Do Arsenal need to start strongest XI at CSKA Moscow?

With Arsenal taking a 4-1 win to Russia in the Europa League this week, even the fact that CSKA Moscow are a tougher team to face on their own turf, the feeling is that the tie is abut over, so with the Gunners also now in touching distance of Chelsea in the fifth Premier League place, there is an argument that Arsene Wenger should have one eye on our EPL game at the weekend.

Of course we know that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will get a rest as he is cup-tied in the Europa League, Arsenal face a tough away game against an in form Newcastle United on Sunday and to add to the problems we have been handed the early kick-off, so you can see why the Frenchman might want to rest a key player or two.

It would be a real shame to let Chelsea off the hook after getting so close to them but there is another question. Can we really be so sure of getting into the Europa semi-finals without the strongest possible side? After seeing how a changed Arsenal team struggled at home to Southampton yesterday, I am not so sure and as we still have to treat the European competition as our main priority I think that Wenger should not take the risk.

Get the tie secured and then rest players if you must, but do not take any risks in your team selection! Do you agree Gooners?



  1. Ken 1945 says:

    In answer to your question Bob, I’ll ask you another:
    What’s more important for our club looking forward to next season?
    Ensuring we get to the semi-final and(hopefully) winning the Europa league.
    That would mean entry into the Champions League.
    Beating Chelsea to fifth place ensuring what? Bragging rights and a bit more money for the higher position achieved?
    A no brainer in my opinion.

    1. Gooner says:

      what he said….. /\ /\ /\ /\ 🙂

      1. Ken 1945 says:

        Exactly, isn’t that the point?
        Asking for opinions and getting them?

        1. Gooner says:

          absolutely!! i believe we can win the Europa league.. but in another weird kind of paradoxical way i also believe we can totally stuff it up on Thursday night!! haha.. ooh to, ooh to be…

          1. Sue says:

            Ooh to be a gooner ?

          2. Gooner says:

            you know it!!! 🙂

          3. Tas says:

            I bet Chelsea would love to be in our place to have a chance to be in the CL next season with a possibility of wining a trophy

          4. Sue says:

            They’re still in the fa cup. Although Cesar said winning that is not enough for them ?

          5. Ken 1945 says:

            The same for a lot of the fans on here as well.
            wonder if the Chelsea fans will move the goalposts if they win it!!

          6. Ozziegunner says:

            Sue, it amazes me that so many people devalue winning tha FA Cup; the oldest knock out competition in football.
            Despite Cesar’s comments, I’m sure Chelsea fans would be pleased to win it. The hypocrisy of rival fans with their negative comments when Arsenal wins it will be shown again.
            In answer to the original question, with Lacazette against CSK Moscow and Aubameyang against Newcastle, Arsenal can win both games, provided the defense turns up!

          7. Tas says:

            There is only six games left in the EPL it’s not about resting it’s about injuries now

            unless AW is thinking to rest all international players for the World Cup above Arsenal which I wery mouch doubt

    2. John0711 says:


  2. Phil says:

    Of course we go with the strongest team available for Thursday.Why else were most of them rested v Southampton if Wenger had not already decided on this?This is a must win trophy for the manager after the season he has allowed to happen.He knows this and will do everything possible to win even if it means seeing out the League season with reserve and fringe players.Finally he has woken up and realised his job is well and truly on the line.Its a pity he has taken so long otherwise we would not be lying in SIXTH place in the league.

    1. Sue says:

      I hope he plays our strongest team & they put on a damn good show for you Phil! Enjoy the match & have a safe journey there & back

      1. Phil says:

        Thanks Sue.Rather weirdly looking forward to the trip.Looking forward to the game even more.It would be just perfect to keep a clean sheet.We need to be more defensively compact whoever we face in the semi-finals.I would settle for a grind-out 0-0 if it meant we looked tight.We have produced Two performances at Stamford Bridge this season where we battled hard and deservedly left with well earned draws.Why is it we can only do this so occasionally?

