Arsenal v Chelsea Preview/Lineup: 3-5-2 with Bukayo In the Hole and a New Attacking Duo

The Chavs are coming to the Home of Football and they will be smelling blood. The Arsenal are wounded, self-confidence is low and Arteta is struggling to get his vision and instructions to bare fruit on the pitch. The fans are livid, the Arsenal hating press are having a field day and the club’s management are hiding under the Christmas tree. Poor Mikel has to deal with it all on his own. But our own Paddington Bear is made of sterner stuff and he is giving his all for the cause, and I think today will be his lucky day. The turnaround.

Why do I think this? Because I believe that Arteta understands that this sort of adversity was to be expected, and he is using it to make breakthroughs. He set out on a different course and it was bound to lead to difficulties. He knew that and that’s why he is relatively calm. But he has also announced that this week of football is absolutely crucial for the club, and I like that. We are due a bit of luck, and I feel once it starts running the floodgates will open. I predict a 4-1 victory to the Good Guys today.

Team news is sketchy at the moment. Auba and Martinelli are being assessed but Partey is still out unfortunately. The good news is that Granit is back (and that he does not have to play in front of fans). Much maligned as he is, I believe he will bring much improvement to our midfield today. Xhaka has a good bond with Elneny and this is of course key in any midfield. Against the Chavs they will have a game on their hands, as always is the case.

Our best defence includes Luiz at the back but only in a trio of CBs. So I expect/hope we will play three at the back: Holdingho, Luiz, Gabrielho. They are solid in general. The full backs: Tierney of course and one of Hector or AMN. The former is rested, the latter looks more solid; they are both not perfect and I expect Mikel to go for experience rather than youth.

The real question is what to do with the three remaining positions… and will we play with three attackers or two, with then one extra midfielder. I so hope it is the latter. Four in midfield in a 3-4-3 is deceptive: the wingbacks just go everywhere and suddenly the midfield is just two bodies (and maybe a CB who comes stabbing forwards to help out when they see danger occasionally, with often bad consequences as we have seen recently). So I feel we need to have an extra midfielder in front of Xhaka-Elneny; somebody who can defend, pass and score in a game like this. For me that boy-man is Bukayo.

Finally, who should play in attack? Well it depends on fitness. If Auba and Martinelli are fit, and I expect that this is the case, they will play. They work well with Saka and offer both clinical finishing and energy. Auba is (still) to good to leave out and Martinelli has that bit of extra that we have been missing in attack. Eddie, Pepe and Willian have been under-par recently, but Laca may get a start for either Auba or Martinelli. I could live with that.

Anyway, my ideal lineup v the Chavs today is:

Of course a lineup is only a small part of the job, the rest is attitude, concentration and being decisive at the key moments. We can do it today.

C O M E O N Y O U R I P R O A R I N G G U N N E R S!

By TotalArsenal.

60 thoughts on “Arsenal v Chelsea Preview/Lineup: 3-5-2 with Bukayo In the Hole and a New Attacking Duo

  • Morning all,

    You have a fine understanding of Arsenal , our players and potential line ups – and it shows in your superb pre- game post. I wish I had your level of optimism but I’m doubtful that we can pull one over on a superior Chelsea squad – but oh how I hope I’m wrong.

    From what I’ve read it seems that Martinelli is busting at the britches to get back on the field but not much is being said about Auba.

    It’s a strange situation with Auba as he seems to have lost that all smiles and fun attitude that he had last season and almost appears to be in a funk, hopefully a winning streak and some goals will bring the old Auba back.

    I also note that you have no place for Pepe in your starting eleven, and I totally agree with that choice, he has been a huge disappointment in my eyes and needs to be sold In January – if (a big if) we can find any buyers.

    Even though I’m doubtful we will win I’ll still be watching hoping upon hope that we do.

  • Thanks GN5, Auba has so much pressure on him now and I don’t think being a captain suits an introvert like him at all. As soon as Partey is fit, let’s make him captain and let Auba just focus on goals.

