The transfer window ended last night with a lot of players moving away from AFC, most notably older players that played in the Bundesliga who saw their contract terminated (Ozil, Mustafi and Sok) as well as some of our younger players eager to get some playing time in the EPL (Willok, AMN) or a solid league abroad (Saliba). Overall, some people think that the window was successful as we also landed Ryan and Odegaard but we did not manage to get a left-footed left back but then again, we have Cedric to deputize for Tierney…
So our squad has now been trimmed down and for tomorrow, some players remain missing like Tierney and potentially Aubameyang. Saka is a doubt but he may play and Laca seem to be ok. Saiss, Nouri and Jimenez are notably missing for Wolves.
Wolves are not an easy team to manoeuvre but I expect Arteta to set the team up in the 4231 formation of late but I think he will give a start to Pepe, Willian as well as Nketiah. Mostly to manage Saka’s injury, Partey and Martinelli’s physical sharpness, Laca and Auba to be on the safe side.
Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Cedric – El Neny, Xhaka – Pepe, ESR, Willian – Nketiah
Arteta would then have plenty of ammunitions on the bench in case the starting XI struggles to create or defend. This game will be tight and I expect teams to press but I don’t expect the teams to take any risks. This is a game to remain focused especially on set-pieces and a game where both teams will try to break counter-attacks with cynical fouls.
I would be happy if we snatched a 0-1 victory but I could also see the game end in low scoring draw.
Our key men for tomorrow are Leno, Luiz, Cedric, Xhaka, Pepe and Nketiah. If these guys are having a good game, we have a decent chance. If they lose their defensive focus and counter-attacking abilities, we can be in for a narrow but stinging defeat…
COYG! And best of luck to AMN and Willok with their new clubs!