Alexis’ Last Game, Ozil or Iwobi, Jack to Juice the Cherries? Line-up|Preview

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal

The Cherries and Eddie Howe bring a football smile to my face. There is something really lovely about them. This is only their third season in the top league and last season Bournemouth finished a very, very respectable ninth. Eddie Howe lets his boys play proper passing football and they all work for the team. It is the system of football and team culture, rather than a collection of quality players, that make the difference at AFC Bournemouth; and this, my friends, is a sign of an excellent football manager. He is  a real gent in front of the cameras and clearly lives for the game.

It is also at Dean Court where Super Jack regained his confidence and game rhythm, and Howe really was the right manager for him to make this happen. For this we should be very thankful.

Despite all this respect we have for the Cherries and their manager (and possibly ours in the far future), we need to be focussed on just one thing: going home with all three points. We are desperate for a good run and a win today will reconnect us with the top five/four. Arsenal (22 games, 39 points) are at least five points behind fourth place (Pool, on 44 points, are playing Citeh later today).

With all the transfer window shenanigans going on this month and that substantial risk of getting (too) far behind the top four, it feels like today’s match is both critical and pivotal for the team and manager. It will be a test of character and pride in the shirt, no doubt.

We all know that Arsene and the team are struggling to get the balance right between defending and attacking. We let too many in and have been far too nice to the nets of the opposing teams. With Mustafi back in defence we now have a better chance of keeping it clean at the back, although we will still be without Nacho and Koz… but it is up front where we have real concerns. Lacazette has not scored for a while and the TEAM has to work a lot harder to bring him into scoring positions. The fab Frenchman could not work any harder for the team and now it is time to realise that Alex, not Alexis, is our main goal-threat. Wenger had this to say about Lacazette on

“Everybody goes through that spell. Alexandre Lacazette is a real team player and if he continues to give to the team what he’s giving at the moment, the team will give it back to him. At some stage, he will score very quickly. But because he’s not used to that, at the moment it’s a bit difficult for him to bear that, but I’m not worried about it, honestly.”

I reckon, we need ‘the team to give it back to him’ right here and now, and a tactical adjustment is required. Unfortunately, we have both too many good players (Giroud, Rambo) injured and back up players hopelessly out of form (Welbeck, Walcott and Iwobi); so Wenger has only a few options right now. I expect this to be Alexis’ last game in the mighty red and white, as Wenger has no option but to play him today and then to sell him for good money and go and get a replacement in time.

This is the predicted line-up:

submit football lineup

Ozil is a doubt and hopefully he plays. If not, it will have to be Iwobi. Time for some determined cherry-picking and to take back three points to the home of football. Sorry nice man Eddie.

By TotalArsenal.

120 thoughts on “Alexis’ Last Game, Ozil or Iwobi, Jack to Juice the Cherries? Line-up|Preview

  • Wow.. No Sanchez and No Ozil also..
    Hope Iwobi can play his best football.. Go Gunners..

  • TA, nice preview. Alexis seems all set to leave as he is out of the squad which has been comfirmed :

    Chamb Must Holdn
    Bel Xha Wilsh Niles
    Iwobi Lacaz Welbz

    Subs: Osp Per Kola Eln Rambo Thèo Nketiah.

  • Pleased about Eddie Ntekiah getting a place on the bench, good to see Ramsey and Kolasinac back in the squad.

  • We remain expectant of New signing as Wenger was clear on Sanchez exit only on availabity of a replacement.

  • Big job for our midfield today. Our wing backs need to provide some defensive cover while our central minds need to provide some creativity and ball to the front in Ozil’s absence. Our right flank could be a bit exposed today. Laca could really do with a goal or two. He deserves them what’s more.

  • Afternoon fellow Gooners 🙂

    That is a bit of a scary line-up to me but it looks like Wenger had no other options. The Spine is good and that should carry us through but we need the likes of Iwobi and Welbz to put in a beastly performance to win this for us. Big opportunity as well for Holding and Chambers to show us what they can do. COYGs!

