How Emery will Outwit Solskjaer: Ramsey Crucial. Line-Up|Preview

This week could define our season with regards to Champions League football. It starts today with the match at home against the in-form Manchester United. We were unlucky to have been pegged back to a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture but at the Emirate in the FA cup tie, despite dominating them in possession and territory, they beat us by 3-1. I expect that they would be trusting on the same tactics of sitting deep and countering to do the job for them again. They have devastating pace in the persons of Lukaku, Rashford and Martial, their front three. A high line by our defence would be us inviting trouble. For that reason Emery might choose not to press too high in order not to oblige their attack with so much space to run into as high press goes with high defensive line.  Such a tweak from Emery would set the stage for the battle to be won and lost on the flanks. Still, don’t rule out somebody pulling a rabbit out of the hat.

We haven’t been able to find the effective replacement for injured Bellerin in our right flank. Not Lichsteiner. Mustafi is a good winner of the ball but a poor quick-passer whose overlapping runs and crosses as a wingback aren’t of the finest quality. If only Maitland-Niles can resolve to employ fully and proactively his great athleticism, Bellerin wouldn’t be missed all that much. I expect his great promises to get him a start today. I also expect rested Kolasinac (our flanking tank) to also start which would suggest that Emery is likely to opt for a back-3.

When would Man United’s run of six EPL consecutive away wins (10 in all competitions) come to an end? No better day than today in a loss at the home of football. We have been neck to neck with them and Chelsea for the last Champions League spot. It is a fierce race that has already sucked in the Spuds who bottled it against Southampton yesterday. It is now four teams for two CL spots and there is no gainsaying it, the more the merrier. Lacazette is rested and roaring to go. Ramsey is crucial as a midfielder who offers a late body in the opponent’s box. The Greek god Sokratis would be available. Torreira is starting a three-match suspension. Mkhi could do with a little rest by joining the fray from a strong bench.

Predicted line up with 6 changes made:-


~~Sokratis. Koscielny. Monreal.~~

M-Niles. Xhaka.  Guendouzi. Kolasinac.

~~~Ramsey.  Lacazette.  Iwobi.~~~

Bench:  Cech, Mustafi, Elneny, Suarez, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubamayang.

From now to the end of the season every of our match is a cup final. How much our team can cope with that pressure would prove critical to our fortune which surely would have a bearing on how much voice our fans are able to give to the team particularly when at home …..


By PE.

52 thoughts on “How Emery will Outwit Solskjaer: Ramsey Crucial. Line-Up|Preview

  • Hi PE,

    Thanks for doing a fine match pre-view. Yep I reckon that will be the starting line-up too. I am still hoping Elneny will take Torreira’s place as that would get the best out of Xhaka, but Emery seems to think differently. It will probably be another game without Mesut and that would be a big shame.

    I would go for:
    Mustafi – Sok – Kos – Mon
    —– Xhaka —- Elneny —
    Rambo — Ozil —- Iwobi
    ———- LA CA ZET TE ————

  • TA, I like your line up. But with Emery, Elneny seems one of those players sitting at the opposite end of his spectrum.

  • We look more likely to go with 3 at the back, just to give our wing backs (thinking Kolasinac and Mkhi or AmN) a run at their full backs to check the excesses of Rashford and/or Martial. Lukaku has to be kept quiet, for this to be a perfect game from us. He’s on a roll these days and may be looking to score against us at the Emirates, for United, for the first time.

    Having said that, it is hard to predict what Emery comes up with and I have stopped trying. All I want to see is everyone fighting for the team and believing we can win, because we can.

  • In fact, Lukaku is yet to score for United against us. And I expect Ramsey to start since he was on the bench midweek. That seems to be Emery’s style. It will be interesting to see who gets the job of shackling Pogba too.

    We’ve got to win this!

  • Hey fellas… Nice job, PE (TA and Eris, too)…

    Frankly, I don’t know how y’all do it…stay positive about this Arsenal football club–including the manager and the players he’s gonna put out there.

    Line-ups should be out soon, so we’ll see if I can catch a wave of enthusiasm, but I see a pair of VERY difficult home matches ahead of us (today and Thursday) and the end of any pretense of getting up for Champions League football next season. Of course, to echo what I heard year upon year during Wenger’s tenure. What exactly is the point in trying to qualify for a tournament that you cannot possibly win? Money, it must be, and who knows when an opportunity to take down a bigger ($$$) club might come along. Look at Ajax and what they did in Madrid (TA, you must feel some pride on that one, no?… ManU taking down PSG isn’t quite the same even if it shows the immediate form difference heading into today’s match. That extra day of rest (or chomping at the bit to beat another “big” team in their own stadium) looms large too…

    On the other hand, Chelsea are losing at home to Wolves and only have 15 mins to rectify things…

  • Line-ups are out and I AM catching some enthusiasm from the listing… Guendouzi and Mustafi on the bench while we play both our #9s (Laca and PEA) AND our (gone next year?…) #10s (Rambo, Ozil)… Not a lot to rescue things if we go behind but strong from the start seems good to me…

    Arsenal (3-4-1-2): Leno; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac; Özil; Aubameyang, Lacazette

    Subs: Cech, Mustafi, Elneny, Guendouzi, Suárez, Iwobi, Nketiah

    Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, Fred, Pogba; Dalot, Lukaku, Rashford

    Subs: Romero, Bailly, Rojo, McTominay, Pereira, Martial, Greenwood

    Referee: Jon Moss

  • Chelsea draw 1-1 with Wolves at Stamford bridge. Hazard spared Chelsea’s blushes there as they were heading for a defeat. That Wolves side are a well drilled one; not looking forward to our trip there.

    It’s all to play for now, at the Emirates.

  • It would seem Emery has an attacking team out there with Ramsey, Xhaka and Ozil starting. It looks like we will keep the ball a lot and press them when they get beyond the halfway circle. This may be tricky as it restricts Ramsey’s natural game, if he has to do more defensive work.

    I worry that Iwobi May be considered to come on later, but he’s been rarely effective when coming on as a sub and takes a while warming into things. Auba, for me, is the odd man out here as this team is set up for the quick passing, give and take, incisive runs into space…… Auba’s not up-to-scratch hold-up play makes him suspect but if he gets the service, he will tear manure a new one.


  • Guendouzi out of the firing line, Aubameyang and Lacazette together, maybe they can help and encourage each other out of their slump in form?

    Has Emery lost confidence in Mustafi..?

    I do not trust the fat man with the whistle… 😐

  • Hey!! Where is Mkhitaryan in all of this? Not even on the bench? Injured or could he be the player Emery said was given off not enough positive energy after the Rennes loss?

  • Eris, I think that Wolves are a different prospect at home, they’re very much a ‘play on the break’ team, suited to be the visitors, but at Molyneux we should face a more open opponent, we’ll thats my hope…

  • Neither do I, Kev. There were some dodgy calls in the key games which leaves you bewildered John Moss is given this big game. John Moss isn’t the most assured Ref about. Hopefully, the officials don’t have to affect the game unfairly.

    This united side are good and have the momentum but we can stop the run and avenge some of their stops to our own runs in the past.

  • Two key moments thus far… Monreal not wanting to give up the corner so he plays it off the crossbar (his own… 😮 ) and Xhaka with the slice that De Gea read as a hook… End to end and I kinda think we have the edge in guys who can get it into the net, all other things being equal (which they never are)…

    Half hour played…

  • Leno doing everything needed thus far too… 40 minutes played…

    Yellow for Sok… His reputation proceeds him?…

  • Seemed to me that Xhaka took a look to see where his (saving) tackle left the ball before deciding on a couple of extra rolls (on the ground)… I think he’ll be OK…

    United are looking sharp down the flanks but just not quite getting the ball to the man in the middle… Same as us actually…

    That’s half-time… It ends with a steaming Kola (Cola) (and Xhaka now doing the injuring) but I’ll have me an espresso…

  • Funny the escapade with Monreal off the bar HT!
    He also had a high non-clearance into the middle of the pitch just before it.

    Mustafi’s influence contagious? 😉


  • Half time. I think the refs are starting to target Sokratis. We have the edge in possession even though United started to get some joy as the game wore on.
    It’s been steady and very deliberate from our lads, obviously playing to instruction. AmN has to do better keeping possession and Auba looks like he needs to be stronger into some 50-50 opportunities. Our front men have been working hard though and Ozil has been an assured presence in possession. You can see he would have preferred a free role, as he’s used to in this team but I think he’s been given the task of keeping Matic from starting moves.

    A speculative shot from Xhaka has us ahead, 1-0; the visitors have had chances too but Leno has done well, when needed. Not sure what Emery would be thinking for the second half but I would wait till Solskjaer makes his move. We are thin on the bench in midfield so, expect some delayed changes, quite unlike Emery. Mkhi would have served us well in this game.

    Going to be a long second half, unless we score early and can play a more relaxed game. So far, so good.

  • Hey chapperonies

    Good spirited performance by Arsenal and we deserve to be in front, even though we have been a bit lucky. We have to protect the flanks better and are really missing Torreira in the middle. I would bring on Elneny so Xhaka can keep strutting his stuff. Leno and Xhaka have made fab defensive contributions, but also good to see KoSSoK together again.

