Will Mesut Be On The Plane To Ukraine?

With the North London Derby on Sunday in mind, thoughts on the possible Arsenal line-up v Vorskla

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Unai Emery has certainly fielded weakened sides in the Europa League so far this season, and with ten points from four matches, it is a policy that has worked. Usually there is a strong bench, but with qualification from the group secured, and more important fish to fry back home, the prediction is that the bench will be stuffed with youths on Thursday evening.

The trip to the stadium where the match against Vorskla will be played involves not only a long flight to Ukraine, but apparently a fairly long road journey from the airport.

So let’s imagine that Emery will field four at the back against Spurs for the sake of argument, and let’s predict that the starting eleven will be:
Bellerin – Mustafi – Holding - Kolasinac
Torreira - Xhaka
Mkhitaryan – Iwobi - Aubameyang

So if Emery decided to leave those eleven players back in England to save them the fatigue of the trip for the Europa League game, he could field the following line-up against Vorskla:
Jenkinson – Sokratis – Pleguezuelo – Maitland-Niles
Guendouzi - Elneny
Smith Rowe – Ramsey - Ozil

There would certainly be players with something to prove in that eleven, and picking up even a point would be seen as a bonus, as with a home match v Qarabag to come, Arsenal should still top the group thanks to their results against Sporting.

This assumes that Lichtsteiner is not fit to return, but should he be, there is the option of moving Maitland-Niles into midfield and leaving perhaps Ozil at home (although given what the club are paying the number 10, one suspects that he will be taken on this trip on a point of principle, unless Emery is thinking of starting him in the derby three days later).

We wouldn’t want to be mischievous, but if the club have decided that the departure of Ozil would help them financially over the next two and a half years, making him fulfil his contractual obligations might just persuade him that, for his reputation alone, he might consider taking a wage cut and accepting a move to be the main man once again elsewhere. How much use a sometimes brilliant, but inconsistent performer is to Unai Emery is one for debate.

It will be interesting to see who does board the plane tomorrow, but there seems a very good chance that this will be the Gunners’ weakest Europa League line-up so far this season.

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  1. mbg

    Nov 28, 2018, 22:57 #112584

    Bard, good post i to believe this regime will get it right and i think another cull is on the cards and indeed needed, and although none of us like it your right this is our level now, thanks to you know who and that makes it worse, i too expect us to be in this comp for a few years to come and i'd imagine all realistic fans do too.

  2. Bard

    Nov 28, 2018, 19:15 #112583

    After a decade or more of stagnation and decline, Im loathed to write off the new regime just yet. It obvious that we are carrying some underachievers/overpaid players. Dick is giving them all a chance to step up but the cull will come sooner or later. Ozil needs to reinvent himself or move on. You cant have a a £350thou per week player sitting on the bench because he doesnt want to put in a serious shift. Mikky needs to up his game or he will be gone. The interesting thing for me is whether Dick will do it gradually or all in one go. This depends, I imagine, on whether he has the time or the replacements. I know you dont like the Ropey cup mbg but I suspect we might have a season or two at this level until he gets the players he wants.

  3. mbg

    Nov 28, 2018, 16:24 #112582

    So as well as the game been moved, it's now under threat to even go ahead, even after all this travelling to second and third rate teams and getting home at ungodly hours with much more important games coming up. This is what happens when you get stuck playing Thursday nights C 5 , thanks wenger.

  4. John F

    Nov 28, 2018, 12:13 #112581

    Due to lack of investment I wouldn't be surprised if the 2020 team looked like this.New cheap right back or Bellerin,Holding,Mavropanos, New cheap left back,Leno.Nelson,Torreira,Guendouzi,New winger,Smith Rowe,Lacazette.Subs or playing Maitland Niles,pleguezuelo,Nketiah.

  5. The Man From UNCLE

    Nov 28, 2018, 10:36 #112580

    One has to smile at the talk about Wenger looking for a "consultancy" role. If that means consulting on how to compile a massive bank balance whilst watching a football team disintegrate it will be right up his street. Presumably defending doesn't come into the equation.

  6. mbg

    Nov 28, 2018, 00:12 #112579

    One thing was for damm sure mate wengers own contract wasn't all over the place, and neither is his bank account where ever TOF is hiding now.

  7. markymark

    Nov 27, 2018, 19:37 #112578

    As I’ve said before due to the disaster of holding money in reserve previously we’ve probably missed out on 60-70m of asset growth simply by not buying players. Sanhelli has also made a very obvious statement about our contracts being all Over the place . The potential to gain asset growth will take at least 3 seasons I reckon . But..... and it’s a big but stuff from the left field might happen and I’m thinking of the potential storm brewing for Chelsea and City. I would dismiss this only for the fact that both Bayern and Real are pushing the agenda so it could spell trouble for the Premier pair. Meanwhile Grimandi has gone which has got to be good news and Mstinlat and Sanhelli can work their contact list. I’d also take a look at the Dutch national side as they are hot right now.

  8. Bard

    Nov 27, 2018, 19:29 #112577

    Couldnt agree more John F. We are weak in a number of positions. No left back, ( Monreal needs replacing) no decent CBs,( a bit harsh on Holding) and an unbalanced midfield. Dick has done wonders to keep us up there. The real state of Arsenal will be seen in the transfer windows. Even mediocre replacements cost a fortune. Ones suspects we will buy young players with potential and hope Dick can coach them to greatness. Under Wenger I had almost forgotten that managers are supposed to coach

  9. mbg

    Nov 27, 2018, 17:22 #112576

    I hope not when the wee nice boy softie has to wear gloves in England and can't hack it, he's hardly going to do much good in Ukraine with the temp at - 10, no the nice boy will have the cold or a convenient injury that's if Unai doesn't tell the truth again and just say he's not up to the job.

  10. John F

    Nov 27, 2018, 15:47 #112575

    Looking at the team you picked for the Spuds game made me realize just what a good job Dic k is doing getting results with the players he has at his disposal.A team unbalanced,with little width and containing a few players who would not get in any of the other top six sides.Ozil is very talented but often takes his annual leave during matches,perhaps Dick is trying a different psychological approach to shake him out of his deckchair by trying to get him angry about being dropped.We will need an angry motivated Ozil to turn up on Sunday otherwise it is going to struggle.