With the news that Sokratis has been ruled out of action until the end of February, and Laurent Koscielny still dealing with a bruised and swollen jaw suffered in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup, the big question is who will play at centre-half when Arsenal meet Cardiff in the Premier League on Tuesday night.
Shkodran Mustafi is fit and sure to start, but who partners him is something that will be giving Unai Emery some thought.
He could use Nacho Monreal, who has played there in the past, and last Friday he shifted Granit Xhaka back into defence – not for the first time this season too.
However, there may well be an opportunity for young Greek defender Dinos Mavropanos who is in contention to start his first game since receiving a red card against Leicester last season.
“He has been working with us for the past month and playing with the under-23s and he is OK,” said Emery.
“The first half can work with him for the squad tomorrow and he is in the squad with the possibility to play.”
We’re not entirely sure what the head coach means here, but the bottom line appears to be Mavropanos is being considered for action.
It would be an interesting time for him to step up and stake his claim for a place, but let’s not forget he’s still very young and has limited experience at this level so expecting him to come in and be flawless might be setting the bar a bit too high.
Emery confirmed that Koscielny’s jaw was not broken, and if tomorrow comes too soon, the skipper could well be back for our somewhat daunting visit to Man City on Sunday.
Get him in there. He can’t be as bad as Xhaka at CB. Would rather see Monreal play on one of LB or RB. Nonetheless, whatever the back line, it looks like a real cut and paste job.
I love me some 6ft3 1/2″ Dino! It’s no coincidence the defence has totally collapsed since big Per retired.
Did you see Per’s performance against Nottingham Forest 1 year ago? The defence has been pants long before Per retired. Though we did start losing games after Holding got injured.
It’s been pants for a decade. My point is that it has totally collapsed since Per retired. This team has conceded more goals than 17th place Newcastle this season which I believe is not just due to lack of leadership but a lack of height back there.
He is 21, age when talent will be apparent if it’s there. Absolutely could fit in our back line. And we wouldn’t have signed him for the squad if the promise wasn’t there.
Emery seems like another stubborn man. He has played Xhaka in defense in like 5 or 6 games this season and it only worked once fairly if I’m not mistaken.
for a good reason if you payed attention. He does not want to lose his passing capabilities. He wants something similar to David Luiz, who is comfortable taking the ball forward and can effectively be a deep lying playmaker.
Passing abilitiy lol.. when he cant receive the ball on the turn! .. looks like a bum.
We to upgrade him asap
i think in the long run guendouzi probably will be a better player than xhaka in midfield. He is more mobile and better at keeping posession. The only reason he hasnt done so until now is because he is still young and because of xhaka’s increadible leadership. And i think emery appreciates this, and want to keep xhaka in first team. So emery might reinvent him into central defender in three man defence. This could be a game changer for xhaka and arsenal as well as we will have much more flexibility in our lineup much like how pochetinno is… Read more »
Don’t know how you got any dislikes. Guendouzi is far more naturally talented than Xhaka and doesn’t have glaring vulnerabilities.
For now he lacks physicality. He also is not very good defensively, not in tackling, interception or positioning in what Sven previously described as running around unnecessarily.
I still think he is talented, calm and has plays with a big character, but is more suited advanced roles alongside a defensively solid partner.
What Granit brings is his ability to read and switch the point of attack for us from deep. Against United in first half, there were at least 3 occasions when he played maginificent first time balls from deep to release either of Kolasinac or Iwobi on Lwing. This transitions us very quickly. It is facile at best to think Guendouzi is more talented. Granit’s talents tend to be conveniently ignored by many people who prefer to follow red herrings. The same issue with Mustafi. Sure he has mistakes (all our Cbacks make them) but when he puts in crunching tackles… Read more »
The truth is players like Mustafi and Xhaka are okay if your okay with mid table but most of us are hoping The Arsenal are back in contention next season. In this case there needs to be a huge change to the team from defense right though the midfield and onto the wings. Our left hand side defense against Man Ure was non existent. It should not have been up tp Koz to track Lukaka on the wing in a flat back four, that’s Kolasinac ‘s job but he was nowhere. I’m really hoping Nacho is back at left back… Read more »
It all falls down to pace, Xhaka doesn’t really have any pace so when he’s 1on1 with someone who does they just straight line him…. Its that simple really lol.
I expect Xhaka to play there, not happy about it though.
Unlike the Wenger, it’s difficult to predict what Emery is going to – even a complete left field like Elneny can’t be ruled out.
We need to win tomorrow and hope for the rub of the green for the weekend.
cardiff is the kind of team where you want to play dino against, much rather that man city. i’m all for it. jesus, i’m still annoyed holding got injured so bad
I want Mavros to play and I’ll still give him the benefit of the doubt if/when he makes mistakes, considering both his youth and the fact he’s clearly going to be rusty after so long out.
But I feel Emery is a bit more conservative and will play Xhaka instead. Or Monreal, which then risks injury to playing Kola (who’s already got a history of such anyways).
Can’t stand Xhaka in defence, especially next to Mustafi.
