Iwobi in the Hole Feeding AubaCazette: Arsenal v Foxes Line-up/ Preview


Yes, I think we should. That is why we should find it easy to rest Koscielny who has now played every minute of our last 5 games in only 13 days. That is also why we should forgive Skodram Mustafi of his grievous error in the Palace match and give him a starting berth against the Foxes.

We rest Ozil too, not because he is close to the red zone, but because we want him at his best in our first match against Valencia which is at home sweet home. Aubameyang was absent from the Wolves match after a minor medical procedure so is rested to join the rest of the squad, not out injured, in contention to start.

Prioritizing the Europa at this moment, of course, should not mean abandoning the Premiership campaign to its own fate. If Chelsea lose or draw its game against Man United at Old Trafford and we win ours, the destiny of a top 4 finish falls back into our hands. Instantly the Premiership becomes the priority again with two winnable games home and away left for the season versus the potential three games of the Europa Cup. Luckily there is a good four days of rest between Leicester and Valencia so Emery can comfortably choose his strongest away side (whatever that might mean) bar Koscielny who should be close to the red zone. Also not to be overlooked in the calculation is that the four teams battling for the two remaining two Champions League spots all seem to be laboring under their more exhaustive season’s schedule. The four have been losing unexpected points. The latest is Spurs 0-1 to West Ham.

What’s become of Lichsteiner? A burst up or now decrepit? Strange that he doesn’t even appear on the bench in spite of the congestion of games and our miserably thin squad. Just wondering.

We need Laca and Auba playing together. Laca plays deep like a false 9 yet we do not have midfielders who know how to run past their striker (except injured Ramsey). That explains why we lack sufficient threat in the box when Laca is fielded as the lone striker. It should follow that when Ramsey is unavailable, as he is now, it should never be Laca alone. Against Wolves we had only one shot on target and that from a defender in a set piece, our 71% possession notwithstanding. On the other hand, Auba who is a natural box prowler fits the lone striker role with a midfield like ours that is only good at progressing the ball forward. I hope he passes his late fitness test otherwise Nketiah should start alongside Laca.

If am Emery, I would stop all these video study of teams outside the top six. I would stop giving them too much respect. The onus should be on them to solve us not the other way round. Leicester City should be the ones studying our videos and spending sweat working out how to respond to us. With teams outside of the top six, I totally embrace Wengerism: get unto the field and just do your stuff. So sorry if you were expecting some lines from me on City under Brendan Rogers. Yes they are trying to keep a little bit more possession … and so what?

My line up for the Leicester game:


Bench: Cech, Koscielny, Elneny, Torreira, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Nketiah.

I feel calm or resigned, don’t really know which but exactly the way I feel 35,000 feet above mean sea level, my fate completely in somebody else’s hands. I imagine that’s the way the players must be feeling too. Who knows, it might be what they need to come up with a more assured performance. Meanwhile I bank on United not losing their 8th game in ten matches. Spurs 1-0 loss at their new stadium to West Ham is a timely reminder that the battle is not over until it is over.



43 thoughts on “Iwobi in the Hole Feeding AubaCazette: Arsenal v Foxes Line-up/ Preview

  • Cheers PE, top stuff. 🙂

    Will get back to you in the morning, but in a nutshell: we need to try and win this game as we need the sense of winning back asap. Sleep tight BKers!

  • agree with your reasoning, but not quite with the outcome of it
    i think that, just like kos, nacho should be rested
    and i can’t put up with matteo and alex any longer; i mean i like the lads, but by forcing them upon us week in, week out, and not taking into account their ineffectiveness, unai will turn them into scapegoats, eventually
    it’s high time joe and eddie were given the chance they should have been given long ago – eddie was a joy to watch during his 20 minutes on the Molineux pitch; as for joe, he is aaron’s worthy heir – he can run, he can score, which matteo just can’t (under AW he would have had many games under his belt already)
    which would give:



  • Le G, …. the academy boys might be a good option but I wonder about gambling it at this very sensitive stage of the race. Agree with you completely that they should have been used more earlier in the season.

    For your “Leicester” line up I worry about Musti and Mavro together in a back-3.

    Same as you, I feel more at home with Torreira than with Douzi. But there are whispers that Torreira has issues of early exhaustion. If true that means his must-substitution has limited the substitution options. Seeing that he is a versatile player (started as a strike then attacking MF) he might be better utilized as a substitute player.

  • Cheers PE!

    We really could have done with a rest this weekend, but another tough away match awaits and who knows how this one will go. Maybe an early mistake by Leicester and a Deeney like sending off will come to the rescue. Expectations are low indeed as there is a clear discrepancy between what ought to be and was it likely to be. The team are low on (away) confidence, heavy legged and there are too many injuries, and Emeritus does not seem to have either tactical or motivational answers. But this is The Arsenal and sooner or later we bounce back again somehow. Come on The Arsenal!

    I like your line-up but would replace Guendo with Elneny. The Egyptian is a good player but low on confidence. He and Xhaka have a good understanding from the Basle days, so I would combine them to keep us solid in midfield. Iwobi in the middle is a big, big ask of him but why not give him a try?! We also need good games by the full backs to stretch the Foxes’ defence… It is going to be hard.

  • Ok it is 4-2-1-3 then. Leno, AMN, Must, Sok, Kola, Xhaka, Tor, Mkhi, Iwobi, Auba, Laca. That is a good line up from a midfield and attacking point of view. Defensively it looks wobbly to say the least so we need to take the game to them from the start. High tempo, big focus, strong intensity and take our chances.

  • Under the circumstance of a thin squad and heavy schedule it is a good selection. I’ve never gone into any Arsenal game so humble.

  • I have a formula. When I look at myself I see the boys. So I must cheer up, everybody must cheer up so the boys would cheer up too.

  • Okay, you got me there, PE. Last result left me (us) with little to cheer but, if my state of mind may somehow be transmitted to the boys, I will pucker up for this game. COYG!

  • Against Wolves, Emery tried to counter their confident passing style with possession (with no penetration) football. On the other hand, Brendan Rogers likes his teams to dominate possession, which may play into Emery’s counter-attacking style/preference.

    Hopefully, we are able to just play our game, fight for the 50-50s and take our chances, when they arrive, to put the pressure on United and Chelsea.

  • Hi guys, the Americanos are snuggled up to their better halves and we are still in the game. AMN sending off ridiculous and we are up against it now. Yet we are still in it and a point would be welcome. Let’s hope we will score first.

  • It may be fatigue or some mental decision to go on and win the Europa (shift of focus from the EPL), but there’s just something not right with these boys. We come to grounds like this and are still able to play for a result, most times with success, but we just look laboured and not much like a team which trains together. This has to improve quickly or that will be it in for the EPL placings.

    Not one outfield player stands out yet; no one is seizing the initiative to drive the team. Maitland-Niles looked to me like he was happy to go off; when you are on a yellow, there was need to be conscious and understand the Ref was just waiting for the chance to show that card. The second one was unfair, truth be told; Ido hope the FA will take another look at it and sanction the player for simulation.

    Unless he is under instruction, Iwobi isn’t even being effective as a winger, except when he pulled back that cross for Laca to misplace his shot. As for Mkhi, he is a passenger today. Cannot make a right pass, poor decisions and will lose the ball in the most unexpected manner.

    Our bench doesn’t inspire much confidence but I am not sure Nketiah would have done much worse than Mkhi today (as a winger, for Iwobi to play behind the strikers). I guess Emery has very little in terms of right back choices so it may be back to a “3 at the back” formation. Late on, it will be one of Auba or Laca for Nketiah. Let’s see what we can get out of this.

  • Iwobi off for Koscielny. Mkhi shifts to the left while Auba and Torreira will try to repel from the right side. It’s three at the back now. Ndidi is off for the hosts and Barnes replaces him. Barnes is one tricky player so, expect pressure on Mustafi.

  • We are just going to sit deep and soak the pressure it will seem. We won’t get too many chances so have to score with the first we get.

  • Hey TA, I’m in Mexico “on business” so I’ve got nobody to snuggle up against this morning… And, I’m in the same time-zone as JW so it’s only a 6 am kick-off. I was hopeful the game might be on my NBC Sports Gold streaming package but it says (in plain English… “Not Available in Your Country.” So, instead, I’m reading the narratives…and they don’t sound good… Even before the sending off, it sounds like we were being played off the pitch and Leno heroics were the only thing keeping us at nil-nil.

    Ozil doesn’t even travel?… (Fair play to PE for predicting this, however…)

    To me, this signals the end of the Arsenal (Arsene-L…) “value” of being a team that wants the ball and wants to play attacking football. I guess “counter-attacking football” has the word in it, but you know what I mean. Frankly, it’s been this way all season, so, of course, it’s gonna go further this direction late on, of course…

    Down to 10 men, we switch in a defender (who desperately could’ve used the afternoon off…) for Iwobi as we try to hang on for a point…

    Sorry to be so negative (and during a match, as well…) but these feel like sad times…

  • Well, that should just about be the nail…that shuts the coffin… Arseblog is blaming Xhaka, but it looked just very well executed to me…

  • Johnny Evans has caught Torreira with an elbow in the area but the Ref saw nothing wrong, when it was a certain penalty.

    Guendouzi on for the ineffective Mkhi. Now we are one goal down, we are starting to come out to play, but being one man down will always have a bearing on our energy levels.

  • Hey, 17ht, welcome to the mini-live blog. We certainly allowed them so much more of the ball, even before the red card. Happy to see Nketiah on (though, didn’t want Laca off). He will bring some energy.

