Arsenal v Pool Lineup: Chambers in Midfield, Emile Back?

Today we are visiting the corona faking Scousers and this is our chance to get one firm leg into the League Cup final. It is the third biggest price that can be won domestically, and after our embarrassing defeat v Forest we really need to see an inspired performance tonight. We desperately need a good result to build momentum and renewed belief again, so all Guns blazing as far as I am concerned.

Basil ⚽🙂

Pool without nasty Mane and the Bergkampesque Saleh is like a bull without horns. Yes they attack like a machine, but, just like Dennis and Thierry in our most recent glory days, these two fab Africans make almost all the difference in attack.

Our young and promising defence and attack will relish the game tonight but it’s the midfield that gives us cause for concern. Partey and Elneny are also in Africa and XhakA is a fitness doubt apparently. Sambi and Platino looked lost in Robin Hood’s Forest and there’s no way they could stay cool in the pool.

So who is Arteta going to pick? You tell me, but I am hoping for this line up (with making ‘resting subs’ from the sixtieth minute):


Tomi, Ben, Gab, Tava

Loko, Xhaka/Chambers

Buka, Martin, Emile/Marti


Come OOn You Rip Roaring Gunners 🌋 🌋 🌋 🌋 🌋 🌋


89 thoughts on “Arsenal v Pool Lineup: Chambers in Midfield, Emile Back?

  • Morning Total. I like your line up and hope it’s enough to come away from Anfield with at least a draw. Chelsea await in the final and they are no push overs for whoever they play against.
    Granit Xhaka (Covid-19) will be assessed, as will Emile Smith Rowe (groin) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (calf) so three key players are doubtful.

    Nevertheless I’m looking forward to the game.

  • Hi T and gang,
    It’s been a long couple weeks since I’m focused on the league. I hear we have another long break coming soon. I won’t know what to do with myself.

    As for tonight I think Emile could use some work if possible, also Gabriel if the FA cup satisfied his punishment. I really want Saka to not start.
    I would only give Tomiyasu a few minutes at the end. I’ll be thinking about the spurs even today.

  • BIG Apple, J, the League is important but we need to enter the Spuds’ game with our peckers well up. Pool could hurt us a lot tonight if we don’t approach the game seriously. So for me Saka has to play.

  • Yes Total you can buy it by the pint in four packs or eight packs in either supermarkets or beer stores.
    I quit drinking wine about a a8 months ago and drink a Guinness a day and I’ve lost 41 lbs or 3 stone. I still have the occasional glass or two of wine at festive periods.

  • Good preview and you make a plausible case for that line up. I feel Arteta will have his mind/eye on the game on Sunday (away to the Spuds) as he makes his selection. So, I expect to see a team packed with as much as 6/7 defensive type players playing in “shock” roles.
    Depending on fitness, we should have Leno behind a strong back 4, with one of Kolasinac, Chambers or Ben White partnering Lokonga in midfield. Left midfield could have Tavares; right midfield Martinelli while Nketiah, Laca and ESR could make up the rest of the selection.

    We were better off playing the first leg at home; any good win shall be hard to reverse in the return, as the Spuds found out, so Liverpool have conned all to have the first leg at home. If we simply graft and grind this one out for the draw to take back home. A cool pass and move game, few mistakes and when a chance comes, be clinical. That should be the word, even as so many changes could get everyone needing time to adjust.

    All the above will change if it turns out Xhaka can play.

  • Good morning gentlemen. It’s a breakfast time kick off for me, so it will be water melon, banana sanga and (hopefully) a wee dram later on to celebrate.
    I like Eris’s thinking, tho’ would start Laca and ask him to do his deep false nine, defensively to disrupt their holding midfielder, and offensively to come short to create space behind him for the pace of our samba boys.
    Well done on the weight loss, GN5. I take it the Guinness takes the place of a meal?

  • Good stuff, Eris. I really think Arteta will put out a very strong team as we cannot take a hammering right now. We need the positive psychological boost right now 😊

  • I have a shelf in our fridge stacked with chocolate covered scorched almonds (Christmas gifts) which I will bring out at half time, GN5. Watermelon is my favourite fruit but won’t get me through the match…

  • Liverpool is a scary place to play in – my Liverpudlian family got me tickets on several occasions and I envied the level of support shown to the team – I never saw anything that intense in all of my visits to Highbury.

