Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Emery taking a strong squad to Azerbaijan for Qarabag clash

Although Arsenal are playing Fulham at noon on Sunday, Unai Emery appears to be taking a pretty strong squad on the five and a half hour each way trip to Azerbaijan.

The Gunners face Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday, and our intrepid reporting* has identified a good chunk of the travelling squad.

On the plane to Baku this morning are:

Bernd Leno
Emi Martinez
Dejan Iliev
Hector Bellerin
Sokratis Papastathopoulos
Shkodran Mustafi
Nacho Monreal
Sead Kolasinac
Mohamed Elneny
Matteo Guendouzi
Lucas Torreira
Mesut Ozil
Alex Iwobi
Alexandre Lacazette
Eddie Nketiah

That’s 14 of the 18 or 19 players we’ll have with us, and we’re going to guess that Stephan Lichtsteiner, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck are also included, but we’ll find out in due course.

Emery’s side are looking for a second successive win in Europe, and an eighth in all competitions, having beaten Vorskla 4-2 at the Emirates in the first group stage game last month.

*looking at pictures

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A 5hr 30 minute first class flight is hardly the end of the world… I’m not quite sure why ppl are buying into this nonsense that professional athletes with the worlds very best support and advice can’t play football for 270 minutes a week? Or go to an airport and sit on a plane with every possible luxury you can probably think of on offer….

Petit's Handbag

Probably due to evidence provided Graham Souness


Of course they can play 270 minutes of football in a week, what nonsense are you talking about. However these are what you call humans, and as such, they also succumbed to things that affect other humans being. Even stucked in a traffic jam can stressed you out after a few hours, which makes you feel more tired at the end of it.


I’m sure it’s a chartered direct flight. None of there hassle you would associate with air travel would (or should given the investment) bother them.


It’s not the end of the world but I think we agree that you can prepare better for a game on the training pitch than on a plane, right?


yes. not sure if unai is being naive here… wait till just after the festive period, our players could be getting knackered….



Teryima Adi


Ditch the Blue

Presumably they fly back directly after the game, which means landing at 3am (or later). Training on Friday, perhaps. Light session Saturday. Doesn’t leave much time for preparation, physical or mental

Teryima Adi

Jet Lag I guess.


There are very fine margins at the very top level of the game ..

David C

That’s what I was thinking. European sports teams are spoiled with their travel. You should see how long North American athletes have to travel for up to 3 weeks a game 🙂

COYG! Do if for Mkhitaryan!


Look at the difference in away results for NFL teams and tell me if long travel times aren’t a factor. Or MLS teams for that matter.


Mental state of the player is as important as his physical condition when he is playing 270 min with travel.


Looks a very strong team, hope there are a lot of the first teamers on the bench just in case. The only main two missing are Laca and Auba from the list above though I guess that they may even go.

A pain in the b*m to have to go that far, hope we come out with an 8th win in a row.


Lacazette is listed.


Ramsey and Xhaka as well as Aubameyang staying home of fit players.


I find this a bit hard to understand. Surely the focus should be on the PL at this point?

Dance, Mustafi, Dance.

Maybe they could leave Mustafi there…. Distract him with a new funky dance, smack him on the head and take off. Job done.


Oh dear. I laughed harder than I probably should have.


I know this goes against the prevailing wisdom but if we were in the Champions League playing this mob then this is the squad that would go.

I like the fact Emery takes strong squads to these games. This is how you change the mentality of the club. Every game matters.


I was of the opinion he should have left some guys at home , but you make a good point so i have changed my mind

for now.


not just that even if emery is playing his second team iin europe league , he often will have first team players in the bench so that if the going gets tough he could call them on or sub them to keep their match fitness. but i would really like to see the young players like smith rowe and nketiah gets their chance tommorow


Everyone seems to forget this is a new manager trying to impress. Of course it was always going to be a strong squad for all competitions this season. It’s understandable we’ve gotten accustomed to the wenger ways so this change will take time ?


Me thinks Monreal and Özil really need some rest.. but I figure they’ll not be used much! Unai knows best ??


Ozil needs a rest? I’m not buying into this either, he’s a professional athlete in his prime who no longer plays international football.
He will have another 2 weeks off in the next international break.
Trying to get 12 points from 12 makes perfect sense, let’s get this group wrapped up ASAP, then we can give others a chance to impress in the last two games.

Dave Crawford

Ozil doesn.t play internationals now so probably has plenty in the tank. Not sure about Nacho..i might have left him at home with Kola back in the squad…but he doesn.t play many internationals either. Is Smith Rowe in?


ozil, rest, ha, ha, ha


One Kolasinac = two Ozil(s)


When you are trying to get a team to gel and understand your way of playing so they are ready for the challenges further along in the season then every competitive match is an important building block. He needs the players to continue to develop in his style I fully understand him playing a lot of first team players.

Tweaking of personnel and resting of players can take place when we hopefully have dead rubbers later in the tournament.


I really do hope that the remaining spots are filled by youngsters. I would have prefered Özil, Monreal and Lacazette to be left behind for a rest. But I get that if we win the first two it provides a lot of room for the youngtsters in the remaining games


Would have liked us to use a strong squad at home and more or less youth teams for the away trips. Think with a strong 11 we would most definitely win our 3 home games and even with a youth team you should be able to get a win or at least a point away from home and that should be enough to win the group. Really don’t see the benefit of letting most of our first team fly across Europe for a game against such low opposition. But maybe Unai just wants to use every chance to get a… Read more »

Jean Ralphio

I’m guessing there are also commercial reasons for this. No disrespect but it’s effectively a preseason fixture.


I’d just like to see Eddie at least get a couple of minutes

Unai Knows

Where is Auba? Maybe he wil play 90 minutes against Fulham. Good coach.


I like the fact Emery is stressing the importance of this competition with a strong squad. But I still would have liked Ramsey to travel (if he hasn’t) and likely play. That would give him a reason to use Micki on right and Ozil in middle against Fulham.

Also Lacazette and Bellerin are surprise inclusions. Hope we win without their involvement.

What about Auba? Shouldn’t this game be used like before (Brentford) for his confidence???

Tasmanian Jesus

Haah, the looking at pictures thing made me laugh.
Reading the list, I thought, “oh fuck, what did Stephan do..”


I like that he is taking three keepers out there to put a tiny bit of pressure on Leno to keep his place and keep him on his toes.

Rather than just think that he is in the starting 11 for the next four weeks now that Cech is out.

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