Arsenal v Villa Preview/ Lineup: Forced Change in Midfield, Eddie and GJ9, Tomiyasu Start?

The Villains are coming to THOF and Arsenal have a great opportunity to make it 5/5 wins and stay TotL.

It looks like Stevie Gerrard’s time as Villa manager is nearly up, but the Scouser is a fighter and he will not go down without a fight. Villa are both a physical and technical team and they have some fine players. Yet they are not growing under the former Mr Liverpool and some are even saying they may well be in for a relegation fight this season.

I expect a hard match and I hope the ref will be on top of things from the start. Ings, Watkins, Coutinho and Buendia are of course good footballers who can score all sorts of goals, but it is the lack of cohesion in the Villa team that makes the team less than the sum of its parts. They got beaten by Bournemouth, Palace and the Hammers and the only win came at home against the sorry Toffees.

The big question for us is whether to play the current first choices or to rotate again. It looks like Partey is still out and Zinchenko is a doubt. There are rumours that Elneny is also injured, but I am not sure what to make of that.

I expect and in a way hope that Mikel goes for the strongest team and worries about the MU game later. Three points tomorrow please.

So the lineup is likely to be:


White, Sal, Gab, Tiern


Saka, Ode, Marti


Part of me would like to see the squad used v Villa but with some continuity:


Tomi, Hold, Gab, Tierney


Saka, ESR, GJ9


What is your preferred starting eleven?

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal

89 thoughts on “Arsenal v Villa Preview/ Lineup: Forced Change in Midfield, Eddie and GJ9, Tomiyasu Start?

  • Your first predicted line up is pretty much what it is likely to be, with Arteta. I agree with just going with the strongest side and allowing tomorrow take care of itself.

    A real shame about Elneny, seeing as Partey’s injury was easily his chance for some game time in the league. This will certainly affect our effectiveness as we approach two games we should be looking to win, on Wednesday and Sunday.

    Not sure what’s messing with Partey’s fitness but he has not had a known history of being prone to injuries. Why now/here?

  • TA mate Elneny is also injured. So we are down to no one in the midfield. Been saying this from Jan we needed someone in Partey place. His injuries and other things made him an obvious absentee for many games. We are in a tricky situation. Let’s see what Edu and Arteta comes up with.

  • 3-5-2 and a few changes I’d have nothing against

  • Looking at how the games today have panned out, we are likely to make some changes, especially with the game at Old Toilet in mind. It will be a delicate team balancing act by Arteta, though, seeing as the lads would want to retain their 100% record.

    I kind of agree with LeGall’s thinking in terms of the line-up. Only thing is Arteta isn’t one to make such sweeping changes. It would be the right thing, mind.

  • Eris, I want to see what happens on Sunday. It could all be games and Partey will play then.

    No Elneny should mean AMN or even White or ESR tomorrow. I am not worried.

  • Reiss Nelson: Thigh Injury, Aug 12:
    ‘He felt something in training. We scanned it, and the doctor came with some bad news. It’s a muscular injury, and hopefully, he will be back soon.’ 01/10/2022 None Ruled Out

    Oleksandr Zinchenko: Knee Injury, possible return: 31/08/2022
    Late Fitness Test, 50% chance.

    Mohamed Elneny: Thigh Injury and Hamstring Strain. No Return Date.
    Currently Being Assessed. No return date.

    Thomas Partey: Thigh Injury Aug 27: ‘We still have to make another scan to see the length, but I don’t think they will be available. It is similar [to last season] but hopefully not as bad.’

  • Arteta is quite conservative that’s why his move to replace Tierney with Nketiah last weekend surprised quite a few, therefore I think Mikel will not over-complicate things and either Niles or Lokonga will come in for Elneny – another option could be Zinchenko if he passes his fitness test?

  • I keep reading on other sites about ‘Man U this and Man U that’ but we need to do a proper job on Aston Villa first, no worrying about the weekend, muck up vs Villa and the weekend will mean bugger all…

  • T,
    I think we’ll see Sambi and ESR.. in some way. … Ainsley is Arsenal history.

    I hope we can get some minutes for Marquinos and Vieira.

