Preview: Elneny, Auba, Iwobi, Holding, Maitland-Niles In to Blast the Hornets…

… And keep something in reserve to get another result against Milan.

After creating a lifeline for the manager and themselves against Milan in the UEFA league on Thursday, the Gunners now face another PL challenge at the home of football. We are freefalling away from the Top Four and only a miracle will see us finish in the CL places come the end of the season.

The players who played on Thursday may be travel-tired physically but mentally they will be feeling much better than a week ago. Wenger will have to think how to approach this game:

  1. Play the same eleven as much as possible (Kola is a doubt)
  2. Play the second team and rest the Thursday heroes as much as possible
  3. Play with a mixture of 1 and 2.

I reckon Wenger should/will go with a mixture, as follows:

submit football lineup

I would rest Koz, Rambo, Ozil, Kolasinac and Welbeck, as we need them to be fit and ready to get another positive result against Milan on Thursday. Some totally fresh legs and lungs will be needed. Maitland-Niles impressed on Thursday and he can play instead of Kola at LB. Mustafi to lead the defence and Holding to play instead of Koz, Chambers gets another game at RB. Elneny to play instead of Rambo; I am a big fan of our very own midfield hoover and I reckon he forms a good partnership with Xhaka.

Upfront we will have Auba back and Iwobi should start too. I reckon Jack will have to do 60+ minutes or so and Mkhi should cope well with playing  three games in a week, so let’s start him too.

I can see this team getting a win against the Hornets but let’s see what Wenger will do tomorrow.

By TotalArsenal.

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60 Responses to Preview: Elneny, Auba, Iwobi, Holding, Maitland-Niles In to Blast the Hornets…

  1. AB says:

    Evening TA. I’m in the we need to keep winning camp. So I’d go full strength. Even risking Kos. Rambo should be fine as he’s been eased back and is in form. Not sure about Ozil. We could rest him with Mkhi and Jack in advanced spaces. But we need Auba to get fed a goal or two I think. Confidence is infectious. We need to build it after Thursday. No risks. OGAAT.

  2. allezkev says:

    Yep, that’s a good starting XI TA, I can’t see too much wrong with that.
    Although I’d like to see Nelson get a start on the right wing, pace and unpredictability against a team that has been a thorn in our side many times over the years.

  3. Pony Eye says:

    Am in the keep winning camp too. The need for rest is between last Thursday and today and not between today and next Thursday. Therefore the risk on fatigue is on today only. Ozil was subbed on Thursday so I expect him to start. Kola and Chambers practiced yesterday and so are likely to start.

    I expect 2 Changes only Cech (for Ospina) to go for that elusive 200th clean sheet and Auba for (Welbz). Early sub for Ramsey.

    My guess:

    Chamb Must Kosh Kola

    Apart from from winning for further confidence building, that midfield group of Wilsh, Rambo, Xhaka, Ozil and Mkhi need more time together. And by the way Burnly is only 2 pts below us.

  4. njk84sg says:

    PE, Kola is definitely out of this one. AMN is the one that will play.
    I will play BFG in the middle of a back 3, with Elneny partnering Xhaka and Jacko. Rambo will partner Ozil and Mkhi in midfield, with Auba up front.

    I will not change the core of the team too much. The core that we did so well against AC Milano is so well done, so why change it when our next match is 4 days later?

    I understand the fatigue coming into play, but I would not want to risk playing Iwobi. No no nope.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers guys. 🙂

    Yes confidence is infectious – well put AB – but injuries can burst confidence dramatically.

    The biggest risk is further injuries to the team, so IF the UEFA league is the priority now, and I bet you it is for the BoD, it is all about risk reduction. Therefore, playing (almost) the same eleven is highly unlikely imo.

    Having said, we don’t a London Stadium repeat at the Home of Football today, so Wenger may still go out with a full strength team, ah WTFDIK.

  6. njk84sg says:

    Just read about the news on London Stadium. We might see a repeat if we don’t win today. Or we will see a empty stadium in the second half.

  7. Pony Eye says:

    It’s always a balance of a number of factors like weariness/injuries versus rest/being match rusty seeing that after Thursday we’d not play again for nearly two and half weeks.

    Three consecutive wins should be the minimum to get full confidence back. So Wenger should do what’s necessary to get a win today.

  8. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Nice post TA..
    I think UEFA / UEL is our main goal now.. So some players must really have time to get rest..

  9. henrychan says:

    Wow.. 9/11 TA.. Great guess as always.. Hehehe..

  10. njk84sg says:

    What is the team news Ko Henry?

  11. henrychan says:

    Wenger change another defender post by placing Niles in the RB position..
    Wondering what’s happening to Chambers..??

  12. henrychan says:

    These are the teams:

    Cech; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Elneny, Xhaka, Iwobi; Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang

    Subs: Wilshere, Ospina, Chambers, Welbeck, Nelson, Nketiah, Willock

  13. retsub1 says:

    Is Rambo injured or is this a contract issue? Also having played a half decent game in the week, Chambers is on the bench? Surely Kolasinac if anyone was injured?

    Whilst this team is capable of winning, I doubt the whole team has got more than 25 Arsenal goals between them.

  14. AB says:

    You called it right TA. Resting key players for the key games. I hope we can get the points. If we play the game on the front foot then plenty to be confident. But our defence doesn’t look too solid. Great start ther though!

  15. AB says:

    Can’t see us defending a 1 goal lead for the rest of the game. We need to keep on as we started.

  16. jw1 says:

    Make that ’26’ then, eh retsub? 🙂


  17. retsub1 says:

    Let’s hope for 27

  18. jw1 says:

    The countering thus far is promising for another one.

  19. njk84sg says:

    What the hell is Iwobi doing?

  20. njk84sg says:

    Just sub him out

  21. njk84sg says:

    We will never win with Iwobi in the team. Absolutely bad performance from him.

  22. Gino92 says:

    So far so good. Now if somebody could please have a strong word with Alex Iwobi!!! What the hell is going on with him? He is doing his darnedest to make us lose this game by constantly giving the ball away to Watford. Has he caught Sanchez’s “disease” or something? Come on Alex, get your head in the game. Please!
    Hoping for a much better second half from him.

    Come on Gunners!

  23. Gino92 says:

    Elneny, Maitland-Niles, and Mustafi have been fantastic so far. More of the same in the second half.

  24. jw1 says:

    Same thought here on Alex/Alexis Gino.

    Xhaka has been pretty good too.
    97% on 40 passes 3/3 long balls.


  25. retsub1 says:

    Frankly it’s all getting a little boring. Unless somebody wakes this lot up, we are looking at a Watford equaliser.

  26. retsub1 says:

    Huh big gob

  27. jw1 says:

    Sweet Auba.


  28. retsub1 says:


  29. AB says:

    Blimey. It’s all go. In a relatively ordinary game. But some notable goings on.

  30. jw1 says:

    Sweet Jesus. Did that happen?


  31. retsub1 says:

    What Watford needed was a man to take that penalty not a Michelin man

  32. jw1 says:

    Iwobi mercifully off for Danny.


  33. retsub1 says:

    How about letting some of the young guys have a go now Eddie and Nelson?

  34. AB says:

    I’d like a third before we bring on kids for the experience. Our defence could be rattled easily enough here one suspects.

  35. AB says:

    Now we can have one :-))

  36. AB says:

    Shame. Nelson could have come on there instead of Jack.

  37. jw1 says:

    How things were envisioned late-January.


  38. retsub1 says:

    3 – 0. Keeper did his best , but eventually had to dive out of the way. It it just me or is this a rubbish game. Great result especially in the context of the season, but as a spectacle, sadly lacking

  39. AB says:

    I’m not complaining retsub. I’d settle for a run of these to give the team a bit of a lift and a break from all the gripes. But memorable it isn’t.

  40. AB says:

    I’d love Danny to get a goal too.

  41. retsub1 says:

    Me to AB I would probably settle for a whole season of it. it’s just a little uninspiring.

  42. jw1 says:

    Cech earning his 200th PL clean sheet.


  43. AB says:

    Well. That’s a better way to end an Arsenal game than we’ve been used to of late. Comfortable win and a clean sheet. Miracles all round. Long may it last.

