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Lens v Arsenal: the match preview; the team; comments as the season starts

By Bulldog Drummond

I made an attempt a week or two back at predicting who we might have in the team at this stage, and got suitably hammered for my efforts, partly in terms of team layout (suggesting Granit X was more than just a defensive midfielder) and partly for personnel (I left out Santi Caz because I don’t know where he is).

Arsenal,com have a list of players who might take part, which is presumably accurate

  • Per Mertesacker,
  • Theo Walcott,
  • Mohamed Elneny,
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • Jeff Reine-Adelaide

So no Santi there either.  But who else is around?

Goal: Emiliano Martinez has been added to the first team squad, and is the only one not to have played in the summer’s two main tournaments.

Defence: Gibbs, Holding, Monreal, Chambers.  I am not sure about Jenkinson

Midfield: Santi Cazorla – I guess he is ok and part of the gang today.  Plus Coquelin

Attack: Iwobi, Sanogo, Akpom, Gnabry.  Gnabry is the odd one who had that weird waste of time in WBA and came back and vanished again on the night of the under 21 play off game.

So that gives us (combining Arsenal’s highlighted list and those I am working out)

  • Goalkeepers: 1
  • Defenders: 5 maybe 6 if Jenkinson is ok
  • Midfield: 3 (Santi, Elneny, Coquelin)
  • Attack: 7.

So the attack looks bountiful: Iwobi, Sanogo, Akpom, Gnabry, Theo, Ox, Jeff.

Trying to pick youngsters to fit into this group, and recognising that the team will change at half time, is a bit tough.  But I would go for Matt Macey in goal, Julio Pleguezuelo in defence, Krystian Bielik in midfield, Christopher Willock as a forward.

That gives us a squad of 20, which it just about enough to keep going.  Here is the line up from the Independent web site

Martinez;

Chambers, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal;

Elneny, Coquelin;

Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Walcott;

Akpom..

No Santi Caz there.  What is going on?   The Evening Standard has an article with the headline including “team news” but they don’t put up a team.

So on the Lens…  Here is last season’s top 10 from the second division in France.  The top three were promoted to the 1st division at the end.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Nancy 38 21 11 6 60 32 +28 74
2 Dijon 38 20 10 8 62 36 +26 70
3 Metz 38 19 8 11 54 39 +15 65
4 Le Havre 38 19 8 11 52 37 +15 65
5 Red Star 38 18 10 10 43 38 +5 64
6 Lens 38 15 13 10 39 35 +4 58
7 Clermont 38 16 10 12 56 53 +3 58
8 Auxerre 38 15 10 13 47 46 +1 55
9 Tours 38 11 14 13 36 41 −5 47
10 Brest 38 12 11 15 33 41 −8 47

Not the best of goal scorers by the looks of things.  But there is a bit of history there.

Lens were promoted to the first division on the final day of the season in 2014.  But then the League’s National Directorate of Management Control (DNCG) found irregularities in the club’s proposed budget for its next season. The issue was a €10 million payment due from a shareholder that was missing from the accounts.

Lens president claimed a public holiday in the donor’s native Azerbaijan had resulted in the delay and said the club would appeal. By 15 July the missing money had still not shown up.  Further appeals meant that the club was able to play in the top division but…

It was announced on 29 January 2015 that Lens’ promotion from Ligue 2 at the end of the 2013–14 season had been properly ruled invalid, and they would thus be automatically relegated to Ligue 2 for the 2015–16 season, regardless of where the team places. Thus, in August 2015 Lens returned to Ligue 2.

They play at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.   The stadium’s capacity is 41,229 all seated – about 4,000 more than the city’s population.  The manager is Alain Casanova who previously managed Toulouse.

I am still struggling to find out any more about Arsenal’s team for today, so please chip in.  If I find more I will update.

Update: IB Times says

There has been a distinct lack of Santi Cazorla in training pictures released by Arsenal over the last week, despite the Spaniard revealing via Twitter on 4 July that he was back in training. His name was also omitted from the shortlist of first-team players listed as travelling on Arsenal’s official website. With his participation in doubt, Coquelin could feature.

IB also says

Gedion Zelalem, Ben Sheaf, Marcus McGuane and Krystian Bielik are among the other Arsenal hopefuls pictured in training this week who could make the trip. Joel Campbell, who recently underlined his intention to fight for a first-team role in north London, could also make the trip withYaya Sanogo and Chuba Akpom also back at the club.

Untold Arsenal of course has its man on the spot – Walter is at the match (as long as the tickets turned up in the post) and he’ll be giving us the usual run down on the game from inside the stadium tomorrow.

Actual team as on Arsenal.com

Martinez,

Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal,

Elneny, Coquelin,

Walcott, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide,

Akpom

On the beach: Macey, Gibbs, Bielik, Zelalem, Campbell, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Willock, Gnabry

 

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27 comments to Lens v Arsenal: the match preview; the team; comments as the season starts

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I’m not sure about Chambers at right back. Debuchy has played a full part in training so far and I suspect he will probably start. Santi hasn’t appeared in any of the training photos so far – he has tweeted a picture in the gym so I suspect he has some form of minor ‘twang’. Unlikely to appear imo.