    Villa have been so bad lately, that I think they’ll be playing with desperation. Could be dangerous.

  • Apparently Miguel Azeez was withdrawn from the U21 squad that won 2-0 at Cambridge United in the Papa Johns Trophy last evening (I do like a Papa Johns, I can’t lie).

    Azeez joined in training with the 1st team yesterday, which doesn’t mean he’s gonna play vs Aston Villa but it might mean that he’s in Arteta’s thoughts?

    Azeez has been playing the anchor role in the U21’s that Partey performs in the 1st team and by all accounts been playing quite well.

  • Has to be Sambi for me and if Arteta doesn’t think he up for it we need the cheque book out PDQ

    Anyone see Zaha’s goal for Palace, looked to me that Thierry Henry has taken over his body, with the exception of those haunted looking eyes

  • Lol @ hunted eyes, Retsub. Zaha’s goal was brilliant; and it was after being relatively quiet in the game, up to that point.

    Midweek (league) games can be like that; players not being at their best, with bodies not fully recovered from weekend exertions and owing to changes to the reguar/stable first team. We have to be ready for a difficult game and just get the win tonight, regardless.

  • Stop jocks arsenal must play.,
    white salba Gabriel tieney
    Zhaka zichenco
    Saka odegaad martinelli

  • Much more sensible lineups than mine up here, I guess, since MA is a conservative gaffer indeed… you never know, though, Gerrard will park the Villa bus tonight , Emi is a terrific shot-stopper on a good day, so after 60 minutes MA might have to reshuffle his starting XI; I’d really like to see Rob-Tomi-Emil-Eddie involved more
    It was good to see Smith-Azeez training with the first team, the two lads have earned it, they’ve been faultless so far with the U21s. Olayinka was the one left to captain the side that beat Cambridge yesterday, I would have thought he was slightly ahead of Matt-Miguel because of his bulk, his power, but his time’ll come later on, or so I hope – and I’m glad Matt and Miguel’s technique, vision, creativity, team spirit, have finally been rewarded.
    Anyway, it’s good to have a midweek game at last!

  • I’m more familiar with the style of Matt Smith, he’s a very tidy give and go busy midfielder, he’s not that dissimilar to Elneny in his on field manner although he tends to operate further forward where his passing is more dangerous, not that he couldn’t play a deeper role but in the U21’s he’s currently playing the Odegaard role…

    Azeez was a more attacking midfielder before now and has played that role when playing for the 1st team, it seems though following his loan to Portsmouth that he’s operating a much deeper role at the base of the midfield and it’s going well.

    I heard a short interview with Danny Cowley the Portsmouth manager and he was full of praise for the talents of Miguel but said he needed, if I can read between the lines, to be more focused, aggressive and work harder, so the talent is there it’s just the application.
    Maybe it’s a confidence thing but he didn’t play much at Portsmouth bu5 even if you don’t play you can learn lessons about your profession by being in a must-win environment.

    Not sure if either of these lads will make the grade at Arsenal but it would be nice to see them play in the League Cup and some of the Europa League ties.

  • I would use the opportunity to try the 4-1-4-1 in practice, which can always be changed back to the known 4-2-3-1

    Line-up A (no rotation):

    Line-up B (half rotation):

  • “tidy give-and-go” indeed, kev
    There’s something about him which reminds me a lot of everton’s Peter Reid, a player I admired back in the days. At the final whistle I often found myself wondering “has he given the ball away once, just once?”

  • Would love to see Smith and Azeez given a chance LeG but if the rumours of Arsenal’s interest in Danilo is true then it seems that the club is looking elsewhere.

    I did hear a journo on a podcast last week opine that he’d heard that Arsenal would bring in one or two signings of-the youthful, inexpensive variety, you know Tavares, Marquinhos price range – I guess we’ll find out soon enough…

  • Kev, I fully share your desire to see M. Smith and M. Azeez in action. However I don’t think Smith will wear an Arsenal jersey in a first team competitive game, and albeit Azeez might, I’m afraid it not will happen tonight, maybe not even this season.
    Regarding the Tavares/Marquinhos (also Martinelli, Guendouzi) type signings that initially cost 3-7 million, that sounds really good. But the mentioned 4 players all joined us in July. I doubt if there are such great deals left at the very end of a transfer window.