  • Anyone else think the Ref has let United off the hook by calling it back when we broke away? Xhaka was injured, yes, but doesn’t the rule say ‘head injury’ only for the Ref to stop it? It was our prerogative to stop it and the Ref should have let it go, till……

    Strange call. Worse still, he’s told off Laca, as he protested the call.

  • …thin on the bench in midfield….

    I know we have Guendouzi and Elneny on the sub bench, but I’m sure you get my meaning. 😅

  • I think we should just keep doing what we are doing and make changes only very late, for tired legs or after they make their move. And they have. Martial comes on for Dalot.

  • Laca misses a potential sitter after Lindelof misjudged the flight of the ball.

  • Wow, great result…and quite pleasing to see Emery play the veterans (plus AMN) and have it all work out. I haven’t seen every match but that was the first time I was truly convinced about Leno as our #1. Fred will be the goat (rolling in the ManUre?)… Just before he did his ill-advised shoving he failed to latch onto a promising throughball. United really had no midfield to go to (Mata, Herrera, even Alexis and Lingard…) And no Plan B (Route One) either, with Fellaini out too… We’ve got our injuries too (so no tears shed for OGS…), but tonight (for a pleasant change?…) we didn’t self-handicap by playing guys who might be good for the future (and the bottom line) but aren’t there yet… Top 4 hopes live as do ideas of a turnaround vs the French team on Turdsday…

  • Rennes on Thursday– then 17 days until next PL match (vs Newcastle).
    Need a 2-0 or better scoreline to survive and play again in the EL.
    Would liked to have seen this XI go again– alas, Laca out completing his 3-match EL ban.
    Was the Nketiah cameo today a portent for Thursday? 🙂


  • Defensive masterclass from the lads. Why can’t we do that away from home?

    Good 3 points and suddenly we have a 4 way fight for 2 spots.

  • Match of the Day edited the game on BBC to make it look like we were lucky, but it didn’t sound that way on the radio and I’ve been to games in the past that have been edited so that they give a certain slant that maybe has an element of an anti Arsenal bias to it, so I kind of expected what I saw on a TV.

    For example, Lacazette went up to Aubameyang prior to him taking the penalty to give him encouragement, on the back of a poor performance in France and obviously missing the penalty in the NLD, nobody on MotD picked up on it or commented on it as it didn’t suit their narrative, but hey, we got the points, I only hope that the furore surrounding that idiot in the Birmingham Derby, doesn’t impact on Arsenal after that knob who ran onto the pitch at the Emirates.

    Ainsley Maitland Niles, Alex Iwobi and Eddie Nketiah, three academy products on the pitch at the end, good to see, delighted for Eddie.
    Maybe Eddie will get another run out against Rennes this week?

    Yes Eris, I also suspect that Sokratis is being targeted more by referees, but he was superb following his yellow card, I love defenders who love to defend, it’s an art in itself.

  • Kev, I think that we were lucky, to some extent, as Leno managed to put his foot to redirect Lukaku’s chip / shot to the bar. There were other heart in the mouth moments too, but we were so strong that we did not make too many mistakes.

    Yes, there were a few mistakes and overpasses that needed looking at, but the lads were helping each other out and we were so cool on the ball. That last ditch Xhaka tackle and AMN’s clearances were there for everyone to see how focused we were on defending. Now, to put an equal part on attack for the coming game on Thursday will be best.

  • Hi 84, well mate Man Utd were lucky when deGey had a stormer at the Emirates last season when he saved a hat trick of chances from Lacazette and all we heard was how great the Spaniard was, Leno has a great game and suddenly it’s because we are lucky, I’m not having it mate, Leno was doing his job. Funny how we’ve had a lot of games this season when opponents have missed great opportunities, it’s happening all the time, so could it because of how we’re pressing opponents, making them rush?

    As for the penalty, yes it was soft but it was a push intended to just knock Lacazette off of balance, so it was a foul. If Lacazette stays on his feet he doesn’t get it, so he goes down and the referee has to make a decision. It’s the game, it’s what it is today.

  • And God knows Laca has stayed on his feet on a few occasions when he ankle was clearly tapped, or when he is taken out, so we know he was fouled for him to go down. Ref Mark Clattenburg started it was the correct call, all day long.

