An abysmal domestic run of form that has all but killed our hope for a top 4 finish in the league has us crestfallen, trudging towards Valencia like a defeated army in retreat. We need to pick ourselves up as the war for Champions League qualification is still very much raging for us. The Europa theatre is alive and the promise of victory seems not far off.
We take a good 3-1 lead to Valencia but with a worry that the team might be carrying a confidence that could quickly collapse. Valencia would want to capitalize on the disappointment of our weekend. They would know that the longer we are able to contain them the stronger we would grow. So expect them to come out to catch us early.
Who knows what Emery’s game plan would be? I hope it won’t be anything complex, anything that would make the boys run out of popcorns. Our opening salvo should be aimed at neutralizing the psychological thrust of their plan. We need to start off with all our guns blazing too and in so doing rehabilitate our self belief. This is going to be a game of character.
Luckily for us, this is a match Emery would be free of any worry for the next fixture. It should be for him a simple case of picking his strongest team and asking them to go give their all. Koscielny should start having rested in our last match. So also Maitland-Niles. We are never a good team sitting deep and for that reason I’d rather we use possession as our main defensive tactic for containing them while waiting patiently for openings. Our best orchestrator of intelligent control is Ozil and he should be on the field from the get-go.
If Emery opts for control of the game albeit with the offensive potential of the team intact, he would have a hard time choosing between Kolasinac and Iwobi for the left wingback position. Defensively there is little to choose between them. Both are poor. Offensively I would give it to Kola, but possession wise to Iwobi. However the fact that Valencia likes defending narrow might tilt the scale in favour of Kola.
With two games to go, Valencia are 3 pts away from Champions league qualification in the La Liga race. Would they have an eye on their weekend domestic match? I don’t think so. Europa-Cup-final beckoning is too tempting an option for them not to give this game a good go with only a 3-1 away deficit to account for at home.
The starting line up would depend on Emery’s game plan. Here is my guess:-
Bench: Cech, Litchsteiner, Mustafi, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah.
The Brighton result was very disappointing. Their equalizer triggering the spectre of falling out of the top 4 seemingly woke us up. We came out fighting achieving a season rare 20 attempts at goal but victory was denied us as the gods of football refused bluntly to smile at us. It was as if they were angry that we had all that quality and hardly ever brought them into use. If that trauma has shaken us to full wakefulness, I have very little doubt that we are into the Europa Cup final.
13 thoughts on “Split Strikers to Start as Koscielny Returns: Valencia v Arsenal Preview|Line-Up”
Confirmed line up: see post.
Good thing is that anytime the Post makes 11/11 we win.
Bench: Leno, Mustafi, Elneny, Douxi, Iwobi, Mkhi, Nketiah.
I was already swearing then we equalized.
2-3 now; 80 minutes in. So much for being poor away from home in Europe (as was expressed in the media).
Full time and we win it 2-4!
A cheeky friend suggested it was payback for Valencia hustling us for £35m for Mustafi; he thought we’ve recouped a bit of it.😂
We are in the final of Europa League; that has a nice ring to it. Chelsea look like they will enter extra time.
We did well in this match. It will be an all English double european header in Champions League and Europa League.
It looks as if the English clubs have strength at the back, which makes us have a chance to score against Valencia 4 times.
Good times ahead.
Well that was a thoroughly enjoyable and exhilarating experience, I just hope that McTotal heard the score when he was a roaming in the glomming, don’t fall over your orange sporran Jimmy, or should it be Van Der Jimmy 😄
Big Up for Alex Lacazette and Pierre E Aubameyang, I thought they were both absolutely fantastic, in fact another certain No.14 couldn’t have done or given anymore than the current occupier of that famous shirt. They never stopped working, supporting team mates, making themselves available when we were breaking and getting back to defend. They are crucial to our team because without Ramsey we have a big fat zero in regards to goals from our midfielders.
Ozil had a decent 1st half but bringing on Mkhitarayan gave us a fresh impetus from that area of the pitch. Torrieira was everywhere and ran himself to a standstill, Xhaka gave me a couple of scares when he zoned out and lost possession a few times but overall he was ok.
The defence had a few hairy moments but kept Valencia at arms length after a few early chances for the Spaniards. We still look vulnerable but player upgrades in the summer will hopefully improve things.
Special mention of the Dutch referee, who had a very impressive game in a very intimidating atmosphere and ignored all the tricks that Valencia resorted to earlier in the game.
I don’t know what went on at the end, but it was definitely sour grapes from the Spaniards.
I just hope that nothing racist was aimed at our players.
I did see Valencia fans trying to spit at Aubameyang after he scored our 4th goal. The ghost of General Franco is alive and well in the peninsula…
Yes Kev. It reminded me of Henry, the other actual number 14. He also helped out in defense to great effect and it was an absolute charm to get a hat trick away from home. Will he score another hat trick to boost his ego and take the golden boot?
Indeed Kev (good summation of the match)…and I’m glad you were inspired by the game…
I have to say that I wasn’t but then again I missed the first 25 minutes of the match (my boy needs to get his driver’s license…) and, once we had the game in hand, I swiltched over to the Chelsea match. It’s a looong 20 days until the final, but I thought I’d try and scout out our opponents, whomever they might be. That game actually had its share of drama, esp. in the PKs…
I completely agree about the two forwards and their play… For me, however, I think I just miss what I call possession-based, attacking football. Of course, if results are all that matter, it probably makes sense to play the Moo-dern game (on the counter, or otherwise playing more chancy football designed to try and make goals in an instant). And, also of course, when you’re sitting on a lead, there’s all that much more reason to play this way. Those were good little touches to set up the goals from the likes of Torriera, Mkhitaryan and AMN, not to mention the Route One flick-on from Lacazette.
Chelsea struggled mightily in their match but there is little that will make me wax confident before the final. Maybe if we could keep a clean sheet at Burnley…but then I’d have to ask why we couldn’t vs Brighton, at Leicester and Wolves, vs CP, etc., etc., etc…
How on earth do certain people, retain their jobs after making such serious misjudgements, clearly shown by the pathetic excuses for the ticket allocation in Baku and the lack of concern over the safety of Mkhitarayan, but we all know that UEFA is a shameless and corrupt organisation run by characters that lack any kind of affinity or empathy with the average football supporter. It’s all about how much dirty money they can rake in from sponsors and shady governments, TV money and rinsing the fans…
Kev, they just want more fans to buy their tickets at a higher price.
Business minded world.
And they will say this is to curb corruption. Sounds familiar?
TA … A MAIL FROM ME.
New Post 🙂 🙂 🙂