A Win to Kick Start Arsenal’s Season: Chelsea Pre-Match and Predicted Line-Up

Ode to Joy

Sometimes you just know, don’t you?

I am 100% confident that we will beat the West London pretenders this afternoon and that will it be a VERY GOOD THING for a number of reasons.

Obviously, any Arsenal win is to be celebrated, but victory today will also silence (temporarily at least) the cacophony of negativity that has been echoing round the club since defeat at Brentford.

We have been inundated with an infestation of pundits vying to outbid each other in their forecasts of doom.

Like ants they have been crawling all over social media spewing rhetoric that gets ever more heated: Arsenal are one of the favourites for relegation; the clock is ticking for Arteta; Ramsdale is a waste of money; Odegaard is ‘bang average;’ our transfer activity has been terrible.

It’s time to call in Rent-o-Chill.

And so to today. Entertaining a strongly fancied team like Chelsea is the perfect scenario after the opening day disappointment.

Of course, seeing our injury-weakened team capitulate at Brentford was depressing, but to write off a season on the basis of a single result is a form of foolishness that any sensible supporter should know to ignore.

The same would be true if we’d beaten Brentford 5-0. No doubt people would have been praising Arteta and saying that Arsenal were outsider contenders for the title. That would have been equally foolish.

Team news remains mixed. By all accounts Odegaard is available to play and we can assume Ramsdale will be on the bench. 

Ode showed enough talent with us last season to convince this observer at least that we have secured a real gem for what will turn out to be a bargain price. Yes, there’s some crossover with Smith Rowe, but they have already shown they can work well together (so it’s not an either/or situation) and, in any case, they have quite different styles of play.

As for Ramsdale, he has clearly been brought in to replace Leno in due course. I expect the move to happen in January when we sell the German and bring in a cheaper back-up or promote a goalie from the Hale End Academy.

Auba is potentially available after being Covid-pinged, but Partey and Gabriel are both still out with injury. 

Worryingly, Willian is “being assessed,” but surely Arteta would not dare bring on the useless Brazilian bog-brush in front a real, actual crowd of supporters?

Torreira is back in the squad but I don’t expect him to feature as I imagine we’re still trying to move him on in this window.

Also, I would not rule out the possibility of another major transfer move as the window winds to a close at the end of the month, possibly a striker.

So let’s stop the moaning, get behind the manager and the team and enjoy a first home win of what promises to be an exciting campaign.

Predicted Line-Up:


Chambers – White – Mari – Tierney

Xhaka – Lokonga

Pepe – Odegaard – Aubameyang


Come on You Gunners



41 Responses to A Win to Kick Start Arsenal’s Season: Chelsea Pre-Match and Predicted Line-Up

  1. Chinedu ugwumadu says:

    For u give me hope and wish that God griant us our heart desire amen

  2. Michael Mogo says:

    Was Odegaard registered on time to play today?

  3. CorporateMan says:

    No Odegaard, no White
    So Smith-Rowe and Holding in.
    Good to hear you sound so optimistic, but I’m afraid I don’t share your feelings. I’m afraid our season kick-in may not happen until after the international break

  4. hans andersson says:

    Now the Kronks are getting nervous. Old Kronk and his ignorant son try to back up boy Mikel, but it won’t help. Kronks don’t understand European football, that’s why they stick to this inexperienced wannabe coach – and it will ruin Arsenal. Arsenal becomes Farcenal FC under boy Mikel and have an owner who belongs in the 19th century. Give us more trancparency, more of a modern democratic company. Give us fan base on the board. Those ignorant people must start listen to the fans, and not only listen, take advice too. Continue like this and it end up with relegation.
    Losses against Chelsea and Man City – which is the most likely – then nothing can save boy Mikel. Then Arsenal must get a REAL coach/ manager. An experienced coach with undisputable merits, a coach who knows what he is doing. A REAL COACH FOR REAL FANS. #ArtetaOut!

  5. Otingiro says:


  6. RockyLives says:

    I had read that Ode was available but it seems he’s not, which is a shame.

    Nevertheless, we’ll still win.

  7. Dexter says:

    Rocky lives

    Great upbeat Post mate.

    I don’t get the doom mongering from fans? I get it from the hacks and pundits, they’ve got narratives to feed and agendas to drive!

