Which Villa Will It Be? Pre-match and predicted line-up

We entertain Aston Villa this evening in North London and I haven’t the faintest idea how this is going to go.

Will we get the Villa that hammered Liverpool 7-2 and beat Leicester away?

Or will it be the Villa that got thrashed 3-0 by Leeds and lost a crazy seven goal fixture against Saints in their last league outing?

After a flying start the Brummies have lost two on the bounce, so I would not be surprised to see them set out more defensively than usual against us. They’ll be wanting to steady the ship.

Chances are they will be hard to beat and we know they carry a potent goal threat.

They have scored 15 goals already in the EPL in just six games, compared to our nine in seven games.

Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley give them plenty of attacking threat and athleticism in midfield.

Meanwhile young Englishman Ollie Watkins has been in good form up front.

But enough about them.

We have the personnel to win this game if we work hard and keep our concentration.

Selection raises a few issues: Holding or Luiz to partner Gabriel at the back? Pepe or Willian on the right? Will El Patron stick with Laca as central striker?

Chances are the heroes of Old Toilet will mostly get the call up again, with ElPartey being asked to reprise their dominant midfield showing against the Mancs. I expect to see this starting XI:


Bellerin – Holding – Gabriel – Tierney

Elneny – Partey – Saka

Willian – Lacazette – Aubameyang

Three points would send us into the latest tedious international break in good spirits and looking good in the table.

Come on you Gunners.



88 Responses to Which Villa Will It Be? Pre-match and predicted line-up

  1. Sue says:

    Nice one, Rocky!
    Leicester had also lost 2 on the bounce before rocking up at the Emirates….😬
    I like your line up… and I hope today is the day Willian bags his first goal for us!
    Another bloody international break… sigh…. Well done to Bellerin, who has received a call up 👍
    Good luck to the women, who also play today… COYG x2 😜

  2. RA says:

    Morning, Rocky, (and the early morning Sue) 😁

    Well I have to admit that you made me stop and think, when you referred to Villa as “Brummies’.
    I had always assumed that Birmingham had the ‘rights’ to that nickname, and have added Villa to the list for future reference.

    A Brummie is well known as someone from Birmingham, and the club with that name I had always known as The Brummies — but we live and learn — thank you.

    Enough of that. I enjoyed reading the Post and agree that altho’ Villa have lost their last two games (well Sue has confirmed your statement, so I cannot argue) 😛 they are still capable this season of producing some dramatic results.

    So, COYG – no slipping back, please. 👍

    It is not a particular secret that I am not a big fan of Belly Button, so I am shocked that Sue has confirmed he has been picked for the next Spanish Women’s International game. Well, I never.😳

  3. RA says:


    Lock down has meant that I cannot watch Arsenal tonight with my usual hosts — so, I would like to get your OK to shell out some dough to watch on their TV on my lonesome? 😜

  4. RockyLives says:


    You’re right that Birmingham City are often called the Brummies, although the term can refer to anyone from that city as you point out. Their official nickname is The Blues.

    When I lived in Toronto I had a friend from Birmingham who supported the Blues and hated Villa so much that he had a Villa crest stuck on the bottom of his toilet bowl so he could literals “s**t on the Villa.”

    He assured me the Birmingham/Villa rivalry was every bit as serious as Arsenal/Spuds.

    One thing that has always confused me… do West Brom count as a Birmingham team as well? And if so, who are they arch rivals with?

    “…he has been picked for the next Spanish Women’s International game.” 😀

  5. Sue says:

    😜 Seeing as this should be the last ppv game, go for it Billy no-mates, oops RA….

    Prematch banter between Emi and Auba… Emi hoping we get a penalty – which he’s going to save. Auba mentioned a chip – after seeing Lookman’s for Fulham – which was absolutely shocking – I hope not!!

  6. Sue says:

    Albeit not for long, the spuds are top!!! Unheard of – being so high they must all have nosebleeds 😂😂

  7. RockyLives says:

    A classic Maureen performance unfortunately – well organised away from home, pinch a winner in the dying minutes.

    Hopefully the internal rot that always accompanies a Maureen regime will soon start to have an effect.