        1. Sue says:

          It drives me mad, so frustrating. I just hope we can prove everyone wrong & win the Europa league COYG

        2. Tas says:

          Phil I don’t think we should go on a defensive their attack force is strong but their defence is week

          Have a safe journey

  3. RSH says:

    It’s becoming pretty obvious Wenger is VERY desperate to win Europa League. It’s his only chance to have leverage to stay at Arsenal. (Never rule out the possibility of AW stay even if he doesn’t win anything) Finishing above Chelsea doesn’t mean anything. I imagine they would be happy to not have to play in Europa next season and can just focus on EPL.

  4. gotanidea says:

    Not necessarily the strongest team, but the team that can do counter-attacks very well, because CSKA Moscow would gung-ho attack us. That means fast and agile players must start (such as Lacazette, Welbeck, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Monreal, Bellerin, etc)

    Players that are prone to getting robbed, produce misplaced passes and often lose in physical duels should be kept for the next home game (such as Ozil, Wilshere, etc)

    I expect Wenger to use the 3-4-2-1 formation, because it will give them more defenders in the back and allow them to man-mark CSKA Moscow players (because they tend to 3-4-2-1 as well)

    1. Phil says:

      Are you seriously suggesting we leave out Ozil because he mis-places passes?He hi by far and away our best player.And you believe he should not play?
      You need to take a lie down pal as you are clearly not thinking straight.Ozil is the one that makes it all happen.He is the one that knits it all together.He is the only player that will be of concern to whoever we play in the next round.Why?Because without Ozil all other teams know they would beat us.Simple as that.And YOU want him not to play.Unbelievably ridiculous comment

      1. jon fox says:


        1. Ozziegunner says:

          Anyone who watches Arsenal knows that without Ozil our forward line gets minimal service and looks pedestrian. He can win a game with one pass.

    2. ks-gunner says:

      Ozil is like a god in this team right now with his form and you want Wenger to do what?

  5. sanmi.marvellous says:

    Why fielding weak team when we have not actually qualified ?
    Did you remember Barcelona v PSG one of the come back of all time ?

    Arsenal 7-5 Reading after we were 4 goals down

  6. AJ GUN says:

    No brainer for some one who’s got his priorities Right……..COYG

  7. ignasi says:

    100%. If anything to further prepare them for the semi final against better opposition. Remember, even the arsenal first team aren’t great. When was the last game that we won convincingly? Even cska Moscow could have scored four against us. We were great in attack but terrible in defence.

  8. jon fox says:

    This no brainer question does not warrant an article about it. We are Gooners and want our team to win the Europa. Apart from those , you alone, seem to think exist and seem to think may not want it, so would prefer a weaker team put out. Why ask such a daft question Bob? I MEAN REALLY, WHY? I’d like an answer , even t though I already know you are just keen to write , something , anything, no matter how daft, to get your name out there. You can and must do better than this if you want to be a writer. You are insulting our intelligence asking this sort of twaddle. And trying to justify it as an article. I hope you are reading this comment PAT, the Admin!

    1. Tas says:

      Jon fox don’t take any prisoners ???

      1. jon fox says:

        Well , not stupid ones anyway! I mean , with all the things we COULD discuss, he asks us, IN EFFECT if we want to win the Europa, or not! I really dislike people who insult our intelligence and , frankly ,I will always give them both barrels.

  9. Grandad says:

    They must field the strongest team which should not include Mustafi, Kolasinac or Wilshere.

  10. ks-gunner says:

    Comon you guys. This is a no brainer. Is there even anything left to fight for besides the uefea leauge? We might win it and after a year some second rate Cl team might knock us out in time. Just as Sevilla did it to manure who are not Cl material yet. So get your priorities right and don’t be so fickle in your mindset and think further then now.

  11. .Innit says:

    Yes. I Assume that’s why most of are top players were rested against Southampton

    We can’t just show up. We need to play hard and play our best players. It’s not impossible to have a calamity Thursday evening

    Remember when we played Newcastle away and we led 4-0 then they scored another 4 goals to draw it 4-4. So anything can happen in football

  12. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Pat, you say CSKA are tougher opposition on their own TURF. Is it turf or are they one of the Russian sides that play on a plastic pitch. If that’s the case it could make our job a little bit harder. Please, will someone enlighten me. Phil, you’ll know, you’ve been there before.

  13. Jan says:

    I think we should be allowed to start only with goalkeeper and maybe couple of defenders….then slowly adding the rest of the players if needed.

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