Nicolas Pepe is available for selection for tomorrow’s Premier League clash with Man City.

The Ivorian suffered a bruised knee from a nasty challenge by West Ham’s Aaron Creswell on Monday, but despite fears he could miss out, he’ll be in the squad.

However, that’s about the extent of the good news. Hector Bellerin hasn’t recovered from the hamstring strain which kept him out of the win over the Hammers at the last minute, while it was confirmed that Kieran Tierney will miss three months after surgery on a dislocated shoulder.

Granit Xhaka is absent due to a concussion sustained late in the 3-1 win at the London Stadium, while Dani Ceballos and Rob Holding are also out with hamstring and knee strains respectively.

Although we got back to winning ways this week, this remains a very difficult encounter against a City side going through a tough period of their own. They’ll be out to keep in touch with Liverpool as they try to defend their title.

The game also has the added spice of Mikel Arteta – heavily linked with the job – returning as Pep Guardiola’s number two.

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SLC Gooner
SLC Gooner

Well, not ideal. Seems like a good time to use the 5 at the back option. But that means just Ozil and Torriera in mid, if we want to use the Pepe, Auba, Martinelli forward line. Or drop Pepe or Martinelli and add Guendouzi?

Richie

If it’s 5 at the back, Ozil would have to drop out. So AMN, Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasanic. Guendouzi/Torreira in the middle, then the same front 3 that started at West Ham; Pepe, Aubameyang, Martinelli. But on the other hand, didn’t United beat them playing the same 4231 we used at West Ham? If it’s 4 at the back, then Freddie will have to decide who is better to neutralise Raheem; Chambers or AMN.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I just don’t understand fans who easily conceive Laca on the bench. What led to Emery being sacked? Ramsey gone, Laca injured and changing systems to attempt getting the best out of Pepe. If Freddie keeps letting Laca on bench because of whatever systems, that will be the end of him as the interim manager.

Aaron
Aaron

It’s Auba or Laca, as simple as that. We just cannot try to accommodate both and still have Ozil which devours the team of any width whatsoever.

On current form, Auba is miles ahead of Laca and as much as I want Laca as a part of the 11, tomorrow isn’t.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Laca already saved Freddie’s arse at least in one critical game. Remember the game hr scored two goals to get the draw? He also scored in the last Europa League game. The only way to play Ozil? To get what out of him that he was unable to give in the last three seasons?

Fabulous
Fabulous

Don’t be an idiot. Laca scored two against Southampton, which happens to be the last game for Unai Emery.

Something tells me you don’t even watch the games yet just find any reason to whine like a b*tch. Stupid moaning over nothing like “ending Freddie’s career.” You mean a managerial career in which it’s only interim and he’s 4 games into?

jiggernaught
jiggernaught

utter drivel. Laca is lightyears ahead of Auba atm, judging by the last few games. Auba seems to have lost his quickness, his only lethal quality, he should be rested. He doesnt beat defenders anymore. Lacazette with the ball at his feet or with the back to goal is so much better than Auba. And Lacazette makes his teammates around him better because of his link-up play, which can’t be said of Aubameyang one bit. When Auba has a bad day, as he’s had many in the last weeks, the whole team is toothless.

Public Elneny
Public Elneny

If Auba is ineffective (he has 11 league goals so far, more than double Lacazette – you’re overstating how often this happens) you can bring Laca off the bench. Start them both and we have nowhere to go, unless you have Martinelli who is currently a far more dangerous player than Lacazette and should be starting ahead of him

When Laca has a bad day (every away game) he plays like 31 year old Rooney for Man U – dropping too deep, running around a lot to no avail, simple balls bouncing off of him. On Auba’s bad days he’s quiet, but still gets in positions where he might score if his teammates get it together and create openings. Laca just doesn’t get into goalscoring positions often enough.

Your point about Aubameyang’s only lethal quality being speed is absolute nonsense.

SLC Gooner
SLC Gooner

Lacazette has gotten a few goals, including a few key ones. But the team looks worse with both he and Auba in there at the same time. They are too similar in terms of what they offer and unbalance the attack.

jiggernaught
jiggernaught

what absolute nonsense. they couldnt be further apart as far as striker qualities go. Moreover, Laca is overall the better player, I havent seen Auba beat any defender 1 vs 1 lately, Auba only has his shot technique and his speed, which he seems to have lost in the last games. Laca should absolutely be preferred and Auba rested

SLC Gooner
SLC Gooner

Agree it’s problematic to have Ozil in there with 5 at the back. But seems like when we’ve tried without him, there isn’t a strong enough link between the defensive mid and the forwards. Guend and Torreira are just not good enough passers at this point.

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

Ozil was totally fine with Wenger when he played 5 at the back.

Rosapirescastle
Rosapirescastle

Ya agree 4 at back but I’d put Luiz CM along with Torreira
Then Pepe guendez and Martinelli

Give bit of strength to central line and keeps body’s at back

Hope AMN shows up well chambers and Sok will be fine against Jesus just need to overload CDM to try contain de bruyne

Goon
Goon

I’m hoping we see Pepe at his best. There will be a lot of space with that Man City back line. We should set up the team around him for this game at least.

Dom47
Dom47

If it’s 5 at the back we are losing for sure. We need to have balls and play to our strengths, with fast pressing wingers and auba on top, ozil behind.

Darkness
Darkness

We have strenghts?

Cultured Determination
Cultured Determination

i think we need to play a 451. we’ll need 1 midfielder to shuttle to triple up with the winger and full back to cover their wingers while still leaving 2 in midfield, while blocking passing channels in midfield and the front 3 closing down like a pack of wolves. going to be tough to get any attacking momentum but we can try to hit them on the break with pepe and auba.