    Now is not the time for getting on the players and managers backs! If you’re a Gooner, then support, or fuck off!!! 🤣🤣🤣


  8. Maxwell says:

    Dear Hans. We know you better of course, as Hans Christian Andersson, but since your ill-informed views from the world of fairies (no LGBT+ references intended!) are decidedly un-Christian, I can understand why you would shed the middle moniker. I was going to try and make lots of joke references to your famous fairy stories, but I was too tired. I did think that the Ugly Duckling had some relevance – you know, growing into a majestic swan.

    One thing you said with which I heartily agree: there is far too large a section of the Arsenal fan base who could do with a coach in how to ‘support’ a team…

  9. RC78 says:

    Leno – White, Holding, Mari – AMN, Xhaka, Lokonga, Tierney – ESR – Pepe, Martinelli


    Thanks for the post Rocky

  10. RA says:

    A fabulous Post, Rocky — and great to read a work of art, as usual!! 😁

    I have been watching the best premier League goals between Arsenal and Chelsea on Sky, and the goals over the years were terrific from both clubs, and seeing the Invincibles like Bergkamp, Pires, Henry, Vieira etc etc was full of nostalgia as they reminded us how brilliant they were.

    Sadly, as the program moved into the goals that were scored by Chelsea, after the Invincibles era, it was also a reminder of how we had started to slowly sink, as other clubs spent billions on players, while Arsenal did not.

    I will always support Arsenal, whatever happens — that’s how it goes for me, and many others, but watching that program brought a lump to the throat.

  11. RockyLives says:


    I suspect you have hit on an unavoidable truth about the relative trajectories of Arsenal and Chelsea.

    However, on match day I shall stick my fingers in my ears and remain as optimistic as ever 😀

  12. RockyLives says:

    I hope all you AA regulars have had a decent summer so far.

    I had a lot of stuff going on (family and work related) and that, combined with needing a break from all things Arsenal at least for a little while, kept me away from blogging.

    I shall try to chip in now and again to share some of the load with RC and some of the other stalwarts.

  13. 1979Gunner says:

    White is ill and unavailable.

    I fear for Arsenal today, and that’s no me being a doom merchant.

    Defeat today means we’ve blown the start of a season again. Still players to bring in, still players to move on. I understand the difficulties involved in recruitment but it is a bit messy.

    A win today would be a real boost.

  14. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky. It looks like we are missing White, Lacazette, and Partey suw to injury and illness and Odegaard for some reason can’t play this game.

    Gabriel is back in training from injury but will likely be for the bench at best due to a lack of playing time. Chambers may need to be used at CB if any other injuries happen and then have one of Bellerin, Cedric or AMN cover right back.

    Other than that and with those available I would go with this :

    —————————— Leno
    Chambers —— Mari —— Holding ——- Tierney
    —————————- Lokonga
    —————– Saka —————— ESR
    Pepe ———————————————– Martinelli
    ————————- Aubamayeng

    Lokonga despite being less experienced gets a nod from me for this game over Xhaka. Chelsea have speedy players that I think will cause Xhaka issues and the quicker and more athletic Lokonga may do a better screening and intercepting job.

    He will be backed up by ESR and Saka who will both drop deeper to help him out and also to receive the ball in deeper areas and bring it out. I feel those 3 can gain “control” of the midfield.

    The bench has the likes of Balogun, Xhaka, Elneny, Azeez, Ramsdale, Tavares, AMN, Cedric and Bellerin.

  15. Dexter says:

    So, last we week we were missing players thanks to covid and Injuries, this week we can add illness (White). So we’re missing our 1st choice CB pairing, central midfielder and striker.

    Yet Arsenal aren’t allowed to have any mitigating circumstances.

    Regardless I still think we’ll get a result today.

  16. Aaron says:

    Always appreciate your optimism.

    No Ode or White is a signal that today is going to be rough.

    Teams need players to play together, and alas another patchwork team made up on match day.

    Look out below.

    Leave it at that!

  17. Dexter says:

    Arsenal: Leno, Tierney, Mari, Holding, Soares, Sambi Lokanga, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Saka, Pepe, Martinelli. Subs: Ramsdale, Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Tavares, Chambers, Nelson, Elneny, Balogun, Kolasinac

    Surprised Sead is in the squad!

  18. Dexter says:

    I can smell an Arsenal victory in the air!!!

    Come on you rip roaring Gunners!!!

  19. RockyLives says:

    Interesting line up.

    Cedric at RB in a back four by the look of it.

    Martinelli up front presumably.

    Saka on the left in front of Tierney?

    A lot will depend on Xhaka-Loko-ESR getting a grip of the midfield where the Chavs are strong.

  20. Dexter says:

    I just dont want the ref and VaR to fuck us over.

    And the players to put in a good shift, work for each other and no stupid mistakes!!:

  21. fred1266 says:

    Only experience this a few times but get chiles just watching

  22. Aaron says:

    Look up for it so far, Pepe with a very nice strong run on the right!

  23. Aaron says:

    Well, that was that…..

    Can AFC keep the score to a reasonable level, at home?

    1 shot 1 goal…dang……

  24. fred1266 says:

    WHO does xhaka help Mari instead of letting kaku keep posting up on him sigh

  25. Aaron says:

    Tuchel just sitting on the sideline relaxing and Mikel just yapping all game long..

    Who would want to hear that nonsense? No one!

  26. fred1266 says:

    Rudiger complaining about holding tackle hmm

  27. RockyLives says:

    Am I mad? That was a 100% penalty, right?

  28. Dexter says:

    Do we ever get penalties?

  29. RockyLives says:

    We’re a mess at the back. Tierney miles out of position for both goals which may not be his fault if he was having to come inside to cover others.

    But it would have been nice to see Saka giving some help to him.

  30. RockyLives says:

    Ah well, 3-2 it is then…

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    Let’s be honest, the gulf in quality between these sides is huge, not to mention the gulf in confidence. The fans need to stop booing and realise that this is a young, transitional team playing against the form side in Europe right now. It’s not what any Arsenal fan wants to see on the field, but we are where we are. All we can expect from this season is growth within the team and Arteta to improve the players. The boos, as always, should be aimed at the owners. Spending money this season just doesn’t paper over the fact that they’ve allowed the club to rot for the last 10 years. We are so far away from being competitive it’s untrue.

    I’ll be staying positive towards this young team and inexperienced manager. I just hope that the outside noise doesn’t infest the team and ruin any confidence they have left, as that will undoubtedly lead to us needing a new manager and more time wasted.

    Hopefully they come out fighting 2nd half.

  32. Aaron says:

    After next week, Norwich will be looking over their shoulder.

    Given our defenders a chance with 3 at the back to start the game might have helped.

    Team looks really disorganized.

    Too narrow, Xhaka too slow, Mari rag-dolled, Tierney getting blasted on the left.

    Where is our team shape? Do we ever press or just allow time and acres of space?

    AFC’s xG at halftime 0.05

    What is our record when 2 nil down at halftime?

    0-10 after today…..

    50 goals maximum this season.

    3rd best defense was a myth.

    What will be the excuses from the generational one?

    This is being positive….

  33. fred1266 says:

    Jeez why Mari defending so high

  34. Las says:

    You were optimistic as ever and gave us hope… but after these two games, I’m losing my fate that we will see any development in this season and also in Arteta.
    Certainly, you can lose against the European Champion even at home but we lacked any sort of tactic or strategy. I don’t see any footballing identity, no style, no Arteta-ball.
    This will be a long season.

  35. OMG it was wonderful to have a full crowd at The Emirates today. We did our best to show the team the love …… ear splitting cheers for every single first team player. Obviously much much louder for the firm favourites Saka, ESR and Martinelli. I’m sure those missing today will also get a great reception at the next home game.

    We are crying out for some inventive play in midfield that outsmarts the opposition and let’s us carry the ball forward quickly. Doh, we’ve known that for a while. There is no link up play yet, it’s as if they’ve all been drawn out of a hat and given their shirts. They’re just not on each other’s radar. Pepe was hardly ever where he was supposed to be when a cross field ball was played. But he did do some amazing, strong bamboozling runs and came out with the ball only to lose it in the next few seconds 🙈

    Still too much slow build up play. I watched in awe as Chelsea pinged the ball up the pitch ….. getting back to front in four moves. I remember when we used to do that.

    Lukaku is a monster and I would love to have a striker like that. Any more of those knocking around out there?

    Clearly there’s a long way to go and I can only hope that the team click and the supporters can be patient …… scoring a goal or two would be nice though.

  36. VP says:

    Great Post Rocky
    Still dont understand how hat was not a penalty.
    2nd game in, still under strength but you can see the team is already on the up.

  37. RC78 says:

    New post everyone

  38. fred1266 says:

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