Squad rotation has many benefits and Arsene should do it more

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This is a season that has had its ups and downs but currently it seems we are slowly turning a corner. Ultimately this is a season every gooner would like to forget, given the heartache and disappointment we’ve been through; however, it is not without its silver linings. This though, is a story for another day. I would like to focus on the current squad we have and its usage throughout the season, bringing out an issue that I believe has been bringing us down: squad rotation.

At the beginning of the season, we saw our talisman depart for pastures new, and this was met swiftly with the acquisition of Olivier Giroud on top of Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski. This was then offset by the departure of Alex Song. In the end, Song’s departure wasn’t as much of a setback as RVP’s was, because Cazorla has proved that he is a far better player than Song ever will be. Anyway my point here is this, while quality-wise we lost a vital cog in our team in RVP, numbers-wise we began the season much better off than we did last season. Please note that in this article, I will completely ignore the dead weight (Arshavin, Djourou, Squillaci and company).

That said, I will proceed to do an audit of the team. GKS: Szczesny, Mannone, Fabianski –Defenders: Sagna, TV5, Per, Kos, Gibbs, Nacho, Jenko – Central Mids: Arteta, Rosicky, Wilshere, Santi, Ramsey, Diaby, Coquelin – Wingers: Gervinho, Ox – Strikers: Poldi, Giroud and Theo.

If you look at this team, you find that, quality taken into account, this is the biggest squad we have had in a while. The versatility of some players makes this team even bigger yet I do not believe that every resource we have has been properly utilized. Like any other team we have had some of our important players battle with injury, mainly Jack, Sagna, Rosicky, Gibbs and Diaby. This however does not explain why there are some players who have been sentenced to the bench for lengthy spells, when they could have done a job for us.

These players are Koscielny, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ox, Jenko and Poldi.

For some of them Wenger has offered explanations, while others; your guess would be as good as mine as to why they were left out. Koscielny ended the previous campaign as our best defender by miles. This term has surprisingly seen him restricted to the bench. I understand that his situation is a bit complex, being that Per brings a balance and height that makes him a mainstay of the side; and TV5 is the skipper. I will still go on to condemn his exclusion mainly because TV5 has suffered a drastic loss of form, that saw him make errors that lost us games, and yet Wenger stuck with him. The fact that since he was dropped, we have kept 2 clean sheets and concede 1 goal in 3 games, and Koscielny’s performances especially away to Bayern, proves my point even further.

Then there’s Rosicky. This is a player who last season produced performances that saw us finish 3rd during that incredible resurgence. He suffered an injury during his international duties but even after recovery, he was left on the bench. This is another baffling exclusion because his technical and creative prowess is at par with Jack and Santi. On top of that, when Jack recovered from his injury, Wenger promised to use him sparingly to avoid a recurrence, yet he was played almost 20 games on the trot before his first real rest. All this while, Rosicky was on the bench waiting. This particular exclusion stings me the most, because Rosicky is one of our best and most experienced players.

There were games where our midfield was lacking seriously, yet Ramsey was picked ahead of him. The worst part of it was the midfield was guilty of lacking composure, giving away possession too easily, misplacing passes and lacking that extra creative drive that would make the team tick and combine better, exactly what Rosicky brings to the team. Anyway, let’s move on.

Then comes Poldi. He is arguably our best finisher. If you look at his goals to minutes ratio, he is one of the most lethal finishers in the league. Yet, either he was played on the left or he wasn’t played at all. He was played once as our main striker and was anonymous, but if we judged a player by one game, then the likes of Thierry and Pires would have been offloaded before the end of their first seasons with AFC. In fact, with Poldi, I think he has been treated rather unfairly. Theo and Giroud have been given their chances up front but not him. Also, he has been benched without any explanation (to us fans) from the boss. Even when Giroud has been inconsistent, Poldi has been overlooked.

Then finally we have the Ox, Coquelin and Jenko. These three, I understand to a degree, given that they’re in their formative years. They have been victims of Jack’s misfortunes and I understand the boss wanting to protect them. I think he has gone overboard, though. Sagna, Arteta and Theo have been overplayed to the point of loss of form (for Theo & Arteta) and Injury (for Sagna). Coquelin is currently the only true DM we have, a position known to be our Achilles heal, yet he is the least played of the bunch. Like I said, I support Wenger in wanting to protect them but they could do with a little more game time. If not for their development then to share some of the workload their more experienced counterparts have.

