I have three main areas of concern going into this afternoon’s derby clash with the noisy neighbours.
Firstly, our inability to shake the habit of gifting goals (or goal scoring opportunities) to our opponents through unforced errors.
Secondly, the attacking threat posed by the Spuds with their front three of Kane, Bale and Son, all of whom can score and one of whom (Kane) has the record for goals scored in this fixture.
Thirdly, our generally poor record against teams managed by Jose Mourinho.
All three factors make me nervous about how today is going to pan out, but there are counterweights in the other half of the scales that can provide grounds for optimism:
The renewed scoring form of Aubameyang, the sudden uptick in goals being scored from midfield, the dynamism of our attacking play, the fact that, despite their decent run of late, the Spuds’ form has been up and down like a yoyo this season.
Going back to my three areas of concern, if we can eliminate the first one by not shooting ourselves in the foot we are definitely in with a chance.
The tactics will be interesting to observe today. We lost at the Armitage Shanks arena when, despite being the home team, the Totts sat back and invited us onto them, then hit us on the break.
However, Mourinho must have been looking at our recent catastrophes playing out from the back and will surely be tempted to try a high press and force more errors. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Here’s the team I expect Mikel Arteta to send out:
Bellerin – Luiz – Gabriel – Tierney
Xhaka – Partey
Pepe – Odegaard – Willian
I think Saka might be saved for use as an impact sub (he has played an awful lot of minutes this season and looked tired in the last two games).
I would start with Smith Rowe in the middle and Odegaard on the bench, but the Norwegian had a good game in midweek and I fancy Arteta will stick with him.
It goes without saying that I don’t want to see Willian start, but Arteta (who apparently was instrumental in bringing the Brazilian to the club) clearly can’t admit the signing was a mistake.
At the back Luiz and Gabriel seem to be emerging as the first choice CBs. Luiz always has a kamikaze moment in him, but on the other hand he tends to do well in the big games and this is a big game.
If it were down to me, we’d start with this line-up:
Cedric – Holding – Gabriel – Tierney
Xhaka – Partey
Pepe – Smith Rowe – Aubameyang
It’s about time we beat this lot again – let’s hope today is the day.
Come On You Gunners!
Fourth area of concern, can we finish the game with 11 men and have not given Harry Kane a penalty?
Looks like it’s thou and me this aft Rocky.
My punt at today’s team is…….
Cedric – Holding – Gabriel – Tierney
———–Xhaka – Partey
Saka – Smith Rowe – Willian
Interesting lineup, one eye on Europe?
Agree with the training manual.
Two points, tell Leno not to throw the ball up the middle short, long, whatever, with people closing down, and they won’t be ordinary people.
If moaninho tells his squad to sit back, pass it around the back until the opposition presses because they are so bored with the game they have to press.
Arteta can unlock very good game plans.
Patience is the key.
AFC can get something from this derby for sure.
Let’s stick it to these cretins.
Cedric – Luiz – Gabriel – Tierney
Xhaka – Partey
Saka – Odegaard – Smith Rowe
Not a bad line up at all, but a lot will depend on Xhaka and/or Partey closing down Kane when he drops deep.
I am glad that Laca and ESR are starting.
I am worried about Xhaka and Luiz but we re used to it by now.
This is a game for Gabriel – Partey – Laca to shine and for Cedric – Tierney – Saka to create and score goals.
That is a pretty good line up…………
Hearing PEA out squad for disciplinary reasons
Hi Rocky, thanks for the prematch opinion! I’am also in favor of your team selection. But El Patron rhinks differently. I very much hope he knows where his towel is.
How ever our starting lineup is strong enough. The only change I would make is Martinelli in for Odegaard.
Lively start from our boys. Would be nice to see a goal to reward this positive start. Saka looking a bit jaded though
I think Smithe-Rowe could easily provide an assist today and Xhaka score a goal. If the teams continue in the same way since the start of the game.
Damn crossbar! What a strike by ESR
Very good start but feeling a bit like the game at their place earlier in the season.
Good start need to get a goal to build on it properly.
Unlucky ESR, that touch and attempt tells me everything I need to know about the young man. That is a superb effort and the way he struck the ball to give it curl and dip was exceptional, just a little too high but the technique was exceptional.
So unlucky ESR
How many times have we smacked the woodwork in recent games?
Team looks up for it, very patient so far, ESR’s shot deserved something.
