Arsenal take on West Brom this evening, looking for our first win since last year.

Here are the official line-ups.

West Brom: To follow

Subs:

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos, Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Sub: Runarsson, Luiz, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Willock, Willian, Pepe, Martinelli, Nketiah

Follow the game on the Arseblog live blog

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Jack

I was very worried Willian was going to waltz straight back into the starting 11 but great to see Arteta being sensible and going with players in form

Anonymarse

Arteta’s job is on the line. If he finds something that works he’d be smart to stick to it.

If we can get Willian firing too maybe he can help us.

Walter White

If you want likes you can not speak well of the name Willian.

Johnny 4 Hats

Willian is like totally rubbish and can’t even kick the football with his stronger foot and stuff and he can’t run very fast either.

Mmmnnn. Warm thumbs up, straight off the printer.

Artetas Assistant

Yeah, it is unbelievable to see 🤔

Paul Roberts

Thumb believable?

Anonymarse

Everybody else has seemingly stopped being shit, so anything is possible

I don’t remember him being this crap for Chelsea

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

As a Chelsea player, Willian always worried me as I thought he could open a defence up at any moment. We seemed to have signed his brother William instead

Jac

Which is probably why Arteta, a smart guy and by all accounts a good coach, persisted. That kind of player doesn’t typically disappear overnight. Every player goes through bad spells, and soon after a move is an understandably common time to have one.

He may never prove worth our investment in him, but he’s a player with a long track record of excellence in this league. He can still provide value, even past his best.

Kingsley

Even worse, we signed Williamnot.

Paul Roberts

I didn’t know you played for Chelsea mate?? 🙂

Sam

You sound like Arteta with your ‘maybe he can help us’

gooner

So the thumb thumbs down would hate it if Willian performed well in an Arsenal shirt?

Shane

I am over the William hating, the youngsters were not ready at start of season so we had a very old team. Unfortunately Pepe doesn’t look good enough ( I still hope he might click). In an ideal world the youngsters start and Willian comes on to calm the game down with some neat passes or to rotate with any youngster that is off form or injured

Shane

Willian was never the future and came in at a really bad time with no cohesion our energy in the team. You’d never know, if we hit some form in 2021 he could be a great squad player

Reality check

I am in Hockley, around 5 min away from Hawthorns. Would’ve paid a visit to the manager’s office on my way to Maccys

Jules

I really think Maitland niles deserves a run in midfield. Would be a real shame if he leaves. I think he could really be something, his physicality and movement are really underrated, he just needs a solid opportunity and some good coaching. Think of the mobility and cover with a midfield pairing of Ainsley+partey!

Xhaka’s House Keys

Yes this – him over Ceballos any day.

Anders Limpar

100% AMN deserves at least a chance to prove himself in the middle. Ceballos is just a stop gap as we couldn’t find anyone else in the summer. My biggest concern is that we will shell out silly (any!) money to keep him.

Xhaka’s House Keys

God I hope not – Ceballos epitomises mediocrity. He should be at a mid table la logs club (nothing personal against the bloke as a person).

truj

What about his Papa like antics?

Public Elneny

He’s still twice the player of Elneny though

Rich

This is the type of game where Ceballos makes sense.

Providing none of our players brain fart and get sent off, I’d imagine we’ll have at least 70% possession tonight.

Ceballos has more craft + guile than our other centre mid options.

Elneny is too safe, Niles can be sloppy, and Xhaka is impossible to predict.

The more Ceballos has the ball, and is involved in the game, the better he becomes.

Hopefully Ceballos + Smith-Rowe can provide us with the creativity we’ll need to breakdown 11 men behind the ball tonight,

Jac

Ceballos was one of the best midfielders in Europe’s top leagues by a host of advanced and less-advanced metrics last season. He’s not been on form, but few have. We shouldn’t be writing him off so quickly.

Jules

And for the record I think Xhaka’s mobility always has and always will hinder the style of play that Arteta wants to enforce. Giving Maitland niles a shot in midfield would be well worth it I think.

