Arsenal desperately need a proper, dedicated right winger

And if Theo only wants to sign if he is mainly played as a CF; it is time to let him go!

Watching Arsenal play against Aston Villa without a proper winger on either side, made me realise once again how much we need at least one in our current 4-3-3 system. Almost in every game in which Arsenal have fielded a front-three without either Theo or Gervinho, we have struggled to hurt our opponents.

We just look so toothless and one-dimensional when we play Pod on the left wing and Ox or Ramsey on the right wing, and Giroud in the middle.

Pod, Ox and Ramsey are not even proper “inside-out” wingers – who regularly cut inside their full back in order to pass or shoot with their stronger foot – although Ox could still develop into one.

Podolski has been played on the LW for most of the games, and although he scored a decent number of goals and produced some good assists, Arsenal only seem to produce a decent threat from the left wing if and when Gibbs is able to play as our LB. Without Gibbs combining with Pod as our overlapping wing-back, the German carries very little threat on the left wing.

With Ramsey, or even Ox on the right, we also seldom or never witness effective wing-play, and Gervinho is also far less effective on the right than on the left – and this is regardless whether we play Jenkinson or Sagna as our RB. The result is that Arsenal are often far too narrow and predictable by focussing too much on breaking the opposition open through the middle, rather than equally using the flanks in order to carry an additional threat.

Of course, Arsenal have not been helped by our best left (wing) back and right (wing) back being injured for so long. If Arsenal can keep the combos of Gibbs-Pod and Sagna-Theo fit for a while, we should see a step-improved in our ability to use our wings to full effect.

Today I watched Chelsea and ManCity produce an equally boring 0-0 draw as we did against Villa yesterday. Here are two teams who have spent together in the region of £2bn in the last five years or so, in order to desperately ‘win’ some silverware; and play attractive football along the way. Both teams played for most of the game without proper wingers, although Milner at least tried to get to the by-line from the right wing occasionally. As a result the game had very little flow to it, and was hardly watchable. What a waste of money!

Unless a team can reach the levels of midfield dominance, possession, passing, and pressing football of Barcelona, it is going to be very hard to play attractive and deadly football without proper wingers. And very few teams have quality wing-backs like Barcelona have.

Although, Gibbs and Sagna are decent wing-backs, they are not world-class and we simply are not in a position to play without any proper wingers in our team. I would personally play Gervinho instead of Podolski on the left wing, as he is far more effective as a left winger; but I can see why Wenger wants to persevere with the Gibbs-Pod option. The biggest problem with this is Gibbs’ proneness to injury though.

When Theo plays on the right, and he is disciplined enough to stick to dedicated right-wing play, Arsenal carry much more threat. It does not mean he should never be allowed to move towards the middle, though. Theo forms a fine partnership with Sagna, which should allow him to move inside occasionally; and he can also profit from effective wing-play from the left, by presenting himself as an additional striker in the box.

So we need Theo to stay out on the right wing and if he does not want to do that, Arsenal will need to replace him with an orthodox, dedicated, experienced and highly motivated right-winger, in order to get the full use out of our 4-3-3 system.

Total Arsenal. 

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78 Responses to Arsenal desperately need a proper, dedicated right winger

  1. Joshua says:

    Jetro Willems, Pablo Hernamdez, Ettiene Capoue and Huntelaar or Jovetic.

    —————-—-Szczeny——————-
    Sagna——-TV5——–Per——Willems

    ——–Arteta/Capoue–Whilshere——-

    P.Hernamdez—Cazorla——–Podolski

    ————Huntelaar/Giroud————-–

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Joshua, that is a lot of change you want in one go. Not sure about Willems though: young, promising talent, but still has a lot to learn and I would prefer a more established LB like Baines.

  3. Joshua says:

    True but one i dont thinks would want to come and two he’s to expensive. Baines would be my first choice by far but unrealistic. Maybe change is what we need cough cough (arsene4pep)

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    I don’t think he would be too expensive, Joshua. Question is whether he would really like to come to Arsenal, and of course whether Arsene rates him.

    I definitely would like Arsene to complete the season and see what sort of team the current one turns into. Do you think Guardiola would be as successful at Arsenal without a large budget to spend?

    Personally, I am not sure. He is a fine manager and it would be great to see him at Arsenal at some point, but if he also has to sell his best players every year, I cannot see him do better than Arsene.

  5. Joshua says:

    I could but only if the club has a wipeout and gets rid of Dein and Kronke and brings back David Dein and make Usamov the owner of the whole club because they would invest and gve pep the resources needed.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    That is unlikely to happen and the question remains how that would affect our club long term. Do you reckon Usmanov would spend out of his own pocket, or borrow loads of money against the club in order finance top class players?

  7. kk says:

    when carl jenkinson plays, the right side offensive is non-existent…it is not the lack of a right winger but the lack of a good-enough back-up for the right back. when sagna plays, the right side offensive works.

    let’s be objective…jenkinson has been over-hyped…atm, he contributes nothing in attack, defensively, he is decent but tendency to give away the ball thru misplaced passes in own half…

    when he plays, arsenal is unlikely to win

  8. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    Thanks TA.. at least some goodnews arrived.. City and Chelsea just the same with us.. hahaha.. LOL..
    So now our most danger enemy are MU and WBA.. hahaha..

    But soon that goodnews will become bad.. if we see it clearly that Chelsea now looking for Walcott also.. to give their attacking game succeed..

    As we know Walcott have two big issue with us.. first playing as CF.. and second higher wages.. and as we all know.. Chelsea don’t have problem with big wages..

