Arsenal to swap defenders to cope with Atletico Madrid and Costa?

The chances are that Arsene Wenger will select the same Arsenal centre backs to face Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital tonight, but after the central pairing of Mustafi and Koscielny produced a Keystone Cops kind of moment to allow Antoine Griezmann to score from out of nowhere and put Arsenal on the back foot in this Europa League semi-final, I think he should at least consider changes to our back line.

The performances of Chambers and young Mavropanos against Manchester United at Old Trafford gives the Frenchman another big reason for thinking about swapping the Arsenal defence around. They were committed and focused and, let’s be honest, a lot better than we have seen Koscielny and Mustafi play of late.

Add to this the likelihood of Diego Simeone starting tonight’s game with Diego Costa up front and we have another reason. The former Chelsea striker has bullied Koscielny in the past and we all know that he can be a real thorn in any team’s side.

It may be a risk to play the inexperienced pair of Chambers and Mavropanos in such a big and crucial match, but where did the experience of Koscielny and Mustafi get us last week? Maybe it is more of a risk to stick with the proven players as they have proved time and again that they are not up to the job. What do you think Gooners?



  1. This decision might ultimately win or cost us the game and will be perhaps the most difficult decision for wenger in preparation for the game.

    Personally, i would like to see either Mavraponos or Chambers partner Koscielny as Mustafi has been making major errors in every game all season. Mustafi has now become too much of a liability this season in my opinion.

  2. If we are going to go for it all guns blazing then it could be Mavraponas alongside Koss, experience beside the new Kid. Or if we are to be bould then throw Holding v Costa in a ManMark capacity (wasnt bullied one bit or scared) & Mavraponas v Greizzman, our kid is tall, strong, quick & aggressive, could work. Bellerin/Monreal WB.

    Niles & Ramsey for CDM/CM
    Ozil no10 behind Lacazette
    Mhikitarian & Welbz on the Flanks.

    Selection in defence & how we defend all round will decide this game as we have shown we can open them up. They have conceded 4goals all season at home but this is the European SemiFinal 2nd leg, anything can happen!


    1. Your idea is very good and makes sense, but I don’t think Wenger would go with 3-4-1-2:

      …….Holding . Mustafi . Mavropanos
      Bellerin … Niles … Ramsey … Monreal
      ………Welbeck …………. Lacazette

      Mustafi has made a lot of errors, but his agression is excellent. He could be the DM we are looking for

    2. Mavropanos and Chambers in central defence against Athletico Madrid is like pressing a self-destruct button.
      Just add Mavropanos to Koscienly and you get the result from experience + youth exuberance, pace and power.

  3. We need out of form players dropped for tonight, and need more of an emphasise on work-rate over quality, like what we see with Liverpool. So that would rule Ozil out as well.

    Chambers Mavropanos Monreal
    Bellerin AMN Wilshere Kolasinac
    Ramsey Mkhitaryan


    Bellerin Chambers Mavropanos Monreal
    AMN Wilshere
    Welbeck Ramsey Mkhitaryan

    1. what are you smoking?! Wilshire in your team?
      ********RAMSEY – MO*****

  4. I would prefer kosielny / Chambers partnership.. otherwise shift nacho to central defense and let Sead play at left back.Its a gamble worth is coz Mustafi isn’t learning from his mistakes. Minebis a proposal but we know very well that its wanna be kosielny/Mustafi at the central defense

    1. The way you sound here those are Wenger’s mistakes he has been doing time and time again try to deploy Nacho as a center back

      1. nacho as a CB is not bad if we have 3 CBs.
        in that case one of them – nacho – can move forward often (ala chelsea’ azpilicueta – an identical situation – a RB forced to play as a CB in a back three – helped chelsea win the title and have the most assists of any CB ever (in the prem).

      2. I said he is a better option than Mustafi. if he cant partpner koscielny with either Chambers or Mavropanos for so called lack of experience then Nacho all the way

        1. Its good to see that it seems everyone is in agreement over Mustafi. Too much of a risk to play him. What’s happened to him? He was decent in the beginning of his first season but has been terrible since.

          1. He was a CB from a relegation zone club (Valencia) at that time. He started to show his bad decisions at Arsenal

            He is still a high quality player that might be more suitable as a DM, due to his stature, speed, aggression and skills

        2. In terms of physical to play center back Mustafi his better he just needs to have more concentration Wenger never bothered try to bring in quality CB for him was money and quick fix he pretty much tried to run Arsenal and thought he was untouchable I am really really happy is leaving

  5. AMN has proven he can play well as a full back, so I would play him instead of the worn-out Bellerin in a 3 – 4 – 2 – 1:

    kos, mavropanos, monreal
    maitland niles, wilshere, ramsey, kolasinac
    ozil, mkhitaryan

    good enough to stop costa + griezzy, and good enough to score.

  6. What on earth explains all of Mustafi’s errors this season? The man is talented, but he’s been an absolute train wreck. He’s cost us a good 10 goals and maybe double that in points.

    On the merits of the game vs. Man U, a team that plays with a style that is quite similar to Atletico, I would play Chambers and Mavrapanos. It’s a gamble, but so is playing an error-prone international and another makes fewer mistakes, but still too many by half.

