What defence should Unai Emery play against Sheff Utd?

Will Unai Emery make multiple defensive changes for Sheff Utd clash?

There was a time when Unai Emery had very little to work with when it came to the Arsenal defence. That is no longer the case.

On Monday evening Emery will have the strongest defence available to him than at any time since he became the Arsenal coach. Which means that he now has some big decisions to make. Does he start with some of the returning injured trio of Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin or stick with the old guard?

There is a large number of different line ups that Emery can now go with and so to some extent, it is purely guesswork trying to predict the Spaniards team selection but that does not mean that we cannot do a tiny bit of analysis and make it an educated guess.

Will he go with Sead Kolasinac or Kieran Tierney? I get the impression and feeling that Tierney will get the nod over the Bosnian. Which would be the right decision in my opinion.

It also makes sense that Bellerin is started on the right. There really is no one else that is suited to that position. Well, not at the level of Bellerin.

That leaves the central defenders and I cannot see Emery changing the status quo of Sokratis and David Luiz.

There is definitely an argument for both Calum Chambers and Holding to start but Emery is not a big risk-taker. He would be very unlikely to make three changes in one go from one Premier League game to the next, even with an international break in between.

If he brings in both Tierney and Bellerin then he would want to maintain stability in the centre.

Anyway, that is my guess, a back four of Tierney, Luiz, Sokratis and Bellerin.


  1. Once everyone’s fit;
    Tierney, Holding, Luiz/Chambers, Bellerin/Chambers

    Torreira/Chambers, Ceballos/Guendouzi/Willock


    The frontline picks itself (Saka and Martinelli waiting in the wings 😉)

    1. Torreira and Chambers can play together as double 4 whenever we need to be more cautious (aka against the big teams)

      1. Exactly…question on who he or we should play in defense is a good topic, just seems useless as our vote or say don’t count, we Can have one here…

        It is no question on Bellerin and Tierny we been waiting so long, but on CDs pick.

        Holding Chambers is best pair, no scoop neither, but Emery wont, same when Mav is back, Unai will always play Luiz and or Sokratis; Mustafi is actually best option but but very last choice as Chambers…

        Same in middle. He will start with Xhaka, Gendouzi and or Torreira, Ceballos, then come Ozil, Willock, Niles, Rowe, Chambers.

        As long as he do not have Chambers in that 11, in center or infront of that defense; we will not have right 11. Favoring players and treating Ozil this way only makes it worst for us.

        Bellerin Mustafi Holding Tierny
        Niles Willock
        Auba Laca

        This our best team with players available today. Ozil can play free and run attacks with Chambers behind him and combine with Niles and Willock who are good going forward and agressive in defending midfield, full of energy and talent. Niles is played out of position so far…

        Chambers must play in front of defense if not played CB, Luiz is best option as DM if Chambers as CB. We have lots of options, but Emery wont get it right, favorite Luiz as CB and Xhaka, Torreira, Gendouzi as DM…Ego maniac owners & their General Unai, perfect match!

  2. For Sheff City and Crystal Palace

    For Vitoria SC

  3. I think Emery will stick to his gun to start the Arsenal starting XI team that he last started at home against AFC Bournemouth in the PL before the international break interruption which Arsenal won 1 nil thanks to David Luiz headed goal off Nicholas Pepe’s assist.

    If the Gooners much criticized current Arsenal PL starting XI team that Unai Emery is building have to grow from strength to strength and become formidable, then, the team should be allowed time to that. So that they can become the Arsenal standing team us will be proud of ultimately when the building of the team has matured to full maturity.

    I will therefore encourage us Gooners to be patient with Emery as he continues playing his current Arsenal starting XI team in the PL matches that he’s building. Making changes to the team unecessarily by him could bring instability to creep in into the team to destabilize team. Which Emery should not allow to happen for the sake of satisfying the wishes of some Arsenal fans who want to see him start some Gunners in the Sheff Utd match at away in the PL on Monday night which will be against his preferred to start Arsenal starting XI team that he has started in the Man Utd game at away in the PL and against Bournemouth at the Ems also in the PL. But I think all things being equall, he could start Bellerin and Tierney in the next Arsenal match in the Europa League. While the duo should bid for their time to start for Arsenal in the PL when the opportunity arises for them to start. But as for Monday night for the pair to start or one of them to do that in the Sheff Utd match, I emphatically say NO SIR.

    1. Sorry Samuel I respectfully disagree.

      I agree we need to be patient with Emery, however I believe he does need to make changes to the current 11 as soon as he can. You say it may rob us of stability but I ask, and bearing in mind I have been vocal in my support of Emery so far, what stability does the squad have in the PL?

      The backline is so weak and unbalanced its forcing the rest of the team to compensate for it, stopping us from playing our own game. The sooner we sort that out the better in my opinion, then we can see what our squad can really do.

      As for the post in general – I think we could see a backline of Chambers, Luiz, Holding and KT. Bellerin was the furthest behind on his return according to all reports and whilst he played that closed doors match Emery has proven to be cautious, so think he may let him get another weeks training under his belt just to ease him back to full fitness. Obviously if he is fit and ready to go then I will happily take him back in his rightful place.

