2018 World Cup Is Almost Here

Are you, like me, excited for the World Cup? Good. Notice I did not use the words “The Football” World Cup? That’s because there is really only one truly world cup and that is the one that FIFA runs. It has more countries involved in it than even the United Nations. Let that settled down in your brains for a minute. Everything else is just a bunch of countries.

And I refuse to call it soccer – fuck that shit! The USA and Canada – I love you, especially Canada and some parts of the US. But you can call that shitty sport with helmets, shoulder protection pads and a stupid egg shaped shitty thing (it’s not a fucking ball and you don’t kick it around with your feet) “football” all you want – it’s not football! Call it American and Canadian rules football. We won’t call your stupid sport football – why don’t you call it soccer??!

Luckily for me some of the games are in the afternoon so I think I can catch a few games during the week as well as the weekend. I will miss the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday but I have the next three days off so I can watch a few games then.

Arsenal Sign Lichtsteiner On Free Transfer

Arsenal have announced the signing of former Juventus defender Stephan Lichtsteiner. The Switzerland international is currently a free agent, but the deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes. The 34-year-old was out of contract at the Serie A champions and joins the Gunners ahead of captaining Switzerland at the World Cup.

In a statement on his official Twitter page, Lichtsteiner said: “Happy and honoured to be a Gunner! “Will work hard and passionately day in and day out to achieve our sporting objectives and to win trophies with this great club.” He becomes the first signing since Unai Emery’s appointment as head coach and will wear the number 12 shirt. Emery said: “Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”

Lichtsteiner has made over 250 appearances for Juventus and is the fourth-most capped player in Switzerland history with 99 appearances for his country. He has won seven Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias and three Italian Super Cups at Juventus after joining the club from Lazio in 2011. He is closing in on a century of caps for Switzerland, appearing at two European Championships and two World Cups. The Switzerland international arrived at the Gunners’ London Colney training base today, and becomes the first signing of the Unai Emery era. Lichtsteiner, who will wear the number 12 shirt at the Emirates.

Lots Of Rumours But No Signings Yet

Arsenal are on the verge of completing a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, according to reports in Germany. The Greece international is set to become the first signing of Unai Emery’s reign, although it has been Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat who has played a key role in recruiting the 29-year-old. Sky Germany report that Sokratis arrived in London on Sunday evening and had a medical on Monday. Arsenal are due to pay €20 million (£17.5m) for the central defender, who would’ve been out of contract with Dortmund next summer.

Stephan Lichtsteiner has admitted talks over a potential move to Arsenal are still ongoing with his deal at Juventus expiring this month. Sky Sports News understands Arsenal are in talks with right-back Lichtsteiner over a contract with the 34-year-old expected to become a free agent when he ends his seven-year spell with the Serie A champions. But reports a deal is done for the Swiss to join the Gunners has been dismissed by Lichtsteiner. Lichtsteiner is set to captain Switzerland at the World Cup and take his international caps to over 100. He has won seven Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias and three Italian Super Cups at Juventus after joining the club from Lazio in 2011.

Arsenal have launched a shock move to sign Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini on a free transfer after he rejected two contract offers to remain at Old Trafford. The thought of Fellaini signing for the Gunners would have seemed unthinkable under former manager Arsene Wenger, given his age and playing style, but times have changed and the new recruitment team at the Emirates Stadium see the appeal in adding him to the squad. Unai Emery wants to make Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi one of his first Arsenal signings this summer. The new Gunners boss has had to convince the club’s hierarchy to push ahead with a deal for the 29-year-old former Blackburn and Stoke star.

Arsenal showed some initial interest in the France international in January, but head of recruitment Sven Mislintat decided against taking it any further. However Emery, who signed N’Zonzi during his time in charge of Sevilla, is a huge admirer – and the player is also keen to link back up with his old boss. Mislintat is understood to be ready to sanction the deal after conversations with Emery about the player.

Transfer Rumours Continue

RB Leipzig midfielder Emil Forsberg could become Arsenal’s first signing since the appointment of Unai Emery as manager. Valued at £47m, the Swedish “anti-Zlatan” has also got antennae twitching at Atlético Madrid and Juventus. Freiburg’s Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu has revealed that Arsenal are after him too and has said he’ll hold talks with the club in the coming weeks. Soyoncu will cost around £35m, while the Gunners also have Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner lined up in their cross-hairs. The Swiss international is available on a free transfer from 1 July and Arsenal are reported to have a deal in place to sign him.

