Arsenal v Chelsea: 4-3-3 with White between Defence and Midfield.

Tomorrow we play fellow great spenders, Chelsea, and I find it hard to say whether the timing is bad or actually ideal. It could turn out to become a hammering by them and the wounds would go very deep – things could get ugly. It could also go the other way and see us hammer them – and oh how sweet that would be….. Or it could turn into a cagey draw.

The Brentford result hurts a lot and the players and manager will want to make up for it badly. The home crowd should be a huge support, roaring us forward and intimidating the opponents constantly. But sadly there is also a chance that they will turn against our boys if we were to concede early. Scoring first, although not too early, will be key.

I don’t want to say many more words about tomorrow’s key encounter with our West-London neighbours. Let the football do the talking.

Regarding the preferred lineup for tomorrow, we need Auba to be fit and raring to go, we need to win the midfield battle (always key against the Chavs), we need to play Robbo Holding. I would use White in a free role between midfield and defence, shoring up things and offering forward thrust from deep. I like Lokonga but this may be a game for the experienced and very tidy, Elneny. Lokonga seems to offer more going forward so I would probably give him a start. Saka has to play but I feel he should start as a wing back. On the right wing, the combo of Pepe and Saka may be too much for the Chelsea defence. On the left we have the clever combo of Tierney, Xhaka and ESR to create chances. When we are pressing them back, I reckon ESR will play more centrally and will get support from Xhaka or Lokonga in terms of creating chances through the middle. Key for me is that Pepe supports Auba a lot in the box, so we have two attackers to aim at from crosses from the left. Playing both Auba and Pepe may make Chelsea to sit back a lot. They are of course very dangerous on the counter and we need to be totally switched on for their sudden turnovers. White for me will play a key role to close these down.

Here is my lineup:

How would you like to line up the team for tomorrow?

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal.

53 thoughts on “Arsenal v Chelsea: 4-3-3 with White between Defence and Midfield.

  • You might want to check latest reports before you publish – past hour or so it’s been reported that White is out. Possibly Covid.

  • Not such a nice line up. I don’t think it’s right to give Saka so much of a defensive role when he can do better as an offensive player.

    White as a defensive midfielder is not such a good technique. The thickness and ruggedness of the Chelsea midfield will just squeeze him out.

    S

  • Are you mental. Xhaka and Elneny in midfield we will get mullered.As for the two CB’s are you kidding me? Chelsea to win by two clear goals

  • Cheers Ben, no mention of it on Arsenal.com, BBC or The Guardian…. As yet.

    But if he doesn’t play then Xhaka, Elneny and Lokonga will play in midfield, with Elneny sitting a bit deeper.

  • No probs! There are a few on NewsNow. Too late for a rumour like that to get verified and posted on a mainstream.

    Reports say White only spent 20mins at Colney yesterday and didn’t get off the coach at the Arsenal hotel tonight apparently.

    I think it’s hard to predict the line up, especially given Auba has just trained for the first time today and White just dropped out on Friday. It’s rough on Arteta because again, there are big chances at the last minute.

    If I had to guess (and it is just a guess)…
    Auba/Martinelli upfront
    Saka ESR Pepe behind
    Xhaka Lokonga midfield
    KT Mari Holding Chambers back 4
    Leno

    Guess we’ll see!

  • I’d have Leno. White, Mari and Tierney at the back. Cedric and Tavares as wing backs. ESR and Xhaka mid. Auba, Martinelli and Pepe upfront

  • Fine line up, TA. If the report suggested by Ben is true, then Mari plays. If not, I’d drop Mari for Tierney in a back 3. Tavarez or Saka (prefer Saka) can play as wing back.

    Mari always looks terrified against quick players and has a penalty or two in him. I don’t say this lightly; it comes from watching him closely and seeing how his lack of pace gets him to foul attackers who have gone past him, at the risk of a pen, a dangerous free kick, or worse, a red card. If we had a full squad, I won’t start him today till we have something to hold on to when he will play deep.

    Other than that, I like the predicted line up.

  • Hi Eris

    Can see the Mari risk too. Depending on how tide we will play, he can be exposed. But if Lukaku plays we’ll need aerial strength.

