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Found 380 results

  1. Joe Jones

    Arsenal appoint Unai Emery as new manager

    Arsenal have confirmed the appointment of Unai Emery as the club’s new manager. The 46-year-old joins the Gunners having left French champions Paris Saint-Germain after guiding them to the Ligue 1 title. Emery also won four domestic cups with the French giants, having previously guided Sevilla to three successive Europa League triumphs. The Spaniard succeeds Arsene Wenger, who left the club at the end of last season after 22 years in charge. Emery told Arsenal's official website: "I am thrilled to be joining one of the great clubs in the game. "Arsenal is known and loved throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run. I'm very excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new chapter in Arsenal's history. "I have met Stan and Josh Kroenke and it's clear they have great ambitions for the club and are committed to bringing future success. I'm excited about what we can do together and I look forward to giving everyone who loves Arsenal some special moments and memories." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Arsenal have confirmed that midfielder Santi Cazorla will leave the club when his contract expires next month. The Spaniard scored 29 goals in 180 appearances for the Gunners, but his time at the Emirates has been disrupted by serious injury. Cazorla's last appearance for Arsenal was in October 2016, with a serious Achilles injury keeping him out of action since then. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis paid tribute to Cazorla, saying: "Santi is always one of my favourite players to watch. "His natural ability with both feet, his speed of thought and movement were central to our best performances in recent years. He plays with a joy and freedom which is very rare. "We wish him well for the future and thank him for his important contribution to our club." Cazorla added: "I am very sad to be leaving after so many great times. "I have loved my time with the club. I will always remember the special moments we had together. The FA Cup in 2014 is something we will never forget. I am very proud to be part of this club's history." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has ruled out the prospect of Arsene Wenger becoming the club's sporting director. Wenger has expressed his desire to stay in the game despite being stepping down as Arsenal manager following a 22-year tenure at Highbury and then the Emirates. Widespread reports have speculated that Wenger, whom Al-Khelaifi admits is a close friend, could take up a new role at the Ligue 1 champions. But in a wide-ranging interview with L'Equipe, Al-Khelaifi said: "He is a close friend, I have a lot of admiration and respect for him and everything he has done in football. "He's a big man. This is one of the first people I spoke to before buying the club, and he told me one thing that I never forgot: 'You buy a diamond and it will be cut and shined'. "I do not know what he will do, but he will have a lot offers. Today, the sports director [of PSG] is Antero Henrique and he will stay." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires says he is interested in helping whoever succeeds Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium. Pires, who won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with the Gunners, regularly joined his fellow Frenchman in coaching the first team. Reports suggest Mikel Arteta has agreed a deal in principle to take over the reins at Arsenal after Massimiliano Allegri announced that he would stay on at Juventus. Speaking to The Mirror, Pires said: "If the next manager wants my help, I will say yes. "I want to help Arsenal and I want to help the new manager. I want to be on the staff. I think I can help." Pires believes Arteta would be a good fit to replace Wenger as he understands the philosophy of the club. "I would agree with the appointment of Mikel Arteta," the Frenchman said. "He knows the club, he used to play for Arsenal and he knows the Arsenal philosophy. "So yes, he has a good profile to be manager of Arsenal." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Massimiliano Allegri has hinted that he will be staying at Juventus amid speculation linking him with Arsenal. The 50-year-old steered Juve to a seventh consecutive Serie A title this season and is a reported target for the Gunners, after Arsene Wenger stood down at the end of the season after 22 years in charge. In quotes posted on Juventus's official Twitter account, the Juve boss revealed his intention to start planning for next season with club officials. "Next week, I'll meet with the club as we start to make the team competitive again just like every year," he said. "Next year will be even more difficult and we need to keep raising our game. It's in Juve's DNA to be competitive on all fronts. "It's always our objective to work hard to create Juventus history. That boils down to determination, sacrifice and confidence in our own abilities. It's in the difficult moments that I actually have more fun." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed that Mikel Arteta has all the qualities needed to manage the club. The Spaniard is the leading candidate to succeed Wenger according to multiple media outlets and, if appointed, he would be handed a transfer budget in the region of £50m this summer. Arsenal's hierarchy, who are responsible for choosing the new manager, are also understood to have held talks with Arteta on Thursday. Wenger has backed his former captain to replace him in the Emirates Stadium dugout, telling beIN Sports: "He has all the qualities to do the job, yes and I think as well he is one of the favourites. "He was a leader, and he has a good passion for the game and he knows the club well, he knows what is important at the club and he was captain of the club. Why not?" Arteta has only served as a coach at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola so far, but Wenger insists that Arsenal have experienced coaching personnel to guide the Spanish manager if he needs it. Wenger continued: "I left a lot of experience behind me, people who were with me like Steve Bould who has six years experience, and Jens Lehmann too. "He has been an assistant of Guardiola as well, so overall I think he has the qualities." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. Departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed that now is the right time for him to end his 22-year association with the club. The Frenchman will take charge of the Gunners for the final time when they take on Huddersfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Wenger, who joined the Gunners in September 1996, has revealed he is already focusing on the future and his life away from the Emirates. "I need to look forward, I am a guy that does not look back much," Wenger told Sky Sports. "Everywhere I have worked, I have done that. "But I need a new project, I need to commit my energy to something else and now I think it is time for me to move away because I am not part of the future any more. So the quicker it finishes now, the better it is. "I have to accept it [his departure from the club], it is part of the process and somebody has to come in now and take care of the future. "When you are not part of that, it is better that it finishes and you move somewhere else." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. Arsene Wenger has revealed that he has received more job offers than he expected as he prepares to see out his Arsenal tenure. The Frenchman will step down this summer after an illustrious 22 year-spell in charge of the Gunners. Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Leicester City in his penultimate pre-match news conference as Arsenal boss, Wenger was asked if he had been contacted about managerial opportunities for next season. "Yes! More than I expected," he told Sky Sports. "But I'm not analysing or considering anything. I want to work well here until the last day of my contract. For sure I will be active. My brain demands work and is active. "I have huge experience in management. Overall, I will work. What will I do? I don't know." Wenger has been linked with a switch to Paris Saint-Germain in his native France, as well as jobs in the Chinese Super League. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Arsenal have announced that defender Rob Holding has signed a new contract with the club. The 22-year-old defender joined the Gunners from Bolton Wanderers in July 2016 and made his debut against Liverpool in the opening match of the 2016/17 season. Arsenal have not revealed how long the extension will keep him at the Emirates Stadium for, confirming only that it is a "long-term" deal. "We would like to congratulate Rob on his new contract and look forward to his continued contribution in the coming years," said the club in a statement. Holding, who has caps for England at Under-21 level, was part of the squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2017 Uefa European Under-21 Championship in Poland. He made his Gunners debut against Liverpool in the opening match of the 2016-17 season. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and hopes that he can lock horns with the Frenchman again in the dugout. Wenger's final trip to Old Trafford as Gunners boss started with a "classy" welcome from Sir Alex Ferguson, who presented his old sparring partner with a silver vase ahead of kickoff. "I hope that I play against (Wenger) again, I hope that can happen," Mourinho told Sky Sports after the 2-1 win for the Red Devils. "If not in the Premier League, who knows, we still have a big match waiting for us." Wenger added: "They're not always as you'd imagine, but it shows as well that life goes always on. Sometimes it gets better. "It was just another game for me but I'm very grateful for the gesture from Manchester United." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he wants the final month of his 22-year tenure to "go peacefully". The 68-year-old Frenchman announced last week that he will leave the Gunners in the summer. Arsenal face long-time rivals Manchester United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday, with Wenger boasting a notorious rivalry with Red Devils counterpart Jose Mourinho over the years. Wenger looked bemused when asked yesterday if he could be friends with Mourinho, eventually saying "it depends", but was also far more willing than usual to praise his rival's achievements. "I respect him a lot," said Wenger. "You should give me a little bit of peace for my final weeks, don't push me into a final confrontation. I want to go peacefully. Mourinho is a great manager." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. Jose Mourinho has admitted to being regretful of some of the bust-ups he has had with Arsene Wenger over the years. The Gunners boss is stepping down from the role after almost 22 years, with Mourinho having previously expressed his respect for the Frenchman. There has, however, been bad blood between the two managers over the years that has strained their relationship and often resulted in insults being exchanged. The Portuguese coach has previously referred to Wenger as a "voyeur" and that he "likes to watch other people", as well as being a "specialist in failure". Wenger’s responses have included describing Mourinho as “stupid” and “disconnected with reality”. "There were little things it would obviously be better without - some gestures, some words," Mourinho told reporters ahead of United's home meeting with Arsenal on Sunday. "It's obviously better without. I feel better now without [insults]. When I arrived in England in 2004, they were champions, and famous champions - the 'Invincibles'. Then I arrive [at Chelsea], the next few years it was with them [battles for the title]. "It was an amazing team. So thank you very much for that. They pushed us to the limits. The two matches we played at Highbury, that amazing old stadium, were unforgettable. So thank you, thank you so much for that.Do I regret the little negative episodes? Yes, and I'm sure he does too." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. Patrick Vieira has welcomed talk of a return to Arsenal as a replacement for Arsene Wenger, who is stepping down from his role at the end of the season. The former Gunners midfielder is currently in charge of New York City FC and has led them to the top of the Eastern Conference in MLS - their best ever start to a season. With his impressive work across the pond and his contract expiring in November, speculation has linked Vieira to the top job at the Emirates Stadium. When asked about a potential return to Arsenal, Vieira told The Times: "I know what people are saying, and I'm really happy about that. "It's an honour to be mentioned with Arsenal - I love the club. I played my best football there and made my name in the game. "I am always going to have a deeper relationship with Arsenal. That is not enough to coach that team but I'm ready to coach any side in Europe. "I don't want this to be perceived that I want to go because I don't want to leave. But, if the question is as simple as: "Are you ready to manage any teams in Europe?", then I would say: 'Yes. I am ready.' "I think it is hard with the way (Wenger) has been treated. I do understand that fans can get frustrated but they forget about yesterday. Fans live in the moment but that's the world we are living in. "Arsene has been there for 22 years but how many times did he have the opportunity to go to coach bigger names than Arsenal yet never did because his priority was Arsenal? Sometimes fans forget that. "I don't see him retiring at all. I think he's still got the energy, love and passion to stay in the game. It was time maybe at Arsenal but I'm sure that he can rebuild something, somewhere." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  14. Hector Bellerin has hinted towards staying at Arsenal after revealing that he asked for a specific Gunners shirt number for next season. Despite signing a new Gunners contract last season which runs until 2023, the Spaniard has been consistently linked with both Manchester United and Juventus in the British and foreign press. The defender's agent revealed last month that, though there is always interest in the 23-year-old, no offers have been made and he is happy at the club. Bellerin has worn the number 24 since breaking into Arsenal's first team in 2015 but now has his sights set on the shirt previously worn by Mathieu Debuchy, and says he has discussed the matter with kit man Vic Akers. Talking to teammates Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding on the club's official YouTube page, Bellerin said: "In the summer, I'm going to ask for the number two shirt. I've already spoken to Vic, he knows." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  15. The footballing world was taken by storm on Friday following the announcement that Arsene Wenger would be stepping down as Arsenal manager after nearly 22 years in charge of the North London club. In October 1996, Wenger was announced as Gunners manager. Since taking charge, he revolutionised the English game by introducing his players to strict training regimes including a specific dieting routine. He has gone on to win 10 major trophies including 3 Premier League titles and 7 FA Cup titles. In his second season in charge, he won the Premier League and FA Cup double which was matched in the 2001/02 season. From his appointment to the early 2000s, he seemed the only manager able to prevent Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson completely dominating the English game, giving us the epic rivalry between the two clubs & managers. He