Arsenal v St Liege Pre-match

For those that do not know Liege, it is a small city in Belgium with a beautiful train station and opera.

In terms of football, Standard Liege is in the top 5 of the Jupiler League. They are not so known for producing young players like other clubs like Anderlecht, Genk or Brugges but they tend to buy well and have a solid team.

They play in a 433 formation and are a solid team in terms of their defense and midfield. They dont concede much either and have some decent players like Lestienne (Attacking mid), Poku/Bojevic (FW) and also Laifis and Gavory at the back. Their goalie is OK too.

They are second in the Belgian league at the moment and had a good start to the season but we should be able to manage them at HOME IF we are serious. Our quality is higher overall and they have weaknesses like their full backs so here is the predicted line up and then my preferred line-up:

Here is the predicted one:


AMN   Mustafi   Holding   Tierney

          Willock   Torreira

      Ceballos    Ozil    Nelson



Here is my preferred one:


AMN    Mustafi    Holding   Tierney

Willock   LUIZ

Pepe   Ozil   Nelson


Let us not pull a Real Madrid and go down 2-0 at half time against a club from the Jupiler League…Let us score early and thrash these little Liegeois.




66 Responses to Arsenal v St Liege Pre-match

  1. Wow that is one beautiful train station, thank you for the heads up RC78.

    And thank you for the pre-match. I’m going tonight and looking forward to seeing an exciting game. Holding in as CB will make me feel a lot more comfortable. Hopefully Ozil will have lots of space to weave his magic and that could help get the best out of Pepe.

  2. RC78 says:

    Hi peaches – are you transiting via Brussels? I am based here so if you have time for a beer today or tomorrow

  3. RC78 says:

    Oh and Liege is also known for its Coffee (black coffee with whipped cream) and its delicious sticky waffles (sugar loaded from the start)

  4. RockyLives says:

    Thanks RC

    I like your preferred line-up.

    Mustafi may be out of favour but he performed well in the last Europa game and deserves to keep his place for this competition.

    I wonder if Tierney may be close to getting a start in the Premier League in which case I would not be totally surprised to see Kola played at LB, even though he played on Monday night.

    AMN is a good call at RB. He has slipped behind Chambers as first choice RB until Belli is fully fit. Chambers has completely earned that promotion with his recent performances but AMN filled in manfully when there were no other options and should be given a good run in this competition and the Reindeer Cup.

    I’d love to see Luiz as holding MF, but I think we know by now that UE is not going to do that.

    Tonight is a chance for Pepe to assuage some fan concerns and, like you, I would definitely rest Auba and start Martinelli.

    In fact, with Auba having played on Monday and with a 2pm kick-off in the league on Sunday I’d be stunned – and very annoyed – if he plays tonight. He’s too valuable to be used as a workhorse until he inevitably breaks down.

  5. RockyLives says:

    I remember enjoying Standard Liege way back (early 80s?) when they had a good team and made a European final or two (I think).

  6. Sue says:

    Nice one, RC 👍
    So, Unai will decide after training, if Mesut will play or not! No guarantee then!! Knowing him, he’ll be left at home to play Fortnite – be a pro before we know it!
    All joking aside, this really does baffle me… he’s the only one to be dropped from the squad completely, or ‘rested’ after 71 minutes of football!! Sheesh!! No explanation, nothing!
    Well, if we don’t see him tonight, we more than likely won’t again & he’ll be gone in January. Rumours are that Barca are interested in taking him on loan…
    Well, this week, in Europe, we’ve seen tons of goals (seven two sisters road, anyone?!!) looking forward to our game.. with your preferred line up, RC.. I’ll swap AMN for Bellerin, Luiz for Torreira… that’s my line up!

  7. RockyLives says:

    “Seven-two Sisters Road” 😀

  8. LB says:

    Thanks for the read RC

    My punt.


    AMN, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney



    Pepe, Aubamayang, Nelson

    OK, I admit it, this is probably my preference.

    Sadly I will miss the game………bum.

  9. RockyLives says:


    You really think UE will play Auba three times in six days?

  10. allezkev says:

    I think that Balogun might have been earmarked for the squad tonight but sadly picked up a knock in training, John Jules is still out as well I think.
    That leaves Martinelli unless Emery wants to gamble on using Aubameyang?

    Thanks RC, that’s an impressive building.

  11. Rasp says:

    Morning all, thanks for the PM RC … I’m confused … we’re playing at home tonight but you’re suggesting a meet up in Brussels?

