely be a candidate to replace him at City, and in recent weeks has made no secret of the high esteem he holds his No 2 in.

Standard Liege 2 Arsenal 2

Arsenal came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Standard Liege and progress to the last 32 of the Europa League as group winners. The Gunners were all but through before kick-off, with the hosts needing to win 5-0 to prevent the visitors from going through to the knockout rounds – a result that looked even more unlikely after a first half Arsenal edged. However, Samuel Bastien put the hosts ahead just after the restart when his shot deflected off Sokratis and beyond the wrong-footed Emiliano Martinez. The goal boosted the hosts but visibly knocked the fragile confidence of the Arsenal players, who became even more nervy when Standard Liege got a second as Selim Amallah’s strike from inside the area flew into the far corner via a slight deflection off Konstantinos Mavropanos.

It set things up for a tense final 20 minutes as the hosts pursued an unlikely result but Alexandre Lacazette settled the Gunners’ nerves when he converted a bullet of a header. Bukayo Saka then equalised with 10 minutes to go, curling a neat finish into the corner to secure the draw Arsenal needed to top Group F. It was perhaps a bit too much to expect Monday’s morale-boosting win at West Ham to mark an immediate upturn in Arsenal’s performances, particularly after a torrid run of nine games without victory. As was the case in London, the Gunners were below par for over an hour of this encounter and paid the price for poor defending – an area of concern for much of this season – when no players took responsibility to close down Standard Liege’s players, allowing the goalscorers to get off shots that were easily preventable.

One of the few bright spots in a miserable season for Arsenal has been the emergence of Saka. The 18-year-old has looked lively and showed plenty of endeavour in his 13 appearances so far for the Gunners but this was arguably his best performance to date. He finished the game with an assist and goal and could have had more but was denied by two excellent saves by Arnaud Bodart in the first half. Saka has now assisted six goals for Arsenal in all competitions this season – two more than any other player – underlining his growing importance to the Gunners.

West Ham 1 Arsenal 3

Arsenal came from behind to end their nine-match winless streak as Freddie Ljungberg enjoyed his first victory as interim manager at the expense of his former club West Ham. Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Martinelli marked his full Premier League debut by side-footing an equaliser which cancelled out Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected first-half opener at London Stadium. Within nine minutes, Nicolas Pepe had curled a magnificent second into the top corner and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired in a third. The salvo turned the game on its head and piled the pressure on West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini, whose side have taken four points from their past nine league games and conceded three times in three successive home games.

The Hammers remain a point above the relegation zone in 16th and face a trip to third-bottom Southampton on Saturday. Arsenal move up two places to ninth. Arsenal’s victory was all the more remarkable because until Martinelli added to the seven goals he has scored in cup competitions this season, the visitors had been utterly woeful. Club officials had spoken before kick-off about the improved atmosphere triggered by Ljungberg’s appointment as Unai Emery’s replacement but it appeared this game would end in frustration, just as the previous two had done under the Swede. The visitors were bereft of confidence and mild boos from the travelling support accompanied the end of a first half in which their side failed to have a shot on target and went behind when Ogbonna’s header bounced in off Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

True, they did not have much luck. Hector Bellerin was injured in the warm-up and when Kieran Tierney was helped off in obvious pain with a shoulder injury sustained in a seemingly innocuous tangle with Michail Antonio, Ljungberg had lost both his first-choice full-backs in the space of half an hour. Nevertheless, it was pitiful stuff and when Aubameyang surged down the right wing and sent over a cross that flew over everyone and straight out for a throw-in on the other side of the pitch, it was symptomatic of a club apparently heading nowhere fast. It was 1977 when Arsenal last went 10 matches without a win. With an away Europa League game against Standard Liege followed by a home encounter with Manchester City to come, at the interval it was not beyond the realms of possibility that the 12-game barren sequence from 1974 was going to be threatened. With Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz on the bench, it was two of Arsenal’s most inexperienced players who sparked the change in fortune.

