Team news ahead of the FA Cup final

by .

It is FA Cup final eve and I am starting to get very excited about the possibilities of tomorrow.

Mikel Arteta gave a very good press conference, he looked calm, and he sounds very confident of having a good day.

Chelsea, who we just LOVE to play in finals, will be a tough game whoever players, but there are reports that Kante and Willian may both be missing for the game. The Brazilian, who has been linked heavily with Arsenal, has been pretty lethal since the restart. Kante is just an incredible player that you’d rather be on the bench.

There are no major injury issues we don’t know about. The biggest worry is going to be that we don’t have Mustafi for the final, he really has been pretty additive to our defensive structure, the idea of going with Luiz and Holding isn’t particularly reassuring, but it is what it is.

Two players we know won’t be there are Matteo and Ozil. The Frenchman isn’t training with us at the moment and Ozil is apparently in Turkey. There’s a story doing the rounds that Barca want us to take Coutinho for £9m and take Guen the other way. Someone was hinting that Arsenal might do one of those accounting tricks Barca did with Juve where they massively overstate the value of the player to book cashflow. That bit certainly wasn’t in the paper.

Coutinho for £9m? I mean, he’s a very good player, I’m just not sure I am thrilled by it. Still, for a club sitting in 8th in the league, it’s hard not to admit that he is better than anything we currently have in the squad from an attacking perspective. There’s also the reality that those sort of signings probably make the senior players in the squad purr.

Back to the FA Cup. Tomorrow is about making memories. Good ones that help bond the squad and build trust with the manager. That is outrageously important for a squad that has lots of young players. Mikel was part of our first trophy in a long while back in the day, he’s hoping to replicate that tomorrow.

“Absolutely. I’ve got pictures, memories, a lot of moments that made that day really nice. I think we have to understand the context of club was – I think eight or 10 years – without a trophy. We wanted to do it for everyone, for the club, for our fans, for Arsene as well who was handling the situation really well. We knew how important it was for him and it generated really good connection between the club, players and fans. The next day was beautiful, the celebrations with all our people in the streets, so great memories.”

We have a history with Chelsea and sadly, last year, we really let ourselves down under Emery. The team weren’t focused, prepared, or in good form. I think tomorrow will be a bit different. The team you will see will have an idea of what they need to do to win, they’ll likely be a lot more motivated than they were in the Premier League last week, and I suspect we’re going to cause Chelsea problems. That said, it’s clear they are in good shape under Frank Lampard and they will certainly get better now they can spend again.

“I don’t know how they are structured or what the resources are for them. Obviously you can see the squad they have at the moment, the amount of players that they have, the quality of the players that they have and the good work that they are doing. We have some really good players as well, we are a good squad and we are an incredible club so I think we are in a good position.”

I’ve heard the players at Chelsea love Frank Lampard, he’s a legend, extremely passionate, and he’s shown himself to be sharp tactically at times this season. He’s certainly no pushover and the hope there is that he becomes the next big thing.

It’s a similar vibe at Arsenal. Let the manager grow with the squad and make a new kind of history. This final is about two young coaches looking to make their way with young players.

Arteta also let the press conference know that he’s been chatting to the big man, Arsene.

“No I haven’t been in touch with him [this week].

“I have been in touch a few times in the last few months with him, but not before the final.

“It is a private conversation. It is great to have him on board, he gives you great advice and just talking to him, he has such knowledge, he is such an intelligent person, just knowing he is there that just knowing he is there and he is going to be supporting us and supporting me, I feel calmer.

“I think in the football world, you can talk about anything with him. You just have to learn, get the book out and take some notes.”

Very sweet.

I can’t wait for tomorrow.

I’ll be back with thoughts on the game tomorrow morning. Have an excellent day! x

212 Responses to “Team news ahead of the FA Cup final”

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  1. Valentin


    From what I am reading, Real Madrid and Ceballos have four choices:

    1) coming back on loan at Arsenal. The Pro is that he knows the club and the manager. Cons, or Real Madrid that does not do anything in term of raising funds.

    2) go back on loan at a different club willing either pay a higher fee or the option to buy. According to reports some Italian clubs have made such offers. The cons for the player is that he would have to adapt to a new club, league and that could hamper his chance of making the Euro squad (assuming that there is a Euro in 2021).

