Leave me alone, Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud said he had breathed a sigh of relief after scoring the first goal in Euro 2016 and wished the boos he has faced throughout his career would now go away.

Olivier Giroud

The France striker, who opened the scoring with a brave header in Friday’s 2-1 win over Romania on Friday, now has eight goals from his last eight games for the national team.

Giroud, who has scored 18 goals for France, is the team’s most prolific striker since Didiers Deschamps took over as coach in 2012.

“My statistics speak for themselves,” Giroud told a news conference at France’s training camp outside Paris on Saturday.

“People say I get better through adversity but I’d be happy to live without all the mudslingers,” he added.

 

“I had a lot of pressure on me and there was a lot of expectation. But I’m continuing my run of form and that’s good for me.”

Giroud’s headed goal came midway through the second half. Jumping to meet a cross from attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet, he appeared to make slight contact with goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu’s arm as he leapt.

“I didn’t even notice that I’d touched his arm, but having seen the replays it’s true that it could have been given [as a free kick to Romania],” Giroud said.

“But jumping with your hands by your side doesn’t really help anyone. I do tend to raise my elbows a bit when I jump, but I don’t do it on purpose.”

The 29-year-old Giroud was jeered off the pitch by France fans in a 3-2 friendly win in Cameroon two weeks ago before silencing critics with two goals in a 3-0 win over Scotland in Les Bleus’ final warm-up.

Being booed is nothing new to Giroud, who has also faced regular criticism at club level with Arsenal.

Arsenal to play Manchester City in Gothenburg pre-season friendly

Arsenal  will complete their preparations for the 2016/17 season with a friendly against Premier League rivals Manchester City.Arsenal to play Manchester City in Gothenburg pre-season friendly

 

The match will take place in Sweden, on Sunday 7 August, at the Ullevi Stadium in what will be the conclusion of Arsenal Pre season.

Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola will test their wits against each other before the new Premier League season begins withArsenal having announced a pre-season fixture againstManchester City in Gothenburg.

It will be one of two pre-season fixtures the Gunners play in Scandinavia in early August, with Arsenal set to take on Viking FK in Stavanger, Norway, on Friday August 5, two days before they play their Premier League rivals at the 44,000-capacity Ullevi Stadium.

The fixtures, a week before the start of the English season, will round out a fixture list that also takes the Gunners to America for the annual Major League Soccer All-Star Game and a friendly with Chivas Guadalajaras.

“Pre-season is a very important time for the team and our trips to the United States and then Scandinavia give us a good mixture of games to get ready for the new campaign,” Wenger said.

Arsene Wenger is a Legend-Xhaka

Granit Xhaka has explained how he was almost speechless when Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger phoned him up ahead of his move to the Emirates.

Arsene Wenger is a Legend-Xhaka 

The 23-year-old midfielder joins the Gunners from Borussia Monchengladbach after making 140 appearances and captaining the Bundesliga outfit.

After flying into London on Friday, Xhaka finalised a transfer to the north London club and the Switzerland international has already spoken of his admiration for his new manager.

‘He’s a legend for me,’ Xhaka said of Wenger to Blick.

‘I used to play on the Playstation with him as manager. Today, he is allowed to train me.

Xhaka becomes Arsenal’s third most expensive signing ever, after Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, but it’s clear his feet are still firmly on the ground.

On his first contact with Wenger, Xhaka said: ‘A year ago, I was almost speechless when he called.’

Arsene Wenger is a Legend-Xhaka

 

Arsenal agree deal with Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka

Arsenal have reached an agreement with Granit Xhaka to join the club on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.

The 23-year-old Swiss midfielder arrives from Borussia Monchengladbach, who he captained to fourth place in the Bundesliga last season and Champions League qualification in the past two seasons.

I’m very proud to be joining Arsenal. I cannot wait to move to London, represent this special club and play in the Premier League. I will give everything to help Arsenal win trophies and make the fans happy

Granit Xhaka

Xhaka, who has made 41 international appearances for Switzerland, joined Borussia Monchengladbach in 2012 from his hometown club FC Basel where he spent 10 years, progressing through the youth ranks.

During his time with Basel, Xhaka won two Swiss League titles and the Swiss Cup in a Double-winning season in 2011/12.

Arsène Wenger said: “Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player, already with good Champions League and Bundesliga experience.

“We have been watching him for a long time now and he is a player who will add quality to our squad. We wish Granit a good Euro 2016 with Switzerland and look forward to welcoming him to Arsenal ahead of next season.”

 

Arsenal became the first club to break the £100 million barrier in Premier League

Arsenal became the first club to break the £100 million ($203.6 million) barrier in Premier League income this season, earning almost £8m more than champions Leicester City despite finishing 10 points behind them.

Arsenal became the first club to break the £100 million barrier in Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur’s end-of-term collapse handed their bitter rivals almost £1.3m in prize money – known as ‘merit payment’ – to give the runners-up a total of £100,952,257 in league revenue.

Almost £21.5m of that was made up of so-called ‘facility fees’, which relate to the number of times a club are shown live in the UK during a season, in Arsenal’s case 27.

