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[Image] Ditch the back 3, Pepe axed, Ozil to return? – My Arsenal line-up vs Liverpool

By on July 15, 2020

Rob Holding arsenal 2019

Arsenal take on Liverpool at the Emirates tonight in a make-or-break game that will define our hopes of qualifying for Europe. Here’s the line-up I’d like Mikel Arteta to select…

The boss has played a settled back three in recent weeks and we’ve had moderate success. However, it’s more been down to luck rather than individual brilliance and it’s more obvious than ever that our current defenders just aren’t good enough.

Shkodran Mustafi is a case in point. He’s looked, dare I say, ‘solid’ over the past few weeks but deep down we all knew he was a mistake away from disaster again and he was back to his old disastrous self against Tottenham.

David Luiz is very similar. For all the experience he brings, he’s just not a very good defender and doesn’t bring any confidence to those around him as he’s too error-prone. Sead Kolasinac was never a good fit for a back three and it was only a matter of time before he made an error leading to a goal. Shame he choose to make it in the NLD!

The fact is, Arsenal could play a back 10 and we’d still leak silly goals and we’ve hampered our attacking play to go with a back three. We cannot afford to lose against Liverpool and really we need a win if we’re to finish in the top seven to qualify for the Europa League, so we need to go for it tonight.

Therefore, we need to match-up against Liverpool and play with a back four and three central midfielders. If we stick with a 3-4-3 [which I think Arteta will] then we’ll get over-run in the middle of the park.

I’d like to see Rob Holding and Sokratis given a run out as they actually formed a decent partnership before Holding injured his knee. And let’s face it, they can’t do any worse than Mustafi, Luiz and Kolasinac. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney should keep their places in the full-back positions.

mesut ozil arsenal 2018

Playing a back four will then allow Arsenal to recall Lucas Torreira and his energy in midfield will be important against Liverpool. Granit Xhaka should start at the base of the three with Dani Ceballos given more freedom to get forward and link-up with the attackers. We’ve missed that ‘link man’ recently and the attackers have been feeding off scraps at times.

Obviously Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should start and as much as I’d prefer to see him through the middle, perhaps it makes sense for him to stay out wide against Liverpool as Alexandre Lacazette should be in confident mood following his stunner against Spurs.

Bukayo Saka should definitely be recalled and while his best position is from the left, he can still do some damage from the right and is a more reliable option than Nicolas Pepe. I’m a huge Pepe fan and think he has the potential to be a terrific player for Arsenal but he’s just too predictable and doesn’t produce the goods often enough, so I’d use him as an impact sub.

Mesut Ozil appears to be back in contention after recovering from a supposed back injury. If he is in the squad, he should be on the bench as he’s not played since March and will be well off the pace.

There will be no Matteo Guendouzi as he’s still being frozen out, Gabriel Martinelli is still injured and Eddie Nketiah is suspended but Reiss Nelson will be an option from the bench along with Joe Willock.

Here is how I hope Arsenal line-up:

football formations

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