Arsenal vs the Unspeakable. Multiple visions of the team appears plus a weird April Fool.

By Bulldog Drummond

It’s an early start for those of us who live outside London so I am writing this piece quite a few hours before kick off, and thus I may be missing some late breaking news in terms of what sort of team we might put out against Stoke Neanderthals.

But still the key question is, does anyone get rested ahead of Thursday?   The obvious choice for me would be Lacazette, but I have seen suggestions that Ramsey and Wilshere could both be on the beach.

One possible line up doing the rounds is


Bellerin Mustafi Chambers Monreal

Elneny Xhaka

Mkhitaryan Ozil Iwobi


I am not convinced by this one, as if it were to go wrong there would be no end of gnashing of teeth and blaming, creating a dreadful atmosphere of oppression for Thursday.

Red London however finds an alternative and has the headline, “Ozil dropped, Welbeck starts.”

Mind you the arrival of Stoke has some writers trawling through their line up to find players that we ought to sign from their team.  No one has actually suggested the appalling Shawcross but there are those saying that we need Jack Butland, their goalkeeper.  We shall see how he does today.

Of course there are always some who will try to throw us of course when we have early morning starts after a saturday night out on the town and The Transfer Tavern this morning (yes really, Sunday), is running “Arsene Wenger simply must rest £45m-rated lynchpin against Swansea today”.  Or maybe that is just their idea of an April Fools gag.

The Stoke Sentinel however aims to keep up the image of Stoke, its environs and its fans by running the headline “Who to boo today”.  It is one thing that the Stoke fans boo people for no particular reason, but to have to be told who to boo shows a certain shallowness of independent thinking.  But then that is I guess what we have been talking about through some of these preview notes.

Thus at the time of writing a very strong team could be something along these lines….


Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi Monreal


Ramsey Wilshere

Mkhitaryan Aubameyang Ozil

Now of course some of those positions could be fluid – Wilshere moving forward and back depending on the flow of the game, and Ramsey free to join the forward line.   This line up would leave Lacazette on the beach, which would then free him up for the game on Thursday in which of course the daft Europa rules apply in order to remove Aubameyang from that game.  That would make sense overall.

We could also see Ozil go for a wander in this regard (assuming he is not dropped as the report noted above suggests), moving into a more central position behind the midfield duo, and allowing the old pals of Mkhitaryan and Aub to meander freely around hacking backs as they explore the possibility of whether this referee will give a free kick or even a penalty against Stoke.

As for the beach that line up would leave us with ten serious possibilities:

Ospina, Chambers, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Elneny, Iwobi, Nelson, Welbeck, Lacazette

Incidentally that doesn’t leave any room for the other youngsters like Nketiah, but I did overhear a suggestion that Welbeck might be leaving at the end of the season so that Eddie could step up as the first choice backup striker after Aug and Laca.  Maybe so, maybe not; when it comes to predicting a season ahead one never knows.

I suspect tactical issues will influence the final choices but I would reduce that to seven by leaving out Holding, Welbeck and Nelson.  Although as I noted above, one site has Welbeck playing (and it is interesting just how clear they, and the other sites quoted are, in saying their line up is right. If I had time I’d keep copies of their utterly certain predictions and see how they did).  (But I don’t).

As for the infidels, the evil entity known as Shawcross looks like he is playing (yep he is still at the disgraced player with the disgraced club and its disgraced supporters).  They could even have Crouch on the bench.

Looking forward, like many supporters, I would like Wilshere to stay, but not just because of his long association with the club.  When he and Ramsey play in midfield together they look like a perfect pairing, secure in the knowledge of Xhaka behind, and thus able to roam and explore, while pulling back if up against a team that appears able to make a breakthrough.

If Wilshere went I wonder if we would play Elneny there, and if so whether he would simply release Ramsey to play further forward all the time – I imagine so.   That too could work, but if would still be sad to see Jack go.

Anyway, if you are going, drive save, and have a great day.

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27 Replies to “Arsenal vs the Unspeakable. Multiple visions of the team appears plus a weird April Fool.”

  1. Team still on holiday mode, they need to play for the fans who turned up to watch them. The way they are playing at the moment I understand why some fans not turning up. Lift up the tempo.

  2. Good morning people (it is morning for me). Not seeing many comments, but it looks like this could be just another PGMO game.

    %Arsenal Possession
    _5 51
    10 48
    15 43
    20 58
    25 61
    30 64
    35 67
    40 67
    45 68
    45+2 67

    Shots on target _1:0
    _off target _ _ _6:3
    Corners _ _ _ _ _2:3
    Offsides _ _ _ _ 1:3
    Fouls _ _ _ _ _ _7:5
    Yellow _ _ _ _ _ 1:0
    Goal Kicks _ _ _ 3:4
    Treatments _ _ _ 3:0

    There seemed to be some screwyness in the numbers, as at one point we had twice as many fouls as Stoke, and yet we are the only team needing treatment.

  3. @Gord, team playing really badly, iseem like it’s a game of who can play badly.

  4. @Gord,

    For information our Women drew one all with Chelsea in a 12:30 kickoff. Kirby for Chelsea in Min 31 and Mead with the equaliser in added time at the end of the first half.

    No score in the City v Reading game with about 30 minutes played. We could really do with Reading getting points in that game.

  5. Well, hopefully if the fans back the Gunners, we’ll get something positive out of this game.


    Thanks Andrew.

  6. By the look of it, it seems that we have firmly placed all our (Easter and non-Easter) eggs in the basket with Europa League logo on it. Can’t blame either players or manager for picking battles at this stage of the season when even our best effort in the league probably wouldn’t give more than a firm sixth-placed finish.

  7. @Gord,

    So far so good in the City Ladies game – Reading oneup at half time Allen in Min35.

  8. Well done Arsenal!, i only read on sky sports what happened but it seems like every cheap foul stoke tried was penalised.

  9. Final stats

    %Arsenal Possession
    _5 51
    10 48
    15 43
    20 58
    25 61
    30 64
    35 67
    40 67
    45 68
    45+2 67
    50 68
    55 69
    60 70
    65 70
    70 70
    75 71
    80 71
    85 70
    90 71
    90+5 71

    Shots on target _1:0 11:2
    _off target _ _ _6:3 10:5
    Corners _ _ _ _ _2:3 6:5
    Offsides _ _ _ _ 1:3 6:5
    Fouls _ _ _ _ _ _7:5 9:13
    Yellow _ _ _ _ _ 1:0 1:2
    Goal Kicks _ _ _ 3:4 6:7
    Treatments _ _ _ 3:0 3:1

    The numbers at the end of the game look about what you would expect form both Arsenal and Stoke. But the first 20 minutes was completely different.

  10. It looked as though we had 2 weeks off , started to create chances after we scored from the first of the 2 definite penalties , great result but made hard work of it

  11. @Gord

    Reading just got a second against City Pearce in Min61. Should narrow the gap between us to 5 points and we have both a game in hand and have to play City so second place and Europe next year back in our hands!

  12. It was extremely unselfish of Aubameyang to pass up the opportunity of a hat-trick & allow Lacazette to take the second penalty.
    Elneny continues to impress. Such a great squad member.

  13. Well done boys. A good day at work. The ‘commentariats’ went on and on and on and on about the first penalty you’d think it wasn’t a penalty but a gift to us! Now that we don’t seem to be able to make top 4 the PigMob has sheathed their sword and would do their work in our matches in a more decent fashion. Honestly I don’t think it will wash away all their previous sins.

  14. I don’t like visiting the BBC website, but that seemed to be the only place to read about Man$ity versus Reading.

    It would appear that Reading won that game. But Man$ity had half again as many fouls, and Reading is the only team getting carded? Including a straight red?

  15. I don’t know about you, but I think I am hoping for a Chelsea win today against the Tottenspud.

  16. Anybody watching the Chelsea vs Chicken match? The telecast look as if it’s on fast forward, the ball and players move like in a video game.

  17. Good days graft put in by the boys today despite being fortunate with the first penalty (ball was played before the man). Let’s hope Chelski beat the Spuds!


  18. WOO HOO , HOO ! Great 3 points to narrow the gap against Chelsea , who are shooting themselves in the foot.
    Hope that there is some more ‘action ‘ of the kind from 2 years ago , but this time with some sendings off !

  19. Clubs and SNAF

    In the news, is a tidbit about Brentford. I believe Arsenal has been involved with Brentford in the past.

    In any event, Brentford was hearing complaints about a “fanzine” associated with the club, and decided to do something about it.

    According to the article, the “fanzine” has died (that isn’t what the club did).

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