Szczesny back, Nacho & Chambers CBs, Rosa, Ozil & Ox starts? Brighton Preview & Line-up

Some ground and with the best pies.... :)

Some ground and with the best pies…. :)

A very good friend of mine is a devout Brighton Supporter, so I asked him if he wouldn’t mind putting together a short piece on his beloved team ahead of the cup tie. To protect his anonymity, I am going to refer to him as Asad (Arabic for lion).

For many years Asad and I trawled the Middle-East, visiting clients and prospects.  In countries where we could, we would often share a beer in the evening and talk about our teams.   If ever Asad saw a rich Arab he would suggest we asked him if he would like to invest in the ‘Seagulls’.  At the time Brighton were playing in a rented athletics stadium, and I had the pleasure of attending a couple of games and it was pretty grim.

Asad and I often visited Abu Dhabi and he was a little upset to hear that they were investing in Manchester City.   By chance, Brighton were playing City in a Carling cup match and Asad decided to convince Abu Dhabi they had made the wrong decision.  The following may sound a little far fetched but it is true (I have photographic evidence). With the help of some Arab friends posters were designed in Arabic, saying things like “you bought the wrong club”, and Brighton supporters are better looking than City supporters.   These were then paraded around the ground by Asad and the Brighton cheerleaders shortly before the City game kick off.   99 per cent of the stadium would have had no idea what the posters said, but Asad was reaching out to the Abu Dhabi party who were visiting.  It had some effect because lowly Brighton beat City and kicked them out of the Carling cup.

That night a plan was hatched to wind Asad up.   With the assistance of our friends in our Middle-Eastern office, the following morning Asad arrived at his desk and received a call from one of our Abu Dhabi office telling him that having 1) seen the posters 2) noticed the result and 3) discovered that the City sponsors would be Etihad ( Abu Dhabi’s new airline), it had been decided that Etihad, which translates to ‘Unite’, wasn’t appropriate for City shirts.   The deal was in danger and maybe Brighton would be considered.  They also told him the Abu Dhabi press had got hold of the story and it was causing quite a stir.

A number of us told Asad that we had also heard about it and poor old Asad was jumping with joy.   He telephoned a number of his Seagull supporting friends to tell them the exciting news, while we sat behind him with tears rolling down our faces.  He then decided he would call the Brighton press office to alert them to the news.  An executive decision was quickly made that we would have to end the fun and tell him it was a wind up…….he wasn’t happy.

I have to be honest, I don’t consider to be much of a tactical genius but in order to stimulate conversation this is the way I expect our team to line up on Sunday.

Predicted Line-Up

Keeper. Szs.   I don’t want to give Brighton any clues, so this will be ‘for your eyes only’, but I understand Szs will be given a ‘Licence to Kill’.    Hopefully, he won’t ‘Die Another Day’, but let’s face it, you ‘Only Live Twice’, and If Brighton try the long ball Szs is well equipped to deal with the ‘Skyfall’.

Full backs. Bellerin and Gibbs.   I’d be tempted to rest the BFG and Kos and pair Nacho and Chambers; this might tempt fate, but a BFG rest is long overdue and I get the impression that Kos needs to look after his injuries.

Double DM Pivot. Le Coq is a must for me with Rambo alongside.   It worked so well against City, its got to worth another shot.  Dependent on the way the Seagulls line up, Rambo would be given permission to roam

In midfield. I would go With Little Mozart, the Ox and Ozil.    Rosicky and Ozil need game time and the OX is still in need of a confidence boost.

Giroud up front.

240115171207 

So, now I hand over to  my good friend Asad for an honest appraisal from a Seagull. With TA’s permission I will invite Asad to join the debate to answer any questions etc.

The Mighty Seagulls versus the Gunners.

Brighton_Pier_Aral

So, a giant killing this week on the cards? Especially after our surprising victory over Ipswich midweek?

Speak to most Brighton fans and you will find they are more realist than optimist.

This is more of a showcase for our new ground, our wonderful hospitality and don’t forget the pies (best in the League). Brighton supporters will be the ones purchasing the half and half scarves as a reminder that matches like this can happen.