  • Ting this in transit at the airport as I couldn’t resist but to check for the starting line up. Even if we all knew he was off, still sad to see that it is so imminent now. My guess is City; him going to United will hurt more, for sure.

    I guess we need to review expectations and our assessment of our club because a rival doesn’t just get your best player for money if you are a big club, even if the contract situation changes the balance of power in player’s favour. Some things just shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Reviewing our expectations will help as it will make attaining top 4 even more appreciated (if/when we do).

    Still, I believe Danny will have to step it up now and today will be a big day for he and Iwobi. You’ll see. Probably, no further comments from me till tomorrow. Cheers, guys.


  • TA, glad to see you share my faith in those two; sprinkle some of that dust on JK, please.

  • P.S.: Quick shout and thumbs up to the run of comments on the previous post. Quite enjoyed the passionate/differing opinions. Me? Ozil. Hands down. AB asked: “Which of the many wingers we have been linked with is the real deal though?” Let’s start with Lucas Perez– he fits both Ozil’s and Laca’s styles IMO.

    Mixed ideas on which Man club Alexis ought be sold. But take the cash now. Love seeing Mkhitaryan coming here in reverse somehow. With 32 assists in all comps in 15/16– he just needs a finisher. Laca could be amazing with both Mesut and Henrikh.


    Rambo made the bench. See what Iwobi brings today. Glad to see Eddie too. Coming on late during the Forest match he had a couple of positive moments.



  • Well. Was hoping HT was just ‘running late’.
    Chiming in is more my thing…
    So thinking I’ll do more watching than typing.

  • Following this on the radio. It’s reporting that Laca looks like he’s struggling. Also that Eddy has been asked to warm up. Would be interesting if he were the sub choice ahead of Theo. Let’s hope nothing too serious with Laca.

  • Thanks JW. Jack getting a good write up. Whole team sounds like it’s working hard and playing pretty well.

  • Welbeck nearly hustles one in sidefoot– that Begovic gets his foot on coming off the line.

  • Cech with a brilliant leg save after a cross from where AMN committed to a block too early.

  • We forgot how to pressure and made many passing errors. If this is the game that Wenger wants his charges to play during the past few matches then I’d better they do not spoil his reputation.

  • Well it sounds like we are playing with discipline and good balance. Up-front we need a spark/ a bit of luck to get the opener. Thanks for the updates, JW1.

  • Xhaka has been lying deeper than perhaps– ever. Iwobi has been more active ‘to the ball’ than he has been for quite some time. He and Bellerin have moved down the right flank in combination several times and swiftly. Jack has been in the middle of all of it. AMN had a rocket off the bar early-on. Danny’s side foot a bit higher would have beaten Begovic.

    Maybe see Danny come center more often? Been a few balls across where his pace might’ve met up.

    Correction too: Replay shows no leg save by Cech earlier– but Chambers sliding in front to deflect the shot.


  • Whilst Iwobi is having an ok game, he does seem to slow things down. So many Arsenal players get into shooting positions and then pull the ball back. Shoot!!!

    Lacazette needs a rest, send for Eddie.

    The high points have been Jack, Maitland Niles and Mr Friend not giving an obvious penalty

  • Best player of the first half: Jacko hands down.. Made a few good passes the the midfielders paled in contrast to Jacko.

  • JW, agree that Iwobi has looked better today. Also with everyone else that Wilshere is our best player.

  • Beautiful through ball from just inside of MF from Iwobi catches Bels in stride– attacks, shoots and the deflection takes a friendly screwing bounce into goal.

    Not unlike the several we’ve had against this season.


  • What a piece of skill from Jack after their free kick was cleared, slipped out of a group of 4 or
    5 like magic.

  • And Jack almost comes clean in front of goal– but called for contact foul on the way to the ball.

  • Niles with disposession of a Cherry beyond his years of experience just inside the box– clearing from danger.

  • Bournemouth level 1-1.
    A p[air of passes on the right flank that Frazier gets to in from of AMN and crosses to Calum Wilson — who one touches past Cech who came late off his line.

    Mustafi nowhere near– Chambers and Bels trying to close to defend were both late.

