Gunners Show Love for Arsene with a Big Win

It was a happy Sunday at the Emirates as Arsenal hammered the Hammers in support of their departing coach Arsene Wenger.

Some of his players were close to tears when Arsene told them his 22-year tenure was ending. But betting websites are already thinking about the odds on Arsenal’s next manager, as well as Wenger’s next move. There will be no shortage of offers for the ‘Professor’, with football betting pundits picking PSG or the France national team as the likely destination.

Elsewhere, Manchester City smashed five past Swansea in a cracking result for their handicap betting fans!

Arsenal 4-1 West Ham United

So it’s all smiles after an explosive final eight minutes gave the Gunners a resounding win against West Ham.

Earlier, after Nacho Monreal had volleyed home the opener, Marko Arnautovic’s fierce finish hinted at an unhappy ending. Then up stepped Aaron Ramsey, whose cross evaded everyone to beat Joe Hart and prompt a final flurry, with Alexandre Lacazette grabbing a well-taken brace.

Manchester City 5-0 Swansea City

Well, this was some coronation, and the Swans could only stand by and admire.

David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus were all on target as the Champions put on a five-star display. The pick of the lot, though, was a 30-yard Kevin De Bruyne piledriver which Swans keeper Lukasz Fabianski heard fizz into the net before he saw it!

Stoke City 1-1 Burnley

The Potters slipped closer to the trapdoor after a nervous stalemate with Europe-chasing Burnley.

Badou Ndiaye gave the home fans hope with a deflected opener. However, Ashley Barnes followed up to score his sixth in eight games after Jack Butland had brilliantly saved a James Tarkowski header; and it was the Stoke keeper who preserved a point with his man-of-the-match performance.

Everton 1-0 Newcastle United

Everton took the honours in this mid-table clash, though it was telling that the best chance of the first half fell to home defender Phil Jagielka, only for him to volley over.

It took just five minutes of the second before Theo Walcott found space in the box to fire high into the net, with the Toffees’ first shot on target. While the Magpies fought back, it was the end of their four-match winning run.

Chelsea will play Huddersfield Town on 9th May.

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Away form baffles Arsene

Arsene Wenger admitted that Arsenal's disappointing performance in the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United had been a microcosm of their season.

The Gunners slumped to their fifth away loss in a row despite taking an early lead through Alexandre Lacazette.

Wenger's team have only won three of their 16 away matches though as Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie scored to hand 10th-placed Newcastle their fourth Premier League victory in a row.

Wenger labelled the defeat "the story of the season", before adding: "We paid a bit for the fact we played on Thursday night [against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League].

"In the second half we couldn't raise the tempo and keep it up like we did in the first half.

"We only have ourselves to blame for not putting the game to bed by half-time. That has happened many times this season. That's all we can say. It's baffling how we lost this game. From no chances basically we lose 2-1. On the other hand the result is there."

The result means that Arsenal are struggling to hold off Burnley's challenge to finish sixth in the Premier League, but they at least have a two-legged Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid to look forward to.

Arsenal are 11/1 to triumph in the first leg on 26th April 2-0 and 3/1 to win the Europa League outright.

Rafa says safety achieved

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez said that he thinks his side have ensured safety in the Premier League by beating Arsenal.

United beat the Gunners 2-1 at St James' Park, coming from behind to take the three points which puts them on 41 for the season.

Alexandre Lacazette gave the visitors an early lead but Newcastle were level by half-time through Ayoze Perez and a Matt Ritchie goal midway through the second half ensured a fourth straight league win for Benitez's side.

Their recent run means they now have 41 points, 13 better than third bottom Southampton and Benitez concedes they look assured of survival.

He told the BBC after the match: "I think we are safe with 41 points.

"It's a massive achievement for the players, the city and the fans. I want to congratulate everyone.

"Today we didn't play amazing football because we played an amazing team but you have to manage how you play and compete for the win.

"We can enjoy the win now but then we have to be ready for the next game."

United's resurgence is in contrast to Arsenal's troubles and they are yet to gain a point away from home in 2018.

The result keeps them sixth in the table though only two points ahead of Burnley in seventh.

Their only remaining hope of a place in next season's Champions League is by winning the Europa League and they face Atletico Madrid in the semi-final. They are 6/4 to win the first leg at the Emirates with the Spanish club 17/10 and the draw is priced at 12/5.

