Arsenal v Molde – who will play?

By Bulldog Drummond

“Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that David Luiz will return to the squad against Molde in the Europa League on Thursday night according to Sky.”   So says Sports Mole but they don’t give us a team sheet prediction.  However they do say

“Arteta is expected to name a much stronger lineup to the side which started last week’s fixture against Dundalk.   Bernd Leno, Gabriel Magalhaes and Dani Ceballos are all expected to come into the team, while Granit Xhaka should be restored to the centre of midfield.

“Shkodran Mustafi is in line to make another appearance in defence, with Reiss Nelson potentially getting a rare chance on the flank.

“While David Luiz is back in contention after a thigh injury, the Brazilian may not be risked from the start

The BBC go down a different route and they tell us that

  • Arsenal’s last match against Norwegian opposition was a 5-1 win against Rosenborg in the Champions League in December 2004, with goals from José Antonio Reyes, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fàbregas, Robert Pires and Robin van Persie.

16 years ago.  Wow.  We can just about remember it.

They also tell us that this is Molde’s first meeting with an English team and that “Norwegian sides have never beaten English opposition away from home, drawing twice and losing 20 times, with a goal difference of -87 (13 scored, 100 conceded).”

That is quite impressive, so we’ll stay with the Corporation for a moment as they tell us that “Molde have won four of their last six away matches in the Europa League (D1 L1),” which seemingly involves being Celtic and Dundalk.  Now I know Scottish league football is not as strong as ours but Celtic are no mugs, so we shouldn’t expect a walkover.

And one more, “Since the start of the 2018-19 season, only Munas Dabbur (13) [who plays for Hoffenheim] has scored more goals in the Europa League than Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (12).”

The Standard has its usual confirmed news which isn’t confirmed at all but they do give us a punt at a team, with


Mustafi, Xhaka, Kolasinac;

Cedric, Ceballos, Willock, Maitland-Niles;

Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson.

The Hard Tackle also has a 3-4-3 but with a difference among the defenders…


Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac;

Cedric, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles;

Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson

The Short Fuse comes in with one significant change – they like the Standard include Willock, who certainly has been picking up games whenever there is a chance.  Indeed for them the only difference from the Standard is that of Luiz or Xhaka.


Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac;

Cedric, Ceballos, Willock, Maitland-Niles;

Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson

The Express has a nice quote from the Molde boss which says,  “I can call Ole Gunnar and ask if he has any clever tips to come up with.”  Yes, but given their recent form, that might not be exactly the best approach at this time.

There is among the bloggers are certain amount of disquiet (so no change there) which is best summed up by Pain in the Arsenal which says, “Please, Nicolas Pepe, put in a performance of real consistency. No 60 minutes of drifting with the occasional flash of brilliance. No abject application and failed feint after failed feint. Us as fans, the management, your teammates and no doubt you personally want to see you flourish in an Arsenal shirt. Get the basics right, know your tactical role and build yourself a stable platform from which to showcase your natural talent. Do it on Thursday.”

Pepe of course encapsulates the whole problem of spending a lot of money on a player.  If you do it and the player doesn’t immediately deliver everyone gets on the player’s back, which then adds more pressure to the player (which not all players are that good at taking) and so things get worse.

It is the perfect black circle.   The fans, bloggers and journalists demand transfers.  Transfers are however never guaranteed and some don’t work out quickly.  The fans, bloggers and journalists then pile on the pressure.  The player gets worse, and eventually is sold at a big loss.   The fans, bloggers and journalists demand that  the club spend more money on players, and so the whole circle goes round and round.

Of course occasionally a transfer does work, but if we add in the cost of transfers that don’t the level of money being spent becomes quite ludicrous.

Anyway, let’s hope that if he plays he had a good one, the fans and journos get off his back, and everything is hunky-dory with a jolly good win.


6 Replies to “Arsenal v Molde – who will play?”

  1. Looking forward to watching tonight should brighten up day one of the lockdown Pleased to hear the scrapping of the £14.99 pay per view games .

  2. Ok we haven’t been brilliant but personally I don’t think we’ve been anything like as bad as they’ve ( been saying. I think we have played with energy and drive but what’s been missing, yet again, is the final ball.

    Put it this way, with 10 minutes of the half to go I said to Mrs N with, they’re talking crap and I reckon we’ll be 2-1 up by half time, and so it proved, although of course we was robbed of another goal.

  3. Well well.

    Again said to the boss at HT if we don’t win this 4/5 -1 I’ll be amazed.

    Honestly we are so superior

  4. A fine performance from the youngster with Willock cathing the eye most. It took a while before we got going but once we were on top we really dominated. Loved the way the team kept pressing also in those last minutes when the match was already being won.

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