Emery Schemes: Two Outfield Changes to Run Riot on Rennes | Preview/Line-Up

Laca xhaka
One would expect the Rennes coach to set up his team to defend their 3-1 first leg lead. But their strength is in their attack: pacey wingers plus the mercurial Ben Arter whose play demands so much attention. Their coach might weight it all up and decide that the best way to defend their lead is by attacking. What he does however would be non of his counterpart’s business. Emery has only one option. To go out and fetch goals..

Emery would be thinking of at least 3 goals. Yes 2 goals would do it if we don’t concede but that would be heart in the mouth. In spite of his clear mission Emery has to get his balance right, a balance that must be tilted offensively. Easier said than done as he still has to balance between goal scorers and goal creators. They need each other. Ramsey and Mkhitaryan look as likely starters. They are creators that carry some goal threat and at the same time able to work a shift defensively.

Emery would like to use the speed of Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac to pose a challenge to the speed Rennes have on the flanks and this might necessitate a back three of Mustafi, Koscielny and Monreal (Sokratis suspended).

The Arsenal man would be very tempted to play Leno. But would he? Lacazette whose ban was reduced to two matches is available for today’s game. Is it him or Auba or both of them? And what about Ozil with Emery so much keen on lots of chances being created? Balance, balance, balance …… damn it. Emery has only 11 places to fit in players.

Predicted line up:


—–Mustafi. Koscielny. Monreal—-

M-Niles. Ramsey. Xhaka. Kolasinac.

———Mkhitaryan    Ozil—————


Bench: Leno, Lichsteiner, Torreira, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Suarez, Lacazette.

Emery knows the worth of smuggling the 12th man into the team. Let’s do it for him.


By PE.

111 thoughts on “Emery Schemes: Two Outfield Changes to Run Riot on Rennes | Preview/Line-Up

  • Good preview, PE. Difficult choices thereafter, once you fit in the back 6. Emery has got to be thinking about giving them something different to worry about at the Emirates, using all 14 players available over the (hopefully) 90 minutes encounter. Iwobi did well in France and usually works well with Kolasinac in a “4 at the back” formation so, if we go with four at the back and Kolasinac at full back, I expect Iwobi to start. That will be my only difference with your predicted line up.

    I rather like the 3 at the back though, and feel we may just put out the exact team (Mustafi for Sokratis) which beat United on Sunday, with Mkhi, Iwobi and Torreira coming on as subs. Cech should start; for some consistency.

  • Excellent preview, eye of the pony. I reckon your line up has not enough goals in it and leaving out Laca seems wrong. Your fellow countryman Iwobi also offers something that others don’t, which is getting past the parked busses with the ball, so I expect him to play too.


    Must — Koz —- Nacho

    AMN —- Xhak ——- Kola

    Ozil —————–Iwobi

    —— Auba —- Laca——–

  • Yup, PE. Thanks.

    Chelsea have gone to Dynamo to pound them 0-5, which means the pressure is on us to qualify to have a full compliment of English sides from last round in Europe. We must relax though and believe, because we can beat Rennes very well. If we focus on our qualities, it could be a high scoring win, just to teach them to make us look bad.


  • So, Valencia, Chelsea, Napoli have all qualified; our next opponents will be an interesting draw.

  • Arsenal (3-4-1-2) Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang.
    Substitutes: Leno, Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Iwobi, Denis Suarez, Guendouzi, Nketiah.

    Rennes (4-4-2) Koubek; Traore, Da Silva, Mexer, Bensebaini; Sarr, Andre, Grenier, Bourigeaud; Ben Arfa, Niang.
    Substitutes: Badiashile, Zeffane, Doumbia, Lea Silki, Del Castillo, Hunou, Gelin.

    Very interesting line-ups. For Arsenal, when goals are needed we go with the slower, (maybe) more technical guys, Ozil, Xhaka and Ramsey in our center of MF. LT11 and Kenny G(uendouzi) get left out as well as our wider runner types, Mkhi and Iwobi, in favor of the I-don’t-defend-too-well, fullbacks… 3 at the back allows 2 up front…

    But also might allow some holes for Grenier and Ben Arfa, players many thought a certain former (French) manager at Arsenal might have brought into our squad. Personally, I’m a bit concerned about Sarr, who looked far too much for Nacho in the first leg…

    Early chance on the counter but their keeper was up to it…

    AND THE FIRST GOAL IS OURS!!! Ramsey to PEA after fine work out wide from AMN!!!

  • I think we’ll be aiming for three goals tonight, but now that the first one is in it all seems a bit more straight-forward… The foul-brothers (Mustafi and Xhaka) need to screw their brains on tonight…

    Another flowing move on the break but the corner is defended…

  • 10 minutes in…and…most all of the seats in the stadium (that I can see) are full…

    PEA and Kola down the left but the cross/pull-back is cut out… Laca just a bit short for a high angled attempt. It’s trouble (for them) that they have to respect the right side after the goal…

    Hey, TA…

  • Sok = suspended and he’s a fouler but a smart one, I think, Laca got his fine paid (by somebody? Kroenke?)… To whom do you refer?

