Rambo-Ozil-Xhaka (ROX) and 4 More Reasons Arsenal Could Win the League

“There is mountain air in this room. It’s cool and moist and almost fragrant. One deep breath makes me ready for the next one and then the next one and with each deep breath I feel a little readier until I jump out of bed and pull up the shade and let all that sunlight in – brilliant, cool, bright, sharp and clear.”
― Robert M. PirsigZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Five reason to be positive about Arsenal’s prospect this season:

  1. We are on a good run. Yes it was broken up during the summer but it seems to be continuing. Arsenal had some great results during the latter part of the season with well fought for wins at Stoke and Southampton and of course that awesome FA Cup final win against the league champions, for example. We beat them again albeit on penalties in the Charity Shield match and we beat the Foxes on Friday. Long may it continue.
  2. The media have written us off. None of the BBC pundits have us finish in the top three, let alone win the PL. The team will be motivated by this and so will be Wenger. Key, as 17HT has pointed out numerous times, is of course how the fans will deal with a setback. Will they stay behind the team or collect money for silly banners? Our bouncebackability – players, manager, fans – will be tested. I believe we have the players and manager to do this but the media will be on us like a rash time and again. The spine of Cech – Koz/BFG – Xhaka/Rambo – Ozil – Lacazette/Giroud/Alexis is one that has the leadership qualities to make us recover quickly from a setback. The rest is up to the support.
  3. Consistency. Wenger kept the team together and has added quality in the previous season’s two vulnerable positions of left back and a quality finisher in attack. Lacazette and Kolasinac are quality AND versatile players who fit straight into the first eleven. Furthermore, the squad is large and full of experienced players who are reaching, or are now in, the best years of their short football career. We looked wobbly in defence but I reckon this is quite normal at the start of the season with a number of key players missing. I expect us to play a lot more compact against Stoke (and going forward) and especially the full backs will be told to support their colleagues in defence much better. As a team we need to make sure we don’t stretch ourselves too much when we are playing the ball out from the back. Teams like to press us early and high when we play like this and it makes us very vulnerable as the defenders or central midfielders often become isolated. I am sure that the reintroduction of BFG and Koz as well as Mustafi will help with this, but key is for the whole team to work as an accordion-unit, moving organically with the flow of the game.
  4. No CL football. In order to win the PL it is a big bonus if a team does not need to commit all their key players in knackering and injury-high-risk mid-week Champions League games. The Uefa games, on the other hand, allow us to give vital, quality game experiences to our fringe players and young talents. Wenger can then try out some of these players in PL games if and when he thinks they are ready. This will make a huge difference if you ask me.
  5. Our quality midfield: The ROX. We have a deep squad in defence and attack but I am most excited about our midfield. The way Rambo, Ozil and Xhaka eliminated the much praised Chelsea midfield in the FA Cup final was very impressive. I have high hopes that these three players will turn our team into champions. Xhaka deep, Rambo as b2b midfielder and Ozil as the creator are a very strong combination of guile and deadly passing. With Coq and Elneny we have players Wenger can use to adjust the midfield structure if and when required. Wilshere and hopefully Santi will be excellent cover/competition for the ROX. And hopefully Iwobi will progress to the next level this season. And, just to please Johnnie, we may well see Wenger add one more player in midfield before the end of the TW.

So every reason to be cheerful and full of hope for another good and, most importantly, an enjoyable season (don’t focus on the destination, it is the journey that matters).

One Game at a Time (OGAAT) my friends and victory through harmony (support starts with the right attitude).

COYGs!

By TotalArsenal

Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Giroud MOTM, Xhaka shows Ox How it’s Done: Arsenal Player Ratings

What a come back after a defensive horror show. Hopefully, the latter will be sorted by the return of our key central defenders and telling the wing backs that when teams apply a high press they need to help out their buddies. Holding and Kola also struggled to give Nacho the defensive discipline required to be a solid unit. Having said that, the Foxes played a very well and were very sharp from the start. Their game plan was impressive too. Luckily, Arsenal have superb fire power and Xhaka and Ozil were selfless and focussed enough to provide the quality service that gave us the three points.

