This is my ideal Arsenal line-up – What’s yours?

Willian and Lacazette must be dropped by ThirdManJW

I recently wrote an article in regard to our attacking problems from a tactical viewpoint, but what else does Arteta need to change to improve our threat in the final third?

Although tactics are the be-all and end-all, changes to formation, and starting XI, can have a positive impact as well. Willian, and Laca MUST BE DROPPED! They have been so poor this season and have had enough opportunities. Even in the games when Laca has scored, he hasn’t looked great, and Willian is clearly still working for Chelsea! Pepe needs to replace Willian, and Auba for Laca asap! Although Pepe has been inconsistent, he will often chip in with a goal or an assist and is far more threatening in the final third than Willian. I understand why Arteta has been reluctant to start Pepe, because it’s all about the team structure, and defensive responsibility, but that rigid structure is currently stifling Pepe, and all of our attacking players.

I would like to see Arteta give our attacking players a little more freedom, especially at home, and against so called “lesser teams”, although I 100% agree that we need our current rigid defensive structure in the big games, and probably most away games, because it has been very effective. Even if Arteta doesn’t do this, just give Pepe some consistent game time anyway, and see what he can do? Because it’s hard for him, being in and out of the team, and only getting 20 minutes here and there in the league. Although Pepe isn’t an Arteta signing, surely, he’s a better option than agent Willian!

Then we have Laca. He has been very poor for quite some time now. Even the excuse that he holds up the ball well, is over. It just bounces off him, or he keeps falling over! He also comes so deep at times, that he’s hardly a goal threat, and when he does get a chance, he keeps missing absolute sitters. At best, he occupies CBs, but even that doesn’t seem to be benefiting the likes of Auba like it used to. What’s even more frustrating, is that when Arteta drops Laca, Nketiah gets the nod ahead of Auba upfront. It is ridiculous that one the best strikers in Europe can barely get a game upfront, in an average side, which is what we are, and have been for a while.

To some degree, one can understand why Arteta stuck with Auba out on the wing, as it was working fairly well, but no longer this season. As I said earlier, I love the fact that Arteta is putting the team first, but it’s painful seeing Auba back defending. He’s too good a striker to be used in this role, and you would never see other top strikers back defending such as: Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Kane, etc. His talent is being wasted. Auba is a goal machine, so you want him as close to the opponent’s goal as possible, not in your own penalty area!

Now that the goals, and shots have dried up for Auba, maybe Arteta will FINALLY start playing him up front. Nketiah isn’t the answer either at the moment, so it has to be Auba. The international break for once is a blessing in disguise, as Arteta now has a couple of weeks to reflect on our problems, and work on some solutions.

Against top opponents, and most away games, I would like to see:

Saliba Luiz Gabriel
Bellerin Partey Elneny Tierney
Pepe/Martinelli (when fit) Auba Saka

Against lesser opponents, and most home games, I would like to see:

AMN Luiz Gabriel Tierney
Partey Elneny
Pepe/Martinelli (when fit) Auba Saka

What is your ideal lineup and formation, and would you have more than one?


Tags Auba Pepe Willian


  1. Whoever you lineup, as long as the tactics is boring Arsenal are going downwards. Attack is the best defence. Either change tactics or else change manager. Wenger was so stubborn with negative tactics during his final years and we paid for it and so was Emery and Ljunberg. All were removed from coaching. MA bought his choice of players and spent a fair amount mainly for defence. No excuses now. Arsenal lost the attacking DNA. Its not the problem with players. Its the problem with tactics. They have been instructed to play defensive game by the manager. Its time to change either tactics or Manager. No use of buying players. How much did we spent after Wenger era to be a mid table team. Look at Leeds united for eg.

  2. As long as Auba plays centrally, we will perform better. I really hoped after the sheffield game that Arteta would switch him but I think he still doesn’t trust Pepe or Willian enough down the wings

  3. Let’s believe the young guys to do the job.(martinelli,Nelson,willock,saka,saliba,Guendouze,Gabriel,Tierney,partey, AMN,pepe,)with one or two additions in Attacking midfielder(Aouar/Buendia).This should be the core.