The Gunners are 3/1 to win the Europa League.

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Wenger hails Welbeck performances

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck has earned high praise from manager Arsene Wenger after hitting something like top form in recent games.

The England frontman has scored five times in his last five games, including the winner in a 3-2 victory over Southampton last weekend and a crucial strike against CSKA Moscow in midweek which helped Arsenal reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.

And Wenger has clearly been impressed, not only by Welbeck's goal, but also his overall contribution to the team.

He told the club's official website: "We know how good he is and I have said that many times.

"I'm happy for him. He surprises some people but he has power, he has pace, he is finishing well now and I believe he is a team player as well.

"He likes to help the team and, for a striker, that's an outstanding quality as well."

Meanwhile, Wenger is also pleased to have midfielder Mohamed Elneny available for the trip to Newcastle United, with the Egypt international having seen a red card picked up against Southampton rescinded on appeal.

Wenger added of a player who recently signed a new long-term contract with the Gunners: "I never wanted him to leave, I always wanted him to stay. I must say that we had demands for him, but he always wanted to stay too.

"And I'm very happy (about the red card decision) because I think it was a wise decision and he will be available for Newcastle."

Arsenal are available at 5/4 to win at Newcastle, with the draw priced at 13/5 and a 2-2 final scoreline 12/1.

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Arsenal facing Atletico hurdle

Arsenal have been paired with Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Europa League, while Marseille will take on Salzburg.

The Gunners have home advantage for the first leg of the last-four tie, which will take place on Thursday 26th April, before they head to the Spanish capital for the return leg a week later.

Arsenal reached the semi-finals thanks to a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow, while Atleti edged past Sporting Lisbon 2-1 on aggregate.

And Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, when asked about who he would prefer his side to face in the last four, had earlier suggested that he felt that Atletico were the strongest team left in the competition.

He said after seeing his players move past CSKA: "Everybody speaks about Atletico Madrid, they look strongest on paper from now on, but you must recognise as well the result that Salzburg has achieved.

"Marseille are in there as well, which is always a difficult place to go. Maybe it's better I don't wish for anybody and just wait for the draw."

Arsenal and Atletico have never previously met in a competitive fixture, while Marseille and Salzburg have already played each other twice in the Europa League this season.

The Group I clash in Marseille ended goalless, while a Munas Dabour goal proved enough to secure a 1-0 win for Salzburg in Austria.

Atletico (2010 and 2012) are the only previous winners left in the competition, with Arsenal having lost in the 2000 final to Galatasaray and Marseille having been beaten in the finals of 1999 and 2004.

Arsenal are now 3/1 to win the Europa League, with Marseille 7/2, Salzburg 6/1 and Atletico 11/10.

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Koscielny: We need to improve

Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has warned his side that they need to improve if they are to secure a Champions League spot by going all the way in the Europa League.

The Gunners ensured a semi-final spot by completing a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow, but they were one goal away from potential elimination during the second leg in the Russian capital before Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey found the net.

And Koscielny accepts that the performance was not of the standard required if the Londoners are to triumph in the Europa League, with Atletico Madrid, Marseille and Salzburg the other semi-finalists.

He told BT Sport: "They played well, had opportunities and took them. It put pressure on us – if they score we are out.

"So I am happy because we came back, but our performance was not (good) enough for this stage of the competition.

"We will see the draw, but need more confidence in our game. It is important for the club to go far. It is our last chance to qualify for the Champions League, so we will fight until the end."

Arsenal are now 9/4 to win the Europa League, with Marseille 6/1, Salzburg 6/1 and Atletico 1/1.

Meanwhile, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger also confirmed after the game that January signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is facing another couple of weeks out of action due to a knee problem.

He added: "He has a medial ligament strain, he should be out for two more weeks. We do not be too worried – we have a very good medical staff and he is very serious in his rehab."

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Wenger demands positive approach

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will not sit back and try to protect their lead when they face CSKA Moscow in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Gunners won last week's first leg of the quarter-final encounter 4-1 but Wenger is keen to ensure that complacency does not creep into his players in Russia.

Earlier this week Roma overcame a three-goal deficit to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League while Juventus almost repeated the trick against Real Madrid.

