Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Smith Rowe/Saka start, no Odegaard: Arsenal v Slavia Prague team news

Arsenal face Slavia Prague in the Europa League quarter-finals at the Emirates this evening.

Here are the official line-ups.

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric, Xhaka, Partey, Willian, Smith Rowe, Saka, Lacazette

Subs: Ryan, Hein, Ceballos, Aubameyang, Pepe, Mari, Nelson, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli, Azeez, Lopez

Slavia Prague: To follow


Follow the game on the Arseblog live blog

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when will martinelli start?????


I really feel for the lad ! He’s a talent being wasted by Lego heed



Naked Cygan

When we have nothing else to play for.

Bleeding gums murphy

It’s a joke I think. To play Willian ahead of martinelli is poor poor management regardless of result. What happened to the non negotiables. Willian has been shite and last few games has been decent at best. Losing patience with Arteta. He seems out of his depth. But like moyes when he went United.


A season is ending with Willian scoring zero goals. Why did arsenal buy him? Poor buys


When Willian turns 34


Never with Arteta…he values keeping the ball high up the pitch, over the direct threat in behind that Martinelli provides…so it’s clear as day that it’s a preference thing…GM probably has a better chance of starting a game up front than on the wing as long a MA is here.

Baichung Bhutia

Yes, Willian hat-trick incoming. Seriously, I hope we don’t go all conservative and defensive, smash them for 3 or 4 goals.


They haven’t lost a league game all season. I suspect it will be a tough match.

Baichung Bhutia

We have to impose ourselves in the game early on and with a clear plan. If we go in with the mentality of wait and watch, it might end up like the Liverpool game.

Man Manny

The other teams, apart from Sparta Prague, are lower championship level at best in the Czech league.
In other words, they are the Bayern of Czech league.


Yeah and why the hell isn’t Aubameyang upfront? Yet again we play Lacazette, who will no doubt spend most of his time in midfield.
Did nobody send Arteta the memo that they have two CBs out and a teenager in goal? This looks like another poor decision, I hope I’m proved wrong.

Petit's Handbag

He’s played much better than Auba not just recently, but all season. Auba is not on it and Laca is the better central striker overall. Just listen to what the youngster’s have been saying about playing alongside him.


I disagree. Laca is the definition of hot and cold. I’m sure he’s a great chap on the bus home but he offers almost zero threat in the opposition box.
We scored 4 against Leeds with Auba up top, and everything I’ve read leading up to this game paints them as Slavia’s closest analogue.


Agreed. How short are peoples memories?! Laca has gone full games without a shot this season. Now people say ‘Aubameyang’s out of form’. Well wouldn’t you be too if you were a 31 year old striker being asked to track Alexander Arnold back into your own box. I don’t look at Auba here, I look at his management. And it’s been shit.


Sorry, not having that. Laca playing really well lately no doubt but early in the season he was hopeless in quite a lot of games…..

Petit's Handbag

Really wish Lacazette had not finished so badly tonight

Gooner In Canada

Auba is not very good at 95% of the things that a footballer needs to have (e.g. accurate passing, maintaining ball possession, hold up play, bringing others into the play…). Yes, he can score. But when he doesn’t do that, he’s a liability because he offers nothing else. I’m not Laca’s biggest fan but at least he’s a bit more rounded and can offer a bit more than Auba.


If Auba isn’t very good at most things, he should be played up front where his only role is to score, not be asked to play as a wingback.

We signed Auba, we’ve made him captain, we should play him in his best position.

SB Still

Ah the bliss of being a fan.

Hope your predictions comes true. However, I would have preferred that Arteta invested in Martinelli rather than Willian.


Good on Azeez and Lopez to make the bench.

Just shrug


Luke McDermott

nice to see Lopez and Azeez getting involved in the squad – unlikely to be given minutes barring injury or a healthy cushion, but positive nonetheless!

Weng Man

Would think that Arteta would favor Auba’s dynamic movement in the box against inexperienced CBs… I have no clue who scores goals in this lineup.


Willian. Obviously.


Good ol` Willian it is then. Infront of Martinelli and Pepe, while shake Gabriel instead of calm Mari.

You give bumber contract to Auba and then bench him when you need goals.

Mikel’s project mayhem continues.


He’s lost the plot.


How water carriers like Willian and nearly out of contract players like Laca continue to get a game is beyond me. This is arguably our most important match so far this season. Annoying to watch Martinelli rot on the bench and Auba and Pepe get further and further out of form. I don’t get it.

Partey in the back

Why is Ceballos even on the bench? Can’t we go ahead and send him back to Madrid now? We don’t want Arteta to even consider playing him.


Bit harsh. He’s out of form, yes, but he was very instrumental in our FA cup win and finish last season. In the long list of Arsenal CM flops he barely makes a footnote. Let him be.


Your comment is an indication of why Arsenal is currently a mid table team. “Acceptance and tolerance of mediocrity”

One nil to the Arsenal

I’d pick ceballos over xhaka every time


Is this match gonna be when the wheels come off for Arse season? Thanks god we have kids back in the team, so some hope remains. Without Saka and ESR we’d be hopeless. Auba benched for the most important match so far… and rightly so. Bring on Martinelli!


The wheels came off back in November!


I thought the season started before that.

Vincent Ives

I barely remember the wheels


I’ve a bit of a bad feeling about this one, hope I’m wrong.