    But for CF.. I don’t really think that he will get what he want there.. he will still be placed as a RW.. cause as TA said.. and I agree 100%.. that Walcott is the best RW.. and as Chelsea also play 4-3-3.. they need a verygood winger.. Mata do it verywell in the left.. they just need a Walcott to do the same in the right.. And Benitez will pick Torres as CF always unless the sign Falcao.. And Walcott also will never can compete with RvP and Rooney (MU) or Aquero-Tevez-Baloteli-Dzeko (City) as CF..

    So.. our problem now is just wages issue.. and we must be honest to admit it.. that the boss just ain’t fair enough to him.. Howcome they paid Podolski (new comer) 90.000/week and only want to pay Walcott 75.000/week.. hehe..
    And you know that.. after (wish not) he is gone.. we might be in the same position.. again.. to support the boss.. and saying bad thing about how selfish and greedy Walcott is.. hehehe.. LOL..
    (Do it sound more like Herbs now.. haha..)

    But.. no matter what happened.. I will still be a Gunner.. hehe.. especially when Wenger bring 3 dutch players in January (Verm, Jetro and Hunter).. haha..

    Happy Monday.. Wish You All The Best..

  9. John Doe says:

    Yeah. We need Capoue. He looks immense as midfield or a defender. We need to bring back the physical factor in the midfield. Capoue is a great option and besides, he’s not playing in big club, yet

  10. Big Fibba says:

    I reckon Theo is politely fibbing (being a nice lad) about playing wanting to play CF when he’s probably in fact secretly got the Cashley Hole syndrome. I don’t see how he can enjoy the prospect of playing in the middle with the likes of Shawcross,Terry etc parked up his arsenal.He certainly seems to be enjoying the space out wide, and has become a clinical finisher when through and can bend it inside that far post as well as anyone else. Surely he also enjoys providing a dangerous supply of ball to our big french CF also? This supply has coincided with some good results and some goals for Giroud.As for the Villa game, we sent out a toothless line up with no real winger and no one driving forward from the midfield (JW) and so repeated the formula that has provided several poor / scoreless outcomes already this season. Full strength line up with wings and drive will be essential for the Everton game-they just love a narrow minded opponent.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome kk,

    I agree with you to some extent that Jenkinson is less of an attacking threat than Sagna at the moment. For me, this is mainly due to not having the same understanding with Theo as Sagna has. Jenkinson is a good crosser of the ball and overlaps well, but he still has to form a good partnership with either Theo, Ox or Gervinho (if played on the right).

    The Theo-Sagna combination is the best we have on the right and let’s hope both stay fit for a while now. 🙂

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Moring Henry,

    The problem is that if it is money that is the main factor in Theo’s decision to sign a new contract or not, than 90k is not going to do it either. We don’t need him as a pure CF; we have Giroud and Pod for this and there are better guys out there. We need him as a winger and you are spot on; the Chavs and Nothern Oilers will need him as a winger as well. But they might be able to trick him by making false promises.

    I have always rated Theo and defended him sometimes vigorously against fellow Gooners, but the whole saga is p*ssing me off big style. Sign da thing, or sod off, and let’s get a proper, dedicated winger. You and I are both big fans of Narsingh – he would make us forget Walcott in a flash or two.. 🙂

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome BF,

    Fully agreed with your comment, although I cannot tell for sure whether it is money that has been driving him all along. It starts to look like it though and the whole thing needs to be resolved asap. Sign or sod off and Arsenal need to replace him with a proper winger.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome JD,

    I am yet to be fully convinced about Capoue, but I agree with you re the need for physicality in front of our defence – and have an extra option to Arteta.

  15. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, 🙂

    I believe you have hit the nail on the head — again.

    We need at least one top class winger/wing back combination to give us a better dimension in attack.

    Arsene previously said he does not see either Rambo or the Ox as wingers but circumstances have dictated that he has had to play them there.

    You know I do not think Theo is the consistently top class winger we need. I have no really love of flashes of brilliance mixed up with utter rubbish, though he is the best we have I aspire to someone better!

    Gervinho came on as a sub on Saturday and his first touch (or non-touch) made him not the ball out of play when under no pressure. His second touch was — same, same!

    Again he is better than anyone else we have on the left wing, but that is a poor reflection of the standards we have allowed ourselves to expect. As a CF he is a total disaster!

    I have been talking about the quality of players available to us, but it does not get away from the fact that I agree with the conclusion of your quality Post. 😀

  16. Red Arse says:

    Apologies for the typing errors – rushing around a bit at the moment! 😳

    I saw your email this morning and am perfectly happy with that! 🙂

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Good morning Redders 🙂

    You’re a bit harsh on Gervinho, but he did have a poor half hour for us on Saturday. You know my argument to you is every time: Gervinho on the left and Theo on the right are as good as any PL players in those positions. It does not mean we cannot improve on them, but it won’t be easy! 🙂

  18. VCC says:

    Good Monday morning All. ….Fine post Total, as always.

    My fingers are crossed that Walcott is fit for Wednesday, if not we will see another toothless display. Within our present set up, although far from world class, Walcott is our most potent weapon. It is evident that opposition defenders do not get forward in mass or as often when he is on the pitch. He has a fear factor about him. Yes, he is clumsy sometimes but with his blistering pace he offers us an outlet most times.

    Giroud has come on leaps and bounds. I’ve eaten my hat. Bit of a bugger with this weather as I keep getting wet now.

    Podolski’s body language tells me he is not happy with his defensive duties. This deficiency will bite us in the bum, and believe me that’s not comfortable.

    Whilst Sagna is the finished article at right back and our first choice, rightly so, I feel Jenkinson is more then an adequate back up. He is one of our better crossers of a ball.