  • Yeh, just been confirmed that White is out with “illness” which is almost certainly Covid so he’ll likely miss the City game too. Shame – I reckon he would have relished playing against Werner and Sterling.

    August is turning out to be an awful month for Arteta and Arsenal. He’s really not good at all to adapting when things go wrong so this could be a painful one.

  • Thanks for the post Total, that’s awful news about Ben White but a part of me is glad as it takes him out of the firing line for the next two games, he’ll be back for Norwich I’d guess.

    Some of the press coverage and punditry of his debut was totally over the top but not surprising when you see and hear the ignorance of those providing us with their ‘pearls of wisdom’ – pass the sick bag…

    Does his absence force the hand of Arteta with the ‘high line’ and does that mean more of a low block and damage limitation?

    Sometimes you have to park your beliefs and principals for a brief period and be pragmatic, I hope he isn’t too stubborn to see where we are with all the unlucky injuries and illness we’ve suffered?

    Rob Holding returning is a plus for me, much maligned in some circles but a proper defender in a game where we’ll need to defend properly. A back three for me, match up the Chavs, but don’t ask me which three?

    As mentioned above August is not being kind to us, but despite the doomers we need to hold our nerve and take the long view. Stiff upper lip Gooners

  • The teams are in! Our starting XI is: Leno, Cedric, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Lokonga, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Saka, Martinelli

    Looks like 4-2-3-1 with Pepe as, CF.

  • Here’s our team.

    1
    Leno
    17
    Cedric
    22
    Mari
    16
    Holding
    3
    Tierney
    23
    Lokonga
    34
    Xhaka (c)
    19
    Pepe
    7
    Saka
    10
    Smith Rowe
    35
    Martinelli

    Substitutes
    32
    Ramsdale
    14
    Aubameyang
    15
    Maitland-Niles
    20
    Nuno Tavares
    21
    Chambers
    24
    Nelson
    25
    Elneny
    26
    Balogun
    31
    Kolasinac

  • This is our team

    1
    Leno
    17
    Cedric
    22
    Mari
    16
    Holding
    3
    Tierney
    23
    Lokonga
    34
    Xhaka (c)
    19
    Pepe
    7
    Saka
    10
    Smith Rowe
    35
    Martinelli

    Substitutes
    32
    Ramsdale
    14
    Aubameyang
    15
    Maitland-Niles
    20
    Nuno Tavares
    21
    Chambers
    24
    Nelson
    25
    Elneny
    26
    Balogun
    31
    Kolasinac

  • Team sheets are out:

    Arsenal
    Leno, Cedric, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Xhaka, Lokonga, Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Pepe.

    Subs: Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Tavares, Chambers, Nelson, Elneny, Balogun, Kolasinac, Ramsdale

    Chelsea
    Mendy, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Mount, Havertz, Lukaku.

    Subs: Kepa, Thiago Silva, Kante, Werner, Chalobah, Zouma, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech

    Well, COYG!

  • Oh dear! Well, looks like we may score 3, like one of us predicted… 😎😉

  • 4231 makes sense:
    Leno
    Soares Holding Mari KT
    Sambi Xhaka
    Pepe ESR Saka
    Gabi

    But…. the introduction of Soares makes me wonder whether it’s a 352:
    Leno
    Holding Mari KT
    Soares Sambi ESR Xhaka Saka
    Pepe Gabi

    Gabi can’t hold the line but both he and Pepe enjoy playing off the last shoulder in the half spaces. If they do, ESR will need to drop centrally between the lines. TBC but this fits for Chelsea and might explain why neither Chambers nor Bellerin plays.

    Arsenal with so many injuries and covid absentees. Plus Odegaard’s Visa hold up (Spurs fans at the Home Office!)… hard to expect much. Chelsea
    very very big favourites here.

    Might need to write off August.

  • Ok, Martinelli up front. Will be interesting to watch how he works centrally. I hope Saka and Pepe switch a lot, because I prefer them reversed. Manager showing faith in Sambi. Good to see that he wants to play football, because I expected El Neny possibly against Chelsea.