  8. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky, and thanks to you and RA for your recent posts. I have enjoyed them all even if read slightly belatedly.

    Villa are a massively improved side with dangerous players but I kind of don’t want to think too much about them. If we get our strongest line up out and play to somewhere near our best anything else should be irrelevant.

    For this to happen, I think in the words of Arsene the great, the team now needs to start playing with the handbrake off. We have played a 3-4-3 out of necessity but now is the time to get braver and drop that 3rd centre back for another (attacking) central midfielder.

    I also think it is time to play Willian (if he is to start) as that extra CM in front of the 2 defensive midfielders (Partey +1). As he gets older he is less suited to the wing forward position and as a right footer on the right his goal threat is reduced. Put him in front of Partey +1 behind a front 3 that plays a number 9 with a lefty playing off him from the right and a righty from the left.

    In many ways my feelings for this game somewhat tie in with your post and question on Pepe and what is stopping him from firing on all cylinders. Interestingly enough the same could be asked of Aubamayeng right now on the left side of the 9 as is being asked of Pepe on the right side.

    There is an argument that Aubamayeng should play down the middle as the 9 and I can see merit in that but I can also see merit in him playing from the attacking left where he can receive the ball more facing the goal.

    I think both Pepe and Aubamayeng would improve with that extra attacking CM to find their runs and draw opposition players away from them. This could be Willian or possibly even Saka. Your 11 works for me Rocky if it is a back 4 but swapping the Willian and Saka positions.

  9. Sue says:

    Unchanged from Old Trafford…

  10. RA says:

    Leno, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Bellerin, Partey, Elneny, Saka, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang

    Subs: Runarsson, Maitland-Niles, David Luiz, Xhaka, Ceballos, Pepe, Nketiah

    Aston Villa
    Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Trezeguet, Barkley, Grealish, Watkins

    Subs: Taylor, Steer, Hourihane, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Elmohamady, Davis

  11. RA says:

    Hi GB,

    Hope all is well.

    You were kind to include me in your ‘thank you’ for the Posts — I have to say, I deserve no such thanks as the Rock does all the grafting with classic writing.

    But thank you, anyway.

    I like the team set out for tonight.

  12. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comment GoonerB

    And ignore Redders’ humbleness – I will continue to pinch his excellent long comments for Posts whenever I can.

    Speaking of which, anyone fancy doing a match report ?

    By the way, I can’t really give myself a pat on the back for 11 out of 11, given that you hardly need to be Einstein to predict that Arteta would start the team that beat Man Utd.

  13. jjgsol says:

    Willock not even on the bench. No doubt, too attacking.

    In danger of getting more than 3 shots on target and that would not do, would it.

  14. RC78 says:

    and just like that we are down?

  15. RC78 says:

    Bellerin needs to be on top of his game because Grealish will give him no mercy

  16. RC78 says:

    Glad for the VAR?

  17. RockyLives says:

    Phew. But if they were going to chalk off a goal for us against Leicester even though our player was nowhere near Schmeichel’s line of sight, then there’s no way they could have allowed that one.

  18. GoonerB says:

    Well done with your 11 from 11 Rocky. I think how I view the set up will depend on who plays where. If Tierney is again the left side of a back 3 rather than attacking left full back I am not so certain. Ditto Willian as right wing forward and Saka pinned to the left. Saka plays the role very well but it screams more of old school winger that delivers in dangerous balls.

    However, you need 2 old school centre forwards to make that count normally, which is what we don’t have, and hence why I want Arteta to move away from this 3-4-3 with Tierney somewhat tied to the back 3, Saka tied to the left like a traditional winger and Willian as a right wing forward offering little goal threat. Still what do I know. Best check the score to see if Tierney has just saved us and saka has delivered a ball across that Willian has pounced on 🙂

  19. fred1266 says:

    Goal coming from Willian turnover

  20. Aaron says:

    Wtf is Willian bringing to this team right now?
    Should be 2-nil down.
    Flat start, look like dog poo in this last 10 minutes…
    Come on AFC get your stuff together.

  21. fred1266 says:

    Never understand the willian purchase, reiss Nelson surely can’t do worse than that

  22. Rasp says:

    Our front three are way too far apart.

