Granit Xhaka has developed an unfortunate habit in recent weeks. The Arsenal midfielder will receive the ball in space, in the centre of the pitch, and look up. Ahead of him are forward runners, with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking to dart into the space behind the opposition defence. Xhaka will look at them, spot the run, and then turn around. The ball is instead shuffled backwards or sideways, and Xhaka will respond by instantly holding up a hand of apology to his forwards. He is showing them that he saw the run, but also saying sorry for not playing the pass they wanted. This happened multiple times against Brighton last month, and it happened again against Newcastle United on Monday night. Instead of speeding up the play in these moments, Arsenal are instead slowing it down. Mohamed Elneny has been just as guilty of this in recent weeks as Xhaka, who has been otherwise superb since his return to the side. What a contrast it was, then, to see Thomas Partey spraying long passes forward against Newcastle. How refreshing it was to see Emile Smith Rowe receive possession on the turn and instantly think about how to move up the pitch, rather than taking the safe option and playing it back. Forward-thinking, forward-passing. Partey and Smith Rowe set the tone for Mikel Arteta’s side on Monday night, providing the service that allowed Aubameyang and Saka to cause chaos in the final third. Of course, this is not to say that Xhaka and David Luiz should be launching balls over the top at every opportunity. Arteta would not stand for that, as he has coached this side meticulously in the art of building up attacks from deep. Indeed, it is no wonder so many of Arsenal’s players like to “reset” with the ball, because they have been made so comfortable in those build-up moments by months of careful work on the training ground. But clearly there are also times to play fast, to try to hurt teams as quickly as possible. Smith Rowe has brought that to the side in recent weeks, providing a far more adventurous option than the ponderous Willian, and Partey led the way in this regard against Newcastle. Not even 10 minutes had passed when Partey unleashed the first of these raking passes into the path of Aubameyang on the left wing. Another one soon dropped at the toes of Smith Rowe, and there was one more before Aubameyang finally made one count shortly after half-time, racing onto Partey’s delivery and spanking home a fine finish.
London [UK], January 19 (ANI): After thrashing Newcastle in the Premier League, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is impressed with his team's performance, saying that players were really strong collectively as well as individually during the match.
Joshua King might stay at Bournemouth for the last six months of his contract rather than pushing for a move to the Premier League during this month’s transfer window. The Norway forward, 29, can speak to foreign clubs about a pre-contract and may decide to move on a free transfer in the summer like former team-mate Ryan Fraser did at the end of last season when he moved to Newcastle United. West Ham United, Fulham and Aston Villa moved for King in pre-season but did not strike a deal and there have been no approaches this month. Manchester United made a bid for King in the mid-season window last season before signing Odion Ighalo on a loan instead. It is understood that King is relaxed about seeing out his contract at the Vitality Stadium, where he has started games again in the last two weeks after being used as a substitute this season when he returned from injury. He scored two goals in the FA Cup win over Oldham Athletic, his first goals of the season. Bournemouth have been willing to listen to offers for the former Blackburn Rovers striker but a transfer in the last two weeks of the window would depend on clubs coming up with a suitable bid. Baah heading for big time Premier League and Serie A clubs in Italy have joined the race for Rochdale winger Kwadwo Baah following his performances in League One. The 17-year-old was being tracked by Bundesliga, Championship and Scottish Premier League teams but Champions League clubs have now shown interest following his spectacular goals at Charlton Athletic last week. Baah could be loaned back to Rochdale to continue his development if a deal is struck this month. England youth teams are also looking at him - he qualifies because he moved here as a six-year-old but he is also eligible to play for Germany or Ghana. Wimbledon bolter AFC Wimbledon full-back Paul Osew has been tracked by Wycombe Wanderers, Sunderland and Salford City for a six-month loan. The 20-year-old has played in the Football League Trophy this season and could be allowed out for the rest of the season.