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Arsenal F.C. - Gunning for Glory

Started on 1 July 2015 by LFC
Latest Reply on 2 July 2015 by Jer
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BREAKING NEWS: Wenger steps down after eighteen years

Arsenal Football Club have reluctantly accepted Arsène Wenger's resignation as manager of the club. Wenger, who turned 65 at his last birthday, had been with the club since 1996 and will be considered as one of the greatest ever managers of The Gunners.

Wenger won nine major honors in his eighteen years in North London, most famously leading
Arsenal to an 'invincible' season in the 2003/2004 season where they didn't lose a single league game as they went on to win the title.

Wenger also brought some great players to the club, including Thierry Henry, whom he worked with at Monaco. In an interview with the club website after the announcement earlier today, Wenger admitted that his only regret during his time with Arsenal was that he could not lead the team to UEFA Champions League victory over Barcelona back in 2006.

"I have had a brilliant time here and, er, I like to think that the fans, er, are pleased with the successes of the team during this period.

I don't have any regrets about signings, tactics but, er, I am still very disappointed that, er, I could not win the Champions League with Arsenal. I was very pleased with the campaign in that season, but I think I let the fans down in the Final.

But that is in the past now. We are pleased that we won the F.A. Cup twice in the past two seasons and we are confident that the incoming manager, er, will be able to, er, build on these successes.

I would like to come back in some capacity after I officially retire from management. For now, I am considering taking on one more team and having another challenge before I retire, perhaps back in France."

Despite his resignation, Wenger still worked quickly to bring in Czechoslovakian goalkeeper Petr Čech for a fee of £10.9m and the budget is there for the next manager to make more improvements to the squad, confirms chairman Chips Keswick.

"Of course Arsenal are sad to see such a brilliant manager go but we are obviously a rich team and we can attract both world class players and managers to the club.

The next manager will be able to spend big to bring in some big players and we are confident in moving forward into next season despite Arsène's departure."
Please, remove that image of Cech ;(
Good start, looking forward to reading this as I enjoyed the Oxford story!

Montella chosen as Wenger successor at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal have announced that Vincenzo Montella is the man they have chosen to replace outgoing Frenchman Arsène Wenger.

Montella was surprisingly sacked from Serie A side Fiorentina despite finishing 4th and reaching the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League. Basel manager Paulo Sousa has made the switch from Switzerland to Italy to replace Montella.

Montella did not wait around for another job to fall into his lap, and Sky sources understand that the 41 year old sought out the Arsenal job following Wenger's resignation and applied for the position, rather than the Arsenal board approaching him directly to fill the vacancy.

Arsenal have already been linked with a £23m move for Fiorentina striker Mario Gómez, who has struggled to adapt in Serie A since making the move from Bayern Munich in 2013. If the rumors are to be believed, then it would allow Montella and Gómez to link up once again.

Montella has confirmed that his number one priority is to sign a new striker who he hopes can propel the club forward from their consistent 4th place position in the Premier League.

"I think it is clear that the club needs to focus on signing a striker. Olivier and Danny are great players but I don't feel we have enough options in the centre of our attack.

For Alexis Sánchez to finish as our top scorer last season shows that we need improvements up front, no matter how good he may be."

Montella's first competitive game will come against Chelsea in the Community Shield in August.
Interesting decision, not the coach you would expect

Szczęsny to leave, says new boss Montella

Petr Čech's switch from Chelsea to rivals Arsenal was likely to spell the end of the road in North London for either David Ospina or Wojciech Szczęsny, and it seems like the goalkeeper set to leave the Gunners is 25 year old Poland international Szczęsny.

Szczęsny had been a key player for Arsenal under Wenger in recent seasons but the arrival of experienced goalkeeper David Ospina, mixed with a handful of poor performances from Szczęsny himself saw him relegated to the bench on several occasions last season.

Szczęsny joined Arsenal from Legia in 2006 and has made a total of 132 appearances for the club so far. Fans became slightly angry at the performances from the goalkeeper last season and the arrival of Čech saw the majority of them wanting Szczęsny to leave the club rather than Ospina.

Now Montella's arrival has seemed to confirm Szczęsny's departure, with the goalkeeper revealing that he has been told to speak to other clubs about a transfer, with Arsenal thought to be holding out for a £15m fee.

