Three urgently needed improvements for the Schalke 04 game


Will Gnabry get a chance on the right wing?

More Support for Cazorla – Better on-field Leadership – Sort out the Wings.

Just because we have seen a rat swimming in the sea, it does not mean the ship is about to sink. Arsenal played so well in recent away games against Liverpool, Man City and West Ham that we have no reason to despair as yet, even though our performance in and against Norwich was woeful.

Having had time to analyse the game in a bit more detail, I believe there are three urgently needed improvements Arsenal have to make for our game against Schalke 04 on Wednesday.

  1. More support for Cazorla in the centre of midfield. In our current system the lynchpin position is absolute key in terms of giving adequate support to Arteta – our more natural protector of the back four – and supporting Cazorla – our creative midfielder. Especially against teams who park the bus against us, we need a player who is good at defending, who can switch over to attack very quickly, can pick a good through-ball, and is confident with the ball in tight spaces. They need to be good passers and receivers of the ball and able to take on a player if possible. We have two very good players for this: Diaby and Jack, and two very decent players: Rosicky and Ramsey. All of them can also play in Cazorla’s position. If Jack is fit, we should play him against Schalke. If not, it will have to be Ramsey again. I thought he struggled against Norwich and he will have to step it up significantly if he is to make that role his own any time soon. Against Schalke he might get his last chance for a long while.
  2. On-field leadership needs to improve significantly. Some of you might recall my recent post about the perceived lack of leadership coming from Thomas Vermaelen. I reckon TV5 is struggling with the organisational and communicative tasks of leadership within the team. He leads well by example; although he often makes rash decisions – offensively as well as defensively – which put the rest of the team on edge, and in danger. I don’t think Thomas is a natural leader and he appears to be struggling with the new weight of responsibility on his shoulders. The sooner Arsene releases him of the captaincy responsibilities the better. I reckon Mertesacker would be a brilliant captain.
  3. Arsenal need to sort out the wings, if and when Giroud is being played in the middle. We need to stop being lop-sided towards the left, and have proper wing play on each side. It is either Giroud with proper wingers or no Giroud in our current system. Podolski is not a proper winger but a CF who can be positioned on the wing. In our ‘fluid-three’ system, Podolski does really well; especially when Gervinho is played in the middle and either one of The Ox, Theo or even Ramsey is played on the right. I prefer the fluid-three system at the moment, as it gives us far better movement up-front and it makes us a lot more unpredictable. But I would also like us to use Giroud more. However, playing Giroud with the Pod on the left and Gervinho on the right is not working at all, and I would be very surprised if Arsenal will use this combination again for a while. With the Ox probably out for Wednesday and Theo also a doubt, Arsene will be limited in his options. Podolski also appears to carry a knock and might be a doubt for Wednesday. Therefore, I would not be surprised – and also welcome it – if we were to start against Schalke with Gervinho on the left, Giroud in the middle and either Theo, The Ox, or Gnabry on the right – depending on who is fit enough to play.

I am sure the leadership thing will linger on for a while, as Arsene never seems to care that much about who is our captain. But the other two areas really need to be sorted out urgently in my opinion, if Arsenal want to return to winning ways.

Keep the faith fellow Gooners!

Total Arsenal.

57 thoughts on “Three urgently needed improvements for the Schalke 04 game

  • Hi TA,

    Very good suggestions to prevent another Norwich happening.

    I really rate Gnabry from what I have seen and heard and there is nothing wrong with introducing young talent early – that’s what we did with JW.

    It would be farcical to play Giroud without decent wing support, but frankly I do not kow where that is going to come from. We have mentioned Gnabry, above, but he is inexperienced, and then there is Gervinho.

    You won’t like me saying this, but Gervinho seems like a carbon copy of Walcott. Not physically, of course, but in his running down blind alleys, being pushed off the ball and being very inconsistent. Both are capable of brilliance — both are more than capable of rubbish.

    Which Gerv will turn up on Wednesday?

  • I agree with you this time..
    I don’t like Vermaelen as our Captain.. He has no leadership.. give it to Arteta..
    Midfielders is the key.. Look at Chelsea.. Mata and Hazzard is a midfield-winger..

    So we need to play 5 midfielders and let Giroud alone as striker..
    Or 4-4-1-1 with Podolski behind Giroud..
    And I hate to say mannone is bad.. give Martinez chance to prove he is better..

    My team are :

    Sagna, Gervinho, Wilshere and Arshavin for subs..

  • Hi Redders 🙂

    Oooh I am not going to be in agreement with you this time! 😉

    Gervinho was the only attacker who played ok against Norwich. He makes himself constantly available – but seldom got picked out against Norwich – and once he has the ball he makes things happen. He managed to get a few times into the box in order to pick a pass. Unfortunately the movement in the box was rubbish and he had nobody to pass to.

