Arsenal v Olympiacos Preview/Line-up: Time for POEM in Attack

“We went without spoken goal, united by a yearning for elevation.” Andrew Greig (Fair Helen)

Two more games before another interlull will deprive us from club football for a fortnight, so let’s enjoy them. A 1-3 win with three precious away goals should be enough but in me saying this, and the team possibly thinking it, lays the only real risk. I don’t think the manager or the players will be complacent but a subconscious lack of application and urgency could still harm us. Olympiacos have to score at least three goals to go through, so they should come out and attack us. We need to score at least two goals to meaningfully add to the aggregate score over the two legs, so we should really go out and attack too. No point in sitting back and inviting pressure without a real desire to turn turnovers and counter-attacks into goals. If I was Mikel I would task the team to take the game to Olympiacos from the start with a deep yearning for elevation: high tempo, intensity, creativity and sharpness up-front for at least 70, when hopefully the job is done.

The problem is that we cannot afford to make too many changes to our midfield, both the deeper laying one and the three players in front of them. At least one of Granit and Thomas needs to play and the same goes for ESR and Odegaard. The latter are fit and young so there should be no problem, but Granit and especially Thomas looked knackered during the last 15 minutes v Spuds and Arteta may have to rest them to avoid fatigue/injury. Partey had been brilliant for 75 minutes but after that he simply imploded with a number of poor passes and tired fouls that almost cost us. I reckon he will be rested/ on the bench tonight. My only worry is Mikel playing both Elneny and Ceballos in deep midfield: a total recipe for disaster.

Saka is the only injury worry but he may still be fit to play. I would rest him or let him play the last twenty minutes or so. Leno had a poor game v Spuds but we got away with it, and I wonder whether Mikel will be tempted to start Ryan instead. I would be. We have the luxury to give our CBs a rest and I would also be tempted to rest Tierney. The match v West Ham is a big one and they have no European involvement and will be rearing to go, so we do need at least five first team players to be equally as fit, I reckon.

This game is crying out for the reemergence of heartbeat in attack, Martinelli. Will we see Pepe-Ode-Emile-Marti – POEM – up-front?!

Anyway, enough of the talking, here is my preferred line-up (the predicted one is beyond me today):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arsenal-v-olympiacos-home.jpg

By TotalArsenal.

32 thoughts on “Arsenal v Olympiacos Preview/Line-up: Time for POEM in Attack

  • OzG wrote in previous post:


    I think the game has gone passed the one dimension strikers. You really have to be even across the board. I think we could get away someone like Martinelli leading the line given our style of play. While he is only 5’11 he has a fearless attack on the ball and has good positional sense. His heading technique is really good for someone of his height (remember the header against STL – beautiful). He’s also managed to score 3 of his 10 goals from headers. This is a good breakdown:

    I really hope he can stay fit. He really is a complete package.

  • Good call, OzG. Not sure exactly what you mean with a one dimension striker though 😀

    But I like Martinelli too and hence he is in my preferred lineup for tonight!! 🙂

  • I wonder if/when we will see Eddie and Reiss playing for us again. I suspect that one or both may opt to leave if they don’t get any game team for the remainder of the season.

  • These are my predictions for this weekend:-
    Brighton v Newcastle (EPL) – A
    Bournemouth v Southampton (FAC) – H
    Everton v Manchester City (FAC) – A
    West Ham v Arsenal (EPL) – A
    Leicester V Manchester United (FAC) – H
    Real Sociedad v Barcelona (La Liga) – A

  • I’m still waiting for the predictions from our two leaders, Kev and Gooneris.

  • Thanks for the post TA personally I would love to see space made for our youngsters, Martinelli in particular, but Eddie and Reiss also need time or they will just fade away.

  • I understand TA but they will just rust away if they are not given time on the field and their sale value will drop dramatically. I don’t know the answer but it seems to me to be a foolish choice not having them out on loan and then not using them – where is the win in that for our future – two excellent players not gaining new experiences and skills and at the same time losing their sale value.

  • Brighton vs Newcastle…… Home
    B’mouth vs Southampton. Away
    Everton vs Man City…….. Away
    West Ham vs Arsenal….. Draw
    Leicester vs Man Utd…… Home
    Sociedad vsBarcelona…. Away

  • There is always next season, GN5. If they are not meeting Arteta’s standards then they cannot play. That’s competition. Only 11 can play and there is a lot at stake right now.

  • I get the tone that you’ve set in the post Total and yes footballers are like anyone else in that they can ease up a few percentage points when the job is almost done and get caught out but maybe that’s where Arteta can use the end of the NLD to remind them of how easy it is to mess up if you ease up.

    Last seasons result is another reminder to any of the players if they need it, but I don’t think they will.

    5 subs is just the ticket and if the game goes the way we expect and want then Arteta can rest and rotate half the starting XI. I’d start Xhaka because we need to start Xhaka but I’d bring him of on say 65/70 and give Partey a chance to stretch his legs and keep him ticking over just as you do with a high end motor car, keep the battery topped up. The rest of the team I’d leave the same pretty much to Sunday’s, maybe start Bellerin and then use Soares to bring on for Tierney so he can get a breather. The centre backs are settled, maybe Aubameyang instead of Lacazette, Pepe for Saka who can stay at home with his feet up.
    Odegaard is flying so he starts for me and ESR who can come off if need be.
    And Martinelli would definitely get 20 minutes minimum, maybe up front, that would be novel.

  • I like your increased willingness for rotation (and support Ryan between the sticks big time), as well as the POEM acronym, TA.
    And – as always – I confuse predicted with preferred, but I would like to see Chambers at RB, and Ceballos at CM – he has some major task to prove not being a liability in Europe. Maybe Xhaka could take a rest and pair Dani with Thomas or Mo at midfield.
    I admit, Martinelli up front didn’t cross my mind, and I would be delighted with a POEM attacking-4, but my guess would be Pepe-Odegaard-Willian with Aubameyang up front, which is different from my preference only with the Willian-Nelson swap. (Maybe Eddie leading the line?)

  • Hmm, are we going 4 3 3 this evening with Ceballos, Elneny and Xhaka starting…

    No Saka, but Nelson, Nketiah and Martinelli on the bench…

  • No Willian as well…

    Jeorge Bird
    Subs: Ryan, Okonkwo, Lacazette, Odegaard, Holding, Cedric, Partey, Chambers, Mari, Nelson, Nketiah, Martinelli

  • Here’s the line up from Arsenal.com1

    David Luiz
    Aubameyang (c)
    E. Smith Rowe

    Cédric Soares

  • That was a hard 47 minutes to watch, but that’s european football, you just need to get the result.

    Pepe often seems to control the ball as if he’s got his boots on the wrong feet…. 🙄

    The other ten owe Leno a pint…

  • Haha Kev you’re right about all that.. Pepe still tries to go it alone a little too much instead of releasing the ball to a teammate, but he is doing that less than he used to.
    I was a little distracted watching the first half, but Pepe seems very motivated to do something with this starting opportunity.

    And as I’ve been saying about Hector all season… every time Cedric gets a start at RB, Bellerin shows much more effort when he gets back in. More than just his usual steady play.

    Good to see Elneny used, Ceballos working hard, but he’s a little frenetic at times.

  • Hi Johnno, yeah dear old Pepe, he knows exactly what he needs to do and in most case he does it, he just forgets to take the ball with him… 😉

  • For me Ceballos is he real enigma.
    He was often wasteful in possession and many of his ‘through balls’ are terrible, but the 3 best point of the first half were also tied to him:
    – the quasi-assist to Auba (with his weaker foot)
    – the back-heel pass to ESR in the penalty box
    – and the clever throw-in dummy, which is something I haven’t seen for a long time

    It seems he has the footballing intelligence, but his execution is either inconsistent, or just his enthusiasm often gets the better of him.
    Nevertheless tonight he is my most promising player so far apart from the back 4+1, who play really good.

  • I feel like for the aggregate situation, we should be defending a little deeper and safer. Under 50 minutes and they’ve had too many chances catching us scrambling back disorganized.

  • Interesting changes. We needed a little reset. Smart management of the Europa subs. I do think Tierney and Xhaka look a little tired today. Very rare for Granit.

  • I would have played the squad/fringe players more.
    It seemed that the first team regulars were less motivated – or just more tired as J suggested. But 2 goal + away goal advantages would have been plenty to play with Mari, Cedric, Holding, Nelson, Martinelli, Nketiah and others.
    Of course it is nice to go through, but it wasn’t particularly enjoyable to watch a home defeat, enervate play, or a terrible Aubameyang.
    Luiz was good, Gabriel, Tierney, Bellerin, Xhaka and Pepe were OK, I appreciated Ceballos’ 3 and Odegaard’s 2 key passes, but it wasn’t a game to remember.

    I’m looking forward to meet Villareal in the quarter-final. We have to measure ourselves to Emery’s team at some point.

  • We made it hard for ourselves, but in the end, we are through to the next stage and the spuds are not. Do we have to wait till the end of season to laugh at Jose and his foundering Spuds?

    Been a while here; may have to try catching up on all the comments over the weekend.

  • Thanks, GN5, for the reminder to post my predictions. Nice run, Kev.

    My predictions:

    Brighton v Newcastle (EPL): Draw
    Bournemouth v Southampton (FAC): Home
    Everton v Manchester City (FAC): Away
    West Ham v Arsenal (EPL): Away
    Leicester V Manchester United (FAC): Home
    Real Sociedad v Barcelona (La Liga): Away

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