  23. RockyLives says:

    Can’t say I’m seeing why Willian should be in the team either. Maybe he’ll make amends…

  24. fred1266 says:

    Surely you mean front 2 cause willian playing for the next side

  25. RockyLives says:

    The trouble with the Willian turnover that led to the goal is that it was completely unforced.

    Just a shite level of concentration from a player experienced enough to know better.

    Mind you, we should still have stopped the goal even after Willian gave it away.

  26. RC78 says:

    Sleepy defense today, not good

  27. RC78 says:

    Willian being very casual…

  28. RA says:

    For those who have not heard — Nelson was injured in training yesterday (again) that is why he is not in the team or on the bench.

    This has been a poor half – the usual suspects, but even Thomas P is not on top form. 🙄

  29. LBG says:

    Static forwards with no ideas. Eddie, Martinelli, Willock we need your passion of youth in a game like this.

  30. RC78 says:


  31. RA says:

    Lacazette just missed a shoo in header.We have spent most of the time in this half in our own area.

    Bellerin as usual cannot tackle, that’s a given, but neither can anyone else for Arsenal, and frankly, having Bellerin and Willian ‘playing’ together is a mistake.

  32. Rasp says:

    Hang your head in shame Laca … that was really poor. Bread and butter to any top striker. Such a waste of a perfect cross

  33. GoonerB says:

    To be fair I’m not watching so require the feedback from you guys.

    Arteta has done well from where we were at the end of the Emery era in putting in place a greater understanding and work ethic. He has made us harder to break down and beat, but there comes a point where, once this has been in place for a while, something more has to be added to that, something more akin to a team that expects to be one of the top attacking sides. If not at home, against Aston Villa, at this stage in our development under Mikel, then when?

    I have my first serious concerns about our young manager right now. He has been brilliant in making us more cohesive and compact but is now appearing far too reserved in his outlook on how we should set up and play from this point,

    This rather dull 3-4-3 with a set up that doesn’t support goal-scoring wing forwards, and an attacking central midfield threat both in terms of goals and creativity concerns me. It looks a set up to contain Villa at home rather than go at them and I worry that he is missing the right opportunity to change it up and push us to the next level.

  34. RA says:

    We need a much better performance in the second half than that rubbish.

    Give Ceb, Pepe and Eddie a run out — they cannot be worse than that – and could be much better??

  35. RockyLives says:

    Rasp’s comment about our front three being so far apart from each other is spot on.

  36. RockyLives says:

    Pepe for Willian, surely. Willian has been very poor. He made one good cross (no-one on the end of it of course) but that was it.

  37. RC78 says:

    Horrible half…Nothing good except that one cross from Tierney that should have led to a Laca goal…

    Bellerin, Holding, Tierney and Saka looking a bit off today
    El Neny – Partey – often picked apart
    Auba and Willian – not involved
    Laca – missed a chance but at least looking like he is trying
    Gabriel – one scare but otherwise, not too too bad
    Leno – a better GK would have anticipated the pass maybe?

    Take Willian off or move to a 4312 with Willian playing behind Auba-Laca

    Leno – Bello, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney – Partey, El Neny, Saka – Willian – Laca, Auba

  38. Aaron says:

    So, as many know who have played in these type of conditions, rainy, soggy pitch, and slippery, make the game tricky. Ball either hydroplanes or sticks due to friction. In essence, it is causing the players to look like they are playing with cement shoes, and the passing to be slower than it should be. Not making excuses, just pointing out there needs to be a change in the approach in the second half. The running by Tierney and Elneny with the ball is too slow, passing it one time 10 meters is a much better way to go.
    Let’s see what type of changes Mikel can make to get the meter to edge our way.

  39. RA says:

    Well said, the non-seeing GB, because you are right.

    We have no pace to speak of, and as LBG said, we are almost glued to the spot, (he did not say that – but it is my definition of static – and I do not like it.

    The playing out from the back has become something of a fetish for Mikel, but the slow passing out sets the pace when we get to the Villa half. Slow, slow, slow.

    Sorry Mikel, that is rubbish with these players on a wet pitch, where they keep losing the ball – they need one of Guy Fawkes’ rockets up the Jaxi.

  40. RockyLives says:

    So, Partey off injured, Dani on.

    Dani really needs a good half here – his form has been iffy of late.

  41. RockyLives says:

    Bloody hell. Willian has had two good shooting chances in the box, one in the first half one in this.

    The first went 100ft over the bar, the second went 100ft wide.

    Please get Pepe on.

  42. RockyLives says:

    We are so slow in possession.

  43. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Ra.

    I hate to be negative but I keep waiting for Mikel to start setting us up with a bit more vava voom, but he seems slightly reserved right now and I am not sure that he needs to be anymore with the foundations he has put in, so I am slightly perplexed by his cautious approach.

    Maybe a more reserved team set up is ok against a more dangerous traditional top 6 side, but we should be looking to dominate Villa at home.

    We should have goal threats from the number 9, the wing forwards either side, and the attacking central midfield area. Can we say we have this? Not with Willian on the right and no attacking central midfielder behind the front 3.

  44. RockyLives says:

    There’s still time to get a result but we are very much second best.

  45. LBG says:

    1. Who really want to win? Is prepared to put in the extra effort.
    2. What is this standing off Barkley and Grealish letting them play their game?
    3. Which of those static forwards has decided I need to get hold of this game and MAKE something happen. If none change them.

  46. RockyLives says:

    It was standing off them that allowed Villa to score their goal.

    We got stuck into Man Utd, we’re doing opposite here.

  47. RC78 says:

    Is Partey off for Ceba?

  48. RockyLives says:

    Yes – injury.
    Willian now off at last – for Pepe.
    Laca replaced by Eddie.

  49. Rasp says:

    Three minutes of extra time in the first half … it took 4 mins to check the VAR and a goal was scored?

  50. RockyLives says:

    Pepe already more of a threat than Willian was in over an hour.

  51. LBG says:

    Substitutions and …….OPTIONS result!
    Answer to first question….THEM!

  52. RockyLives says:

    I’m impressed with Villa.

    They definitely don’t play with the handbrake on.

  53. RA says:


    I am not being negative either, but as a simple observation for you, we are still being rubbish, altho there were two half chances, one from Eddie, who should have shot from 5 metres, but passed to the offside Pepe, and the other by Elney shooting from 18 metres and aiming at the County of Surrey.

    Now down 0 : 2 — could be 0 : 3 with a clearance from the goal line.

    We are ……… pathetic.

  54. Rasp says:

    Our players are hiding from the ball … not moving for one another .. no one seems to want the ball

  55. RA says:

    Bellerin outpaced and shrugged off by Grealish, and Olly Watkins makes it 0 ; 3

  56. Aaron says:

    Man, it is hard to root for this club sometimes.
    AFC will be 12th if manure win their next match.

    If the team lets in one more F’n goal at home, doc their gd pay for a month. This effort has been utter $h*tE!

    Mikel has got a challenge on his hands.

  57. RockyLives says:

    Villa have played better tonight than we have in any game this season.

    Their pass and move is outstanding and they look dangerous every time their attack.

  58. Rasp says:

    … and they’re physically stronger and more committed than us

  59. LB says:

    They are a more skilful in pretty much every position.

  60. fatgingergooner says:

    Willian has been a terrible signing so far and Lacazette needs to be dropped. Then you’ve Aubameyang who seems to have gone off the boil a bit and you can see why we aren’t playing very well. Time to give Willock, Pepe and Nketiah a run in the Premier League because our ‘first choice’ are all playing terrible at the same time. It’s not good.

    Liverpool got battered by these and have reacted accordingly. Let’s hope we do the same, but it’s certainly not the performance we wanted before the break.

  61. Rasp says:

    Martinez is having the last laugh

  62. GoonerB says:

    Will have to wait till I see at least the highlights later RA. Not right to comment too much if not actually watching it but suffice to say I have been waiting for Mikel to unleash us more for a number of games now.

    There have been opportunistic games to switch to a more attacking line up and formation but Mikel has stuck with the one he switched to late last season. I maintain that was out of necessity but now it feels like out of preference and this worries me.

  63. Aaron says:

    Agreed, but do not tell me they are the better club, they were almost relegated last year and we were mid table, cough cough.

    This is complete nonsense, knowing we are off for the next 2 weeks with this crap on their minds.
    Every single player should either be playing a hell of a lot more physical, or a least let them know it is not going to be a stroll through the park at our home, AT OUR HOME!

  64. RA says:

    This performance is as bad as any Emery managed team — Villa are just coasting — we are bereft of ideas.

    As GB said – Arteta has to think of other tactics, not keep on with playing from the goal line when we are being scalped.

  65. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you Rocky, thank you all.

    Deep breath. Not many clues. Will follow what you folk say.

  66. RockyLives says:

    The one thing we had hoped Arteta had achieved was to make us hard to beat.

    We could live with being patient to get the attack functioning better provided we were not shipping goals.

    Now… hmmmm

  67. RA says:

    For example, this is what just happened — symptomatic of our limp attitude, I watched as Arsenal played the ball from right to left, as slow as you like, and then back from left to right, even slower, and then kick the ball to a Villa player.

    We looked like we were comfortably 3 up, and playing out time instead of getting a spanking.

    Just terrible.

  68. RockyLives says:

    There’s an irony that Villa’s second goal came from Big Emi catching a difficult, contested cross and immediately making a great Lehman-style throw to set up the attack.

    I couldn’t help thinking that in reverse circumstances Leno would have punched and that would have been the end of that.

  69. RockyLives says:

    BUT… let’s remember it’s just one game.

    As Arsene used to say, the bad times are never as bad as you think they are and the good times are never as good as you think they are.

    At least Mikel has plenty of time to ponder how to react.

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    2 shots on target at home to Aston Villa. That worries me more than anything, especially when our starting midfield partnership is Elneny and Partey and we are playing with a back 3. We are at home ffs! Where’s the attacking intent gone!? Arteta has to take all the blame for these negative tactics, if not the performance itself.

    I don’t want to go overboard, but we’ve lost 4 out of 8 in the PL. Only 5 teams have scored less than us….is this the season when we finally show that we are no longer a ‘big side’ and are just simply a mid-table PL team? It will be if Arteta doesn’t sort that shit out. So frustrating after the good result at OT.

  71. RC78 says:

    Leno – 3
    Bellerin – 2
    Holding – 3
    Gabriel – 4
    Tierney – 5
    Saka – 4
    El Neny – 4
    Partey – 4
    Willian – 2
    Laca – 4
    Auba – 4

    Ceba – 4
    Pepe – 5
    Nketiah – 4

    Arteta – 3

    Worse display in ages…

  72. fatgingergooner says:

    I think it’s fair to say this 7.15pm Sunday kick off is a load of shite! Certainly doesn’t agree with us.

  73. RC78 says:

    Our right side: Willian – Bellerin – Holding is worrisome
    Our left side: Auba – Saka – Tierney is definitely better

    But maybe it is time to play Auba in the middle and Saka higher up the pitch

    Right side: Nelsson – Bellerin – Holding
    Middle: Auba – Partey El Neny – Luiz
    Saka – Tierney – Gabriel

    Should we give Nelson a go? Might irk Pepe and Willian a bit and wake them up

  74. RC78 says:

    and Martinez is way better than Leno for sure

  75. LB says:

    I blame the choice of jacket, tonight’s was dull, boring, lacked flair, shine, needs to be changed soon as possible.

  76. RockyLives says:

    LB 😀

    I think this defeat will send Mikel back to the drawing board.

    I expect to see something very different in our team selection and formation against Leeds when proper footy resumes.

  77. GoonerB says:

    Did you watch the game Ginge?

    RC, I actually really like Leno but by seasons end I felt we had a tough decision to make either way and thought we should have gone the other way with who stayed and went with our keepers.

    To be fair leno has shown to be a really good keeper so hopefully he will iron out these recent errors and prove we have not made the wrong choice.

  78. jjgsol says:

    Did I say 3 shots on target?

    Silly me, only 2, at home.

