Arsenal v Vorskla Possible Line-Up: Smith-R in Hole, Mavro-Holding, GuenD/Elneny, Nketiah CF

In 11 days from now FC Vorskla, the Ukrainian football team from Poltava, a city about 1700 miles from London and 500 miles south of Moscow and with a population of about 300k, will visit the Home of Football. I know that before then we will visit the Barcodes, but it is interesting to start thinking of who will play in our first UEFA League game this season.

With further games coming in the League Cup, the squad will start to get used properly now, and everyone will get a chance to shine under Emery. For the likes of Holding, Leno, Elneny, etc this is much needed. There are also young players who will want to take this chance to play some proper football and maybe get closer to the first team.


At the back it is a no brainer that Leno, Holding and Lichtsteiner will get starts. What could also happen is that Emery will now be making the swap in goalkeepers many of us have been anticipating. So instead of Leno in goal against Vorskla, it could be Cech (and then Leno to start v Newcastle United), but I reckon Emery will try the German out in the cup competitions first. On the left we have a bit of a problem due to injuries to Kola and AMN… so bring on Osei-Tutu who impressed me. More a right back than a left back, apparently, but I have a feeling that he will be okay whichever side he is played on (possibly Tolaji Bola will get a chance instead, though). Next to Holding it should be Mavropanos: the CB pairing of the future?!

In midfield there is still a lot of competition with the likes of Willock, Smith-Rowe and Sheaf knocking hard on the manager’s door. Elneny clearly has to start and Torreira also could do with a full game. Having said that, I reckon LT11 will from now on be partnered with GX34 in most of our PL games, and Guendouzi will make the shift to the cup competitions (well that would make sense to me). I would love to see how Elneny and Guendouzi would work together in the DM pivot, even though my preference for the latter is to play higher up in the hole (as his defending is at best a work in progress).

In the hole I expect Iwobi to play or the very talented Smith-Rowe. As the Nigerian can play also on the left and Smith-Rowe also has that great drive through the middle with the ball, I am hoping Smith-Rowe  will start in the ‘NR10’ position (interchanging positions with Alex regularly of course).

submit football lineup

Iwobi on the right seems inevitable and the right man to pick, and Welbeck should have a first start too on the left, with Nketiah to lead the line.

Ah, we have lots of options and I for one am really looking forward to this game. Who would you pick v Vorskla?

By TotalArsenal.

28 thoughts on “Arsenal v Vorskla Possible Line-Up: Smith-R in Hole, Mavro-Holding, GuenD/Elneny, Nketiah CF

  • TA …. Miles Ahead Production. Very interesting.

    Very decent line up. My only addition to your post is Litchsteiner as the captain. I suspect Emery would have his Calvary on the bench, just in case ……

  • Great post Total, I was thinking about this game and Brentford myself, only yesterday, it’s going to be fascinating as none of us can second guess Emery, the only predictable thing about him is his unpredictability.
    Balance mate, he has to strike a balance between giving squad and young players game time against not underestimating the opponent.
    The UEFA Cup represents our best chance imo, of Champions League football this season something he no doubt realises and as he has history in this competition he’s certain to take it seriously.
    Brentford is where Unai can be more imaginative with his use of the youngsters but Vorskla is a big game when you consider our season long term. We need to take maximum points from the – on paper – two weaker sides as Sporting will prove as slippery as an eel.

  • Yes, agree TA, Leno, Lichtsteiner, Mavropanos and Holding, but I think that Osei-Tutu is injured, not sure how fit he’ll be in eleven days time but with AMN and Kolasinac out till November and October respectively, the left-back berth is a problem. Can we risk a novice like Bola in this game, I’m not sure, personally I’d play Monreal especially with an inexperienced (in terms of minutes together) defence.
    Mo Elneny to sit in front of the back four, he can drop back in between the two young centre backs as he did successfully last season when the full backs push on.
    That should all work for a solid base of the team.

  • Sorry TA, for me Welbeck needs 90 minutes leading our attack, I like Danny at centre forward, but that’s just me I guess… 😉
    Iwobi is still ill with no return date, but 11 days should see him back and I’d put him centre alongside possibly Willock where he’s experienced enough to orchestrate our midfield, although Guendouzi is a good call by you and it wouldn’t surprise me if he got the nod as he has boundless energy.
    Nketiah and Smith Rowe on the flanks where they’d bring pace, energy, work rate, talent and goals….

