Arsenal v Villa: Pepe or Saka, Willock or Guendo, Big Sok or Chambers. Line-up/Preview

The Claret and Blue Army are coming to the Home of Football and, as per GN5s fine historical stats in yesterday’s post, this promises to become a goal-rich encounter. Add to this Emery’s tactics of gloves down defence and see who can punch hardest, there is even more chance of a goal-fest. Do I like it? Much more so if we win, but there certainly is also beauty in doing a bit of gloves-up defending.

cropped-104683668_arsenalbadge2.jpg

Martin Keown nowadays works as a pundit and he pointed out the obvious during our dizzying boxing match with the Frankfurthers: Arsenal allow far too much space between defence and midfield and that is creating all those opportunities against us. Now I know some believe that we have rubbish defenders and midfielders, but it would be silly to think that our defenders and/or midfielders don’t know this. Of course they do, but they are either instructed to do so, as to lure our opponents forward (and we can go on the break as soon as we have the ball) or there is a lack of communication between defence and midfield: defence don’t dare to push up and midfield want to/ need to support the attack – in both cases lots of space is left between the lines for the opponents to strut their stuff.

For me, this is the single reason why we are so vulnerable when we need to defend. With a midfield of Torreira, Xhaka and Willock – our midfield in Frankfurt – we should be rock solid if Emery wanted us to be so. We weren’t, but as we won handsomely despite allowing a couple of dozens of shots, who is to complain? We are of course miles away from the Pool and Citeh approach of being mean at the back and deadly up top, so for me this approach will not get us to silverware, or indeed good football, but maybe it will be enough to get us into the top-four this season. I doubt it, but hey we are on this ride so we may as well fully experience it!

Despite the conceptional vulnerability of our game against the Frankfurters, there were many very good individual performances. This time nobody made a big mistake in defence and especially our goalkeeper, Martinez, was in splendid form. Our midfielders made fine runs into the box and produced many key passes and our main attackers – Saka and Auba – put their names on the scoresheet. So it will be interesting to see what Emery will do today in terms of his starting-11, especially if we take into account that we are playing Forest in just 50 hours after the game.

It is of course OGAAT (one game at a time) and a win today is badly needed. For this we need fresh legs and players who are in form, so on the basis of this I would go for:

I would rest Kola as we will need him to be at his best/ fit v Manchester United in a week’s time (Tierney is close to his first proper PL game but surely the Old Toilet encounter would come to soon). I also want to give Mustafi another game, but as RFB and not CB. Luiz is our leader and Big Sok returns, but if Chambers gets another game it would be fine with me too.

Xhaka is our organiser, our conductor, so he needs to play and I would love it if we once again played Torreira and Willock in midfield: XTW gives us everything you need from a midfield imo. However, I could also live with Guendo starting in this one, as long as Emery does not leave either Xhaka or Torreira out.

Up front it should be our big guns: Auba and Pepe, but it would also be great to give Saka another start after his phenomenal performance in Frankfurt. Auba is on a hot streak but we must be careful with him, given Laca’s injury and the Mancs encounter being around the corner. I am tempted to start with Pepe up top and Saka next to him/on the wing…

This should be an interesting game to watch but unfortunately it is not on TV. Here is hoping for a more mature performance and a very important win.

COYGs!!

TotalArsenal.

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105 Responses to Arsenal v Villa: Pepe or Saka, Willock or Guendo, Big Sok or Chambers. Line-up/Preview

  1. Gino92 says:

    TA,

    Thanks for your honest assessment in this match preview. I am not even going to try to predict the starting lineup for today’s game, as Emery is always “mixing and matching” the team to adapt to the given opponent no matter who it is rather than selecting a team (based on our own strength) that can impose our game on the opponent.

