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. Kellz86
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    Ditching Martinez after a string of poor performances was definitely one of my big mistakes this season

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Villa will be lucky to keep a cs in this game.

    2. AC/DC AFC
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      We've all made worse!

    3. SM001
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      If that's your biggest mistake this season then you must be doing well.

    4. Londongeezaa
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Benching Soucek, chasing Salah hauls and some rank destroying captaincy choices for me.

  2. Gudjohnsen
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 12 days ago

    Serial offender Grealish lucky to escape a yellow card.

    1. aleksaa2
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      If he didn't get a YC against City, he won't get another one in his whole career

  3. BeWater
      2 months, 12 days ago

      If that challenge was made on Grealish by some no name player they might have been yellow carded.

      1. Gudjohnsen
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Agreed

    • Steve The Spud
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Pépé usless headless chicken

    • diesel001
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Hopefully Arteta takes off Pepe for Auba at HT.

      1. Jafooli
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Arteta should play his WC at HT...

    • ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Arsenal are so bad

      1. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Losing 1-0 away to villa, it’s not that bad (spurs fan)

    • Deulofail
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Is there no punishment for ignoring the 10 yard spray foam?

      1. Jafooli
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Should be made to wear a foam beard for the rest of the game....

        1. Deulofail
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          And pump silly string down their y fronts

          1. Jafooli
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            And play in clown shoes.....

            1. Deulofail
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              And they have to scream like a goat every 20 seconds

    • Sim Simma 🤷 🔑 🚘
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 12 days ago

      Should not have benched Martinez

      1. BeWater
          2 months, 12 days ago

          I benched him too. Played Pope. Still think it's the right decision.

        • Flair
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          2 months, 12 days ago

          45 to go

        • My heart goes Salalalalah
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          LOL see below

          1. Flynny
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Bringing in pope and benching martinez was a sensible thing to do....can't beat yourself up on that...

      2. Jersey Boy
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        As a season-long non-Martínez owner, I’ll take a 6-pointer right now. No doubt he’ll somehow get 2 or 3 bonus though. Serious rank killer

      3. My heart goes Salalalalah
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Played Martinez since gw3. Got Pope this morning for the double, and then decided Pope has a better fixture this week. FML

        1. FantasyTony
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          Sold watkins for Antonio and benched martinez for pope.

          Could still work out but I'm worried right now.

        2. camarozz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          Lol did the same again?

          1. camarozz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Sorry myself not again!

      4. Mr Arsenal
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Grealish is built like a rugby player. Yet he can’t withstand any sort of touch from opposition players.

        1. JONALDINHO
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          From the waist down

        2. The Knights Template
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          He doesn't look anything like Les Boyd!

          1. Danno - Emre Canada
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Or Bill Beaumont

      5. Disturbed
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Benched Martinez for Forster.

      6. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Grealish being warned by the ref

        1. Pariße
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          On 3 fouls and dives constantly.

          1. Mr Arsenal
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Should be booked for consistent diving.

            1. dogtanion
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Are refs afraid to book England internationals or something?

              1. Pariße
                • 6 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                Correct.

      7. diesel001
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Grealish still no YC. What a surprise.....

        1. KAPTAIN KANE
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          Think it has reset now

        2. Super Saints
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          He hasn't done anything to warrant one

          1. dogtanion
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Dissent and 2 bookable fouls.

      8. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Awful from saka

      9. Nightcrawler
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 12 days ago

        Why does grealish get auch favourable treatment from refs?

        Shd have been booked un each if his last 5 games

        1. Pariße
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          Like it or not, there is still a certain level of favouritism towards English players by the refs.

          1. Nightcrawler
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Grealish is english?

            1. Pariße
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Yes but the trash type of it

              1. Amey
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                He's ba very good player

          2. Pariße
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Actually you can’t like it and it’s racist.

            1. Amey
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              LoL

        2. Amey
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          He's © !
          Thus refs talks to him

      10. JONALDINHO
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 12 days ago

        FPL rule no.1 : Always play Martinez

        1. Amey
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          🙁
          I forgot it

        2. Jafooli
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          FPL rule no.2 : Never eat yellow snow

        3. Hasselbaink Forever
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          But not next week

          1. JONALDINHO
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Considering bench boost

        4. Qaiss
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          They had a clean sheet at half time against West Ham also you know...

        5. wulfrunian
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          45 minutes still to come.

        6. Tango74
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Rule 3 :Never pick captain poll winners

        7. Gudjohnsen
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          Saka subbed of at half time?

          1. RamaJama
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Maby after that performance, both Auba and Øde waiting on the bench

          2. mynameisq
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Not unless injured

          3. Sim Simma 🤷 🔑 🚘
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Zero chance.Played really well

            1. GuenDoozy
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Did we watch the same game? aweful performance

        8. IRBOX ⚽
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          Arsenal are rubbish. Watkins an obvious selection this week for the better managers

          1. JONALDINHO
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Bringing in Alonso now was a casual move. He’ll be rested for Chilwell

            1. IRBOX ⚽
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              So he plays next week? With a strong bench it’s irrelevant peanut

          2. The Knights Template
            • 7 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Shitkins up front for the Knights.

            1. Jordan.
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              might have to be sir shitkins

        9. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          Mee captain? Son and Bamford on the bench or someone else?

          Martinez
          Cancelo Stones Mee Coufal
          Salah Bruno Son Gundo Soucek
          Antonio DCL

          Steere Son Bamford Holding

        10. Qaiss
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 12 days ago

          How was that Konsa tackle not honestly a red card ffs, last mannn

          1. Pariße
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Obvious red. This is madness.

            1. Qaiss
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Yeah, if that’s Luiz it’s a red. Getting boring and frustrating, yes we’re crap but that’s a red card 100%

          2. Lev Yashin
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Nah.

            They were level, Saka still had a long way to go and AVL had cover on the inside.

            1. CROYDON DE BRUYNE
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              If that’s David Luiz or Granit Xhaka, they’re getting sent off

              1. Pariße
                • 6 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                This is the truth. How does Arsenal have 5 reds despite being one of the less aggressive teams in the league.

                1. mwa1t
                    2 months, 12 days ago

                    Because you have David Luiz, who is a donkey, and Granit Xhaka who is an aggressive tackler

              2. Pariße
                • 6 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                There was cover because the foul allowed the other defender to come closer, but nowhere near level and Saka was getting towards the goal first. Denial of goalscoring opportunity, res card.

                1. Lev Yashin
                  • 8 Years
                  2 months, 12 days ago

                  Nope, sorry.

          3. Kaneyonero
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Went Wilson with instead of Watkins. Hoping for a Wilson hattrick

            1. The Knights Template
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              I'm having scrambled eggs and toast tomorrow. With a black coffee.

              1. Flair
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                2 months, 12 days ago

                I'm jealous.

                1. The Knights Template
                  • 7 Years
                  2 months, 12 days ago

                  I'm going to read the paper too.

          4. LewanGOALski
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Pope (C) next GW..? 😉

            1. Phlajo
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Yeah I'm probably doing it!

          5. Hadebayor Mum
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            2 months, 12 days ago

            FAO Martinez benchers. There are 45 minutes left. Even if he keeps a CS, your GK you did pick is still yet to play. Villa defensive numbers have dropped off. Have faith in your decision making process.

            1. IRBOX ⚽
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Desperation

              1. Hadebayor Mum
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                2 months, 12 days ago

                OK, I’ll bite. Just trying to make people feel better And spread some cheer rather than be an enormous troll.

              2. Amsterhammer
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                Yawn.

            2. Flynny
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              It was a common sense decision to bring in pope this week. Better fixture and dgw etc.

              1. PogChamp
                • 9 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                I think Mee was a better option if you owned Martinez

            3. Sun Jihai
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Kept a CS last game vs. Arsenal though

            4. Amsterhammer
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Agree. You have to trust the data led decision making process. Arsenal have strong attacking stats and Villa's defence has been regressing.

          6. CROYDON DE BRUYNE
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Need that Villa CS wiped out, have Targett on the bench

            1. Qaiss
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Auba will come on and score

            2. El Presidente
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 12 days ago

              So what he's on the bench??? I don't get it. Better to have a 6 pointer on the bench than a 1 pointer right?

          7. LT10
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Would you bench boost this?

            McCarthy (WOLVES)
            Coufal (SHU)
            Robbo (leic)
            Anguissa (eve; bur)

            1. Sid1891
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              I would

          8. afcblegend
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            It doesn't matter if Martinez starts taking penalties - I'm NOT getting him in

          9. TheDragon
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            GW24 Bench Boost anyone?

            - Defensive fixtures are amazing
            - Due to KDB/ Kane being out we uniquely have lots of spare money to get a good bench without damaging starting 11
            - I can get a bench of double Burnley, Rodriguez & Bamford for a -4
            - Makes it much easier to then navigate 26 and 29 (plus wildcard) without worrying about spreading the cash round for bench boost. Getting a team you want to bench boost 26 but can also field a team in 29 is hard

            Thoughts?

            1. Nanoelektronicar
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Considering it. Martinez, Bamford, Dallas and Coufal doesn't look to inspiring though.

            2. LT10
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              I'm certainly considering it.
              But... will we know the GW 26/29 doubles/blanks before the GW 24 deadline?

            3. Chandler Bing
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Not if you have your WC. Upside of having 15 DGW players outweighs any point you'll bring in favour of BB24

              1. TheDragon
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                Your bench is only 4 players - so if they are DGWers in 24 or 26 why does it matter?

                The fact I have my WC is the reason I want to get it used pre 26

            4. Flair
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Team dependent

              2nd point makes BB26 more viable

              1. TheDragon
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                Kane will be back for 26

                1. Flair
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  2 months, 12 days ago

                  No issues there

            5. Jon Walter's Hatty
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Maybe as with Dias Cancelo Digne Lowton Dawson the fixtures could hardly be better. Just need a keeper.

            6. sunzip14
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              Burnley defenders aren't exactly bench players next week. You are trying to make your argument appealing, but surely you are not going to bench Burnley defense next week without BB.

              1. TheDragon
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                Cancelo, Dias, Mee, AWB, Coufal would be my 5 defenders - all too good to bench

              2. sunzip14
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 12 days ago

                I am getting 2 Burnley defenders as well. After I get them, I think my bench will be DDG, Son, Coufal, Justin. Contemplating BB24 myself but Son's and Justin's fixtures aren't appealing. I have all chips left so maybe after knowing DGW26 fixtures, we can plan more clearly.

            7. vincentwsho
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 12 days ago

              I am pondering but I guess have to see what the DGW26 fixtures are first....

              I can potentially have De Gea, Coufal, Dallas, Bamford as bench boost, but not sure with Leeds playing Arsenal... high risk high reward maybe

          10. Deulofail
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            That Xhaka FK miss will keep him in good favour for the rest of the season

          11. COYR
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 12 days ago

            Mendy
            Cancelo* Stones* Coufal
            Bruno(c) Salah Son Gundo
            Bamford Antonio Watkins

            Forster | Neto Dallas Justin
            2 FTs 5.3ITB

            A) Forster + Justin > Pope* + Mee*
            B) Forster + Watkins > Pope* + DCL*
            C) Forster + Neto > Pope* + Rodriguez/Siggy*

            Any other suggestions welcome!