Saturday, June 22, 2024

Nelson the only absentee as Arsenal welcome Vitoria

Arsenal have confirmed that Reiss Nelson is the only absentee as Unai Emery prepares his squad to take on Portuguese side Vitoria in the Europa League.

The England under-21 international damaged ligaments in his left knee in the win over Standard Liege and is not expected back in training for at least another couple of weeks.

Unai Emery is expected to make a number of changes from the team that started the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United with Emi Martinez, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Gabriel Martinelli all in contention to start.  It’s anybody’s guess whether Mesut Ozil will be given a chance to play.

A win on Thursday would put the Gunners in a great position to qualify from their group with games to spare and boost confidence ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit to the Emirates.

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If Ozil is not in this squad then we should all start a campaign to get this ego centric manager out of the club.

Naked Cygan

Totally agree with you, the manager must go. But what will you say if he plays Ozil for 3 games in a row and he sucks? We blame Ozil? We keep switching blame on and on. One week is Ozil, one week is Xhaka, one week is the manager, and then we and mustafi back. Then we win one game, every one talks about top 4. The reality is that we are not a top 4 side, and we don’t have a top quality manager like klopp to chance us. We probably have a top 3 side as far as… Read more »


Well Emery should let Ozil play 3 games in row and lets see if sucks.


Mesut Ozil is a player you build a team around. I understand if many don’t see that, but he has created more chances than anyone for this club by a country mile in his time. He has won everything. He still has the eye and the weight of those passes. He should be encourage and backed for an extended period – but he should be expected to play and play and play. If he doesn’t deliver those chances, fair enough, pull him. But he does. The stats just prove it. 3-5 per game. Where were those on Monday? Bloody nowhere… Read more »


@Naked Cygan I have absolutely no idea why you’ve been down-voted for this. You hit the nail on the head in my opinion and the blame game will always be there.. maybe not the mid table bit


Ozil won’t play because he’ll be cup tied if he does.

Runcorn Gooner

I almost think that Emery is scared to play Ozil in case he plays so well that his position becomes less tenable than it already is.

If Ozil doesn’t play Thursday there must be something going on we don’t know about.


Just watching the team play everyone can tell that there is a lack of urgency and cohesion. That is usually the first sign of a manager who has lost his players confidence.

SB Still


I wonder how the players feel about the ‘tactics’. E.g. What Auba feels about a game in which there was virtually zero chances created for him. Or at the other end Leno making the most saves in the league.

On the sidelines and in the box, people like Freddie, Per, Edu, etc think we are playing to the potential of the squad.

If these people speak to Raul to express their views .


It’s simple: – or the player is a real lazy guy unwilling to train (what UE and Raul denied), then the club’s leaders have to talk to him directly to clarify the situation and to threaten him of financial measures against his unwillingness to do his job (but this is not the case). – or the coach is to blame and unwilling to just use his whole group and to allow them ALL to work on their game fitness (there are enough games to have your group running and practicing so that they can ALL stay match fit). Then the… Read more »


I think KSE is pulling the strings and dictating Özil’s selection. I cannot comprehend how Emery or any other manager keep on not selecting a particular player without buy-in from the leadership. Don’t forget Emery is just a coach and also doesn’t rate Özil highly which complicates the matter even more. It means Emery doesn’t want to stand for Ozil rather he will stand with KSE to save his job.


Given it’s going to be impossible to move Ozil on it’s almost certain that Raul/Emery / KSE were hoping that he would rediscover his form last year as Ozil playing at a consistent worldclass level would be a major asset. That didn’t happen & now it appears relatively obvious that there’s a standoff with Ozil making repeated public statements about seeing out his contract and not being willing to leave even on loan while the club trying to make it obvious to him that they want him to leave by not playing him.


