Welbeck CF, Iwobi, Mesut and Mkhi AMs, Elneny/Xhaka to Protect Defence: Match Preview

Ostersunds FK v Arsenal – UEFA League: 

Sweed relief or more bitter (cold) disappointment?

I like this competition. Playing clubs you know little or nothing about in new grounds offer us a sense of adventure. After our second half debacle against the Spuddies on Saturday, we could do with a nice, big win at the beautifully named Jamtkraft Arena in Ostersunds, Sweden, but it remains to be seen whether the Gunners are capable of this.

No Laca (and no Auba) leaves us with either Welbeck or Eddie up front. Jack and Rambo are not available and neither are Koz and Cech. Wenger has said he will field a strong team, and I reckon it will be something like this:

submit football lineup

Elneny and Xhaka in the centre of midfield to support defence and link up with attack regularly. No Koz could mean that Nacho gets moved next to Mustafi or maybe Chambers or Holding get a start. Kola on the left and Bellerin on the right should complete the defence. Behind Welbeck, I expect Alex, Mesut and Henrikh to dominate proceedings in attack.

What we really want to see is a committed performance with pride for the shirt. Not much more to say; let the feet do the talking.

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal.

52 thoughts on “Welbeck CF, Iwobi, Mesut and Mkhi AMs, Elneny/Xhaka to Protect Defence: Match Preview

  • Can’t see much wrong with that selection TA. I wonder if AMN might start at the left with Kola to come on later perhaps? Hopefully we won’t need defensive additions but our away form has been so horrrible I will be crossing my fingers. What’s up with Jack at the moment? We seem to be generating injuries in training at the moment for some reason.

  • Wenger on Aubameyang:
    “I believe that all the clubs agree now this rule has to disappear in Europe,” he said. “When you look at the transfer amounts you spend now, that you have to spend £50m, £60m, £70m in the middle of the season, that the players cannot play doesn’t make sense.”

    Aubameyang on Ostersund:
    Thursday 12:00 PM, Cloudy, -3°C, Humidity: 79%, Wind: 23 km/h
    “No worries Arsene. I’ll see you at Colney on Friday!”‘


  • Tonight in Sweden is definitely not a stroll in the park. It is as cold as it can get and we should be wary about what it will do to the pitch. And we are away, so another reason to be wary about. The game starts at 2am on Friday Singapore time, but i should force myself to watch.

  • Hi all..
    Nice post and nice team TA.. It’s strong enough to beat the outer-sound.. Hehehe..

    JK.. Yes you must watch the game..
    For it’s Chinese New Year Eve..
    Gong Xi Fat Choi.. To you and your whole big family.. Wish You all a Healthy Life..

    Hope the DOG will bark loudly..
    And bring good luck to our team..
    Arsenal Foverer.. Hehehe..

  • Our mentality would be the key. Am sorry but we have a way of playing at the level of the opposition. We need to win this match with a comfortable margin that would allow us to rest our players in the reverse fixture as the League Cup final with City comes 3 days after.

    I would wish Wenger repeats that hybrid role Elneny played in the 2nd half against Chelsea. Midfielder when we have the ball, central defender as the opposition attacks. This allows our wing-backs more attacking freedom. I’d represent the formation as 3:1:3:2:1.

    My line up:

    –Chamb Must Nacho–
    Bel —– Xhaka —– Kola
    —– Ozil ——- Iwobi —-
    ———– Welbz ———-

    Subs: Macey, Konstantinos, Niles, Willock Mkhi, Nelson, Nketiah.

  • This is about 5 changes from our strongest XI (Cech, Kos, Ramsey, Laca, Auba) and Jack on the bench.

  • Happy Lunar New Year to everyone, especially Ko Henry. Gong Hei Fat Choi (Gong Xi Fa Cai).

    Both PE’s and TA’s lineup is probable, so we will see which lineup gets chosen by Le Prof later.
    This is a must win game, so the lads must be fired up enough to get themselves warmed up by running all over the pitch to win challenges and balls.

  • Cech is a better shot stopper than Ospina. That doesn’t necessarily make him a more effective keeper for the team. How they use their feet has become important in evaluating a modern keeper.

