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Photo – Emery and Valverde snapped together after getting sacked from Arsenal and Barcelona respectively

The Bilbao International Football Summit (BIFS) is an annual gathering of footballing talents and executives from the Basque region.

It acts as a showcase for Athletic Bilbao’s ever present philosophy (the club is known to only have Basque players on its teams). The event has only grown in stature throughout the years, and yesterday, at BIFS 20, it decided to honour one of its most famous natives – Ernesto Valverde.

Now, Valverde is nothing short of a legend in Athletic, having played a hundred and seventy league games for the club and having scored forty four goals for them.

The man played a big role in the club being a sizable threat throughout his time at the club from 1990-96. Therefore, even with his dubious managerial tactics during his tenure at Barcelona, his legacy as a player alone makes it completely understandable that the summit would award him for his services to football.

What piqued the curiosity of a lot of people, however, was the other, arguably just as famous Basque resident invited to the function.

That man was Unai Emery, recently having undergone the ignominy of being sacked by Arsenal and now a managerial pariah in the world of football.

They even managed to meet and have a friendly conversation, both being in a unique position where they can actually empathize with the other’s misfortune. The meeting was not a formal occasion, just one that happened at the spur of the moment on the sidelines.

While at the summit, however, the two gave out rather contrasting statements to journalists about their time at their former clubs.

Valverde was calm and measured, looking upon it as a great experience and refusing to focus on the negatives such as the allegations that he was not treated well.

He instead looked forward to his next job that he claims will be “off the beaten path” and something very unique.

Emery, on the other hand, has been far more vociferous in recent times about his fate at both Arsenal and Paris St Germain.

The Spaniard has insisted on fending off criticism about his tactics, instead claiming that he was stifled by the clubs’ boards.

In an interview with France Football, Emery claimed that Arsenal were “already on a downward slope” before he came in and refused to take any of the blame for their abysmal performances.

It remains to be seen how the managers go about rebuilding their shattered careers from here on out, but their statements provide an adequate signal about their intent; one man looks at the future while another dwells in the past.

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(Video) Arsenal legend Ian Wright left stunned by the sheer beauty of new Tottenham stadium

Former striker and a Gooner through & through, Ian Wright could do nothing but admire as the Arsenal legend attended an event at Spurs’ brand spanking new stadium yesterday.

Appearing on behalf of Football Beyond Borders, an educational charity for underprivileged youth, Wright took some time interacting with budding footballers before taking a look around in the massive arena.

Even as an Arsenal man, he had to admit that it was absolutely “magnificent”.

Three grudging admiration was justified, considering he was given a view of the beautiful stadium when it was fully lit at night.

The man was, of course having a hard time admitting that Spurs now had a home ground on par, if not better than the Emirates.

It was quite refreshing, honestly, to see a former player sticking to his loyalties yet being light hearted and keeping his opinions blunt and matter-of-fact.

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Vieira-esque player Arsenal have been missing all these years excites fans with his latest Instagram activity

Arsenal have come a long way from the days of the Invincibles, when a combination of sporting talent, solid work ethic and masterful managerial strategy from Arsene Wenger produced an absolutely stunning season where they went completely unbeaten back in 2003-04.

Studded with absolute gems like Bergkamp and Henry up front, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg marshalling the midfield and Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure making up the backline, it struck fear into the hearts of every Premier League team then. Yes, even Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team.

Yet, even this assortment of superstars would have failed miserably had it not been for the sheer cohesive force that is Patrick Vieira.

The Frenchman, playing as a holding midfielder, captained the team with decisiveness to glory. It absolutely did not hurt that he had a fantastic set of skills as well, an acute defensive mind being one of them.

In the present, however, the Gunners are anything but invincible, having fallen prey to a lackadaisical managerial board along with gaffers who had the wrong sort of vision for the team.

This has led to a massive slide in quality till the present, where they are now stuck all the way down in middle of the league table. Yet there seems to be signs of sustained recovery under Mikel Arteta, the former Gunner sparing no expense and scouting out players that he believes might fit the Arsenal philosophy.