    3) join Real Betis permanently. However do they have the fund to fund an offer that Real Madrid would find acceptable. Again from the report, Ceballos may have to take a pay cut.
    Real Betis have been in contact with Ceballos during his entire loan at Arsenal. He likes them, but the clubs and personnel have changed since he left.

    4) join permanently another club. An unnamed premiership club (beloved to be Everton) has made an offer.

    Arsenal advantage is that Real Madrid may take the view that going on loan at Arsenal will increase his value and that selling a potentially valuable asset in a currently distressed market would be a bad move. Hope that the market and the economy will recover and Sell next summer is likely to be the most common approach.

  2. Rich

    We’re capable of pulling a result, but the last 3 years are the reality of our current group of players.

    If we sit deep against Chelsea, Giroud will have a field day.

    We can’t do what we did against City and Liverpool and just sit back.

    Can’t say I’m confident, but I wasn’t in 2017 either.

  3. Leedsgunner

    A second loan for Ceballos only makes sense if we were given a option to buy at a realistic price… how much does Real Madrid want still £23m?

  4. Words on a Blog


    It’s not at all necessary to be an accountant to be an Arsenal fan….but you do need a double first class honours degree in creative accounting to try to understand how the hell some of the transfer deals that are bandied about are gonna get done!

  5. Dissenter

    That was an excellent take on the Ceballos situation.
    I would have thought Arsenal will be trying to use the market situation to extract a good deal from Madrid for a permanent transfer this summer. He’s one of the first players on the starting eleven and one of the reasons why we will win today.
    Hope the new loan deal will have an obligatory sign clause with a FIXED price next summer.

  6. Dissenter

    Ceballos is exactly the right age for a club doing a rebuild. He can giv3 us 5 years and still have a lot of transfer value. He’s also a Spanish international which helps with enhancing value.

  7. Sid

    A high line is the best against Giroud, sitting in our box will be disastrous, cut out the supply to pulisic and mount by pressing their 2 midfielders

  8. Pierre

    There is a common consensus on Le Grove that Eddie Nketiah is not up to standard.

    Let’s have a look at our results when Eddie has started games at centre forward since he came into the side.

    Bournemouth ( away) 2-1 win
    Newcastle (home)
    Portsmouth (away)
    Everton (home ) ..3-2 win
    West ham (home) ..1-0 win

    City ( away) 3-0..lose.
    Southampton (away) 2-0 win
    Wolves (away) 2-0 win.

    8 games
    7 wins
    1 defeat v city ( with 10 men)

    5 away games
    3 home games.

    Goals for 16
    Against 6 ( 3 of those v city )

    All games that Eddie has started as our main striker…quite impressive one would think.

    Yet here on Le Grove Eddie is not rated despite evidence to the contrary that we are a better football team with Eddie starting as our striker.

    What these results do show is that our reputation as flat track bullies holds firm with Eddie as our main striker.

    Eddie should start today, Saka likewise.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see Arteta put out a more workmanlike starting 11 without Eddie, Saka or Pepe(maybe).

    Will it be another jose type masterclass or will he surprise us and pick a team that takes the game to Chelsea..

  9. Dissenter

    ‘ Eddie should start today, Saka likewise’

    Eddie should start ahead of Lacazette?
    Oh dear, the game doesn’t start in another 7 hours and you’re already wasted

  10. Emiratesstroller

    Surprisingly of the 4 semi-finalists in the FA Cup I would have chosen to play
    Chelsea in the Final.

    Chelsea are in my opinion the most vulnerable having lost 10 games in EPL and with the least potent strike force.

    Where they are stronger than Arsenal is in midfield and that is the area where
    we need to neutralise them if at all possible.

    As I posted before the Man City game FA Cups are one off opportunities. It does not rely on season long consistency. My only real concern is that Mustafi is out injured and he had played well in most games since return in June.

  11. Pierre

    It’s all about picking a side that will get the result .

    If it’s a backs to the wall job , then Lacazette should starts.

    If its playing on the front foot , higher up the pitch , then Eddie should start.

    The team shert will tell us how we will approach the game.

  12. Habesha Gooner

    My God Pierre
    At least make your point through logical reasoning. It’s not because of him we won those games. He isn’t Van Djik or Bruno Fernandez. Those are the players that you can say when he starts we won a game. How many times has Eddie Scored? You make your point through faulty reasoning. You also said when Ozil came we started winning FA cups. They aren’t players that are single handedly turning our fortunes around. So far he has done okay. He puts in a lot of effort which we all appreciate but we haven’t yet seen star quality. His overall game is a bit lacking. And He shouldn’t start the Final ahead of Lacazette.

  13. Leedsgunner


    Not everyone here believes Nketiah is a busted flush.

    He’s just begun his career… it’s a bit harsh to write him off just yet.

    Although on here it seems to be a popular sport to hype other team’s players and continually run down our youngsters.

    He’s not the second coming of Anelka but he’s no Chamakh either.

    I, for one, am very pleased with the number of youngsters coming through into our first team.

    One of the very few bright sparks in the past few years.

  14. Sid

    It starts with Piere then a new 350k contract then Nketiah is posing for pictures with Teodoro Obiang

    You heard it here 1st!

  15. Emiratesstroller


    I am sorry I have to disagree with your preference of picking Neketiah in preference to Lacazette.

    Nketiah has failed to score a single goal since the resumption of football in June. In contrast Lacazette has begun to show some form.

    Chelsea’s defence has conceded more goals than Arsenal in EPL this season
    so having two goalscoring forwards up front is essential. We don’t want to be
    dependent solely on Aubameyang.

  16. TR7

    Lacazzete for all his limitations has often scored important goals in big matches. Eddie runs/moves more swiftly than Laca but I would be more inclined give Laca a start.

  17. Danny

    FA Cup day back when it mattered – turn on Grandstand at 12 and switch backwards and forwards with World Of Sport, the best football of the year was shown, real excitement building to the 3 o’çlock kick off whoever was in the final. Today it starts at 5:30 (what the fuck is that?) and with no Cup Winners Cup competition anymore, it’s like, who cares?
    Anyway even though I hate the Europa Losers League, lets smash bloody Chelski (back in the day they were more in the 2nd division than in the 1st), I doubt there’ll be any European competitions next season anyway but whatever, let’s win a cup, Spurs fans don’t remember what that feeling is like!

  18. Habesha Gooner

    Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Saka, Xhaka, Ceballos, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang

    This team is the best we could do considering circumstances and our options. AMN is a decent option at RWB. But he fucked up in Baku so much ot my play on his mind a bit.

  19. Pierre

    “Nketiah has failed to score a single goal since the resumption of football in June. In contrast Lacazette has begun to show some form.”

    Will point out that the only 3 games that Eddie has started as our main striker since lockdown are

    Man city away 3-0 defeat with 10 men.

    Southampton away 2-0 victory (eddie scored the opening goal)

    Wolves away 2-0 victory.

    So to judge him on 3 tough away games is a little unfair, although one in 3 goal return is not exactly rubbish is it.

    Will also point out that since returning from lockdown , Lacazette has scored 3 goals in 9 starts. in 3 of which 5 were home games .

    As I said , if we play on the front foot then Eddie should start.

  20. Leedsgunner

    As long as Kolasinac doesn’t come anywhere near I’m happy. The guy is the Squillaci of left backs.

  21. The Backpass

    This Nketiah bollocks is actually bait. No other reason.

    One thing is for sure, if Nketiah starts 60% of our premier league match next season, then there would be no top4, same with Lacazette.

    Leaving out the relegated Bournemouth and League 1 Portsmouth. FA cup

    Newcastle was the only game we played well and it coincided with Ceballos starting next to xhaka instead of Guen/torreira.

    Everton absolutely tore us to shreds, especially Andre Gomes when he came on.

    Westham 0-0 Eddie was substituted and in came Lacazette to score the winning goal.

    Mancity. If he had scored from Saka’s perfect time pass/cross, it might have been a different match all together.

    Southampton. Good press for his goal but he was just plain, and we were absolutely dominated till Lacazette came in.

    Wolves : we didnt play better football, we defended well and suffocated them.

    Bar Newcastle, none of this match did we play well.

    Games Eddie didn’t start that we played well.

    Leicester before Eddie decided to give them a way back into the game.

  22. Chris

    Love your thoughts on Cup Final day Danny. Exactly as you say, the build up went on all morning and day, used to have school friends over or go to their house to watch. Not sure that is something that will be able to be recaptured, although having the semi finals somewhere other than Wembley would be a start as well as restoring the 3pm KO.

    And yes, always glorious to point out how this supposed huge club Spurs has won absolutely nothing of note for ages, what is it, 3 cups in 40 years??

  23. Receding Hairline

    As for the game its a final, it will come down to who wants it the most. We weren’t dreadful in Baku as many will have you believe, we simply imploded after they scored.

