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June 2021

Arsenal’s four teams to cope with seven games in three weeks.

By Andrew Crawshaw

First off, the injured players.

Santi we all know about.   Dayan Iliev has been out for two years following knee surgery, I would be very surprised if he makes any first team appearances any time soon.  He will almost certainly be in goal for some of the U23 games to build up match fitness but I’m not expecting more than that at the moment.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Macey was in goal for the League Cup game on the 20th, I have him as sub. A 50/50 call.

I also haven’t included Krystian Bielik as he is out till December having had surgery for a shoulder injury picked up in the U23 game at the Emirates.  I thought at the time it looked like a dislocation but now looks more serious.

But our fixture list is certainly congested through the rest of September.  (It’s colour coded as Tony was having difficulty in following it all)

  • Friday 08 Sept PL2 (U23) away v Man United 19:00
  • Saturday 09 Sept – PL home v Bournemouth 15:00
  • Thurs 14 Sept – Europa League home v FC Cologne 20:05
  • Friday 15 Sept PL2 (U23) Home v Leicester 19:00
  • Sun 17 Sep PL away v Chelsea 13:30
  • Wed 20 Sept League Cup home v Doncaster Rovers 19:45
  • Mon Sept 25 PL2 (U23) away v Everton 19:00
  • Mon 25 Sept PL Home v West Brom 20:00
  • Thur 28 Sept Europa League away v Bate Borisov 18:00
  • Sun 01 Oct PL home v Brighton and Hove Albion 12:00

So seven games in three weeks for our First team squad and one per week for the U23s so I reckon we will need a significant degree of squad juggling to ensure that our main players remain reasonably fresh.

The PL team we could well start with is…


Mustafi Koscielny Monreal

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Belerin                             Kolasinac

Xhaka     Ramsey

Ozil                     Alexis

Giroud / Lacazette

The Subs:

 Ospina (GK), Holding/Chambers (CB), Maitland-Niles (WB/MF),  Elneny / Jack (MF), Theo / Iwobi / Giroud  / Lacazette (forward)

And here is the alternative team


Mustafi  Koscielny   Monreal

Belerin           Coquelin             Kolasinac

Welbeck          Ozil           Alexis

Giroud / Lacazette

The Subs

Ospina (GK), Holding/Chambers (CB), Maitland-Niles (WB/MF), Xhaka / Elneny (MF), Ramsey / Jack (MF),  Theo/ Iwobi / Giroud/Lacazette (forward).

Now moving on to the Europa and League Cup team


Holding             Per          Chambers

Debuchy                                            Nelson

Jack                    Elneny

Theo                                 Nketiah


The Subs

Macey (GK), Maitland-Niles (WB), Mustafi (CB), McGuane / Willock / Reine-Adelaide (MF), Wellbeck / Iwobi (forward

Europa and league cup team alternative line up


Holding              Per          Chambers

Debuchy                 McGuane                  Nelson

Theo                              Jack              Reine-Adelaide



And the subs:

Macey (GK), Maitland-Niles (WB), Mustafi (CB), Elneny / Willock (MF), Wellbeck / Iwobi / Nketiah (forward)

Footnote from Tony:

I will be interested to see how the teams that have smaller squads – that is to say those who have not got a complete set of 25 players in each of the Premier League and the Champions League (which each have slightly different home grown rules) cope with this onslaught of games.

Also if the line ups do turn out to be as Andrew is suggesting above, it does mean that our youngsters will get rewarded with some serious playing time, while the first teamers are not trying to play twice a week every week.

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15 comments to Arsenal’s four teams to cope with seven games in three weeks.

  • Well constructed sides Andrew

    But have feeling Mr W will treat Europa like the CL and go with a strong side

  • nicky

    I can’t see the logic of putting a League Cup-type side out tor the Europa Cup, if that is what you are suggesting, Andrew.. There is nothing derogatory about the Champions League near-misses teams.
    We cannot afford not to treat the competition seriously. After all, Man Utd are only in this season’s CL because of winning last term’s Europa Cup. 😉

  • Edda1971

    Seven games in 3 weeks is nothing compared to what’s gonna happen between nov 17th untill january 1st. 33 premier league points is up for grabs in that period of 43 days. We play 11 PL games, 2 EL games and hopefully 1 League cup game. Thats crazy!

  • Sam Sayed

    Off topic, I know, but the anti Arsenal hysteria in the media seems to be showing no signs of abating. Every day since the Liverpool match there have been at least couple of anti-Arsenal articles in the Telegraph, Guardian and various other about how Wenger has miserably failed and how all the players are abandoning Arsenal like rats from a sinking ship and how Arsenal are going to implode! As if they had been waiting for this moment after past 20 years of hurt where the Frenchman has risen above their ridicule and predictions of doom and proved them wrong time and again!

    And finally they have their moment with Arsenal failing to finish in top four after 20 years, although I’ve been hearing the media’s prediction of Arsenal dropping out of top 4 for atleast 10-12 years which gives the an accuracy rate of less than 10% for their predictions! Nevertheless they have their moment and you can see them frothing their mouth, brandishing their nails and rubbing their hands in glee to finally knock Arsenal and Wenger down after 20 years of hurt!

    Gazidis correctly called it a “hysteria” in his recent communication with the team, and he is absolutely, correct. In fact, this is a witch-hunt!

    Now I am not denying that Arsenal has some serious soul searching to do for letting this situation arise where 2 of their best players are in the process of running off their contract. We also have to find a solution to eliminate this sudden show of defensive frailty time and again. However, one thing is for sure, no matter what the media thinks and hopes, as a club we are much better than Liverpool or Spurs and have won lot more than them even in the past 10 years in which Wenger/Arsenal have been ridiculed as being failures!

    Whatever your differences or opinions about Wenger, I beseech you to show a united front in front of these pundits and pests in the media who want nothing more than Arsenal to fail! So please please, be united in your support for the team and don’t let your negativity and divisiveness effect their performances!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    At least all of the players I suggested for the Europa League are actually in our squad for that competition which is a relief.

    The full list of our EL players is :-

    David Ospina, Petr Cech, Deyan Iliev, Matt Macey, Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Chuba Akpom, Ryan Huddart, Hugo Keto, Tolaji Bola, Chiori Johnson, Tafari Moore, Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Krystian Bielik, Charlie Gilmour, Marcus McGuane, Reiss Nelson, Ben Sheaf, Pelenda Da Silva, Aaron Eyoma, Edward Nketiah, Joseph Willock

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    @ Nicky,

    I was very careful over my selections to pick a good mix of seasoned professionals amongst the youngsters. The only surprise perhaps is my inclusion of Marcus McGuane where I wanted a proper DM which is his role in the U23s. All players are either full or age related internationals and I have tried hard to put them in their natural positions.

    I am not someone who knocks the Europa League, I was lucky enough to be at all of Fulham’s home games when they reached the final a few years ago and am looking forward to our home games.

    I think that we will need to make maximum use of our squad this year and would hope that some of our ‘fringe’ players will earn their wages by playing in some of these games. Who knows they ought to take any such opportunities to show hey are pushing for PL gametme..

    Where I included youngsters in the starting lineup, I included regular first teamers amongst the subs should things start to go pear shaped. I am hopeful that a couple out of Nelson, Nketiah and a Willock really step up and have an ‘Mbappe’ season.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Looking forward to our youngsters having their mettle tested .
    Up the Gunners !

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    With the recent appointment of Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal CEO to the Uefa’s Executive Committee in a four membership committee that comprises himself, David Gill, formerly of Man Utd, the Jeventus Andrea Angell as Chairman and a forth member whose name I don’t know now. I think Mr Gazidis has now become a top football administrator with a lot of powers to wield not only at Arsenal and at the echelon of English football but in European football as well. My congratulations to him.

    I hope Mr Gazidis will use his new appointment at Uefa to see that certain changes are introduced in the professional players transfer window markets that will put a cap to transfer fees chargeable buy clubs to sign players. Which has suddenly gone escalated beyond proportion in the last summer transfer window this season. An ugly situation that if not put to check will derail what I think should have been the financial empowerment of football clubs who are getting the payments of the TV money accrue to them from the Sky Sports and BT sports for developmental purposes such as stadia developments among others. And not to be merely spending this emporwed money on new players recruitments and paying insane wages to them. An unpleasant situation that saw Arsenal bid an insane £92m for a Thomas Lemar to get him signed from AS Monaco during the last summer transfer window for a player who just had what I’ll call a first average good season in Ligue 1 in France.

    And again, let Mr Gazidis collaborates with his colleagues in the committee to also put a peg to the wages earnable by top players at top clubs. An excessive wage earning demands situation currently threading in the top Leagues of European football needs to be seriously looked into and be pegged to bring sanity to bear on top footballers demanding insane high wages be paid them at the the top clubs in Europe. I am not saying they should not be paid well. But the too much money been demanded by them and dumped into their hands by the clubs they play for, is totally out of control and it should be controlled.

  • para

    Also looking forward to how Arsenal navigates this season with all the games we (possibly) have to play.

    Hope for lots of success and great games/performances and not too many bad ones.

    In many ways, this season has become a very important one for Arsenal.

  • Chris

    Sam Sayed,

    make no mistake, they have been waiting for this moment for more then years.
    And if you go back a few years, after each ‘bad’ loss they were at it. They can’t wait to run the title that AW is out.
    And if the next one is not so good, they’ll start saying the owner is stupid for having let AW go…wanna bet ?!?

    As for droping out of the top four….for more then a decade we’ve heard thatth is not a trophy…so what is all the fuss if we did not get it ?!?!

    I just hope the fans at the Emirates will support the players on the field and forget all the hysteria around.

  • Ferg

    Am I the only one that thinks Iwobi is being cruelly overlooked. Not a start in this run?? When Alexis sulks off, and Welbers limitations are exhausted …., Iwobi showed enough in preseason, like many others, to step right in.

  • goonersince72

    Good work Andrew. I’m particularly intrigued with the alternate PL side. Your 3-3-3-1 formation seems well suited to the abilities of the players you’ve selected. It would be interesting to see how it would play for real. Also, I agree with nicky re the Europa League side. I don’t like to praise Mourinho but he prioritised winning the Europa League when he realized MU would not finish in the UCL places. Mr. Wenger should do the same. Maybe he reads Untold and he’ll use your formation, LOL.

  • Flares

    I personally couldn’t give a monkeys about the Europa League, in the same way I don’t bother catching up with our League Cup results. Nowt more than second tier competitions and as such are not the main focus of attention. We must maximise our performances in the Premier League from here on out. Top three is the priority. Give the EL to the youngsters and let them loose.

  • “They are laughing at the industry aren’t they? We have caught them p***ing in the swimming pool. Now Neymar has gone on the diving board and peed from the diving board. This is not acceptable.”

    Have to love this quote on Qatar UTD and Pirates Saint Germain!

    Let’s see what Gazidis does, with power comes responsibility.

    The first two EL games will need to be taken semi seriously, but I would in the first of our fixtures go with Montreal and Hector and accomplished CB pairing, I think then saving Sead for EL and Debouchy would be sensible with Per central to Holding left and Chambers right is a good test. And having them wide covers the aging full backs and Per, and the 3 covers their inexperience with peerless positioning.

    I expect Elneny and Couquelin to feature in EL however i would be inclined to sit in Coquelin for PL and use Xaka in EL with Elneny.

    I would use an Atk midfielder 3 of Iwobi, Jack & Walcott in behind Giroud and sub in China for EL, leaving Alexis, Ozil and Lacazette at home entirely afte we ensure victory in he first game at (H) and (A) at Bate, 6pts here nearly secures Group top spot. Nelson Adelaide and M-Niles to travel with Shkodran and Macey, Cech doesn’t travel

    In premiere league, Danny gets starts on RW, he and Alexis can swap if we get nothing early.

    Theo impact and travel everywhere. We need to use Theo and Giroud in a Martial, Felaini fashion.

    No santi again, doesnt bode well for impish playmaker :/

    The Europa startinf 11 should consst of no first team players at this stage, it is not nececeaary until usually next round and is the first drop-able competition. For now though EL remains a viable route to CL return and mist be given reasonable presidency!

    Tje impact of thes fixtures on the narrow aquads in CL, Chelsea, Spurs, City and Liverpool will much more evident as they will have to mix and match their 11 or at least their 18’s and the travellinf is a significant issue.

    United will also be a little short in terms of cover for their forwards as they only have 6 for 3 positions and equally lose a rwst option with Mata, Pogba and Felaino covering AM slot but counted as one of two for other places.

    With 6,full backs 5 with CL and PL experience Jan is the longest period we could be short for if push comes to shove.

    We are better able to cope with the fixture congestion this year than last with deparures allowong us to be far more decisive and consistent n pixling players for competitions, which will give motivation and a year on 5 more young men apply pressure to first team and give added bodies for LC and minor FA Cup and EL fixtures.

    I wish Theo and Dannt luck and hope they and Elneny manage to silence their critics.

    Coutinho in Jan! Refuses to play CL games and Clyne out of CL selection.

    Jan, Nov – Jan a notiously bad patch for us will be where we will need to make the most of the lesser challenging fixtures, we will sorely need to ensure we as not drifting come late autumn.

    I tip all our undwr 21’s to score whwn rwy feature at some point thia seaaon.

    #focusandplaceapotshot 😉

  • 3 wins in 3 is a perfect remedy and B’mouth, Chelsea and WBA away are where to make yp ground. People will drop poimts from rhe top 6,in all of our opening 6 fixtures, but the next 3 come in the righr order. A challenging balance of paasing and movement againat a defensive set uo from our firsy ball playing visitors, before we take on the same challenge against the more assertive and accomplished West Londoners. Balance will be pivotal again as Chelsea will want to dominate the game at the bridge, but with pace available on all 4 posiuoms in attack, the counter is a weapon their full backs and CB’s will be wary of more than im rexent times.

    And 4-7 points will gice ua a platform to build on before we take on those Albions who like to make ua miseeable whenwever possible, everything taken from the first two games following the international break employed here will bring 3 valuable points and put us right in the mix come Oct.

    The work starts here, gain an advantage in EL opening 2 and toy qualify top xomwa the turn around in EL matchweeks 3 & 4.

    Giving breathing space come Nov and with positive league results, momentum to boot.

    The LC will give anothe test for our toyth qhilst sapping thw competitors minal squads. The same can be said for the FA cup weekends who h will also provide a break feom the league, which with a favouravle round of 32,draw can give yet another opportunity to rest key personnel.