Lately, it seems that he might have found his muse: Pape Gueye.

Now, Pape Gueye is far from a finished product: he is barely twenty one years of age. While he has not played a minute of top flight football, having been a midfielder with AC Le Havre, his style of play has earned him many plaudits from scouts around France.

The fact that he comes from the same club academy that produced stars like Paul Pogba and Dmitri Payet only proves as a point in his favour.

In fact, there are quite a few who draw similarities between his game and the great Vieira’s, which could only serve to excite Arsenal fans even more.

Now, with there being an almost-confirmed bid from the Gunners of £5 million, an atmosphere of anticipation seems to be building for the arrival of this guaranteed future star.

Things got even more exciting when fans of Arsenal midfielder and compatriot Matteo Guendouzi found that Gueye had posted a comment of appreciation under his latest Instagram post.

Now, it remains to be seen if Gueye can have even remotely as much of an impact as someone like Vieira had, if the lad decides to make the Emirates Stadium his home.

There is, however, no arguing over the fact that he definitely has a touch of class about him and would definitely be a handy inclusion in the Londoners’ rebuilding process.

Check out the reaction below –

https://twitter.com/claudewuAFC/status/1227698094742986752
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Gym staff hailed as Arsenal players seem to have bulked up over the course of the season

If there is one lasting legacy still remaining from Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal, apart from his stingy ways in acquiring players for the club, is the amount of emphasis he put on his wards’ off-field regimen.

Yes, there were full time coaching staff and trainers that took care of players long before his reign, but the level of intensity and the amount of money and time invested into developing players stands out. Indeed, one could say Wenger modernized training regimen tactics.

And now, though his time at the club is but in memory, his methods are hardly forgotten, continuing to find new takers, more staff that take inspiration from his ideology and make sure that the players are, physically at least, on par if not better than those from the rest of the league.

This ideology was made very clear when twitter user @afcevan posted a compilation of sorts on Twitter. Presented in a before-and-after style format, it shows photos of players like Martinelli, Tierney, Nicolas Pepe and Willock from about six months ago compared to how they are now. And oh boy, there is a stark difference alright.

https://twitter.com/afcevan/status/1226492398785744896

As one user quipped in the comments, all of them seem to be on that (Wolves player Adama) Traore juice. Considering how much the players have gained in the past half year, it would be hard to disagree with that statement.

Of course, full credit must go to Shad Forsythe, long time head fitness coach for the Gunners and all the staff under him. The man has stuck to his mentor’s philosophy and the results pretty much speak for themselves.

Now, the amount of bulking up that they have done will surely go hand in hand with an increased physicality and presence on the field.

Hopefully it leads to more favourable results for the Londoners in the coming days, and fans get something more to cheer about.

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Pablo Mari signing brings back the kind of confusion not seen at Arsenal since the days of Ox and Gibbs

Ever had a low-quality stream, your team scores and you aren’t able to identify who did? We have all been there as football fans.

Although, when it comes to officiating, cases of mistaken identity are few and far between in football.

One of the rare instances of mistaken identity involved the infamous sending off of Kieran Gibbs for a handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back in the 2013-14 Premier League season.

The bogus decision from the referee Andre Marriner came in Arsenal’s match against Chelsea as the Blues downed the Gunners to a 6-0 defeat which proved to be costly for Arsenal in the title race.

Arsenal fans are recovering the shades of those memories as new signing Pablo Mari and Ceballos look eerily similar.

Although the loan signing from Flamengo is yet to play a game for the Gunners, fans around the globe got to catch a glimpse of him at one of Arsenal’s open training sessions.

Consequently, the spectators were left deceived by the looks of the new signing Pablo Mari and Dani Ceballos with only the kit numbers being helpful to differentiate between the two.

https://twitter.com/VipArsenal/status/1225831641110777856

Many fans on Twitter have pointed out the same.

Some suspect that a similar mishap as in 2014 might repeat itself, this time involving the two Arsenal loanees but the possibilities are rather slim with the advent of VAR in the Premier League, which is specifically involved if there is a case of mistaken identity.

