Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Xhaka starts at left-back: Arsenal v Brighton team news

Arsenal face Brighton today in the Premier League, looking to bounce back from Monday night’s defeat to Crystal Palace.

Here are the official line-ups.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Cedric, White, Gabriel, Xhaka, Lokonga, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Martinelli, Lacazette

Subs: Leno, Holding, Tavares, Ogungbo, Swanson, Elneny, Hutchinson, Pepe, Nketiah

Brighton: Sanchez, Cucurella, Dunk, Bissouma, MacAllister, Trossard, Mwepu, Gross, Welbeck, Caicedo, Veltman

Subs: Steele, Lamptey, Webster, Maupay, Lallana, Alzate, March, Offiah, Sarmiento

Follow the game on the Arseblog live blog

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Xhaka at LB was EXACTLY teh thing I was hoping again. Tavares or Cedric would be much better. Xhaka will be slow in trackign back. The reason he’s been good for the last while is because he’s been playing in an advanced role. How many minutes in will it be till an attacker gets around him and he does a yellow-card foul that gets punished with a red???


I meant hoping against.


Emil, on the other hand, the Boss managed to squeeze ESR, Martinelli, Saka, and Odi into the line-up. I like that. If Martinelli helps out Xhaka (which he will), we could be ok. Brighton are not 1970 Brazil. We win 2-1. And MUFC are losing to Brighton! My glass is more than half full and it’s still early in the morning!


It’s a real ying and yang format. We finally get to see a front five of ESR, Saka, MO, Laca, Martinelli. But we then have Xhaka at LB to enable it. A necessary evil to unleash the attacking beast?


Brighton are playing twice?!


…admire their stamina

Billy bob

MUFC are losing to Everton not Brighton lol so I’d say you’ve down a few?


It is always possible that Saka is left back…unlikely I grant you, but possible.


Looking forward to seeing Sambi. COYG!


Xhaka at left back is a big mistake by Arteta. Pulling him out of midfield is not the move. We need to anchor that critical part of the pitch with his experience. Very concerning. Please guys prove me to be wrong on this one. COYG


I share the same sentiment. Why not put him alongside Sambi in midfield and find a way to make him protect Nuno defensively. I hope Brighton have a terrible game, otherwise we could get run over in that middle of the pitch.

Mesut Ø’Neill


White Holding Gabi
Saka Sambi Xhaka Martinelli

Mesut Ø’Neill

Or 3-4-2-1 more accurately


Much more of a 4-2-3-1 with Ode and Sambi double pivot and ESR at 10


Pack it in, top 4 done, Xhaka left back till the end of the season? We’re doomed

Baron the pit

Arsenal’s future fab four..


I will never understand Xhaka at LB. It screws up the midfield, neutralizes Odegaard a bit, and shows Tavares that you don’t even have confidence in him at home vs a lesser opponent.


I hope misplaced faith in Xhaka won’t be the unmaking of yet another Arsenal manager


Was really hoping Tavares would get a chance to redeem himself, the lack of trust could be very bad for his confidence.


I really didn’t think he was bad against Palace at all. At least he was helpign move the ball forward. Oodegard and Partey lost hte ball a lot more, and Gabriel was more involved in their two goals than Tavares was…


What was bad for Tavares’ confidence was leaving him on at Old Trafford and Anfield when he was having a disastrous game on both occasions. He has never recovered imo
If Arteta had hauled him off early in those 2 games, I don’t think we would be in this mess.

Jean Ralphio

Maybe he’s plan b to help manage the pressure on him because he’s one mistake away from losing a lot of confidence. Not saying I agree with him being on the bench, just a theory

Viju Jacob

Arteta’s Xhaka fixation must end, for the good of our team.


I’d have no problem with that fixation at this point (considering we have three senior midfielders currently available). I do have a problem he’s not channeling that fixation into the right area of the pitch.

Mayor McCheese

Literally nobody was saying this when Xhaka was playing centrally in a more advanced role this season. If you mean Xhaka at LB, though, I get it.


Xhaka at LB ??… why not I suppose, after all it was such a roaring success last time (sic).

David C

Oh boy we need to score first. That’s a lot of attacking talent out there. Xhaka at LB weakens LB and our mid….