Player Ratings:

Cech: 7: misjudged the situation for first goal but kept his calm

Kola: 7 phenomenal presence and super strong till the end, especially when played more central. Cool assist that made all the difference. Still work to do on defensive positioning

Nacho: 7.5 worked hard to organise defence and keep it tight, real leader. Just lacks the height to be solid CB

Holding: 6 worked hard but struggled to defend his flank, especially when under pressure. Should have had more help from team mates, especially Bels

Ox: 6.5 worked hard in second half but waisted many opportunities when we had three CFs up front screaming for service. No goals, no assists due final pass not being good enough. Better support for CBs in second half and good energy throughout game.

Bellerin: 6 worked hard but struggled to add to the attacking side of things despite committing himself forward constantly. Not enough support for poor Holding.

Elneny: 6.5 struggled to play the ball out of the Leicester press but the team positioning and running did not help. Good assist for first goal. Needs to apply more physicality as not many one to ones were won.

Xhaka: 7.5 also struggled to play the ball out of the press, but fabulous switch overs when with ball in a bit of space, making use of the space left behind by the Foxes as a result of high pressing. Great, cool assist for the all important third goal (Ox take note)

Welbeck: 6.5 worked hard but just like Ox lacks the quality/ decision making skills to produce a good final ball. Fluffed his opportunities but did score a vital equaliser just before the break

Lacazette: 7.5 worked well for the team and scored with a very good header. May need to play with Giroud against defensive, counter attacking teams. Created space for himself and others where there did not appear any.

Ozil: 7 worked hard and lost a lot of rust in one game. Never stopped looking for opportunities to find gaps and make himself available.

Giroud: 8 superb cameo, scored the winner and secured our defence during set pieces

Rambo: 7 superb goal and helped to hem in the Foxes

Theo: not enough time on the pitch

By TotalArsenal

Posted in Uncategorized | 67 Comments

Xhaka/Elneny to feed Ozil, Lacazette and Welbz: Preview & Line-Up

We start this campaign with nobody at BBC-football believing we will win the PL. in fact, of the thirty or so football commentators and opinion-sellers only a handful have us finish fourth; nobody believes the mighty Arsenal, PL king of top four finishers, will do better than fourth.

Yet, we had a strong finish to the season since Wenger changed the system, we kept all our players, we now have the advantage of no CL games, AND bought two quality players to strengthen the squad. I guess we did not spend enough, and that may explain why they almost all believe that either Mou United or the Northen Oilers will win the league. I am sure the London club’s will continue to have their say once again in the coming season and are very likely to all finish in the top four, with Arsenal on top of course.

Tonight the Foxes come knocking on the door at the home of football, so let’s give a strong message to those lazy-arsed pundits and give a hell of a performance. Who shall start? Always hard to predict when Wenger talks about late fitness tests for some key players: BFG, Ozil, Rambo, Wilshere.

I have got a feeing that Wenger will go with Sunday’s starting eleven, except Ozil for Iwobi. I hope the BFG is recovered enough to start as Koz is not available and we need a strong, experienced player to organise the back four. Actually, I also think he will start with Kola instead of contract-refusing hero Oxymoron.

So this is my predicted super-11:

————- Cech ———

— Holding – BFG – Nacho —

Bel – Xhaka – Elneny – Kola

Ozil — Lacazette — Welbeck

Enjoy the game, FFGs.

CORRGs!!

By TotalArsenal

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 46 Comments

Arsenal’s PL Best Eleven: Finger-licking Good!

Two days to go to the start of the PL with our game against the Shakespearean Foxes. Of course OGAAT is the only way to approach every PL encounter and Wenger has set the team a target of 85 points, ten more than last season. Whether that will be enough to win the title remains to be seen, as the Chavs won it last time with an impressive 93 points. But there is no point focussing on a target too much in the heat of the season; every game counts and is a battle for three points each and every time.

With the PL being our main competition to really focus on, Wenger will have the rare luxury to save his best players for the 39 vital games ahead. The FA cup games don’t start till January and, after winning it three times in the last four seasons, he could decide to rest his key players for this tournament too. The UEFA league is a great competition to mix youth with back up players and those first team players in need of match fitness.

it does appear to help teams when they can just concentrate on the PL, as the Chavs and the Foxes have shown us recently. The beauty for Arsene is that he can play more or less the same eleven until the crazy Festive period. The International breaks will provide some further rest for some players and Wenger seems to have good arrangements in place with the key international managers regarding using players sparingly whenever possible.

I reckon playing the same eleven is key in getting consistency and a group mentality of winning every game. Of course, sometimes a tactical adjustment will be required, especially in midfield where the attack-horny Rambo may need to be replaced with a more disciplined midfielder – but less capable in supporting our attack – like Elneny or Le Coqster. So who are going to be the chosen eleven? These are my picks:

  1. Cech: solid, calm, experienced- will enjoy the coaching support from mad-Jens
  2. Nacho: passion, hunger, loves the shirt, experienced
  3. Koz: our leader and he so deserves to hold up PL silverware this time round
  4. Mustafi: another leader with great drive and passion
  5. Kola: first outings have been very promising; he and Nacho will own the left flank
  6. Bellerin/Ox: Ox will challenge Hector and offers better wing play in attack, but Hector is a solid defender and does seldom drop his concentration- he also signed a new contract …
  7. Rambo/Elneny: am a big fan of both. When we can afford it Rambo will start but when we need to be tight and sit back, Elneny is our man
  8. Xhaka: the conductor is, together with Ozil, the key player for us. Together they add that extra dimension to our game. Jack and Santi can provide back up, or even compete directly with Xhaka and Rambo, IF they can get back to full fitness. If they do, I predict a very strong season in all competitions.
  9. Alexis: will stay and once fully fit he will be a force once again. Wenger has alternatives in Welbeck and Iwobi
  10. Lacazette: looks like he will form a lethal partnership with Alexis and Ozil. When we played parked-bus teams, Giroud may proof a better option as CF. I can also see both Frenchies start together regularly.
  11. Ozil: will have plenty of freedom and can feed – and feed off – Alexis and Lacazette with his unreal passing ability- this could be his best season ever.

Well that is my first eleven fellow Gooners, but do you agree?

by TotalArsenal

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

Rambo, Ozil and Xhaka to dominate Chelsea again – First Outing of Alexis And Lacazette? Preview/Line-up

I am looking at some fine Alps mountains that separate Austria from Italy. It has been a very hot day here but the moon is full and the balcony I am sitting on is now cool and the Freddies taste extra nice tonight. The season is about to kick off and our boys have the opportunity to start it as we finished the last one, by beating the Chavs.

Will the ROX dominate the Chelsea midfielders once again, that is the big question? Xhaka and Rambo were boss that day and Ozil provided the extra dimension. This game is simply a last opportunity to get match ready for the season, but it is also an opportunity to build confidence and silence the critics. Many millions will watch this one so it is highly likely that we will see the strongest line-ups tomorrow. There is not much more to say; let the boys do the talking on the pitch.

Predicted Line-Up:

Cech

Mustafi BFG Monreal

Bel Xhaka Rambo Kola

Ozil Lacazette Alexis

Enjoy the game. CoyGs!

By TotalArsenal

Posted in Uncategorized | 120 Comments

Arsene Needs to Buy Xhakuelin

URGENTLY NEEDED: XHAKA AND COQUELIN ROLLED INTO ONE.

When we are in possession Xhaka is masterful. He is calm and composed when the ball allows him to buy time and space for himself. Excellent with his choice of passes, he gets them delivered with so much aplomb. However, the narrative changes as soon as the opposition is in possession. To be fair, he is good in covering passing lanes. But he dares not throw in a tackle because it would reach its destination late. And whenever the ball gets past him, his standard routine is to start his engine, rev it, manoeuvre it round before giving chase in gear 1.

When we are out of possession, Coquelin is masterful. He begins to smell blood, becomes oblivious of every thing around him less his target on which he hones his crosshairs. A beast, he attacks with ferocity and precision. He wins the ball and suddenly the narrative changes. The world around him, which had earlier vanished, begins to re-materialize through a haze. Seconds are lost and Ozil’s off the ball run is missed and the fans hiss.

Please give me Xhaka and Coquelin rolled into one. Do you know what that means? Instead of a paring of Xhaka and Ramsey we would have a pairing of XhaCoq and Ramsey literally. Or a XhaCoq and Xhaka. Or a XhaCoq and Coquelin. Magical isn’t it, for 2 to become 3. Can we find such a player?  My friend Jnyc says that finding one would be like looking for a pin in a haystack. I agree with him to the extent that there are precious very few of them.

Why am I so keen on the magical? Because I hate it when our opponents slice through our midfield like knife through butter. Note that our first choice pairing of Xhaka and Ramsey both have negative Squawka Defensive Performance Scores!  We need a component there that smells of Coquelin every time they storm us. Equally, we need a complimentary component, Xhaka-ish, to lever us back to high attack mode as soon as we win the ball back, all in that one player. Much smarter if we, meanwhile, don’t plan at all with Santi.

A flat back line is grossly exposed when opposition runs directly at it, be it a 3-man, 4-man or 5-man back line. We should not be lulled to sleep by the impressive results so far of our new 3-man defence. 7amkickoff showed clearly that our defensive numbers did not improve with the change in formation. Cech heroics was the difference.

If we can acquire this kind of player in our central midfield, we would not only be open to more potent combinations of our pairings but we also would be more able to switch formations tactically.
We need this masterful box to box player. Mark that the 1st box is the defender, the 2nd box the attacker, both rolled into one player.

29yr old Radja Nainggolan of Roma is a well rounded ideal box to box man. He can pair effectively with Xhaka or Ramsey or Coquelin. He would improve the team. Naby Keita of Leipzig is N’golo Kante M2 only more creative but less relentless (maybe because he is smoother to the eye). He is so dangerous going forward.  His price tag floats around £80M. That amount I fear might be the definition of pin in a haystack for AFC  In which case Wenger would be looking to re-create the pairing of a destroyer (Coquelin) and a 5ft 5in technical bundle (not Santi) which served him so well. Jean Michael Seri, a through-ball genius but on the weak side defensively is a Santi replacement if ever there is one. He is worth only £35M and the rumour says we are after him. Like Santi he will bring Coquelin back to life. So Gooners, which one should we recruit? Or have you another of those rare gems to offer?

Our midfield put right is us back as a beast of European football. The time is ticking away ………..

By Pony Eye.

Posted in Uncategorized | 77 Comments

Arsenal v Sevilla Line-Up: Welbz, Lacazette and Ozil Up-front | Ox and Bellerin to Terrorise from Wings

After an encouraging and easy-on-the-eye performance against a sorry looking Benfica, we will face a tougher opponent in Sevilla today, another 16.20h kick-off. Of course, these games are all about giving players match fitness and trying out combinations of players as well as giving some promising talents a chance to shine. Nelson and M-Niles did indeed impress and it would be good if we get to see more of them today. Especially Nelson’s wing-play caught the eye and that is an area on the pitch where a youngster could break through this season.

As others pointed out in the previous post’s comments, our game is strongly focussed on using the wings as much as possible, and this passed by Iwobi at times. Kola and Nelson really helped us keeping the width and that left space in the box for our attackers to pounce. Benfica were left chasing the game and losing their discipline and that was the biggest achievement on the day.

We had many chances and they were put away with the coolness you would expect in a friendly game. Giroud was the familiar HUB in attack and he cracked open the by nature conservative, deep-sitting defence with his strength, height and fine lay-offs. It was a mini-masterclass of ‘hold-up striker play’. We all know that Theo can have a good day once in a while, and he was impressive yesterday. We also know that he struggles to keep this sort of intensity in his game going throughout the season but there is hope he will turn a leaf this time round. He knows he will have to keep performing as competition in attack is strong. My money is still on him leaving this summer though.

And with likely starts for Lacazette and Welbeck today we will be able to judge how strong our alternatives in attack are. It should also be a proper game for Mesut to get himself going again and he will be looking forward to feeding the runners and movers up-front.

The line up for this game is very likely to be the bench-starters of yesterday’s game:

I look forward to another start for Martinez and he could well become our nr.2 goal keeper this season. We can also look forward to a more solid ‘three at the back’ with likely starts for Nacho-Koz-Chambers. Ox and Bellerin to provide the width and raw injections of speed, and Rambo and Elneny to link defence with attack, with the Egyptian likely to be deployed a bit deeper.

A strong line-up against a proper football playing opponent at the home of football…. happy dayz!

By TotalArsenal

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments