Ideal Lineup for Arsenal v Dundalk: ESR, Joe W, Nelson and Eddie All to Play?!

Losing a game we felt Arsenal had a good chance to win will always lead to disappointment, but I am a bit surprised with the more structural nature of the criticism of the manager and the team, not so much on Bergkampesque but on other blogs. Mikel is working on something which is fundamentally different from what we have seen over the last 10 years or so, and it will take time, hard to take losses and feelings of despair before we get there. We either give him the time or not, but if we don’t we will undermine what the gaffer is doing and it will become quickly unsustainable for him and the club.

It is a long journey and we just stopped on one of those filthy rest areas with overflown toilets and rubbish everywhere. It is horrible to have been Vardy-ed but let’s get out the hand-sanitizer, cancel the credit cards, take some refreshments and go again! Victory Through Harmony and all that.

Quote | The Secret to Happiness Is Low Expectations

Just keep those high expectations in check for a while; as a former stalwart on this blog from the lofty tops of Lake Tahoe used to tell us… it’s the key to happiness.

Next up are the Railwaymen of Dundalk and then we have to go to Old Toilet. But OGAAT – one game at a time – of course and, in anticipation of a possible historical post by GN5, let’s for now talk about how we could line up against the Irish High-Flyers on Thursday.

Many are saying this is an opportunity to play some of our promising and exciting youth players, and I agree. We still need a bit of balance through experienced players though, as no team makes it into the UEFA League group stage without being a decent team these days… And we can ill afford another loss tomorrow.

So I welcome your suggestions for your preferred team/formation for Thursday’s game, with ideally some explanations so we know where you are coming from.

I will kick off with my ideal line-up for Thursday (taking into account injuries and potential fatigue of players, as well as the need for a very strong and fresh team on Sunday).

My preferred team:

Another 70 minutes or so for Gabriel should be good for him and Kola and Mustafi have to play (although I would welcome the inclusion of an Academy central defender a lot). To protect the weakish defence, I suggest to start with Partey and Elneny and, once the game is in the bag hopefully, replace them with Willock and ESR to strut their stuff.

AMN and Soares need games and so do Nelson, Eddie and Pepster.

SO this would be my team, but what are your thoughts?!

By TotalArsenal.

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21 Responses to Ideal Lineup for Arsenal v Dundalk: ESR, Joe W, Nelson and Eddie All to Play?!

  1. Tallmany says:

    My thoughts are Runnarson
    Soares Luis Gabriel Kola
    Partey Elheny Ceballos
    Nelson Eddie Pepe
    No mustafhi he’s bait with the ball

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Tallmany, I’d imagine Luiz being unfit for Thursday’s game/ needing to rest for Sunday’s game but good line up with a solid, albeit possibly less attack-minded, midfield.

  3. allezkev says:

    Was the back four a one-off Total or do we revert to type, that’s the question for me?

    You cannot think about this game without having one eye on Old Toilet and a Mike Dean bushwhacking, because OT is absolutely vital, we cannot lose again in the League or the knives will be out and I’m not saying that that should be in any way the right reaction but we do unfortunately have a rather fractious fan base and I’ll leave it there but what on Earth happened to perspective?

    I would be very careful about who plays tomorrow as we need a team that can do a job on Sunday and we are at home and we have a large squad and we’ve won the most difficult game in our group so with the spectre of OT looming we surely must rotate big style?

  4. allezkev says:

    The folly of having an unfit Mari in the EL squad has now come home to bite us as either Saliba or Sokratis could have been involved. I don’t know if Arteta and his staff based that decision on information from the medical team, but for me the whole scenario is a bit of a mess. In January you submit another squad so leaving out Mari would not have a season long effect.

    Mari will be fit I believe by late November so go figure?

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    I think it suits us better to play 3-4-3 right now, but this could change once Holding is back, Kev.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    All these CB injuries, Kev. Tonight we could be playing Mari, Holding and Chambers and be as safe as houses… But they are all out still.

  7. allezkev says:

    According to physio.com Mari and Holding could return around 21st November and Chambers the 3rd December…

  8. pbarany says:

    I would rather go with a 4-3-3 as I don’t think we need 3CBs at home against Dundalk. And I would switch the sides for Pepe and Nelson. So my starting line-up would look something like this:

    –––––––––––Nketiah–––––––––––
    –––Nelson–––––––––––––Pepe––
    –Smith-Rowe––Elneny––Ainsley––
    Kolasinac–Gabriel–Mustafi–Soares
    ––––––––––Rúnarsson–––––––––

    Sorry for staying on the critical side, but I think it was particularly dumb not to include Saliba in the EL squad, as he needs the playing minutes much more than Mustafi; probably more than Gabriel.