Any Arsenal supporter with a ticket will have a wonderful day and can expect progress into the next round. What can Brighton offer ? We are recovering from an inept Manager and now hopefully a better one that will set us on the correct path. Our goal is not to be relegated and return to playing enjoyable football (dare I say the Arsenal way?).

Key players left the club last season and joined the elite in the Premiership (Upson /Bridcut/Ujjoa / Buckley / Barnes). Their replacements have not been good enough for the third push in succession into the playoffs, but our hopes have risen of better times with the return to the side of young Rohan Ince (he is a Vierra type player- you will like him and perhaps ask like us why he wasn’t picked by Hyppia).

Our top scorer is our centre half which says a lot for our forwards. Craig Mackail-Smith has all the endeavour of Sanchez except he cannot score. Miracles do happen, and perhaps Wenger may field a reserve team but please enjoy the day, the match, the pies, the local ale (Harveys). Come into the North stand at the end of the match and have a drink with our supporters (this really does happen most weeks), and go away hoping we can join the Premiership as it is a great place to come back to again.

Ohhh, forgot my match prediction:

Sadly for the Seagulls, Arsenal will knock The Living daylights out of them.   Two nil to the in form Gunners, with a thunderball from Rambo (sorry wrong film).   Szs to perform like an Octopussy.

Written by: Retsub and Asad.

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El Haddadi, Mings, Dybala/Draxler, Willems, Daria: Arsenal’s squad complete?

Henry dog 008

Ok i’m bored, like Gerry says nothing really much going on in the TW so here’s a question for you guys:

HYPOTHETICALLY

These guys leave in the summer:
Arteta, Flamini, Miyachi, Podolski, Rosicky, Diaby

We get the big name DM we’ve all been waiting for.

We secure the CB cover we need in this January TW.

Wellington Silva finally gets his work permit through for next season so he is added to squad.

This results in 24 over 21 yrs players in the team of which we of course are allowed 25.

One space left

Which X do you fill?

(btw the players are in no particular order of rank, just how i decided to arrange them)

———————————Giroud———————————
——————————–Welbeck——————————–
———————————Sanogo——————————–
———————————-Akpom——————————–

Campbell———-Sanchez———-Cazorla———–Walcott
——X—————–OX————–Wilshere————Silva
——X————–Ramsey————-Ozil—————Gnabry

———————————New DM——————————–
———————————Coquelin——————————–
———————————-Hayden———————————

Monreal———-Koscielny————-BFG————-Debuchy
Gibbs——————X—————–New CB—————Jenko
—X———————X—————-Chambers———–Bellerin

——————————–Ospina————————————-
——————————-Szczesny———————————–
——————————–Martinez———————————–

My choice:
I would put Sanogo out on loan again freeing up another over 21 place.
I would bring in Munir El Haddadi on a season long loan as an under 21 option on the left wing.
I would bring in a top signing for the left side of midfield like Dybala or Draxler etc
I would add a second reserve CB (over 21), maybe Mings etc.
And finally i would fill the last two defensive third choice options with under 21 youth either brought in or promoted from the academy. I personally would bring in Jetro Willems and Matheus Doria.
A complete squad of three options for each position.
And this would be my squad for next season:

———————————Giroud———————————
——————————–Welbeck——————————-
———————————Akpom———————————

Campbell———-Sanchez———-Cazorla———–Walcott
Dybala—————-OX————–Wilshere————–Silva
Haddadi————Ramsey————-Ozil—————Gnabry

———————————New DM——————————–
———————————Coquelin——————————–
———————————-Hayden———————————

Monreal———-Koscielny————-BFG————–Debuchy
Gibbs————2nd res CB———-New CB—————Jenko
Willems————-Doria————-Chambers————Bellerin

——————————–Ospina————————————-
——————————-Szczesny———————————–
——————————-Martinez————————————

Copy and paste and fill in the X’s with your choices :)
Or don’t bother lol

By Steve

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 85 Comments

The one player Arsenal still need

With thanks to Arsenal.com for picture.

