Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Shakhtar

UEFA website says Song and Arshavin have not travelled to Ukraine. We already knew Cesc was going to miss this game and none of those who were unavailable before the West Ham derby are back. According to John Cross even Denilson has not travelled.

It will be very interesting to see the team Arsene puts out. We have three tricky Premiership games in the next week and any further injury problems could really stretch us.

The first thing I noticed was that all three of our defensive midfielders are missing. Will Arsene give the youngster Eastmond a chance at such a daunting venue?

Thankfully, we have Wilshere coming back and will fill one midfield role. The youngster must be fresh after his break and buoyed by his bumper contract. Hopefully, he will keep his tackling instincts in check; we need him available during this hectic period. Rough tackling could get him suspended and he could hurt himself, neither scenario will help the team.

I’m guessing Nasri will get another chance in his preferred attacking midfield role. Walcott could come in on the right and Rosicky on the left with either Chamakh or Bendtner playing as the central striker.

Arsene could shift Rosicky in the middle and have Vela or one of the strikers on the left but that would really affect the balance of the team.

There isn’t much to choose at the back. Djourou or Eboue could come in if Arsene decides to rest Sagna or one of the Centre Backs. I have seen Djourou play DM as well but will Wenger play him in that position in such a game? I doubt it.

The line-up I’d like to see is,

Fabianski – Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy – Eastmond, Wilshere, Nasri – Walcott, Bendtner, Rosicky.

We are bound to see a much improved and far more confident Shakhtar team in this game. Fanatical home support will also help them raise their game. Our defence and Keeper are likely to come under some pressure and I’m hoping for another big performance from the likes of Koscielny and Fabianski. The Frenchman will have a real battle against the fleet-footed Douglas Costa.

We really need a result in this game because a loss will see us on 9 points, tied with Shakhtar.  That will force us to concentrate on winning both our remaining games. On the other hand a win here will afford us the freedom to play some youngsters in the other two fixtures.

Tactically I expect Shakhtar to press us higher up the pitch than what they did at the Emirates. Given the fact that we will have a makeshift midfield, the battle will be won or lost in the middle. If our central players can move the ball fast enough and support the defence, we will be able to create chances using the skills of Rosicky and Nasri and the pace of Theo. That’s the reason I’m a bit worried we will have to start someone like Eastmond who looks really nervous and struggles under pressure.

Walcott could be a real threat for us. I’m not sure the Shakhtar players will have ever come up against someone as explosive as the English youngster. Even then, we will have to take the chances that come our way; I can’t see us opening them up as easily as we did at home.

The home side, who have an excellent home record, both in terms of not losing and keeping clean sheets, will look to be compact and this game could be decided by individual mistakes.

To be honest, I’m not very confident about this one. A draw will be a good result, a win excellent.

31 Responses to Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Shakhtar

  1. gigadee goo says:

    thats an alrite team but if he’s so tempted to try a weakened squad how about tryin szczesny what could go rong

    • desigunner says:

      It’s not about Wenger being tempted to play a weakened team. There are too many midfielders with injury concerns so they have to be rested.

  2. afc says:

    to be honest I think we will blow them away. I also really like eastmond he’s way, way better than denilson. I hope for a win not a draw want to get the group stages done so we can crack on with domestic buisness. Jack need a good game if we are to win tho

    • desigunner says:

      Agree with you, Jack will have to come up with a special performance.

    • Aaron says:

      Couldn’t disagree with you more, eastmond’s performance against Newcastle disapointed me! He gave the ball away far more than Denilson and he’s nowhere near Denilson’s level, its a shame frimpong isn’t healthy.

      • indiagunner333 says:

        completely agree with u mate……Denilson is much much better than Eastmond…whn Vermalaen will be back any news guys…….

  3. santori says:

    Wilshere, Eastmond, Walcott….that’s 3 English lads if they get to play tomorrow. Might even see JET which would make it four!

  4. santori says:

    Wilshere, Eastmond, Walcott….that’s 3 English lads if they get to play tomorrow. Might even see JET which would make it four! What’s going on?

