In today’s news roundup, we have selected quotes from the manager regarding the game against Chelsea and the history between the two sides over the past few years. Also, injury updates as Diego Costa has been ruled out of the fixture completely.
In other news, we have an outburst from ‘pundit’ Paul Scholes in which he claims Sanchez is undeserving of the PFA Award; a look at the new UEFA seeding system and how it affects Arsenal and also the latest transfer rumours. All this and more in today’s roundup.
Manager claims ‘history not important’
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists that our atrocious record against Chelsea will not be significant ahead of Sunday’s clash against the league leaders:
Boss: "We have been close to beating them a few times. The result on Sunday will just be down to the performance on the day." #AFCvCFC
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 23, 2015
Boss: "We have an opportunity to show our improvement is consistent. Our first target is to continue to win and strengthen our position."
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— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 23, 2015
Going into this weekend’s encounter, Wenger is aiming to defeat Jose Mourinho for the first time at the 12th attempt whilst also looking to overcome a Chelsea side, which hasn’t occurred since October 2011.
The champions-elect will inevitably aim for a draw by stationing their rearguard defensive wall in front of the goal, and it will be our prerogative to try and break them down. Whether the Frenchman finally manages to trump the ‘Special One’ remains to be seen, but this is probably our best opportunity with our team in impeccable form during the second half of the season.
Meanwhile, on the injury front, Chelsea have a striker crisis with Costa set to miss the tie with a hamstring issue. With Drogba and Remy also sidelined for now this means that Mourinho may have to play someone out of position today. If we can take advantage of this, the three points should be ours for the taking.
For Arsenal, Per Mertesacker continues to be doubtful and it is very likely that Gabriel will feature today as Wenger will not want to take any chances against the League leaders.
Paul Scholes at it again; claims Sanchez does not deserve to win PFA Award
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has once again displayed his bitterness towards Arsenal by stating that had he still voted in the PFA ballot, Alexis Sanchez would be his sixth choice.
Scholes has made many odd comments regarding Arsenal since he decided to take up a punditry role, mainly surrounding his weird obsession with Mesut Ozil. His latest episode, however, scales to new heights. Despite Alexis scoring 22 goals in his first season in English football, Scholes stated that Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, John Terry (who isn’t even shortlisted), Philippe Coutinho and David de Gea would all be ahead of our Chilean star in his hypothetical vote.
Hazard has made the difference in big games, like the one against Manchester United.
If I were to place the six shortlisted players, plus Terry, in order, I would rank them like this: 1) Hazard; 2) Kane; 3) Terry; 4) David De Gea; 5) Philippe Coutinho; 6) Alexis Sanchez; 7) Diego Costa.
The logic behind his decision is difficult comprehend and could just be put down to pure dislike of Arsenal, stemming back to when Patrick Vieira would bully him in the middle of the park.
New UEFA rules set to affect Arsenal’s seeding badly
Arsenal are set to be one of the clubs to suffer from UEFA’s new Champions League seeding system which aims to elevate the title winners from Europe’s top seven leagues into the first pot.
European football’s governing body announced earlier on this season that the previous seeding system, based on a ranking coefficient over a five-year period, would be replaced to reward domestic champions. Pot one in next season’s Champions League will contain the holders of the competition, alongside the champions of the seven highest ranked European countries.
According to the report, that includes current Russian league leaders Zenit St Petersburg and Juventus with the likes of Real Madrid dropping down with us should they not win La Liga.
When the changes were announced, Arsene Wenger wasn’t concerned and simply stated that the competitiveness of the Champions League may be affected.
Transfer rumours: Monaco defender and Southampton midfielder on the cards
Arsenal are, according to the player’s agent, closely monitoring Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour who starred in our Champions League tie against the Ligue 1 side, as reported by French journalists:
— Robin Bairner (@RBairner) April 23, 2015
Abdennour produced a no-nonsense display in both legs and seems like the type of defender – similar to Gabriel – who just loves defending.
Wenger does seem intent on adding a defender to his squad; however, whenever an agent reveals interest from a club spontaneously, it’s most likely an attempt to drum up interest in his client ahead of the summer transfer window. Also, we will probably need to sell someone to make room for an incoming player.
Another transfer story comes out of Southampton, with Wenger reportedly showing interest in midfielder Victor Wanyama. For most of the season, Arsenal have been linked with defensive midfielder Morgan Schniederlin; but according to Wanyama himself he is also a target for the London club.
Wenger has been talking about me. And he has let it be known he would like to sign me this summer.
Arsenal are a great club and I’d love to play Champions League football as I loved being on that stage with Celtic.
But we’ve had a fantastic season at Saints and I want to stay focused on helping the club qualify for Europe. Then we’ll see where I end up in the summer.
Wanyama, 23, made many stand up and take notice with his Champions League performances for Celtic in the 2012/13 season and two specific games against Barcelona stood-out in particular. However, Schneiderlin is the superior of the two and if Wenger is looking to buy then it will probably be the Frenchman that he targets.
Other interesting stories on allarsenal.com