PREVIEWING WOLVES MATCH THROUGH THE PRISM OF PALACE DEFEAT.
We started the game against Crystal Palace with an outfield back-7 of Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Mavrapanos, Kolasinac, Elneny and Guendouzi. Despite the need for managing legs on account of the games coming thick and fast, it was a selection that smacked of overconfidence that might not be unconnected to our Napoli triumph. To be candid that bug reached my little universe as I was so confident that, come what may, at home we would win? So you see, am not qualified to point fingers. Palace made us pay for it.
Jenkinson, Mavrapanos and Elneny had played a combined total of only 417 minutes of Premiership football before the Palace match. Not match sharp, it was a wrong decision to put them together in one team as starters. That decision was further compounded by the inclusion in that back-7 of the error prone Mustafi, the defensively naïve Kolasinac and the young Guendouzi, who is yet to develop the defensive part of his game. It was a recipe for goals to leak. Our best defender Koscielny, alone in that group, was clearly insufficient to hold back the Palace attack. Isn’t hindsight so beautiful?
What else could have been done, with Monreal leg-tired, Sokratis and Xhaka not available, one could ask? Maitland-Niles and Torreira for Jenkinson and Elneny would have giving a different first half. Possibly also Lichsteiner (what about him?) for the inexperienced Mavropanos who was the harbinger of the 1st goal against us. It is said that well begun is half won so I’d rather that we always start with our stronger team and do the managing of legs with the substitutions. Premier league teams know how to close shop so better to start stronger to avoid losing balance and structure trying to shift happily parked buses with deflated tyres.
Against Wolves only two players look deserving of a start on the bench: Koscienly and Aubameyang who both have played 4 X 90 minutes matches in 10 days! Apart from these two, Emery should start his strongest team and manage tiring legs with substitutions. Sokratis is back from suspension, Monreal rested and Xhaka is expected to be fully fit.
I expect him to start this XI (8 changes):-
Lichsteiner (assuming he is still alive) should play in place of Mustafi who must be in a battered state after his error at Palace and the subsequent massive criticism of him from the fan base. His aggressive style is his cover for his deep seated sense of insecurity. Poor boy. It is good work by Emery trying to protect him. I hope the coach knows by now that Kolasinac is a winger not a wingback, so why not Iwobi in his place? At least Iwobi wouldn’t give a million backwards passes or cause needless dangerous free kicks against his team. Kola looks a tank but he appears to me another one with a fragile personality.
Bench: Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Elneny, Guendouzi, Aubameyang.
If we suffer two consecutive losses at this late and delicate stage of the race our season stands to collapse. The silver lining is that Wolves seem to have experienced a drop in form, possibly due to an overuse of a thin squad. They would also be playing to win in search of the 7th spot. That probably suits us. We are 5th on the table with a game in hand to Chelsea who are 1pt above us. That leaves the destiny for a top 4 finish still in our hands. Last night, Spurs left it late in their 1-0 home win over Brighton to go 4pts ahead of us. With 4 games left for us, tonight is one that we just have to win.
22 thoughts on “Arsenal v Wolves: Preview | 8 Changes to Regain Momentum!”
Cheers PE! Great preview and all agreed. Really like that line-up and well done with putting Iwobi on as wingback. Why not?! Given Koz a break now also makes sense, as long as Xhaka is fit to play that is. COTA! 🙂
The line up tactics TA are all salient points, but even accepting all those, if we get the penalty award, we go in at half time 1-1 and maybe Emery makes different adjustments to the team, Ozil scores and we’re 2-1 and it’s a different game.
The penalty and Mustafi actually cost us that game, but hey, it’s good to talk… 😃
Kev, Kev, Kev, you can’t look at a game like that: IFs ‘do not take part’ as my Dad likes to say. Luck and bad decisions are always part of the game but when we look at the key stats of shots and shots on goal, Arsenal 12/5 and CP 16/7, you can tell better why we lost the game. But yes it is good to talk to my favourite London Cabbie ever. 😀
Ok TA, I could go on, but I won’t, in deference to your Dad… 🙂
But a football match isn’t just about tactics and line ups, it’s about circumstances, decision making and the human element, and Thank God for that…. 😄
Wise words, Kev. Respect! 🙂
Bottom line …. we’ve got out top 4 destiny still in our hands. The players are so keen about champions league football that am expecting a reaction from them tonight. 2-0 to the good guys.
Auba was not sighted in training yesterday but Kos was. Maybe we might just see our back line rock of Sok, Kos and Nacho (Sokonacho).
Team sheet is out:
Rui Patricio, Coady, Jonny, Doherty, Bennett, Boly, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Neves, Jota, Jimenez
Subs: Cavaleiro, Helder Costa, Gibbs-White, John Ruddy, Saiss, Ruben Vinagre, Traore
Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette
Subs: Cech, Elneny, Mustafi, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Nketiah, Willock
Indeed, Auba must be injured or indisposed. Looks a team that can get the win, with some determination. We’ve got to fight for the right to be in the top 4. COYG!
Proper, strong line-up. Well done Unai. 🙂
Sokonacho it is. Kos for my wild card Litch. And what about him? Seems to have simply vanished into thin air. 10/11 for the post. Iwobi for Kola is a good one.
A strong line up. 7 changes.
Auba had a little procedure apparently.
We’ve had a lot of the ball but nothing significant to report in terms of goal area activity. And we’ve not shown a passion for the top 4. We look cowardly, if you ask me.
Now, Neves hits one in from a free kick. The wall appeared to duck to leave Leno with no chance. Typical Arsenal. If we had seized the initiative to sustain pressure and be bold in attacking their lines, we should be 1 up.
1-0 Wolves and we start to look exposed every time they come forward.
Some of our players hide from responsibility. It’s amazing.
Another free kick and this time the wall stands its ground to deflect it for a corner. Looks like a game that will come alive in the 2nd half.
2-0. Thought there was a hint of offside but still, no excuse for such defending.
We don’t look like we want this enough, honestly. I can’t believe the level of focus (or, lack of it) that I am seeing. We dilly dally on the ball and won’t be in the box for crosses.
3-0, right before half time. All the goals from nothing but silly errors. We are not a serious side, at this time. Looking at the bench, hard to see where the inspiration will come from. Funny thing is that our team was on top and is quite capable of beating this Wolves side but they’ve been more clinical.
Let’s see how it goes, still.
You are a brave man Eris.
Oh well, PE. What can I say? Mighty disappointed with our players. It was spineless and unadventurous. No attempts to match the movement of Laca with a through pass. No incisive, creative passing and movement. It was predictable, sideways and backwards passing and, like I stated, players hiding from responsibility.
I am done for the season; I have nil expectations from a side that cannot be motivated to go for it against a side like Wolves. We need to make this summer a busy one. We need a confident, forward playing, twinkle toed wingers who will be decisive with his running. Nicholas Pepe is the one I have in mind here. Maybe, a midfielder in the mould of David Silva in his prime; someone who won’t play safe but take risks in games like these.
Well, I rest, for now.
Nothing to see about after 2 defeats which are winnable.
Wake me up when September ends.
New post 🙂