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. mwa1t
      3 months, 5 days ago

      Arsenal fans with a real victim complex since dropping out of the top 4

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

        Please explain

        1. Amey
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 5 days ago

          Read last page 😉

          1. Qaiss
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 5 days ago

            For a man united fan, the referees do great.

            1. Amey
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Not always 😎

        2. mwa1t
            3 months, 5 days ago

            Results aren't what they're used to and suddenly the world is conspiring against Arsenal

            1. Scots Gooner
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Arsenal are where they deserve to be. Have played like crap the majority of rhus season.

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

              Please explain the conspiracy. Just that Grealish might have got a yellow?

              1. mynameisq
                • 7 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                He's not saying there's a conspiracy, he's making fun of arsenal fans who claim there is one

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

                  And I am asking what the supposed conspiracy is, or evidence that Arsenal fans believe in one or have a victim complex.

                  1. Rostah
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    3 months, 5 days ago

                    All you need to do is visit the Arsenal sub on reddit to see that a sizeable amount of the fan base are talking about a conspiracy against them. That conspiracy being with regards to reffing decisions going against them. There's plenty of evidence that a section of their fanbase are talking about it, whether they truly believe it or just venting is another story

              2. mwa1t
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  Agree Grealish could have been booked easily. See comment below about how Gabriel would have been booked if he made the challenge that Konsa did.

                  Let's remember Villa have 2 YC to Arsenal's 0 so far, yet the referee is biased towards Villa?

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

                    Poor logic, sorry. If one team gets a red card, does the other team deserve one to balance things out?

          • Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            3 months, 5 days ago

            They're at 10th currently, wow. Didn't realize they were still stuck in mid-table 😆

          • Mr Arsenal
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 5 days ago

            Everybody has a victim complex when they don’t get decisions. Mourinho, Klopp, Pep..

            Still - if Gabriel commits that foul in the first half, I think he gets a red.

            1. mwa1t
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Ok 'Mr Arsenal'

            2. EmreCan Hustle
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Its other fan bases that feel Arsenal fans are no longer entitled to an opinion because they are a small club now. But all fan bases are entitled to an opinion and Arsenal have a lot of fans.

              Having endured 16 years of league trophy drought, something so trivial won't affect Arsenal fans.

            3. Amsterhammer
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              I've got loads of Arsenal in my family. I don't think there is much of a victim complex going on.

            4. FantasyTony
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              I think a lot of people (myself included) conflate all Arsenal fans with AFTV.

              Ultimately, Arsenal's fan base is like any others but I must admit I take more pleasure in their failure because I get to the watch those clowns lose their mind.

              1. Old Man
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                nice use of conflate!

                1. FantasyTony
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  Thanks old man

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

                They do get angree with officials, but historically, I think they have gotten more angry at players and managers, so if anything, they would be evidence of Arsenal fans putting the responsibility onto themselves and their own club rather than vicimising themselves. It's clear Arsenal haven't been good enough to Arsenal fans, especially so, as they watch their own team play.

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

                I agree with your conflation theory though. 🙂

          • TheDragon
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 5 days ago

            Anyone thinking about a GW24 Bench Boost?

            - 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. tbos83
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Agree

              • Phlajo
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Yep. My plan as well. The chip itself will give more points in 26 alone, but being able to use WC without setting whole team up for BB is worth it imo

                1. Sharkytect
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  This is the major benefit.

              • THFC4LIFE
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                All depends on what chips you have left to play.

                I have FH WC and BB so I’ll likely WC 25 BB 26 and FH 29 or use WC after BB to take funds off the bench

                1. TheDragon
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  Ye agree that if you have FH left too then your plan is the best.

                  Mine is where you have BB and WC left

                  1. THFC4LIFE
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 4 Years
                    3 months, 5 days ago

                    Your plan looks good for the chips you have. Good luck

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

                  I don’t love any of the doubles’ fixtures in 26. I have all chips intact as well, but I’m basically backing Burnley to perform with those fixtures. Could go wrong but I’ll take my chances

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

                I’m planning to. Decent gameweek to play it and I fancy not having to worry about WCing with a strong bench in near future

              • chaser123
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                How can you decide this before knowing who will have doubles in 26 and blanks in 29?

                1. TheDragon
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  That’s why I said thinking about it 🙂

                  But agree (at least in part) that it depends what 26 and 29 look like

                  It’s just not an idea I’ve seen mentioned

                  1. chaser123
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 3 Years
                    3 months, 5 days ago

                    Ahh ok, makes sense. Yeh definitely is possibly the way to go!

                2. Hazz
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  Tbh everyone is speculating at the moment, about every strategy.

              • Hazz
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                I might do.

                Martinez // Bamford / Raphinha / Mitchell

                Could easily do Mitchell > BUR defender.

                Bamford & Raphinha vs. Arsenal isn't the simplest unfortunately, but means I can keep them on the bench in DGW26, ready for BGW29.

              • Salan
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Mostly agree. By looking at my team now, I find it is not bad to do BB in gw24, without using WC.

              • JIMMY764
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Certainly something I would like to do with just BB + WC left. As you say, obvs depends on how the fixtures shape up for 26/29.

                As it stands my 24 BB would consist of Martinez, Watkins, Coufal + KWP without a hit and would play Son. Decent enough single fixtures I suppose?

            2. Stand By Mee
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Sorry I got Pope and benched Martinez. Sometimes less is more.