    I’ve just read a transcript of Emery’ pre-match presser and he said that playing out from the the back (on goal kicks) IS our identity. Well, I guess that settles it then. We should all just get with the program and deal with it. I personally don’t think this should be our identity (I see it as lunacy) since I don’t believe we have the right type of players for it. I would feel way more comfortable with it if Santi Cazorla was still with us. Though he is very small in stature, Santi is very intelligent and rarely ever lose the ball cheaply. Plus being ambidextrous and very accurate with short and long passes would have greatly benefited us this season with what Emery is trying to do, especially with so many opposing team players camped around our box. Regardless, I prefer we lose the ball in the opponent’s half than in our own box, but this is Emery’s show and this is how he wants the team to play so I will support the players in this crazy endeavor while holding my breath each time we have a goal kick. Not really a good thing for my blood pressure but hey, what can I do about it? 😬

    This is only match day 5 but already, the gap is slowly widening. I am fully aware that there is no way in hell for us to win the championship this season, but I want us to at least contend and narrow the gap with Liverpool and Man City because I think we have a wonderful squad. We just need to be confident, show passion and believe in our own abilities. A win today is a MUST. I have a strong feeling that Nicolas Pepe will finally get on the scoresheet today. He may even get a brace. 🤞

    Go Gunners!

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Great stuff, Ginooooh.

    Yes Santi fits this playing out of the back very well, and we don’t have a similar player. But playing Xhaka and Torreira close together will also do the trick, I think. Good shout for Pepe, it would be nice if he could score today, but I am not too fussed. The man is quality and the goals will come sooner or later.

  3. PE says:

    TA .. good preview, good team also. But I doubt if Emery will reintroduce Musti to the Emirate that quickly. To me it’s a good call to have him there when it is Pepe in front of the FB. Pepe is at his best when really wide meaning the need for stretching the field with the full back is reduced. Also Pepe appears not so good at helping out defensively so him and Niles don’t make a good combination. Chambers might be the man there.

    As Gino referenced, playing out from the back is now part of our identity. Emery must be thirsting for Holding who is such an intelligent and assured passer of the ball. The fact that he did not show up at all on Thursday tells me he might have been earmarked for today’s game.

    Against Watford Leno was passing almost exclusively to Sokratis, despite Luiz being a better passer. I believe that was because our left side had the weak Kola link who is so restricted in his passing angles. I wonder how it would be managed today. I suspect when Leno gives to Luiz (or Holding) he’d mostly go long.

    I wonder if Emery would go 2 games without fielding Guendz. Maybe he’d rest Xhaka on the bench.

    ~~~~~~~~~Leno~~~~~~~~~~
    Chamb~~Luiz~~~Holding~~Kola
    ~~~~~Torreira~~~Guendz~~~~
    Pepe~~~~~~Ozil~~~~~~~Nelson
    ~~~~~~~~Aubameyang~~~~~~

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers PE, it is not about what Emery will do but what I would do. Chambers and Holding can play together v Nottingham is my thinking. 🙂

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    I also expect Guendo to start, PE, but it is unlikely for Xhaka to be on the bench.

  6. jw1 says:

    Solid TA, thanks!
    Hard to peg Emery right now. Though, feel the mid-week League Cup tilt is where we’ll see Matteo, Saka, and he-who-played-OK at Frankfurt. Willock was solid on Thursday– so he goes again. Pepe needs this start to ready for OT next week. Prefer the less-adventurous Chambers at RB. But AMN seems likely. Likely to be a low-scoring affair as AV has scored 4, given 6 in five matches.

    Leno
    AMN-Papa-Holding-Kola
    Torreira-Xhaka-Willock
    Ozil (Ceballos)
    Pepe-Auba

    jw1

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Id be happy with that line-up, JW, Very Happy… Is Holding fit enough to start, though? You may know more than me… 🙂

  8. Reddeko Redme says:

    this is exactly the best starting XI we need EMERY to select.
    You should have been Arsenal manager.