    I have a feeling he expected Werner on the left, and that’s exactly why we got Soares today. I was hoping that, and would’ve done the same for that reason. I hope Cedric has a great game, because I find him under appreciated. He looks like a world beater compared to Hector.

    Our depth in cb’s has been needed already… 3rd and 4th starting today. Maybe another reason Chambers kept in reserve.

    I think it’s unfair to criticize Arteta around this outbreak. Of all the teams to get hit right out of the gate, of course it’s us. I’ll criticize him when he definitely deserves it.

  • Remember, when just a year ago our team sheet started with Aubameyang, Lacazette and Willian?
    OK, probably their absence is considerably related to the coronavirus, but taking the current form into account this line-up might be the best available.
    COYG!

  • Big game 0-2 .. penalty shout… every team gets that penalty to keep it a game. Especially at home.. Spurs get it 100% of the time. Not Arsenal.

  • Giving so much space away on left. Who is picking up the free man.

    Too many bad touches and need much more aggressive running into the box. Confidence and connectivity low, but we can still turn it around with an early goal I. Second half.

    CoyrrGs ⚽

  • Well I thought that Lukaku was offside but we didn’t see the lines and Saka fouled in the box but we get bugger all as usual.

  • Maybe there is something in Phillip Auclairs assertions that betting syndicates are corrupting our game because the same teams always get those decisions whilst others like us don’t.

  • Both gaols have come left. We have been found out taht our football is pass to Tierney. Both center backs are on yellow and isolated. God save us. Just gobsmacked seeing our team play.

  • Jync, I think the reason Cedric starts is to have a spare CB, seeing as we are short in that area. AMN and Tavares available for the full backs.

    We started well but Petered away as Chelsea started to dominate things. We needed some luck with Saka’s one on one moment and the penalty shout. Still, I am looking for that fiery pressing that we came to know Martinelli for. Is he still match rusty or has he lost interest? He has to put some more pressure on the defence of the visitors, or Auba comes on, not that he would do this but the danders will fear him more.

    Anyone else see how Lukaku is mugging Mari, resulting in both goals. Someone may have put the fear of Lukaku in his head. That tackle that got him the yellow card was unnecessary and looked to me like a man who wants out of the torture. Why else would you go in through your man when the result is always a card?

    Overall, the only reason we are two down is because we just aren’t giving them enough trouble in their area; our play has been too reactive and looks like we have already resigned ourselves to the fate of a loss. Arteta needs to fire them up again, especially Pepe, who hasn’t taken on his man yet or made any whipped cross. Saka needs to support Tierney a bit more to prevent James creating overloads on our left side, where the goals have come from, just as we get drawn to Lukaku. Arteta has to change something.

  • Maybe I’m too forgiving with the defense, but I think this is ‘part of the game’ to concede a couple of goals against such an attack-heavy opponent. Obviously we could – and should – work on that on the future, but this shouldn’t be at the center of our concerns. My major problem is that despite Arsenal being also well equipped with attacking players, we are unable to carve out serious goal-scoring opportunities. We are playing at home, and our 2 biggest threats were a penalty-claim and Holding’s secondary header after a corner.
    Either the boys have forgotten how to create chances, or they are seriously held back by over-disciplined (and apparently faulty) tactics. These boring and inefficient crosses are making me more miserable than the 2 goals conceded…

  • It’s really depressing to watch this. What PB says is interesting. Once upon a time we used to so attack heavy our defence was a joke. But we used to give good as we used to get. It was interesting to watch. Now it’s so.lopsided it’s embarassing. For me it’s the manager with regimented build up and I am not even sure what we are getting out of it.
    It’s getting depressing day by day.

  • Holding really should have scored, blimey it was almost a gift.

    Arsenal haven’t lost, according to Sky, their first three league games for 67 years…
    Something to ponder?

  • Well if Lukaku had played for us we could have won it. 😁

    There is plenty to be unhappy about, and much needs improving, but the boys fought hard.

    Our attack was just too weak to worry the Chavs. It would have been different with Auba and Laca from the start. Partey and Ode would also have added a dimension.

  • I say it again. Pepe is wasted on the flank. He needs to play as central striker. He can’t get past good defenders but at the center he gets more chances to get his shots.

  • I think Conte will get 40 points with this team + absentees so we should not worry about staying up.

    One day, someone will write an article on Pablo Mari’s transfer to Arsenal and I don’t think we’ll laugh about it.

  • Admir, good to see you….. what’s the Mari story?… I did laugh when I read the comment. But really, As a fourth choice cb, in a team that currently doesn’t create any scoring opportunities…. is he really that bad?

  • Well it was a very predictable loss, especially with many of our better player not being available. Nothing to get down in the dumps about – lets leave it to the media to stir up controversy as that’s what they are paid to do.

    It’s simply the beginning of a new cycle in our evolution and we have to keep faith.

  • One bright spot. Emile.

    Another, Ø is on the horizon

    I will keep saying this, I can see ESR playing number 8 in an aggressive setup. He can switch numbers with Ode on those days.

    Then I think if we have Partey, Sambi (who just needs experience in things like positioning), we can occasionally rest Xhaka. I think it would be good for Granit and our play sometimes. Also will prevent us from leaning too much on the Tierney strategy. We need to give opponents more to think about. Too predictable as Madhu and I often complain.

    I also felt good when Auba came on. A team with him OR Lacazette up front, along with Ødegaard is very different.

  • Well said, PB, Madhu and Jync. The result is disappointing as we don’t want to start losing derbies so early in the season; it can affect spirits and we do need to keep spirits up at a time as this.

    I saw a bit of fight from the lads in the second half and that gives hope that when the rest of the team return to fitness/from isolation, we may make a fist of it. Only problem is Arteta. Can he drive the players to perform? Will they trust his tactics?

  • Chelsea are a confident side who have just become European (super) Champions so, they know what they are doing and seemed to have come with a plan they executed well. It’s still early days and I had thought we could get just 1 point from games against Chelsea and City, but we may yet lose all three. We just need one win to start us off. Not sure how we’d get that done but it’s something we’ve got to do and soon.

    Mari had a better second half with Lukaku but surely, he must have watched enough of him to know how to keep him quiet. By now, the rest of the league will have a special plan for him and, hopefully, the smile is wiped off Chelsea faces quickly (that’s me being jealous😞).

    ESR is just a gem. Pepe, not so much. I repeat my preference for Nelson. If we had encouraged him from last season, who knows what he’d be like by now?

  • Cheers Eris & Madhu,

    Apparently I’m not alone with my views on the restricted creativity.
    “Sports people are at their best when they are playing from an implicit level. It’s what we mean when we talk about it being natural for them. There is no effort. Their movements are fluid and the split-second advantage that comes from an implicit action versus a thought-out explicit one is the difference between champion and loser.
    As Arteta tries to drill into the team in his extensive methods and tactics, he’s stopping them from playing implicitly, returning them to the state of almost near beginner as they run through in their head all the steps they would usually play out instinctively. They get more in their own head, coaching themselves, commanding themselves, berating themselves.
    They are not fluid anymore but jittery. Their game doesn’t flow, it falters.”
    https://dailycannon.com/2021/04/why-arsenal-are-rubbish/

  • Eris, I know I’m repetitive, but I’m not alone. Many of us see that Pepe and Saka each play better on the other side, especially when Pepe comes inward from the left.. I don’t know why, but we’ve all seen it it real games. It’s pretty stark.

    Imagine Aubameyang starting up front and occasionally switching inside to out with him.

    Saka on the left is a thesis that says, well … Tierney will be very high up, so we want a superior help defender like Saka on the left. It doesn’t work in practice, like today, when the hole on the left is that big, nobody can help anyway. Then you have both Saka and Pepe much less effective to boot. Yes we were missing our new conductor, but ESR isn’t bad as the fill in. This adds to the worry that Arteta isn’t creative enough.

    Martinelli has had ZERO effect in both games started. The coach needs to design ways to get him involved. I won’t say he being used wrong,, but that may be the case…. When the commentators said he was down on the pitch, I was shocked, because I seriously forgot he was in the game. I was confused for a moment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s