Arsenal Owe It To Fans To Blow Brighton Away: Prematch and Predicted Line-Up

The 2020/21 Squad: Some are gone, some will be going – but which ones?

After a fractious season Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal can send us into the summer months with some cause for optimism if the team continues its upward trend and dispatches today’s visitors with style.

With (some) fans back in the stadium it would be nice to think the players will be motivated to put on a show and give us an entertaining game with plenty of goals and a good win.

Three points would mean we’ll have ended the season with five wins on the bounce and with post-Christmas form that puts us behind only Manchester City and Manchester United over a span of 22 games.

It would give us a final total of 61 points, which would be three more than last season and would therefore be further evidence of improvement, albeit incremental.

There is also the outside chance of qualifying for the Europa Bottom Feeders Commemorative Challenge Trophy and of finishing above the noisy neighbours.

Of course Brighton will be aiming to finish strongly themselves, even though they have nothing other than league position to play for.

They may be encouraged by our poor home form this season, but you would have to hope that the presence of 10,000 fired-up supporters will help us with that particular deficiency.

With lots of talk of a summer clear-out, it may be the last chance for fans to see some of our players in an Arsenal shirt. We know David Luiz is leaving, but he may be given a start (or possibly a run-out as a sub) if he passes a late fitness test.

Bellerin is definitely out with an injury he picked up against Chelsea, so we may have seen the last of him. Mat Ryan can’t pay against the club that loaned him to us.

Here’s my predicted line-up:


Chambers – Holding – Gabriel – Tierney

Partey – Xhaka

Saka – Smith Rowe – Aubameyang


Come on You Gunners: Let’s finish with style.



68 Responses to Arsenal Owe It To Fans To Blow Brighton Away: Prematch and Predicted Line-Up

  1. RC78 says:

    Hi Rocky – I agree…they owe it to us…we need a bit of hope before the season ends…

    I would play a team that can (1) get us the result we want and (2) play fun football so here is my preferred line up and (3) with players we will also let go…:

    Leno – Chambo, Holding, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, El Neny – Saka, ESR, Martinelli – Laca (I expect him to leave :-()

    Here is my predicted line-up:
    Leno – Chambo, Holding, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, ESR, Willian – Auba

  2. RC78 says:

    Rocky – I heard that the AFC Board wanted to build a statue in your honor for keeping this blog alive throughout the season! 3 cheers for RockyLives: Hip Hip Hurray! Hip Hip Hurray! Hip Hip Hurray!

  3. RC78 says:

    Thanks for another fine and fun post!

  4. LBG says:

    #statueforrocky……and the Frencman!
    Trusting that any AAers who have been lucky enough to be drawn out for a ticket for today’s game, will give us a feel for the atmosphere and come home safe. #….andcream.

  5. RockyLives says:

    RC 😀

    It’s team effort keeping this place going – and it’s going to get harder after tomorrow!

    Close season. Yuck.

    We could plan a series of Posts giving an overview of the season and reflecting different views of our process or lack of it…

    All other ideas welcome.

    The Euros (June 11 to July 11) should give us plenty to talk about when they start.

  6. #….and cream on route to the game and very excited. Got lots of pockets so usual rules apply …… play nice and don’t sit on anyone else’s head 😁😁😁

  7. RockyLives says:

    Hope it’s a great day Peaches.

  8. Rasp says:

    Thanks for you quality, time and fortitude Rocky. It’s an easy choice for me, finish above the totts (= officially have a better season than them) even if it means going in to the ECL

  9. RockyLives says:

    But hang on Rasp, weren’t the Totts going to win the league?

  10. jjgsol says:

    Please forgive me for having a bad memory in my old age (I left home this morning without my door keys) but when was the last time we played with style in the league?

    I simply don’t remember, it was such a long time ago.

    I suspect that our esteemed manager would not know what playing with style was if it hit him in the face.

  11. Aaron says:

    Rocky In,

    AFC Win
    Spuds lose
    Everton Win

    Bould In

    ksE out.

    Does upper management have a darn clue or just clueless.

    Let’s get this thing done.

  12. Team

  13. Sorry wrong one sent first

  14. RockyLives says:

    Decent attacking line-up – except that Auba is often more or less completely uninvolved when he plays up front.

    (He’ll probably get a hat trick now 😀 )

  15. LBG says:

    Afternoon Jigsol, enjoy the game!

