Time for Reiss Lightning and a Cameo by Jesus: Arsenal v Sporting Lineup

Having watched a bit of CL football this week I must say again how much more I enjoy the Thursday Europa games these days. Napoli are a brilliant team to watch and certainly the surprise of the season, but other than that it is boring, predictable, groundhog day football. Which teams have made it to the last eight? Man City, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Benfica, Napoli and defending champions Real Madrid. The only shift is the dominance of the Italian teams, with just one Spanish team – the gazillion time winners of the competition – and one German team in this season’s last eight. What’s the chance that the last four will be close to Man City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and one ‘surprise’?! Last year’s eight were: Chelsea, Real Madrid, Atletico, Man City, Villareal, Bayern, Benfica and Liverpool. Clubs from almost the same four nations as this year. Bah, boring as hell.

The big money is of course in the CL competition but for a Romantic like me it is much more fun to watch the battles between the Europa League teams. It is so refreshing and the footie is often really watchable. I look forward to Feyenoord v Shakhtar but would also happily watch the two teams starting with Union, Real Sociedad v Roma promises should be a fine battle, as does Freiburg v Juventus. These games are so fresh and exciting; they are full of potential surprises. All European football, including the EC1, used to be like this. Yes, sometimes a team would dominate because they assembled a great set of players and had a world class manager at the helm, but also they would be usurped by new teams and then would disappear from the top for a while. Football was full of surprises and in principle anyone could win the EC1 for most of the history of European club competition.

I want once more the wonders of Nottingham Forest and Villa, Feyenoord, Red Star Belgrade and Celtic to happen, but I know that battle has been lost a long time ago. So let’s all wonder whether Real will win the cup with the big ears, as Leo Beenhakker once called it, for a sixth time in the last ten years….

Predicted line up v Sporting


Tomiyasu, White, Gab, Tierney

Jorginho, Xhaka


Nelson, Leandro, Martinelli

Hopefully Gabriel Jesus will get the last 30 minutes to play, maybe even more. Partey, Tequila and Saka to help close the game at the end.

Now that is a team and a game to look forward to!

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!!!

By TotalArsenal.

70 thoughts on “Time for Reiss Lightning and a Cameo by Jesus: Arsenal v Sporting Lineup

  • TA, I suspect that Mikel may take a more conservative approach to the one you suggest and make fewer changes from our last match. But I do hope that Reiss gets the chance to start tonight.

  • “Total” agreement about the EL … and about Napoli, too
    About tonight, I ‘m on the same wavelength as OX10, I think a very strong side will start, something like:
    Several reasons for picking Reiss:
    1) I really think a short rest is what Bukayo needs at the moment, and there’s no way he won’t be on deck sunday, so … 2) This is the first game at the Grove since THAT goal against Bournemouth. When the names of the players are called up, it’d be nice to have the crowd give our boy the ovation he deserves 3) He’s been given little playing time so far, but every time he was excellent … he deserves this start.
    As for Jesus, he’s probably not fit enough to start right now, but having him brought on a liitle sooner than at the Cottage would certainly be nice

  • Fine coments, after a well composed preview. I also feel Arteta would probably start with a strong side, much like TA’s line up, except that I expect Saliba would start alongside Kiwior, (just to see how he fares at home). The other deviation would be Vieira for Odegaard.

    It is wisdom to give some players who started in Lisbon another chance to get it right before the changes start.

    It would be nice if we can make lihht work of this game just so we avoid exertions as Paddy visits the home of football on Sunday, with his Palace side. Good thing, they won’t be fresh either.

  • I thought Jesus would start up front. Bukayu and Leo saved for Palace…

  • Arsenal starting lineup: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Jorginho, Vieira, Xhaka; Nelson, Jesus, Martinelli

    Substitutes: Turner, Hillson, Tierney, White, Partey, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Kiwior, Holding, Trossard

  • Oh, well. Didn’t realise you had the team sheet up, TA.
    A strong line up, indeed. Guess Arteta wants to make a fast start of it and if we are comfortable, make some changes to rest some players.

    Wed probably get to see ESR, Trossard, Partey, Tierney and Holding, late on.


  • Eris, I always like it that you put the whole lineup up. I just do it from memory as soon as Arsenal.com puts up the staring lineup.

  • It’s a brilliantly atmospheric place. I saw Roda JC, my boyhood team win the Dutch Cup, de KNVB Beker, there. Absolutely fantastic place.

