Saturday, June 3, 2023

Pepe and Willock start: Leeds v Arsenal team news

Arsenal take on Leeds at Elland Road this afternoon, looking to bounce back from the disappointing defeat in our last Premier League game.

Here are today’s official line-ups.

Leeds: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Alioski, Raphina, Harrison, Bamford

Subs: Casilla, Struijk, Davis, Rodrigo, Costa, Roberts, Poveda

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock, Pepe, Willian, Aubameyang

Subs: Runarsson, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Saka, Nelson, Nketiah, Lacazette

Follow the game on the Arseblog live blog

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Blogs looks like your wish might be coming true?! I spy a 4-3-3 with Auba down the middle?


WHAT?! I just had to recheck the team list again…WHAT?!

Naked Cygan

Looks great but saka should have started in place of Willian.


I agree but maybe Saka has played and travelled a bit for England

Adrian Drum

Scenes when Willian starts as false 9 😜

SB Still

Damn indeed, Willian starts in the false 9!

SB Still

Phew, false start. Its only for the kick-off.


I don’t see a 4-3-3 per se and definitely not Auba down the middle. William starts as a false 9. When defending, Xhaka will drop as a LCB while Tierney occupies LWB making it a 5 man defence with Bellerin as RWB. When attacking, Bellerin pushes into the space between RWB and CM to make those trade mark runs of his, making space for the crosses. Xhaka moves to occupy the left side of midfield but in a more deeper role than Ceballos or Willock. I am curious to see Willock’s role in midfield. Perhaps he will look to make… Read more »


I think you’re right but would really like to see Auba through the middle


U must a better coach to Arteta


Please tell me when Aubameyang ever played in the centre. I cannot think of anytime.


Thank goodness, here we go lads! I’m hopeful, but I hope people will also give this some time if it doesn’t quite come off today. This is a positive change.


Sub’s T’ang at the centre thank you Arteta




Fighting fire with fire. Very nice. Auba in the middle woop!


Do you honestly believe that the main reason as to why our attack has been worse than Leed’s is because Auba is starting on the left? Seriously?


Do you really believe something has to be either THE WORST or THE BEST? Why so binary? Yes, given the quality of the alternative of late it is a definite contributor. Just like there are other contributors – the solar -system sized void between midfield and attack. Both seem to have been addressed here. Let’s hope we see a little more flexibility and a little more adventure in attack…and well, you know some goals.


It’s been a recurring theme with our fans to blame structural problems on individuals. Given your original statement, I’m assuming you’re one of the people that were calling for Laca to be dropped and for Auba to start in the middle as an answer to our dreadful attack. My point is that our attack being dreadful has little if anything to do with the individual players, and all to do with how our manager sets up the team and instructs them to play. Auba in the middle won’t mean shit if we carry on playing the way we’ve played over… Read more »


Yes, it is one of the things that I have supported. As was starting Willock and (hopefully) playing a 4-3-3. Laca has blown some sitters of late. He hasn’t earned his place. I’m not a fan of Saka getting dropped here and would prefer Willian be on the bench, but considering Mo’-Partey is out this is almost the team I would have picked. However, given it’s Mikel in charge it’s unlikely all is what it seems to be and Xhaka is probably a left-side CB in a back 5, which as it did against Leicester frightens the shite out of… Read more »




It’s not the only reason, but definitely a significant one.


Are you watching the game right now? How many chances has Auba had? How many times has he even gotten the ball in a favorable position? It’s 40 minutes into the first half and we have zero shots on goal


Yeap watching. I still prefer having him up top thinking he can bury a chance if it comes along. The team is not playing any worse than we usually are with Laca or Nketiah up top.


Aubameyang up front!!!!!!!!

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Arteta might surprise us with Auba on the left and Willian playing that silly false 9


Strange many here repeat “non negotiable” ad nauseam and are glad Borges starts….. can’t even see the corruption in this club.


