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Arsenal round-up: Bellerin on Europa League; Trabzonspor claim Wilshere talks; Gibbs sale details

Jake Jackman

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Arsenal

Arsenal will be in Europa League action this week and Hector Bellerin insists that the club are in the competition to win it. They start their campaign against Cologne on Thursday and it will be a tough game against a good German team. Their right-back spoke about how the club want to do what Manchester United did last term and lift the trophy. The Mirror reports the following quotes:

“The Europa League is a very important competition for us.

“We know that if we have the possibility of winning it, we will return to the Champions League next year, which is one of our targets.”

There has been a lot of debate about whether they would take the competition seriously and it looks like they will. That is the correct decision as it offers them a route back into the Champions League and with only four places on offer in the Premier League, this could be their best chance of returning. English clubs will begin to target the Europa League as six doesn’t go into four.

Jack Wilshere could make his Arsenal return against Cologne, but he was close to leaving the club during the summer. The Evening Standard report quotes from the Trabzonspor president, Muharrem Usta, who stated that they had discussions with the midfielder.

“I held direct talks with Jack Wilshere. We wanted him on loan and were close to a deal but the move stalled at the last moment.”

It is difficult to judge whether this would have been a good move for the midfielder. His career has gone backwards in England and he is a million miles away from the national team. Injuries have had an effect, but his attitude hasn’t been helpful in moving his career forwards. Wilshere will be given an opportunity on Thursday, but he needs a big performance if he is even to get close to a Premier League return.

Kieran Gibbs did leave Arsenal during the summer transfer window as he joined West Brom. The Baggies had initially pulled out of a move, but the Gunners reduced their asking price. Tony Pulis revealed further details of the move to the Express and Star:

“I just thought Gibbs was too expensive. The £12m that Arsenal were talking about at the beginning of the season was too much.

“To get him for £5m over a period of time now is a good deal for us.”

This highlights how desperate Arsenal were to get rid of players. It is remarkable that they reduced their asking price by over half just to sell the left-back, but it indicates the cost of keeping Alexis Sanchez for the final year of his contract. They can’t afford to pay any other unnecessary costs and as Gibbs was in the final year of his deal, they had to sell during the summer.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Arsenal

Criticism of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson unfair? stats suggest he’s England’s best option

The midfielder came under scrutiny for his latest performance.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time header ensured England started the tournament with maximum points, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of points in Volograd.

A promising opening 20 minutes was encored by ponderous and slow football in the second half, after the team began looking seemingly affected by Tunisia’s equaliser.

The additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added impetus and purpose to the attack late on.

But prior to that, England struggled in pursuit of a second, and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson came under fire for what was deemed to be a lack of creativity.

Photo: Getty Images

Many fans were questioning the omission of Jack Wilshere from England duties, as Gareth Southgate opted for the Liverpool man as the regular in central midfield. But last season’s statistics show some maybe being preemptive in wanting to replace the 28-year-old this World Cup.

Squawka stats (below) show that the Liverpool man was superior to both Eric Dier and Jack Wilshere in all aspects of midfield play in the Premier League last term, suggesting he could very well be the right man to continue starting for the Three Lions.

The former Sunderland man bested his two counterparts for number of forward passes, average pass length, key passes, tackles won, aerial duels won and chances created (all per 90 minutes), which sheds some light on why he’s a regular in Southgate’s team.

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Fans criticise Jack Wilshere omission after Jordan Henderson’s ‘toothless’ England performance

Gareth Southgate’s bold decision is already being questioned.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner ensured England started the tournament with a victory, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of the points in Volgograd.

After a promising opening 20 minutes, England’s shortcomings in front of goal were punished as Tunisia were awarded a penalty – using VAR – and Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot, heaping pressure on Gareth Southgate’s outfit to score a second.

But creativity was scarce from the Three Lions, in what was a stressful and frustrating half to watch for the nation.

Photo: Getty Images

And Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has come under fire for his performance in the heart of the midfield, with many believing that Arsenal‘s Jack Wilshere would have been more creative and imaginative in central midfield, if he wasn’t omitted from international duties this earlier this summer.

Henderson frequently opted for possession over creativity and was guilty of taking too many touches in the midfield yesterday, particularly in the second half and the speed of play was directly affected as a result.

Here’s the Twitter reaction:

By no means did the 28-year-old have an awful game, but his choice of pass was often safe and as a result England lacked impetus and drive in the second-half, until the additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added a spark in the final third.

Gareth Southgate will often opt for control in central midfield against tougher opposition – with Belgium on the horizon – but against the likes of Tunisia and Panama, the side can afford to take more risks and be more inventive, and the decision to leave Wilshere at home is already being questioned after just one game.

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Crystal Palace fans thrilled with reports of Jack Wilshere interest

Crystal Palace fans are keen on the reported deal.

Jamie Watts

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Crystal Palace are keen on landing long-serving Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, if the 26-year-old leaves the Emirates this summer, according to reports from Evening Standard.

A move to Selhurst Park would reunite Wilshere with Roy Hodgson, his former England manager and a coach, whose belief in the Gunner is undeniable.

Hodgson displayed his admiration for the midfielder, after taking him the 2016 Euros despite him barely playing all season and he believes he could add the perfect balance to the Eagles’ midfield alongside enforcer Luka Milivojevic.

Photo: Getty Images

Wilshere was left out of the England squad for the World Cup this summer due to his diminished role with Arsenal, and revealed his “disappointment” on the day through his official Twitter account.

It now appears he will prioritise making himself essential at both club and international level next season, and that is unlikely with Arsenal.

Having improved his fitness, which has widely been considered his primary weakness, making 38 appearances in all competitions last season, Wilshere could become a serious asset at Selhurst Park, and fans have taken to Twitter to discuss the reports.

Here’s the reaction:

Yohan Cabaye’s situation is currently unresolved at Selhurst Park, with reports suggesting that the 32-year-old could potentially move to Ligue 1 giants Marseille this summer, and the Frenchman would need replacing.

Having joined in 2015 for £10 million from French champions Paris Saint Germain, the veteran midfielder played a key role in the Eagles relegation survival, acting as the catalyst for control and mobility in the centre of the park.

Photo: Getty Images

And Wilshere would play a similar role. His agility and vision are reminiscent of Cabaye, but he has far more left in the tank.

It is safe to say the Englishman would be a real coup for Hodgson at Palace this summer and the fans agree its a deal the club should make happen.

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