Arsenal Preview and Starting 11: Just One Change and Sambi to Score.

We are going to Pool to face The Teeth and his press-bullies, and what a test it will be!

Some have suggested that this game will tell us exactly where this Arteta team stands right now, but I don’t think that’s the case. Two weeks of interlull disruption makes it really hard for managers to prepare properly for a game. Fitness levels will be assessed late on and there is just little time for on-field tactical prepping. Arsenal are also at a significant disadvantage for having to travel. I think the game v the Red Mancs in a few weeks will tell us much more about the level of this excititing team.

Yet, the result will give the press and supporters renewed vigour in pursuing their favourite themes and agendas about us, no doubt. Ah well, let’s hope we go home with at least a point then! 😁

How are the team going approach this game: absorb and pounce, take the game to them, or something in between?

Key of course is the battle in midfield and let’s all hope that Partey is fully fit to start. Even though Thomas is prone to a few mistakes each game he will bring fight and presence to midfield, and we need this desperately.

The back four plus GK and four in attack pick themselves right now IMHO. My only question is who to play next to TP, AMN or Lokonga? I am going for Sambi as he has been threatening to score a goal for a while and I feel he will do so tomorrow.

You could argue for swapping Tierney for Tavares but the latter is in form and has been very impressive. Better to ease the wizard of Wishaw in gradually.

So my line up is as follows:

Starting 11 to finally beat Pool again

If they all work hard and stick to the plan, and are all fully fit of course, we can take the smile away around those German Hempstead Heaths. Oh what a Saturday night that would be!!

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners: Make us proud!!

By TotalArsenal

58 thoughts on “Arsenal Preview and Starting 11: Just One Change and Sambi to Score.

  • Thanks Total. Love that banner in the bottom photo, “We’re not English, we are Scouse”. They are a magnificently supported club. I have a great fondness for Jurgen of the Hempstead’s, a man of faith with a huge father heart. I think, and thought at the time that our club missed a wonderful opportunity when he became available a few years back. Both he and, I think Pep would have been keen to take over the project from Arsene. Mikel is doing a super job, well worthy of the staunch support your blog gives him. I think it was your comment in an earlier post that he communicates well but not with great warmth. I do see that area growing in him. His efforts to see Arsene brought back into the heart of the club are admirable. He honours people, protects his own, loves our club, can absorb criticism and respond intelligently and with grace. 3 points, 1 point or none at Anfield, it is a blessing to have Mikel at the helm. I am picking three points as Arsenal are the greatest football team the world has ever seen…

  • Great comment, Stuart. Always good to hear from you. Yes we missed out on both and so did MU. Great coups by Pool and Citeh.

    Arteta is indeed learning, and learning fast, and it is important to stick with him, support him.

    I had the pleasure to watch a few games at Anfield and it is a great atmosphere; intimidating but not in a nasty way. Let’s keep the crowd quiet like we did against the Foxes.

  • That’s a good team you’ve put out there; the likely selection, being the best we have now.

    I know it’s going to be a tough decision but I’d go with Tavares for this one. He won’t have fear for Salah and would have enough to keep Alexander Arnold in check too, along with ESR. Arteta may opt for experience though.

    One other area Arteta may change could be the midfield; so as not to get overrun, he may go with all three of Lokonga, Partey (fingers crossed he is fit to play) and AMN (for his speed of recovery). That will mean the trio of Saka, Auba and ESR as front 3. Just a thought.

  • Hehehehe! It would be quiet and tense in the dressing room too, TA.

    I am at the Toronto Pearson airport, waiting to board my flight back to Nigeria. Not much to be had from me. Not even sure I will see the start of the game, to be honest but, I shall be rooting for the lads, in spirit. We must stay humble, to get anything there.

  • Cheers Eris and bon voyage!

    I really like your thought of playing AMN, Lokonga and Partey in midfield. It would give us a strong presence there. Auba, Saka and Emile could be enough in attack.

  • Stuart, TA knows I loved Klopp at Dortmund and wanted him to succeed Arsene. If that had happened, Arsene could’ve avoided the unpleasant final few seasons, and forced exit.

    Liverpool, so smart, pushed Brenda out really fast, so as not to miss out on Klopp. I was angry immediately.

    TA good observation about Sambi getting closer to scoring. Actually both he and Partey were missing the goal badly a few weeks ago. We were complaining about the wild shots. They have been getting closer to the target, and it feel like it may happen soon also.

    I think the answer to the Tierney/ Tavares issue is easy. KT left side cb in a back 3.

    Defend …. Instruct the players … if they score first… we can score too. Don’t panic, or we’ll end up losing by 4 or more. Keep it tight, bide our time, and show our quality.

  • In transit, in Europe. I like Jync’s comment and suggested approach to resolving the Tierney-Tavares question. It would mean we miss out on two of the famed front 4 but should keep us solid depending on who Arteta chooses to play in midfield. 3 (White, Gab, Tierney) – 5 (Tomiyasu, Partey, Lokonga, ESR/AMN) – 2 (Auba, Laca/ESR/Pepe). There doesn’t look to be a definite word on Partey so, it is dicey.

    One isn’t getting carried away but after so many years of reading derogatory articles about Arsenal, it is nice to start seeing positive stuff again, portraying the respect the club and this side deserve. Win or lose, Liverpool should be made to know they’ve been in a game. That’s all we ask.

  • Nice one, Eris.

    It could be like this:

    White, Gab, Tava
    Tomi, Partey, Sambi, Tierney
    Saka, Auba, ESR

    With ESR joining Central midfielders when under pressure..

  • Klopp, Brendan Rodgers and even our Mikel, they have teeth that are so so perfect, absolutely perfect, good enough to get them a job as a News Anchor on US television, but Klopp’s are also huge, it’s the size of them that is so very impressive. It makes me hanker for the dental hygienist every time I see him on TV and see those amazing railings gleaming out from his boat race (face)…

    His maniacal smiles remind me also of a mad professor!

  • Quietly confident that we can get a positive result TA but it’s not a game that’ll define our season and fans shouldn’t allow it to either, we never do great following an Interlull so I’m not going to be unrealistic, but this group of players has shown an inner strength, a determination that I’ve not seen in an Arsenal team for a prolonged time since probably the Invincibles. I’m not comparing this team to the 03/04 vintage exactly but there are similarities and I like the way this group is evolving.

    Everyone and their dog have been very kind to us in the media this week, no doubt setting us up for a hoped for thrashing so that they can tell everyone that Arsenal flatter to deceive blah blah blah.

    I’ve ignored all that rubbish tbh but instead focused on the fact that nobody is talking too much before the game from our camp. Arteta has said what he has to say but kept it respectful and low key, he knows the difficulty of the task but he isn’t approaching it as if we’re already a beaten side and I like that.

  • Good point, Kev. The media may well be building us up only to let us down again…. Keeps people clicking I suppose.

    Like you I am quite confident we will give them a game. If we play it well tactically it may come down to individual brilliance, both by attackers and defenders. We need this from the likes of Auba, Saka, Partey and Ramsdale.

    Can’t wait to see them in action.

    CoyrrGs!! 🌋🌋🌋

  • As the song goes TA ‘we’re looking out for a hero’ – maybe Lacazette is that man or Martinelli?

    Chelsea winning has definitely put the ball into the court of Man City and Liverpool so both of them will be well aware of how important this weekends games are for them…

    Arsenal will also be aware of how the results are going for the top four places so it’s Up for Grabs…

  • 3 Ramsdale
    18 Tomiyasu
    4 White
    6 Gabriel
    20 Tavares
    5 Thomas
    23 Lokonga
    10 Smith Rowe
    7 Saka
    9 Lacazette
    14 Aubameyang (c)
    1 Leno
    3 Tierney
    8 Odegaard
    15 Maitland-Niles
    16 Holding
    17 Cedric
    19 Pepe
    25 Elneny
    35 Martinelli

  • The team is as good as we can field and the bench is strong – the game will tell us just where we are and what (if anything) we need to change.

    Only young at heart Total.

  • Great first half by the boys. Shame about the goal but it was coming, as we were showing too much respect in midfield. Still, we are in this game and will get a chance to score a goal or two.


