FA Cup rotation likely: will we get Partey started again?

We begin our defence of the FA Cup today, a trophy we’ve won more than any other club, when Newcastle come to the Emirates later on.

I expect Mikel Arteta to rotate his squad quite a bit today. There’s a Premier League game on Thursday, we face today’s opposition in the league the following Monday, and although the schedule itself hasn’t been as taxing as it might have been, this is more about keeping players who haven’t had minutes fresh rather than resting those who have.

It’s quite something to think that someone like Emile Smith Rowe, about whose potential the manager spoke in glowing terms, could be sitting this one out to save him for Palace when just a few short weeks ago this was the kind of fixture you’d be looking for him to play in. It must be tempting to stick with what works, but like … Read the rest

Surprise playmaker?: Man United have sensational creator hidden in their ranks

Manchester United may have a dangerous weapon in their arsenal in the form of Alex Telles who showed what he can bring in the win over Watford.

It’s clear the former Porto man can still bring even more to the table but against the London club, he managed to hold his own.

It was Telles’ delivery that Scott McTominay headed in for the narrow 1-0 victory but it wasn’t the only chance he created.

The Brazilian defender was signed in the summer for a cut-price figure and fans celebrated his arrival as they looked forward to his attacking talent.

Telles hasn’t yet settled in fully but there are signs he can press on now and make the left-back position his own in the absence of Luke Shaw.

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“We will sell top performers again if it makes financial sense” – RB Leipzig CEO pitches in on Upamecano links

Oliver Mintzlaff has said that RB Leipzig are prepared to sell their top talents, provided that a potential transfer makes financial as well as sporting sense, in light of recent speculation over Dayot Upamecano’s future, as reported by the Echo.

The Bundesliga star has been linked with a move to a number of elite European clubs including Liverpool and league rivals Bayern Munich.

“We have a squad that is very broad in terms of quality,” the Leipzig CEO admitted. “So we will sell top performers again if it makes financial sense and we can cope with it from a sporting point of view.”

While not directly mentioning the Frenchman, it’s thought that Mintzlaff’s words are in reference to the 22-year-old centre-half.

There’s no doubt that the German outfit have done extraordinarily well despite losing a host of top talent over the years to the Premier League from Naby Keita … Read the rest

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives update on injured Man United star in wake of hefty collision during FA Cup triumph

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shed light on the condition of Eric Bailly after the centre-back was withdrawn during Manchester United’s victory over Watford.

United’s win over the Hornets was less than convincing, but they returned to winning ways and progressed to the next round of the FA Cup – what else matters?

All that will be of concern to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in wake of the game is the condition of Bailly, who was forcibly taken off as a substitute after a hefty collision with goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

MORE: Opinion: Solskjaer deserves more credit for United’s league turnaround

At the time of the incident it looked as though it could have been a head injury, concussion being the assumption, hence why the physios were so insistent to get him off the field.

Arsenal take a loan for cash flow … and squad management?

Morning all.

It’s Friday, on Saturday we play Newcastle in the FA Cup, but I’ll leave any previewing of that game till tomorrow.

Let’s start this morning with news from yesterday which saw the club announce they had taken a £120m loan from the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) scheme.

The statement read:

We are taking a short-term £120 million loan through this facility to partially assist in managing the impacts of the revenue losses attributable to the pandemic. This is a similar approach to that taken by a wide variety of major organisations across many industries including sport, and is repayable in May 2021.

The CCFF is designed to provide short-term finance at commercial rates during the pandemic to companies that have strong investment ratings and which make significant contributions to the British economy.

Now, with billionaire owners, some might wonder why this isn’t something KSE themselves … Read the rest

4-2-3-1: United will crush Watford with this explosive line-up

The Manchester United team to face Watford tomorrow in the FA Cup third round will see a number of changes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.
In the pre-match press conference, the manager said ‘There’s a few players that’s had a few knocks and there will be a few changes but we’ll still field a team I’ll feel confident in.’
He also confirmed that Odion Ighalo will play some part before letting it slip that it will be from the bench, saying ‘He will be involved … hopefully I won’t need to bring him on in that we need goals but hopefully that he can join in.’
There had been speculation that Facundo Pellistri would also be involved but he has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating.
Amad Diallo has not yet been able to join the senior squad so it will be too soon for him.
Nonetheless, we expect … Read the rest

Surprise PL side reportedly set to challenge Liverpool for Kabak signing

Liverpool will face a challenge from West Ham for the signature of highly-rated centre-back Ozan Kabak, according to Bild (via Caught Offside).

The 20-year-old has been heavily linked with the Reds of late, with the club reportedly having made contact with Kabak’s representatives in November, with little success.

Given our prior interest, it’s a little surprising that the Hammers would appear to be the only side queueing up behind us for the Turkish international.

In consideration of our current defensive crisis, Liverpool are in desperate need of a new defender to cover their bases going into the second-half of the season.

READ MORE: (Image) Confirmed Liverpool team news as Klopp names strong XI

With Kabak’s valuation reportedly fluctuating around the £20m mark on any given day, Jurgen Klopp would have hardly had to ask the club to empty the bank – even during the current crisis – for the … Read the rest

Fraser Forster reveals he always wanted a second bite of the cherry at Southampton and was never interested in returning to Celtic

Southampton goalkeeper, Fraser Forster, was pursued by Celtic for some time in pre-season. The goalkeeper was also linked with a return to the Glasgow club this month, as the Hoops look to fill the void between the sticks since he left. However, his recent start and clean sheet against Liverpool meant that was looking unlikely, before Forster put the final nail in the Celtic transfer coffin today.

The former England international told the Daily Echo : “It’s been a strange few years, it’s been a tough few years Obviously it’s a club I love a lot. I had some fantastic times here in the past and I’ve always been keen to come back and try and play here.

MORE: Video: “Football deserves to continue,” manager gives his verdict on Coronavirus threat to the game

“That’s all I wanted to do in the summer. I wanted to come back and give … Read the rest

The Next Step

The world feels a little lighter after three consecutive Arsenal victories. Whether the decision to introduce Emile Smith-Rowe into the team was forced onto manager Mikel Arteta or whether it was always part of his plan is open to debate- sometimes a coach finds solutions and sometimes solutions find the coach.

What is important is how a coach develops an idea and responds to the inevitable opposition responses. As I wrote last week, simply having a competent number 10, capable of popping up into spaces and creating passing lanes for his teammates has overhauled Arsenal’s previously stodgy football.

Smith-Rowe is still a young player with injuries in his past so he will need to be looked after. Very few players are capable of playing every game in any case, so another creative midfielder should still be near the top of the club’s shopping list in January. Smith-Rowe’s emergence as … Read the rest

'Unreal talent'- Man United fans celebrate first January transfer window arrival

Manchester United have officially announced the signing of Amad Diallo from Atalanta and fans couldn’t contain their excitement.

The young winger was originally purchased in the summer but couldn’t complete a move just yet due to multiple bits of paperwork and so he couldn’t complete his transfer until this January transfer window.

Diallo arrives with a host of supporters keen on seeing him in action and watching him develop over the next few years.

Some fans are getting a little too carried away and feel he’ll make an instant impact but the majority are happy to be patient with him.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted Diallo will need time but he is expected to jump right into first-team training once he’s in the country.

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