Three at the back? Sokratis & Pepe start: Vitoria vs Arsenal team news

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A win against Vitoria this afternoon will see Arsenal ease into the Europa League knockout stages with two games to spare. After our domestic travails, it would also be a welcome confidence boost.

Unai Emery took a relatively strong squad to Portugal from which he’s selected the following starting lineup. Is this a three-man defence? It could be.

Arsenal: Martinez, Mustafi, Holding, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Willock, Tierney, Pepe, Martinelli, Saka

Subs: Leno, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Torreira, Nelson, Lacazette

Vitoria: Douglas, Venancio, Soares, Tapsoba, Evangelista, Garcia, Edwards, Agu, Pepe, Davidson, Duarte

Subs: Silva, Bonatini, Rochinha, Al Musrati, Pereira, Poha, Hanin

Follow the game on the Arseblog live blog

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Shill
Shill

Weird there is no Bellerin when he was at the press conference. Injured in training ? Or Emery being Emery.

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

Hopefully, just a precaution… would hope he’s gonna give him some minutes towards the end, and then play him at the weekend, knowing he needs his strongest team to save his arse

Reality check
Reality check

Who is the captain then?

anonarse
anonarse

We only have four now, so to use one here seemed to risky.

Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

Hypothetically since I’m a big fan of auba; wouldn’t it make sense to make captain the player with most arsenal appearances on the pitch?

anonarse
anonarse

Little like Barça then? Where the player who’s been there the longest always get to be captain.

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

They’re yet to vote on it

Bai Blagoi
Bai Blagoi

Rob Holding!!!

Frank
Frank

On a similar tangent anyone know why Smith-Rowe isn’t in the squad. He was training with the first team before they left along with Nelson but then didn’t travel with the squad or play for the U-21’s last night. Has he picked up a knock?

Alex
Alex

Makes way for Ceballos.

Reality check
Reality check

Frank

ESR works hard in defense and links the play very smoothly. Doesn’t fit well with Emeryball

Danny
Danny

We only need to win one of the next 3 Europa League matches to progress, so this strong-ish lineup has an air of Emery trying to save his ass. The bigger question is why Tierney is starting when we need him this weekend. I wonder if Scotland leaving him out of the international squad for “load management” means that Emery thinks he can play twice this week before a 2 week rest.

A Gorilla
A Gorilla

He is improving in his process, every moment and we must attack whilst also defending in our moment…. obviously

Corona X
Corona X

…and together, with all players, we will continue in our way.

YaGunnersYa
YaGunnersYa

He is working hard to be protagonist in this team with the players in this moment

C.B.
C.B.

COYR!

GunnerIain
GunnerIain

Strong(ish) enough to get the win… would of liked to of seen Bellerin at RWB tho, instead of AMN. That’s saying it is a back 3.

COYG!

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Like to have seen*
And no, would rather see ‘ector start on Saturday in a games that matters.

yen
yen

The good: looks like the switch has been pulled and we could finally see Hector start in the PL. Also with Sokratis starting, we just might see Chambers starting at CB!

The bad: the player who’s perfect for the wingback position – Kolasinac – is not playing whereas our best left back is. Gosh.

yen
yen

Figured it out: video-merchant Emery saw the roulette Kolasinac did against Leicester and now thinks *that* is the thing that’s gonna singlehandedly save our season and therefore his ass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFNZfRoWpgg

Mitko Mitkov
Mitko Mitkov

Well, in my opinion, Sead is everything else but not a football player!

Kran Stoenke
Kran Stoenke

Bit harsh, sead has his strengths. Literally and figuratively. But it’s going to be really hard for bellerin on Sunday. He’s going to have to deal with Chilwell and either of Barnes or tielemans.

Martin
Martin

He was voted the best left back in the Bundesliga when we signed him so he must have an iota of football ability

Millar
Millar

Why is Tierney starting?

Dave
Dave

Emery gon’ Emery

Dave M
Dave M

Because we have no injuries?

anonarse
anonarse

Because Emery thinks a massive victory here will get us the title.

Boom Saka Laca
Boom Saka Laca

Does look like 3 at the back, although another possibility is that Mustafi is being asked to play at RB in a back 4, with AMN in a midfield trio with Willock and Ceballos. Wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Dave
Dave

Unlikely if the teamsheet has been provided in the order listed.