  • Kola offsides but PEA NOT!!!! and he picks the PERFECT PASS and AMN buries the header!!!

    We’re through on this scoreline…

  • Laca draws a yellow but his head looks no worse for the wear…

    We’ve got all of the ball…which is a way of playing I’ve always enjoyed watching… 🙂

    Finally Rennes get if for a bit but their 12 year old left wing can’t get onto a ball over the top… They’ve now earned a corner, however…

  • No VAR in this tournament?… I had trouble staying with yesterday’s CL matches during a couple of big delays…

  • Torriera seems a pretty smart fouler, IMO…and he’s quickly learning about the pace (and power) of the English game. His sending off (at Spurs) seemed like it could’ve been an orange, I thought…

  • VAR is far from perfect…and I fear regarding the influence of money in the game…and how it could be even easier to fix things when it’s a camera-worker rather than a linesman calling the adelanteros (offsides–Spanish language sports channels are the way to go these days…The same $5 as the several computer sports packages you’ve got to buy). How is Lacazette able to play in this one? I smell a fish… Did Wenger donate some of his salary (which he still receives, non?) so that “his” French team goes through?…

  • Was thinking I’d have to go $2.99 B/R Live today– but it turns out my Xfinity Latino Starter Package was a wise choice– with Univision! 😉


  • The sun has finally come out here making for some very good skiing (if you have the right mind-set/gear…) on all the snow…

    PEA not quite on his bicycle…but seemingly more confident since he worked out his pens…maybe?…

    Agreed with JW… Two more for us avoids any chance for Rennes…or extra time…

  • VAR is not perfect but definitely an improvement. It will have to be developed further as you would expect when introducing new technology in an old fashioned business.

  • Amar a Muerte, on demand, is nightly watching for us… Also on Univision. We put on the subtitulos and justify it as “working on my Spanish…” 😀

    Rambo too straight after a lovely lay-off by Laca from Ozil’s ball in from the right…

  • Yeah, past coffee time, TA… Afternoons I take tea, however…

    Ben Arfa…Never really fancied passing the ball…

    Nacho goes down but that’s only a pen with the new technology… On the plus side, he’s not the only one going down (all too easily) as the half nears its conclusion…

  • Good question, TA, it could be beer-thirty in Houston (or Mexico, where I’ll be again soon…)

  • Nearly freezing/funny juice, yes! 🙂
    I’m almost a whole half behind on the tube– following here and an online score/stat board.

  • 4 mins extra time… This isn’t good… I have to pick up the kid in less than an hour… Gonna need those goals…

  • I drink it black, TA…

    Tough weather in Houston right now, JW?…

  • Sounds good, JW. The radio commentary is also about 2 minutes behind…. but the scoreboard isn’t which I don’t like as I tend to look at the scoreboard if and when it sounds we are on a promising attack… And the comments on here also come in before the commentary got there.

  • Half-time… Time for a bite and getting ready for my quick getaway…

    All Arsenal thus far and I like it… Sorry, hair and all, Guendo isn’t as good as Ramsey (at this point…) and LT hasn’t quite made me forget about (one) Santi Cazorla…

    Maybe–if we’re bribing folks at UEFA and all that–we don’t have to (freeze out and sell) our more expensive players, hoping to replace them on the cheap?…

    Replay does make it look like…they need VAR if they want to rule out our 2nd goal… 😉

  • Gotcha JW… Sounds nice…

    I’m not so hard-core… the opposite in-fact… (I’m lactose-intolerant…) I just don’t drink any milk (at all) and ice-cream sometimes upsets my tummy…

  • Just saw the first goal after getting settled in–
    For all ‘PEA can’t-do’ I hear? THAT– is what Auba DOES.

    Wait. HT? Doesn’t your son have his license? 😉

  • One of the Univision commentators is– Hristo Stoichkov!
    I keep the sound up just enough to hear the crowd-buzz– even though I can’t keep up with the announcers.


  • Whoa, Rennes go close, Grenier stealing it off Mustafi and setting up the shot which hits the good guys side of the post…

    PEA almost beats the keeper in no man’s land… We needed Auba there… 😉

  • Hey, Mustafi made a tackle…and a back-pass afterwards… I will not be swayed, however… We NEED goals!!! BTW, did Lichsteiner die?…or is he just enjoying life at (his own private) pasture?…

  • JW, my kid won’t do the time to get his license… I guess he enjoys time (in the car) with me (talking at him…) 😉 😦

    Getting a bit aggro out there…and hardly looks like it’ll be settled before I’ve got to leave…

  • Better there, but Ozil and Kola can’t pick out final balls… The pitch looks fast tonight… Too fast for Rennes, hopefully…

  • Kola slide tackles Sarr… Gives up a corner but the shot would’ve been a tight angle as it was… Next attack looks dangerous too, but the linesman uses the flag…

  • Tell him to wait in the Library HT.
    And get his permit.