    I won’t mind if Neves or Gapko joins, but won’t be disappointed either if no new deals materialize; however I’m less keen on Tielemans, Neto, Mudryk or Danilo.
    And I hope Bellerin and AMN will find a permanent solution in the next 32 hours.

  • My predictions for the weekend:

    Chelsea v West Ham H
    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace * 1-1
    Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City H
    Manchester United v Arsenal * 2-3
    Celtic v Rangers * 3-2

  • It might be the time to try White as a DM tonight:


    Tomi, Sal, Gab, Tiern

    Sambi/Viera White Granit

    Saka, Ode, Marti


  • Matt Smith on the bench, now wouldn’t it be ironic Peter if he got a run out? 😉

    Getting a place on the bench to me is progress for the boy, last season when a lot of youngsters got on the bench we were short of bodies this season isn’t the case, I do hope Smithy gets on, not just so I can say to Peter ‘I told you so’ but mainly because I want us to source players from within the club and not just sign up players all and sundry…

    Conservative Mikel strikes again regarding starting XI, just listen to your Uncle AK 😄

  • Amazing approach play with just a slight lack of composure in the finishing dept.

  • Kev, I’m looking forward to it.
    There are Vieira and Smith-Rowe for midfield reinforcements, but both of them are attacking minded, while Matthew indeed have the vision and patience of the holding midfielders. So I say let’s go for it, but I wouldn’t bet my money on that.
    Not because I know better, Kev, but because I expect Mikel not trusting academy players (on general principle). So when we have a disagreement on the chances of the youngsters, I’m not being overly cautious at all, just being a cynical @$$hole. 🙂 And I root for you to be correct in your predictions, irrespective of the bragging rights.

  • Boys are doing good. Saka has his Mojo back, please guys finish them off quick. I don’t want a nervy 45 minutes.

  • Sambi has a real gift for passing. Maybe he can play more in our new setup with White RB , Zinchenko lb.

  • I was going to post, after Villa equalised, that that’s what you get when you don’t take your chances.

    Martinelli saved our blushes. I hope that Ode is ok we’re gonna need him at OT.

    Now for a Smith Rowe slide rule finish if you please.

  • First the Villa equalizer seemed like a major goalkeeper error. But after several replays it seems mostly a referee/VAR error, as Ramsdale was clearly blocked, Watkins even ’embraced’ him a bit. So it’s a minor goalkeeping error, as Aaron should have stood somebody to the near post, especially after Douglas Luiz scoring from a corner a week ago.

    Our bot goals were minor goalkeeping errors too, as Martinez is more than capable of dealing with the cross from Xhaka and a light shoot from Martinelli, but I won’t complain.

  • Everything we do is close to the level of Man City except our finishing.

    Amazing character to come back so soon after conceding, as we did against Leicester

  • The exuberance of youth…

    Very composed and mature play by Eddie.

    The officials are rubbish.

  • Well, besides the victory tonight, I consider good news Tottenham and Liverpool loosing 2 points each (Chelsea and BHA already lost yesterday.) So even if our goal difference is inferior to City, the rest of the teams are at least 5 points behind already.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice though to be 4 – 0 up at half time. I thought we played pretty well until we invited them to attack us late on. Ref was pretty rubbish though.

    Good to see Saka smiling again. I have thought Eddie made a difference as well

  • Happy with another win but, being greedy I look back on all the games this season and think that we should and could have scored more goals. But, the project is producing results, generating confidence and a genuine connection between the team and fans which we haven’t seen for a while.

    A special mention for Sambi who slotted in brilliantly, played with composure and maturity, especially in the first half.

  • Brilliant result. We just mix quality and grind so well. Agreed we need to become more lethal, but except Citeh that goes for all teams. I just love our resilience.

    Missed the game tonight but will watch MotD now.

