Time for Sok-Koz, Tor-Xhaka and Ozil-Guen-Iwobi to Feet Laca: Match Preview

Merry Christmas fellow Gooners!! 

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A big, big game today at the Amex stadium in beautiful Brighton. Teams will drop points over the next few games but with Pool away to come next, it is vitally important to take at least a point from the Seagulls, as we could simply drop too many points in quick succession from which it will be hard to recover.

A win would of course be best. It would allow us to go to the League leaders and play with confidence and a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude. And it would not surprise me at all if then we would get something from that game too. But OGAAT is the principle, so let’s focus on today’s game.

I have not seen much of Brighton this season but under Chris Hughton they are doing well, currently being nine points away from the drop zone. So with The Arsenal coming to town during the festive season, they can be themselves and play us with a ‘nothing to lose attitude’, which often does not work in our favour. If the boys once again start slowly away from home and we concede early, and the crowd get really behind the home team, this could become a difficult evening for us.

Luckily, we had our first ‘half-time win’ a few days ago and are likely to see Sok and Koz start today, which would give me confidence that the team will mean business from the start. Unfortunately, Xhaka is still likely to be played at the back rather than in midfield, and that would once again mean the weakening of both our midfield and defence. Xhaka-Torreira in the midfield is a MUST in games like these, but just don’t count on it my friends.

Up-front we still have options. I am really hoping that Mesut will play again. Furthermore, Iwobi is producing a lot of (almost) pre-assists and he scored during last game, so I hoping/expecting he will play too. Ramsey on the bench to bring something extra late on if required. It would be good to see Lacazette start and I would be tempted to play Auba from the bench late on. He is just as likely to score in those final thirty minutes or so as he is during the entire game, and we need him fresh for the Pool game.

So the desired – not necessarily predicted – line-up is:

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx LENO xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
AMN xxx Sok xxxxxxxxxxxx Koz xxxxx Kola
xxxxxxxxxxxx Torreira xxx Xhaka xxxxxxxxxxx
Mesut xxxxxxxxx Guendouzi xxxxxxxxx Iwobi
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Lacazette xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Enjoy the game fine fellow Gooners!

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





25 thoughts on “Time for Sok-Koz, Tor-Xhaka and Ozil-Guen-Iwobi to Feet Laca: Match Preview

  • Merry Christmas to all. Hi TA, i hope my boy Torreira is feeling better, well enough to start. I’m not up on the injuries lately, and the club is pretty cagey about them anyway. I thought AMN looked silky as always, though I didn’t observe enough of his defending to pass judgement.
    I see you chose Guendouzi, nice. I heard Ramsey leaning towards Juventus? They are the team I expected. They are so good at picking up players for cheap or on a free. They like hard working talent like Vidal, Matuidi. They even got their new number 1 keeper to replace a legend for a song, from some idiotic club that completely mis-handled his situation.
    Sad to see Ramsey go, but I will cheer for him, and Juventus will be my team of choice for Europe…. Do not be surprised to see Aaron come up with the winning goal in a champions league final or two.

  • Fine preview TA, if with a few “wish-list” starters. First off, I want to put it out there that the Spuds look like true challengers now, for the first time in a while. I won’t be surprised if they went on to win it this season (God forbid!) wit( the way they put teams to the sword and as it seems the wheels are wobbly at City. Liverpool look like a team that will not withstand a blip, so who knows what side will be waiting for that slip.

    To our game, I feel your predicted line up is just about what I’d expect too, save for right back where I would rather start Lichtsteiner. With Auba chasing top scorer gong, he is likely to get the nod to start as well. Hey! But it’s Emery we are talking about here, so we have to wait to see what he puts out. One thing’s for sure, we have broken that 1st half lead hoodoo and should strive to continue that momentum, going forward.


  • Just as I posted that, the teams are known:

    Ryan, Montoya, Duffy, Balogun, Bernardo, Stephens, March, Propper, Gross, Locadia, Murray.

    Subs: Saltor, Bong, Kayal, Bissouma, Andone, Knockaert, Button

    Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny (c), Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

    Subs: Cech, Elneny, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Nketiah, Willock

  • Hi guys
    Johnnie, you could be right re Ramsey to Juve. Whether he will get any game time is something else. He has been ineffective this season and I will be happy to see him gone.

    Eris, well that is the line-up (second paragraph) As above with Licht for AMN and Auba for Iwobi.

  • Looks like a 4-3-1-2 or a variation of it, with both Laca and Auba to start, Ozil in the hole. Notably, no specialist defender on the bench. Risky, but says how fragile we now are with all the injuries. Hopefully, Mustafi, Monreal and Bellerin heal quickly.