            3. Bruce Lee
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Watkins in at GW19 was an inspired move

            4. Sun Jihai
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Hopefully Odegaard comes on in the second half.

              1. The Knights Template
                • 7 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Yep

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

              Been out shopping. All this post crying over not playing Martinez made me sure he had 6 savepoints + penaltysave. Surprised to seere has only 1 save.

              1. Bruce Lee
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                lollll true

              2. The Knights Template
                • 7 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Grocery shopping?

            6. COYR
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Afternoon all, thinking ahead to next GW already!

              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!

              1. COYR
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Also considering Pope(c)...

            7. Vertigo
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Starting to think I'm jinxed with defenders.

              Saïss, Dier, Holding... Anytime I go anywhere near these people their form goes out the window.

              Suppose it's Ben Mee's turn next.

              1. aleksaa2
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                I'd believe you, if you didn't put Dier and form in the same sentence.

                1. Vertigo
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 3 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  5 clean sheets in 6 when I bought him.

                  1. aleksaa2
                    • 4 Years
                    3 months, 5 days ago

                    Their defensive purple patch was very weird for me. They didn't concede against Che, Ars and Mci (3 games in a row if I recall correctly) and were very poor before it and after that patch they are awful defensively CS wise. But even in these games Dier was far from good.

                    1. F_Ivanovic
                      • 5 Years
                      3 months, 5 days ago

                      The same has been true for a number of the so called bigger teams this season. United had kept 7 CS iirc (before Sou game) and 5 of them were against other big sides with them shipping plenty of goals against some of the weaker sides.

                      Lots of 0-0's in the big games for every team

              2. Werner Brothers
                • 6 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                NOOOOO

            8. Steve The Spud
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Bellerin is guff

              1. Dannyb
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Water is wet

            9. Sailboats
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Thanks to all who told me to bench Holding instead of Stones

              1. Steve The Spud
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Sorry but who on earth would advise otherwise

                1. Hybrid.power
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 11 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  RMT tool told me to play him. I ignored it.

                  1. F_Ivanovic
                    • 5 Years
                    3 months, 5 days ago

                    Did it? CS odds were better for City than Arsenal. I guess they are factoring in the fact he might be benched in that score though - so you have to use common sense to ignore that possibility since he's either going to start or not play

              2. Dannyb
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Holding 30 yard screamer incoming

            10. Mr Arsenal
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Grealish doesn’t skip leg days

              1. Bruce Lee
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                He is a bit smart too... the socks that go up half-way up the calf make them look bigger

            11. Super Saints
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Grealish goal needed badly

            12. Sack The Glazers
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              thinking of BB next week, right now my bench is Emi, Dallas, Grealish and Justin

            13. Steve The Spud
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Arsenal curling balls into the box with no one in there

            14. Sco
              • 7 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Martin Keown is a horrible commentator. So biased too.

              1. afcblegend
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Agree with you on that - end of the Arsenal commentator spectrum is Lee Dixon, what a legend.

              2. THFC4LIFE
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Nearly as bad as Steve McManaman

              3. Boss Hogg
                • 11 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Biased? Good.
                Why on earth would you want pundits to hide their emotions and preferences? Dull, dull, dull.

                (But Keown is crap!)

              4. Steve Chance
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Keown. The moron's moron.

              5. Gooner Kebab
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Lol, its not like most ex Liverpool or United pundits are not biased.

            15. Flair
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Pepe shot goes narrowly wide

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

              Barkley selfish Watkins waiting

            17. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Ross Barkley should pass the ball at times instead of looking for a jammy goal.

            18. Old Man
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Auba warming up

            19. JONALDINHO
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Would you bench boost this?
              Martinez (bha)
              Dallas (ars)
              Coufal (SHU)
              Bamford (ars)

              I feel like Arsenal would suit Leeds in an end to end game

              1. My heart goes Salalalalah
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Yes

            20. Steve The Spud
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Villa CS are so jammy they look awful at the back

            21. Party time
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Arteta is not the Messiah

            22. Mighty Wings
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Since I have no WC or FH left would it make sense to get Areola instead of Pope to make sure I have at least a playing GK in GW 29?

              1. Mighty Wings
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Should add that I already have Mee

              2. Major League Shocker
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 1 Year
                3 months, 5 days ago

                No, it would be better to just take the 0 in GW29.

              3. DK_13
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Yup

            23. My heart goes Salalalalah
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Martinez another save

              1. Flair
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                3 months, 5 days ago

                😮

            24. Flair
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Another Martinez save

              1. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                We need four more and BAPS. No need for cleansheet.

            25. Von Lipwig
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              For GW24, I'm looking for a great midfield option to replace Son. If I can find one, I'll bench boost I reckon.

              Current midfield (and have max city already)

              Salah Bruno Gundogan Grealish Son*

              Looking for any suggestions

              1. S.Kuqi
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Rashford?

            26. Jellyfish
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Lowton rising tonight by the looks. Is Holdimg > Lowton for the double worth it ?

              1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Yes

            27. Says
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Saka misses the target by hitting the Targett

              1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                So if he hits the target is that another save for Martinez.

                1. Says
                  • 10 Years
                  3 months, 5 days ago

                  obviously

            28. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              All set up for an arsenal equalizer.

            29. tiger
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 5 days ago

              Laca Gone

              1. Ejaaz11
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                3 months, 5 days ago

                Yes and my cup rival captained him