  44. njk84sg says:

    See how much better we did without Iwobi. Welbs did well lest for some iffy moments but we controlled the game from start to end. We got the better of the ref.

    And 200th clean sheet for Cech. More to come perhaps?

  45. retsub1 says:

    Agreed, but we still did out best to make it difficult. The only reason we gave them a penaty was so that Peter the cat Cech could save it.

  46. jw1 says:

    C’mon retsub. Not gonna’ feel bad about 3-0 and 3 pts?
    Watford were 3-1-1 last five. Milan unbeaten in 12 straight.


  47. retsub1 says:

    Jw1 I am not feeling bad at all. I just think that despite the score, I didn’t get a warm feeling from the performance. tbh Watford didn’t offer much and had they scored the pen it might have been a different story. I will feel a lot better if we stuff A C Milan on Thursday. Because we always get knocked out of the champions league at the 1st knockout stage by the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona etc,, I heard the other day that we haven’t won a two legged knockout match for around 6 years.

  48. Pony Eye says:

    It was a good game by us. I can now say confidently the Mkhi is a good acquisition. There is hard work, experience and intelligence in his game.

    Interesting to note that Elneny is a lot more creative further up field.

  49. Admir says:

    Čech 9,5 (he’d get a perfect 10 if there wasn’t that throw in the first half)
    AMN 6
    Holding 8
    Mustafi 8 (Chambers N/A)
    Kolašinac 7
    Elneny 9
    Xhaka 7,5
    Mkhitaryan 9 (Jack N/A)
    Özil 9
    Iwobi 6 (Danny N/A)
    Aubameyang 9

    Job well done. Finishing off Milan won’t be a walk in the park but we should be able to put a strong performance. I suspect Welbeck will come back for Aubameyang and Koscielny may now replace Mustafi. Ramsey or Wilshere to come in for Iwobi. If Hector returns, he will take his place at RB.

  50. jw1 says:

    Have an uncanny ability to tune into a televised match– only to have the team I am hoping to draw or lose– score a goal. TV on. Sp*rs go up 2-1 vs Cherries in the 63rd. TV now off.


  51. AB says:

    I have the same knack JW. Sadly I repeated it again a few minutes ago. Game over. I feel totally to blame.

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening fine chaps and ladies (if you are hiding) 🙂

    Missed the game due to Mother’s Day duties but happy to hear that we won, scored three and Cech had his much deserved 200th clean sheet. Also happy to see Koz and Rambo (and Jack and Welbeck) rested. Hearing that Spuds-loving Dean disallowed a goal for Bournemouth that should have stood… No surprise there..

    PE, are you ok to do another one of your player ratings at all?

  53. njk84sg says:

    For me the Mkhi-Auba pairing is at its best last night. Both players assisting each other’s goals. Thankfully we did well against pressure and we made the scoreline flattering against Watford.

    Somehow today we had he luxury of more space and space is all we needed to do our stuff. Good to have a confidence boosting game ahead of the home tie against Milano

  54. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Yes.. Congrats to Cech for his new cleansheet record.. But he’s not the only one who break the record..
    Ozil also break the record for being the fastest player who can give 50 assist..

    But Last night game was also the 700th Wenger’s win as a Manager..
    He deserved a congratulations for that.. Hehehe..

  55. henrychan says:

    I missed to watch Doucoure closely.. Any review of him for last night game..??
    Will he be our next Viera if we sign him..?? Hehehe..

  56. jw1 says:

    If I had my choice of Doucoure or Xhaka based on this match performance?
    I’d take Xhaka (and I’ve oft been wary/critical of Granit).
    To be sure– it was Xhaka’s top performance this year (69/75 passes, 90%).
    (Although– the defensive backheel in our box, was startling.)


  57. jw1 says:

    Also impressed with Rob Holding. Played well positionally. Marking solid all game and closed-out a couple of near-chances.


  58. Pony Eye says:

    Yes. Something shortly.

  59. Pony Eye says:

    Check your mail.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Many thanks, PE. 🙂

    New Post 🙂

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