  16. LBG says:

    Pepe is always a lazy b in the warm up.

  17. Rasp says:

    😅 Rocky, I see this day as the start of a new era when we reestablish our superiority over the tiny Totts

  18. RockyLives says:

    Leicester have plenty to play for (a win gives them a chance of top four) so hopefully they’ll give the Spuds a good mashing.

    I could see Everton getting a result against Man City as I’m sure the City players are half on the beach already.

  19. RC78 says:

    I think Arteta is stuck with Auba so he s playing him but that does not fare well for Lacazette…

    I also do not see why we play Odegaard – the kid needs to go back to Madrid with Ceballos….

  20. RC78 says:

    Anybody with a link to watch the game please?

  21. RockyLives says:

    Spuds and Everton both losing

  22. RC78 says:

    I read that no one is passing the ball to Pepe…does not make sense to me…

  23. RockyLives says:

    Not true RC – Pepe has been involved

  24. RockyLives says:

    Try the site for a stream RC

  25. RockyLives says:

    At least you’re not having to put up with the usual anti-Arsenal co-commentator on Sky, RC.

  26. RC78 says:

    Meanwhile, Willock scores again…Do we really need to keep Odegaard?

  27. RC78 says:

    Pepe is going to deliver an assist today or a goal…I can feel it…

  28. RC78 says:

    We really need to take Auba out…I think Laca, Saka or Martinelli will allow us to score against this Brighton team…My preference would be to take Ode and Auba out and brining in Laca and Martinelli. Saka could come in for the last 30 mins to finish the game off

  29. LBG says:

    What a fat prat Moss is!

  30. LBG says:

    Assist for Chambers. Best right back at the Club.

  31. RC78 says:

    I should have placed a bet on Pepe scoring for us 😛

  32. RockyLives says:

    Have to say Odegaard is having an excellent game.

  33. RC78 says:

    Indeed but we can wave him good bye anyways…We have got Willock in the locker and we may go for another player too…so why spend 35-40 Mln on Ode?

  34. RC78 says:

    Are we ahead of Spurs?

  35. RockyLives says:

    Agree re Ode/Willock

    As things stand we’re 7th, ahead of Spuds and Everton (and in Europa Conference position)

  36. Rasp says:

    Is it me or are we firing the ball into feet with more venom than ever before? That’s a sign of confidence in a teammate’s self control.

  37. RockyLives says:

    Good win, two lovely goals from Pepe.

    No doubt it won’t make everyone happy but we have finished the season strongly and our trajectory is a positive one.

    Key word: trajectory

  38. RockyLives says:

    And Spuds are welcome to the Europa No-hoper Conference.

    We get a straight shot at prioritising the league and securing top four.

  39. jjgsol says:

    LBG. Thanks for your good wishes.

    I can’t say I enjoyed the game, but I did enjoy the result.

    I am afraid these end of season games against the teams in the bottom regions of the league, who have nothing to play for, have very little enjoyment about them.

    I wish you all a good summer.

  40. LBG says:

    No Kane, shit Club. Try Thursdays and Sundays Totteringham. We will build our youthful team and come back bright and bouncy next season. Have a good Summer AAers.

  41. RockyLives says:

    Have a good one jjgsol – don’t be a stranger over the summer – I’m sure there will be plenty to talk aboit

  42. RockyLives says:

    The season run-in offers some food for thought for people who would like to see Rodgers or Ancelotti at the helm of Arsenal.

  43. Rasp says:

    5 wins in a row, great football, Leno, Partey, Pepe, Xhaka and Chambers all showing great improvement. I’d take their Bissouma but I personally don’t think we need that many new recruits

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    Delighted with that! Europa Conference League gives us nothing. I hope Spurs enjoy it! 😂

    Arteta will have time to work with his team Arsenal will be much better for it.

    Brilliant day.

  45. fatgingergooner says:

    Arsenal celebrate top 4 and are labelled a joke. Liverpool do it and it’s a triumph.

    Seems fair, Sky.

  46. RC78 says:

    Positives lately: Chambers, Partey, Pepe

    If they can keep their end of season form next year, it can only be a good thing for us. Pepe ends the season with 10 goals in the EPL, 6 goals in the EL, 1 assist in the EPL and 4 in the EL. Certainly, he can do better but not bad at all…If he scores again 15 goals next season and adds 10 assists, no one will complain

  47. jjgsol says:

    Great football???? Please.