  9. LE GALL says:

    15:16
    rashford out, injured
    won’t be fit next week; too bad: i would have loved rob to pay him back for the cowardly tackle that ruled our lad out for so long …

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Leno, AMN, Sok, Luiz, Kola, Guendo, Xhaka, Ceballos, SAKA, Pepe, Auba

  11. LE GALL says:

    16:30
    leno
    mniles-sokratis-luiz-kolasinac
    guendouzi-xhaka
    pépé-ceballos-saka
    auba
    can’t stand the way ue has been humiliating mesut for 15 months
    how long will it take him to admit joe is better than matteo?
    COYG anyway

  12. PE says:

    Saka starts. Thsts a good call. It tells me I don’t know the first thing about Emery yet.

  13. Akan says:

    Xhaka is the problem,, he cannot perform at the level of the premier league. Maitland Niles is being wasted and his career ruined by Arsenal’s insistence of trying to turn him into a backup right back for Bellerin. He is a far better player now than Xhaka will ever be

  14. PE says:

    MU down 2-0. Into injury time.

  15. Gino92 says:

    Poor Mesut Ozil! What’s he gotta do to get some game time with Emery? A great talent, an assist master and a pre-assist machine like that being shunned and wasted away by Emery. I don’t understand it at all. Very sad!

  16. goonereris says:

    These are the selections for the teams, as confirmed:
    Arsenal XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Nelson, Aubameyang, Pepe.

    Aston Villa XI: Heaton, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Taylor, Luiz, Grealish, McGinn, El Ghazi, Trezeguet, Wesle​

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    I am not excited about that line up. Once again Emery does not play Xhaka and Torreira together and there is no Willock either. No Ozil is of course a disgrace – Ceballos nor Guendouzi are anywhere near his level and experience. Saka is a populist choice, which is of course a clever move by Emery. I expect us to open the shooting range and hope to shoot better than the Villans. Enjoy!

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Hope you enjoyed the F1, 84. Too many safety cars for my liking but what a nice city at night time. 🙂

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Emery approach in a nutshell 😀 😀

  20. goonereris says:

    Oh? So, it’s Saka and not Nelson? Some papers carried the latter; maybe, a late decision by Emery. Well, if Nelson wants it badly enough, he knows what to do. He is better than he’s been showing lately.

  21. Erik the Red says:

    Exciting team. Saka was MotM midweek and deserved to start this evening. As to Ozil – there must be something other than his fitness/form, the man is head and shoulders our best MF as well as being our biggest earner.

    Douzi, Xhaka, Ceballos is an attacking MF, should be good.

    PEA to score.

    Spurs and MU lose – an AFC win would be the hatrick

  22. goonereris says:

    Granit Xhaka has to avoid the customary red card from Jonathan Moss. The midfielders need to keep a keen eye on Jack Grealish. He can be a real live wire.

  23. Erik the Red says:

    I have a terrible dodgy stream but so far it looks as though we are counting the tactic of allowing as many shots as possible from outside the area.

    Douzi having an poor start to the game, so is AMN

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Well we really only ever play one good half per game… so let’s hope it will be so again today. Things can only get better…

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    Erik, I have a perfect stream and believe me I’d sooner it was a dodgy one!! This is so hard to watch!

    AMN sent off for two stupid fouls, Villa’s goal was as easy as posting a letter, they simply slotted a pass through our stagnant excuse for a defense……………… Thank goodness I have a bottle of red to keep me company.

  26. PE says:

    1 goal down. 1 man down. No energy.

  27. Erik the Red says:

    Dreadful so far. What was AMN doing making a tackle like that on the half way line when on a yellow card?

  28. LE GALL says:

    ht
    nightmare on kornsey road
    not even angry, feelin’ very sad, actually
    moss … yep, but i’d love the wenger out brigade to remind us of The Great Man’s stats against promoted teams
    maybe the following XI could get us something today, eventually:
    leno
    sokratis-luiz-kolasinac
    nelson-willock-ceballos-saka
    özil
    aubameyang
    … should mesut feel like saving his abuser’s ass; if you were him, would you, friends??
    anyway, ue won’t pick it
    freddie has to take over

  29. Jnyc says:

    Don’t have the game to watch live, hoping to watch a happy replay after. the game that’s on .. Chelsea Liverpool. Less stressful anyway.

  30. goonereris says:

    It’s disheartening to watch us look so toothless and with no fear factor. That 90 minutes played in Germany is getting to Auba (he may not know it and we have little choice, by the way) as he has looked tentative, physically weak and listless all round.

    Pepe needs to be doing a bit more in a game like this; Saka is calmer (for obvious reasons; no expectations on him and all that…) in possession and is looking to make things happen. Now we are down a man, we would be aiming for a draw, knowing (well, starting to know) how Emery thinks. Bring on Chambers and Ozil, somehow. Would also like to see how Martinelli comes in these situations. I feel he can play today and do a job.

    The way we play, these days, doesn’t fill one with optimism, to be honest. We need someone to take the game by the scruff and drive the team forwards. Who is going to stand up? Anything short of that, it will be a home loss against a promoted side. An anathema for this club.

  31. Gino92 says:

    Can things get any worse for us? That’s what happens when you hire an average manager/head coach for a talented team. We definitely deserve a better head coach. Sad to say, but I agree with some who believe that Emery has reached his ceiling and cannot take Arsenal higher (than 4th place, and that’s even debatable). We are a big club and need a big time manager.

    So many things to ponder… Here is hoping for a better second half though it will be very difficult down to 10 men. Can we ever sort out our defending for once? Beyond disappointed in Emery!

  32. jw1 says:

    PEN for Guen. 1-1 First goal for Pepe.
    Perhaps we should just line up with 10 every week.
    The attack looks so much better when players are allowed to play.

    jw1

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Is anybody watching the match today? I just heard that Guendouzi won a pen and that Pepe converted it… for 1-1…

    Now they’re saying that Villa have scored again so now it’s 1-2…

    How about some play-by-play from the guys who have the game…

  34. Gino92 says:

    PATHETIC DEFENSE!

    ONE STEP FORWARD, TEN STEPS BACKWARDS.

    #EMERYOUT

  35. Simba says:

    Emery is simply not good enough. For teams like Villa yes

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    J-Dub, do you have the game on?… If so, keep us posted…

    Also, in our little debate about “smart observers,” (somehow) you got my message almost exactly wrong…

    I see no upside in Emery (haven’t since about this time LAST season)…I was (only) talking about what will (actually) happen (in the real world–i.e., not what we’d both LIKE to see happen)…

    Anyhow, that’s something for another time (or something to just forget)… What’s the latest from the match?…

  37. jw1 says:

    With 10– Arsenal are playing the free-est form of football since Emery arrived.
    Guendouzi is carrying the ball forward and linking with the attack. He missed a cannon shot from about 22yds taking a diving save from Heaton– that would have levelled.

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anybody (who has the game on)? ‘Eris?… GN5?

    I assume others (Gino, Simba for sure…) are just reacting to the scoreline…

    Kante scores a nice solo goal for Chelsea so there’s a bit of drama on my screen…

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    Thanks J-dub… Keep ’em coming…

  40. Gino92 says:

    A man down and chasing the game and you don’t bring on Ozil, you bring on Willock. Tells me all I need to know about our head coach.

  41. jw1 says:

    Chambers from the top of box deflected wide. Nothing from the corner.
    Villa are gassed. they didn’t expect to run this long.

    Callum Chambers 2-2!

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arsenal have scored to level it?… Or so says the tiny scoreline up in the corner of the Chavs-Pool game…

    Anyone?…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    I seem to only get your posts (J-Dub) when I post my inquiries… So here goes…

  44. jw1 says:

    Chambers pulls down a long cross on the right– puts it in toward goal– pinballs back to him and he deflects outside of boot into the far side of the net into the roof.