    Ox comes inside far too often, Wenger/Bould should drum it into him to take the full back on and get crosses over to OG.

    I don’t share your love of Girvinho, he is not the answer for me.half the time he dosnt know what he is doing himself, so how can the others understand him? Plus he will be off soon to the ACN.

  19. henrychan says:

    Morning TA.. and Hi Big F..
    Theo is just an ordinary man.. and all man has his own pride..
    Although money do not automaticly equal to that pride.. but in this bussiness (football is an industry..) the more money you get means the more qualified you are..
    And as you think you are good enough.. then you also think about howmuch the clubs will pay you.. it just normal and very human..

    The problem is in our structure of wages.. we don’t pay for his ability but for his ages.. hehehe.. LOL..For me Walcott is better than Podolski.. and just not make any sense for me his salary is only 60.000 and Podolski is 90.000/week.. (cmiiw about the number..)
    So he want to get more than Podolski.. he wish for 100.000/week.. and for me is just fair.. If I am the boss (board).. I will give him at least 90.000/week..

    The question is why we paid Podolski that big..?? hehehe.. Something weird happened.. Podolski is not a big star from a big clubs.. FC Koln..?? what is that.. hehehe.. (sound very sarcastic.. hehehe..) He is just Muenchen trown away player.. why must we pay him that big..?? and why don’t we do it for Arteta or Cozorla.. and Walcot..??
    Rick Price said.. Only Heaven Knows.. hahahaha..

    TA.. yes Narsingh will be a good options to replace Walcott..
    I read some gossips at caughtoffside.. about Wenger wanted to bring in 3 dutch player.. Vorm (GK), Jetro (LB) and Huntelarr (CF).. I will be great if it is true.. and will be wonderful if Narsingh is too.. But PSV Einhoveen will lose his captain Kevin Strootman to MU.. and also Jeremian Lens.. I don’t think Dick Advocaat will sell Jetro and Narsingh to us.. but I wish this thing is true.. hehehe..

  20. VCC says:

    Szezney will do fine for us, he is as good as any other keeper in the premiership. Wenger will not spend any money on a keeper that’s for sure.

    Gibbs is made of glass so we should look to replace him ASAP. I keep banging this drum so much I’ve worn a hole in it.

    BFG,TV5 and Kos are adequate centre backs.

    Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta are quality, enough said.

    Ramsey is mediocre.

    I would love to see more of Eisfeld. Also start blooding Miquel and Yennaris a little, step by step coming off the bench late on, if the situation allows.

    Flog= Rosicky…Diaby…..Santos…squillaci….Djourou….Chamakh. Put those resourced to a left back and DM. Job done. Here I come Arsene, I’m on my way.

  21. Red Arse says:

    Hi VCC, 🙂

    I think TA has made the remark that injuries have cost us dear, and particularly at the back.

    I think we (the club) owe the players a duty of care when they are injured, but I am moving towards thinking ‘enough is enough’ or as the French say, ‘un oeuf est un oeuf’. 🙂

    Seriously, we need to start reviewing the consequences of players who are fragile – Gibbs and Sagna, and Diaby and take remedial action — sign sturdier players – like you and me VCC!! 🙂

  22. Red Arse says:

    Hi Henry, 🙂

    You make some very good points!!

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, all agreed with your 8.43 comment, except for the Gervinho stance. He scored five goals in his first 7 game: he is bringing home the bacon for us.

    Yes, some call him erratic; I would call it unpredictable. That’s what makes him so good in my view: defenders don’t know what he is going to do next.

  24. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    We do differ to some extent in our views of Theo and the Gerv, altho I admit they are the best we have at the moment. But ………….

    It’s just that I believe we need to improve as a team and leaving aside the EPL I believe there are far better players available in Europe and elsewhere.

    We should never just accept the status quo, and in football, as in life, we should always shoot for the stars and not meekly accept what we already have.

    Life is too short! 😀

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders,

    I am going to write a post about Gervinho soon, so will keep my powder dry for now. 🙂

    Reaching for the stars is what we always need to do – could not agree more with you. Finding really good wingers who are also happy to help out defensively and who would succeed in the PL is not an easy task though, in my view.

  26. VCC says:

    RA 09:13. Sturdier indeed, Sir.

    Gibbs is made of glass. Whilst he is a decent full back, history tells us it’s only a metter of time before he gets injured AGAIN.

    Ditto for Diaby.

    Total 09:19. Gervinho = We agree to disagree. There is far better out there than him, I’m sure, plus the added baggage of ACN.

    RA 09:19. Shoot for the stars, exactly. As I said earlier, 2-3 players would enable us to compete with the big boys IMO.

    Won’t be around much today chaps, I’m off to the Emirates for a chat. “Put the kettle on Arsene”

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry – Henry!

    Podolski is a class player. Clearly, he is the man to replace Giroud if and when unable to play and in the meantime he is asked to play on the left. With a good wing-back behind him and a proper winger on the right, he can be very deadly for us, and I would definitely not regard Walcott as better than him. Referring to him coming from Koln rather than him being an established German international with a great goals to game ratio is doing him short in my view.

    If we play Gerv (LW) – Pod – Theo/proper right winger, with Cazorla and Jack behind them and a classic DM/Arteta in front of our defenders, I think we would rock the PL. I am happy with Giroud as well though.

    Agreed though that Walcott should be paid the same as Podolski.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Tea?! Merde, mon dieu – je veux seulement cafe au lait VCC – Tea mon cue! 😛

    We definitely have to agree to disagree re Gerv, although I agree on the big disadvantage of the ACN being held again this year 😦

  29. VCC says:

    Slightly off topic guys….If I might say. It was great to hear from Terry last night at 22:18
    Looks like you are getting back on track TMHT. Keep on rocking.