However, considering many erroneous decisions from VAR throughout the season, nothing can be excluded.

Also, it’s going to be one hell of a task for the Arsenal followers to recognise the two of them through their TV screens and from the back of the stands if Mikel Arteta decides to put both of them on the pitch together.

The chance to prove himself might come sooner for Pablo Mari, as Mikel Arteta eases the centre-back into the team during the winter break and deems him ready to get going against Newcastle United.

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The Aston Villa star Arsenal fans want to see unlocking defences along with the likes of Aubameyang & co. next season

Could a Jack Grealish – Arsenal link up be within the realms of possibility?

Fans of both the Gunners and the Aston Villa talisman certainly seem to think so, with their hushed whispers and fervent prayers only growing louder as the season has progressed..

Things have taken a significant turn in the past few months, with Grealish putting up an Instagram story about how the Emirates Stadium was his favourite in the league and how it was a pleasure for him to play there.

With the story having cropped up after Villa last played there, all the way back in September, and with there being no further match-ups between the two clubs for the rest of the season, Grealish was well within his rights to praise his otherwise rival club.

Then again, was there any chance of the footballing world looking at it that way?

When presented with such a strong set of circumstances, the fans naturally went in to a tizzy, frantically speculating that he could be joining the Londoners soon, possibly this summer. But could something like this actually be on the cards?

Let’s start off with the facts, first considering the player in question. Jack Grealish is barely 24 and is already only now showcasing to the world his enormous repository of talent.

Don’t get us wrong, the lad has always had the potential to be one of the greats, but his abysmal off-field behaviour and work ethic had brought his temperament into question.

That has, however, taken a massive turn for the better in the past three years, with Grealish mellowing out and coming into his own as an attacking midfielder.

In fact, Grealish, with seven goals, five assists and a monumental on-field presence in his twenty three Premier League games this season, has somehow single-handedly kept the Lions from dropping into the relegation zone, even if by a very marginal point difference.

That leads us to the next aspect; Grealish’s ambitions. For crying out loud, the man is already jostling for Gareth Southgate’s England Euro 2020 team (the Irish will never forgive Grealish for that).

A player of this calibre definitely deserves to play European football, and he might just get the chance to do that with a steadily improving Arsenal.

Plus, with the Gunners’ first team being in bit of tatters at the moment, Jack would more than get the adequate amount of playing time that he craves for.

Some fans are, of course, highly sceptical and believe the post to be nothing more than one of appreciation, yet the evidence is too strong to be dismissed.

The Arsenal faithful would absolutely love to see the lad connect with Aubameyang and Lacazette up front, and with the current state of things, who knows? Only this summer transfer window will tell.

Check out what the Arsenal fans are saying on Twitter –

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Ever wondered how would the current Arsenal home kit look if the colours were reversed?

Among all the clubs in the Premier League, Arsenal is perhaps the only one whose kit colours have stayed constant for the longest time.

Ever since the beginning of the seventies, the gunners have stuck to a tried and tested colour palette: a predominantly red jersey with white sleeves, except for the 2007-08 season, when they mysteriously went for a ox blood/maroon kit (it was short lived, of course), and from ’08-10, when they went for a completely crimson jersey.

That is, all things considered, a period of nearly fifty years without having had a major change to the kit.

And yes, while it has developed into something iconic, the colour scheme becoming almost synonymous with the Londoners, the monotonous nature of the kits will have, quite naturally, left some fans ruing what could have been had the club decided to explore other avenues when it came to redesigning the shirts.

In the present day, of course, tools such as Photoshop have allowed supporters to breathe life to their visions of a new kit, and sometimes, the results are, well, interesting, to say the least.

Reddit user dziumbryla decided to answer a simple question using the popular photo editing tool – how would the current Arsenal kit look like if the colour scheme was turned on its head?

The Reddit user decided to experiment on photo of Aubameyang, and while his technical ability must be commended, opinions are evenly divided, with not everyone being happy with the result, for various reasons.

One user rightly pointed out that the modified jersey – with red sleeves and and a white shirt – now looked eerily similar to RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg kits from years past.

