Emery: It’s important I rotate players on Sunday

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Unai Emery says he’ll definitely rotate his squad for Sunday’s clash with Crystal Palace as the Gunners look to secure a third win in six days.

Consecutive 1-0 victories away at Watford on Monday in the Premier League and against Napoli on Thursday in the Europa League mean we continue to chase Champions League qualification on two fronts into the final weeks of the season.

While the Spaniard wouldn’t want it any other way, he admits he now has to balance playing time between his squad to avoid further injuries. In a blow, Aaron Ramsey’s picked up a hamstring problem in Italy and is at risk of missing several games.

After the win over Napoli, he said: “It’s very important now for the players to have some rotation because some players are injured and after the match today we need different players with a new energy.

“Sunday is going to be very difficult, and also we continue without Sokratis because he is suspended.

“Some of the players who played today maybe cannot play on Sunday. We want to play a lot of matches, difficult matches, but we need to prepare well.

“Now it’s important to rest and tomorrow we will work with some of the players who didn’t play today. Then we will prepare in the right condition for this match.”

For starters, Bernd Leno will return in goal and Shkodran Mustafi, who didn’t feature in Naples, will likely be restored to the starting lineup. It wouldn’t be surprising to see us line up with a back four and for one of the strikers to drop to the bench. You’d also expect Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi to feature.

 

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Bergkamp 3:16
Bergkamp 3:16

It’s certainly a Good Friday after a victorious, disciplined performance away in Naples.

Rest Kos. That’s all I ask. Por favor Senor

iGooner
iGooner

And Monreal as well. Having Dinos play against Palace will probably be a good game to get his match fitness up. But man will we be stretching to the limit with the players we have till the end of the season

Goonereality
Goonereality

Yes, a really good, disciplined, away performance. It’s something we’ve been wanting/waiting to see for a long time now. Let’s hope we can build on it in the coming games.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

Just checked the la Liga table and, like us, Valencia are in a battle for a champions league spot – good news!!!

Scwibble
Scwibble

I feel like Ozil and Xhaka are going to be huge in our run in, I hope for the best.

HansRott
HansRott

Just realized that our last seven fixtures have been …

2-0 3-0 2-0 0-1 (away at Everton) 2-0 1-0 1-0 …

That’s six of seven wins, six of seven clean sheets, and our last two have been away from home …

… just when everyone and their dog has been climbing off the can’t-stop-conceding-goals bandwaggon and onto the can’t-win-away-from-home one. How fucking cool is that?

Zakb
Zakb

Ever since kos and papa started playing together, we’ve been quite strong.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Makes a big difference

Runzac
Runzac

take a look at our games in 2019. In the PL only MC put more than one in our net. This team is getting more stable and consistent. It´s a work in progress

Jack but
Jack but

Liverpool had more than one in

Frank Bascombe
Frank Bascombe

A few more.

Mesut O'Neill
Mesut O'Neill

That was 2018

Alex
Alex

I do get the tactics for the second half, but long balls from Cech to Napoli’s defense and back to our half and danger and long balls from Cech to the Napoli defense and back to our half…. Boring and sad…Lack of panache, lack of possession, lack of threat. Well…

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

Glad you have WiFi access back Alex. It seemed you lost it from about an hour before kick off last night😂

Hantal
Hantal

I think that was the game management that everyone’s been crying out for. With so many games coming up playing out the game without risking anything seems smart, even if it’s not exciting

Goonereality
Goonereality

Yes, it’s down to the squad now, not the best eleven. Our squad isn’t particularly strong though so I hope the good run we’re on now will encourage everyone who slots in.

Mark
Mark

Stinks about another Ramsey hamstring injury (that seems to be the main type he’s picked up over the years besides the major broken leg of course) with a busy schedule the next month. Luckily we will have a fresh Ozil and Iwobi and Miki didn’t have to play the whole match. Emery has to be careful with his rotations as we need to be able to get three points in each remaining PL match to get to 4th place in case we stumble in the Europa title chase.

Rich
Rich

Our squad really isn’t that great, particularly defensively, and starting Mkhitaryan+Ozil together with a weakened backline, is a recipe for disaster

As much as I like Guendouzi+Torreira, their inexperience shows when starting together at the base of our midfield, and whilst you can’t fault Elneny’s work-rate , he’s extremely average and understandably rusty.

