With another winner from Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal went third in the Premier League with an impressive 1-0 win at Everton on Wednesday night. By overtaking Spurs, Arsene’s men have indeed closed the gap – and now, the Gunners have a great chance to make a gap of their own. Harry Redknapp’s side travel to Stamford Bridge this weekend.
David Moyes was quick to blame the linesman for his side’s loss. Despite being in an onside position, Roysten Drenthe had his goal disallowed and Everton’s equaliser was chalked off. However, Arsenal had a huge penalty shout turned down, after Tomas Rosicky was clearly tripped in the Everton box by the same man Drenthe.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, the in-form Laurent Koscielny was quick to praise the Arsenal defence after the game, as they collected an impressive clean sheet against a tough Everton side.
“It is not just the four defenders, it is all the team. Robin [van Persie] put in a lot of effort to help us too so all of the team defend and we attack together too. We have to take that into the next game.
“We have had some difficult periods this season but we have some good players and a good team. In football it changes quickly and in three or four weeks we have won. We need to keep that and the most important thing is to keep in the top four.”
Koscielny also made it clear that the team must keep getting good results, if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“We know Chelsea had an important game against Manchester City [on Wednesday] and their next game is against Tottenham so if they lost and we won it was good for the table. Wednesday night was good but the most important thing is the next game against Aston Villa. If we win it is very good for us. It is very important, we are very happy but now we want to keep this place. It is important to continue to play well.”
In other news, Benik Afobe has joined Reading on-loan until the end of the season. The 19-year old will spend the rest of the season playing in the Championship, as the Royals push for promotion in their bid to return to the Premier League. Afobe enjoyed two successful loan spells at Huddersfield Town last season, where he scored 8 goals in 32 appearances for the League One side.
Preston were also able to beat the loan window deadline, by signing Chuks Aneke on loan from the Gunners. Like Afobe’s deal with Reading, the 18-year-old will spend the rest of this season at Deepdale.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are lining up a £5m bid for Aymen Abdennour. Reports claim Arsene Wenger has been watching the 22-year old Tunisian for the last six months. Abdennour plays regularly at left-back for Toulouse but is also able to play on the wing.
Reports are also suggesting that Arsenal are keeping tabs on out-of-form striker Edin Dzeko. The Manchester City forward, who went to Eastlands in a whopping £27m deal, is getting very few chances under Roberto Mancini. The Bosnian could leave Manchester – if he wants to play regular football next season.
Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s all-time top goalscorer, flew from New York to London and made a secret hospital visit to check up on his ex-Arsenal team-mate Fabrice Muamba. The 23-year-old, who collapsed whilst playing for Bolton Wanderers at White Hart Lane last Saturday, has continued to show signs of improvement and has been seen chatting with friends and family throughout the latter stages of this week.
Tomorrow, Arsenal play their first Saturday 3 0′clock home match of this calender year where they host Aston Villa. With Chelsea and Spurs playing each other in the early 12.45 kick-off at Stamford Bridge, the Gunners must give another solid performance and ensure they pick up maximum points against Alex McLeish’s side.
Villa have a very good record at Arsenal, since the club’s move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium in 2006. Aston Villa even managed to get a memorable point in Arsenal’s first ever Premier League game at the Emirates, and have since maintained an impressive away record against the Gunners – played 6, won 2, drawn 2, lost 2.
by MIKE HARVEY | Follow me on Twitter @My_Karvey