Another grouse was that the kit’s colour scheme was simply too generic and could be confused with other European clubs such as Ajax and Monaco, to name a few. Other detractors simply opined that it was horrid and that it needed to be burnt.

There was, of course, an equal amount of praise, with some admiring the kit’s minimalist features.

Some even commented that it was so good that it should actually be adopted by the gunners as perhaps a specially themed Christmas kit.

Either way, one thing’s for sure: the design was interesting enough to pique a lot of folks’ curiosity.

Check it out below –

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Arsenal fan loses all sense of reason on BBC 606 – and Tottenham fans love it

There’s always something up about Arsenal and its supporters, eh?

There is, of course, Mr DT, Arsenal Fan TV’s main man himself, who prides himself for being the main reason behind Arsene Wenger’s ignominious exit, but then even he has some modicum of sanity about him.

It isn’t like he doesn’t give a few players their due credit, sometimes even giving the team some grudging praise. He’s quite harmless, really.

The man we’re talking about today is far from it.

Listeners tuning into the BBC’s Premier League radio, the 606, were in for a highly entertaining evening as fan favourite “Tom” was brought on air to talk to the presenters.

Tom, as avid listeners would remember, became quite famous for his pre-season prediction that the Gunners would “top the league”, and on the second of February, he had some more drivel in store for us.

https://twitter.com/fullback03/status/1224366816199421952

First, the female presenter asks him about how he thinks his team is going about. The man, of course, says he has a very bold prediction.

What is it, you might ask? That arsenal, in the face of a near unstoppable Liverpool and a still relatively strong Manchester City, will actually go on to win the title!

And this isn’t even the kicker. He goes on to talk about how Jose Mourinho, admittedly past his prime, is now going to lose the plot and how Arsenal is going to outshine its London rivals.

Which would have been palatable, atleast, were it not for the fact that Tottenham had just brought about a fantastic 2-0 win against City while the Gunners just about managed a draw against fellow mid table side Burnley! Mate, are you on something?!

The male presenter could not resist making a jibe at this point, questioning the veracity of their title ambitions and pointing out how they were a full forty two points behind Liverpool, and five behind flipping Sheffield United!

But of course, the man had lost all reason by then. He was, by that point of time, muttering incoherently about “Arteta being a driving force” and “kicking on in the next season, certainly a title”.

Check out the reaction from Spurs fans below –

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Photo – Burnley change their Twitter header after Mikel Arteta blames grass for boring draw at Turf Moor

Arsenal drew their 4th Premier League match in a row as Burnley held the Gunners to a goalless draw at home.

The result means Arteta’s side slips down to 10th on the table and leaves the coach with just one win in the Premier League to show for in his first seven league matches in charge.

Arsenal started the tie against Burnley in energetic fashion but were guilty of missing chances as Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang squandered to put the Gunners ahead.

As the match proceeded Burnley grew more and more into the game and Arsenal became rather sloppy.

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta however, believes the pitch at Turf Moor contributed to the final result.

“The conditions were difficult. The grass was long.”…

” They didn’t put any water on it and obviously, that is not a very helpful thing to play football. “, stated Arteta.

Burnley’s official Twitter account replied by aiming a waggish dig at the Arsenal boss for his comments after the match, changing the header of their account to a picture of a lopsided turf.

Screenshot of Burnley’s freshly changed Twitter header after Arteta comments

Arsenal desperately seek resurgence as they sit on the tenth position with 31 points, only ahead of Burnley on goal difference.

Focusing on fine-tuning their football should help Mikel Arteta and his men instead of lambasting about the turf. Otherwise, they would only be manifesting the claim of the Gunners being a ‘banter’ club.

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The Man City star Arsenal fans want to see at the club because of Mikel Arteta connection

The January transfer window has been a great opportunity for the Premier League teams to grab hold of some players in order to improve their current squads.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta added defenders Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares from Flamengo and Southampton respectively.

While the fans want the Spaniard to balance their defence, they are also keen to add another star attacker to the squad next season.

