Arsenal To Offload Players?

Reports are in that Arsenal fringe players Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy, and Wojciech Szczesny are all linked with exits from the Emirates. Chambers is off to Crystal Palace for £20m and possibly a buy-back clause inserted. Gibbs is off to West Brom for £12m according to Sky Sports. Arsenal now have full agreement with Juventus over the sell of Wojiech Szczesny. Fee in the region of £10m. Debuchy will have his medical at OGC Nice in next 48 hours. Fee unknown but possibly a free transfer.

Sampdoria have offered £6m plus £1.5m in add-ons for Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, according to Sky in Italy. Wilshere has one year remaining on his Arsenal contract and spent last season on loan at Bournemouth. His season at the Vitality Stadium was cut short when he fractured his leg against Tottenham in April. The 25-year-old has been capped 34 times by England. Wilshere has been reportedly linked with a loan move to Crystal Palace, and Sampdoria, who finished 10th in Serie A last season, have now entered the running. However, Wenger said at the weekend that he expects Wilshere to stay at Arsenal and fight for first-team football.

West Brom are interested in signing Kieran Gibbs and have approached Arsenal to discuss a potential transfer, Sky sources understand. Sky Sports News HQ has been told the Gunners want around £10m for the defender, but Albion are not prepared to pay that amount. Baggies boss Tony Pulis, who is currently with his squad in Hong Kong for the Asia Trophy, has been looking for a specialist left-back and sees Gibbs as his best option. The 27-year-old made just eight Premier League starts last season and 22 appearances in all competitions overall – his second season struggling for first-team games. Gibbs has 10 England caps but has fallen out of the national-team frame while his chances have been limited under Arsene Wenger.

Crystal Palace are interested in signing Arsenal defender Calum Chambers, according to Sky sources. Sky Sports News HQ understands the 22-year-old, who spent last season on loan at relegated Middlesbrough, is valued at around £20m. Chambers has not been included on Arsenal’s tour to Australia and China because he played for England in the U21 European Championship in Poland, after which he remains on holiday. Chambers was a £16m signing from Southampton three years ago but has struggled for a first-team place at the Emirates. He made 36 appearances for the Gunners in his first season but made only two Premier League starts in his second season and moved to Boro last summer.

Meanwhile, Gunners full-back Mathieu Debuchy is expected to complete a move to Nice in the next 48 hours, according to Europe1 Sports. The French defender, who made 13 appearances in three seasons under Wenger, is set to undergo a medical before joining the Ligue 1 club on a free transfer as a replacement for Ricardo Pereira, who returned to Porto after a two-year loan. Debuchy, 31, spent part of 2015-16 on loan at Bordeaux, and earned his first Arsenal appearance in 385 days when he played against Bournemouth. However, he lasted 14 minutes before picking up an injury.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is also set to leave the Emirates for Juventus, according to the Guardian. The Polish goalkeeper, who’s been on loan at Roma for the past two seasons, has reportedly agreed a deal in principle to join the Italian champions. The transfer fee for the 27-year-old Polish international is expected to be around £10m. His long-term contract will be worth about £70,000 a week as he plays back-up to Gigi Buffon.

Lacazette Signs For Arsenal

Alexandre Lacazette has agreed to join us Arsenal on a long-term contract, for an undisclosed fee. He is expected to travel with the tour party to Sydney this weekend and is likely to make his home debut in the Emirates Cup on July 29 or July 30. Alexandre Lacazette says he is “fulfilling a dream” by joining the Gunners – and he certainly looks right at home in Arsenal colours. The France international became Arsenal’s second summer signing when he agreed to join from Lyon – and he took part in a photoshoot at London Colney recently.

Alexandre Lacazette completed his £52.7m move to Arsenal from Lyon and said it represented the fulfilment of a childhood dream. The 26-year-old supported Lyon as a boy – he went on to play for his hometown club at first-team level for eight seasons – but, like many French players of his age, he considered Arsenal to be a reference point.

Lacazette entered the Lyon academy as a 12-year-old for the 2003-04 season – the year that Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires helped Arsenal to the Invincibles title-winning season, and it made an impression on him. He has signed a five-year contract at the Emirates Stadium and he said he was further attracted by the club’s managerial stability – Arsène Wenger has been in charge since 1996 – and their style of football, which he believes is the best in England.

Lacazette will travel with the squad on Sunday for the pre-season tour of Australia and China while he will play his first home game in the club’s colours at the Emirates Cup on 29-30 July. He has become Arsenal’s record signing and he arrives on the back of three particularly prolific seasons at Lyon. Last time out, he had the best shot-conversion rate of any forward who scored 20-plus goals in Europe’s leading five divisions.

Two Belgian Players Linked With Arsenal

According to a Portugese media outlet Arsenal are set to make a move for William Carvalho and Gelson Martins in a double deal with Sporting Lisbon. Portuguese publication A Bola claim a move worth a combined £70million for midfielder Carvalho and winger Martins. Wenger wants to beef up his midfield options with Carvalho, who has been linked with a move to the Premier League for the last four years during his time in Portugal. Carvalho has already been linked with a move to Manchester City this window with his club likely to sell at the right price. Martins comes with the added advantage of being able to operate as a full-back or in a more advanced position.

