Arsenal in the semis – the team and the ban

by Bulldog Drummond

According to ESPN, UEFA have not given up the notion of action against clubs that agreed to be part of  Super League and which have not yet begged forgiveness.  The punishment is said to be a two year ban from European competitions.

Seven clubs are said to have bowed down to the superiority of the Uefa machine: all the English clubs plus Atletico Madrid, and perhaps Inter Milan.  If Inter fall all there is left is are Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan and Real Madrid.

If they don’t come to heel and bow down to the almighty Uefa they will be charged with forming a combination or alliance between clubs, which is not allowed.  The clubs are saying that their documents of association asked for permission to set up a new competition, and that if Uefa challenges the situation it is Uefa who would be sued.

If either side starts legal proceedings these could go on for quite a long time, and the question would be what happens in the interim.  Would the clubs continue to play in the Champions League?  Could the Super League continue pending the outcome.  After all no one is guilty of anything until the trial is concluded, and stopping the Super League during this time would be tantamount to a restraint of trade – something that the EU doesn’t like at all.

The problem is that neither side will relish a long legal battle, because during that time, other clubs could get restless.  Punishing the hard line clubs could be a disaster for Uefa as would be kicking some of its biggest names.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin described the clubs still in Super League as organisations that “feel the Earth is flat and they think the Super League still exists.”

In one way, Arsenal slipping out of the limelight by quite possibly not being in Europe next season, could do Arsenal a favour, as they can now wait to see which way the wind blows.  What is possible is that the Super League could start offering to extend its reach, possibly bringing in two more teams with the bottom two having to seek re-election each season, as happened with the old 3rd Divisions North and South in England.  After all, if it was good enough for the Football League, who used it for around 60 years to keep the league itself more or less a closed shop.

Meanwhile back on the pitch, Sports Mole have had their usual pot at the team coming up with….


Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Xhaka;

Partey, Elneny;

Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe;



The Standard now have three levels of team: confirmed, predicted and likely.  What the difference is between them all I am not sure.  This is the Likely edition…


Chambers, Holding, Mari, Tierney;

Partey, Xhaka;

Saka, Odegaard, Pepe;



And here we see the key options.  Odegaard or Smith Rowe.  Tierney or Xhaka at left back.

Daily Cannon have a line up that takes elements out of each of these.  As do Sports Keeda.  Here’s the SK version complete with added first names and slight positional changes.

Bernd Leno;

Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes, Granit Xhaka;

Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey;

Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe;

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Indeed almost everyone is recognising what Untold has been recognising since his amazing goal from inside his own half in pre-season, Elneny is rather a good player, and all this stuff about making him the first on the bus out of the club come the summer is a left over from the nonsense about needing to sell half the defence, when we have one of the four or five best defences in the Premier League.

Let’s finish the series with WhoScored who tell us that “Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette both took part in full training on Tuesday.”

Like many they also comment on Nicolas Pepe’s form in the Europa League.  They say he must start, meaning that in their opinion only one of Martin Odegaard or Emile Smith Rowe will start.   They think that as Odegaard started against Newcastle, Smith Rowe could get this game.

12 Replies to “Arsenal in the semis – the team and the ban”

  1. I like Mo’ too but I doubt he’ll be first choice tonight …
    I think there are 3 possibilities:
    1. MA sticks to 4-1-4-1, with Xhaka left-back
    I find this 4-lad-light-cavalry behind our captain very appealing
    2. MA runs for the cover of a Wengerean 4-2-3-1, with Granit back into the engine room:
    Since 1-0 is enough to do the trick, well, why not??
    3. MA gets back to the 3-4-3 he implemented this time last year, during our successful run to the 14th
    It worked very well then … and against the two 2021 champions’ league finalists, no less!!
    I don’t think Tierney/Laca will start, they’ll be sorely missed; I hope they’re fit enough to help out for 20/30 minutes if needs be
    I’m sure Unai is scratching his head right now, which is good. If the game were to take place in a packed Highbury, that Villareal side wouldn’t stand a chance against any of these Arsenal sides, but tonight, in an empty “Emirates”, I’m not so sure – and that Gérard Moreno guy sure has what it takes to deliver a sucker punch any time
    I may be an old fool, but what I’m expecting tonight, whatever the system/setup, is an old-fashioned, attacking game, full of runs, tackles, togetherness (one of the most worrying things I’ve witnessed this season is the moment after Leno’s blunder against Everton, when not one – not one!!! – of the lads ran over to Bernd to cheer him up …)

  2. I am eagerly waiting to see the Arsenal starting XI lineup and on the bench substitutes for the match. And I am hoping the selected Gunners to play the match will be the ELC 2nd leg match winning team that M Arteta will select to play in this very important game and win the match tonight for Arsenal to reach the final.

  3. I’ve seen the Arsenal match starting XI team and the subs on the bench for our Villarreal match tonight. And I must say they all look good to win the match convincingly for Arsenal.

    But in the other hand, I am a little bit surprised again as I saw Mari starting. This is despite his anti-Arsenal ranting in the interview he had on before the Gunners played at away to Villarreal. When Mari showed complete loyalty in his interview for his hometown Villarreal CF club side. But if Arteta trust him he won’t betray Arsenal tonight in the match, no problem.

  4. Watching tonight’s game on TV it’s strange how disciplined VR are compared to how U Emery had Arsenal playing . We were so open and conceding so many shots , could never feel comfortable playing out from the keeper .
    We are giving them space because we are trying to push/force the game , an early goal for us in the 2nd half hopefully which means VR will have to change tactics and the game become open .