    Terry, you said if theres anything you could do for us/me? yes, there is….can you give me 6 numbers for the lottery this coming Saturday. Id like the winning ones please, so I can go and visit Henry to tell him all about the Championship. he he he he he. ha ha ha ha .

    TMHT, you must keep eating sir, that is vital. Try a slow cooker, leave it on in the morning with meat and some veg, timed right you can eat straight away when arriving home. Also, as you frequent Asda, they do a good Prince’s range of tinned food. I used to have these when I worked nights, together with Uncle Bens rice, you can micro the dish in minutes. Plenty of meat in those Princes range.

    Pigeons….mmmm…….This is a true story…..My Father used to race pigeons. He started with none ringed stock of approx 6 birds. Most fanciers used to start like this and then build their own stock up with ringed birds. Well as space was at a premium and money to feed, he disposed of the original birds ( if not ringed you cannot race them) One of his original non ringed birds was a black one, he was so friendly, he used to fly around and then land on my head before going back into the loft. I loved that bird I used to feed him by hand, he would eat out of my palm.

    One evening I sat down for dinner and on our plates were pieces of small meat, I asked my Mum what we had, she replied “Pigeon” believe it or not it was tasty. Whilst eating said dinner, I asked my Mother where did she get the meat……..You’ve guessed it, yes. She said they were the birds Dad did not have any use for anymore. Argharghatgh. I went hungry that evening cos I could not eat any more. I promise you guys, that is a true story.

    Come on Terry start cheering us up after that dismal display Saturday.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    “Terry, you said if theres anything you could do for us/me? yes, there is….can you give me 6 numbers for the lottery this coming Saturday. Id like the winning ones please, so I can go and visit Henry to tell him all about the Championship. he he he he he. ha ha ha ha .” Superb, VCC! 😛

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice story VCC – Pigeon racing used to be very big in the part of Holland I originate from – and might still be!

  32. VCC says:

    Total

    La primera taza de té ot en la mañana es la mejor bebida del total día.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    That might well be true, VCC, but in big parts of Europe the first drink of the day is coffee! 🙂

  34. VCC says:

    Total. You are correct, Holland like Belgium was a big pigeon fanciers ground. People used to go and buy some birds from there. This kept the blood lines strong.

  35. VCC says:

    Coffee is indeed the favoured first drink of the day in many parts of Europe.
    Another true story.
    Approx 8 years ago my Wife and I were Casa hunting in Valencia. One morning we started out very early. We stopped off for a quick coffee ( first of the day) in the reception of our B & B. This establishment turned out to be THE place for truckers first thing in the morning.

    As we sat at the bar/counter the drivers ( yes drivers) of these huge lorries would have a glass of coffee with a glug,glug,glug of brandy on top. I wouldn’t be able to sing after that let alone drive. Unbelievable.

  36. henrychan says:

    hahaha.. VCC.. two tumbs up..
    Terry.. better you give me.. so I can go to Emirates stadium.. hehehe..
    Why don’t try to be a vegetarian.. begin with eating less meat.. especially the red ones..
    Healthy and cheaper.. hehehehe..

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi VCC, you seem to be a good studier of human behaviour. I love those little human stories.

    Re the Pigeon racing. My dad always tells with me with some old-romantic warmth about how everyone in the street he lived in watched in one single living room the 1954 World Cup final between Germany and Hungary. The very proud owner of the TV – the only one in the whole street to have one – had won it because one of his pigeons had arrived first in Barcelona.

  38. Red Arse says:

    VCC,

    I loved your pigeon story! 🙂

    An uncle used to race pigeons and on race day when they were coming home to be ‘clocked’ he was always very tense. I was very fond of some of his ‘blues’ but the ‘reds’ were also fine looking birds.

    One day, when my mom and I stayed with him for a couple of days, when I was about 5 year old, I spotted a bird coming in, and raced to tell my uncle and then went whooping around the garden. the bird sat on top of the shed, because I had scared it, and it took quite a while for the poor old bird to be coaxed into the coop.

    I only found out many years later that the 5 minutes delay had cost my uncle the first prize!

    Anyway, when I was in my teens, on another visit, he was talking to another ‘fancier’ and at some stage his friend said he had a beautiful wood pigeon pie in a nearby restaurant.

    The very thought made me cringe. The next day my mom served me two small roast wood pigeon, and despite my reluctance I tasted one and it was pretty good with a nice sauce so I tucked in.

    Five minutes later my uncle came in and asked how I was liking my meal.I said it wasn’t bad, but I was surprised at how small the wild wood pigeons were.

    They are not wood pigeons said my uncle, surprised, they are ………… and before he could say another word I was out of there and straight into the bathroom to be very sick.

    The thought of those lovely, gallant birds flying all those hundreds of race miles just to be bumped off and served up for me was just too much!! 😦 Never had pigeon since!!

    Pigeon fanciers are quite ruthless with their bird stocks!!

  39. VCC says:

    Total…..I have a Wife who simply loves shopping and spending money. So, when we are out I have plenty of time to sit alone away from the till’s that she frequents as it gives me a heart attack every time she gets the card out. Consequently many hours are spent People watching. One of the funniest things I see is the way in which certain people dress. Im sure many houses havnt any mirrors, unlike GLiC’s house.

    Pigeons….there can be big money won if you have strong blooded birds. A guy living 6 doors down the road has a loft approx 90 foot long that would put many people’s houses to shame. I think it came from Belgium. Slate roof, lighting and many mod cons. He is very successful in the sport. |He visits Blackpool every year on the pigeon fanciers awards night.