Arsenal 1 Brighton Hove Albion 2

Managerless Arsenal’s season plummeted to a new low as they were beaten by Brighton in interim manager Freddie Ljungberg’s first home match in charge. Alexandre Lacazette marked his 100th Gunners appearance by heading his side level after Adam Webster had given the visitors a first-half lead. With the score 1-1, there was frustration for Ljungberg and Arsenal when David Luiz thought he had made it 2-1 with a volley but it was correctly ruled out following a VAR check for offside. Neal Maupay headed Brighton’s winner from Aaron Mooy’s cross to leave Arsenal on their worst winless run since 1977 – and 10 points off a Champions League spot.

Arsenal, who are 10th in the table, have now failed to win any of their last nine games in all competitions and fans who stayed for the final whistle booed their team off the pitch after a tepid performance. Twelve years after his last appearance for Arsenal as a player, Ljungberg was given a chance to show fans inside a far-from-full Emirates he is capable of managing the club where he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups. It started well, with the Swede given a decent reception by the crowd, before rapidly going downhill as Brighton, who had lost their previous four away games, took control. Ljungberg dropped Shkodran Mustafi from his 18 after last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with struggling Norwich, yet Arsenal were still a shambles at the back. Maupay had already forced Bernd Leno into a one-handed save when Webster struck from a corner after lashing home following Dan Burn’s downward header.

Arsenal improved with the introduction of club record signing Nicolas Pepe after half-time and France forward Lacazette lifted the mood by climbing above the Brighton defence to head his side level after Mesut Ozil’s first Premier League assist since February. Yet the Gunners were short on confidence and ideas – while Mat Ryan produced a superb save at the end to frustrate the home side further. The Brighton keeper flung himself across his line to keep out substitute Gabriel Martinelli as Arsenal, who have home games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United on the horizon, failed to win for the 11th time in 15 top-flight attempts. The home side’s night was summed up towards the end of the first half when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a go at team-mate Joe Willock after a home move had broken down.

Norwich City 2 Arsenal 2

Arsenal’s winless run continued with Freddie Ljungberg’s first Premier League game as boss ending in a draw against struggling Norwich. The Gunners, with Ljungberg at the helm on an interim basis after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday, have not won for eight games. The result leaves Arsenal eighth in the Premier League, seven points off a place in the top four, while Norwich remain 19th, three points from safety. While Arsenal started brightly, familiar defensive failings resurfaced as Teemu Pukki ended his eight-game goal drought with a shot that deflected off Shkodran Mustafi. The hosts’ lead only lasted eight minutes though, with Christoph Zimmermann penalised for handball and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelling for the visitors with a retaken penalty, after four Norwich players had encroached when his original effort was saved by Tim Krul.

More calamitous defending allowed Todd Cantwell to re-establish Norwich’s lead, with the midfielder slicing through the Gunners defence and placing an effort into the bottom corner on the stroke of half-time. However, Aubameyang again drew the visitors level, turning in a loose ball from a corner to ensure Arsenal gained a share of the points. Arsenal have a number of issues that they will need to resolve before they can hope to compete for a Premier League title again, and the most pressing remains in defence. The Gunners arrived in Norfolk having kept just two clean sheets in the league all season and left with the joint worst defensive record of any club in the top half of the table. An absence of leadership or quality in central defensive areas appears a fundamental flaw and not one easily addressed in the short term by Ljungberg.

