Sporting v Arsenal: the teams, the money, the teams, Reiss Nelson, the teams

by Bulldog Drummond

There is a little debate going on about whether it is better to be in the Europa League and have a chance of winning something, or be in the Champions League knowing that we are not a strong enough team to beat the likes of Real Mad, Barcelona and Bayern – but nonetheless take the money.

The argument has heated up a little by the fact that the figures from last year’s European earnings have now been revealed and show this:

  • Arsenal £33.5m
  • Man U: £34m
  • Tottenham: £55m
  • Chelsea: £58m
  • Liverpool: £72m

So the argument runs, we aim for the Champs League to make more money, and risk all the angst of being beaten by Bayern or Barcelona yet again.  The money, in short, is more important than being in a competition that we stand more chance of winning.

That seems rather contrary to the “Fourth is not a trophy” line – in that suddenly “Fourth is a trophy – and a better trophy than winning the Europa” – because it means lots of dosh.   Interesting how we never really heard that argument when we were coming third and bourth.  Ah well, it’s a funny ol’ game this journalism lark.

Ahead of tonight’s game Mr Emery said, “We want the balance.  The balance to score a lot and not to concede a lot of goals. But for me the individual goalscoring statistics for the players is very important, as it is for the supporters to be excited with many things on the pitch. Scoring goals is important for this spectacle.

“For me, with this balance we want to score a lot and with different players. I want our strikers to have a lot of chances but also to find the balance defensively.”

We are told that 17 of the 18 players who were selected for the Leicester match got the first class flight to Lisbon. Apparently Sokratis is back, and Carl Jenkinson has joined the party – although that doesn’t mean he will be on the bench.  He might be, he might not be in the squad, or he might even start.   But no place for Ainsley Maitland Niles as yet.

Jose Peseiro, the Sporting manager, said in his conference, “After what happened we have to bring the players back together. The players, they never questioned their love for Sporting. They were just questioning their safety and how they would be received by the supporters. We were able to help the players overcome the trauma. The players were always united,  always together.”

So here is a possible XI


Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Mustafi, Bellerin;

Torreira, Ramsey;

Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Iwobi;


Interestingly, and to their eternal shame, the Guardian don’t have a match preview on their site.  Nor does the Telegraph beyond the headline “Unai Emery promises Arsenal will keep playing attacking football and excite the fans ahead of Sporting Lisbon clash.”

Anyway staying with line ups we might see a bit more rotation than this


Jenkinson Holding Sokratis Lichsteiner

Elneny Guendouzi


Welbeck Aubameyang Iwobi

or of course any combination of those formations.  But how could we slip Smith Rowe into that?  Well, the obvious way is to drop Iwobi – not because of his form, far from it, but because he will be needed at the Palace.   Smith Rowe then fitting in on one side of the front three, Welbeck on the other.

Of course one can go on playing with line ups forever, and we should not forget that being able to do so means that suddenly the “down to the basics”, “scraping the barrel”, “completely played out squad”, has now got enough players in it for us to have men out injured and rotation all at the same time.

Here’s one more version doing the rounds.  Now this one is from Talk Sprout so you might want to hold onto your hat a do a bit of disbelief suspension and stuff of that ilk…



Bellerin Mustafi Holding Lichsteiner

Elneny Guendouzi

Mkhitaryan Ramsey Welbeck



Yes apparently Cech is ready to play again.

Now of course some pundits are not playing by the rules, throwing all sorts of curved balls in by suggesting, for example that Reiss Nelson will play.   But not for Arsenal and not tonight.   Here’s the headline

Reiss Nelson’s red-hot form in front of goal could see the English youngster earn a place in the Hoffenheim starting line-up when they take on struggling VfB Stuttgart in Saturday’s late game (kick-off: 6.30PM CEST/ 5.30PM BST/ 12.30PM ET).

Meanwhile since 17 of the 18 from the weekend have gone to Portugal that gives us every chance of a strong beach for those who miss out on the game to build sandcastles on.  Aside from those mentioned in different permutations in the team that would mean we might have Martinez, Lacazette and Ozil running up and down a bit.

Let’s hope for another fine performance and another fine result.   Tragically it is on BT Sprout rather than a proper channel but if you choose not to watch that, you could try the commentary on – it is usually very good.




32 Replies to “Sporting v Arsenal: the teams, the money, the teams, Reiss Nelson, the teams”

  1. The team

    Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Holding, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Elneny, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Aubameyang

  2. Leno
    Lichtsteiner, Sokrates,Holding, Xhaka
    Guendouzi, Elneny
    Mikhitarian, Aubameyang, Wellbeck

    Martinez, Mustafi, Jenkinson, Özil, Torreira, Lacazette, Iwobi

    No Bellerin or normal left back. Xhaka continuing where he finished against Leicester.


  3. UEFA showing that Aaron is where the Captain’s armband tonight.

    Come on Captain Ramsey, let’s see a bunch of goals and/or assists!


