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Three things we learnt as Arsenal fell to a damaging defeat against West Brom

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Craig Dawson’s headed double inflicted a fourth defeat in five Premier League matches on Champions League-chasing Arsenal at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.

Dawson rode into the six-yard box unmarked to fire the Baggies ahead from an early corner before Alexis Sanchez instantly responded for the Gunners, smashing the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.

Tony Pulis’ side then regained the lead when Hal Robson-Kanu – who had only come off of the bench 70 seconds earlier – slotted underneath David Ospina despite the efforts of Hector Bellerin on the line.

Olivier Giroud entered the fray as Arsenal searched for a critical equaliser but it was to be Dawson who had the last say, once again arriving unmarked from a corner to secure the win for the hosts.

The result means the Gunners remain five points adrift of Liverpool in fourth, whilst Manchester United have the chance to overtake their rivals if they beat Middlesbrough on Sunday afternoon.

See over the next few pages for three things that we can take from Saturday’s early kick-off.

West Brom’s deadly set-piece streak continues

One message that would have been drilled into Arsenal’s starting line-up on Saturday afternoon before kick-off would be to, at all costs, watch out for West Brom’s distinct threat from set-pieces.

Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger, it took all of 12 minutes before defender Craig Dawson breached the Gunners’ non-existent defence, arriving into the six-yard box from a corner completely unmarked to glance a header past Petr Cech and into the net to give West Brom a deserved lead.

You would have thought, then, that they would have learnt from their first-half mistakes but Dawson once again popped up to secure his brace deep in the second-half, all but securing the three points.

The 26-year-old’s double – not surprisingly his first for West Brom – took West Brom’s tally to 18 goals scored from set-pieces this Premier League campaign, more than any other team in the division, and now means that 50% of the Baggies goals have come directly from dead ball situations.

Arsenal had only conceded two goals from set-pieces prior to their clash at The Hawthorns on Saturday, but a well-drilled tactic from Tony Pulis ensured they left for London with a damaging loss.

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Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Arsenal

Free agent Max Meyer would be Arsenal’s ideal Aaron Ramsey replacement

The Gunners would suffer a huge loss if Ramsey was to leave but this starlet would ease the pain.

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Max Meyer
Photo: Getty Images

Unai Emery’s work in the market so far at Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 season has impressed but there is still significant room for concern.

The Gunners added Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to their squad following the losses of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere but are at severe risk of experiencing a huge blow, as Aaron Ramsey’s future remains shrouded in speculation.

Wales international Ramsey, a figure many fans believe would be the ideal captain at the Emirates Stadium, has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and the Gunners may be forced into a sale as they look to avoid losing the 27-year-old on a free transfer next year.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

While Emery himself has stated that Ramsey is a crucial part of his plans for next year, his own admission that he does not know whether the former Cardiff City man will renew should send alarm bells ringing in north London.

“This is one question for the player, the club, but my opinion – I said to them – I think he is one important player for me. I’m very happy with him. Every day every training session he is with the ambition I want. He is working with quality. I want to work with him.”

Unai Emery discusses Aaron Ramsey’s future

Arsenal are confident of securing a deal with Ramsey, according to Football.London, but plans need to be made for the worse case scenario – and the Gunners could find their own bargain in the market in the form of Max Meyer.

Available on a free transfer after leaving Schalke, the 22-year-old Germany international is a target for Arsenal, alongside Liverpool, and Emery’s side are ready to do a deal as long as he lowers his staggering wage demands, according to TransferMarketWeb.

Capped four times by Germany, and a member of his nation’s squad at the 2016 Olympics, Meyer is widely regarded to be one of the best midfield prospects within European football and his versatility means he could easily fill the void left by a potential departure of Ramsey.

(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Additionally, his preferred position as an attacking midfielder could see Meyer stand as the best long-term replacement for compatriot Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium, which would then allow Switzerland international Granit Xhaka to partner new signing Lucas Torreira in a deeper midfield role.

While speculation suggests that any more for Meyer does not necessarily hinge on Ramsey’s future, signing the Germany ace with the squad in it’s current shape would leave huge questions marks over who will play for Unai Emery.

Significant depth is required for the gruelling campaigns in both the Premier League and Europa League but a player like Meyer will demand first-team assurances, which he is unlikely to get if Ramsey renews his deal.

