Legend Robert Pires Is Certain Arsenal Will Finish in the Top 4 Under New Manager Unai Emery

Arsenal legend Robert Pires is ‘100 per cent’ certain that his old club will bring UEFA Champions League football back to the Emirates by securing a top four spot this season.

After losing two tough fixtures to both Manchester City and Chelsea in the beginning of the season, the Gunners have since started to find their flow under new manager Unai Emery.

Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

A run of six straight wins in the ​Premier League and nine in a row in all competitions has Arsenal fans believing in their side again and feeling that they are back in the mix for the Champions League places.

​The Express have reported that one particular admirer of the club’s start to the season is former winger Pires. After speaking at the Teqball World Cup in Reims, the Frenchman expressed his confidence that new manager Emery has the club back on track and will lead them to the top four this season.

“For the moment I am very happy of course for the club because I am an ambassador for Arsenal but especially for Unai Emery because he’s a great manager,” he said.

“He done well with Sevilla, he won some titles, especially with Paris Saint-Germain last season.

And of course you know you need to improve every day but Arsenal actually are on a very good run, especially in the Premier League.

Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

“Nine games, nine victories so I think they will finish in the top four, sure, 100 per cent.”

Even though they lost those two games at the start of the campaign, the Gunners still only sit two points behind the three leaders ​City, Chelsea and Liverpool despite all three of those sides being unbeaten this season.

There are still some experts suggesting that the usual defensive frailties we have come to expect from an Arsenal side will prove to be their downfall later on in the campaign. They may be winning games and scoring plenty of goals right now but they still look open at the back, a problem Emery will need to address.

For now however there are plenty of reasons for ​Arsenal fans to be optimistic this season as they have a real chance to topple Spurs in the battle for north London supremacy, and more importantly, guarantee the return of Champions League football at the Emirates Stadium with a top four finish.


Sokratis Doubtful for Arsenal’s Leicester Clash After Limping Out of Greece’s 2-0 Defeat to Finland

Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopolous reportedly suffered a sprained ankle during Greece’s 2-0 UEFA Nations League defeat to Finland on Monday evening and is a doubt for the Gunners’ clash with Leicester next week.

The 30-year-old international was one of Unai Emery’s first additions after arriving from Borussia Dortmund for a reported £17.7m in the summer and played every minute of Arsenal’s first five Premier League games this season.


However, he was substituted with a suspected sprained ankle at half-time against Finland and may face some time on the sidelines, according to Greek website Gazzetta. The Evening Standard understand the defender is a doubt for the clash with the Foxes on Monday.

Emery will be hoping the injury is not as serious as it may seem, considering the Gunners are already struggling with squad depth at centre back.

Laurent Koscielny has not yet returned from the Achilles tear he suffered in May, with Sokratis, ​Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi shouldering the responsibility in central defence. Youngster Konstantinos Mavropanos has also been sidelined through injury.

Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava - UEFA Europa League - Group E

It could mean ​the Gunners start a tough run of difficult fixtures with only two fit first team centre backs in Mustafi and Holding.

They host Leicester in the Premier League, travel to Sporting CP for a Europa League tie, journey across London to Crystal Palace before finally hosting Blackpool in the Carabao Cup.

Unfortunately, the tight fixture list doesn’t stop there, as they host ​Liverpool in the league and Sporting CP for their return fixture within the first eight days of November.​

Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Emery will be stretched for options if Sokratis faces a spell on the sidelines and may have to count on Nacho Monreal to fill in if needed after he was used as a centre back towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign at the club.


Atlético Madrid Player Attracts Interest From Arsenal Despite Buy-Out Clause Confusion

​Atlético Madrid’s Thomas Partey is being linked with a move away from the Spanish capital, with Arsenal cited as potential suitors for the Ghanaian midfielder.

Partey, who signed his first professional contract with Atlético in 2011, is reportedly dissatisfied with his lack of playing time under Diego Simeone and will consider his options in the January transfer window. 

Club Atletico de Madrid v Club Brugge - UEFA Champions League Group A

Thus far, the midfielder has garnered interest from both Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal. However, Simeone is keen to retain Partey’s services as he believes that the Ghanaian has the potential to be ‘incredible’, as reported by Marca.

Partey’s apparent dissatisfaction at the club must have manifested recently, as the midfielder signed a new contract with Atlético in March 2018, extending his deal until 2023. 

