Slavia Prague v Arsenal: the team predictions (confirmed or otherwise)

by Bulldog Drummond

Nice line on Twitter from Welbeast: “Arsene Wenger would have beat them 7-0 with our under 21s.”  Ah a man after my own heart – although perhaps we should not get carried away.   5-0 would have done.

And a nice helpful line from Sky Sports today: “With Arsenal needing goals to go through, Arteta will hope to have as many of his attacking players available as possible.”  Well, yes, I suppose so.  It makes sense.

The Independent comes up with a magical line too, “Arsenal are too inconsistent to be relied upon,” which is about as circular as one can get.  Inconsistency means one cannot be relied upon… except to be inconsistent.

That paper then gives us the attacking combo of…


Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric;

Xhaka, Thomas;

Pepe, Saka, Martinelli,



Football.London have a laugh by giving us the “Full Arsenal squad available for Slavia Prague showdown” and start it with…

Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Mat Ryan & Karl Hein.

Well, yes, they are available, but so what?  Besides by the time they get further up the pitch they are saying “Martin Odegaard (if passed fit)”.  Again, well, yes, if passed fit, he is available.  I think we knew that.  A bit like “too inconsistent to be relied upon,”  Or “If I manage to get out of bed in the morning and turn on the computer I’ve available to write the previews.”

The Radio Times website tells us that they expect Arsenal to win 1-0, but don’t tell us the team they think we might use in order to achieve this.

Who Scored give us a team of


Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Soares;

Xhaka, Thomas;

Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli,



The Hard Tackle website comes in with


Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Cedric;

Partey, Xhaka;

Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka;


and they also have a stat I don’t think we’ve used before with “Slavia Prague have played all of their last five Europa League games against British teams (Leicester City, Rangers, Arsenal) and are unbeaten in all the matches (W2 D3)”   They then go on to predict that Arsenal will be defeated 2-1., maybe having some insights not available to us mere mortals go with


Bellerín, Holding, Pablo Marí, Cédric;

Willian, Smith Rowe, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka;


which is to say very different from the selections by everyone else.

A website we haven’t looked at before tells us that the odds on Granit Xhaka to be carded are 5/2.

Now if you have been following our stats this season on tackles, fouls and yellow cards you will know that the relationship between the three activities is tenuous, but Arsenal have sought to reduce their number of yellow cards by reducing the number of tackles (since PGMO officials give almost every tackle as a foul).

I won’t bore you with the full set of stats, but here are a few key numbers for yellow cards this season…

Rank Club Yellow cards
1. Sheffield United 58
2. Fulham 56
3. Leicester City 55
4. Manchester United 55
10. Tottenham Hotspur 43
11. West Ham United 43
12. Wolverhampton Wanderers 43
13. Arsenal 42
18. Chelsea 37
19. Manchester City 36
20. Liverpool 35

Despite the propensity for referees to see everything Arsenal does as highly dubious we have managed to drop down the table of yellow cards.  Different sources give different totals for Xhaka’s yellows in the league this season, but one thing is certain he is not only not top of the yellow card table for the league, he isn’t even top of the table for Arsenal in the league (that is Bellerin).

So there we have it.  All we can do now is sit in front of the TV and hope.  Or if you have some spare time, read the series on gaslighting below.

Fingers crossed.


Gaslighting: how refereeing in the Premier League is manipulated, and why the media never speak about it.

(Footnote: the first ever mention of gaslighting in connection with football appeared in the media – six weeks after the launch of the above series on Untold)

11 Replies to “Slavia Prague v Arsenal: the team predictions (confirmed or otherwise)”

  1. This reminds me very much of a line from a commentator or pundit from way back. If anybody can remember, do tell as I can’t find reference to it.

    “If it had hit the back of the net it’d have been a goal”.

    Come to think of it, it may have been a line from a Jasper Carrot sketch but still way more intelligent than much of the garbage they come out with nowadays.

  2. Mikey another pundit saying was “ if the goalkeeper hadn’t saved it , it would have been a goal “ and they get paid for it .

  3. Tonights confirmed team….

    Arsenal starting XI: Leno; Chambers, Holding, Mari, Xhaka; Partey, Ceballos; Pepe, Saka, Smith Rowe; Lacazette.

    Arsenal substitutes: Ryan, Hillson, Bellerin, Gabriel, Willian, Cedric, Nelson, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli, Balogun, Azeez.

  4. Arsenal playing this one like a final. 4 or 3 goals in 10 minutes

  5. 0 – 4

    Great stuff.

    Ruthless 1st half. Totally controlled 2nd half.

    A completely stress free night. Love it.

    Well done lads. Emery’s Villa Real up next.

  6. A great performance. The best six minutes of the season, quality football at high speed the team forward changing the space, the ball in the net three times.

    You could really see tonight the vision that Mr Arteta has. You could also see, in those six minutes, why Mr Wenger was talking about the modern player having the capacity to make instantaneous correct decisions.

    Saka. Smith-Rowe. Pepe. Chambers. The Mighty Lacazette. Mari….a great great night. The team were fantastic.

  7. WOO HOO , HOO ! Well done guys . And a clean sheet too !
    Was hoping for a 2-0 win , but the team managed to double that !
    Up the Gunners !

  8. Lovely to see our own kids produce such great football. Saka and Smith-Rowe really are great players in the making. Still very young and can improve so much. Smith-Rowe just having too big feets to stay onside (very marginal decision – but correct in the end probably). Otherwise we would have trashed them 0-5. That is the same amount of goals all the teams scored against them at home. Laca really enjoying great form for the moment (long may it last) and Pepe finally delivering the goods. After all the garbage and rubbish that has been thrown at Xhaka one has to compliment him for stepping in in whatever role the managers asks him to do. A great win. And now we will face Villareal. Unfortunately the ever smiling Santi Cazorla has left them in the summer so we will not see him back. But we will see the never smiling Unai Emery. Hopefully he will not smile when we play them.

  9. Super display and great coaching. Players giving it everything. The results come with the hunger.

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