Emery to continue with one up front


Unai Emery says Arsenal fans will not be seeing two strikers together for a little while yet.

Asked about the possibility of pairing Alex Lacazette, who has started both games this season on the bench, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Spaniard explained that for the moment he’d rather the Gunners focused on controlling the midfield.

“At the moment, no,” he told his pre-West Ham press conference, when asked about his starting line-up and formation for the weekend.

“At the moment, I think we need to have the control with the possession, with the positioning on the pitch, with more players inside.”

He added: “In the two first matches, we didn’t have the control.”

Emery went on to talk about different formations the players have been working on in training.

“In the first [formation] we are playing with four at the back, then we have two and one, and one and two. With two and one, it is like a 4-2-3-1 and one, two, is for a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-3-3.”

Having lost his first two games in charge, Emery is under no illusions of the importance of sealing three points against Manuel Pellegrini’s new-look Hammers. Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski and Lucas Perez are all likely to be in the squad; familiar faces who will no doubt be eager to prove a point on their return to the Emirates.

“There are three points on this game,” noted Emery. “It’s clear that every game demands different things tactically. After the first two matches, we have two defeats and we need to win this match against West Ham.

“The difficulty is in this game because West Ham are a good team with good players and a good coach.

“They know the Premier League very well and they have a lot of new players. We are thinking in our way and about our work to create our ideas and our system on Saturday with our supporters at the Emirates.

“I think it’s very important to show them a better performance than in the two first matches. We are preparing well, I am feeling well when I look at the players in training every day.”

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Don’t mind if the performance is worse than the first two games so long as we get a win.


Our best defense has always been attack. Out scoring the other side.

The attack puts undue pressure on our (already flawed) defense otherwise if they don’t take their chances.


This seems far too short for you, has someone hijacked your account?


I thumbed you up for the brevity immediately.

Faisal Narrage

I thumbed him up for not having to insult Elneny.

Man Manny

I think we’ll play well and win. I think we have the firepower to win any match we control. We didn’t do that against City, got better against Chelsea, and should be too strong for West Ham. That is not to say it will be an easy game by any chance; but I think Pellegrini’s apparent unwillingness to park the bus will play into our hands. COYG


Makes sense.

4-2-3-1 is the baseline and has been so with Wenger too.

4-1-4-1 or 4-1-3-2 or 4-3-3 merely depends on where you want to place the emphasis.

We don’t need to throw caution to the wind unless we are chasing and need the extra man up top.

In any case right now, we need to continue to work on the relations between midfield and defense particularly during the defensive phase.

We create enough opportunity as is, the front men just have to be less flipant and put them away with more ruthlessness.


Iwobi – Aubamayeng – Mkhitaryan/Ozil is our best front 3 for now. If we’re playing a 4-3-3, then Torreira – Xhaka/Guendouzi – Ramsey should be our midfield 3. Lacazette will just have to wait for his chance. Not a fan of Auba on the wing. Know that’s where he started off but he’s better off in the middle. Laca may have better technical ability and finishing, but he just isn’t as mobile or does he have Auba physical qualities. It’s a shame he isn’t a bit quicker. Being small and having average speed is not a good mix in the… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

“Ramsey should be our midfield 3.”



Don’t get the downvotes for this one. We have quite a few options in midfield. One of those options is a player who doesn’t really have an identity in our new system where the positional and structural requirements are different. He also appears to be winding down his contract. He’s a better player than Guendouzi and Elneny but that doesn’t mean he’ll play better in this midfield. I think he’s competing with Ozil. There are times when we need our number 10 to cover both boxes and be a threat in he penalty box. There are times we need one… Read more »


Fabianski always plays well against us!!! Completely forgot he joined West Ham 🙁


Laca and Auba together is something I’d like to see. We don’t have the same luxury City do of having so much quality everywhere else in attack that we can afford to only play one of our main strikers. I just worry we don’t carry enough of a threat with just one of them. That being said, for me it’s not the biggest issue to be addressed. I’d also like to see Bellerin being given a rest from the first team now we have some actual cover, and Xhaka being sent a clear message by being dropped in favour of… Read more »

A Different George

I am okay with starting Torreira instead of Xhaka, and various other experiments to try to find the right combinations. But we should understand there is a price to pay–I thought we were much better at Chelsea with Xhaka than with Torreira.


That’s fair. I agree it’s about trying to find right combinations, but I would argue Xhaka has had a great many chances to show he is a solution so for now maybe we try others. For me, dropping him is also less about whether or not he’s not a starter in future and more about saying that moving forwards no one will be able to stay in the team long-term if they aren’t performing.


Xhaka hasn’t played in his true position yet.


Depends how you look at it. I’d agree he hasn’t been asked to play in his best suited role yet, but at the end of the day he is a deep-lying midfielder and that is where he’s been playing. I think people too often use the whole ‘he isn’t a DM’ line to mask certain deficiencies he has that someone playing in a central midfield position shouldn’t have, regardless of what role they’re being asked to do. Being sloppy/slow/lethargic when on the ball and being dispossessed isn’t because he’s being asked to be a DM role that isn’t natural to… Read more »


Torreira is a DM which Xhaka isn’t. Both should be played. I am looking forward to see Xhaka as a deep lying midfielder where he plays so successfuly for Switzerland


I know it won’t be popular but I really want to see our “best” players (on paper) in a functioning formation. 433 I reckon. Torreira (who has big games under his belt for Sampdoria and Uruguay – for all the good work Guendouzi has shown, Man City was probably the biggest game he’s ever played in coming from the french second league as he has), Xhaka (who at the end of last season showed some real character and form, and now has the potential to play a role that suits him better) and Ramsey (who plays best from deep) in… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I honestly disagree. After years of seeing Wenger shoe-horning players in for the sake of it, I’m tired of it. Even what you proposed isn’t a “functioning” formation; it’s a dysfunctional one. one no.10 on the wings, and our best no.9 out wide. Also exposes our fullbacks. Ramsey is a no.8 that plays like a no.10 We’ve seen how his running leaves our midfield exposed in the past. Why drop the player who’s so far been the best in preseason AND in our 2 games, yet keeping players (Xhaka, Ramsey) who have been off the boil somewhat and got benched?… Read more »


Fair enough 🙂

I’m not going to argue my point(s). It’s just what I’d like to see.


Wait. No! You guys can’t be cordial and leave it at that! What’s the point in a forum if you’re not mocking each other’s opinions and questioning the loyalty of anyone who disagrees with you? What’s wrong with this new generation?! Blogs – intervene please!


Put it down to a heady mix of empathy and apathy.

Frankly I agree with pretty much everything Faisel says but I just want to see what our “best 11” can do, before we write them all off as hopeless. Even if it’s just for 45 minutes.


Hear hear.

Crash Fistfight

I think this will be a more unpopular opinion, but I would like to see the same line-up as last week tomorrow. I’d like to see how that team does in a much easier (on paper) game than Chelsea away.

I do think it’s a bit strange how people are so nervous about the game tomorrow, though. If it was under Arsene everyone would be like “of course we’ll beat West Ham, that’s what we always do: lose to the good teams and beat everyone else (at home)”. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be any different now.


“In the first [formation] we are playing with four at the back, then we have two and one, and one and two. With two and one, it is like a 4-2-3-1 and one, two, is for a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-3-3.”

Do I need to re-take my math classes?

Heavenly Chapecoense

From Laca’s point of view, this is terrible. One more year waiting on the bench and he will have to put in a transfer request or sacrifice the great career he expected to have. Do a 4-4-2 with hard-working Welbeck on one wing. Never thought I would have wanted Welbeck in the starting XI but Unai will come to same conclusion.


Or it might be great for Laca if it means Aubameyang on the wing, we’ll have to see. Instead of a 4-4-2, a 3-5-2 might work as well. Takes advantage of our attacking fullbacks and lack of wingers, and let’s Laca and Aub play up top together.

Faisal Narrage

He literally just said the reason he wants this formation is because it gives us the numbers to control the game in midfield, something we’ve been bad at for a few years now.

This isn’t charity. I’m sorry for Lacca, but if that’s what we need to win then so be it. I don’t want a 2-man central midfield with Welbeck out wide just to make Lacca happy. It’s unfortunate but that’s the cause of the previous management’s decision.

Also, who would play in that 2-man midfield?


I’ve been saying this for a while, we have to stop shoehorning players into a dysfunctional team. I always think we look much better with Welbeck out wide. If I had to choose 1 between Mkhitaryan or Ozil? I’d pick Mkhitaryan, as I think he’s got more end product, particularly goals. We probably need to move one of Rambo/Ozil on? due to circumstances I regrettably think it’s likely to be Rambo. Ozil certainly isn’t a wide player, and hasnt looked hungry since he bagged his new contract, I’d personally stick him on the market for peanuts just to get him… Read more »

Jimbo Jones

Ozil is more and more feeling like a third wheel in this team. I rate him highly but not seeing how he fits any of the systems or tactics we are using. Its mad that we have so many first team players who want to occupy the same space on the pitch (central attacking) – Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhi, Iwobi, Welbeck, Laca, Auba – we can only ever play two at the same time. either a CF and a no.10 or two CF’s, so 5 of those 7 are either benched or out of position. Before anyone states the obvious, I… Read more »


Due to our lack of genuine wide players I don’t necessarily think playing a 4-3-3 would get the best out of this squad (it’d would have helped some past players, mind). An alternative would be to go back to 3 at the back and play a 3-5-2 like England. Gives extra cover at the back, allows our fullbacks more freedom to attack, keeps the midfield solid and lets us play both Aubameyang and Lacazette in their best position. It’ll never happen of course, I don’t know if Emery has ever played with a back 3.


……mustafi sokratis holding…..
Bell. Douzi Torreira monreal
Laca. PEA


12 players and no keeper ?????

Billy Bob

I like the idea of 3 at the back, but would have 2 sitting in front, then 3 in midfield and 2 up front!!

Jimbo Jones

I see where you’re coming from with the wing backs, it’s the formation that fits our players best having used it for the past season and a half (?) under AW. But think we are moving away from it, to be honest the whole league has moved away from it and I don’t see Emery going for it. We may have to endure players not being in their optimal positions until he can rebuild the squad