  • I’m on holiday, Total. I conduct a wedding this Sunday, but otherwise am spending my time reading, sleeping, fishing, gardening and thinking all things Arsenal… Our grandson and daughter in law have just returned from the UK, served their period of quarantine and are home safe. Ezra is now walking so everything is up for grabs!

  • Yes, GN5, those Scousers know how to follow a team. The most intense game I ever experienced at Highbury was a 0-0 draw with Liverpool in the League Cup. 54,000 in the ground and several thousand locked out. I squeezed onto the North Bank holding onto a metal railing on the left had side (facing the pitch) with my toes on the concrete steps and my heels hanging over the edge. while my mate waited outside the ground having had the gates shut on his face. Despite no goals it was a cracking game. We had, if I remember two replays before beating them up at Anfield.

  • Arsenal

    A Ramsdale
    C Soares
    B White
    G dos Santos Magalhães
    K Tierney
    A Sambi Lokonga
    G Xhaka
    B Saka
    A Lacazette (c)
    G Martinelli
    E Nketiah


    M Biereth
    O Hutchinson
    B Leno
    R Holding
    N Tavares
    C Chambers
    P Villar
    S Oulad M’hand
    C Patino

    Michael Oliver

  • Arteta never ceases to befuddle with his selections. Liverpool ha e their strongest side and so do we. But Ramsdale? I am not sure Leno did much wrong last cup game so don’t get that one. Glad to see that Xhaka can play. Hopefully, he doesn’t get anything to suspend him from Sunday’s Derby.

    Good luck, lads.

  • Ah! But I dislike Michael Oliver in games as this. He has this smug, Mike Dean disposition to our players as he issues them cards.

  • Oh well, TA. The way I see it, if you have a keeper designated for the cup games, maybe you should honour that commitment, unless in the final perhaps. It is telling Leno a lot to not pick him for this one.

    Anyway, that’s why Arteta is who he is, I guess.

  • I love Granit as a man a professional, but I was ready to move on from him in the summer. Of course with a good replacement. Now do we get a loan midfielder in panic mode? who won’t be available for Spurs anyway.

    Sending Ainsley at the beginning of the window instead of the end was a bad move as a backup midfielder and rb. Silly business.

  • Surely, he had eyes for the ball and a yellow won’t be seen as soft, no? He was last man and had a high foot but there was no intent is my point. Michael Oliver appeared to relish that one as the PGMOL are aware what a straight red means for him. Xhaka’s reputation precedes him these says. May be time to leave these shores.

  • Agree, Jync, re AMN. And it’s not as if Roma paid a record fee.

    We have weathered their pressure well enough as they haven’t troubled Ramsdale tellingly. But the second half will be gruelling for the boys. I thought we would start with a lot of defenders; it may yet turn out that we add on Tavares to make it 6 of them, at some point. If we get away with a draw, it will be a commendable performance.

  • Pool are really missing the Africans in attack and we could win this on the counter. Every excuse to sit back and play on the (rare) counter.

    CoyrrGs ⚽ ⚽ ⚽

  • He’s supposed to be a leader and set an example. I’m at the end of my tether with him. More than happy to move him on and bring in a replacement. Causing a big problem for the spurs game now.

  • I get it TA. He was last man too and can’t say he didn’t know Jota was about. But a yellow card won’t be overturned by VAR, in my view. The man had eyes on the ball.

    Liverpool will look to their bench and their only real dangerous proposition of note is Oxlade-Chamberlain. Hopefully, we can keep him at bay when he does come on.

  • FEcking brilliant by the boys. The sending off helped in a way as we could sit back without our normal desire to go and play football and leave too much space for Pool to run into.

    They hardly troubled us and super Bukayo almost scored for us. Really proud of all, players who played tonight. So, much character and desire to fight for the shirt.

  • Phew! That was graft at its absolutely, un-Arsenal best. 😅

    Need to catch my breath as I had been too invested in the game after that red card. Must be said that Arteta has changed some aspects of our reputation. They are showing resilience and that’s something we’ve not been known for in a while. Kept Liverpool to zero shots on target at Anfield. That is immense.

    Back to the home of football for the second leg and a nice 1-0 will do. Well done, lads.

  • Correct, TA. The sending off gave us the perfect excuse to do exactly what I had hoped we would do: just make it hard for them, defend well and leave with a stalemate, where we can’t nick a goal.

  • Would have taken a draw before the match and definitely happy with it after being down to 10 men for so long. If we can get some players back and they are still missing the AFCON players then we should win at home.

  • Well done the 10 men…

    I hope that they’ve not used up all their energy.