"The best way to build on the advantage is to try to win the game, so we will play with our best possible team and have a positive attitude," Wenger said. "We are in a position where I don't think we are under the threat of complacency…

"Tuesday night (in Rome) may be a good warning for us but let us not go overboard as well. Yes, we have a big job to do but we are in a strong position and it is how we approach the game that will be vital."

Arsenal have not reached the semi-final of a European competition since 2008/09 and they can be backed at 5/2 to win the Europa League this season.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are 12/1 to beat CSKA Moscow 2-0 on Thursday and 6/1 to draw the match 1-1.

Wenger reveals Mkhitaryan hopes

Arsene Wenger has not given up hope of having Henrikh Mkhitaryan fit to play for Arsenal before the end of the season.

The Gunners chief gave an update on the 29-year-old Armenia international after watching his side come from behind to defeat Southampton 3-2 in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Mkhitaryan missed the game after suffering medial knee ligament damage during the second half of Thursday night's 4-1 win against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarter-final.

It was feared that the January transfer window arrival from Manchester United would miss the rest of the season, but Wenger is positive that his campaign is not over.

The Frenchman confirmed that he will miss the second leg against CSKA this week, while the next two Premier League games also appear to be too soon, but the clash against his former club United at Old Trafford on 29th April is a realistic target.

Wenger said: "Mkhitaryan has a medial knee ligament damage.

"He will not be available for Thursday and not for Newcastle and certainly not for the week after, I think we play West Ham. I think he will miss those games for sure.

"He could still play at the end of the season."

Meanwhile, former Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck was also singled out for praise after his brace helped seal a sixth successive win for Arsenal in all competitions.

Wenger added: "Danny has been looking sharper.

"He is coming back to his best. I’m happy and pleased for him. He deserves everything he gets."

Arsenal are 10/11 to win their second leg against CSKA in Russia this week, while the Moscow outfit are available at 13/5 to win and priced at 22/1 to overturn a three-goal deficit and qualify at the expense of the Gunners.

Ramsey backed to stay at Arsenal

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he is feeling confident that Aaron Ramsey will stay at the Gunners and sign a new contract.

The Welsh international's current deal at the Emirates Stadium runs out at the end of next season but Premier League rivals including Manchester United and Chelsea are thought to be keeping their eye on his long-term plans.

He has been in good form for Arsenal scoring twice in their Europa League quarter-final win over CSKA Moscow in midweek.

That 4-1 victory means they remain in the hunt for a Champions League place which will be theirs if they repeat Manchester United's success in winning the secondary European tournament at the end of the season.

The Gunners are 5/2 to win the Europa League.

Their chances of making it by finishing in the top four of the Premier League are minimal. They are sixth in the table but are 13 points behind Tottenham in fourth with just seven games remaining.

If they fail to secure Champions League football for a second successive season that would put Ramsey's future at the Gunners under renewed scrutiny but Wenger is hopeful that progress can be made in getting a new deal sorted.

He said: "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."

Before the second leg of their Europa League tie in Russia Arsenal are in league action on Sunday, at home to relegation-troubled Southampton and Wenger's side are 3/5 for the win. The Saints are priced at 19/4 with the draw 10/3.

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Job not yet done warns Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his side have to approach the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow with the right mentality.

The Gunners romped to a 4-1 victory in the first leg at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening, but Wenger was taking nothing for granted ahead of the second leg in Russia next week.

He told reporters: "We did the first part of the job in the second half, but not the second part of the job.

"It will help us to completely focus in the second game by not thinking it's job done. We know it's not over – we have to go there with the right focus and try to win the game."

Wenger was also guarded when asked if he felt his side were on course for Europa League glory this season, adding: "We are in the quarter-final and it is a long way to go – we still have to finish the job.

"We are not qualified for the semi-finals, so it is too early to talk about that."

Meanwhile, the Frenchman also confirmed that midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss the Premier League clash with Southampton on Sunday, having been replaced after an hour against CSKA after being on the wrong end of a heavy challenge.

Wenger concluded: "He has a knee problem, we don't know how bad it is, we have to assess it on Friday morning. He will certainly be out for Sunday."

Arsenal are now priced at 5/2 to win the Europa League this season, with Atletico Madrid available at 11/10 and Lazio 7/1.

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