What sort of team will Mikel Arteta put out against Portsmouth?

Mikel Arteta should make at least four changes for the Portsmouth game.

Mikel Arteta will be wanting to get back to winning ways tomorrow evening and will be desperate for Arsenal to take a big step towards winning the FA Cup.

That is why I am convinced he will not make wholesale changes for the sake of it.

However, he was let down by certain players in the Olympiacos games and I reckon that he will “punish” those that were clearly lacking in effort and desire.

It would not surprise me to see him drop David Luiz and replace him with Pablo Mari, a decision that would be absolutely justified in my opinion.

Mesut Ozil should be dropped and Arteta may have clicked on now that he cannot keep on trusting him.

I also expect that Alexandre Lacazette will be benched, he is another one that does not deserve a first-team spot any more.

Nicolas Pepe could also be left out of the starting line up if Arteta is going to base his team selection on form.

Arteta should also drop Hector Bellerin and Granit Xhaka but I have very little confidence in him doing that, which could end up being very costly.

These are the four players then that I think Arteta may well drop.

David Luiz
Mesut Ozil
Alexandre Lacazette
Nicolas Pepe

Arteta made some howlers against Olympiacos and he will be judged more harshly if he gets it wrong against Portsmouth and that starts with his team selection.


  1. Arteta DID indeed get it wrong against Olympia. But how could he get it right with so few top players to choose an eleven from? He definitely should have made subs much earlier and Martinelli might now be feeling he is better off elsewhere, as he seems not to be fully appreciated by Arteta, IMO. THAT seems to me to be among the biggest dangers from those matters in Artetas control. He cannot help the Auba contract situation and much of the other problems ARE not his fault but he is still charged with putting them right, which is unfair and almost impossible with our handicap of an owner.
    My biggest beef is the mysterious regular selection of the woeful Xhaka . I do NOT agree with those who say he is playing far better. He is merely less awful , which is NOT the same thing at all. He is still slow, cumbersome, clumsy, rash, one paced, thoughtless and lacks mobility bigtime. All he brings is brute force and height and slow telegraphed cross field passes when given ample time to play, which rarely happens. He needs to be dropped and then sold early in the window.

    Until we can get the forest of deadwood gone and properly replaced with far better, things are going to take far longer than many thought and many hoped , before we see REAL improvement.

    1. jon, as I have said before, any manager/head coach can only “shuffle the Arsenal deck” so many ways, particularly when injuries impact on the limited squad depth. Unless Arteta is supported in the transfer market by the Board, he like Emery, is doomed to failure in moving up the table.

  2. if he picks the seniors then he is a deluded man and I can anticipate a shock. If he plays the youngsters then there is a chance.Forget about experience wins you this and that…We bottled the EL final and this year losing to Oly. seems much better than losing to Wolves.Our experienced players play crap. Giroud would score when it mattered most, still have huge respect for him.

  3. Luiz and laca dropping i can understand that because they have been constantly underperforming.Luiz’s positioning,marking and tackling is terrible.Laca should have won us the game he seems to keep on missing chances and i cant understand whats wrong with him.I do believe he is a top striker and is going through a rough patch but for how long?

    Pepe has improved massively.Though he was quite poor thursday he played a important part in most of the games we won and i rate him way higher than nelson.Thursday our whole team was sloppy maybe apart from mustafi so its not just pepe.And he showed his class on one movement in which he kept on twisting and turning.He should be given more chances.

    Ozil,now i know the people who hold an agenda against him in this site but i do agree that he didnt have a good game thursday.He was in and out.Some moments he could have done better and some moments he did way better so its like an OK performance and that is why he was not substituted,he was way better than some of our performers that day.And there was a brilliant moment in which he did a dummy,just CLASS.And many times he is criticised for not assisting and scoring but i think his role has changed since wenger left.He now lays the platform for a goal.If you check at chances created stats you would understand,its like more than 10 pre assists since emery left.

    1. Sorry but people dont hold an agenda against Ozil, they hold it against his lack of real input and passive playing. If he actually created (which is what he is in the team for) and scored, we would be a better team and actually win some of these games like Olypiacos but he doesn’t and we dont. Thats why.

      1. Truth writ large Reggie and we realists know it. I’ll give Ozil one credit though, he is good at brainwashing that minority of Gooners who constantly make ridiculous excuses for him. Shakir for instance and his “pre, pre assists”. Add as many pre’s as they wish, those fantasists still cannot say he makes direct assists and scores any more , That is for sure. He just doesn’t care to be where thataction actualy is, thats why he constntly lays theball offf without any key through passes as he long ago used to do 5 , yes 5 years ago. If I loved “ancient history” I would have worked at the Brtitish Museum. But I LOVE WHAT HAPPENS TODAY, NOT 5 YEARS AGO!

        1. Calling yourself a realist says it all about you…
          I have told you many times mr.jon,
          “To you your opinion,for me mine”

        2. Ha ha jon, we are getting desperate when we invent the pre assist and pre pre assist, whatever they are. Probably nearly having a shot should be included with the pre pre assists to increase Ozils stats. Or maybe the 10 second rule can come in, where if Ozil touched the ball within 10 seconds of a goal being scored, he gets a pre pre pre assist. How desperate are people getting to defend a non producer. Its a good job he doesnt play snoker because he would never pot a ball.

      2. He actually creates and we are not making most out of it.If you dont believe stats then i request you to watch the match again.I didnt say he had a good game but he did create some good chances.Just ask MA why he is continually playing ozil?

        1. Give me a break, its bad enough watching him once, let alone twice. It is like watching paint dry, nothing happens. I want Arsenal to win and if you think Ozil is doing enough then all i can say is, you dont want us to do better this season because he is contributing zilch. I wish he was because if he actually did something we might improve our results. Posing around does not win you game, actually scoring and making goals does. Stop defending a player who is part of the problem we are struggling because he definitely isnt helping.

        2. And i do ask, why is Arteta playing Ozil and it is worrying me that he actually does. More importantly im also asking why he doesn’t play Martinelli or Torreira or Gouendouzi. Or why is he playing Bellerin. I think he is playing the wrong players but i will tell you this, if he keeps playing them and we get 4th, i will show my backside in the police station window and issue a groveling appology to him. I think he is getting the team wrong, he thinks he is getting it right, we will see at the end of the season if his persistence in a non producer actually produces spectacular results.

          1. The rest of our midfielders are so poor, that is why Ozil still has a place in this side. As bad as Ozil’s performances are, there is hardly anyone to replace him. Just Ceballos and Willock, who aren’t convincing themselves. Maybe you try out Ceballos there, but he’s he’s had what, two great games for us this season? We need better options for sure.

          2. What I cannot understand about Ozil is the fact that he has almost given up on taking the ball forward and being a goal threat himself. Ozil passes the ball at every opportunity, which takes away options and makes him easier to defend, as when Olympiakos just defended the channels. It appears, that as with his defending and winning the ball back, Ozil avoids contact. One can never argue he was a player prepared to bleed for the Club.

  4. In my view admart Pepe although lacked end product but was very disruptive to Olympiacos defence of is fit and can deal with the schedule he should play

  5. I believe Arteta will have to select his type very carefully and avoid appeasing under performing players. It is unnecessary to mention names. However we need to see Mari given chance tomorrow. Another player who deserves a starting place is Martinelli. What I feel is very crucial is substituting players when there is still ample time to change the game. The coach needs to be proactive rather than reactive.

  6. Let the competition in training decide who should start. The experienced players had the match dictated to them by the Greeks.

    Hope Arteta figures out how to grab a game by the throat rather than have opponents dictate how the match is played.

    Unfortunately he lost the tactical aspect of that match, and hopefully learns from that.

    I’d start Martinelli over Laca while he’s productive, rather than an underperforming experienced player who is having a very down year.

    Next year we HAVE to address the midfield and bring in some productive players who can turn a game around when attackers are struggling.

    I’d love to see Grealish in midfield and a Ndidi type player who delivers consistently.

  7. Would like to see the whole team freshened up.
    Bellerin has been struggling badly and was targeted by Everton as a weakness.
    Xhaka is also performing poorly and his passing recently has been appalling.
    Ozil has offered absolutely nothing and goes missing in action when things aren’t going to plan.
    Lacazette has delusions of grandeur. On his recent form no champions league team would touch him with a barge pole.
    Martinelli had one poor game and is now not featuring in the starting line up which seems unfair considering the displays of some regular players.
    Give youth a chance against Portsmouth, the oldies were complaining about being tired anyway.

  8. Just remember if Arteta drops both Ozil and Pepe we won’t have a real playmaker which is a big issue, with the exception of Saka these days.

    I think he should start like this:

    Niles Mustafi Mari Saka
    Torreira Gendouzi
    Pepe Ceballos
    Auba Martinelli

  9. Lacazette was his only mistake in the Olympiakos lineup. But when you have Auba, Pepe, Ozil also attacking it shouldn’t have mattered. Besides Auba, the attack has been a huge negative this season.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs