Holding, M-Niles Starts, Rambo Returns, WAM up-front: Preview|Line-Up


It is exciting trying to peep into the future. On Sunday against Burnley, we were given a lot of materials to work our dreams with. We completely dismantled Burnley who were conceding on average less than a goal per match in the epl.  It was a match in which the famous handbrake was yanked off allowing us to move the ball with speed and panache. To be candid, I felt some sympathy for Wenger that these fabulous players of his did not start the party for him much earlier in the season. Anyway, it hasn’t diminished his greatness.

The trio of Auba, Mkhi, and Laca flung the window of tomorrow open for us. and I am certain we all liked what we saw. Iwobi played deeper and suddenly became our new Mozart as he ferried the ball across the middle third. Xhaka kept braking the opponent’s lines with his exquisite passing and the old Wilshere of dreams reappeared, the scar of his injuries showing itself as greater maturity. No player on the field was out of tune. I wish that against Leicester we can ask for an encore. Same eleven.

But, with only two days of rest, there is need for some rotation. We must be wary of that bloke ‘fatigue’ who trots around with the handbrake and has injuries hidden in its back pockets.

Rested Mustafi is expected back. Same goes for Ramsey, Welbeck, and Monreal. Our tomorrow in the form of M-Nile and Holding might be among the starters. Just enough changes to make sure the handbrake does not come back. Ozil remains sidelined with a back injury. Our 2018 away record, a far flung statistical distortion, must be brought dead on its path at the King Power Stadium.

Expected line up (6 changes):


M-Niles  Mustafi  Holding  Monreal

      Iwobi        Xhaka        Ramsey

        Mkhi        Auba        Welbeck

BENCH: Ospina, Chambers, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Wilshere , Nelson, Lacazette.

We should use each of the two remaining matches of the season visioning what lies ahead. How much rebuilding do we have to do?  Or should it be essentially a project of self-discovery?  Are we the disastrous away team of this 17/18 season or the amazing home team that is neck to neck with the marvelous Manchester City.  Maybe a clue to the riddle would be found in our last two games of the season, both away to Leicester and Huddersfield.


41 thoughts on “Holding, M-Niles Starts, Rambo Returns, WAM up-front: Preview|Line-Up

  • Catching up here, an Italian manager doesn’t necessarily mean that our football would become overly defensive, it would just mean more emphasis on an organised defence rather than the jazz quintet we presently have.

    Vialli produced some exciting Chelsea teams, Ancelotti produced a team that scored over 100 goals in the EPL, so I’m not thinking that Allegri would develop an Arsenal team similar in a 1960’s Inter Milan, just a team that has a better balance between attack and defence, a bit like the Arsenal team that won the Double in 1997/98.
    Maybe also an Arsenal team that can succeed in europa, which would be nice…

  • I would prefer an English
    Manager Eddie Howe fits
    The bill he’s worked wonders
    At Bournemouth.
    Also would have a much better
    Balance of foreign and English
    Players in the squad

  • kev, you are right and I backtrack. But tell me, how come you never skid off the road!

    To be candid I keep seeking for the right definition of “the beautiful”. Can the dummies, the shimmies, the backheels and the losses be described as beautiful? I think the most beautiful thing one can see on the field is efficiency. These Italians, have a way of punching above their weights meaning they’re more efficient.

    However because of the kind of personnel we have, assembled to suit Wengerball, we might be constrained to choose a manager who is not too off Wenger-philosophy. We shift in small installments as we don’t have the kind of funds that would permit a massive overhaul.

  • PE, I am in my armchair mate and I haven’t got my handbrake on either. 😉

  • Dave, Howe might be good enough, who knows. But am certain he wouldn’t come scrutinizing passports. We left that one behind 22 years ago.

  • Thank you PE for stepping up once again and writing a tasty match preview.

    Line up would work for me but I expect it to be different:

    Bels – Hold – Mavro – Nacho
    ——- Xhaka —- Rambo—–
    ———— Jack —————–
    Mesut —- Laca —— Auba

    It is a game to try one or two things out without losing too much shape. Another start for Mavro would make sense after Sunday’s fine performance and surely Wenger will treat himself to one more Mesut, Laca, Auba treat?! Jack gets the nod so he can play himself into the English WC squad and the rest is likely to start unless they are injured.

