How Arsenal will line up in the coming season, and being a trends editor.

By Tony Attwood

Here is a line up for the coming season that in popular among journalists and bloggers…

Bernd Leno;

Hector Bellerin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkordran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal;

Lucas Torreira, Aaron Ramsey;

Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan;

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.


And a variant

Petr Cech;

Hector Bellerin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkordran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac;

Lucas Torreira, Aaron Ramsey,

Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil;

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

And another variant

Bernd Leno;

Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal;

Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Lucas Torreira;

Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

And one more

 Bernd Leno;

Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal;

Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Lucas Torreira;

Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette


And yet one more

Bernd Leno;

Hector Bellerin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal;

Lucas Torreira, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil;

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette.

These have all been published in Football London and apparently come from different members of staff.  The one who devised the last of those has the job title of Trainee Trends Editor, and I must admit to a feeling of having missed out.  How come in my varied life of many jobs, I never became a Trainee Trends Editor?  In my very specialist field I’m thought of by a few people as knowing a bit about the psychology of perception.  But Trainee Trends Editor.  I could have gone for that.  (Actually I have no idea what it means but imagine going into a bar in one’s youth and talking to an attractive young lady and on being asked what you do saying “I’m a trends editor.”   I mean, there is bullshit, and then there is bullshit.

However I seem to have wandered off course a little.  Back to the plot.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like here.  One is that there was no thought of having one primary team for home games and another one for the type of away games we lost last season, which I think is the obvious way to play.

Or put it another way: one line up for when playing teams who will come and attack, and another for when playing teams that will defend.

Or put it another another way, last season Huddersfield Town and Swansea City each scored 28 goals.  Approximately 25% of the number of goals that Manchester City scored.  Seven teams scored half or less than half the number Arsenal scored (we were the third highest scoring club in the league).

So doesn’t it make sense to consider a variant side when playing low scoring defending teams like those noted above or Brighton or Burnley, and a different side when playing high scoring teams?

My suspicion is Stephan Lichtsteiner did not come in to sit on the bench all season, but rather expects to play a few games – games where we need the extra defender, as well as games where the regular defender need a rest.

Maybe in fact we can’t have a first choice line up any more but instead genuinely have a list of players who can slot in and out according to who we are playing and whether we are playing home or away.

Looking at the list of players below, and leaving aside the special case of the keepers, these guys will need games one way or another, so the fixed squad system seems to me to be less valid than ever.  And I’ve deliberately left out the youth players who will clearly get some match time: Nelson, Smith-Rowe, etc.

Pos. Name Age App Goals Ends Transfer fee
1 GK Petr Čech 36 117 0 2019 £10.0M
2 DF Héctor Bellerín 23 162 7 2023 Youth
4 MF Mohamed Elneny 26 72 2 2022 £7.4M
5 DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos 30 0 0 2021 £14.8M
6 DF Laurent Koscielny 32 324 24 2020 £8.5M
7 MF Henrikh Mkhitaryan 29 17 3 2021 Swap deal
8 MF Aaron Ramsey 27 329 58 2019 £4.8M
9 FW Alexandre Lacazette 27 39 17 2022 £46.5M
10 MF Mesut Özil 29 195 37 2021 £42.5M
11 MF Lucas Torreira 22 0 0 2023 £26.4M
12 DF Stephan Lichtsteiner 34 0 0 2019 Free
14 FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 29 14 10 2021 £56.0M
15 MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles 20 38 0 2023 Youth
16 DF Rob Holding 22 44 1 2023 £2.0M
17 FW Alex Iwobi 22 98 9 2020 Youth
18 DF Nacho Monreal 32 212 9 2019 £8.5M
19 GK Bernd Leno 26 0 0 2023 £19.2M
20 DF Shkodran Mustafi 26 75 5 2021 £35.0M
21 DF Calum Chambers 23 83 3 2022 £16.0M
26 GK Emiliano Martínez 25 13 0 2022 Youth
27 DF Konstantinos Mavropanos 20 3 0 2023 £1.8M
29 MF Mattéo Guendouzi 19 0 0 2023 £7.0M
31 DF Sead Kolašinac 25 36 5 2022 Free
34 MF Granit Xhaka 25 94 7 2023 £30.0M

If I were to pick a team to play at home against moderate opposition yes, I would go with 

Bernd Leno;

Hector Bellerin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal;

Granit Xhaka,

Mesut Ozil Aaron Ramsey

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Henrikh Mkhitaryan

but against a flair attacking side with proven goal scoring ability I wouldn’t leave Xhaka on his own and would certainly want Lucas Torreira or someone else like him to double up.  Which would mean maybe playing just two forwards – while telling Ramsey to focus more on defence than attack.