Arsenal expect to make Borussia Dortmund star Sokratis Papastathopoulos their first signing of the summer. The Daily Mail claim a deal looks set to be done for around £15m. It is said the Gunners have also held talks with Freiburg over Caglar Soyuncu but his £30m price tag has put the north Londoners off. West Brom’s Jonny Evans is another option that Arsenal are looking into. Arsenal will face stiff competition for Nice star and top target Jean Michael Seri. A host of Premier League clubs have been linked with the French midfielder recently. And now The Sun claim Napoli and Borussia Dortmund have entered the fray. Seri – who has a tantalising £35m release clause – still reportedly fancies a move to Arsenal though.

Former Gunner Martin Keown insists Unai Emery must first focus on improving Arsenal’s defence – either in the transfer market or on the training ground. Keown told the Daily Mail: “He has to assess whether Arsenal’s central defenders are good enough for him. “Laurent Koscielny is out for six months, Per Mertesacker has retired, Shkodran Mustafi has had a difficult season and he also has two young defenders in Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. “There will have to be a different message with more emphasis on defence than attack.

Arsenal’s Transfer Targets

Jean Michael Seri, Jonny Evans and Ousmane Dembele are all on Arsenal’s radar this summer but Gunners must sell to supplement their £50m budget. Unai Emery will have a transfer budget of around £50million for this summer and wants to strengthen in midfield and defence primarily. Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and his scouting staff have watched a number of players but the budget dictates some Arsenal players will need to be sold. Here Sportsmail identifies some of the players under discussion and examines which players could be heading out the Emirates exit door.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund is valued at £15million and is expected to be the first arrival for Emery, the Greek centre back adds experience. Arsenal have also asked about Freiburg’s Caglar Soyuncu but his £30m price is an obstacle. Emery wanted Jean Michael Seri from Nice, now valued at £35million while at PSG and is keen to bring him to Arsenal but will face competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, who have greater budgets to play with. Dennis Praet at Sampdoria for £18m and Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini for £26m would represent cheaper alternatives.

Jonny Evans is available from West Brom at £3million. Evans has a bargain price but it’s widely known that his agent wants a large commission of £4m, which has put off the likes of Manchester City and made Leicester re-think. Arsenal need a goalkeeper and Leno is ready to leave Bayer Leverkusen after they brought in Lukas Hradecky from Eintracht Frankfurt. He has turned down Napoli and wants regular first-team football. Bayer is asking £22million but it should be worth it.

Arsenal Announce Unai As New Manager

Unai Emery is to become our new head coach. He joins the club after completing a two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain, where he recently landed the treble of Ligue 1, Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue.  Unai, 46, previously spent three seasons with Sevilla, leading them to an unprecedented three consecutive Europa League titles, establishing the club as a major force in the Spanish league.

Announcing the appointment, chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “Unai has an outstanding track record of success throughout his career, has developed some of the best young talent in Europe and plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly. His hard-working and passionate approach and his sense of values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us forward.  “We conducted a confidential, wide-ranging and rigorous search involving extensive background references, data and video analysis, and personal meetings with all the candidates we shortlisted. All were interested in the position and we were unanimous in our choice of Unai to drive the next chapter of our history.”

Unai said: “I am thrilled to be joining one of the great clubs in the game. Arsenal is known and loved throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run. I’m very excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new chapter in Arsenal’s history. I have met Stan and Josh Kroenke and it’s clear they have great ambitions for the club and are committed to bringing future success. I’m excited about what we can do together and I look forward to giving everyone who loves Arsenal some special moments and memories.”

Unai started his coaching career at Lorca Deportiva in 2005 after playing mostly in the Spanish second division. He went on to coach Almeria, Valencia and Spartak Moscow before joining Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain.

Santi To Leave Arsenal

Arsenal have announced Santi Cazorla will leave the club this summer, with his contract coming to an end next month. The Spaniard joined from Malaga in 2012 but had his time at the Emirates hampered by injuries, causing him to not have a first-team appearance to his name since October 2016, due to an Achilles’ injury, which needed a skin graft. Cazorla has had surgery on his injury several times and in November 2017 doctors told him he should be “satisfied” to walk again after contracting gangrene in his right ankle.

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “Santi is always one of my favourite players to watch. His natural ability with both feet, his speed of thought and movement were central to our best performances in recent years. He plays with a joy and freedom which is very rare. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his important contribution to our club.”

The Independent reported last week that Cazorla was in line for a place in Mikel Arteta’s coaching staff should he have been given the job of replacing Arsene Wenger at the Emirates, but it talks have broken down and Unai Emery is expected to be announced as the club’s new manager. In total, Cazorla scored 29 goals in 180 appearances, helping the Gunners win two FA Cups in the process. Cazorla joined Arsenal from Malaga in 2012 for £17 million and emerged as one of their most influential players on the pitch in his role as a deeper-lying playmaker. Arsenal struggled mightily to make up for his absence, with their lack of a dominant central midfielder one of the reasons for two consecutive Premier League finishes outside the top four.

“I am very sad to be leaving after so many great times,” Cazorla said. “I have loved my time with the club. I will always remember the special moments we had together. The FA Cup in 2014 is something we will never forget. “I am very proud to be part of this club’s history.”

Arsenal Set To Announce Unai Emery As New Boss

Arsenal are set to appoint Unai Emery as their new manager. Manchester City assistant manager and former Gunners captain Mikel Arteta was strong favourite to succeed Arsene Wenger. Emery emerged as the unanimous choice following a recruitment process in which all candidates were spoken to. The 46-year-old Spaniard is available after leaving Paris St-Germain where he won one Ligue 1 title and four domestic cups in two seasons in charge. Previously he guided Sevilla to three consecutive Europa League triumphs between 2014 and 2016. Emery announced last month he would leave French champions PSG when his contract expired at the end of the season. He was replaced by former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, who had also been linked with the Arsenal job.

Emery’s English is not completely fluent but the language barrier is not expected to be a problem. An announcement and news conference are expected later this week. After Wenger’s departure was announced, the betting odds on Emery replacing him were at one stage as long as 66-1 – placing him behind the likes of former Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood. Other candidates included Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, as well as former Arsenal players Arteta, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.

The recruitment process was led by Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat – though the final decision would be down to majority shareholder and owner Stan Kroenke. Wenger, 68, left the Gunners at the end of season after 22 years in charge, during which he won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including two Doubles.

Russia 2018 : FIFA World Cup

Well, well it’s that time again. Once every four years the world stops to watch the top 32 football nations of that period battle it out in tournament that lasts about a month and we will see shocks, upsets, despair and glory in the end. I am excited about it but I might only be able to watch a few games due to me working evening shifts. I’ll surely watch the games during the weekends and the ones that – looking at the fixtures and the times in India.

Germany seems to be the strong favourites as defending champions. They will have to overcome Mexico, Sweden and South Korea to get out of their group and into the knock-out stage. Brazil are also in the running but I don’t like them and I hope they fall early. They have been handed a tough group to navigate first though. Serbia, Switzerland and Costa Rica are all hard-working and capable sides, so Brazil will not be expected to breeze through to the knock-out stage. The 2010 world champions Spain are not the force they were once and have a fascinating group that will see them come up against Iberian rivals Portugal as well as Morocco and Iran, but they should have enough in the tank to finish in the top two.

France are among the favourites to win the competition 10 years after their first and only triumph. It is not surprising to see Les Bleus so highly rated (13/2) considering that Didier Deschamps has an impressive pool of talent to draw from, which includes the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann. Argentina’s qualification campaign almost ended in disaster and they needed a moment of Messi magic in the last game to secure their place at the tournament. But they recently suffered a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Spain, which, while a friendly, simply does not bode well and they will have to emerge from a difficult group containing Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.

I would put Portugal and Belgium as dark horses and perhaps Russia can do some damage with home turf advantage. I hope we have a good one!

Arteta The Fav To Be In Charge of Arsenal?