  • Hey Peter I’m well aware of that, I’m just pulling your leg, but again, it’s down to our lack of efficiency in front of goal especially at home, maybe our players get caught up in the atmosphere, emotion and lost a degree or two of their calmness, because if we’d had got the four goals we deserved at half time we probably would have seen Pablo Vieira and maybe Matthew?

    As it was the margins were too narrow and the result too important.

    I had a look on Le Grove earlier again yesterday evening after the final whistle and there’s a lot of people on there still moaning, in fact it’s often the same people on LG and they’re not happy unless they’re unhappy, a very strange collection, I’d imagine that lockdown must have had a permanent effect on their psyche because if you cannot find a single thing to be positive about after 5 successive wins then your life must be pretty empty…

  • Good win and few rivals dropping.points makes it all worth. I wouldn’t expect Liecester taking points of Man U. So it’s now going to be a resurgent Man U that we face.
    Sambi i though did brilliantly well. Last few mins he was a bit nervy but wit a better backline and better frontline SBI can play the #6 role easily.
    Odes injury is another blow. We will have to wait and see how much does he miss. May it’s time for ESR and Viera to step up now.
    We are capable of more goals and hope that will come in soon.
    Kev, the LG blog is a very toxic place and the name calling abusive lots as well.

  • Must admit to being a little concerned over a couple of inuries.

    1 Ode, he will be a huge miss if he can’t play at the toilet on Sunday. However ESR deserves a chance to prove himself (again)

    More of a concern to me is Ramsdale. I haven’t seen a great deal of Turner, but what little I have seen (only in an Arsenal shirt) didn’t greatly inspire me, but maybe I am being a little unfair. I think our European match with the Icelandic keeper last season may have lowered my expectations.

    If Ramsdale has a hamstring problem. I cannot understand why on 3 or 4 times after the injury, he seemed to be trying to score with his goal kicks.

  • Yes, it is good to have a league of gentlemen on this blog, a joy to partake in.

    I don’t know what Tomi was instructed to do at the corner from which we conceded, but if he was supposed to be on the near post and had been there, it would have been a straightforward headed clearance. I thought Watkins positioned himself cunningly and simply held his ground, hence no foul (IMO).
    The boys responded to the set back well. They like to keep us on the edge of our seats, tho’.

    Here are my guesses, GN5.

    Chelsea v West Ham D
    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace * 2-0
    Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City H
    Manchester United v Arsenal * 1-2
    Celtic v Rangers * 3-2

  • Damn, I jinxed Liverpool losing those 2 points.
    My bad.

    Regarding the injuries I’m also worried a bit, but our goal as a team to close the gap between the first and the second choice players, so I sincerely hope that even though Partey, Ode and Ramsdale could/would be missed, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

    Manchester United is still a work in progress, so we have more chance to kick their butt at the Old Trafford than in 6 months.

  • “they’re not happy unless they’re unhappy” – Amen to this, Kev
    Don’t feel like analysing yesterday’s game too much; right now I just want to enjoy the passion our boys play with
    About Villa’s goal, I’m with Stu on that one (Watkins held his position just like a CF does so as to keep his defender off the ball, nothing more imo; as for the near post, I might be old-fashioned but I think it was up to Aaron to give Tomi hell ’til he stood by the post like a good, obedient boy)
    Now, overall … how can the ref and the VAR team be allowed to officiate again in the PL after such a display? How can we not be awarded a pen after Mad Emi strangled GJ9 in the box? What about Mings on Bukayo? etc., etc. We’re very lucky none of our lads were seriously injured, too …
    Anyway … just a word about Granit, who was immense again; what a professional, what a role model he is; his 2022-2023 schedule will be insane though, let’s pray for his being kept out of harm’s way

    (Hi, GN, that’s for you):
    Chelsea West Ham H
    Newcastle 2 CPalace 1
    “Them” Fulham A
    BHA Leicester H
    MU 0 AFC 1
    Celtic 1 Rangers 1

  • Retsub, don’t ignore the possible of the ‘phantom injury syndrome’, you know just taking the sting out of a game, our Aaron is quite adept at that… 😉