    This shambles is due to the fact that the club was in such a hurry to get rid of Wenger that they took no steps to ensure that there was a proper succession.

    We have filled the team with 2nd rate defenders and 3rd rate midfielders.

    We have Cellabos who only came because he could not even get on the bench at Real.

    Then there is Willian. who was over the hill already at Chel$ki, brought in to do Ozil’s job, which he never did before and clearly cannot do now.

    Pepe, who they paid £72m, and would not get into the Fulham first team.

    Administrators coming and going with alarming regularity.

    I won’t comment on Arteta.

    Had he come when Wenger was here and spent a season working under him and learning from him, I am sure we would be seeing a different team and a different style.

    What we have now is no better than Emery, but with a manager who should be able to speak better English, but still talks rubbish.

    Mediocrity here we come.

  79. RockyLives says:

    There’s a bit too much negativity around.

    It was a shite performance and clearly there are issues for Arteta to address.

    Last week we dominated against Man Utd. If we get a performance like that against Leeds the mood will change again.

    Nevertheless, Arteta needs to figure out a way to increase our attacking threat. I’m sure he’ll be working on it.

  80. GoonerB says:

    JJ, there are many reasons at many levels of the club organisation as to why we have regressed so much. I agree with some of what you say but, sorry, I have to disagree on a few points.

    We were declining under Wenger for a few years in his last few seasons. Our slide to mediocrity started in his tenure but worsened under Emery. Emery not being right doesn’t mean that Wenger was right, it just meant he was more wrong.

    Arsene, because of his great years and legacy, got a lot of leeway that other managers wouldn’t have got, and arguably rightly so, but we really needed a new manager that recognised more modern coaching principles for a while before he eventually left us.

    In my opinion he had fallen slightly behind some modern managers, but he hadn’t become a bad manager so was still very decent, just not at the top of the game as he once was a decade or so earlier.

    One of the hallmarks of Wengers later teams was that we had many top midfielders. He always loved a top midfielder, but while we focused on that other aspects of the team were overlooked so we were never balanced and strong throughout the squad.

    We have been fielding second rate defenders for years now, not just since Arsene left. I actually think that we possibly have our strongest defensive options right now that we have had for a few years.

    The 2nd rate midfielders can’t surely include the £47m Partey that pretty much everyone is raving about, and about how we managed to nab him. Does this list also include Elneny and Xhaka, both Wenger acquisitions?

    Willian is not doing Ozils job because he is being asked to play the Salah/ Mahrez role on the right not the Ozil creative role in the centre. Ozil is an attacking central midfielder / number 10 and Arteta has yet to try him in that position so we cannot yet say whether he can do Ozils job.

    I really want to see Willian given a go in the central area behind a front 3 and in front of 2 holding / defensive midfielders. In addition, whenever I saw Ozil made to play that right side of striker role he wasn’t that great at it either.

    Willian is admittedly different as he has played the role for years at Chelsea but I think with his age and legs against him but with his experience with him he would be better suited to that central creative role now with us.

    Pepe needs a run in the role that we keep starting Willian in but with someone like Willian in a creative central role to pick him out. Until that happens we will never fully know but we might have a 20 goal a season man there once the set up is right.

    Finally, Arteta spent many years under Wenger anyway. I really cannot see that keeping Arsene for longer as manager and then having Arteta work beneath him could have made Arteta any better. For me these were Wengers declining years anyway so the experience he did get under him when he was here coupled with working with Guardiola was far more valuable.

    Arteta is a young coach that could be a real gem but has to work this problem out for himself, and quickly. He has already changed things in the squad that have been sorely needed for many years, but unfortunately right now I feel he has developed a bit of a blind spot in how he is currently doing things.

    Its simple. Arteta could and should be the man but has hit a crossroads in how he is approaching things early on in his managerial career that could make or break him. Emery was always not right and none of it has anything to do with pushing Wenger out too quickly.

  81. jjgsol says:

    Did we dominate against Manure?

    2 shots on target, less shots overall, 7 to their 8, less of the ball and less corners.

    How does that demonstrate that we dominated the game?

    Was it not that we marginally not as bad as they were?

    Yes, there is a lot of negativity because we are watching our wonderful club destroying itself, with game after game of below standard football.

    What is there to be positive about when they serve up such rubbish every match?

    Surely there must come a time when the wishful thinking is replaced by realism.

  82. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s going to be a strange season with strange results. The players have to be able to get motivated for every game because there are no fans to feed off. The recent Arsenal teams have been prone to lapses of concentration and effort, so considering that this team still has a lot of players who coasted through games under Wenger and Emery, it should be no surprise when we have certain performances where we play terrible and get out worked. The honeymoon period appears to be over and Arteta must find a way to get these players at it every 3 days or we will see more and more results like tonight and he will be out of a job

  83. GoonerB says:

    I see loads of positives in this squad jj. We have good options at centre back and are pretty good at full back wit Tierney being the standout for me.

    We have good defensive midfielders now and Partey should make us top notch in that area. We have Partey, Xhaka, Elneny and Ceballos to choose from.

    We should be able to field creative and goal scoring number 8’s / 10’s in front of the holding 2 out of Willian, Saka, Smith Rowe, Willock.

    We have 3 options at number 9 in Laxazette, Aubamayeng and Nketieh, all with excellent goal scoring pedigree in different ways.

    We have options at left wing forward in Auba, Nelson, Martinelli.

    We have options at right wing forward in Pepe and Saka.

    AMN could play anywhere, maybe even the inside/ left wing forward role and Balogun could get some time across the front 3 roles at time

    I’m not saying it doesn’t need some upgrades in the next few transfer windows but that is probably the best balanced squad we have had in a long while, good enough to beat Aston Villa at home without too much drama if we balance out our line up.

    This we didn’t do, and it is unfortunately on our young manager. I want him to succeed as I think there is a real gem there but he has to look at how he is setting the team up right now as honeymoon periods are very short in top flight football.

  84. fatgingergooner says:

    I think the rest of the PL has caught us up. We used to be streets ahead of every other team, even when finishing 4th every season. We would beat all the other sides and lose against the better teams. We were known as flat-track bullies. Gradually though the rest of the teams have used the TV money to improve whilst we’ve stood still, and now every game is difficult. Leicester, Wolves, Aston Villa (this season), Southampton, Everton, Palace, Leeds….these are all now tough games that in the past would’ve been guaranteed 3 points at home. What used to be good enough for fourth under Wenger is now not even good enough for top half. Arteta has a huge job on his hands along with Edu, and it’s fair to say it will take a lot more than a scrappy 1-0 win away at United before they can be hailed as a success. They have a whole culture to change and that takes patience and work. The work part is what bothers me as I think there are still players at the club who aren’t the right types for what Arteta wants day in day out. It’s going to be a long term task for Arteta and maybe we as fans need to realise that winning away at OT against a poor United isn’t the start of a newly improved team, and losing at home to Villa in a pretty shoddy performance is still going to happen occasionally and isn’t the end of the world as long as we respond.

    Patience will be required, but it’s something Arsenal fans (and football fans in general) seriously lack!

  85. GoonerB says:

    Patience is definitely required Fgg for Mikel to get us back at that top level challenging again. However this feels more like something is wrong that we could improve on right now, rather than it just being about a transition phase. We added well to the squad to allow us to play a different more expansive way, to change from the necessary containment type game we had to use at the tail end of last season to one of greater dominance and more on the front foot. We seem to have got the right players but just chucked them into last years adopted system.

  86. Sue says:

    “If Villa were walking down the road, they would be John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever” 😄 You’re not kidding, Wrighty!!
    Not the sort of performance you expect from that Arsenal 11, especially at home! Pants, absolute pants!!! Hats off to Dean Smith… avoided relegation by a point last season. And now put 7 past the champions and dismantled us with ease… above us now with a game in hand! That was a proper team performance – just like what I was expecting from us!!
    Up next for us – Leeds… oh, and btw, they’ve also lost their last 2 – a pattern emerging?? It couldn’t happen again, could it??!!

  87. RockyLives says:

    New Post

  88. fred1266 says:

    Aaron you comment about the suggy pitch I don’t buy we played at our home turf if the pitch was suggy then it should have been advantage to us

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