Unai Emery must overcome one massive temptation with Arsenal’s new signings

As things stand today Unai Emery has four new signings that he can use from the six that joined the club in the summer transfer window.

William Saliba remains with St Etienne on a years loan and Kieran Tierney is injured, however, Gabriel Martinelli, David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos are all available for Emery to utilise.

Martinelli is not a major issue, he was never expected to be a first-team regular, though he will probably feature fairly often but Luiz, Pepe and Ceballos are expected to be heavily involved.

And that is where there are potential problems.

As an example, Luiz has been brought in to shore up the defence but that defence enjoyed a clean sheet last week against Newcastle and so to integrate Luiz, Emery will either have to drop one of the central defenders, change the formation or play the Brazilian in a different role, defensive midfielder maybe. Point is, these are risky options.

Same in the midfield, where does Ceballos come in? will he play the role that Ozil or Mkhitaryan are normally deployed in or is he used in a more traditional midfield role?

Of course, it is good to have these issues, much better to have an abundance of quality talent to choose from than have serious gaps and weaknesses to deal with but having a richness of talent does bring with it the temptation to play them all at the same time.

And that is the big temptation that Emery must avoid, the temptation to fit in Pepe, Luiz and Ceballos for the sake of it.

What is best for the team must come first and not that of the individual.


  1. I think some of these decisions are made for Emery. Miki did not perform last season. Pepe takes his spot. Ozil did not perform last season. Ceballos takes his spot. The issue does arise in defense. And with the LFC game coming up. Does Emery plan on sticking with Chambers, or does he go with experience? Typically, you don’t change what is already working. But we’ve only got one game to sample from. If I’m thinking ahead to the Liverpool game, I don’t see Socrates doing well in it. Last season he was demolished by Liverpool’s wingers, and I’d rather go with a Luiz/Chambers partnership. Risky, but I’d say worth the risk if we are going to have some faith in Chambers. Socrates played majority of our games last season and it’d be a shock to see him dropped, but I think this could happen.

    1. I’d go with the Luiz & Chambers partnership against Burnley. Luiz needs his run out with his other partners. As for Sokratis, we already know he can partner Chambers. We need to know now if Chambers can partner Luiz before the 3rd match. My 2 beers…

  2. I think Pepe and Ceballos will be greater temptation than Luiz because of how well Chambers has played and how poorly Mkhitaryan and Xhaka plays. Also with Ozil’s personal problems Emery may be tempted to try Ceballos either deep or in Ozil’s position

    I would like to see Mkhitaryan dropped and Pepe starting. Perhaps Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang up front

  3. It is patently clear that Arsenal now has arguably the Speediest Attack Force in the EPL presently: Lacazette, Aubameyang, Ozil and Pepe upfront with Tierney & Bellerin (both as speedy as Aubameyang) as Wing Backs. These are the most Potent, Stealthy and Fearsome Attack Force to be deployed in the EPL bar None. Ceballos, I argue cannot effectively replace Ozil as Ceballos is fundamentally a Defensive Midfielder who also enjoys going forwards but does not have the panache, the guile and vision to cut through a telling pass to the attack force and the same applies to Torreira.

    Here is where Unai Emery has to dictate that both Ceballos and Torreira cannot abandon their defensive posts at the same time and control of that must be executed by Socrates and/or Luiz. Further Luiz himself is gifted and is his forte to deliver long accurate over the heads of the opposition defence line, telling passes for the speedy nimble attack force; here Aubameyang and Pepe.

    I contend that Ozil is a necessary player in the scheme of things.

    1. Ceballos is not a CDM. He played almost all last season as a CM, and this summer most of his games came as a No. 10. He is fundamentally not a CDM and not in Torreira’s mold and can definitely replace Ozil, who is not even creating chances lately anyways.

    2. @Omar
      Ceballos is a Defensive Midfielder and should not abandon his defensive duties?

      Can someone please explain to me how Ceballos is a Defensive midfielder.

      I don’t know anymore. Known facts and evidence are being changed and twisted to suggest ot mean something completely different.

      May Facts and Alternative Facts all mean the same thing. Things don’t make sense anymore to me.

      1. It did make me chuckle when I saw the line Ceballos is a DM. Ceballos has quick feet, a burst of pace that attributes itself to CM or slightly further forwards. Bring back the days of Fabregas/Cazorla!

        I think Ceballos will do well but time wi only tell.