    Let’s build around these players and give Arteta a clean slate and time to build a proper team.

    We may lose matches on the way but eventually build an incredible team.The trophies are inevitable.

    Fans need to have patience.

  4. Bellerin Gabriel Luiz Tierney

    Partey Xhaka


    Willian Martinelli /Nketiah Aubameyang

    Martinelli should be first choice striker. Lacazette as a sub from bench.

    Pepe has to be playing week in week out. give him a free role and you will see the goals coming in. he is the best finisher in that squad

  5. Let’s believe the young guys to do the job.(martinelli,Nelson,willock,saka,saliba,
    Guendouze,Gabriel,Tierney,partey, AMN,pepe,)with one or two additions in Attacking midfielder(Aouar/Buendia).This should be the core.

    Let’s build around these players and give Arteta a clean slate and time to build a proper team.

    We may lose matches on the way but eventually build an incredible team.The trophies are inevitable.

    Fans need to have patience if not we will keep changing coaches every season.

  6. Leno

    Bellerin. Saliba. Gabriel. Tierney

    Partey. Elnenny

    Willian. Ozil. Saka


    Willian because Pépé is not exquisite either…. So instead of loosing possession by mere twist and turns, Chose Willian because at least he can cross

    Cedric to be back up for Bellerin
    Kolasinac for Tierney
    Holding for Saliba
    Mari for Gabriel
    Xhaka for Partey
    Willock for Elnenny
    Ceballos for Ozil
    Pépé for Willian
    Nelson for Saka
    Lacazzet/Niketiah/ Martinelli for Aubameyang

    And if you don’t want to play Ozil then Ceballos in starting line up and ESR as back up for Ceballos..
    for Aub

    1. The solution to our creativity may be within. Reis Nelson last game in the europa league was solid. Arteta should calm down and go back to the basics. a 433 formation as a plan A. We need to be very ruthless with it. whether we play Man City or Chelsea, we need to be expressive. Smith Rowe and Reis Nelson should be more involved. with more games, they will improve

      1. I’d like to see Nelson… and maybe even Willock. I’m not saying they’ll be our saviours… just be nice to see something different! 1 or 2 have underperformed recently, so to just freshen things up a little…
        And as much as he frustrates me, I’d even give Pepe a go…
        It’s quite funny really, Skills, as we’re always hollering for somebody else to come in – I’m guilty of it – they come in, have an average game, then we’re hollering for who they’ve replaced to come back 😂😂🤪

    2. Lemo

      Maiflanf- Niles Gabriel Holdimg Tierney

      Willock. Partey Saka

      Marinelli Aubameyang Pepe

      In reserve Runarsson Cedric Mari Saliba Luiz Xhaka Elneny Nelson Smith-Rowe Nketiah Balogun

      Get rid of Bellerin Kolasinac Mustafi Willian Ceballos Lacazette Ozil and Sokratis

  7. A 4231 for me as follows:

    Bellerin. Holding Gabriel. Tierney

    Partey. Elnenny

    Pepe Willian. Saka

    William plays the No. 10 role for me. This would open up any defence.

  8. In truth, from the look of things that are currently prevailing at AFC so far this season’s campaign in the PL. One will not be said to be wrong if he concluded in his mind to assert that Willian is increasingly looking to be a planted Chelsea agent at Arsenal if going by his wayward performances for Arsenal in the PL this season is to serve as indicator.

    The Chelsea FC owner and club manager of, Roman Abramovich and Frank Lampard must have combined to plant Willian at Arsenal as Chelsea agent with the sole aim of to block Arsenal from getting a PL top-four place table finish this season. And also see to Arsenal failure to mount a serious title challenge campaign in the PL to win the title this season.

