Confirmed Arsenal team for tough trip to Watford – Makeshift defence fails to fill confidence

Unai Emery has named his Arsenal starting XI for today’s tough encounter at Vicarage Road, and the defence raises plenty of question marks.

Laurent Koscielny finds himself paired with the youngster Mavroponos, with the heavily criticised Shkodran Mustafi fielded at right-back, and the selected players, paired with a return to 4-4-2 which we had been struggling in prior to the change to playing wing-backs, is frightening.

I can accept that the manager is trying to make changes after a number of failings away from home over the past months, as well as acknowledging the lack of options he has in defence currently and the fact that we have to play Napoli on Thursday night, but with the race for the top four so tight AND important, this has me worried.

Watford have been one of those sides who you have not wanted to come up against this term, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers, and the Hornets are also playing for a spot in seventh in the league, which may earn a place in Europe. In fact the only way seventh spot is not open to an EL spot is if Watford eliminate Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley, highlighting just how impressive they have been

The most exciting news is the fact that Xhaka and Torreira will be paired in midfield, and that duo has been emphatic together so far this term.

This team certainly has enough in it to win the game, but I will be very shocked to escape from our short trip to Watford with a clean sheet…

Am I the only one worried by this back four? Does Mustafi’s name alone on the teamsheet scare any of you also?

Pat J

91 Comments

  1. Sue says:

    Yes it does – the palpitations have started…..

  2. Jah son says:

    If this is the way Mr Emery is going to treat his players am not sure top players will ever be happy playing for him. Good luck gunners. Frustrated

  3. ArsenalWhy says:

    For all the fans always asking why Konstantinos Mavropanos is never given a chance, while here is his chance. Let us hope he takes it.

  4. things are changing says:

    These guys are good enough to win on paper. Always nervous about Mustafi, he is such a liability in my eyes.

    A must win game. Simple as that.

  5. Xxnofx says:

    Again another match where he doesn’t play the same team ,
    Odd selection once again ,how iwobi and mustafi are picked I’ll never know .

  6. gotanidea says:

    4-3-3?

    …………………….Leno
    Mustafi . Koscielny . Mavropanos . Monreal
    ……………………Xhaka
    ………Ramsey …………….. Torreira
    Mkhitaryan …………………………..Iwobi
    ……………….Aubameyang

  7. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Can’t believe the team Unaj’s picked, Lacazette, Ozil and Kolasinac on the bench, assuming their fit should be in. Said ages ago, “if we’re going to get anything out of this season we have to play our best players”, not a time to experiment. Hope he proves me wrong.

    1. okobino says:

      This team should win the match. The team set out by watford isn’t looking threatening to me. There is another match in 3 days time too, so relax guys.

    2. GunnerJack says:

      Well said Kenny. Same team as againgst Napoli for every game to the end of the season. Play our best players and sub them only after we are winning. They will then understand that they are being subbed to rest/protect them from injury so they are ready for the next game WHICH THEY KNOW THEY WILL START and are not being subbed for playing badly. You’ll find there’ll be no more tantrums, no more thrown shirts but a fully happy and motivated squad. Hope Mav clobbers Deeney!

  8. Awori says:

    mustafi gives me nightmares. Xhaka am not so sure either with his shirt pulling tactics, it brings cards to him a lot. let’s hope we manage to score more than they do.

  9. AlexLaca9 says:

    Argh the mint kit is back…

  10. Eddie Hoyte says:

    Geez so many pessimistic remarks on here, I do understand why though, but relax this is the strongest team we can field while resting certain players for Thursday.
    I expect nothing but a win, be positive guys, it’ll be hard but we’re getting this win tonight.
    There’s nothing wrong with the team selection, if this team can’t beat Watford then we have no business playing in the champions league

    1. Xxnofx says:

      Liverpool and Man City don’t rest players why do we .

      1. Eddie Hoyte says:

        Dan be patient, I do question Emery but this is the best possible line up while we rest Ozil and others.
        Like I said, I expect nothing but a win, sure Emery knows too

  11. Grandad says:

    Brave management from Emery but he is right to play Mavroponas to combat Deeney in the air.My only regret is the playing of Mustafi at right back, but AMN will come back in against Napoli, no doubt.

    1. AlexLaca9 says:

      I’m also glad to be seeing mavropanos grandad, hopefully he’s not too rusty and can carry on his development where he left off. Him and holding might be the answers at cb going forward… #fingerscrossed

    2. Trudeau says:

      You’ve echoed my thoughts. I like the selection – Emery clearly doesn’t rate AMN and Kolasinac as traditional left and right backs which I understand. Nervous about Mustafi but nervously excited to see Mavraponas

      1. Ackshay says:

        He is right as both lack the defensive awareness to play in a back 4.

  12. Ackshay says:

    Interesting lineup 4-3-3
    Watford are also missing pereyra and deulofeu dangerous players. We should win this tight match.

  13. Ackshay says:

    Yes Aubameyang goal
    Deeney Cojones red card

  14. ArsenalWhy says:

    WTF just happened lol

  15. I says:

    Oh, Mr Cojones got a red card!

  16. Xxnofx says:

    10 against 10 now ?

    1. ArsenalWhy says:

      What ?

  17. GanjaMan says:

    Stream please anyone?

    1. Xxnofx says:

      Iraq goals

  18. Reddb10 says:

    Our fans are the best. singing we are winning away we are winning away how shit must you be we are winning away.
    Love it

  19. Bur says:

    I know we are 1 up but our defending is fn shit.

    1. Auba torreira of Lagos says:

      what in the world dude?!!! come on get away from this pessimism. argh!!

  20. Jah son says:

    God bless this referee. We can’t even control the game against 10 man Watford.

  21. Xxnofx says:

    Fair play to Watford ,at least their having a go with ten men ,makes it a more exciting game .

  22. Xxnofx says:

    Well Leno wins my vote for player of the season ,miles ahead of everyone else this season .

  23. John0711 says:

    It says like 8v10
    Oh yea I forgot Iwobi miki and Mustafi were playing

    1. Xxnofx says:

      Lol I just said that ,now it’s 10 against 10 with iwobi playing

      1. Martin says:

        Your problem is always Iwobi. Don’t worry he will soon leave.

      2. RSH says:

        Wow, the Iwobi criticism seriously never ends no matter the situation. He’s been way more involved than Miki, yet Iwobi is still the problem.

        1. Martin says:

          The entire team is lacking purpose. But some how Xxnofx is interested in Iwobi who is not even the worst player on the pitch. I just wish he leaves soon

      3. Ayo says:

        Idiotic comment

    2. Jah son says:

      Ramsey back as ten. He doesn’t create goals he scores them.

  24. Bur says:

    Watford are making us look poor and that we have the 10 men. They are quicker and hungrier.

  25. Pat says:

    We are lucky to be winning because we have been very poor on the ball. Am frustrated watching us play with the ball but lack imagination

  26. RSH says:

    One man advantage but you can’t really tell. Let’s work hard to get that 2nd, and keep a clean sheet. Still a lot to do.

  27. Jah son says:

    So are we going to have to put ozil and Alexander on the pitch to beat 10 man Watford.

  28. Sue says:

    Jeez my nails took a battering during that first half… that was awful…we need to wake up as it looked like we were playing with 10 men!!

    HAHAHAHAHA TROY DEENEY

    1. Xxnofx says:

      We was sue ,iwobi was on the pitch ?

      1. Sue says:

        Haha brilliant Dan… trying to work out how many times he gave the ball away… close to double figures!!

  29. Highbury44 says:

    Well Napoli will definitely fancy their chances on this performance .How crap are we

    1. Sue says:

      Watford will in the 2nd half !!

  30. things are changing says:

    Last time we played against 10 men Emery said we needed to learn how to do that, today I don’t see much proof we have mastered playing against 10 men.

    It boggles the mind we are so bad on the road despite the importance of the game.

  31. gotanidea says:

    Poor Deeney thought he could trigger Torreira’s emotion, but Torreira is a better actor. It is never a red card though

    Arsenal were poor despite playing against a mid-table club’s ten men and they looked unfamiliar with 4-3-3 formation. Aubameyang was isolated upfront due to the poor understanding between the two mezzalas and the two wingers

  32. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Apart from a slice of opportunism by Abba and a moment of madness from Deeney, this has been a terrible first half. We now need Ozil and Laca on in the second half to exploit the space. This is a no brainer.

    1. Declan says:

      Yes we need them on and Abba to sing us a song ?

  33. Declan says:

    Remind me who is the team with ten men?
    They are running us ragged at times.
    Red card? Yellow at most.
    Leno pushed Watford player over, penalty and Leno off.
    Iwobi tries hard but he is not a winger.
    Hope we have as much luck in the second half.

  34. SuperClaes says:

    Why all these missed passes? Why so slow? Why so flat when so much at stake?

    I can only think of one thing – our confidence is gone playing away from home!

    That doesn’t bode well going to Molineux?

    Honestly Mkhitaryan and Iwobi have been poor! Iwobi switching off while not in possession is a worry…

    Hope guys turn up in second half!

    1. Reddb10 says:

      Well they are both a liability but we are stuck with them.

  35. RSH says:

    Looks like we’re putting Ozil on.

  36. Arsemirates says:

    Miki mouse is having a blinder!

  37. Pat says:

    I knew Mkhitaryan was going to be a waste of space. Absolutely poor balls

  38. Bur says:

    The amount of sitters Mhiki has missed is ridicules get him off he has feet like a donkey.

  39. RSH says:

    Shouldnt have switched to a back 3. Why… The ozil sub was fine, just let the players keep trying. Miki has been atrocious.

  40. Bishop says:

    Emery seems to be changing the team formation to adapt to the 10 man Watford

    1. Bishop says:

      The changes do not seem to be working. Our flanks are now heavily exposed

      1. Bishop says:

        Okay, he’s now sorted the right flank ???
        This is interesting.

  41. Arsemirates says:

    Iwobi certainly doesn’t have the force with him tonight either.

  42. Hez says:

    What has Micky got to do to be subbed?

  43. Arsemirates says:

    Referee is trying to make up for the red card. That’s a couple of clear fouls against our players he has not given. I reckon he has a penalty award in him for them.

  44. Kenny Rolfe says:

    We’d have lost this game if Deeney was still on the pitch, we still might, clueless performance, struggling for the second goal.

  45. Hez says:

    Low cojones

  46. Bishop says:

    We really need the second goal. Emery should have subbed in Laca for Mikhi

  47. Reddb10 says:

    My God we are $hit. Playing with an extra man and still cant keep possession

  48. S says:

    You just know the next comment will jinx the 3 points

  49. Arsemirates says:

    Credit where credit is due, Watford are showing real spirit and grafting for the equaliser while we are just coasting to the end of the game with very little effort.

  50. avenger says:

    que sera sera whatever will be will be we lost control of the game in the final minutes of this game…..with 11 men lol i can not cry

  51. RSH says:

    not a single one of us will be surprised if we concede a goal

  52. Sue says:

    All this bloody sideways/back passing ???? we’ve been absolute pants tonight… if Deeney hadn’t been sent off, we’d have lost for sure… Mkhi has been horrible, Xhaka hasn’t been much better… struggling for a MOTM ???????

    1. SuperClaes says:

      Foster and referees for red card and otherwise terrible…

      Ok a thumbs up to Koscielny as well as….

    2. Pat says:

      Sue MOTM will be Auba. The only important thing is the goal and he worked hard for it.

      1. Sue says:

        Yes you’re right Pat ?

  53. Bur says:

    Iwobi is poor. The amount of ball he gets and does nothing with is ridicules.

  54. Bur says:

    Frig that was hard work. We are poor away from home.

    1. Sue says:

      I’m exhausted after watching that

  55. SuperClaes says:

    After watching last two away games I am asking myself for first time – are we going backwards under Emery?

    This was borderline embarrassing!

    Lucky goal, lucky red card and poor game all around!

    Losing 50-50s and timid throughout…

    1. Sue says:

      No we’re going sideways ??

  56. Pat says:

    And breathe!!!!!!!!!

  57. Break-on-through says:

    Well done, good three points and now back in fourth with a game in hand on team behind. Sluggish performance but a little expected, Watford did not really trouble us and we got to make a number of changes. Things went well considering. Watford keep everyone back even though they needed the goal, they defended well and gave little space, credit to them. I’ll take that, thank you very much, one less game.

    1. Pat says:

      Did you actually watch the game Break on through, did you say Watford did not trouble us? Am not sure what game you saw.

  58. Gunnerphilic says:

    You play well, you lose and people are on your back. You play piss poor, you win, three points in the bag, and they are still going to moan and skin you alive.

    This is three points and no less, people. Precious three points that don’t get ‘donated’ to you because they love your face or the way your name is spelled. Guys, these are three points. I’ll take that everyday of the week.

    Thanks to Troy Deeney. A man with cojones that are bigger than his brains! Good boy. Very good boy!

    1. Chuks says:

      Hahahaha????

      Wise words??

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