    Yes Madhu, it’s mental over there but I’m warming to it, even the doomers are entertaining in a way, they make me laugh. I think the most negative are in a lot of cases the most desperate for us to be successful so to protect their sensitive souls they’re negative, it’s a kind of self protective process otherwise they’d go insane…

  • The thing about the Ramsdale ‘foul’ for the Villa goal is that if Ramsdale had changed positions and stood in front of the Villa player, was it Watkins, then Watkins would have simply moved and stood again in front of Aaron, it’s obstruction that’s the only reason he’s there. How did Martinez get away with having Jesus in a head lock? Emi then throws himself to the ground and gets a free kick, very strange and as soft as it seemed Saka was just pushed out of the way by Mings and onto the floor, outside of the box it’s a free kick, inside the box it’s a bottle job. VAR will stitch us up, make no mistake, we won’t be allowed to succeed fellas I’ve seen it too many times before.

  • Opps sorry if I repeated a lot of what LeG wrote, that’s what you get for being too quick on the draw.

  • It is pleasing to see how the team has developed in both cohesion and character over the course of Arteta’s guidance. That’s twice we have responded promptly from going a goal down, and that can only be attributed to a desire to fight and earn the right to win.

    We still have to improve on composure in front of goal, though, but with the way the Villa players were throwing their bodies in the way, plus (other than spilling the ball for our first and not having a strong hand, for our second) Martinez just being unbeatable, at times, one could excuse the boys for not scoring more in the first half.

    Odegaard was immense, once again and Gabriel was a colossus at the back last night. Saka looked to be re-discovering his best form; Xhaka was just so good in the first 45 mins, while Sambi managed to stay calm and kept it simple. Jesus and Martinelli were like the Duracell battery bunny, being energetic all over the pitch. It was fitting that they got both goals….pretty much a day for Brazilians, both sides. Speaking of which I thought VAR hasn’t been fair to us with that Douglas Luiz goal. How is that given when our keeper was not just impeded but held back to prevent him saving that corner kick. Absurd officiating. Plus John McGinn has gone and done Odegaard’s ankle, yet got away with just a yellow. If the refs don’t take charge to punish infractions and dangerous play against us, we may just cop a bad injury soon. Teams cannot live with our energy these days and will look to “rough up” our boys a bit.

    To think it is Paul Tierney next at Old Trafford. Well, here’s hoping we turn up to buck a trend of recent poor results at the toilet on Sunday.

  • I posted before seeing the last few posts from Stuart and LeGall. And good shout Kev, about the Emi on Gabriel Jesus and Ming’s on Saka wrestling holds. It was a penalty shout as Saka was in control before he was wrestled to the ground by Mings. How is that allowed? Martinez should have been penalized for his neck lock on GJ9, especially after he went on to throw himself to the ground.

    Yes, maybe Watkins stood his ground but he was cleverly using his hands on Ramsdale, to keep him pinned. You just don’t impede a keeper that way. How many times have we seen goals disallowed for even less contact with keepers. Had it been disallowed, would there have been a loud protest? I doubt it.

    We won, so it’s all good. But if the club doesn’t question some of these decisions/omissions using official back channels, we may be stitched up quite a few times this season.

  • One goal leads are always very stressful to watch, especially when it gets deep into the 2nd half – however one goals wins are superb!

  • Here are my predictions,

    Chelsea v West Ham H
    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace * H (3-1)
    Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham D
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City H
    Manchester United v Arsenal * A (0-2)
    Celtic v Rangers * H (2-1)

  • Chelsea v West Ham H

    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace * D 1-1
    Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham D
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City D
    Manchester United v Arsenal * D (0-0)
    Celtic v Rangers * A (0-1)

  • Yeah, GN5. Here goes:

    Chelsea v West Ham H
    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace * D 2-2
    Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City H
    Manchester United v Arsenal * A 2-3
    Celtic v Rangers * H 2-1

  • Just watched Vitaly Mansky’s “Gorbachev. Heaven”, TA
    Both heartbreaking and uplifting … but maybe you’ve already seen it

  • Just watching the Red Scum Get a dodgy three points at Leicester. They only looked half decent when Ronaldo came on. They have 3 or 4 players with short fuses but all great actors. The worst of the lot is McTominay. He. Struts around leaving his boot in all the time and smiles at the referees.