"Vincenzo has joined the club and clearly he wants to change things here. I'm happy to agree to his wishes if it will benefit the team in the future but I'll be sad to leave such a brilliant club.

I apologize to the fans for my performances last season and if I am to leave I wish the team all the best under Montella."

Arsenal could also face a battle to keep youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with both Manchester City and Chelsea thought to be readying a £30m bid for the former Southampton man in an attempt to add to their home grown roster in preparation for next season.

Arsenal fans skeptical as Austin becomes first signing

Arsenal have completed the £7m signing of Queen's Park Rangers' English striker Charlie Austin with the news being met with skepticism by some parts of the Arsenal support.

Austin, 25, was commended for his performances for the relegated QPR last season, and the former Swindon and Burnley man has been rewarded for his 18 goals by securing a move to Champions League competitors Arsenal.

While he is only expected to be a backup, the move has still been criticized by some sections of the Arsenal fans. The general feeling from those opposing the transfer is that Austin is not the kind of player they should be looking to sign if they are to compete for both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League this season.

The majority of fans have been supportive of Austin since the news was announced, however, and have urged those against the move to give him a chance.

On Twitter, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright praised the deal: "@Arsenal have made a good signing in my opinion. Austin delivered the goods in a weak team last year and he's been brought in cheap."

The deal was thought to be partially influenced by the departure of Francis Coquelin who left for Fulham in a £4m last week.

Coquelin was born in France but was classed as a home grown player because he was trained in England for three years before his 21st birthday.

Austin is not expected to just sit on the bench during his time at the Emirates Stadium, although Arsenal are still expected to bring in another striker with Champions League experience, and have been strongly linked with a £24m move for Mario Gómez.

In other news, Arsenal are thought to have rejected a £28m bid for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Chelsea, with several sources reporting that Montella is holding out for at least £35m for the former Southampton player.

Defensive duo sign deals with Montella's Arsenal

Arsenal have announced the signings of Everton's Seamus Coleman and Dynamo Kyiv's Aleksandar Dragović for a combined fee of £28m.

It was reported last week that an attempt to sign Coleman had failed due to Mathieu Debuchy's refusal to make a swap to Everton as part of a cash plus player deal but now the Irishman will battle it out with Debuchy and Calum Chambers for a spot in the first team.

Coleman is expected to start for Arsenal, and for a £18m fee, he would perhaps be expected to by Arsenal fans.

The 25 year old has signed a five-year deal with Arsenal and he will experience Champions League football for the first time in his career.

Coleman joined Everton from Sligo Rovers in his native Ireland for a small £60,000 fee but quickly established himself in the team.

Coleman, who has won 28 caps for Ireland, became Arsenal's second signing of the summer under Vincenzo Montella, with the club announcing the £7m capture of striker Charlie Austin last week, and Coleman can't wait to get started.

"I am amazed that I have come so far so quickly in my career. Everton and Sligo have prepared me so well for an opportunity like this and I am really grateful that I was able to work at those two brilliant clubs.

Obviously Arsenal is a step up for me and I can't wait to take the bull by the horns and start this new chapter in my career."

Arsenal have also confirmed the signing of Austrian central defender Aleksandar Dragović for £10m, beating competitors including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool in order to sign the 23-year-old.

Dragovic came into the spotlight at Swiss club Basel and moved to Dynamo Kiev last season for around £6m.

The Austrian made his international debut in 2009 at the age of 19 and has gone on to win 35 caps for the senior side.

It seems as though Arsenal came in with an early offer for Dragović and this ultimately convinced him to sign for the Premier League side ahead of the likes of La Liga champions Barcelona.

It is likely that he will be rotated with one of Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny who have established themselves in the heart of Arsenal's defence.

Arsenal VS Chelsea: Community Shield 2014/2015

A highly entertaining game contested by rivals Arsenal and Chelsea could only be determined on penalties, as Mourinho's Blues went on to claim the trophy.

F.A. Cup winners Arsenal played their first competitive game under new manager Vincenzo Montella, while Premier League champions Chelsea looked to kick their season off with a victory.

Ultimately the match was decided on penalties, although Diego Costa has once again been called into the spotlight after appearing to dive to win his side a penalty.

Arsenal XI vs Chelsea

(4-2-3-1)Čech; Debuchy (45), Mertesacker (C), Dragović, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere, Sánchez, Özil (63), Walcott; Welbeck.

Subs: Szczęsny, Koscielny, Cazorla (63), Giroud, Coleman (45), Flamini, Campbell.

Chelsea XI vs Arsenal

(4-2-3-1)Courtois; Ivanovic (84), Zouma, Terry (C), Azpilicueta; Fàbregas, Ramires (79), Yarmolenko, Oscar (45), Hazard; Costa.

Subs: Delac, Cahill, Cuadrado, Falcao (45), Matic (79), Filipe Luís (84), Wellington Nem.

Čech and Fàbregas faced their former clubs, with Čech making his debut for Arsenal alongside Seamus Coleman and Aleksandar Dragović, while Andriy Yarmolenko and Radamel Falcao made their Chelsea debuts.

A scorching day saw a full capacity Wembley - 90,000 people - turn out to watch the Community Shield clash between Chelsea and Arsenal. Michael Oliver blew the whistle to start the game and Arsenal stunned the Chelsea supporters by taking the lead after just fifteen seconds, Danny Welbeck turning Theo Walcott's cross past Thibaut Courtois and into the top corner of the net with a volley.

A brilliant start for Vincenzo Montella's Arsenal at Wembley, but Chelsea nearly equalized minutes afterwards following a fantastic run from Eden Hazard, but he was too selfish and his shot was too weak, Petr Čech being allowed to save the shot from his former team-mate easily. The save spurred Arsenal on for another attack, and Welbeck was once again presented with a glorious chance in the box following Walcott's hard work, but the ex-Manchester United man skewed his shot and Courtois was able to pick it up easily. Welbeck should have scored his second of the game.

The miss would prove costly as Chelsea went on to level the game before half time. An inviting cross from fullback César Azpilicueta could only find Chilean winger Alexis Sánchez but he was left red-faced when his attempted clearance struck Diego Costa and went into the Arsenal goal.

Sánchez would make up for his mistake right on the brink of half time, however, as he placed a free-kick into the top right corner of Courtois' net from 20 yards to put Arsenal back in the lead.

The half time whistle blew with Arsenal replacing Mathieu Debuchy with debutant Seamus Coleman and Chelsea bringing loanee Falcao on in place of Oscar.

Courtois made the save of the match just minutes into the second half. A good first time ball from Özil set Welbeck free of the last defender on the left flank and the England international delivered a brilliant low cross into the path of Theo Walcott, who looked certain to score but for a dive from Courtois across goal to tip the ball onto the post, with the defence clearing the ball away from the danger zone.

Then came Čech's turn to really spring into action for the first time, making a wonderful double save to first deny Diego Costa a second goal and then brilliantly jumping back up to tip former Arsenal man Fàbregas' shot wide for a corner.

But what came from the corner is what will be on the back pages. Diego Costa. The corner was swung in and the Spaniard controlled the ball well but was facing away from goal. Aaron Ramsey came in, admittedly a little recklessly, but replays showed that there was no contact with Costa. Regardless, Eden Hazard stepped up and fired the ball past Čech to bring the match level once again.

The goalkeeper produced some more heroics minutes later though as he dived low to keep Hazard from doubling his tally.

Özil was replaced by Santi Cazorla and the Spaniard was able to provide an assist for debutant Aleksandar Dragović as his free-kick, from similar range to Sánchez's earlier goal bounced off the bar and into the path of the Austrian, who slotted the ball into the open goal.

Čech denied Costa excellently from close range following a stunning cross from Falcao to keep Arsenal in the lead but the Colombian whipped in another late cross, which was turned in by Ukrainian winger Andriy Yarmolenko who was making his debut for The Blues. The game finished 3-3 and went on to penalties, where both sides scored nine penalties each before Dragović was left heartbroken as Courtois saved his penalty. Kurt Zouma stepped up to win the game and put the shot into the top corner to see Chelsea lift the trophy.

A little disappointing for Arsenal but Montella has shown he can bring attacking, entertaining play to Arsenal and keep up with the big boys at the top.
Some very good signings there! Shame on the Community Shield result though.
An interesting choice of replacement for Wenger from the Arsenal board. It will also be interesting to see how Austin does at a big club.

Good luck for the start of the season
Shame about that loss.

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