Arsenal V Man City: 4-3-1-2 with Auba and Saka behind our New Weapon

After a very pleasant pratice session at the Hawthorns, Arsenal face the huge challenge of getting at least a point against Man City.

The start to the PL season is very tough for Arteta and Arsenal and after two losses there is so much pressure on the team to turn things round against the champions.

We know that Man City will aim to push us back into our own half as much as possible. The boys need to absorb the pressure, keep it tight and be lethal on the break. Or do they? Should/will Arsenal perhaps play their own game instead? Take the game to City at least a bit?

To be honest, I have no idea what’s the best way to go tomorrow, but I would like us to start with confidence and a good plan.

Who to start?

My preferred line up:


Soar – Hold – Big Gab* – Tier

Lokonga – ESR – Xhaka

—- Odegaard – – – –

Saka – – – – – Auba

* only if fit, otherwise it’s Mari..

With this formation we keep it tight in midfield, have speed and thrust on the wings through the full backs and can pass the ball well out of trouble. Saka and Auba will keep the MC defence on their toes and Magic Martin and his football twin Emile can find the gaps to launch our boys on goal….

What’s your preferred lineup?

By TotalArsenal

35 thoughts on “Arsenal V Man City: 4-3-1-2 with Auba and Saka behind our New Weapon

  • Johnnie likey! Is that a 4-3-3? Emile could be the energetic driving force from midfield like I’ve been picturing. Is White still out?

    Ødegaard is our new, better Ozil. He will be 1st name on the team sheet from now on, I have no doubt. I really think ESR is OK wide, but I hope he gets a chance in midfield. He is strong enough, and industrious too. Beside that, we need help there.

    Maybe against city we should go 3 at the back, and try this formation against another opponent.

    We absolutely should leave Auba up front to build on what looks good so far. Many people agree with me that he even looked good when he came on vs Chelsea. We have a great sub behind him, and we need creators like Saka,Pepe, ESR …. instead of 2 strikers clogging things up. Auba is not a good winger. In Artetas assignments defending far back, he is wasted, and doesn’t do it well enough. He tries, but he hasn’t done it in his career. Then Lacazette dropping deep from striker works hard also, but isn’t nimble enough. That also didn’t work with Nketiah.

    Yes I do think Arteta botches our strikers by not letting them play to their strengths. I still have hope that he will learn from his mistakes. Pepe still hugging the right touchline in league games is not a good sign in that direction.

  • like this lineup a lot, but thinking it has to be a parked bus and playing on the counter against City. would like Auba, Pepe, Saka, and Martin in the lineup. Love ESR but mainly against opponent’s parked buses. Not sure he’s needed or ideal for rare possession / counter attack setup.

  • Good thoughts, J. I expect to be pressed back by them, and Saka and Auba will help out. At times it will look like 4-6 or 5-5!

    With my suggested formation we can pass the ball round and escape the press, and have two fast attackers on each side to hurt the blue Mancs…

  • But J three at the back is also a good option and you explained it well. I am just worried we would sit back too much and struggle to get out as it effectively becomes five at the back. I want to win the battle for possession of the ball higher up the pitch ideally.

  • TA, that’s a “desperate” looking formation (😄) but I understand it is to allow us keep some possession in midfield and higher up, which isn’t a bad thing against this City side; but we must have personnel on the flanks, for balance and support for the full backs. Fact is, we cannot out-possess them, so better stick with the conventional formation and hope for the best.

    We should have our wingers (at least, one) to help peg back their full backs. The flank men can become inverted wingers when we are in possession and our full backs feel the urge to go forward. Easier said, I know, but anything else and we will be sitting ducks.

    I do not disagree with the players you’ve named, just the structure of the team. With Odegaard, Xhaka, Lokonga and ESR, we will have enough men who are good in possession but it’s got to be ESR on the left and Saka on the right, with Odegaard in front of Lokonga and Xhaka; Odegaard also getting support from ESR and Saka, when we are out of possession.

    Now, watch Arteta surprise us by picking AMN and Pepe, somehow……

  • I expect Mari to be targeted, if he starts. There was this moment captured by the tv cameras during the Carabao game at the Hawthorns where Arteta was having a chat with him on the bench and he looked agitated. I interpreted it to mean Arteta pointing out how well Kolasinac was dealing with situations which would have had him (Mari) in a twist, had he been the one on, instead. Mari appeared to be pleading his case.

    Okay; that’s just me being comical.

  • Apparently the bookies have Arsenal at the longest odds for getting a result that we’ve ever been since the Premier League began and as Sky always reminds us what happened before the Premier League doesn’t really count, mish…

    Makes you wonder why we’re even bothering making the trip, you know, stay at home, don’t waste the fuel, save the planet, give City the points and just put your feet up. Maybe I should watch the cricket instead, the 3rd Test, 3rd day, balanced nicely as India fight back, what do ya reckon?

    The line up should be interesting, how is Arteta going to go?

  • Sorry GN5, I hope I can still qualify:

    Manchester City v Arsenal: Home
    Brighton v Everton: Away
    Newcastle v Southampton: Draw
    Liverpool v Chelsea * Draw 3-3
    Burnley v Leeds: Draw
    Rangers v Celtic * Home 3-1

  • By the way, I was wondering if we can introduce to our competition the ‘Unusual Arsenal happening of the week’ free text category, like an Elneny belter, a Gabriel red card or a Tierney own goal, etc. I mean whoever could have predicted that Kolasinac will start against Manchester City on the road should deserve at least as many point as a Burnley-Leeds result. 🙂

  • Let me give it some thought PB – but it’s not a bad idea on the surface – but how I manage it on my spreadsheet may be tricky.

  • The sooner Arteta goes the better. Lokonga not in why? He has been our best player all the games he has played. Kolasinac at CB? Absolute clueless manager. The team is just disjointed.

  • So a xhaka red card and 3-0 down at half time. This is the sort of game we all expected though. Arteta thinks he is the smartest man in the room by playing kolasinac instead of lokanga.

  • The midweek victory was somewhat good news to Arteta – as it decreased the pressure – but also bad news as we could see that the players are capable to play on a very high level. Yes, against a significantly inferior team, where tactics and formation mean less than technical abilities, but I think the the game against WBS showed that the narrative that Arsenal has no talent and all players have to be replaced is just flawed.

    It is only half time yet, and I don’t want to draw any conclusion, but – as a number guy – I have tell that Mavropanos is 12, Saliba is 11 cm taller than Chambers. And don’t get me wrong, I love Calum and I hope he can make a great career in an Arsenal jersey, but playing someone with his height as a central defender (where Calum used to play in his youth years) is just a liability. Chambers is a RB where his passing skills and key pass providing abilities could be utilized, but as a CB is a ticking bomb.

  • Pathetic and distraught watching this. I dont care if iam slated as a negative person or worse not a fan but Arteta has to go. Spend 150 M and play like this. Throw in the towel befor the game starts. if Arteta is here all our youngsters will leave. This is the worse I have felt for a long time watching Arsenal.

  • The team had lost their soul.. other than Tierney and the occasional Laca forays, where are the passing and footwork? All gone down the drain after just a few goals? How did the teams in the lower half do? They had a plan to soak up the pressure and counter. Us? We just try to play out from the back but no one is willing to run forward and create the overload. Absolutely no one.

  • Touching scenes of players clapping for the remaining away fans. You look at the players faces they are shot scared and terrified. You would expect the manager to join them in the applause and go back along with the players. Pathetic feeling my gut is hurting. I crying seeing this match it’s the worst I have felt. No gaols with a -9 goal difference after 3 matches. Do we deserve this. Really my gut hurts and iam tearing up.

  • I think we all need to give it a rest until maybe Monday, but I’m turning off my phone, packing a rucksack and I’m on my way to the Cairngorms to go and live in a cave for a couple of days…

  • Kev I love the comment about Thermopylae and little big horn haha but really we have been quite limited so far. I also wonder if Tavares is aware enough defensively for a team like city.

    I woke up 25 minutes late and turned on the game hoping for at least 0-0 and had to laugh.

    Arsenal are the ultimate FML team.

  • I’ve got to say that was a chastening defeat; so pathetic. The players look down in the dumps and only brand new gaffer can turn things around. That, or Arsene Wenger visiting London Colney to have a chat with the players and remind them what it means to wear the shirt. Defending was a shambles and by the time we were a man down, it was all the players could do bunching up in the defensive third in a bid to make it hard for the City forwards to find a clear route to goal. Didn’t work much but, you get my drift.

    So, that’s me saying it’s time Mikel Arteta smelt the coffee and see the game is up. We need an older head guiding the lads out of the rut and the romance of having an ex player manage the club at this level should be out the window.

    Having said that, Chambers, Tierney and Xhaka need to be reviewing this game to assess the parts they played in bringing about this poor result. I thought Tierney should have prevented the cross for the first goal while Chambers should be giving himself a chance to reach the cross (by backing up a bit before leaping). It was an avoidable goal, as was the second. Again, too much room for the crossing player. After that two footed challenge by Xhaka, it was hard to continue watching. Hard to see how we improve with the status quo because confidence will remain low and teams will hold no fear for us anymore. Changes required.

  • Painful, painful loss today. A loss was expected, but that was an oily spanking..
    I think my formation would have worked better 😂😁🤣

  • I’ve had a little time to settle down J but yeah, with Atkinson as the referee the City players would have easily got Nuno sent off, I agree, no doubt about it. Maybe Lokonga as well?

    City are masters at managing the officials and the officials in England are bang average, no not average poor, rank poor. The worst I can ever remember despite the Premier League/Sky TV/BT Sports propaganda as this being the best in the world.

    And our use of VAR certainly isn’t world class as again I thought that the referee showed clear favouritism to the opposition not that that had as much of an effect as our first two games but I’m seriously getting pee’d off with the double standards.

    The Man City back four cost what, £200m..?

    The Arsenal back three cost what? Chambers £16m, Holding £5m, Kolasinac free, throw in Soares if you like for free and Tierney at £25m, all five less than the price of Walker.

