No new injuries as Gunners prepare for Anfield

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Reiss Nelson is the only member of Unai Emery’s squad not available for selection as Arsenal gear up for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool.

The England under-21 international remains sidelined by knee ligament damage and is not expected to resume first team training for a couple of weeks.

Emery is expected to make wholesale changes from the side that started the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the weekend with the likes of Emi Martinez, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock and Gabriel Martinelli expected to be selected.

It remains to be seen whether captain Granit Xhaka is included in the squad. The club have yet to release a formal statement about the Swiss midfielder’s reaction to the Emirates crowd on Saturday even though the player and his agent were due to talk with club officials yesterday to discuss a potential public apology. We understand that Xhaka’s teammates want him to retain the armband. 

Liverpool are also set to make changes with 20-year-old Irishman Caoimhin Kelleher set to play in goal.

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Kbs
Kbs

No new injuries and still no club statement about xhaka.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Well the only thing we know for sure is that he’s refused to apologise for his actions on Sunday, which frankly makes his position untenable.

Alex
Alex

Where did you read he refused to apologise?

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Obviously and apparently he’s been asked to apologize, and he hasn’t apologized. Ergo….

Tapps

You don’t know that. There’s a massive difference between ‘not having apologised yet’ and ‘refusing to apologise’. I’m happy to castigate him for things that he’s done, but not for things people imagine he’s done.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Well, it’s confirmed Emery has told him to apologize!

Aaron
Aaron

He hasn’t apologized yet, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t. Too soon to judge.

I still think we may have a simple solution to steady the Arsenal ship by moving Luiz into defensive midfield and bring Holding to partner Papa.
Luis can continue his shithousery a little upfield and his loss of concentration would still be covered. JUST A THOUGHT, in times of need and we truly are in times of need now especially with Emery not trusting Torreira to play the holding role, most likely due to his size.

Der32
Der32

Oh, gosh. Xhaka is a grown man. If he wants to apologize, he could’ve done it any time in the past 2 days. He threw a tantrum at the Emirates and it’s lasting much longer than the most misbehaving 2 year old. And he’s our captain. Either that or he’s currently employing the best PR company in the world to strategize his apology campaign.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

Fk Xhaka, and everyone who kisses his ass

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

@Naked Cygan. And that there is proof of the toxic comments and attitude of some of the fans.

Yes, Xhaka was wrong to react how he did, but put yourself in his shoes. Some one comes into your workplace gives you that abuse, over and over and over again and tell me you wouldn’t do the same.

Xhaka is just trying to do a job asked of him by our clueless coach. As good or bad a job he is doing does not deserve the treatment he had on Sunday.

Take away the captaincy and he is just a human with feelings, eventually he is going to snap same way i would and any other person would. Its just exacerbated by the fact he is on a public stage being paid millions.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

Wake up my friend, wake up. More excuses for Xhaka. Don’t blame the manager for him getting red cards, giving away penalties, ducking his head, making stupid fouls, coming out and saying we were scared of Watford. HOW IS THAT THE MANAGERS FAULT??????? and if he gets paid 100k + we as fans deserve something,anything from him.

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

Not making excuses for him, but isnt it the manager who is supposed to instil confidence in the team, remove the fear, set up a team to play well.

The manager can see the shit that Xhaka does on field, yet insists on picking him week in week out and making him Captain. So surely the blame ultimately lies with Emery.

I’m not a fan of Xhaka by any means, i’m just commenting on the human element to what happened. Not saying i agree or condone his behaviour and i agree with most people that his captaincy role is now untennable, and personally feel he should never of been given captaincy in the first place (especially after the Watford comments).

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

And didn’t Luiz give away 2 penalties in consecutive matches. And also end up defending poorly in a few games too, yet no one is booing him and threatening his family

Der32
Der32

Who’s threatening his family? A supporter from London? UK? Arab? Asia? Australia? Everyone has an opinion these days, even dumbasses who unfortunately identify as Arsenal fan. He should be responsible for his words, just as Xhaka should be for his actions on Sunday. The guy who threatened Xhaka was hiding behind his online anonymity. But Xhaka had no such thing as he is obviously a popular public figure. So his actions also automatically have more ramifications, for himself, the fans, and the club.

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

His wife was receiving abuse through social media… may not be threats per se but still, pretty damn low.

persie persie
persie persie

And how many goals has Xhaka scored,assisted or defended so far in comparison to Luiz, all things being equal?

Please, do not try that side at all. It’s auto judged. If you have been following Arsenal games hitherto, you should have observed that the frequency of Luiz’ defences, clearances & backline decisions by far outnumbered his errors.