    I think this team can do much better once they can get the small things right and dare to play with a bit more adventure, and that goes for Mikel too. I feel they are ready to make the step forward soon – hopefully today! πŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏ

  • Sorry but 4 1 sounds delusional. A draw would be a massive achievement against the chavs the way our form has been. I would take the point now as until things change we are in a relegation battle.

  • Good day, guys. Big day of football to come and, like TA, I am hopeful today is the day we get the break that turns our season around. Unlike TA, however, I can’t see where 4 goals will come from unless Chelsea go 2 men down, by some stroke of crass indiscipline owing frustration on the part of the visitors, as we take a lead and appear to be controlling things.

  • I feel the front 3 will be Pepe/Willian, Laca, Saka; Martinelli to come on late on. Xhaka, Elneny, Bellerin and Tierney looks a good shout for the 4 in midfield, if we go with a 3 at the back. But, we are home and should go with 4 at the back to enable us have that extra midfielder: Bellerin/AMN, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney. Xhaka, Elneny, Willian. Pepe, Laca, Saka.

    Any 3 of David Luis, Martinelli, Nketiah and Ceballos, being the potential changes to come on, depending on how things pan out.

  • Hi all,
    agree with your 3-4-1-2, and most of your lineup, TA
    only differences would be:
    auba/marti (i don’t like players not to have been able to train properly before a game – even though i know marti would be great anyway)
    luiz – i think his red ship has sailed
    so it’d look like:
    macey-bellerin-saliba-nketiah-balogun-nelson (auba? martinelli?)
    rumour (ornstein, usually a reliable source) has it ainsley and folarin would be on their way out
    the idea of losing such amazing hale end scholars is just unbearable to me; it would mean this club has become a kind of Augean stables that needs serious cleansing.
    should it happen, such dereliction of duty on the part of our so-called decision-makers (vinkatesham, edu, mikel maybe) should be regarded for what it is: an act of treason against this club.
    Meanwhile, COYG anyway

  • Hi Eris

    Hope you and your family are having a great Christmas.

    All those missed half-chance goals over the last few weeks may all of a sudden come our way.. πŸ‘πŸΏ 😁

  • Sensible argumentation there GoonerEris, but Arteta will need to try something different in attack to have a chance. So I am hoping you are wrong re the predicted lineup.

  • good ol’ arsΓ¨ne 4-2-3-1 (i think)
    wondering what:
    chambers and reiss have to do to be among the 20
    joe and ainsly have to do to be in the starting XI
    delighted for emil, and not too unpleasantly surprised about it all, tbh

  • πŸ—ž Updates on the following players… Gabriel – COVID close contact, now isolating and will miss the next three matches. David Luiz and Willian – both are unwell but have both recently tested negative. We will continue to monitor, support and assess their conditions.

  • It looks good to me. Plenty of energy and drive to give it a go. Delighted that Marti can start.

    Scary thought: one injury away from fielding Mustafi.

  • Hey TA–
    Like your optimism! In a long-haul such as a PL season– there’s a time when frustration turns to grit.

    Just saw the lineup flash on-screen– a 4-4-1-1 — and I do like what Arteta is thinking with it!

    Smith Rowe

    C’mon Gunners!


  • What I’m reading COVID-wise out of UK is very scary news to hear GN5.
    Everybody stick to your best habits–please!


  • You could be right TA.
    Should know better than to trust NBC to call a formation.

    What do Yanks know about footie anyway? πŸ˜‰


  • Haha JW, the Americans we have on here are as, knowledgeable ble as anyone. Those three behind Laca is something to look forward to in whatever lineup! 😁

  • Mari starting in such a game is a concern. Let’s hope both Xhaka and Elneny provide him cover. Or, our offensive play is so good we keep the chavs at bay.


