Preview, Line-Up v Barcelona: Two ex-Los Blancos to Feed Pepe, Auba, Laca and….

beat Barca the Barcelona-way…

Our final pre-season friendly is at the Nou Camp v THE team of the 21st century so far, Barcelona. Over the years, we had some fabulous games against the Catalans, and even though this is just a harmless pre-season game we should expect a high tempo, multi-goal encounter in which we have to aim to outscore the hosts.


There is no point for us to sit back and play tight, defensive footie. We have never been good at this and let’s face it, it’s not Emery’s game either. Besides, Arsenal have some fine weapons at their disposal and have just bought the explosive Pepe. There is also the possibility of playing two ‘ex’-Los Blancos players next to each other, and that will surely add a little bit of extra spice to the match.

In fact, we have the players to do a little experiment and play Barca the Barcelona way. Why not? Torreira can be our Busquests and Mesut and Ceballos could play the Xavi and Iniesta roles…. Pepe could be our free-attacker and dribbler ala Messi and Laca and Auba will surely add total attacking prowess to our team in such a set-up.

It would look like this:

Now I don’t know exactly who has travelled to Barcelona and who is fit to play. Emery will need to ease players like Torreira and Pepe into the team and so it is not highly likely that we will start with these 11. But at some point of the game I reckon we will be close to the above 11 being on the pitch, and I am looking forward to it.

What would be your favourite starting 11/playing strategy tomorrow?

By TotalArsenal.


20 thoughts on “Preview, Line-Up v Barcelona: Two ex-Los Blancos to Feed Pepe, Auba, Laca and….

  • This is a game where 2 teams play Total Football. We should see some really good box to box play and it will be a good test for our defense. Play Elneny there?

  • Moses Kundu, maybe because now we have Pepe, Auba, Martinelli, Iwobi, Nelson, Bukayo Saka and Mkhitaryan, Everton may be one too many wingers; plus he will cost £36m! There are no guarantees he will be a hit in Europe as well.

  • TA, good preview, as always. I’d be surprised if Pepe is thrown into this game from the start, too. It’s too soon so he my have a run out late on, for his teammates to get a feel of his game readiness.
    One player I expect to see is Martinelli just for his reported all round showing at Angers; oh, and I like the idea of Mustafi at full back if only to help him restore some confidence and win back the fans; or to put him in the shop window for his reported suitors. Laca is also just returning from a knock so may be safe to bring him on late.

    Hey! It is Emery and his line-ups are hard to predict in competitive games, talk less of in a friendly. So, good luck with that predicted line up.

  • TA, your line up looks to me more like what it would be in our 2nd game of the season against Burnley. For today am not expecting Laca, Pepe and Torreira to start just on the basis that they wouldn’t be considered ready yet. However I expect substitute appearances for the three – the beginning of their pre-season. I like your Musti at RB. The big news is that his defensive starts are better than £80m Macguire! We only need to move him further away from the box.

    Willock looks as good as any in the MF but Emery might opt for experience.

    My prediction,


    Emery, I believe, would want to see if Ozi and Ceba together would work,

  • God luv ya’ PE (you do have a good heart)!
    “We only need to move him (#20) further away from the box.”

    Calculating then, whether Monaco is far enough? 😉


  • All

    TA: like the lineup in general, especially vs mid and lower table. One interesting twist is Ceballos + Ozil, where one is more pressing and the other attack minded, or one more B2B and Ozil more old school 10. I think I it would be potent and not lack upfield pressure or create leaks.

    From last post, I was in schwarzwald with my wife so, yes? 🙂

    PE: I like Mustafa when he’s not brain farting. There’s no middle ground is the issue for me. Interesting matching thought on Ceballos + Ozil

    JW: 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  • jw/prof,

    I wouldn’t have been so “good hearted” if Adebayo was the issue. He would have taken on all of us put together. But Musti is so fragile. I really feel for him.😢😢

  • Prof, you are a soft romantic, but good answer! 🙂

    Yeah the Ceballos/Ozil combi – our nr8 and nr10 – is one to look forward to..

  • Good spot there, PE. I also read it that Mustafi’s stats were better than the £80m (£85?) Harry McGuire. Different strokes, I guess….

  • Oh, and Nicholas Pepe is not on the travelling party to Barcelona, and for good reason. I would ease him into the team and the EPL slowly. First, a No-show at Newcastle, then a couple of late cameos before the full launch. He will be chomping at the bits (to play) by then, which will serve us well.

  • TA, as you know by now, it ended 2-1 in favour of the home side, after a late rally and no thanks to a “brain fart” moment from the ever so casual Ainsley Maitland-Niles. We also had some wasteful periods when we could have gone 2 up.

    I am not sure why I am a bit disappointed at the result, despite it being a friendly and against a great side. Maybe because I thought we were ahead of them in preparations, starting our season in 7 days time, and should be fitter and a bit more intense. Or, perhaps because I was seeing the same old frailties and it just gave me a sense of foreboding about the season to come.

    The positive side is how well we did in the first half and the performance of young Willock.

  • Thanks Eris. I am more positive about the game and may write something about it tomorrow. I reckon the players were keen not to get injured and held back a bit…. the season is nigh…

  • You just might be right. Still, you can’t help but compare with the commitment shown in the charity shield game today. Liverpool start the league on Friday and still have to play the Europa super cup on Wednesday the week after. They gave it a lot today.

    I’d like to read your report as I did start to watch the game a bit late. I did expect us to win.

  • But that was a meaningful game in itself, Eris. There was something to be won and MC and Pool wanted to show who is boss. Anyway, I put my thoughts in an 8-Obs post…

    New Post New Post 🙂

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