Charmless troglodyte Colin W*nker brings his Cardiff City clan to the Emirates in a match they will fancy their chances of winning.
The centre of the Arsenal defence is hampered by injury and the calamitous Mustafi. Harsh as it may seem, his elevation to leader of the back four brings fear to the surface. It’s going to be a Keystone Kops evening with the German organising the inexperienced Maitland-Niles and Mavropanos while the equally disorganised Kolasinac completes the quartet.
Maybe Monreal will slot into the left-back role to exert sensible influence over the young Greek centre-back. It is, however, time for Dino to step forward. I don’t view his as a ‘saviour’ as such and think with Koscielny or Sokratis alongside him, he would fare better than he will tonight. Mustafi has the potential for this to be a brutal part of Mavropanos’ learning curve.
While not necessarily a recipe for disaster, all of the ingredients are certainly there.
The other option is a back five with Monreal coming in as the left central-defender. As long as Lichtsteiner isn’t on the right, it could work. If that is to be the case, I would like to see Ramsey and Ozil as the wide players – I assume Torreira and Xhaka will continue centrally – with Lacazette up front. I am guessing that Aubameyang’s record means that won’t happen today but may be the case on Sunday.
It’s important that we win tonight. In the coming weeks, I don’t see Chelsea or United dropping many points. From memory, each of us faces one tough game during the next four weeks – Chelsea travel to City, Liverpool host United – and points dropped in winnable games will be the decisive factor. And we’re quite good at that…
If We Have Enough and Lose A Lot, Do We Still Have Enough?
The obvious thought from all of that is that we could do with a versatile defender coming in. Ostensibly a centre-back, but one who is also comfortable playing full-back. It’s not happening; Unai says so.
We have enough players who can play centre back in the squad. The problem is we’re having a lot of injuries in this position. We have enough players. If we can bring another player, and all the other players we have are well to play, then we could maybe have a problem in the future.Unai Emery on signing defenders
A loan deal isn’t “a problem in the future” if that player is better than those we already have at the club. The only defender whose name is bandied around is Gary Cahill and thankfully, Chelsea
The problem might come in March, I guess he is thinking. However, with our luck at the moment, so might an injury. I don’t think we can be complacent in that sense.
The same principle applies in midfield. Emery rates Perisic and Suarez more highly than those he already has which signals problems for Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and to a lesser extent, Ozil. If the German hasn’t worked out Emery doesn’t rate him, there is something seriously wrong.
Emery didn’t sound optimistic about landing anyone before Thursday’s deadline passes:
[We will sign] Between nil and two. If they aren’t coming to help usUnai gets vague on this week’s transfer business
likewe want, then we would prefer them to not come. Two because we are looking at two different players who have the possibility to come here.
Accountants or Scouts? Who to Listen to Me
It’s hard to believe we have been working since before Christmas on these deals. The reality is I think we procrastinated rather than had deals lined up. Is Suarez good enough? Perisic’s resale value will be negligible so should we sign him? Patchy form, I’d venture, forced the club’s hand.
A couple of days to go but tonight’s match is more important. I don’t expect too many changes from the XI which lost to United but it will obviously be closer to the one which finished the game:
Leno; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Whatever the performance level, this is one where the result is more important. A bit of confidence restored before Sunday’s trip to the Etihad would do wonders although we’re such a Jekyll and Hyde side that you can never tell.
Enjoy the match wherever you watch it.