    • arsene says:

      english players are the best atm are they. Arsene ds nt have a problem with english player; simple fact they have nt been good enough!

  5. HexyDre says:

    I’m quite confident we can get this away win and secure our position on top on the group.
    I agree with your posted line-up but I’ll actually prefer Rosicky in the central role instead of Nasri.
    Our defense would surely be tested tomorrow and I look forward to a tight midfield play (like you said).
    Tomorrow can’t come soon enuf.

    BTW…just BTW, did anyone see Bale in action today? Too bad he’s in the wrong club.

    • desigunner says:

      LOL yeah, Maicon looked like a joker. The problem I thought was that Inter are too used to putting 10 men in their own box. Benitez is trying to play positive with a team that has been trained only in anti-football for the last 2-3 seasons. Their defenders just don’t know how to defend a high line and made the opposition look much better than they actually are.

      • Optimus prime says:

        What an amazingly small time and bitter comment. It seems that even the new generation of johnny come lately arsenal “supporters”( I use that term in it’s loosest context as I don’t consider you a real fan ) have the small time mentality and chip on their shoulder that Local Arsenal fans have.
        Spurs were immense tonight against a far better team than Arsenal. And a breath of fresh air playing the glory game espoused by Bill Nick and Blanchflower.

        It would be wise to be less bitter it does you no favours

      • HexyDre says:

        You are right about that, they (Inter) made ’em sp*rs look better than they actually are, cos we don’t see Bale doing that every weekend in the EPL…and Maicon is supposed to be one of the best defenders in the world. One would have thought they would find a solution to Bale after what he did in the first leg, or after the first half of the second leg…

      • aravindvr says:

        Inters defending is just embarassing.
        even while watching the 1st leg b/w Tots n Inter, I was surprised by how Inter were defending.
        Bale almost went straight n finished all 3 goals in same fashion with a foolish Julio Cesar seeming to have lost his head.
        But still I shud say Bale seems far better amongst other Spuds.

    • indiagunner333 says:

      Yes mate, Bale was simply outstanding….I hope we get him…

      • Optimus prime says:


        How deluded! You clearly are not from London. The Arsenal do’ not have the clout, class or standing in world football to buy players like Bale and nor would he want to leave Spurs for a team like Arsenal!
        Why would he join a club who are on a par with West Ham in European glory!

        Seriously my friend switch your “support” to Man City. You only watch the games on tv anyway!

  6. afc says:

    eastmond is way better than denilson mate, denilson is so light weight it’s unreal I can’t belive he plays for arsenal…I think eastmond is the way forward at looks at least on par if not better than denilson also he can make a tackle, and he’s played no were near as many games to, so what does that say about him??

  7. dino says:

    check harry out ha ha

  8. fizagooner says:

    we don’t have much choice as four of the key player will not rule for this game today but we’re lucky cos jack is back on field…i’ve confident that rosicky, wilshere, walcott as well as nasri will help us to win this game tonight.

    All the best Team..

    • Gunner says:

      even with 4 main players out, we still have enuf quality to assemble a team which shld win this match.. our attack is not badly affect, except for the lost of fab. Wilshere and eastmond shld be able to hold the line by themself aslong as no major mistake is made.

  9. russell says:

    Well, that is the problem I have with my beloved Arsenal.
    Why are we always uncertain about victory. Why is victory always a sign of maturity, intelligence growth, coming of age , etc?
    Other great teams, and we are one of the greats, expect victory wherever and whoever they play.
    We should change our mindset to suit and get behind our team regardless of opponents, venue, team selection and the rest. Forget excuses, all teams suffer injuries that is why the squads cater for this. Our depth must be good enough or else lets just admit that we are not ready. In that case, I will agree that a draw is acceptable and we should have reservations about results. I believe we will tonight.

    • embryo says:

      Russell, agreed. Man U, Chelsea, even the Spuds ffs expect to go out and win, and as a result they mostly do. we need to talk ourselves up a bit more, and that needs to start with the fans. look at all the spuds chirping on about how marvelous they are, they’re still the best of the rest and will struggle to qualify for the CL this season, but they beleive.

      we’ll win tonight 3.1, there you go!

    • desigunner says:


      I agree and disagree with you if that makes any sense.

      I agree with the part that we should expect victory. I’m sure the manager and the team do.

      I disagree with the part that I’m not getting behind the team or making excuses.

      I’ve learnt that expectations play a big role in how people react emotionally. Often I’ve seen people on the internet predict a big win and then go all hyper when the result is not good. The level of abuse is unbelievable at times.

      I try to keep a balanced approach and expectations in check. That doesn’t mean I don’t think this team can win. Let’s not forget Barca have drawn 2 of their 4 CL games, United drew at home I think, and so on. These things happen, and we need to accept them without rushing to judgments. I believe measured expectations help in that.

  10. russell says:

    I believe we will win tonight.

  11. Woolwichstilhere says:

    Where was the SHITE Bale against man u. Inter was shit.

  12. jazbo says:

    All the talk has been about Eastmond starting the match, I would have thought this was a no brainer, Lansbury and JET should start, Lansbury is a far better player than Eastmond and JET is better by far than all the other young English players in the mix to play, so I would have in midfield Wilshire, Rosicky, Lansbury, up front would be Nasri,Jet,Theo, The back four picks it self at the moment.
    Subs: JD,Eastmond,Eboue,Chesney,Bentner,Vela,Song

  13. H ibrahim says:

    We are going to win becos d winning spirit is there 3:1

  14. afrogoon says:

    my team selection would be

    eboue djourou kos gibbs(clichy)

    nas jack ross

    theo bendtner vela

    we need a strong backline for the hostile environment we might face over there and a disciplined and creative midfield otherwise we might get swamped or get caught in the headlines….am tempted to play kos along with squill but djourou does need games and we will need him later on in the season so we might as well get his rustiness out of the system……not sure about Gibbs fitness but if he isn’t fit, let clichy play.Lets go for a win and kill the group.I have never been convinved about Eastmond……he offers nothing Denilson does not offer and i think is just backed because he is English……never adventurous or audacious enough to try anything out of the ordinary.Denilson is a better player than him in my eyes but maybe that is because he has more game experience than him.Maybe he will be a late bloomer.Frimpong would have leapfrogged him by now were he fit.Lansbury should be higher in the pecking order than Eastmond in my opinion but i guess AW sees something i can’t see in Eastmond in training.

  15. Irish DesiGooner says:

    @optimus prime

    Look mate, no one is being bitter or lacking class here. In fact, we are being quite complementary towards Bale, who was undoubtedly spectacular. I don’t think anyone needs any help when it comes to pointing out the bitter rivalry between arsenal & spurs, but this is a proper, respectful blog with mature fanbase who don’t need people like you coming in to critisize the so called “chip on our shoulders”. U may be from London (so am I), but don’t you think it’s a tad bit immature to call us arsenal fans “new generation of johnny come lately arsenal “supporters”? What’s worse is that you think that we lack class and resources to get Bale from you. All I can say to that (and I’d love to see what you’d think about this) is that we Gunners don’t need to go out and buy players like other new money clubs which I’d include Spurs in as well, because our club is run the right way, by nurturing raw, young talent (which we of course attract because after all, we are one of the best clubs in the world). It sickens me to hear managers say “we need more money to buy better/world class players in order to challenge other teams etc, which, let’s not forget Arry said few weeks back regarding challenging for the title that, let’s face it and not get carried away, is still light years beyond your reach. This is the first time you’ve finished in the top four in nearly 20 years, and first proper involvement in modern European football since WW II so don’t get carried away. On a more positive note, I, as a life-long arsenal fan do congratulate my bitter rivals on a fantastic win, take nothing away from them. (and that’s what I call being mature and respectful). Now sod off and stick to your own blogs.

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