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Arsenal v Swansea: the Untold match preview, and teams and a do-it-yourself team selector

By Bulldog Drummond

And so off we go again after another unwelcome interruption.   And once again the press are struggling to find something negative to say about us.   Here’s the Guardian’s latest attempt

Four consecutive clean sheets leading up to the international break suggests that defensively Arsenal have found an encouraging solid platform, based upon the growing rapport between the excellent Laurent Koscielny and the determined newcomer Shkodran Mustafi, with Héctor Bellerín and Nacho Monreal so reliable on either side. But in the spirit of old habits dying hard it is not difficult to imagine fragility at the back haunting them in a pressurised game. An injury in a now settled back four could bring complications.

Or try this from the Daily Mail where the question was put to various reporters, “Are Arsenal flattering to deceive again?”

BARLOW: No, they are stronger and tougher than they have been in a decade. Arsene Wenger has finally abandoned the flawed ‘Project Youth’ and combined the best of his young players like Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi with more experience and knowhow. They remain flimsy at the back but have greater presence and more fighters in midfield and still have quality up front, despite the old complaint about no world-class centre forward.

That one from Barlow is particularly unreasonable, in that “project youth” was the club’s way of paying off the stadium debt and surviving in the top four.  And indeed in surviving the stadium move.  Just look at any of the Untold reports on what happens to clubs when they move stadia.  They get relegated.   Arsenal is the one gleaming exception.

WHEELER: What did you expect? They will look like challengers then look like chumps, albeit chumps playing very nice football. And just when we think Arsenal will miss out on the Champions League, they’ll sneak into the top four while someone else is celebrating winning the title. It’s deja vu, as Wenger might say.

Except Mr Wenger doesn’t.  What he actually said was

“I must say that the negativity comes very quickly – it is a virus that travels very quickly and goes very slowly,” said Wenger. “I believe our fans are behind us. It is strange because in 2016 how many [Premier League] games have we lost away from home? One at Man United. When you listen to people you’d never believe it. So we have to perform.

“You focus on what is important for you and what can help you and accept the assessment of people around you.  Fans are part of our game and they have the right to be happy, not to be happy. My job is to focus on my work and trying to make them happy.

“I believe at the moment the vibes are positive. We have reduced the distance to the top teams. We have to continue to get to the next level. We can only think we have to create a positive environment and to do that we have to perform. The rest we have to ignore.”

And before we come to the team, I am going to give a plug for the Telegraph.  I criticise them a lot, but they have introduced a new do-it-yourself team selector.  If you visit their preview today and scroll down you’ll find it – just scroll through the article.  You choose the format (4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 or whatever) and then slide in the players from a panel on the right.  They’ve even listed some of our lesser known youngsters.  Great fun.

I don’t have such technology, so here’s my approach.  We know the goalkeeper and the defence, but after that it gets a bit questionable.

Cech

Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal

????    ????

Theo  Ozil  Iwobi

????

To start with the defensive midfield, we have Xhaka, Coquelin and Santi Cazorla all of whom expect to play.   Xhaka has been made to wait a few games so far this season, and there could be an issue of whether Santi Cazorla can play each and every game, what with us having two games a week at the moment.

So I guess the most likely duo would be Xhaka and Coquelin with Xhaka given the job of roaming forward with the piercing through balls.  If it were Xhaka and Santi Caz then Xhaka would be staying much further back.

Up front Alexis has once again arrived back from his homeland very late, even though he would have had a private jet and all.  The problem is that just to be deliberately awkward Chile decided to play Peru on 12 October – this Wednesday.   Which could place him on the bench, or at home asleep in bed.  Interestingly not one of the papers I read mentioned any of this and just have him as automatic choice.

Maybe the press have been tipped off that Arsenal now have faster than light travel which by and large means Alexis got back before he left.

Giroud is still nursing his toe so that would put Pérez up front, with Alexis possibly coming on as a sub.  If however Alexis is fit and bouncing and raring to go he could start and Pérez could be the sub.

That would leave on the beach:

  • One of the three defensive midfielders
  • Either Pérez or Alexis
  • Plus Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Jenkinson is back, but I suspect he might get his first outing in the league cup game.  Ramsey could be a sub today but I think that given there is no urgent need for him he could be held at least until midweek.

