No new injuries as Gunners prepare for Wolves

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Reiss Nelson remains the only absentee as Unai Emery prepares his squad for Saturday’s clash with Wolves at the Emirates.

The England under-21 international continues to work his way back from knee ligament damage and won’t be available until later this month.

Will Granit Xhaka be in the squad? Did Mesut Ozil do enough against Liverpool to earn a place in the starting lineup? Will Pepe, Laca and Auba start together again? These are the questions the boss will likely face when he sits down with the media later this afternoon.

After dropping points against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, the Gunners need to get back on track in the league this weekend if we are to stay within touching distance of the top four.

The good news. We’ve not lost at home at 3pm on a Saturday since the opening day of the 2013/14 season, winning 20 fixtures and drawing two since then.

If only there were more of them…

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Eamonn
Eamonn

Interesting stat: We haven’t had a clean bill of health, (i.e. not one player in the treatment room) since 2004. Believe me I’ve been keeping track, because I think its absolutely outrageous.

Emery Bored
Emery Bored

Is that unusual? Liverpool have Matip and Clyne out, City have Sane, Laporte, Zinchecho and Rodri out, Sp*rs it’s Lloris, Lo Celso and Sessegnon. United it’s Pogba, Bailly Shaw and more.

Baz00r
Baz00r

I’d be interested what that stat is like for other clubs actually.

North London is Redder
North London is Redder

It’s a rare occurrence in a squad of over 20 athletes. Usually most clubs carry one or two long term absentees.

Rich
Rich

Not really with a squad of 25.

PL players were running just over 31% more per game in 2013, than they were in 2003.

At first I thought it must have been supplements, because The only difference between a performance enhancing drug, and a performance enhancing supplement, is a classification.

But apparently they do it through heat stress, but however fit these lads are, they are pushing their bodies to the absolute maximum output.

Injuries are inevitable when the game is played at such high intensity, but we do seem to be managing player fitness much better these days, we’re quite rightly not rushing back Bellerin or Holding, and we’ve managed Tierney’s return steadily so far.

Yaks
Yaks

And this is because we have a bigger squad now.

It's only Ray Parlour...
It's only Ray Parlour...

Check out the League table for injuries – we are at the bottom! Man Utd – 10, Norwich – 9, Chelsea & Watford – 7 each

https://www.premierinjuries.com/injury-table.php

Not surprising in a contact sport like football that there are so many injuries and with a greater number of matches, no real off-season and internationals.

I think we’re very lucky just to have the one at the moment.

Richie

Nelson is playing for the U23’s tonight so I think we now have a clean bill of health in the first team. Arthur Okonkwo (our 4th or 5th choice keeper) may still be injured though, he’s been out for a months.

Jack
Jack

Emery looks like Beaker from The Muppets in that picture.

John Hall
John Hall

Thanks. I’ve had to scroll all the way back to the top to check but you’re right. 😂

Francesc
Francesc

Also Severus Snape sometimes

Göatzil1088
Göatzil1088

and dracula too

kentmonkey
kentmonkey

Hurdy-gurgy-wordy-birdy, smash ze chicken on ze head. Gud ebening.

/mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi

Jarghs
Jarghs

That’s a Swedish chef/beaker mashup

Renkin
Renkin

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
There’s a beautiful lady who thinks I’ve lost my mind with all the laughter. Haven’t thought of Beaker in years!
And Emery really looks like him!
😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

RoyalT

Hilarious 😂😂

Laca New Signing
Laca New Signing

He could actually be a Muppet. You know, if it quacks like a duck etcetera etcetera. I’ll get my coat.

Badaab
Badaab

So who is Bunson then? Raul?

Wilsheres Middle Finger
Wilsheres Middle Finger

Give us the joy of seeing Ozil behind Aub-Laca-Pepe please Unai.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

In principle, that’s lovely. But are you really suggesting, with the way we defend, that we play four players who never track back? I’d rather see either Laca or Pepe benched and Ozil as a floating wide man who drifts inside.

anonarse
anonarse

We just need to outscore them. 6-5 would be fun!

Skettles
Skettles

We need to see Ozil start. Not because I have any confidence in him, just because its become another fault line in the Arsenal support. This unfounded tidal wave of love for Ozil after producing practically nothing for 3 years either needs to be proven right, or put to bed. Hopefully the former – I would love to see the 15/16 version of Ozil again.

Wilsheres Middle Finger
Wilsheres Middle Finger

I think it’s harsh to say that Auba doesn’t track back, Lacazette is always closing players down and getting stuck into tackles and Pepe the sample size is very small. If Ozil was to press defenders like he did Wed night, I reckon we’d fair out just fine and maybe even not need to rely on (albeit someties effective) slapdash runs from Gunedouzi in the last 10-15 mins.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

Pepe’s sample size is not so small. We have all his time at Lille. I remember a French football journalist coming on the podcast after he signed who bluntly said don’t expect Pepe to track back.

As for Laca and Auba, well you wouldn’t really want them to track back. That’s not where they can do the most damage. And although Ozil put in a spirited performance Wednesday night, are we to believe that after six years of him ambling round the field, he’s turned over a new leaf? Let’s not forget the pretty pathetic challenge he made on Elliot before that twat went down with all the showmanship of Tom Daley for their obligatory penalty.

Also, none of these players really play transitional football – they are all best facing the opposition in their half with the ball at their feet. It would just be too much style and not enough substance in my humble opinion.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Cautiousness is what is killing our football — we’re not winning that way, and “earning” a point against Watford, Miserable United, and Crystal Palace, while losing to Sheffield and almost to Aston Villa, are quite a few dropped points already. This team has no platform of confidence on which to build anything at the moment, and we really need to put a team to the sword and get back to adventurous, protagonist football. Wolves sit deep when away from home, and hit on the counter, so there is reason to believe we’ll be in their end with the ball a fair bit — that’s Ozil Territory, and I’m sure the French-Speaking Connection up front would love a chance to get on the end of those passes in sight of the goal.

We not a good defensive team right now (ever?), but a home game after so much disappointment is not the time, in my opinion, to try to batten down the hatches. It’s time to fire volley after volley and to rebuild a sense of confidence through our greatest strengths. Will Emery feel the same way? I doubt it, and imagine he’ll be afraid of too much style, too. I hope you guys are right.

Santori
Santori

Auba does track back. what Auba is really pathetic at is protecting the ball and competing for long balls from our backline.

Ideally you WILL want at least one front man to track back. If we are play8ing 3 up top you need BOTH men on the wide positions to come back in support of fullbacks.

As much as some prefer to criticise Kolasinac, Tierney had issues too against Vitoria.

Fullbacks need a relationship with the wide player defending and vice versa when the wide man is on the attack, he will need the overlap.

We saw Kolasinac and iwobi strike up almost intuitive understanding for a spell mid last season.

We need the same with our combinations be it Bellerin-Pepe or Tierney-Auba or Kolasinac-Saka.

Tankard Gooner
Tankard Gooner

Look, tracking back is an admirable quality in forwards these days. Most of the good ones do that these days and Laca for sure, is one of them. But I remember something our high school coach taught: if your entire front line is tracking back a lot, then eventually that will push your lines back. A slightly better way to go about is everyone presses the man ahead of them to unsettle them and limit their outlets. That way even one of the cbs can line up along one of the def mids for cutting out passing lanes while the other 2 midfielders are pressing down other options. It was more aggressive but honestly gave and advantage of about 25-30 yards for a breaking move forward.

Dave
Dave

Didn’t Ozil have a large involvement in a goal Weds by pressing?

Exception to the rule but if we are to believe Emery’s spiel on his expectations on Ozil perhaps he’s been briefed to put more effort in defensively.

IamaGoober

No more funny stuff with Ozil.

Just play him as a number 10 right in the cockpit behind the striker and wide players. That’s where he is most effective.

Play a mobile central midfield behind him who can mop up anything that goes into the space behind him when he goes looking for the ball. Crucially these guys have to be able to get him the ball too. As there is no point him being really deep in our half trying to get us moving. He has to be in those half spaces in the final third looking to pick up the ball and connect the dots to our guys that can hurt the opposition. That’s what we’ve been missing.

I’d be looking at a central midfield pairing of Guendouzi next to Torriera, i’d be okay to see Danny in there instead of Matty. But the key for me is sitting them next to Lucas in my opinion.

