Arsenal: Everton team news; Henry discusses title race; Ozil and Sanchez contract update
Arsenal have a tough trip to Goodison Park on Tuesday night as they come up against a struggling Everton side. Although the Toffees have been struggling in recent weeks, they are still a team that can pose problems for Arsenal and the Gunners will have to be at their best to take the three points. It is another opportunity to climb to the summit of the table and put pressure on Chelsea, which they need to do. However, they will have to do so without Shkodran Mustafi as he will be missing for three weeks, providing an opportunity to Gabriel to start at centre back.
They do look to be Chelsea’s main challengers for the league title and it is crucial that Arsenal have a good Christmas period, as the league leaders have some very winnable matches. Arsenal can’t afford to let that lead grow. The only fresh injury blow is Mustafi, but they will be able to welcome Hector Bellerin back into the starting eleven after a good performance from the bench on Saturday. He provides a bigger threat down the right hand side and that is especially important away from home. Arsenal will be confident ahead of the match against Ronald Koeman’s side and it is important that they pick up the three points.
Thierry Henry has been talking about the title race on Sky Sports and has talked about the mental issues that have troubled his former side in the past. He feels that they need to have more self-belief if they are to be genuine challengers for the title.
“Arsenal need to have that belief that they can win the title. They need to have that confidence that sometimes people mistake for arrogance. They need to arrive at a stadium knowing that they will win each game.”
These mental issues have been holding Arsenal back in recent seasons, as they have dropped points in matches that they shouldn’t have. They have been a lot more convincing this season and their ability to come from behind to beat Stoke showed that the mentality is much better than years gone by. However, they need to show that on a weekly basis, even against rival teams. The title race will be close this season and Arsenal should have confidence in themselves. They have one of the strongest spines in the league and have genuine world class attacking talent in Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. This season is a great opportunity for Arsenal.
The news story that is dominating Arsenal’s season is the contract talks of Ozil and Sanchez, as both are key to the future aspirations of the club. It is important that Arsenal show that they can keep hold of their best players, providing future targets with a reason to join the Gunners. Club secretary spoke to BT Sport after the Champions League draw and confirmed that the talks were progressing well.
“Of course, we know talks are ongoing with certain players and certain contracts. At the moment, things are looking pretty good in that way.”
This looks like it is going to drag on until the summer at least and if it does, it makes Arsenal’s achievements this season all the more important. These are two players that want to be challenging for major honours and Arsenal need to show that they are progressing in the right direction. The Premier League looks to be a more attainable trophy for the Gunners after their difficult Champions League draw. However, they need to target success in both competitions. Arsene Wenger’s ability to take that extra step has been doubted for years and now he must show that he can or risk losing two of his most important players.
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