A little concerned about Xhaka at left-back but I appreciate there’s not many other options. The centre midfield area is also a little worrying.

Come on Arsenal! Let’s smash them.


Is it Xhaka at LB though ? Looking at that line up, looks like it could be Saka to me ?


Would prefer that to Xhaka at LB but neither are the best choice IMO.


Arteta never learns with this Xhaka at left back nonsense ; and destroying Tavares confidence to boot.


It’s the hope that kills you.


What a test for Sambi…very big boots to fill


Disappointed with Tavares not getting a chance to redeem himself and boost his confidence against a struggling Brighton side. Also, don’t understand Laca’s constant inclusion when he offers so little.


I agree on Laca. Not sure Tavares is ready just yet.


Human beings are so insatiable, put in Taveres and we lose I believe people will come out here later to complain why Arteta started him knowing that he’s struggling with confidence. Na wa o


Just came here to say…fuck sake! COYG anyway 😏


Don’t make sense Xhaka at lb…must be a back 3 no? Martinelli lwb, Xhaka lcb or Saka and Martinelli wb’s, Xhaka and Lokonga double pivot and Ode Esr each side of Laca

Lord Bendnter

Good decision. I support bringing on Tavares as a sub later on


Gutted for Nuno, would love to see him given a start today and begin building his confidence. Xhaka at LB won’t be good against Chelsea or Spurs. Oh well, COYG!

Man Manny

Arteta at it again! Tavares could use this game to redeem himself; if he doesn’t play here, which other match does he play?
Xhaka will play there even at Soton.
Arteta is banking on Tomiyasu to return after then and Cedric will go left.
That is Tavares’ season over.
Let’s hope Arsenal can go 3 up with about 25 minutes still to go, so Tavares can replace ESR and Xhaka moves into the midfield.
That is his only hope.


We are now three up.


Bad, bad move to play Xhaka and not Nuno. Besides, Xhaka didn’t work out this time last season.


If we drop points today, kiss top-4 goodbye


Arteta knows the team better than us but I feel playing Xhaka at left back and not in midfield leaves the team unbalanced.


…we are not lined up to maximise our strength, rather to compensate for our weakness😕


This will be an easy win. CoYG. You can do it!!!

Chris L

Very worrying the boss doesn’t learn from his mistakes, I understand ‘needs must’ sometimes, but if we don’t have someone at the club more suited to the LB position, then the squad is even more threadbare than first thought & the boss struggles to ‘think out of the box’ – you only had to see how easy Zaha passed Xhaka near the touchline / halfway line in the 2nd against Palace to know that he’s not got the ‘skill set’ for that position (tried ‘tackling’ Zaha with both hands!) – ’round pegs, square holes’ springs to mind……


Guys it’s Saka at LB, with ESR in front of him on the left to make for a devastating left channel. Martinelli on the right. Minimum disruption.


What could Laca do to get dropped? Cuz goddamnit, he’s trying!


I’d have sooner gone to a back 5 to give Tavares more support than this… Hoping my dread is misplaced…

Public Elneny

Even if we get away with Xhaka at LB against Brighton, Tierney’s out for the rest of the season. And if this is the plan, he won’t stand a chance against Spurs, Chelsea, West Ham, Man U
We should switch to a back 3, making Tavares and Saka viable options at wing back
It’s crazy to move your slowest player to LB where, more than any other attribute, pace is vital. Especially as our RB isn’t exactly blessed with it either

Bleeding gums murphy

It’s on Arteta this one. Poor poor management

Yankee Gooner

Maybe this is some “the best defense is a good offense” strategizing–keep the ball in Brighton’s end and even Inanimate Carbon Rod could do a job at LB.


Actually don’t think it’s too bad a call as long as it’s a one off. Disaster Vs palace so spotlight on lb. Xhaka can handle that pressure and hopefully this will steady the ship


Fifteen minutes in and it’s a lot of nothing. Disappointed with the lack of drive and urgency from the boys so far.
Let’s pick it up boys!!!

Bleeding gums murphy

The bottle has well and truly gone.

Bleeding gums murphy

Xhaka 😂😂😂 imagine playing a sloth at left back.