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders and VCC – your stories make me think about how the club discharged the likes of Pires, Gilberto, Lauren etc once their ‘wings’ were not adequate any more. 😦

  41. VCC says:

    RA……Boy how you are right about pigeon fanciers being ruthless with their birds. If they don’t perform then its curtains. I’ve even seen some fanciers top their birds for landing on the roof of the house instead of going straight to the loft.

    You must also remember the accommodation factor too. If you have any birds that are lazy and unwilling, then this takes up valuable living quarters for the much desired types of flyers. So to be successful you must be ruthless, I guess. Its a hard world we live in. Just take Arsenal for instance, its a good job Arsene Wenger is our manager because if we had some one else, the likes of, Diaby,Rosicky,Santos,Ramsey,Squillaci,Djourou,Fabianski,Chamakh would have been shot at dawn. (Cue Henry…….he he he he ha ha ha )

  42. VCC says:

    So true Total……Wenger can be extremely ruthless at times. Especially the story about Lauren.

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    I am like you VCC – love observing people and try to understand their little intricate behaviours; as in what it says about them. For example, I live opposite a shop and the other day a very old man came out with a bag of shopping and treated himself to a magnum icecream on the way home. He just looked so contented that it made me smile as well. 🙂

    Talking about old people this short video made me laugh! 😛

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine Fellow Gooners, may I introduce to you all: a feisty, spicy and intellectually challenging new post by the phenomenal Red Arse!

    NEW POST – NEW POST – NEW POST – NEW POST. 🙂

  45. The Gooner says:

    I completely agreed with you word for word until you said Gervinho should start…then you lost me. The guy has 0 football intelligence, a heavy first touch and loses the ball way too frequently in key areas of the pitch (whether it be misplaced passes or over dribbling). He should be left as a squad player at best. However, I agree that both Podolski and Theo should not be on the pitch at the same time, unless one is playing as a striker. Both have goal scoring mentalities and neither of their games were meant for dribbling or providing delivery from out wide. This ultimately explains why Giroud rarely gets chances to score in the box.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome Gooner,

    The thing is with Gervinho that he needs to be playing regularly to get the best out of him. I agree his first touch is heavy at times and his decision making needs improving, but he take on a defence in tight space and make something happen. Who else can do that? He is not perfect and might not make it at Arsenal – and the ANC in January does not help at all – but he could still develop in a useful player for us. Yesterday’s performance against Olympiacos was v poor though.

  47. The Gooner says:

    Hi TotalArsenal,

    I agree that Gervinho may be the only true wide option we have, but that’s a testament to our lack of true wingers and not his skill. Gervinho’s decision making will not improve with more game time; he’s simply not an intelligent footballer. He’s got skill but doesn’t have that level of intelligence that is required to play Arsenal football. He’s better off as a squad player or would be more effective on a different team. It is more important than ever to have at least one true winger like Navas, Tello etc. since we invested in Giroud. It would solve our issues of creativity out wide and both would be able to deliver the ball on the ground and in the air for scoring opportunities. Either would be able to take on opposing teams’ defences in tight spaces too.

    Take a look at Barca, where they have Iniesta, Pedro, Tello and Sanchez. No shortage of options and all constantly attack the opposition directly, can deliver the ball or score themselves, have great decision making and open up space for Messi, Xavi and Cesc. I believe a true class winger is the one thing we’re missing from our offence. Depth and a physical defensive mid are the other two priorities, but a winger would have the greatest effect on improving our stale offence.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    TG, Fully agreed on the need of a quality, experienced winger. I still think you are a bit harsh on Gervinho. Once he hits form he can be of good value and he also has to deal with a new set of strikers and midfielder to get used to. I am not his biggest fan though; there surely are better options, but they are not easy to find or afford. Navas and Tello: not a bad call at all. 🙂

  49. The Gooner says:

    TA, I also agree that Gervinho still has some use but I hate seeing him start. As I said before, I’m completely fine with having one of Podolski or Theo on the wing as both give us a different look and can add more goals if Giroud isn’t scoring. However, the other winger needs to complement that but being able to deliver the ball and play direct football. This to me is where Gervinho doesn’t fit in. He runs very well down the flank before he gets into the final third where he just runs out of ideas and generally fails on beating the defender in the box. He lacks that directness and sublime passing ability. He’s fine as an alternative option to Podolski on the left, but shouldn’t be starting IMO.

    Yes, we should be looking at players like Navas, Tello, Cuenca etc. All spanish players who thrive in the tiki taka system, have incredible individual skill and have a team mentality first. Navas is the best playmaker/crosser of the ball of the three but Tello and Cuenca have loads of potential who are being blocked by world class players.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Fully agreed on the need for at least one classic winger in the team in a 4-3-3 system. I also liked the look of Narsingh at PSV Eindhoven, or Cabella of Montpellier. Agreed though the general quality of Spanish footballers.

  51. The Gooner says:

    Cabella is a great shout, he’s familiar with Giroud and is a tricky little player with bags of skill. He really impressed me against Arsenal this year, especially in the first leg at Montpellier where he created a few chances and hit the crossbar. The delivery has to be spread out; we can’t simply rely on Cazorla to be our sole source of creativity.

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed – Rosicky back will help as well!

  53. The Gooner says:

    Forgot about Isco too. He can over dribble at times but is much better at penetrating opposing teams’ defences than Gervinho and has an eye for the final ball. He has good enough pace to play out wide, but I do think his eventual place will be central as an attacking mid. The way I see it is Wenger could play him out wide for a couple seasons and he could eventually take over for Cazorla.