  • Evening Henry – how is life treating you?!

    You like to make big changes don’t you? Quite like the thought of the Pod behind Giroud, but Cazorla as a mid-winger would be a bit of waste I reckon.

  • No.. sorry.. something wrong with my smartphone..

    I mean to show a 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation..
    Its mean that Pod is on the left-winger..
    But maybe I press the ‘enter’

    I like to put Gervinho at first.. but I think again Shalke.. Pod experience will help..

    If we play 4-4-1-1 than our midfielders must be Gnabry-Arteta-Cozorla and Gervinho..
    Than Podolski and Giroud..

  • Hi Total
    It`s going to be a hard one on Wednesday, Shalke just beat Dortmund away.
    No Ox, No Gibbs, No Koz, No Theo, if Pods still struggling dont play him. Jack and Sagna played today in a 2-1 win at Everton and by all accounts Jack had a good game, being invovled in both goals, so I cant see him playing against Shalke, but hopefully I get to see him on Saturday, which is fitting as I was there in his last game when he got injured in the Ems Cup.

  • Hi Glic Bendy 🙂

    Schalke are a good team but I will save my views till I do a post on that game. I think you are right; you might see Jack in action on Saturday. We need him and Diaby back asap – they will help to transform the team again. 🙂

  • Bend it like glic hahaha
    Hi Total
    If we can be ok on the injury front and once Jacks back and settled, yes, I think we can start rolling again, he is definately the missing link.
    I`m quite excited about seeing Santi and Jack together. Seeing as you are better on the tactical stuff than most, how do you see a system with Jack, Santi ,Diaby and Arteta. Who plays where ?, will they all play together ?.

  • Hi TA

    I demand that these players play for there profesional pride. We here so much these days about how players no longer have strong emotional attatchments to there clubs and view there role as a job. Well if thats the case then surly there professional pride will be hurt.

    The Norwich game was a joke, and unbefiting of an Arsenal team. It reached levels that were simply unaccetable and besmirched the good name of Alex James.

    Ok, you want to play just for the money because your an “Ubber profesional”, thats fine by me. But bloody well earn it you Saps.

  • It`s one of my favourite night`s, I don my cloak and false fangs for an episode of The Vampire Diaries and I`ve got The Walking Dead Sky plussed, watching that will be like watching our performance against Norwich ! hahaha

  • Hi Total, Morecambe & Wise (GliC & Terry),
    I think the Norwich defeat has hurt deeply and a lot of fans are getting angry. The tide is turning against Mr Wenger. People don’t get what Ivan Gazidis brings to the table, hundreds of thousands of fans feel a total disconnect with the club.
    The swissramble states that we could comfortably afford both the transfer fee and the wages of Falcao, and as shots in the arm go, a signing of that quality would be right up there. But that isn’t going to happen under this regime, and instead of attempting to their promises of six years ago, we are falling further behind. And quite frankly, I don’t think FFP is going to have anywhere near the impact some are hoping for.
    This is one of the darkest, most depressing times to be an Arsenal fan that I can ever recall.

  • Glic at 18.20: if we are so lucky that Santi, Diaby, Arteta and Jack are all fit, I can only see us use them all in a 4-5-1 with either the Pod or Gervinho added to the quartet. It is more likely that only three of them would play in our current 4-3-3, and this would give Arsenal the opportunity to rotate our midfielders regularly; especially if Ramsey, Rosicky and Frimpong are fit as well. A fit Jack and Diaby will be like a double shot in the arms. 🙂

  • Hi TA,

    I have been in and out all day to day [my goodness that’s a hostage to fortune – or Glic!] 🙂

    It is difficult to come and go and pick up discussion points in a meaningful way.

    For what it is worth, after such a disappointing game on Saturday, AW will play his strongest team. He cannot afford another dreadful game — it could become habit!!

  • Hi Herb
    I`m going to help your cause. I`m flying around to Darth Wengers pad and I`m going to suck the blood from him, which may be a problem, because I`ve heard there`s more chance of getting blood out of a stone !. I may do a detour and pop by Gazidas`s place, aparrantly he`s loaded , but he does give me the creeps though, as he looks a bit like Uncle Festa, no not my Uncle Festa, as I dont have an Uncle Festa, but I do have an Uncle who owns a Fiesta !.
    Talking of hideous monsters, me and Terry will be meeting VCC on Saturday for the QPR game.
    Anyway, where was I ?. So Herb, If I can get rid of Count Wenger and Frankroenkestein and replace them with David Moyes and a ” spend it like it`s my last day on earth ” Usmanov, then your`ll be a happy bunny for a few games, yes ? .

  • Hi Herb, I can sense there is more negativity than usual and it seems that many fellow Gooners are sensing deja-vu.

    Yet, we have had a difficult fixture list in the PL until now and are only 6 points behind second position in the table. We played some fantastic games until now, made some good new signings and are on the verge of getting Sagna, Diaby and Wilshere back in the team. Had we beaten Chelsea we would now only be 4 points behind them. We did not, but we were never outplayed by them. Supporting our team should also mean to stick by them when times are rough. And they are actually not that rough at all. Two wins in a row and we are back in the top four. The game against Norwich was shite, now the boys can show what they are made off.

  • Hi GliC, thanks for the offer.
    There’s just a stale apathy about the whole club, a complacency and acceptance of mediocrity. There is no passion or hunger for success, and fans can only be fooled for so long. We had some rank bad years during the 1970’s and 1980’s, but never was it as miserable and lifeless as it is now.

  • I know you’re convinced RVP left for money, Total, but when it became public knowledge that he wasn’t extending his contract he stated it was because had sat down with Mr Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, and he didn’t agree with the direction they were taking the club.
    I and thousands of Arsenal fans agree with RVP’s assessment. We have fallen so far from the standards set in 2004 it’s criminal that it’s allowed to continue without regulation or accountability.

  • Herb, I am not worried about those games but every game is a battle and so it should be. Like you I worry about the destination but I am going to enjoy the journey nevertheless.

    I categorically disagree with you that Arsene is content with mediocrity. Kroenke has also no benefits from chasing mediocrity. I totally respect that he does not want to spend hundreds of millions of pounds of his own money to somehow compete with the Oilers. We are doing it the right way and they are doing it the unethical way, and at the moment they are getting away with it. Maybe football in England – and Europe – is basically dead and titles will be bought with billions from now on. And maybe the realisation of that is what’s really making fellow Gooners so down at the moment. We cannot compete with them.

  • Herb
    You haven`t answered my question. Would you be happy with Moyes spending half a billion of Usmanov`s dosh ?.
    Also, did you like that video of 1930s Arsenal ?. They dont play like that anymore, shame really !. Have you got one of those Grey and White Arsenal shirt`s ?. Must have been bloody hard in those day`s, just Grey, white and black to choose from, thank f**k for the invention of colour !
    Herbie Chapman and his Grey and White Army ! hahaha

  • RvP has been the biggest human disappointment in football for me. A traitor of the highest order. I don’t care what he thinks or says: for me he is dead.

    Herb, you appear to have a strong social conscious. What I can understand is why you would like Arsenal to become like Chelsea and Man City: go out and buy titles and spend well beyond our means. What is the fun in that? And what about all the other clubs who cannot do this: where is the fairness, where is the equality of means to fight for the title on similar means?

  • I cant believe that what is happening in football will be allowed to continue, with the constant buying of trophy`s by a miniscule minority. It`s no good for football, no good for the fans, no good for TV, just no bloody good full stop. The introduction of FFP and with the likes of Us, ManU , Liverpool etc calling for a Premier League version aswell, the days of Man City and Chavs reign will come to an inevitable end.
    In ten years time , we will be talking about,” Remember when them two, who just got relegated were buying trophy`s”. There`s no doubt it will come to an end for their likes and all our hard work will come to fruition. It`s just a matter of time.

  • Hi Glic, thanks for the clip, I must admit it did make me laugh. It doesn’t exclusively have to be David Moyes, Pep Guardiola maybe, or Jurgen Klopp.
    Why do you force me to sound like a broken record, Total? Intelligent investment nullifies the need to spend outrageous amounts of money.
    A good dependable Goalkeeper would be a start.
    How many of Mr Wenger’s buys since 2006 can we honestly say has been shrewd, clever investment? We have no proper leadership, we have one brand of football that more and more managers have sussed out, and we are perpetually looking to kids to save us. And why you think Abou Diaby will be a shot in the arm is beyond me. Two or three games and he’s crocked!
    Mr Wenger’s over-confidence of certain players has back-fired on us far too many times, and it will continue to do so as long as he is in charge. We are mediocre.

  • Herb
    Your views are akin to what is said daily on LG, but you do it with Intelligence, knowledge, style and decorum, void of any bullying and vulgar expletives. You are a gentleman.
    I must admit though, I`d love to see you lose your rag and curse like the best of us ! hahaha
    Right off to watch Vampire stuff !

  • Let’s hope so Glic. Man City became champions with an annual loss of £192m. It cannot continue like this.

    Herb, of course we can all find areas to criticise Wenger about. That is our right as a fan and he is not perfect by any means. The thing is, as long as there is such big gap in spending power by City and Chelsea, and the Mancs will probably continue down the same path, we will fall short – which will continue to make it easy for us – the fans – to say: he should have done this, or that differently. The Pool and Spuds fans say exactly the same.

    I am not going into detail about players but I do not agree with you that Arsene has not done wonders with his budget, in terms of buying players.

    You are right about Diaby. Maybe once both Jack and Diaby are fit, we don’t need to rely so much on Diaby and can play him more sporadically, so he can stay fit. I am sure you will agree that if he is good, he is very good. I am also sure that he will not get a new contract unless his fitness improves significantly.

  • Thanks GliC, you’re a tonic to us all, and your humourous posts/comments help us deal with the suffering. I hope you, Terry and VCC have a great time at The Tavern and The Emirates on Saturday (check VCC, he maybe concealing his QPR top under his Arsenal one 🙂 )

  • Herb, i want your opinion. On the one hand “Vampire Diaries” were all the vampires look like models but in truth are all ponces. i know Cornwall, he only watches it so he can get soft titalation from the lead actress, (who i admit is top class), He fantasises kopping off with her whilst he sits in his armchair, spruced up in his cloak and fangs, munching his cheese and onion crisps.

    Or the vampires i like. Ugly, creepy, spectral beings, that haunt the deepest recess of the human psyche, bringing both loathing and terror to even the most sturdiest individual. Think of Arsene wenger on a Sunday morning just getting out of bed and suffering from an obscene hangover, or Ray Wilkins on a good day, I think you get the picture

    Si what is it Herb, a frenzied Ray Wilkins, or Cornwalls cheee and onion crisps.?

  • Before I settle in, It`s quite weird that Stretch mentions me and Ray Wilkins in the same sentence, as we were together at Senrab. I scored 1 or more goals in every game for my one season in which we won the double. The pull of the fairer sex was a bigger pull at the time than football and now it`s the other way around !. hahaha
    If you wiki Senrab, they have been an incredible production line of well known footballers, especially for the Chavs. An Arsenal invincible is a former player, shouldn`t be too hard to guess, he`s English.


  • @ TA

    i agree BSR is a disgrace. I love Arsenal, and that betrayal has left a very sour taste in my mouth! In oz all you hear about is Man U so I hear his name entirely too often! It’s wasn’t too much to ask for him to either flop or get injured was it? Until then I’m just left to imagine him on the receiving end of a few of these:

  • Morning fellow Gooners! 🙂

    New post will be out around 3pm today (busy in the morning).

    See you all later and keep rockin in a free world!


  • Hi Oz,

    thanks for the video = ooooouuuuch! 🙂

    I often wonder how you guys in Australia etc cope with being so far away from where the team plays and most of the fans are. Hearing about the traitor and MU all the time must be sickening! 😦

  • Morning, TA and Oz, 🙂

    You guys play rough in Ozland.

    While you are warming up over there, the weather is due to turn bright and freezing over here by the weekend. That can bring a tear to the eye – turning from daytime temps of 18 or 19C on Thursday to 6C on Friday within overnight temperatures of below 0C.

    Hope the forecasters are wrong — or I will be off to Oz myself!! 🙂

  • Morning all.

    GLiC 23:49. My Sons team, “Little Thurrock Dynamos” used to play against Senrab (Barnes) approx 2001-2005. They always had a tough time with them, if memory serves me right Senrab came out on top most days.

  • TA,

    Is your trip just for the weekend? Better take your thermals!! 🙂

    Are you still thinking of setting up a business in Scotland?

  • Morning all
    You are right Redders, me and VCC have a lot in common………..I am commonly known as, ” That handsome bastard ” and VCC is commonly known as, ” That Ugly muvver f**ker ” !. hahaha

  • What a coincidense , I have opened up a business in Scotland aswell and I`m making a mint. My Cure for Gingers shop, ” Gingers R Us ” is going down like a house on fire ! a bit like most of Glasgow`s rough area`s, but then again, it keeps them warm on a -5 degrees summer day`s and is cheaper than economy 7 heating .

  • It sure is TA, i’ve copped it for years from plastic fans who know nothing about “soccer”

    I’m looking forward to the days where we are far superior so i can either:

    a) walk around peacefully
    b) rub it in a lot of faces!

    @ RA

    6 C, that is terrible. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. We have a scorcher on the weekend…36 C. Looking forward to it. I’ve been playing around in a ‘hot room’ in uni set at 35 C so I’m more than ready for the heat.

  • Hi Redders, we are going for a week to the Isle of Mull and the owner of the place we are renting left us with mixed messages: ‘we are expecting an Indian Summer any time soon, and….. there is snow on top of the Ben….”. Whatever it is, I will love: it is my spiritual home. 🙂

    GLicnas Bendtner – you are a nutbum 🙂

    Are you doing another great techno-video soon? Totals Mission was just great!

    Off now to write a post.

  • GLiC 09:19 ….don’t tell Evonne about how ugly I am, I’m trying to jump in and push Chas aside, he he. Lmao.

    Yours sincerley UMF.


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