Arsenal must be set up to score at least three against Villarreal

Can Arteta swallow his ego for the best of the club? by Konstantin Mitov

Well lovely Arsenal people. Here we are again, one last straw to hold on to in a disastrous season. There are no two ways about it, we must win on Thursday. Anything but a win that ensures we progress to the final will be inexcusable.

Do we have the players to beat them? Of course we do. Even with the injuries we have, our squad is more than capable of beating Villarreal. It’s about putting the right people in the right positions and giving them some encouragement to go forward.

Arteta tactics often suffocate the squad. So many instructions of where everyone should be, yet there’s never anyone in the box or making runs when you need them. Against Newcastle we saw what a real striker brings.

The “big brain” Pep G-like “false 9” almost cost us the entire tie, but luckily Unai reminded us why we released him, by not going for the throat and allowing us to get back in it and still have a shot.

I don’t like us losing, but the “positive” thing is our task is clear. We need to score goals. One won’t be enough. The days of 1:0 to the Arsenal are long gone and we must score at least 3, because I don’t think we can keep a clean sheet.

It’s time Arteta swallowed his pride and plays the best players in best form regardless of whether he likes them or not. The energy of Martinelli was too much for Newcastle. He makes runs, presses hard, gives 100% and that cross for Auba was hot knife through butter!

We scored that goal, because we were direct and fast. Our usual play is slow and predictable. It’s time we throw pace at the opposition and force them to drop deep and fear the runs.

My managerial experience ends with playing football manager, but if I had to pick the team, I’d put Saka at left back with Martinelli on the left and Pepe on the right. That should terrorize them down the wings and give us enough energy.

Another reason would be to put Xhaka back in midfield next to Partey. I don’t think Xhaka is good enough to take us forward, but he’s the best we’ve got right now and as I said, everyone needs to swallow their pride and do the best for the team.

The defense is a difficult one. Mari and Holding will probably be the 2 CB, but they weren’t great in Spain. Neither was Chambers. Do we try Bellerin? Chambers has put some excellent crosses in recently and if we have bodies in the box, we could use them.

The goalkeeper is a tough one. Leno will probably start, but the signs from him don’t look like he wants to be here next season. Do we try Ryan? Do we stick with the “playing out of the back” mantra we’ve been banging on about so long with no success?

Up front, it’s either Odegaard or Smith-Rowe, not both. It worked nicely against Leeds, but Xhaka worked at left back vs Sheffield and we’ve seen more than once afterwards that it doesn’t.

I think Arteta will not abandon his suicide mission, nor his dislike of Martinelli and I fear he will miss out again. I can also see Xhaka at LB again. Hopefully at least Auba will be up front.

If there is anyone to trust that we will do something this game, it’s the players. We’ve reached a point where results come despite of the manager, not because of him. We need whoever is on that pitch to come together and do it for the fans, the team and even their own careers.

I don’t know if I can survive getting spanked by United in the final like Chelsea, but I still want us to get there. I know we are going nowhere good with Arteta, but if we had an owner and a board who gave one damn about the team, he’d be long gone.

Wether Ek would put in a bid to get us out of our misery I don’t know, and whether the money leeches in the USA would sell is even more unlikely, but in reality we are two games away from the champions league. Surely even Arteta and these set of players understand that. We’ve done it in the FA cup to rescue european football, can we do it in the Europa?

Besides, we’ve only ever won 2 european trophies. Adding a third one will write history. Let’s prolong the season by one more game, we can do it.



  1. Smith-Rowe actually possessed the ball well as a false nine, but our defenders and midfielders were too nervous against Villareal’s high pressing

    A great manager should be able to improve his players’ confidence in a short amount of time, so let’s see how they play on Thursday. One goal is enough to make us through

    1. That is exactly why we are seeing such bad performances this season. Why score just one to barely make it through? We should be supporting and pushing our team to score more and have a thumping victory so we arrive in final with confidence. As fans we need to make sure that the car is set high and push the team to atleast try or give their best to achieve it. Stop thinking like a mid table team fan although we are mid table at the moment lol!