Hate what Arteta is doing to Aubameyang. Hope for his sake this power play doesn’t backfire

Mick Malthouse

Aubameyang has been shit and doesn’t deserve to start. The problem is Willian has been even worse and is gifted a starting role.


His mom was sick n his form understandably dipped. He looked like the old Auba was back when he was played at cf. Then Arteta put him back on the wing and he looks bad again.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Xhaka? Willian? Ahahahahaha.


But no Luiz. One step forward and all that.

Man Manny

Auba’s call is the right one, but should have been Martinelli for Willian!
Arteta’s stubborness will put him back in the job market…someday..


At first I thought it was strange to see Willian on the left instead of Pepe [or Martinelli], but then I had the scary thought…he’s not gonna try Willian at #10 again, is he?? ESR was at LW with Odegaard 10, I really hope we’re not going to try to believe Willian can take Odegaard’s spot. Interesting to see Cedric instead of Saka, hope it works. Could see Saka move back there and Pepe coming on up front if we need more offense in the second half. A little concerned about Bellerin defensively given the opposition previews that have run… Read more »


I said it months ago that lego-hair is very poor when it comes to player management. He is destroying this kid Martinelli, like what must the kid do to start???

Man Manny

I am beginning to think Mikel Arteta’s inexperience is beginning to tell on the team.
I wish we had a board that is better than a piece of wood.


Dont know where the goals are going to come from. Maybe Pepe off the bench?


Nailed it


Most assists this season in a handful of games eh?

Glenn Gomes

Where’s Chambers? Injured?


I have this funny feeling Willian will win us the game.

I also can’t think straight when I’m hungry, so …


I thought he would start Mari instead of Gabriel, he had a bad game against Liverpool


Aubameyang rightly dropped, if Martinelli or a Kentish get on ahead of him, then we could have another Ozil situation on our hands

Willian to break his duck tonight, hopefully we get the clean sheet as well


I like our GK, our defense, and our midfield.

The forward line is pretty bad, though.


Hope the academy kids Saka and Smith Rowe show the old guard what it means to play for the badge. Guys like Auba have what it takes but, of late, their heart isnt in it at all. Whatever the result, its better to play the guys who care even if they may be inexperienced or less talented than these high earning prima donas


Hope Laca is brilliant tonight but have to question why Auba isn’t starting up top. We need to score goals and he is our best goal scorer. What gives Mikel?

Once a gunner

This team are very good I remember their meeting with Barcelona it was tough for barca, we should be careful today but we can pull it through coyg

Lord Bendnter

Who the heck is Hein?


Arteta copied Roberto Martinez football rather than Pep or Arsene


Willian over auba???


No, no, it’s Cedric over Auba.

Remember Liverpool? Auba’s a left back now.


I wonder where the goal will come from tonight. All forward players seem to be support attack but there is no attacker.


*supporting attack but no attacker

Public Elneny

Christ we’re dull


Aubameyang has been a dud this season. Personally I believe he’ll end up costing us the Europa league this season.


Wow, what a high-octane performance.

Great idea selecting Willian and Lacazette.

Billy bob

Auba, Pepe and Martinelli on the bench!!! Really?!?!?!

Billy bob

Dire performance which IF we somehow get through to the semi final means at least two more torturous games to endure!! Can the season just end!!!


rgat’s why we shouldnt renew laca deal


70 mins and still no change up front..absolute joke.

SB Still

Another 15 mins to go but it doesn’t feel like we are going to score anytime soon!


that’s why auba is ozil 2.0


Embarrassing team selection. Just pure amateur.


How does Pepe not start? Generally a great finisher, creates changes. He’s not the finished article but he does so much more than some others.


What Laca couldn’t do under zero pressure, Pepe did!
I still like Laca though…😁😁😁


Guess what? When you put the good offensive players on, they’re going to create chances and score!

Did it seriously take Lego Hair 78 minutes to figure that out?

Fucking hell, what a way to self-inflict a shit performance.


As if…

Billy bob

With that equaliser Slavia have got to be favourites to go through to the semis!! Arteta brought this on himself with that line up and making those changes SO late in the game!!!


can he be sacked yet?


How is this is fault?????!!!!!




The team didn’t play well considering the resources he’s got at his disposal. Simple as that. Also waiting until the 70odd minute for subs??? His fault.


How is it not?

Everybody and their mother could see it wasn’t working by half-time, yet he waits to make his first change until the 73rd minute?

Only puts Pepe and Aubameyang on in minute 78?

Fuck off.

He might be hot shit on the training ground, but if he can’t make changes in-game, he shouldn’t be a manager.


Selection and shouting at Leno yo hurry up , after we scored, if you are 1 nil up at home with 3 minutes to go take the clean sheet into the second leg.


I’ve tried to be optimistic about Arteta but watching from afar the team doesn’t have any creative zing – it’s as if the team is waiting for Arteta to bark out what they need to do rather than taking their own initiative. What an awful game and a discouraging result. Slavia Prague didn’t do much to impress. We did less.


Arteta out! It’s time to go. This game set up and horrible team selection is on him 100%. We can point Laca misses and Willian lack of everything but at the end of the day Arteta keeps playing these players. Players not loyal to the club or shirt but loyal to him. Time to go.


Screwed the pooch in OT


Frozen again

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