    So I guess the trick today is don’t let them score first, if they do I can only see one outcome.

  24. Chris


    “An FA cup win he can’t credit to Ozil, wonder if he wants us to win….“

    Or Arsene…………..sorry just poking the bear!!

    Let’s all be united today Gooners, we all want the same thing!

  25. Kenyangunner

    If Kola and Hector start then that’s sure victory for Chelsea.
    Holding needs AMN to tame Paulisic .Dude is the quarantine specialist.

  26. Pierre

    “Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Saka, Xhaka, Ceballos, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang”

    If you have Tierney in a back 3 and Saka as wing back then you are giving away the midfield .

    Jorginho, kovasic and one other do not give the ball away, we could be chasing shadows in the middle of the park.

    I think Lampard will try and dominate the game by playing as high up the pitch as possible to make us play long..

    The question is, where will be our outlet as we can’t play through midfield as we will ne outnumbered

  27. Jamie

    Cup final day and the first thing Pierre does when he wakes up is run interference for his cunt boyfriend who’s off on a jolly in Turkey. Then throws in the need to start Eddie, or else..

    The contempt Pierre feels for Arteta is palpable. You just know he’ll be out with his ‘careful what you wish for’ shite if we don’t win today.

    Pierre is absolutely desperate to find a stick with which to beat Arteta later if we lose. Sad.

  28. Danny

    The night before on ITV there was a FA Cup special show with people like Jack Charlton where they would analyze each player, every match, goals etc great stuff.
    Every year one of the teams would stay at the Hendon Hall Hotel which was round the corner from my school, I’d go there after school on the Friday afternoon and get all the players autographs.

  29. MuddyGooner

    We also need our defence to be extra extra tight during added on time in the first half.

    That’s when Chelski ALWAYS score !

  30. Habesha Gooner

    I think I might be the only one who thinks we are going to win. Chelsea’s defense has been a joke all season. And there keeper is willy caballero. I think we can pull of a low scoring win.

  31. Pierre

    Receding Hairline
    ” An FA cup win he can’t credit to Ozil, wonder if he wants us to win….”

    I’m getting confused now , is it you doing an impression of champagne Charlie or the other way round.

    Tou 2 are becoming one of the same with your snide remarks.

    It’s about having an opinion Receding, you should try it sometimes.

  32. Chris


    That sounds great, I had relatives who lived in Hendon, or Colindale, just up the road I think? I don’t recall the Friday night show but have vivid memories of the build up show in the 90s on the day of the final, it really was an event akin to how say the Super Bowl is, national attention all round as well as the whole world watching. It seemed way back when it had as much importance attached to it as winning the league, may just have been my perception as a kid. Certainly not that way now.

  33. mb

    Whoever wins today, I am booking a table again and cheer with a Guinnesee in hand.

    Ignoring all these complications of transfers, budget, Arteta/Ozil and this bloody virus.


  34. China1

    I’m open minded about Eddie and want him to stay at least another year. But this is not the game to start him ahead of laca

    We shouldn’t be experimenting today

  35. Pierre

    It’s so easy to bring the rats out of the sewer.

    Mention something positive about an Arsenal player and it’s guaranteed that Receding, jamie and Fred will be there with their snide remarks .

    Sorry to say but Charlie has sunk to their level recently.

  36. G

    Love the fa cup… Have done since 1979..whether its Hull or Chelsea..
    Some posters I know don’t give a shit but hey each to their own

  37. Leftside

    Pierre you do come across an someone intent on aligning yourself and championing the much maligned players for contrarians sake.

    Debate is good but you go out of your way to attract conflict then criticise posters that take your bait.

  38. China1

    I’ll always love the cup. It’s a second class competition, make no mistake, but it’s still the second best domestic trophy, lovely to win and adds that little bit of pride to an otherwise crap season as well as a back door into the EL which we sorely need

  39. Receding Hairline

    “Mention something positive about an Arsenal player “…

    Lol good one Pierre

    Shame its always the same Arsenal player you want to be positive about, when Arteta came in and played him every game you were on your knees waiting for his zip to go down, since he was dropped you have been inconsolable.

    At least he still shares your infatuation with Nketiah

  40. Champagne charlie

    “I’m getting confused now , is it you doing an impression of champagne Charlie or the other way round.Tou 2 are becoming one of the same with your snide remarks.“

    “It’s so easy to bring the rats out of the sewer.Mention something positive about an Arsenal player and it’s guaranteed that Receding, jamie and Fred will be there with their snide remarks .Sorry to say but Charlie has sunk to their level recently.“

    You really ought to get a grip of yourself, you’re forever namedropping posters that aren’t present ironically as you condemn others for their snide remarks.

    There’s no “level” that’s been sunk to, my crime is dismissing Ozil because he’s clearly fallen foul of the standards being held under Arteta – remember the numerous jibes about me you’ve made to others posters about my support for such a thing?

    Stones in glass houses and all that Pierre, the disparaging victim routine isn’t endearing to anyone.

  41. Elmo

    Agreed, China.

    In spite of our ongoing decline, and we want to be competing for the bigger trophies, but at least we’ve still consistently popped up in cup finals in recent years (6 in 7 years).

    19/20 FA Cup
    18/19 EL
    17/18 League Cup
    16/17 FA Cup
    15/16 –
    14/15 FA Cup
    13/14 FA Cup

    Tets needs to develop us from a cup team into heavyweights. Winning today is a tiny first step.

  42. Leftfootcurler


    You wrote-

    ” don’t believe Arteta would be dim enough to drop any player that can help the team win games. Remember that this is his first job out of the gates, why would he sabotage himself?”

    He can sacrifice short term points for long term gain if the board has enough confidence in him.

    He has already done this.When he played 4231, He played fucking Sokratis at RB.
    When he was inverting his RB, both Bellerin and Sokratis were uncomfortable coming inside,in midfield.

    It was clear as day,AMN was a much superior option as an inverted FB and without him,we were hurt,both offensively and defensively.
    He did it for attitude issues or whatever.
    One of the main reasons he got hired was to “change the culture”
    Read here

    Its more than “immediate wins” from Josh Kroenke’s POV.
    Arteta has a lot of confidence in himself and the board.
    He is very highly rated by many people in football.

    If Arsenal can’t back him financially,it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Arteta succeed Pep when he leaves after 1-2 years.

    Regarding ozil
    Sure,but he is avoiding challenges at a far higher frequency post his big contract.

  43. China1

    Left foot curler for Arteta to move direct from arsenal to city manager it will take a lot more than what he’s done so far. They won’t be looking for a project manager like arsenal, just someone who will be depended on to win each game each and every week. Arteta is widely recognized as a clever mind in football and a good coach of players, but now he needs to demonstrate that he can make his team greater than the sum of its parts to show he can really manage. Player poverty is real but as well it doesn’t mean much if the only way to get major progress is a huge cheque book

    City will look elsewhere if he can’t do that. Over to him to prove he can – winning tonight would be a lovely start of course

  44. Tom

    “It starts with Piere then a new 350k contract then Nketiah is posing for pictures with Teodoro Obiang“

    Fuck me Sid…..never thought this day would come but you actually said something for the first time that fits the “you heard it here first “ mould

  45. Tom

    From another Ozil non hater …..blink twice and we’ll send someone to rescue you.
    Ffs , Ozil style of play has nothing to do with selfishness or being a team player, but rather everything to do with doing what comes naturally.
    His vision, first touch and passing ability are better than anyone else’s on Arsenal, while he’s clearly averse to body contact and crowded places to the point he should be a poster child for social distancing.
    David Silva is a legend because he could mix it up with the bruisers when needs be and never avoided tight spaces. Ozil can’t.

  46. Marko

    Charles is right Pierre is a victim…of love. Got one look at those bulging eye sockets of Mesut and ever since he’s been hooked.

    On old frog eyes it’s very telling that he’s been in turkey now for a few days. Telling in the sense that A he clearly doesn’t care about the club about his teammates about any of that B he so fucking lazy now that he can’t even pretend to be interested lad couldn’t be arsed with doing a propaganda post on Instagram and C the club has made it clear they don’t want him here anymore and he needs to go. Question becomes now what happens next? I personally like that he’s in turkey now because maybe the Mrs is convincing of staying over there and maybe there’s something going on with some Turkish clubs for him to join fingers crossed. But knowing him the last few years he’s probably just thinking about the wage at Arsenal and his next sick day. It’s incredible to see how much a professional athlete’s desire completely flipped at just 30.

  47. Bojangles

    “….but you do need a double first class honours degree in creative accounting to try to understand how the hell some of the transfer deals that are bandied about are gonna get done!”


    Why are you worrying about it, you can’t do anything other than give an opinion on a blog anyway.