    As for the game, several youngsters, lots of goals and a clean sheet is all I want to see … not asking much.

  12. Rasp says:

    As regards playing Auba, common sense dictates that he should be rested, but he’s one of those players who loves scoring and just wants to play so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did feature.

  13. RockyLives says:

    No doubt Auba wants to play every minute of every game, but the sensible thing to do would be to have him on the bench tonight in case of emergencies.

    Anyone have any idea of when Lacazette is due back?

  14. Sue says:

    Supposed to be after the international break, Rocky

  15. Rasp says:

    I agree Rocky. I’d like to see Martinelli start.

  16. LB says:

    I think Auba will start just to make sure all is well before an early swap.

  17. Rasp says:

    It will give us the ability to rest players for the away legs if we win these next two home games.

  18. Rasp says:

    Also, Auba is on a roll – averaging a goal a game so far this season.

  19. VP of Oz says:

    My preferred line-up

    Mustafi Holding Tierney
    Pepe Ozil Nelson Saka
    Martinelli PEA

  20. RA says:

    First class Post, RC, a good read and very informative, thank you.

    I do not have any particular preference on team selection for this game, so I am predictionless, as usual, — still Sue Perdooper, my unpaid agent, has made known her views, as have most of you, and the warning from Rocky re Auba is apposite, so that will do for me.

    I wonder if Side-Show Bob will demand to play tonight — if so, he needs to be nixed!! In midfield he is our driving force.

  21. Sue says:

    Surely Auba needs a rest, his back must have just about had it, what with carrying everyone!!

  22. Sue says:

    RA.. (Hello, btw!) Your comments still (who’d have thought it, after all this time 😜) make me laugh (Sue Perdooper!) And that’s just to name one! There have been lots of others too, and not just my name! It makes me wonder what goes on in planet RA, to come up with stuff like this… I mean is this normal??!! Actually, I think I’ll stop there 😂😂

  23. Aaron says:

    Thanks for the pre-match.

    If Emery plays Auba, he has lost his mind.
    If Auba gets hurt, the Arsenal will slide down the table and never make it back this year to top 4.

    Play the youngsters, and don’t overuse Bel and Tierney before they are ready.

    Should nick a win no matter.

  24. Mike M says:

    Morning all. I took the afternoon off yesterday. Worked from 7-2 !!!
    I assume ESR is out, That’s a shame, would like to see what he can do. I think Auba is a definite no. We can play Marts, Pepe or Nelson, or all 3 !!!!!! May be on the bench for with Saka for emergency duty but hopefully won’t be needed. Guess he could also start Saka. back 4 seems set logically to give Bell and Tiern a game. AMN in midfield anyone?? Maybe AMN to start RB and then bring Bell on?? Who knows !!!!!! Anyway hope for a good win. Any odds on 7-2??

  25. Sue says:

    Mike.. 😂😂😂😂 love it!!!

  26. RC78 says:

    For sure we shouldn’t play Auba and I wouldn’t risk Bellerin either as a starter. I think that Pepe should play though just to get him going and scoring from open play. Liege is not to be underestimated but I think that our team if they play attacking football will cause all sort of issues for Liege, especially on the wings. Pepe and RN will have a good time. I am a bit more worried for Martinelli because Liege CBs are quite physical.

    AMN – Pepe ; Tierney – RN to cause riots tonight 🙂

    A large victory on the hands in Emery’s style: 2-1 :-p

  27. Rasp says:

    Apparently they’ve had to close Kings Cross Station because the Standard Liege supporters have been letting off flares …. not what I’d expect from our peace loving Belgian friends 😳

  28. RC78 says:

    Am so silly… It s a home game and me getting all excited that some of you are on your way to Belgium… Lol… That said, we should plan a reunion in London and a beer session in Brussels

  29. RC78 says:

    Don’t be fooled Rasp… Belgian supporters are not tje nicest. I dont like going to the anderlecht stadium much even for CL footie

  30. Rasp says:

    I’m up for your reunion idea RC

  31. RC78 says:

    Am in London for New Year so…
    Or you guys can come to Brussels too

  32. Sue says:

    No Ozil then…. 😡

  33. RC78 says:

    Ozil out, Bellerin in
    AMN in the middle
    I like the line up, let s hope for the best

  34. RA says:

    Team News;

    Arsenal lineup: Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Ceballos, Torreira, Willock; Maitland-Niles, Martinelli, Nelson

    Subs: Leno, Chambers, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Pepe, Aubameyang

    No Ozil.

  35. RA says:

    Belli Button is captain!!