    What are your thoughts on him filling the void at LW and moving Podolski centrally?

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening Gooner,

    I am in two minds whether I would Arsene to continue with 4-3-3 or play a more compact 4-5-1 with five multi-functional and skilled midfielders. I don’t like our 4-3-3 very much but as per many of my previous posts, I reckon it could work well if we had a beast of a DM and at least one proper winger.

    But we have not got those and I reckon Wenger needs to buy at least a DM and a winger in January.

    I expected us to go back to 4-5-1 with Giroud our ‘holding striker’ and five midfielders keeping the ball well and passing the opposition to bits, and yet with a cutting edge. If I was Wenger I would go back to 4-5-1 now, at least till the opening of the TW.

    I have not seen much of Isco but HenryChan reckons he is really good. The way you describe him sounds good.

  55. The Gooner says:

    Evening TA,

    I know youtube videos are not a good representation of any players’ true skill, but there are several videos that show his games vs. opponents that I’ve been amazed with. He’s really blossomed in the CL and watching him play for Malaga has been a treat; certainly one of the breakout performers thus far. His ability to get out of tight spaces where three defenders close in on him is spectacular and his on-field awareness is very rare. However, the one knock on him is certainly the over-dribbling as he often holds onto the ball too long when he could have passed or taken a shot earlier. He’s much more direct than any of our current wingers and has youth on his side. I definitely think he’s worth a bid with a rumoured buy-out clause of 17-18 mil.

    I’m not sure what formation we’ve been playing this season. At the start of the year it looked like a 4-2-3-1 with Cazorla playing forward more, but ever since we started slumping, it’s looked like we reverted back to a 4-3-3. I agree with you that the 4-3-3 does not suit our players right now. Our wingers have been a real issue and we can’t seem to dominate midfield play as we should with Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta.

    4-5-1 would definitely be interesting but again, I feel it would waste Giroud’s aerial ability. Balls would still be delivered on the ground and I’m not sure we have the midfield depth to play a 4-5-1 unless Diaby and Rosicky are fit (never know when one will get injured again). If anything, I feel as though we should go old school to a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1 with Theo or Podolski playing behind Giroud and Santi drifting out wider. Santi’s probably the most versatile out of Wilshere and Arteta and is the best crosser of the ball on our team.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Gooner,

    Fully agreed on the use of youtube – very risky to judge a player on those wonderful summaries of their best moments! You are right it is more like 4-2-3-1 or even 4-2-1-3, but ultimately we play with a narrow midfield which is often stretched vertically rather than operating more horizontally on the pitch. I don’t like the former: leaves a lot of space and requires a lot of our midfielders. I like us to play compact, at least for a while: hunt in packs and keep the ball a lot better with our triangles. Giroud can be the pivot and we could use his strength in the air well. But then he is also good with his feet – in fact most of his goals for Montpellier were scored with his feet. He is a lot better than Chamakh in playing that role and even the Moroccan did not do too badly in that particular role.

    There are plenty of midfielders who can play in 4-5-1 and the likes of Coquelin, Eisfeld and Ramsey would have a better chance to be effective in our team.

    I also like the thought of 4-4-2 as per your suggestions, but it would also require one or two proper ‘mid-wingers’ to make it work properly.

    Cazorla would be good on one of the wings.

  57. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    I feel a 4-5-1 would limit our effectiveness further though, by taking any width from our attack. Granted, the 4-5-1 would eliminate the issue of not having real wingers. If we had the players to play such a system or the movement from our current players, then I’d agree with you. Currently, our team is in a mess of all sorts and everyone looks complacent. A 4-5-1 would require our players to constantly be in motion to take advantage of the triangles and extra midfield players. As it stands now, our current midfielders are not direct enough and often are the victims of backwards and sideways passing that leads to 0 opportunities.

    Ramsey needs a loan opportunity else, as I’m not quite sure where he fits into our side. He’s not creative enough to be an attacking mid, not fast or good enough with the ball to be a b2b midfielder and clearly useless defensively so he definitely could not be a holding mid. At the same time, he lacks the pace and directness to play out wide. I’m not saying Ramsey is useless but I don’t feel he has the quality to be a starter or sub for a top side. He’s better suited for a mid table club IMO. Coquelin looked out of sorts last game (all season really) and takes too many gambles for us to depend on him. Eisfield is intriguing as I really feel he has the talent to eventually be a player for us.

    I’m well aware of Giroud’s ability with the ball on his feet, but teams have just been clogging the middle due to our ineffectiveness to produce anything out wide. He lacks the confidence to score with the ball on the ground right now and the delivery in the air and on the ground to him has been poor. This could change if we revert to a 4-5-1 as you suggest, but I don’t think we have the creativity to breakdown other teams’ defences. A 4-5-1 could be a very temporary solution that masks a bigger issue; we simply lack world class players and any sort of depth. Wenger’s insistence to develop the youth system is admirable but he just isn’t producing the same quality of players anymore and other top teams are picking up the world class talents that we might have once gotten/produced.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points – it clearly is not easy to make us more effective. But in 4-5-1 we could in the ‘5’ (from left to right): Santos/Cazorla/Gerv – Rosicky – Arteta/new DM – Wilshere – Ox/Ramsey/Eisfeld/Coquelin/Gnabry

    That’s 11 players + 1 DM to come in January (fingers crossed) to pick 5 midfielders from.

    All these players can play in this system, even Ramsey. I reckon it is where our strength is and we are not using it properly at the moment. We might not have many world class players but we have many good players who can make this system theirs.

    But, as I said earlier I can live with a 4-4-2 (1-1) variant as well 🙂

  59. The Gooner says:

    I see your motivation in moving into a 4-5-1, but teams that rely on system football eventually get exposed. It’s a very temporary solution for any team, and long-term it’s not sustainable. Chelsea played a defensive shell system last year and were successful in the CL and Montpellier was successful in their approach in Ligue 1. However, a season later and both sides are struggling to produce anything resembling last season’s form in their respective competitions (granted Chelsea changed their system and both have had players transfers in and out).

    I see your point that we could have the personnel to play your system, but Santos should be nowhere near the pitch. I don’t think he’s good enough for any PL side. If I were Cazorla and saw myself being lined up with the players you just listed, I’d be pretty disappointed. This, for me, is the biggest upcoming issue that Wenger must address in January. The lack of world class players means it’ll be difficult to attract more to Arsenal and we’ll continue to see the trend of our top players leaving.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Well Gooner, we have to agree to disagree on that one. There is plenty of quality in our team but it is not coming out due to the fact we are having to incorporate three new players and live without van Judas and Song.

    Cazorla is class, won’t argue about that! 🙂

    Re system football: the Mancs, Madrid and Barca, Bayern all rely on system football: they are just different systems. Wenger has changed it too many times in my view. When we played 4-5-1 with Chamakh alone upfront we managed 2.4 goals in every game on average and did well in all competitions. RvP’s return meant an end to all that, and from that moment we never scored more than 1.95 goals per game on average.

    Giroud is better than Chamakh and I feel we would do a lot better than we are doing now if we had played in 4-5-1.

    Anyway, I am not saying I know it all, and I really appreciate and rate your way of reasoning. This is exactly the sort of blogging I like at Bergkampesque and please keep coming back with your quality comments! 🙂

    Btw. If you ever want to write something for the site, just let me know.

  61. The Gooner says:

    TA, I wouldn’t say Barca play “system” football. They just play beautiful football and move themselves and the ball into space. When I describe “system” football, I mean a rigid system where players play defined roles. Real falls into that category, but the Mancs certainly do not. System football (my definition of it) is eventually exposed over time and we are seeing it this year with Real and their struggles in both CL and La Liga. Granted, their system can be successful because they are also the beneficiary of top world class talent.

    I think you are referring to “formation” more than “system” football. I agree that Wenger changes the formation too often, but it’s the only way he can incorporate players who feel they deserve to be starting on a weekly basis (aka Theo, Podolski, Gervinho etc.). If we moved into a 4-5-1, I really think Theo and Gervinho would have a hard time adapting because the onus falls on them to improve their decision making and not rely on their speed as much.

    Your proposed 4-5-1 is a great theory and we’ll only ever be able to find an appropriate answer through testing it; however, Wenger is as stubborn as it gets so you can bet we’ll see a 4-3-3 for the foreseeable future. My perspective is that a 4-5-1 would be more effective if we had more creative midfielders or top end talent. I’m not saying that good players can’t be effective, but over the course of a season it catches up to you when other teams have the likes of Van Persie, Rooney, A.Young, Valencia, Silva, Na$ri, Aguero, Tevez, Yaya, Dzeko, Hazard, Mata, Oscar etc. It gets increasingly difficult to dominate a midfield game when you can’t match talent with talent, despite the formation. The only way this system would work is if we acquire a physical defensive mid in January to overtake Arteta’s duties and who could also act as a deep-lying playmaker, break up the opposition’s offence and sit in front of the back 4. Thus, we could release Arteta’s creativity and that would give us three pivots to deliver from (Cazorla, Arteta and Wilshere).

    I would love to write something for this site at some point, but I’d have to come up with something original first, as it seems the bloggers here are excellent as it is! I appreciate the kind words and I enjoy reading your thoughts as well since it expands my own perspective.

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning TG (depending where you are based),

    I will get back to you a bit later in the morning. No pressure re writing something for BK. I write most of the articles, and enjoy doing it. Then there is OZ Gunner who often does a thorough match pre-view report and Red Arse who has written a few posts as well. If you never write an article but just like to take part in blogging that is perfectly fine as well. It was just a thought given the quality and depth of your comments! 🙂

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    If we can keep one of Rosicky or Diaby fit for the rest of the season (big if) we have Cazorla, Giroud, Wilshere, Rosicky/Diaby, Arteta and Theo as our star players: I think they are very good. OK Giroud might not be good enough, but I don’t think he found his rhythm yet. Agreed on need for DM and Huntelaar would also be a welcome addition.

    I will get back to you on our ‘system’ discussion later 🙂

  64. The Gooner says:

    When I talk about world class players, they’re above the level/class you’re referring to in stars. Cazorla and potentially Wilshere are the only ones in that category. Theo, Arteta, Diaby and Giroud are all a step below. I have an interesting idea for an article now, along the lines of the “world class” talent at Arsenal.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds very good. To give you some food for thought: I reckon only Mata is world class at Chelsea in my view. Ramires and Oscar have potential, and Hazard is overrated. MU: RvP and Rooney (although losing it quickly at the moment) – rest are hard workers, but not better than those you mention of Arsenal. MC have a few more stars than Arsenal.

    Looking fwd to your article and you can be assured it will be welcomed with open arms by any of the regulars.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Where are based TG and how long have you been supporting the mighty red and white? 🙂

  67. The Gooner says:

    TA, I’m based in Canada and I’ve been a diehard Gooner for 15 years. Basically became a fan when a certain intriguing Frenchman took the reigns. Before that, I was simply a pure football admirer who simply watched games because I loved the sport without passionately following one particular team.