    I also think it likely that Zelalem will play a part in the playmaker role. We should see soon

    Don’t forget that the game is being shown live on Arsenal player – free to all members including digital. You still have time to take out a FREE digital membership if you haven’t already done so

    COYG

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Team

    Martinez, Debuchy, Mert, Chambers, Monreal, Elneny, Coquelin, Walcott, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide and Akpom

    Subs – Macey, Gibbs, Bielik, Zelalem, Campbell, Ox, Chris Willock, Gnabry

    COYG

  • Gord

    Looking at a host of news outlets on the Internet (not Google News), the absolutely latest information on Santi Cazorla is this article. 🙂 Other than that, I am drawing a huge blank.

    COYG!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    OT- many dead in Munich shopping Mall apparently…people still hiding in shops…nothings too clear yet.

  • Andy Mack

    Jeorge Bird says Santi and Jenks are injured.
    Hopefully Santi will be back soon.

  • Yes I think Jenkinson is still undergoing his recovery from the op. Alexis is also injured – although he wouldn’t have been back at this game anyway.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Thanks Andrew for the information. I am already a registered Arsenal digital member at arsenal.com for some years.

    Bulldog, while am nor in dispute on your likely Arsenal lineup tonight against Leon in a 1st Gunners friendly match in prelude to the new coming season, and also your general takes on the Arsenal squad. However, I want to let you know that the list for the 30 Arsenal 2016/17 senior squad players are out on the arsenal.com as follows
    :
    Wojciech Szczesny
    David Ospina
    Emiliano Martinez
    Petr Cech

    Mathieu Debuchy
    Kieran Gibbs
    Per Mertesacker
    Gabriel
    Laurent Koscielny
    Rob Holding
    Calum Chambers
    Macho Monreal
    Carl Jenkinson

    Aaron Ramsey
    Jack Wilshere
    Mesut Ozil
    Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
    Santi Cazorla
    Granit Xhaka
    Francis Coquelin
    Mohammed Elneny

    Alexis Sanchez
    Olivier Giroud
    Theo Walcott
    Alex Iwobi
    Yaya Sango
    Danny Welbeck
    Serge Gnabry
    Joel Campbell
    Chuba Akpom.

    Takuma Asano is apparently missing on that list. And I believe this 30 senior team players must be reduced to 25 or less than that before they are registered with the FA as we all know.

    But who are the likely 5 senior Gunners out of the 31 who are going to be loaned out? Let me make a guess as below:

    Szczesny
    Sanogo
    Gnabry
    Jenkinson
    Martinez

  • Oh my God, Walter was just on ARsenal TV walking down the steps in the ground

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Just seen WALTER and Carine in the crowd. Looking good!

    COYG

  • I just texted Walter to let him know that his film and TV career is continuing.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Thanks Andrew for the information. I am already a registered Arsenal digital member at arsenal.com for some years.

    Bulldog, while am nor in dispute on your likely Arsenal lineup tonight against Lens in a 1st Gunners friendly match in prelude to the new coming season, and also your general takes on the Arsenal squad. However, I want to let you know that the list for the 30 Arsenal 2016/17 senior squad players are out on the arsenal.com as follows
    :
    Wojciech Szczesny
    David Ospina
    Emiliano Martinez
    Petr Cech

    Mathieu Debuchy
    Kieran Gibbs
    Per Mertesacker
    Gabriel
    Laurent Koscielny
    Rob Holding
    Calum Chambers
    Macho Monreal
    Carl Jenkinson

    Aaron Ramsey
    Jack Wilshere
    Mesut Ozil
    Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
    Santi Cazorla
    Granit Xhaka
    Francis Coquelin
    Mohammed Elneny

    Alexis Sanchez
    Olivier Giroud
    Theo Walcott
    Alex Iwobi
    Yaya Sango
    Danny Welbeck
    Serge Gnabry
    Joel Campbell
    Chuba Akpom.

    Takuma Asano is apparently missing on that list. And I believe this 30 senior team players must be reduced to 25 or less than that before they are registered with the FA as we all know.

    But who are the likely 5 senior Gunners out of the 30 who are going to be loaned out? Let me make a guess as below:

    Szczesny
    Sanogo
    Gnabry
    Jenkinson
    Martinez

  • Gnabry is on the bench tonight, Martinez playing.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Fairly quiet first quarter. We are not yet on the same wavelength.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Chambers looking solid so far

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Why did I say anything! Curse of the commentator.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The Lens defender Ba is a big lad isn’t he.

  • 1-0 at half time. Lens just one week away from the start of their season and we’re just starting and it shows.

  • Walter has just texted me back noting his “world famous” status. I think this is going to be quite a season for Untold correspondents. If Arsenal can just match us we’ll be doing fine.

  • I’m already world famous.

  • Gnabry, Gibbs, the Ox, Bielik all on.

  • Campbell also on. Macey in goal.

  • Zelalem and Willock on

    Coquelin, Mert and Chambers the 3 players who play the 90 minutes

  • 1-1 Brilliant goal by the Ox Great play by Gnabry

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Thank God. Arsenal have managed to hold Lens to a 1-1 draw game. It wouldn’t have been good to see Arsenal wearing their new kits for the 1st time and get beaten.

    I was watching the match on arsenal.com using mobile data on my phone as I am not on WiFi. But at 25 minute into the match, I got an alert from my Etisalat network sever warning me that my data is down to 100MB from the 400MB I had on my phone before I login to start watching the match. Hence, I disconnected my phone from the internet to enable me to browse with my remaining data for sometimes before I can buy another mobile data again if money permitted me.

  • Mick

    I see the Daily Mirror is straight in with the ‘5 things we learned’ bullshit type article after tonights game. I don’t know what we are supposed to have learned, I couldn’t be bothered to read it.