With thanks to Arsenal.com for picture.

Krystian Bielik has been confirmed as our latest signing and a big welcome to the home of football for him. With only a handful of senior appearances in the Polish league for Legia Warsaw and at just 17 years old, we can safely say this is one for the future.

It remains to be seen whether Arsene will add anybody else before the TW shuts. Of course lots of names are being prostituted on the horny-for-hits sites, but as we know from many previous TWs, 99% is made up and will never materialise.

I am convinced Wenger is looking, but only for a particular position which appears to be CB. There is also a small chance that a great player becomes available for a (relatively) bargain price: somebody that is nearing the end of their contract and who ‘desperately’ wants to play at the best club in the world. Rest assured that Arsene and his negotiators will be looking towards the last day of the TW to strike such a deal. That is when the pressure is really on and clubs who, for whatever reason, have to sell can be pinned down.

deadline-clock

We know that Wenger is prone to changing his mind regularly on what and who he needs, and it is fair to say there is plenty happening within the squad currently to justify some caution:

  1. The squad is getting stronger with the returns to full fitness of Ozil, Theo, Ramsey, and Jack back in training now.
  2. A number of youngsters have been taking the bull by the horns and are fighting for more first team starts (Chambers, Bellerin, Coquelin);
  3. A number of senior, wider squad players have been putting in fine, first class performances (Rosicky, Monreal, Santi, Ospina);
  4. There is currently a great team spirit and things are coming together, with a number of strong performances in the bag. This momentum needs to be harnessed and further build upon.

It is of course always nice to spend money on new things, but Wenger will want to make sure that whoever he adds to the team will make us stronger straightaway and fills an actual hole in the squad.

So, taken the above into account, and assuming that Wenger might buy one quality, senior player this TW, I have a few questions for you for discussion:

  1. On a scale of 1-10 how likely is it that Wenger will buy a (super) quality player this time round?
  2. For which position(s) will he buy?
  3. For which position do you want him to buy now and why?
  4. Who is the one player you feel we need to buy before 1st Feb and why?

Over to you FFGs! :)

 By TotalArsenal.

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Ozil and Cazorla cannot play together…. You is wrong!

4-1-4-1: Wenger’s Total Harmonica Football Formation?

Victory Through Harmony.

Victory Through Harmonic Harmony.

 

It is interesting to listen to the TV and keyboard pundits praising Arsenal and Wenger for the disciplined defensive performance against Citeh. They all seem so genuinely relieved we played with a defensive set-up and smashed the Northern Oilers via breaks and set-pieces. It is not the first time we have played with this approach: for example, the games against the Chavs, at home last season as well as at Stanford Bridge this season, were approached exactly in the same way. It is fair to say, it is not the Arsenal way of playing a game, but Wenger has demonstrated once again that a) he does have a Plan-B, and b) he knows how to make tactical changes to get a result from a game.

In general he prefers to play a system of football that is set up to conquer all and does not need much, if any, tactical tweaking for each and every match. This desire will never change as, in the end, he loves free flowing, attacking, total football too much – and don’t we all? It is also the reason he could manage any club in the world, except the Spuds of course. :)

On the other hand, the 4-1-4-1 formation seems to offer formational and tactical flexibility during the same game.

Like a harmonica it can squeeze in and out: becoming solid and compact – 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 – when we need to be, as well as very attack-minded and multi-dimensional up-front as per our normal, default system of football: 4-1-2-3/4-2-1-3.

In order to do this successfully, we need: tactical discipline, on-field leadership (especially in midfield) and brilliant, multi-skilled midfielders.

We only have to remind ourselves about the first ten minutes of the second half against Citeh to realise that varying the styles of football and formations within the same game is not easy. We lost our compactness and defensive discipline and spaces opened up everywhere during this phase, and we almost paid for it. Luckily, it was us that scored the all important second goal of the match, and after that it was relatively easy for us to revert back to our original, far more defensive formation. Citeh, without Yaya and Nasri, were unable to give Silva much support in creating gaps and thus opportunities; and we also defended the wings fantastically well.

It was great to see the team having such fantastic discipline for the majority of the game. Coquelin got a lot of praise, and rightly so. Playing compact suits him very well, and the same goes for the defence. Defence orientated players hate space around them, and especially behind them. If there is little to no space around our defence then everybody starts looking so much better, and that includes our DM.

The Chavs’ Cahill, Terry and Matic are no better than Mertesacker, Koz and Arteta/Flamini/Coquelin, but, as a starting principle, they always ensure they play compact and avoid risks at the back. That’s what makes them look good and our lot regularly not so good, often being left over-exposed by their (too) attack focussed colleagues.

What is absolutely paramount for a solid defensive team display is the role of the four midfielders/attackers in front of the DM, and especially the two central midfielders. They need to curb their attacking instincts to a large extent and be able to both support the defenders and build attacks from a crowded, highly pressured back.

Both Ramsey, and especially Cazorla, mastered this very well, and Ox and Alexis also offered superb defensive and ‘get out of jail’ support throughout the game (and so did Rosicky once he came on for a tired Ox). And with Ozil and Jack, we have two more central midfielders who can do this very, very well. Arsenal are blessed with such players which is a great reason to play a ‘harmonic’ 4-1-4-1 system of football.

When we play fellow direct competitors for silverware away, and maybe also at home, we should more often position our team deeper and more compact, in order to give ourselves a good chance to get a result and avoid painful mega-losses (as per last season).

But, with the right players, we can gradually become stronger and stronger at playing a harmonic 4-1-4-1 formation. Key is to have all our players fit and play together regularly. Another prerequisite is a solid and mobile DM, who will also be strong when our team is stretched forward. Arteta suited this part reasonably well, but I have always felt a need to improve in this area to move us to the next level (and so have most fellow Gooners).

Coquelin is looking really good and I hope we can sign him up to a new deal, and we need to sign one more quality DM to provide depth and competition. Key is that we add real leadership in this position; and, in recent games, Coquelin – finally escaped from his chrysalis – showed he might be able to offer this going forward as well.

But the most important and exciting part of all of this is who we will play in the two central midfield positions of the second ‘4’ of 4-1-4-1.

We can pick, in no particular order, from Rosicky, Ozil, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere and one or two youngsters. I can see Ozil and Cazorla play together there, especially in games where we feel we can play more attack-minded and advanced. The likes of Alexis, Theo and Giroud (Ox, Welbeck etc) will be licking their lips at the anticipated service they would get. The idea that Ozil and Cazorla cannot play together is therefore wrong.

I can also see Jack and Aaron play there and rock the place; and we all know how valuable Rosa still is for us. Arsenal are blessed with super quality in these positions and are no doubt the envy of many, if not all, PL clubs with regards to this.

Cazorla, and Ramsey despite his rustiness, showed how well and disciplined they can play in this formation, and it was their ability to squeeze in with the defence and out with the attack that made a huge difference on Sunday (supported by the ‘mid-wings’ of course). Our transition worked really well, given the pressure we were under; and with more practicing, our 4-1-4-1 harmonica could become an all conquering system of football. It will even allow us to play Cazorla and Ozil together – or eventually my favourite combination: Wilshere and Ozil. ;)

Happy, harmonic times could be around the corner. :)

 By: TotalArsenal.

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Santi dances, Rambo and le Coq rock, Giroud head-bangs: eight positives from game

cid180009_CazorlaVI01_1180_580x310

It was no Wengerball; it was no total football. But it was just the team performance the red and white footie doctor had ordered: solid, determined, energetic, predatory, and victorious. Many of us have argued that in the big games we should play compact in defence, lay deeper and work our socks off, and then beat our title competitors on the break.

And that is exactly what the Gunners did against Citeh today; and had we been a bit more tuned in and clinical up-front, we could have won with more goals. 

Of course, the best thing in the world is to beat these opponents with free-flowing, attacking footie, but this might have to wait for a while. Every new palace needs a solid foundation first.