  • Hi all.. Nice post PE..
    After what happened to Koscielny.. I think Ozil, Lacazette, Bellerin and Mustafi won’t risk their World Cup for unimportant game.. Both teams can’t change anything whatever the result is.. Hehehe..

    That’s goes to Wilshere also.. And with his uncertainty on signing a new contract.. Wilshere will be rest..

    So PE.. I think you may have 10/11 with Mavropanos in..
    I don’t know about Welbeck.. He may need this last two games to compete for WC..

  • Chan, you’d see how any goal scored by any side would be cheered. Human beings are so competitive by nature. Foot off the pedal? Give it 3% max.

  • Arsenal

    Cech, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Mavropanos, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Xhaka, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Welbeck

    Subs: Mertesacker, Ospina, Mustafi, Nelson, Nketiah, Osei-Tutu, Willock

  • Nice Calls, PE. Nearly a perfect prediction too. I expect another rhythmic performance but Ramsey has to curtail the flicks and ball hugging; just keep it simple. As for Jack going to the World Cup, if the England manager isn’t convinced he needs Jack by now, I can’t help him. 😀

  • “What’s difficult to guess is whether Wenger has a hand in this process of his replacement. Did he partake in the hiring of Sanlehi and Mislintat? Is he taking part in finding his successor? Or is it all Gazidis?” – PE from previous thread.

    I want to believe Wenger had a say in all those appointments as it was the absence of such a structure that necessitated his two year extension in the first place. The club needed to be certain they have all the roles Wenger ordinarily appeared to play, well covered before allowing the man to leave. The emptying stands simply hastened the timing of that decision. Remember he started the introduction of the German influence I pointed out. Unfortunately, corporate entities don’t make a point of disclosing internal matters, unless it is absolutely necessary.

  • After a bright start, we have returned to some old habits in defending and allowed Leicester go ahead, quite aga8ns5 the run of play. Not long after, the ref has shown our new star, Mavropanos a red card when he brought down Iheanacho, but wasn’t the last man (Holding was covering).

    I don’t care whether we are a man down, we shouldn’t be backing off this Leicester side in this game. We are making them look good.

    Ramsey needs to wake up and make simple decisions at times. These flicks and Hollywood passes aren’t helping. We must have this poor record of not getting any away point in 2018 playing at the back of our minds.

  • Nicely worked move sees Mhki draw a save off his guided shot, after a lay-off by Iwobi.

  • What the hell is Iwobi doing? He should have put the ball back into the box as there is an advantage being played. But no. He chose to put the ball out. Poor.

  • Great offside line held by the defence there or it would have been 2-0 Leicester. This ref is too fussy.

  • Quick reaction by Auba for a goal to the Arsenal! 1-1. Keeper saved his first shot but he’s gobbled up the rebound.

    Maitland-Niles has done well there too.

  • Iwobi just scoffed his shot there, when there were options. But he’s been doing a lot of good things for the team here.

  • Graham Scott was looking right at Mhki as he was fouled at the edge of their box, but he’s waved it off as no foul. Incredible. Ref is poor, I repeat. Or, he has it in for Wenger.

  • 2-1, Leicester. Vardy penalty. Soft goal to give away, if you ask me.

  • Wasteful. We should have won the game comfortably had we taken our chances.
    We played the game with lead in our foot.

  • See how much space Leicester gave us. And yet we could only score 1. I reckon it will be better if we subbed out Iwobi and left Welbs on the pitch in the first half.

    Getting really tired of the away form.

    And referee? He should be officiating the lower league games.

  • We played virtually the whole game with 10 men 84. And we have it a pretty good go despite that. There’s no point railing over it. This season is done.

  • wow indeed, G-eris. 🙂

    Keown is one of the better punters to be honest. But ex-players doing media stuff is a recipe for disaster and sooner or later we start to dislike them as a result of it. None of the midfielders had a great game against AM last week but why pick on Mesut? The idea that he did not care is just stupid.

    And the German manager has left Mesut out of international games many a time so why not reverse the favour before a very important world cup for Germany and Mesut?

