Torreira’s Obsession with Balance Liberates Xhaka to Dictate the Game: Line-Up /Preview v Wolves


BK wishes Danny a speedy recovery.


Unai has a passion for psychology, ask Romain Molina the author of the new book “Unai Emery – El Maestro”. To Emery, football is all about emotions and structure, about the heart and the head, the expression and the discipline. That is what he loves to see from his team on the field and from the fans in the stands.

We have gone 15 games without a loss. The confidence of the team must be bubbling over. We, the fans, can guess as much. We’ve heard Xhaka say they are in the mix, Holding say they fear no one, Leno that they can match the best and Ozil that the team can only get better. We see it in the spring in Laca’s gait and in that audacious Iwobinho’s nutmeg of Milner. Confidence is good but Emery also knows that confidence is only as good as it is well grounded on, first of all, respect for the opposition amongst other things.

I have a lot of respect for Wolves. Make no mistake it’s not going to be an easy contest when we face up to them at the Emirate. This is the team that took 2 pts off a City team that was on full throttle on the day. The only other team that has been able to do that to City is Liverpool but it could be argued that Pep planned for a goalless draw that day and so had his normally marauding fullbacks sitting back the length of the game. Wolves also took 2 pts on the road off Manchester United. Last weekend all the experts agreed that the Spuds were very lucky to have gone home with the 3 pts against the Wanderers. Wolves xG was 2.41 goals with the Spuds’ at 1.63.

Wolves are gritty. They don’t park the bus. They don’t play with any complex. They contest for the ball everywhere on the pitch. Luckily for us they don’t have any Auba or Laca in their attacking ranks but we should know better than take our eyes off Raul Jimenez their striker who’s had a hand in 56% of their goals. Luckily also Emery’s very competitive nature has rubbed off sizably on our team. So far we are the hardest working in the PL this season. We’ve won more points than any other team from a losing position, not ideal but it tells a big story. The fans love the fact of our new found combativeness. When Liverpool went 1 goal up last weekend the fans upped the decibel level in support of our team propelling them into overdrive. The Emirate looks it would be a fortress, a part and parcel of the Emery revolution.

Emery’s 1st eleven has almost fully emerged. He has tested out so many things including Xhaka at left back, Ramsey at #10, Ozil wide right, Auba leading the line, Maitland-Niles right winger, Iwobi left back and so on. Against Liverpool he started the Fab 4 together for the first time. Are there any more feasible combos that he might still want to check out?  I think so and again why not. El maestro has been learning and winning.

Only Holding, Iwobi and Sokratis from amongst those who started on Thursday do I expect to be in contention for a starting berth against Wolves. This fixture looks like it’s come a tad too soon for back-to-training Monreal and Lichsteiner is doubtful with a muscular problem.

Against Wolverhampton Wanderers we may see this line up:-






Bench:- Cech, Mailand-Niles, Sokratis, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah.

Hop in Gooners, it’s Emery on the wheels!!!

By PE.

51 thoughts on “Torreira’s Obsession with Balance Liberates Xhaka to Dictate the Game: Line-Up /Preview v Wolves

  • Cheers PE for a passionate preview and yes we have every reason to be optimistic. Auba as supersub for me, especially now that Welbeck is out. We need something extra on the bench and PEA is just that. Play him all game and he is less effective in my opinion, so let’s play Mkhi, Rambo or even Guendouzi on the left instead. Other than that, all agreed. 🙂

  • With Welbz injured, it will be too much of a risk starting with both of our available senior strikers, so I agree one will be a sub, likely Auba, who has shown he can come on to good effect. So, Mkhi (or even AM-N) to start as one of the forward players. Wolves are a good side and we can’t underrate them. However, we have to retain our usual confidence and believe we should win and win well.

    Wolves pack a few Portuguese stars who were household names not too long ago. The likes of Jimenez, Joao Moutinho, Costa and Ruben Nevez come to mind; keeper Rui Patricio is one who had been scouted by many top sides and he’s showing why with the kind of saves he’s made in the big games.

    We would need to retain focus in order to win and keep up on a weekend where our rivals are starting to play one another.

  • Fine preview, by the way, PE. I would like to see Eddy get some game time too. I also hope our players don’t start to be too conscious of contact or full commitment, in order to avoid injuries that can affect their season.

  • Not a lot to argue against PE.
    We agreed on both Auba/Laca vs Pool– and do so again today. Though I’ll venture him on the left with Mkhi on the right. Actually like Iwobi as the spark off the bench, if necessary. And there’s Ramsey too.

    Auba and Laca tend to make the other better– even if just in confidence. Rather like the factor of Kolasinac with this pair.

    Fairly well set in the DM pairing. Probably Mustafi with Holding– as Papa just off his return on Thursday. Bellerin, of course. Leno between the pipes.

    Wolves may not have a CF of note; mayhaps an eye on their CBs? 😉

    Ozil and Auba with goals. 2-1 Gunners.


    Reiss Nelson with another one. 🙂 This time an 83rd-minute winner off the bench vs Ausburg today.


  • TA/Eris …. Auba from the bench must always be a good call. But the balancing act says one dare not bring a world class star always from the bench. That would surely wipe the grin out of his face.

  • jw …. that’s a good call from you. The Fab 4 again. No change from the team versus Liv.

  • The only thing that matters is winning the game and if Auba is unhappy he doesn’t get a start then so be it. He started against Pool and played most of the game v Sporting. I would be surprised if he gets a start tomorrow.

    Eris what is the weather like in Nigeria at the moment?

  • The team’s effort versus Pool was the high-point of Emery’s tenure. With the break after Sunday? I’d think he’d want to replicate that performance– with the same XI. Make it the benchmark, not a memory.


  • it is raining injuries at the moment, so I am hoping you are wrong, jw1; and I think you will be. Would be good to see Eddie get a start. Auba is a lot more effective when coming on later on imo.

  • Eris what is the weather like in Nigeria at the moment?- TA.

    It’s mostly sunny with temperatures hitting anything from 27 to 34 degrees Centigrade in the south, (with some intermittent rainfall), to as high as 45 degrees in the North. By mid December to late February, we shall enter the hot, dry and windy harmattan season.

    You planning to visit? 🤨

  • Thank you Eris. So it is cooler in the south than it is in the north? I was thinking the closer you get to the equator line the hotter it would get, or is it the influence from the sea which cools the south down? No imminent plans, Eris, but yes would like to visit Nigeria one day and treat you and PE to a beer or two whilst watching the mighty red and white! 🙂

  • TA .. that’s what it’s supposed to be, I think. All things being equal the closer to the equator the hotter. The vegetation however plays a part. There is the rain forest in the southern part which progressively as one heads north becomes savanna, grassland and ultimately the desert of Sahara. These differences affect the temperature considerably. Also the ever present clouds in the tropics reflect away some of the solar heat.

  • Hot, hotter, hottest most of the time isn’t too much fun. One thing though … if a fellow gets drunk and fall into the gutter he/she would wake up the next morning refreshed.😅

  • Clement weather, I love it! 🙂

    With a bit of luck we win today and our competitors for top four drop valuable points. A good day for PL football fans.

  • Thanks for filling in there, PE. And yes, TA, the south is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean which is responsible for the “cooler” hot weather in the south.

    Liverpool beat Fulham 2-0; Chelsea is having a hard time of it early on, vs Everton; but we know how these games go… I think Palace may have been able to trouble Spurs a bit more than they did, had Wilf Zaha been fit and playing. Such a shame that as injuries come, things don’t actually “even themselves out”, when one team faces a weaker side than what a rival side faced, barely a week before. Soured grapes, I guess but Spurs looked ripe for the taking but for the lack of real creativity from the side Palace paraded.

  • Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang
    Subs: Cech, Sokratis, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Nketiah

  • PE.. 11/11.. excellent..
    Any streaming please.. I lost my bein sport channel.. hiks3x..

  • Nice job PE! Pipped me on the Iwobi/Mkhi selection.
    I’d felt (and read same) that the style of the two clubs are very similar. It should make for an interesting affair.


  • Wolves midfield have been up to the task. A more mobile and creative group than Pool. We’re not getting the same type of vertical passes from either Torreira nor Xhaka that sliced Pool time and again.


  • It’s been drab but basically because wolves have been compact and pressing us well. Surprised Iwobi was taken off for Guendouzi when he seemed to be the only forward with any threat today. It’s going to be very tactical and we would need to stay patient and take the chance when it does come.

    Not been pleased with Auba’s contributions, so far; hopefully, he gets the goals to win it and I take it all back.

  • I am not sure if i am pleased with the point or feel hard done by the ref. 5 mins of stoppage after so many lengthy delays?

    My MoTM is Leno. He got us out of a loss.

  • I expected it to be hard and it proved to be so. Wolves are a decent to good team and they came full of confidence to the home of football, and we have started to look a little bit leggy. I would not have started with Auba but WTFDIK. When we needed inspiration and additional fire power, Unai had little to choose from. But our unbeaten run remains in tact and with Chelsea and MU also dropping points it is not too bad a weekend for us. In two weeks time we will play Bournemouth away and that will be another really tough challenge for us. Until then, have a good break. 🙂

  • Nice wrap up, TA. Thanks; guess that means no “Observations” post then. 😜

    Frankly, the reactions on here appear to be one of resignation; almost like we aren’t surprised at the draw (lucky not to lose, really) and have shrugged it off as ‘normal service’. Fact is Wolves made it hard to play around their press by just sitting back to hit us on the break. We did look weary or, maybe that Danny Welbeck ankle break took its toll on the psyche. Some of the players may have had their minds on the Internationals too…

    Having said that, Wolves held Man City and United to credible draws so maybe, Nuno is a manager for the big occasion.

  • Eris, as the commentary team mentioned in the first half that we were passing sideways and backwards.. it does seem like Wengerball in the final season when we struggled to break down teams that were tight at the back.

    The second half is more dynamic for us, and is much more positive due to some changes in positioning with Douzi coming on for Iwobi.

    The 8 positives should still be easy to write for TA, so I am looking forward to it.

  • Hi Jw1.. sorry for late respon..
    I found my local streaming after searching a lot.. sorry didn’t noticed your post. But thanks anyway.. very kind of you..

    I am agree with JK.. Leno is our MotM.. He proved that he is a great buy for us.. He will be our first GK for a long time.. hehehe..

    This is our third draw in a row.. We surely don’t want it to be continue until 10 or 12 in a row.. do we..?? Hehehe..
    There something we must change.. I don’t really know what.. but maybe pairing Lacazette with Aubameyang for now isn’t a good decision.. And I hope Koscielny will be back soon after the break.. So our back four will be more solid..

  • No worries Henry.
    Besides? The feed was like Arsenal’s attack. It would halt intermittently and cause me consternation. All in all– I got what I paid for. 😉


  • Hi Eris

    Have yet to watch the game and I am off to Holland to see my dad who is having an operation this week. It is good to have a break and after that there are no interlulls till March or so, so the proper footie starts then. 🙂

  • Hi TA. Well, here’s wishing you a safe and fulfilling trip; also, wish your Dad a successful one.

  • Hope your dad’s surgery is a success.

    Not much to talk about in a dark lully interlull, so will hope more exchanges and comments will come soon.

  • Arsenal have run 5km more than any other team! See link below.


  • Nice to know. Time to turn all that running into goals and points. We could be 5 points better than the next team….

  • Thank you for the well wishes for my dad – really appreciated. The operation went relatively well and it was very good to be there with him during a difficult time. A long time to go with this yet. Will try and write something soon. Keep truckin’, TA. 🙂

  • TA … now wishing him a speedy recovery.

    Wondering if you are yet able to process a mail just sent to your box.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s