Lobsta
Lobsta

I cant remember the last time we got a win against one of the other big clubs. Valencia last season? We’re a fucking shambles but now is as good of a time as any to turn things around! COY to the motherfucking G!

Lack of Perspective
Lack of Perspective

Its happening.

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

I really hope Freddie will suprise and start Luiz as a defensive midfielder instead of Xhaka and not Guendouzi.

Xiopik
Xiopik

I agree with luiz at CDM. It’s been proven that Luiz and Sokratis can NOT play together, and I like Luiz’s passing range from midfield.

Let’s go with Leno in goal and a back four of Kolašinac, sokratis, chambers, AMN with Torreria and Luiz in the midfield. Same from three as the west ham game.

Galileo
Galileo

Somebody making some sense. Luiz and Torreira in the DM role way better. Guendouzi is not disciplined. Playing him in a game like this is suicidal.

Striker
Striker

How are people saying 5 at the back? That only means one extra clowns in defense.
4-2-3-1 hit and hope

Tim Harris
Tim Harris

Once a Gooner always a Gooner COYR

Pakgooner
Pakgooner

17 point gap just between Liverpool and City. Let that sink in

Badaab
Badaab

Pepe is still largely an unknown quantity, so selecting him against a manager like Pep (who is a meticulous planner) could be the catalyst for something great.

Martin
Martin

He’s not remotely unknown and is coming into form so to drop him now would be stupid. He’s fast and could trouble the shaky Man City defence

VAR will solve the problem
VAR will solve the problem

He meant Martinelli perhaps…?

Michael
Michael

I would drop ozil and have laca start in ozil’s position. Laca can drop into the midfield when we’re out of position and make a three in the middle. He is more clever than the style of football arsenal plays when he’s on the pitch. I believe this team can beat city with the right discipline and concentration….
Leno
Niles Chambers Sokratis Kolasinac
Torreira Willock
Lacazette
Pepe Auba Martinelli

Torreira revved the ball from the back and either Laca drops short to receive or he spreads play out wide. Willock will be used to neutralize Rodri in the middle. I fancy torreira up against Gundogan. Willock and torreira must be compact with the help of Laca, and not allow our midfield to be overrun. Force them to play out wide and double team against sterling. Ozil is too slow and holds on to the ball in transition too long.

FrenchGunner
FrenchGunner

I wouldn’t change a winning formation, so am sticking with the 4231 that got us 3 valuable points at West Ham but with a little tactical change of personnel to contain city’s better passing and quality.

Leno
Niles. Chambers. Sokratis. Kolasinac

Luiz. Guendouzi

Torriera.

Pepe. Aubameyang. Martinelli

We need players with high energy to help us contain city’s quick passing and fast players for swift counter, for me, Ozil has no business being in tomorrow’s lineup, he is too slow and holds the ball too long.
I hope Freddie visits Arseblog and uses this tactical masterclass..

VAR will solve the problem
VAR will solve the problem

Theoretically this is probably the best team we can put out. Ozil can’t hold up the ball under pressure, and everytime he loses it, we get countered so easily. Not a good idea against City. Laca on the other hand is probably the best at holding up the ball under pressure (although recently, nothing is sticking in his feet) and beat the press. His work rate and tracking back is way better than Ozil. You are not losing anything by playing him behind Auba.
I say hit’em with pace. Their defence is suspect, i dont believe we won’t score at all against their shoddy defense. Key would be to make that pass from the midfield once we get back possession. It will be tough but we can do it.

Dom47
Dom47

Good news that xhaka is out. He can stay out til January and then leave somewhere far away. Doesn’t deserve to wear the shirt anymore.

demmy000
demmy000

Haven’t seen you show so much hatred for the fans who wished his daughter dead or say such fans are not welcome to support our team.

Dom47
Dom47

I really don’t know how those two are connected. A few eejits who write tripe like that to him should not justify his behaviour and not accepting that he was wrong even to this day. It goed well with him never acknowledging his mistakes on the field, even if he should be the more senior guy in the team. Being able to see yourself critically is an important trait to grow and he never showed that while at the club.

Reminds me of mustafi in that sense so I’ll be happy to see both out of the club sooner than later.

Tasmanian God
Tasmanian God

I hope Tierney gets past the injuries and can play for a long period regularly soon enough. That said, I would keep Sead for this season and next. Not the best fullback, not my favourite by far, but good enough to hold us over while Tierney is injured.

para
para

How do our medical team not see these weakness? It seems other teams see Arsenal as the target place to offload their medical “duds”.

Mintoes
Mintoes

Blogs – just listened to the last pod and that was a beautiful tribute to goonerholic. Nicely done mate.

Faroe Islands Gooner.
Faroe Islands Gooner.

Yes. I was at work. Smashing tiles on a wall. Had my headphones on and enjoyed the podcast as usual. That ending blogs. It struck me. Im so sad for him.
Lets beat Man City today for Dave!!!

Ozenal
Ozenal

I hope the club have the determination to save the season, rather than give up in the face of injuries.

Last season Hector was injured and Ramsey and we couldn’t cope. We hardly made any loan signings.

Just because we have a caretaker manager shouldn’t excuse us from giving him support in the transfer window

Edzo
Edzo

This is a match where we wish we had beaten norwich, Southampton and Brighton so we had a cushion.

Bodie CI5
Bodie CI5

Perhaps pep will leave city at the end of season, and come to arsenal lol,,,