BATE Preview

A belated matchday preview as Arsenal travel to Borisov to face BATE. Take it as read that all the ‘master’ jokes have been done as I’m a bit pushed for time.

Unai Emery updated on the team news as the travelling squad was announced:

The players who I don’t take in the squad are Aaron Ramsey because he hasn’t trained with us; Sokratis, who started to train with us yesterday and today, but I don’t think it’s enough. Mesut is the same and after being sick, Aubameyang started training on Monday, yesterday and today and I think he is okay for the match.

Leaving the squad:

No surprises given Emery’s update and I doubt there will be any when the XI is announced. For what it’s worth, I’d go with as strong as possible, but I suspect Emery will weaken the side by including Mustafi:

Cech; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, Suarez

I’m not expecting Emery to play both his main strikers from the start; rotate tonight and see if the job gets done. If not, there’s always next week.

On Suarez, Emery was non-commital:

First I am thinking for the best performance tomorrow with the best players. His adaptation is good but it needs time. He is okay to start being involved in the first XI but also to be in the bench so that later in the match he can play. This adaptation is important for us and then also he can be playing, but he needs to earn it, little-by-little, to take minutes, confidence and rhythm with us. These can be the two possibilities.

If he takes it “little-by-little”, the season will be over and Suarez lumped into the same pile as Kim Kallstrom but without the Championship Manager rating.

He’s Not There

As much time is devoted to those not in the squad as those who travelled. Mesut Ozil wasn’t deemed to fit enough to travel because he only returned to training yesterday. Or the day before but frankly I’d forgotten he was ill at weekend. It’s all merging into one; injuries, illness, lost his passcard to get into London Colney; whatever this week’s excuse was.

The sooner the situation is resolved, the better it will be for everyone. To the outsiders, i.e. fans, it’s patently obvious that Emery doesn’t think Ozil fits into his plans. I suspect there is an element of him knowing that in order to sign new players, he needs to sell and cut the wage bill. Emery knows the situation and is doing his part by making it clear to the player that he doesn’t have a long-term future at the club.

Maybe it isn’t. Maybe Mesut is genuinely sick and injury-prone. I don’t believe it but that’s my own cynicism about the situation.

And it’s a distraction, to be honest. The Europa League is, to some, the best route to the Champions League. Chelsea, once viewed as the big threat, appear to be less of an obstacle than they were a couple of months ago.

There are other teams to be wary of but if we can get our act together, there’s no reason why we can’t win it. However, putting all your eggs in this basket is a dangerous game. The manner of Manchester United’s defeat against PSG destroyed the veil of infalibility which Solskjaer’s appointment dropped over the cracked squad Mourinho left behind.

It’s Goodnight From Me and Goodnight From Him

The top four isn’t beyond us and while it can’t be taken for granted, we have the opportunity to return to the position so often derided as a lack of ambition. This train is stopping at irony central, before moving onto ambition.

This evening’s game is one we should win comfortably and there’s really no excuse for us to fail to do so. I’m not so concerned by conceding although a clean sheet might do players of fragile confidence the world of good.

It’s close to kick-off so I’ll sign off now. Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

43 thoughts on “BATE Preview

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    Ferkov….I’m a speed reader

  2. ferkov says:

    Fully digested. ThankYou YW.
    Ambitious Station is on another network, and the toilets are out of order. Come back soon.

  3. ferkov says:

    AMN Monreal and Iwobi in then . Strong. I like it.
    Hopefully Suerez will have a good half to get going in.

  4. C says:

    Interesting comments coming from Ornstein:

    “There are a number of people within the game who I speak to who say that Aaron Ramsey had no intention of signing a contract at Arsenal,” Ornstein said on the BBC’s Football Daily podcast. “He was always planning to leave on a Bosman free at the end of his existing deal.”

  5. C says:

    Cech; Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette.

    Subs: Leno, Elneny, Torreira, Lichsteiner, Aubameyang, Suarez, Nketiah

  6. Blue Yonder says:


    I wonder if we will ever know the true story.

  7. Blue Yonder says:

    Emery’s comments (vis-a-vis Suarez being ready) aside, a game in Europe might be a good opportunity to see his potential for Arsenal. Especially given that he has an adjustment process to go through in the EPL.
    Don’t know what (new) to say about Ozil, other than, as YW says, Emery may be trying to get everyone accustomed to his not being with the squad. If the team were to put in a decent run of performances it might serve to hasten the exit or at least confirm its eventuality.

  8. consolsbob says:

    I didn’t even know that Hleb was on the pitch until he went off. 16 touches, apparently.

  9. consolsbob says:

    Mind you, I could say the same about Mikhi.

  10. Dalm says:

    uninspiring fare at the mo.

    corners that seem to go back 50 yards and crosses to nowhere – what is that ?

    need some guile but also some effing pace

  11. consolsbob says:

    …and he is still on the pitch.