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Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas

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Jamaal Lascelles
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Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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Six ins and outs Arsenal could complete this week

The Gunners continue to be extremely active in the transfer market.

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Unai Emery’s rejuvenation at Arsenal is well underway ahead of the 2018-19 season and the next week could be a busy time in north London.

The Gunners have already signed five new players, totalling around £71.1 million, according to TransferMarkt, and may now shift attention towards offloading some within the squad who are deemed to be surplus to requirements.

However, plenty of rumours still float around to suggest that Emery’s spending spree is far from over and Arsenal fans may be set to welcome further arrivals at the Emirates Stadium, with rumours suggesting that more midfield additions are targeted.

With suggestions that deals could be agreed imminently, we have rounded up the latest reports to identify a total of six deals the Gunners could agree this week.

Rodrigo Bentancur: Juventus

Arsenal have already signed one Uruguay ace this summer in the form of Lucas Torreira but are now reported to be eyeing a deal for Juventus’ Rodrigo Bentancur following his performances at the World Cup, Gazzetta Dello Sport state.

The 21-year-old is rated as one of the finest young players within the ranks of Massimiliano Allegri’s Serie A winning side but has struggled for regular playing time due to the wealth of competition that Juventus have at their disposal.

While Arsenal also have a strong midfield, which includes the likes of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey, the departures of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere have left the Gunners lacking depth, which should provide Bentancur with enough playing opportunities.

(Photo by Odd Andersen/Getty Images)

David Ospina to Boca Juniors

Signed following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, David Ospina has never done enough to secure a spot as Arsenal’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper and the signing of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen leaves the writing on the wall for the Colombia international.

The Mirror state Arsenal will accept a fee of just £6m for the experienced goalkeeper and South American giants Boca Juniors are interested, although his agent admitted to El Crack Deportivo that a deal would be difficult to secure.

“The possibility of Boca is something we have already spoken about, but right now it is not economically possible for a club like Boca to pay that much for a goalkeeper.”

– Lucas Jaramillo, Ospina’s agent, on a potential transfer.

Andre Gomes: Barcelona

Andre Gomes has had a difficult few years at Barcelona since signing from Valencia after Portugal’s European Championship win in 2016 and an exit for the 24-year-old looks likely to take place before the start of the new LaLiga season.

Spanish outlet Sport state an exit for Gomes is close after he was left out of Barcelona’s pre-season squad for the tour in the United States, although they name Juventus as potential rivals in the market for the Gunners.

New surroundings could be what Gomes needs to get his career back-on-track, although fans will be concerned about his form in recent years and whether he would be good enough to challenge the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira for first-team action.

Nacho Monreal to Real Sociedad

One of Arsenal’s finest performers last season, Spain international Nacho Monreal has exceeded expectations in recent years by remaining as one of the most crucial players within the squad – but his services are being eyed this summer.

El Gol Digital state Monreal is the number one priority for Real Sociedad as they look to bolster their defensive line following the sale of Alvaro Odriozola to Real Madrid, although there is no indication that Arsenal are open to a sale.

However, Monreal’s contract at Arsenal is due to expire at the end of the season and that may lead the Gunners to be tempted to approve a deal.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Max Meyer: Free agent

22-year-old Germany international Max Meyer is a free agent after his contract at Schalke came to a close and The Sunday Express, in their printed edition (15/07), suggest that a fight for the midfielder’s services will emerge from within the Premier League.

Arsenal and Liverpool are said to be preparing to go head-to-head to land the highly-rated young attacking midfielder, although Bild stated earlier this month that his demands of £4m-a-year had led both English sides to end their interest.

With Arsenal having already lost Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, the Gunners would benefit from a bargain like Meyer in the market – especially with Aaron Ramsey’s future still uncertain.

Joel Campbell to Lazio

After six loan spells in seven years at Arsenal, it is easy to forget that Costa Rica international Joel Campbell is still on the books at the Emirates Stadium but a permanent departure for the 26-year-old could be right around the corner.

Serie A giants Lazio, fresh from losing the services of Felipe Anderson to West Ham, are said to be eyeing a move for the versatile forward to bolster their ranks ahead of the new campaign, reports from Bola VIP say.

While Arsenal lack depth in the wide areas, Unai Emery is unlikely to call upon the services of Campbell this season and a sale makes sense for all parties.

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