Arsenal have bought defenders in recent years, but none fit the mould of a Tony Adams, Sol Campbell or Martin Keown, who were known for being commanding and who seemed to enjoy nullifying their direct opponents. For both Norwich goals, Arsenal’s current central defenders played a passive role. With the opener, David Luiz was not tight enough to prevent Pukki from turning once he had reached Kenny McLean’s ball forward. The Brazilian and his defensive partner Mustafi compounded matters by standing off and inviting the Finland forward to shoot. For Norwich’s second, Cantwell was allowed to run towards the Arsenal goal and Mustafi remained stationary as the England Under-21 international placed his effort into the far right corner from the left of the area. On a trying afternoon for Luiz and Mustafi, Pukki was unfortunate not to add to his tally after turning the German inside out. The duo were also thankful to goalkeeper Bernd Leno for pushing McLean’s effort on to the post after he had run through the centre of the Arsenal defence unchecked.

Unai Emery Sacked As Arsenal Manager

Unai Emery has been sacked as Arsenal manager after 18 months in charge. The Spaniard, who previously led Paris St-Germain to the French league title and won three Europa Leagues with Sevilla, was appointed Gunners boss in May 2018, succeeding Arsene Wenger. He has been replaced on a temporary basis by assistant and former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg. Arsenal said the decision had been “taken due to results and performances not being at the level required”. The Gunners have not won in seven games and lost 2-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday. It is their worst run without a victory since February 1992, which was eight games under George Graham. They are without a Premier League victory since 6 October and eight points off the top four.

Ljungberg took training on Friday and the Arsenal statement added: “We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward. “The search for a new head coach is under way and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete.”  Ljungberg posted on social media: “However long I oversee Arsenal for I will give everything I have to put smiles on faces again. We have a busy few weeks ahead and the team needs your support. Let’s get to work.” Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu informed Emery at about 09:00 on Friday and the players were told at 10:00 as they arrived for a recovery session. Ljungberg addressed the players and Emery also had the chance to say goodbye. Other names linked with the post include former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta, ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) said Emery’s dismissal was “unfortunate but inevitable” and the “more difficult challenge is to recruit a suitable successor”. Arsenal finished fifth in 48-year-old Emery’s first season in charge at Emirates Stadium after he replaced Wenger. They went into this season having spent more than £130m in the summer after signing winger Nicolas Pepe, centre-back David Luiz, left-back Kieran Tierney, striker Gabriel Martinelli and defender William Saliba, who will join next summer. The club also brought in midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid. They started this season with back-to-back victories against Newcastle and Burnley, but that run ended with defeat by Liverpool, before draws with north London rivals Tottenham and Watford followed. Their last Premier League victory was a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

Arsenal 2 Southampton 2

Arsenal’s winless run continued as they drew against Southampton to increase the pressure on manager Unai Emery. The result leaves the Gunners in seventh, nine points worse off than at the corresponding stage last term, while the Saints remain 19th. Emery’s side, who were second best throughout, were booed off at the final whistle after delivering a disjointed performance which suggests they may struggle to compete for a place in the top four this season. Danny Ings’ early goal had put the visitors in front, with the forward catching the home defence asleep to race onto Ryan Bertrand’s free-kick and score with a right-foot shot from close range.

That set the tone for what was to follow, with the visitors wasting several good chances to extend their lead before Alexandre Lacazette turned in a close-range equaliser. The goal did little to kick-start Arsenal though, who fell behind for a second time when James Ward-Prowse scored on the rebound after seeing his second-half penalty saved by home goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Not even Lacazette’s second goal of the day, which came late in stoppage time, could raise spirits at the Emirates, with the forward appearing embarrassed to celebrate. Prior to Saturday’s games respective managers Unai Emery and Ralph Hassenhuttl shared the unenviable tag of being the bookmakers’ joint favourites to be the next Premier League manager dismissed. However, while Southampton’s dreadful record in north London suggested they could be ideal opponents for Emery to alleviate some of the pressure on him, things did not go to plan for the Arsenal boss or his team.