      1. I’d like to see that back four as well

        Bellerin didn’t look ready in his last match and he should work harder to get the main RB position from Chambers

        However, Emery and the coaches are the ones that work with the players on daily basis, therefore they know who is fit for the match

        1. Gotanidea, Bellerin looked good for the first stint but you could see he tired near the end of the match, another 2 weeks of training and a few closed doors matches he should be back up to speed.

          1. Yeah definitely looked like he needs a couple more weeks to fit in again after all that time out, but I hope he won’t take too long. In the meantime, I would give the nod to Chambers over AMN, purely off form. I actually would even like Emery to give him a shout at CDM during a cup match or Europa League. He thrived with Fulham in that position, and boy does he have grit… Otherwise, I expect it’ll be the usual suspects + Tierny at LB.

  4. Play a defense that doesn’t consist of Luiz, Sokratis, AMN, and Kolasinac, and we’ll be so much better off.

    1. I agree except for Luiz. He’s played some good matches and scored too. He’s got a lot of experience. If he’s having a bad match we can always sub him with Chsmbers

      We can’t do that for all 3 matches this week though

      We will need to play the players in your post against Vitoria SC at least

  5. Off Topic: Just finished watching MOTD and could not believe the performances from the referees. Have you ever seen a more incompetent bunch? Every game in The Premier League was affected by these moronic officials. Probably the worst decision of the day was the penalty not given to Watford for the trip on Deulofeu by the Tottenham defender. They were saying on MOTD that so far 90 games in The Premier League this season has not seen one referee go to the half way line and check the monitor for a possible penalty and the reason is, what they never told you, is that Mike Riley has told referees unlike in Europe not to use the monitor but to make the decision themselves. This blatantly goes against the EUFA ruling on VAR. Does Mike Riley care? Of course not, as head of the PGMOL, he can do as he likes and answers to no one. How much longer will they allow this fraud to run the game?

    1. Kenny, I read that Riley refused to sanction his referees the freedom to go and look at the screens.
      So where were the pundits, the media and the clubs when he was allowed to do this?
      It’s like crying over spilt milk, it’s too late for this season at least.

      Everyone can be an expert, slidng figures up and down a screen, highlighting where a player should have gone, showing empty spaces with the aid of buttons etc etc
      But not one of these (mostly ex players who failed as managers but still tell successful managers how to do the job) had the nonce to realise and challenge Riley’s dictatorial stance.
      No wonder we didn’t supply one single official at the last world cup ..a disgrace in every way.

      As for the topic itself, I really have no idea what team we will put out, let alone the defence – all I want is for us to show some character, have a plan, use tactics and not be bullied, as was the case with AW whenever we visited clubs like Stoke, who just kicked us off the park with no protection from the “referees”!!!
      Please please please do not play tippy tappy football in the six yard box, this game could define UE’s season with regards to cojones – I am rooting for him to show we have some!!!

      Mike Dean…I really fear the worst.

      1. Exactly…

        the referees and the linesmen decision are always against us…

        we lost heaps of points every season because of this….

        The Utd game where the linesman called for offside is a real eye opener….

        If Fergie is still the manager….the offside would have stand

        1. Another joke is having to play on Monday evening ,one game being played today .
          A 2 week break and we go into a new week and still haven’t played .
          Watching Match of the day now to see what the fuse is about the spurs match

      2. Bramall Lane is one of the noisiest grounds I’ve ever been to. With Mike Dean officiating and easily swayed by crowd noise, I also fear the worse, we’ll get no favours whatsoever, he’s bad enough at the Emirates. I agree with you Ken 100%, a penalty or a sending off against us is almost a foregone conclusion. Manchester United fan and biggest cheat in English football, Mike Riley, appoints referees for all Premier League fixtures and there’s a hidden agenda behind every appointment he makes. Thank you Ozziegunner, I’d also like to inform everyone, together with 90% of referees coming from the North and not one Southern referee on the Premier League list, you’ll also find only one assistant official from the South. All officials appointed by Riley and the PGMOL

    2. Thank you Kenny for this post. People now have more reasons as to why English referees are rejected to officiate at international tournaments like the last World Cup.

  6. I don’t think he will make big changes, but maybe he will let Tierney and Bellerin in for this game.

    I wish he give chambers some chance, he approved the he deserve it and also Martinilli, after all, the three points is what I’m wishing for!

  7. Wait, you want him to make at least 2 changes to the backfour?! Won’t that be, ahem, what you call “tinkering”? So it’s okay for the coach to “tinker” as long as it is based on your recommendations?

    Now I see accusations, “Emery doesn’t know his best 11”. Does anyone know our best 11? I invite you to put it foward for our review and see exactly what your fellow gunners think about your best 11. Even if Emery had a best 11, we would still have critics saying he’s using the same, tired players. “Favourites” would be the choice of word used to describe the best 11 when you don’t agree with it. Anyways..

  8. Since the post subjects remain largely the same, I suppose our comments can also remain largely the same.

    Emery will pick who he thinks can best do the job on a particular day in particular circumstances, which will in all likelyhood NEVER be the same as we armchair experts would have done.

    After the game we will pick them apart or praise them, depending on the result, and around and around we go.

  9. Well…. I think the defense might change with Tierney fully fit. Emery might also spring a surprise by bringing M10 in too. But the line up would certainly be what we always see.

    1. Yep. But Luiz, Ceballos speak spanish and must be played, Gendouzi as well, Emery loves long hairs. Makes it actually harder for him to pick right team, so many players and options too, Poor Unai!

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