Arsenal vs Villareal, Part II or how to keep or kill hope for the season…

John C. Maxwell Quote: “Where there is no hope in the future, there is no  power

So the past week, we have been debating on whom should play against Villareal…The results were quite interesting and at times even astounding…

Ryan – Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney (or Cedric) – Partey, Xhaka (or El Neny) – Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli (or ESR) – Auba

was the most likely line up based on your inputs/votes and comments.

Will Arteta follow your suggestions to start with Ryan and Bellerin? Will he stick to playing Pepe as a false 9 up front? Will he finally start Martinell in the Europa League? Will Auba be our saviour tonight? So many unknowns…

What we know for sure is that Emery’s team will play like they did in Villareal. They will try to score a goal in transition. They will play through balls behind our DMs and they will ask their strikers and wingers to then populate the box…We know how Emery likes to work, although in the end he lost our team but I think it was more due to the over tactical sessions and his man-management skills…Anyways…

To counter an Emery’s team, one has to be good at keeping the ball or at counter-attacking. Arteta wants us to keep the ball so we better be good at it tonight or else, we will be punished on quick transition counter-attacking plays…

Villareal does not have better players overall than our team. They may work better as a team but the second half when we played 10 vs 11 gives me confidence that we can actually put them under pressure and win tonight. My main concern is our ability to shoot ourselves in the foot through silly mistakes and tonight, there is no room for even one silly mistake. We need a clean sheet or 3-4 goals and I am hoping for a clean sheet as I am not sure we can ship more than goals tonight…so here is my predicted line-up and my preferred line-up

Predicted line-up if Tierney is injured: 4231

Leno – Chambers, Holding, Mari, Cedric (or Tierney if fit) – Partey, El Neny – Saka, Odegaard, ESR – Auba

My preferred line-up – 442

Leno – Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric (or Tierney if fit) – Saka, Partey, El Neny, ESR – Martinelli, Auba

Predicted score at full-time: 2-1 to our boys and we take it to extra-time or even PKs…then it is the lottery…

Let us see what Arteta has in store for us…In any case, it does not have to be pretty, it does not have to be fast but we need a win tonight just to keep our hope for a good season alive…otherwise, there is no need to continue watching AFC the rest of the season as we will not qualify for the CL or EL through the EPL and we are not playing any Cup finals..

So COYG! We need you to win, we need to believe until the end of the season that AFC can win major trophies


71 Responses to Arsenal vs Villareal, Part II or how to keep or kill hope for the season…

  1. LBG says:

    Thanks Rocky
    Why doesnt Mikel let us pick the team? 2-0 by half time. Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners.

  2. LBG says:

    Double thanks, Rocky.
    Apart from the decision regarding Tierney ( and even Laca) and definitely Chambers, you will also need to make early subs if it’s not working, Mikel. I think we can do it, if we explode out of that tunnel and have no fear.
    Just in case anyone wondered, IF we get to the final, and IF we lose to Manure, who are going to be in Champions League through coming a poor second to Manshitty, we dont get the place as runners up. Goes to highest ranked team in Europe which has not qualified.

  3. LBG says:

    Well Rocky, looks like everyone else has gone over to the other side!

  4. RC78 says:

    seems people are mistaking me for Rocky :-p I take it that it is because my English is soon reaching Rocky’s level 🙂

    In any case, I agree that I was also surprised by some of the bloggers’ selection…but what can you say? Only time will tell us…

    Not long to wait

  5. Aaron says:

    RC and Rocky,

    Thank you for providing a bit of fifa manager, enjoyable banter.

    However, this is some serious f’n business today.

    Am a firm believer in don’t change things up just to change things up when one is winning.

    So, whomever Mikel picks better have played together recently during a winning streak of a least two games, joke I know, but seriously.

    Do not want to see Bel, Luiz, Gabriel and Cedric in the starting back 4 or I will not even watch the game. I will know Mikel is bat$h*te crazy even if AFC pull out a W.

    Do know this, play ESR and Saka together on the same side, or ESR centrally, not out left, unless Saka is over there and he won’t be.

    Wish Laca was fit, but he is not, so the big question in who is up top or out left?

    If we are to play possession has to be Martinelli, if Mikel plays Auba out on the left he needs someone to combo with and without Tierney I am not sure it is a risk worth taking.

    This is the moment of the season, let’s get it on!

  6. RC78 says:

    Elsewhere, Belgian league top scorer, Nigerian Paul Onuachu, has indicated that he would like to follow in Kanu and Adebayor’s footsteps and play for Arsenal.