The summer transfer window would further allow Arteta to strengthen the squad and it seems Gooners want star winger Leroy Sane from Manchester City to play alongside the likes of Aubameyang & co. next season.

The 24-year-old German has been injured and out of the pitch for the last six months, and has also denied to extend his contract with the Manchester-based club.

https://twitter.com/City_Chief/status/1223753222747193347

Bayern Munich have been heavily linked with the player since last summer’s transfer window but Arsenal fans now want the club to use Mikel Arteta’s relationship with German to bring in the winger for a feasible price.

Arsenal currently hold the 10th position in the Premier League after a goalless draw against Burnley, away from home.

Check out the reaction below –

https://twitter.com/NaeemForReal/status/1224032750518194176
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(Video) Arsenal loanee labeled as ‘Mbappe of defenders’ after filthy skill against Monaco

Things seem to be going well for Arsenal recently after they drew to rivals Chelsea and beat Bournemouth 2-1 in the FA Cup 4th round clash.

Recent results has seen positive energy being spread among the fanbase and a belief that Mikel Arteta might be the right man for the club.

One of the known fan accounts on Twitter seems to have found the ‘Mbappe of defenders’ in their loan player William Saliba after his showcase of brilliant skill in a match against Monaco where he made a return from injury.

Saliba is an 18-year-old french centre-back currently at a loan playing for Saint-Étienne.

The player has the ability to switch to the right-back position, one of the reasons Arsenal signed him in the first place and were rumored to call him back to the club to strengthen their defensive lineup.

Calling him the Mbappe of centre-backs might be a huge statement but there is no denying that Saliba could be one for the future.

With the sudden emergence of very young and hard-working talent in the Arsenal squad such as Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, and Reiss Nelson to name a few, it is natural for Arsenal fans to be excited for another one of their young talents.

Check out the skill from Saliba below –

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Mesut Ozil puts on a show as NBA legend visits Emirates to watch the Arsenal star in action against Man United

Arsenal turned on the style with a totally dominant first half display to stun Manchester United at the Emirates yesterday.

Mikel Arteta was understandably jubilant after the 2-0 win which marked his first victory in the Gunners dugout and also helped his side climb to the 10th spot in the league table.

While the Gunners were helped by a hapless display from their visitors during the first half, the tireless shift put in by some of the big names throughout the ninety minutes would have been a welcome treat for the home fans.

With the criticism surrounding his perceived ‘laziness’ not slowing down even after Arteta took over Mesut Ozil put on his work boots yesterday and put in a gritty performance that should quell some of the doubts regarding his workrate.

The crafty German looked like a man reborn against the Red Devils, covering more distance than any of his teammates and coincidentally the 11.53 KMs he ran yesterday was the most he has run in any match over the last two years for the club.

Ozil’s performance would have delighted his friend and NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki who was in the stands to support his compatriot and the titanic German baller would have surely got his money’s worth of football from watching his pal alone.

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Mikel Arteta caught on cam giving Reiss Nelson the ‘Pep Guardiola treatment’ after Bournemouth draw

After weeks of intense speculation Mikel Arteta was finally named Arsenal’s manager last week and oversaw his first game in charge during the 1-1 draw against Bournemouth yesterday.

While the new Arsenal boss will be a bit disappointed not to get off to a winning start in the dugout, Arteta will surely need more time to imprint his own philosophy and turn the fortunes around for his former club.

The 37-year-old is tipped for big things in North London after biding his time as assistant to one of the best in the business in Pep Guardiola and seems to have picked up some of the City manager’s trademark coaching moves.

Following the full time whistle Arteta was spotted having a long conversation with Reiss Nelson with his arms around the youngster’s shoulder which almost mirrored how his former boss has treated Raheem Sterling at times in the past.

Gooners will be hoping that Arteta can turn Nelson into a world class player like Sterling and seemed to enjoy the moment between the new boss and his upcoming prodigy after a clip of the moment made its way to Twitter.