    Money talks and for most of the last 10 years KSE have been totally silent…

    Trying to catch up now is really far far too late.

    We’re paying for that lack of investment over those 10 years because Stan was more interested in boring Usmanov out of the club so that he could own it 100%.

    Well Stan you’ve 100% of bugger all, well done…

  • Well, I’m not about to start defending Arteta, but a home defeat against the Champions of Europe was expected and a loss at the Etihad is also the default result, whoever visits Manchester. The Brentford capitulation was surprising and shameful, but if we are being honest – and GN5 has the predictions from those who entered the competition – 9 points from the first 3 games was never on the table. However I’m not saying that the results from August reflect the reality though, as being on the bottom (!) of the table with no goals scored (!!) and 9 conceded (!!!) as well as 3 clueless and hopeless performances (!!!!) either show that
    – Arteta is indeed a terrible manager who should be sacked as soon as possible since letting him run the games for 4 more months could be an unmitigated disaster (70%)
    – the players lost their faith and/or confidence in the manager and they were playing half-heartedly as the don’t fight for Mikel any more, or maybe some would even prefer to see him gone (10%)
    – 3 PL games are still too small of a sample to draw major conclusion; key players were missing, poor refereeing and bad luck could have led to these results without Arteta being particularly bad, he was merely not good enough to do some unexpectedly positive, but we can still grant him the rest of the [half] season (20%)

  • PB, TA had us at 9 points, to be fair. 😉😂

    The classical dilemma between the head and the heart, which GN5 aptly referred to earlier. I had hoped for a bit more grit, after the confidence boost that was the WBA win. We lost that possibility by conceding too early. If you ask me, we were the better side before their first goal.

    Kev, defenders’ value aside, we punched above our weight for many years when, first the chavs and then the Northern oilers came into the EPL space. These days, we don’t even make it a contest. I am beginning to believe it is down to the coaching. Not sure when we should pull the trigger but we can’t keep it too late.

  • The manner of our defeat today was quite dispiriting. The refereeing was so poor at times but, ultimately it didn’t cost us the match. My head had told me that we would lose this match, my heart longed for a performance that would show some form of progress and even merit some sort of positive result. The team left the pitch on Wednesday with their heads held high. I hoped that would continue today.

    My reaction to the starting lineup/formation was disbelief mixed with hope that Arteta had some form of master plan which might work. He gambled and it didn’t pay off. When it was clear that my fears were justified and the backs were struggling, there seemed to be no reaction from our manager. We had lost the game before Xhaka was sent off. Would Pep have persisted with a system that wasn’t working? Of course, he wouldn’t – he would have got word out to his players to tweak certain things or change back to a formation which the team would have been more comfortable with.

    PB is right about Chambers, he’s not a bad player, he was in the wrong position. Incidentally, White might have been better suited to the position if fit but, he’s the same height as Calum and I have to agree with PB that you have to question why we haven’t kept at least one of Mavropounos or Saliba in the squad.

    I was one that thought that Arteta should be given until at least Xmas to prove that he’s the right man for the job but today has made me start to question that. By keep changing the system he wants to play from match to match, we only need a couple more poor results and Arteta risks losing the trust of the squad let alone the fans and Board

  • I have said it many times and will say it again at the risk of being called alarmist. A coach or manager is always expected to make the team better than sum of parts. That’s the essence of team sport. If you do that sports always throws amazing surprises. Iam convinced Arteta cannot do that. Somehow there was a fasle fawn when we won FA Cup against all odds but after that it’s been a steady downhill.
    The second most important aspect of management is the ability to recognize the right talent more often not and backing them to succeed. In this regard again Arteta has proved to be not so successful. He considers Saliba, Mavro, AMN, willock as not good enough to start games but plays Cedric, Willian, Kola, Elneny. I definetly beleive that a AMN will do a better or equal job in the midfield than an Elneny. I beleive that academy players will show more fight because it’s thier club and they are tied to it fr the grassroot level.
    Finally I have had doubts about his handling of younger players in the squad. His yelling at ESR during Chelsea match was the last straw. I don’t get the feeling that he will get it right.
    Arteta was handling individuals during his stint with Pep and didn’t have to get into man management abd talent grooming. Now after he usurped power of manager after the ouster of previous regime he has provided no evidence of refined man management skills. Arteta may be a good coach but definetly not Manager. As a Manager we haven’t seen him change his coaching staff as well. He could surround himself with some better coaches and get benefits, but I doubt he is open yo that. He prefers yes men may be.
    I am terrified to what damage he will inflict on the players if he is allowed to stay on. You heard what Auba said in his post match.its going tk take a long time to banish this defeat from everyone’s memory.
    Sad day indeed and even after a night sleep my gut hurts.

  • If Spuds win today, we’ll have to wait until the stupid international break end with them at top spot and Arsenal at the rock bottom.

    That’s what happens when you dither with sacking of Wenger for too long.

    That’s what happens when you replace him with inadequate replacement.

    That’s what happens when you try to fix that mistake with a complete novice.

    Anyway, the club is seriously broken, from the very top till the bottom. It’s not one man issue but the solution will start with one man’s removal.

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