  • We’ve been brilliant but we need strikers, we need someone who can hold up play, who challenges for balls like Mane, a physical presence up front. Lacazette gives everything and I love his effort but he’s just below the level we require and Aubameyang runs a lot but bottles out of 50/50’s and is past his best.

    I’m so proud of this team, they’ve really stood up to Liverpool’s bullying tactics and Albert is a star, if only we had some forwards?

  • Even a goal down, I think we need to be patient. Not time to open up a lot till much later. Play like we did from the start and see if we can get something that way. These guys make all their success against teams desperately trying to claw back. Their team today is beatable.

  • Lokonga has been amazing, such calmness under pressure and Tavares looks undroppable, I wonder if we’ll see Tierney on doubling up on the left?

  • For me we give up possession way too easily our passing has to improve a lot. There is no fluency as I like to say often I get that the team is young and developing but its still disappointing to not see any sustained possession or even stringing together five pass moves. As I type Tavares loses possession just after Sambi did the same twice in our area unnecessarily. I see Ainsley coming on but I would also like to see us bring on Odegaard in place of Laca to help us link midfield and attack better and just for better ball retention.

  • What a beast Ramsdale is the scouts really did an amazing job on that one Edu should be getting a little more credit after being slammed for so many things

  • 3-0 and could have been more still a ways to go for us to bridge that gap we have not given them many problems at all and that is with them missing a number of players.

  • Lost my comment somehow. My only concern is for the players confidence. Especially the youngsters. Next game will be huge.

  • Fourth spot is still within reach though because outside of Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City there is a dropoff in quality and we could grab that spot if we continue improving but this is a major setback. To start the second half I did see Emile come in centrally and got involved a bit more he just seems a little isolated on the wing. Some of that was a result of Tavares being forced to defend more but both him and Saka just could not get into the game at all.

  • I think we showed in the first half how close we are to them. Swap Mane with Auba and the balance could shift our way. We are growing and learning, and the boys need games like this to know the standard to work to. Still fifth and all to play for.

    CoyrrGs ⚽ ⚽ ⚽

  • No “haka across the living room” this morning, boys. A chastening experience at Anfield and in Paris. But we can learn and grow in adversity. Bring on the Barcodes.

  • That was a truly chastening defeat which brought us right back to earth, with a soft thud. Not the result we expected/hoped for but still, a bit to be upbeat about the team. I feel it was one day that Liverpool would have beaten any team that came to Anfield, after that defeat to West Ham. We got the brunt of that pent up rage and but for Ramsdale, it may have been more.

    I saw extended highlights and felt sorry for the boys because after such a fairly good performance in the first half, they probably needed some wise heads to guide them on the need to remain composed and not go guns-ho at this Liverpool side. We were thus the architects of our own down fall as first Tavares and then Lokonga became guilty of giving away possession right in our area; to be fair, Tomi, ESR, Saka, White and even Auba gave away possession curiously, under manageable pressure (there were outlets to release a pass to). As Makayah argued above, we need to be able to string passes together and play out the back confidently, at this level and that to which we aspire. We are the Arsenal. Composed and quick/crisp passing is what we are known for. Need to get back to those days while retaining our current, evolving all round tenacious play.

    That incident between Arteta and Klopp in the technical area served to turn things up a notch at an already charged atmosphere. Maybe, we didn’t need to rile up that crowd just then. The goals came after that spat. Just saying.

  • Sounds like Ole Gunner Solskjaer has been sacked. That will make top 4 a bigger fight now, assuming United get the usual bump a new Manager brings.

  • Expected result but somewhere in the corner believed we could pick a point. West Ham won against liverpool last match and that shows the gap. But thye lost against wolves today. So it’s going to be that kind of season. We would do well to keep our confidence and win the next one against New Castle.
    The center forward position is a big worry. Auba had couple of gilt edged chance when we were one goal down. That pass from ESR and one from I think Partey atleast one should have been put away. We need a CF who can take the pressure off and hold on to the ball for a period get others in position in such kind of games. Auba kept getting offside which shows that he is off the pace. Disappointing to note that in a tough match like this the senior pros let the team done. Laca is embarassing wiht his histrionics and trying to get a foul.

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