Zurich v Arsenal: the team. Matt Smith to start?

By Tony Attwood

Whoscored have offered us the team for the game tonight


Tomiyasu Holding Magalhaes Tierney

Odegaard Laconga Vieira

Saka Mketiah Marquinhos

They confirm the injuries as Elneny, Partey, Nelson and Smith Rowe, and predict a 2-0 win for Arsenal.

The Standard has the slightly variant team of


Tomiyasu, White, Holding, Tierney;

Odegaard, Lokonga, Xhaka;

Vieira, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Football.London has an interesting further variation


Tomiyasu, White, Holding, Tierney;

Smith, Lokonga, Vieira

Marquinhos, Nketiah, Martinelli.

The Smith in question is Matt Smith, who is 21 and is described as a deep lying midfielder who takes the ball from the centre backs and creates the forward move through his passing.   He has had loans with Swindon (24 games two goals), Charlton (8 games) and Doncaster Rovers (last season, 43 games).

But of course, this coverage of the team is sandwiched between the regular daily negativity about Arsenal that this site pumps out.  The headline from Football.London is Mikel Arteta faces nightmare scenario after key error makes him rue deadline transfer mistake   The mistake was not bringing in another central midfielder.  

But “mistake”?  The fact is that injuries have focussed around one part of the team.  So how could that be foreseen?   And if not foreseen, but an extra player was bought anyway, what good player is going to want to come to Arsenal on the off chance that several players in the same position will all get injured at the same time?

The simple fact is that in all businesses, one puts in cover for the most likely eventualities, but not for everything because that just results in restless employees who see their way up the promotional ladder blocked.  So the employer trains the person up (which is expensive because not every promising young employee is capable of knuckling down and getting on with the job) and then never recovers the cost because there are no vacancies immediately and the player goes elsewhere.

Of course Football.London and other centres of football nonsense avoid this by not training anyone and letting everyone make up anything they like.

It it makes me wonder.  If the writer of the FoLo piece Jake Stokes knows this much for sure, why is he not working for a football club.   He says of himself in his promotional blurb, “I am a dynamic, confident and hardworking journalist always looking to expand my skill set. I graduated from the University of Derby with a First Class (BA).”    Hmmm… I’ve got a research degree from London and a Fellowship, but that doesn’t actually mean I know anything about football.  You can judge whether I have by the stuff I write, and if you think its rubbish, you can turn elsewhere.

Sports Mole goes along with this line of thinking saying “Marquinhos and Matt Smith could also make their debuts for the club after being included in the Gunners’ senior Europa League squad, and if Nketiah displaces Gabriel Jesus this week, he will aim to find the back of the net in his third Europa League start in succession.”

They have another variation on the theme…


Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Xhaka, Lokonga;

Saka, Vieira, Martinelli;



The Sun has a wonderful piece of coverage about this match…  It says, and I quote in full.   The Headline is “YOU MIGHT LIKE” and after that it is totally blank.

For once I think they have it right.

2 Replies to “Zurich v Arsenal: the team. Matt Smith to start?”

  1. Matt Turner and Marquinhos make their debuts

    Karl Hein, Matt Smith, Catalin Cirjan and Amario Cozier-Duberry have been named on the bench.

    Arsenal: Turner, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Lokonga, Marquinhos, Vieira, Martinelli, Nketiah. Subs: Ramsdale, Hein, Zinchenko, White, Saliba, Smith, Cirjan, Odegaard, Saka, Cozier-Duberry, Jesus.

  2. A solid win this evening, much the better team but still displaying our naivety at times. Should have scored more than two and probably unluckywith the penalty. Always good to start a European campaign with a win

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