Included in this new contract was an increased release clause of €80m, upped from the €50m clause that existed previously, according to AS.

However, there has been some confusion over the validity of this, and there is a possibility that Partey’s release clause has remained at the €50m mark. PSG and Arsenal will be hoping that this is the case, as €80m on a player who does not started regularly for Atlético Madrid would represent a sizeable risk.

Despite signing Lucas Torreira in the summer, Arsenal’s midfield options are sparse compared to the other sides in the top six, a concern voiced by Stan Collymore. Partey could well be the player to provide the missing strength and athleticism in the Gunners’ midfield.

The Arsenal hierarchy will be keen to clarify the situation regarding Partey’s release clause before entering into transfer negotiations with Atlético Madrid. The Gunners have famously had problems with release clauses in the past, most notably when they bid £40m plus £1 as they attempted to activate Luis Suarez’s release clause at Liverpool. 

After a solid start to the La Liga season, third-placed Atlético Madrid face a trip to face out-of-form Villarreal on Saturday evening. With Real Madrid set to take on Barcelona on the 28th October, Simeone will be hoping his side can take advantage by accumulating maximum points over the next two games.

Arsenal, meanwhile, play Leicester City on Monday night as Unai Emery’s side look to maintain their strong form in all competitions and continue their push for a top-four finish this season.


Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette Slams English Fans & Claims Stadium Atmosphere Is Better in France

​Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has revealed he misses the atmosphere of games in Ligue 1 and believes France’s top flight fixtures have a greater aura than Premier League matches.

France international Lacazette is currently in deadly form for the Gunners, having scored three goals in his last three league games, and the 27-year-old says games in England do not have the same atmosphere as those in his homeland.


“I miss Ligue 1’s atmosphere,” Lacazette told Le Progre​s. “In England, the fans are more spectators than supporters. There’s a better atmosphere in French stadiums.”

In his most recent Premier League outing, the former Lyon striker helped silence Craven Cottage when Arsenal ran out 5-1 winners against Fulham, with Lacazette scoring twice before strike partner ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench to grab a brace as ​Aaron Ramsey also netted.

Lacazette was in France as part of a programme to help educate students of the Academy of Lyon to become good supporters, reiterating “the importance that the young people understand what is good to do or not to do in the stands”.

Fulham FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Despite his excellent recent form, Lacazette was not recalled to France’s squad for the international break, with Olivier Giroud selected as Les Bleus’ only specialist striker by manager Didier Deschamps.

​Lacazette was placed on the standby list for the World Cup by Deschamps after scoring 17 goals in 39 appearances for the north London side last season and missed out on a winner’s medal as they went on to lift the trophy.

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​Arsenal are currently fourth in the Premier League, two points behind the competition’s top three sides, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.


Arsène Wenger Backs ‘Intelligent’ Thierry Henry to Succeed as Monaco Manager Following Appointment

Arsène Wenger has given Thierry Henry a vote of approval ahead of the Arsenal legend’s new journey as manager of Monaco.

Henry was announced as the Ligue 1 side’s new boss over the weekend, replacing the sacked Leonardo Jardim and bringing an end to his spell as assistant manager of the Belgium national team.

Belgium v Switzerland - UEFA Nations League A

Wenger, who ended his own time as Arsenal manager in the summer, knows the Frenchman well from his playing days in north London and praised him as a good choice for Monaco, noting that he has all the right ingredients to succeed in the dug-out.

“Good choice, he has a lot of credibility,” said Wenger, as quoted by Sky Sports. “He is very intelligent and understands football.

“Like a lot of players on this high level, he has all the ingredients. Of course you always need a little luck and a good attitude.”

Huddersfield Town v Arsenal - Premier League

Wenger also warned the 41-year-old of the difficulties he is set to face in football management, saying: “You have to sacrifice a lot, basically you have to sacrifice all of your life.”

Monaco have had a poor start to the season, losing five of their opening nine games in Ligue 1. These results have left them 18th in the league table and a further two defeats in their opening Champions League matches means Henry faces a tough job to improve his side’s prospects.

Arsenal v Charlton Athletic

The Frenchman will face an away match at Strasbourg on Saturday to mark his first game in charge before a trip to Club Bruges in the Champions League.