I do not know this for a fact more than the regular live fans per se do.

Everyone is watching. The records are there too.

Bamzee Blaze
Bamzee Blaze

How is it not the manager’s fault? Who picks him in the team week in, week out? Who went through the whole charade of the team picking a captain instead of showing some frigging spine by naming one himself? Has Emery not echoed the sentiments you are skinning Xhaka for after a bad game? Who else but a gutless manager who has no stand on anything?

Also, since when has ducking one’s head become a crime in football? I might have missed the memo. I’d duck my head 99 out of 100 times if a flash shot was making for my head. It’s a reflex reaction and it’s 100% human to do so.

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

He didn’t duck… replays show the ball deflected over his head. He was readying for the block/header away, but the deflection changed the balls trajectory, giving the look of a duck

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

How much did Xhaka pay u????

PodB
PodB

99% of people suck the work abuse/boredom/cuntism up for 30 years cos they need the job and money.
X-hacker earns 200,000 quid a week and can’t handle a few boos when he acts like a child. Not my captain. As for Emery, not my boss, appting Xhaka very strange … but I’ll wait until after the Wolves bite our soft ass till I call for his scrambled head. …
Wenger in LOL or Freddie then Allegri or Arteta, the Man City apprentice who will attack at least and has great hair … let’s hope we smash the Mugsmashers tho.

GunnerIain
GunnerIain
Welsh Gooner
Welsh Gooner

Personally believe that we should start trying to rotate our cup/league team selections and play some of our cup players in the league now. Hell, even start Mustafi in the next game in the league, can’t do much worse than our current CB partnership.

Rich
Rich

You have a very short memory.

Nothing against Mustafi, he’s not whinged or moaned or sent out any cynical social media posts, that are designed to hurt he club for his own personal gain.

But freezing him out and moving him on ASAP, is the right move, we desperately need a natural backup to Bellerin, Neither Chambers or Niles are up to the job, and whilst we lack quality at centre half, we don’t lack numbers, Mustafi is surplus and Mavropanos needs a loan for regular football

A Gorilla
A Gorilla

Our match winning defenders against palace. Don’t forget we only drew because of VAR

Homer
Homer

Not a bad thought, but with no defensive organization, and no defensive midfielder, it won’t matter who are at center back. Arsenal’s defense is as porous as a fisherman’s net.

And TBH, mustafi is no upgrade on either Luiz or Sokratis. Though Mustafi has done relatively well in the EL game (games?) hes played.

Dave
Dave

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Ozil as it won’t cup tie him, will take some heat off Emery and potentially is a game he will struggle in / we will lose which will reinforce Emery’s position on not playing him.

atom
atom

By saying it’s a club stance Emery has made it pretty clear Ozil’s career here is finished as long as he’s the coach. There shouldn’t be any more surprise from the fans when he isn’t picked regardless of the game.

The Xhaka stuff has been covered in depth but his position looks totally untenable not only as captain but potentially even as an Arsenal player at this point. If he had apologized (he needed to whether fans were out of line or not) immediately it would have de-escalated the situation but now you have to think him leaving in January is an actual possibility.

Maul Person
Maul Person

Ozil won’t even be on the bench. Emery’s position on this is clear. If he plays again, it signifies how desperate Emery is or that Ozil outlasted him.

Homer
Homer

You’re probably right.

Remember though: Emery feuded w/Neymar at PSG. PSG didnt hit the required goal of CL title, or at least the final; Emery was fired and Neymar is still there.

Its not a perfect comparison by any stretch. But, if you were Ozil/Ozil’s advisors and watching the Arsenal meltdown going on now, supporters singing Ozil’s name all during the game Sunday – what would you be thinking?

The odds seem better to me that Ozil will still be a Gunner come 20/21 season, and Emery will be looking for a new job. As it should be, frankly.

Dave
Dave

Atom, Maul, Emery has announced that Ozil is travelling.

atom
atom

That really is weak from Emery IMO especially as it’s likely only happening due to the PR hit from recent results/Xhaka. Either Ozil is good enough to be on the bench & play when we are chasing a game or move him on.

bobbyp
bobbyp

An apology taking this long to make is unlikely to sound very genuine.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

Emery is a lucky bastard. Everyone should be concerned by us giving up a 2 goal lead Again, to fking Palace, @ Home. But this fking Xhaka situation has given Emery more time to continue with is bullshit system and weak management. He shouldn’t have picked Xhaka in the first place.
1. He is bang average at best
2. He gives away stupid could
3. Terrible st marking and defending
4. Scared of Watford
5. Told the fans to fk off
6. Ducked his head like pussy for the Man Utd goal

How the fk is he even a premier league player?