    Massive game on Sunday.

  • An excellent back to the wall performance by the team, and superb game management by Mikel and his staff. Heroes all over, Ben, Laca, Bukayu… Calum and Rob did so well coming in. Lord, give them all a good rest and recovery for the NL derby.
    I agree that Granit should have been yellow carded, tho’ he would have been aware of the opponent, his eyes were on the ball. I couldn’t believe our Matty Upson’s commentary on SKY avidly supporting the red.
    And… how many of you are impressed with our away fans? They out sang the kop for much of the game.

    Did Basil get his treat, Total?

  • Just caught up with the comments, Total did you have that take-away?
    I had, surprise surprise, a huge mug of tea and watched the game in bed, it’s bloody cold…

    I feel a bit sorry for Xhaka, as you said TA if that’s at the other end it’s not a red but tbf to Michael Oliver he had a good game…

    The false positives spoiled this game for me because Liverpool cheated and I lost a bit of interest, but now it’s a proper cup tie in a week and I’ve got a ticket. 😀

    Chambers did very well I thought when he came on, three at the back and wingbacks certainly cramped the Scousers style,

    Night all

  • How good is it to have defenders like Chambers and Holding to come on and do a job?!

    Also loved Martinelli’a performance tonight. A shift for the team and what a support for Tierney!

  • With very little time to recover before the NLD, I expect we would throw on the returning players, if any.. A shame we can’t have our first choice midfield with Xhaka copping another red card and suspended. Arteta will have to find a solution for that state of affairs.

    The boys can be proud of their work tonight and take some courage from that draw at Anfield.

  • I had said it during summer window that center mid will leave us exposed as we didn’t sign one more player apart from sambi. We didn’t plan well for AFCON absentees. Knowing fully well that Elneny will also go end of this season. Letting AMN go so early is throwing all eggs in xhakas basket. I thought the mgmt know it’s better and now we have to make shift center mid for 3 games i guess. This may well be the turning point for us and miss the 4 th spot due to negligence of epic proportions.

  • I heaved a sigh of great relief after the game ended (6 am Malaysian time). Negatives starts with Xhaka’s red card as many has commented. I think he should not complain the red card because it was dangerous play and he was the last man. I disagree with a JC who said Rams is also at fault because the flight of the ball ended with vertical fall and not towards the goal mouth. But again the defenders were too far in opposition half and again like in match against MC, Xhaka tried to intervene but panicked as usual and made the wrong moves. Cedric was again beaten in the short time he had (not convinced that he is so injured that he can’t continue or more of fearing of being beaten). Rams was uncharacteristically making the wrong kicks especially at the earlier stages. The positives firstly is the performance of Chamber who had great positioning and good speed (which Cedric lacks) despite being rarely played. Holding had a decent outing although some of his headers were scarily towards our own goalmouth. Arteta got his restructure spot on after the red card. Everyone was fighting very hard to close down the spaces so that Pool hardly worked Rams. With the odd opportunities to counter attack we looked dangerous. Now the crisis area is the defensive midfield and attacking midfield. I don’t blame Arteta for letting Niles go because he has been sulking instead of improving his performance like Marti. Niles should have bided his time which is now when AFCON took away Partey and Elneny.

  • Madhu, it was not dangerous play so i think Xhaka is back next Thursday. I think the club are looking at reinforcement but it is taking long, too long.

    But I hope you enjoyed our performance a bit nevertheless.

  • Good summary, Elisha. Granit was right to try and intervene but his timing was poor and he got the last man rather than the ball. It cost us but it probably benefited us more. The sweet uses of adversity, as Shakespeare once wrote.

    Bring on the extremely mashable Spuddies,

  • TA, agreed that probably this adversity benefited us more in this game. The players showed great character and our fans were very supportive reciprocally. Maybe after this display, Arteta would learn from experience to play to the strength of the team he has on a match by match basis and not too gung-ho with teams that are stronger. There is news that we probably do not have enough fit players for NLD and I think it may be good to be postponed especially looking at our bare bones midfield numbers.

  • TA, i have been working so couldnt wake up at 1:30 AM to watch the match. Frankly even otherwise I didn’t have the stomach to watch after the FA Cup as I was expecting a similar team and performance. Fair to the rest of the team they did great to earn a draw. Arteta did well to rejig the formation to win the game. I fear for the weekend game against spurs with a decimated and rejigged center mid.
    I strongly believe we have mis managed this area a bit.