Keep working at it..
Spuds letting us have it wide more crosses like that last one from ESR will help, or the KT rockets at about waist height. Spuds don’t mind us lifting it up there.
Frustrating from Leno there, good work by defence midfield to hold up counter attack, when ball went through to Leno there was nothing on so could have gone long first time, instead took a touch to nowhere and invited a Spuds throw in our territory.
And now they seems to have shifted up the pitch ten/twenty yards.
Oh bloody hell. All from conceding pitch yards from one counter attack.
How is this possible?
Seriously, lamela is such a turd…
Time to tighten our laces and put it to them…
The simple difference between ESR and KT with one touch passing on first sight of move compared to Chaka ignoring the same run only moments before. Thank goodness ESR doesn’t stop making runs.
Laca is costing us the game, his timing seems off and unbalanced.
A draw at this point would be a gift.
Bloody hell …. the woodwork again….
That was one deserved goal!
Closer and closer C’mon Arsenal
One of those KT crosses that begs to be hit, but of luck on deflection but having hit post twice think we deserved it.
More of the same please in the second half, just not that five/ten minute blip from 30-35 minutes where we invited them in to the game and at our end of the pitch. That’s when you need experienced heads to send the ball a bit longer and get the team up the pitch ten yards.
Noticed at the end Partey telling Luiz off for that stupid pass.
So far KT and ESR vying for MotM just love the way they both play.
PS Saka getting Regulon booked by not giving up and incredible agility, love that kid. Cedric is trying his best but really feel he could do with some more help in the quality of KT.
Can only assume Saka injured, would probably switch ESR and Pepe just to balance up attacking threat.
C’mo Arsenal, c’mon Pepe
What a lame this Lamela guy.
Cedric so worthy of his place.
Its taken me 57 mins to work out what that lump in KT’s shorts was…..it was Bale in his back pocket
Great work by all. Apart from Lacas left foot volley 🙂 maybe he knew Sanchez was coming.
My suggestion is El Neny and Auba on, Odegaard and Laca off
Here we go sitting back again, time to gain some yards.
Vamos, vamos El Patron we need fresh legs
Laca, Smith-Rowe and BOdegaard’s workrate. Phenomenal!
Could not have happened to a nicer turd!
About time, how many on the edge fouls do they get?
Not one more…
Keep pushing on!
Yes! That red card was earned by the whole Sp.ds team. They went berserk
Tired legs and minds right now, better decision needed now.
I don’t understand, why Willian, why
We are in our traditional ‘idiot’ phase -=- giving the ball and allowing goals.
I cannot understand why!!!!
A true 6 pointer!
Way to go Gunners.
Get ready for the next game.
On a roll….
My MOM …BOdegaard.
Imagine having to put up with that shite at Shite Hart Lane every week as a Totteringham fan.
Not the most assured win but a win nevertheless! North London is Red 🙂
The man who put the sock in Aubamayang’s exhaust pipe forcing him to arrive late, well done that man.10
So I was wrong, although would ESR have played if Auba had not been dropped?
Anyway, he did very well, although I only saw the first half and the last 20 minutes of the 2nd.
Talking about the last 20 minutes, Partey was terrible. The first 2 things I saw him do was to 2 bad passes, giving a corner away with the first and possession with the 2nd.
I really do think that all the hopes pinned on him by many fans are misplaced.
Perhaps he simply cannot cope with the continuous pace of the EPL in which case, unless endurance can be coached in him, he is likely to be another transfer flop.
I cannot believe the ref saw Kane’s foul — smashing into Gabriel’s back — and did not even give a foul, when a red card would have been the right thing to do..
Very pleasing four days.
You are so wrong. Partey was a giant in the midfield, and tired only in the last quarter as did Xhaka and consequently Moura and Co pressed forward in fast breaks.
Partey is worthy of his garlands and will be better.
“Clattering into a player, Jamie”, ball or no ball anywhere on the pitch is a foul. A foul in the penalty area is a penalty.
Brilliant….sock in the exhaust!🤣
Buzzing, absolutely buzzing!! Sending Maureen packing with a face like a smacked arse – love it!!
Ooh to be 👌
We were comfortably the better team, but there’s always a worry when Kane is on the pitch unfortunately.
You could say we rode our luck towards the end but the luck evens itself out – we hit the woodwork twice to their once.
New post 🙂