Xhaka’s House Keys

I think he’s a necessary evil until Partey is back though…

Give youth a chance

Xhaka is a very good backup to have in the squad. The problem is that he was bought for the first team

Zenithreptile

100%.
I really can’t think of a reason for him not to want to leave at moment. Bloke’s a full blown international player, and he can’t get a sniff of a league start at a club with a midfield so dysfunctional it borders on comedy

Flash

I think the reason behind the ignorance toward him by our coaches (present and past) is down to his remarkably weak passing.
Statistically speaking: (leaving out our strikers – because their inaccuracy is coming with their position)
He is our worst passer in the whole team in this season.

Hank Scorpio

In what sense? Accuracy? Maybe he’s less likely to pass backwards and not pad out his passing stats. He was convinced to stay last season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he asks for a move at seasons end.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

His potential is being wasted. He could easily be a regular at other clubs of a similar level

Homer

Right. Brilliant.
Play a wide player like AMN in the middle. Against a team thats gonna park the buss.

Jules

@ homer Ainsley prefers to play down the middle and he’s got the chops for it – check the europa league!

Xhaka’s House Keys

Actually wouldn’t mind seeing Willock in the double pivot either… maybe lacks tactical awareness for the role though. I hope they’re coaching that position into him – reckon he could be a beast there.

Hank Scorpio

I think he and AMN should be competing for the spot alongside Partey. Would happily see the back of Ceballos.

Ceballos in for Elneny is a smart move considering WBA will play a 7-3-0 formation.

Daveo

Xhaka against such a formation… Not so smart

Muckamore

Actually think this would be a good game for him. Should be facing the right way most of the time

Jac

What are you talking about, that’s a perfect opponent for Xhaka. His penetrative passing can help break into tightly packed advanced areas, and his lack of mobility and awareness out of possession won’t be such a liability.

David C

Not sure, we might need an Elneny thunder shot to open things up.

rosapirescastle

Time for Auba and Laca to shine.
Worried about pairing them up such is how poorly they played Together of late.

Come on you gunners

Alex

£400 000 and £200 000 per week. Yeah time to shine. Let alone Nicolas 80M € (only the signing…) Pepe on the bench.

Fletcher

All the positives aside, but if Alladyce win today or even drew the match, the club should immediately prize him out of his current contract to save us from relegation..

Anonymarse

Better to be relegated

Henkamp

Wondering if there’s a joke somewhere there.

Martin

Are you really saying you would be happy to see Allardyce as Arsenal manager? 🙈🙈🙈

Aaron

I wouldn’t even trust that man with a loaf of bread, let alone with the Arsenal team..

Xhaka’s House Keys

Before Everyone loses their shot, we’ve played a lot recently, and Martinelli has just come back from a long layoff. We still have the new system (ESM creating central threat), and with Laca dropping deep, Auba should get chances.

My only gripe is Ceballos tbh, think he’s very average and crates a less stable base than Elneny.

Moses

I still think that Ceballos can be a very good player. I agree that this season to date he has been average, but last season post lockdown he was impressive and important.

I am not so invested as he is a loan player, but am still open minded about him making more of a name for himself as he settles into his mid twenties.

Xhaka’s House Keys

Fair point – very much hope he changes my mind (while he’s playing for us).

Raghib

Was hoping for Martinelli to start, but understandable. Willian benched is a great news though, shows that Arteta is maybe finally learning to not keep playing those who don’t give the required output.
Hoping for a win to kick off 2021, COYG!!

Xanat

Arsene really liked some walrus for dinner – let’s see what Mikel likes.

Voldermort

Any team that doesn’t involve willian is good by me.

Baichung Bhutia

Sensible team selection – only concern being how fit Tierney, Saka, Holding are considering the amount of game time they have had. Also we have some options on the bench both in defense and attack which is nice.

BongoGooner

Like the bench as well

Sagebrush

Minus Willian, me too.

Kiran

Only thing I’m a bit iffy about is the Xakha Ceballos Mid axis bit harsh on Elneny considering he’s contributed to last 2 wins. But all in all its what we expected, keeping ESR and Martinelli in starting line up is great as we all had that nagging doubt certain players would waltz back in.

