Time for the Youngsters in Attack: Arsenal v Forest Lineup

Here we go again: our first FA – Forever Arsenal – Cup game of the season, going for a 15th win of the biggest domestic cup competition in the world.

It will not be easy to win this season as all clubs want to win something desperately, and a first game away to Forest is a potential banana skin. The home side will be up for it and our heads could be in the wrong place for various reasons. I have no idea who is actually available today, but the temporary loss of four Africans and Covid-19 cases may bite us hard today.

My lineup looks something like this:


Soares, White, Holding, Tavares

Lokonga, Xhaka

ESR, Platino, Balogun


CoyrrGs 🌋 🌋 🌋


101 thoughts on “Time for the Youngsters in Attack: Arsenal v Forest Lineup

  • Morning Total, England stopped the rot in Australia so a good start to the day, I like that team and I reckon it’s not going to be far from the starting XI. Martinelli, Saka and Lacazette on the bench just in case, Mari as well, along with some kids but I wonder if Arteta will go stronger to start with to hopefully get it done and then make changes on the hour just to keep the players ticking over?

    We have 5 subs to play with and 4 days before Liverpool where we can use 5 subs again so that’s a decent amount of recovery time.

    Cambridge showed that you can’t afford to drop your level although Newcastle were very unlucky – the Magpies needed a finisher, a kind of Eddie Nketiah and he’ll be in the shop window today, £30m and he’s a Geordie I reckon… 😉

  • From Nottingham Post:
    Goalkeepers: Aaron Ramsdale, Bernd Leno
    Defenders : Ben White, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Kieran Tierney, Nuno Tavares
    Midfielders: Albert Sambi Lokonga, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Charlie Patino, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, Omari Hutchinson.
    Forwards: Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah.

  • Some regular starters need to play to stay fresh for spuds. Thursday-Saturday games will be trickier. All priority on the league for me.

  • 1 Leno
    17 Cedric
    4 White
    16 Holding (c)
    20 Tavares
    23 Lokonga
    87 Patino
    7 Saka
    8 Odegaard
    35 Martinelli
    30 Nketiah

    32 Ramsdale
    3 Tierney
    21 Chambers
    22 Mari
    9 Lacazette
    31 Kolasinac
    82 Hutchinson
    65 Oulad M’Hand
    58 Biereth

  • A nice balance between experience and youth, but a big job for Lokonga in the heart of out team alongside a talented novice, maybe the rumours of Xhaka and Smith having the lurgy are true?

  • Xhaka with Covid makes our midfield looks incredible thin. He won’t be ready for Spurs. Tricky times ahead.

  • Until now we can see why certain players don’t make the first team regularly. Our midfield is struggling to dominate their area. Eddie is no Laca type. But we are getting used to each other and should play better in second half.

  • Not sure what happened there with Tavares. He had a poor game but to be subbed so early must mean he really didn’t get what Arteta was expecting of him..

  • I’m not sure what Ainsley has done wrong I confess. He may have behaviour issues perhaps. But as a player he has warranted more time at DM than he has been offered to date. I suspect he will thrive under Maureen.

  • Very underwhelming performance, a lot of our players didn’t seem to be up for it…

  • Well that was dreadful. The only positive is that this is a good season to go out of the cup early. No Europe and no FA cup run could really help us finally get back into champions league.

  • I hope so, Wedge. It just seems that breaks don’t do us much good at the moment. But this was a makeshift team with Big Gab, Xhaka, Partey and Laca (until he cam on) sorely missed in the spine.

  • Any news why ESR was not in the squad. Hopefully no fears of fixture congestion now that we are out of FA Cup.

  • Gab could have played if Liverpool had not postponed the carling Cup final.
    I think this game just shows we are a bit short, bringing on kolasinac when we needed a goal was just amazing. The whole team looked knackered and perhaps the defeat to city took more out of them than we all thought it would

  • Maybe we should see if we can call back a few of the loaned out lads.
    Could really do with Saliba, Guendouzi and Nelson right now

  • Maybe we should try and call back some of the loaned out lads. Could really do with Nelson, Saliba and Guendouzi right now.

  • So much for rooting for the youngsters for this game against Championship Forest. It was almost as if we were surprised by their quality and aggression/physicality that we had to revise our own game plan.

    We missed the presence of a dominant personality in midfield (read Xhaka or Partey) as it was a bit too much for Lokonga to do his job and chaperon Patino at the same time. White and Holding took turns to carry the ball forward to beat the press on our midfielders, as seemed to be the host’s tactic. But they were slow and laboured about it (White needs to release the balls faster and quit taking risky touches forward when his recovery powers aren’t top notch), occasionally being sloppy in the process.

    It’s a shame we lost and allowed an upset against our name at a time when we are on the up, and we don’t even have the excuse of playing with second string side (this was close to what we have available barring Ramsdale, Gabriel, Xhaka, and Laca. Forest wanted it more, it would seem. Or, maybe the virus did more damage than we are being told (Tavares looked like he didn’t want to be there). I also felt not playing that league cup semi-final has not done us much good, match fitness-wise. Well, if it can be called a positive, at least we can focus on the league (and league Cup) without the distraction of the FA Cup, knowing our record of wins of that cup won’t be threatened (Manure won’t be winking it this season, surely).

  • All good points, Wedge and Eris. Our midfield was over powered and left isolated, and Arteta did not have anybody to change it. I was also disappointed in Nketiah who is so unsuitable to the way we play and still fluffs his lines when presented with a good chance. The rest fought for it but we lacked dominance and cohesion in the team.

    Still we should expect better from Arteta and the boys.

  • A hard watch. More than “red” was missing, it, as Eris postulated may well be that our lads were suffering illness, but they were not up for it at all. A word for Nuno; tho’ he didn’t start the game well, it is a public embarrassment to be substituted before half time and, on the surface looks like poor man management. I can only trust Mikel’s coaching staff were in agreement with the call. I recall being subbed on in the second half of a game and then subbed off twenty minutes later. I remember the sting even now, twenty five years later. (Let it go, Stu…). A bit to let go of this morning. Including my hope that on this the 150th year of the FA Cup we would improve upon our appearance in the 100th final back in ’72. I remember the sting of that one, too. 😢

  • If Xhaka isn’t fit for Thursday then it’s going to be one hell of a long evening at Anfield…

    Odegaard in centre midfield isn’t the answer, you need physicality in there or you’ll be stomped all over, Patino looked every inch an 18 year old novice.

    Letting Niles leave on loan will become increasingly problematic for the club to excuse if they don’t sign someone post haste…

  • We will need a calm and composed Xhaka at Anfield as he will be targeted by the players, fans and the ref. Without mane and salah we should be good enough to get the draw and them bring them back to the Emirates and see if through.

  • Tavares looked like he was struggling with some knock or fitness problems. Maybe he had not trained for a while and was only picked to give Tierney a rest, the opposition being a championship one. That gamble backfired (if that were the case).

    AMN ended up on the losing side at Roma tonight, after Mourinho’s side went 3-1 up at some point. It must have felt good to be trusted to play for 90 minutes again, though. It must be noted he played at right back, not midfield.

  • Maybe those who don’t know what Xhaka brings would have had another evidence of his importance to this team. The reason Arteta didn’t want to give away the fact he won’t be playing since the opposition appear to come at us with a game plan that takes Granit Xhaka’s play into consideration.

  • Although I had a grumble about Arteta letting Niles leave from Roma, I’ve gotta admit in retrospect that he probably wouldn’t have made a lot of difference if he’d stayed and played today.

    I guess that Arteta can now turn to Edu and Josh and say with some justification that the new additions he wants and needs to the squad are going to be the difference between finishing 4th or finishing nowhere so it might be prudent to do some business as soon as…

  • I feel a bit sorry for Charlie Patino because he needed some calm, wise old heads around him to help him and I didn’t see a lot of that if I’m honest. I also felt sorry for our other three youngsters who must have hoped to have got onto the pitch to get some 1st team minutes but as the game petered out their chances went with it. That’s their lot for this season because every game from now on is a must win or must not lose…

  • I’ve gotta say Eris, that I’ve not seen a right back/right wingback keep Martinelli in his pocket like the Forest guy did this afternoon and Gabby wasn’t getting much help from Tavares either.
    Tactically Cooper, the Forest manager, outsmarted Arteta today as he focused on stopping Martinelli and Saka which left us bereft of any cutting edge, no Xhaka or Partey meant nothing from our midfield and the crumbs we did have we squandered.

  • You are in fine fettle tonight, Kev. All agreed. I had a great day out in the snowy Highlands with my wife and Basil…. Only for the game to spoil my mood. Bring on the Scousers!!! 🤩

  • Preparing for this week should be all about Tottenham. I don’t care about the league cup. What does the league cup get us? Nothing. We should be focusing on the top 4 opportunity. Tottenham not just a rival but main competition for that. They are about to get put of that stupid 2 leg nonsense.

    I’d be saving all our starters for Saturday. Thursday… play Cedric, Tavares, Holding, Mari, Sambi, Charlie, Eddie, and I want Saka and Marti not even in the squad.

    Top 4. That’s where the money is, and the ability to recruit and keep better players. I bet that all of our starters would agree and want to be practical too. They all want to play I’m the champions league next season.

  • It’s very clear that having a striker like Eddie who wants to be in the box is not helping our ither two wide forwards. Saka and Martenelli had a quite game. Martenelli couldn’t come into the inside channel and ended up hugging the touch line. Same with saka though Forest had a block of 5 to protect them in their final third. It pains to say that with 6 months left on his contract it looks like Laca is the most important person of our front four. If he doesnt play we look shit going forward.
    Midfield needs a boost and I dont see how Xhaka can be ready for Spurs. Isn’t there is mandatory period and two negative tests for player to be back from Covid. Midfield looks bereft and solution seems nowhere in sight. Would we rue our negligence in this area come end of the season?

  • There is a combination of causes for our loss – lack of cohesion as TA noted (the misplaced passes and no one to pass to), reserve players not good enough (Cedric and Nketiah cannot link up with the wingers. Nketiah is not clinical enough. Tavares and Sambi were both very sloppy), best players not starting (Laca and Tierney) and almost non-existent midfield.

  • Here are the results from the past weekend.

    For the weekend:-

    1st Eris & Kev 5/6 plus 1 correct score and a share of the most correct predictions = 9 points
    3rd GN5 4/6 plus 1 correct score = 6 points.
    4th Madhu 4/6 = 4 points
    5th Total 3/6 = 3 points
    6th OX10 2/6 = 2 points
    Season to date:-
    1st Eris – 104.79
    2nd OX10 – 96.46
    3rd Madhu – 86.66
    4th Total – 84.46
    5th Kev & GN5 – 81.33

  • The squad is not good enough and Arteta/Edu have wasted money on Cedric, Mari, Runnarson, Aubameyang, Tavares, Lokonga, White, and Odegaard. All these players are not better than what we had. We could have kept Torreira, Saliba, Guendouzi, Nelson, and Niles and then bought quality midfielders like Maddison and Bissouma which two signings would have improved our squad massively. Partey and Gabriel we already on the radar of the club during Emery’s time. Ramsdale is good but there is not difference with Leno. Tomiyasu has been an upgrade definitely. Trusting Arteta with more money can be dangerous as he has failed to improve the team. He has been given time and there are no excuses.

  • Here are the coming weekends choices:_

    Manchester City v Chelsea *
    Newcastle v Watford
    Wolves v Southampton
    Aston Villa v Manchester United *
    Tottenham v Arsenal *
    Mainz v Vfl Bochum 1848

  • Manchester City v Chelsea * 2-1
    Newcastle v Watford H
    Wolves v Southampton H
    Aston Villa v Manchester United * 2-1
    Tottenham v Arsenal * 0-8
    Mainz v Vfl Bochum 1848 D

    Love the choice of the last, GN5 ⚽

  • Thanks for the update, again, GN5. Nice to see that I have been lucky to stay right about the top in that round. Long may it continue, then. 😁

    Yes, Kev. That Spence chap kept Martinelli as quiet as ever. Matched him for speed and in the air. He also didn’t give Tavares a sniff for the period he was on. We just have to improve against first Liverpool and then Tottenham .

  • Manchester City v Chelsea * H 2-1
    Newcastle v Watford H
    Wolves v Southampton H
    Aston Villa v Manchester United * H 2-1
    Tottenham v Arsenal * 1-2
    Mainz v Vfl Bochum 1848 D

    TA still keeping you at arms length 😂

  • Elisha, Simba and others,

    I think it is clear that the wider squad will continue to see some changes as everyone should be comfortable with playing Arteta-ball and some are not. Yet I cannot help but think that Xhaka or Partey in the team would have made a big difference. Torreira also could have done a good job on Sunday. Sambi and Platino both need to play with such a leader at the moment, and they were missing.

    And as others have pointed out, the soon contractless Nketiah is not a suitable type for our style of play, especially if he also is trying to not get injured. So more changes to come and fingers crossed Xhaka will be available ASAP.

  • Agreed that we missed both Xhaka and Partey because there was no supply from midfield to the front 4. Forest mainly focused on Marti and Saka who were not getting much service from fullbacks too. Missed also the pinpoint long passes of Rams. The first team that played recently against MC is very good. Either the reserve players improve or we need new players.

  • Man City v Chelsea……….H (2-1)
    Newcastle v Watford……..H
    Wolves v Southampton….H
    AstonVilla v ManUnited….H (3-1)
    Tottenham v Arsenal……..D (2-2)
    Mainz v Vfl Bochum………A

  • GN5, do find below my predictions for the weekend’s selection:
    Man City v Chelsea H. 2-1
    Newcastle v Watford H
    Wolves v Southampton H
    AstonVilla v ManUnited H. 2-1
    Tottenham v Arsenal A. 1-2
    Mainz v Vfl Bochum H

  • Arsenal U21s v Chelsea: Hein; Alebiosu, Norton-Cuffy, Awe, Ogungbo, Lopez: Henry-Francis, Olayinka; Hutchinson, Biereth, Salah-Eddine.

    Subs: Ejeheri, Walters, Akinola, Flores, Sagoe Jr, Ideho, Edwards.

  • Goal. Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0. Arsenal take the lead as Lopez goes for goal and it’s diverted in by James Olayinka.

  • Jeorge Bird
    Chelsea down to ten men as Mbuyamba is sent off for hauling down Biereth.

  • Goal. Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1. Arsenal are back in front. Biereth with the finish after a good ball in from Ogungbo.

  • Goal. Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1. What a superb goal from Hutchinson. He scored with a brilliant strike from distance. Excellent composure

  • Reuell Walters on for Salah-Eddine.

    Flores on for Hutchinson.

    Likelihood is that Salah-Eddine and Hutchinson will train with first team tomorrow and possibly be on the bench v Liverpool.

  • Goal. Arsenal 4 Chelsea 1. Neat finish from Flores for his first U21s goal after being played in by Biereth.

  • Flores has an effort headed off the line. Good work from Henry-Francis in the build up.

  • Jeorge Bird Tweets TA

    Yeah, I thought we needed a morale boost and what better than to beat the Oilers.

    We have some amazing young players Total, they just need time.

  • And there you have it:

    Ft. Arsenal 4 Chelsea 1. Arsenal are through to the quarter-finals of the Papa John’s Trophy, where they will play Wigan away later this month. Excellent performance.

  • Jeorge Bird
    So many positives for Arsenal. Hutchinson was excellent. Awe and Flores were very good. Others impressed too like Norton-Cuffy and Biereth

  • ARSENAL are planning for the future as they bring in teenager Lino Da Cruz Sousa from West Brom

    The 16-year-old was part of the Baggies’ youth set-up, playing two years above his age group in their U18s. Lino Da Cruz Sousa has represented England at U16 level and the left-back – who is part-Brazilian – has already represented England at youth level.

    West Brom coach Peter Gilbert previously said of the teen: “Lino’s an athletic full-back, reads the game well, has a lovely left foot.

    “It’s not often a 16-year-old plays an entire season with the U18s, but that’s credit to him because he has so much potential”. His close control and dribbling ability had caught the eye of a number of Premier League clubs but the Gunners have won the race for his signature in their first bit of business this month.

  • Manchester City v Chelsea * H 3-1
    Newcastle v Watford D
    Wolves v Southampton A
    Aston Villa v Manchester United * H 2-1
    Tottenham v Arsenal * A 1-2
    Mainz v Vfl Bochum 1848 D

  • Jeorge Bird
    The interesting thing about the Arsenal academy now is that it’s not just creative and attacking talents being produced, but there are defenders like Norton-Cuffy and Awe who have a chance of progressing. Still a long way to go but there have been some encouraging signs.

  • RANGERS made an approach to sign Harry Clarke on a permanent basis prior to the Arsenal starlet agreeing his 18-month Hibs loan.

    Harry Clarke made 17 appearances in all in the Highlands – and the Premiership champions were impressed.

    But rather than do business with the Gers over a permanent deal, the Gunners’ answer was a flat no as they opted to farm the star out again at Easter Road instead.

    His 18-month loan in Edinburgh includes two break clauses, which can be triggered by Arsenal either in the summer or in January 2023.

  • Manchester City v Chelsea * H (3-1)
    Newcastle v Watford A
    Wolves v Southampton D
    Aston Villa v Manchester United * D (2-2)
    Tottenham v Arsenal * D (2-2)
    Mainz v Vfl Bochum 1848 D

  • My Dad used to use the term about me Total, it’s slang for left handed.

    What are left handers called in Holland?

  • Linkspoot, I like that, so I am a linkspoot, I’ve been called a lot worse…

    Apparently a high proportion of children currently being born in the UK will live to see their 100th birthday according to research published today (yesterday).

    I guess the time is not too long off when reaching 100 is quite commonplace!

  • Total, driving a cab when I’m 100, now there’s a thought, God knows what the roads of London will look like then, the way it’s going with all these crackpot schemes I’m not sure I’d like to be driving in London this year let alone when I’m a ton… 🙄

  • That true Total, when you been driving in London for over 30 years it does become second nature, but Sadiq Khan and his crazy activist friends are doing their level best to keep things interesting for me with their mindless LTN’s and empty cycle lanes, every day is a new problem for me to solve whilst my exasperated passengers scratch their heads and wonder what it’s all for?

    Meanwhile China recently opened the biggest coal fired power station in the world – it’s enough to make you weep…. 😉

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