Arsenal to make multiple changes tonight despite having a very thin squad


By Bulldog Drummond

You might expect that this would be a situation in which professional football writers might relax a little from their daily diet of attacking Arsenal and the hopelessness of its position, and instead focus on how the lineup might change for the match against Oxford United of League One.

But no, the onslaught has to continue and so FootballLondon – part of the Reach group that owns the Mirror – brings out Tome Canton to say, “This is the game that highlights exactly how thin the Arsenal squad currently is right now.”  The team they propose is then set out as…


Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Elneny, Vieira, Smith Rowe;

Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

That means that Ramsdale, Saliba, White, Xhaka, Zinchenko, Odegaard, and Partey are not in their selected line up.  So just on two thirds of the team from the last match won’t start.  And that suggests “how thin” the squad is???

Clearly we have entered the world of neo-journalism where nothing means, err, nothing.

And to prove the point in a separate Football London article there are listed “three Arsenal youngsters Mikel Arteta should trust for first team start in Oxford FA Cup clash “

That piece is by Amario Cozier-Duberry, and if that selection were used, along with the one cited above that would only leave one player from the Newcastle game who is still playing against Oxford.  And again one has to ask, how can FoLo claim “how thin the Arsenal squad currently is right now”?

(The answer is of course that they assume that the average memory span of their readers is 25 seconds which is how long it takes a seven year old to read one of their articles.)

The piece then goes on to rave about Amario Cozier-Duberry who impressed “during the preseason friendly against Juventus last month.”   They also suggest “Ethan Nwaneri could be a candidate to come in and fill the midfield role. The 15-year-old is well known to Gunners fans after his record breaking debut against Brentford earlier this season and travelled away with Arsenal to their training camp in Dubai.”

And still it is not over as Reuell Walters, we are told, could come in at full-back, at least according to FoLo noting as they do “Arteta has already included Walters in first team squads this season, and if things go right the 18-year-old could be in line for a senior debut.”

So ten of the eleven players against Newcastle could be rested according to the site although “This is the game that highlights exactly how thin the Arsenal squad currently is right now.”  They really are totally and utterly bonkers to a point where bonkers doesn’t begin to described their ravings.

To return to normality Sports Mole offer this line up


Tomiyasu, Holding, Saliba, Tierney;

Elneny, Lokonga;

Marquinhos, Odegaard, Vieira;


90min go along similar lines but drop Odegaard and Saliba and give us


Tomisayu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Vieira, Elneny, Lokonga;

Marquinhos, Nketiah, Martinelli.

And let us give a moment for Oxford Mail to take a bow with another variation


Tomisayu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Elneny, Xhaka, Vieira

Saka, Nketiah, Marquinhos.

The Standard goes for pretty much the same as above but with minor positional changes.

Oh yes and the Guardian expects the Arsenal team to remember (although none were there) earlier games against Oxford, as with the headline FA Cup Oxford United trip stirs unhappy memories for Arsenal.

So how do these newspaper people come up with their list of who might play?  Do they have inside information?  No,in fact what they do is look at who was on the bench for the last league game, and then try to slot those players into the team, while making it look as if they have any idea what is going on.  

That set of backups for the last game was Turner, Holding, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Elneny, Vieira, Sambi Lokonga, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Marquinhos.   But the main thing to remember is that this is a “very thin squad”.   Rather like that newspapers employ “very fat reporters” largely because they spend far too much time in the Toppled Bollard public house, drinking pints.


19 Replies to “Arsenal to make multiple changes tonight despite having a very thin squad”

  1. Did they write this nonsense about Spurs over the weekend.

    Lets compare their line-up versus Portsmouth with their previous Premiership match at Palace:

    Portsmouth -Palace


    So 4 players the same. 1 midfield and 3 forwards: Skipp, Gil, Son and Kane.

    Now how Arsenals line-up against Newcastle compares with FoLo’s prediction for tonight:


    Smith R………Elneny

    So 4 players the same. 1 centre half and 3 forwards: Gabriel, Saka, Nketiah and Martinelli.

    Would you believe it, almost identical.

    Yet did we have FoLo claiming “This is the game that highlights exactly how thin the Tottenham’s squad currently is right now.”?

    Didn’t think so.

    Joke doesn’t even begin to describe this numbnuts.

  2. This game has PGMO fix written all over it. Two penalties not awarded to Arsenal. Oxford players allowed to assault ours with impunity.

  3. Apart from the referee and with all my sympathy for the reason why but I get uncomfortable seeing us play in that shit colour. Glad we won this match… Eddie will feel more confident with his great finishes

  4. Seismic, don’t tax your brain too far – there isnt one in the men’s game and I’m not sure about those in the Women’s game either.

    Nevertheless a good second half performance and two excellent goals for Eddie, long may his scoring streak continue.

  5. In addition to signing Victoria Pelova and Kathrine Kuhl, Arsenal Women have decided to recall Gio Queiroz from her loan at Everton.

  6. Amusing watching some of the refereeing decisions. Same old, same old!

    However, we changed our midfield and first half we weren’t great but Oxford never scared us. In the end, one of our “second string” got the first two assists; our “inadequate” stand-in for Jesus got two goals; and another “second stringer” got the third. No strength in depth at all……

    A slight aside; is Lee Dixon really desperate not to seem biased like most ex-players so obviously are? If so, note to Lee, you’re com8ng across like you hate Arsenal and are desperate for them to lose!!

  7. There was a time, about 15 years ago when there were three decent referees amongst the ranks of the PGMOL punishment squad.

    Sadly, those days are long gone.

  8. As usual the commentator was desperate for an Oxford victory. After a poor first half from us Oxford ran out of steam as soon as the hapless Lakonga departed we looked a different side. Coote was poor allowing the two Oxford hatchet men to kick chunks off us.He is another referee who is completely unaware of devious tactics.

  9. seismic

    Ahh, brings back memories. Just for Kalvin maybe we can revive one of my favourite old North bank chants from back in the day, when Liverpool came calling. With a small adaptation of course.

    All together now:

    He’s fat, he’s round, he bounces off the ground, Sammy Lee, Sammy Lee.

    In these days of ultra strict nutritional management I thought those salad dodging days were long gone. Franny Lee was another ‘outsized’ player from back in the day.

    Must be a ‘Lee’ thing.

  10. @ Nitram

    Francis Lee was a positive barrel of a man. He’d never be allowed near a pitch nowadays!!

  11. Mikey

    He was.

    Also he was one of, if not the first serial ‘diver’. But to be fair, as you say he was extremely top heavy so he may of had an excuse.

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