    Having scored 30 goals and registered 3 assists in his first season in Belgium (Genk), Onuachu has done extremely well. A very tall striker (201 cm), he may be the anchor point needed in key games, especially Cup Games. So what do you think? He is a decent back-up option to be honest and at the right price (10-12 Mln EUR), he could well boster the squad especially if Nketiah and/or Laca are let go. He is a different profile.

  7. RC78 says:

    Hi Aaron – I would say that a win is a must. I do not want to see Bellerin and Luiz in the back 4 and I do not want to Xhaka at LB either…

    Up front, I think Auba will get the nod

  8. LBG says:

    Sorry RC, but it’s a compliment really.

  9. RC78 says:

    That’s how I took it 🙂

  10. LBG says:

    Well, Bellerin and Xhaka. I would say you will be in trouble Mikel if they fail!!
    Come on attackers, pu us out of sight.

  11. LBG says:

    put us out of sight. Aubang, a chance to prove your quality.

  12. LB says:


    —-Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Saka

    ————-Partey, Xhaka


    —-Pepe, Auba, Smith-Rowe

  13. LBG says:

    Hope you are right LB!
    Is sacrificing Saka at full back what you would choose to get Xhaka in midfield?

  14. Aaron says:

    Are you sure that is the formation?
    Looked around at a few other sites and they have us in a back 3.

    Let everyone figure out what that means…
    At least we have some attacking intent going on today!
    Hell yeah…..

  15. LBG says:

    Think Xhaka at left back.

  16. Aaron says:

    Other sites mention us going 3-4-3
    All the lefties on the left and righties on the right.
    No inverted wingers.

  17. LBG says:

    ? Holding Mari Xhaka
    Bellerin Partey BOdegaard Saka
    Pepe E S R

  18. LBG says:

    Pepe Aubameyang E S-R

  19. Aaron says:

    If so, that means get Auba the damn ball.
    No pull backs from wingers to cross, just sent that ball in and have Auba clean house.

  20. LBG says:

    Lee Dixon is brilliant on BBC 5live.

  21. LBG says:

    So agree. Give him the ball in front of him, inside the full back….early, early, early.

  22. RC78 says:

    On French websites, they have the team set-up as:

    Leno – Holding, Mari, Xhaka – Bellerin, Partey, Odegaard, Saka – Pepe, ESR – Auba


    Leno – Holding, Mari, Xhaka – Bellerin, Partey, ESR, Saka – Odegaard – Pepe, Auba

  23. RC78 says:

    In any case, they are saying it s a back 3…

    I read the team as a back 4 in a 451 set-up:

    Leno – Bello, Holding, Mari, Xhaka – Saka, Odegaard, Partey, ESR, Pepe – Auba

  24. RC78 says:

    I am disappointed to see Bellerin…

  25. LBG says:

    Dortmund wont accept less than £150m for Haarland. Football continues to be unbelievable.

  26. LBG says:

    If Emery sits, and tries to score a goal on the break, we must crush them early on. One, two, three goals.
    I dont believe he will and that should give Pepe and Aubameyang space.

  27. allezkev says:

    Could be 4 1 4 1 with Xhaka at left back.

    Go out fast as we did to Slavia.

  28. RC78 says:

    Let us just win…getting tense now…

  29. LB says:

    Think about it guys, when it comes to all things Arsenal this site has a scary amount of collective knowledge: BBC pah…..

  30. LB says:

    Arteta should have sacrificed Saka to left back in the first leg.

  31. LB says:

    At least to start with anyway

  32. RC78 says:

    Tierney starts!

  33. LB says:

    Sticking the pins into that effigy of Xhaka seems to have worked LGB

  34. RC78 says:

    Xhaka picked up a knock in the warm up…

  35. Aaron says:

    Sure he did.

  36. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC for all your hard work. How we line up could be interesting and make the difference.

  37. allezkev says:

    Charles Watts
    Oh wow. Xhaka injured, Tierney starts.

  38. LBG says:

    Great news…..I hope…..but waste of pins!😁

  39. LBG says:

    These are good quality oppo forwards. Must get and hold possession.

  40. Rasp says:

    Too many square and backwards passes from us … we are not being brave enough

  41. Aaron says:

    Just need to hang with the early pressure and get our bearings.

  42. LBG says:

    Looking nervous because Villarreal attacking with six.

  43. LBG says:

    Too brave, leaves Partey on his own in midfield, Rasp.