His job is chance creation – basically – and he delivers. It’s like having a Ferrari at home and not taking it to the race because sometimes it breaks down, so we’d rather go with a reliable model which won’t win also won’t break down. Wrong metrics. Sports stars the world over – F1, NFL, you name it – generally need a bit more energy when they are at the top of their game. Maybe you or I would be cocks too, who knows? You work with it. The best managers are cocks when they feel like it too. They… Read more »


Hopefully Ozil will sit on the bench for 90 minutes.
I’d go with this, and give Lacazette 45minutes, before replacing him with Balogun at half time.

Mustafi Holding
Bellerin .Tierney
Willock Torreira
Niles Smith-Rowe Martinelli

Dan nichols

No tierney bellerin or holding please lets play them in the first team


We need to manage these players, Do you really think Bellerin wouldn’t be starting in the league if he was ready?

Look at Tierney’s injury record over the past 2.5 years, its atrocious, and the reason we got him for £25mill, when the going rate is much higher for fullbacks.


Tierney played 40 games last year for Celtic…55 the year before.
That seems pretty healthy to me…

but yes agree these two will be extremely important long term and important to manage their fitness return form injury especially in the short term


What do we actually know about his contract? Could it be that a big portion of the reported 350k is bonuses for appearance? Would make this Özil saga more understandable.


Reiss is the only absentee? What about Ozil? Ozil is a constant absentee.

Naked Cygan

Ozil is waiting for Wenger to come back.

Rostock Gooner

Seriously, if Tierney and Bellerin start in EL I would be very disappointed. Please give them some minutes but start them on Sunday. Any thoughts?


Sadly I think they’ll both start tomorrow but not on Sunday. I read that Emery said before the Sheffield game that Kola had done nothing to warrant being dropped which is why Tierney didn’t start…Extremely worrying.

Peter Story Teller

Appears the coach is not very good at man management. When he said before the Sheffield game that we are “going to do something important” I guess he meant avoid relegation!

Dave M

Important for him is selecting Xhaka in every EPL game.


Yet in the same breath Emery said that Kola had played 2 international games in a week so wouldn’t be fresh…. can’t have it both ways Unai….
We should win on Thursday with a ‘reserve’ side, so I’d play Tierney and Bellerin (assuming fit) on Sunday against Palace, especially with Zaha flying about. I’d push Chambers into DM midfield or play Torreira instead of Xhaka too….!!

Naked Cygan

A right back or left back changed won’t hide the fact that our manager is clueless. We need a manager who can handle different challenges. The only thing that our manager had changed is passing from the goal kick. Other than that Big fat Sam is a better manager than this clueless guy.


Torreira has made his fair share of mistakes plus is height challenge.

Granit is necessary for height bc otherwise we have ONLY Sokratis and Luiz, maybe chambers and kolasinac.


…and no Big Sam. You need to pull your head out of your arse, next you’d be asking for Solksjaer… seen where United are?

Dave M

It’s getting close to our EPL XI being our second XI, save for Auba, Leno and Guendouzi (of the regulars…and probably Pepe…he just needs time) I would happily change the whole team:
Bellerin – Chambers – Holding – Tierny
Douzi – Willock/Ceballos (whichever)
Pepe/Saka/Martinelli – Auba
Laca (I know that’s cheating a little…)


If Hector is fit why he didn’t start at Sheffield, it is being almost two months since Hector and Tierney are with first team.


Start Xhaka, Sokratis and Kolasinac and then we won’t see them at the weekend!


Before we know it, we shall realise that Unai doesn’t rate Tierny. That’s how it started with Torreira last season and we were saying he is being careful managing him, he played at the world cup, he is new in the league etc. Some factors matter less if a manager truly rates a player. I can’t understand why Tierny didn’t start against Sheffield. The way Unai view football is weird and a popular player may not be popular with him.