Today’s performance shows that we can play a more solid, defensive game if we have to: and we got the full rewards for it. Had we lost today the gap between us and the Northern Oilers would have been unbridgeable; but in a week’s time it could be just six or five points (when the battle of the Oilers takes place and we play home against the Villains). The Chavs are too far ahead of us, but we can still gun Citeh down; and, given the difficult start of the season, that would still be a good finish to the PL season in some respect.

We ‘scalped’ the Northern Oilers twice now this season and fought hard for a draw at home as well.

Significantly, winning today’s away game has the potential to move us onto a higher platform: the win builds confidence and belief, and with a number of stars returned and returning – did you see that sexy bench today? – we should be able to repeat this performance against the Spuds (in three weeks), the Chavs and the Mancs. Other than one or two good cup runs and a high finish in the PL, learning how to beat our closest rivals would be a great, much needed outcome of the 2014-15 season.

Positives from Man City v Arsenal:

  1. Le Coq stood tall. I had doubts whether Francis would survive in this game, but he had a quietly brilliant game: he was solid, kept it simple and played with great discipline. He showed a great nose for advancing danger and positioned himself really well. His interventions were strong and decisive, and he moved play on well. OzG could be right after all, and no additional DM will be bought anytime soon… What a development!
  2. Cazorla was totally in his element. The free role in our 4-2-1-3 formation today suits him so well. Santi was instrumental in releasing the pressure on our defence with his ability to hold onto the ball in very tight spaces and find a way to play it to a fellow attacker. Furthermore, it was a big penalty to take, and he converted it calmly and professionally; and his free-kick provided the assist for Giroud’s all important second goal. He helped out everywhere and was great support for his fellow midfielders. An inspired, passionate performance, and I feel I owe him an apology but that is for another post. Santi Santi ahahaha :)
  3. Ramsey offered a lot of support to our defence and attack today. He was clearly rusty as his final ball and attempts on goal showed us, but he linked up midfield and attack well and helped out Coquelin constantly. I would not have opted for him today, as I believed both Flamini and Rosicky were more suited for this match, but Aaron put in a good shift. There is new life in the Welsh engine room…
  4. We defended as a team: all eleven of ‘us’. I thought Alexis had an off day from an attacking point of view (compared to his high standards) but he put in a good defensive shift (although not faultless). To a large extent, the same goes for Ox, although he had a couple of good moments in attack, notably the excellent run and cross into the box to Giroud. But he also put in a disciplined defensive shift (although not faultless either). The Gunners wanted it more today.
  5. The Full Backs were very keen and kept the City flank penetrations to a minimum. This was crucial as they love to get behind defences from the sides in order to crack them open. Bellerin was very impressive with his positioning and interventions; and Monreal showed great, healthy aggression and energy on the left flank. Both also offered great support going forward, and it was Nacho’s involvement up-front that earned him and us the beautiful gift of a penalty (deserved, but I was still amazed the ref gave it to us so early in the game). The FBs were on fire.
  6. Koz was a beast throughout the game. He hovered up so many balls and his presence and raw energy was enormous. Playing compact and deep suits both Koz and (obviously) the BFG, especially if they get very fine support in front of them by the midfielders. Our CBs were a great mixture of calm interventions/positioning and organisation on the one hand (BFG), and power and aggression on the other hand (Koz). Absolute bliss.
  7. Ospina did not have a lot to do, but he was calm and somehow always ‘present’. He also felt no need to get unnecessarily involved and handled the high balls into the box well. I love the way the away fans shouted his name every time he was kicking the ball out. Nice touch.
  8. Giroud worked hard for the team but, crucially, he took one of his few chances to decide the game for us. It just looked that Alexis was not going to score today, so we needed somebody else to step up. Santi did so from the penalty spot and Ollie from a free-kick at a crucial point in the game. City had looked strong at the start of the second half and we were buckling quite a bit under the pressure, so we needed that second goal desperately, and Giroud delivered right on time. Priceless.

A big compliment should also go to Arsene. He opted to include three relatively young/inexperienced players in his team – Bellerin, Le Coq and Ox – and started with the rusty Ramsey, and it all worked out brilliantly. I did not think this could work, but he proved me wrong. :)

There is so much to take from this game and to discuss. What are your positives and negatives from the game? Have we turned a corner now?

By TotalArsenal.

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4-1-4-1 with starts for Ospina, Coq & Ozil, and Alexis up top: Line-Up & Preview

Arsenal at City – We haven’t forgotten history so it won’t repeat!

The saying is that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. That’s good news in my view as we head north to play City and their millions of million pound minions.

So, last year was a disaster and other prior years not so much better with a 1-1 draw and a 2-0 loss *at home* the year before. But, we are a much different team now then those years. Some would argue worse because of the players, some would argue worse because of the injuries, some would argue worse based on objective metrics of Doom (that’s you CM), and so on.

Few would argue better… That’s my job today.

History won’t repeat because we are better than last year. We will be tighter in defence, and we have the (deliberately provocative) “Next Henry” (NH from here on) in attack. More specifically, we also have the opportunity, and the need, to make a statement. A draw would be good, a win better.

History won’t repeat for other reasons also. Make no doubt about it, even if we are the same or similar to last year, City are not. Aguero coming back, Yaya disappeared into the AFCON dimension that makes top African players somewhat unattractive in the TW when you consider losing them every few years at a critical point in a season. So, they are missing some, at least, of their strike talisman, and a big chunk of engine room. Plenty left in the tank but opportunity presents to create a new history.

So, in a rare show of agreeing with Steve and disagreeing with TA, I think that, to quote some ancient heavy metal, “If we’re gonna die!” we should “Die with our boots on!” That means we should focus more on attack than normal in the line-up, even if we come out playing a touch more back and on the counter.

For that, the lineup for me is only lightly changed:

Ospina

Bellerin – BFG/Koz – Gibb

Coquelin

Ox/TR – Santi – Ozil – TR/Theo

Alexis

Arse v MC Jan 15

The key is my middle diamond of Coq at the back, driven by Santi and Ozil everywhere, with Ozil a more false 9 and Alexis up front. I am opting for speed and aggression both ways on the wings with Gibbs, if fit, and Bellerin, fronted by Theo, if fit, or TR and the Ox. Both TR and the Ox in particular can drive a game and also come back heavily on defence. I don’t think this is a game for Monreal on the wing with an attack minded person in front, as he doesn’t have the speed to recover like Gibbs.

It’s a 4-1-4-1, but could almost, using Ozil how I want, be a 4-1-3-1-1 where the 4-1-3 looks a lot like last week.

The big question mark is around Coquelin! Here, I disagree with TA. Coq has shown his mettle the last few games in positioning maturity. I think Flamini has the experience but not the speed for this game. However, he’s my very early sub if this looks bad. This is Coquelin’s big day: does he stay, or do we invest in 2 DMs this summer? Today is it, make or break. He’s earned the right to make the decision for Arsene. My call, my opinion, my heresy, call it what you will…

And if he gets that third yellow, the next games he is suspended for we might not need as much DM spirit as the teams we will be playing are not City, and we will be coming off the high of changing history in this one!

Finally, speaking of TWs, there is an alternative line-up based on the ever ongoing discussion on the site around needing lots of new people, and getting rid of those we don’t like. So, the following is based on reading NewsNow and is therefore, based on real journalism and reporting, and thus, obviously true.

Here we go, based on the linkages, we could play this out there, because AW will close all these deals and swoop before all our enemies and rivals. By Sunday… :)

It’s a bit more defensively focused than above also, so it is guaranteed to earn us a draw:

Cech

BFG – keeping some continuity

Perrin

Hummels

Carvalho

Gundogan

Schneiderlin

Bielik – young but has earned his start based on all the newsprint hyperbole!

Reus – down the center where he really belongs

Cavani

Yes, I know that is 10 players, not 11, but with this line-up we can’t lose. They all play down the centre, or should, and that is where we are weak. Thus, I didn’t go for Winston Reid as he plays wider and won’t be of any help.

We will destroy City with our highly flexible 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 formation!!!! Look out, it’s available for a mere 193M pounds if I did my sums off various articles right!!

I am sure there is not so subtle editorial point in there somewhere on my part. :P

More to the original point, it seems long ago that we were invincible, and TAs recent call for regular bloggers to profile themselves asked your favourite moments, which in turn reminded me of the tension as that year drew to a close. I think many of us have almost forgotten that feeling and year… Good news again then, as we might be doomed to repeat it someday soon!! :)

Perhaps starting at City!

Some questions for the game:

  • On a scale of 1-10, where 10 is the most stupid, how stupid am I for either of my line-ups?
  • Can aggressive wings with speed and Ozil’s passing get us through City? Will we need more defence than I have up there?
  • Flamini or Coquelin? Has Le Coq earned his “shot”?
  • I am 6’3” and our team is short, should AW hire me for this game?

By JGC

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DM hunt is over: And he’s not here to take part…but to take over!

He is the definition of tenacious.

coquelin

It’s fair to say Coquelin’s career has never really taken off at Arsenal (as shown by his appearance stats below):

Games total:

2014/15 – Arsenal 5 (4 sub)

2013/14 – Freiburg 16 (8 sub)

2012/13 – Arsenal 11 (11 sub)

2011/12 – Arsenal 13 (4 sub)

2010/11 – Lorient 13 (11 sub)

2009/10 – Arsenal 2 (1 sub)

2008/09 – Arsenal (1 sub)

Could Arteta’s injury woes open the doors for Coquelin to get more game time?

He has a robust style that endears him to the supporters, and he loves the nitty-gritty. But why has he never succeeded in the mighty red and white? I could understand if you said he doesn’t fit our style of play or he has a poor range of passing. But in my opinion he ticks both boxes. Coquelin has had some ripping performances in the past too…the Man U game that didn’t exist (perhaps the only positive to come out of that game) and a game against the spuds come both to mind. Arsene likes a bargain so what better deal than a player already on our books?!

Coquelin’s biggest hurdle appears to be our manager’s perception of him…and it appears once his mind is made up there is no going back. Arsene has praised Coquelin recently but they’re the type of quotes that lead you to believe he’ll be on his way out at the end of the season. We’ve heard it from Arsene before “He’ll have a career and hopefully he’ll make it here…which in Arsene talk equates “I don’t want to hold him back so I have allowed him to leave”.

I agree with our manager most of the time but I disagree with him greatly on this one. What does Flamini and Arteta offer the team that Coquelin doesn’t? Experience you say. Yes that may be so. Coquelin has played in a number of different teams and has been in the Arsenal system for some time now (not to mention he still hasn’t hit his prime), so I think he’s got enough experience. What else? Arteta may have better passing skills but does he use them at Arsenal? Even then, Coquelin is no slouch. Flamini may be tough and fight tooth and nail but one could argue the young Frenchman is displaying more of a desire to succeed. Can Arteta play in the full back position if needed (red card or terrible run with injuries)? Flamini can and so can Coquelin. Flamini played as a full back during our terrific Champions League run in 2006. Unfortunately for Flamini he was never born with blistering pace but it appears to be dropping off rapidly.

It just doesn’t make sense that Arsene would splash the cash when he has the right person for the job standing in front of him. When we’ve needed a DM in the past this is who Arsene has turned to:

  • Gilberto rested -> Flamini (already an Arsenal player) is given a chance
  • Flamini leaves for Milan -> Denilson (already an Arsenal player) is chosen
  • ..my mum taught me that if I had nothing good to say that I should keep it to myself -> Song (already an Arsenal player) given the go ahead.
  • Song departs for Barcelona -> Arteta (already an Arsenal player) is selected to play their despite playing as an attacking midfielder for large parts of his career.

Notice a trend there?

So Arsene, forget splashing 25 million on a DM. Spend it on a CB and/or another attacking player. We’ve got the defensive midfielder we need already, plus a couple of younger ones developing in the reserves. I know he’s not the highly fashionable “gorilla DM” that everyone cries out for, but he’s one of our own and he deserves the chance. Don’t agree? Well watch this and then make up your mind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9BUENWNwZw

It was written in the stars…

By Oz Gunner

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