Burnley v Arsenal: the team – Odegaard or Smith Rowe?

The story so far…

And now the team predictions:

The main news is that Mr Arteta is managing Partey’s return very carefully, his latest comment being, “He is there. He has been training in and out this week. His load had to be managed because he was in the early stages of the injury and what he had.  “But he is pushing everybody, as he always does, and he wants to be involved. We will make the decision for the weekend as to what is best for him.”   

So another substitute appearance might be in order.

The Evening Standard come up with a line up which includes Partey, but I’m not sure of that…


Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Lokonga;

Pepe, Odegaard, Saka;


This leave Smith Rowe and Lacazette still awaiting their chance to burst forth once again.  Ramsdale has been widely announced as getting a couple of games in goal, and as we noted in an earlier piece, that was probably part of the deal in hiring him.   Also if Leno is leaving at the end of this season (or at the latest next season when his contract ends) Ramsdale does need to have a fair number of Arsenal games under his belt by then.

The Daily Canon adopts the same approach.

The Short Fuse however does go for a different approach arguing that with Arsenal trying to push the Burnley defence deeper Smith Rowe is more adept at that, than Odegaard.


Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Lokonga;

Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka;


Sports Mole also goes with the Smith Rowe approach and they predict a 0-2 win to Arsenal as well.

The Talking Sprout has the headline “If Arsenal want to be elite it’s when Arteta loses his job not if,” as the headline to a video.  I chose not to enhance their hit numbers by watching it but you can if you wish.    Please note that Untold Arsenal does not reimburse medical fees run up as a result of increased blood pressure following exposure to any sprouting output.

90min go with Odegaard and otherwise follow the mainstream selection.

Interestingly some of the outlets are putting the line up down not as laid out above but as the 4-3-3 which many say is Mr Arteta’s ideal format as in…


Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Partey, Odegaard, Lokonga;

Pepe, Aubameyang Saka;

If we have now reached that stage then the manager has indeed achieved the goal he set out a while back and all that mindless chatter about needing another four or five players to complete the transition can be put to bed once and for all.

The SportBible site give us no further variation on the line up but do predict a 0-1 victory and I guess it is time to leave the line up list there because there are no other variations.  The one question we have though is, if this is the preferred line up what happens to Rob Holding, Mo Elneny, Chambers, Xhaka, Maitland Niles…

One can say some will be sold or are in the squad as backups to cover for injury, which of course we do need, but Xhaka in particular has been a regular choice of the manager, and Smith Rowe will be expecting game time too.

My feeling is that Odegaard and Smith Rowe will each get starts in the number 10 role, and that a tactical substitution between them will become quite common.  The point being that each number 10 player has a different style and approach to which defenders adapt during the game. 

Suddenly finding a different man there on the hour can really allow that one pass through which is all that is needed to unlock industrialised defending.

We shall see.

PS The game is on at 3pm, which is a bit odd, isn’t it.  I mean, whoever heard of 3pm kickoffs?





26 Replies to “Burnley v Arsenal: the team – Odegaard or Smith Rowe?”

  1. Interesting. Both Oodegard and ESR. So they must have a way to complement each other.
    And that is 2 guys in midfield who can pierce a defense with one pass or dribble their way through it.

    That is going to be very interesting to see, when you add Auba, Saka and Pepe into the equation.

  2. So far, neither team has troubled the other. For our part, I haven’t seen one run…still feeling our way forward…static.

  3. Nice free kick by Odegaard. And,we finally started to play well in the last 3 minutes of the half.

  4. The targeting of Tierney by the serial foul and also Saka seems to have eluded Taylor (no surprise there). The kick on Saka that drew the foul from which Odegaard scored was no different to the Xhaka (Moss delivered) red card. Interpretation of the laws by the cheats will not be picked up by the media.

    The Burney dirt will be worse in the second half as they seem to have not acheived much damage on the Arsenal players thus far.

  5. One thing I did see is that Ben White is no pussy and is capable of physically witstand assault…. This is a real nice change to see in a defense I often felt in the past years, let’s say since Koscielny/Mertesacker was just physically not up to the task. Same thing for Tierney.

  6. Holy Crap !!! No penalty ?!?!? Have they lost their mind ;=))
    Well if there was no contact there should have been a yellow against the Burnley player, should there not ?

  7. So, if VAR was conclusive enough to show that Ramsdale didn’t hit the attacking player…doesn’t it also show that the attacking player threw himself to the floor (yellow)

  8. Chris

    I said to mick the other day that I was stunned by that article in footlon.

    Today I have to agree with you. I’m stunned.

    I sat there thinking no matter what VAR sees it will not be enough to turn it over. Lee Mason on duty telling Taylor tolook actually shocked me.Then Taylor overturning his own call !! Wow wow wow (again)

    Is this a genuine change of attitude ?

    If so is it that we are not seen as a big player any more ?

    But, and it’s a big but, it comes to something when we are shocked that a decision like that goes our way.

  9. We’ll take the 3 points.

    Everyone played competently and we were never in danger of conceding (save for the VAR check).

    As a critique, we were better with our passes amongst the forwards in front of their box (though we always missed the last one or the shot) but had few people willing to risk a run from the midfield. It is hard to say why that is. Perhaps the players are still learning MA’s prefered system (4-3-3) or perhaps he is stressing defensive solidity before having players flying forward. Still, we looked better than our last match and that is what we want.

    In addition, we are almost ponderous in play from the back 4 to the midfield…is that a strategy? Or are the players just lacking in confidence? Or, are the midfield players not getting in the right position. We tried few aggressive counterattacks.

    Lastly and most importantly, we saw out the game comfortably. I love the way our CBs handled the aerial threat!!

    Up the Guns!

  10. Well, one thing must be said… our defence is getting tested and is holding and learning. And rising to the physical challenge.
    I mean Arsenal pretty much parking the bus in the last minutes is an interesting sight !
    Too many missed passes however, many because not strong enough. Quite surprising at this level….like some players are still rusty

    So we’ve got ourselves a vintage one-nil to the Arsenal.
    We are climbing up…

  11. Nitram @5:01pm

    I’m also wondering if this a change in attitude by the refs. The supposition that Riley et al might not consider AFC top 6 anymore has really got me thinking. If AFC move up the table and near the European places will Riley and the PGMO revert to form? It will be interesting and I’ll be looking out for it. As will you, lol.

  12. goonersince72

    Even the media.

    I must admit I haven’t scanned the media for their reaction but the one report I did see from the guardian led with:

    Ødegaard’s brilliance seals win for resurgent Arsenal against Burnley

    Now don’t get me wrong,I’m perfectly satisfied with two 1-0 wins, no matter who it’s against, especially following our difficult start, but ‘resurgent’ ?

    The fact is the 2 teams we have beaten will possibly, if not probably, get relegated, so we are not pulling up trees, and as such ‘resurgent’ does seem a bit OTT.

    But hey, I’ll take it every day of the week.

    As you say though, will it continue should we maintain this upward trajectory,that will be the litmus test ?

  13. offcourse the var turn over is a happy surprise. for me the math is simple. Arsenal is a big club with millions of fans around the world, me included. I am becoming less and less interested in the whole premier league because of the raw deal Arsenal is getting and I m sure with me maybe potential million premier league followers. So premiere league must at sometime give Arsenal a boon not to put off people like me permanently. The FA cup was always the big leveler, For me it was clear that the officiating in the cup was lightyears apart from the treatment in the competition. Because Arsenal is a popular club worldwide, Arsenal succes is also important for the premier league and the FA.
    When Arsenal will threaten top four, they will be beaten down again. No doubt about it.

  14. rondejonge

    “The FA cup was always the big leveler, For me it was clear that the officiating in the cup was light years apart from the treatment in the competition”.


    In an effort to discredit the diabolically disproportionate treatment we receive in the PL one of the regular debunkers tried to use the FA Cup stats as counter evidence, but I have, as have others, always said we are treated completely differently in cup games. Not biased in our favour I might add, but at least a pretty level playing field, most of the time at least.

    I’ve posted many many statistics regarding our poor treatment with regards to Yellow and Red cards, as well as penalties both for and against, over the last 15 to 20 years, but I’ve always conceded that.

  15. The fuss about officiating is an incredible one.

    There are so many games we’ll win or loose from contentious decisions. It’s the nature of a game largely regulated by humans.

    Today was our day.

  16. It all evens out in the end does it Jack!!!!!
    Despite all the evidence provided on Untold which proves that it doesn’t.
    There are none so blind as those who cannot see.

  17. Jack

    That is your opinion to which you are entitled of course, as am I.

    The difference is I have researched and posted tons of statistics in support of my opinion. When you do the same perhaps we can start a debate.

  18. Jack,

    If, and this is a BIG if, we’d never have the same referee more then twice, I’d accept to start considering your statement.
    But considering that we have the same referees more then twice, some, in the previous seasons 5 times – I think there was once even a 6 times – on the field and more often when you add VAR, this cannot be true.
    And if you think this ain’t a big issue, imagine your reaction when you were playing as a kid if the referee your team had was regularly the same guy living around the block from your town rivals. How that would have looked and how you, your friends and parents would have reacted.

    If you are new to this side, you’ll find ample documentation and demonstration of the ‘not evening out’ phenomenon.

  19. The Daily Mail story focuses on the crowd behaviour. It’s a pity that they don’t employ proof-readers at the Mail, preferring to direct their attentions to toilet-etiquette.

  20. Why does Paul Merson add the qualifier “if I’m honest” to so many of his statements? Are we to assume that his statements are generally dishonest?

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