After a very tough game v the Northern Oilers, Arsenal now face the original Oilers at the Bridge. It is of course another tough game and it will go either horribly wrong or we will get our first victory, and all will be fine with the Arsenal football world again. Our disappointing start to the season against the champions will have given Emery some valuable insights to his team but I don’t expect him to make too many changes.
Torreira is likely to start next to the sure-starter Xhaka and Laca and Auba could start together, leaving Rambo and Ozil to do the creative midfield stuff. I expect Unai to start again with Bellerin, Cech and the same central defenders. On the right it is either Nacho or Licht. If it was me, I would start with the following eleven:
Torreira offers cover for Xhaka so the Swiss genius can find the space to receive the ball and dominate our passing football. Torreira himself knows how to pass the ball and, even though it will be a work in progress, the Xhaka-Torreira axis will be the one around which Unai is building his team. Believing or wanting another combination is futile imo.
Very hard to predict this one but I am going for 1-1. Hoping for a Chavs-spanking win of course but that is unlikely to happen today. An away draw against a fellow top-four competitor would be good at this stage of the season.
Three key points:
- The midfield balance. How will Xhaka and Torreira work together and how much protection will they offer to the defence? How quick can they find their attacking comrades? Who will play in the hole and connect the attackers with the midfield: Rambo or Ozil? The former with his running or the latter with his sharper and visionary passing?
- Playing out from the back. If Unai, as to be expected, starts with Cech again, how will we cope with playing out from the back? I reckon it is important that Torreira sits deeper than Xhaka so both are available to find space to receive the ball (and then find each other). I also feel that Ozil is the better player to come deep and play a role in our build-up play. That’s why he is in the hole today.
- Efficiency in front of goal. We lost to City and rightly so, but boy it could have been different if our attackers had put their (half-)chances away at the home of football. That is why I would like to start with both Laca and Auba so we can get a goal and build our confidence in front of goal. We are likely to concede as our defence is also a work in progress; so let’s try and outscore them!
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!