Dugout Discussion

Ryan starts in goal for Arsenal as Aubameyang remains on bench

On-loan Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan (£4.2m) makes his Arsenal debut in Gameweek 23.

A hip problem ruled the stopper out for Gameweek 22 but Ryan returned to full training on Friday.

Bernd Leno (£5.0m) is serving a one-match suspension after being sent off as Arsenal lost 2-1 at Wolves on Tuesday. David Luiz (£5.4m) is in the same boat after his red card at Molineux.

Having only returned to the Arsenal matchday squad in GW22 following a personal issue, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.3m) remains on the bench as Pepe (£7.6m) starts again. On that selection call, Mikel Arteta said:

It’s been a really difficult decision, as you can imagine. I felt that the players that played against Wolves, the way they played – they deserve another chance today and that’s why I stick with them.

Pepe joins Bukayo Saka (£5.4m), Emile Smith Rowe (£4.4m), and Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) in Arteta’s four-pronged attack.

With Kieran Tierney (£5.3m) still sidelined, Cedric (£4.6m) continues at left-back while Gabriel (£5.0m) slots in for David Luiz. On the Scottish full-back, Arteta said on Friday:

“We are trying to manage him in the best possible way and find every possibility to give him the best chance to be fit as soon as possible. Kieran is a player that really pushes himself and he has to be able to perform physically at his best because he cannot help himself. Even in training he can’t help himself.”

Asked whether the left-back’s injury has to be managed carefully:

“No, it’s a different injury in this case.”

For Aston Villa, Douglas Luiz (£4.9m) drops to the bench as Marvelous Nakamba (£4.3m) is drafted into midfield.

Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) also returns to Dean Smith’s starting XI, after Anwar El Ghazi (£5.5m) earned a rare start on Wednesday as the Villans were turned over by West Ham.

Speaking to BT Sport ahead of kick off, Smith explained:

Just freshening it up. I rested Betrand on Wednesday. It’s been a lot of games; I think it’s our sixth game in 18 days.

Likewise with Douglas Luiz. He’s done OK but he’s played pretty much every minute so it was time to put Nakamba in.

Emi Martinez (£5.2m) banked four points in that midweek defeat, despite conceding three goals. He lines up behind the usual back four of Matt Targett (£4.8m), Tyrone Mings (£5.4m), Ezri Konsa (£4.6m) and Matty Cash (£5.0m).

Traoré rejoins Ross Barkley (£5.9m) and Jack Grealish (£7.8m) in attacking midfield, with Ollie Watkins (£6.3m) leading the Villa line.

On that West Ham loss, Smith said in his pre-Arsenal press conference on Friday:

The message was they’ve dropped below their standards. We’ve had some very high standards this season already and we keep speaking to the players, if we want to be a top team then we have to keep playing to those standards.

For me, there were too many six out of 10s on Wednesday night and if you drop to that level then you’re going to get beat. We found that out. The lads understand that as well and they know what they have to do to put it right.

On defensive mistakes against the Hammers, Smith added:

After the Burnley game, I only showed (the players) the set-piece goal, which I thought was really poor defending from ourselves. After the West Ham game, our debrief was all three goals, as they were really poor defensively.

I haven’t had cause to do that because we’ve set really high standards this season and I thought we dropped off it. It was the first time I thought we looked mentally tired more than anything, certainly there’s nothing in the numbers to suggest fatigue in any way, but it was the fifth game in 14 days, we’ve got our sixth game on Saturday in 18 days.

The lads have to make sure they’re ready for each game because it’s a tough league and can be punishing if you’re not right.

Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash; McGinn, Luiz; Grealish, Barkley, B Traoré; Watkins.

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ryan; Cedric, Gabriel, Holding, Bellerin; Xhaka, Partey; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka; Lacazette.

1,118 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Must.Go.Faster.
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Arsenal goal may or may not happen

      1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Same as a villa clean sheet.

      2. Must.Go.Faster.
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Darn it!!! Should have said something about Pompey

      3. diesel001
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Arsenal missing a player who can dribble with the ball and take-on players. Grealish, Salah, Son, Pulisic type player.

        1. Jafooli
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          They’ve got Xhaka....

        2. Inazuma X1
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Pepe does that to a certain extent

          1. diesel001
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Pepe isn't good enough for the PL. £70m for Pepe! LOL

            1. Deulofail
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              What does the transfer fee have to do with it?

              1. diesel001
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 8 days ago

                The more money they pay for the you the better you are meant to be.

                1. afcblegend
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 9 Years
                  3 months, 8 days ago

                  money can be exchanged for goods and services

                2. Deulofail
                  • 5 Years
                  3 months, 8 days ago

                  You're taking about how good he (and arsenal players/team) is, not how his he's meant to be

                3. Werner Brothers
                  • 6 Years
                  3 months, 8 days ago

                  Transfer fee can inflate at some point.
                  Just look at kepa. At that time even butland worth 50m. Why? Because GK are at demand & pool just bought alisson for £60m something.

                  When arsenal bought pepe, the choice was him or inflated zaha. Seems logic to me for his reputation at that time.

        3. g40steve
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Ozil

        4. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Son is not exactly a top dribbler. Just good use of space and pace.

        5. Deulofail
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          So are Chelsea

        6. All Hail K
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Like Williian?

          1. diesel001
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Willian is old and can't dribble any more.

      4. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Please please hold.

      5. g40steve
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Ramsey blind to Watkins

      6. Fudgy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Had Martinez since gw2 🙁

      7. Sco
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        5 minutes lmao, behave referee.

        1. Lindelol
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          that will only increase Martinez saves 🙁

      8. Original - Wolves Ay We
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        I'll say it again, don't you dare wish everyone good luck and then start laughing at their bad luck. You hypocrites. You know who you are.

        I've got Martinez by the way.

      9. Burger
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Hooooooold Martinez, let's wait until the very last minute of extra time to concede that goal to inflict maximum pain on owners. 😀

        1. KGFC
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Sadist :-p

        2. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Will not be maximum pain as I have Konsa third on the bench.

      10. ivantys
          3 months, 8 days ago

          15 points on bench now, off to a great start

        • Party time
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Come on Martínez! Feel free to make more saves

          1. Lindelol
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            just let one go past you

        • Rainer
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Super Emi wins a free. +BPS

        • Says
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Cash and Targett combine for a financial goal

        • Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          5 minutes feels like eternity.

        • Sco
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          You don't know stress until you've got a GK hauling with a CS in injury time.

        • Inazuma X1
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Martinez does a double over Arsenal!

        • g40steve
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Ex Forest player Cash is awesome

        • Top Lad Dakes. - all chips …
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Oh ffs. Ofc Watkins is gonna score now that I’ve benched him for Soucek 🙁

          1. Sco
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            The Czech McAuley will probably fluke another goal anyway.

          2. Baps hunter
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            These things do happen. Better to have good bench than not.

        • Duke Silver ☑
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          1bps from 3baps now Emi

        • Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Arsenal are really bad, aren't they?

        • DycheDycheBaby
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          No sign of Charlie Taylor. Not looking good for DGW 🙁

        • sandman58
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Wtf?? Martinez should be on 5 saves...not 3

        • Ted Bovis
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Wow 5min ET...how?

        • I am become Marvin
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          All hail Jackie Weaver.

          1. JIMMY764
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            haha

          2. Limbo
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            You have no authority here.

            1. I am become Marvin
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Ban.

          3. Boss Hogg
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            YOU HAVE NO AUTHORITY HERE.

            1. I am become Marvin
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              And you.

              1. Boss Hogg
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 8 days ago

                Haha!

        • Sco
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          This game should be over. Should have been the standard 3 minutes added on 🙁

        • Flynny
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Pressure on pope now

          1. _Ninja_
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            2 pts locked in.

        • camarozz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          1st time since gw 3 iv benched Martinez lol.

          For Pope whom I just brought in and figured he had a better fixture.

          1. Flynny
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Me too. Hopefully pope will deliver

          2. Little Red Lacazette
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Same

          3. Yes Ndidi
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Have faith in the Pope.

        • Little Red Lacazette
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          I banched Martinez 🙁

          1. Fudgy
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Same 🙁

          2. UNDERWORLD7
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Dayum

          3. Lazaretti
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            0/ should have waited one more week to bring Pope in

        • Top Lad Dakes. - all chips …
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Need a cheeky goal and CS from Ben Mee here

          1. Salan
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Nice if true

          2. 1zverGGadeM
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Really hope for this too as he is my FT this GW

        • JONALDINHO
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Odegaard looks quality

          1. Top Lad Dakes. - all chips …
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Solid signing

        • Top Lad Dakes. - all chips …
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Anyone else with Watkins first sub because you decided to actually play Soucek this week? :/

          1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            I played Kane. Watkins first sub.

          2. All Hail K
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            O/

          3. tbos83
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Another week I really should've BB