  44. fred1266 says:

    Lineup close to what I wanted just wish martinelli started over xhaka COYG

  45. Rasp says:

    We are far too slow to get the ball forward. Almost every player taking too many touches

  46. LBG says:

    Midfield press from oppo frightening.

  47. LB says:

    That back pass from Partey that Leno had to head away…….really good for the heart, notttttttttt

  48. LBG says:

    No fans, no intensity. You have got to create pressure on them, Gunners.

  49. Rasp says:

    Bellerin is constantly giving the ball away … Chambers would have been a far better choice

  50. LB says:

    Exactly what I was thinking Rasp

  51. LBG says:

    No doubt who will be happiest.

  52. LBG says:

    Amy Lawrence
    “Arsenal’s tempo is like banging your head against a brick wall, in slow motion”

    “This is a semi-final, you lazy bunch of wankers, get your finger out and look as though you want to win this game.” Me.

  53. RC78 says:

    We are still in the tie but what a disappointing half…

    Tierney looking fine…Saka not having a good day, looks jaded…not good

    Odegaard and ESR, anonymous.
    Bellerin pretty awful

    Auba almost scored but otherwise pretty absent.
    Pepe on and off and mostly off

    Holding, Mari – not too bad and Leno with a good save

    Arteta needs to shake things off..I am hoping to see Odegaard off with Martinelli coming in…

    Leno – Bello, Holding, Mari, Tierney – Saka, Partey, ESR – Pepe, Auba, Martinelli in the second half for me

  54. Aaron says:

    That was the moment…..
    Let’s get that finish….
    AFC you can do it!!

  55. LBG says:

    This is the anniversary of the great 2002 team’s Double. If that team had seen that first half they would have “self-policed”, self- motivated, self-bollocked. Where does that come from in this team?

  56. Rasp says:

    Partey needs to come off for Elneny … he’s completely run out of steam

  57. Aaron says:

    Can we just get a damn break ever!!!

  58. Aaron says:

    Feel like we can get one, let’s go..

  59. Rasp says:

    We didn’t deserve to win after that first half. Manu would have destroyed us in the final if we’d flunked our way through.

  60. LBG says:

    Emery reverses Baku disaster and we are a “team” with much to change and not much idea where to start.

  61. GoonerB says:

    Is it too late to reconsider the ESL?

  62. RC78 says:

    Disappointing end of the season…

    In his first full season, Arteta delivered:
    – 0 trophy
    – No qualification to Europe and a Top 10 finish (hopefully).

    Emery mastering the Europa League again and having a sweet revenge against AFC…

    First half: insipid.
    Second half: energetic, at times chaotic, and honestly, if we scored, it would not have been undeserved.

    Looking at both games, Villareal was better collectively and game management. They deserve to go through.

    Sad end to our season. I am gutted.

  63. RC78 says:

    Sky Sports’ Nick Wright at the Emirates:

    “Arsenal have got what they deserved. Only one shot on target in a European semi-final they had to win. That statistic says it all. If there were supporters in the stands the reaction to that final whistle would have been ugly. A dismal night for the Gunners.”

  64. Aaron says:

    Looks like we are owned by the lioNs ownership in the nfL.
    Have not won a playoff game in 25 years and do give one flying f…This club will never win jack with the scum we have as owners and all the way down to the coach.

    The Parasite owner continues to drop this club further and further down and circling the drain.

  65. RockyLives says:

    No doubt I’ll be feeling more level headed tomorrow, but for now:
    Martinelli is overrated.
    Partey is overrated.
    Nketiah is a prize moron – wasting 90 seconds of extra time with two stupid unnecessary fouls.
    Saka seems to have slipped into classic ‘second season’ syndrome.
    We’re still crap at playing out from the back.

  66. RockyLives says:

    We were poor across the two legs but the Nick Wright quote is bolleaux.

    Maybe one shot on target, but that doesn’t include two that hit the post, two headers just wide etc etc.

    I always hate those stats. You could have a game where Team A had 10 tame shots on target straight at the keeper, while Team B hit the post 10 times and the stats would be “Team A 10 shots on target, Team B zero.”

  67. RC78 says:

    I agree Rocky

  68. Aaron says:

    And we are going for statsdNa and no live scouting, we are run by complete stooges.

    Never seen AFC in my life to continue to get worse for over a decade straight, and coincidently owned and operated in those exact years by you know who…

  69. RC78 says:

    New post

  70. RockyLives says:

    One optimistic note:
    Next season we’ll have no European football and we’ll be a mid table side.

    Maybe Stan will sell!

  71. allezkev says:

    Emery out coached Arteta, that’s the simple truth.

    In both Legs…

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