Who will feed Auba? New Double-DM Pair? Sporting v Arsen10L Preview


Emery wants to top the group and to him Sporting C.P. at away represents the critical game. If he gets a victory at Lisbon the odds are that we would finish on top of the group. That gives him a much better assurance of an easier 1st knockout stage opponent. Emery is a man of fine details. He leaves nothing to chance. And just like you and I, he is equally a baby who’d take a huge fancy to a perfect 11. However with 3 games in 6 days the philosophy of OGAAT must be shaking at its foundation. He must be fancying, again like you and I, not just the perfect 11 but also the perfect 12 come Sunday against Crystal Palace. That demands some juggling and balancing meaning that any prediction of what Emery would come up with is just that .. a prediction.

Sporting is at maximum 6 pts, level with us, and they have won all their home matches this season all competitions. They would be seeking their own perfect 6. That’s a tough call for them with Auba leading our line and Sokratis and Holding holding the fort.

Our two regular fullbacks are still not available so expect Lichsteiner to start there with Bellerin at right back. If we do the unexpected of being well in front by the interval, we are likely to see an early 2nd half substitution of Bellerin by Lichsteiner to make space for our new found left back sensation, Granit Xhaka of all people. Wonders would never cease!

My prediction of Emeryball:-


Bellerin. Sokratis. Holding. Lichsteiner




Bench:- Martinez, Mustafi, Torreira, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Lacazette.

That’s a strong 11 that can give us the perfect 11. That’s also a powerful bench. Monsieur Wenger kept his promise. He left us a strong squad and what’s more, there is so much sunshine in that camp. A certain dark cloud had long ago drifted away into a certain sinking ship. Emery is left having a ball and us with him.




25 thoughts on “Who will feed Auba? New Double-DM Pair? Sporting v Arsen10L Preview

  • Confirmed line up Xhaka at LB, Lichsteiner at RB.Prediction 10/11.
    Leno, Lichsteiner, Sokr, Holding, Xhaka, Guendz, Elneny, Mkhi, Ramsey, Welbz, Auba.

    Subs, Martinez, Jenko, Mustafi, Torreira, Iwobi, Ozil, Laca.

  • According to the starting eleven.. we will play 3-4-3..
    A great line up.. Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Holding, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Elneny, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Welbeck.

  • Xhaka’s speed over the longer distance isn’t that poor.. It’s his acceleration that is very slow. With his creativity we might find him interesting in that role. Emery is now feeling confident enough to try a few things. Good for the team in the long run.

  • Thanks for the fine preview, PE. Sorry I (and so many others) did not comment until now. Didn’t see the game as I was travelling. Very happy with another win and for Welbz to get the winner and for another clean sheet.

  • Under difficult conditions the boys kept their heads and got the result.

    I thought that Holding has a very good game, as did Guendouzi.
    Leno also had a commanding game, he seems to spread a calm among our defenders.

    Plenty of shithousery from Lichtsteiner and Sokratis, they know all the tricks and countered all the chicanery from Sporting to such a degree that it was the Sporting players losing their cools and not our boys. I did chuckle as Nani tried it on and got nowhere.

    Excellent finish by Welbeck, but I think we left a couple more goals out there on the pitch, all the same you can’t turn your nose up at Arsenal’s first ever victory in Portugal.

    Great preview PE, it deserved more comment.
    But my granddaughter wouldn’t allow it, at least I saw about 60% of the game.
    Onwards and Upwards.

  • Fine preview PE– still– for me.
    12-hour day at work. Just now sitting down to dinner (and freezing pint glasses of Corona!)– and will watch. Though I know the outcome? Allows me to look for the finer details first time through.

    Un-fortunately? Same kind of day workwise tomorrow.
    Likely catch up with the comments later!


  • Perfect 11, and the ref almost cost us the win. We have a few really good shouts for free kicks and pen which were not given, and we fought all the way to win this one in the end.

    Good 3 points clear of the group and let’s continue the momentum

  • 11/11 is such a sweet feeling. Clearly, we are going to match the winning run of 2007 (12), before meeting Liverpool. Momentum is a good thing and says we will work hard to do 13 wins on the bounce before targeting the club record of 14 wins. Exciting times.

    PE, fine preview; I couldn’t see the game live on tv (as you should know). 😔

  • Eris.. Liverpool isn’t our 13th match.. but 14th.. We will face Blackpool first.. But no matter is black or red-pool.. we must able to handle it.. and we will if our best players stay fit..

    I have a good confident that we can go further than just 14 win in a row..
    Imagine the atmosphere at Emirates if we get the 13 winning before Red-pool game’s.. hehehe.. Can’t wait.. Go Gunners..

  • Yeah, henrychan. Completely forgot Blackpool. We beat Liverpool and we equal the club record of wins on the bounce.

  • Can’t underestimate the intelligent way that Emery is using his squad, I guess that he can be a tad more adventurous in the Blackpool game but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him go with another strong line up next Wednesday.

    Would be good all the same to see Smith Rowe and/or Medley getting a start in that game and maybe Carl Jenkinson, I wonder how he’s responded to the new coaching regime?