    As for us being lucky, I will take that luck every day. Only this was the result of a deliberate game plan that worked. Fact is scoring first was always going to be important in a game as this. We were on top (possession was 70:30 in the early segment of the game) right until we scored and about 10 minutes after, ending the half ahead on possession. Naturally, they had to chase it and we had to be sit back and play smart, something we aren’t known for, at least, not in recent memory, sadly. When needed, Leno did his job, as did every player to a man. We had to get the 3 points and the lads simply made certain of it, sacrificing finesse for pragmatism. We took our chances, they didn’t theirs. End of. No luck there, just deserved victory.

  • News flash: Zinedine Zidane returns as Real Madrid Manager. Zizou is back!

  • You did? Great chap. Very measured in his analyses of our games, tactfully pointing out errors, whether by manager or player(s), without knocking the team. I never miss his reports on the club’s website.

  • The Zizou news is shocking to me.
    Eris, he is back as head coach.
    It is as if Emery and the lads go on a bad run of form, thus Emery gets sacked.

    I feel that Solari has to be given time and the former Chavs keeper should be dropped from now on.

  • Thibaut Courtois has only rushed to Madrid to embarrass himself a bit. But it’s early days and it will take a good Manager like Zidane to bring out the best in him.

    Madrid have never been known for their patience with managers when results aren’t going their way. Hell, they’ve sacked managers who won them trophies so, hard to see how Solari survives such a dip in form and results. I also suspect Player Power, because Mourinho was always the choice of the hierarchy before Zizou came into the fray.

  • Eris, Mourning-one is currently jobless. And player power is definitely in play here, and almost for us as well. We were in such a dire situation until the players took it upon themselves. Look how the players wanted Ozil to play after his first game back. And correctly so, especially after what he did recently that allowed the lads to run forward more.

    We need the same hunger this Thursday. Rennais (Rennes) is a good team, but we need to show that we are good at winning games.

  • Yeah Eris, the mourning one. Doesn’t he always mourn?

    I rather be a Gooner than a fan of Real madrid. Why? They change managers when they are in a slump. The fans mentality will be bad in life, thinking that their jobs will change for the better if they jump ship.

    We, on the other hand, are the ones that will stay with the same job forever. We like stability.

  • Oh, well. A case of Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    In other news, Alexandre Lacazette is eligible for the second leg of our Europa league fixture versus Rennes. So, expect a double headed attack on Thursday (though, knowing Emery, he will gamble on Rennes thinking that’s what he will do, then spring Mkhi, Iwobi, Lacazette on them as front 3, with Ozil, Ramsey, Xhaka, forming the midfield trident… again.

  • Or rather, Eris, they might think that the duo started on Sunday, and might not play together on Thursday evening. Ozil is another 50-50.

    What say you Gooners?

  • That too, I imagine, jk. I even forgot Torreira is eligible and would certainly play on Thursday.

    We need to attack them so, it should be a must for Ozil; however, if Torreira has to start, Ramsey may start as the No. 10; Iwobi/Auba, Mkhi and Lacazette are also our most offensive options. Emery is spoilt for choice in the forward area, which isn’t a bad problem to have.

  • Leave Iwobi as the super sub. He is less error prone that way.

    Rambo and Xhaka looks the best pairing this season. Much better than Torreira? I believe manu** planned to win their last game but was totally overwhelmed in midfield.

    Hope for the best result tomorrow.

  • Afternoon all, what I like about Emery is that he isn’t wedded to one system, a 1st choice XI, nobody gets into the team on reputation, you earn your place, so now it’s Guendouzi’s turn to maybe sit out a couple of games?
    Look at Suarez, he’s hardly featured, but I’m sure we’ll sign him in the summer and when he starts a few games he’ll hopefully surprise us all.

    Credit to Aaron Ramsey, in the past I had thought that he was quite wasteful and over elaborate but my respect for him has raisen hugely on the back of the professional way he’s approached his final games in an Arsenal shirt.
    With a career defining transfer to Juventus, a move that could see him enjoy great and well deserved success in final stages of his life as a footballer, he could have easily cruised through games, but he’s been superb and it culminated in a brilliant display against Pogba and Man Utd last weekend. It makes me wonder how different a player he might have been if Emery could have been coaching him 2 or 3 years ago?

    Eris, that’s great news having Lacazette available, all we need is a 2-0 win, for Rennes, what do they do, stick or twist, attack or defend? The biggest question for me is do we go 3 at the back or a back four? The threat of Rennes seems to be on the flanks so maybe wingbacks is the way to go, attack them, push them back, pressurise their defence, the crowd will have a big part to play for sure?

    Sokratis will be a massive miss, so I guess Mustafi returns.
    Shame we didn’t register Mavropanos, not that he’d play tomorrow…

    84, I’d like to see us go with both Lacazette and Aubameyang, let’s see how the Rennes defence copes under a bombardment?

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