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Arsenal round-up: Cologne team news; Giroud discusses the summer; Debuchy’s frustration

Jake Jackman

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Arsenal

Arsenal will prioritise their upcoming Premier League match agaisnt Chelsea, rather that select a strong side to face Cologne in the Europa League. The Telegraph report that Arsene Wenger is set to rest seven key players during the match on Thursday. Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil will all sit out on Thursday. This will give opportunities to the squad players.

Despite the wholesale changes, Arsenal should have enough to pick up the three points on Thursday. Cologne have started the new season in poor form and they will arrive in England with little confidence. It is important that Wenger rotates wisely and this is a good opportunity to rest key players. There is a lot of talent underneath the starting eleven and they deserve a chance to prove what they can do.

Olivier Giroud is one of the players that is likely to come in for the match on Thursday as he hasn’t played a prominent role during the first four Premier League matches. The Frenchman has opened up on his decision to stay at Arsenal during the summer and the Liverpool Echo report the following quotes from the striker:

“It was a private decision. It’s true I was close to leaving because I wanted to play.

“But after a big reflection with everyone around me like my family and close friends, I wanted to stay at Arsenal. I thought the story was not over at Arsenal. The club has given me a lot, I want to win some more trophies.”

Everton were keen on signing the forward as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku and they would have been able to offer him more game time. It is interesting that he believes there is more to be achieved at Arsenal, as it suggests the players don’t think the team is in as bad a place as the media does. The Europa League will offer him a good chance to further his own first-team ambitions and it is important that he performs well.

Mathieu Debuchy is another player that could feature in the Europa League, but he has admitted that he is frustrated he remains an Arsenal player. During the summer, transfers to Brighton and Nice fell through, which means he has been left stranded in North London. The Mirror report the following quotes from an interview with L’Equipe:

“I don’t know what will happen because this summer the coach (Arsene Wenger) would have let me leave without a transfer fee. Brighton also enquired in the last few days of the transfer window. But that came to nothing.

“I cannot predict the future. Some clubs are maybe scared that I haven’t played for a while (since November 27 2016). Maybe my salary is also a problem although I am ready to make an effort on that. I am going to give my best and we will see. I am taking the initiative.”?

It is refreshing to hear that the right-back wants to play football rather than collect big wages, but he remains an Arsenal player and he must now try to make the best of a bad situation. If he gets a chance in the Europa League, it will give him a good opportunity to put himself in the shop window for January.

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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