Wenger saw his side lose too many midfield battles last term, with Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka struggling to live up to his £30m billing since joining from Borussia Moenchengladbach last summer. Carvalho, 25, was close to joining  Manchester United before the departure of David Moyes in 2014. The Portuguese international has also been linked with a switch to Manchester City this summer as Pep Guardiola looks to reshape his Etihad squad ahead of his second season in England. Martins, 22, who bagged seven goals in 43 appearances in all competitions for Sporting last season, could prove a useful addition at the Emirates with his ability to operate as a winger or full-back.

The Gunners have already added Sead Kolasinac from Schalke on a free transfer and are close to sealing a deal for Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette for £44m. Arsenal are still in the hunt for Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez but are fighting to keep hold of Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez. The Chile forward, who will take a short break after his country lost in the final of the Confederations Cup to Germany, claims he has already decided where h ewill play next season. The 28-year-old has had plenty of opportunity to pledge his future to Arsenal while speculation links him with a big move to Manchester City or Bayern Munich. But I still don’t see the name that I and several other fans want for defensive duties in Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk from Sunderland. We should have signed him 2 seasons ago.

Will Arsenal Sign More Players?

Will Arsenal sign more good players during the summer transfer window? It looks like the signing of Alexander Lacazette is getting done and we already have signed Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer. Arsenal are also looking at a few other players. Arsenal have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Thomas Lemar, with the Monaco midfielder reportedly keen to work with Arsene Wenger at the Emirates. Lemar is one of a number of Monaco players attracting interest this summer after the French outfit won Ligue 1 while also making waves in Europe. And according to Get French Football, the 21-year-old midfielder has made it clear to Arsenal that he hopes to work with Wenger next season. It is claimed Lemar, who played 28 league games for the French champions last season, believes now is the optimum time to move on and would welcome a switch to England.

And Italian website  Calciomercato.it are claiming that the Gunners have also completed a deal for Leicester’s Mahrez. The Algeria international played a key role in the Foxes’ title win in 2016, scoring 18 goals across all competitions. But that number dropped to 10 last season with Leicester struggling under Claudio Ranieri – something that ultimately cost the Italian his job. Mahrez has since asked to leave the King Power Stadium, with the 26-year-old attracting interest from Barcelona. But Arsenal now appear set to win the race for his signature. The report adds than an announcement will be made ‘soon’ but does not provide any details of transfer fee of contract for the player.

Last summer the signing of Mahrez, the 2016 Premier League player of the year, would have created much excitement amongst Arsenal fans but this summer it doesn’t seem to be generating much interest. This is due to the lackluster season, in comparison with the previous high standards, that the Algerian had. Will we see one or possibly two of these signings? I dunno. I still think we need to get another top defender and if possible sell Ramsey or Ozil and get another creative midfielder.

Arsenal Buying Lacazette : Done Deal?

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger ‘to shatter transfer record with £50m Alexandre Lacazette swoop with deal set to be completed this weekend’. The French striker is set to snub a potential January move to Atletico Madrid to sign on the dotted line for Arsene Wenger’s men. The deal will smash the current highest fee the Gunners have paid out. Mesut Ozil joined the club back in 2013 for £42.5m from Real Madrid. French newspaper L’Equipe are reporting that the 26-year-old has been swayed by Wenger to take up the challenge of playing in the Premier League.

And BBC Sport are saying that the Gunners are “close to completing the Lacazette deal”, and that a fee has been agreed and he just has to “have medical and finalise terms”. But Lyon are desperate to find a replacement BEFORE closing the finer details of any move. The French club’s president has previously admitted to receiving a “very nice” over from Arsenal for the striker. Earlier this week Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis revealed the Gunners will target quality not quantity this summer. His Lyon counterpart Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed that talks were ongoing between the two parties. BBC Sport’s David Ornstein says the deal is close to being done with both sides putting the finishing touches on the fee.

Ornstein reports that the France international will undergo a medical and thrash out a contract when the two clubs come to an agreement. Lacazette is hot property after bagging 37 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions last term. He has played over 250 matches across all competitions for Lyon since 2010, scoring over 100 goals. In 2014–15 he was Ligue 1’s top scorer with 27 goals in 33 games, and also the UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year. From a Guadeloupean family, Lacazette started playing football at the age of 7 in his local club Elan Sportif in the 8th arrondissement of Lyon.

Arsenal’s Arseholes Resigns The Arsehole Wanker

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has agreed a new two-year contract, extending his 21-year reign at the club. Wenger and club owner Stan Kroenke met on Monday to determine the Frenchman’s future, with the decision relayed to directors at a Tuesday board meeting. Arsenal are planning to make an official announcement on Wednesday. The Gunners were fifth in the Premier League this season, the first time they have finished outside the top four since the Frenchman joined in 1996. They finished 18 points behind champions Chelsea, but beat the Blues 2-1 to win the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday. Wenger’s contract was set to finish at the end of the current campaign.

So now we know! The board at Arsenal and Kronke are spineless lot. They have no backbone to speak off and have no vision beyond this arrogant geezer who has lost the plot and has no clue as to what is good for the club or what the fans want. Wenger is beyond hopeless, he used to be a good manager because he has a good team around him and really good players. His medical staff and coaching team now are worthless. This FA Cup came with a bittertaste of nasty medicine. The board are happy with the FA Cup win and 5th place. In any big club Wenger would have been out, kicked out and down on his ass. At Arsenal because we have the greediest bunch of sleezy morons running things, he gets a new 2 year contract.

