Arsenal to rotate heavily in Zagreb with Chelsea in mind?

This is a big week for Arsenal and it could hardly have got off to a better start, with a dominant performance against Stoke that will surely have restored a lot of confidence and optimism to the players and fans. But there are still two big games to play.

First up is the Champions League opener, away to Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night and then what could turn out to be a crucial away game against last season´s Premier League champions Chelsea. With the domestic title being our clear priority, the game at Stamford Bridge is obviously the most important and with the timing of the fixtures, we might have to rest a few key players in midweek because the Chelsea game kicks off at 12.45 on Saturday, giving the players just two days in between games and a long flight.

Arsene Wenger has a big decision to make as he will also be determined to get off to a winning start in Europe but there are good reasons for him to risk a second string Arsenal side in Zagreb. For one thing, an Arsenal win over Chelsea would keep us right in the title race, boost morale but also wreck Chelsea and Mourinho´s and effectively end their quest to retain the title, so it is definitely worth the risk.

Also, the Gunners squad now has great strength in depth and you would think that we could still beat our Croatian opponents. Look at this second string team that Wenger could field.

Debuchy, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs
Arteta, Flamini
Chamberlain, Alexis, Campbell

I have included Alexis because he is like a duracell bunny and can keep going at full tilt with no problem and Wenger could select another few key players to increase the quality as well, such as Ozil and Walcott. So Gooners, do you think Arsenal should prepare for Wednesday with Chelsea firmly in mind?

Tags Arteta Wenger


  1. Yes take the risk but arteta & flamini can’t both start , I’d rather take one of the youth players , I think Campbell will need to perform if he doesn’t want to be glued to the bench

  2. Ospina

    Chambers is just a liability at all times, lets not take the risk and lets instead solidify Kos-Gab partnership even more. Cazorla I woudn’t mind giving a rest to, Alexis needs to get a goal, and Giroud needs to not lose form. Walcott should get some gametime too, work on that wonky finishing.

    1. Since when is chambers a liability at all times? Typical arsenal fan who only remembers the last game. The boy is good and was good even last season when we were Bossless. One bad game and he is shite?

  3. You must be joking. No way. We should go all out to win the match. Can’t we think of topping the group? Who told you that Le Coq cannot play two matches in a week but Sanchez can? Oh, you are resting our “best striker” TW14? Let me tell you, Giroud will be better against Chelsea. I know Wenger will disown that your line-up, so am not bothered. We will win midweek and give a fight to win at Stamford Bridge. See you then.

    1. we’re going to rotate either way. Our fullbacks for sure, and Coquelin for sure. And the fact that Coquelin is our only decent CDM makes him MUCH more important than probably any other player in our team. If he’s injured in a game that we should honestly get by with ease we’ll look stupid and it’ll ruin our season. Arteta is perfectly capable of playing in these matches. Maybe if it was Olympiakos or Bayern (obviously), its a situation to go all out, but Zagreb is the minnow if the group, we should be fine. Agree that OP’s lineup is too weak though. No reason to include Flamini or Campbell.

      And I dont know why you think Giroud will be better than Walcott against Chelsea. Name one match against Chelsea Giroud has ever played even half decent in? When we played with Walcott last month we won, just saying…

      1. Um!……..where’s that kid we got from ACS poli timosiara?……..haven’t heard of him 4 a while now….

      2. How much did Theo do in the community shield match? Giroud has size advantage when we play a team like Chelsea. I prefer Ox on the right and OG12 at the centre at the beginning against Chelsea. Theo can come in latter.

  4. Our squad is not that tired. There shouldn’t be any rotation needed for this game. Should we go through with 1 game to spare or when playing Dinamo at home, that is the time when we can start to rotate.

    I would only test Joel on the right instead of Ramsey to see if he is any good. Everyone else should stay the same.

    Remember Anderlecht home and away last season?

    1. Remember the whole first half of the season last year where we played our worst football under AW ever? We’re not perfect this season but are still WAY better than the start of last season. And Anderlecht>Zagreb. Think you guys are overestimating Zagreb for no reason honestly. Have a little faith in the rest of the squad. (okay, maybe not Flamini…)

      1. That is why I said rest the players at home vs Dinamo Zagreb not away. I think Dinamo Zagreb have an awful UCL record. But away from home despite their record in UCL you don’t know which Arsenal will turn up thats the problem.

        1. Thumbed down by mistake, yeah I agree. Since when does any team in the CL ever rest their entire first team on game day one away from home. I have never seen it done before and think only an idiot would try it.

  5. Does anyone here play the official Uefa Champions League fantasy football game? I ask because I wanted to know when the game goes live. We are two days away from matchday 1 but if you go to the game page it still says ‘coming soon’.

  6. Champions league shouldn’t be for much change, especially now that we r drawn wit Bayern munich. Let our fill rotation b FA cup.

