Who should Arteta pick to be Arsenal’s Back Four against Man City?

There are just four days left before Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad, and with all of Mikel Arteta’s squad fit except for Calum Chambers, the Spanish coach has a myriad of combinations to make up our defensive back four.

There seems to be some doubt if Cedric Soares is ever going to start a game for us as he has not been seen so far and is unlikely to sign an extension for our final games, but that still leaves Arteta with 8 choices to fill the four slots.

Arteta has already admitted that he would need to use his subs until the players are match fit again, so potentially all 8 could be used but I am sure at least a couple of defenders will have to play the whole 90 minutes against Man City.

In our friendly games against Brentford the other day, Arsenal started with Bellerin, Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Tierney and after the break, Luiz came on while Mari went to the bench, but Arteta still changed the line up after another 15 minutes, and the back four that played the last half hour was; Sokratis, Holding, Luiz, and Kolasinac.

Luiz was roundly criticized for being at fault for Brentford’s winner, but surely he won’t drop another clanger like that next Wednesday. Although I am sure many would like to see Mari and Mustafi start against City, I have a feeling that Arteta will stick with the highly experienced pair of Sokratis and Luiz against City’s lethal attack.

On the flanks, Arteta seems to be well impressed with the fit again Kieran Tierney and I think he will start on one side with Bellerin on the other.

Who would choose as our back four for this crucial first game back in action?

59 Comments

  1. Grandad says:

    I thought we were beaten by Brentford? In any event I suspect Arteta will start with a back four of Bellerin,Mustafi, Luis and Tierney. It really doesn’t matter who he picks at centre back as they are all in the mediocre category..This is perhaps being hard on Mari, but from what I have seen he , like the others is lacking in pace.

  2. Declan says:

    Charlton didn’t win AdPat.
    Anyway, I think the defence will be Bellerin, Tierney, Luiz and either Mustafi or Sokratis. It’s difficult to second guess Arteta on this though.

    1. Admin Pat says:

      Doh, I got confused coz i was trying to find the back four who played against Charlton while writing the post!
      Apologies and now fixed….

  3. Geoff says:

    Soares hasn’t played because he was hit in the face by a ball in training which has given him a severely swollen nose and left eye. He also has to wear a mask to protect his nose.

  4. Martin Mays says:

    Players across all the teams are under-trained, unfit and demotivated by fears about the potential effect of covid on their families. They are sacred of injury given their unfitness and the strict limits on pre/post-match treatment, meaning they won’t perform at 100%. Lack of crowds will undermine the effect of home advantage. Players will be on the pitch who shouldn’t be (given they were “out for the season” when football was suspended). Some players will be missing from 1st July as their contracts will expire; and their focus (and that of players likely to be sold) will be on not getting injured. The matches are only being played to mitigate the refunds due to Sky/BT and to fulfil the govt’s desire to “lift spirits”.
    I regard the outcome as entirely illegitimate and no more valid than a series of coin tosses. I do hope the coin tosses go Arsenal’s way (for the sake of our position next season), but I won’t be watching the upcoming games. I’ve made these points to Sky and asked for my Sports subscription to remain suspended; albeit they’ll doubtless reject this request.

    1. SueP says:

      I take your point, but what is about to take place is the nearest to fair that is achievable during this pandemic.

    2. towny254 says:

      No I have stopped mine

  5. Loose Cannon says:

    It all depends on how Arteta views this game. If he is serious and wants points he should without doubt keep the famous five (Ozil, Xhaka, and the MLS – Mustafi, Luiz, Socrates) at home.
    Belerin; Pablo, Holding, Tierney with AMN/Kolasinac coming off the bench.But knowing Arteta, Belerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Tierney will start and expect a goal down in 10 minutes. Since City are more skilled than physical, we need fast, quick, pacey players, not some slow thinkers and tired pitiable fellas panting around trying to play catch up. In all, Ozil, Xhaka, Luiz, Socrates, Mustafi cannot match the skill sets of the City players, hence would prefer the younger and more pacey players to get a chance. With the famous five, we have won nothing and have struggled to defeat the relegation bound teams. Hence hope Arteta considers youth, knowing that we have nothing much to gain with the seniors. Throw in AMN, Torrera in the middle, Saka/Gabreil, Auba, Pepe/ Nelson and we do have a formidable squad. Laca, Willock ,Guendozi on the bench, all seems better than having pathetic players limping / hoping around.

    1. Kstix says:

      Impressive comment Loose cannon. Arteta is most likely going to panic and go with the losing formation and play laca and auba together with ozil behind them and mustafi would be paired with Luiz again. Now that Tierney is back, saka who has been arguably our player of the season would be slowly frozen out of the first team rather than play him on the wings with auba as a main striker.

      1. towny254 says:

        We cannot afford to play Ozil he is not good enough there is no fight in the man it looks like he has given up

      2. Fred says:

        I agree with you saka also can manage that attacking AMF despite the challenges nkhetia can man pair with auba kindly

    2. AY75 says:

      Wasn’t Mustafi our best defender over the last few games we played?

      1. zackson88 says:

        I think he played well. I am worried about Luiz.

      2. georgie b says:

        He has played well AV75.

  6. Shakir says:

    I think MA would go with
    RB-Bellerin
    RCB-Luiz
    LCB-Mari
    LB-Tierney

  7. ahmad73 says:

    I remember in the aftermath of a home defeat to Blackburn in 1997, there was an inquisition during which the famed back four of Adams and co. said they did not get enough help from the midfield. If I remember correctly those playing in front of the defense back then were Petit and Viera! Regardless of who play in the mediocre at best back four, considering that those who currently play in front of the back four are also mostly rubbish, then I don’t think it really matters even if we had Maldini in defense as Merson said.

  8. Sue says:

    I’d like to see Mari start – as for who will pair up with him, I don’t know…Mustafi, Sokratis or Luiz…. all not for the faint-hearted…although surely Luiz is due a decent game???!!!
    Obviously I want to see Tierney and Bellerin play.

    Just watching Dortmund, thinking this time next week Soccer Saturday is back!! Boy, I’ve missed it, but then it dawned on me we kick off against Brighton next Saturday at 3!!! Will catch Jeff and co the following week 😄

    1. Shakir says:

      Sokratis will not partner Mari.I always saw him playing in the RB position under MA..

      1. Sue says:

        Well, I guess that’s one less to worry about then, Shakir 😀

        1. Mogunna says:

          😂

  9. Bonnylad says:

    Arteta needs to form a formidable and ruthless defence in young players. The full backs who need to rise to occasion and stamp their authority for the slots is Bellerin and Tierney cos that’s their natural playing positions if they fit.
    Sead can come in to help Tierney. Pablo Mari should team up error prone Luiz hoping that he wont error again. Am choosing on Luiz cos of his long range shots which at times make him stand out and be outstanding player in the field.
    Let Mustafi, Socratis and Holding warm the bench as they learn the game

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      I cant remember him scoring with a long range shot in fact I cant even remember him forcing the keeper into a difficult save. Keep him out the side and keep him as far away from free kicks as possible

      1. AY75 says:

        His free kicks aren’t bad actually, and he can pick a good pass from long range….. his defending leaves a lot to be desired though. And I fear City forwards might have a field day against him…… or even any of our defenders, sadly.
        Chelsea’s already improving their squad against next season, and we’re worried about Auba staying or leaving, same with Saka. It’s really tough being an Arsenal fan 😃

        1. towny254 says:

          I think Luis would be better in midfield his vision for picking out good long range passes and has a good shot on him so lets give him a chance in midfield

        2. Kenny Rolfe says:

          Well I’ve never seen him score from a free kick and I go to all the games. Get rid of him

          1. zackson88 says:

            not in arsenal shirt

      2. Loose Cannon says:

        true Kenny, for that one long pass which may or maynot result in a goal cannot let him start and make that one mistake leading to a goal.

        1. Khadii says:

          Yes u’re right..
          Mari was also signed for his long range passes and expansion of the field cos of his left foot.
          I’d prefer Mari and Mustafi together as Mustafi was our best defender before the lockdown, and our last two cleansheets were kept bcos of Mari’s composure on the ball and in defence.

          1. Kenny Rolfe says:

            Agree with Loose Cannon and Khadi

          2. ozziegunner says:

            Loose Cannon, Khadii and Kenny, count me in too for Mari and Mustafi and Tierney. As for Bellerin, the sooner he is transferred to one of the Milan clubs to pursue his modelling career the better. I would prefer AMN because at least he knows how to defend.

  10. S.J says:

    My predicted line up is –

    Lacazette,

    Aubameyang, Ozil, Nelson,

    Xhaka, Ceballos,

    Tierney, Mari, Luiz, Bellerin,

    Leno.

    Subs – Saka, Pepe, Martinelli, Willock, Nketiah… (Guendouzi, Kolasinac, M.Niles, Sokratis, Holding)

  11. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Any back four players apart from Luis and Sokratis

  12. Sue says:

    OT.. Podolski was up against El Neny tonight… Podolski’s side running out 2-1 winners 🙂
    Ospina had a mare for Napoli, letting Eriksen score directly from a corner, but redeemed himself with their equaliser. Napoli to face Juve in the final… hard luck, Sanchez 😁
    Ain’t it great having the beautiful game back?!

    1. Khadii says:

      So great Sue..
      So great..
      Can’t wait for Wednesday

      1. Sue says:

        🙂👍

    2. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Did you see the Fake crowd Sue in the Spanish games and fake crowd noise. At least it was better than the sound of an empty stadium hearing the players calling for the ball and shouting instructions. Hope you’re well Sue and staying safe and getting your PPE

      1. Sue says:

        Hi Kenny.. yes, I like the fake crowd noise.. a great idea! We’ll have it too, so that’s good. Not long to go now, can’t wait! Be even better when we’re allowed back in 😉
        I’m all good thanks Kenny, as is work!
        Hope you are too 🙂

  13. Mogunna says:

    Yep!

  14. BRIMZIM says:

    tierney mari mustafi bellerin

  15. Wenger91 says:

    I wish that he plays with 3 CB’s in back!

    3-6-1

    Leno

    Mustafi – Luiz – Mari

    Ceballos – Xhaka – Saka

    Pepe – Ozil – Auba

    Laca

    1. towny254 says:

      100% agree why do we have to play 4 at the back

  16. Sue says:

    OT
    I just saw this online – Thomas Partey has received a monster contract offer from Atletico, with a €100mil release clause for clubs outside La Liga. The wage is around €50k p/w more than Arsenal were planning.

    Nothing decided as things stand, but Partey’s position to negotiate is at an all time high.
    🥺 Gutted!!!

    1. Kev82 says:

      Can’t see Partey leaving atletico for us Sue 😳 you watching Real Madrid game 3-1 up Hazard came off 😳

      1. Sue says:

        Unfortunately neither can I, Kev ☹

        Watched some of it. One thing I want to know is – will Hazard ever score for them again?! 🤣

        1. Kev82 says:

          Haha it’s doesn’t like his muse is gonna strike this season Sue it’ll happen next season 🤣 my bet is he’ll stay in Spain 🙂 you watching Real Sociedad v Osasuna now Sue ?

          1. Sue says:

            Haha their fans will turn their attention from Bale to him if this drought continues!!
            No I’m not, is Monreal playing?

          2. Kev82 says:

            Haha Zidane clearly doesn’t like Bale Sue but I’d take him at Arsenal still quality 😁 he is yes and Sociedad are on course for the champions League Sue 😳 they actually play some nice football 😁 only a few more days until kick off now, you excited Sue ?

          3. Sue says:

            Transfer checker are now saying we’re prepared to double his 65k p/w wages… oh stop toying with us!!!
            Yes, I can’t wait Kev! Football galore – heaven! Just not next week when that lot clinch the title 🙈

          4. Kev82 says:

            What’s his release clause 45 mil ? I thought he’d cost more than that 😳 haha well at least we can take comfort in the fact the celebrations will be low key with no fans in attendance unless you count the dolls 😂😂 can Arteta pull a rabbit out of the hat on Wednesday Sue? Probably have to pull a rhino out of it with our defence 😂😂

          5. Sue says:

            Yes I thought he’d cost a lot more..
            Well that’s one game I ain’t watching, to be blinded by Firmino’s teeth – no thanks!!
            Gonna be tough, Kev.. been ages since we last beat them… and in the last 5 (?) games, they’ve scored like 14 to our 4 (I think). But we have Arteta now…. 🙂 Whatever the result, it’ll be entertaining!!

    2. Shakir says:

      I think the offer was on the table for sometime now.He is kinda refusing to sign.And it is confirmed that we are negotiating with him so, ya gunners ya!🙄

      1. Sue says:

        Well let’s hope and pray he opts for London, Shakir! I’d love it…🙂

  17. towny254 says:

    We pussyfoot around we should have been getting thing done typical Arsenal missing the boat again

  18. Vinod Krishan says:

    LENO
    SOKRATIS MARI LUIZ TIERENI

    TORRIERA SEBELLOS

    OZIL

    PEPE AUBA / MARTINELLI SAKHA

    I am sure , our managers can’t think of team with out XHAKA . And BELLARIN will be their first choice RB . But if they want to defend well and attack well , this is the team they should field .

    1. Khadii says:

      Torreira’s injured

  19. S.J says:

    My 3 Cb formation will be like this.

    Aubameyang, Lacazette, Martinelli,

    Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos, Saka,

    Mari, Luiz, Mustafi,

    Leno.

  20. Sue says:

    2 days to go!!! 🤩
    The highlight of this season so far, for me, has to be Watford’s dismantling of Liverpool!!
    Which leads me to my lowest point – the 5-5, loss on penalties in the Carabao cup, that absolutely crushed me! 🥺

  21. Stephen Rodway says:

    Hi there,

    My team would be

    Leno,
    Bellerin, Luiz, Mari,
    Saka, Ceballos, Tierney,
    Pepe, Martinelli,
    Aubameyang, Lacazette.

  22. S says:

    Fake crowd noise? I wonder what effect that would have on the players.
    But then again, more subs over 90 minutes suggests that every game is going to be treated as a friendly

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