remains to this present day the only manager in the Premier League era to go an entire season undefeated. The only other team to accomplish such a feat was Preston North End in 1889, although that was only a 22 game season. His Arsenal team would then go on to make it 49 domestic league games unbeaten before losing to Manchester United the following season. This set a new top tier unbeaten run eclipsing Nottingham Forest's longstanding record of 42 games without defeat from 1977-78. However, following the Invincible season, just one more major trophy would await Arsenal - the 2005 FA Cup - before a nine-year drought which would be ended with the 2014 FA Cup. The Gunners would claim two more of these cups, in 2015 and 2017, but the league title has eluded them since. During these 9 years of waiting for a trophy, there were questions being asked of Wenger whether he was still fit for the job. It's hard to disagree with the fans asking these questions considering what he achieved in his first 8 years in charge transforming Arsenal into serious title challengers. Up until the 2016/17 season, Arsenal under Wenger had never finished outside the top 4 and were regulars in the UEFA Champions League, making 14 consecutive appearances in the knockout phase of the competition starting from the 03/04 season most notably making the Champions League Final in 2006 which they ended up losing 2-1 to Barcelona despite having taken the lead through a Sol Campbell goal. The only other time under Wenger that Arsenal had failed to qualify for the Champions League was in the 1997/98 season despite finishing 3rd in his first season. In the 1999/00 season, his team was eliminated from the Champions League & relegated to the UEFA Cup in which they finished runners up to Galatasaray losing 4-1 on penalties following a 0-0 draw. During his 22 year spell at Arsenal, he has had a successful career but he will certainly be devasted not to win the League Cup, Champions League and UEFA Cup, competitions in which he has finished as runner-up. However, with this being his last season in charge could he be about to win a major European trophy in the form of the Europa League? Having made the semi-finals, it could be written in the stars to give this legend a great send-off. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  16. Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal fans campaigning for his removal had created a “hurtful” atmosphere that was damaging the club’s reputation on a worldwide scale. The Frenchman announced on Friday that he would step down as Gunners manager at the end of the season after almost 22 years in charge. Supporters of the club have been increasingly vocal in their criticism of Wenger in recent years and, speaking after Sunday's 4-1 win over West Ham United, the coach expressed his sentiments on the matter. "I was not tired," Wenger replied to BBC Sport when asked about his decision to quit. "Personally I believe this club is respected all over the world, much more than in England. The fans did not give me the image of unity I want all over the world and that was hurtful because I think the club is respected. "I'm not resentful and I do not want to make stupid headlines. I'm not resentful with the fans, I just feel if my personality is in the way of what I think our club is, for me that is more important than me. "That is what I want to say, it is nothing to do with the fans. The fans were not happy - I can understand that. That is my job and I have to live with that, I can accept that." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  17. Patrick Vieira has stressed that he is “happy” at New York City FC amid speculation linking him with the Arsenal job. Arsene Wenger announced on Friday he will be leaving the Gunners at the end of the season after 22 years in charge. The veteran coach had previously suggested that former Arsenal midfielder Vieira "has the potential" to succeed him as manager. But Vieira, who won three Premier League titles under Wenger, is enjoying life in his third season in the MLS. "I spent nine years at Arsenal which makes the club really special for me," he told New York radio station WNYE. "But that is not enough to coach the team. "I am always flattered to hear my name linked with different football clubs. That is good for your ego but at the same time, I am happy here. "We will see what will happen in the next couple of years." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  18. Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira has been tipped by outgoing manager Arsene Wenger and former teammate Nigel Winterburn to take over at the Emirates Stadium. Wenger announced on Friday he will be leaving the club at the end of the season after 22 years in charge, winning three Premier League trophies in that time. Vieira, who was an integral part of all three title wins under Wenger, is now in his third season as manager of New York City FC following a spell in charge of youth development at Manchester City. When asked by Sky Sports if he could see Vieira succeeding him, Wenger replied: "He works at the moment in New York and he works for Man City. He's a guy who has the potential one day, yes. "I've followed his managerial career. I think he does very well but overall, this Premier League is special. You have to come in and there are plenty of former players who played here who have potential, the intelligence and knowledge to do it." Former Gunners defender Winterburn, who played under Wenger and alongside Vieira at Highbury, says the current NYCFC boss would bring a winning mentality, but admits there will be many names linked with the job. "If it is Patrick Vieira, I would be delighted with that," Winterburn said. "He's learning in America, he is somebody who has been a winner with Arsenal, which is so, so important. "I think he will be one of maybe 10 or 12 names thrown about in the coming months. "I'd like anybody that can say to me they will move Arsenal back up. I still think it is going to be very, very difficult. I don't think it is a given that the new person will come in and be successful. "They'll have to be patient, they'll have to look at the style of play, look at the changes that he is making to the team." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  19. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will step down from his role at the end of the season. The Frenchman departs a year before his latest contract was due to expire. Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League and set to miss out on a top-four spot for the second straight season. Wenger, 68, won three league titles and seven FA Cups, including the Double in 1998 and 2002. In a statement to the club's website, he said: "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support forever." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  20. Arsene Wenger has criticised the Premier League's decision to not implement video assistant referees (VAR) next season. The Arsenal boss was speaking after the 2-1 loss at Newcastle United in a game that saw a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shot hit the hand of defender Jamaal Lascelles. "We are behind the rest of the world," the 68-year-old Frenchman told reporters. "The Premier League has again decided not to go for VAR and I believe that is a very, very bad decision. "Every big game this season has been decided by mistakes that could have been avoided with VAR. "The Premier League has been created by people who had a progressive mind and wanted to be in front of the rest in Europe. It worked. "The young generation is used to [VAR] and worldwide, they might move away from us because they see that in other countries they do it." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  21. Liverpool have been drawn against Roma in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The Reds cruised to a 5-1 aggregate victory over domestic rivals Manchester City in the previous round and will take on their 1984 European Cup opponents in the final four. Roma, who stunned Barcelona with a 3-0 win in their quarter-final second leg to progress on away goals, will play at Anfield first before returning to the Italian capital a week later. Real Madrid, winners in three of the last four seasons, will face 2001 and 2013 winners Bayern Munich in the second leg for a place in the final in Kiev. In the Europa League, meanwhile, Arsenal will face tournament favourites Atletico Madrid over two legs in their semi-final. The Gunners survived a scare to eventually beat CSKA Moscow 6-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals and will now take on Los Colchoneros in the toughest possible semi-final draw. Atleti, who edged past Sporting Lisbon 2-1, are to travel to the Emirates Stadium on April 26 for the first ever competitive meeting between the two clubs, before welcoming Arsenal to the Spanish capital a week later. Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg, who overcame deficits in their quarter-finals, will contest the other semi-final tie to remain on course for a place in next month's final at Olympique Parc Lyonnais. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  22. Arsene Wenger has confirmed that one of Arsenal's "big targets" this season is the Europa League, with chances of Champions League qualification success in the Premier League "very slim". the Gunners trail the top four by 13 points, and with a commanding 4-1 lead over CSKA Moscow after their quarter-final first leg, winning the Europa League is their most likely avenue for Champions League qualification. Wenger had previously said it was too early to prioritise their European commitments, but it seems with just six games left of the league season, he has seemingly had a change of heart. "Europa League is important for us - everybody knows that and we are at [the] stage where of course we focus on it because in the Premier League we have a very, very, very slim chance to get further up," said Wenger. "The Europa League is one of the big targets of the season." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  23. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has suffered knee ligament damage but could still play a role this season. The Armenia international limped out of Thursday's Europa League quarter-final win over CSKA Moscow and, speaking after that 4-1 win, Wenger admitted he feared the worst. Mkhitaryan had already been ruled out of Sunday's 3-2 win over Southampton and the return leg in Moscow as Wenger elaborated on the January signing's condition. "He's got knee ligament damage," Wenger told reporters after the weekend game at the Emirates. "He will not be available for Thursday (against CSKA) and not for Newcastle and certainly not for the week after, I think we play West Ham. "I think he will miss these games for sure, but he could still play at the end of the season." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  24. Arsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal are in talks with Aaron Ramsey over a new contract. The Wales midfielder, whose current deal runs to the end of next season, underlined his importance to the Gunners when scoring twice in the rout of CSKA Moscow in the Europa League on Thursday. When asked about a new deal for Ramsey, Wenger told Sky Sports: "We are communicating. "Yes, I'm confident, he's not at the end of his contract, he has one and a half years to go. From my side it is clear, but you always have to find an agreement. "We want him to stay. He's one of these guys who has been here for a long time. He will be an important player in the future of this club." Despite making it clear he is keen for Ramsey to extend his stay beyond 2019, Wenger said he only wants players at the club who are there because they want to play for Arsenal. "I don't want to convince a player (they should sign)," the Frenchman added. "I want the player to be happy to play for the club. Having players who want to play for the club is the way we want to play football and is in the values we feel are important to us. "With the right amount of money we want to pay, all these things have to come together." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  25. Arsenal welcome CSKA Moscow to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie. Given the Gunners' struggles in the Premier League, their hopes of making the Champions League next season rely on winning the EL. Having overcome AC Milan in the last 16, Arsene Wenger and co will hope to set one foot in the semi-finals by securing a lead over their Russian opponents in the home leg. How could this game pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Head to head Arsenal and CSKA have met just twice before in European competition, the Gunners drawing blanks in the 2006-07 Champions League group stages - losing 0-1 away then drawing 0-0 at home. Stats This is Arsenal's first quarter-final tie in European competition since 2009-10 (against Barcelona in the Champions League), while they haven't advanced from one since the season prior to that (against Villarreal in 2008-09). The Gunners haven't lost the first leg of a quarter-final tie in European competition since March 1972 (against Ajax in the European Cup), winning four and drawing six of the 10 they've been involved in since. CSKA Moscow have reached the quarter-finals of a European competition for just the third time in their history - losing at this stage in the 2009-10 Champions League, although they won the UEFA Cup in 2004-05. Arsenal are the top-scoring team in the Europa League this season, scoring 23 goals at an average of 2.3 per game. The Gunners have had more different goalscorers than any other Europa League team in 2017/18, with 15 of their 27 outfield players used finding the net. Mesut Ozil averages an assist every 114 minutes in the Europa League; the best ratio of any player in competition history (minimum 10 appearances). Igor Akinfeev has kept a clean sheet in three of his last six European games (excluding qualifiers), as many as he had kept in his previous 36. In fact, the Russia international was in goal for CSKA when these sides met in 2006-07 Champions League group stage, keeping a clean sheet in both contests. Team news Arsenal were boosted by the return to fitness of Alexandre Lacazette at the weekend and, other than Santi Cazorla, there is a full squad to choose from. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible to play in the competition for Arsenal given his exploits with Borussia Dortmund - who parachuted into the EL - earlier this season. CSKA defender Kiril Nababkin will miss the game due to suspension, while Viktor Vasin suffered a season-ending knee injury and will not be involved. Mario Fernandes and Astemir Gordyushenko are doubts for the game. Prediction Arsenal overcame their slump in form to get back to winning ways, with victories in their last four games in all competitions, and with the top four now 13 points away, it's safe to say they've written that off as a route into the Champions League, meaning the Europa League is now their primary focus, and as such Wenger will employ more resources into it, while the players will be at the top of their game. But CSKA are also in good form, having won five of their last six - the one defeat was in the last-16 first leg against Lyon, and they fought their way back to progress to the last eight, so they will more than fancy their chances. Moscow is a very difficult away day so the Gunners will be eager to build up a healthy lead in this tie, and though it'll be tricky, I still fancy them to claim victory in this first leg. Score prediction: Arsenal 2-0 CSKA Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.

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