  36. RockyLives says:

    Come on Alkmaar – get a late winner against ManUre!

    I went to Alkmaar when we played them there many years back (shortly after Arshavin joined us if memory serves). It was an unentertaining draw but the AZ fans were very friendly.

    Mind you, the journey back to Amsterdam was pretty awful because some poor bugger went under our train and we were stuck for hours.

  37. RockyLives says:

    Luckily we’re only playing Standard Liege. If we were playing Superior Liège I’d be worried.

  38. RockyLives says:

    I’m really pleased AMN has got a chance to show what he can do in MF. He has not moaned about filling in at RB while watching other young players getting chances in his preferred position.

  39. RC78 says:

    Tierney – RN – Martinelli 😉

    Great long ball from Mustafi too on the goal and then Tierney and Martinelli

  40. RC78 says:

    Martinelli again from RN this time

  41. RC78 says:

    Tierney is really a gem at crossing

  42. Rasp says:

    Tierney really knows how to pick out a cross

  43. RockyLives says:

    True about Tierney and crossing. Let’s hope we don’t coach it out of him

  44. Aaron says:

    Blasting these guys! Play the youngsters every game. Not really.

  45. RC78 says:

    Martinez, Mustafi, Bellerin ans AMN struggling compared to the resr of the team so the whole right side

  46. RockyLives says:

    How good is Martinelli? Strength, composure and clinical finishing at such a young age

  47. fatgingergooner says:

    There are some awful teams in the EL that’s for sure, but it’s still great to watch our future stars dismantle them. Tierney’s crossing is different class and Martinelli reminds me of when Carlos Vela came onto the scene and looked like he would finish everything. Willock and Holding have been excellent too, but I’d like to see more from AMN in his preferred position, and a bit more from Torreira and Ceballos second half.

  48. RockyLives says:

    Excellent half.

    FGG – agree with all that, except I think Ceballos has been pretty good and involved in a lot of our play.

  49. Sue says:

    I’m drooling over Tierney & Martinelli

  50. RC78 says:

    Martinez, Mustafi, Bellerin, AMN absent
    Torreira needs to try harder too
    Ceba can also increase his influence
    The rest is doing a great job with a special mention to Tierney, Willock and Martinelli

  51. Rasp says:

    Scored by Ceballos, made by Martinelli

  52. RockyLives says:

    Would they be amused in N17 if we scored 7 ? 😆

  53. fatgingergooner says:

    Well Ceballos has been different class so far second half. He just dictates games when he’s in this mood. It’s actually an insult to call him a number 10 or just a creative player because he works so hard and wants to be on the ball all the time.

  54. Sue says:

    Rocky.. 😂😂
    Lets all laugh at the Mancs too!

  55. Rasp says:

    Martinelli is my motm

  56. VCC says:

    spot on Rasp…Martinelli MOTM. Some prospect we have there.

  57. RC78 says:

    My ratings
    Martinez – 5
    Bellering – 5
    Mustafi – 5
    Holding – 6
    Tiermey – 8, MOTM
    Torreira – 6
    Willock – 7
    Ceba – 7.5
    AMN – 5
    RN – 6.5
    Martinelli – 8

    Subs – no comment needed

  58. RockyLives says:

    And my ratings:
    Martinez 6
    Made a couple of good stops from shots you’d expect him to make. Almost cost us a goal at 0-0 when he came for a cross and got nowhere near it.
    Bellerin 6.5
    Good to have Hector on his way back. Did fine.
    Mustafi 6
    Would have earned a higher mark for a solid performance (including some nice long passes) but played a couple of very dangerous balls across the defence that might have been punished by a more alert opponent.
    Holding 7
    Not tested too much but was confident in all he did.
    Tierney 8.5
    Looks like the real deal. A constant threat, very good defensively and some fantastic crosses.
    AMN 5
    I’ll cut him some slack because it’s been a long time since Ashley got to play in his preferred role, but he struggled to get into the game.
    Torreira 5
    I’m just not sure what his role was meant to be. He was busy enough but seemed to slow down our play whenever he was on the ball.
    Willock 7.5
    Another fine performance from a young man who could become one of the first names on the team sheet before too long. Took his goal beautifully.
    Ceballos 7.5
    Was all over the pitch, great control, I love the way he can switch play from left to right or vice versa with a quick shimmy. He was the oil in our machine tonight.
    Nelson 6.5
    Posed a threat and was hungry for the ball. Continues his solid progress.
    Martinelli 9 (MoTM)
    Apart from a hat trick goal, you couldn’t ask for anything more from our young Brazilian. Took both goals like a seasoned poacher, was strong in the challenge and tireless. He paid the price for nutmegging one of their lumpen defenders when the guy ‘did him’ with a malicious ankle kick at the next opportunity.