  7. For me, with the Chelsea game in mind on Saturday: the team against Zagreb should be;

    Ospina (gk)
    Debuchy (rb)
    Gibbs (lb)
    BFG (cb)
    Gabriel (cb)
    Arteta (cdm)
    Santi (cm)
    Ozil (cam)
    Campbell (rm)
    Ox (lm)
    Giroud (cf) (replaced by Walcott at h/t)

    This should easily be a strong enough side to bring three points back to London whilst giving a rest to some of our key players and also giving fringe players some game time.

    For the Chelsea game I think our starting XI should be;

    Cech (gk)
    Bellerin (rb)
    Monreal (lb)
    Kos (cb)
    Gabriel (cb)
    Coq (cdm)
    Ramsey (cm)
    Alexis (cam)
    Walcott (rm)
    Ox (lm)
    Giroud (cf)

    Everton showed yesterday how to beat Chelsea comfortably, with pace in the side and players that are willing to run beyond the striker. I know I will get thumbed down for leaving out Santi and Ozil, but with Giroud occupying the centre halves and Walcott, Ox, Alexis and Ramsey all willing to run beyond him will frighten the life out of the placeless Chelsea defence. These players can all put in a defensive shift too and be devastating on the counter attack.

    The passing game that Santi and Ozil play is superb but I feel a different approach is needed on Saturday. It is a SQUAD game after all, the season is long and everybody has their part to play at one point or another.

  8. They need to be taken seriously as no team who is in the cl can be labeled as a push over. Dinamo is a good team but we have the players to cope with them.

  9. Rotation works when u have a fixed first eleven that Is clearly best and delivering … That’s not the case with us … Could only catch the game Saturday on MOTD as traveling …. But one thing is now really clear Ramsey on wing is absurd he was mentioned once or twice on highlights for skuffing shots that was it and current defensive line means the work rate argument is secondary… Either put Walcott there or ox …for me it’s the latter but this indulgence of wenger is nonesense …in any case with ox he needs to forge link up play which only comes with game time …. So I only would drop coquellin and carzola for this game as both need to be fresh for Chelsea and replace with flamini and arteta … Have Alexis giroud and ox as front line … Maybe replace ozil with Ramsey later in game if score looks good to rest ozil .. Need to build consistency til Xmas and hope to bring in quality strike options then

    1. I just don’t get it: what’s this thing between Arsene and Ramsey??? It’s not funny anymore. Ox will do far better there, but “RAMSEY MUST PLAY”!!! Absurd.

      Ramsey is good, but u should bring in someone better when u have that someone: OX.

  10. Ospina

    Bench: Macey, Mertsacker, Coquelin, OX

    Rest (don’t even travel, stay in London): Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Ozil, Cazorla,Walcott, Alexis.

  11. Against Zagreb experience counts, against Chelses raw power and freshness. that said, the would be my two linups:

    Chambers, Debuchy, mert,Gibbs
    Arteta Flamin
    Ox Özil Adelaide

    bel, Gab, Kos, Mon
    Rams Caz
    Özil Sanchez

    2 games, 6p
    but i settle for a draw in Zagreb for thrashing Chelski

  12. Honestly, I think Maureen has gone too far this time. With the latest stupid coMment of his. Let’s make him feel the heat!!!!

    By the way, I think it’s true that patience pays (not always though cuz sometimes u wait and wait for nothing, end up wasting precious time), Ozil now seems to have improved tremendously, and I hardly can tell if Fabregas ever played for Arsenal.

  13. Arsenal will need to get all 6 points from Zagreb and olympiakos which will allow the team to play at confidence vs bayern cause it is 2 consecutive fixtures. Bayern at currently playing in a league where they are champions before the start of the season and will make sure they don’t lose against arsenal cause it is only big fixture in 2015 for them only whereas arsenal has city,Chelsea,United to think about.

  14. Doubt very much that we will be seeing that many changes. This is the CL not CC and it is first match that happens to be away. At most three changes maybe four depending on Per Gab situation.
    My guess would be….

  15. any idea Adelaide is injured? wana see Ox and Campbell + Giroud then debuchy and Gibbs, I’ve missed the chant: oooooooospinaaaa

  16. The fact that we are so concerned about Zagreb tells me that majority of the fans are not so convinced of the team we have. Then Chelsea which we never won with Mourinho in charge. Let’s admit even our X11 have few weaknesses we all know, OG12 the lamp post. CB still not tested against big team like Chelsea and Bayern. But let’s hope for the best. Although I have no trusting Wenger, but I give full 90 minutes to Jeff Adelaide, and some to Campbell, by the way what happened to Bielick after all that hoopla when we signed him.

  17. Arsenal are in da same group as bayern munich who am sure will not rest any of their top players against zagreb or any of the teams in da group. Why would arsenal? The players are all professional athletes paid huge amounts 2 play 3 games a week if necessary. Am sure they’ll be jus fine. My problem would be losing 2 da team with da worst defensive stats in da entire division (chavs) who have conceded 2+ goals every game.. Considering stamford bridge is no longer a fortress n relegation zone as current address i’d be absolutely miffed.

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