Champions League back-up plan starts tonight!

by .

courtesy @allthatchas

courtesy @allthatchas

The real competition starts today.

You won’t see pansy footballers crying about red cards, oh no, the Europa League is for real men. Leave your emotions at the door, stop talking about gluten-free and prepared for a politically incorrect fight on the footballing senses.

The home game against Vorskla should be fun. Bernd Leno is going to make his long-awaited debut. Keepers were a topic of conversation before the game with Emery.

“Each goalkeeper has different qualities. But they cannot change our style. Maybe one quality is better Leno than Petr, maybe one Petr than Leno. We need the same style and to work to improve each goalkeeper in our style.”

“He’s here because he showed us his quality,”

“The quality for the goalkeeper for me, is being complete. He has it.

“He can go a long way here at Arsenal. He’s young.”

A rumour in one of the papers stated that his big faux pas was dropping a clanger against Brentford preseason. The club were tanked in that game and looked really average causing panic in the ranks of the new boys. He was the sacrificial lamb.

That said, I still think the reason Emery persists with Cech is that he wants to have influential figures in the dressing room onside during the difficult first three months of his job. Leno was in need of rehab after an average prior season, so hopefully he doesn’t drop a Karius in front of the home support tomorrow.

The additional good news is Eddie and Smith Rowe will be in the squad, so hopefully, we’ll see some minutes from those two.

Emery was diplomatic when he spoke about how he’ll line up tomorrow.

‘For me, every match, each moment, is about finding the best performance with the players. We have four competitions this season. Tomorrow is the Europa League, Sunday is Premier League, then it’s Carabao Cup and then we’re going to play in FA Cup. I want the same thing for every player because each match is important. The second situation is that we need to give minutes to the players who can produce the best performance for us. The best 11 will play tomorrow so that we can continue to improve in our way both tactically and individually. What’s important for us is to produce a winning performance but also to continue to improve.’

If he’s picking the best team to beat Vorskla, you’d imagine he’ll be able to flex into the deeper reaches of the squad. I think his main worry will be making sure he lands 3 points at home. That’s hugely important in a competition most of us probably think is our best route into the CL this season.

Complacency is always the devil in these situations, so hopefully Emery will have the players fired up and we can go hard a team we really should breeze past.

We’ll see!

Oh, before I go. I saw that Arteta lost against Lyon.

You were right.

He’s a fraud.

That proves out he’d have been a terrible coach for Arsenal.

Thanks for the analysis.

The blog closes tomorrow.

BUT BEFORE THAT… listen to the pod you mugs.


478 Responses to “Champions League back-up plan starts tonight!”

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  1. Pierre

    I have been saying since the start of the season that Mhkitaryan should be our playmaker…
    The transition from defence to attack is much quicker and direct when Mhkitaryan is playing in the middle….he doesn’t always get it right but he is prepared to take risks which is vital for a no. 10 plus his understanding with aubamayang will be vital for the club to be successful..

    If the goals were conceded they in the game they would be a concern ….2 late goals mean nothing .

  2. Un na naai

    Mkhitaryan over ozil all day long
    He’s sharper all over the pitch. He’s hungry for the ball. His movement is better. His final ball is better. He wants to play. He wants to create. He works for his team even if he’s shit defensively he offers more going forward than ozil. Give me the Armenian every single day with iwobi or welbeck too. Last night was our best side apart from Lacazette and xakha. Elneny should be nowhere near this arsenal side. Nowhere.

  3. Guns of Hackney

    With all due respect, Arsenal let in two goals against a part time side.

    That’s not good enough and shows once again that even with three new additions to an already terrible defense, we are no stronger than last season.

    But hey, a win is a win.

  4. Un na naai

    I agree and I’d still start Cech over Leno myself at this stage.

    I don’t think the Wenger defensive philosophy will disappear over night
    These players need to be drilled and that takes time

  5. Guns of Hackney

    Un na

    Mikki is hungry for everything, not just footballs. That’s why he’s morbidly obese.

    The first 400lb footballer.

  6. Emiratesstroller


    Sorry but conceding late goals has become a habit at Arsenal.

    It may mean nothing to you because we were 4-0 up, but it tells you a lot about
    the ingrained deficiencies in our defence.

    There will be games which are tight and we buckle like this at end of game and
    it costs us points as was far too often case last season.

    Let’s be honest our defence is not fit for purpose.

    The only plus is that if we play both Torreira and Xhaka in front of defence we
    might just have the beginnings of decent midfield on which to build the team.
    Personally I think that Torreira is a terrific buy.

  7. Pierre

    I agree that xhaka and Torriera are our best midfield combination in a 2 man midfield at the moment as both play with discipline and do not vacate the midfield area as readily as Guendouzi or Ramsey though if we played a 3 man midfield similar to Liverpool’s then Guendouzi or Ramsey would be a good fit .

  8. HighburyLegend

    Didn’t saw the game.
    Just saw the score.

    We conceded 2 goals, at home, against the mighty Vodka blah blah ??
    Is it a joke ?? Our defenders are THAT bad ??


  9. Pierre

    Would be interesting to see how the stats add up when Torriera is on and off the pitch.

    Do we concede less and score more ….have to say that my impression is it could be the case.

  10. gonsterous


    Jesus, back with the stats.

    If you have seen the movie rush, there’s a great line that Chris hemsworth says.

    “when you bring numbers into the game, you start ruining the beauty of the sport”.

  11. Dissenter

    Emirates must be the only on the planet that thinks Cech would have saved either of the two goals scored yesterday.
    No goalie on the planet would have saved them.
    In which evidence from yesterday’s game would anyone be contemplating dropping Leno for Cech.

  12. Pierre

    Fyi……torriera on the pitch …scored 9 conceded 2

    Torriera off the pitch ……scored 5….conceded..9

    Those stats tell you everything as to why he should be starting and the obvious influence he has on our defence ,midfield and attack …..

  13. Pierre

    Guendouzi stats could well be the opposite to Torriera’s as more often than not they have replaced eachother.

    Maybe guendouzi is a bit of a loose cannon and doesn’t bring stability to the team .

  14. gonsterous

    tbf to Leno, it was his first start, so of course he’s going to be nervous. GKs always need a run of games to get up to speed as well as play well for their side.
    But against everton, I would pick cech.

  15. China

    The game was too late for me

    Saw the score though. Another win and plenty of goals tho shipping two late goals against a bunch of nobodies is concerning. No idea how preventable they were tho

    Sounds like torreira was good again and I pray he will just keep his place from here on in.

    My questions:

    Was holding better than Mustafi?
    Was Leno better than cech?
    Were iwobi and welbeck good enough to retain in the side vs Everton over Ramsey and laca/ozil?

  16. NW9 gooner

    Ozil and Mikhi are different types of players- Ozil creates space and has a great eye for the pass- Mikhi loves to drive forward. Start with Ozil and substitute Mikhi for him later when the players are tired allowing Mikhi to run at them

  17. ddkingz

    anybody blaming and criticizing Leno, is a joke.
    it’s better to say he was anonymous in throughout the game because our opponents were sub par teams.
    practically 70% of the best 10 world class goalie right now won’t keep those two strikes from going into the back of the why blame Leno…