    Atletico will park the bus. Do not put Ramsey on the wings, we need his late runs into the box and to play any other player with good penetrating movement. We need to disrupt their shape, pull them out of position and create spaces. More shots from outside the penalty area would be welcome, we could get fortunate deflections and rebounds, but do it a few times and their defense will be pulled out further from goal, opening space for runs into danger areas. COYG!!! 3-1 to the Arsenal.

    1. Mustafi came from a bottom-table and almost-relegated Valencia, along with Andre Gomes, the Barcelona flop (one of Enrique’s failed purchases)

      I suspect both Mustafi and Andre Gomes were responsible for Valencia’s poor condition at that time

      I was surprised when Arsenal announced that they would buy a CB from an underperforming club like that. But it was apparent that Arsenal bought him because of his World Cup inclusion, the same as Ozil

    2. Your comment is the best I have seen so far. We need players that can play shots from afar

  7. hope fans hv prepared for the worst….

    its very likely Atletico will get through to the final

  8. This is a really interesting topic.
    It seems most of us, so far, are willing to see Mustafi dropped.
    That means that Kos will need someone fast, energetic and able to cover him generally, as his partner.
    We do have two candidates for that, Chambers and Mavro.
    My personalc hoice would be Mavro because of his size versus Costa. Chambers will be a perfect sub for either of Kos or Mavro later in the game.
    One other player to consider is Kolasinac. He has the strength to tighten up the left hand side and that would give our back line, on paper at least, a look of strength in depth.
    Nacho did not play very well in the first leg and Kolasinac does have a point to prove regarding first choice selection. Should get him fired up and ready to go!
    The right hand side would, I assume, see Bellerin as first choice, but again Holding should be available as back up if required.
    Getting butterflies already folks, just hope we play the right game tonight.

  9. Atletico will not pack the bus….they will come at us from the first whistle. Make no mistake about it, any little touch on any of their players and they will go down like a pack of cards just to get us booked and eventually sent off. Watch Diego Costa cunning on this. Their fans will also be very noisy. The Arsenal players should start their pressing from the half line of our own half of the pitch and counter attack. TBH…I see them taking Arsenal by surprise and scoring an early goal given Arsenal players slow start to most games.

  10. I would never pick Mustafi ever again as first choice, or even first change CB. I consider him a disaster and were I club manager he would be first out the door this summer. The new manager should concentrate entirely on replacing the entire defence, plus Xhaka and Elneny this summer, Monreal apart, who is worth keeping SHORT term. ALL the rest, bar the very young defenders, should be sold ASAP. Until we can import some proven quality CB’s, we should start Chambers and Mavropanos together in EVERY remaining match, including tonight. Koscielny is now a mere ghost of the player he once was. To be clear, I would keep only MAVROPANOS and CHAMBERS of all the clubs outfield “proper” defenders. Both keepers also need replacing, asap. There are other players who should also leave BUT the FIRST job is to bin all Wengers defensive junk. Ten years without a defence is a decade too much. I can’t stand this farce for another season.

  11. I bet £10 on Arsenal to win and Lacazette to score @ 8/1 odds
    I intend on picking up my £90 tomorrow ?

  12. Off topic to be sure : Did anyone hear of any trouble between English and Italian fans last night?

    1. No reported trouble. THANK God! Who would not love to be a Liverpool fan right now! Who could fail to fall in love with the charismatic and wonderful Klopp, man manager supreme. Warmth and openly shown love is so wonderful to receive for his splayers. Just imagine how they must worship him. This is surely WHY they work their socks off for him and the shirt EVERY GAME. While our two glums sit silently on the bench not talking to each other. What a contrast! And look at the resultant contrasting team attitudes and spirit.

  13. I really hope we win tonight… I’m not feeling too confident at the minute if I’m honest, as we all know in the past how it can go horribly wrong. This is it now, it all comes down to this tonight… we HAVE to put in a strong performance… we HAVE to win… I really.hope we’re up for it COYG
    I saw earlier that tickets for Sunday’s game are being sold for £1800!!! Priceless if you ask me! Not selling mine ?

    1. Sue,
      That just goes to show just how much Arsene Wenger is loved by the supporters for his dedication over the past 22 years.
      All true Arsenal supporters will be pleased they kept the faith and their tickets.
      No matter if we win or lose tonight, the man will be honoured for his achievements on Sunday.
      I am sure we could fill the Emirates twice over to celebrate his time.
      One thing for sure, no empty seats for his last home game.
      I guess you can say the silent majority have finally spoken!!!
      £1800 for a seat? So glad I kept my season ticket through the good times and the bad times.
      Just hope the owner and the board take on board what the Arsenal fan base really feel about our club and they do not try and short change us regarding the new manager.

      1. My husband said sell them & we can go to Tenerife! No chance, they’re priceless! I wouldn’t miss it for anything. It’s going to be rocking Ken!!
        It has been tough being a gooner… but at the end of the day, we love our club & we have to take the rough with the smooth! Can’t win every game. Good on you for keeping your season ticket.. exciting times are ahead Ken! Up the gunners!!

  14. Arsenal should transform belerrine as a DM because of his skills and pace plus Niles to compete for that spot. Xhaka should push forward in the role of number eight as he pulls the strings and going for shots outside 18 area.

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