Get ready for 2 more dismal seasons of terrible performances and rubbish talk from Wenger where he puts the blame everywhere but where it should be – himself and his lackeys at the board!

Arsenal Wins FA Cup 2017

Arsene Wenger secured his record seventh FA Cup final win as Arsenal produced a magnificent display to win a Wembley thriller against 10-man Chelsea. Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead in contentious fashion after only four minutes, when referee Anthony Taylor overruled his assistant after he had flagged for offside against Aaron Ramsey. The Premier League champions also claimed Sanchez handled in the build-up. And their task became even harder when Victor Moses was correctly sent off by Taylor in the second half after receiving a second yellow card for diving. Diego Costa revived Chelsea’s hopes of a repeat of their league and FA Cup double in 2010 when Arsenal keeper David Ospina failed to keep out his deflected shot with 14 minutes left.

Arsenal, outstanding throughout, refused to be denied and were back in front inside three minutes when Ramsey, who scored the FA Cup final winner against Hull City in 2014, did it again with a header from substitute Olivier Giroud’s cross. Wenger pumped his fists in delight at the final whistle, as a season that has brought so much criticism for the 67-year-old ended in Wembley glory with a record 13th FA Cup win for the Gunners – and a record seventh for the Frenchman. Arsene Wenger was right when he said the season has been a tough one for the players and fans, but they turned up today.

They had one mindset, to walk off as winners, and that was clear to see. They played the better football and wanted it more. The Chelsea players were hanging their heads but they had an unbelievable season. On the day, not enough players turned up, they did not deserve to win. Arsenal defender Rob Holding had a fantastic semi-final too and he was under the spotlight, as was Per Mertesacker. Both players put on a huge display. What a performance Mesut Ozil put in too. Man for man, they were much better than Chelsea. I cannot believe how ordinary Arsenal made Chelsea look. The Premier League champions could not handle Arsenal’s footballing ability in the middle of the pitch. They could not get any rhythm or get on the ball. It was their best display of the season.

Wenger finally gave full vent to his feelings about the criticism he received this season in the Wembley build-up – describing it as “a disgrace” he will “never forget.” And here at Wembley he answered the critics eloquently as Arsenal delivered an outstanding performance in an enthralling final to secure a win they fully merited. It was all done in front of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, a staunch supporter of his manager in the face of mounting criticism, and with a decision still pending on Wenger’s future. Wenger’s stock has fallen in the eyes of Arsenal fans as the team have struggled at times this season, failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years. Here however, Wenger coaxed and cajoled an inspired 90 minutes out of his Arsenal side in a performance that can rank alongside their finest in recent seasons.

Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey both hit the woodwork in a matter of seconds in the first half and Ozil struck it deep in the second half. Chelsea defender Gary Cahill also made two excellent clearances as Arsenal created enough chances to win comfortably. Wenger, watching throughout in shirtsleeves, looked remarkably calm given the prize on offer and how much was riding on this Wembley final for him and his reputation. Arsenal were sharper, more aggressive and more creative than Chelsea – their only anxiety coming when they led by just one goal after a first 45 minutes they dominated completely. And The Gunners even refused to be knocked off course when Chelsea, reduced to 10 men after Moses’ sending off, were gifted an equaliser when Ospina pushed feebly at Costa’s deflected shot in the 76th minute. If Wenger needed to produce evidence that he can still win the big prizes and still get his Arsenal side to produce the big performance, then this was it.

Wenger was effectively forced to plunge veteran German defender Per Mertesacker into action after only 37 minutes playing time this season as he wrestled with a defensive crisis – and how the 32-year-old rewarded him. The Gunners were without suspended Laurent Koscielny, injured Gabriel and Shkodran Mustafi, who was suffering from concussion. It meant a call-up for Mertesacker against the most demanding Premier League opponents of all. Arsenal have beaten Chelsea twice in a season [in all competitions] for the first time since 2003-04. Per Mertesacker started his first game for Arsenal since 30 April 2016 [against Norwich], 392 days ago. At three minutes 49 seconds, Alexis Sanchez’s opening goal was Arsenal’s fastest ever in an FA Cup final. Sanchez has scored in five successive games for Arsenal in all competitions for the first time.

The Chilean has been directly involved in 45 goals in 51 appearances for Arsenal this season [30 goals, 15 assists]. Victor Moses is the fifth player to be sent off in an FA Cup final after Chris Smalling [Manchester United in 2016], Pablo Zabaleta [Manchester City in 2013], Jose Antonio Reyes [Arsenal in 2005], Kevin Moran [Manchester United in 1985]. Diego Costa netted his 22nd goal of the season for Chelsea in all competitions – his best-ever return in a single campaign for the Blues. Olivier Giroud has had a hand in four goals in his past four games for Arsenal in all competitions [three goals, one assist].

Arsenal 3 Everton 1

Arsenal missed out on a place in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years despite beating Everton on the final day of the season. Arsene Wenger’s side got the win they required despite having defender Laurent Koscielny sent off for a reckless first-half challenge on Everton’s Enner Valencia. He will now serve a suspension that will keep him out of the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley. Arsenal took the lead early on through Hector Bellerin’s far-post finish and Alexis Sanchez scrambled in a second after Koscielny’s dismissal to put the Gunners in control. It was to no avail as Liverpool completed their task by beating Middlesbrough to finish fourth.