    Having seen the improvement in Iwobi and several other players since Emery and his coaches arrived is it too much of a stretch to imagine that Jenkinson may have developed his game as well?
    He has the physicality for sure and the pace, even if his technique lacks somewhat, but who knows what some dedicated defensive coaching could do for this often derided footballer?

  • Kev–
    There was no yield to the antics Sporting offered. Matter-of-fact, it could be said we dished out our own. Have to say our back 4 yesterday are the meanest we could field. With 11 corners each side– there were ample opportunity for both sets of defenders to introduce themselves. And late? Add Leno to that list. He’d had enough too. Bernd decided that nobody was going to have a clean look at the last Sporting corner taken and shoved Lichtsteiner– like a headpin– into the rest of the bodies. Predicating the nastiness of the last 2 minutes of extra time. Would not be surprised if UEFA retro-red-carded Sporting CB Sebastián Coates for his head-butt of Lichtsteiner following that set piece.

    Particularly appreciated Rob Holding ‘laying the wood’ to Freddie Montero– about 20 minutes in. An old-school US football term ( akin ‘hit with a 2×4’) for a solid hit (by a linebacker or safety) stopping a runner cold in his tracks. Nobody seems to be acknowledging as of yet– but it’s been Holding as the anchor in our recent above-par-or-better showings defensively. His solid play has allowed both Mustafi and Sokratis to be better– be themselves– more so than earlier in the season. And more props for Sokratis BTW. I credited him with a pair of ‘goals prevented’ at the start of this run at critical moments versus WHU and Cardiff– when conceding may have altered those outcomes. Not tackling, nor even contacting the ball. But savvy positioning, Shielding attackers away from crosses and loose balls front-of-goal. Doing so again yesterday, late. On the one pinging around from a corner before Leno was able to pounce on it. Papa didn’t overreact. Just slid in front of the one Sporting player who might have poked it home.

    While Danny Welbeck should have had the brace and MoTM? I’m going with Matteo Guendouzi. In a physical match on Sporting’s home pitch– he steadied the team for 90 minutes. At a point (60′) where we’ve seen Emery swap him for Torreira? UE subbed off Elneny instead– and allowed our midfield future to see things out.

    Wanted to ask? Did anyone else get the sense that Ramsey was being ignored in the box last night? Saw Auba, Mkhi and Danny take shots that might have been better passed to an open AR. Seemed out-of-character for that trio (Maybe one of those things you ‘thought you saw’? 😉 ).


  • Thanks for the insight into how things panned out, jw1. I could only listen to audio commentaries of the game, you see. Rob Holding is capable of the odd mistake and lacks some pace if his opponent gets ahead of him, but he his ‘the man’ when you need to keep a dangerman, on the opposing side, quiet (remember Diego Costa in that FA cup final v Chelsea). You may have missed posts where I (and one or two others) alluded to that fact. He is going to be good and uncompromising. I did prefer the look of Chambers over him but Emery has preferred him to stay and Chambers go out on loan. We knew Kos was out injured so it was a risk knowing Holding was only one injury away from first team football. Turns out he is handled it rather well.

    There’s nothing like momentum in this game, so I am leaving myself open for a surprise or two this season in terms of what trophies we can win and how closely we can run the eventual league winners. I have always stated that we have a good squad of players who needed a new direction or way of doing things; that’s what Emery’s appointment brought. Not necessarily because Wenger was poor at the job but more to do with having a new man without the “distractions” that Wenger had come to be expected to deal with, at a crucial period in the club’s life, with souring of relations between the fans and the club management. Emery has the proverbial “only one job” and is able to show intensity, coach on individual qualities and bring new fun to training. Players respond to such things, much like when Wenger went to a back 3 and things started to look up, after a poor run of form. Learning new ways/things has helped the team. Now, they need to sustain the desire.

    I feel soon enough, the boys will realize again how good they can be, the fear factor return, then the media will focus on the possibility that we can challenge, bringing with it, new pressure on the coach. He’s managed expectations well, so far. It is how he manages the exposure, at that time, that will matter.

  • JW I just had a minute to come on, I saw mostly the first half, but was getting a bit tired of Ramsey throwing his hands up and reacting after he wanted the ball. He did it at least 2 or 3 times. I don’t know if you’re right,but I noticed it and think that teammates might get tired of that also.

    What I came here to say briefly is that of what I saw, I was most impressed with Guendouzi, also loved his sub appearance on Monday.

  • Ramsey, ignored? No JW I didn’t get that feeling, I just think that the team is evolving in a different direction, developing a different character whilst Aaron is still playing Wengerball.
    You only have to see how Ozil has embraced the new way and is thriving on it – scoring goals and all – to see that it’s ‘my way or the highway’ with Emeryball.

  • Yes Eris, a common thread that I get when talking/blogging with a Gooners here in Blighty is that they want the club to sign a big, expensive, centre half, a bit like Liverpool, you a signing that makes a statement similar to when the club got Sol Campbell.
    Personally I’d rather see Emery develop Holding and Mavropanos into that kind of defender and save the dough to spend elsewhere, like on Adrien Rabiot next summer, or Anthony Martial..?

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