How you see this one going depends on which way you turn.  Here are two contradictory statistics

The last three games

  • Arsenal 1 (Campbell) Swansea 2 (Routledge, Williams)
    Premier League, March 2016
  • Swansea 0 Arsenal 3 (Giroud, Koscielny, Campbell)
    Premier League, October 2015
  • Arsenal 0 Swansea 1 (Gomis)
    Premier League, May 2015

The form guide

  • Arsenal: DWWWWW
  • Swansea: LLDLLL

Keeping those runs in the form guide going would suit me just fine.

Right, soon time to get ready.  Quite a bunch of us meeting one way or another if all the plans work out (and since I have Blacksheep’s season ticket to give back to him they really have to).  I’m hoping Walter will be here for his post-match special.

Recent stories from Untold Arsenal and the Arsenal History Society

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

The game today

Arsenal v Swansea – the statistics

It’s not just the team for Saturday we need to consider. How Arsenal will start to rotate.

Arsenal v Swansea Sat 15 October 2016 – The Match Officials

How Arsene Wenger’s spending on players has given us a team to marvel over

The rest

Arsenal in December 1934: two steps forward, two steps back.

When your first Arsenal goal is against Tottenham you know you are on the right side of the tracks

Fromer Arsenal player John Barnwell talks about his years at Highbury

 

91 comments to Arsenal v Swansea: the Untold match preview, and teams and a do-it-yourself team selector

  • Gord

    I seen a lot of the press trying to make stories around the virus comment.

    I can see Wenger’s point, I don’t know if virus is quite the right way to explain it.

    If we were talking parasites, then we could easily point to the medja as a vector for transmission. Does that work for virii?

    Another possibility, is the contagious facial cancer affecting Tasmanian Devils.

    However one describes it, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the problem if the medja weren’t trying to enhance the problem. Destroying team confidence sells hits. Reporting the news doesn’t.

    COYG!

    (and hopefully back to sleep)

  • Josif

    Bulldog,

    I blame Walter for the speed of light assumption. His match reports are so fast that I come to Untold at half-time to check how the game will end.

    Anyway, I expect Coq-Cazorla in the middle given that is a) Mr Wenger’s favourite combination and b) Xhaka featured in the Switzerland game (as a captain) so he might have to wait for Ludogorets to get into the starting line-up. Alexis is probably suffering from the international hangover but he has been our main attacking weapon as he has been involved in 9 out of 19 goals we have scored in the league and Champions League.

    Ramsey and Giroud are out for several more weeks as Mr Wenger has already said. We need two of those for more difficult schedule that is ahead of us in November.

  • Josif

    Two more things:

    Swansea suffered their worst European defeat to Monaco of certain Arsene Wenger. Monaco won at home 8:0 in October 1992. Swansea were at Third Division at time but still…

    Swansea have had the upper hand on us since their return to top tier in 2011, especially at the Emirates where they have won three out of six games played and lost just once but they suffered their heaviest defeat to Arsenal since return last October, at Liberty Stadium (3:0).

    It’s October now so…

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I want to assure Le Prof that there won’t be any negative virus atmosphere after this game between the Swans and the Gunners has played this afternoon at the Ems.

    The Gunners have been immunized against any negative virus infection the Swans might have armed themselves with to plague the Gunners with it and thus consequently infest the Emirates faithful fans with negative virus infection which could re-spark a revolt against Le Prof and the Gunners. This will not happen today. If at all anything will happen, it will be a positive happening that will happen for Arsenal as the Gunners will most certainly welcomed Bob Bradley by taking 3 of his 18 Swans he came to the Ems with, as Prisoners of War being the spoils the Gunners have gotten from this battle.

    Le Prof should take my Words for it. Believes them, trust them and have faith in them. Why? It’s because my Words are weapon grade and highly lethal. I implore Le Prof to take my Words and deployed them on the Ems football playing turf when this game kicks off. They will mould the Swans to the shape the Gunners wanted and desired. After all, we are Arsenals!

    My Words:
    Cech
    Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Cazorla Xhaka
    Walcott Ozil Iwobi
    Sanchez.

    My bye Words:
    Ospina Debuchy Gabriel Gibbs Coquelin Elneny Perez.

    If there be any genuine reason why some of my Words can’t be spoken out but instead speak some other Words, I’ll accept the decision in the light that it’s all for our goodness.

  • Menace

    On my way to the game. I know that Wenger has done his work and figured the team. Looking forward to a good performance.

  • Andy Mack

    Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Cazorla, Ozil, Iwobi, Walcott, Alexis

    Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Elneny, Lucas

  • ARSENAL 13

    Live updates please….want be able to watch the game live….

  • Polo

    Arsenal.com have live radio commentary of the match

  • Josif

    We might even end up top of the league at six PM (CET) if all results go our way!

    COYG!

  • Josif

    We are yet to find enough space for a proper shot so far. Mustafi hit the bar after Mesut’s corner though.

    They want to impress their new manager and give their best to stay alive here.

  • bushido

    goalll…..1 nil to the Arsenal

  • bushido

    Theo with the goal

  • Gord

    I’m not finding good commentayr again. But, the lead page of Arsenal.com has just indicated that Walcott has scored (27 minutes). Keane is probably muttering that Walcott should relax, this good streak will end.

    At 12 minutes, Ozil took a corner which Mustafi put off the bar.

    COYG!

  • cyberian

    Goal to Walcott who “managed to bundle it in”. Fab television commentary!

  • cyberian

    A second to Walcott!

  • bushido

    2 nil. Theo again

  • Josif

    THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    We are top of the league right now!

  • bushido

    Swansea pull 1 back. mistake from Xhaka

  • cyberian

    Defensive lapse with goal to Swansea

  • Gord

    There was a lineup at the coffee machine, and Walcott scores a second while I am there (32min). While I am upstairs, I see the game is on TV. Too many too cute passes in the left side of the back, and Swansea steal the ball close to the penalty area, and they score (38min).

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Isn’t Sigurdsson one of those Icelandic people that England should have easily dominated? I wonder if those pudnits are eating crow again?

    Most of the commentaries seem to be talking about an endless stream of mistakes from Arsenal, and how wonderful Swansea are.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Ozil almost connects again with Mustafi on a corner in the 44th minute.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    2 minutes of time to be added for stoppages.

    COYG!

  • cyberian

    Referee and commentators have poor first half.

  • Gord

    Monreal fouls a Swansea player to give up a free kick. Cech gets to the headed shot from the free kick and holds on.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    3 minutes of time were added on before the referee whistled play for half time.

    Time for the players to retire to the dressing room, and come back with an improved focus in the second half.

    COYG!

  • Josif

    I don’t know if players from Iceland have a special desire to score against Arsenal but I know that Gudjohnsen, Sigurdsson and Finbogasson have all scored against Arsenal. I might have omitted someone.

    Still, we have a lead and should hold onto it. We need a third goal to put this in bed.

  • Gord

    Let’s have a cheer for Everton and WBA in their games against ManC and Spuds respectively. Both games still scoreless.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Fox in the box Walcott. He doesn’t usually score those poacher type goals. Terrible foul on him when he looked to be in and on his hat trick which Moss completely ignored.
    Shameful!

  • Josif

    De Bruyne missed a penalty for City against Everton.

  • Gord

    Play resumes. No substitutions it appears.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    That’s two assaults on Theo by the Swans left back.

  • Gord

    Taylor runs down Walcott, and Walcott needs treatment. I gather the referee felt this was all wonderful.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Apparently not happy with running down Walcott, Taylor proceeds to Ozil. And is booked, presumably for persistent infringement.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Or is Taylor booked? You would think commentary would get this right.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    I suspect Bradley,s told his side to get more physical. A bad foul on Monreal

  • Gord

    Barrow lowers the boom on Monreal, apparently nothing wrong with that at 50 min.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Finally the feed from Arsenal.com wakes up for the second half. And they say Taylor got booked.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Birthday goal for Ozil

  • Gord

    We have a 3rd Arsenal goal, scorer unknown to my commentators. Or is that common potaters?

    COYG!

  • bushido

    3-1, Ozil with a volley

  • para

    Want theo to get hattrick today.

  • Gord

    Instead of commenting on the Arsenal game (as one of these commentaries where they cover ever game (poorly)), The Guardian has been plodding along about the commentator calling Hector Bellerin by the name Hugo. It may fill column inches, it is not very useful.

    Ozil is certainly assisting Arsenal in scoring goals this season. I gather Walcott should have had his hat trick just before Ozil scored.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Spuds have been forced into a substitution, and Everton have just scored against ManC.

    COYG!

  • Josif

    Mesut has scored three league goals this season, all of them provided by Alexis. Did someone say “Henry to Pires and GOAL!”?

  • para

    come on people, keep concentrating, losing goal differences built up.

  • Leon

    God almighty!

  • bushido

    damn, Swan just pull 1 back

  • bushido

    #Swansea

  • Gord

    The recent Swansea substitution results in a goal for Swansea.

    Walcott, if you want that hat trick, now would be a wonderful time. 🙂

    COYG!

  • Gord

    ManC have been given a second penalty in their game against Everton.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Swansea really fancy their chances now. Arsenal make a substitution of a defensive nature

  • para

    This is what happens when we do not close out games without fatal mistakes. hope this will be a lesson this season.

  • cyberian

    Red card to Xhaka

  • GoingGoingGooner

    a yellow on Xhaka…I don’t know how you can call that a red.

  • bushido

    nail biting time. the team need to focus now. Granit just get his marching order

  • Leon

    First red for Xhaka. Probably correct

  • Gord

    Oh oh. Coquelin comes on for Iwobi, and then Xhaka is dismissed a minute or so later.

    COYG!

  • Josif

    City missed their second penalty of the game against Everton. Agüero’s 84th missed penalty of the season.

    We’ll have a busy 20 minutes ahead of us. Xhaka left us hanging there.

  • Gord

    Commentators agree with GoingGoing, but little consolation to Xhaka who is off to the showers.

    ManC score from open play, to tie against Everton. Spuds still spuddering.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Ref stops a quick free kick by Arsenal?

    COYG!

  • markyb

    Moss is a twat

  • Leon

    Most of our countering is ending in offsides

  • Gord

    Second or third time I remember commentators saying an offside against Arsenal is not correct. Alexis being penalised this time.

    COYG!

  • bushido

    double chaged for Arsenal.Ox and Gibbs is on for Alexis and Ozil

  • bushido

    #changed

  • Gord

    Gibbs and the Ox on for Alexis and Ozil. Batten down the hatches.

    COYG!

  • cyberian

    Walcott hits post but no goal

  • Gord

    WBA score against the Spuds. 1-0 to the WBA.

    Andrew I believe picked Moss to be a twat as markyb noted earlier.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Poor old Theo, he’s destined to not get that hat trick

  • bushido

    3 minutes plus stoppage time, com’on Arsenal

  • Leon

    We’re coping really well with being down to ten

  • bushido

    Fer header straight at Cech. hold on Gunners

  • cyberian

    4 min extra time?

  • Leon

    Looks like it’s going to be four minutes added

  • Gord

    Bournemouth have their scoring boots on, and/or Hull is a disaster today.

    COYG!

  • Leon

    Swans are missing so many chances

  • bushido

    another saves from Cech

  • Gord

    Spuds tie their game in the 89th minute. Go WBA!

    COYG!

  • cyberian

    Nice corner time by Alex Ox

  • bushido

    Bellerin came closed but shoot straight at Fabianski

  • bushido

    1 minutes left.

  • Leon

    People are actually leaving the ground before the match is over

  • bushido

    Theo just miss the sitter

  • Leon

    Theo missed an open goal

  • Leon

    And we win

  • Gord

    Those leaving, are the ones hoping Arsenal fail.

    > Victory would be the Gunners’ sixth consecutive Premier League win – their best run since an eight-match streak between February and April 2015.

    WQell, here’s hoping the run continues.

    How to go Gunners!

    ManC have to settle for a tie. As do the Spuds.

  • bushido

    just fantastic’ job done but the team has to dig deep for all 3 points today. for me the international break just messing with the team focus and concentration. in the end is really a good result for us. com’on Arsenal

  • dan

    Well done, happy birthday Ozil.

  • Menace

    Not a bad result playing against 14 & some of that we were reduced to 10. There were many screwed up decisions by Moss & his blind mice.

    Despite it all we won. It was high pressure & good viewing for the neutral.

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