    But for Leno, this could have been any score by now.

  • Wayward passes were the downfall for us. Defensively i cannot complain.
    The disconnect between midfield and attack still exists, and that is what irks me. 4th defeat in 5 games.

    Emery out?

  • Greetings ‘Eris… I would’ve kept silent but TA called me out… I truly have nothing positive to say, so, really, I should just keep it to myself…

    Even on Leno… My impression is that keepers who stick to their lines will ALWAYS look better than those (who try and) command their box…which is probably why they become shot-blocking specialists in the first place.

    Personally, I hope (and expect…) Emery will stay with Cech for the Ropy League games, though maybe that will be a fun (or diverting…) discussion for Gooners over the next few days…

    Oooh, it sounds like Leicester are buffing up the score-line… Not very nice of them…

  • Just one question for you, JK…

    Wenger is still under contract… Thanks to Gazidis (gone to Milan)… Sven is gone (and replaced by N.O.O.N.E.) Ramsey is off to join Szcz in Turin… Ozil doesn’t travel for matches like these. I’m not sure that we can blame Emery for this situation…

    But blame we must…

    So, why the question mark?…

  • That was a very disheartening result. Let’s accept we will probably end up in 6th and the boys throw everything into the UEL. It’s got to be something Emery is telling them; like “I am a UEL veteran and know how to win it. Don’t you lot mess up my reputation, okay”. So, unconsciously, they have chosen to give more energy in Europe than for domestic football. It can’t be down to fatigue because Liverpool, Spurs and City still give it some.

  • 17ht, that question mark is there for everyone to comment upon.
    Yes, there were times that Emery’s tactics worked, and it did quite well until the last few moments.

    1 man down and lots of boardroom nonsense meant that we are really on the brink, but I myself see this run of bad form as something that the coaching staff is able to resolve. However, week in and out we get our defense opened.
    And, I am for one agreeable on giving Emery time, but to be honest does he have the mindset and the tactical changes to make us move out of this dire situation?

    I am absolutely in 2 minds right now.

  • When I saw the first 30 mins of the game at Old Trafford, it occured to me Chelsea has the same situation Arsenal are in: Distraction (?) of Europe. Valencia also lost 0-1 to Eibar at home today. Frankfurt drew at home 0-0 to Herta Berlin in Germany.

    Of course, since there is a direct relevance of the result at OT, expect Chelsea to raise their game for the occasion.

    Sounds like an Arsenal fan consoling self, but it’s the way it is.

  • Yeah, TA. Arsenal are the WSL champs. We were also crowned champions of the U-18 Premier League South on Saturday, following a hard-fought 3-0 win over Fulham. Looks like the senior men’s team needs to step up. 😜

  • Eris, maybe we should play the u18 team in the next PL game?

    Defensively we were ok, we kept them at bay for most of the game. Thus, our only weakness is that we failed to outscore them, and we made a huge mess on the chances in the final third. No Ozil to help us out and no Rambo=another bad loss.

  • Ah! That will be a typical “handicap” match, jk. Lol.

    When you compare the performance in the reverse fixture to what we served up yesterday, there is no comparison. Ozil was captain that game and was in full flow. It could have ended 6-1, just on the chances we missed. What a difference a few months in a season makes. I’m sure Brendan Rogers will have it in his report it was his tactical masterclass that did it…., rather than the luck of meeting an off-colour, low on confidence, Arsenal.

  • Eris, cannot fault our defensive mentality and their tactical abilities.
    We have to just pray and hope that we have a capable team against Valencia and fight as one team.

    The disconnect between the midfield and attack has to stop. And score at will lads.

  • Oh, but it will be a different performance against Valencia, for sure. Footballers unwittingly switch off from the league in favour of playing for a potential trophy, towards the end of a season. Hopefully, we do enough to win it.

  • Well, they did…and how.

    Though the Spuds were more threatening in the 2nd half, Ajax ran them ragged in the first and ensured their keeper wasn’t exactly troubled all game. Still, there is a second leg to come and the Ajax team will be best served to hold up the celebrations until after the tie is done.

  • It’s not over yet, that’s very true Total, but it hasn’t stopped me driving around this afternoon singing and humming Tulips from Amsterdam… 😃

  • 3-0 scoreline for the Messi boys vs Liverpool, in the Camp Nou. It must be said that Liverpool gave as good as they got and had a period in the 2nd half when they had Barca against the ropes.

    It may not be tie over but I don’t see how Barca don’t score one, if Liverpool go on to score three at Anfield.

  • Sad that we cannot rely on Rambo to guide us to the Europa League. We need everyone to be working as a team to win it, and also getting into top 4.

    Come on you guys!!!

  • For Liverpool it could all end up as … so near yet so far away. 😪 Klopp has created an amazing team. 🙏🙏

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