      1. Setting the bar too high will only make the defenders and midfielders more nervous, because the team’s confidence is currently low

  2. Based on out last 15 games there is a good chance we’ll concede

    So we definitely need to score 3….but who knows which Arsenal will show up and who knows who MA will chose


    Leno has informed the club of his intention of leaving the club at the end of the season.

    1. Please Konstantin, give over with the the Arteta doesn’t like Martinelli rhetoric. It’s not true and it’s getting boring.

      1. I agree Declan
        Arteta gave him the contract extension last year, so he could be conserving Martinelli post serious injury. This maybe overdoing it but I’d be amazed he he didn’t rate him.

    2. Leno might wish to leave but it’s not his decision, it’s up to the club whether they let him go.

  4. If we do it we will face Man-Utd and that will not be easy in it will be Bloody Hard

    1. Arteta couldn’t set up a pool table never mind a team to score 3 goals been in the job long enough and still doesn’t know his best team or system to play that tells you everything you need to know about our clueless manager!!

  5. 2 weeks ago MA said because of Saka being able to win games with moments of individual brilliance he will no longer play him as LB so there you have it!

  6. Scoring 3 is a tough call, when Emery will more than likely come in looking to park the bus. We got a goal thanks to Emery taking off his striker rather than going for our throat.

    That was always my big gripe with Emery; he lacked that killer instinct of putting an opponent away. We were suspect for much of the game, and Emery let us hang around and finally get back in.

    Arteta has the same nasty conservative streak, where his default setting is not to take chances and be risk-averse.

    1. durand, I agree with your assessment of Emery’s conservatism in thd first match, although I believe he will go for goals at the Emirates, not trying to defend for a 0-0. Each away goal makes Arsenal’s task more difficult.

  7. It seems to me Arteta cannot just let be. He is possessed by every player obeying him from beginning to end. How can creativity flourish in those conditions? At some point Arteta has to rely on the team. Give them space to be creative. To me Arteta over instructs and looks like a nutter on the side-lines. A Pep Guardiola clone, without the team that Pep has. To me we can win against Villareal, but the control freak must calm down and give our players space to be who they are, and play. It’s very close to call, but if Arteta can forget Willian, and play Martinelli up front (even with Aubameyang) we have got a chance. Willian is totally out of his depth at the moment and represents .8 of a player.

  8. Ryan, Gabriel, Martinelli, Saka, Auba should start. And be fast with needed substitutions.

  9. After the diabolical tactical naivety we witnessed last Thursday, I doubt Arteta has the onions and/or managerial acumen to devise a plausible attacking plan, especially considering his usual selection foibles…if it was up to me, I would make sure I had Auba, Saka & Martinelli up top, Ode, ESR & Partey in the middle and Bellerin, Chambers, Gabs and Cedric in back…based on what I saw from our opponents last week, I think our best defence is a good, direct-attacking offensive scheme, as I just don’t think they can hang if we take the game to them and stop spending so much time dwelling on the ball in and around our own end

  10. We betrer offmaking sure to not conceed 2 or more as in first leg.

    Focus on scoring is what Emery will do as in first leg.

    He or many would expect us to focus on making back deficit in goals, meaning attack.
    He knows he must defend well, be patient and knock us out.

    So, we must attack and defend well.

    Bellerin Chambers Holding Ceaores
    Partey Xhaka
    Martnelli Auba Saka

    Saka on left as he is the beqt left wing in EPL period. Marinelli is right footed, will do as much damage on right flank and crosss better. Pressing as he does, and Bellerin flying on wing and crossing; would make that flank unplayable.

    They can and should switch during game, get Villareal lost and openef them up this way.

    This is a mix of experience and players who are all eager to turn season around.

    Laca shows that he is an attack leader,, hAs a 9, he iofften comes lower, drives, combines, lounges, articulates our attack with that leadership.