This. Xhaka and Mustafi is a weak combination. Both tend to be caught unawares, when it comes to defense.
The difference between Koscielny and Sokratis and these two was clear during the United game. Mavropanos should play.
Mustafi I feel is decent but needs someone experience guarding the centre and keeping an eye on him. Which is why Sokraits in the middle, Holding left side worked for Mustafi and we held for 19 matches straight (even if we still had issues) Without Sokratis, then Koscielny is the logical choice in the middle as the orchestrator with Mustafi right and say Monreal left side if we are in a back3. In a back 4, its a bit more dicey. Koscielny and Sokratis had experience as a unit. Mustafi and Koscielny is a possibility but needs a bit of… Read more »
Yep let’s do it.
No doubt he’ll be injured right away though…
The bar is very low at the moment… so we need him LOL
We have the worst squad out of all top 6 teams. Champions League qualification is just not gonna happen with these bunch, unless they seriously overachieve, which considering our record with lady luck is not gonna happen.
Things can change quickly though. 8 matches ago United despite the promise of the squad was piss poor. Leciester City 2015 had next to no ‘star’ players. We have been in many ways also beset by injuries and we are carrying too many 29yr olds + with greater exposure to wear and tear issues so its not entirely a question that we have a poor set of players. Some 8 matches back, Torreira and Granit were threatening to look like the best pairing in midfield of the PL. But a couple of injuries and switching Granit back and forth in… Read more »
The positivity is great. Pity we don’t have a Mourinho we can sack.
Playing Xhaka as a centre half makes no sense to me, even if he would be better than Mavropanos, because we also lose Xhaka in midfield.
The thing is he would be better than xhaka at cb..
Koscielny is a ball playing CB. That’s why Xhaka was chosen to replace him in a game that we were chasing.
Granit did decent in defense and at Lback.
BUT there will be issues since it isn’t his familiar position and we all know about his tackling.
We really need Granit AND Torreira as much as possible as a unit in midfield to continue to build understanding between them as a core unit.
Much of our defensive issues also come from not tracking runners from deep. This is where the midfield and forward line has to come into play to help the back line.
Put Kos in a nano tech face mask and send him out there lol.
Lets go with
Willock Guendouzi Torriera Iwobi
the new untried and untested
I like this, but only if AMN and Kola play more as wing backs and join the attack at every opportunity. If we’re going to let in a bunch of goals anyway, why not go all out attack?
Love it. We can call it the “you told me to flood the midfield, boss” formation ?
Would love to see Mavropanos with Sokratis eventually! I hope he does play tomorrow, been so long since he last played! Definitely don’t want Xhaka in defence….
I really hope everyone comes through tomorrow’s game unscathed…. then a trip to the Etihad yippee! Is it going to be one of those freaky games where we pull off a shock? Haha thought not…. ?
Eventually Mavropanos may replace Sokratis. I believe that’s the thinking. The senior man will come in to school his junior Greek warrior to take over in 2 or 3 seasons down.
Lets remember Sokratis is 30yrs.
Even though he’s 30 & I wasn’t exactly buzzing when we got him, he has been really good for us & it’s such a pisser he’s out for a month!
Would like to see him get a run of games (as Holding did earlier this year) to see what he can do and how he can develop.
Unfortunately we are coming into business end and many of those games against less consequential opposition have gone.
BUT we are also up against the injury gods so he will more than likely have to come into play for better or worse.
The problem mav has is that’s his absence has added to the hype. It was the same with Diaby, wilshire and even cazorla
Too many people prefer to imagine things and assume he is already a better choice in defense when he is barely proven.
Off of a couple of games against lesser opponents, they are too easily wowed.
Mavropanos could be good but he will have a learning curve ahead of him.
“We play with the process where everyone is important. We are trying to do the things that we try and it is good for the team.”
Absolutely. If Koscielny isn’t 100% I’d rather we preserve him for next match against City. Mavro can line up in a 3 man Defense with Mustafi in the middle and Monreal left side. Mustafi Mavro is also a possibility if we don’t feel the need to exercise as much caution in favour of more enterprise up top. As I mentioned before, there will not be any absolutes in terms of formations. Unai will tailor depending on the opponents we face whether they sit deep to absorb us or are more open and come at us plus also to our injury… Read more »
This gots to happen
Ziki Ziki in Apothiki!
Whatever he does I really hope we don’t see Xhaka at centre back ever again. He is crucial to our midfield and having him dropped to the back really negates our strength in the area that dictates the balance of the game.
our defenders are dreadful. Holding at least has potential. Kos is, sadly, old.
even before injuries we were giving up goals.
it matters not who plays defense because none of them, except maybe bellerin, would start for a top six side.
unless the club buys two incredible center backs in the summer, we will continue to be struggling to finish 4th. the days of challenging for titles have long since passed.
I can’t help wondering which teams make up the top six and are too good to play any of our defenders, except for maybe Bellerin, of course. I wish we had the defenders of any one of those top six teams, because it would obviously be an upgrade on our useless bunch of basement grubbing nincompoops.