Does Arteta have to reconsider stance on Xhaka ahead of Bodo/Glimt? (Opinion)

Arsenal face Bodo/Glimt this evening in the Europa League, but having faced rivals Tottenham on Saturday with another big game against Liverpool come Sunday, major rotation is expected.

While you can be sure that less than half of our players will be retaining their starting place for tonight’s clash, a new potential issue for us may come in midfield.

While Albert Sambi Lokonga will surely come into the side to take up one of the two central roles, we still need to name his partner through the middle. Granit Xhaka has regularly been the man to play in all competitions, but I question whether that is the right decision today. At present, I believe he is likely to start in the role, but due to his importance to the way that we are playing so far this term, using him is a risk we should avert ahead of taking on Liverpool.

Saying that, it would be an even bigger risk to play Thomas Partey, who isn’t believed to be back to 100% after his most recent injury, and with his recent record of absence he definitely shouldn’t play either, but we do have other options. Ben White is an option through the middle, while we could always drop Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson into a deeper role to play either side of Lokonga in a 4-3-3.

Matt Smith or Ethan Nwaneri could also be options to play through the middle, but there is a distinct lack of experience there at present, but one more option in Oleksandr Zinchenko could be another possibility.

I believe it should be possible to line-up a team without the need to use two players who I believe could have a huge influence on whether we beat the Reds at the Emirates on Sunday, and should we make it to the weekend without any injury issues, that is what I believe will happen.

Does Xhaka’s fitness levels mean he is only a minimal risk, and don’t mind seeing him start both matches? Or do you agree that his newfound importance means we should look to rest him any cost to give us our best shot on Sunday?


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  1. Xhaka needs to be rested ,..and zinchenko and sambi need to start in midfield,…seeing the lack of options ,we have to experiment with zinchenko hopefully he can be the extra midfield option.

  2. We should keep all our key players for the Liverpool game, including Xhaka. Bodo/Glimt aren’t from Eredivisie or Bundesliga and we’d better give Matt Smith a chance to show his abilities:

    …………………………. Turner
    Soares . Holding . Tomiyasu . Tierney
    ………………….. Sambi-Lokonga
    ……………… Vieira …………………. Smith
    Marquinhos ……………………………….. Nelson
    ………………………… Nketiah

  3. Many valid questions Patrick and I guess most or all of them are shared by us all.

    But I suggest, that it is best to leave the solutions to our superb manager, who has exceeded the expectations of many on here who were – and in some cases still ARE- relentlessly pessimistic and doubting.

    My own expectations have been gloriously vindicated, as one of his most prominent JA supporters. Therefore I say don’t worry, as we are in top class and reliable hands.

    Our own opinions are fine and valid of course but MA ‘s opinion is the only one that counts.


    1. Plus he could still get injured in the warm up to Liverpool, in training, during the Liverpool game……. He’s still building match fitness and if the gaffer deems it appropriate to accord him minutes in this game, I’d say give it a go

  4. In as much we need our top players rested doesn’t mean we should risk loosing this game and dampple our confidence into Sunday crucial game with Liverpool the game won’t be that all intense and turgid so a proper balance needs to being place cos at the end of the day if we are losing MA will now have to introduce our top players to redeem the game. So I don’t think we need any form of panic in my opinion xhaka needs to start when the game is in the bag he can be subed.
    My team selection will be…
    This selection should be able the do the job .

  5. Xhaka need rest in order not to experience burn out or sustain injury, ,everyone have now see how good he is to the team, the manager should use u21 player in his position because of the game against Liverpool

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