  • TA, to be honest this looks more like a Carabao cup squad than a Europa League squad. Vorskla is not to be underestimated and it will be crazy to field such a young team up front. Maybe put Welbs up front?

  • From what it looked like on the arsenal player highlights, Arsenal Legends did well and had little space between defense and midfield. Gilberto and Parlour were keeping the Real Legends sane with good space and positioning.

  • Interesting stuff TA. Большое спасибо!
    Hadn’t yet given over to thinking of the UEFA competition yet. Although, my first thought at a geographical mention of Vorskla– popped ‘Östersund’ into mind (though Voskla is on a near-latitudinal line with Warsaw/Berlin/Amsterdam/London). While the two matches are a half-season/half-year apart? No less important– to the former and current managers– as to how their respective seasons may unfold.

    (Briefly– it was after the 2-1 loss to Ostersund at The Emirates– with the pair of City clashes imminent in that next week’s time; where I’d concluded the worst– for AW’s prospects of remaining at the club.)

    For Emery? It’s still early-on for certain. The high hopes are there for us fans. Of a top-4 or EL-to-CL-gallop back from the edge of mid-table status. An optimism we have the right to exude. Though I have a sense that UE knows– that ‘expecting’ any measure of success in the most difficult league (ever comprised IMO) is folly. It can only be won hard-fought. For our favorite team to reach any of the heights we fans toss around glibly? Almost everything has to go very well.

    Where does Vorskla come into that equation? Maybe as an indicator. Not necessarily who starts. But by whom is on the bench for an early-season group-stage EL competition. A possible first-glimpse at Emery’s longer-term handling of the squad– during this tightly-packed period of multiple competitions. We know so little yet from his machinations.

    So I’ll now digress.
    It would be a mistake to peer past Newcastle (0-1-3). Those three losses all 1-2 to Spurs/Chavs/City– and a 10-man 0-0 draw vs Cardiff. Then Everton and Watford both above us in the table at present (why I’d passed on the recent ‘predict-the-points’ piece). And those considerations? Pale when mixed into the larger recipe of– eleven matches in 49 days. ‘Pool the last of that skein. Wishing for a string of successes to buoy us beyond. Hoping for minimal issues with injury (and illness!).


    Funny. How our NFL football season begins today– and I’d not even given it a second thought till I powered-on the TV just now. At least I have a proper distraction until next Saturday.

    Just curious? Does JJ Watt have any notoriety overseas?


    HT– just saw an Ultimate clip on NFL countdown– of all places!


  • Fine comments, chapperinos 🙂

    JW, good point about the desire to avoid an embarrassment alike Ostersund and the possibility of starting with a strong line-up/bench. I reckon the above is a strong line-up, and with the likes of Laca, Rambo. LT11 and MO10 to come on if needed, we should be fine.

  • Seventeenho, OGAAT it still is, as I see it as two separate competitions with mostly two separate teams. And it is not very exciting to talk about the line up v the Barcodes as most of us will get that right or almost right! 🙂 But you guessed right anyway in the latter part of your email opening: it is about PL team and UEFA/League Cup team from now on. And it is exciting to look at the wider squad in a meaningful way. 😉

    All agreed re Guendouzi and I am really happy that at least a few see it like that (like Admir). I am excited about his future and he can play a role in the team, but please keep him away from defensive duties.

  • 84, there is not such a big difference between the two competitions in the early stages. And I for one think those eleven will make a difference.

  • Kev, interesting shout re Welbeck and why not. I prefer him on the wing so the pressure is off him a bit, and I feel that Eddie is a more typical CF, but if it goes your way then I will also be happy. 🙂 Willock is also a good shout. Just feel that we cannot afford to mess with the double DM pivot, though.

  • Kev, not sure re using Nacho though. The Cheeseman is needed for the PL games and we cannot risk him getting injured. Is Jenkinson on loan somewhere? If not, play him on the right and Licht on the left.

  • It’s a good team. Apart from the LB there’s isn’t much difference to our 1st team back 7. The front 4 is where the drop is more obvious. Remember though the 1st team has a spare player there (Ozil, Mkhi, Ramsey, Laca, Auba) five for four. Whoever the spare man, can join the Europa team (of course on a match by match basis).

    I wouldn’t want Nacho risked at LB seeing it’s the only place where we don’t have good cover.

  • TA, it is interesting that you bring this up now, 11 days to the game. Fair comments all round, too. I am glad that jw1 and Kev have pointed out that Emery won’t want to appear to underestimate such an unknown quantity in the first group game, when goals difference could matter to enable us get top spot, for the knock out stages. FC Vorskla plays in the Ukrainian league where we have better known teams as Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dnipro and Zorya. They will have some technical players and while I feel certain Arsenal will beat them both legs, best we guarantee it by putting a balanced team of squad players and some regulars.

    I like TA’s predicted line up but will include one of Mustafi or Sokratis to start alongside Mavropanos/Holding; especially because Leno will be in goal and deserves some good cover for his debut. The left back will be problematic. Ordinarily, Monreal will start. But, if Emery assesses the opponent’s threat on their right side as minimal, then one of the academy lads could start (say, Bola). I like the suggestions for the midfield 3 but think we shall have a front line of Mkhi, Iwobi and Welbeck. Nketiah May come on late, if things go as swimmingly as we know they can.

  • Oh good Lord (Bendtner).
    If this looks like a mugshot? It probably is. 🙄

    “The career of Nicklas Bendtner has rarely been straightforward. The former Arsenal striker has never been a stranger to controversy and he was making headlines again on Sunday as it was reported that he had been arrested for allegedly breaking a taxi driver’s jaw.”


  • cheers PE, GE and JW 🙂

    Sorry to see Bendtner messing up once again. He had a great mentor in Wenger but still went down the wrong alley… let’s hope he’ll grow up soon.

  • Eris, you and others could be right re using some experienced players from our ‘first team’ v Vorskla. I reckon we will see a strong bench but the first eleven to be close to the one above. If he were to play a few first team players then I would expect them to be rested over the following weekend.

  • Read that Bendtner may have ‘been in the right’ over this one.
    Apparently he and his (model) GF took a short 3am cab ride from a nightclub to Lord B’s flat. Said cabby took a circuitous route. Nick and GF demanded the cab to stop — got out– refused to pay on principle. Driver exited vehicle and advanced threateningly. Lord B one-punch broke his jaw.

    Current club Rosenborg investigating– but no knee-jerk reaction. Lord B offers public remorse to club and fans. Charges still pending. Inclination was none may be forthcoming– based on detailed account from GF.

    Any insights or humor to share Kev? 😉


  • JW the only time I get out of my cab, is to help a passenger get in or get out, you know wheelchair, elderly, mother with buggy, luggage etc. It’s unprofessional to confront a passenger outside your vehicle, I would have locked them in and taken them to a police station, if they refused to pay.

    Bendtner is a player I feel very unsympathetic towards, I believe his attitude brings about the many scrapes he finds himself in, although I have to admit that I did feel sorry for him a tad when Wenger used to play him on the wing which seemed to me at the time very strange tactics indeed…

  • A third European club competition could be introduced alongside the Champions League and Europa League from 2021, according to the head of the association of Europe’s biggest teams.

    European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli, who is also on Uefa’s executive committee, said the “the green light has been given”.

    He did not give any more details on how the tournament would be organised.

    “The current model needs modernising,” said Agnelli, 42.

    Agnelli, who is also chairman of Italian champions Juventus, said: “A detailed assessment of the existing international match calendar is required prior to presenting a new model post-2024.”

    Speaking at the annual general assembly of the ECA in Croatia, he said the third competition would increase the number of clubs involved in European football from 80 to 96.

    The Champions League features 32 teams in the group stage and the second-tier Europa League has 48.

    The Cup Winners’ Cup – for domestic cup champions – was scrapped in 1999.

    In a statement, Uefa said it is “constantly reviewing the format of its competitions and is looking at a variety of options”.

  • T! What happened? Did we time travel to next week, ( I’m a trekkie)— right past Newcastle? Did we win? Firstly, I’m not superstitious, but totally ignoring any opponent is inviting bad luck. Newcastle have been competitive so far, and need a win.
    The other problem, and it’s mine personally, is that I have been spoiled by all those years in the champions league, while simultaneously trolling Tottenham for playing on “spursdays”. Although Sunday games work out well for my schedule.
    I’ve riduculed them for unheard of opponents with names so challenging to pronounce. So I find it hard to get excited so far in advance. Though I will enjoy viewing, and yes, I do care about the results and making a great showing overall. Our last performance in the champions league suggested that we didn’t belong there, and was another proof to me that Arsenes time should be up.
    I don’t disagree with any of your points T, nor the comments, because I’m not sure how Emery takes these games, but judging by his successes, he must know what he’s doing. So I’m mostly just curious to see what team he chooses.

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