How does anyone with 2 eyes and a brain rate Kola over Tierny? How does anyone with 2 eyes and a brain rate Xhaka over literally any of our other midfield options? How does anyone with 2 eyes and a brain (and a desire to pass the ball out from the keeper) not realise Holding is not only our best central defender but also our best passer of the ball in that position? Now take this empty headed person with no eyes, pay them several million a year, add a dollop of sabotage/tactical arrogance, and you have Unai Emery. Sack… Read more »

Dave M

Problem with Emery it seems more a character thing than qualities. Xhaka is obviously a good dude, he is well respected everywhere he has been by coaches and players. Character’s help, but that’s not enough at this level – Xhaka isn’t at the level we need and being a good bloke also doesn’t mean you are the right character to lead the team – you think Viera or Adams would be complaining about Evra calling them soft mentally? No because (1) they weren’t soft mentally, and (2) they would have told their team if they were soft (like this team… Read more »


You watch; Holding, Tierney, Bellerin, Torreira and Ozil will all start, put in great performances and help secure a big win – only for Emery to then drop them all on Sunday for the likes of Sokratis, Kolasinac and Xhaka…

The mismanagement of players this season has been awful.


Selective viewing or memory lapse. BC Mustafi has also put in great performance next to Rob with clean sheets. And granit has also saved our bacon more than several times plus is needed for his height and distribution and took on a good shot from range. meanwhile, Torreira has also been culpable for many giveaways conveniently unmentioned. And Ozil has flattered to deceive when given opportunity recently. Stop throwing your toys out of the pram. And stop finding convenient scapegoats. Now its Sokratis turn for stick when he is one of our more consistent performers. The level of myopia by… Read more »


@Santori Your reply reads like you’ve cobbled together your usual empty, half-baked points with phrases that you clearly don’t understand the meaning of. Get over yourself.

My post was quite simple really (although obviously still too complicated for your little brain). The likes of Holding, Tierney, Bellerin, Torreira and Ozil have participated in our best performances this season. And yes, Mustafi has looked good too.

However, the likes of Sokratis, Kolasinac and Xhaka have not performed so well and yet they seem to constantly get picked in the league ahead of the in-form players.

So dry your eyes little man.


Arsenal fans base are dramatic, you all wanted change, but don’t want to go through the process to get to the destination. You have no idea how things are earned, or how things are built. Anyone who thinks that sacking Emery will suddenly turn us into a cohesive team with structure and a clear identity? Are in absolute dreamland. Emery took over a team that was in decline, had no squad balance, lacked anything even resembling dynamism, was extremely one paced, had no dribblers or ball carriers, no width, and lacked real quality throughout the squad everywhere apart from our… Read more »


We’re more or less going backwards under Emery anyway. See the stats and what they tell us:

How far back do we need to go before the time is right?

We stayed loyal to AW too long, that should be a lesson. I would absolutely give Emery time if we could see positive signs, but I don’t see those. Your points are excuses for him, not mitigation. I don’t mean that to sound personal btw, but what is Emery doing in the Premier League that makes you think he should keep his job?


Absolutely nothing. I am sure he is a lovely bloke behind the scenes and perhaps a half decent manager for a smaller club but ultimately he is nowhere need the standard we need. If we were somehow 10th, but playing football with a distinguishable style and green shoots of progress were appearing, I’d be more inclined to give him time. For me, while many of us have accepted transition, trajectory of performances comes above results. Also, to think we are paying a man several million a year to not play his best players makes me feel nauseous. Especially when it… Read more »


Agree that Emery has been poor, especially the end of last season. But I’m not convinced changing manager at this juncture will help the team in the short or medium term. He failed last season but so did the players and they’ll still be here regardless of who comes into replace him. Anyone that comes in will have the same excuse that Emery still has now; “these aren’t my players and I need more time”. None of that is to defend Emery per se, I didn’t fancy him as manager and I feel I’ve been proven right by our results/performances.… Read more »

Dave M

Are our youngsters floundering? Douzi has been our best midfielder this season (although he was poor against SU), Willock has been exceptional and an absolute revelation – but playing them both alongside Xhaka that forces them to alter the roles they should be is capping their games. Saka has also be a revelation. Dito Martinelli. People are dying to get Bellerin, Tierney, and Holding into the squad. If you’re making this about Ozil, I think all people want to see is ANY SIGN of Ozil actually being a part of the team. I’d be happy to see Mesut on the… Read more »