I hope not, but I do believe the boss said Willian just wasn’t used to the role in that game and he’d be playing there again once he had a better understanding of how to play it. That said, Auba in the middle and Willian/Pepe switching sides on occasion to confuse the defense could work wonders. Although Pepe & KT from the left and Willian & Bellerin from the right providing crosses to Auba all day doesn’t sound half bad…


Mr. Arteta, do not try to play Willian as False 9 again, pretty please?! 😉

David J M

Shouldn’t he be in quarantine?


Like, you mean always in quarantine?


Will.I.An must wash Mikel’s car really well is all can sayI Goes on illegal holiday and still not dropped, even Dom Cummings left in the end.

David J M

Probably written into that dodgy contract that he has to play.




Or Xhaka as lcb, willock double midfield pivot


You’re probably right [sigh].


Willian as a false 9 and Granit on the left side of a back 3?


Great day to be a Gunner

Artetas Assistant

Good vibes only 🤝


I pray that’s not actually a back 5 with Xhaka as CB please please please. Just one back 4, just this time


This is the lineup we all wanted (albeit Willian)!


I hope he’ll play on the left, and only because Saka is knackered and can’t start.


FFS what does Willian have to fuck up to get dropped?

Cue him scoring a first half hat trick.


His knee? Arteta’s wife… her knee? or his contract maybe?


He’s making a good fist of that last one


Willock starts! I’m chuffed for him. Not expecting miracles but a win would be nice for a change. COYG!


Last time there was no Laca and we thought surely it’s Auba down the middle we went and stuck willian there instead, so in the spirit of low expectations no disappointment: arsenal to play xhaka up front, holding at no. 10 and auba at right back. COYG!


To be honest my main concern is never who plays, but how we play. Some have been advocating for Laca to be dropped and Willock to start, and today we have that. If we play the same slow, ponderous, methodical football, the results will be the same, except now we’ll have a new set of scapegoats. Many of the problems in the world today could be solved if people realized that sometimes it’s not the individual, but the structure within which the individual operates. Sometimes the blame lies on the people designing the systems and not the people operating within… Read more »


Jheeeze, did not expect the ending when I started reading but agree completely with it!


Try to see how this can be turned into a back 5!


Willian up front??


What can you say? On paper, the team looks OK but it did against Villa as well. With the other results going against us it’s another must-win game against a team that we have a good record against. As the same was true with Leicester we may as well put that to one side just in case. One interesting (depressing) stat: Auba’s shots on goal tally (7) so far is the same as Bamford’s actual goal tally. Who’d have thought that at the start of the season? Not most Gooners I suspect. If we get anything from the game I… Read more »


Willian could commit a heinous crime and still get selected.


The question is, though, will Willian release Arteta’s children and return those compromising photographs if his form actually starts to warrant his guaranteed place in the starting XI?


Could it be a back three, with Willian in the whole and Auba Pepe front two? If not it’s Willian false 9 al over I fear


I worry that if we lose more CBs, Willian will be played there too!

Paul Roberts

Willock starts Aubamayang through the middle flanked by Willian and Pepe . Four at the back.


Let’s hope so but I’m not so sure that’ll be the formation.

Paul Roberts

It’s what is being said on #LEEARS


What flank will Willian willingly play? Willock as false nine would be nice to see, he look’s like a midfielder trapped in a Strikers body, has the feel, touch and movement of final third player


Why not amn. At left wing back


Big game for Willock and Pepe, you’ve done it in the Europa League, now’s time to show you can do it against stronger opposition.

Can’t imagine Leeds don’t score at least one today so we’re going to need 2-3 to win this. Going for an Arsenal 2-1 with Auba to finally score from open play and a good game from Ceballos who’s going to have a lot of work against Leeds with lead boots alongside him.


Sub Predictions:
If all goes well, AMN gives Tierney a breather after 45 or 60 minutes
If creativity suffers, Saka replaces the poorer of Willian/Pepe
Eddie or Laca come in for the last 20 to press for a goal or to hold the lead


Given the intesity of Bielsa sides you would be safe to bet on one of the midfield two/three to come off


Finally a team that shows Arsenal is not afraid of Leeds
Playing 5 at the back should be reserved for top 6 opponents only


A bit more excitement with Willock and Pepe, but this formation could be just about anything. Would love it to be 4-3-2-1 with Auba up front, but that’s probably too progressive for Arteta.


