Is Benitez right about Arsenal’s third forward against Barcelona?

Arsene Wenger could still have a surprise or two up his sleeve for us when he puts in the Arsenal team sheet for the Champions League match against Barcelona this evening, but I think that the team he picked for the FA cup clash with Hull City on Saturday as well as the Arsenal injury list makes it fairly easy to guess most of the players that will start against the Spanish champions.

Having rested Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez for Hull they were always likely to start tonight and the fact that the Chilean will have the extra incentive of facing his former club while the Frenchman was the player sat with Wenger at the pre-match press conference seals the deal for me.

But the question of who will fill the third forward role, assuming that we keep our usual formation of course, is not quite so easy. As reported by The Mirror, the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez thinks it should be Danny Welbeck as he spoke about the England international being potentially a key player in this European double header.

The Spaniard said, “There is no doubt that Barcelona is playing well – with a lot of confidence.

“But Arsenal have had some good news in the last few weeks. Alexis Sanchez is playing regularly and with Welbeck coming back that will help their game.

“If they can keep the ball with these two players up front they will be more dangerous.”

I am not so sure though, as Welbeck has not played on the right too often and he did play a lot of the game at the weekend. So did Joel Campbell but he is more match fit and I would say that he he is better in possession. With the way we expect the game to go though, it might be the pace and threat on the counter attack that is more important and Welbeck does offer this.

Then again so do Theo Walcott and the Ox, and if Walcott had not played the full game against Hull I would have expected him to start against Barcelona, but maybe Wenger is saving him as an impact sub. Perhaps Benitez is right and it will be Welbeck that gets the nod. What would you do Gooners?

Tags Campbell ox Walcott welbeck


  1. I’d prefer Ox to start this game. I don’t know why… He’s been woeful for the most part of this season, but he’s the type of player you always feel can make something happen in a game, and I get the feeling he’d do well in this game for some reason. He’s quite an unconventional winger in the way he’s more powerful and explosive, driving with his runs as opposed to just the pace of players like Walcott, or quick feet and tricks of Alexis. I think that could cause Barca problems.

    The problem is, he rarely actually does anything positive in affecting the game ie goals/assists. Plus defensively, Ox is our worst winger. Always see him switching off or making mistakes. He’s leave Bellerin isolated against Neymar – that’s something we could do without.

    1. Definitely Campbell. He’s more like a team player. He pass the ball more often. That’s make him smarter and unpredictable. Ox play more direct with an intention to finish the ball by himself, that’s make him more predictable for Barca, not to mention his defensive skills.
      One winning point for Joel, he has more experiences against the Spanish side back to his Betis and Villareal time. He know what the best thing to do.

      1. Another is, Joel can pick a pass or two as proved with some pretty decent assists for Giroud and Alexis just in case our fans keep forgetting.

  2. Dani alves says they are prepared to win ugly

    do u hear that Arsenal?…. Incase u are planning to play nice and walk the ball into the net

    Barca are a different animal entirely……and there’d be no idle time to f*** arnd playing “the gentleman”……get that into ur head!

  3. Rafael Benitez could be right since he’s a top class coach with Champions League winning games and trophy experience. Walcott started the Hull game but did not score as expected. And so too did Giroud when he was brought on to sub him but he too didn’t make any impact for Arsenal. Welbeck started the Hull game in an unfacied position at right wing instead of to have been started as a striker to lead the line for Arsenal and Theo’ starting as a mid-right winger in that Hull game.

    Such a misstarting of Gunners in positions other than their best performing positions should not be repeated in this Barca game tonight. A such positional misstarting could make the Gunners not to perform to their optimum best. And that could be punished by Barca.

    Anyway, not to prolong this debates on the likely Boss’ starts for the Barca game tonight at the Ems, my own preferred Gunners starts and subs for this game and to be on the bench are as bellow.
    These are the orthodox Gunners balance starts and a somehow new bench that will beat Barca tonight by 3 goals to nil at the Ems if they are started by the Boss. I hope the Boss will not make any amendments to this my starts and bench, save for any cogent reasons.

    1. Replace Walcott with Campbell and are are good. Walcott can’t do much defensively especially against Neymar! We ll need the Campbell Bellerin duo for sure

  4. at the start of ur comment, u stated u’d prefer OX to start the match

    at the closing lines of ur comment, u stated the anomalies and disadvantages associated with playing the OX

    so now, do u still love to start the OX?

  5. @Mick The Gooner….at the start of ur comment, u stated u’d prefer OX to start the match

    at the closing lines of ur comment, u stated the anomalies and disadvantages associated with playing the OX

    so now, do u still love to start the OX?

  6. I would prefer Sanchez plays in a midfield 3 of Ramsey, coquelin with Sanchez playing the number 10 role and a front 3 of welbeck on the left, Giroud and Walcot on the right. Sanchez has the energy and fight to do battle with the Barcelona midfielders and can lead counter attacks. With welbeck, Giroud or Walcot to support. He can win free kicks in dangerous positions foorr us which I am afraid Ozil cannot do. Ozil could come in the second half on the left.

  7. Cech.
    Bellerin Merts Koscielny Monreal.
    Ramsey Coqulein.
    Campbell Sanchez Welbeck.

    Sanchez is becoming too predictable on the left wing. Besides, he can break up attacking moves from the center because he has energy to chase and recover when he looses possession, unlike Ozil. I also do not believe Ozil will make much impact in this game.

  8. Facing Barcelona demands an unorthodox approach and lots of lungs. For the first half our starting XI Bellerin+BFG+Kos+Monreal – Coq+Ramsey – Sanchez+Ozil+Walcott+Giroud with specific tasks towards Giroud & Ozil to steal balls at the centre of the field (falling from behind the midfielders) and feed walcott and sanchez with long balls. For the second half (if we keep a clean sheet). Changes: Elneny for Giroud and welbeck for walcott. Right at the beginning of the second half
    Le Coq + Elneny as contention and first line of defense and counter attack. Ramsey Ozil and Sanchez as second line of contention and of attack up front we need pace. Welbeck. For the last 15 minutes Campbell or Ox for Sanchez.

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