I should have said “at the first sign of our youngsters floundering”. Not just in the Sheffield United game but also Watford, Man Utd and Spurs (in the first half) etc and in the future games to come. They’re going to have ups and downs here and there, and our results will be affected accordingly. This seems to have massively panicked people so I can only assume this is not what they expected! I also think part of the problem has been the way we’ve talked about their good performances. “Exceptional, absolute revelation” etc. They’ve been very good but against… Read more »

Dave M

“Your points are excuses for him, not mitigation.” This is absolutely it blogs and that goes for the way the manager deals with the media and criticisms of the team and the players too, he is forever making up excuses (especially for Xhaka). If all he is doing is make excuses for problems it 100% means THERE ARE PROBLEMS. Is it a coincidence that he has to defend Xhaka after nearly every game or does it mean that Xhaka (light bulb moment) might not be good enough!? It’s like watching a small child with a square block continue to ram… Read more »


One really has to ask, what has he brought us in 18 months, and are we moving in a positive direction? We can say he doesn’t have the best tools to do the job, but he should be held accountable for having the team play as a group, with a general style, and with real intention. Are we getting this game after game against league level teams? Don’t believe so, and will more time solve our problems?


I don’t think there’s been a structure, because there is no structure. Emery has never previously played with wing backs, but last season he was forced into it, by Bellerin’s injury, Kolasinac’s inadequacies (he’s very poor in possession), and our options behind the striker, Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan aren’t dynamic wide players who play on the front foot, they all prefer the game played in front of them, so Niles +Kolasinac who are both defensively poor, but decent on the overlap, made sense, because it was the only width within our ranks. Welbeck got injured, and Aubameyang is a striker playing… Read more »


I agree with Blogs here, not only are we going backwards, but everyone can see we are playing dreadful football, and with the exception of a few matches, have been ever since he was hired. There is a lot of talk about who could replace Emery and do better. If we are playing that game I have a suggestion. He may resemble a land-shark, but Rogers has had an incredible impact at Leicester. He did good work at Swansea and Liverpool, a Gerard slip from the title with a squad that was much weaker than what Klopp has now. Look… Read more »


We didnt all want change,some of us could see that if wenger had this group with ozil and the youngsters behind world class strikers we may still have been weak at the back but we would be smashing some teams to kingdom come.

Has that happened with emery ever or is just a dry drab victory thanks to the finishing prowess of our strikers.

the defence has got a whole lot worse as im constantly pissing me pants when the likes of lys moussett, billy sharp attack us.


A bit mental and frankly next to teenage girl hysterical from you lot. Sure Unai has flattered to deceive but lets just take stock. We are still in a good position. How he can (if he will) remedy some of his tactical shortfalls of course is the question and I agree with the concern. BUT he’s been doing OK not any worse than late year Wenger. The pity is its minor tweaks and adjustments that can make us better. 1) Stop playing Luiz. Surely Holding is a better long term player and no worse (Luiz is Mustafi with age) 2)… Read more »


…whole lot worse without Mustafi? who would have thought.

Some people were celebrating when we bought Sideshowbob…the fact that he was a panic buy on the last day bc we were pursuing the dubious tactic of extending on an over the hill Koscielny (who did us a favour not re-signing) and then wasted 27m on a relatively untried young player who would not feature seem to escape the criticism of the same people here…

Thierry Walcott

Could Emery be an absentee too, please…


why? So we can be even worse? He was absent enough last match. He was making good changes last season from the bench. this season he seems to have become too dogmatic in approach. The whole play out of the back thing was evident all last season but looks like it is going nowhere this season. he really needs to work on a solution but lumping it forward is not a solution either unless we find the players able to receive. Auba is pathetic at receiving long balls. Young Saka too short. I think the two candidates are kolasinac on… Read more »

COYG 1001

I don’t think Ozil will play in Europe until after the transfer window. We can’t afford for him to use Europe eligibility. It’s the utter waste of not using him in the League that kills me … and may get UE fired.

