Arsenal v Blackpool: checking the Checkatrade disaster and picking a team from who’s left

By Bulldog Drummond

It is surprisingly hard to pick up definitive team news at the moment.  The latest story is the Elneny has a thigh injury that will keep him out for a couple of weeks, and we know that Cech is going to play in goal.  Other than that we can expect a mix of the youngsters and a few older hands.   (The Star however seems to disagree about Elneny and has him playing, and we know how down to earth and honest that newspaper is).

Personally I think this could be the moment that Maitland-Niles comes back, and we would expected to see Smith Rowe playing.

Danny Welbeck has played well when he has come on, but of course he has some top scorers ahead of him so I guess the most likely place for him to start is in the Cup games, which includes here.

Joe Willock and Julio Pleguezuelo also took part in first team training ahead of this game so we would expect them to be on the bench or in the starting XI.  But looking at what Mr Emery has done in the past I think he will only include two or three players who are yet to prove themselves completely, and surround them with experienced players.

Neither of these two have played for the first team yet, so I suspect the best they can hope for is 20 minutes near the end if all is going well.

Mind you, if my memory is working, I can’t recall Eddie getting any game time yet – we didn’t even see him at Coventry in the Checkatrade game.  So maybe it is time for him.  Personally I hope so as we were all raving about his exploits for England in the summer.

Arsenal Station come up with this lineup


Lichtsteiner, Pleguezuelo, Sokratis, Jenkinson

Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi

Ramsey, Smith Rowe, Mkhitaryan,



That is interesting in that Maitland-Niles can play full back, our current problem position my thought is that this is where he ought to be.  I am not sure if Pleguezuelo is totally fit, but if so this could be his chance to start making his way back.

Ramsey, also, I thought, might get a game as he is only being used as a sub in some league games at the moment, but whether he should be officially placed in the attacking midfield or behind them is an interesting point.

So an alternative approach could be


Lichsteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles

Ramsey Guendouzi

Mkhitaryan  Smith-Rowe  Nketiah



That approach could leave Pleguezuelo and Jenkinson beached, along with Joe Willock.  Not sure whether the manager will put in one or two more experienced players on the bench just in case something goes horribly wrong.   Obviously we’ll have a keeper on the bench so that will presumably be Martinez.  For the remaining places, maybe Torreira as one of the “if it all goes wrong” helpers and perhaps Iwobi as the other and one other youngster…

Part of this thinking comes from the team arrangements for the Checkatrade match against Cheltenham (which we lost 6-2, after having a player sent off on around 10 minute)s, and a very inexperienced squad left on the pitch, with the likes of  Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Julio Pleguezuelo not taken to Cheltenham.

So putting all things together from such evidence as we have, I’m going for something like the alternative approach above – but I wouldn’t recommend putting any money on it.

That is it for now.  We’re getting some lunch and then making the long and tedious journey through the road works to London, in time hopefully for a little drink in the watering hole before finding our new seats for the match (with us doing the normal “let’s explore another part of the ground” activity for League Cup games.  It is possible to buy one’s regular seat for the League Cup, but where’s the fun in that?)



15 Replies to “Arsenal v Blackpool: checking the Checkatrade disaster and picking a team from who’s left”

  1. Looks good to me BD
    Maybe Iwobi will start ahead of Eddie,as he needs a confidence reboost after the weekend. But Eddie very happy on twotter this morning, so gametime looks likely. Hope so.

  2. The now head coach of some team that is reminiscent whole heart, is really beginning to grate on me. He must think he is in Spain or France, because his sucks. His wooden personality is bad enough, but I expect the basics.

    If ever there was something you shouldn’t do, that’s try and force Aaron out, I hear silence amongst the Wenger OUT brigade, because it’s obvious now what’s going on, plus every time we play opposition we are equal to if not the better of, we lose, and if we are playing a team with something about them, a little intensity, we stumble over the line [Leicester] or come up short [Palace] when par for the course is 3 points.

    He inasists on doing things that aren’t working, and for all his stupid tinkering in the opening games, even after a full pre-season, he is still yet to just put Aubameyang up front. He was apparently going to use 5 GK’s but here we are, with another of a few rare opportunities to play Martinez and he’s going back with Cech, yeah development manager, yeah, that’s why we got Matteo because he placed so much faith in him before getting the chop.

    Stephan has to start at RB, he has to play next to Sokratis, and now he has a problem, Holding has been the other standout player at Cb and so should be rested, and at LB we are short, Niles could come back in this one, but the donkey didn’t think to bench him for run out, opting to shift him down to Freddie for 45. He wont be ready and these games are hatchet boy territory. A big risk. Xhaka was direly exposed by Zaha for his lack of pace and tactical nouse in defence. The sensible option is to play Lucas at LWB and sit two holding defensive minded players ahead of him, without Mo, that would be Xhaka and MAtteo, now we are dipping all the way intop the first 11 for a midweek dead rubber.

    But a loss would be as damaging, he’s had his hand forced, by his other idle appendage, devil’s happy.

    He should rest Auba, Mesut, Ramsey, and Alex totally, along with the now crocked Hector. Does this guy lack foresight or what? Which means he should therefore pick Mikhi, unfortunately letting him know he won’t start against Liverpool, Smith Rowe in behind Danny, and well we don’t have Reiss at this timely hour. so he could opt for Eddie at 9 and Danny at 7.

    The word Puppet comes to mind, because it sounds like someone from upstairs has said, look we want to potentially cash in on Aaron, and would happily do likewise with Hector, we don’t care much for Mo, [Republicans on Muslims] and we signed Mesut for life, because Arsene made a fuss, so it was a parting gift, so if anything blame him. Anyone ever worked in a hierarchy?

    We will have to go hard and early, because we need to haul off Lucas, Stephan and Sokratis or Matteo, and I’d probably opt for Sokratis, and you shouldn’t tinker with the CB pairing mid game, but we are so exposed.

    we will not be able to match Liverpool for pace on either flank, or outpace their own fullbacks. If we don’t go with the mobility of Lucas and Aaron, we will get eaten in the middle of the park, and that suits two wide focal points, baying for loose balls or direct passes coming out of a congested midfield, and without control, Ozil becomes peripheral, Auba will do an Henmry and search for the ball, and Lacazette isn’t very good at staying composed, picking clever balls around the corner or maintaining his first touch under pressure to build counters.

    That shift of gamer time, plus injuries, plus a missing LB, plus a missing CB, and no options for fresh rotation in wide areas or midfield, is a recipe for disaster.

    Our only hope is to play as if we were Everton of two years ago under Big Sam, congest the midfield, soak up what we can and clear sensibly in the direction of Pierre, hence we should have him free up top whenever possible.

    The best team we could have made at the start of the season was:


    The optiopn from 4-2-3-1 was erasily to go 4-4-1-1 and switch to 4-4-2 with Lacazette coming in.

    If we face stronger ball playing opposition, we should have gone 4-3-3 and placed MAtteo left of Lucas and Aaron t the right, with Ozil in false 9 and Aubameyang left of him and Lacazette or Mikhi to the right.

    Iwobi can play, but in form, Mikhi has more end product and awareness for assists. Iwobi has been OK, he’s only elevated his standards from a poor previous 1 and a half campaigns, ewer since he was boosted by interviews in the GFuardian and Evening Standard.

    the second 11 should consist of

    Shkodran and Mavrapanos, Stepahn and Sead, with a midfield 3 of Mo, Matteo, and Xhaka, with Iwobi, Danny and well Smith Rowe ahead of them and the second string should focus on progressing development so include Martinez.

    It’s patently obvious. if someone performs in the second 11, you brink him in for a like for like underachiever, if someone fails to meet par, you switch him around.

    that would give you two teams, to play against each other in trainng with two formations, with the first 11 transitioning between 3 formations in one.

    I wantr to see two banks of four, with not more than 8 yards separating them, with not more than 20 yards between the goal line and back four, with the fullbacks, 2 yards higher than the CB pairing. one of either the CF or AM drops in too fill the gap and make amidfield 5 when under serious pressure. that’s how you beat City, for the record, with a collective press.

    I watched Barcelona, and City and Juventus, they each play lik that whenever the come up against sizeable oppoinents. Not to big for their boots, Athletico used to, but with one of the back four moved on and an aging dfence, those tackles that saved points and goals are dying, the mobility of their midfield is causing them problems, with a lack of cohesion.

    Iwobi can’t tackle, Mikhi can’t tackle, Xhaka can’t tackle, and Mo needs the heat of battle to get his tempo right. Why he has to play, he plays with his heart, that perfect Iambic pentameter. Ozil, if you want the best from him, you need runners, and a stable platform for attack and as with Alexis, jjust shut up and let him play, maybe some pointers.

    Mikhi needs some love and some kindling. Lacazette needs to get his head down, and Alex too. Hecotr just needs to play as much as possible, resting in low key fixtures.

    we need to look at buying a Winger in January, the Cb and LB wil;l have to wait until summer, and I’d go all in for Chilwell, with the boss gone, and I’d be very seriously looking at a LB. Diallo is in at Dortmund, 9 points from 3 Champions League games and 7 wins on the bounce at least.

    I know quality when I see it.

    We are in a pickle, because the manager doesn’t understand the personalities, the shape of their hearts, which is the Arsenal way, imagine for a second he managfed the invincibles, ask yourself does he work? If the answer is no, then you have the answer, because it’s what Arsene was putting together again.

    The whole team is not one of professionals, it’s a family, they feel everything, they pressure themselves, they get down, they rally, but it’s been a decade. Trust me I know, 2 years of hardship, unjust, when I had everything mapped out, at times you just can’t be bothered, then you go again, then another thing, a leg break, a red, a penalty, and you know your not that bad, you’re being targeted. It builds character, but if you have no faith, well.

    I said to Reiss, I expected an equal tally of goals and assists, and that he should grab the opportunity with both hands as he would be safe from leg breaks in Germany. I said for me he played on the right of a 4-4-2. I said show them the blessings of hard work and faith. He just liked it and proceeded to get things done.

