BATE Preview: Do You Want That Battered?

Unai Emery met the press yesterday ahead of a must-win match tonight. It’s been a while since we’ve had one of these, eh?

The Spaniard is rapidly coming to grips with the millstone around his neck that is the weight of our expectations. Retrieving a one-goal deficit is well within the capabilities of the XI but requires a business-like attitude from kick-off. Rather like the one which did for Chelsea recently; a bit of that wouldn’t go amiss.

We’ll lose some of that intensity due to Alexandre Lacazette’s suspension. He is an intense guy on the pitch, sometimes a little too intense, but he captures the mood in big matches with his work ethic.

Compensating for his absence, we can at least wave goodbye to Shkodran Mustafi as he is consigned to the bench. His lack of intensity, lackadaisical approach to defending and general being sh*t, we can well do without. I know this is a temporary reprieve until the next injury strikes but clouds, silver linings and all that.

There’s little defensive need for three at the back but in an attacking sense, I wonder if Lacazette’s absence makes it more likely. 3 – 4 – 2 – 1 or do we go with the midfield diamond which worked well against Chelsea before the abject failure in Manchester?

With space at a premium this evening, we need plenty of width. As I said yesterday, banks of four, buses, tanks and the bodies of the 300 await as defensive barriers. It’s an evening for guile as much as powerful running. It may well turn out to be a long night. An early goal would be ideal but don’t be surprised if we’re still labouring with just one goal at 75 minutes. The last ten frantic minutes will be crucial.

Battle Over But Who’s Winning The War?

For Unai Emery, it’s a question of whether he starts with two wide players. If we do, there is a big responsibility on the third midfielder to be creative. Torreira and Guendouzi are forming a nice partnership which means the Spaniard has a choice between Xhaka, Suarez, Ozil or Ramsey.

Ramsey’s fitness issues probably put him on the bench while guarding against counter-attacks is natural to Torreira. It was highlighted by Laurent Koscielny as a key area which also puts

So, it is down to Suarez or Ozil and both have questions to answer. The former is simply ‘why?’. If he doesn’t play 150 minutes plus in the next two games, what is the point in his loan deal? There are just a dozen games left to impress.

As for Ozil, Emery turned the tables firmly on the German. Team Mesut won the social media battle but the head coach made it clear Ozil needs to stop bringing in notes from his mum asking for him to be excused from games.

The key is in his hands and he is working very well this week. I know he wants [to play] but he needs to be consistent in training and for matches, without injury or being sick. Without that, we can see the best Mesut with us.

Unai Emery slaps Mesut Ozil around the face with an iron glove

The message was loud and clear: work hard and you can get into the first team. Anything less and we know where the problem lies.

It’s All Kicking Off

Will he start tonight? Ozil ought to for the very reason I stated: guile. He’s been training, probably even had a go at knocking over the inflatable carrots from an Unai Emery cross. Or maybe he didn’t and that just made Unai Emery cross.

The starting line-up I’d expect is:

Cech; Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Torreira, Guendouzi; Suarez, Ozil, Iwobi; Aubameyang

You could argue Jenkinson is probably a better attacking full-back than the Swiss but I can’t see Emery ditching Lichtsteiner. Other than that, it’s simply a case of working hard to win.

The kick-off is 5:55 which is just daft; why not 6pm? Unai Emery acknowledged it’s a stupid kick-off time and hopes the crowd, whatever it may be, turns up and gets behind the team. Let’s hope so and that the team gives them something to get behind. A brisk start is vital.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

53 thoughts on “BATE Preview: Do You Want That Battered?

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    Been a while…



    Hats off larfin boy.
    I hope life is working out for you Damon-you had a toughie last year 👍🏻

  2. Damon says:


    Well remembered!

    Yes, 2018 is not one I’ll ever forget, but have tried to consign it to the past as quickly as possible 😀

    I think we’ll turn in a performance tonight. Hoping that England do on Saturday afternoon too. Very strong lineup submitted by Jones this morning

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Not a night to be nervous:

    PEA hattrick

    See you at the ground!

  4. LSG says:

    Since I won’t be in the ground, I can say that I don’t feel that confident this will be an easy or comfortable victory. One goal by Bate and we have to score 4. I really dislike the away goals rule. We seem incapable of keeping a clean sheet. But I do feel better that Sokratis is back. Much better.

  5. LSG says:

    We could use a performance from Ozil like his v Ludogorets.

  6. Damon says:


    We’ll only need three if they score again mate 😉

  7. Bill says:

    Great preview Yogi

    I think emery answered the Ozil question. If he acts like he gives a damn about playing football other then on social media and actually does something positive on the pitch then the emery will be happy to use him. That would be a win/win for everyone involved. The ball is now in Mesut’s court.