And until Lacazette’s late goal, his 24th at home of his 31 Premier League goals, his side had appeared likely to slip to a first home defeat against the Saints since 1987. That was largely due to familiar failings once again resurfacing, with Southampton’s pressing game and ability to bypass the Arsenal midfield clearly evident. They were also not helped by Emery’s deployment of a three-man defence of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz and Calum Chambers. The trio were repeatedly pulled apart by the pace of Ings and Southampton’s 19-year-old Republic of Ireland forward, Michael Obafemi. While the introduction of club record signing Nicolas Pepe did at least spark their attacking play, they always remained vulnerable in defence and were fortunate to escape with a point.

Leicester City 2 Arsenal 0

Brendan Rodgers said Leicester City are “not really thinking about the title race”, despite their 2-0 win against Arsenal taking them above Manchester City into second in the Premier League. The 2015-16 champions had looked set to be frustrated as they missed several chances in the first half before Wilfred Ndidi struck the bar early in the second period. But Jamie Vardy finally broke the deadlock as he finished off an excellent team move, firing in his 11th goal of the season after Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans cut open the Arsenal defence. James Maddison then made sure there was no way back for Arsenal with a low strike through Héctor Bellerin’s legs and into the back of the net.

Victory means Leicester move above Manchester City and Chelsea with 26 points from 12 games, five behind leaders Liverpool but nine clear of fifth-placed Sheffield United. “We are thinking about the development of the team and making them better and if we can bring European football here in my time, that would be great,” said Rodgers. “We have thrown a hand grenade right into the middle of it all. We are working very, very well. We will just concentrate on our performance levels until 10 games to go and assess it then. “I came here to make an impact and create something that we can hopefully sustain over a number of years.” Arsenal, meanwhile, are now eight points off the top four and are without a win in the Premier League since beating Bournemouth 1-0 on 6 October.

Eighteen months ago, former Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis hailed the arrival of Emery as a coach who “plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly”. That description was certainly accurate about one of the teams on the pitch at King Power Stadium on Saturday, but it was not Emery’s side. The Foxes possess a clear identity and a togetherness that appears to be absent from this current Gunners side who, apart from occasional flashes, rarely troubled their opponents. Leicester dominated possession from the outset and even though they missed a number of decent chances – Ayoze Pérez firing just over after capitalising on a defensive error and Maddison putting a free-kick on the roof of the net – there was always the sense that the Foxes would find a way through.

Xhaka May Never Play For Arsenal Again

Unai Emery admits Granit Xhaka may have played his last game for Arsenal and revealed conversations have taken place over whether he should be sold in January. The midfielder has been absent for the last three matches after telling supporters to “f*** off” as he was jeered as he was substituted during a draw against Crystal Palace last month. Emery, having later stripped Xhaka of the captaincy, confirmed he had taken the decision for him to sit out Saturday’s game at Leicester after conversations between the pair ended with the 27-year-old declaring he was unavailable.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident against Palace, the club offered counselling to a player who Emery described as “devastated, sad and very down”. He will now miss what could be a key game at Leicester as Emery stated he had taken the call to once again leave him out. “Not yet,” Emery replied when asked if Xhaka was ready to feature at the King Power Stadium. “I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he’s feeling now and how he is in his mind. He’s working well, he’s training well, but he said to me that he’s not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait.

Pushed on whether Xhaka may never play for Arsenal again, he added: “As a coach I have a responsibility for the team. We need a player like Granit Xhaka. “But also, I don’t know if he’s going to play again. I don’t know, because if he is available in his mind to continue helping us and continuing defending the Arsenal shirt, I think time is giving us that solution.” Reports surfaced earlier in the week that the club may try and move Xhaka on in the winter transfer window to alleviate what could potentially become a long-term problem. And Emery did little to quell the speculation when it was put to him whether the club had spoken about a possible move.

Vitoria Guimaraes 1 Arsenal 1

Arsenal’s 100% record in the Europa League this season ended as Bruno Duarte scored a 91st-minute equaliser for Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal. Shkodran Mustafi had provided the Gunners with the breakthrough with an unmarked header from a Nicolas Pepe free-kick with 10 minutes to go. But Vitoria came to life in the closing stages and former Spurs man Marcus Edwards’ cross from the right caused confusion in the Arsenal defence, allowing Duarte to equalise with a scissor-kick. The result was Arsenal’s fourth consecutive draw in all competitions in a turbulent week that saw Granit Xhaka stripped of the captaincy. Group F leaders Arsenal will still qualify for the last 32 on Thursday if third-placed Standard Liege lose to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery made eight changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday, including handing the captain’s armband to defender Rob Holding with former skipper Xhaka not part of the squad. The Switzerland captain was stripped of the captaincy following an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on 27 October. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will take over as club captain from Xhaka, and German midfielder Mesut Özil also did not travel to Portugal. Emery opted for a change in formation with a defensive back three of Holding, Sokratis and goalscorer Mustafi, with youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Kieran Tierney adding an attacking threat as wing-backs. But for the second time in a week the Gunners were punished late on and failed to take all three points. In a match played in torrential rain, the first half was largely uneventful with Vitoria showing early warning signs when their midfielder Pepe hit the post with a long-range effort and Edwards forced a good save from Emiliano Martinez.

Martinez was again called into action minutes later when a Vitoria free-kick found the unmarked Edmond Tapsoba but the centre-back’s flicked header was palmed away. Vitoria keeper Douglas was not tested in the opening 45 minutes as the Gunners failed to register a shot on target despite dominating possession. Arsenal’s best chance of the first half fell to Holding after clever play down the left-hand side by 18-year-old Bukayo Saka. The skipper for the match was unchallenged as he rose to meet the cross but his header went over the bar. In the second half the Gunners began to take control and were rewarded on 80 minutes thanks to Mustafi’s header from a free-kick by Pepe, who scored twice from set-pieces against Vitoria in the final 10 minutes at Emirates Stadium two weeks ago to give his side a 3-2 win.

Another victory looked to have been sealed here but Arsenal’s defensive frailties were exposed in stoppage time as Vitoria found a late surge of tempo to put the Gunners under pressure and find an equaliser, earning them their first point in the Europa League this season. Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos suffered a hamstring injury in the second half and has been ruled out of the trip to Leicester on Saturday by Emery.

Xhaka Stripped Of Captaincy; Auba To Take Over

Midfielder Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking over, Gunners’ boss Unai Emery has confirmed. Xhaka, 27, was involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October. “I had a meeting with him and told him he is no longer in the captain’s group,” said Emery on Tuesday. “He accepted my decision. I needed to take a decision and now it’s closed.”

Last month, the Switzerland international was booed as he walked off the pitch at Emirates Stadium, prompting him to cup his ear, take his shirt off and head straight down the tunnel to the dressing room. Emery later said Xhaka should apologise to the club’s supporters, saying the Swiss midfielder “knows he was wrong”. However, Xhaka refused to go that far, although he did say he got “carried away” and reacted “disrespectfully” to fans. “The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply,” Xhaka said in statement on Instagram last month. “I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch. “My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months, have hurt me deeply. “People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”

Xhaka, who has not played since, has been left out of Arsenal’s squad for their Europa League game in Portugal against Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday. He joined the club in a £35m move from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and played in the 2017 FA Cup final as Arsenal beat Chelsea. Xhaka, who is the captain of the Swiss national side, also helped the Gunners reach the League Cup final in 2018 and the final of the Europa League earlier this year. Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League and play away at third-placed Leicester on Saturday.

Emery’s decision to strip Xhaka of the Arsenal captaincy was the inevitable consequence of his angry exchange with supporters during the draw with Crystal Palace. The whole affair has been a mess of Emery’s making, starting with letting a blind vote among Arsenal’s players elect a captain rather than being strong enough to make the decision himself, ending with a figure who has never been a fans’ favourite and has had a chequered career at the club with the armband. And while there is understandable sympathy for Xhaka because of abuse he has suffered on social media, it was impossible for him to continue as captain once he gestured and mouthed towards fans when he was substituted during the 2-2 draw.