Surprise package Leicester featured in just 15 live fixtures, netting them just over £12.5m of their £93,219,598 total income from the overall pot of £1,638,805,918 divided among Premier League clubs.

Although the champions topped the merit payment chart, which is based solely on league position, they were only joint ninth with West Ham United in terms of facility fees.
That put their overall income from the Premier League below that of Tottenham (£95,222,320) Manchester City (£96,971,603) and Manchester United (£96,477,120), who finished between 11 and 15 points behind them.
Leicester also earned less than £3m more than eight-placed Liverpool (£90,506,139) and not even £6m more than Chelsea (£87,273,407), whose 10th-placed finish was the worst by any champions in Premier League history.
Both clubs’ income dwarfed that of Stoke City (£79,520,748), who were sandwiched between them in the final standings.
Aston Villa’s rock-bottom finish was more accurately reflected in the table of payments, which saw them net £66,622,215.
Third-bottom Newcastle United (£72,846,635), however, earned more than any other club in the bottom six after appearing live on television 16 times.
Both relegated sides and Norwich City (£67,116,698) will benefit from increased parachute payments under the new £8.3 billion Premier League television deal that kicks in next season, which should amount to £40m in year one and about £90m over the next three seasons.
However, they will be missing out on earning at least as much as Arsenal did this term, with the team finishing bottom in 2016-17 poised to net more than £100m.
Whoever emerges as champions, meanwhile, can expect a jackpot in excess of £150m.

 

 

Mesut Ozil wins Arsenal’s 2015/16 Player of the Season award

Mesut Ozil has been named Arsenal’s ‘Vitality Player of the Season’, with the German picking up the award for the first time. Ozil, who is the Gunners’ record signing, was voted Arsenal’s best player of the season by fans, who have been pleased with the German’s assist-filled contribution to the team this season.

Mesut Ozil wins Arsenal's 2015/16 Player of the Season award

The Arsenal star had endured a rather quiet first two seasons at Arsenal, after joining the Gunners in a transfer deadline day move in the summer of 2013. However, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had predicted at the start of the season that Ozil would be a nominee for the Player of the Season award, with the German fulfilling the prophecy.

Ozil has enjoyed a stunning season, breaking records along the way as he has racked up 20 assists throughout the season, while also scoring 8 goals in all competitions. Ozil also confirmed his status as the most creative player in Europe by creating a staggering 181 chances over the course of the season in all competitions, a record for any player.

Ozil’s record-breaking run over the season also involved a spell where he provided an assist in 7 consecutive games – a Premier League record. The German also created 10 chances in a single game against Southampton, setting another Premier league record with his creativity.

Arsenal’s ‘Vitality’ Player of the Season poll also named the players who finished second and third, with Alexis Sanchez banking on his popularity to pick up second place despite having a less than stellar season that has been affected by injury. Hector Bellerin was perhaps unlucky to finish in third place, having been the only Arsenal player to make it to the PFA Team of the year, a feat even Mesut Ozil could not achieve.

Mesut Ozil

However, the Arsenal fans have recognised Ozil’s contribution, and it will be a result that will please manager Arsene Wenger, who said, “He has grown into a great player as he has added commitment, leadership qualities and responsibility – I’m very pleased with his development.”

However, given  Ozil’s hunger for success, personal accolades will do little to dim his disappointment at Arsenal missing out on the Premier League title this season and will hope that the Gunners can make a better fist of things next year.

Mohamed Elneny: Arsenal are one of the five biggest clubs in the world

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is convinced he is at one of the five biggest clubs in the world as he shows signs of quickly adapting to life in London.

A £7million January signing from Basel, Elneny’s introduction to the Arsenal starting lineup was a slow one, with the midfielder not starting a Premier League match until the north London derby in March.

He has since made a remarkably swift adaptation to the rigours of the English game and carved out an important role for himself in Arsene Wenger’s set-up. After his debut Elneny started each of the following 12 games, only dropping out of the Arsenal side on the final day of the season.

Elneny was expected to take his time before proving himself Premier League-ready but the 23-year-old believes his experience at Switzerland’s top side offered perfect preparation for a move to London.

“It would have been very hard to move from Egypt to England straight away, especially to a big club like Arsenal,” he told Arsenal Player. “My time in Switzerland helped me a lot though.

“There weren’t any big challenges because Basel is the biggest club in Switzerland. Everyone was very professional and they had solutions so there wasn’t any problems nor challenges that could face any player. Whenever I needed anything they helped me.

“I learned how to be punctual. Of course in Egypt we are [punctual], but there are small details we don’t pay attention to which people outside Egypt do pay attention to. Also, I learned a lot about how to play in Europe and in the Champions League. I did all of this in Switzerland and then over here, it’s just a case of applying what I learned.

“When I came to Arsenal, there were different ideas. If you went somewhere thinking you know everything, then you’ll never learn. I gain experience and I always learn from people here because they are successful. Arsenal are one of the biggest five clubs in the world so they’re definitely successful people. You have to listen to everyone here to gain their experience.”

The expected signing of Granit Xhaka will offer further competition for Elneny in central areas, with Santi Cazorla also likely to be a key component of Arsenal’s midfield after recovering from a knee injury that has ruled him out since November.