    Think It’s time to give as good as we get.

  • Chelsea v West Ham…… Home
    Newcastle v C Palace…. Home (3-1)
    Tottenham v Fulham….. Home
    Brighton v Leicester….. Home
    Man Utd v Arsenal……… Away (0-2)
    Celtic v Rangers………… Home (3-2)

  • Not sure what you guys think but not getting a midfileder in this summer is a bigger failure than not signing for the same place in Jan. Jan window cost us the 4 th as we didn’t have enough body to get us through last season. This summer with all the positive signings we still didn’t plug this gap with an additional off field issue of Parteys. Hoping against hope that this doesn’t come back to haunt us. Disappointed that in consecutive windows we have failed to address this position considering the importance and quality/availability issues at this position.
    Man U suddenly looks a daunting task this weekend with all the injuries so early in the season.

  • I reckon any of these 11 could play in a midfield three: Oedergard, Xhaka, Partey, Elneny, Lokonga, Zinchenko, Saka, Smith Rowe, Viera, Patino, White,

  • I’ve been waiting for you, Madhu. We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the pessimist. Now, I am the optimist!

    Jokes aside, I have really high hopes to this season.
    As an old (and boring, and irritable) advocate of a small squad I’m really proud of having the joint fewest headcount in the Premier League. But before you jump to the conclusion of 23 heads not being enough, I have to point out that Manchester City similarly has 23 players, and so does Real Madrid (Barcelona has 24, but they have registered 3 senior goalkeepers; Bayern Munich also 24, including 2 U19 guys who are unlikely to play much). So while PSG started the season with a squad of 31, that’s not the undisputed best practice. Especially as 8 of them are under the market value of 4M. And at Arsenal everybody is 5M+, so our team is serious, and ready to play any time they called upon.

    I am further proud to have the youngest squad in the league – however that’s nothing new, we had that ‘honor’ last season. But still, it is something that easy to identify with, and also reassuring that even without further reinforcements the squad will be better even via organic maturing, which might not apply to Casemiro, Koulibaly, Eriksen, Coutinho, Aubameyang, Perisic, etc.

    I don’t share your disappointment for the lack of midfielder signing, as I don’t think the lack of bodies cost us the 4th place. We defeated Chelsea, Man United without Partey, West Ham away… We needed a sole victory against either Brighton, Southampton or Newcastle (as we had no chance against Crystal Palace). That wasn’t an impossible mission, we just botched it. It had nothing to do with the headcount in my opinion, as there was no rotation whatsoever.

    There are/were allegations against Arsenal breaking FFP rules. I hope they are bull$hit, but the point here that money doesn’t grow on trees. And while many of us might envy Chelsea and United for splashing a quarter of a billion, I’m kind of proud that we have strengthened the team, added depth and quality by spending only the 12th most amount.

    Maybe it was still possible to find some money for the perfect midfield reinforcement, but that didn’t materialize. Neto was way to expensive, Tielemans demanded a ridiculously high salary (and Leicester asked a further sizeable fee), Douglas Luiz didn’t seem to be at the required quality (when you hear a rumor only a few hours before the transfer window closes for the first time, that’s a reliable indicator of a panic-buy), and Danilo was not Premier League ready, as well as he was priced too high for a player with no international games under his belt. And the two players who didn’t have any of these shortcomings – Ruben Neves and Ibrahim Sangaré – were simply not for sale.

    I don’t think buying a new midfielder was really that urgent. OK, 2 of our main midfielders are indeed injured; but hopefully not for long. And due to the versatile nature of the squad there are many players capable to operate at central/defensive midfield, including White, Zinchenko, Smith-Rowe, Saka and Vieira. It is vitally important that we assess how good Lokonga actually is – he has a perfect few weeks to prove himself, and with a high profile midfield signing he would have no chance – as he flew in under the radar in the mist of White, Ramsdale and Odegaard signing, but he has the background and pedigree to be the next big thing for Belgium as well as for Arsenal. We will say goodbye to Elneny at the end of this season, so we will address the midfield reinforcement just then, so there is no harm in keeping a few positions for the next summer.