    City loses 2-1 at Leicester which should mean they drop to 3rd place and the Spuds overhaul them, after beating Bournemouth by another tennis score (or so). Some of the pundits who criticized them for not doing any transfer business must now look silly.

  • I really do want to believe you, TA. And we go 1-0 up with a fine goal by Auba, off some serious pressing, retention and quick find by Lacazette.

    That was a tackle on Lichtsteiner, surely. We have started faster than I’ve seen in a while.

  • Ozil hasn’t even gotten into the game yet, so fair to say there should be more to come. Koscielny really does look rusty at times. But, what better game to bed him in?

  • The hosts got the ball into our goal but it was rightly disallowed as the ball was kicked out of Leno’s grasps. We have every right to play with control so as not to exert too much energy (seeing as Liverpool Away is next), but we should be all over this Brighton side to go 3 up before starting to cruise. By sitting back, we invite pressure.

  • Torreira has just found Auba with another over the top ball and he’s forced Ryan into a great save. Should have scored, but brilliant movement by the striker.

  • 1-1! Our soft underbelly again. Lichtsteiner has headed a defensive header right into the path of the Brighton forward for him to gain on a stranded Leno and tuck away, clinically. That wasn’t necessary honestly. Lichtsteiner should be judging the flight of that ball better. Our defending will frustrate Emery no end.

    I think Guendouzi is cramping Ozil’s space. We need to give the German room to weave his magic. After going ahead, that 3 man midfield should be doing better work protecting the defence, not getting too concerned with offensive actions. We had too many men forward for that turnover. Hence the concession of that equalizer.

  • I think Ramsey will replaced Ozil..
    And I hope Niles for Lhict..
    We must win this game.. All the top four team win.. We must keep winning..

  • I have no doubt we have the fixture list in mind, in playing as if with restraint. We should have taken the game by the scruff to go as many as 3 goals up to kill it off. By trying to retain control (aka, passing backwards), we invited the hosts to come forward and the result was the equalizer. If Emery hopes to win it in the 2nd half, then Chris Hughton is another one who knows how to gee up his teams for a good second half, so no guarantees unless we put in the effort.

    I would like to see Ozil get more involved or, he will have to make way for say, Iwobi. We would need more bite and pressure on their defenders. It gets into a period where CBs like Koscielny start to get jittery, as it happens when on a come back trail. We have to go for this.

  • Typical of Emery, Ozil goes off and Iwobi on at the start of the 2nd half. Game is now open and it’s been too end-to-end for comfort. Guendouzi seems to need so much time when he has possession; it’s a heart stopping moment for him when he’s on the ball in a dangerous area for us. He’s done well today, to be fair, but I just can’t help to worry when he has the ball in our area. Lichtsteiner needs to be doing better with high balls into our box.

    The hosts now appear to be seizing the initiative. I did warn Chris Hughton will fire up his team for the 2nd half.

  • A draw at Brighton at this stage of the season, is a disappointing result. We can not deny that. The intensity and composure was missing at the right moments and it looked like we played the occasion, allowing the crowd frenzy get to us.

    We are further away from rivals and can only hope Chelsea lose at Watford to be in the top 4.

  • We badly need a new center back or have the ones we have recover quickly. For me after only get to watch the game from about the 35th minute on Xhaka and ozil were too anonymous. Torreira looks like he badly needs a rest he looked knackered in his challenges and in possession giving it away easily. Its hard to second guess emery but im sure Laca should have come off he seemed to have more determination than others around him and im willing to bet he would have made a better threat from long distance than anyone else. On a day like this you feel any attempt at goal can make a difference and we had none on target the whole of the second half. Now we will have our work cut out for anfield.

  • Thanks for the comments, Eris, and all agreed. We were poor for the last 65 minutes or so, and I was not impressed with Unai’s tactics or subs at all. I am starting to have a bad feeling about our manager but I know it is still early. Will write something about the game soon.

  • We need to come to the recognition that the much critised Mustafi brings a lot to our defending.not to talk of his offensive contribution in our dead ball kicks. It beats me why he gets so much stick. I hope he’s back for Liv.

  • Answers on a Postcard, PE, re your Mustafi hate poser. He does have his brain-farts but he puts in an effort and keeps on the job. Today, when you look how we set up at set piece opportunities, it was hard to see who could really attack the ball to good effect.

    It will be risky to start Mustafi at Anfield, so soon after returning from injury, unless of course, he has been doing some other work on the side. We will miss his strength and keen tackling. Lichtsteiner and Xhaka will be targeted by the Liverpool attack if we are forced to start them at the back.

  • Eris … they all have their moments of brain fart. Kola in United’s equalizer, Kos in at least one of Southampton’s goals, Lichst in Brighton’s equalizer and so on. When by others there’s hardly any noise. When by Musti it’s an uproar.

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