    I watched the game and saw it for myself and that was hardly great football. 5 shots on target against a team with no striker who could hardly really be that bothered.

    Almost as bad at Untold’s Arteta’s remarkable tactics.

    Who did we play in the last 5 games?

    Brighton, Crystal Palace, West Brom, Newcastle and Chel$ki, who made 7 changes and were playing a cup final 3 days later.

    5 Wins against this lot is hardly a renaissance.

    It flatters us, and, so it seems, misleads our own supporters.

  48. LBG says:

    I am not misled! Hopefully you will find more to be happy about next season. I wont hold my breath!

  49. Sue says:

    They didn’t find it!! How?? They’re brighter than the floodlights!! 😄. Were they celebrating missing out on the Conference League??!!

  50. Rasp says:

    Can’t agree jjgsol … there is much to be happy about and the future is looking brighter. We’ve got a decent squad now. If Willock can play for us as he has for toon then I think the attacking side of our game looks very potent.

  51. jjgsol says:

    We have such a “decent squad” that Arteta will try to decimate it in the next few weeks and bring in a whole load of “his players”.

    Let us wait and see.

    By the way, I doubt if we will see Willock playing for us next season or AMN, Eddie or Nelson. as well as Torreira, Guendouzi and many others who are not in favour.

  52. Rasp says:

    The only ones on that list I see as having potential are Willock and maybe Nelson.

  53. RockyLives says:

    No surprise that I agree with Rasp about how we’re doing under Arteta, but your viewpoint is always welcome jjgsol.

  54. RC78 says:

    @Sue – if you want to make sure your team underperforms, appoint Pochetinno…He is the single reason why PSG lost the title. Sure, we lost by a point but he lost so many games…it is crazy. He won’t be sacked yet but this is clearly a League capitulation stamped by Leonardo and Pochetinno .At least, Mbappe says he wants to stay if PSG strengthens this summer but with Pochetinno as a coach, what is the point?

  55. RC78 says:

    As for Arsenal, a disappointing season with some causes for optimism:
    1. Disappointing in terms of league position and national cup losses;
    2. Disappointing in terms of the overall style and lack of goals;

    3. Promising because there is a group of young talented players that are establishing themselves as key players such as Tierney, Saka, ESR and I believe that Martinelli could soon be added to that list
    4. Promising because our run in the Europa League was not bad although upsetting to lose the way we lost but semi-finals is not too shabby;
    5. Promising because some players have improved this year like Chambers, Pepe and I would even say Xhaka and El Neny;
    6. Promising also because we have been able to get rid of some players like Ozil, Sokratis, Mustafi and will soon part ways with Kolsinac and most likely Torreira.

    So overall, it was a disappointing season but somethings are giving me hope including the signature of Balogun.

    Now let us see how the club does over the transfer window this summer. Arteta only has until December to show us he can really turn us into proper contenders…after that, his time will be up unless we are in the Top 4 going into the X-Mas period.

  56. jjgsol says:

    You see, Rasp, I also agree with you, in that I also believe that we have a decent squad.

    It is Arteta who does not and wants to get rid of many players, who you and I believe would be good, but under a different and less controlling manager, a manager who values creativity and attacking play.

    In order to pander to his controlling needs, he has stifled creativity and emasculated our attack. For the entire season, our default game has been boring and awful and without merit.

    For his “process” he needs players who toe the line and do what they are told 100% of the time.

    That means that the natural wastage has to increase to get rid of the independently minded players, who are not prepared to always do what they are told.

    Let us see, but, bearing in mind Aretat’s repeated declarations about getting his players in, I think you will see that I may be correct, insofar as the Kroenkes are prepared to put their hands in their pockets.

    However, Rasp, I cannot agree with you about the future. Far from looking bright, it looks increasingly grim and without much hope.

  57. RC78 says:

    hi Jigsol – I assure you that if you have a few pints today to celebrate our 8th place and victory, you will also see a bright future 😛 Much like you, I have some doubts about Arteta and our lack of attacking threat but there were games (our first 40 mins against Wolves earlier this year were magnificient) that gave me some type of hope that we can play well (even) under Arteta. Our players made many errors and cost us lots of points, whether defensively or offensively. Auba missed goals he never missed before, Leno did horrible things and for a while Luiz and Xhaka continued to drag us down but if we cut even 50% of our mistakes, we will be more competitive next year and harder to beat…which is already something

  58. Sue says:

    You can take the man out of Tottenham, RC……

    Saliba scored for Nice – can’t wait to see him next season 👍

  59. RC78 says:

    Why did PSG have to hire him beats me?!?