It’s a crap carpenter who blames his tools … and that’s what we’ve got.


Mesut isn’t going anywhere, I expect Emery to play him in the Europa League and the cups, I hope that Msut will ignore whatever crap instructions he is given, get the team attacking, play a blinder and get the MOM award, hopefully Emery is fired before Christmas and Freddie can get us playing decent footie again.

COYG 1001

Hope you are right. Just think management may be holding out for big January transfer to Europe.


The management may want that but the player says he’s staying and they can’t make him go. There are no takers for him because he’s never been on the market and the more they ostracise him the more obvious it becomes that we have no creativity at all. I’m backing Mesut on this one, if we can get him enjoying his football again he can be a hugely important player for us, and I don’t think Emery can get anyone to enjoy football.


Its 50-50. You are both some ways correct. I think first and foremost depends on Ozil’s attitude then application. First and foremost is his off ball work. We have seen with our pressing that if one part of the machine starts to slack off, we get de-syncopated and gaps start to appear particularly between the front men pressing and the midfield. Then its all too easy to find the gaps and bypass the midfield get at our fragile back. Ozil is not the only one with poor off ball work. Up till recently, Pepe was also guilty of taking the… Read more »

Dan nichols

Why has everyone just accepted that our defence is now Chambers Sokratis Luiz and Kolasinic? Id like to see the following defence on thursday AMN/Sokratis/ Luiz/ Kolasinic. Then in our next league game we can play Bellerin/Chambers/ Holding/ Tierney all of whom have been fit months now. I was furious when tierney didnt start on monday and have been furious since the start of the season about holding who started training with the first team in America!!!!!!!!!! its not as if the ones who are paying have been world beaters!


Chambers-Holding is fantasy.

Sure they may work but you prefer to risk them in a PL without testing them in a lesser competition? Check your head recently?

may as well play mustafi-Holding.


Keep it simple, squad players, returning starting XI players and youngsters.

Take Chambers and Maitland Niles off of that dreaded RB position and play them in their preffered position, give Laca some minutes to get back to speed, play Torreira deep and give Smith Rowe a go in that creative midfield role (if he struggles then replace him with Ozil)


Dave M

Problem with that is Tierney, Bellerin and Torreira won’t play sunday and all three should at LB, RB and DM! So we’ll get more of the same…but then again a loss on the weekend playing the same shite over again might be the end of Emery…I see what you did there 😉 lol


Torreira bc he has shortcomings too (height) and likely just back from Internationals which is why he did not feature against Blades.

I would have thought off the International was perfect to intro one of Bellerin or Tierney.

We could still use them for next PL match if we limit their minutes in midweek to say 60minutes and have Kolasinac or chambers cycle in.

But likely the gaffer felt they are still not 100% physically fit to compete at PL level.


I would go :


Also simple. Worry will be Ozil AND ESR. One option would be to have Willock with either one for energy levels and Ozil/ESR take the other advance mid slot.


It’s a win win ?

So sorry

Tee hee… Tierney holding Chamber’s belle…


Have to say on second review last night, granit was in no man’s land for the goal and it was not Luiz but Guendouzi (again) that was left to take on the back end of the goal, Sokratis and Luiz were marking too far forward. probably an issue of the zonal system because we lack players with height or aerial power particularly with Giroud gone who would have otherwise lend a hand. Which is why granit by some measure is critical at the moment together with Sokratis and Luiz (or which ever other Cback) in holding 3 zones across the… Read more »


Pity with Nelson, hope he gets back soon. Again I understand the temptation to sell Iwobi but we went one step forward half step back in that. Pepe has taken a bit of time to settle (as should be expected) and young Saka has been impressive enough but surely we still need depth other than shuffling Auba wide (albeit at least Laca is returning) Other options I suppose would include AMN on the right or a Tierney/Kolasinac tandem left side. I thought Pepe was decent first half and did some useful things including some tight dribbles deep in our half… Read more »

Paul Roberts

Mate with respect, you post too much and too long for people to bother reading.

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