Chelsea v Arsenal: figuring out the team and Mr Emery’s two big questions

Please note that on Monday, Untold Arsenal will be unavailable for a while as we upgrade the site and move to a new server.  If the down time is more than for a short while we’ll publish articles and news on our Facebook page.  Please see the home page,, for more details.


By Bulldog Drummond

It used to seem so easy, trying to work out what team we’d put out.  After all with Mr Wenger having been at the club far longer than many of the little opposition groups who rallied behind “4th is not a trophy” slogan before having to change that to “the FA Cup is not a trophy,” we got the feeling of what he was going to do.

Not that this meant I usually managed to predict the team ok, but even so, it was not that hard to get much of the lineup correct, and make a fair stab at the beach.

But now it is all different.  One of the most obvious issues is Torreira.  He’s 22, so with his best years ahead of him.  He’s been playing regularly for Sampdoria (36 games last season and 35 the season before) so he’s got a lot of experience in first team football, and having broken into the Uruguay team he played eight games for them this year.  It all looks like a player very much on the way up.

The manager said, “In Lucas Torreira, we have signed a young player who is a very bright talent in the game. A midfielder with great quality, I have enjoyed watching his performances for Sampdoria in the past two seasons, and we all saw him do very well for Uruguay in the World Cup. He is a young player already with good experience, but who wants to keep on growing.”

He is described as a “baseline player” – a protector of the back four – but also a player who can make exactly the right passes through to the front line at exactly the right moment.   Which suggests he is something rather special – and all that in a player who is 5 feet 6 inches tall.  Blimey, someone who is shorter than me!

So it seems very unlikely that Torreira does not start today.  And if he does come in and makes a really good show of holding up the pressure from Chelsea that certainly would cement his position in the team from here on.

But what does that mean for everyone else?  Last weekend Ramsey was played in a very high position, Özil seemed to be playing much further back than normal.  

Then we have Matteo Guendouzi – only 19 but who has continued in each match through the warm up games and last weekend to put in the workload without failing.  Yes he makes mistakes but it is very few 19 year olds who don’t.  I am still wondering how he came to us at such a low price.

And for those of us who thought Danny Welbeck was very obviously in the departure lounge, the Guardian is now suggesting he could be used as a wide player in a pressing game today.

Put all these things together and the question begins to arise – just how radical is our new manager willing to be?  Can players who he talks up as being central to his plans (like Ramsey or Xhaka) be dropped?  Or how about Torreira with Xhaka and Guendouzi playing together as a midfield?

The role of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Özil were both questioned last weekend – as of course was Petr Cech and much depends on two questions the answer to which I have no idea about:

Is our new manager a person who is likely to pick a team for each occasion rather than have a set first team and then change them around only because of injury or loss of form?

Is Mr Emery a man who has a broad plan and who recognises it takes players a while to get used to playing in his style, and so he needs to give certain players as many games as possible to get them used to this approach irrespective of their form?

One suggests a changed line up game by game, the other suggests sticking with players even when they have had a poor match in the game before.

Either way, in one sense an opening two matches against Manchester City and Chelsea could be an ideal.  We were expected to find these two games tough, and even if we lose today against Chelsea there are hardly going to be the first chants of Emery Out.  (Actually I Express will do that, and maybe the Mirror, and the Star and… ok there will be calls for him to go and a lot of mud slinging and muck raking in the press, but in the more sensible sections of society, it will be seen as a chance to experiment before matches against clubs outside the top six of last season are to be played.)

Throughout this pre-season I have felt our attacking line up ought to be 


Mkhitaryan Lacazette Aubameyang

and today I suspect the choice is going to be between giving this selection a chance to keep worrying Chelsea at the back, especially after breakaways by Chelsea, with quick balls through to that front four, or whether the need to solidify at the back is going to change this front four.

The defence behind those four could be

Xhaka Torreira

Monreal Sokratis Mustafi Bellerin


which does indeed leave Ramsey on the beach.  If Monreal is not fit then it will have to be Lichtsteiner at left back.