  • Feynoord look like they had a good night.
    Clearly, Arteta had good reason for putting out something close to our first team side. Sporting look sharp, fearless and here with a plan. They have started the better side and we seem to be assessing them, at the moment. It is early days though.

  • Tomiyasu is down. But, the break is good as it gives Arteta time to re-orient the boys.

  • Tomi cannot continue and comes off for Ben White. I don’t like that…….an early change to the side (don’t forget Jesus is like a new player starting) May affect game plan.

  • Their press is very intentional, so we are finding it hard getting our passing game going. Just need one chance to start us off.

    Ben White is not suited for a game (and players) like this, if you ask me. He will get caught out a few times.

  • After a hesitant start, we started to cause them problems and it’s 1-0, Xhaka.

  • That was a pitch of a pass by Jorginho to Martinelli, whose shot was parried into the path of Xhaka who swept in for our first goal.

    Bad news. Saliba has also come off injured.

  • Jorginho has a laser in his right foot, what a through ball this was
    Granit doesn’t score that many goals, but he doesn’t miss either. When he gets an opportunity, in the back of the net it is
    Thank you skipper … for this was as undeserved as could be tbh

  • Sporting are a good team and positionally strong, especially in midfield. Second half will be tight again and we may have to put on the big guns. Jesus started strong but seemed done in at the end.

    Really good game of football.

  • A laser indeed. The weight and timing of that pass, and then Granite’s supporting run into the box and finish were superb.
    Only his fourth yellow card of the season. You really did turn him around with your wee chat last season, Total.

  • This game still has some way to go. Sporting look a well coached side so, expect it to be a cagey second half till we get a second and maybe, a third.

    Worried about how we lost Saliba and Tomi. Hopefully, it is nothing serious and Arteta only wanted to take precautions with the players. We may be forced to bring on our big hitters but cannot afford more injuries. Trossard and Saka to come on for Jesus and Nelson in the second half.

  • Tow crucial injuries i hope they are not too serious. Saliba is a worry though he looked ok whole coming off. Hope it’s precautionary.

  • Yes, he was, Madhu, but Deschamps won’t lose too much sleep over our boy getting some rest in London, he had picked no less than 6 right-footed CBs (Koundé, Konaté, Upamecano, Pavard, Fofana, and our Bill)

  • Everyone needs to roll up sleeves and work hard for the team. It’s going to be that kind of game. Keep the ball well and avoid misplaced passes.

  • Thanks Le Gall. Hope he gets some rest. Sporting is really playing well. We hardly have the ball

  • Zinchenko must do his defensive duties today and would need some support from Martinelli.

    Nelson has been helping White a lot and may soon tire.

    The boys need the fans.

  • Reiss’s actual position has been RB/RWB
    I find this very interesting, provided he believes in himself, I think the lad may have a future there

  • 1-1! What a goal from long range, with Ramsdale caught off his line. Our boys look leggy already. White couldn’t chase to retrieve a wayward pass.

    Looks like one of those days here. We have to wake up.

  • We can’t afford another injury now so, we would have to put off another change till later.

  • We are under the crush here, hopefully, we weather the storm and resume to get the winner.

  • What a game its been. If we are going to enter the next round, it would have to be done in extra time and in the hard way.
    If we are being honest, Sporting have exposed us tactically and we have not played against any team quite like this (other than City, perhaps) to come to our ground and out passed us.

    With the injuries we’ve had, our substitute options are limited so the boys have to get second breath for this one.

  • I guess so. All the intent to rest players came to nought. But, we should be ready to go again on Sunday.

  • Ode, our pressing machine is on and it is unsettling their defenders now.

  • People may disagree but I would rather be out of this cup than not rotate and since we cannot do the business with just five or so changes then so be it we might as well be out. Pep is rotating players and keeping De Bruyne fresher for the run in because he realizes that in year when the world cup was played mid season players are going to be at high risk of breaking down.

  • Who cares about Sunday right now?! Of course we will be ready for that game but in the here and now we are watching an awesome gsme

  • Down to penalties. Some game. One time I wish we had Turner in goal for this one.

    But Ramsdale should have something to say about that too.


  • There it is all our eggs in one basket now and I am not too upset Sporting were the better team on the day.

