Arsenal v R Vienna Preview/ Lineup: Balo or Eddie, ESR in hole, Mari and Mustafi central CBs?

These Europa League games are a godsend for Arteta as well as us fans. An island of peace, bounty and beauty in a sea of discontent and shortsightedness. The remaining two games are inconsequential as we have already qualified for the next round, but they still offer something to look forward to. Because what is football other than us enjoying the ball being kicked around in clever and beautiful ways with us hopefully winning in the end? Live in the moment and enjoy what we experience today.

Arteta has a chance to try out some new players and to play some of his fringe stars v Rapid Vienna. He will also be able to make five subs and so he really is presented with a great learning opportunity for himself as well as a great number of youngsters. With the U23 not playing till 18 December, he can also pick some players from the strong squad that beat nr2 in the league, Derby County.

Your guess is as good as mine regarding who will play but I reckon it will be something like this (ignore my initial thought of Saliba possibly starting…. he is unavailable!):

Likely starts for Mari and Mustafi and AMN may also start, but I expect him to play on Sunday. Elneny could do with a game (for sixty minutes as he will be needed at the urinal as well), and it would be good to see ESR in ‘the hole’ again. Nelson and Pepe are likely starters and I guess Eddie will start, unless Mikel wants him to play against the Spuddies as well. In that case, Balogun may get a start and that would be great.

Players to come on will vary from Xhaka or AMN to stabilise our midfield, and then a number of the youngsters who shone against Derby: the likes of Taylor-Hart, Nikolaj Moller, Ben Cottrell and Miguel Azeez. Maybe Arteta will even go all adventurous and play all of them from the start?

I guess for most of us goes that the more youngsters he plays the more we will look forward to the game. Still, a little bit of stability is required so the inclusion of Elneny, Mustafi, Mari and Ceballos would make sense imho.

Tonight we can forget about everything and just enjoy the very essence of our favourite hobby: 11 men doing the shirt proud with adventurous and attacking football without a care in the world. Bliss.

Song to be played before the boys leave the dressing room (is there a more energetic song?):

Whole Lotta Rosie – YouTube

Let’s show those Viennese Waltzers what ‘Rapid’ really means! 🙂

By TotalArsenal.

39 thoughts on “Arsenal v R Vienna Preview/ Lineup: Balo or Eddie, ESR in hole, Mari and Mustafi central CBs?

  • TA

    Saliba is not registered and was not eligible to enter our B list.

    A draw would secure us a top spot and even a 0-1 defeat wouldn’t hurt us in that regard.

    On the other hand, this season is generally a transitional one due to pandemic, a shitty year that has every chance to turn into an even shittier (not just football-wise) so we should not take any result as the end of the world.


    Cedricsson Mustafsson Marisson Kolasson

    Ceballosson Elnenisson

    Pepesson Rowesson Nelsson


  • Cheers Admir, that one slipped from my memory. Saliba is indeed not included in the squad.

    I like your inclusion of Laca, but only if he can be bothered. He wasnt last week so I much prefer to see Balogun or Eddie, or both in a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, starting tonight.

    You are spot on re the exceptional circumstances of this season and putting things in perspective.

  • I have to admit, that I think that it was a serious case of shortsightedness to not register Saliba and to instead register Pablo Mari, I mean it’s bloody December, Saliba has been pretty much inactive and so has Mari so we lost two players, I see no sense in that at all…

  • Yep Kev, it does not make much sense. I guess Arteta was expecting Saliba to go back out on loan but that did not work out for some reason. It would have been a brilliant game for him.

  • Registering an injured player has to be risky Total, maybe the prognosis from the medical team was more positive but even so it’s a risk.
    Didn’t the transfer window close before Arteta needed to make a decision on the 25 squad and that makes it even more odd…

    Hopefully he’ll have learnt from this experience, because that’s the thing he’s still very inexperienced and he is leaning on others advice I’d have thought.

    Azeez, Cottrell, Chambers, Mari, Balogun, the Hale Enders, tonight is really interesting and I’m really looking forward to the game.

    Moller on the bench would be great.

  • That is a nice line-up, TA.
    I expect different CB’s though.
    Mari played only 45 minutes for the U23 team, I think it would be too early for him. And we are going to need Mustafi for the NLD – I predict Luiz will not make the travel squad due to his injury. And it is time to position Willock back for the EL line-up, so my version will look like this:


    I secretly hope for an Auba–Laca–Nelson attacking trio against Tottenham, so I keep them out today. Balogun should be involved later in the game, and I expect Cottrell to replace AMN. I can imagine Azeez playing a small part, but don’t think Cirjan, Tylor-Hart or Möller will join. Maybe Holding will feature if Sokratis will not get the nod.

  • Had forgotten about Chambers, Kev. Would make sense for him to play ahead of Mustafiski. Arteta is still learning, Kev, that is for sure and does not come as a surprise! 🙂

  • Cheers PB, I think Sokratis has been mothballed for a movement away from the club next month. I see no reason to leave WIllock out of the PL squad but he will surely shine again if he gets played.

    Yeah Luiz could well be out but then a week’s rest could do him good. My expected line up for the Spuds game is:

    Bels – Hold – Luiz – Gab – Tierney
    ——— Elneny——–Xhaka——-

  • I’m glad that Arteta is talking about a back four as the way he wants to go and will almost certainly use a back four this evening because I reckon it’ll be ‘Back to the Future’ this Sunday with a back three. The NLD is gonna be like a cup tie, it’s a one-off, it stands alone, so maybe we might turn up this time, even if I’m not confident?

