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We have a new author in our stable, aka CER The Younger. Welcome, 21st Century Gooner!

Courtesy of womblesofficial.com

The Gunners take on AFC Wimbledon on Wednesday night in the third round of the Carabao Cup. We can probably expect a heavily rotated side, as after picking up back-to-back wins and clean sheets following the international break the pressure has eased on Mikel Arteta somewhat. This coupled with the fact that we have a meeting with that lot down the road on the weekend. But that’s not to say the boss will take the visitors lightly. We have already seen that Arteta is a man who takes the cup competitions seriously. Since being appointed in 2019 he has enjoyed a good record in non-premier league games. We, of course, won the FA Cup in 2020 after beating Manchester City and Chelsea, won the Charity Shield a few weeks later and made the semi-finals of the Europa champions league last season. At the same time, we can hope to see a couple of the lads from Hale End get a run out.

But what do we know about our South West London visitors other than they live underground, overground wombling free? Well, they are a relatively new club, having risen from the ashes of the former Wimbledon FC in 2002 after their controversial relocation to Milton Keynes 50 miles north of their SW17 home. Their fans were understandably furious about this, so they decided to do something about it, forming the phoenix club AFC Wimbledon. They had to begin at the bottom way down in the ninth tier of the English football pyramid. They have been promoted an impressive six times since then and since 2016 they have plied their trade in league one (that’s division three in old money) just two divisions below the Premier League. Impressive. They also have the record of being the only club in the football league formed in the 21st century. So, despite their brief history, this is a club with great pride in their club and what they have achieved. We can expect to see a side with a lot of togetherness and fighting spirit, who will be eager to compete and not just happy to be playing top class opposition (now we’ve stormed to the dizzy heights of 13th). That said this is a game we really should be winning.

But what kind of team can we expect to see? Arteta surprised many with his strong selection in the previous round with Aubameyang, Pepe and Saka all starting. We romped to a 6-0 win that night although this was partially because West Brom played the kids. We will not get that benefit against this AFC Wimbledon side, with many of their players quite possibly viewing this game as a chance to put themselves in the shop window. Following Leno being usurped by Aaron Ramsdale for the PL team, it is more than likely the German will start in goal. At the back it may well be the out of favour Cedric Soares on the right-hand side with the chuckle brothers, Holding and Mari in the middle. Then on the left it’s a toss-up between the dynamic and rangy Tavares and part-time minder Sead Kolasinac. Bearing in mind we have just signed the former and are trying to offload the latter you would expect Arteta to go with the Portugal U-21 international.

Onto the midfield. Will it be 4-3-3? For the first time in a long while on Saturday, the boss went with his preferred 4-3-3 which was effective in the first half before waning in the second half as the Ginger Testicle’s Orcs set about playing the Tony Pulis school of neanderthal football. Much like they say, “Thursday is the new Friday”, Burnley are the new Stoke. Anyway, I digress. It is likely that we will see the Egyptian Pirlo sitting in the middle of the park orchestrating the game with his five yards sideways passing to the centre backs. We may well see one of Ainsley Maitland Niles or Albert Sambi Lokonga sitting next to Elneny with both players coming on as second half substitutes at Turf Moor. It will be interesting to see who plays in the creative midfielder role. It is unlikely Arteta will want to risk either Emile Smith Rowe or Martin Odegaard ahead of next week’s derby but if not highly rated 17-year-old Charlie Patino may get a run out. The teenager impressed in the U-21’s 2-1 defeat at Swindon in the Papa John’s last week and many scouts have said that he is set to go down “the Phil Foden route”, where instead of being a flat track bully in youth football he will be given opportunities with the first team. How soon those chances will present themselves remains to be seen, but he is certainly tipped for a very bright future. Clearly the BFG is making sure these kids are eating their Weetabix.