Mow me Emery, what next? Are we improving? If not do off and take your wanker capitan with you.

atom
atom

I’m not the biggest Xhaka fan but in his defense he’s being played in a system that totally exposes his weaknesses and does nothing to play to his strengths. It’s a little like us asking Ozil to play as a left back and then complaining he doesn’t perform well. Xhaka likely would have been fine if we played him in a pairing with Torreira – kind of a Santi Le Coq type partnership but playing him as the DM flat out doesn’t work.

Dave M
Dave M

The system that exposes him is the English premier league.

atom
atom

@dave m – xhaka has had periods where he’s looked pretty decent. any player has flaws -a good manager attempts to set up play in a way that not only gets the best out of the players but also minimizes their weaknesses. He found it by accident but le coq / santi partnership was a great example of that. kos/BFG as well.

the real underlying issue with Emery IMO is the guy tries so hard to shoehorn certain players in that he ends up with a team that’s far less than the sum of their parts. I really like Lacazette & Abau individually but both really are at their best when they play through the middle. Abau is far less effective when playing on the wing to accommodate Lacazette. Xhaka is another example of this IMO. He’s not nearly as bad as a lot on here think – he’s just become the lightening rod for criticizing Emery.

Dave M
Dave M

Xhaka has to play deep. He isn’t mobile enough as one of the two forward midfield players. So he is either a DM or a deep-lying play-maker in a “double-pivot”. Problem is he a pretty terrible defender, thus as a DM he doesn’t work (1) because he is so easily passed by in quick counter attacks due to his limited mobility and (2) he’s a poor tackler (he’s been top 5 in yellows and fouls since he came into the league – and he has conceded more penalties than any other midfielder in EPL HISTORY in an impressive 2.25 season)!

So we employ a double-pivot to cover his weaknesses and stop us getting cut to ribbons on the break. Thus we have a very defensive setup that is deep and requires slow-build-up play – pretty much the opposite of what suits our attack, especially Pepe and Auba who are killer on the break. Why would Torreira improve that system over Douzi? Douzi has brilliant drive through the middle (even though he’s required to play so much more conservatively alongside Xhaka to help cover Xhaka’s weaknesses), he’s much better than Torreira at going past players (Torreira is good at retaining possession, but not on Douzi, Ceballos, or Willock’s level at getting past guys, which is so key to creating chances). We are SO lacking drive through midfield with Xhaka on the pitch (Xhaka simply cannot and does not turn and beat guys), so you are suggesting we reduce that further by playing Xhaka-Torreira??

It just hasn’t worked with Xhaka. Please explain to me when he was good in the EPL? We’ve never qualified for the CL with Xhaka as our playmaking midfield (and yes so much goes through him when he plays – on both ends because other teams target him on defense). So why do we keep forcing the issue and trying to make things work with Xhaka when we have other options?! At least to bloody give them a go (they’ve worked dam well in the cups)?! It’s madness. Why do we HAVE to play Xhaka?!

atom
atom

We don’t have to play Xhaka – we could easily just go to a modern midfield of Torreira/Gendouzi/Willock & Ceballos. However Xhaka was behind a lot of what we actually did ok last fall & had some solid moments under Wenger as his ability to pick a pass is pretty solid.

However I think your comment about how he just isn’t a good player/ can’t play in the PL is wrong. He has ability – but he’s a little like Ozil in that you have to cover up his weaknesses if you’re going to play him. You don’t play Ozil without 2 DM’s effectively (if you want to get the best out of him)

Dave M
Dave M

“He has ability – but he’s a little like Ozil in that you have to cover up his weaknesses if you’re going to play him.”

I’ve always said he has ability. He’s a good passer and has a great long shot and positionally he’s pretty decent (within his mobility restrictions). But that skill set is ill-fitted to the EPL that plays a high tempo – it fits slower continental leagues. It is also ill-fitted to Arsenal’s attack (Pepe and Auba, especially are killer on the break), Arsenal’s midfield (Douzi should be free’d up to support the attack more – he is so much more dangerous when he plays without Xhaka – in a box-to-box role) and Arsenal’s defense (the only way Xhaka supports the defense is in a double-pivot, which isolates our attack).

So to play him you have to unbalance the middle of the pitch and either make us super exposed on the break and defensively a nightmare or super defensive, isolating our attack and causing us to play super slow, which doesn’t suit our attack. Neither has shown to work. Two, short lived, decent periods out of 2.25 seasons doesn’t mean you have an indispensable player on your hands does it?

