4-1-2-3: Elneny the Hoover, JackXhaka the Battering Ram, Iwobi-Laca-Ozil the Bamboozlers

Arsenal v Chelsea Preview and Line-Up

After our painful, embarrassing and absolutely unnecessary exit from the FA Cup, we have a chance to reach the final of the lesser cup competition, the League Cup. As there is a lot at stake here – Wenger not-won silverware, to show Henrikh what a quality bunch he has joined, to show Alexis and the rest of the world there is life after him once more and, of course, we don’t want to lose to the Chavs, especially not at the home of football – I expect Arsene to go with a full strength team tonight.


Rambo is probably not fit enough to start and Giroud and Welbeck are not fit enough to even be on the bench. I expect us to play with a back-four again and it will be another opportunity to rebuild confidence by establishing some solid defending between the fab four of Nacho-Mustafi-Koz-Bellerin; I am including Bellerin in this as I feel he stepped it up significantly in the last few games.

Elneny is Egyptian for very tidy and that is why I expect him to play in front of the back four once again tonight. He keeps things ticking over by accurate passing and good anticipation and allows both Xhaka and Wilshere to push up (I would also be very happy, ecstatic in fact, if Kola were to play in the Elneny role). Of course Chelsea is not Crystal Palace, so we need to see whether this attacking formation will work well for us tonight; but I reckon that the Swiss and English geniuses will sit a bit deeper than they did against the Eagles.

The left attacking side belongs to Arsenal again now that Sanchez is a Manc – “give the ball to me and I will decide what I will do with it, so get lost”, is no more. Our first three goals came from that side against Palace, which is telling. Alex Iwobi and Monreal will look to combine with each other at their heart’s desire on the left flank, supported as much as possible by Jack, Mesut, Granit and the omnipresent Alex Lacazetter.

I reckon our team will look like this tonight: 

submit football lineup

We could see Ainsley play instead of Nacho, who is fit again but may not be risked by Wenger. Rambo could start instead of Alexis Iwobi or Elneny, and Wenger may have a few other tricks up his sleeve but I would like us to start with the same eleven again. Against the Chavs we need to play with both intensity and discipline and our experienced back four and calm Elneny will offer us the right balance, I reckon. Let’s press them high and bamboozle with movement, slick, creative passing and deadly finishing.

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal.


44 thoughts on “4-1-2-3: Elneny the Hoover, JackXhaka the Battering Ram, Iwobi-Laca-Ozil the Bamboozlers

  • hi all.. Hi TA.. I have to agree with your team..
    Why not believe this guys after what they showed us against Palace..
    After all.. We play with 3 CB against Chelsea so many time.. and nothing speciall with the result.. hehehe.. So why don’t we try other thing..??

    If Elneny can play the defensive rule more than Xhaka, why don’t we give him more time to show his ability.. He trained to be a CB several times.. and not bad.. first maybe.
    So a DM position maybe fit him now.. And we can choose to pick Xhaka or Ramsey if fit.
    Maybe It will solve our problem.. at least for a while. hehehe..

  • That is a plausible lineup, but I feel that we will stick to 3 at the back.
    If Elneny played like the last game, 4 at the back protected by Elneny will be fine, but I was concerned about how easy it was for Chavs to carve us apart when Morata had a few chances to score a hat trick.

    I am not Wenger though, but we will see…..

  • And TA, talking about tiny totts, I came across the back of their supporter a few days ago and the word spurs was at his bum. Wanted to take a picture but stopped myself.

    Fitting for them to design their t-shirt like that..

    Have a good laugh guys.

  • Nice review T A I don’t know which formation works better in this respect, but it seems to me if we can stop Hazard and to a lesser extent William we will be well on our way to winning another trophy on a Spurs home pitch , oh the irony. I feel much more confident having the video ref against this lot.
    Just a long shot, but I would love to see young Eddie get half an hour against the team that kicked him out because he was too small

  • Hey Retsub, I really rate William too. Very industrious and clever player. Would have been a fab Gunner but he chose the Chavs instead. Yeah love to see Eddie the Baddie too!

  • Courtois ruled out. Willie Caballero between the sticks.

    Love this wobbly opinion of Caballero– from a Chavs fansite:
    “While he’s made a habit of conceding late goals (not necessarily his fault) and is good for at least one, let’s say, “adventurous” play per game…”

    Look forward to the dashing Willie– “spelunking a couple of shots this evening!”


  • Per Don Balon:
    “Arsenal have submitted a £35million bid for Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema,”
    (The more things change… *sigh*)

    One can never have too many French strikers.


  • Good preview, TA. I cannot disagree with that predicted line up (isn’t that the best we can muster, anyway?), but feel the left full back could see Kolasinac slotting in. Moses on that flank, as wing back, may give a recuperating Monreal problems (AM-N has been good against him, except for that slip which saw Moses free to cross dangerously in the reverse) so a quicker and stronger player will be needed. This means Kola will have to stay disciplined and on the job.

    Hazard has been making the right noises towards this game and, frankly, that worries me; he sounds up for it and we all know how he can be when in the mood. Hopefully, we can keep him quiet with Elneny and Jack, the men for the job since he likes to roam. Another one to keep an eye on is Pedro. Willain is very active but unless from a set piece, little end product.

    Look forward to the game even though I won’t be watching. COYG!

  • And yes, Wenger did put the biased media in their place by reminding them that the clubs they seem to eulogize over us have won very little in 25 years, nor been in very many finals. We are held to a different standard and with the narrative that we are underperforming all over the place, easy for fickle fans to believe the negatives and carry on like the club is the worst. So, some of our fans equally needed that reminder.

    jw1, seein* as this Benzema rumour is a regular fixture of each season, since he joined Madrid instead of Arsenal, I won’t read much into it. Why would we need another striker and one at the twilight of his career? Maybe, our “agents” thought it to be a good way to jerk Borussia Dortmund into action.