Arsenal are in the midst of hiring their first new manager in 22 years after Arsene Wenger’s departure from the club. Former captain and midfielder Mikel Arteta – currently coaching at Manchester City – is the favourite for the job, and what is expected to be a major overhaul at the Emirates Stadium. The new boss will embark on the club’s second successive season without Champions League football, with the Gunners having finished a whopping 37 points behind title winners Manchester City. Yesterday marked precisely two years since Mikel Arteta stood at the bottom of the Emirates Stadium tunnel in tears, trying to compose himself for the last interview of his playing career.

And now it looks more and more likely that he will return as the new man in charge. Granted it’s not how it was with Wenger who was taking care of everything but…. still are the board really going to replace two mediocre years for the club and the exit of Wenger, a manager for the past 22 years with Arteta? Fans want Enrique, Ancellotti, Simeone or Allegri – the latter who seems to be the massive favourite to replace Arsene. But the board are looking at Arteta! If the board appoints Arteta, it’s a step in the wrong direction. It shows that they went for the cheaper option, someone they can control a lot and make him a yes man.

And that seems just like the thing that this spineless & gutless board under that cockroach Kronke would do.

Huddersfield 0 Arsenal 1

Arsene Wenger’s 1,235-game reign as Arsenal manager came to an end with a victory over Huddersfield on the final day of the Premier League season. The game had little riding on it, with Huddersfield having already avoided relegation and Arsenal finishing sixth no matter what, and was played in front of a carnival atmosphere at John Smith’s Stadium. Wenger came out to a rapturous reception and went over to applaud the Arsenal fans, taking a bow before kick-off. Both sets of fans gave him a standing ovation after 22 minutes – to celebrate his 22 years in English football with the Gunners – and two planes flew over the ground in the early stages with banners celebrating the Frenchman.

Wenger brought three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including two Doubles, to Arsenal – but leaves them in the lowest position since he arrived, sixth. In fact this win over Huddersfield was the first time in eight attempts they have picked up any points away from home in the Premier League in 2018 – making them the last professional team in England to do so. Their goal was scored by Wenger’s final signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as he slid home a low cross from their longest-serving player, Aaron Ramsey. Terriers midfielder Aaron Mooy almost denied Wenger his farewell win late on as his shot crashed off the crossbar.

The Gunners’ sixth-placed finish is their worst under Wenger, and seven consecutive away Premier League defeats before this game tell their own story. They were slightly fortunate to send Wenger off with a victory, with the only goal coming when Alexandre Lacazette passed the ball wide to Aaron Ramsey, who delivered an excellent low cross which Aubameyang turned home. The Gunners only had four shots on target, with Lacazette chipping into Jonas Lossl’s hands and Danny Welbeck firing straight at the goalkeeper in the second half. Now Arsenal have to find a replacement for Wenger and when the 2018-19 season starts, there will be a manager other than the Frenchman in the dugout for the first time since 1996.

Arsenal Update : Enrique Fav? & Kos Out For 6 Months

Arsenal are confident of naming a successor to Arsene Wenger before the World Cup kicks off next month. The Frenchman, who has two more games as manager, is leaving the club after almost 22 years. The Gunners have no specific deadline for the recruitment process, but an announcement is expected before the tournament starts in Russia on 14 June.

Ex-Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has been linked with the job, and seems to be the favourite by bookies and experts to become manager, along with Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri. Former Arsenal midfielders Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira have also been suggested as potential successors, as have Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim and three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti.

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny will be out for six months after surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon, says Gunners manager Arsene Wenger. Koscielny, 32, was carried off 12 minutes into Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final second leg defeat by Atletico Madrid last Thursday. France manager Didier Deschamps had already confirmed the centre-back would miss this summer’s World Cup.

Arsenal 5 Burnley 0

Arsenal turned on the style to thrash Burnley in Arsene Wenger’s final home game as manager. The 68-year-old, who has won 10 major trophies during a near 22-year reign, oversaw a dominant, free-flowing display in his 1,233rd game, with slick first-half goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Sead Kolasinac scored with a powerful low drive after the break, and another goal was started and finished explosively by Alex Iwobi, one of 83 academy graduates to come through the ranks under Wenger. Aubameyang got his second from close range to complete the rout.

Listless Burnley, who had their Europa League qualification confirmed on Saturday, lost striker Ashley Barnes to a 22nd-minute suspected dislocated shoulder, but will nevertheless finish an impressive campaign in seventh. Wenger was given a guard of honour by both teams before kick-off and fans of both sides frequently chanted “There’s only one Arsene Wenger”. Arsenal’s supporters also sang the name of former midfielder Patrick Vieira, who has been among the candidates tipped to take over at the Emirates next season. Red T-shirts bearing the phrase “Merci Arsene” were draped over seats for the home fans to wear, and the slogan was also emblazoned on a banner across the front of the stadium.

The outgoing manager was presented with the golden trophy given to the club after their 2003-04 unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season on the pitch after the match. Addressing the fans, he wished seriously-ill former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson a swift recovery before saying: “Thank you for having me for such a long time. Above all, I am like you – an Arsenal fan. “For me, this group of players I leave behind me has a special quality. Please support them really well next season because they deserve it. “I would like to finish with one simple phrase – I will miss you. Thank you for being such an important part of my life and I hope to see you soon.” German defender Per Mertesacker also said farewell to the Emirates, appearing as a second-half substitute before his retirement at the end of the season.

Also saying goodbye was veteran kit-man and Arsenal Ladies pioneer Vic Akers, who is leaving the Gunners after 33 years. Arsenal’s players delivered a vintage Wenger performance for his poignant home farewell. Or ‘Total Wengerball’, as it was dubbed on the club’s Twitter account. The “collective football” that the Frenchman has championed, often involving at least three players in moves and at times attempting to elevate the beautiful game to an artform, was very much in evidence. The Gunners made 664 passes to Burnley’s 368 overall, and both goals in the opening 45 minutes came after slick, quick-passing moves.

That continued after the break when Jack Wilshere, who is out of contract in the summer and could also depart, with no new deal agreed, broke impressively and slipped in Kolasinac to score with a low arrowed drive. Wilshere received a standing ovation when he was substituted. Iwobi’s goal was another deftly-constructed treat that left Burnley chasing shadows, and Aubameyang – who has now had a hand in 12 goals in 11 Premier League appearances – showed his prowess with the fifth. Danny Welbeck, who replaced Lacazette, could have made it six but smashed the bar with a late volley from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s pass. This three points will make no difference to Arsenal’s sixth-placed finish this term, and they have missed out on a top-four spot for the second straight season.

Atletico Madrid 1 Arsenal 0

Manager Arsene Wenger will not be given a last chance to lift silverware with Arsenal after they were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final. With the score 1-1 from the first leg, former Chelsea striker Diego Costa returned to the Atletico side to haunt the Gunners again and it was his composed chip on the brink of half-time which ended their European hopes. Antoine Griezmann slipped the crucial pass through to Costa after coming close with a powerful strike from a tight angle. Arsenal were crestfallen going into the break but almost responded within minutes of the restart when Aaron Ramsey found himself through on goal. His touch let him down and the chance was wasted – as were a number of opportunities for the visitors throughout the second half.

A bad night was made worse for Arsenal when captain Laurent Koscielny was carried off with an Achilles injury, which may rule the Frenchman out of this summer’s World Cup. Two-time champions Atletico will now face Marseille in their third Europa League final in eight years in Lyon on 16 May. Defeat for Arsenal means they will miss out on Champions League football for the second straight season. Wenger, who will leave the Gunners at the end of the season after 22 years in charge, has never won a European trophy with the club. There was a sense of inevitability when Costa’s chipped effort hit the back of the net.

But Arsenal were ultimately made to suffer for their missed chances and conceding a late away goal in the first leg, having played against 10 men for 80 minutes at the Emirates and only scoring once from 28 shots in a game they totally dominated. In Madrid, Alexandre Lacazette hesitated when he was played in by Aaron Ramsey in the first half and Monreal’s poor control let him down shortly afterwards. Granit Xhaka’s long-range effort was palmed away by Jan Oblak and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s volley skimmed the top netting. Diego Godin blocked everything that came his way, as Mesut Ozil, Ramsey and Hector Bellerin failed to find a breakthrough from wide positions. Wenger will end his Arsenal tenure at Huddersfield in the final league game of the season on 13 May.

Holding Signs Contract Extention

Rob Holding has signed a new contract at Arsenal, the club have confirmed. The 22-year-old joined the Gunners from Bolton Wanderers in 2016 in a £2 million deal, and has since gone on to win the FA Cup and the Community Shield with the club. Holding has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season, even scoring in the 4-2 group stage win over BATE Borisov in the Europa League.

The club has not confirmed the exact length of Holding’s contract extension, but he has signed a “long-term” deal. Holding has played for England at various youth levels, and has won five caps for the Under-21 team, though he has yet to gain senior recognition. The news ensures Holding will be at Arsenal next season regardless of who succeeds Arsene Wenger as manager. The Frenchman is set to resign this summer, though he has suggested that the announcement was not “his decision”.

Nevertheless, Holding is to continue providing support for the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi.

Arsenal New Manager Rumours

Here are some rumours from today about who will possibly replace Arsene Wenger when he steps down at the end of the current season. The first one will have most fans’ scratching their heads as he has not been discussed so far.

Numerous managers have been tipped to replace Wenger, with Juventus’ Max Allegri, Germany boss Joachim Low and former Barcelona chief Luis Enrique all linked. However, according to Bosnian publication Pravda BL, Jurgen Klopp’s No.2 Buvac will succeed Wenger. Liverpool announced yesterday that the Serbian will spend some time away from the Reds in the coming weeks, citing “personal reasons” for his leave of absence. They also claimed Buvac, nicknamed ‘the brain’, will return to Anfield. However, Pravda BL say Buvac will take over at Arsenal, with the Liverpool coach desperate to become a manager. They reckon everything is in place for Klopp’s No.2 to take over at the Emirates this summer.

Another rumour/gossip states that Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle with Carlo Ancelotti to succeed Arsene Wenger, it has been claimed. Ancelotti is among the contenders to be named the new Arsenal boss and fancies the task of rebuilding Wenger’s crumbling empire, according toTuttoMercatoWeb columnist Tancredi Palmeri.

But Palmeri claims talks between the two parties have hit the wall after failing to agree personal terms. Ancelotti is reportedly demanding around £8.8m (€10m) to take on the job but Arsenal are only willing to offer half. Palmeri suggests Ancelotti could still take the job – but he would have to accept the Gunners’ £4.4m (€5m) offer. The Italian has been out of work since being axed by Bayern Munich last September.

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1

Arsene Wenger’s final trip to Manchester United as Arsenal manager ended in an agonising defeat after an injury-time winner from Marouane Fellaini. The Belgium international flicked a header past Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina from an Ashley Young cross. Just three minutes earlier he had headed against the post, with Marcus Rashford bundling home the rebound from an offside position. United had opened the scoring on 16 minutes when a header from former Arsenal player Alexis Sanchez was knocked on to the post by Hector Bellerin and Paul Pogba stabbed home the rebound for his third goal in four league games.

The hosts lost striker Romelu Lukaku to injury early in the second half, and moments later Henrikh Mkhitaryan was left in plenty of space to weave and strike through the legs of Victor Lindelof. The game’s tempo petered out after the equaliser – until Fellaini – who Jose Mourinho says is close to a new contract – popped up to snatch the win for United, and secure Champions League football for next season. The atmosphere did change after Pogba’s opener, with the home crowd chanting ‘we want you to stay’ and the Arsenal fans responding: ‘Arsene Wenger, he won the league here.’

Wenger opted to make eight changes to his team, with one eye on Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg at Atletico Madrid, which is poised at 1-1. With an average age of 24 years and 67 days, it was Arsenal’s youngest starting XI in the Premier League since August 2011 – in their infamous 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford. It was a different story this time around. The Gunners made few mistakes and looked lively in parts, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Danny Welbeck testing United keeper David de Gea. Mkhitaryan produced a cool and accurate finish for his goal, before being taken off with a knee injury which will be assessed before Thursday. But three defenders failed to deal with a rising Fellani in the box as he headed home a winning goal that meant Arsenal remain the only team in England’s top five tiers without an away win in 2018.