    But only God knows how Chelsea managed to deceived Mikel Arteta the Gunners gaffer and Edu the club’s technical director to sign Willian last summer transfer window after the duo must have blindfolded the duo Arsenal senior club’s officials with grand deception which led Arsenal to give Willian a lucrative high paying wages contract at the club after Chelsea had pretended to Arsenal they don’t want him to leave them which was a lie to deceive Arsenal from the pit of hell to rush to sign him which they did..

    As for Saka, the young Arsenal versatile player who conceded an own goal at home to Aston Villa last Sunday in the PL to Arsenal defeat in the match is a workaholic player for the club. Who regularly plays very well for Arsenal at the top level of the game, but often than not has no ciga in the lips of his mouth to light it at the of each game he played for Arsenal and draw in the smoke to puff and feels a sense of satisfaction. Meaning no goals scored in the PL by him in the 8 Arsenal outings he had this season to show for all his workaholic efforts for for the club. Saka has to very soon get over this shortcoming side of his game for Arsenal and start scoring goals in their numbers for the club in the PL this season with some regularity to it.

  9. EPL
    Bellerin Saliba Gabriel Tierney
    AMN Partey Torreira Saka
    Martinelli Aubameyang

    Elneny until we get Torreira back or buy another DM

    Chambers Holding Gabriel
    Soares Willock Ceballos Kolasinac
    Pepe Nketiah ESR

  10. While I think Arteta has restored a measure of credibility against top four sides by sticking to a defensive 3-4-3 system, our performances against the so called lessor teams have been very disappointing culminating in the heavy loss to Villa.Based on our results, change is needed, both in terms of personelle and system/tactics.There is only so far you can go in the EPL with the current”back three” set up as Wolves are now finding, and significantly the top sides like Liverpool, Man City ,Chelsea and Leicester virtually always set up in a 4-3-3 system.In my opinion, until we revert to such a set up we will not improve significantly.As to selection, there are certain young players with pace and energy who should be used more than they have, namely Saliba,AMN,Nelson,Willock(who has been very impressive) and last , but not least, Martinelli, when he is fit. In the most basic language I want to see defenders who can defend, midfielders who can attack and defend, and a front three with pace, mobility and finishing power.Simple really, on paper!

  11. I HAVELOST FAITH IN Laca to ever be the player we once hoped we had bought,when he first came that is. He is too short to be any good with headers and not clinical in finishing. He works hard, mostly, but is usually not effective. Time to drop him and give Nketiah a run. As for Willian. he looks bemused a lot and despite me being lukewarm on Pepe, mostly as he does not get into the game enough, he is a more clinical as a finisher than LACA AND I WOULD PLAY HIM FOR A DECENT RUN FROM NOW ON.

  12. We need a play maker … every quality team has one we used to … ozil has gone which is sheer stupidity in my books but I don’t want to rake over that argument and ceballos doesn’t seem up to the task so far …. but either we find a way to play ceballos higher up or put willian in to that kind of position … forget willock he doesn’t have the skills to do it … or we will just drift … in the meantime arteta needs to up the work rate seriously … not enough players supporting the man on the ball not enough players getting in to the box not enough players pressing not enough players who know how to take a throw in ffs … just not enough … artetas got 3 months to work this out or he will be out come summer …

  13. I see a lot of hate directed at Laca. It is so wrong
    The issue is with the manager and not the players
    The attack has totally been killed in our play. Playing
    Auba wide centrally is never the issue, nor blaming
    Laca for near misses. Of late, Auba misses more, than Laca, Willian misses, Pepe misses, Saka misses.
    You can blame Laca for all you can but the problem is with the manager

  14. Why not try the double pivot system with both Xhaka and Elneny in holding midfield and Partey moving forward??

  15. Leno
    Bellerin. Saliba. Gabriel. Tierney.
    ceballos. Partey. Saka.
    Pepe. Martineli (Laca). Auba

    Team 2;4123
    Cedric. Holding. Mari. AMN.
    Elneny (Xhaka)
    Willock. ESR
    Willian. Nkeitah. Nelson

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