But isn’t it also interesting that none of the lists above include Mattéo Guendouzi?  Again I would try and use him and probably more than occasionally – and in attacking games with a line up such as 

Bernd Leno;

Hector Bellerin, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal;

Granit Xhaka;

 Aaron Ramsey,  Mesut Ozil,  Mattéo Guendouzi

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette

There is flexibility in the squad and I am hoping we can make the most of it.  Maybe it does mean grinding out those low scoring away wins and even a few goal less draws away to bring our away figures back to normal.  But I’ll accept that to climb back up to third and give us a good chance in the Cups.

And if you consider it a poor show for me just to be aiming at third, I still genuinely think that the winners of the leagues across Europe could be announced now.   Celtic, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG, Juventus, Manchester City.  It doesn’t make for exciting football, but that’s how Uefa have let it develop and no one seems to want to stand up to them.   We might make second, but I’d take third and a cup as progress.

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6 Replies to “How Arsenal will line up in the coming season, and being a trends editor.”

  1. I would have Stephan Lichtsteiner in place of Belerin who has been very poor so far .Also i would replace xhaka with Mattéo Guendouzi who has been our standout player in pre season.

  2. From my own observation and of what Arsenal’s regular first team starting XI and 7 on the bench Gunners line-up in the PL next season should be looking like under Unai Emery is, we should wait to be a little patient for him to finish the rebuilding and revamping exercise he’s doing of the Arsenal first team squad and the promising looking youth players he has inherited from Monsiuer Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager.

    An observation in the media has observed that the current Arsenal first team squad is over blotted and needing to be down sized to the acceptable official squad number limit. Of to note is club is yet to fully offload some Gunners who are looking will become surpluse to requirements at club by the time the summer transfer widow is slammed shut in less than 2 weeks time I suppose.

    And Aaron Ramsey’s contract extention at the club has turned into a saga. Thus, delaying Arsenal intention to sign a new top offensive player or not this summer who could be a top grade winger but probably on loan after they’ve sold some Gunners to raise funds to fund the loan deal of the top grade offensive player winger they could do to further strengthened their squad before they host Man City and Chelsea all in the PL at the Ems and at the Bridge in about 2 weeks time.

    It’s probably after Arsenal have played their last pre-season game against Lazio on the 4th of this month that we’ll start having an idea of what Arsenal’s line-up against Man City in the PL at the Ems will look like. And from then on, we could start to know what Arsenal regular first XI and the 7 subs will be looking like during this summer campaign. More so, if they beat Man City and Chelsea in their 2 opening matches of the new season in the PL.

  3. Tony
    I’m sure any number of lineups can be justified one may or another. Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan could be one of the best front lines in the EPL. Since Emery has said he’d rather win 5-4 than 1-0, then that front line would be the way to go. For the first time in years I’m optimistic re the midfield and defence. So, as the badge says, FORWARD! COYG!

  4. Lucas Torreira “or someone like him to double up”. We don’t have someone else like him and haven’t had for many years which has been the never ending problem we’ve had. He’ll be the first name on my team sheet even if it means moving someone on. And, by the way, we need to replace Bellerin, can’t tackle, can’t cross a decent ball- he’s learned nothing over the past two or three years. Apart from that I’m very confident that we can move forward.

  5. Andrew Elder – Bellerin isn’t anywhere near as bad as you are making out, and he stacks right up there with the other right-backs from the top 6 –|premier_league/2017/2018/kyle_walker/819/819/854/37/p|premier_league/2017/2018/kieran_trippier/819/819/10256/47/p|premier_league/2017/2018/victor_moses/819/819/936/33/p|premier_league/2017/2018/antonio_valencia/819/819/581/0/p#tackles_won/interceptions/defensive_errors/blocks/chances_created#90

    Arsenal fans diminishing the talents and effort of their own players?! Who woulda thunk it!

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