Up front, Arteta has a plethora of options. Hopefully we see Martinelli on the left, with a bit of luck the Brazilian can get a goal or two to kickstart his season. Up top it may well be Lacazette leading the line. The Frenchman has rarely got a look in this season due to a combination of Covid and falling out of favour. He will almost certainly be leaving on a Bosman at the end of the campaign so in all fairness it would make more sense to play those who are part of the long-term project. So again, it could be anyone out of the Frenchman or Nketiah or Balogun who has returned to academy football since that chastening evening at Brentford. There’s the classic, too good for youth football but not ready for topflight football. Quite the dilemma. A loan to a top half championship club and regular first team action would do him the world of good. Then we could see Pepe on the right perhaps. He has had a strange start to the season, but he is finally getting a regular run of games this year it seems. Again, Arteta will not want to run the risk of an injury to a key player ahead of such a huge game, but we are lacking in right wingers with Nelson off in Holland on loan.

So, it is all set up to be an interesting evening under the lights in N5. A chance for those who can’t regularly attend to go and watch their heroes in action and another chance for Arsenal to continue the momentum ahead of the derby. COYG!

51 Drinks to “Wimbledon- An Uncommon Story”

  1. 1
    North Bank Ned says:

    I am glad to see we have a youth policy, too, and a most promising debut. More to come, I hope.

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    What an excellent review CER the Younger! A really top debut on this site. I believe we are expecting 50,000 at the game, with 9000 of these from our opponents!

  3. 3
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@previous drinks. The Sheriff of London’s Shield was was huge. Over six feet tall.

    Originally presented in 1898 by Lord Dewar, of the whisky distilling family and Sheriff of London that year, to be contested between the best amateur and professional side of the day, the former being represented by the Corinthians by default. It was replaced in 1908 by the FA Charity Shield, played between the winners of the Football League and the Southern League, as the professionals were getting too good for the amateurs.

    Occasional fund-raisers, always in London like the original matches, were played subsequently, the last in 1983 when Watford played the Corinthian-Casuals with both sides sporting 19th-century attire. Corinthian-Casuals, which for reasons unknown had retained possession of the shield despite last winning it in 1904, auctioned it off for £25,000 in the 1990s to pay for an all-weather pitch. It was bought by a mystery American, taken out of the country and has not seen the light of day since. The FA apparently tried to track it down to show at both its 1996 Euros exhibition and an event celebrating the shield’s centenary in 1998, but with no success.

    If the Shield was on show at Highbury in 1965, you may be one of the few living souls to have seen it.

  4. 4
    21st century gooner says:

    @northbankned & countryman100 thank you for the feedback, It’s very much appreciated!

  5. 5
    LuluMR says:

    Excellent review. Hope it’s a good night for the gooners going tomorrow.

  6. 6
    Trev says:

    Nice debut indeed, 21st C G !

    Wimbledon will hopefully be a bit bemused to find the nets at either end of the court instead of strung out across the halfway line. And the chair umpire running around on the pitch !

    I’m quite liking your team but please no more Kolasinac. If Lacazette plays it’s to be hoped he feels motivated to try to win a place for the weekend rather than to be pissed off at playing for the reserves.

    A win really has to be within our grasp whoever is on the pitch.

  7. 7
    Doctor Faustus says:

    I see that I have now lost the privilege of being the second youngest horse in the Goonerholics stable of writers! 😉

    But Guunersaurs Stunt Double’s displacement from the numero uno to only the second youngest will probably be felt more acutely! 😂😂

    Let me join the others in welcoming you and offer my heartiest congratulations for a wonderfully written piece! Bravo! Hope to read more from you.

    I know this may not happen but this is the starting eleven I would like to see tomorrow, sticking to 4-3-3:
    Chambers – Holding – Mari – Tavares
    Sambi – Patino – ESR
    Balogun – Lacazette – Martinelli

    (Eddie on the bench, to come on for Balogun later in the second half)