  • Yikes. (Was taking the dog out.)
    Wilson holds up a pass over the top– for Ibe to shoot home from 18yds.

  • I expected this to happen.. we were really poor in passing. And absolutely no mentality to fight for a draw.

    Who do i blame? The players or the tactics? I blame the tactics.

  • Deflating. Going to be a tough few days with all things factored in. But it’s only one game. And a game with only half our first team. We should have done better after having the lead. But there we are. Tough to make top 4 from here. But far from impossible.

  • There was a time in a Galaxy far far away, when Arsenal teams would get beaten, by sides like Bournemouth. BUT. Those Arsenal teams went down fighting, we never really had a clue how to even create a chance let alone score one. It’s easy to critisise when the team aren’t playing well, but something needs to change. In the past I would have been upset, but now I half expect performances like that.

  • On Bournemouth’s first– Mustafi was way over by the touchline– where you might have expected to see Welbeck in a trackback position. It did take a pair of skillful touches by Frazier then Mousset. Both touches top-of-foot over first Mustafi, then AMN– to spring Frazier down the flank for the cross to a free-running Wilson.


  • I was also holding out hope for top 4. Much less likely now, that hurts for future recruiting of players. Something we have to be concerned about.

    Jack was our best today, he must be kept at all costs. The way things are going, I wonder about Ramsey wanting to leave next season.

  • Well done JW, I listened to it on the radio.

    I can’t really comment on the performance as I was working, but that 5 Prem games without a win now.

  • Remember when last summer someone said: “If Arsene signs a new contract, Alexis and Özil will follow him”? The sickest joke ever.

    If Arsene had any honour left, he’d offer resignation immediately. He can take Xhaka, Mustafi and Welbeck with him.

  • Liverpool to win so that they protect Invincibles’ record. We won’t get into Top 4 anyway, not with Kroenke’s puppet as our manager.

  • This will be unpopular. But…
    Oxlade Chamberlain is vindicated. Now playing for an exciting team on The up with a strong coach and a future.

    The whole Chamberlain/Arsenal situation smelled like rot at the club. I hated him for it at the time, but secretly worried that he knew something.

    I’m not happy for him though. I’m jealous, and depressed about the state of Arsenal at the moment.

  • Retsub, it sounded like a classic on the radio mate, and I’m not being serious mate. 🙂

  • Kev. Thank god for that I had to read your reply twice, every time I have seen this Kariuss guy in goal for Liverpool he screws up.,and today he has lived up to his reputation

  • I consider City and Liv the two strongest teams this season. The players are all so alert like the professional that they are.

    I feel Wenger’s weakest point is his evaluation of players. He seems to be blind to agility, athleticism and alertness. Am all for the new guy being completely in charge of recruitment.

  • The Ox makes number 2 for Liverpool and Manes just hit the post.

    And another 3 – 1. Invincibles my arse

  • Could have been a better Saturday. But this is a prize.
    Now the veneer has been punctured? Possibly 3 clubs bidding?
    Maybe £50M for a difference-maker like Alexis?
    A lot of silly money to be had.


  • Anyone wonder why I’ve been on about Liverpool lately? Regardless of today’s result, they are poised to take our top 4 spot for the near future, and they are building something exciting under a strong manager that we should have had 2 years ago.

    Keita coming, and Coutinho will not be missed. He may fit in at Barca but only 1 of many similar players at pool. Quick, pacey little technical players. The ones they kept are better scorers than him. Barca fixation on him drove up the price insanely.

    Imagine if they get a keeper. I’ve been predicting them to be fighting for the title next year.

    Arsenal should have been the team to stop City’s bid for an undefeated season. I felt this decline coming when our players started stalling on new contracts long ago.

    By the way, Tottenham and their stupid fans think they are what I described above about liverpool , but, I don’t see it. Players will start leaving, maybe Kane, and they can’t keep up with scoring, attacking teams, because Pochettino has no creativity. Can only occasionally beat Chelsea or Mourinho.
    But still doesn’t give me much solace, because at least their fans aren’t miserable at the moment.

  • Full time. Our record stays. The match was a classic. TBH we need 6 top signings to compete starting with a GK.

  • The “INVINCIBLES” remain.

    What a match!!! Wish we too could press like that…

    Thank you Liverpool for preserving our legacy.
    Well done.

  • Klopp got Mane & Salah for around 70 millions.

    Arsene paid 70 millions for Mustafi & Xhaka.

    But hey, we have just 18 months of Wenger in charge. Whoever comes will need at least three years and enormous amount of money to clean up the mess he will leave because of his egocentric desire to control Arsenal. Hopefully Mislintat will have full trust of the new guy.

  • Sorry if this dents your certitude.
    Kroenke and Gazidis trust Wenger.
    Wenger may not be the manager– but believe he will be still involved IMO.


  • Too right JW. The business model at Arsenal will remain beyond Wenger, barring sale of the club.

    Admir, those were good value buys by pool; do you know that they were selected by Klopp though, not by the pool selection team? And £75m for VVD? Are you predicting success/value from that buy or otherwise? Personally I think Mustafi looks decent value still for the money. He’s still pretty young for a CB too

  • JW, I think you are right about Kroenke still having trust in Wenger, not least because Stan is focused on the bottom line.
    But I don’t think that Gazides is behind Wenger, in fact my guess is Ivan wants change and is behind the new staff arrivals at the club.
    I don’t think that Arsene is at all keen on the new people coming to the club as it dilutes his total hold over everything.
    Just my opinion…

  • Kev–
    I don’t see a power struggle behind the scenes. And don’t believe one the cause of these hardships. All involved would have preferred smoother sailing– but events have not aligned well-enough for any better circumstances. I’m willing to be either pleasantly surprised this Summer– or despondent then. But there’s is little to be done this window. The right parts aren’t there to splash the cash on.

    So I’m not letting my knickers get twisty now.


  • @AB

    If the selection team did it, that means Klopp put a faith on his co-workers. Wenger spent 35 millions without knowing what position Xhaka plays (he called him a B2B player) and 35 millions on positionally challenged Mustafi who tends to have regular brainfarts.

    VvD should have been our choice for a CB but our manager is obsessed with midgets these days.

  • JW, this season, I believe, is all about change behind the scenes, in preparation for a change in the managers office whether it be this summer or 2019.

    I’m not too fussed about the transfer window JW, because whoever we buy it will just be like an Elastoplast over a gaping wound, until there is a change in direction from the office of the head coach, we will continue to drift.

  • Admir, I agree with your take. Wenger played his team out of position, and just slots players where he likes.

    The WOB is out in full force right now and if Wenger is not able to turn the situation and bring in better players in midfield, where we were severely lacking, the board should open their eyes and do something to get the team moving again.

    I will stop short of asking for Le Prof’s resignation, but 5 games without a win and a loss in the FA cup is something of a disaster for us.

  • Aaaw, Schucks! We lost to Bournemouth? That’s just so ‘not good’. I was happy to be on the flight with the scores at 0-1. Well, having gone through the comments, it’s easy to see there’s something wrong at the club and the dressing room isn’t right. I will go a step further to say we may be losing both Ozil and Alexis this window, then. The news of players departing has a way of unnerving this lot we have playing at this club at the moment, it would seem and I am guessing there’s been some talk in the dressing room about some major departures (friends leaving and all that). Recall how the lads played against Liverpool in August when the news was about Alexis, Ox and Mustafi?

    What a shower!

    Only favourable news is we preserve the legacy of the invincibles but we continue to lose ground against our rivals for top 4. Maybe, we are no longer “rivals”? At this rate, Wenger may just resign earlier than envisaged. Well, off again till I get to my final destination.

  • Yep barring a minor Wenger miracle, which used to happen on a regular basis, we will be no where near the top four this year and will struggle to maintain 6th place.unless we can put some form together. I don’t think we are a million miles behind Liverpool, Chelsea, United and Spurs it just seems to me that they are all playing as teams and we are not.

    When Holding has struggled this season, l don’t see anyone talking to him? Same with Chambers, who was playing a little better yesterday until he was subbed. Personally I don’t think Bellerin is playing well despite two goals. He can barely cross a ball. Cech is doing ok but needs replacing. Xhaka is a great passer of the ball, but too slow and if he is a defensive midfielder I give up. Koz is injury prone and needs replacing. I still think Mustafi could be a decent player with some support. Iwobi has his moments but generally looks lost and needs a wise head to guide him.

    I apologise for any negative vibes here, but I can see few positives at the moment. Jack is playing well, but without support will no doubt get injured soon or even worse stay fit and run his contract down. Maitland Niles shows promise, but he is not a full back.

    I don’t know if Lacazette is not getting the support he needs or is just totally lacking in confidence, Giroud is injured and Theo looks like a well groomed little boy lost. What’s happened to Kolasinac? What a beast of a player he was. Now he’s a pussycat.

    Are we just Kroenkes cash cow? I am sure Arsene cares passionately about the team, but he appears to be out of his depth now against the younger generation of coaches,. When he arrived he was brilliant and has been applauded for many years by players, pundits and supporters because of it. Surely though he must realise he is not getting any younger and this team needs a major overhaul a s opposed to a couple of spark plugs?

    If we really are just a cash cow, great job Arsene keep up the good work. If we are a football team with millions of fans throughout the world who care about our team then it is time to stand aside Arsene and let a younger man with new ideas take the reigns.

  • Morning BKers

    Yes it’s shite on the field at the moment but it is off the field where the management can make a difference. No doubt the BoD will stay loyal to Arsene till the summer, so it is player purchases and hopefully a new contract for Mesut that can give the team new impetus. The money is there. It could go like this:
    1. Alexis leaves for a Manc club or hopefully PSG
    2. We get two out of three or possibly all three from the players we are being strongly linked with
    3. This shows real commitment and vision and Mesut decides to commit his future to the Arsenal
    4. Injured players return within next two weeks
    5. Lady Luck smiles on us again

    Except for five, the BoD have their worked cut out. Go and make it happen.

  • Been reading the series of articles posted at ‘The History Of Arsenal’. Which at this point has progressed into post-war 1919 (the year my dad was born). The Henry Norris Era.
    (The series is an interesting read.)

    The article posted this morning was titled:
    “Summer of 1919. Widespread rioting as Arsenal prepare for division 1.”

    Ninety-nine years-on? Social injustice causing civil unrest is boiled-down to protests– by way of snarling online. Or mob-funding an airplane with pithily-writ banners dragged behind.

    Today’s headline could read:
    “Winter of 2018. Widespread tantrums as Arsenal prepare for mid-table finish.”
    (Taglined: Blow to Shock £100M Arsenal Transfer Swoop!)

    Read as: Less people seem unemployed or hungry than 100yrs ago. But angry still; possibly angrier yet. Depending how (or if?) £100M are spent these next 2 weeks.


  • “Gunners’ discontent continues as Manager refuses to do the honourable thing” (Taglined: The secret to a long life is knowing when it is time to go)…

  • No honor in business TA.
    The foregone conclusion is his persisting is about ego and pride.
    It’s not. It’s about timing. (Ex.: Sanllehi starts Feb 1st.)
    With a World Cup Summer on the horizon? There is a ‘sweet-spot’ for transition coming.


  • Tagline: The secret to contentment is having work you believe is meaningful…

  • Tagline: The secret to feeling part of a community is a shared belief. Off to Le Grove, then, I guess…

  • Arsenal U23’s 4-0 Man Utd U23’s, so far…

    Nketiah 2, Jeff, Dragomir.

    Just reported on BBC, ManC end interest in Alexis.
    So it looks like ManU

  • Kev, I was able to watch a bit of that game on the site’s Live Match service. Jeff was immense while Nketiah always looked a threat. I liked the look of our new Greek defender,, Mavropanos who slotted in at the left side of a 3 man CB. He won all in the air and passed out from the back very well. Good result for after all the negative vibes around the squad.

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