  • Williain’s goal was at the end of an Arsenalesque combination play, not often seen when Chelsea play. Batshuayi chose the right option well, too. Instinctive play all round. You think they are picking form too?

  • With you,TA, for an unchanged side. But that depends on the formation Wenger decides to use. With a back 3 our fortunes with Chl have been (in regulation time) no loss, 4 draws and 1 win (with Chl down to 10 men). It’s so evenly balanced that it’s scary.

    Conte marshals out a veiled counter attacking team 3:5:2. In that middle 5 is the great final ball specialist Fabrigas who luckily is doubtful for tonight. Without Fabricas Wenger might be emboldened to use a back 4 and an unchanged side. With us at home I’d want him to go for it.

  • Eris–
    Thought the same regarding the style of that goal.
    Chelsea had had a string of three 0-0 results (all comps) until Saturday’s 4-0 over B&HA. The Brighton spate notwithstanding? I don’t think they are in good form attacking-wise– but 4 straight clean sheets is notable. We must attack tonight. With the away goal rule in play– it’s a given. I’d rather see us come out firing like at Palace.

    Chelsea and Conte have to be frustrated with these last many matches between us. Seemingly, the one top-team whose number Arsenal have. The last time Moses faced Kolasinac? He shrank after a couple of Kola’s hockey-style body checks. Moses nor Zappacosta like being bodied-up.

    And if recent past is present? Somebody in blue will see red tonight.


  • Line-ups-

    Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette

    Subs: Macey, Chambers, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Nelson, Nketiah

    Chelsea: Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro

    Subs: Eduardo, Cahill, David Luiz, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Barkley, Batshuayi

  • TA, failed to notice earlier that you had Cech on instead of Ospina. Hahaha!

    Wenger usually won’t change his decision to have a cup and league keeper (since both a good keepers), so it was always a safe bet that Ospina would start and Cech rested.

    Chelsea play without a clear striker and that can have our CBs moved about, trying to track the movements of that quick front 3. Best we take the game to them early to discourage them a bit. Hopefully, Caballero May be a bit nervous at the start and we nick an early one.

    Let’s do this lads. Wembley beckons.

  • There are about 2,000,000 people in the UK alone struggling with gambling addiction. The club should not in any form associate themselves with gambling. At least once a week I get approached for advertising on this site, and very often it is a betting company. I always say no as I don’t want to support gambling as I know how devastating such an addiction can be. Arsenal should stay away from this latest gambling involvement, or indeed all gambling advertising.

  • It’s half time and it’s still 1-1 with goals from Hazard and Monreal (or a Rudiger own goal, maybe). From what hear on commentaries, Chelsea seem to be playing more in hour half than we are in theirs. Hazard has been a source of concern as predicted; he tends to lift his game when playing against rivals. It is a big gamble but maybe Arsene Wenger is taking the long view; game could go into extra time and may be down to which team has more energy in reserve; we may come all out in the second half as well.

    My concern is that we have no experienced striker on the bench tonight and Lacazette could enter “uncharted territory” going into extra time with Arsenal. I’m going ahead of myself, I know. We need to find a balance between remaining compact while also being dangerous in their area. At the moment, we seem to be too cautious.

  • And Lacazette also took hard contact to his lower right leg a few minutes ago front of goal– and is laboring somewhat when running.


  • Victor Moses becoming the red card candiate I’d mentioned earlier with a yellow that was being VAR-reviewed for red. Yellow given.


  • Batshuayi on for Pedro at 65′.
    Monreal with a deserved YK for a pair of fouls within seconds on Hazard.


  • Alex Iwobi with a chance to lock it up on a break!
    And manages to hit Caballero’s foot with his shot.


  • Headline:
    Senile Wenger, Horrible Arsenal, Oust Sleek, Stylish Chavs from Carabao Cup 2-1.

    You know it’s true.


  • Same two foes as in Semis and Final as FA Cup last Spring.

    Hope the conditions are just the same as today.
    We seemed to enjoy slogging in the wetstuff. Throughout the 2nd half– we were quicker to most every loose ball. There was a concerted effort to be physical with Hazard. It worked. Not necessarily fouling, though there were several of those.

    Chavs lost any inspiration they gained early– and Conte’s capitulating body language wasn’t going change anyone’s attitude late.

    Well done Gunners!


  • Glad we made it..
    Now the focus will be on TW.. Hehehe..

    In my calendar.. It seem that the final day will held exactly the same day we face City in PL.. February 25th.. cmiiw.. Hehehe..

  • To be honest, I was worried that all the transfer window nonsense may affect focus and preparation, so you can imagine how pleased I am with this win.

    Fair to say Wenger has Conte’s number (yet he is the one the WOB refer to as outdated/inferior. With Xhaka getting the winner, maybe a bit of respect for him too.

    Wembley, Wembley! Were the famous Arsenal and we’re off to Wembley.!!!

  • Great team effort tonight, proud of the boys. Ozil, Nacho and Elneny were immense and so was the defence. Great second half by Iwobi and what a poacher’s goal by Xhaka!

  • Interestingly.. We have Xhaka, Ramsey and Ozil.. All wear #10 shirt for their nation team.. And Wilshere don’t.. Hehehe..

  • Ya’ know TA– that wasn’t Granit’s only appearance in the box. He made a strikers run, taking a ball over-the-top and off his chest (DCosta would’ve been proud of)– was about to pull the trigger– and the flag went up.


  • “They made us work for it.”
    ~ Arsene Wenger

    Almost feel sorry for Chelsea.
    (But don’t.)


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