  • Back four is okay but do we have the players for it? It really exposes the likes of Bellerin, Holding, Luiz and the like.

    NLD is going to be horrible game and we must not try to play football against the Spuds like Man City did. We are away and don’t need to entertain anybody. Just sit back and play on the rebound/counter and then we have a chance to actually win it. If we go and play footie against them I fear the worst.

  • This is a game Mikel can use to experiment. Not quite a throwaway, so he won’t let the starters take it lightly, that’s not his style. I would use your lineup T, except I’d like to see Ainsley in midfield. He will probably start Willock and Eddie, but I’d like to see the kids come on much earlier. There’s only so many chances to get them minutes.

    Great post yesterday PB. I just read it and the comments. I enjoy the back and forth debate the most. Keeps things interesting. I too am very worried about the teams that may drop into Europa from the Champions league. This is shaping up to be the most difficult tournament I can remember. On top of all that, Mourinho is lurking too.

    Let’s try to enjoy the game today. It’s nice to play, and watch, feeling under less pressure.

  • T, I agree with your last comment. Im sure it’s Mikels instinct to set up that way against the spuds. He usually does in big games. I do think if healthy we have a good starting back 4, I like Holding with Gabriel, Tierney, Hector defensively- but you’re right about the formation, I just don’t think we have the midfield to get the job done in general, especially without Partey.

  • The weather is not too bad my friend. Luckily the chaos in big cities has died down. But things are still not too good anywhere, I guess.

  • I used to be a big Hamilton fan. But for a couple years now I’ve wanted to see other teams make it more competitive. Best car by far, best driver definitely, makes for boring qualy and races. I still have hopes for Verstappen going forward. My favorite part of the sport is the interesting travel and scenery changes.

  • Yeah it seems be warmer than Edinburgh, J. Hope the place is looking a bit christmassy.

    Lewis is very good and you can tell how important the car is when you see Vettel en Leclerc demise this season. It is too dull at the moment, unfortunately. Yet you cannot beat the excitement of the start of the race and I know that Verrstappen will always give everything to win, and that is why I like watching it.

  • Arsenal: Runarsson, Cedric, Mustafi, Mari, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Elneny, Pepe, Nketiah, Lacazette

    Subs: Leno, Macey, Tierney, Saka, Ceballos, Willian, Holding, Chambers, Willock, Smith Rowe, Balogun, Azeez

  • Nice and strong line-up. I miss Smith-Row from the starting XI and Cottrell from the bench, but I have no doubts about the 5th victory in this year’s EL group stage.

  • It’ll be interesting to see the subs, who comes off early or who will have 20 minutes at the end in prep for Sunday?

    Not sure why we need two goalkeepers on the bench unless Arteta plans to give Macey some minutes?

  • It looks 4-2-2-2 to me. 🙂

    We always had 2 goalkeepers on the bench in the Europa League.
    In the first and third round they were Rúnarsson and Macey, in the 2nd round they were Leno and Hein, and in the last round in Norway, they were Macey and Hein.

    It seems Arteta’s priority is to get the first team players in shape – thus the inclusion of Mari, Kolasinac, Elneny, Chambers – over giving the opportunity of U23 players. Still I hope Chambers (for fitness reasons), ESR, Balogun and Azeez will have their chances – the latter maybe limited to a few minutes.

    I just read that poor Torreira played only 199 minutes this season for Atletico and would like to return. Maybe to start fresh with Arsenal, or looking for a different loan, maybe a permanent sale…

  • Current (in effect) regulation of UEFA on the players list (§43):
    …with a list of 23 players (surnames, first names, club and date of birth) as well as the surnames, first names and date of birth of the head coach and assistant coach, mentioning their coaching qualifications. Three of these 23 players must be goalkeepers.

  • If you must include 3 in the matchday squad, and you need only one in the starting XI, then you must keep the remaining 2 of the mandatory 3 on the 12-head bench. 😛

  • Indeed.
    And we are starting to get a grip now on what Arteta and his team saw in Pablo Mari.
    Let’s see some youngsters in the 2nd half

  • Excellent twam performance but especially happy for Laca, Nelson and Pepe they are on fire!!! Finally great to see some superb team passing moves with fluidity and movement Suarez has done well on the right in that regard.

  • Thanks to the lads for the quality entertainment.
    We scored 4, and could have scored 4 more, but the glass is half full.
    It was nice to see a game with 17 key passes Pepe & Nelson led the line with 5 each.
    Lacazette and Pepe were outstanding, but everyone played well above average. Elneny, Mustafi and Rúnarsson didn’t have the opportunity to shine, but they were OK, too. Soares was our better full back in attack, Kolasinac had more defensive contributions.

  • Really enjoyed that, some excellent goal, some wonderful one touch passing, I liked Niles in midfield he just needs to be a bit more clinical in front of goal and maybe he could be the new Michael Thomas, great to have the fans back because without them it’s not an occasion.

    Sunday is different though, we need to find that steel that saw us win the FACup because if we attack them like we did tonight then they’ll just pick us off.
    Going there and boring the pants off of everyone and drawing 0-0 would suit me fine, because they will sit in, defend and wait for us to do something stupid just as Arsenal teams have been doing for years against a Mourinho teams, Jose will depend on it…

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