  4. I don’t quite see how playing Chambers and Luiz together will work for now. They are both new to the coach’s system. It might be risky. It’s placing 2 newbies in this team working together at the same time in such a delicate position. I think the coach has a huge job in his hands.

    1. No disrespect to Burnley but it’s best to try out this pairing against them instead of Liverpool/Spurs… at least till half time

    2. If we are still so worried about the likes og Burnley then what prayer do we have against the likes of Liverpool, Spuds etc that are all coming up?

      When is it ever the right or wrong time to try different personnel in the team? At the start of the season, middle, end? Or when you are desperate due to injuries or bad form from the starters then that is when you tryout or test your whole squads abilities / capabilities.

      When is the right time to try out different players in a squad?

      I say now and today is always the right time. Tomorrow never comes as pushing the problem down the line without fixing it solves nothing.


  5. I’m tempted to believe that Emery might go for 3 at the back with Luiz in the Centre before we go to anfield and welcome spurs he might just give a go against Burnley and how it works before those epic encounters

  6. Emery will integrate the new players including old ones who havent had a full training season like Torreira slowly to the team. He is very conservative when it comes to that.
    But we have two huge games coming up against Pool and Spurs and it would be great if we had the best possible team out there.
    I think Burnley, specially if we are leading early will be a good chance to see Pepe, Ceballos and Luiz all playing for at least 30 minutes.

  7. The Emery Arsenal starting XI and the 7 Gunners he’ll have on the bench for the Burnley match at the Ems on Saturday in the PL should as such be the 18 Gunners match day squad that he’ll play for the Liverpool big game at Anfield next week in the PL. But first test run against Burnley on Saturday to see if there will be some areas in the 18 Gunners match day squad that might need to be improved on in advance of time before they play against the Reds next week.

  8. Arsenal has only truly creative player-that is Ozil. At Newcastle very few chances were created. On another day points could have been dropped as they were dropped last season at West Ham when both Ramsey and Ozil did not start. Ceballos will not create half the chances that Ozil does. In fact his assists and goals stats are not impressive. He also tends to hold on to the ball for too long. He will get punished for this until he gets used to the pace and the physicality of the premier league. My first impression is that Pepe is another Gervinho- howbeit a more efficient version. Luiz’s versatility will be very useful to the team. Arsenal might suffer for not having the new signings for much of the preseason. As things stand, it might take a couple of months before the first 11 settles. Hopefully not many points will be dropped during this adaptation phase. Playing Laca, Pepe, Auba, Ozil/Ceballos at the same time might affect the balance of the team. A back 3 of Sokratis, Luiz and Chambers may be more solid but a back 3 might weaken the midfield. There is a lot of thinking for the coach to do. Wish him the best of luck.

    1. YOu are wrong, Pepe is far from Gervinho. Pepe is the new KANU. The same excitement when a player touches a ball has returned finally.

      1. Hush, child. Pepe is a winger, as was Gervinho. Kanu played down the middle, as either a centre-forward, or attacking midfielder.

  9. Burnley is the perfect game for Emery to try is newbies, can’t gamble it on either Liverpool or spur game. I think Emery should pair Luiz with either chambers or Sok, Torreira back in the midfield, Cebalos with either Xhaka or Guendouzi, with attacking trio of Pepe Aubameyang and Lacazette.

  10. Play them all,Luiz,Ceballos,Pepe,and play Willock for Xhaka,I know he won’t drop xhaka he loves him,but we live in hope.
    Pepe Lacca and Auba.

    1. Good team choice although I would probably have Torreira for Willock. No Xhaka…hooray. He slows us down

  11. Luiz in makes xhaka redundant … That’s a no brainer fo me and solves other problems too as it ensures a spot for torreira … With 3 top quality strikers its emery’s job to find a way to make them work together … This is what klopp has done with sane firmino and Salha .. so Ithese are the two big tests for me to see whether Emery knows what he is doing … Who partners Luiz and whether to play ozil miki wilock or ceballos are secondary issues likely to vary from game to game

  12. The biggest danger is the false belief that playing last years team will get us anywhere. To move our team upwards we need better players. Playing it safe is the most certain route downwards. So for me it’s vital to bring in Pepe, Ceballos and David Luiz as soon as possible. We are lucky in a way that Granit Xhaka is probably out this weekend because that gives us an opportunity to play at a faster more intense pace. How good to be free of both Mustafi and Xhaka. Now we will see a much higher tempo game…hopefully. When Hector Bellerin and Kieren Tierney are fit we will reach our true pace which is the attribute that can give us a chance in the big games.

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