  45. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not that time…

    Chambers scored from open play? Now they’re saying that PEA has put us ahead…

  46. jw1 says:

    Auba fouled top of box. Auba or Pepe.

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice description, JW… Thanks… And the next one?…

  48. Gino92 says:

    Aubameyang makes it 3-2!

  49. jw1 says:

    Auba converts 3-2 to the good guys!

  50. jw1 says:

    Auba’s low shot goes around the wall and hits the net. Heaton never moved.

  51. Gino92 says:

    Aubameyang makes it 3-2! Way to fight back and mask Emery’s failures.

  52. jw1 says:

    Villa now pressing in our end.
    Guendouzi fouled by a boot in the face on a bounding ball. That was dangerous play if ever it was.

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, was the FK made possible by Villa not knowing if it would be Pepe or PEA taking it? It sounds like it was from a central spot…

  54. Jnyc says:

    Xhaka haters coming out already.

  55. jw1 says:

    Papa may have had the ball hit the outside of his arm in the box–Jon Moss waves play on.

  56. jw1 says:

    5 minutes added

  57. jw1 says:

    Villa free kick from 35yds– Leno skies over the pack to claim the ball

  58. jw1 says:

    Torreira fouled roughly on a collision. Free kick spends time.
    YC to Leno time wasting

  59. jw1 says:

    Had Torreira been unselfish we might have had a fourth.
    Skies it well over.

  60. jw1 says:

    Play all round our box until Villa handle the ball– another FK to Arsenal.

  61. jw1 says:

    On the verge of extra time expiring.

  62. jw1 says:

    Auba with a professional foul at midfield.
    And that? Is that.

    3-2. So improbably.

  63. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey, they’re gonna show me the final 30 seconds…

    The whistle goes…and the boys on the pitch look pretty pleased with their efforts…

    Quite a few empty seats down low in our stadium…and the (silly) Neil Diamond song blasts… “Good times never seemed so good…” Hmmm….

  64. LE GALL says:

    what a great squad we have …

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    J-Dub… Where was the play-by-play at the beginning? Clearly you’ve got the chops (to help us blinded by the pay-wall)…

  66. jw1 says:

    On that effort?
    Arsenal go 4th in the table.

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    We’re currently 4th (on GD–ahead of West Ham, behind Leicester, everybody on 11 pts)…

    So, why the long faces?… 😀

  68. PE says:

    Ended, a good weekend with 3 pts and all our rivals losing. A brave performance but otherwise a lot is still missing.

    I single out Guendz for praise for his fighting spirit.

  69. jw1 says:

    I fell asleep and awoke at half to see the woefulness of the match.
    Checked in here. Then decided to go find my own ‘dodgy link’ (which are pretty reliable actually. Did have to switch sources a few times though).

    That was right about the time you posted HT.

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Never in doubt! 😆

  71. GunnerN5 says:

    Well. well, well our team showed the kind of desire and spirit that has been lacking – LONG MAY IT LAST!!

  72. jw1 says:

    Long faces?
    Because Emery isn’t bright enough to let his players play.
    He should field a starting X next week. Can’t be any worse than getting our hats handed to us– by a pair of table-bottom teams with a total of 6 pts in 12-combined matches.

    Today was inspiring from the players POV.
    Disheartening in just every other way.

    jw1

  73. GunnerN5 says:

    TA, I’ll send you something on the Forest game later on today, but it may be brief.

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Inneresting story there, JW…

    I’m hopeful to see some highlights here in a moment…

    Meanwhile, my wife has just come back from the trails with a story about a mountain biker going endo right in front of her in reaction to our puppy-dog… (Everybody was OK, in the end…Sorta–maybe–like the Arsenal?…)

    😀

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    It is the Emery roller-coaster and this time we are on the winning side again. Total madness but a win is a win is a win… but that feeling of deep unease will of course not go away. Every body digit crossed for our next PL game at the Toilet.

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Brief is okay, GN5. Cheers. We can all add our own knowledge/experiences of NF…

  77. Gino92 says:

    Yes LE GALL, we do indeed have a great squad. We’ve all been saying that. If only we could iron out a few things…

    Never in doubt, TA?😬😬😉 That was totally “heart in mouth” stuff, buddy! Nice sarcasm though, haha. I’m so glad we could all relax a bit now and wonder wtf just happened. I swear man, supporting Arsenal is not good for one’s blood pressure. 😄

  78. 17highburyterrace says:

    No, there is nothing OK about the Arsenal at the moment…except our spot in the table…

    It all begs the question–about results being all that matter…

  79. jw1 says:

    Results are fine HT. Good, actually. What we all hope for.
    It’s everything else ‘that matters’ (for me).

    jw1

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey, me too, JW… I got just about no joy from our “22 games unbeaten” last season, for example, and then things (the results, at least) tailed off…

    I gotta say…I’d expect things (the “good” results we’ve got at the moment) to head south again as the players tire (again) of the coaching… But, with the other “big” teams (Chelsea, ManU, Totts) having trouble getting their own results, it might just suffice (for Emery, for some Gooners)…

  81. goonereris says:

    Had to catch my breath back. I was on my feet for the last 25 minutes, kicking, heading sliding, blocking, tackling and shooting. It was exhilarating for me. Hats off to Guendouzi for playing like he was possessed and didn’t wish to lose. Papa for taking control of guiding the players in the dark arts of slowing things down and directing where the ball should be played. And then, Auba worked himself to the ground, defensively speaking. He kept tracking back and even took a yellow for the team.

    John Moss does enjoy penalizing us though…….

  82. jw1 says:

    A few bits of gristle-y Opta stats to chew on:

    Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa was only the ninth occasion in Premier League history a team has won a match after receiving a red card while losing – three of those wins have been by Arsenal (also v Derby in 1997 and Bolton in 2008).

    Nicolas Pepe has converted 10 penalties since the start of last season within the top five European leagues; the joint-most of any player in this period, along with Luka Milivojevic and Fabio Quagliarella.

    The Gunners have only kept one clean sheet in their last 10 games against newly-promoted teams in the Premier League (1-0 v Huddersfield in May 2018), including none in their seven such games under Unai Emery.

    jw1

  83. jw1 says:

    Eris– on the feed I had (with no sound)– I’d begun typing-to-post that Auba was booked for simulation. It looked that way to me without any other inputs.

    jw1

  84. GunnerN5 says:

    17HT, Emery’s type of football will never suffice for me but the last 25 minutes or so today lifted my spirits and hopefully Emery may have seen ANOTHER side to the game of football – it’s called ATTACK.

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    They’re still holding out on giving us any highlights from the match…

    They are, however, showing some Sky Sports discussion with Roy Keane and Jose Mourinho lamenting–in the most dire of terms–the state of the current ManU team… Wowsa…

    Arsenal gonna go up there and pick the (low hanging) fruit?… Gotta wait all the way until next Monday (night)…

  86. jw1 says:

    Rashford was injured today.
    Looks like a hamstring or other strain/pull.

    jw1

  87. GunnerN5 says:

    The sad reality is that Liverpool and Man City are in a different stratosphere than the rest of the EPL also rans……………..

    On a different thought trend – does any body else wonder why a 72million pound winger (Pepe) is not any better than Theo? I know it’s early days but all he (and frankly) Cebba have shown us are a few fancy side steps. I’m almost apologetic before I type this but – is it possible that the skills are being coached out of them?

    You see on reflection (after the euphoria) of the last 25 minutes today – it was really piss poor football that was played by the Arsenal. The last 25 minutes was almost like the players just said “Sod the coach lets just have a go”

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    Finally some (quick) highlights… First off, I liked Chambers finish… AMN’s second yellow seems strange. He clearly won the ball (then got raked by the studs of the Villa guy)…but they’re talking like it was a clear cut decision…Please explain?…

    Guendo’s pen seems pretty well-won, but Pepe’s pen looked quite nervy with the keeper diving not far over it. Then, on PEA’s FK the Villa player in the wall turns away from it?… Can’t say the same about Sok’s arm on the ball late on. Isn’t that an easy one for VAR?

    In other words, plenty of talking points from the game itself, not to mention the cries (SCREAMS!!) about the manager (depending on the scoreline?)…

    Ah well, it all turns out OK for the Arsenal… but things feel (extremely) far from happy…

    There’s sunshine to enjoy here… Laters…

  89. GunnerN5 says:

    Opta stats

    Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa was only the ninth occasion in Premier League history a team has won a match after receiving a red card while losing – three of those wins have been by Arsenal (also v Derby in 1997 and Bolton in 2008).
    Aston Villa haven’t won any of their last five Premier League away games when scoring first (D1 L4), suffering defeats in each of their two such games in 2019-20 (1-3 v Spurs and 2-3 v Arsenal).
    The Gunners have only kept one clean sheet in their last 10 games against newly-promoted teams in the Premier League (1-0 v Huddersfield in May 2018), including none in their seven such games under Unai Emery.
    Nicolas Pepe has converted 10 penalties since the start of last season within the top five European leagues; the joint-most of any player in this period, along with Luka Milivojevic and Fabio Quagliarella.

  90. goonereris says:

    No, jw1. He tackled a villa player as he tracked back with Villa on the break.

    Yeah, GN5; hopefully, Emery sees that his team can be dangerous when they play with freedom and no tactical inhibitions.

  91. goonereris says:

    GN5 wrote: On a different thought trend – does any body else wonder why a 72million pound winger (Pepe) is not any better than Theo? I know it’s early days but all he (and frankly) Cebba have shown us are a few fancy side steps. I’m almost apologetic before I type this but – is it possible that the skills are being coached out of them?

    I must confess I expected a quicker adaptation period for Pepe, after watching his YouTube highlights and a couple of games in Ligue 1, where he was tearing things up last season. He looked strong on the ball and very fleet-footed, with such great accuracy in his shooting. When I recall a certain Frenchman who joined the Arsenal (not for big money, agreed -£11m was big at the time, others will argue) in August of 1999 and looked poor for his first 8 games, but received support of the fans anyway, and went on to be arguably our best player ever, I feel positive about Pepe. He will come good. He needs to score a couple of goals and assist in a big game. However, he needs to be stronger and lend support to his full back a lot more, if on the wings.

    As for Ceballos, I like him for his willingness to track runners and for his relative sure footed-ness. He is another who needs to bulk up.

  92. jw1 says:

    Best Take, Headline Category:

    “A Fantastic Awful Game.”

    jw1

  93. njk84sg says:

    Cunning Chambo saved us! We were all over the place but Chambers is very good today.
    The penalty was a touch and go situation and Pepe will be scoring more goals to come.

    Chambers had scored the type of goal that he scored yesterday for us and we were lucky to have him available on the bench. Will Mustafi be able to do the same and scoring the same goal? I doubt that very much.

    Anyway, the equaliser did help us with our mentality to fight for the win, but then again the tactics were in shambles. Absolute shambles.

  94. goonereris says:

    Jk, I get your point but don’t forget they are two different types of players, Musti and Chambo. Besides, without even checking, I am pretty sure Mustafi has scored more for us than Chambo.

    Let’s say he, rather than Chambers, came on, who is to say Mustafi doesn’t make the error leading to their second goal, as Chambers did? Anyway, these are all “ifs and buts” type discussion, but you get my drift. Each one brings a different game and care. We were lucky it was Chambers, given our need at the time.