  • Elisha, it is a fine balance between developing through a style of (Arteta) football and playing to the strengths of a squad. V Man City we saw how well the former is going; V Pool the latter. I love this guy.

  • Basil ! I can’t even read that name without hearing Prunella Scales screaming it at John Cleese. As an Italian foodie, it just makes me hungry.

    Madhu of course you were right about cm. Even if Xhaka had no red cards, one major injury would have left us in trouble. Depending on Lokonga was wishful thinking on my part, and the braintrust.

    I wanted him to have been getting more minutes, even when Xhaka returned from injury, but I see now why maybe Mikel doesn’t trust him yet..His cute little passes and runs have been exposed the past couple weeks. He needs to bulk up too. At least must have a steady midfielder next to him.

    Without Ødegaard on the weekend to play deeper, I’m concerned. After Man City I was planning on crushing the spuds. Now it looks 50/50 at their place.

  • Arteta last night: We don’t have any midfielders!

    Mikel Arteta’s 2pm press conference was delayed until 2.30pm – it has just this minute begun.

    Here’s what Arteta said last night around Arsenal’s depleted squad…

    “We have assessed [Saka], we had to take him off, he was uncomfortable and felt something. We had other issues. We have just arrived [back in London] and we haven’t had time to make a formal assessment how everybody is.

    “He [Odegaard] is feeling OK, he is still positive, the uncertainty on the days and when he will be available will probably be resolves on matchday. There are no further Covid cases so far, we have just been tested and we haven’t got all of the results back. Hopefully not.

    “It’s a challenging situation because we are really short of numbers for many different reasons – AFCON players, Covid cases, and injuries – but it is where we are. Unfortunately we are facing that unpredictability every single day and we have to adapt to it.”

  • Loved that film, “The Dig”, Total. A wonderful example of British cinema, and a fine lesson in restraint and vindication. I guess your Basil can dig up a few bones, too?

  • Good article from the Guardian, thanks Total. Playing the long game has always been an Arsenal trait, hence the “Bank of England Club” moniker. Astonishing to consider Mikel’s last three games v Tottenham have been against three different managers. They had something like a dozen during Arsene’s tenure. Tottenham have had 42 managers over the course of their history. Arsenal, just 19 permanent managers and 8 caretakers.

    The greatest firmness is the greatest mercy.
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Loved the video.

    afcstuff (@afcstuff) Tweeted:
    Bukayo Saka: “We always had Arsenal in our hearts. There was Arsenal, Chelsea, Watford, Tottenham, maybe two more [clubs]. Arsenal was the one I always wanted to go, they had a lot of faith in their youth & a clear pathway. My Dad loved Arsène Wenger.”

  • So, Marseille have been issued with a 2 year transfer ban from FIFA, probably reduced to a year I’d suspect, on appeal…

    But, that means no transfer for Matteo Guendouzi in the summer I’d imagine?

    What to do with him and do we need him poisoning the vibe at the training ground?

  • What I read is that it is Saliba we have to worry about (assuming we wanted to sell). Guendouzi’s contract has the option to buy at £9.5m, so long as Marseille avoid relegation. One never knows how these things end up getting interpreted, though.

  • Ah Eris, so you mean that the FIFA ban won’t affect Marseilles completing on Guendouzi, is that because the agreement was made last summer?

    I’m not actually worried about Saliba, I’m quite hopeful that he can be reintegrated back into the senior squad at Arsenal.

    I see that Balogun made his Middlesbrough debut yesterday, good luck to the lad.

  • At long last, Everton sack Rafa Benitez. Save for the “new manager bounce” of the first few games (W4, D2, L1), his last 12 have been dismal (W1,D2, L9) and his impact as a high profile manager not evident.

    Having said that, maybe what he needed was a better team than what Everton had to offer.

  • Here are the results of last weekends competition:-

    1st Eris with 3/5 plus most correct predictions = 7 points
    2nd GN5 with 2/5 plus 1 correct score = 4points
    3rd Total, Madhu, Kev, & OX10 with 2/5 = 2 points
    For the season to date :-

    1st Eris with 111.79
    2nd OX10 with 98.46
    3rd Madhu with 88.66
    4th Total with 87.46
    5th GN5 with 85.13
    6th Kev with 83.33

  • Here are the choices for next weekend:-

    Brentford v Wolves
    Manchester United v West Ham *
    Leicester V Brighton
    Crystal Palace v Liverpool *
    Chelsea v Tottenham
    Man C Ladies v Arsenal Ladies *

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