  8. Bill says:


    From last night. I will give you credit regarding Wojo. You were right and I was wrong about that one. I think wojo’s relationship with Arsene was irreparable and there as no way he was going to stay as long as Arsene was making the decisions. I would trade Cech and Leno for Wojo at this point

  9. ferkov says:

    AMN / Ozil combo up the right wing.
    We gotta start feeding Ainsley.
    For all the plaudits we gave G.Gnabry on Tuesday, half the reason he looks good is the timing of the balls he receives. I.e early in the phase, he’s the go to guy. AMN seems to be shunned too often as an out ball.

    Doesn’t matter what team Jones puts out. Welsh have forgotten how to lose , apparently.

  10. LSG says:


    Forgot they only have one! (Also not great at simple maths!). So ONLY 3!!! I’m so confident now… haha

  11. C says:


    Its a shame because Szczesny seemed to and always stated, even now, that he wanted to be first choice at Arsenal but was told he was surplus to requirements. I rate Leno and think he will come good but is currently, like so many present and past, learning about the PL and we just have to continue to support. With that said, I think Szczesny was casted aside right when he was becoming consistent. I mean those 2 loan years at Roma he and Buffon were 1.a and 1.b in Serie A. The other thing worth noting is that Allison(everybody says is top 5 GK in the world) was bought in and couldm’t beat out Szczesny and has even admitted that if Roma had kept Szczesny instead of letting him go to Juve, he would have left Roma….not for nothing but that speaks volumes to the talent.

    Just think if we would have kept Gnabry and Szczesny, last summer those funds could have been spent on something else and possibly the swap deal for Mhkitaryan would have been United buying Sanchez.

  12. LSG says:


    I’d prefer Wojo as well and criticized that deal to sell him to Juve. However, I think he will have trouble living up to Buffon’s legend and may find himself replaced after next season. Politically, he’ll be vulnerable. A couple high profile or costly mistakes and he might take blame. I still think some of his decision making needs work. He made some super saves, has all the physical qualities, is courageous but I’m not sure he reads the game situations as well as some of the very very highest level and still think his passing and kicking can improve. Does he give his defenders confidence? How good is he at organizing? He’s good at all this but he’s vulnerable to criticism in these aspects if Juve doesn’t achieve its high goals.

  13. LSG says:

    And I make the above comment with a sense of sadness because he is a terrific keeper and better than Cech or Leno right now. He should be Arsenal’s keeper

  14. ferkov says:

    Before we get too far from the narrative.
    Credit where credits due. Who’s making Emery cross this week? Gold star. That’s the shit that brings me here, however rubbish we play.

  15. ferkov says:

    This is the team Arseblog are quoting
    Arsenal: Cech, Lichsteiner, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang

    Well. Well

  16. C says:


    That team feels like Emery has decided to go with a 433 and told them to have a go and get goals early and often. Its almost the complete opposite of what the feeling was when we faced them there.

  17. LSG says:


    433 or 4231, but definitely attacking midfield with no Torreira.

  18. thrillbo says:


    Deary me, a true chuckle bro re-union? Looks like we are going with a standard 4-2-3-1. Ozil in the #10 role, Iwobi left and Mkhi right. Anyways think we might be able to blitz them tonight, not confident though. I took off work in the afternoon so yours truly will be able to down a cold bev while watching the match.

  19. C says:


    Don’t disagree often but I don’t see Juve replacing him. Will he live up to Buffon’s standards, well time will tell but so far he has been superb and continues to receive high praise. Sure his passing needs some work but having watched Juve, his defenders trust him no matter the amount of pressure. I mean last night they passed it back to him on a couple of occasions where you think, “No don’t pass it back to your GK under pressure” and he simply made the right pass to the right person at the right now. I also think the other thing that helped him tremendously is spending last year with Buffon and learning and understanding the ‘Juve way’. Its amazing how much he has grown both consistency wise and mentally in his decision making. He no longer has those high profile errors that you are making mention of.

    I will say, it would be great to have him because he seems to be one of those GK’ers that never truly gets talked about but is a top quality GK.

  20. C says:


    I’m think some sort of 433 but probably a 4231 with Xhaka and Guendouzi sitting.

  21. Limestonegunner says:


    I think he is quality, C, and should start for us. I just think he could be a victim of following a legend in a high profile position. But I wish him every success and a rooting for him at Juve. I will certainly take an interest next year to see him and WS together there.

  22. C says:


    I think its always tough to follow a legend but Szczesny just seems to have that attitude capable of doing so. So far this year he has been superb and that save yesterday was of the highest of highest standards.

  23. C says:

    Mustafi!!!!!!!!!!!! His defending might be inconsistent but he really is good in the air

  24. C says:

    Emery has clearly said Xhaka you sit, I want goals so yall attack relentlessly.

  25. ferkov says:

    Mustafi!!!!!!!!!!!!His defending might be inconsistent but he really is good in the air

    Fair dooooes .
    I’m chuckling now.
    I’ll not be laughing til we get another tho.

    How comes no refs ever give us anything ! Excepting mike dean , but he’s just a weird fucker, so doesn’t count

  26. C says:


    We definitely need another but the way we are attacking is a joy to watch. Theres been a couple times were the pass from midfield to Aubameyang or Ozil is a bit off but we look in the mood.

    Mike Dean, a steange fucker is being nice!

  27. ferkov says:

    Making the boss Cross all week is clearly the way ahead

    Seriously tho, I don’t know if this has legs, but the fact that they were clearly working on creating chances in a bus park, and the fake buses were even Yellow. If that is down to the Boss , then he is quite something . Loved his reactions to the goals.
    I know as well as anyone that he hasn’t had us purring very often, but we’ve got to cut him some slack for at least another season , whatever happens.

  28. C says:

    It is a joy to watch Ozil play especially in really tight spaces, that little flick though, shame Mhkitaryan slipped cause he was in space.

  29. C says:

    The little things Ozil does that don’t always get notice, he drives, releases Iwobi then makes a run to take 2 defenders to create space for Iwobi to get that shot off.

  30. C says:

    Sokaritis coming on for I think Kos…

  31. C says:

    Torriera set to come on for Guendouzi

  32. consolsbob says:

    Ozil has been OK. A lot of sideways passing though and a bit sloppy.

    Nothing to get excited about. More time on the pitch would help, I’m sure but he hasn’t made himself a nailed on starter tonight.

  33. thrillbo says:

    Thank heavens for the win and good fortune from the start. Where was Oliver Giroud when you need him? I like our plan of sending in lots of crosses, putting pressure on the D. However none of our players had a height advantage out there, at least from open play. If there is a big sexy frenchman lumping around the box surely he can put a few of our chances away? The score should have been 6-1 like the last time we played them!!!

  34. thrillbo says:

    edit: played them at home haha! Cheers all.

  35. ferkov says:


    I disagree bob.
    After the depressing shower of shit we’ve had served up the past month, anything that creates questions for opposing defences is exciting. Ozil has that, and showed it on many occasions tonight, and was pretty mean with the ball too.

    Don’t know if he’ll start at weekend tho! Think he’s earned a spot in the squad tho.

  36. ferkov says:


    Danny would have had a hatful. Head shoulders knees and toes. And his classic the groiner.

  37. consolsbob says:

    I see where you are coming from ferkov.

    He was different, I agree, but creative enough?

    Not for me but as I said, more pitch time would help.

    I think he will play at the weekend and really hope that he does well.

  38. C says:


    I do think more time will help but the overall attack looked more likely than we have seen.

    The other thing was that it actually looked like the team was looking for him and to play off him.

    Will be interested to see team selection on the weekend.

  39. Bill says:

    Another great day on the slopes and just saw the result. A win and we advance. An own goal on a corner kick and 2 headed goals on corner kicks. Tony Pulis would be proud. It doesn’t sound like it was a dynamic attacking performance but that isn’t really relevant as long as we advanced. A clean sheet was critical and we did the job.

  40. LSG says:


    We looked like we moved the ball around better. He’s still shy to shoot. It wasn’t great opposition but it was a good warmup to get him more match fit. I thought Iwobi was more of an influence on matters our first half. But I enjoy watching Ozil. He could have made a stronger case, so we’ll see.

  41. Paul says:

    Danny has been a bigger miss than many of us expected.

  42. C says:

    So Rennes it is, they have some attacking talent with Ben Afra, Niang, Grenier, and Sarr. This will be an open attacking tie!

  43. ferkov says:


    Aye. Despite my jibe earlier, his energy and commitment has been sorely missed

  44. ferkov says:


    0-0 then…..
    I wish.
    Doubt Emery will go toe to toe in the away leg.
    Which order is it btw?

  45. ferkov says:

    My favourite moment from last night was The Leech ripped strips off the Chuckle brothers for another comedy moment. Worth the transfer fee alone.
    Before you defend their individual performances C, as they did dominate the air generally, but they don’t work as a unit. Was a reassurance when Papa came on. He demands the lead.
    Shame Kos had to make way, especially in the circs.

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