The Gunners did end the league campaign with a flourish though thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s brilliant injury-time strike from 20 yards after Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back for Everton from the penalty spot. The hosts, who also had defender Gabriel taken off injured on a stretcher, now turn their attention to Wembley, after which an announcement on manager Wenger’s future will be made. Arsenal’s failure to reach the Champions League will come as a seismic shock to a club that has made it their permanent home for the past two decades – but supporters will hope it acts as a wake-up call. The Gunners have dropped away from the serious title challengers in recent years and the failure to make Europe’s elite competition brings the recent decline under Wenger into sharper focus. Arsenal cannot afford to be fooled by the recent improvement in performances or even if they win the FA Cup against Chelsea at Wembley.

There is still real talent within the team and the idea of losing talisman and inspiration Sanchez is unthinkable. But results have proved once more that they are nowhere near title-winning material and yet another exit at the last-16 stage of the Champions League is a brutal reflection of their wider status. It now looks certain Wenger will be staying as manager and there can be no excuses for a disappointing league campaign. Arsenal’s supporters set aside any discontent aimed at Wenger to give their side full support as they chased the unlikely possibility of a place in next season’s Champions League. And it was only when news broke of Gini Wijnaldum scoring for Liverpool against Middlesbrough at Anfield that the voices of rebellion were heard.

In the second half, loud chants of “Stan Kroenke get out of our club” echoed around Emirates Stadium in protest against the American owner who many Gunners fans feel has presided over Arsenal’s recent relative fall from grace. There was also a small number of protest banners unfurled after the final whistle as Arsenal’s players waited to go on a lap of appreciation. It was also done against the backdrop of Kroenke ignoring a £1.3bn takeover bid from Arsenal’s other main shareholder Alisher Usmanov, who holds a 30% stake in the club. An appearance in the FA Cup final and the possibility of ending the season with a trophy has perhaps put serious protests on the back-burner – but there is still unhappiness lurking not far beneath the surface from a fan base who are demanding better.

The Gunners have scored 95 Premier League goals against Everton – more than any club has against another in the competition’s history. Danny Welbeck provided two assists in a single Premier League game for only the second time – the other was in April 2012 for Manchester United, also against Everton. Laurent Koscielny has been sent off five times since his Premier League debut in August 2010 – no player has been red carded more in that time [Tom Huddlestone and Younes Kaboul also five]. The Gunners have conceded 10 penalty goals this season, one of just two sides in Premier League history to ship double figures of goals from the spot [Hull, 11 also this season].

Arsenal 2 Sunderland 0

Arsenal ensured the race to finish in the Premier League’s top four will go down to the final day of the season with a laboured win against relegated Sunderland. Alexis Sanchez tapped in Mesut Ozil’s square pass to the relief of those inside a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium. As Arsenal increased in urgency, Sanchez bundled in Olivier Giroud’s cut-back to renew their hopes of a top-four finish for a 21st successive season. Despite having 36 attempts at goal – the most in a Premier League game since 2003 – the Gunners could not wipe out fourth-placed Liverpool’s superior goal difference. Arsenal are a point behind the Reds – who are two goals better off – ahead of Sunday’s final matches. Arsene Wenger’s men must beat seventh-placed Everton and hope the Reds slip up against relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield. Arsenal started the evening needing to win – preferably by a big margin – if they were to have any realistic hope of sneaking into the top four. They knew defeat against rock-bottom Sunderland, who had managed just three away victories all season, would end their hopes if Manchester City beat West Brom.

And with City cruising to a 3-1 win in their game, even a draw would have left Arsenal struggling. Until Sanchez’s late intervention, it looked as though Wenger’s side would be left frustrated by a lack of conviction in front of goal and some stubborn Sunderland defending. The Gunners found the breakthrough with 20 minutes left, Granit Xhaka picking out Ozil with a clever chip over the defence that was put back across goal by the German for Sanchez to tap in. Arsenal knew just a draw against Everton on the final day might be enough to catch Liverpool if they wiped out the Reds’ superior goal difference, and Wenger urged his side to push for more goals from the touchline. Sanchez was lurking in the six-yard box at the right time to convert Giroud’s volleyed pass to double the lead, but despite a late flurry that saw Shkodran Mustafi hit the woodwork the hosts were unable to add to their tally. “Sunderland did fight and that’s what you want from every team,” said Wenger afterwards.

Arsenal have endured a turbulent season blighted by confusion over Wenger’s future, protests from supporters demanding change and concerns that Sanchez and Ozil may be sold this summer. Swathes of empty red seats at a hushed Emirates Stadium illustrated the apathy of some Gunners fans, the subdued atmosphere compounded by Arsenal failing to make their early dominance count. The Gunners created 18 efforts in a frustrating first half, only to be let down by wayward finishing and another impressive display by Black Cats goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The 23-year-old boosted his burgeoning reputation with several instinctive saves after the break as Arsenal continued to pile on the pressure before Sanchez’s late double. However, creeping past an already-relegated side is unlikely to appease the unhappy Arsenal fans who believe Wenger is not the man to take them forward. Wenger’s contract expires at the end of the season and, although the club has offered him a two-year deal, he again refused to answer questions about his future after the match.