  59. allezkev says:

    Martinelli, 2 games, 4 goals, never mind the opposition, nobody else got 4 goals, that kid looks the biz.

    Tierney, that’s how you cross a ball, he is going to create so many chances for our strikers over the forthcoming seasons.
    What a signing.

    Willock certainly seems to be Johnny on the spot, a goalscoring midfielder, worth his weight in gold.

    Shame that both John Jules and Balogun were unfit as it would have been nice to see one of them get the minutes that PEA got at the end. PEA has bigger fish to fry…

  60. Gööner In Exile says:

    Interesting to watch last night was the first time I got to see the youngsters play together, ok we know the opposition was Liege but these are still senior professionals who we dispatched with ease. Most importantly the team looked more in tune than the first team do.

    Holding so comfortable on the ball and untroubled.

    Tierney well if there was a model for an unfussy footballer there it is. Lots are focussing on his crossing which was very good, I was equally impressed by his tackling and interceptions, even when stopping fizzed throughballs he managed to control it and get possession back in their half.

    Nelson impressed also being two footed is an asset for any team, and out on the left wing he has confidence to get to bye line and whip in a cross or cut on to his right and shoot, by end of game the right back didn’t know whether to get tight stand off or tackle.

    Willock also impressed with his movement forward with the ball and willingness to get to the box

    Martinelli, movement finishing passing hold up play. Pretty complete in his attitude.

    AMN disappointed occasionally but he has been stuck at right back for so long moving into the middle of the pitch means he has some adjusting to do.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I am prepared to see the club go backwards to move forward, and I’d much rather see us go backwards while fielding players like the above rather than a mixup of players that have failed in the past.

    A first XI that I could give time too:

    Hector …….. Holding ……. Chambers ……..Tierney

    Pretty sure they wouldn’t get relegated, but would be fun to watch.

  61. RockyLives says:

    The emergence of Martinelli, Saka, Nelson allows for the possibility of moving on one of Auba, Laca, Pepe in a year’s time while they are still going to command big money.

    Not that I want to see the back of any of them (particularly Auba) but if these kids keep progressing they’re going to be wanting more and more first team action and something will have to give eventually.

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m not sure the club need to go backwards to give these lads game time. It’s a long season and they aren’t going to play 50 games, but they are getting good minutes at the moment. Geundouzi, Leno, Tierney, Bellerin, Holding and Torreira are all first team players now and Willock and AMN have been for the last few months, with Saka and Chambers starting to demand a place aswell. It’s up to Nelson and Martinelli to do what Saka and Chambers have done and show that they are ready. Last night won’t have hurt their chances. They are all getting loads of games and the EL is a blessing in that respect.

    There are things about Emery’s tactics that don’t always sit right, but the way he’s getting these lads on the pitch has to be commended. I’m sure we will continue to see more of them as we go and hopefully a few more become first names on the team sheet in the way that Geundouzi has done.

  63. Morning all

    Match report on it’s way from LBG ………….. back in a couple of minutes

  64. We have a New Post …………….

  65. GoonerB says:

    Morning all, didn’t see the game but delighted all the same. It seems to be pretty much only our future stars that give us the warm fuzzy feeling these days rather than some of the more established players.

    I am completely with GIE in his 6.51 comment (which would have made a good post by the way). If AMN could develop and perfect the linchpin holding midfield position I would be delighted. He has the athleticism for it just needs to get the reading of the game side better.

    If that were to happen GIE’s team could even see Willock come into Torreira’s position and Saka play from the attacking right. Put Martinez in there in goal and we have a complete 1st 11 from our young future stars, but more than just that, a 1st 11 that actually looks really strong and balanced.

    Really exciting to see this potential. I just hope we have either got or will get the right person to push it through. While I am with GIE on possibly having a small step back to move forwards, I also get what FGG is saying as well, that it doesn’t have to be quite so dramatic and immediate. We still need to utilise and blend in certain key experienced players but I would like to see Emery go a bit braver with more of these young players in EPL games.

    I certainly see it happening in defence with Holding, Bell and Tierney just because they are actually better than what we had last season started the season with. I think he could be a bit braver though in the midfield and attacking areas in maybe a couple of positions

  66. fred1266 says:

    Rc78 u were saying something about Brussels?

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