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April 2021

Who plays on saturday

By Tony Attwood

We don’t  normally do match previews until the day of the game, and I don’t want to steal Mr Drummond’s thunder, but with the Man City match being the first since the summer transfers ended it seems that the normal timetable is out of the window.

The key point is whether Danny Welbeck will start at centre forward.  He’s already tried to talk up his chances with comments about looking to be more regularly involved and playing more at the spearhead of the attack.

But there is a danger in this.  If he plays for England and does poorly, there’s plenty of time to forget that before the next game.  And anyway it is only England.  What none of us want is to have him play badly for Arsenal, and for there to be a big sense of anti-climax, with all the hope dissipating after a few muffed shots.

This is not to suggest that the fans in the ground would behave in this way, but rather to say that if his opening game doesn’t produce a superb display the media will undoubtedly change their tune and start having a go at him – and Arsenal.

Danny Welbeck did not had a glittering career at Man U, nor has every match with England been so successful as the last.  So I guess Mr Wenger might tread cautiously in order to manage the young man’s psychological condition.

The obvious thing to happen over time is for Welbeck to be the regular centre forward allowing Alexis Sánchez to play in a more withdrawn as he gets used to playing in England.

In a recent interview Welbeck talked up his desire to play centre forward in every game, as we might expect.   “It is well known I prefer to play through the middle so when I get my opportunity I just want to show what I can do.  Once I get into the box and am getting the chances, I have got faith in my ability.

“Before, I wasn’t getting into the box because I wasn’t playing too much as a striker and I had to worry about my defensive work. Listen, anyone can say what they want to say but I just know once I get the opportunity and a run of games up front, I will do my best. That’s definitely what I need.”

Although his scoring figures overall at Man U don’t look too impressive because they include some very early matches, matches as a sub and games where he was not playing as a centre forward, he did have one run at Man U where he scored six in six.  And as the article here the other day showed, his percentage goals in games where he started is decent for a young player.

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The other issue for this game is Ramsey, who was injured near the end of the match in Andorra on an artificial pitch that was apparently of poor quality.

Of course I don’t know the young man, but I do hope he was embarrassed by the way he was trying to drag the ball, twist and turn, with just minutes to go before the end of the game that Wales was winning, on a pitch that had been highly criticised.   If not I hope Mr Wenger points out that this was not the best thing to do at the time – and reminds him who pays his wages.

Anyway, he said yesterday,  “I’ll be all right – the pitch was very hard there’s no give in it so I rolled my ankle a bit.  Hopefully it will be nothing and I’ll be available for Saturday. These are the games you want to play in and I’m looking forward to it.”

So on the basis that he is ok, and that Welbeck plays from the start we might see a changed team – apparently with Gibbs fit, but Theo not yet quite ready to play.

Szczesny (I hope you are impressed that I have learned to spell it this season)

Debuchy Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Arteta Ramsey

Sanchez Ozil Cazorla


 That looks quite good to me, with a very strong bench backing up including The Ox, Podolski, Chambers, Flamini, Monreal, Campbell, Rosicky, Jack, Sanogo.    We might have to get some more seats in.

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17 comments to Who plays on saturday

  • Chapman's Ghost

    That’s the team I want to see. I don’t think Welbeck should have any psychological issues, he’s just scored two goals for England, if that doesn’t give his confidence a boost, should it need one, I wonder what will.

  • Tony911

    For the Wenger I know, I won’t rule out we start the match with Sanogo upfront. Arsene is fond of such things……like doing the opposite of the minds of the majority. Secondly, if Ramsey needs precaution then we should allow him and play him against Dortmund nxt week. Finally Tony, I’m quite enjoying the confusion around the tiny totts and their venue to play football:D

  • esxste

    That line up is exciting.

    Man City isn’t the game to do it, but I want to see Chambers in place of Arteta. That boy has much potential

  • Damilare

    AW would have some ‘headache’ selecting his team this season when everybody is fit. Look at the bench…considering Theo coming back and Gnabry, Bellerin, Zalalem knocking hard on first team door.

    Now this is what I call excitement! Bring on $hitty on Saturday.


  • Damilare

    Oh, and Giroud in January of course !

  • Pat

    This is the second time you’ve made these critical remarks about Ramsey, Tony. I think you’re being unfair. Of course he was going to play in the Welsh national team if he was asked. And once on the pitch he’s going to play to the best of his ability. It’s not his fault he had to play on a disgusting pitch.

  • Yiannis

    I’d rather use the Ox or Campbell i/o Cazorla. And maybe Monreal won’t be dropped as he had some solid games lately.

  • esxste

    Arsene should just not bother with press conferences.

    Seriously the stupid headlines:

    Guardian: “Arsène Wenger admits Arsenal wanted to sign Danny Welbeck on loan”
    Daily Star “Arsene Wenger: I initially tried to sign Danny Welbeck on loan rather than permanently”

    It’s nothing new. The rumours at the time were that Man Utd wanted to loan him out. The Spuds were leading the charge to take him on loan.

    Why does this need to be spun into a story like Arsenal didnt want to sign him?

  • esxste

    Why isn’t the headline “I had no hesitation to sign Welbeck.”

  • ClockEndRider

    On the contrary I don’t think it unreasonable to expect that a player displays some sense of responsibility to his employers. At the end of a game in which Andorra had, yet again, decided that the only way to get by without taking a pasting would be to whack anything that moved and, yet again, got away with it thanks to a complicit referee, I would think the sensible thing would be for players to play the ball about and use the corners of the pitch to attract throw ins, corners.

  • para

    As AW says he will explain the signing later.
    It looks like Wellbeck was always a target of AW, like he does, and when the chance came AND because we needed him, AW pounced.

    I always thought that if Manu had used Danny more they would not be selling him now.
    I had a feeling he would be leaving this season, but i did not imagine him coming to Arsenal.

    They (Manu) will always be a club trying to be like the “truly” rich clubs, by buying established “stars” as their only option for the strikers.

  • bjtgooner

    That looks a fair team Tony and I am looking forward to seeing Welbeck and Sanchez operating together. When Walcott returns we will have a fairly lively front line!

    For this game I can see Cazorla starting ahead of the Ox, but against weaker opposition or cup games that might be reversed.

  • para

    I wonder how many ex players we face on sat? After all they have nearly half a team of ex Arsenal players on their books.

    Just reading Sterlings’ life story, boy had some problems, but glad to see him mastering his life now. He will be a legend if he keeps on this path. Hey, this means that Balotelli is the third “problem” player for pool.

    Just saying some probably useless info.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin.

    Tony, that is a good starts you ‘ve put forward. However, I would have liked to see hungry Campbell start for Cazoria in that left midfield position. Campbell hunger to start a game for Arsenal might give us an added high performance by him in this big game. But I doubt if the boss will agree with me. Sorry Sanogo, just be patient a bit for another chance to materialize for you to seize.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I’ve a feeling that the players are really going to enjoy playing with each other. With two new players that can inject some pace and with Theo coming back it has the potential to keep other teams’ fullbacks pinned back. That will give some freedom to our midfield.

  • omgarsenal

    The really serious concern is how much the opposition will be permitted to whack,crush, attack, abuse, bruise and destroy our top players during the game. Remember this is a ¨man’s¨ game in the EPL and English Football is tough, hard, cruel, brutal and malicious at its best…..aided and abetted by officiating incompetence and a generally degraded form of referee blindness and willing ignorance.