Arsenal finish in the top four if:
They win and Liverpool fail to beat Middlesbrough
They draw 0-0 or 1-1 and Liverpool lose by three goals or more
They earn a score draw of 2-2 and Liverpool lose 2-0 (or they draw 3-3 and Liverpool lose 3-1, and so on)
They win, and Manchester City lose – with a minimum five-goal swing in goal difference
Liverpool finish in the top four if:
They win, or they match or better Arsenal’s result
But… both sides could also finish level on points, goal difference and goals scored – resulting in a fourth-placed play-off

Stoke City 1 Arsenal 4

Champions League-chasing Arsenal moved within a point of fourth-placed Liverpool with a comfortable Premier League victory over Stoke. Despite collecting the three points, manager Arsene Wenger faced further protests from his own supporters during the game, as they flew a plane over the Bet365 Stadium and held banners inside the ground calling for him to leave the club. But the Frenchman ended the game by receiving warm applause from the club’s travelling fans as he made his way down the tunnel at the final whistle. The Gunners had not won on their previous six visits to the venue, but took the lead with a well-crafted move as Hector Bellerin picked out Olivier Giroud for a tap-in before Alexis Sanchez combined with Mesut Ozil, who coolly tucked home in the second period.

Until their opening goal it had been a poor spectacle, with Nacho Monreal heading against the post and Sanchez dragging an effort into the side-netting from a promising position. Stoke controversially restored hope as Peter Crouch converted Marko Arnautovic’s cross with his hand, but Sanchez drilled in a low finish and Giroud slid in a fourth for the away side. Both Arsenal and Liverpool have two games remaining and are level on goal difference with the Gunners ahead by one on goals scored. Jurgen Klopp’s men travel to West Ham on Sunday (kick-off 14:15 BST) and play Middlesbrough on the last day of the season, while the north London club host Sunderland on Tuesday and Everton in their final league match next weekend.

Wenger’s season has been blighted by protests demanding he end his long association with the club, repeated questions over whether he will sign an extension to his contract, which runs out at the end of the season, and uncertainty over the futures of key players Sanchez and Ozil. But he will be pleased with the way his players have responded with the campaign coming to a close, taking five wins from their past six league games – the only blemish a weak display in their defeat by Tottenham. He was even afforded a standing ovation at full-time and will be particularly satisfied at triumphing at a venue where his side have struggled in the past, claiming their first win there since 2010. Wenger jumped off his seat and jigged in delight at Sanchez’s goal, which gave his team a cushion.

The Chilean, who has been linked with a move away, hobbled off with a leg injury after scoring and fans will be hoping it is not the last time they see him in an Arsenal shirt. A season that promised so little at one stage could actually turn into a celebratory one. Their late charge sees them maintain optimism of extending their Champions League participation to 22 consecutive seasons, and they have an FA Cup final against newly crowned Premier League champions Chelsea to look forward to. Arsenal have scored 4+ goals in five away league games this season. It’s their most in a season since 1936-37 (also five). Sanchez became the eighth player to score 50 Premier League goals for Arsenal, with only Thierry Henry (83 games) and Ian Wright (87) reaching the milestone faster than the Chilean (101). Sanchez is also the first player to record double figures for both goals (21) and assists (10) in the Premier League this season. Since the start of last season, only Ozil (31) and Sanchez (25) have recorded more assists for Arsenal in all competitions than Hector Bellerin (13), with the Spaniard picking up two today.

Southampton 0 Arsenal 2

Arsenal kept alive their hopes of a top-four Premier League finish as second-half goals from Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud earned victory at Southampton. After a dull first half, Sanchez produced a moment of magic to open the scoring when the Chilean wrong-footed two defenders in the box before calmly slotting home. Substitute Giroud then made the win safe by nodding in from close range minutes after coming onto the pitch. Mid-table Southampton rarely threatened. Their best chance came in the first half when Manolo Gabbiadini forced a fine save out of Petr Cech from close range, and they stay 10th. The win means Arsenal move above Manchester United into fifth, three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City. An awful run of form from January until early April had seriously threatened to end Arsene Wenger’s record of securing a top four finish in every season he has had at Arsenal. However, four wins in their six games prior to the trip to St Mary’s had given hope that the season would not peter out. In what was a must-win game, Arsenal’s players initially failed to rise to the challenge.

They were ponderous in possession and lacked bite in attack. Too often they played passes square just inside the Southampton half before gifting possession back to the hosts when they approached the final third. But in Sanchez they possess a player capable of producing something from nothing and that is exactly what he did midway through the second half. His goal, which came after he sold two Southampton players a dummy to give himself a clear shot on goal, visibly relaxed Arsenal and from then on they played with confidence and freedom, allowing them to open up the hosts for a second time when Giroud headed in Aaron Ramsey’s cross. The only negative for Arsenal was the loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to injury in the second half, although Wenger suggested it was not serious. Sanchez has now scored 20 goals this season, making him only the fifth Arsenal player to reach that mark, after Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie.

It was also his 14th away from home – more than another Premier League player has managed this campaign. Victory not only moves Arsenal, who face Chelsea in the FA Cup final later this month, to within one win of Manchester City, but also four points behind Liverpool, who have played a game more. In a season that has seen protests against Wenger and some fans calling for the Frenchman to leave, the possibility they could finish with FA Cup success and a place in the top four is a very real one. Arsenal ended a run of five winless Premier League games at St Mary’s, claiming their first win there since December 2003. This is Sanchez’s best ever league goal return in the top five European leagues, beating his previous best of 19 in 2013-14 with Barcelona. The Gunners have won four of their past five Premier League games (L1) since adopting a three-man defence. Olivier Giroud has six Premier League substitute goals this season – only Adam Le Fondre (eight in 2012-13) has more in a single campaign than the Frenchman. Giroud’s goal was his 100th in the top-flight of European football (33 in Ligue 1, 67 in the Premier League).

Arsenal 2 Manchester United 0

Arsenal ended Manchester United’s 25-match unbeaten run in the Premier League and kept up their hopes of securing a place in the top four. After a largely uneventful first half, Granit Xhaka opened the scoring with a deflected shot from distance, which looped over goalkeeper David de Gea. And they doubled their lead three minutes later when Danny Welbeck headed home against his former club after a pinpoint cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jose Mourinho introduced Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard to try to rescue the game, but they failed to bring the visitors to life. The result means Arsenal remain in sixth place but are two points off United in fifth and six points off Manchester City in fourth, with a game in hand over both teams.

This victory not only reignites Arsenal’s chase for a Champions League place, but also ends an unwanted record for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger against Jose Mourinho. The pair have endured a fractious relationship over the years, and in their previous 15 competitive meetings Wenger had never beaten a Mourinho team, with his only victory coming in the Community Shield in 2015. Mourinho has won eight times, while the remaining seven were drawn. Sunday’s win ended the hoodoo and earned Arsenal only their 13th league win in 50 outings against the Red Devils. There is still uncertainty about Wenger’s future at the club, despite them still being in with a chance of Champions League football for the 21st consecutive season, and an FA Cup final against Chelsea coming up this month. When asked by BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce about whether he would be interviewing Wenger next season, the Frenchman joked: “You want me to work for the BBC?”

Both teams had four shots on target during the match but it was Arsenal who made them count. After a dull start to the second half, the Emirates came alive when Xhaka ran into space and took a shot from 30 yards out which was helped on its way by Herrera and out-smarted De Gea. The Gunners kept up the pace and exactly three minutes and 11 seconds later, Welbeck had notched his second Premier League goal of the season. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s right-wing cross whistled over the box and Welbeck rose up between the United defence to land a bullet header. Arsenal offered little in attack after the goals, but they did not need to. Mourinho revealed before the match he intended to rest key players, with one eye on the Europa League semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo, in which his team have a 1-0 advantage. The European competition could represent United’s best chance of reaching next season’s Champions League.

The United manager made eight changes in total and his side never looked like causing a major threat. Goalkeeper De Gea kept them in the match at half-time, producing a low stop to deny Aaron Ramsey’s effort, before making a brilliant save from a rasping Oxlade-Chamberlain shot from distance. United were undone by two quick goals early in the second half, and their only notable efforts after that came from Rooney and substitute Scott McTominay, who tried to poke home late on. United’s unbeaten league run has come to an end at 25 games (W13 D12), with losses on either side coming in London. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has provided as many assists for Arsenal this season in the Premier League as in his previous five combined for the Gunners (seven).

This was the first time Oxlade-Chamberlain had assisted twice in the same Premier League game. Danny Welbeck has scored in each of his last three appearances against Manchester United for Arsenal in all competitions. Two English players combined for a Premier League goal for Arsenal for the first time since December 2014 (also Oxlade-Chamberlain for Welbeck, v West Ham). Manchester United conceded more than once away from home in the Premier League for the first time since losing 4-0 to Chelsea in October. Arsenal have won successive home Premier League games against the Red Devils for the first time since November 2001. Arsenal, meanwhile, have a midweek Premier League trip to Southampton on Wednesday (19:45 BST).

Tottenham Hotspurs 2 Arsenal 0

Tottenham ensured they remained just four points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, and confirmed they would finish above arch-rivals Arsenal for the first time since 1994-95, with an impressive north London derby win at White Hart Lane. Chelsea’s 3-0 victory at Everton put the pressure on Spurs – but they responded in style with a ninth successive league win to continue their best sequence since October 1960, when they won 13 games in a row. The match was decided with two goals in just over a minute, Dele Alli scoring his 21st goal for Spurs this season with a close-range finish in the 55th minute before Harry Kane netted from the spot after he was fouled by Gabriel.  Arsenal, whose top-four hopes are in serious jeopardy as they remain six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand, were only spared a heavy defeat in the last derby at this stadium in its current incarnation by a magnificent display from keeper Petr Cech.

Spurs might have been forgiven for entering this game with an air of resignation after Chelsea restored their lead – albeit temporarily – to seven points with victory at Everton. It took them 45 minutes to perhaps clear their heads, although they had the best chances of the first half through Alli’s header and Christian Eriksen’s side-foot effort against the bar, before they demonstrated the quality and development that has characterised their season. Manager Mauricio Pochettino clearly reminded his players of what might still be at stake at half-time, and they emerged at full throttle and maximum physicality to overpower Arsenal and win the game with that quick-fire one-two. Pochettino looks to be establishing the platform for a golden future at White Hart Lane, while Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger is trying desperately to recreate the glories of the past. Pochettino has a young, powerful, talented team with a strong English foundation, while Wenger presides over an Arsenal group that is a pale shadow of those of even recent vintage that may not even offer the traditional place in the Champions League to console him.