  • I’m afraid that the Daily Cannon is all about the advertising, it’s getting really quite impossible and the reason why I refuse to log onto certain sites now.

    Saw brief highlights and our defending was awful, but that’s not gonna change is it?
    The referee was terrible, ignoring fouls on our players, giving Leicester everything, no red card for me, the referee couldn’t wait to get his cards out and no penalty either, it was a joke. Why don’t we play 3 at the back in these game?

  • I guess it will have to do with the device I use; the advertising is all over the place, for sure, but I am still able to view the article. Let me help by transposing Ken Friar’s quotes here:

    “Well, where he (Wenger) was absolutely tremendous was that we’d sit down with him and he’d have a chat with me and say, ‘What do I have in the budget for transfers?’ and whether that was £5m or £50m he would say ‘Fine, that’s great, now I know what I can work with.’,” Friar explained.
    “But he was not screaming and shouting and saying ‘How can I do this on £5m?’ He never was. Everything that he did was reasoned and he was a very sensible chap.”

    Friar was speaking to Arsenal media in an Instagram post, and explained that the board told Wenger what he had to work with, then the manager just had to figure out for himself how to get business done on that budget.

  • To be honest, Keown has constituted himself into the self appointed Arsenal players’ “performance gauge” of Punditry. Even when ex players of rival clubs hold a differing view, you find he digs his heels in, to the pleasure of the moderator and his employers. It’s getting boring.

    I remember the unflattering remarks he made about our captain (Mertesacker), when it became apparent he was the only fit, experienced CB we had, going into last season’s FA cup final vs Chelsea. After Mert gave his best performance to win the cup, he had the humility to go pitchside to congratulate Mert, who promptly retorted: “never write me off. Never write off the big man”! You could see Mert wasn’t pleased to see Keown.

    I think ex-players can critic general performance, point out errors of individuals and suggest a better course of action or tactics. But to consistently pick on a particular player who happens to be the star man of your former side is, to put it mildly, in such poor taste.

  • Guys for comedic relief I just visited man u“s redcafe forum and how entertaining it was just to read the first page of post match comments. I didn’t do any trolling but needed that with our own state of affairs.

  • I had a dream last night that I was at the Emirates Stadium attending my first ever match there and the entire stadium stood up and went nuts with very loud chants of: “Maximus, Maximus, Maximus…” reminiscent of that scene from the movie “Gladiator”.
    That dream can only mean one thing in my mind. I believe our new Manager will be Massimilano Allegri from Juventus, and I am sure he will do a fantastic job at Arsenal. Hopefully he will bring some good no-nonsense Italian defenders and solid defensive tactics with him (if he is in fact named the new Manager).
    Can wait to find out and can’t wait until next season starts!
    Go Gunners!

  • Michael Oliver, England’s one and only decent referee, is in charge at Huddersfield tomorrow…
    Thank God.

    Despite the press and media by and large avoiding the question of refereeing standards in England so as not to damage the ‘product’, there has still been the odd dissenting voice among the few football observers who have the courage to opine on the current malaise.

    I honestly can’t see things improving on the referee front until Mike Riley is removed from the top job, the current malaise is in line with how inept he was himself as a referee.
    In fact, I still think that Riley resides in the pocket of Alex Ferguson, even today, but I’m not bitter, not much….

  • I like your perspective on that subject, Kev, to be honest. Mike Riley, as head of the PGMOL has been tainted in my view, being that he was pointedly accused by retired Ref Mark Halsey, of putting officials “under pressure” to change their decisions. If he had any honour, he would resign but it speaks to the nature of the man that he’s still in charge, anyway.

    After the row surrounding Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero’s retrospective three game ban, Halsey was emboldened to wade into the row on Twitter and has since claimed that he was encouraged to say he had not seen a previous incident when former Blackburn midfielder Steven N’Zonzi allegedly elbowed Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross in 2011. It’s a mess and it doesn’t help as FIFA rated Refs yearly, along with feedback/news from the league management.

    Even as he leaves the club, Wenger was given a sort of parting shot at Leicester, leaving him with no choice to give one of his own about the Refs’ performance on the day. The FA May have to do something about it as since 1938, it is a first for the World Cup to be without an English referee, at the least.

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