    A keeper good with his feet does not cost the defence in confidence as they play the ball out of the rear as the keeper is one extra trusted passing option. Amongst the tactical advantages of passing out of the back is that it draws pressers forward leaving the opposition midfield porous for a quicker transitioning of the ball.

    Expect our team to pass out better from the back today.

  • On second thought because we haven’t got goal scores in my expected line up I’d replace Iwobi with Mkhi. Whether we score enough or not I expect Nketiah in, later in the match.

  • Freezing temperatures, 4G plastic pitch, recent poor performances in old Soviet Union haunt my memory, worrying suspicion that some of our players aren’t really ‘up’ for these type of spit n sawdust encounters, concerns over preparations, not sure why I should be so anxious about this game as we should comfortably win, but we’re Arsenal, it’s what we do.

    Pleased for Danny W, hope he has a storming game, one thing is certain is he won’t hide.
    Pity that BFG isn’t available, we could probably do with his calming experience at the back.
    Personally I’d give AMN a game in centre-midfield in this one, his pace could be useful, maybe pair him up with Elneny?
    That would free up Xhaka to get forward, not defending to worry about and get some shots in.
    Can we really afford to play all three of Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and Ozil in this game, I’m not sure, we probably need a more robust approach?

    As for the defence I’d be tempted to start Kolasinac at left back, which leaves the two centre-backs as Mustafi and Monreal, not perfect but the alternative is to bring in either Holding or Chambers.
    And yes, I’d go with a back-four.

  • Kev–
    I’ll agree with the AMN in CM. Would like to have his makeup speed at the ready.
    There’s always the possibility in matches like this of there being that one mismatch in Ostersund’s favor (recall Forest/Lichaj’s brace). With our MF — it’s a speedy-someone-unknown that would be the worry.


  • JW, Ramsey is likely to miss the League Cup final, so now is the time to use a few of our remaining EPL games to give 1st team minutes to Willock, AMN, Nelson and Nketiah, with an for next season. I hope that Wenger doesn’t waste this rare opportunity, in the false hope of making the top four.

  • Arsenal: Ospina (c), Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Welbeck

    Subs: Macey, Holding, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Willock, Nelson, Nketiah

  • So.. Niles play as a DM.. Wow so Interesting.. Hope he do his job well..

    Are we playing 4-4-1-1..??
    I think it 4-2-3-1..

  • Think Henry’s nailed with 4-2-3-1 and AMN as DM.
    That’s what I’d prefer with this lineup too.


  • ———Ospina———-
    Bel Cham Musti Nacho
    —-Elneny Niles——-
    Mkhi. — Ozil — Iwobi
    ——— Welbz ——–.

  • Our fox-in-the-box Nacho scores on a rebounded shot by AMN
    1-nil to the good guys in the 13th minute.


  • I don’t think Niles did great job so far.. So many mistakes..
    And so did Chambers.. He almost make us suffer..

  • Hey guys… Just catching up…Had the wrong start time for the match but at least I can watch the second period on the big screen… Plastic pitch looks a bit fast when our boys start really pinging it…

  • Cheers, Henry… And happy new year… 🙂 Where I grew up (San Francisco Bay Area–big Chinese population…) it was always transcribed into English as Gung Hay Fat Choy…

    Good balance between O and D tonight, I think… Never getting too many guys forward now that we have a lead and knowing the Swedes are capable of moving the ball forward quickly on the very fast pitch… Elneny and AMN, in particular, seem to covering each other well. If one goes forward the other is ready in case of a turnover…

    Kola on for Nacho…

  • Why do we have this bad habit of playing the ball within our final third?
    We have conceded via this loads of times but we just did not learn.

    We should have more longer balls and clear midfield line. This is not the Arsenal that we were used to seeing.

  • Eddy, Eddy… DW out… He hasn’t looked very tidy in the 2nd half (to me)… Was he better in the first?…

  • Not sure what you’re talking about JK…

    If they’re pressing us in our third and we’re able to break that press we’re off their way with numbers in our favor… Would you really prefer us punting it into touch or directly back to their keeper? Let’s also not forget that we’re up 3-nil in this one and (IMO) should be working on playing the ball with our (superior) skills. It’s not like we’re trying to eke out a nil-nil vs Barcelona here….