This is where I can unfortunately see us struggling with the demands of our remaining schedule.

The next 2-3 PL games will dictate which basket we put all our eggs into over the last 2 weeks.

Hopefully Rambo’s hamstring’s aren’t too bad, and we can get him back for Brighton at home, or Valencia away at the latest.

Full Metal Gooner
Full Metal Gooner

They have scored only 36 in 32 in the league, where we have 66 in 33. Goal difference is +26 v +9 in our favour. They have dropped points in 21 out of 32 games, we 13 out of 33. Let’s continue our attacking set up both at home and away and we should be fine!

Mesut O'Neill
Mesut O'Neill

…………………..Leno
……Lichtsteiner Mustafi Mavropanos
Jenkinson Guendouzi Elneny Mkhitaryan
……………..Ozil Iwobi
…………….Laca or Auba

Not the most creative team but would allow good rest for most of the first teamer’s

Stonebenge
Stonebenge

I can’t see a good situation coming from lichsteiner playing to be honest.

Santori
Santori

Mavropanos at the back is a risk. He showed some inexperience last match particularly bouncing off the striker.

But Sokratis suspension complicates things at the back and Koscielny cannot possibly sustain this sort of intensity without risk to wear and tear.

Its not ideal at this stage of competition. The backline should be as settled as possible.

Some sharp drop offs in quality too. AMN is patchy still but showing decent signs of progress. Thereafter Lichsteiner is a waste of money considering availability (what was Mslintat thinking…if he was)

Jenkinson is so average Emery prefers to start Mustafi at fullback.

On the other flank if Monreal is committed into back 3, Kolasinac the becomes only option.

Back 3 or back 4? At this stage I would not tinker too much unless forced.

Back 3 seems to be the best platform to unleash certain players (Kolasinac in particular) and cover some inherent deficiencies at the back.

Some semblance of familiarity in the backline crucial at this stage with minor rotation. Its just 5 matches left in league and 2 semi final legs in cup.

Santori
Santori

Higher up the field, there is more room to tinker with.

I feel midfield is where the most rotation should take place.

Whilst Granit-Torreira remains the strongest pairing, the issue is more about sustaining energy level and drive through the final run in.

In that sense there is plenty of room for Guendouzi and Ramsey.

but with Ramsey knocked (prob this issue with injuries played a role in final decision not to extend him for asking salary), then we are better to rotate in to contention the likes of Elneny.

I don’t think Elneny adds much going forward but he is a diligent enough player who can be brought in to hustle and harry, screen the backline and protect a lead.

Also a remote possibility Suarez. Again the issue here is we are business end of things. If he gets a chance to come in, he will have no room for errors which is typically difficult enough given he is coming in deep end into about the most competitive league in the world.

Santori
Santori

At apex, I feel Lacazette is INDISPENSABLE.

How we can sustain him through to end of season may be critical.

He makes a massive difference regardless of midfield personnel because he links play and has the nous to interpret and make the right decisions where Auba largely is unable to hold the ball for us sufficiently enough.

Plus the two up top (at least at start of games) has been a real issue for opponents to handle.

Perhaps a good measure would be to start fast with both strikers and rest one once we go into a healthy lead (2 up)

That leaves rotation behind the main strike pair.

Unai has been rotating between a triangle with one striker on apex and an inverted triangle with two.

In the triangle, Iwobi’s energy and control on the ball makes left side lobsided in productivity. BUT he needs to be played with Kolasinac. The pair seem to have very good intuition between them.

On the other flank Mhkitaryan seems the obvious choice with Ramsey now out (albeit again Suarez is a lesser option). The Armenian gets himself into good positions and plays the ball early well but seems to have lost his shooting boots.

If we have both strikers up top, the obvious candidate to pull the strings is Ozil in the middle. Ramsey would have been in contention but with the Welsh man out to injury, the German must now up his game for us to end of season. He has been much more committed off the ball since the lengthy spell out on sidelines with ‘illness’.

How we can manage to keep up energy levels up in midfield and be sharper still up front is key.

We have been too flagrant with our chances up top all season (even given the haul of goals we have). And there is a corresponding effect on our backline when we don’t do the business and cause damage/dampen belief to opponents efficiently.

As self evident yesterday with (again) Auba’s glaring miss. It’s not just Auba though, they can all sharpen up and get better.