Arsenal 1 Wolves 1

Arsenal’s turbulent week ended with them surrendering another lead as Wolves fought back to claim a merited Premier League point at the Emirates. Wolves, who are now unbeaten in their past eight matches in the capital, dominated for long periods but fell behind as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left unmarked from Alexandre Lacazette’s pass to steer home his 50th goal for Arsenal. However, that was a rare blip for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side who repeatedly carved the hosts open. And they got their reward when Raul Jimenez headed Joao Moutinho’s hooked cross past Bernd Leno into the bottom right corner.

It ensured Wolves, who are up to 11th, stretched their unbeaten run to six games, while Arsenal remain in fifth. Arsenal have already surrendered leads against Watford and Crystal Palace this season, and this result did little to allay concerns over the team’s perceived fragility in defence. Former boss Arsene Wenger came in for criticism over this towards the end of his 22-year tenure at the club and there is a feeling that Emery has been unable to address those failings as he nears 18 months in charge. While they were in total control against Watford and Palace before capitulating, that was not the case against Wolves who took the game to the hosts from the off.

The visitors had already fashioned at least half a dozen good opportunities before Arsenal opened the scoring against the run of play. Aubameyang’s expert finish brought up his ninth goal in 13 games but he was largely forced to feed off scraps with Arsenal managing just 10 shots compared to the visitors’ 25. There was little of the fan unrest that led to Granit Xhaka being omitted from the starting line-up but equally there was a sense of inevitability about Jimenez’s equaliser. However, only Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola currently enjoys a higher win ratio in the Premier League than Emery.

Liverpool 5 Arsenal 5 (5-4 On Penalties)

Liverpool’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over Arsenal sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup after 10 goals were scored in a thrilling contest at Anfield. Celebrations broke out in front of the Kop after Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, 20, saved Dani Ceballos’ penalty to seal a 5-4 shootout win. Divock Origi’s 94th-minute scissor kick sent the game to penalties after Liverpool had twice come from behind to draw level. Arsenal’s Joe Willock thought he had given his side a memorable victory with a sensational long-range strike in the second half but there was more to come on an unforgettable night at Anfield.

The celebrations were wild from Liverpool’s players at full-time as teenager Curtis Jones coolly thumped the final penalty in off the post to make it five from five in front of the Kop. Arsenal were minutes away from victory after Willock’s stunning long-range effort had put them 5-4 up, before Origi pulled off what seemed the inevitable in stoppage time. Liverpool led just once during the match and that was after five minutes when Shkodran Mustafi slid in and diverted the ball into his own net. Midfielder Mesut Ozil, given just his third start of the season, then set-up Bukayo Saka, whose shot was rebounded in by Lucas Torreira to make it 1-1.

Teenager Gabriel Martinelli continued his impressive goalscoring form, pouncing on a loose ball at the near post before slotting in from Saka’s pass to make it 3-1 to Arsenal. But Liverpool cut their lead to one goal on the stroke of half-time through James Milner’s penalty after Harvey Elliott – who became the youngest Liverpool player to start at Anfield (16 years, 209 days) – went down in the box under minimal contact from Martinelli. It took just nine minutes for the goals to start flowing again in the second half, when Milner uncharacteristically gave the ball away in his own area and Ozil teed up Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired in an excellent long-range effort for Liverpool and Origi’s smart turn and powerful finish made it 4-4 – all this before Willock and Origi’s late goals left the teams level at 5-5.

Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 2

Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka was involved in an angry confrontation with his own supporters as Crystal Palace came from two goals down to earn a point in an ill-tempered atmosphere at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners were two up inside nine minutes as Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz took advantage of poor defending at corners – but it was all downhill from there for Arsenal and manager Unai Emery. Palace pulled one back before half-time when Luka Milivojevic scored from the spot following a VAR intervention after referee Martin Atkinson had initially shown Wilfried Zaha a yellow card for diving in a tangle with Calum Chambers. And Palace were level seven minutes after the break when Jordan Ayew headed in James McArthur’s cross at the far post.

The game turned toxic just after the hour when Xhaka was substituted to roars of delight from Arsenal’s fans, the newly-appointed captain reacting angrily to jeers at his slow departure by waving and cupping his ear sarcastically to the home support, exchanging words before taking off his shirt and disappearing down the tunnel. Arsenal’s frustration and misery was complete when another VAR intervention infuriated Emirates Stadium and denied the Gunners victory after Sokratis scored from close-range late on. As the players returned to the centre circle, referee Atkinson was involved in more debate with Stockley Park, where an apparent foul by Chambers on Milivojevic was detected, causing widespread anger inside an arena that was already boiling over.

Xhaka was a contentious choice as new Arsenal captain – and his behaviour here did nothing to suggest it is a role that suits him. His own performances raise questions about his suitability but his petulant, goading reaction to his 61st-minute substitution by youngster Bukayo Saka only played into the hands of those who believe he does not have the character for the role. Of course, it will have hurt a proud professional to hear the mixture of delight and sarcasm that greeted his number coming up, but his response was provocative and met with loud condemnation from Arsenal’s fans. Arsenal had conceded a two-goal lead so there was a sense of urgency that was not reflected in his slow stroll towards the technical area, anger growing with every laboured stride.

He then waved his arms towards Arsenal’s fans before foolishly cupping his ear and going through the most cursory of gestures with Emery, also appearing to exchange words with supporters. Xhaka then took off his shirt and went straight down the tunnel. It summed up the discontent lurking close to the surface at Arsenal, with further evidence provided by the loud chants for exiled German star Mesut Ozil as they fought in vain for the winner. Arsenal are in fifth but a gap is now opening up – four points to Chelsea in fourth – and this was another display that exposed their fragility and soft centre as that early advantage was cast aside. This was another unsatisfactory 90 minutes for Emery and Arsenal.

Child’s Play (2019)

Child’s Play is a 2019 horror film directed by Lars Klevberg and written by Tyler Burton Smith, serving as a remake of the 1988 film of the same name and a reboot of the Child’s Play franchise. The film stars Gabriel Bateman, Aubrey Plaza, and Brian Tyree Henry, with Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky. The plot follows a family terrorized by a high-tech doll who becomes self-aware and subsequently murderous.

This reboot takes away the supernatural element of the soul of a dying criminal taking over a doll byerforming a Haitian Vodou spell and instead uses technology gone bad. Kaslan Corporation has just launched Buddi, a revolutionary line of high-tech dolls designed to be life-long companions to their owners, learning from their surroundings and acting accordingly. Buddi dolls can also connect to and operate other Kaslan products, quickly becoming a success for children worldwide. At a Buddi assembly factory in Vietnam, an employee is fired by his supervisor for insufficient work. In retaliation, the employee manipulates the doll that he is assembling by disabling all of its safety protocols, before committing suicide. The doll is packed alongside others in preparation for international delivery.

The doll is taken by retail clerk Karen Barclay who blackmails her boss to give it as a present to her 13 year old son Andy who is hearing impaired. The doll is defective but once Andy activates the doll, it names itself Chucky and becomes attached to Andy. Over time, Chucky helps Andy befriend two other children in the building – Falyn and Pugg – but also begins to display violent tendencies. Chucky tries to strangle the pet cat after it scratches Andy, and one night, while Andy and his friends gleefully watch a horror film, Chucky starts mimicking the violence on the screen and approaches the trio with a kitchen knife before Andy disarms him. The next day the cat is killed but a tearful Andy hides the body. Karen locks the doll in a closet, but he escapes and terrorizes her boyfriend Shane, which leads Shane to confront Andy. After overhearing Andy’s pleas for Shane to disappear, after he is bullied by the man, Chucky follows Shane to his house where we find that he actually has a wife and kids.

While Shane is outside taking down Christmas lights, Chucky breaks his leg before activating a tiller which scalps and kills him. The following day, Chucky delivers Shane’s skinned face as a gift to a horrified Andy. While police detective Mike Norris begins an investigation, Andy, Falyn and Pugg disable Chucky and dispose of him in the garbage. Building voyeur and electrician Gabe finds the doll and takes him to the building’s basement to prepare him for online sale. Now fully repaired, Chucky tortures and murders Gabe with a table saw. Chucky lands in the possession of another kid in the building named Omar, and proceeds to kill Mike’s mother Doreen in a controlled car crash. Meanwhile, Andy fails to convince Karen that Chucky has become murderous, and she takes Andy along to her next shift at her shopping mall workplace in order to keep him nearby. Mike travels to the mall and apprehends him just as Chucky takes full control of the building causing chaos.

Mike is wounded amid the massacre, and Andy and his friends manage to reach the exit, only for Andy to be forced to return when Chucky reveals that he is holding Karen hostage with intent to kill her. Andy manages to free his mother while being attacked by Chucky, before overpowering and defeating the doll with help from Karen and Mike. While paramedics tend Karen, Mike and other survivors, Andy and the rest of his friends destroy Chucky’s lifeless body in a nearby alleyway. Kaslan Corporation CEO Henry Kaslan issues a statement regarding Chucky’s programming. As more Buddi dolls are shown being recalled and placed into storage, one starts malfunctioning inside its box.

While an interesting new twist, the movie llacks the charm of the original 1988 film. I think with Andy being played by a younger kid who actually plays with dolls and Chucky wanting to kill Andy and take over his body makes it more dangerous and creepy. I give this one a 6.5 outta 10 as Hamill does a fine voice acting job.

Arsenal 3 Vitoria Guimaraes 2

Substitute Nicolas Pepe rescued Arsenal with two sublime free-kicks in the last 10 minutes of their Europa League group game against Vitoria Guimaraes at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal were losing 2-1 when Pepe came on in the 75th minute and he scored five minutes later with a curling effort from 25 yards. He repeated the feat in stoppage time as Arsenal avoided their second straight defeat and retained their place at the top of Group F. Former Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards had earlier cut inside and fired into the bottom corner to give Vitoria a shock lead, before Arsenal’s Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli nodded in his fifth goal in just his third start to make it 1-1.

Bruno Duarte restored the visitors’ lead on 36 minutes, pouncing on a rebound to send Arsenal into the half-time break a goal behind. The Gunners, who were poor for large patches of the game, burst into life in the final 10 minutes as Martinelli was denied from close range before Rob Holding’s header was well held by the goalkeeper. Arsenal manager Unai Emery made 10 changes from the side that lost to Sheffield United in the Premier League on Monday but was forced to bring on Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos at half-time, before Pepe made the difference.

There was huge excitement this summer when Arsenal signed Ivory Coast winger Pepe from Lille for a club record fee of £72m. He showed glimpses of brilliance against Liverpool on his first Premier League start in August and picked up an assist in the following game against Tottenham. But the winger has been largely underwhelming and needed to make an impression from the bench in this European tie. And that is exactly what he did, curling both set-pieces past a helpless Miguel Silva to give Arsenal another three points in the group, as they maintained their 100% record in the competition this season.

Fans were booing as the players walked off at the break trailing 2-1 and banners displaying the words “Emery out” and “Unai, stop freezing Ozil out” were seen in the stands. German midfielder Mesut Ozil was not included in the squad and has made just two appearances this season. The defeat to Sheffield United on Monday looked set to be repeated even after Emery had ruthlessly pulled off youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock at half-time but Pepe had other ideas.