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June 2021

ФК БАТЭ Барысаў (Bate) v Arsenal: the selections of who actually got on the plane and who didn’t.

by Bulldog Drummond

Since the plane has taken off, and indeed landed in foreign parts, we can now be fairly sure that Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil, Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette, Laurent Koscielny, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech were apparently not seen at the airport!

But not that sure, as will perhaps become apparent in what follows.

Meanwhile there is a fair chance that Reiss Nelson and central midfielder Ashley Maitland-Niles will at the very least be playing on the beach, if not actually starting the match.  Joe Willock might also stand a chance of some match time.

Tantalising us with thoughts of who might line up where Mr Wenger said. “You do not get 10 opportunities to play for Arsenal.   When you get it, even if you only get 20 minutes, you have to convince people you have the qualities to do it, and you have the courage to play.

“There is always an uncertainty. You see in training that the player has the quality. He is here because he has the qualities. To show it during competition is something different. And in my experience, you only discover that during the competition.”

Per Mertesacker, who of course takes over the Academy next season, said, “We see a lot of young players, they have a good future here.  But you also need to develop them in a lot of areas. It’s now about resisting those pressure situations, the lapses of concentration.”

But before we get to the youngsters we can expecte Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere are all going to be part of the show.

Here’s a possible line up


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Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal;

Nelson,                                  Maitland-Niles;

Wilshere,             Elneny

Walcott,           Giroud,             Akpom


We’re told that racist abuse is fairly commonplace in Belorussian matches, and Borisov Automobile and Tractor Electronics FC were told by Uefa to shut part of the Borisov Arena for a Champions League fixture with Porto in November 2014 after previous accusations of racism.

But Uefa is nothing if not totally and utterly inconsistent, and if there is any abuse it will be a chance to see the 2017 brand of the almighty Uefa disciplinary machinery slip into action and fine the club £2.75.

And apparently Mr Wenger will say hello to Alex Hleb, which should be nice.

Discussing the playing of Maitland-Niles, Mr Wenger said: “His best position is defensive midfield. He has exceptional pace, a capacity to steal the ball from people, and I am convinced that he is ready to play.”  Of course this doesn’t mean he will play defensive midfield, because other players also have to fit into the structure.  Elneny will probably also get a game because he has limited opportunities while Xhaka and Ramsey hold the centre, but he has been highly praised and Mr Wenger clearly is keen to keep him happy with playing time.

Back on the subject of Maitland-Niles Mr Wenger added, “He has to improve a little bit on the concentration front, the demands of top-level football don’t tolerate some lapses of concentration, but all the rest is there.”

Trying to work out who is going to be on the beach is difficult, as I have seen several lists of everyone who got on the plane, but each one seems to be different.   The Mirror is reporting the squad as:

Ospina, Cech, Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Mustafi, Wilshere, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Giroud, Nelson, Willock, McGuane, Dasilva, Akpom, Gilmour, Debuchy, which is again different from the selection said to have got on the plane by others.  Some say that Cech and Mustafi were not at the airport, but we all know what pesky things these airports are.  People appear, people vanish.  It’s all a mystery, or maybe just a revelation of the fact that the media makes it all up anyway.

Anyway, in other news as they say, Joel Campbell appears to have recovered from his injury picked up while playing for his country, and so he is now ready to start his loan spell with Real Betis.

So now I think we’ll have to leave it at that, and see who is actually playing and who is beached sometime after 5pm UK time.  Apparently the game is free to air on Freeview in the UK.

All the news from Borisov Automobile and Tractor Electronics




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