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    I’m hoping this week will be one marking great debuts for several Gunners .We’ve certainly seen a quite excellent one here in 21C Gooner’s terrific preview . It’s a conundrum in that we want to maintain momentum but protect against injury , give games to understudies but ensure we have a competitive team and see if some of Hale End’s finest can cut it in the first team .
    I like your side 21 C G . I’d like to see Balogun and Martinelli and don’t want to see Elneny or Kolasinac although the Egyptian Pirlo probably has to play ( not a sentence I often write) .The midfield is key with Arsenal and they may need to play Sambi with Elneny and I think I’d give Saka the 10 role . If all goes well we can bring on Charlie to give a Patino( a) to the performance .See what I did there ? Hutchinson and Taylor- Hart, maybe even Biereth might be candidates to come on but we need to leaven this group with experience as well
    A 3-1 win awaits us in our relentless drive towards Wembley

  9. 9
    21st century gooner says:

    @trev- agreed, hope we see a start for Nuno, like what I’ve seen from him so far, he’s quick and dynamic, both things that Kola lacks.
    @DF- thank you for the warm welcome! Like the look of your team, only reservation I’d have is Patino, not sure he is ready for a start at just 17 but I’d like to see him get a run out for the last 15-20 mins if we have the game wrapped up by then.
    @TTG-going for a healthy 4-0 romp if all goes to plan. Would like to see martinelli and balogun get on the scoresheet, the former was unlucky with injuries last season, but he really is a fantastic player. That goal at Chelsea is among my favourite arsenal goals of the last decade.

  10. 10
    North Bank Ned says:

    4-0 is available at a surprisingly miserly 15/2 with the bookmakers. I suspect the Guv’nor might have slipped a pound on 5-1 at 25s with a cover at 2-0 or 3-0, both available at fives.

    If we rest the bulk of the first team ahead of the NLD, we will have a team on the field not used to playing together so goals may be few and far between.

    I, too, doubt Patino will start, but he is more than likely to come in off the bench unless we need to send on the heavy cavalry to rescue the match.

  11. 11
    bathgooner says:

    An excellent debut, 21st C Gooner. Welcome on board.

    I think your team is close to what we will see and expect the keeper and the first three of the back four you have suggested while like others I would prefer to see Tavares rather than Kolasinac at LB. I also expect a midfield trio of AMN, Elneny and Sambi which should be solid enough but lacks creative flair. Given that I think Odegaard still needs game time to develop his sharpness I expect him to start in the ‘ten’ role before giving way to Patino after 60 minutes if the game is secure (!). Up front I think we will see a pair of Lacazette plus either Balogun or Martinelli hoping the ball-holding skills of the old fella will be symbiotic with the mobility of the younger chap.

    I don’t expect a cricket score. There may only be a goal or two in it. However I do expect a victory.

  12. 12
    TTG says:

    This is an impressive outline of what Arsenal are trying to achieve from the BFG . It’s about an hour but it’s good

  13. 13
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21stC gooner👍 Great start!!
    Like the look of that side though
    I’d like to see Calum start.
    Used to go and watch Wimbledon
    in the old Southern League in the
    70s – the 1970s that is – and enjoyed
    several nights at their Friday night
    club disco🕺🕺. Still, nostalgia be damned
    and I hope we give them a good

  14. 14
    bt8 says:

    Welcome 21cg and thanks for an excellent preview. It’s high time we brought in somebody to reduce the average age quotient around here, and you’ve done swimmingly.

  15. 15
    bt8 says:

    Trev, I sure do hope their darting ballboys and ballgirls don’t collide with the referee and players on their way cross-court. 🎾⚽️🎾⚽️

  16. 16
    Trev says:

    One-love to the Arsenal 🎶🎵🎶🎵


  17. 17
    Noosa Gooner says:

    I’m afraid nothing less will do tonight.

  18. 18
    Cynic says:

    One-love to the Arsenal

    Let’s hope it’s not a case of “New balls please”

  19. 19
    Countryman100 says:

    Looks like Burnley was a good work out before set piece specialists Wimbledon. Choice of goalkeeper and CBs will be interesting.


  20. 20
    North Bank Ned says:

    One for Patino watchers:
    Sporting the vacant 24 shirt a teaser for his promotion to the first-team squad?

  21. 21
    ClockEndRider says:

    Very interesting , Ned. Good spot.

  22. 22
    Las says:

    Welcome 21CG,
    Excellent preface. I hope the team will follow your footsteps and beat Wimbledon.
    It will be tough though. Wimbledon will throw everything they have, as it’s their game of the season.