    Aubameyang called out Lacazette in traiing for hating on MAtteo, saying he was gonna miss a penalty, they both jested, when we know much of jokes are true. Lacazette was projecting his own lack of confidence and assurity in front of goal, MAtteo dispatched aplomb. a commenter reprimanded me, I explained what had happened as I just did. tagging our players, to highlight. Lacazeet apologised and gacve love to Aub and Matteo.

    This is what Arsene did, harnessed talwent, fostered ity, gave directions of errors in judgement, and basic tactical awareness, then said go play. He might have had a few call signs, and shouted a few words in play, for game management. bvut it was’t him, and Emery is a showman, I watch him, it’s all for the cameras, and he has a nervous disposition, the nail biting, the grimaces.

    Serri was what Chelsea needed, a lot of what we needed, we needed an Ancelotti, or Allegri, we got this guy and he’s not right, but well, as I said even an idiot should make top four, so lets see.

    But do you know what, all the U know Who haters, feed the fuel for the fire to burn, because I am nearly returned, and I am with a vengeance.

    26 days, 92% disposable, counting parliamentary recess, to parliamentary recess, waiting to pounce when they have not immunity. 2 years, one girl, and 2 handmaids plague my mind, I never get caugt up and never been left by a chic, so imagine, what would you pay for that kind of, Oh she waited like she said, for 2 years odd. Mandy, tell em what it means!

    Stats, reels, Ofcom, I don’t threaten anyone, Aaron was all the indication I needed. And I put what happened with the club, in Aarons feed, black and white, in response to some anti Arsenal Arsenal, they stopped talking.

    Judge your power by the number of your enemy, and that U21 game last night was rigged, I don’t even need to see it.

    But yo know, FA, BBC, Ministerial Dept, City bids, and this little gem.

    No Tony, I don’t think they would tell you if the black box ias going to highlight that someone tampered with the tail rotar, meaning that as soon as the Helicopter rotated to change direction after going straight up, it began to rotate on it’s own axis.

    But I don’t believe in coincidence,, and it wouldn’t be the first time everything fgit, what I first thought and proved me right.

    And I don’t write these for my health, so when I bother to write something of substance, I would hope it is given its dues.

    Did I confirm something is afoot, assuredly, as I asked the correct questions of the Court Clerk.

    If you ask of the future wife – “Nobody puts baby in the corner” if you ask those who know me well what Arsenal is, My First Wife. Do the maths! crazed illogical attacks, produce IP’s. And I’m sharing globally with our troop, what is actually happening.

    I’d kill fopr an Alexis for new years. Xmas presets don’t come on Xmas day, the date was moved anyway, I asked one little girl, X value present on Xmas day, or X value presnts after new years after the sales start…….. She answered like I would have at 6.

    I asked Rob and Leah to tap up Ben as he’s friends with both, I better start at Alexis, because we need more thrust, and ignition, and that’s all he is, he’s as dead at United as his contract was when they bought him, yeah he’s still playing the piani, but he doesn’t even post pictures of he and his dogs these days.

    Football, yeah I eat, breathe, sleep that shiz!

    Devotion, Sean Dyche, he has a team that will go and gladly die for him, they will play 90+ defending, they will not try and score if he asks.

    Doubt came from those supposed fans, undermining that; yeah I have seen it, personally, been loved, but the true test of love is…… how you see out the hard times.

    22 years, those empty seats must belong to the likes of Wengers wife types, because if my spouse wants to dedicate themselves to something, go ahead, I’ll always be there supporting, in action and words.

    Chips wasn’t after a payout when shares were given high value? The gambling companies, didn’t want a manipulatable Arsenal? They can’t gauge our games unless a cheat is going to happen. The odds for U21 game, good, unusually so……… Do you know what a rule is…. don’t bet on Arsenal.

  3. Bulldog,

    I suspect you are pretty close with your alternative 11. It sounded as though we came up against what was pretty much a full strength Cheltenham and rightly had a player sent off for a last man foul. He will learn from that. The whole squad will have learned from that mistake. You can get away with bringing down a player in the middle of the field when there are others behind you to cover. Outside our penalty area you will always be sent off in an Arsenal shirt.

  4. What was interesting last night is that bothZelalem and Bramall came on as subs continuing their respective comebacks from injury

  5. Now the media have finally caught up that Brexit will have an impact on the foreign players coming over.

  6. The positioning is probably wrong

    Jenkinson Lichsteiner Mustafi
    Gwendouzi Maitland-Niles Mhky
    Welbeck Ramsey
    Smith Rowe

    Subs: Martinez, Toreira, PEA, Holding, Iwobi, Nketiah, Willock


  7. Interesting, Atkinson is the VAR ref for this match. I really hope we will not have to use VAR tonight.

  8. Had to go out. It looks like David Coote has applied to have more time refereeing in the EPL.

    Nice to see Smith Rower got a goal.


  9. Seriously. Can we pout a limit on the numbat of words one is allowed to use in a post………and no, I don’t have an f’in clue who you are!

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