  • attaboyzzzz!
    on our way to TA’s 4-1!!
    don’t feel like getting too much into details, but something’s happening, isn’t there?
    well done to mikel for – at last, maybe – reinventing himself
    i still fear their bench, most of all fear ollie might hurt us
    keep making us proud lads, had almost forgotten what a great feeling that was

  • It’s been a good performance by our boys today, it must be said and that’s what I expected. About time we got the rub of the green and start getting some results.

    TA, I will be thrilled if we got anything close to your 4-1 prediction but you’d think that Chelsea would come into the second half rejuvenated. I hope Arteta tells the boys to keep up the pressure rather than keep hold of what we’ve got. However, it is the players who make such decisions in the heat of the game.

    I was worried about Mari but he has shown great positional sense to make it difficult for Abraham. Now, he just has to be careful not to cop a second yellow and make us vulnerable to more pressure. Elneny and Holding had a few shaky moments but seem to have gotten their acts together. As always, Bellerin has been better in forward areas than when defending, otherwise, the captain on the night has had a steady game, so far.

    I am pleased with the youngsters, save Smith-Rowe. Ceballos should maybe come in for him to give us an older head for the occasion. Just tells you the league isn’t the league cup or Europa league. But, I have liked and enjoyed the fight he’s shown and so with Martinelli, who still looks not so match sharp. He’s generally pegged Reece James back to our advantage.

    Second half starts.

  • Biggest worry is a second yellow for Mari. XhakA and and Elneny needs to stay in line, young dogs keeping snapping away, and Laca to get his goal. CoyGs πŸŒ‹ πŸŒ‹ πŸŒ‹

  • Talk of the rub of the green. It’s all going our way, steadily to that 4 goal territory, TA. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  • No way he meant it but effen yessssss!!!! I was actually thinking how Bukayo needed a goal for his confidence in front of goal and what a spectacular way to get it.

  • We deserve any sort of goal and that was, clearly, a fluke of a goal for Saka. Game management is all we require now. Painful that a win here just gives us much needed confidence boosts and 3 points, but we won’t move up a great deal.

  • I think of it as alleviating pain lol think of what a loss would do three points is massive especially if we go on a run what with the somewhat ‘easier’ fixtures coming up.

  • Time and again Laca has made timely interventions defensively another good game for him.

  • That was a decent game, guys. However the 3:1 is flattering the guests.
    Laca had a good chance at the end, Elneny almost broke the crossbar. At the other goal Silva’s header could have gone in…. Leno saved a penalty. Looks like our luck is turning around, but the boys did us proud.

  • The Kidz, are indeed, alright.
    Arsenal pressed today with energy. Taking Chelsea off their game. Whatever their inexperience might bring– the sheer enthusiasm of the youngsters makes up for it in spades. You could see it in their faces during warmups. All of them loosey-goosey. The confidence built all game.

    It might have been the 4-1 of offer in TA’s vision. Or 5 or 6. The chances were there.

    Happy Boxing Day Gooners! 🎁🎁🎁


  • Good point, Makayah, regarding the importance of the 3 points. I don’t take the impact of that win for granted, at all. Just lamenting how lowly we are these days.

    Bellerin did well to hook that defensive header high and away from goal. Not sure how he managed it but it was a goal saving clearance.

    Mustafi limbering up to replace Mari was such a scary sight. Good thing he only came on when it wasn’t likely to hurt us. With this win, the boys would be under pressure to win the next game, if only to confirm we’ve turned a bend. Manage that and it will be safe to say we are back.

  • GN5, safe to say none of us would get the scoreline prediction right πŸ˜€, for the predictions game. A few predicted the win though.

  • Not a thing wrong with some fun Stu! πŸ‘πŸΌ

    I’m going to watch it over and over until I get tired of seeing it. πŸ˜πŸ˜„πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‰πŸ˜Ά
    (Who am I kidding? That will never get tiring!)


  • No excuses for the bad run recently, in fact, much of it was down to individual and definitely some Arteta mistakes. But every bit of luck in the stretch was bad luck. The combination of a couple breaks, plus the energy (and skills) of the young boys made all the difference.

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