Ozil causes defensive problems that also requires a double-pivot to bring structure. When he is covered and he can still get possession he is one of the most creative players on the planet so a double pivot can work with Mesut. He’s also one of the greatest counter attacking players in the world – which suits Pepe and Auba. But I’m not one advocating for Ozil to play every game (although I do think he should at least be a part of this squad, getting some mins and probably some home starts).

atom
atom

I think we disagree on what Ozil currently is – he was that at one point but that was a long time ago.

Dave M
Dave M

I agree with that @Atom – he’s not the player he was, which is why I don’t think Ozil should be an auto pick like some. But it’s crazy that we have frozen him out (I don’t just blame Emery like some either – that’s clearly a lot to do with the higher ups). Ozil can still do things no other player in this squad can, to completely exclude that option is not very good player management, unless he’s been a complete tool. Ozil has not done anything publically against the team, he’s just getting paid a shit tonne of mullah – and Arsenal were the ones that offered him that.

All that said and the change of subject aside…do you see some of the problems in team balance Xhaka causes?

atom
atom

As I’ve said elsewhere- Emery’s unwillingness to make difficult decisions means the team is functioning as far less than the sum of its parts.

It won’t be popular but our midfield IMO should consist of Willock/Gendouzi/Torreira/Ceballos & if possible we should move on Xhaka. We also either need to move on Ozil or just save him as a sub for when we are chasing a game.

We also need to rotate Auba/Laca as both need to play through the center to be at their best while a 4-4-2 pretty much blunts Pepe/ Saka.

Dave M
Dave M

Pretty much agree on all that. I actually thought we did 😉
I’ve never said Xhaka is a shit player (none of them are “shit”), but I just think he is very poorly fitted to this league and our team in particular and that shows more and more with time. I also don’t think Emery is a good fit for this team either, but hey…what are we gonna do!? Stuck with all three right now – an out-of-depth manager, an ill-fiiting Xhaka who is an out-of-depth captain, and an over-paid, frozen-out, Ozil that seems a shell of the player he once was….Bienvenidos al Arsenal!

atom
atom

My concern with all of this is the league is so weak outside of Liverpool/City that if we move on from Emery now we can probably still salvage top 4 but if we decide to simply wait it out = seems like what we’re doing, we’ll be in a situation of missing out on the top 4 and having to adapt to a new manager with a much tougher league next year.

Dave M
Dave M

100% agree. What’s the point of having this whole charade just drag on and on?! Things are disintegrating by the day right now. Fan unrest. Player outbursts. Indecision from management and the manager. And one drab performance after another in the league. U-G-L-Y…we ain’t got no alibi…

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

He is just shit, now you can come up With 43 more excuses. System, time of the month, the length of the grass. Xhaka is shit, he was shit before, he has always been shit, and he will continue to be shit, and he is making our club look like shit. So he can fk off not the fans. The cunt gets 100k+ play a bang average, then tells us to go off for complaining?? ,😂😂😂😂😂

Kevin1980
Kevin1980

don’t think we should ever call our own players cunts. Spurs, utd and Chelsea sure but not our own regardless of how you rate the guy.

Homer
Homer

Great comment, atom.

All this vitriol directed at Xhaka is not only bang out of order, its footballistically ignorant as could be.

A Different George
A Different George

I too am not the biggest Xhaka fan, but Naked Cygan’s post is a good example of just spewing hate. Three items of your six are subjective judgments about the quality of Xhaka’s play, and you are entitled to your opinion. But the last three of the items are specific assertions of fact–and two of them are wrong.

Xhaka did not say he was afraid of Watford–he said (after the match) that the team played as if they were afraid. Was he wrong? Or are you only saying that, although he was right, he shouldn’t have said it?

He did not duck his head–whether “like a pussy” or like the prick who attacks him–for the Man United goal. Watch the replay, watch it a hundred times. It is obvious he is preparing to head away the shot that is then deflected high over his head. Is this important? Only because it is so clearly a perfect example of the kind of irrational, anger-driven hatred that he is facing.

Santori
Santori

Absolutely spot on George.

He wasn’t ducking out of the way for that shot. This was media invention all too willingly sucked up by pathetic gullible fans.

He was actually trying to put his head down to meet the ball with his forehead as oppose to his face.

And just another thing, last game he also came up with the nod down assist for the Sokratis goal. No one mentions that.

He played a gorgeous long pass wide but the commentator only mention the one by Luiz.