Looks like 343.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

I think the back 4 makes more sense, would be very surprised if Emery started Ceballos and Willock as a holding 2.

Flash
Flash

If Tierney and AMN are on their sides and 3 CBs are behind them – maybe it can work.
Also I think when we played with 3 CBs last year (and under Wenger in his final years) – that gave us stability against stronger sides. I think it’s a pity we left it completely behind…

Jack4343
Jack4343

Hey Blogs…looks like Emery read your blog this morning. Saving Bellerin for the league. Maybe you should throw your hat in the ring!

Alex
Alex

And Ceballos again starting… This Real Madrid player plays more than our guys… and brings nothing.

Kran Stoenke
Kran Stoenke

You look at him as a real Madrid player, perhaps emery looks at him as a Spaniard who gets him. Ought to remember emery spend over a million pounds in wages to bring perma crocked Denis suarez to arsenal while deeming Aaron Ramsey and ozil redundant In his plans for arsenal’s future. So for your sake it’s best to not try and make sense out of his actions. He’s just a clueless obstinate manager who’s still making knee jerk changes 1+ season into his tenure.

Jelvis
Jelvis

Who’s the captain? Maybe they will have a ballot on the flight over.

dr Strange
dr Strange

What is happening with Pepe? Just when he begins to deliver he gets dropped from the first team and has to play a pointless EL game. Emery is really trying to get sacked.

SB Still
SB Still

Dr. Strange, you might have figured out Emery!

For those asking for Mourinho, Emery is acting like end of tenure Mourinho, wanting to leave with a big payout?

onenil
onenil

Emery decided to play a Diamond the other day. And there are no wingers in that formation. So no Pepe. Today he looks like it could be 3 at the back, so 3-4-3??
Why you would choose a formation which excludes one of your best players. And why keep change formation every game? It is anyone’s guess.

SB Still
SB Still

Emery’s lineups and formations – surprise or confused?

I’ll go with confused, considering how many times he changes at halftime.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Please god tell me this is not the return to three-at-the-back for Arsenal … Please.

Man
Man

Hope I’m wrong, but that’s got the look of an Emery clusterfuck formation.

Dave M
Dave M

I used to play poker with a mate who called any hand of a random assortment of cards that amounted to absolutely nothing as a fisherman’s basket; I’ve had emotions of recollection to that moment many times when trying to decipher Emery’s tactical formations.

goonero
goonero

Emery: If we don’t know what the hell we’re doing, the opposition won’t know either!

Henkamp
Henkamp

This line up SPELLS out one thing clearly: Emery is feeling the heat big time right now.

Filpo
Filpo

Welcome back Champions League!! Ohh wait a minute. WTF!!

anonarse
anonarse

That’s a strange lineup. Not too happy about Tierney and Pepe to start.

onenil
onenil

Its a lottery who starts. Same goes for the formation. Good luck guys

anonarse
anonarse

Spot on. Maybe he’s working for the mob and they bet on the lineup?

Vaibhav

Totally against Tierney starting tonight that too if this is a back 3

NumOverflow
NumOverflow

Good team. These young gun games are the ones I find myself looking forward to.

On another note, anybody think Chambers would be considered for the Xhaka role in the coming month? He is tall and been so good on the ball in the last month.

Maniac

No offense to Vitoria, but we better wipe the floor with them, especially with this line-up. COYG!

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio

No Smith Rowe?

Serpent
Serpent

We’re just flailing wildly, aren’t we?

Tribe
Tribe

Emery is lost. In space, in time, in football…

Magazine_Gap
Magazine_Gap

One of the most dull, uninspiring, insipid first halves I’ve seen with Emery as manager, and there have been more than a few of those.
Two-thirds possession and one attempt at goal, off target? Yeah, I’ll pass.
The second half can go fuck itself.

Rostock Gooner
Rostock Gooner

Epic Game so far

StockholmGooner
StockholmGooner

That was a particularly Emeryesque first half. No injuries please.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Half time round up: 65% possession 1 shot not sure on target or not. Shed loads of shots against us. Reminds me of the first team. 🙁

Dusko
Dusko

Wake me up when Emery is gone…What a game to watch..

mrugunner
mrugunner

unai is doing a mourinho. playing s### to get the big payoff

Tribe
Tribe

One word the club has to tell Emery: disappear!