Great. It will be enjoyable to watch Willian slog around for 70 minutes before he’s subbed.

Assume saka is on the bench because he needs rest.

Maitland Niles was instrumental in our fa cup run. Yet he can’t get a game.


Willian. Yay.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Willian starts.

I honestly am gob smacked. Maybe it’s because there is nobody else but I am mystified of how shit he has to play to get dropped.

Naked Cygan

Willian is not good enough, but the other players are not doing any better. Leno has kept us in the fame so far.

Naked Cygan


David Hilliers Arm Cast

Aaaaand then he plays pretty well.


Arteta 4 William 4 EVA


Lacca is struggling but he’s better than willian for crying out loud.

Naked Cygan

Another bollocks performance so far. Bring on saka for Willian. Looks like our players have never played with each other. No plan, no tactics, just pass and hope for the best. Not good enough with the players we have.

Ordnance Dave

Nah this is the players level. Has been for the last 3 seasons at least.


This team is lost…😕




Thank the Gods that Willian has been subbed off.


Leeds has got a wanker down diving


No Pepe is a wanker, stupid. In the era of var you dont do stupid headbutts


That’s not diving, that’s seizing the opportunity handed to him on a silver platter by Pepe. Not the 72 million quid moment we’d like to see from Pepe.


“I was too far away, and therefore couldn’t see.”


Honestly, though, wasn’t Dallas’ challenge worth a red when he got a yellow for a studs up challenge, and now Phillips?


There’s reason to suspect certain refs having bias against us. This is long standing. With that in mind you have to be some kind of cunt, albeit perhaps only momentary but none the less, to walk up to an opposition player and appear to headbutt him.


Loving the half time sub. We now have our best 11 available players on pitch. Come on Arsenal, lets raise our game the second half

I cannot believe not even 10 minutes after you said that, Nico got himself sent-off


We are a fucking shit show of a team. So sick of it.


Moaning that he’s not getting much game time and then does that! What a fucking clown


At least we got him cheap………


“At least we got him cheap………”

The sarcasm comes in handy during moments like these.


Lol. Btw what’s up with Bellerin’s throw ins? How many foul throws has he made this season? Surely a new record.


I assume when Arteta told the players that we need to get “ahead”, that’s not what he meant.


Is it too late to cancel Willians contract?


Yes. About 6 months too late. He’s with us for the next two and a half years costing us in the region of a million pounds a month. By this time next year he’ll probably be good enough to use for the odd low level FA cup opposition and early Europa League competitions. All in all we’ll be 35 million out of pocket by the time he leaves.


It’s like we’ve extended Mikhi’s contract.

Even Mkhitaryan had more goal threat than Willy. Says a lot really.


You can add Pepe, Soares and Mari to that list.


This won’t end well for us, but I appreciate the guts shown by the 10 players on the pitch.


The draw flatters us.

Eliab godwin

Our management are trying to force team build up arround ouba who is out of his day and will nerver get there again. We need a fair team who can play. Up to now i can figure that arteta lack wining strategy and probably he should step out leting capable manager to have the team for success.

Players are all well and they work hard more than ever. What we lack is just a proper and organised wining strategies

Kieran Tierney’s Tesco Bag

I know as a Tesco Bag, you feel deflated right now but credit to your owner for the grit and leadership he showed in the second half.

Good Ebening

5 PL games without an outfield goal. More than 9 hours of football. If this is the cost of bringing defensive solidarity, then screw it! Arteta snoozeball is hard to watch.

Not that these bunch of players can’t create, its the way we are set-up!
If we are gonna be a mid-table club, please play entertaining football so that some of us fans staying up in the wee hours have something to cheer!
Woodwark MOM for me!

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