Kiran

My mistake he hasn’t kept Martinelli in at least Willian not starting hope Laca doesn’t drop too deep

Alex

Xhaka + Ceballos worked well under MA… with Özil.

chepetin

COYG. A win puts us above Palace, Wolves, and Leeds

Billy bob

Totally agree with the sentiments about playing AMN over Ceballos or Xhaka

Domi

Would’ve preferred Elneny and AMN axis get a run of games, might come good. Elneny is like a less exciting version of Partey, so why not use him. Ceballos is good on occasion but is not our future with him being on loan (and I’d not want us to make it permanent). AMN surely can’t be happy being overlooked this much, and xhaka is also… Less said the better, I’d like us to move from him. Looks like Mikel wants to make xhaka work, his choice. But big Sam could instruct his players to kick xhaka a bit and call… Read more »

Doey

I’d have liked to have seen AMN in midfield – his energy would have allowed us to play higher without significantly greater risk of being caught on the counter.

Also a bit gutted not to see Balogun – I know he’s been against Europa League teams but he’s looked solid and able to break open defences. Feel like this is the kind of low block, low technical defence where he could have an impact and test himself against PL teams. Struggling to see how we’ll keep a player that’s abjectly 4th in line in a single striker setup.

Twatsloch

Keep Willian on the bench and all will be fine.

Cranky Colin

It’s a real comfort to see Willian is available again🤦‍♂️

SB Still

What a good by Tierney! Awesome like the snow.

SB Still

The 2nd goal, Wenger-ball like. Doubles the awesomeness.

Hope the snow doesn’t play spoil sport, making the ball movement unpredictable.

SB Still

The 3rd goal for insurance. Saka has so quickly become the main player in this team, despite playing in many different positions.

Also, a passionate celebration (almost off camera) by Ceballos.

SB Still

4th was so quick, so I’ve to keep this short 🙂

Bergkamp2Wright

What a beauty!

Take a bow KT!

TotsOfJack

Our best performance in recent memory at risk of being cancelled? Please no.

Domi

Smith Rowe is a beast!

Deano

Fast flowing precise football, really enjoyed that half. Let’s keep it flowing for 90 mins

MojoWillneny

Veteran players my ass…!

Dave

What a difference our young gunners do! ESR has been nothing short of amazing (that one two touches were missing from our play so much), Saka is a gem, and Tierney is just so good. Can’t wait to see Martinelli back in full, and maybe other players feature (Balogun, maybe a bit more of Nelson, tho right now Saka and Martinelli are above him).

This also happens when we dont play Willian or those has beens.

goonerrah

Pepe is a very expensive bench but no way Saka doesn’t start.

Usmanov

Wow. What a first half. Truly satisfying!

Sexy football at times. It got the (Dutch?) commentator on the stream I am on saying all sort things that didn’t make sense like ‘lil wayne’, ‘peaky blinders’. And that Smith-Rowe- Laca moment made the commentator scream like he was having an orgasm

Usmanov

What a difference Smith-Rowe makes.

And the confidence is clearly back as well.

Twatsloch

This is more like it!

Lacaubapepe

But for selfishness Laca could have effectively wrapped up this 3 points with a simple pass to Saka for our 3rd goal just before half time. He needs to learn from ESR!

Surely can't get worse than Wenger, right??

Would’ve liked to see Willian come on for ESR & Pepe for Saka with the game won.

MojoWillneny

This was a great win! Three on the trot and something to believe in now. I hope we don’t hear the nonsense about the quality of the competition since we began this modest run with a win over Chelsea. The next four: Palace, Newcastle, Southampton, and United. We can win them all if we commit to using our best players…meaning our young players. Leno–solid as a rock today Tierney, ESR, Saka–brilliant again. Holding/Mari–both very solid again. Bellerin–very good. Xhaka, Ceballos–also very solid out there today. Lacazette–now adding sharp finishing to his usual hard working shift Auba–the only disappointing performance today;… Read more »