We travel with a party of 19. Apparently 75 mins before kick off, it will be reduced to a match squad of 18.
Goalkeepers: Leno, Martinez,
Defenders: AMN, Luiz,Holding, Mustafi, Chambers, Kolasinac,
Midfielders: ESR, Guendouzi, Willock, Torreira, Xhaka, Ceballos,
Strikers: Nelson, Aubameyang, Martinelli, Saka, Pepe.
If we had beaten Watford, I’d have expected the line up to have been:
I expect Saka will drop out. Had we beaten Watford, he might have stayed in and maybe Luiz drops out. Emery needs a win. With that in mind, he may start along the lines of:
I also have to say, I really have no idea what he’s going to do. I have come to the conclusion that Emery’s biggest failure as a manager is his inability to control his senior players. I think he has little or no respect from them because I’m not sure he knows how to earn it. I don’t think he is confident in his convictions. The reason I say this is because if you look at the 4 goals we’ve basically gifted in our last 2 games, they’ve been from mistakes by senior players. If they respected or “feared consequences” from their manager, they would be unlikely to continue to make them. If you are part of a squad that watches Granit Xhaka continually struggle yet play every game he’s fit for (and some not!!), you might think the same.
Frankfurt are no mugs. They reached the semis of the EL last season and lost on penalties to Chavs. They have lost a few players, certainly a couple of their last season standouts and have started with 2 wins and 2 losses. They play in an incredible atmosphere and we will find it intimidating. I’d have said it would be a harder assignment than Watford away. That sounds a little redundant now.
This is a huge game for Emery. He is in danger of losing the fans, his fans (of which I am still barely one but he is seriously testing my loyalty). I’m tired of saying it but if Xhaka plays, we will struggle. I hope if he plays, we win 3-0. I will stand corrected. What I hope more is that he plays Willock from the start, hopefully with Gwen, Dani and LT and we play like an away team in Europe against good opposition. We play 2 banks of 4 and make them break us down, then hit them on the counter. Then after we take the lead, or are holding them, we bring off 2 attacking players and put on an extra midfielder and Martinelli for the last 15-20 mins to snuff out their midfield and keep it tight. But that would make too much sense, be too simple. It wouldn’t involve outsmarting everyone (incl. your own players) and all it would need would be 100% commitment and a lot of hard work. I’m dreaming.
Then I woke up and realized he’ll probably play 3 up front, Xhaka in the center of midfield and we’ll probably be 2-0 down at half time. Truly I hope not. I guess we’ll see.
No prediction I’m afraid because the line up is as unpredictable as the result.