  60. fred1266 says:

  61. LBG says:

    Quote of the season from the Not so Special One:- “Like we say in Portugal, bread is bread and cheese is cheese.” Watch out for the seagulls as well Moaninho!

  62. LBG says:

    Happy 80th to the legend that is Bob Dylan.

  63. pbarany says:

    jjgsol, your observation on the limited significance of winning the last 5 games (including the Chelsea explanation) is spot on. I also agree with you on the flattering and misleading conclusion, and I may add comments from Arsenal icons but questionable pundits like Campbell and Parlor don’t help to see the big picture either.

    Indeed the squad is quite capable, yet the free flowing attacking football is missing. I have to admit, Arteta found the best midfield engine of Partey-Xhaka, but kind of limits my enthusiasm that it was obvious from the start of the season. Finally Mikel managed to bring the best out of Pepe, too. But – I admit reverting to the glass half empty type of myself – that is his bloody job, and furthermore where could have Arsenal end up if he gave more chance to Pepe and Martinelli from the start of the season, and would only start Pepe and ESR when they were in form and peak fitness. And for every player Mikel brought the best of there are 2 that he couldn’t motivate to give his best: on the other scale that holds Chambers and Pepe there are Rúnarsson, Bellerin, Willian, Auba, Nketiah. Maybe even Ceballos. And when it comes to opportunities to academy players (Balogun, Cottrell, Azeez) there is simply no reason to feel enthusiastic or even proud. On the contrary

    For what it worth you are not alone seeing the future grim, almost hopeless. It wouldn’t be much brighter with Arteta gone, but it would still be a sign, that we are not clapping for the worst league position of 3 decades, and – what’s even more important – it would show real loyalty; not the one that many demand we show towards Mikel, but some real loyalty towards the club values, players and fans.
    We lost 14000 minutes of competitive football, which is worse than losing Fabregas, Cazorla, Sanchez or Ramsey – maybe even worse than losing them all. It is sad and ironic fans unable to see that, and smiling that finally we will be able to focus on the league. And I honestly and really don’t want to offend or insult the good people here or any other fan community, but whoever hopes that Willock will be our savior next season and demands to sign Buendia as well, is either unaware that Joe, Emile Smith-Rowe and Buendia play at the same AM position, or just don’t have the basic mathematical skills…

  64. RockyLives says:

    New Post

  65. GoonerB says:

    Cheers Rocky, I couldn’t get on yesterday. We did what we could yesterday and I was surprised that Leicester surrendered a lead at home and then went on to lose with what they were playing for.

    Just reading the comments back and picking up on a couple of things. Firstly I would like Willock back to see how he goes but he shouldn’t be compared to Odegaard. Different players with different skill sets. Odegaard will control the game much more from midfield than Willock.

    I know RC isn’t that keen but we probably need another midfielder like Odegaard and I would have him if we can get him. Willock has been scoring at Newcastle but Newcastle aren’t a team that look to control the game as we will so Willocks ability on the ball is less exposed.

    They play a robust keep it tight, all work hard and then try and get into dangerous areas in their moments of attack. I am not sure Willocks skills make for a game controlling CM or even a number 10. If anything his goal scoring prowess kind of makes him a false 9.

    However I would still want him with us to see how it goes but keeping him doesn’t alter the need for a player like Odegaard.

    I also don’t agree about not being in the EL as being a good thing, although I know I’m in the minority on this. I get the idea that it allows us to focus on getting top 4, and I hope that we continue to improve and get that. We have a good chance but it is still putting all our eggs into a rather small basket.

    Even if we improve will others not do so? Are we that hopeful that we can be better than Man City, Liverpopl, Chelsea, or Man Utd next season. They could all be a lot stronger next season as well so, even though we might tangibly improve, we still might not get top 4.

    Unfortunately, as things stand right now, we are in competition with Leicester and Spurs to try and break into one of those slots. We had an excellent chance of winning the EL this year and would have again next year.

    We would undoubtedly be one of the strongest in it so why turn our nose up at the chance to win silverware and have a 2nd option of getting into the ECL via another route over and above the difficult EPL top 4 option.

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