ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ramsey, Özil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Sokratis is a 30-year-old centreback who has 79 caps for Greece.
So the big stopper has played against top international strikers like Salah and Mane, like Giroud and Hazard, like Aguero and Sanchez, like Lukaku and Kane.
Today’s visitors Manchester City have another world class team on their bench
In any European League, that’s a formidable attack, so Arsenal will have to focus of winning the ball. If they don’t win the ball often enough, and keep it well enough, they’ll be swamped today.
Sokratis might be vital today.
He played for Genoa from 2008–2010 and then joined AC Milan, who loaned him to Werder Bremen for 2011-2012 and Bremen bought him for the following season. Then Sokratis played five seasons.for Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal has signed a world class anchorman-playmaker but does not start this game.
In a game that’s fast and squeezed, Lucas Torreira, the 22-year-old Uruguayan from Sampdoria, will be still be tigerish and accurate.
Torreira is a very astute signing who scored when Samp beat Juventus 3-2 last November.
Arsenal have to interrupt Man City’s rhythm and take their chances. In Ozil and Aubameyang they do have tidy finishers.
Last Monday night I watched MNF with Gary Neville and guest Pep Guardiola.
GNev asked whether, if Plan A wasn’t working, the City boss would ever consider switching to Plan B.
Pep’s reply was,”No. We tried to improve Plan A.”
Later on in that programme, Pep said we should not over-value tactics, insisting that “The success of the season is the quality of the players.”
So there you have it : Man City’s success depends on the skill of those players to pass accurately at high speed, and keep doing that in game after game after game.
I don’t make predictions in August because right now we have seen nothing and know less than nothing.
If had to guess, I’d say Arsenal will not ship 59 goals in 38 league games again.
If Unai Emery does bring Champions League football back to Arsenal, he won’t lose 5-1 and 5-1 to Bayern Munich.