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June 2021

Arsenal II v Norwich – the team, the beach and the logic (although maybe not the latter)

By Bulldog Drummond

So we’ve got the name for this team – not Arsenal Reserves, but “Arsenal II.”  Let’s hope we get to use it lots of times.  We’ve got three more Europa games for sure and hopefully a few more beyond that, plus maybe some more League Cup games all being well tonight, and something in the FA Cup too.

Speaking of such things, Mr Wenger said, “Fortunately, we have important games every week, so I can give competition to everybody. As you said, we have so much offensive force on the bench as well. It’s really a strong point of the club at the moment.”

Which raises the question is there any need to change the team that beat Red Star?

Certainly anyone who played against Red Star and who is dropped for this game is going to be very unhappy, with the possible exception of Petr Cech.

Mr Wenger continued, “I’ve gone into that rotation policy and afterwards you have to continue to do it, especially when both teams work well and both teams support each other at the moment.

“I must say that it’s difficult to make a change because to win away from home in the way we did at Belgrade, you need some special quality. Let’s hope we can reiterate that against Norwich.

“That’s the luxury I have at the moment and the difficulty I have as well. All these players do well, play well and they deserve to play.”

Just to remind ourselves, this was the Red Star team.

Cech; Debuchy, Holding, Elneny; Nelson, Coquelin, Willock, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Wilshere; Giroud.

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On the beach we had:

Macey, Osei-Tutu, Akpom, Da Silva, McGuane, Nketiah, Sheaf

Playing this team again now, gives any of the players who are needed again a chance to play on Saturday if the boss wishes to use them.   Which could mean… Wilshere.   A start tonight and a withdrawal on the hour could well signify his first start in “Arsenal I” on Saturday.

So I can’t see anyone who played against Everton on Sunday being forced to play again.  But just as a reminder, here is the team that beat Everton

Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerín, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Özil, Sánchez, Lacazette.

The substitutes were: Macey, Wilshere, Giroud, Walcott, Holding, Iwobi, Coquelin

The one man who might feel he is now missing out is Iwobi who didn’t play in Belgrade and who didn’t start against Everton.  At the very least he ought to be on the beach this time although I suspect he will start.   Also maybe this is the moment to start giving Matt Macey a chance.

This season, Macey has really not had too many chances despite seemingly being very close to Arsenal I.  He has been on the first-team beach on five occasions so far, in the League Cup, Europa League and Premier League.

He has played for the under 23 side twice, and on both occasions was on the winning side in games against Leicester City and Manchester City.

So I am down to two changes: Iwobi, because he didn’t play against Red Star, and Macey, because this is a perfect chance for him to get a game, given that Ooooooospina is still injured.

And speaking of such matters he is the full injury list as always from Physioroom.

Pos The club Total men down  Last man down What happened?
1 Manchester U 7 P Jones Knock
2 Watford 7 R Pereyra Knock
3 Everton 6 M Schneiderlin Knock
4 Huddersfield T 6 E Kachunga Back Injury
5 West Bromwich 6 G Barry Back Strain
6 Arsenal 5 D Ospina Groin Strain
7 Liverpool 5 G Wijnaldum Knee Injury
8 Burnley 5 S Vokes Abdominal Injury
9 Bournemouth 5 J Defoe Hamstring Injury
10 Stoke City 4 B Martins Indi Calf Strain

So who are the five men that Physioroom think we have lost…

The man What happened? When’s he back? Today?
D Ospina Groin Strain November 5, 2017 No
D Welbeck Groin Strain November 18, 2017 No
S Mustafi Thigh Strain November 18, 2017 No
C Chambers Hip Injury November 18, 2017 No
S Cazorla Plantaris Injury No Return Date No

As I’ve said before I think listing Santi is misleading since he is not listed in the “25” and so even if he were to be deemed to be fit and ready, he couldn’t play for the first team.  He’ll play in PL2 for the under 23s when he is deemed fit and able.

And so the team for tonight:


Debuchy, Holding, Elneny;

Nelson,                                 Maitland-Niles,

Willock,               Wilshere;

Walcott,      Giroud,      Iwobi

On the beach:

Iliev, Osei-Tutu, Akpom, Da Silva, McGuane, Nketiah, Sheaf

The one new name on the beach is Deyan Iliev  the Macedonian keeper who suffered a long term injury last season, but who is now listed as the fourth keeper in the “25”.  Normally the fourth keeper is one who is still under 21 on the qualifying date, so his entry in the list was a surprise.  I still think there will be a further re-shuffle next season when Emiliano Martínez returns from Getafe.  However Martinez has not played for them so far, so I am starting to have some doubts.

Anyway, I’ve slipped Iwobi into the team by dropping Coquelin and moviing Wilshere back to play alongside Willock.  We’ll see how wrong I am shortly.

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29 comments to Arsenal II v Norwich – the team, the beach and the logic (although maybe not the latter)

  • Sam Sayyed

    Below is a quote from an interview with Hector Bellerin:

    Asked by Standard Sport if there had been an over-reaction to recent performances, right-back Bellerin said: “I think it always is with Arsenal. It doesn’t matter how we do. If we win it is always the other team’s fault and when we lose it is always our fault. We have just got to deal with it as we have been doing, play our game and show that we have got the potential, that we can win games like this one. I think everyone has seen that.”

    I’m very glad young Hector said that. Even the players realise that the media’s criticism is over the top and Arsenal are treated unfairly by the media.

    Hope the so called “fans” understand this as well and get behind the team.

  • John L

    Hector is correct.

    Pity that too many others swallow the media, Merton, Wright, Piers Morgan etc nonsense

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    I would start Sheaf at CB rather than Elneny. Sheaf is a regular CB at U23 level and much better against high balls than Elneny. He played no part in the U23 game yesterday lunchtime when we lost 3-2 away at Spurs. The previous U23 game he came on after 20 minutes on his return from injury and he was photographed in the first team training pictures yesterday.

  • Jammy

    RE Hectors comments – I often wonder whether Arsenals treatment by the media (and our own “fans”) is widely known throughout the footballing world and if it puts potential signings off of signing for us.

  • para

    Arsenal II v Norwich
    Concentration and focus lads, another win and keep on moving.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think there will be 3 recorvering days in between tonight’s Carabao Cup match and the PL match on Saturday all at the Ems first against Norwich City and later against Swansea City. So, to start Iwobi in this CC game if Le Prof does start him in tonight’s Norwich match will be okay so as to allow him get lubricated from match rustiness that may start to set in into his game but he’ll can only be on the bench as a sub for the Swansea City match I suppose.

    I don’t think Le Prof should have any selection headache for his Premier League games anymore as he said he’s currently having. But after the Everton PL match last Sunday in which the first team 11 Gunners he selected to start the match and the 2 subs he brought on performed remarkably well in the match as they for the first time this season at away match in the PL scored 5 goals which suggests this may be the most potent selection Le Prof has gotten right in all his previous selections for the PL matches Arsenal have played at away this season which proved to be very successful. I think with these particular 11 selected Gunners who started the match and the 2 subs brought on for the match has shown Le Prof has at long last this season succeeded to build a senior Arsenal team that can stand the test of time in the PL at least up to the end of December this season when he’ll reshuffle his first team squad.

    So, after it has looked Le Prof might have succeeded to get his PL match 11 Gunners selection right to start the PL game at Godison Park against Everton, Le Prof should not soon start to tamper with any.of these 11 Gunners by using them to play in other matches like in the early stage of Cup games if Arsenal are not drawn to play against a PL club side or start dropping some of them to the bench unnecessarily to bring in others in the name of giving them a game to start. But he should hold on tight to these 11 PL games starting Gunners God Has given him to grow to become strong and strong and strong team as he subjects them to series of PL game starting test but untampered with unless for unavoidable tampering because of injury reason.

  • Nitram

    John L

    “Pity that too many others swallow the media,”

    Indeed it is.

    And even those that say they don’t seem to think it doesn’t matter anyway. I beg to differ. Well they may have to have a rethink, because Hector saying “We have just got to deal with it….” suggests it must have some effect, or at least could, if, as he says, they fail “to deal with it”.


    “….and if it puts potential signings off of signing for us”.

    I certainly think it could. Very hard to prove, but it’s definitely a possibility.

    I look at a lot of what the media say as a form of matter how ludicrous it may sound, if you here it often enough you eventually end up believing it. It becomes the accepted truth irrespective of actually how far it is from the truth.

    I’ll give one example of how I think it is employed against us:

    This idea that is constantly peddled in the media that ‘Arsenal are a soft touch, and they don’t like it up ’em’

    The message is, if you ‘get in there faces’ they start crying like babies and they cant handle it.

    And this message is meant to be taken on by all and sundry, not least the referees. So when Stoke or whoever are ‘getting in our faces’ the referees have been programed to allow it to happen, because there’s nothing wrong going on here, it’s just Arsenal are a bunch of wimps, and if they do get hurt it’s basically there on fault for being too soft.

    They have been programmed by a media campaign to that regard for at least 10 years. It is entirely false, but it is a notion that to many has become an absolute fact.

    And this notion is to a large degree what I believe lays behind some of the horrendous career ending challenges we have had to endure.

    I still don’t understand why some people cant see how adversely it affects us, both physiologically and physically.

  • Andrew if you are right you know you’ll have to write the match previews from now on instead of Bulldog.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I haven’t seen him mentioned as a starter in anyone’s team yet. I just can’t see the reason for him not being the the U23 squad yesterday if he isn’t going to be involved. I’m also old fashioned enough to prefer to see Centre Backs playing in their proper positions, rather than using midfielders.

    He will probably be on the beach as Bulldog suggests though.

  • Tony Attwood

    Arsenal: Macey, Debuchy, Elneny, Holding, Nelson, Coquelin, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Iwobi, Giroud.

    Subs: Iliev, Osei-Tutu, Sheaf, Dasilva, Willock, Nketiah, Akpom.

  • colario

    BBC radio 5 which you can get online has talk football orog going out live. Will they mention Giroud’s goal award -p I doubt it. AS has been pointed out the BBC fotball page doesnt. its all spuds and manure and neverton and I also forgot a link to a piece about an Englishman influencing football in Europe. Forget Arsene and Giroud influencing football in the UKNot checked for typos sorry if there are any.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Mr Attwood, Sir,for your getting Le Prof’s starts for this our Norwich Cup match 100% correct and for your getting his bench correct too bu but one in your article posting before Le Prof’s starts & bench are out, I am giving to you 98% kudos.

  • Yassine

    We shouldnt lose today, cause if we do, the negativities will rise again, and am not in the mood.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Not our best half so far, having to follow it via the .com sound commentary. It sounds rather like the last game when Theo was captain and we lost. Theo saying after the game that the other team wanted it more. Our midfield seems totally disjointed at the moment with Coquelin seemingly getting in the way of Jack and others.

    I would be tempted to replace Coquelin at the restart, bring on Osei-Tutu for the vacant wing back position and move Jack further forward.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    When a particular set of game starting and substitutes Gunners as a team is doing very well winning their games and they are all available to play, there is not need to tamper with the setup of the players in the team as doing this may backfire.

    Le Prof for no just cause tampering tonight with his starts and the substitutes he has been using in the Cup games and winning, but for wanting to give Iwobi a game starts in tonight’s match against Norwich who is not used to playing with the team and the team is not used to playing with him has led Le Prof to rearranging his winning starting lineup for this match and it has hurt Arsenal as Norwich surprisingly took a goal lead in the game going into the 2nd half of the match. I hope Arsenal will comeback strongly into the game in the 2nd half to equalise and go on to score the winner to us from getting embarrassed.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Nketiah gets us in to extra time!

  • MickHazel

    I do not normally single out players but Walcott has been absolutely terrible tonoight. The rest of them apart from Jack and Nelson have been very poor as well. No pace, no imagination and not a lot of effort either. Most of them look as though they are playing with lead weights attached to their legs. Very frustrating.

  • mom

    The busiest and bestest football site in the universe!

  • para

    15 mins and a few left lads, keep it up.

  • Chris

    My stream is lousy but it does seem like the ref has takne decisions that were not totally anti-Arsenal….

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Whew! Tough sledding but we got the job done…Well done to Nketiah.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I have been raving about Nketiah for a couple of years now as he has progressed through the U18s and U23s. So pleased that he came on and did what he does best – score goals. A phenomenal prospect who put in a MOTM performance.

    If he can build on this match, who needs Mbappe

  • Gord

    I’ve been out hauling water all day so far, and just got in. I had seen that at half time we were trailing 0-1. Comments here are scant, so I gather most people couldn’t find coverage of this game, which seems to be what happened with the last Carabao Cup game. If you want o make something not a trophy, a sure way to do that is make it difficult for anyone to follow the game.

    In any event, I would like to thank Eddie Nketiah for tying the game in regular time, and then winning the game in extra time!

    4:1 yellow cards for Arsenal? How did that happen? Madley have a bad day?

    Bournemouth, Bristol, Leicester and Manure are through.
    Two Madley’s refereeing tonight, we had Andy and Manure had Bobby.

  • Gord

    OT: Fastest Red Card?

    A game in Argentina (land of the cheating Maradona). Nine seconds into the game, a player dismissed.

  • WalterBroeckx

    match report is on line

  • John L

    That red card may be even quicker than Gerrard’s

  • MickHazel

    Slight improvement in second half and extra time but still played at a pedestrian pace apart from a couple of the youngsters. Jack saw plenty of the ball but no options or movement in front of him apart from Walcott constantly running into an offside position. Walcott needs to take lessons from Nelson and Nketiah on how to run at an opponent and beat him. Tonight every time he (Walcott) was confronted by a Norwich player he elected to turn round and pass it back to Holding or Debouchy, he appeared frightened to take a player on.
    A very poor performance and we were lucky to finish with eleven on the pitch, Elneny very fortunate to escape a red card. It looked as though Norwich should have had a penalty as well.
    Finally I think it a big mistake giving Walcott the captaincy, jack would have been a far better choice.
    I cannot see any of them apart from Jack challenging for a first eleven place on the form they showed tonight.

  • Al

    Good that we made it to next round, simply because this provides fringe players with an opportunity for a run out. That’s all.

    Regarding Bellerin’ s comments, funny that we say the exact same thing here and we get called paranoid, whingers and other not so flattering names. The English media is toxic, too toxic that it requires strong analytical minds not to fall for their manipulations.

    Gareth Southgate did not include Messi in his 3 best players in the world. Let that sink in. I have my theory.. I don’t know if it’s me but I’ve always felt the English media aren’t too pro Messi (because he never played here, in the so called best league in the world, so how can he be the best…) and I have felt they have single handedly denied Messi at least 2 or 3 ballon d’ors (He should have about 8 in my book)

    The previous England manager Roy Hodgson picked Ronaldo, Ibra and van persie in 2016.. I mean come on. The 2016 winner had a 0.5 dribbling success rate (One trick pony?).. compare that with Neymar or Iniesta who had over 90% both. Then you find managers of teams like England completely overlooking Messi.. whether that’s because they actually believe that, or they want to be on the right side of the English media I don’t know (I do suspect it’s the latter tbh, and the same goes for people like Wright, Thierry, etc etc: they can’t praise Arsenal for fear of “falling foul” of the English media).

    I don’t really know what it is but it’s like the English media stops people from thinking for themselves. It’s become a farce the way they change the tune where it comes to Arsenal; the same thing they praise a Manchester United or Chelsea for today they’ll slaughter Arsenal for the very next day. The opposite is true. They will always find ways to turn anything against Arsenal. Anything. Sad.

  • Al

    That should read 0.5% dribbling success rate over the year.. sure even our defenders have better percentages.