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Willian and Gabriel have brought Brazilian magic to Arsenal after making excellent debuts

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willian and gabriel have brought brazilian magic to arsenal after making excellent debuts

It was just like watching Brazil. OK, perhaps that’s getting carried away slightly but something’s afoot at Arsenal — and the Samba influence is inescapable.

Willian provided three assists on his debut as the Gunners recorded an impressive opening-day victory over Fulham, the Brazilian hitting the ground with a sprint following his move from Chelsea.

Similarly, countryman Gabriel marked his first appearance in English football with a goal to cap a composed display.

Willian starred on his Arsenal debut in their 3-0 win at Fulham in the Premier League

Willian starred on his Arsenal debut in their 3-0 win at Fulham in the Premier League

Willian starred on his Arsenal debut in their 3-0 win at Fulham in the Premier League

The former Chelsea winger set up all of the Gunners' goals in the impressive victory

The former Chelsea winger set up all of the Gunners' goals in the impressive victory

The former Chelsea winger set up all of the Gunners’ goals in the impressive victory

When David Luiz and Gabriel Martinelli return from injury, Arsenal’s Brazilian connection will look even more solid. Until then, manager Mikel Arteta will have rely on Willian and Gabriel for his doses of Brazilian brilliance.

If the pair can replicate Saturday’s showing, Arteta will have no qualms with that.

Poise, vision and experience — this display was everything we’ve come to expect from Willian.

If this is the impact agent Kia Joorabchian’s players have on Arsenal, maybe whatever influence he has isn’t so bad after all.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised Willian's display as they shake hands after his substitution

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised Willian's display as they shake hands after his substitution

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised Willian’s display as they shake hands after his substitution

Willian’s sensational debut should come as no surprise — he has been producing performances like this for years at Stamford Bridge.

The truth is that Chelsea manager Frank Lampard wanted Willian to stay, but the club would not match what the Gunners were offering. On the evidence of what happened at Craven Cottage, Chelsea’s loss is Arsenal’s gain.

Domestically, Willian has won the lot: Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup. Yet the hunger does not appear to have waned.

‘Some players (when they have won so much) have a full stomach, but with Willian I had the opposite feeling,’ said Arteta. 

‘He wanted more, he wanted to do it with a different club. He has shown against Fulham how much he wants it and how much he is going to drive the other players to achieve that.

The Gunners look to be heading in the right direction under Arteta after a positive summer

The Gunners look to be heading in the right direction under Arteta after a positive summer

The Gunners look to be heading in the right direction under Arteta after a positive summer

‘We need a mix, we have young players who have big talent and a big future. But they need role models and Willian is a really good one to have around the place.

‘He doesn’t talk much in the dressing room, but he always talks on the pitch and that’s a good way to do it.’ Speaking of players with ‘big talent’, £27million signing Gabriel provided tangible proof that Arsenal have finally found a central defender with a chance of reaching the standards set by Tony Adams and Sol Campbell.

It wasn’t only his debut goal. He took to English football effortlessly, thwarting Fulham attacks at every opportunity.

Bigger tests are to come, of course. Arsenal face Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Leicester before the end of next month.

It’s only right we reserve judgment until Gabriel has negotiated those challenges, but the early signs are promising. 

Arsenal's Gabriel (second left) also had an impressive debut, heading in Arsenal's second goal

Arsenal's Gabriel (second left) also had an impressive debut, heading in Arsenal's second goal

Arsenal’s Gabriel (second left) also had an impressive debut, heading in Arsenal’s second goal

The defender is mobbed by team-mates while celebrating his goal at Craven Cottage

The defender is mobbed by team-mates while celebrating his goal at Craven Cottage

The defender is mobbed by team-mates while celebrating his goal at Craven Cottage

‘We followed him a lot. He has very special qualities to play the way we want to play,’ said Arteta.

‘One of those is his character and his personality on the pitch. For a boy who doesn’t speak the language, to come in and do what he did it’s a big credit.’

It all bodes well for Arteta, who is gradually changing the negative perceptions that have followed the club since the latter part of Arsene Wenger’s reign. He said: ‘We have to find a level of consistency throughout the season — this is just one match. There’s still a lot of things to improve. But I can see they want more and they want to speed up this process.’

Credit to Fulham, they stuck to their passing principles on their big return. The philosophy is clear: hard work, passing and possession. But the gap in quality between Championship and Premier League football was obvious.

Fulham boss Scott Parker said: ‘We can’t let defeats scar us. We need to bring players into this team who can improve us.’

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta offers a blunt assessment on why Mesut Ozil’s exile continued

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arsenal boss mikel arteta offers a blunt assessment on why mesut ozils exile continued

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as the club’s highest-paid player again missed out on the squad for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win at Leicester.

The Gunners made seven changes at the King Power Stadium as a Christian Fuchs own goal and late Eddie Nketiah tap-in sealed a 2-0 victory for the visitors.

Despite those alterations there was still no room in the matchday squad for either Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi, who have yet to kick a ball this season.

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as he missed out again

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as he missed out again

Mikel Arteta suggested his Arsenal side is evolving without Mesut Ozil as he missed out again

Ozil has not been involved since Project Restart having previously started every game

Ozil has not been involved since Project Restart having previously started every game

Ozil has not been involved since Project Restart having previously started every game

Ozil has not been involved at all since Project Restart having previously started every Premier League game under Arteta before lockdown.

Asked why the World Cup winner had fallen out of favour, Arteta replied: ‘The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving.

‘This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better.

‘We need to keep maintaining that.

‘I’m really happy with the performance here, how difficult they’re making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.

Arteta said: 'The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving' as Ozil missed out

Arteta said: 'The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving' as Ozil missed out

Arteta said: ‘The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving’ as Ozil missed out

‘We are picking the players that we believe are the best for each game. You can see we keep training, it’s what we’re trying to do.

‘You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it’s very difficult every week not for Mesut but for some other players as well to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.

‘Of course I understand and I respect your questions but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible. I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition.’

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four and, if Jurgen Klopp’s Reds win on Thursday, it means two quick trips to Anfield for Arteta and his players.

The Premier League game on Monday night has been moved forwards to an 8pm kick-off to fall in line with new Covid guidelines for pub closing times.

‘You can imagine, probably the toughest place to go in Europe or the world. That’s the fixtures, we have to go there,’ Arteta added on the prospect of two away games against the champions.

‘Let’s go first on Monday, let’s prepare well and see how it goes.’

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four after 2-0 victory over Leicester

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four after 2-0 victory over Leicester

Arsenal will face either Lincoln or Liverpool in round four after 2-0 victory over Leicester

While Arteta shuffled his pack, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers played with an entire new deck as the Foxes side showed 11 alterations from Sunday’s win over Burnley.

‘I think if we are going to lose a game, I would lose in that way in terms of the players showed good energy in the game,’ Rodgers said following the defeat.

‘There were moments of quality in it and even though there were lots of players playing their first minutes of the season the cohesion in the team was very good.

‘I’m obviously disappointed with the goals, that was the only criticism – it was two scruffy goals that we lost to.’

Wilfred Ndidi was not involved for Leicester and Rodgers revealed after the match that the Nigeria international may be sidelined for up to 12 weeks with an abductor injury suffered against Burnley.

‘We are just waiting to hear more on that, but he could be anything between six and 12 weeks,’ he said.

‘It is an abductor injury – it may have come off the bone which could be a nasty injury, so we will wait to see if needs an operation – it does then it will be 12 weeks.’

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Everton fans fume over two more Jordan Pickford errors in their Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood

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everton fans fume over two more jordan pickford errors in their carabao cup win over fleetwood

Jordan Pickford was back in the spotlight after making two high-profile errors in Everton‘s Carabao Cup victory over Fleetwood.  

The goalkeeper was at fault for both the hosts’ goals, first dithering over a clearance which was eventually charged down for Mark Duffy to make it 2-1 and then changing his mind over a cross and failing to keep out Callum Camps’ overhead kick straight at him for 3-2.

Goals from Bernard and Michael Keane spared the shot-stopper’s blushes but Everton fans aired their frustrations on Twitter, with some fans calling for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No1. 

Jordan Pickford made two errors in Everton's Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood on Wednesday

Jordan Pickford made two errors in Everton's Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood on Wednesday

Jordan Pickford made two errors in Everton’s Carabao Cup win over Fleetwood on Wednesday

Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No 1 after the shot-stopper's mistakes

Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No 1 after the shot-stopper's mistakes

Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No 1 after the shot-stopper’s mistakes

33547222 8766049 Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No1 after the a 101 1600900146887

33547222 8766049 Some fans called for Carlo Ancelotti to find a new No1 after the a 101 1600900146887

 

One supporter wrote: ‘Jordan Pickford is going to cost Everton so many goals this season. Ancelotti needs to replace him ASAP.’

Another added: ‘Don’t think we’ll be able to bring in a top keeper this window but next summer we NEED a new top class GK Jordan Pickford man.’

But Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the first goal, instead claiming the goalkeeper had been put in a difficult position by his team-mates. 

‘I think the first goal it was not any individual mistakes, we passed the ball back to Jordan and it was a really difficult ball,’ said the Everton boss.

33547220 8766049 image a 104 1600900191922

33547220 8766049 image a 104 1600900191922

‘We could have behaved differently, so we didn’t do that well. Of course you have to improve there.

‘You want to build up from the back but when there is not risk. If it is risky it is not good, we can concede a goal like we did tonight and it is a good lesson for the future.

‘I didn’t speak to him (Pickford). I have to speak with the players that were involved when we were building up. He was not the only one, Jordan.’

But some fans were less forgiving than the Italian, with one tweeting: ‘If Jordan Pickford was a fisherman he still wouldn’t catch anything.’

Another on-looker wrote: ‘Everton seem to have brought in some very good players this transfer market, pity Jordan Pickford will undo all their good work.’

33547226 8766049 image a 100 1600900139722

33547226 8766049 image a 100 1600900139722

33547230 8766049 image a 106 1600900267798

33547230 8766049 image a 106 1600900267798

Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the goals Everton conceded

Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the goals Everton conceded

Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame the England international for the goals Everton conceded

A brace from Richarlison and goals from Alex Iwobi, Bernard and Michael Keane set up a fourth-round tie with West Ham and Fleetwood boss Joey Barton highlighted the gulf in class between the Premier League outfit and his League One side.

‘We had a 18-year-old, a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old at centre-back. We never had any ball but we knew that would be the case,’ he said.

‘We then gave them a goal and they got the second goal. We adjusted at half-time, brought Duffy on and then we got a gift by closing the keeper down.

‘Then we shoot ourselves in the foot by conceding in a few minutes and then we got back into it again – but they have the quality to pick you off on the counter.

Pickford was unable to keep out Callum Camps' overhead kick despite it being straight at him

Pickford was unable to keep out Callum Camps' overhead kick despite it being straight at him

Pickford was unable to keep out Callum Camps’ overhead kick despite it being straight at him

‘I am pleased we made it into a cup tie because at half-time it looked like being a long 45 minutes.’ 

On Everton fielding a strong side, Barton added: ‘I am delighted with that because it shows Everton are taking the competition seriously.

‘It pays us enormous respect that they turned up and played in the correct manner, especially when you look at the gulf in class at both clubs. 5-2 probably flatters them at the end but they were way above us tonight.’

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Frank Lampard on the cusp of completing swoop for Edouard Mendy from Rennes

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frank lampard on the cusp of completing swoop for edouard mendy from rennes

Frank Lampard believes the club’s £22million move for Rennes’ goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is on the verge of completion.

The Chelsea boss has been trying to bring in a new shot-stopper all summer and looks to finally have his man. 

If Mendy arrives in time he could be set to make his debut in this weekend’s trip to West Brom, with Kepa Arrizabalaga facing the drop after a difficult start to the season. 

Chelsea's move for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes is on the verge of completion

Chelsea's move for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes is on the verge of completion

Chelsea’s move for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes is on the verge of completion 

Frank Lampard believes the shot-stopper's medical is done ahead of a £22million transfer

Frank Lampard believes the shot-stopper's medical is done ahead of a £22million transfer

Frank Lampard believes the shot-stopper’s medical is done ahead of a £22million transfer

‘With Mendy, the medical, I think it’s done, but I want to be a bit careful and don’t want to give absolute confirmation until I see him, possibly over the next 24 hours,’ said Lampard. 

‘But it seems like it’s on the verge of being done.’

Current No1 Arrizabalaga has struggled in the opening games of the season. The ‘keeper let a weak shot squeeze past him in the first match against Brighton and was under-fire against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. 

Current No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga could face being dropped for this weekend's trip to West Brom

Current No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga could face being dropped for this weekend's trip to West Brom

Current No1 Kepa Arrizabalaga could face being dropped for this weekend’s trip to West Brom

The Spaniard was at fault for the Reds’ second goal after his uncertainty on the ball allowed Sadio Mane to intercept his clearance before finishing into the net.

Chelsea beat Championships side Barnsley 6-0 to progress to the fourth-round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, with new signing Kai Havertz scoring a hat-trick.

Tammy Abraham, Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud also got on the scoresheet while Willy Caballero kept a clean sheet in his first start of the season.

New signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell made their debuts at Stamford Bridge. 

Silva played 61 minutes before he was substituted for Kurt Zouma while Chilwell replaced Havertz for the final 25 minutes and grabbed an assist by setting up Giroud.  

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