The Gunners look flimsy and lacking in presence, and if Wenger stays at Emirates Stadium, which looks likely, he faces a formidable rebuilding task. The irony, of course, is Arsenal are the club in north London with the chance of tangible success after reaching the FA Cup final – a task beyond Spurs as they lost to Chelsea in the semi-finals. Spurs and Arsenal moved to add power and stability to their midfield in the summer with the signings of Victor Wanyama and Granit Xhaka respectively. There is no question who got the better deal. Wanyama, an £11m buy from Southampton, stamped his presence all over midfield here with his imposing frame and ball-winning ability. Xhaka, in contrast, was little more than a liability with his poor challenges and wayward distribution, again looking well short of the quality expected from a player bought for in the region of £30m.

Sead Kolasinac To Join Arsenal

Arsenal already have their first transfer of the next season wrapped up as Bosnian international Sead Kolasinac has completed a medical and agreed to a free transfer to the Emirates at the end of the current season. Kolasinac will arrive at Arsenal this summer – and that will spell the end of the road for either Kieran Gibbs or Nacho Monreal at the Emirates. The Bosnia international, 23, is set to join on a free transfer from Schalke 04 in a move that will be the first of major re-structuring exercise.

Boss Arsene Wenger fully intends to stay put and oversee the re-vamp which will see the club listen to offers for both regular first-choice left-backs. Wenger has been delighted with the promise shown by former non-leaguer Cohen Bramall and the former Hednesford Town defender will become Kolasinac’s understudy. The import of Kolasinac means that Gibbs, 27, is the most likely to leave as he has just 12 months remaining on his current deal. The former England international has played second fiddle to Monreal for most of this season. And although Monreal is contracted to Arsenal until 2019, Wenger will also listen to offers for the Spaniard who will be 33 by the time his agreement with the club expires.

Kolasinac has made 21 appearances in the German top flight this season, scoring three goals and assisting five in the process. Although primarily a left-back, the Bosnia-Herzegovina international can also play at centre-half or as a defensive midfielder. Tottenham and and Serie A big guns AC Milan and Juventus have also been vying for his signature.

Arsenal 2 Manchester City 1 (OT)

Alexis Sanchez’s scrambled extra-time winner secured Arsenal an FA Cup final date with Chelsea – and ensured Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will end a season without a trophy for the first time in his coaching career. Sanchez settled a contentious semi-final 11 minutes into the extra period after Manchester City failed to clear Mesut Ozil’s free-kick. Arsenal showed great resilience to come from behind – and eased the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger – after Sergio Aguero raced clear of Nacho Monreal to put City ahead in the 62nd minute. Monreal made amends with the equaliser 11 minutes later as he drilled in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross at the far post – but City were left nursing a serious sense of injustice after this disappointing defeat. They had a goal wrongly ruled out in the first half when Leroy Sane’s cross was adjudged to have gone out before Aguero and Raheem Sterling combined to turn it into the net, while Yaya Toure and Fernandinho hit the woodwork after the break.

It left Arsenal victorious and Wenger aiming for a record seventh FA Cup triumph. Wenger’s future – and the lack of clarity surrounding it – has only been brought into sharper focus by Arsenal’s recent fall outside the Champions League places. The manager needed a statement, as did his team, to ease the growing disquiet among Arsenal fans at the prospect that he will extend his stay as manager. Arsenal’s Wembley win against Manchester City will not ease the concerns in the minds of the doubters but he can point to the victory, and the manner in which it was achieved, as evidence that he could yet be the man to take the club forward. Victory in the final on 27 May would strengthen his and Arsenal’s case for continuity, but for now there was much for the Frenchman and his players to treasure about this triumph.

Wenger persisted with an unfamiliar three-man defensive system comprising youngster Rob Holding, Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny and set up his team to deliver an uncharacteristically stubborn performance. Arsenal rode their luck at times – but Wenger will take that all day. Wenger’s players have been accused of not playing for him in recent months. No such accusation could be levelled here as they dug deep for victory. The Gunners’ embattled manager pumped his fists towards the skies at the final whistle and beamed with delight – he may yet achieve glory amid the worst discontent of his reign. Manchester City will argue long and hard that their chances of reaching the final were sabotaged by a first-half decision that saw a good goal ruled out.

Referee’s assistant Steve Child judged that Sane’s cross had gone behind before Aguero turned it back at the far post and then Sterling made sure. Replays suggested the ball had not gone out and City were the victims of an injustice. City will also feel Lady Luck deserted them as they lost playmaker David Silva to injury early on and saw those efforts from Toure and Fernandinho hit the woodwork. In the final reckoning, they must also accept the brutal truth that once more they enjoyed superiority in possession and territory but could not find the ruthless touch. Arsenal have reached their 20th FA Cup final, a competition record. Alexis Sanchez is Arsenal’s top scorer in games at Wembley, with four goals – he overtook Marc Overmars and Ian Wright on three. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has six assists in his past 10 FA Cup starts for Arsenal. In all competitions this season, only Mesut Ozil (10) and Alexis Sanchez (14) have more assists than Oxlade-Chamberlain (nine).

Middlesborough 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal kept alive their hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premier League with a narrow victory at second-bottom Middlesbrough. A dull opening was brought to life when Alexis Sanchez’s superb free-kick gave Arsenal the lead just before the break. Middlesbrough responded soon after the restart when Alvaro Negredo volleyed in Stewart Downing’s pinpoint cross. However, Mesut Ozil secured the much-needed three points for Arsenal with a first-time strike at the near post. The win – only Arsenal’s third in their past nine league games – moves the Gunners up to sixth, seven points behind fourth-place Manchester City and with a game in hand. Middlesbrough remain deep in relegation trouble, six points from safety.

The Gunners have not lost five successive away games in the league since 1984 and manager Arsene Wenger took significant measures to avoid that happening against Boro by playing a three-man defence for the first time since 1997. Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel were the centre-backs at the Riverside Stadium but struggled with the change in system as Middlesbrough looked lively in the early stages but lacked the quality in the final third to exploit the gaps in Arsenal’s defence. Middlesbrough have scored the fewest amount of Premier League goals at home all season – just 12 prior to Arsenal’s visit – and with the quality of Sanchez and Ozil in attack the visitors were always capable of snatching a lead. That proved to be the case when they scored from only their second shot on target just before the break, Sanchez expertly steering a free-kick over a packed wall and into the far corner.

Arsenal’s lack of experience playing 3-4-3 was evident early in the second half when Downing charged away down an exposed right flank on the counter before providing the perfect ball for Negredo to poke in his ninth of the season. The game opened up after that but Ozil’s goal midway through the second half ensured Arsenal escaped with the points. It was a welcome win for under-pressure Wenger but not quite the sign of a return to form. Holding, Koscielny and Gabriel failed to make a single tackle in the first 60 minutes and stronger sides than Middlesbrough will not be as forgiving. Sanchez has cut a frustrated figure at times this season, with reportssuggesting he is keen to leave the Gunners in the summer. However, his celebrations after Arsenal’s goals on Monday did not look like those of an unhappy player. He hugged and high-fived his team-mates and was seen smiling broadly at the final whistle, celebrating with the fans. It is unlikely to be enough to convince Arsenal fans he will stay at the club, but it will no doubt have been pleasing for Wenger.

Arsenal picked up only their second win in their past nine away league games (D1 L6), though both victories came against teams currently in the relegation zone (Swansea were beaten 4-0 on 14 January). Alexis Sanchez has scored more away goals in the Premier League this season than any other player (13). Indeed, only Emmanuel Adebayor (14 in 2007-0 has scored more away goals in a single Premier League campaign for Arsenal than Sanchez this season. Middlesbrough are winless in 15 league games – their longest such run in the division. Only Thierry Henry (12) has scored more direct free-kick goals in the Premier League for Arsenal than Sanchez (five, level with Robin van Persie). Mesut Ozil has scored in two of his past three league games for Arsenal, the same number he’d scored in in his previous 16. Ozil also made four tackles, his joint-most in a Premier League game (last doing so against Man City in December 2015). Arsenal’s opener was their 3,000th away goal in English league football (now 3,001) – the second side to reach that figure (Manchester United, 3226).

Crystal Palace 3 Arsenal 0

Crystal Palace continued their recent revival to boost their Premier League survival hopes and leave Arsenal struggling to maintain their run of top-four finishes under Arsene Wenger. Palace led through Andros Townsend’s close-range finish, doubling their lead when Yohan Cabaye’s shot looped in. Luka Milivojevic clinched victory with a firm, low penalty as Palace moved six points clear of the relegation zone. Sixth-placed Arsenal did not manage a shot on target in a poor second half. Some travelling Gunners fans again called for manager Wenger, who has led Arsenal to top-four finishes in each of his previous 20 seasons at the helm, to leave the club.The Frenchman’s side are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City with eight games remaining.

The manner of Arsenal’s performance – disorganised, devoid of attacking ideas and lacking fight – will increase the scrutiny on Wenger yet again. The 67-year-old has already faced protests from some supporters urging him to leave, with more calls clearly audible – along with the barracking of his players in the latter stages – at Selhurst Park. Wenger’s contract expires at the end of the season and the club has offered him a new two-year deal, although he is still to announce whether he intends to carry on. Arsenal had 72% possession against Palace but that mattered for little as the hosts broke quickly on the counter-attack, exploiting space down the flanks and taking their chances clinically. The Gunners looked defensively vulnerable whenever Palace went forward, lacking leadership without injured captain Laurent Koscielny.

And when the visitors did attack, Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey was only required to make saves from Mohamed Elneny and Alexis Sanchez. After the break, Hennessey did not even face a shot on target as Arsenal suffered a fourth straight away defeat for the first time under Wenger. “Palace wanted it more. You could sense that from the kick-off,” Theo Walcott, Arsenal’s stand-in captain, said. While Wenger has never led Arsenal to a finish outside the top four, opposite number Sam Allardyce has a proud record of not being relegated from the top flight. On this evidence, Allardyce looks much likelier to maintain his achievement than his long-time adversary. The former England manager, who has previously kept up Bolton, Blackburn, Newcastle and Sunderland, took a while to improve Palace’s fortunes after replacing Alan Pardew in December, but the Eagles are starting to reap the rewards of his methods when it matters.

Palace had too much pace, power and passion for a lifeless Gunners side. Although Arsenal dominated possession in the first half, Palace had the better chances and deservedly led when Townsend drilled in Wilfried Zaha’s cross from the right. Arsene Wenger has suffered four consecutive away Premier League defeats for the first time as Arsenal manager. This is Arsenal’s worst away Premier League run since April 1995 (also four defeats in a row) when they were managed by Stewart Houston. Wenger lost for the first time against Palace in 12 top-flight matches. Arsenal conceded three goals in four consecutive away league games for the first time since September 1929.