I would look to start a front three of Saka, Auba and Martinelli. I’d keep Lacazette and Pepe on the bench so we have something else to offer if we aren’t able to break Wolves down. As I suspect they are going to set up to hit us on the break much like they did against City.

As for the back 4, I don’t really care who he goes with at centre half, because know matter who he puts in there, they are all suspect defensively. I just want him to start Bellerin and Tierney.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

You know what, I think you guys could be right. We defend badly period – 442, 451, 532, 352… Let’s just throw the kitchen sink at them. Fuck it man – Ozil behind Laca, Auba and Pepe would be fricking sweet.

Alex
Alex

It lets us 6 defending players…

Santori
Santori

Defense starts from the top. Immediately when we lose the ball, the attackers have to press with the midfield in unison but the defenders also have to compress space just behind without leaving too much at the back.

I’d say 11 defending players will be better.

Francesc
Francesc

League is a joy sucking fest

Guns&Gooners
Guns&Gooners

I bet 10 bucks we’ll see xhaka starting as captain, and Ozil a long way from the pitch on Saturday. Anyone willing to bet against me?

North London is Redder
North London is Redder

I’ll take that bet!

Dave M
Dave M

I will not

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Bewildering isn’t it …

John
John

I think we’ll see neither. Midfield will be Torreira, Guendouzi and Ceballos.

Laca New Signing
Laca New Signing

Which is a shame considering how well Özil played on Wednesday. Whatever the result tomorrow Emery still needs to leave Arsenal.

Santori
Santori

They don’t have to play full match, Ozil rarely sustains full performance through 90.

Can come on for 15-20 minutes. Pepe did just that to turn things around against Vitoria.

Ditto Bellerin.

Santori
Santori

This midfield actually did very well start of season in what was akin to a fidget spinner.

They took turns sitting deep and going forward.

Santori
Santori

Simple answers you may not want to hear (or maybe you do bc you’re not expecting something-else)

1) Ozil warrant more play? Why not? But it will be when it makes sense for us. Clearly there is no problem between gaffer and player but some people feel the need to invent friction. Likely he was not ready to start but he was always included within practise. No problem here. great asset to have starting or off the bench. Not entirely the answer but not exactly a poor option either. and we can afford him.

2)Xhaka as captain? No problem here either. if he is in right frame of mind to channel the energy to something positive, ignore the haters. These cretins will never be satisfied. Get the job done with Bellerin, sokratis, ozil, help organize the squad and lead by example concentrating on personal improvement. He’s been decent enough unless you were looking only for his faults.

3) Pepe, Laca and Auba need to do more up top. As much as we can complain about a lack of concerted pressing, leaky defense (see David Luiz who somehow escape some people’s critical analysis)…the attack needs to be better. We need the opponents to be contstantly thinking of leaking goals.

I see only positives unless you are trying to crisis manufacture from the stands or are a media pundit.

Meanwhile, Unai needs to work on details like defensive positioning during set pieces, the press has to be coordinated and sustained. Wolves will be tricky opponents so we will need to keep energy levels up and more importantly concentration levels.

All to play for and we need to take full points.

Santori
Santori

………………………..Laca………………………………..
Auba…………………………………………………..Pepe
………………………Cebellos……………………………..
…………Guendouzi…………Torreira……………………
Tierney……………………………………………..Bellerin
…………….Luiz……………..Sokratis…………………..
……………………..Leno…………………………………..

We need high energy dominance in midfield. Ozil can come on later if we are still struggling for goals.

If Granit starts Cebellos and Guendouzi or Torreira slightly higher in an inverse triangle.

Like to see Bellerin start but maybe Chambers considering midweek.

We have need to have all options available to us to sustain through 90 minutes let alone through Christmase.

Frankly its not the zero sum game too many here prefer to see it.

The more options we have firing on top gear the better for us.

Jht
Jht

Get a grip

Jht
Jht

“Yeah we did well against livepol, mustafi did well he scored we need to see his quality he will start tomorow. With mesut, as our best player, we leave him to bench. Its a club strategy. We need to respect everything and we are scared of everyone. Basicaly we do as previously in my managerial career, and it will se me sacked in may after utterly piss poor performances we’ve done since from last spring due to my inability to coach teams succesfully. Please hang on, only 6 more months and I am out”.