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Thursday night’s team: no one told the Armenians not to believe what they read in the papers

By Bulldog Drummond

In a sense I rather relish the notion of all attention being turned away from Arsenal, with the focus being on the goings on at Wigan, Sergio Agüero considering pressing charges (although I am not quite sure against whom that might be) and West Ham being charged over breaches of anti-doping rules.  It’s quite amazing what these teams with their stadia paid for by us mugs who pay our tax in the UK, think they can get away with.  A bunch of hearty roughs and no mistake.

Of course the press is sniffing around Arsenal looking for some sort of story to take the spotlight off Manchester City, but the best the Telegraph could do with come up with a headline report that Cech expects Ospina to play in the final on Sunday.  Shock horror.

Elsewhere I liked the headline “Arsenal will be looking to flex their depth in the second leg against Ostersunds FK, which will mean more Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Show up, young man!”  It has a nice feel of the 1930s about it.  Although I am not too sure about the phrase “Looking to flex their depth”.   Is that physically possible.

Anyway, the ploy of playing the first team (as far as possible) in the first leg against Ostersunds FK means that we don’t have to get too involved with the first team again on Thursday, leaving them free and fresh for Sunday.

What this all means in detail is that Ainsley Maitland Niles might well get a second chance to play in the centre of midfield – that most coveted of spots.   Certainly at the end of last season Mr Wenger said he expected Ainsley to play with the first team this season – but for him to be getting a chance in the centre of midfield – that is quite something.

How do we fit Ramsey, Ainsley and Jack all in the same team?  I actually have no idea.

I presume also that Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, and Nacho Monreal will be given a break, along with anyone else who can be spared.   Physioroom reports no new injuries: it is Lacazette, Santi Caz and Ramsey – who is expected to be fit by 25 February.

I suspect we will also see Danny Welbeck playing again.  I have read commentaries saying the Danny showed he was lacking confidence etc etc – well the best way to overcome that is to play him some more.  Dropping him now would surely destroy his confidence if that is an issue for the guy.

But then at this point in my selection procedures I run into trouble.  PanArmenian.net tells us authoritatively that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be rested ahead of the League Cup final – citing as their source the authoritative Daily Star.

Now at Untold we always take the Star very seriously, as you will know, but on this occasion we think maybe the good folk of Armenia are being led astray because Henrikh is surely cup tied, isn’t he, in terms of the League Cup.  Which means there is every good reason to play him on Thursday so that if we do put in some youngsters they get the chance to play with a top man.

On the other hand the reverse is true with Aub who can’t play in the Europa but can play in the League Cup Final.

There is also the issue of Reiss Nelson – an extraordinary talent but one who has flitted in and out of the team.  He should certainly get a game as well – probably in an attacking position which is where he tends to end up no matter where is is supposed to be playing.

We also have Kolasinac who has not been given a first choice posting in the team for a little while, and who will probably be beached for the League Cup game on Sunday, so he can play on Thursday just to keep him fit and buzzy.

Holding and Chambers could get a game at the back, Xhaka and/or Elneny might be given the job of solidifying the defence (depending on who else is playing), Joe Willock could play in midfield, and Eddie Nketiah might well get more of a run out than normal.  Oh yes and I think Matt Macey will be there as the backup keeper.

I’m rather looking forward to it.  At least I won’t have the nerves I am likely to have on Sunday at Wembley.  Man City supporters do appear to be turning into an awful bunch of hearty roughs.

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13 comments to Thursday night’s team: no one told the Armenians not to believe what they read in the papers

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    For Our Last 32 Teams 2nd Leg Europa League Cup Match Against Ostersunds On Thursday Night At The Ems, These Are My 3-2-4-1 Arsenal Tea,m Starters And 7 Gunners Bench For the Match As Per The Below:

    Macey
    Chambers Mertesacker Holding
    Nelson Kolasinac
    Wilshere Elnney Willock Iwobi
    Welbeck.

    Bench:
    Ospina Mavropanos Maitland-Niles Sheaf Xhaka Dragomir Nketiah.

  • jjgsol

    can someone remind me please in what way the UK taxpayers contributed to the Mna$ity new ground?

  • knobby

    The Etihad is the old commonwealth stadium that was paid for by taxpayers and is rented by Man Citeh although they paid towards the new stand filling in the horseshoe shape.

  • JimB

    While City obviously did derive a huge benefit from having taken residence at the City of Manchester stadium, it was at least a fair and relatively transparent deal.

    For starters, as part of the deal, the local council received Man City’s real estate at Maine Road which was subsequently developed for housing. Secondly, City paid for the conversion of the new stadium from athletics to football – digging down and building the lower tier and also building the one end that had not been built for the Commonwealth Games. Thirdly, City pay a rent of something like £3-4m per annum. Fourthly, City pay all maintenance costs, policing and stewarding. Lastly, City (or rather their owners) paid for the the most recent expansion and will pay for any further expansion.

    Compare and contrast to West Ham. They kept the proceeds from the sale of Upton Park to pay off club debts. They contributed a paltry £15m (if memory serves) towards the excessive £240m conversion costs. They pay a low rent of just £2.5m per annum for a far bigger stadium. They pay no maintenance, stewarding or policing costs. The only way in which they lose out is by only taking a small share of the naming rights deal (if and when one is eventually agreed) and nothing from catering concessions – small fry in the grand scheme of things. All of which is further tainted by the scandalous lack of transparency for the whole process (from bidding to negotiating the terms of the tenancy).

  • JimB

    ……Should have said that City paid *half* the conversion costs from athletics to football.

  • CorporateMan

    Just wondering, Untold. Assuming at the end of the season,

    i. The Pl table is as it is today with Man City as champions
    ii. Spurs win the Champions League
    iii. Arsenal are Europa League winners.

    What happens?
    Will the PL have six teams in the 2018/19 Champions League?
    Dying to know please.

  • As far as I know Corporate it will be five, but its not something I have ever looked up.

  • Ferg

    Spurs to win something? Corporate you make an Ass out of u and me.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    If the fifth (or lower )placed team in the EPL wins the CL,they would automatically kick out the forth placed team.
    So who would you like to see affected by this fun scenario ?

  • Josif

    @Brickfields

    If I would have to pick…

    Man City to win the league (which is, pretty much, wrapped up),

    Arsenal to win Europa League (if someone else kicks out Atletico before the final, it’s quite possible),

    Liverpool to win Champions League and finish fifth (not very realistic given they are arguably the second best team in Premier League while the European result is also difficult to get with their awful defending but they can outscore opponents via Salah-Firmino-Mane, the most prolific trio in Europe with 61 goals in all competitions),

    Spurs to finish fourth.

  • Richard

    For me it’s obvious we will play players that are not in contention for Sunday or cup tied for Sunday. Nketiah should be given a start maybe have a more of counter attack mindset as osterunds will have to attack to get anything out of the game and then hit on the break hard and fast.

  • I forgot about Mikhi being cup tied. And if Ramsey is short, should be Elneny and Jack, but we need to play minimum 3 in midfield or we will he torn open.

    We also need pace to counter, without it we wil be allowed to contain them, so they can’t counter a mistake.

    Mistake is what you on get if Xhaka starts. So we either play Ozil advanced of a midfielder 3, with Auba top Mikhi left, which is his best statistically posisiton other than AMC since arriving in U.K.

    Which means he has to blood a youngster for the weekend.

    Given all of this. I. Be tempted to identify who I should capable. And also I think textbook and pace I should preferable to game management.

    Niles has to go left and Bellerin right.

    If you have those I’d prefer Monreal to Mustarfi, who I said perpetually looking on the limit lately, no matter the opposition.

    If not then Chambers, deploying Nacho in the second half to add stability and composure. Unless we deploy Nacho at LWF and Mikhi RWF. That isn’t very secure and industrious.

    We don’t need both wingersnto beat their man, just to make the 100% correct pass when opportunity knocks.

    Xhaka again, just not now.

    However I would probably play Nacho as part of central pairing, hia understanding of LB will cover Niles. An drew Koscielny knows what to do, provided his partner isn’t cutting himself out of the game, or getting him doubled up on.

    Which would give me that opportunity to release Nelson on the right, and o think that boy just has a footballing brain, a lot of class, an extremely good weights of pass and pace to burn. This could well be his and Nketiah’s game to win. Because I think they both could prove pivotal.

    City break quickly and De Bruyne puts it all togetherness in his new deeper role. Elneny to martial that man. Jack keeps Fernandinho honest amf Ozil probes Gundagan.

    Without two wing forwards. To press the full backs we get pinned in. 3-4-2-1 will not work, nothing without protection on the flanks and offence on the flanks will work.

    So my preference remains: adjusted:

    Ospina
    Bellerin
    Koscielny
    Monreal
    Niles
    Elneny
    Wilshere
    Nketoah
    Ozil
    Nelson
    Aubameyang

    Macey
    Chambers
    Kolasinac
    Willock
    Xhaka
    Welbeck
    Ramsey*

    I think it is important to stres to those playing on Thursday, that matchsay places are up for grabs.

    Macey should start on Thursday, it’s probably his last real prospect at a game. If we can’t stop then Swiss scoring 4 we have a problem, that’s without reply.

    I’d go back 3 for protection but play a front 3 also for width and freedom with Mikhitaryan in behind a front two.

    Macey
    Holding
    Mertersacher
    Mavrapanos
    Chambers
    Kolasinac
    Xhaka
    Willock
    Mikhi
    Nketiah
    Welbeck

    Note: Nelson doesn’t start. And I’d leave Ozil, Aubameyang, Koscielny, Monreal, Ospina, and the rest I selected at home and explore deeper the U23’s

    From us you get no respect. Plus lets see how much Danny and Eddie want it. Shoot out, or is it, Messi an drew Suarez 26 assists apiece for one another. Danny can’t play alone.

  • City didn’t pay for Manchester infrastructure because the tax payers money wasn’t appropriated for expenditure misuse. The country that owns them, who are about to float their oils as a public stock, given supply will outstrip demand soon.

    They put the city and the government in their pockets, by plugging a gap created bubble mismanagement of tax payer finances.

    There is little difference with the Wet Ham deal, if I find your trip to the sweet shop openly from my piggy bank. Nobody has to be any the wiser I’m taking your Console playing time in return. Although once the transaction is complete, and you are eating the sweets, I may increase the value of those sweets given that you can’t tell the rents. I funded the trip as young had already misused your allowance.