The only other way I can see of doing this is to play Ramsey alongside Torreira with either Guendouzi or Xhaka completing a midfield three behind Ozil

32 Replies to “Chelsea v Arsenal: figuring out the team and Mr Emery’s two big questions”

  1. I’m writing the obvious a new system of play , new players and balance of a defencesive or attacking game our new manager Mr Emery wants to play . To second guess his team for Chelsea this weekend in my opinion is impossible until maybe a pattern developes in time , too many variables

  2. from, what i saw of him at psg, unai is capable of beaching anyone – he did so with thiago silva for the first leg of psg real – in my opinion he wouldn’t mind benching aaron-mesut-henrykh-granit …, he sure didn’t mind beaching laca, last week-end
    when thiago motta was fit, he always played him in front of his back four
    i think torreira is the same “metronome” kind of player, the kind of priceless asset to a team that busquets was/is for barcelona, or pirlo used to be for juve,in the last part of his career (although motta/busquets/pirlo/torreira have different styles of play, of course) – so i’d be very surprised if lucas was not one of the cornerstones of unai’s line-ups
    so … i’d bet on something like:
    Bellerin Mustafi Sokratis Monreal
    Guendouzi Xhaka
    Ramsey Özil
    but i have to admit the guardian “danny” suggestion doesn’t look that irrelevant to me …

  3. Hmmm. The Arsenal starting XI lineup against Chelsea today doesn’t look easy for many Arsenal fans to guess it and later see if what they’ve guessed is correct to the letter or nearly to it or even out of the way altogether when Unai Emery’s Arsenal starting XI and bench for the match are out.

    Nevertheless, whatever be the Arsenal starting XI lineup and bench guessed by any Arsenal fans to play against Chelsea today is not necessarily what matters most for Arsenal but their beating Chelsea to the collection of all points at stake in the match today with of course a formidable Emery’s Arsenal starting XI and bench that Sarri’s Blues team can’t breach nor overpowered to overcome in the match is what I believe matters most for Arsenal and us the Gooners today.

    And to this end, I believe Arsenal will beat Chelsea in today’s PL match encounter between the duo clubs at the Bridge which I believe I have been saying without number on this website for all the sundry of the Gooners to not only read it but believe it as I do. For, it is written, Let it be according to thy belief. And I believe we all belief in Arsenal and trust them to deliver absolute success in this match today for Arsenal. And that what the Gunners shall do.

  4. Fulham haven’t been able to get out of their defensive 1/3. I expect a 3 goal Spurs win at this stage.

  5. Rough play

    Last gameday, Leicester required 3 treatment sessions playing away to ManU (0 treatments), Newcastle required 3 treatments to Spuds (0 treatments), Fulham required 4 treatments playing CPalace (1 treatment), Brighton required 4 treatments away to Watford (0 treatments), and Arsenal required 5 treatments playing Man$ity (0 treatments).

    I am going to call the issuing of a penalty, as a caution. A red is two cautions at the same time.
    Man-Minutes of Caution
    057 ManU 36+21
    126 Leicester 87+39
    032 Newc 32+0
    070 Spuds 48+22
    047 Bournemouth 47
    143 Cardiff 87+56
    056 Fulham 56
    066 CPalace 50+16
    021 Chelsea 21
    098 Huddersfield 45+46+7
    043 Watford 26+17
    081 Brighton 72+9
    000 Wolves 0
    176 Everton 76+2(50)
    000 Southampton 0
    075 Burnley 75
    069 Liverpool 69
    073 State Aid 38+35
    101 Arsenal 63+38
    103 Man$ity 86+17

    The early game seen 5 yellows (3:2), a red and an missed penalty. Treatments were 8:3 (Cardiff needing 8). The next set of games are on, with Everton leading 2-0 (Walcott with the first goal). But at 35 minutes in, Everton has needed 5 treatments (to 0 for Southampton). Everton had a player needing treatment, who needed to be substituted a couple of minutes later. Self-inflicted injury call by the ref?