  • I think the misplaced pass was between Chambers and Elneny, JK… A good learning experience for them as a duo, I think… You’d still prefer us to just punt the ball?…

    Finishes 3-nil…

    From what I saw, it seemed a good outing… Now, 10 full days to work on things ahead of the league cup final, with a fine scoreline to make the 2nd leg of this one (more or less) a training exercise as well… Somehow, we’re going to have to find a way to match the pace and pressing of Man City. A deeper part of the squad doing so tonight on the fast & firm pitch seems a good thing…

    Just my thoughts, of course, and if others think we should practice route 1 kicks out of our backfield (and hope the league cup final comes down to pens?…) well, that’s their prerogative…

  • Niles did better as our LB.. After Monreal send off..
    Nketiah only had 10 minutes.. Next time give him 20 or more..
    Ozil and Mhiki blend well.. Good to have two great king of assist around..

  • A day on and nobody has nothing to say about our cup exploits?… Hmmm…

    I was actually thinking about trying to write a post about such things–you know, what it means to be “just” a cup team… As we’ve learned, trophies, except the big two (CL and PL) aren’t trophies, so why bother?… Or something. It was gonna be another one of my mamby-pamby (is that term used in Britain?…) “thought pieces” about what’s the point of being a Gooner when every proposition is lose-lose…

    Of course, this season, IF we win a not-a-trophy trophy (the Europa League) then we win the real trophy, a trip back to the CL, equivalent, of course, to the top-4 trophy…

    It gets complicated (and stuuuupid…) so who needs it… AND, I’m off on holiday to further explore my preferred (or most easily accessible) part of Mexico… Direct flights from Reno (Nevada, USA) to Guadalajara (Jalisco, Mex) drives everything…

    Anyhow, from what I saw, we did the business in the North of Sweden last night and I enjoyed the look of our running men–Ozil, Iwobi, Bellerin and AMN. Those guys can really move when they get a mind to do so. Controlling the football on the plastic pitch is another thing, but, if you can get to it ahead of the other guy, there’s a definite advantage.

    So, I’ll be further out of the loop, though maybe trying to check in when I’ve got some WiFi…

    What’s the injury news? Rambo gets three goals (vs Everton) and another three weeks out? Jack too? Or maybe it’s just his winter break. Laca can’t make a goal so they send him to the surgeon? Rough stuff, it seems…

    With Lacazette out–and watching DW last night–my hunch is that–if we intend to score in the league cup final–which I bet I can find on TV somewhere down in Mexico the Sunday after next–it seems it must be through Monsieur P-E Aubamayang. I’m not saying he’s got to put the ball in the net, but surely he’ll have to be part of the build-up or the subterfuge or somehow involved if not the actual guy. 10 days of practice to figure out how… Over to you Mr. Wenger. And, of course, if you fail… YOU”RE DONE!!!!

    In the meantime, there’s FA Cup stuff, a training session against our Swedish friends and then some PL stuff for the other English teams…

    I think…

    Sorry, in my mind I’m already gone… For me, it’s tacos, tequila and toes in the sand…and maybe watching some of the locals play some beach footy…

    Hasta La Vista, Baby (That’s a film reference, from the early 90s, I think… Look it up…)


  • Feels wrong to not have any football this weekend. Such a shame Wenger put out a weakened team against Forest and we are now without a game till next Thursday. Ah well there are the Olympics for us all. Have a nice weekend BKers.

  • I was there when Johnny Jensen scored, cracking goal, we lost 3-1 to QPR but all everyone was talking about at the end of the game was Jensen’s goal.

  • If you click my above comment and click the the ‘ average player position’ you’d notice how far upfield our full backs play nos 24 and 18. It’s clear we play 2 at the back when the paper formation says 4 at the back.

    Our defensive problem is not so much our CD (poor fellows) but our structure. Our full backs play as wing backs. If we can’t get our full backs to be fullbacks then our best option is a three man defence. 2 man defence (which is what it is in reality) must struggle.

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