Luiz Out: What are Arteta’s Options? Arsenal Line-up v Fulham

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With just 48 hours to go till season kick-off against the Cottages, Arsenal have been dealt a mini-blow: apparently Luiz is injured and could be out for weeks. If this is true, it will provide Mikel with a challenge regarding both how to replace the Brazilian mastermind and how to set up the team. GN5 has produced a fine match preview which we will post tomorrow, but for now let’s have a quick look at Arteta’s options for replacing the curly-haired giant.

I cannot imagine Arteta starting with a backline of four against Fulham. I reckon the manager will stick to our tried and tested 3-4-3 formation and will use his fit and available second option for the central centre-back position, Holding, instead. When fully fit, Mari, could play there too, but for now Holding is the main man. This could mean a start for Big Sok – who apparently is on his way out so maybe not a good idea in case he gets injured – or the young and eager to start Saliba. Or is Chambers fit enough to start a game at a ground he knows very well?

Furthermore, Arteta needs to decide who to play on Holding’s left side and behind him. For continuity more than anything else Martinez is most likely to get the Spaniard’s nod. His LCB options are Tierney, Kola or new signing Gabriel. If Tierney starts as LCB then who will play as left wing back? Kola or Saka would be the obvious choice to make, but we also have AMN available to boss that wing. Holding will need a safe pair of hands and it does look that Tierney would be the strongest option. On the other hand, Gabriel may have played there anyway in Mikel’s plans, and why change it then?

With Luiz out, Xhaka really will have to play despite him having played two tough international games in the last nine days or so. The team – the spine – would lose too much structure without him in the side too. The final big question is who to play next to the Swiss maestro? Ceballos for thrust or Elneny for defensive strength? Or should AMN make what would be a surprise start there? I reckon it will be the young Spaniard to link up with Granit.

There is actually one more big question: will Willian start and who will ‘lose out’, Pepe or Laca? I have got a feeling it will be the latter, but then he can come on as a super-sub when we may need him most. Willian as a ‘false-9’ is my most daring guess, with him playing closer to the midfielders than the other two attackers for most of the game.

Taking it all into account, we may see Arteta start with the following 11 (if two options left sided player is my preference):

But what do you think will be Arteta’s starting 11 alongside the Thames on Saturday morning?

By TotalArsenal.

28 thoughts on “Luiz Out: What are Arteta’s Options? Arsenal Line-up v Fulham

  • Fulham vs Arsenal. Away
    Burnley vs Man U Away
    West Ham vs Newcastle Draw
    Crystal Palace vs Southampton Draw
    Man City vs Aston Villa Home


    Bordeaux vs Lyon. A

  • David Ornstein reporting that Auba is set to sign his new contract. Three year deal that will see him earn more than Ozil. Announcement to come very shortly.

  • Bellerin at right wing back for me Total and AMN on the left, but I like that team, a good balance of experience, understanding and defensive security.

    Martinez has a great connection with the defenders who all speak good English, even Tierney and we’d have Bellerin and Holding on either side of Saliba to help him along, Saliba speaks perfect English as well. Martinez starting in goal would send Aston Villa a message and any other interested club in that if you want Emi you’d better bloody pay a realistic fee for him.

    See how the game is going and how Xhaka is faring and if things are hunky dory we could take him off around the hour mark. Elneny or Torrieira could give us some added energy to see the game out.

    Will Ozil and Guendouzi be involved?

  • Yeah there is Bellerin, Kev, but it looks he really is on the way out. Happy to see him start though.

    I doubt very much that either Ozil or Guendouzi will start but maybe one of them will be on the bench. I would like an Arteta clean slate approach for both of them, as long as they have a positive impact on the rest of the squad.

  • Brain-teaser indeed
    I wouldn’t call this a “mini-blow”, actually, since on a good day (and he had many of them, lately), Luiz has made himself indispensable for his unique combination of skills. On these days, (semi-final against City), he can be a fierce, old-fashioned defender, as comfortable in the air as at ground level, heading and blocking everything away. On the other hand, he was also pivotal in the best team-moves mick’s boys have achieved over the last 3 months (there again, our first goal against city the best example) – they always start with our Brazilian CB sambaing away the high press of the opponents, and putting the team on the right track.
    Unfortunately, no other CB in our squad is endowed with the very same combination of skills; I think Calum would be the closest but I don’t think Mick will pick him before Leicester in the carabao.
    Saliba looks very promising indeed, but I doubt he will be picked for the first game of the new season; after the charity game, eris pointed out the importance of this win: I think this is also true of this Fulham game, even a draw is not an option, and I think Mick will not tamper with our hard-won certainties.
    One of them is the 3-4-3, as you mentioned TA, and had everyone been available, my guess would have been:
    luiz being sidelined, what are the options now?
    The most obvious to me would be Big Sok, so David’s defending job might be covered; but I think mikel might rue the loss of David’s first touch, first pass, more – the way they ignite the whole team – and the only player in the squad who, imo, could play that very specific part, is … Mo Elneny, which is why, in the end, I’d bet a few bucks on:
    But as I said, this is a hell of a brain-teaser …

  • Great stuff, LeG. Wow Mo El as CCB is refreshing and quite left field. It could well work given his qualities. But that attack… so last season! we need to see willianoh!!

  • I know, TA
    Adrian Clarke agrees with you: he’s full of praise for the “still-too-blue-for-my-taste” boy (and has the man’s 2019-2020 stats to back this up).
    But … I’m afraid I’m too old to change now, and I’ve always preferred year pups to show patience, respect, take a few blows, before being regarded as true members of the pack – let alone elbowing old-timers out.

  • I’m hearing that Daniel Ballard could be off to Blackpool on loan?

    That’s true GN5, it’s when you reach the stage of looking in the mirror to comb your hair and you see your Grandad looking back at you… ☹️

  • Another long-range prediction box ticked. One I’d touted coming into focus several years back:
    Arsenal to centrally deploy StatDNA. Using historical data collection and grading– to model player performance projection.

    Likely projections were evidentiary in signing Willian. Seems also likely why Arsenal are on the cusp of giving 31-year-old Auba a 4-year contract.

    Been a solid 10 months toward fulfilling hopes and satisfying expectations.


  • Believe it or not, the last few games Luiz was the one giving me the feeling of stability. I do like Holding, and of all years to bring in 2 new central defenders, with no real pre-season. It’s never simple for Arsenal. I also don’t mind Mo as an emergency defender.

    I’m hearing rumours about Emi being sold. Too bad if true, he was my first choice, even though I’m happy with Leno. I think Leno, with a real manager giving discipline to defenders and midfielders, will not have as many scrambling saves to make. When I would watch the matches under Emery, and see how the sloppy and immature play would leave our keeper in ridiculous messes. I wondered if he regretted the move to Arsenal, it was so bad. To be positive, I don’t think there’s a keeper around who could’ve handled the situation better.

  • Agreed J, Luiz gave us stability and his weaknesses were covered by other players and the way we played. But the same goes for Holding in that role.

    That is also a nice tribute to Leno and spot on.

  • Olivier Giroud looking set to move to Juventus for a fee of around €5m, that closes the door on Lacazette moving to Turin I’d imagine.

  • What a journey our bearded giant from the Alps has made, if that one goes ahead. He could still win the CL and the European Championship with France and then he can say ‘I won it all’.

  • Well he’s never had to depend on pace Total so as long as keeps his fitness he can keep going for another 3 years at least, which is 3 possible Serie A titles, regular CL involvement and yeah the Euros as Deschamps loves him…

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