  95. Admir says:

    I will take three points from the game and the battling spirit to get them after being a man and a goal down on the break…but I really don’t see where Emery is heading with this team. How we have just one defeat from the opening six games is beyond me. We are two points off from Man CIty.

    Xhaka and Guendouzi can’t play together. I’m trying to get the logic for fielding those two next to each other and it goes like this:

    Emery knows Guendouzi can’t defend or pass but needs his drive and his bite in the midfield.

    Emery knows Xhaka can’t defend and is too slow but needs his passing range and physicality in the midfield.

    Emery knows Torreira is the best defender among the three but if he puts him on the pitch with Xhaka, then there is no drive forward Guendouzi offers and if he fields him next to Guendouzi, we don’t have anyone with the passing ability from the deeper role. If he had put all three next to each other, our attack would have been cut off from the midfield.

    Anyway, back on the last game.

    Guendouzi, Chambers and Auba won the game with individual efforts. Lacazette’s injury came as a big blow for our attack as he is the one who really plays football and in those circumstances, Mesut had to play in order to provide more creativity. We play at the Emirates, we play against the club that Mesut has molested in the past and I really expected him to start yesterday. Huge opportunity missed to reintegrate him with the team.

    Maitland Niles should never play as RB again. The kid is a midfielder without a defensive instinct in himself. Either Mustafi or Chambers would be a natural replacement for Bellerin (especially if Arsenal want to sell Mustafi). When Bellerin returns, the position is all his and maybe we will finally see something more from Pepe. Right now, Pepe looks like a poor man’s Gervinho and it’s a good thing Auba left him a penalty to take.

    Kolašinac is not the sharpest tool in the shed and I think Tierney’s return makes him nervous. He knows he has to perform to keep his place in the first team and yet his best might not be enough to do so.

    Sokratis is a disaster waiting to happen now that we got Luiz next to him. They simply don’t work well together as all Sokratis’ flaws are now even more visible. I’d go with all-English central defence and persist with it. Maybe it’s our Keown-Adams back-line in making and we are missing the right moment to establish it. Speaking of CBs, Tyrone Mings might be the next 80m CB in Premier League, provided that his injury problems are history.

    Willock has something of Rosicky (which is a huge compliment!) in sense that he doesn’t hold back and has his eyes set on the opponents’ goal. He didn’t get scared with Liverpool’s pressure, the best in the recent history of the game, and he might be the closest thing we have to replace Rambo.

    Saka had a promising baptism of fire in the Premier League. If AMN hadn’t been sent off, Saka would have stayed on the pitch in the second half and, who knows. He looks like a brighter prospect than Nelson at the moment, which should also serve as a warning to Nelson.

    Finally, Aubameyang. I have criticized him a lot for his ability to miss sitters but this season he has been a leader on the pitch. Scoring goals against the run of play, scoring goals for all our points (!) this season and helping his team-mates to play their best football…he was a real captain yesterday. He looks like Van Persie in his last Arsenal season.

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment, Admir. I gather you were able to watch the game live? Pb is working on player ratings and maybe some insights and that will be our next post… I suggest to copy your comment into the new post as soon as it is published.

    GN5, I will issue your NF preview tomorrow if that is okay?

  97. Admir says:

    TA

    After a long legal battle, the biggest Bosnian provider BH Telecom (the one I have) has finally got rights to include Sport Klub TV channels in their offer (the battle had lasted since that day when we beat Newcastle 1-0 at St James Park in 2013-14 till 1st September this year). Sport Klub broadcast (almost) every Premier League game live on one of their ten channels. We were on SK 8 yesterday.

    I must admit I missed a bit of the first half due to demands of my little girl (15 months old) who wanted to take her nervous father out as he was murmuring to himself: “Get AMN out, Emery, he will get second yellow card!” 🙂

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha, nice to hear you have a young daughter, Admir. Are you turning her into a little Gooner. What is her name, Lanesra? 🙂

  99. GunnerN5 says:

    That’s fine TA, it’s always your choice,

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