  5. Two very unlucky posts and that’s our luck gone.

    Arsenal are still better than that!

  6. Another turgid performance getting the result that we deserved. I seriously hope hat is the last we see of Arteta as a manager. He makes us so much worse than the sum of our parts. Flair is stifled and we are scared to play one pass attacking and attractive football.

  7. Unfortunate that Arsenal seem to have a tactically naive coaching staff! Villareal came with a very good game plan. What did Arsenal really create with their tactics, especially in the second half? How many shots on goal? At home against an average Spanish side, one might have expected something a little quicker in mid field. Strolling around the pitch, leaving plenty of space for the more technical players from Villareal to play in a composed manner was hardly the tactics that would win this game for Arsenal. Perhaps that is why I am not part of the Arsenal coaching staff. What do I know? I only have to watch this team week in, week out play in a similar manner. I will always follow Arsenal but I really do not want to see more of this type of football that I have had to experience this season. Individually the players seem to be quite good I feel, hence my dismay with the coaching of said players.

  8. All the chickens have come home.

    From ‘4th place is no trophy’ to no Europe at all in the blink of an eye.

    ‘Be careful what you wish for,’ people warn. You can see why.

    The number of times in the history of football the ball hitting the posts, the crossbar, that’s the bell ringing.

    There’s no game like football.

  9. Don’t blame the manager!! There were players not doing the right thing but luck is so important in matches. Keown is rich in his criticism because he is paid to bitch. Partey was always poor because he wants several touches and lost the ball because of it. That does not explain why so many shots were off target.

    Arteta is magnificent and needs time with his squad to get the best from them. Keown is being bitchy but he is hurting. Arsenal will come to the fore with financial help from the owners. There are areas that need improvement but the mnager is magnificent.

  10. You cannot argue with the numbers. The defence is solid, the attack are not scoring goals. What we took as a given – the attack will always create chances – no longer holds.

    Mr Arteta has to create a fluidity without losing that improved defensive solidity.

    One very tangible point – VillaReal looked old, very experienced, long in the tooth, very unflustered. The lads have to get there. It could be a ride and a half them getting there.

  11. What now is left for Arteta’s Arsenal this season’s campaign to pursue and get after they’ve been denied the chance by Villarreal to play in this season Europa League Cup final that will be hosted by Poland?

    This failure happened to Arsenal tonight after the ELC semifinal 2nd leg match that was played between them and Villarreal at the Ems had ended goaless.

    I had in my comment posting on this site yesterday’s night posted to advise the Gunners to forsake profligancy in front of the Villarreal’s goalmouth in the game. So as to avoid playing to the gallery for Arsenal by them in the match. Which of course won’t help Arsenal if they do.

    But I advised them to play to the substance in the game for Arsenal by converting the chances they’ll create in the game into goals for Arsenal in the match. And as well covert the half chances that come to their ways in the game into goals for Arsenal in the match. And also convert to goals for Arsenal in the game the goals scoring chances that accidentally fell to them in the game.

    But did any of the Gunners heed to my advice to do it for Arsenal in the match tonight? NO! They didn’t at all as they wantonly profligated in front of Villarreal’s goalmouth missing converting the chances they had in the game into goals for Arsenal in the match throughout the entire course of the 90 minutes plus duration time of the match. This is bad.

    Nevertheless, there could still be the glims of light at the end of this season:s campaign tunnel in the PL for Arsenal to see and come out of this season’s tunnel to still qualify to play in the Europa League Cup competition next season, through the Premier League top-six place finish by them this season to qualify to play directly from the group stages. Or finish in the top-seven place to play in the qualifying games before they can play in the group stages if they go through from the qualifying games to play in the group stages.

    If Arsenal are to grab any of the 2 Europa League Cup football playing spots next season. The Gunners MUST win all their 4 remaining PL matches left for them to play for Arsenal this season. Which will give Arsenal the chance to see if they have succeed to play in Europe next season.

  12. Zedsaunt

    Spot on.

    If you look at what Arteta has done analytically he has solved what was our major flaw, and that was the concession of a multitude of chances, and on the back of that way too many goals. Unfortunately that seems to of, or not seems to of, has been at the cost of our attacking prowess.

    Although not as fluid or rapid as it should be, we do get from back to front and into threatening situations, only for our final ball, or final effort, to let us down again and again.

    Last night for example, even though we wasn’t great we should of scored at least a couple of goals, which given the lock-out we achieved, just, would of been enough to progress. So yet again it was scoring that let us down.

    Now the question is, is this down to Artetas tactics, which it may well be, I’m no coach so I don’t know ? Or is it down to the players simply not being good enough ? Again I don’t know.

    All I know is something is wrong.

    Personally I think it’s too early to make any definitive judgement regarding Arteta. He needs time to make this squad truly his own.

    Klopp went 3 years without a trophy when he arrived at Liverpool. So to expect miracles in just one and a half seasons is a bit much.

    Of course I was gutted last night. We were a hairs breadth from scoring and going through, but if I’m honest we just didn’t do enough over the 2 legs and Villa Real deserved to go through. Comfortably.

    I know people are already calling for Artetas head, and they may be right to do so. I mean if Pep or Klopp were available then fine. If Fat Sam or Darlin ‘Arry were in the frame? The short answer is No. The long answer is Noooooooooooooooo!!

    Some have said a season without Europe might not be a bad thing and have indeed pointed out examples of where it seems to of done teams a favour, so fingers crossed it works for us.

    I am in no doubt that next season is now absolutely massive.

    Is Arteta the right man to take us through it? Will Arteta be the man to take us through it?

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