Its selective from some people and the trouble is a lot of people have prejudices stoked bny media commentary and pundits so the faults get amplified and the positives ignored.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan

You must be related to Xhaka, or his payroll. He ducked his fking head, not sure what game you watched, or maybe you an Arsenal shirt with his name on it.

A Different George
A Different George

Right. No one who disagrees with you about a player can be anything but a relative, or a hireling.

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

Give Ozil a run out. Let him prove his worth. I’m a huge fan of Ozil, and firmly believe he can still deliver for the club.

Can see us playing the kids again, and having a much better game of football than we seem to deliver in the league.

Be nice to beat ‘Pool but, at the current time with the current situation and shadow over our club i can’t see it happening.

But still on a positive note COYG, do it for the fans!

Santori
Santori

Its not actually a question of giving his a run out. Its whether he wants to play.

A Different George
A Different George

You don’t know that. You criticise others, often correctly, for buying into a media narrative; don’t do it yourself. All the actual information we have, from what Ozil says, from pre-season friendlies and his few performances this season, from reputable journalists (Ornstein, Lawrence), is that he is anxious to play. As Blogs has pointed out, if there were really something wrong in training, it would have leaked out–especially to justify Emery’s treatment of him.

Daniel Alemu
Daniel Alemu

I think he is not the type of player to be a captain, we have lost points because of his wrongdoing, the captain has to removed from his and given to another player.

Santori
Santori

We have lost points because of a lot of other players.

Some say granit should have prevented the cross for the second but in reality Luiz was too far away and lost Ayew.

And Lacazette etc should not have given the ball away so cheaply on the break several times before.

PLUS others like Tierney also have been guilty not being able to block of shots like the first goal from Vitoria or a shot by Palace in the box.

The fact is he tracked the player where Chambers stopped his run.

Whether he can stop the cross from there is 50-50 but he was at very least in line with the player putting in the cross.

It was again panic buy Luiz that was unaware where the danger was.

So again selective criticism fed by media punditry with agenda.

OdalGooner
OdalGooner

So, I hear we’re playing Liverpool tomorrow…

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

I’m not sure about this whole ”the players are behind Xhaka in this” talk. As far as I know Laca liked a post that told Xhaka to f*ck off and Auba was also quite unimpressed when Xhaka threw the armband in his direction. Sounds more like he club is desperately trying to suggest that there is at least unity within the team as there’s surely none between the fans and the manager and the players and the manager.
But time will tell, i guess.

Santori
Santori

That was a speculative interpretation. Did you not see how it affected Torreira?

The players aren’t stupid.

they see how fickle and shallow the fans are. Ozil out one day and booed, suddenly having problems with Unai, Ozil is our best friend.

You think Torreira and others don’t think they are next?

They won’t give 100% if they think even when they are trying hard for the club the fans will try and pick faults, make them a scapegoat.

Sure they will say we are professionals but they are also human.

Only stupid fans think all that goading was a great idea. Classless.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Funny that I haven’t said a single word about the behaviour of the fans and what I think of it but a guy like you, who is constantly complaining about the missing quality of the players on here, is telling me I’m stupid because you aren’t able to understand my point. I only said that I doubt this “the whole team is behind Xhaka” talk.
And as you’re talking about missing class, take a look in the mirror and stop calling other people stupid.

Santori
Santori

This is a peripheral competition which we can afford to frankly “drop out off” if need be given we have been our own worse enemy and reduced our squad options for more important competitions ahead.

I expect we will see the europa league team plus more youth. Like to see Tyreece JJ. Balogun, Burton.

Midfield experience looking very shallow at the moment, should not have to have Guendouzi and Cebellos come in again so prob Torreira to marshall.

……………Martinelli………………………..JJ……………..
…………………………..Smith-Rowe……………………..
…………….Willock…………………….Burton……………
Kolasinac…………………Torreira…………………Bellerin
…………………Holding………..Mustafi…………………..
………………………….Martinez……………………………

Something like that. AMN can come on for Bellerin later. They will as Liverpool breach wide but our front two need to put pressure on the fullbacks dropping behind them to the space they vacate and drawing one of the Cbacks or just tracking one of the fullbacks down to half way line till we get compact.

Smith-Rowe needs to play a destroyer role in the middle, ghosting into the box or pressurising the DM. Do we see Ozil feature, really I think the issue is its up to him.

Ramiz
Ramiz

How is Caoimhin pronounced?

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

I’m sure the only reason for that last sentence was to make people ask that exact question.

I think it might be Kee-veen, but not sure

Riku
Riku

Playboy amn, he scored last homecoming at Liverpool . Centre mid rest Lucas