  6. And lastly, because I will be extremely surprised if we don’t lose.

    1. They are aware of the fan divide, looking to blame Arsene, the top link in on the home page, behind the scenes, to try and ivnite the fans to see the wonderful new atmosphere created by Unai, no they were always like that, and Aubameyang, Matteo and Ainsley have brought an abundance of positive energy.
    2. Stephan talking to Hector, 3 link I velieve again all Unai’s work.
    3. Misuising the 4-2-3-1, seemingly on purpose, to fascilitate change, then blaming Ozil, then adding in Torriera, who I’m sur like Sanchez would play with one leg if he thought it important. Now he’s ready, I’ll tinker some more, why not just bench ramsey, Ozil and Aubameyang, obviously.
    4. True Gunners, are backing Wenger aware of what happened, these were our best!
    5. And this is the Arsenal way, Alexis couldn’t play with his whole heart, Wenger couldn’t give his whole heart ot a cause he did not believe in, with his hands tied trying to wim anymore.

    Nothing done behind the scnes of late has anything to do with the Arsenal way, if you are a Goner, you should be up in arms, livid.

    Everyone who had hopes for the club is leaving or left, bar Ramsey and Bellerin, because as much they want ot be where they are logistically, and have time to decide.

    What remains is an ethos, a mandaye and bricks and Mortor, a house is not a home. So it’s begun and I’m finishing, my heart not in it!

    I feel what is wrong, maybe I will write one article as a farewell, for now at least!

    Till I die, but I support in my own way……. I suffer a loss in my own way, and it’s the right way!

  7. 1-0 Why because, one midfielder isn’t seasoned at all, the other, doesn’t track, Sokratis was half asleep and lacks pace, back line too high, Belllerin naive in tracking the player, needs smeone to have a word, Mikhi didn’t track his man. Chelsea 3 man midfield holding, with workrate of Barkley, no Hazard, because they want the sale. No Elneny, Stephan would have been a better selection because we need experience, Chelsea, completely settled.

    Cech, reactions, waining. The team is in dissara 😀

    She Wore A Yellow Ribbon…….. What No Aaron again….. Ooh! Unai…..

  8. Absolutely bang average awful defending once again.How are the likes of Mustafa and xhaka still doing getting a game at Arsenal.

  9. Both ful backs, 2-2, both wingers score! Now this is very even, lets see, we are better, Matteo has great passing range.

    Torreira for Xhakam why do we have Xhaka on if Matteo passes like that? Get in Mihki 1 and 1.

  10. I said it my posting on this site that Man City were able to beat Arsenal in their first game because the Gunners who have 3 good chances to score from 3 good chances they created profligated in front of Man City goal. Hence, their defeat to Man City.

    As I am watching live on my TV set, the Gunners of Ozil, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have all repeated the same mistakes of profigancy in front of Man City goal that Arsenal did in front of Chelsea goal from the goals scoring chances they’ve created so far in the match. But Alonso and Morata did not profigate in front of Arsenal goal but scored for Chelsea to put the Blues 2-1 up in the game as Mkhitaryan has pulled one back for Arsenal to put them back in he match. What is wrong with the Gunners? Looking like not much is wrong with them. For, Iwobi has just leveled up for Arsenal with a fantastic goal but profligated in front of Chelsea goal as he balloon the ball over the Gunners should forsake any form of profigancy in front of Chelsea goal in the 2nd half to win the match. If they do, they’ll win the match.

  11. LOL 😀

    The things they are doing right, are what they aways did right,and our 25 has Jenkinson in and Welbeck, everyone else expected left, Campbell, Ospina and so on. The best thing is now Squad size, if we can somehow get rid of Xhaka and Mustarfi at 66%.

    Communication and Trust, key to a relationship. A loss now, huh, well…. It’s a good thing Chelsea are missing Cesc, because all they need is a playmaker, and well Hazard, if he were committed, hmm….

  12. The only mention I seen of Xhaka before he was given a yellow, was things like kicking the ball. But it seems typical that it takes almost nothing from Xhaka, in order for PGMO to issue a card.

    Nice to see that Arsenal turned things around to finish the half.

    I wonder if I will see any positive comments when I submit this comment?


  13. Chelsea commit 12 fouls and get 0 cards, we commit 9 fouls and get 2 cards. Looks odd.

    Nice try Gunners!

  14. So there it is, I was exact and they haver a better playmaker in Kovacic, came on ready to fire, Torrieria came on and immediately made a difference. Like I said, Xhaka goes in the EL in a 3 man Midfield with Elneny and Matteo, so we have cover and discipline.

    The subs, I was right, right? The change, I was right, right, And he took off Ozil, as if to blame him again!

    So West Ham, they can beat us, if we play like that, Jack, I’m asking you to help punish the owner and manager. Gooner till you die, loyalty, he went to the other team of his family, the boy is loyal, he ain’t leaving there.

    So, this is the last comment, I’ll write the article, adter I finsih the case.

    Per incuriam, The Officials and the the wins, counted as losses, I don’t lose cases, ever! My name will show only wins on the list of top Lawyers, and I do all the work, paralegal solicitor and barrister.

    What sgould have been done for me, but my paralegals, bewly acquired or selectively competent former gf’s, should have applied for Habeas corpus.

    That was a tactical loss, and deficiency of defence. They fouled cleverly, Xhaka deserved a yellow, maybe they deserved cards, but I focus on my own team!

    PLease Post my last comment for a while. That was the motivation, I respond well from defeat, trust me, if I played in that midfield, we’d win, as true as the rest of what I said!

    PEACE go with you all, some of us, go to the front lines, when every able bodied man, woman and child must fight, we fight. See women throwing babies in battles.

    Maximum points likely from the next fixture, 1. We are about to face one of the most tactically astute natural managers in the world, with previous experience of the league.

    NBC say we improved, haha, no they did what they usually do in the second half, and got unlucky, with players lacking confidence missing. Auba having too much time off and Mikhi also, and Ozil having a tough summer and Iwobi, travelling a lot and playing poorly at the WC. Gaiing too much weight, and Hecotr having to form new relationships every five minutes.

    What happened to the first one?! If they see my acccuracy, from foresight, maybe they will be more receptive, to even what you say Tony?! It’s wisdom, the appropriate application of hindsight, experience, and understanding to create foresight, with a little gift thrown in.

    The first one was brilliant, and gave such insight, why not!?!

  15. Guendouzi is an excellent player & needs a few matches to bed in. If our forwards were a little more stable & accurate we would have been celebrating a win.

  16. Possession Stats (Cumulative %Arsenal)
    05 34
    10 33
    15 28
    20 40
    25 43
    30 42
    35 42
    40 41
    45 45
    45+3 45
    50 47
    55 47
    60 46
    65 45
    70 44
    75 42
    80 43
    85 43
    90 43
    90+4 42

  17. GameDay 1 – Caution League (Man-Minutes). A penalty is considered a caution, and a red card is considered 2 simultaneous cautions.

    000 Southampton 0
    000 Wolves 0
    021 Chelsea 21
    032 Newc 32+0
    043 Watford 26+17
    047 Bournemouth 47
    056 Fulham 56
    057 ManU 36+21
    066 CPalace 50+16
    069 Liverpool 69
    070 Spuds 48+22
    073 State Aid 38+35
    075 Burnley 75
    081 Brighton 72+9
    098 Huddersfield 45+46+7
    101 Arsenal 63+38
    103 Man$ity 86+17
    126 Leicester 87+39
    143 Cardiff 87+56
    176 Everton 76+2(50)

  18. GameDay 1 – Treatment League
    0 Burnley
    0 Chelsea
    0 Huddersfield
    0 Liverpool
    0 Man$ity
    0 ManU
    0 Spuds
    0 Watford
    1 CPalace
    1 Everton
    2 Southampton
    2 State Aid
    3 Bournemouth
    3 Cardiff
    3 Leicester
    3 Newcastle
    3 Wolves
    4 Brighton
    4 Fulham
    5 Arsenal

  19. Game Day 1 – Inverse Treatment League (points assigned to opposing team)
    .0 Arsenal
    .0 Brighton
    .0 Chelsea
    .0 Huddersfield
    .0 Leicester
    .0 Newcastle
    .0 Southampton
    .0 State Aid
    -1 Fulham
    -1 Wolves
    -2 Burnley
    -2 Liverpool
    -3 Bournemouth
    -3 Cardiff
    -3 Everton
    -3 ManU
    -3 Spuds
    -4 CPalace
    -4 Watford
    -5 Man$ity

Comments are closed.