    Regarding the current transfers it is still a mixed bag, but maybe less mixed compared to last years (Lichtsteiner, Suarez, Mari, Ceballos, Willian, Rúnarsson, Tavares); so again, it is a step to the right direction. Our efforts to dispose of players are still horrible, but at least the loan department for the senior team is improving (the academy loans are not really impressive, though).
    For the new guys Jesus and Zinchenko have already proven themselves. Neither of them came cheap, but we got quality for the money. Saliba is obviously one of the most important addition to the squad, and I’m willing to bury the hatchet whether it was an Arteta master plan to banish him from the squad and beef him up in France or he did everything to get rid of William, but his performance was eventually overwhelming.

    But we shouldn’t start popping the champagne just yet. We know next to nothing about Turner, and even less about Vieira and Marquinhos. The latter looked composed in the U21 team (4 goal contributions in 3 games in the Premier League 2), but that’s hardly an indicator for PL readiness. Vieira was less convincing in his 45 minutes, but to be fair he was injured before, and had to adapt to a completely new environment. Anyway, the success of Jesus, Saliba and Zinchenko is weakly correlated at best to our expectation to the rest of the new guys, but Marquinhos was cheap, and Turner cost about average for a backup goalkeeper. Only Vieira was a big money signing for a position Arsenal needed no obvious further cover, so he has the biggest shoes to fill – including the catchy name on his jersey.

    But good luck to all of them. With a proper size squad they will have the opportunity to prove themselves and win the crowd for giving their best. I can’t wait for the Zürich game, I hope Arteta will not disappoint with his reluctance to rotation.

  • Where we stand:
    Soares-Tomiyasu-Holding-Tierney (Tomiyasu-Holding-Tierney-Soares)
    I understand your concerns, Madhu, but I think it’s an excellent squad indeed – and for which the club has already spent a lot. For example, provided Zinch-Thomas-Mo-Martin-Reiss are all unavailable sunday, we still might field:
    … which wouldn’t fill me with dread at all
    The other thing is, there are only 11 PL games left before the Oil Cup, and one or two more before the next TW; with 5 wins in the bag already, Edu and Co. might have thought it was better to keep a cool head, trust the 25 players above, and adjust things come January if need be, and … it was the sensible thing to do imo.
    Cheer up, mate, whatever the lineup, these boys will make us proud again Sunday!

  • Madhu, I’m sure that Edu has done a lot of prep work in this window regarding players who just aren’t available to get right now but might be in January and next summer?

    We have a super-talented squad of young guns and Grandad Granit, we’ll be just fine as long as the PGMOL give us a fair crack.

    In a way this is now Arteta’s most difficult test because it’s down to his coaching, his decision making, his rotation, his selections, his tactics and his motivational skills, it’s now fully his team, but I’m confident that he’s got this….

  • Hear, hear! PB, LeGall and Kev.

    Very well said. I would have liked another body (Douglas Luis, Tielemans or Danilo) in on the last day of the TW, but never felt it was going to be a deal breaker. We, do have a super talented squad now and it was no surprise Stevie Gerard did his best to avoid “strengthening” or helping us further, with the injuries we have. We have other opportunities to get what we need in the next TW and in the summer.

    There will be many good days and a few bad ones so, we just need to enjoy the ride and see where it gets us at the end of the season.

  • PB, LeGall, TA – I understand what you guys are saying, but there are two points that we have to consider
    1. Arteta is loathe to use 5 subs – Partey played full 90 mins before he broke down. His injury is in the same place as last season. Sambi and Elneny played next to nothing in these games. The same goes to Saka who has played so much last season that he is still feeling the effects. This is a worry as we have to play games every 3-4 days from now to till the world Cup break.
    2. We have injury prone players at key positions. Our full backs were injured last season and have started slowly. I read somewhere that Zin is also injury prone. Partey hasn’t played more than 50% of games for the last two season. I wont even mention his off field issues. Saka has played more games in this tender age. ESR is injury prone.
    All the solutions to midfield are square pegs with many pieces of the puzzle moving around. We are not yet a versatile team to pull it off. For me the glaring miss was the midfield with an injury prone Partey and backups of Elneny/Sambi who the manager doesn’t trust to play 20 mins to relieve Partey. In successive windows we were linked with 3 Brazilians Bruno G, Arthur Melo and Douglas Luiz. Bruno G went to NewC, Arthur to Pool. Neither of these folks would have improved the quality of this team? I am really interested to see whom and when do we bring someone in the Midfield. What kind of qualities will he posses?
    Iam really happy for our additions and filled with Optimism, but midfield concern exist.

