Every session counts as Arteta weighs up FA Cup final teamsheet

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Mikel Arteta says he’ll be keeping a close eye on his players in every training session as Arsenal gear up for the FA Cup final against Chelsea on 1 August.

When he arrived at the club in December, the Spaniard acknowledged the need to be ‘ruthless’ as a head coach and knows full well that he’s going to end up leaving some disappointed players on the bench or out of the squad altogether when we head to Wembley.

Will Emi Martinez keep his place if Bernd Leno is fit? Who might replace Shkodran Mustafi if his hamstring doesn’t mend? Might the experience of Lacazette be preferred to the youthfulness of Nketiah? There are potential selection headaches all over the pitch.

The boss has 12 days and two important Premier League matches to weigh things. up.

Asked ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Villa about who might get the nod, Arteta said: “Obviously, the feeling you are left with by a player today, tomorrow and the next day is what is valuable for the coach, not what they’ve done a week or two weeks ago.

“They have to try to earn it in every training session and every time they are on the football pitch.

“Obviously, you can sense the hunger and everybody wants to be involved and playing minutes. We’ll have to manage that to get into that position in the best possible condition.”

Of course, as we experienced in the build-up to the 2017 FA Cup final, best-laid plans can be thrown into disarray when injuries and suspensions come into play.

On that occasion, Mustafi and Gabriel were ruled out with a concussion and knee injury respectively and Laurent Koscielny got himself sent off in our final Premier League clash. That left us having to field Per Mertesacker and the inexperienced Rob Holding.

As amusing as it would be to field the BFG again, avoiding a repeat of that would be good for our nerves.

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AlexNuggz

That BFG & Holding performance though. Still makes me smile remembering it, and seeing my Chelsea supporting Dad getting wound up 🙂

Qwaliteee

Rob Holding was outstanding that day. The way he managed to wind up Diego Costa by pointing to his own temple to insinuate that Costa was a nut case (well, let’s face it, he is) was a delight to behold. Almost up there with Keown and van Nistlerooy at Old Trafford in 2003, or, my favourite – and one which our older viewers may recollect with a certain degree of satisfaction – Steve Williams telling Ossie Ardiles, in no uncertain terms, to fuck off during the NLD at WHL in October 1987. ?

AlexNuggz

Agreed! I liked seeing Rob Holding doing similar to Mane against Liverpool, he seems to be a defender that relishes the challenge against some of the best. Hopefully he does the job again in the final!

TeeCee

That’ll be the same Rob Holding who smashed Arnautovic into the hoardings. This was, of course, entirely accidental and he never once mentioned Debuchy while doing it.

Qwaliteee

Love it. It’s high time this team had a few full-time Mavericks to remind the opposition, when required, that we’re no pushovers. Every great side needs one or two. From Peter Storey and Charlie George, to Steve Williams and Tony Adams, to Kevin Richardson and Martin Keown, from Gilles Grimandi and Patrick Vieira, we’ve been blessed with a few hard nuts. Hopefully Rob Holding can start introducing some ‘menace’ into this side.

Qwaliteee

Absolutely. ??

Scott P

I had forgotten that Kos got a red card on the last day of the PL season and the anxiety that came from knowing what it meant for the cup final came rushing back. Really an unbelievable performance and result that will live long in the memory.

Scwibble

We keep that exact team we had against city fit I’ll be happy. Also kinda nervous facing Chelsea given the last time we faced them in a final with European football at stake it didn’t go too well.

Either way finals are stressful and not good for my heart.

goongot

chelsea also likes to dominate possession. While we flooded the mid-field to stop city, chelsea will likely attack via flanks for giroud as a marker like liverpool. In the past two games we struggled more against lpool then city due to lpool’s dependence on full back.For some reason the bellerin pepe flank has always being our weak point and mustafi flanks that side of defense which is definately what chelsea will target with pulisic and williams. I hope niles plays ahead of bellerin during finale.

ua1107

I’m not sure if ‘good for nerves’ and an arsenal defender go hand in hand anymore

T.A.

“Will Emi Martinez keep his place if Bernd Leno is fit?”
Answer: Yes.
“Who might replace Shkodran Mustafi if his hamstring doesn’t mend?“
Answer: Holding.
“Might the experience of Lacazette be preferred to the youthfulness of Nketia?”
Answer: Yes.
Selection headaches cured.

gooner

Sounds good. But that Arteta bit about earning it in training and not two weeks ago sounds better

backsakacrack

Mmm thats the sweat taste of competition for places

backsakacrack

The sweet, sweaty taste

Marco

Just praying the boys don’t let all that hard work they put in against city go to waste by not turning up in the final against Chelsea. I know playing well doesn’t guarantee victory but it has to be better than Baku. COYG.

Qwaliteee

I’m sure this new boss will keep them focused and mentally, as well as physically, prepared. Beating Liverpool and City will/should have given the team a big psychological boost and some much needed confidence in themselves. Let’s hope they can keep it going. Arteta is proving to be a great mix of motivation and grounded focus.

Mutisya

Don’t know.. I’m game for another BFG FA Cup masterclass

Martin

Martinez v keno no debate. I think Martinez should be our number 1. He just seems to give an air of confidence that permiates to the defence.