  • Look, days (nights?) like this will come and we just have to be strong together. Sporting were deserving winners, though we did have the most clear cut chances, with their keeper having a blinder at times.

    I had no problem with us playing in this competition because it gave us a chance to see the fringe players, on occasion. It also gave returning players an opportunity to play competitive games, as they got back to full fitness. But, With everyone entering the business end of the season, maybe this is not such a bad thing if we can handle the pressure of the run in.

    Bring on Sunday.

  • Well and truly Nayeemed there, boys.
    Oh well, concentrates the mind for the one we are really after…

  • Sporting deserved it over tow legs. We were poor for most part with no control over the ball at all. Of all the players i thought Viera was the most disappointing.
    The problem with Viera is that beacuse of his physical size he tries to manufacture a foul rather than control the ball and pass it quickly. As a player with lesser physical attributes you have to be smart to use it to your advantage specially when you ahve a good technique. The other problem is that he doesn’t do enough of end product. The end he plays he has to be more productive else he becomes useless. We expect someone like Mo as a defensive midfielder to have verticality then Viera who playes much higher on the pitch to create more chances. He was poor this match and just didn’t do anything.
    What is worrying is that ESR was on bench but couldn’t get any minutes. Also to be remembered this is a team which Viera is aware of and that’s what makes his performance even poorer

  • Not a game of the highest quality but end to end excitement and the Sporting goal was really well taken – be prepared for more players trying to lob Ramsdale…

    I thought that Aaron had a good game but the penalties, he needed to save at leas5 one of the three he got close to, a goalkeeper at the very top level has to keep one of them out, Seaman probably would have saved all three, so I’m disappointed there.

    Not sure why our passing wasn’t up to its usual standard, everyone seemed to be a tad off key until we had Odegaard, Partey and Saka on the pitch, they really are the three that make us tick…

    Arsenal really do not do well in Europe and I find that so so frustrating but on this occasion I’m less fussed as we have bigger fish to fry…

    Btw, is it me or does anyone else think that Vieira can appear quite feeble in our midfield? He did a really good interview this week andcame across really well, although he did mention that playing in Portugal was more technical than playing in England which he said is more physical, well tonigh5 we played a a Portuguese club and he was still often on the periphery of things – or was I imagining that?.

  • Well the poor kid Vieira is getting killed in the blogosphere and Mikel for playing him. I would say you are spot on kev he does lack some physicality and to be fair it was mentioned when we were interested in him. Sporting may just be an exception to the typical Portuguese team and I do not buy this whole if you are from the same country you should do well against them that would mean never having a bad game when he played in that league. They have also scouted him and know his weaknesses. I am not going to be overly critical of Mikel but I thought Reiss might have stayed on and maybe Vieira should have come off. Reiss might not have been doing a lot but his supply was not great and he had two really important moments when he tracked a runner all the way to the back and dispossessed him. He would have benefitted from Ode and Partey controlling the midfield which was our biggest weakness.

  • I was also surprised Tierney did not start here. Zinch is great when he is on his game and for me he has been man of the match on two occasions. However he is very inconsistent and he can be a 9 in one game then the next game be a 3. He added to the impotence of the midfield by losing possession far too easily, a problem I admit was prevalent in the whole team, but again as we know he can be vulnerable defensively as well. Now we will have to sweat on Saliba and Tomi’s injuries but hopefully with the break coming up they can avoid travelling and heal up quickly.

  • Makayah, I think we are following a pattern here. When we start to analyze what went wrong against the Portuguese Liga #4, what were simply bad luck or unforeseeable individual mistakes and what could have been prevented we will venture into criticizing the team and/or the manager, and we will be reprimanded for not being supportive when the club needs unity especially since we have an almost unprecedented chance to achieve something remarkable.

    And with those on the table, it doesn’t matter much that you are absolutely right.

  • I think this game will be a distant memory of we bounce back and win the league. If we don’t after leading the table for almost the entire season then this defeat will be the turning point. It’s just the way it is. Post facto analysis happens and causal effects are identified. In this world everything is predicated on success or failures.

  • We lost only because we did not take it seriously enough. Arteta would never have started a CL game with the same lineup and tempo at this stage of the competition. Our strongest team would have won, no doubt about it.

    Yet it was still a great, typical European game and I enjoyed it. Penalties are always cruel. It turns a team sport into individual failure and blame.

    I think we all know now which positions will be strengthened this summer.

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