    He can be devastating playong behind Auba and be like a Benzema time he is close too, formed in Lyon…

    This team will beat by 3or 4 and not conceed any.

    Man U would have serious trouble handling this attack as to score with compact middle and defense.

    We know Martinell and Saka will defend and harrass all game long…

    If not Laca, play Rowe for his Arsenal DNA…

  11. The good conditions in Gunners top fitness, top form and experience in addition to their able to adapt to play in a tough Cup final game decider of Europa League Cup semifinal match, should in my own thinking and opinion be what and what should guide Mikel Arteta in his Arsenal starting XI and substitutes team making selection to play against Villarreal CF in the crucial ELC 2nd leg semifinal match between Arsenal and Villarreal on Thursday night at the Ems.

    But not on us Gooners’ wishes and opinions to see Arteta makes a particular Arsenal match Gunners team selection for Villarreal.
    But notwithstanding this, us Gooners can continue to offer our advise to Arteta advising him on which Gunners us Gooners think and believe such as Gabi Martinelli and goalkeeper Ryan in place of the reported want to quit Arsenal Leno he should start or play in our Villarreal match. This is normal and in order. Arteta will look at us suggestions read them and makes his final Arsenal team selection decisions that will play against Villarreal.

  12. By the way, I will want to think and suggest to Arteta to drop Mari for Villarreal on Thursday night at Ems.

    This is because his showing of loyalty to his home club Villarreal in the interview he had on before Arsenal went to play against Villarreal last Thursday night had me scared. For, I asked myself if Mari will be professional enough to be 100% loyal to Arsenal his current club his playing for to earn his leaving against Villarreal that night? And Arsenal conceded 2 goals to Villarreal in the match.

  13. I can’t believe people think Saka should play at left back! We need goals and only he, Pepe and Auba are up to the task. MA has no midfield scorers nor defenders. Ryan did well but Leno will play. Pepe was totally up for the game and is a big game player. Odegaard needs to do more or we can play ESR or Martinelli. Need to go for goals early.

  14. Has Leno truly told Arsenal that he wants to leave them at the end of this season’s campaign? If he did, then it gives one food for thought.

    But why is Leno wanting to leave Arsenal? Is it because of his reported contract extension demand issue at the club which hasn’t been addressed, or for other personal issue?

    But if it is his contract extension situation at the club that has made him trying to force Arsenal hand to give hint an extension to his contract at the club, I am afraid I don’t think it will work for him. Despite that I am not Mikel Arteta or Edu at Arsenal.

    For, Because I don’t think Arsenal will allow themselves to be cowed by Leno and his agent to give Leno any contract extensions at this time. More so, as Leno is even yet to win anything in the terms of a title or a top-four to a top-seven place finish in the Premier League for Arsenal since he joined them.

    If I was Leno, he should have waited till Arsenal reach the ELC match final and win the Cup with him in the winning Arsenal team tendering the goal for Arsenal in ELC 2nd semifinal match and the final. And also tender the goal successfully to 4 victories for Arsenal n their 4 remaining Premier League matches left for them to play this season.

    If Leno does this for Arsenal, his team mates and himself, he’ll be in a strong position to ask Arsenal for an extension to his deal at the club if they haven’t offer him one I suppose. In fact, the club could even offer him an extension without him demanding for it.

  15. Are us Gooners likely going to see an all Premier League 4 clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd play in the 2 European Cup finals of the UCL and ELC this season?

    For, it’s looking likely this could happen this season to see Chelsea vs Man City in the UCL final. With Chelsea carrying the day in the match over Man City to win the Cup for the 2nd time in their history.

    And Arsenal vs Man Utd in the ELC final also. With Arsenal carrying the day in the match beating Man Utd to the lifting of ELC Cup. But all these my forecasts and preferences are all still in the seemingly mode.

    1. City deserve their place in the final – how good were they last night?!!
      Hoping Real win tonight 😄

      City v Arsenal super cup is on!!

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors