The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the key stories regarding Arsenal from the day.
Arsenal ended 2016 with in a successful manner, as they narrowly beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 on Boxing Day to get back to winning ways. As they prepare to welcome Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day, here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger: Ozil’s goalscoring record will improve
Arsene Wenger has opined on Mesut Ozil’s recent goalscoring record, and insisted that the Germany international’s scoring rate will continue to improve as the season progresses, as he pointed out that he has shown the potential to finish better during training sessions.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of Palace’s visit, Wenger said: “I still think there is a gap between his potential finishing and the way he finishes. In training he finishes much better than in the games, and I’m convinced that his percentage of finishing will go up in the coming months.
“He can have a huge contribution to the team not only through his passing but also through his finishing.”
Ozil, who usually occupies the playmaking role for Arsenal has assisted only six goals so far this season, while scoring nine times – his best in a campaign for the Gunners. However, his playmaking abilities were required once again as he assisted the all-important goal for Olivier Giroud against West Bromwich Albion in what was his 100th Premier League appearance for Arsenal.
Alexis Sanchez reveals the Arsenal legend he wished he played with
Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez has revealed the name of the Arsenal legend he most wishes he had the chance to play alongside. And that man is iconic French striker Thierry Henry, with Sanchez insisting that he would have forged a great partnership with the former France striker.
Sanchez told the Arsenal Magazine: “I would like to have played with Henry. He could score, play one-twos with you, pass the ball, hold it. He had a huge repertoire and great vision too. I like playing with players with such a panoramic vision.
“I think we would do great together. We would be constantly moving, going up and down, coming and going. I would have loved playing with Henry.”
Sanchez has flourished in his new role as the centre-forward for Arsenal this season, scoring 14 goals in all competitions. With 11 of these goals in the Premier League, he is just one behind top scorer Diego Costa as he chases the Golden Boot, an award that Henry won a record four times when he was with Arsenal.
Wenger insists Giroud has a ‘big role’ to play for Arsenal this season
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has hailed striker Olivier Giroud’s impact for the side, while insisting that the Frenchman indeed has a ‘big role’ to play for Arsenal this season, despite being restricted to appearances from the bench thus far.
Speaking to the reporters in his news conference, Wenger said: “For me he always has a big role, even when he didn’t start he had a big impact coming on. Overall, we are a squad where everybody has its moments and it’s down to me to use well the players.”
Giroud has lost his place in the starting lineup at the start of the 2016/17 season, with Wenger preferring to play Alexis Sanchez as the furthest forward player. Giroud’s outings have, thus, been largely restricted to appearances from the bench, with the Frenchman managing to start just three of the 15 games he has been available for this season.
However, after making a first start in the Premier League this campaign and subsequently scoring the winner, Giroud hinted that he wanted to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium by signing a new contract, despite being linked with a move away from Arsenal.
Hull City in pursuit of Jenkinson
Premier League’s bottom-dwellers Hull City are in pursuit of Arsenal right-back Carl Jenkinson as Mike Phelan admitted that the Tigers are looking to add defensive reinforcements in their fight to survive relegation from the Premier League.
Speaking in his press conference, Phelan said: “Yes, he’s been spoken about. But there are a few others in the hat for Carl. I would love him to come here. I’ve spoken to staff at Arsenal and I’ve been encouraged by it.”
Jenkinson has managed to make just five appearances for Arsenal this season, with Hector Bellerin’s solid performances as right-back keeping the 24-year-old restricted to the bench.
It has emerged that Arsenal will be willing to let the fullback leave either on loan or on a permanent transfer come January. Phelan, however, faces a fight on his hands in his chase for Jenkinson, with West Ham United and Crystal Palace also in the fray to acquire the services of the young right-back.