Nelson gets the Sterling treatment from Arteta! Check out a clip of the moment between the two here :

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(Photo) Lucas Torreira shows off his bruised banana kit after being linked with a move away to Napoli all day

Lucas Torreira won the hearts of the Arsenal faithful almost instantly with his energetic displays from midfield after he was brought into the club by Unai Emery during the summer of 2018.

After falling out of favour with the Spanish coach Torreira has been struggling for game time this season and new reports emerged yesterday suggesting that Napoli are keen on taking the Uruguayan back to Italy after just two years in England.

With the January transfer window fast approaching those rumours have been growing even louder but the diminutive midfielder has now managed to somewhat quell those rumours with his latest photo on Twitter.

Gooners absolutely adore the 23-year-old for his tenacity on the pitch and fans should be really excited after seeing him celebrate Christmas dressed in the popular bruised banana away kit recently released by adidas.

While it’s still too early to tell whether Torreira will stay at the club beyond the summer, his latest social media activity should definitely put Arsenal fans at some ease ahead of the winter transfer window.

Check out Torreira’s Christmas post here:

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(Video) “Do we have drones?” – Mikel Arteta sets priority on his first day as Arsenal boss

After weeks of speculation, Arsenal have finally announced Mikel Arteta as the club’s new manager.

The former Arsenal player was one of the names mentioned in the running to take over from Arsene Wenger along with Unai Emery and was continuously linked with the hot seat even while the Spaniard was in charge.

After parting ways with Emery the club have finally got him to take over at the Emirates and the former Spanish international looks to be wasting no time as he goes about his business to restore the club to its former glory.

The former City coach will be looking at new ways to implement his own philosophy in the coming days and looks to have set high priority on a piece of technology which still isn’t considered to be the norm at many clubs around the world.

While only a handful of his peers in top flight management are using drones in training sessions currently, Arteta seems to be a fan of the technology and fans should be bracing themselves to see drones fly around Arsenal’s training ground soon judging by a conversation between the new boss and his coaching staff.

The moment was thoroughly enjoyed by Gooners after a clip of the conversation made its way to the internet and fans seemed especially pleased to see the meticulous nature of their new manager –

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Fans take notice after rumored Arsenal target posts social media update from London

The January transfer window is just around the corner and the rumour mill is spewing out reports linking new players with different clubs each day.

Red Bull Salzburg’s young stars have especially been in the spotlight and along with Manchester United’s rumoured interest in Erling Haaland, Arsenal have also been linked to highly-rated teenager Dominik Szoboszlai.

The 19-year-old has been extensively scouted by the club with Arsenal scouts spotted in attendance during Salzburg’s clashes with Genk as well as Liverpool in the UCL this season.

The midfielder has been touted as one of the hottest prospects in Europe and added fuel to the rumours linking him with Arsenal by posting a social media update from London recently.

Arsenal fans were quick to spot the teenager’s latest Instagram post which placed him in London and with the January transfer window just a few weeks away Gooners will be hoping that the midfielder was in town for more than just a social visit.

Is he in London for work or vacation? Check out a screenshot of Szoboszlai’s Instagram post here:

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Arsenal fans sang their hearts out for the club as the final whistle went off against City

Interim manager Freddie Ljungberg urged the Arsenal board to make a decision regarding the club’s permanent manager without further delay after watching his side slump to a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.

While the Gunners went into the game without much expectations, fans as well as the interim boss still seemed to be shocked by the poor performances put in by some of the senior players at the club.

The uncertainty surrounding the top position at the club isn’t surely helping the team on the field but nevertheless the attitude shown by some of their stars especially the likes of Mesut Ozil was surely difficult to watch for Arsenal fans.

After making a significant outlay in the summer transfer window, Gooners were surely expecting bigger things from their team this season but has instead witnessed their team slump into their worst start in recent memory.

Following such a poor performance at the Emirates no one could have blamed the home fans for jeering their own team but the Arsenal faithful in attendance yesterday instead displayed their exemplary faith in the club by rendering a powerful rendition of “we love you Arsenal, we do” towards the end of the game.

Fans will be hoping that the show of faith from their part will somehow help their team to put in better performances from now on as they look to overturn their dismal start to the season.