  12. C says:


    Just think, my friend Bill said the reason that Emery picked Mkhitaryan over Ozil for workrate and influence 🤔

  13. C says:

    All jokes aside, that team should have been strong enough to beat BATE and that starting XI should all be dropped for the 2nd leg if there is somebody to replace them. I’d go:


  14. jjgsol says:

    Just as well we got rid of Wenger then, so we would not have had the opportunity to plumb to such levels.

    I know I have been away from this site, I have been coming back occasionally to see what you think about what is happening.

    I simply could not hold back in saying this.

    No doubt, I will get the usual abuse.

  15. C says:

    BATE hasn’t played a competitive match in 2 MONTHS, 2 FUCKING MONTHS!!!!

  16. consolsbob says:


    Abuse? You may not be agreed with but I doubt that you have been abused here.

  17. Alex Ice Cream says:

    The worst Arsenal European performance that I can remember in 40 years as a supporter. Its possible that there was worse that I didn’t see, or simply blacked out of my memory, but I somehow doubt it.

    It was an utter disgrace. This is meant to be Emery’s strong suit – Europa – and he failed miserably tonight.

    Was there anything good about tonight? No tactics, no team pattern, misplaced passing, no urgency, no tracking runners in the box, not competing for the header that cost us the game. I could go on…

    I agree that we are worse than under Wenger. Today was evidence that Emery is not the answer. Its not just him, the whole club is an utter mess. There is chronic mismanagement at all levels and there has been for some time, so any manager would struggle but I still don’t think Emery is the right man.

    Welcome to Kroenke’s Arsenal, byword for mediocrity.

  18. consolsbob says:

    Alex Ice Cream,

    It was a piss poorperformance but we have seen some shockers over the last few years under Arsene that were just as miserable. Baby and bathwater comes to mind. Emery may or not be a huge success but it is far to soon to dismiss him as a failure.

    Arsene was going nowhere very slowly. The club seems in disarray but I will hold fire on writing it all off as a dead loss just yet.

  19. Dalm says:

    To be fair AIC they were probably the best team in Belorus… one else playing.

    Joking aside, a reasonable number of gooners will have made the trip and deserved more – doubt the club will compensate.

    We never looked like creating a real chance.

    No arguments with the red either – but at least Laca showed fight….

  20. Alex Ice Cream says:


    We have never lost to such a lowly team in such pitiful fashion. We didn’t even look like scoring and they haven’t played in 2 months!

    We are plumbing new depths here. I wanted Wenger gone long ago, you know that, but I simply don’t see anything in Emery.

  21. Dalm says:

    on the other hand Thursday 21st – mouthwatering as we need to overturn a deficit without a functioning side…or plan…

    thank feck we weren’t playing either a strong team or a side that had been playing.

    how did tonight happen in context of some of our ‘good’ performances under UE ??

  22. jjgsol says:

    Consolsbob. I am afraid you are wrong.

    In recent seasons, anyone who did not tow the anti-Wenger line was remorselessly criticised and abused.

    That is why I left the site and I specifically wrote in to explain why.

    I have seen other “refugees” from this excellent site, who left, not because of YW’s comments, which were always to the point and interesting, but because of the reaction to anyone being positive about AW .

    The abusers now have what they want, AW was removed and I hope are enjoying what we have now.

    Anyone with a modicum of common sense would have realised that AW was going to be leaving and I have no doubt an orderly succession for a manager who wanted to play the sort of football we had loved and become used to.

    Instead, the pressure for him to leave was relentless and vicious and he left without the succession in hand.

    The board panicked and chose UE, perhaps without really considering why it was that he could not make a go of it at PSG with all their money.

    I had not intended to say so much and will go away again and wish you all much luck and, hopefully, joy and happiness as Arsenal supporters.

    I hope, YW, that you do not mind, if I still come back, occasionally to enjoy your excellent comments.

  23. consolsbob says:


    Well, I am sure that you speak as you see it but I struggle to think of any regular posters here who would dish out abuse. Strong views, certainly.

    Some of those refugees, as you call them, certainly understand the word and practised it here and elsewhere. I too left this site once because of it. However, the abuse came from Arsene supporters and there could be no mistake as to it being actual abuse. The language left no room for doubt.

  24. buckagh says:


    Never had you down as the sensitive soul.
    Arsen an Gazidis left us this crock of shit

  25. buckagh says:

    Alex Ice Cream,
    While Emery would not have been in my top three for the job he is in situ for now and deserves a chance.
    However I had expected to write this season off and maybe next if I could see a plan, you know some incremental improvements, solid defence, introduce some young players give them proper coaching and game time, I could go on, but the only plan we have is, let’s see if we can get back into the CL on the cheap. Ramsey is gone for nothing, Ozil and Mikinoguts plus the other expensive dross should follow him out the door ands let start again.
    I doubt Emery is the man to do this, but no doubt he will be the one to pay the price

  26. Bill says:

    Just saw the score and read the comments. It must have been really bad. Hopefully we can turn the scoreline next week at home and move on.

  27. Bill says:

    Its always going to be a struggle to score when we leave Pea on the bench. The only player who is a legitimate threat is Lacazette and he is good but not a prolific scorer. We obviously can’t afford to use these games as a chance to rest our better players

  28. Bill says:

    I agree that the Emery era has been a disappointment so far. Especially the lack of improvement on the defensive end of the pitch. However, it is his first season and he inherited a weak squad from the previous regime. I don’t expect us to finish 4th but its not out of reach and I still think we will go deep in the Europa league. Emery can still pull a rabbit out of the hat and find a way to sneak into the CL and if he does this season will be a huge success. I will be complaining about him as loudly as anyone if we don’t make the CL in the next 2 years but for now I maintain some guarded hopefulness. Very few managers are miracle workers and its obviously going to take time to rebuild the squad

  29. LSG says:

    Since YW suggested AW needed to leave as well, and received criticism for it from the so-called refugees in the comments for expressing such a heretical view, I can’t credit this praise for YW and dispraise for the regular commenters. Of course YW deserves the praise, but I think the memories have been creatively altered by jjgsol about the atmosphere here. The extreme pro-AW camp didn’t like it when the balance shifted from a handful of criticizers to something more even, especially when Cbob came out explicitly on the Arsene should leave side. They could not handle having to defend that position in debate because they were used to abusing dissenters.

  30. LSG says:

    I wasn’t very keen on Emery (or Arteta for that matter). But I certainly don’t see how we were ever likely to land a very top top top class manager, as AW might said. Kroenke wasn’t going to pay massive fees to get someone out of a contract or pay a coach the sort of wage he did for AW when he was doing 3 jobs. Who exactly was available? I think perhaps Favre would have been a better choice, maybe Jardim. But Nagelsmann and Tedesco seemed uninterested and Allegri would never have come to a Europa League Team with owners uninterested in spending. Everyone in football is now familiar with the disinterest and parsimony of our billionaire American owners.

  31. Wavey says:

    My disappointment tonight is more with Emery seeming to hamstring himself by not taking certain players. I’ve never been a big Ramsey, but he would’ve put a shift in. Maybe Ozil would’ve fancied it against a team who haven’t played competitive football since December. We have limited options in terms of creativity in the middle, so to take two players who can give you something different out of equation altogether makes no sense. Wenger left Emery with a complete shower if shit, but Emery isn’t helping himself with his decision making. This team needs a coach who can get the best out of what he’s got, not force another style of play on a group of limited players. Why try to play a reckless pressing game with your backline hopelessly exposed when your defenders aren’t good enough? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a siege mentality and look to weather the storm?

    Was wondering when an AKB would crawl out of the woodwork to remind us that we wanted this. No, we wanted a coach who could get the team playing again and build from there. Wenger had certainly lost the dressing room. Unfortunately it seems that Emery hasn’t worked out how to get it back. He also hasn’t worked out how to adapt his approach to the PL.

    I’m still hoping that Emery can turn it round, but he continues to try to dictate a specific approach when it looks to me like he hasn’t got the players or the budget to make it work.

  32. Blue Yonder says:

    We know Arsenal are capable of far more than this because we’ve seen evidence of it on the odd occasion. Which makes one wonder whether the team is trying to get Emery fired. At the very least it hints of a divided dressing room.

  33. Stan says:

    In today’s football there cannot be consistent success without a large investment, no matter who the manager is, or maybe I’m wrong

  34. St Totteringham says:

    “No, we wanted a coach who could get the team playing again and build from there. Wenger had certainly lost the dressing room. Unfortunately it seems that Emery hasn’t worked out how to get it back. He also hasn’t worked out how to adapt his approach to the PL.
    I’m still hoping that Emery can turn it round, but he continues to try to dictate a specific approach when it looks to me like he hasn’t got the players or the budget to make it work”

    I am disappointed with both the coach and the squad. Emery is not going to improve the team’s performance, if he adopts a specific approach, and wonder whether he knows how to handle the PL games. I am not calling for his sack when the squad needs better players. But, I get the impression, we may be bumping along mid-table for a few years after losing the Europa chances, not winning it. The worry is the formation of Spanish Cabal,with Vinai in the sidelines as Raul and Emery handle foot ball matters. As Arsenal fan, I hate Spuds, but admire Poch. He might not have won any silverware, but he indeed has improved players, with CL place cemented, with a very limited budget under Miser Levy. Poch improved Southampton, the very first year, he took it over. Emery should seriously look at how Poch achieves ut

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