It was not Xhaka’s mistake I think.


Shit, they could not find out whether it was offside or not, and concluded it is!


In terms of trying to regain momentum and inspire the fight required to stay in the top 4 race this lineup is uninspired, for me.


Sadly it just looks like they have no interest again today ! Not one spark to light the fans hopes at all so far Is this the process ???


If we don’t win this you can forget about Europe completely…
And they are losing to a team who has only scored one goal in their last seven games….


Another shit performance


VAR working for Arsenal as always.
I don’t know why I am even fucking disappointed…


I know we’ve been shit but the referees association has gone way too far now. Fuck it all.


VAR ??? Explain it to me ? Anyone ??? Please !!!


Bloody VAR.. How can the goal be ruled offside.. Brighton keeper’s leg clearly over Martinelli’ elbow


Outfield players only for offside


Arteta is really taking the piss today. Bringing on Nketiah ahead of Pepe???!!! Head scratching


With the whole team passing so badly, Pepe looks like the best option.


An early end to chase for top 4


Indeed we knew it when we learned that tierney and partey were out


This is the game that’ll cost Arteta his job. Over thinking & complicating a simple game. If we can’t beat Brighton at home, irrespective of who is available, then we don’t have business in the top 6!


We wont be in top 6 no worries


And he wont get sacked


If we fail to qualify then there is no evidence to suggest it is worth keeping him in post as the board have made it clear that qualification for the champions league is the barometer for his performances to be judged on.
But Arsenal find it easier to persist with people who cannot deliver, therefore I just see this same pattern of inconsistency and gutless performances persisting for a long time to come…
Just waiting for the standard red card to be issued…
I am sure it will come…


I can’t see any complication. We have almost done nothing on the pitch.


Maybe Arteta’s fanbois can chime in here?


That is it.
With Spurs, Chelsea and West Ham away and us now down 2-0 to the team who could only score one goal in the last seven matches.
Season over for me.
Done and DUSTED.
He should have strengthened in January.
But he didn’t and here we are.
What a gutless performance.
If we don’t qualify again I hope he leaves…


And then a new coach requires another three years to build his process.

Public Elneny

Not every manager needs three years to build anything ffs, where has this line of thought come from?


We wont qualify


Now can the arteta dreamers come back to reality to how average he is. He is just average backed with money.
He is a good coach, not manager. Yes discipline is good for a base, but to get to top 4 he needs to understand tactics and adjusting to the game, which he cant.


I get it mate. Tacitcs are a bit wonky today, subs too. But man, where the f… are our players?!


Anyone else was a better option than Laca. I reckon Leno would be more useful in that spot than Laca. Shit.


The January window?
Understanding how thin we were up front?
That we had a good change of top four?
And he did nothing?
Lacazette is not the best I grant you but he is far less destructive than poor management decisions…
Eighteen first team squad players is disgraceful…


Good transfers in January are hard make. I’d rather wait until July than doing some shitty business which would bring heavy criticism.

I’m all in for a bashing were its deserved…


Not getting rid of your only real striker for a bullshit reason is not particularly hard.


The manager is to blame.
It was his tactics.
Playing a centre midfielder as left back caused the problem to begin with.
Tavarez has to learn some time otherwise what is the point of signing him?
And it just shows how small this squad of players is that we lose one left back and one central midfielder and the team falls apart.
All down to the manager…


I agree with playing Xhaka at LB. But for 85mins, there was no intent or intensity whatsoever from the players. Shitty day, everyone effed up…

Malaysian gunner

Arsenalnever looked like scoring.
Ma still persists in tdying to weave a way through a packed defence.It wont work.
Actually it would be better not qualify for 4th.The y would be the whipping boys other than for the


Xaka at LB Cannot work – how many times now? The moment he got moved to his midfield we started putting pressure. If you’re unsure about Nuno then put white- holding- Gabriel as 3 in the back and take your chances with midfield combinations knowing you have solid defence. Time to sit Laca- I’m sorry I have no faith in him. Nketiah has done more in this game than Laca has in past 3 games. Time for him to be 1st team. Not ideal but I’m tired of Laca flapping his hands around. Nowhere to hide now. You gotta attack.… Read more »

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x