So the first big day of a two-match crunch week under Arteta’s reign, with Sheffield United visiting the Emirates today and then an away trip to a rejuvenated Chelsea on Tuesday. And we have to do both without the striker that scores 75% of our goals.
It’s a big ask for Arteta after just a month in charge. But we can live in hope for now, and there is the possibility that the home support will lift the team to great new heights. But, going by Sheffield’s form this season, they are going to be a very hard nut to crack. The only away games they have lost so far was at Liverpool and Man City, so they are brimming with confidence and have high hopes of making the Top Six after promotion only last year.
So, let’s look at their away games to get us started….
6 draws and 3 wins from 11 is pretty good for a newly promoted team, and just shows how much they hate losing, and although they don’t score bucketloads, the only teams to get more than 1 were Chelsea, City and Liverpool. Oh I wish Arsenal had a defence like theirs!
So now here is our home form this season….
This makes much better reading than our away form, and the latest win against Man United gives us hope but the overall picture is not very pretty, especially in the six games before United…
So those figures don’t make it clear that there is only going to one winner today, and with both sides drawing a large percentage of games, that may be the sensible prediction again today, and may even be considered a good result without Aubameyang.
Other than our top scorer’s suspension, of course most of our injury list is made up of defenders, with Chambers, Tierney, Bellerin and Kolasinac all missing, so we are back to our making up the numbers with Maitland-Niles and Sako likely to be our full-backs, with Sokratis and Luiz likely to be in the centre.
The midfield is likely to be Torreira and Xhaka, with Ozil in behind the three front men. I was hoping to see Martinelli start today alongside Lacazette, with either Pepe or Nelson on the left wing. After Arteta’s comments today I’ll say Nelson to start, and Pepe to come on later to shake things up.
So here is my starting XI….
AMN – Sokratis – Luiz – Sako
Torreira – Xhaka
Martinelli – Lacazette – Nelson
We may not have Aubameyang, but I am sure we will score with Martinelli in the side, but I also believe that with the home crowd now getting belief in Arteta and the team again, they will be our twelfth man and urge us on to a confidence boosting 2-1 win today.
What do you think?