  9. Admir says:

    Hello, people.

    I’d prefer a line-up with Pepe on the right and Nelson on the left, Lacazette as our CF (so that h can restore some of his confidence), ESR as our most advanced midfielder, Willock and Elneny in the middle, Soares right, Kolašinac left, Mustafi right CB and Gabriel as the left one. I’d take my chances with a second-choice goalkeeper, whichever. Give Leno a rest. Tell the team to fire at will at the opponents’ goal.

    I was thinking how injuries of our CBs who are good with the ball in their feet regularly haunt us for two years.

    First it was Mustafi who got injured at the end of our successful 20-game streak after his arrival in 2016. We lost the next game to Everton away, our title challenge was done and Mustafi has never recovered his pre-injury form.

    Then it was Holding who got injured at Old Trafford in 2018. He was really good in the early Emery days but once he picked that injury neither our defence nor Holding have fully recovered.

    In the early Arteta days, it was Chambers who picked a serious injury v Chelsea. He wasn’t just the best of our defenders with the ball in his feet, he was also a part of our set-piece strategy (his near post flick-on for Auba led to our goal v Chelsea). Sadly, he is yet to feature in a game for Arsenal and it seems that it will be a year-long absence before we see him in red-and-white again. If we see him.

    Pablo Mari had a decent outing v City before he got injured. Another long-term loss, especially given the fact he’s left-footed which means Arteta has to either use Kolašinac as a make-shift LCB or withdraw Tierney to that position while losing a valuable asset on the flank.

    Now, we lost David Luiz and suddenly our defence was all over the place.

  10. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, like PB, I’m also predicting a back four. My only change from PB’s lineup is Mainsley in for Cedric and I would like to see Willock get a start at CM. I just think he’ll want to have our players adjusting more to a back four and to start hardwiring some habits in, but I can definitely see the counter argument for playing the more familiar 3-4-3.

    On the first piece of the article, all it takes is a good run of form to shoot up the table. It’s fairly congested right now and we’re not that far off. I know there’s still work to do, but we also have to be patient. There’s a lot of new players that we’re trying to integrate right now (Willian, Gabriel, Partey), players that are still relatively new and haven’t even played half a season with the club yet (Tierney), and players that are still returning to form from long-term injury layoffs (Bellerin, Holding, Chambers).

  11. Highbury Harmony says:

    Kev, it’s definitely possible that physio.com is ultimately correct, but it’s interesting to note in arsenal.com’s latest update that Chambers has been in full training for a couple weeks now (I was shocked when I read that last week). Mari and Holding seem to be correct, as they don’t look likely to be integrated into full training until after/during the November International break.

  12. makayah says:

    I really hope we are for the Man U game this weekend they just hammered Leipzig 5 -0. I never understood why Ole was under so much pressure already yet they showed a lot of progress during the summer restart. On their day their attack is fearsome so I’m hoping for a low key, no drama injury free win tomorrow with some of our best players being given a rest while those who do play pick up a bit of chemistry. Really hope Nelson and Pepe can use this as a confidence builder.

  13. makayah says:

    I meant hope we are really up for Man U…

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Not a bad lineup, PB. I think a swap for Pepe might be good for him.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Admir, Laca to start does make sense. The CBs injury story does worry me too.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, absolutely, patience is key, but it seems hard to get these days.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Makayah, that Manure win comes at the wrong time for us. A solid defensive set up is key on a Sunday.

  18. allezkev says:

    Yeah, I saw that HH, Calum was joining in and I’ve seen pics of Martinelli training and that’s fantastic news, I guess it all depends on what their doing, maybe if it’s a discipline with minimal or no contact then that’s fine?

    Really good points Admir and I remember all those injuries and following circumstances especially Holding’s at OT, I still blame Rashford for that and despite his good charity works it still colours my opinion of him.

  19. goonereris says:

    I think unless Partey starts on Thursday, it is likely we start with 3 at the back. Just my reading of the way Arteta sees the team’s balance. I read he now has regrets about not including Saliba in our Europa league squad. A no brainer, if you ask me.

    So, on first viewing, I like the predicted line up. However, not seen enough to feel Arteta will trust the back-up keeper in a game against an unknown quantity, with nothing to lose. We should see Elneny, Willock and possibly, Xhaka in the midfield. Front 3 looks about right, but if Pepe doesn’t pull his weight, Willian to come in for him. There is the possibility we see Laca in the game from the start, just to help him grow some confidence.

    We do need a few players rested and a confidence boosting result to go contend with United, who have been having some good results lately, on Sunday,

  20. goonereris says:

    Oooops! Had that comment lined up yesterday evening but fell asleep, only to wake up this morning to find it was waiting to go.

    Well, what is done is done.

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