    We have a godchild who refuse to too.
    She’s nearly 25 now– still lives at home.
    Refuses to work. Plays WoW all night– sleeps all day.
    She was pretty normal until the drivers license thing. 🙄


  • I’ll relate that story, JW… I think (hope, pray…) that our boy is a bit more worldly than all that…Plus, our house locks…and it’s tough to be homeless here, at least in the winter…

    More (outside of the bar) plus offside flags…

    I’m not gonna be confident at this scoreline…

    Here come the subs… Mkhi and Iwobi for…?….

  • Ozil for the academy product (Iwobi) or the Alexis make-weight?…

    Laca for the other one…

  • That sub took long enough that Emery must believe the current scoreline works…

    Almost Wenger-era buildup play but Iwobi’s chocolate foot melts the ball wide…


    PEA, the black panther, STRIKES!!! from Kola, orchestrated by Mkhi…

  • I gotta go in 5 minutes…so, five mins to set (or not set…) the DVR for extra time…

  • OK gotta run, been fun but not quite settled…fingers crossed… Laters…

  • Yeah! What a week indeed, for the mighty Arsenal. Had to leave to the train station to pick up the missus, returning from a trip. Left at 2-0 and thank goodness, only change to that was positive. Seen some highlights now and it seems Auba could have had 4 goals tonight, if he had his scoring boots at full pelt (he found his mask today, though). Well, 2 goals on such a great night is good, by any stretch.

    Looks like we have made up the full compliement of English sides from the last round then; good job. The draws will throw up a good sideagainst us, whichever way it goes, as we have the likes of Frankfurt, Villarreal, Chelsea, Napoli, Valencia, Slavia Prague, Benfica (still 117minutes in extra time, but they are 3-1 up on aggregate), to contend with. At this stage, it doesn’t matter. Who dares wins! Happy for the boys.

  • Would be good to avoid Napoli and Chavs at this stage but yes we can take them all on. Hope you are looking after your misses, Erismus. 😉

  • Yes, I’d rather avoid the English, Italian and Spanish sides, for now.

    I’m doing my best, TA. She can’t complain, (I think 😉).

  • Good comeback from the lads. Rambo in the DM position and Ozil just in front of him makes us so strong. Who will be the one that does what Rambo does next season? Torreira?

    I will take Benfica or Frankfurt.

  • Auba donned the mask of the movie character Black Panther– of Marvel Comics fame after scoring his second goal today.

    “I needed a mask who represents me. It’s Black Panther and in Gabon we call the national team the Panther of Gabon, so it represents me,’ said Aubameyang, who has celebrated goals wearing Spiderman and Batman masks at previous clubs.”

    Mrs jw1 and I are big fans of the Marvel Comic Universe of movies and characters.
    Think this is very cool! 🙂

  • Brilliant! It thrilled many in the crowd. I liked the photoshop job Kolasinac did to the pic of both of them, though. Things are starting to get more exciting around the club, I daresay. Looking good….plenty of optimism.

  • Both are brilliant yesterday. The ball from Ozil to Auba yesterday is some pass.
    Lots of people were commenting about the second goal should not be given, and the linesman was not at the correct position when the pass was played. However, the additional assistant ref at the posts have the best view and he did not deem it as an offside call for Auba. Weird.

    But that did us nicely, so I didn’t complain too much.

  • It was the exact tie most fans didn’t want, just yet. I think the Napoli fans and players won’t wish to play us either. We should outwit them, as I see them as a team that’s still evolving (much more than we are) and may find it tough going against us.

    Bring it on!


    Quarter final draw –

    Napoli v Arsenal
    Villarreal v Valencia
    Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt
    Slavia Prague v Chelsea

    Semi-Final Draw –

    QF 1 v QF 2
    Napoli or Arsenal v Villarreal or Valencia
    QF 3 v QF 4
    Benfica or Eintracht Frankfurt v Slavia Prague or Chelsea

    Winners of both semi finals to settle it in Baku, Azerbaijan.

  • Possibly, if it all goes well for both sides.

    The Champions league set up some tasty quarter-final ties as well:

    Ajax v Juventus

    Liverpool v Porto

    Tottenham v Man City

    Barcelona v Man United

    The draw for the semi-finals was also made today:

    Spurs or City v Ajax or Juventus

    Barcelona or Man United v Liverpool or Porto.

    Kev, so it is also set up for a Liverpool v Man City final here too.

  • I see that Bellerin has had a possible set back, he’s been experiencing some pain at the back of his knee, it must be difficult for him as he’s been injury free for most of his career…

  • Kev, projecting really far there, aren’t we? But, I like! Why not? Arsenal v City super cup 2019. 👊🏽🤞

  • Come to think of it, Gunners vs Ajax will be the talk of the town.
    It will be really fun to see that happening.

    On a serious note, i think that we should be aiming for a touch game against the team from Naples, and we should be good enough for at least a semi final.

    Sad news from NZ. Prof Geoffchase, everything ok?

  • So– no Monchi-business at the club.
    Rumors resurfacing that Marc Overmars is once again in the frame.


  • To be fair, all the Monchi-to-Arsenal rumours were fuelled by the presence of Emery at this club (romantic potential of a re-union of old mates) and the fact of Mslintat’s departure. There is no clear evidence he was first choice for Arsenal. At least, I haven’t seen any.

    I’m sure there are many more brilliant talent scouting pros out there, with the experience to handle a technical director role at the club. Overmars won’t be a bad shout, seeing where Ajax is today since he joined.

  • We could go for an internal solution, like Steve Morrow who is head of youth scouting?

    I’d imagine (well I hope) that we’ve already got most of our summer business in place so we should be ok in the short term.

    Didn’t Ajax block Overmars’ possible move to Arsenal, I’m not really certain of his contractual situation in Amsterdam tbh?

  • Hi Nik,

    Yes sad news. For us, fortunately, all is fine. Another kick in the guts for the city after 5 years of earthquakes.

    I mean to contribute more but mostly lurk due to busy-ness. Currently in Germany, but I’ll ad two bits:

    A. At the beginning of the year I believe I noted a cheeky top 4 was possible including perhaps a cheekier, best effort, top 3. Suddenly seems doable with a good run in relative to others in terms of who we face. Though, nothing’s easy in the PL

    B. There seems the starting perhaps of some consistent style of play and approach. Starting… We will see though!

    Exciting times to be a Gunner — jgc

  • Hi Prof,

    We have a good shot at least with a top 4 finish.
    With Rambo and Ozil in front of him we can be doing something exciting and bridge the defense and attack. Maybe another workhorse to replace Rambo for next season?

    Looks like the spuddies are doing their yearly end of the season breakdown. Which is brilliant to see.

  • Good morning fellow BKers

    I have been away for a week but there was little of football interest to blog about, so you would not have heard much from me anyway. Condolences to the people in NZ for the loss of so many lives through horrific murdering, and also to Holland where luckily only a handful of people were killed in a city I’ve lived in for five years (in fact I was there just the day before it happened). It all puts things in perspective again: the real battle we need to fight is between those that want to drag the world back to the past and those who want to face the big challenges that lay ahead – environment, migration, impact of robots and AI on society/available jobs, terrorism, etc – in a positive, smart and global way. The next decade will likely be the most important one since the eighties.

    The interlull is boring but it gives Emery the chance to take a deep breath before the season completes. He will also be able to focus on the non-international players, like Koz and Mesut for example, and do some tactical work with all of them. On Tuesday, the friendly game v Al Nasr will be on Arsenal.com and that should be light entertainment for us. After that it will be more serious with a home game v the Barcodes on Monday 1 April (no joke). As always it is of course OGAAT and we need to play many a ‘cup final’ to reach our season’s goals. COYGs

  • I think it’s a 1pm UK time kick off on Arsenal Player, hopefully we’ll see a few of our young guns get some time in the middle TA…

  • Hmmm. Germany beats the Netherlands 3-2, inside the Johan Cruijff Arena. Surely, not the kind of result you were expecting after seeing recent displays by the Dutch.

  • Eris, the Germans are coming back on top. And they have the firepower to do that.

    Read some news on the former Citeh flop striker meeting the lads over an event. And feels good to see Welbs and Bells joining the squad to get some training done. Will be hoping for a good game tomorrow nevertheless.

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    TUE MAR 26 – 13:30
    Tue Mar 26 – 13:30
    Al Maktoum Stadium
    Friendly Match
    Al-Nasr Dubai SC
    Al-Nasr Dubai SC
    Audio available on Arsenal.com
    Website and App
    Kick off is 5:30pm local time. Watch the game live on Arsenal.com and the App from 1:10pm (UK)

  • PE, I believe I read there will be a Video commentary of the game; hope I got that right. It’s been a boring Inter-lull and I am looking forward to watching the game.

  • Yes Eris, live on Ars.com. tomorrow. Kick off 1:30 pm.

    It’s really been so boring but maybe the debriefing of minds by the inter lull would help us cope with the tension of the home stretch. Every match is a cup final. Even watching the matches of our top 4 competitors would be nerve racking.

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