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cedric, Holding, Mari, Nuno Tavares
    Lokonga, Thomas, Maitland-Niles
    Nketiah, Martinelli, Lacazette

    Hein, Chambers, Kolasinac, Elneny, Smith Rowe, Saka, Balogun

    So no Patino.

  24. 24
    Silly Second Yella says:

    “Wimbledon will throw everything they have”


    a pebble?

  25. 25
    ClockEndRider says:

    Well, there’s a turn up……much stronger team than many had thought, not least 21CG! A bit disappointing not to see Patino at all but you have to think Arteta is holding him back for a reason…..

  26. 26
    Silly Second Yella says:

    Come on Arsenal!

    Come on Arsenal!

  27. 27
    Gooner_KS says:

    Is the game being shown on tv, anywhere?

  28. 28
    ClockEndRider says:

    I take your point. At the same time a pebble from a slingshot can be quite effective. Ask that Goliath bloke.

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Hein ahead of Okonkwo is also noteworthy, in a minor sort of way, though it begs the question of why Okonkwo was promoted to the first-team and Hein left in the U-23s.

    A night off for Ramsdale, the first-choice back four, Ødegaard, Pepe and the captain.

  30. 30
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Assuming that’s 4-3-3 again. Maybe Partey as the most advanced given his passing qualities. Hopefully one of his long rangers will find the back of the net.

    ESPN+ in US completely messed up by not deciding to stream the matches that don’t involve two PL teams.

  31. 31
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned@29: In the first team photo session both Hein and Okonkwo are present, along with Ramsdale and Leno. That is interesting …

  32. 32
    ClockEndRider says:

    How long has it been since we could put out as strong a 2nd XI (with only Partey a nailed on first XI starter)?

  33. 33
    Silly Second Yella says:

    6 – nil


  34. 34
    Doctor Faustus says:

    CER@32: Great point! Hope to see Balogun coming on earlier in the second half. Eddie is definitely leaving — as he has every right to, we have chosen Balogun over him for the long run, and I believe correctly — in winter or next summer, so I would rather see Balogun getting more minutes.

  35. 35
    TTG says:

    I tried asking Goliath but he claimed to be dead . Lame excuse

  36. 36
    ClockEndRider says:

    Typical. Philistines…..

  37. 37
    ClockEndRider says:

    That was a joke……or maybe it wasn’t….Either way, I appear to have killed chat.
    Well done, me!

  38. 38
    Las says:

    Yes, a pebble, why not, and a handful of green grass and a couple of tennis balls.

  39. 39
    North Bank Ned says:

    We still seem to be struggling to score.

  40. 40
    Gooner_KS says:

    Finally we score the second, get in

  41. 41
    Las says:

    I can’t wait for the report… I could not find a working stream anywhere…

  42. 42
    Gooner_KS says:

    And the third 💪, Eddie

  43. 43
    North Bank Ned says:

    We all didn’t see the same game, Las!

  44. 44
    Las says:

    ESR and Nketiah on the scoresheet. The young guns firing.

  45. 45
    Las says:

    Ned@ well, you know, that is how to build community 🙂

  46. 46
    North Bank Ned says:

    Another clean sheet and through to the next round. A decent evening’s work by the second string, by the looks of it — not that I have seen any of it!

  47. 47
    North Bank Ned says:

    Lars@45: 🙂

  48. 48
    North Bank Ned says:

    LIkely to ba tough draw in the next round with 11 of the other 15 sides through being from the Premiership.

  49. 49
    North Bank Ned says:

    It is Leeds at home in the next round. Winnable.

  50. 50
    21st century gooner says:

    So after writing a preview I couldn’t even find a working stream to watch the game! Sounds like many of you had the same issue. It seems mental to me that in 2021 this can still be the case even for a cup game. Having watched the highlights, it seems we played quite well and pleased to see esr and Eddie on the score sheet. Leeds at home in the next round is a good draw, they’ll bring the noise and it should be on tv. The road to Wembley continues….

  51. 51
    scruzgooner says: