Left Footer Lucas Perez the Perfect Partner for Giroud and Alexis

We know that we should not take the gossip re Arsenal signings too seriously, but if both the Guardian and the BBC report that we are interested in a player then I guess we are getting close.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/aug/25/arsenal-set-to-beat-everton-to-signing-of-lucas-perez

Lucas Pérez, centre, in action for Deportivo la Coruña against Eibar in La Liga last week

So who is this Lucas Perez playing for the beautifully named Deportivo la Coruna?

From the video below you can see he is not the tallest but neither is he small at 1.81m. The almost 28 year old seems very left footed which would suit us fine as he could play on the wing, supporting either Giroud or Alexis in attack. And Ozil seems to work best with fellow left-footed players.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=lucas+perez+martinez+youtube&&view=detail&mid=33B2776F844E41922B1F33B2776F844E41922B1F&FORM=VRDGAR

He played 35 League games last season, with a total of 3141 minutes on the pitch. Lucas scored 17 league goals and produced an impressive eight assists. His pass success percentage is 79% and he produces two key passes per game on average. Those are the sort of stats that would suit Arsenal very well. I know that many a Gooner is dreaming of a super CF who scores 25+ PL goals a season, but I reckon Wenger has long ago decided he does not want to be too reliant on a single CF anymore. And it is about time that we follow suit…

Spreading the goals makes us less predictable and dependable on the form and fitness of one super player, and I am confident that between Alexis, Giroud, Theo, Danny and possibly now Lucas Perez we can score 50-60 PL goals per season. The rest will come from our midfielders and defenders, and our wider squad players in attack.

Lucas Perez had an average of 126 minutes between goals and assists in the league last season, and this is better than for example Alexis who needed 144 minutes between goals and assists in the previous PL season, and a lot better than any of our other options on the wing or in the CF position. I have a feeling that Wenger could play all of Perez – Giroud – Alexis, with the Spaniard and Chilean on either wing and interchanging regularly, in some of our games. Alternatively, he could rest any of these three and give the likes of Ox, Iwobi, Gnabry, Theo and Akpom a chance to shine.

Wenger is also likely to continue with Alexis in the middle during a number of games, and then play Lucas Perez and one of Ox, Theo or Iwobi on the wings. I don’t know about you but that gets me quite excited too.

By all means, Lucas Perez could also play as our CF as he reportedly is good at hold up play, which could mean he could be a good direct replacement for Giroud in certain games. However, I cannot tell from the footage I have seen whether the holding CF role would fit our apparent transfer target.

I have a feeling that this signing will go ahead, as it totally makes sense from Arsene’s perspective. Of course it could also be a typical Arsenal decoy for another signing in attack the club is hoping to make.

Let’s wait and see.🙂

By TotalArsenal

Posted in Arsenal Analysis | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

One Day every Gooner Will Realise that Arsene Wenger is a Saint

So we gained a point in hard battle against the Foxes and also got our first clean sheet of the season. After a false start against Pool, I reckon an away point against the Champions is not a bad return. We all wanted more as we needed to bounce back straightaway, but we will have to wait for it. I can live with that – many fellow supporters, it seems, cannot.

It is a natural law that when Arsenal are not performing to expectations the fans will get out their personal theories, pet hates and simple solutions to solve all our problems once and for all. Furthermore, speak to any supporter of any club and they usually tell you that their team are two players short to become a super team, especially if they are not top of the league.

I have some of these theories, pet hates and simple solutions myself, but never do I believe that I actually know more than Wenger. Yet when you read the blogs and comments there are thousands of key board heroes who reckon Arsene is a fool and they could do much better.

Making suggestions on how to do things different and better for the purpose  of discussion is of course absolutely fine: where would blogs be without it? But the lack of humility and delusions of grandeur by so many fellow supporters is at best frustrating and at worst depressing…. especially if the comments and posts are full of derogatory terms about Wenger’s age, intentions, capabilities etc.

I can tell everyone that a manager who won the FA Cup twice and finished second last season in the last three years, deserves respect and support on its own. But for some reason, this does not seem enough for so many fellow supporters. With or without Wenger we may not win the league again for the next twenty years or so: this is a strong possibility as the PL has become so much more competitive over the last ten years – a period in which the BoD and Arsene invested in the long term future of the club  through building a big, modern stadium that will bring in the necessary revenue to compete with the national and European elite clubs for decades to come – and this is likely to become more challenging rather than easier. It makes the PL such an exciting league compared to the monopolies of Germany (Bayern), Italy (Juventus) and duopolies of Spain and the Netherlands.

I can live with the knowledge that it will be tough to win the league again, let alone regularly in the next ten to twenty years. The only thing I can hope for is that the club can fight for the title with a realistic chance of winning it, every season. And that we do/ will do without any doubt.

I hope that we will keep doing this through building the team with a long term philosophy and strategy, rather than trying to buy and let go lots of players every season. I like us to be great through a set of values and principles the Club, and all its 599 employees, will treat as holy.

I want us to continue to develop our own from the youth teams and from those bought around 16-20 years old from other clubs, home and abroad. I also like us to add experienced players to fill first team or back-up gaps, and I like us to add real, top-gem quality when possible. And that is exactly what the club is doing.

I have no doubt that we will bounce back soon and that Wenger will get the team to compete for the title once more this season, with or without adding the magic ‘two players’. This does not mean that I am convinced we will win the title, but we will have a decent chance to do so.

But what I also feel really, really good about is that the club is now well positioned to compete at the top year in year out, and as soon as Wenger decides enough is enough there is a good structure in place to continue our philosophy and strategy for years to come, which will be very attractive to whoever will succeed the great Arsene.

One day there will not be a single mentally well-functioning Gooner left who does not believe that Wenger was the best thing that ever happened to the club, and that him dedicating such a large part of his football management career to the club is why we are now always fighting for the top prizes. One day every Gooner will realise that Arsene was, and is, a Saint.

By TotalArsenal 

This post was inspired by Terry Mancini’s Hair Transplant’s superb post on ArsenalArsenal:

Transfers? Leave it to Arsene

Posted in Arsenal Analysis | Tagged , , , , | 49 Comments

Confirmed Arsenal Line-up: Koz-Holding, Xhaka-Coq, Alexis CF, Theo-Ox on Wings

Well here we go. The line ups have been announced and Koz, Holding and Xhaka start. Up front we have speed to rival the American relay team with Ox, Theo and Sanchez, supported by Nacho and Bellerin on the wings, to make the runs that will get us behind the Foxes’ defence.

Confirmed Line-Up:

submit football lineup

The bench is looking very strong too, except for defence of course…:

Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Wilshere, Giroud, Ozil, Chambers, Elneny.

The Leicester City first 11 and subs are:

Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Mendy, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy

Subs: Hernandez, Musa, King, Amartey, Zieler, Gray, Ulloa

Join us on our Live Blog!

Let’s play with passion and focus. COYGs!

By TA

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 146 Comments

Koz-Chambers, Coq-Elneny, Theo-Alexis-Ox, Santi nr10: Predicted Line-Up and Tactics

Leicester City v Arsenal – The Champions and Runners-up meet early in the season for a feast of football?

Predicted Line-up and preferred Tactics

It is hard to predict how Wenger will line up against the Foxes this evening. In my previous post I picked my favourite 11 to both win the match and make a strong statement in the process. Having read Arsene’s comments over the last few days, I now reckon he will line up something like this:

submit football lineup

It looks certain that Koz will start and Wenger also seems to be indicating that Alexis may start again up front. I am in favour of  both decisions as Koz brings confidence and Sanchez has been a really good alternative to Giroud in the last two games. We scored six goals against City and Pool and that is a fine start to the season, especially as Giroud and Ozil – our top-scorer and top-assister last season – have not been seen on the pitch until now. Alexis is due a goal or two himself, and playing him central means that he does not have to work too hard and can ease himself back into top form.

With Ramsey out it is to be expected that Wenger will pick Santi for the nr10 position. On the wings, it is a choice between Theo, Ox and Campbell, as Iwobi is injured and Jack is probably not match-fit enough to start there. I would prefer the Costa Rican, but it looks like the speedy Englishmen will be preferred for this one.

This will be another battle of midfield and I wonder whether Wenger will stick with the ‘Dogs of War’ Elneny and Coq rather than introduce Xhaka from the start. My feeling is he will go safe and opt for the Swiss Maestro to come on later.

At the back the team picks itself, although some will argue that Gibbs should start ahead of Nacho. I reckon Wenger will stay loyal to Monreal, and he is also the sort of player who gets better and better the more he plays. I feel Wenger will not give up on Chambers easily and prefer him to Holding for today’s epic battle.

Tactics

We know that LC prefer to play on the counter and I hope we will not make it that easy for them. They will sit back and absorb our pressure and then spring the counter with their new signing Musa, Vardy and Mahrez, supported by the impressive Drinkwater whenever possible.

I don’t want us to expose King Koz like that in his first game. It is likely to cost us dearly and lead to injuries, and not just to Koz. As the Foxes are at home, it is easier for us to sit back and force them to come out and play, and then we can have fun on the counter instead of them, with the likes of Ox, Theo and Alexis offering a great threat, especially if they are fed by Cazorla and Elneny (and by themselves of course).

So let’s play compact and with real discipline and not allow them space behind our midfield that leaves the defence exposed. Let’s also be patient and professional, with the aim to take all three points back home – even if it is ‘just’ with a 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal

Posted in match preview | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Ozil, Theo, Alexis behind Giroud | Koz back | Xhaka/Elneny DMs: Big Guns to blow the Foxes Away

After a week of navel gazing,  dreaming of new signings and analysing the Liverpool defeat to death, it is time to look forward to the next game. In the end there are 111 points to play for, yet some make you believe it is already doom and gloom with Arsenal. There is no doubt in my mind that we will learn from last Sunday’s game and that the team will also sooner or later accept that they were simply blitzed in a short period of time. This sometimes happens in the game and overanalysing the, in the end, narrow defeat does nobody any good.

Upwards and onwards, and time to get the big guns out and make a statement.

The Foxes have two players it appears we have been interested in, and they both decided to stay with their club. An admirable decision in many ways as loyalty is such a rare thing nowadays, but it is now up to our boys to show them once and for all what they have missed out on.

I am all for giving players a rest, but after seeing the BFG get badly injured after a whole summer of no football, we have to conclude that avoiding injury is no hard science. We often rest players for a long time and then they still get injured almost as soon as they appear on the pitch.

What we do not want to do is send out a team that has confidence issues, and we need to give a strong performance on Saturday evening as well – and ideally come away with three points – so it is time to bring out the big Euros’ Guns and fire from all cylinders at the Foxes.

This would be my team for Saturday: 

submit football lineup

It is time to re-establish the Nacho-Koz partnership on our left hand side, as it was there where we were penetrated at will and which cost us very badly. Of course, I am worried that Koz might get injured but, as per above, there is no guarantee that he will not get injured straightaway if we rest him one or two more weeks.

On the right hand sight, I would keep Holding as he seems more assured and stronger in the air than Chambers. I also feel that the former Southampton man is struggling to make it at Arsenal and the next game is not one to grand him for gaining more confidence and form. I would also be happy to start Debuchy next to Koz, and this may well happen.

In front of the defence I would opt for the wall of Elneny and Xhaka, with the latter playing deepest and Elneny giving us extra protection whilst supporting our attackers as much as possible. Wenger may well opt to play Coquelin again, but I would love to see Granit start and spread his diagonal balls with the finest Swiss precision.

Up front it is time for Sanchez – Ozil – Theo and to put Giroud back as our holding CF. From a fitness point of view this might not be our strongest eleven to start with, but it would give the whole team a psychological lift from the start. And that is what we need more than anything else. After 45 or 60 minutes we can take off Ozil and Giroud and replace them with either Akpom, Campbell or Santi (moving Theo central); and if Koz gets tired we can bring on Gibbs and move Monreal into the left CB position.

That is what I would do, but I am not sure Arsene will go down the same path. However, I don’t think I will be far off.

What would your first eleven be for Saturday’s crunch game against the Foxes?

By TotalArsenal

Posted in Attacking football, match preview, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Holding Surprises, Sanchez the Team Player, Wingers on Fire: 5 Positives

Arsenal 3 -4  Liverpool

A bonker’s game with a bitter aftertaste, but the positives are sweeter than our senses allow us to register. 

Well that was some game of football and what a shame we did not at least take a point from it. First half was Arsenal’s and the key thing to take is that we dominated Pool for 46 minutes, and mostly in their own half. With a sumptuous free-kick Pool managed to equalise before half time and that made all the difference. At half time, the Arsenal players will have felt very badly done to: how could they be level after such a strong showing? The focus will have been on regaining a lead as soon as possible and for that all players have to push up… and for this we paid…😦

On the other hand, the Pool players will have been feeling very high on getting away with a bad performance and the joy of such a fine free-kick going in at an away ground. Klopp then said to his attackers that they have to force themselves closer to Arsenal’s ‘D area’ and get in  between the CBs and the wall of CoqElneny. He also will have told them to target Arsenal’s left flank as much as possible…. and as we know, it worked a treat for them. Bang Bang BANG, three goals in quick succession and we all felt sucker punched in our reproductive area. Everything that could go right for Pool went right and sometimes this happens in football (we had it against MU at home last season).

It was a clever tactical adjustment by Klopp and he deserves credit for it. It also exposed a weakness we were aware of: a young CB pairing of Holding and Chambers would not have the experience to deal well with the initial blow, something that would not have happened with Koz and/or the BFG in defence.

However, credit to the team for fighting hard and getting two goals back, and with a bit more luck we would have gotten what we deserved.. a draw. At the start of the season it is quite normal that a game goes out of control, especially with a makeshift central defence. Of course it is very attractive to come up with all sorts of ‘I told you so’s’ and ‘we should have done this or that’ but it is just the opening game of the PL for us and things went off the scale after the break. I have seen enough – especially based on our firs half – to believe we will have a very good chance to win the league this year. I predict two clean sheets in our two coming games in August, and plenty of goals.

Five Positives from the game:

  1. Holding and Bellerin held their side of defence really well and had a good connection. I don’t believe our loss was all down to Chambers and Monreal failing the left side of defence, as all defenders have a duty to defend our  box when the ball gets played in, but it was quite obvious that we were porous from the left, and the Pool attackers, just like the MC attackers did last week, penetrated us there time and again. This needs immediate attention. But Holding was calm and classy throughout the game and as it stands it looks like Chambers is the one who will lose out when Koz returns.
  2. We scored three times, and could have had more. I am pleased to see our goals being scored by different players and that we did not just feed the ball to Sanchez time and again to produce them for us. Alexis worked hard and created space for us, just like Ollie so often does, and we found the net through Theo, Ox and Chambers. Many will miss the importance of Alexis’ selfless team play yesterday, but Wenger won’t.
  3. We are getting goals and assists from our ‘mid-wingers’. This is the one position where I felt we needed to improve the squad, but with goals from Theo and Ox from the wing and a peach of an assist by Iwobi, we had a very nice return for those positions.
  4. The wall of Elneny and Coquelin did very well, especially in the first half- my favourite match reviewer on the ‘ArsenalArsenal’ blog called them ‘the dogs of war’ which is exactly what they were. I feel that they were also at fault for Pool breaching our defence so devastatingly in the second half, so a bit more work needs to be done. But I loved the way they bossed the midfield in the first half and supported the attack in putting pressure on Pool’s defence. Le Coq’s tackle that led to the first goal was a pure delight.
  5. We had a good bench, especially in midfield, and bringing on Santi and Ox made an immediate difference. With Mesut, Ollie and Koz joining the first team soon, we will be very strong in almost all areas… except the obvious one😉

Not the start we wanted, but still some good positives to take from the game. Let’s hope we will get a good CB to strengthen our defence and/or that Wenger and Bould find a way to steady the ship this week.

All to play for.

By TotalArsenal.

 

Posted in match review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 54 Comments

Confirmed Line-up: Holding/Chambers CBs, Theo/Rambo/Iwobi/Alexis attack, Coq/Elneny DMs

Here we go with a live blog fine fellow Gooners.

Wenger has opted for youth in defence with both Holding and Chambers starting today. A big gamble if you ask me, but let’s get behind the boys.

In midfield, Arsene has gone for steel and PL experience with Coquelin being pared up with the reliable and defence-minded Elneny. Will we see Xhaka come on later on?

Up front we start with Theo as our CF? and Alexis and Ox on the wings, with Rambo in the hole. Or will it be Alexis up front and Theo on the right? I am going for the latter.

This is the line-up:

submit football lineup

Subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Wilshere, Xhaka, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Akpom

Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Henderson, Lallana, Wijnaldum, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino

Subs: Manninger, Can, Origi, Matip, Stewart, Grujic, Alexander-Arnold

Come on you Rip Roaring Gunners – Fight for the Shirt!

Please join us in our live blog.

By TotalArsenal.

Posted in confirmed line up | Tagged , , , | 94 Comments