  4. Greetings 13. Nice to see a good supporter here.

    Weather is 24C and cloudy in Lisbon.


  5. 2 shots on target, 1 off. 57% possession. 84% passing accuracy on 267 passes. 6 fouls (to 7 by Sporting).


  6. We play the Arsenal way but when so many ‘strangers’ play together there is a slight set of misunderstandings that do not allow for normal fluidity. We need some gel like Toreira to hold our play together. Hector is sorely missed on the left. Miki has done a good job but is not a natural.

  7. just so you can compare, it is 31C in Goa & i’m sitting under a fan with a cold beer at 23.22.

  8. So nice to see that the cheats with their time wasting injury pretence get one rammed in after a mistake.

    Great job Danny.


    I like that Unai mentioned exactly what I said was obvious from Leicester. Balance being that keyword.

    Bulldog made me chuckle and I enjoy that he made reference to that increased squad size which allows some actual rotation and cover for injury, sickness and adds pressure to perform.

    I added abpve a link with some extracts from Souness’ book? A man o respect for his understanding of football and his uncompromising attitude to mental characteristics and decision making. Old school. He has always struck me as respecting Arsenal and actually being dismayed by some of the unfair criticisms whilst levelling his own scathing reviews of games and personnel.

    He is a man somewhat after my own heart.

    I added it because he actually criticises himself heavily, I have al2ays thought this was a mist if you are going to critique others. But for context the article identifies two key things O feel are evident in Emery and his approach. Trying to change too much too quickly culturally or tactically.

    I look at this line up and ask myself two things. 1. These players he is playing in the EL; are they confidence players and are they the type to switch on quickly or do they need a little run? For me I would have used Danny and Mikhi midweek and Matteo with Stephan at Liexester. I would have started Hector here and looked to push on quickly.

    What we are seeing is a trend that actually contradicts Arsene’s approach heavily, maybe by d3sign, maybe as a result of design or just because.

    I am in favour of the Klopp, Pep Wenger approach, actually SAF is of that sake school. Go early score early dictate the atmosphere and pattern of play but we are coming out in the second half and doing the job, largely by luck which is part of any design.

    He’s again deployed Xhaka at LB and put him under pressure to perform in an important match. Something I agree with, he had no option without a LB he feels is ready to start.

    He’s going to have to get Dead minutes soon, he’s going to need him and I’m not sure Blackpool is that game. Although I may well be inclined to do am old Wenger and start a LV ahead of a LB.

    We are going to need Niles soon and Reiss would have indeed been handy here, I feel that EL was as good as Bundesliga for his development but I’m only agreeing with the former man in the dugout on that one.

    So at 0-0 a lack of pace is demonstrating the lack of penetration, but avoiding defeat may be preferable.

    But Palace are a banana skin and if we have a lack of pace on either flank expect Zaha to be shifted about to expose it and he seems to enjoy the big games best. I’ll play if I feel like it type.

    Elneny is deployed and then hauled off whilst my choice starters for the weekend play on and Ozil travels along with Lacazette.

    Thankfully he left our star man at home for a well earned rest, Hector obviously.

    Like I said it’s 1.5 teams rather than 2 and Monreal has not been up to the intensity of the top 5 clashes so Far, next test Mane and Salah! And don’t get me wrong I love the guy, like Alexis and Santo I will continue to follow them even after they move on. But just like Santo I’m thinking ahead. Of you ask Tony or Walter o think they should attest I said he should he sold that summer because of my concerns about injury at his age playing centrally and we all know what happened shortly after. We wasted income and risked his health let alone career.

    Sky tell me it’s still 0-0 bit one win from our remaining 3 games will see us qualify and seeded as to get the better of the coming draw, which is likely to include some big hitters. Among their number Spurs, Valencia, PSG or Napoli, but Liverpool are certainly not certain to progress unless the other two draw in the turn around making it vastly more likely provided they beat the minnows again as they did last night quite soundly.

    CSKA will be a draw everyone wants to avoid in western Europe and Monaco are certainly not playing to their abilities. Will UEFA decide that Henry v Arsenal looks good value; that Roma Liverpool fame was rather suspect.

    It’s funny I was playing my little game and it offers you the chance to pay to move a kocl off time.

    Well thanks a lot, can we make some substitutions now please. Danny scores the type of goals he does. Rarely scintillating, often important usually scruffy. A error gifts Arsenal what looks like a moment is victory, to maintain momentum somewhat fortuitously.

    Lucky….. never. But Danny is one for chasing down lost caused when played in advanced roles with cover behind. I’d it Unai or is it that we have more in the engine room these days?

    Bring off Auba and either Aaron or Matteo. He shouldn’t have taken off Elneny in my opinion, but he wanted to win and make sure of its possibility.

    Let’s hope they all get a good night’s sleep after a fairly short return journey.

    Let’s go 4-4-2 and just give Palace too much to deal with. With Mikhi and Iwobi wide of Torreira and Ramsey please.

    O want it done and dusted and everyone getting a weeks rest. I think Rowe Iwobi, Welbeck Xhaka Elneny Mustarfi, Holding Stephan and hopefully 60 mins from Nacho are enough. Martinez should play.

    Eddie and Mikhi Lucas and Matteo on the bench with whoever covering full back and CB is good. Could Carl male the bench again? I think so.

    Fortune smiles and if Wenger thought it’d be ok and better for him to take the heat. I accept because IWIT.

    Hurry up Thierry.

  10. Despite his gift Coates decides to head butt Lichsteiner. He was so damned lucky that the blind mice didn’t see it including the one with a dildo on the goal line. Lets see if UEFA do something about it.

  11. I love this.

    Coates frustrated after his mistake gets into Stephan, who seems to have just that right amount of Prem in him which roads a reaction after his jostling in the box on several occasions.

    But the commentators after trying to draw attention to that more than anything from the Sporting players, state that the referee, nicely not covered by the cameras, goes to both assistants and asks if they see anything. Nobody does. Don’t know what they are being paid for. But after ots suggested that maybe More officials are needed, somewhat tongue in cheek. Is it Tyler who responds? Anyways, no, no, no is the unequivocal response.

    But VAR would have had no problem is his next offering.

    Did they not see it? Or is it what I think, that they did, but didn’t fancy it and knew retrospective action would follow?

    He just shafted then for the return fixture and possibly the rest of the group matches at least.

    Now I’ll go see that Danny goal.

    When you Freudian state Something, such as officials are currupt and or incompetent.

  12. job done. We could have scored a few more but the keeper made some great saves specially the one where he was one on one with Auba. Winning where we never won before in Portugal. Nice.

  13. Oh sorry for not being able to write a match report. These early kick offs are rubbish as I am still working when we kick off


    And yeah this all really f**is Me off.

    None of its true. Torreira was identified by Arsene and the team. Post it’s and signatures.

    We’ve always played out from the back.

    He already paired the two strikers.

    To press with intensity we needed Matteo and Lucas.

    And tactically. We are the same just had a pre season with everyone for and new key additions. We are still conceding too many and the fixtures and lack of injuries are key.

    2 rests of real substance and 2 defeats. Next up Liverpool and thankfully not in front of the Loo. A win and we can change the attitude going into the return fixture and prior to United.

    Fickle people, the media suddenly became your friend and they agree with the Fan base selection that wanted Wenger out obviously and ArsenalFanTV

    I think we would have been playing even better with him and by jove of Henry gets onto them, he brings tactics, youthful exuberance, winning mentality, experience as a top player and just drive. A merger of Wenger Dechamps and Pep. That sounds like a new tech, Bruce Lee Munboxfu

  15. A shutout. 7 shots on target to their 0 on target. 62% possession. 86% of 543 passes completed. 12 fouls producing 2 yellows, compared to 13 fouls and 4 yellows for Sporting. And the run of wins increases by 1, for however you define the run.

  16. Only 1 medja outlet covering the headbutt. I suspect doesn’t see anything either.

    Mind you, the Arsenal Reporter didn’t bash Arsenal like I thought he would.

  17. Watched the game in a pub in Northamptonshire that had BT Sport but me the only person watching it. Felt obliged to have a couple of drinks in repsonse to them putting the TV channel on that I wanted. Had a nice chat with the publican at half time.

    Will do a “being there” report tomorrow. Only just got home.

  18. Tony,
    I don’t know about you but rarely have I watched New Arsenal (the Emery edition) have so much possession and achieve so little.
    The tippy/tappy passing had returned. Old habits die hard.
    Welbeck’s individual goal broke the boredom and was well taken.
    Now I do not claim to be able to be an analyst of the game and therefore I await your report with interest.
    We won the game and we are top of our “league”.
    Am I nitpicking over our performance? 😉

  19. Apparently they cannot be called Arsenal Fan TV as there was a cease and desist letter from Arsenal themselves. I think they rebranded as aftv or aftvmedia. Still doesnt make me want to watch them though.

  20. I doubt that Souness respects Arsenal. More likely that he has always been jealous of Arsenal Wenger’s record of success, compared to his own relative failure as a football manager.

  21. Arsenal have progressed to a more attacking slicker passing mode under Emery’s coaching. We deserved more than the one nil but luck sometimes deserts us.

    The aftv idiots still pontificate and carry on like they were footballs gift to Arsenal. They have some characters but none worth a second glance.

    Souness has always admired Arsenal and our way of playing the game.

    I like Emerys positive attitude. His selections though are a little disjointed and showed v Sporting. Xhaka was missing a soul mate & as soon as Lucas was beside him, his game improved. Looking forward to some challenges in the next 2 EPL games, both from the opponents & PGMOL.

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