  • Frankly – what is there to really complain about, we are watching the best Arsenal team in many seasons and they will only get better. Injuries are all a part of the game and can never be planned for. This is a new team with a new manager and they are playing some exceptional football. To have overblown expectations of what the team can achieve is unfair and I personally am just happy to go along for the ride. We still need a few key players and I believe that it will take several seasons for them to be able to compete with the top dogs, but like you all I would love to be surprised.

  • Madhu, I totally get your anxiety and I am also happy with the way others have responded. It’s obviously not ideal that both Partey and Elneny are injured simultaneously.

    Luckily, we have all three right sided defenders fit behind whoever plays next to Xhaka. So they wil get great backing. Let’s give ESR a start in the Ode’s position, and of course Sambi next to Xhaka.

    CoyrrGs ⚽

  • A line up like below could seriously dump the Old Toilet on Sunday:
    Tomi, Sal, Gab, Tier
    Saka, ESR, Mart

    White could replace Sambi, Eddie could replace Martinelli.

  • We have a lot of versatile players like Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, White, Cedric, Smith Rowe, Vieira., Nketiah.. they can do multiple positions or both sides. I wish we had got some game minutes for Vieira but the past 2 games have been close.
    Missed opportunity in the games before that.

    Only Turner worries me because if he has to play it will be in a hostile environment. Would’ve preferred Europa to be his first experience.

  • I know it’s unlikely given how little Arteta changes systems and personnel but I wonder if switching to a back three is an option if Turner plays?

  • Everton are improving (with an outstanding Iwobi reignin’ o’er the midfield), our next home game will be anything but plain sailing

  • It is claimed that Paul Tierney is a Wigan fan but that article also claims he’s from Wigan, some 20 miles away from Salford where Wikipedia says he was born.

    Of course, we can’t say that he is a United fan, but we do know that Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, believes Tierney has a problem with him.

    Klopp watched at least three big calls go against his side when Tierney took charge of their game against Tottenham back in December.

    If anything, we might wonder if Tierney is actually a Spurs fan.

    During that Liverpool game, like most refs, Tierney ignored a red card challenge by Harry Kane, issuing only a yellow, turned down a clear penalty for a foul on Diego Jota and sent off Andy Robertson, the player Kane nearly broke.

    You may also remember Tierney from Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat at Tottenham in May when he sent off Rob Holding while also booking Martin Odegaard, Granit Xhaka and Emile Smith Rowe.

    He booked only one Tottenham player that day and also gave them the most ridiculous penalty when Son threw himself through the air as he was brushed by Cedric Soares

  • Untold’s Tony Attwood has it that the VAR guy, Lee Mason, is also from Manchester
    Time to read again Joseph Moncure March’s “The Set-Up”, I guess
    Fueled by anger at finding out about the set-up, Pansy Jones wins the fight the fight-bosses were sure he would lose, btw …

  • Kev, that was an extremely important point to make.

    The squad is strong, the deadwood is shipped, the close competition is well behind us in team cohesion and identity building. Arteta and Edu were given an unprecedented amount of funds for consecutive seasons. Now the gloves are off, no more excuses, he has to deliver the goodies.

    Now it’s up to team selection, tactics setting, game management, rotation, as well as off-pitch coaching and motivation; so practically being/becoming a top manager deserving this dream job, great squad and fantastic fans. Let’s go for it!

  • Great comments, guys. Big game tomorrow and one without too much pressure. So let’s go there and just play our game, our style and our tempo.

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