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks TG

    I am based in Norfolk, UK and have been supporting the team for a year longer than you, although in my case it was a gradual process and it coincided with the arrival of my footballing hero and fellow countryman DB10.

    RockyLives comments regularly on Bergkampesque (BK) and he is based in Toronto.

  69. The Gooner says:

    Thank you, I hope the article will be well received, but you’ll come to find I’m more of a realist with spurts of optimism when it comes to the Arsenal. My view on world class talent is a little broader than the names you just mentioned and my perspective on Arsenal’s world class talent can be more critical.

    The majority of players on Manu are more effective than the ones at Arsenal. For example, Valencia and A.Young are not world class but play their positions out wide much more effectively than anyone at Arsenal. You also haven’t even begun to look at defence where the likes of Evra and Vidic are world class talents, and there are former world class greats in Scholes and Giggs in midfield. In regards to Chelsea, Ca$hley Cole is world class at LB and despite being a shell of his former self, Torres was once world class too. I would have to disagree with you on Hazard, as I believe he falls into the same category as Wilshere. Not quite world class yet, but if they can maintain consistency and continue to steadily improve their games and exert their influence then they will reach that level. You have to keep in mind Hazard is still only 21!

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Soon we will have Thierry back 😛

    Agree with some of your points but there are many if and buts with regards to the players you mention of the other clubs. For example, I rather now have Koz than Vidic; or Theo has far better goals and assists rate than A Young. Hazard…… yes you are right he is young, and should be given time. He reminds me of Joe Cole, also a good indoor player. Jack is a far better player than Hazard in my opinion, and I am sure you also hope that I wont be proven wrong 😆

    There is no need to agree on everything though, and I also realise Arsenal have let too many quality players go recently (Song, Cesc and RvP in our current team would make a world of difference).

  71. The Gooner says:

    TA, always nice to meet another Gooner and I’m glad you’re such a big fan! DB10 was a legend and he’ll be featured in my small part of my article 🙂

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Any idea when you will have finished it, so I can do a bit of planning. No rush though; just so I know. 🙂

  73. The Gooner says:

    The majority of Theo’s goals and assists have come from the Capital One Cup against the likes of Coventry City and Reading. Stats are not the only telling story and I strongly believe A.Young plays a more effective game than Theo out wide. Theo has been dangerous this year and still has time to prove he is at least in the same class as Valencia and A.Young, but I’m not sure he can ever change his insistence to want to play as a striker. I believe that stubbornness is hindering his development as a winger and he’s never shown a good ability to dribble in tight spaces like AOC and Gervinho have that cannot be changed.

    As far as Hazard, if you’re looking at the stats as you did with A.Young and Theo, it’s the same thing when it comes to Hazard and Wilshere. Hazard has far better goals and assists rate than Jack ;). I’ve watched Hazard carefully over the years at Lille and now Chelsea and truly believe he will develop into a world class talent. He’s currently learning how to play against tougher and faster PL defenders and midfielders since opposing teams’ game plans revolve around shutting him down and marking him tightly.

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha – TW stats (goals/assists) are better over the last 2.5 seasons compared to Young, but I know where you coming from. He is more a natural winger and gives a good shape to the team than Theo. Valencia is class – a very fine, often underrated player.

    Jack is not a goal scorer. He does not play an instrument – he conducts the play 😉

    Maybe you are right re Hazard, but I have studied him too and defenders have already sussed him out, it seems. Early days though.

  75. The Gooner says:

    Hazard was spectacular in the CL vs. Nordjaelland yesterday, granted it’s Nordjaelland. He’s also come under intense scrutiny by his teammates for a lack of work rate, which I feel is deteriorating his confidence a bit. I understand that Jack is not a natural goal scorer, but my point was that stats aren’t the be all end all for me.

    Theo still needs to mature his game and work on plenty of areas before he can be more effective. It’s great that he’s on the end of others’ passes or setting up his teammates in the final third, but there’s more than goals and assists in becoming a complete footballer (which I’m aware you know). He often disappears through long stretches of a game without ever touching the ball. His passing and decision making are incredibly poor at times. His feet move so fast that he often can’t keep the ball close to him and relies too much on punting it forward and chasing it down. If he isn’t given space to run at a player, he just isn’t as effective.

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    So what would you want to do with a player who is not perfect – and I agree with your points – but is responsible for 22% of all our goals (assists included) over the last two seasons (not including current season)?

    Let him go, give him a more central role or force him to stay on the right (and probably let his contract run out)?

  77. The Gooner says:

    This is the current dilemma that I believe Wenger is faced with. I truly believe that if Theo would put aside his insistence to play as a striker, he could develop into an effective, class winger in the mould of Valencia. The fact that we can’t seem to score when he’s not on the pitch is proof that he’s had a positive effect on the team. However, it also depicts a greater issue; there’s just a lack of delivery from everyone and that Theo doesn’t even see himself as a natural distributor. This, in itself, should highlight to Wenger that it’s absolutely crucial to find a RW capable of wanting to play out wide and of delivering the ball on a consistent basis.

    I’m kind of at a crossroads with Theo. If we had not lost Cesc, Song and RVP over the years, then I would be fully supportive of letting him go. Unfortunately, I feel that Walcott now represents a changing of the tide where we could stop letting our better players go. With that said, I don’t think Theo would be an effective out and out striker since he relies too much on speed and is less effective when defenders play him tight (more or less a one-trick sort of pony). There are many quality players out there that could provide better delivery and be more effective from a RW position, all while actually wanting to play out wide. The chance that he does develop into a class striker elsewhere does concern me though.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    You have summarised the club’s predicament concerning Theo perfectly! 🙂

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