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Europa starts again: can Arsenal overcome the continuing media assault?

By Bulldog Drummond

With the attempts to undermine the very fabric of Arsenal continuing minute by minute across the blogs and newspaper websites there must be a little relief for the players who have been selected in the squad for the opening Europa game against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Of course players become immune to some degree to the wild ravings of the Sky Sports panel and columnists feeding the newspaper blogs, but the ferocity unleashed this season is something new.  So any escape is worthwhile – and we can have a look at the opposition (although the sniping at Arsenal’s management and players continues apace).

Here is what the opposition have been up to of late…

Date Comp Home Score Away Res
25/07/19 Europa 2QR Flora 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt W
01/08/19 Europa 2QR Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Flora W
08/08/19 Europa 3QR FC Vaduz 1-5 Eintracht Frankfurt W
15/08/19 Europa 3QR Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 Vaduz W
22/08/19 Europa P-O Strasbourg 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt L
25/08/19 League RB Leipzig 2 – 1 Eintracht Frankfurt L
29/08/19 Europa P-O Eintracht Frankfurt 3 – 0 Strasbourg W
01/09/19 League Eintracht Frankfurt 2 – 1 Fortuna Düsseldorf W
06/09/19 Friendly Eintracht Frankfurt 5 – 1 Chemie Leipzig W
14/09/19 League Augsburg 2 – 1 Eintracht Fran… L

Thus as we can see they played through the second and third qualifying rounds of the Europa and then the final play off round, losing away and winning at home.

Last season the club came seventh in the German league – hence qualifying to play in the very early rounds of the Europa, and they were the seventh highest scoring team with the fifth best defence – indeed nothing unexpected in their performance.   Their stadium holds 55,000.

This season, in terms of the league they have then beaten Hoffenheim 1-0, lost to Leipzig 1-2, beaten Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-1, and lost to Augsburg 1-2.   A certain regularity of style there.  Ignoring the qualifying rounds against minor opposition they have three wins at home, including a friendly, three defeats away.

Here is the league table. 

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Leipzig 4 3 1 0 10 3 7 10
2 Borussia Dortmund 4 3 0 1 13 5 8 9
3 Freiburg 4 3 0 1 10 3 7 9
4 Bayern Munich 4 2 2 0 12 4 8 8
5 Wolfsburg 4 2 2 0 7 3 4 8
6 Schalke 04 4 2 1 1 8 4 4 7
7 Borussia Monchengladbach 4 2 1 1 5 4 1 7
8 Beyer Leverkusen 4 2 1 1 6 7 -1 7
9 Eintracht Frankfurt 4 2 0 2 5 5 0 6

So a modest position in the league after four goals, and not setting the Europa alight particularly in their qualifying match.

In terms of this match I imagine that the manager will follow the tradition of giving the second keeper match time in both this competition and the League Cup.   So Damian Martinez comes in, I suspect.

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It is being suggested that this is the return game for Holding, which will be welcome, and some suggest that since Mustafi is still on the books, he could get a game here to give him a chance to restore some of his confidence.

Calum Chambers could also be in line for a game – indeed for any of the players who are not as yet regulars in the first team but in the first team squad, this looks like a must.

Given that Joe Willock is getting time in the league games this could also be a game for him to get going and show what he can do in 90 minutes.

What we do also need however is some experience to hold things together, and I might have gone with Ozil having missed the first few games of the season but it seems not – he has not travelled.

The question then is does the manager include some of the regular first team players.  This is possible given that it is an away game, and a chance to reassert their confidence in themselves amidst the ferocious attacks that have been heaped upon them all week.

This is quite an important consideration if we are to avoid what has happened to Arsenal in the past where players got such a lambasting from the crowd at Highbury that they could only be used in away games.  That indeed is the stage we seem to be at now.

Such an approach would give us a mix of experience and youth, which is always handy, meaning that we could bring back Reiss Nelson, but have him supported by senior members of the squad.

It is of course a tragedy that the manager is quite probably not selecting the right team in terms of the ability of players and the development of players, but is having to think about protecting players from endless abuse, and helping them recover confidence – but that is how it probably is now.

Such a situation means that team selection from here on is compromised and the media and the AAA has won.  That seems to be how it goes at Arsenal.   If that is the case Guendouzi, Pepe and Aubameyang could play.

The only good thing about all this is that a player like Chambers could use this to show that he really can be considered a regular first teamer – which is what was planned when he was bought, and before the loans to clubs that got relegated started.

The squad:

  • Leno
  • Maitland Niles
  • Martinez
  • Chambers
  • Mustafi
  • Holding
  • Luiz
  • Kolasinac
  • Guendouzi
  • Torreira
  • Ceballos
  • Xhaka
  • Willock
  • Smith Rowe
  • Martinelli
  • Nelson#
  • Pepe
  • Saka
  • Aubameyang

And the team

Martinez,

Chambers, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac,

Torreira, Xhaka,

Smith-Rowe, Willock,

Saka, Aubameyang. 

Subs: Leno, Ceballos, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Nelson, Guendouzi, Martinelli.

Still no Holding.

Tragically even a fine win will not do anything to stop the abuse.  For the newspaper sites that is because it keeps their numbers up, and for the bloggettas it is because once they have got the taste for abuse, it is very hard to stop handing it out.

24 comments to Europa starts again: can Arsenal overcome the continuing media assault?

  • Keno

    I totally agree that even a fine win away and home will not stop these assaults. The next heading will be… “Arsenal wins only cover deep cracks and mismanagement at the club…” or similar B**l S**t headlines.
    But come to think of it, I like this kind of media negativity towards Arsenal as long as it does not get into the heads of the players and the manager. This would only make them underdogs in the “eyes” of their opponents while serving as catalyst for the players to prove their doubters wrong.

  • Gord

    UEFA doesn’t seem to have weather information on their web page for the game. Apparently it is 18C with gentle breezes.

    No lineup information out, other than the various muppets making up stories.

  • 17:08
    martinez
    chambers-mustafi-luiz-kolasinac
    torreira-xhaka
    saka-willock-smithriwe
    aubameyang
    disappointed not to find rob in that, lad must not be deemed ready for what will be a physical contest
    reiss sidelined, very harsh on the kid – his confidence has been fading awau since he was taken out against burnley, this will do him no good, but good luck to bukayo-emil, of course
    very risky to play auba, saw eintracht against strasbourg, they played like a bunch of leg-mowers
    COYG

  • Gord

    UEFA doesn’t seem to have weather information on their web page If anything, UEFA’s commentary is worse than last year.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Willock has apparently scored, but 3 minutes later still no word about assist. Sounds like unassisted (big deflection).

    How to go Willock!

    COYG!

  • Gord

    7 shots, 2 on target and 1 blocked. Frankfurt is about double us on shots, but pretty much everything else looks about equal.

    COYG!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Initial pass for the goal came from Saka but the work was all by Willock. Martinez has had a great game in our goal with three or four very good saves. Big misses from Torreira, Willock and Saka. Good game and a rare moment on the BT commentary when Hartson actually said Great Defending by Arsenal!

  • Menace

    Willock gets a yellow for a Frankfurt dive!! What a blind set of officials!!

  • Gord

    Let’s put this game away boys! More away goals are good too.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    There we go, Saka from Pepe!

    COYG!

  • goonersince72

    Saka opens his account! What a finish. 0-2. Let’s get the clean sheet for Emi.

  • Gord

    TSaka’s first Arsenal goal. And then Aubemeyang score form unknown.

    COYG!

  • Gord

    Hey, goal and assist for Saka today!

    COYG!

  • Gord

    We almost caught up on the shots, finishing with 14 shots and 6 on target. They had 18 and 7.

    They did half again more passing than we did. Everything else about equal.

    Good work Gunners!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    It was a very open game. Martinez and Saka the stand out performances for the Gunners. Scorecould easily have been anything up to 5 all but I’ll take the three nil every day. The Frankfurt defence couldn’t handle the pace from Saka all night and he certainly showed he wasn’t scared of them.

    We still rode our luck at the back at times but rarely did anything too silly which was a welcome change.

    Well done Gunners

  • Watched it in a pub in a small midlands town with fair number of locals there and no one else watching the match. Didn’t stop my enjoyment though. Occasionally good to watch a game on one’s own.

    Must be deeply disappointing for the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal mob.

  • The Guardian’s summary

    A frankly bonkers game in which either side could have scored any number of goals.

    Really????

  • WalterBroeckx

    Couldn’t write a match report but happy with the result! Martinez excellent all game and Willock and Saka producing a great performance.

  • goonersince72

    The Guardian with a surprisingly positive report on the match. Didn’t see the article Tony cited. We’ll take any positive from the media.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2019/sep/19/eintracht-frankfurt-arsenal-europa-league-match-report

  • Menace

    There were a few who played well. Xhaka played an excellent game as did Kolasinac. They were dependable and Xhaka led as captain. Martinez was excellent and chose well with his start of play options. Willock, Saka and Chambers all played well. Chambers improved as the game went on. The Frankfurt offence was a lot to handle for our ‘new’ defence but fortunately the combination held and kept a clean sheet. The youngsters including Smith Rowe are going to be a handful for any opponents to cope with.

    I can just see how effective this trio with Nelson can rip teams apart with pace.

    Bring on the next match.

  • goonersince72

    Also, John Cross on The Mirror site was positively effusive in praise of the youngsters in comments from the stadium in Germany. Several positive articles on Mirror site at the minute. I haven’t seen any negativity. Maybe they’re just sharpening their teeth.

  • Gord

    I’m reading a Guardian article now. There is praise, but they take every opportunity to bash.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    WOO HOO , HOO ! A great start to this tournment
    3 away points , a clean sheet , and some awesome performances from our youngsters . Well done guys.
    Up the Gunners !

  • Mikey

    I almost feel that all the media praise for the younger players is a set up i.e. if we don’t trounce Villa on Sunday, they’ll be able to say that UE has got it wrong again and should have started with the young players. I know there’s no evidence to support that feeling…..aside from years of experience of the way those weasels work.

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