In conclusion, I feel that proper rotation serves several purposes. It keeps players fit and fresh(er) over the course of the whole season, given the sharing of the burden of games, and it reduces injuries.

It also gives everyone a taste of the action, making them even hungrier and more determined to do their best to win their positions.

Rotation also ensures that first teamers do not slack off, because they know that any dip in form will see them swiftly replaced.

Rotation allows the boss to play around with formations, combinations and strategies depending on our opponents as every player brings something unique to the side. This keeps us very unpredictable and makes us a harder side to compete with.

So this is an aspect that the gaffer should improve on, so as to makes us better in every way.

What are your toughts fellow Gooners?

Written by: Marcus

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167 Responses to Squad rotation has many benefits and Arsene should do it more

  1. Bond James says:

    good read, cheers

    so basically you’re asking why Wenger doesn’t do a Benitez more often ?

    on a more serious note, in some areas we can easily rotate and not lose our intensity like you have highlighted – midfield

    but i suspect in the coming weeks, we might see podolski play as a striker more and more or swap with giroud (this is my gut feeling and this is what should have happened from the outset, with both the ox /gervinho on the left and theo on the right wing) better late than never i guess (if it happens)….with gnabry not far off, i suspect we will have plenty of options on the wings next season.

    the only enforced fiddling around we have been doing is at the back (which is never ideal), any fiddling and rotation should be done in the middle or up front .

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi guys, The lay-out keeps playing up, and I do not seem to be able to change it.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    hehe, finally sorted.

    Marcus 🙂

    Another fine, well-structured post! Top stuff. 🙂

    It is hard to disagree with you about both the benefits of and need to rotate our squad regularly. But there are also disadvantages to squad rotation, and I will get back to you in a bit about these. (busy at the moment).

  4. AFC says:

    Marcus fine post, but I have some issues. 🙂

    First of all Song’s departure was more felt that RVP. We have scored plenty of goals and this is because we play attacking football so we will always score goals. Song and Diaby are not defensive midfielders but they are the missing link in our midfield which filled the physical void in midfield.

    Wenger has not rotated the squad as we do not have the strength in depth to do so. Coq you couldd argue is not ready. We have a thin squad this season. I mean Man U have have 5 CBs and 4 STs, whereas we have 3 CBs and 1 ST. Podolski has to be plaed on the left wing as Ox is not experienced enough and Gerv is inconsistant so I can understand the decisions in which Wenger has made this season.

  5. Highbury Harmony says:

    Marcus, great article and certainly a topic that has been bothering me for some time.

    Two additions I would like to make to your article are:

    1) Squad rotation also inspires confidence to players who aren’t considered your typical starters. It keeps squad morale high and every player knows they are playing a part in achieving goals for club

    2) This confidence and belief that everyone is contributing will then be parlayed into better form and more impact in substitute appearances or in spot starts.

    The more and more I follow AW’s rotation tactics, the more I find myself questioning him as a manager. He seems to place players in an environment they are doomed to fail in. For instance, starting a player after they have not seen a single minute of action in five weeks. Are we truly expecting them to be in form and have an uplifting performance? More often than not, they know that even playing well in their infrequent starts will lead to another 5 weeks on the bench anyway.

    Further, AW loves to grind his players into the ground and play them until they are injured. Not only does he basically force their hand in injuries, but he immediately starts players week in and out after returning from injury! For example, as soon as Sagna was healthy and back in the line-up, that was the end for Jenkinson. He only saw time in cup matches and when Sagna received another knock.

    If AW would just frequently use rotation more often and not sit there holding onto to his old-fashioned beliefs, I believe our squad would see immediate positive returns. Instead, he hopes that our starters will just figure it out eventually or what appears to be “if the starters can’t do it, then I don’t have faith that anyone else in the squad can” approach.

    The argument for AW is that he cannot rotate his players as often because he needs to start his best 11 since we are always trying to make up ground in the standings. Well, here’s an idea, after a loss, why not try some rotation to see if others can change the outcome of the game? Our “best 11” were so inconsistent earlier in the year that there was absolutely 0 benefit to playing them week in and out. Instead, some rotation of players into and out of the line-up on a frequent basis may have seen Diaby, Gibbs, Sagna, Jack etc. stay healthy and perform to their true potential when getting proper rest between starts.

    I’m not advocating that AW rotate his players as frequently as the FSW does, but that he does rotate two to three players week to week. For example, in midfield and on the wings, there are a plethora of options that could be moved around to ensure almost everyone sees meaningful minutes over a two week span. Then, in the big matches, you’ll more likely see your best players healthy and you can start all of them in those games.

  6. AFC says:

    * could

  7. Highbury Harmony says:

    Ideally, if all players had been available to us, we should have seen something like this:

    GWA: Gervinho-Giroud-Walcott, Ramsey-Cazorla-Arteta, Monreal-Vermaelen-Mertesacker-Jenkinson

    GWB: Ox-Podolski-Walcott, Wilshere-Rosicky-Diaby, Gibbs-Koscielny-Mertesacker-Sagna

    GWC: Podolski-Giroud-Gervinho, Arteta-Cazorla-Coquelin, Monreal-Vermaelen-Koscielny, Jenkinson

    GWD: Cazorla-Walcott-Ox, Rosicky-Wilshere-Ramsey, Gibbs-Koscielny-Mertesacker-Sagna

    Is that too much to ask for?

  8. Highbury Harmony says:

    With GWD maybe having Diaby or Arteta opposed to Rosicky/Ramsey, just had them there for the sake of a little rotation 🙂

  9. AFC says:

    HH, and that’s why I want to see two players good enough to play in each postion. So that is a new CB, DM and ST.

    You have your first team what you play every week. When they are cup matches or league matches inbetween each week you play your second team. Simples. 😀

  10. AFC says:

    * there

  11. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, by first team that you play every week, you mean with healthy rotation too right? Or else we’d have one extra player at each position only playing cup matches!

  12. AFC says:

    This is how I would play it. Team A and Team B. With players who are young like Cop fit into Team C. Each week there is a league match you use team A and when there is a FA or league cup match you use team B. However when their is an important league match and a CL match you play half of Team A with half of Team B with the other half of Team A and Team B playing in the next match midweek. Players from team C are used to when there are injuries to players in Team A meaning players from Team B have to fill in or if you have a really easy match.

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    Apparently Bale may be out for the rest of the year! Down go the Spuds, down go the Spuds!

  14. AFC says:

    HH, thanks for the update, spurs are a one man team so let’s see how they cope. 😀

  15. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, while the premise of your idea certainly makes sense, I don’t think it would work or help to solve our issues with rotation, keeping our squad morale high and preventing injuries.

    Instead, I’d recommend a variation to your proposed policy. I would prefer our best 11 to only play together against the top clubs and in important CL games. In EPL games, week to week there must enough rotation of players in and out of the line-up, while bench players and the top youth players starting in cup ties.

  16. AFC says:

    HH, that’s what I was trying kind of say.

    Suppose I was made manager of a real messed up club this is what I would do.

    Buy players so I have an experienced first 11 between the age of 25- 28 with any young quality players (like Wilshere) or quality experienced players already in the team staying with the first team. Sell any players over the age of 28 unless they are world class and any deadwood. This would make my team A.

    Accumulate a team of young quality players (18) around the age of 20 and put these players in my team B. I leave this team stay and grow.

    I would then put any players who are not good enough for the first team but are experienced for the bench of team A.

    Team A play league matches and CL matches.

    Team B play any league matches inbetween and any FA and league cup matches so that they can grow as a team.

    Teams A and B could be rotated when needed. When team A start to get to old to play any matches they turn into team B and the now experienced team B are now team A.

  17. AFC says:

    * to kind of say

  18. Michael says:

    AFC I’ve got to disagree we’ve scored 32 league goals in six league matches against the poorest teams in the league. Our goal tally in general has been abysmal.

  19. AFC says:

    Sorry for any mistakes HH.

  20. AFC says:

    Michael, what I was trying to say is that players who score goals can be replaced but midfield players like Song are harder to replace so Song was a bigger loss for us than RVP.

  21. Michael says:

    I’m perplexed why you rate Song, their was many a time last season where he left big open spaces at the back for opposing teams to exploit.

  22. AFC says:

    Michael, the season before Song left he was one of the best DMs and he was better then Parker although some poeple failed to see this. This is very good considering he is actually a box to box midfielder. Him with RVP and Walcott were the reason why we got 3rd place in the Prem. Song let us in assists, RVP led us in goals and Walcott contributed with a fiar amount of goals and assists. Song’s assists to RVP were fabulous and in my eyes was one of the standout players in the Prem that season.

  23. Highbury Harmony says:

    Michael, in fairness to Song, we lacked the creativity in midfield to allow him to sit back more often. I believe AW asked him to attack and play as a modern day B2B mid like Vidal at Juve, with Arteta as our more disciplined mid who sat back and acted as a deep-lying playmaker similar to Pirlo.

  24. AFC says:

    Also in our formation Song was a CM not a DM. Our formation consists of two CMs (one of which is box to box) and one AM. When we are defending Song and our other CM (at the time I think was Arteta playing asd a box to box midfielder) was supposed to help defend as well as attack. At times he was not there as well when needed. The defensive duties that season were supposed to be split between Song and Arteta.

  25. AFC says:

    HH, Song is a box to box midfielder who was asked to defend when he really should not have.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus

    As this is a full-on transitional year, I reckon Wenger is rotating as little as possible for the simple reason that he wants to get a strong core into his team, who understand and can execute his philosophy of football, and will start to gel as soon as possible.

    As Gerry put it recently, it is a lot easier to rotate once the team is on top and wins all the time, or at least, a lot. This has never been the case this season, and therefore Arsene has been playing the same players time and again in order to get a core of quality players who together become stronger and stronger.

    I think he has recently realized that some players whom he put his trust in were not delivering the goods, and he subsequently made a few changes to the first team. I am pretty sure he is aware of the benefits of rotation – as per your fine post – but he is opting for building a strong first-11 team first, who together become better and better. Regular and systematic rotation might happen again if and when we start winning a lot of games again.

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, as long as you incorporate the bench for Team A in the starting line-ups for league matches frequently enough, then I am in agreement with your rotation policy. However, when I read your strategy, I seem to disagree with it (perhaps it’s the wording?).

    I read it as Team A plays all league and CL matches, with a bench full of players who might get sub appearances in games but no starts. Then Team B plays all cup matches.

  28. Bond James says:

    we shouldn’t be going back for Song when we’ve got better alternatives available in the market i.e. capoue, wanyama e.t.c e.t.c song did have his moments of brilliance and understanding with rvp but he also was a liability when it came to his defensive duties – oh and needless challenges resulting in free kicks – anyone ?

    PS: so that’s the Spuds minus Defoe, Lennon , Gallas and Bale out for the unforeseeable future… so that’s us finishing 3rd again in the season – happy days, come on everton give it a good push and finish 4th !

  29. Bond James says:

    AFC, you wouldn’t find many many midfielders in our squad let alone current team who’re not box to box midfielders – can that be an excuse used for someone who’s had plenty of experience at arsenal developing and playing at various positions including as a cb ? i doubt it.

    Arteta/Ramsey are also box to box midfielders yet they’re not half as bad as song was when it comes to defending, although i do see your point but notice why barca bought him, it certainly wasn’t to play as a CM.

  30. AFC says:

    HH, team A take start leagues matches (every Saturday or Sunday) and CL matches but if there is another league match league match inbetween the average league match say on a Wednesday for example team B play this in addition to their league and FA cup matches. So team B would only play league matches during busy times e.g. Christmas period. When there is a league match every 3 days team and team A might be tired so team A would play one match and team B the next and so on or need to be rested for a CL match midweek.

  31. Highbury Harmony says:

    Bond James, I disagree that there are plenty of B2B midfielders in our team. Arteta better suited to being a deep-lying playmaker, while Ramsey is a tweener between an AM and modern B2B. Wilshere is better suited to being a AM than B2B allowing him to focus on creating, opposed to focus and time spent on defensive duties. Diaby is a traditional B2B midfielder, but is too injury prone to be considered a mainstay in our line-up. Finally, Coquelin is a DM that with better offensive instincts and decision making, could develop into a quality modern B2B like Vidal at Juve.

  32. Highbury Harmony says:

    Ok understood now AFC, then I respectfully disagree with your rotation policy :). I don’t like the idea of one team playing every match with another full team rotated in if there are more than two games in one week.

  33. AFC says:

    Song is better than the alternatives. Frimpong is a DM. Song has played in a number of postions including CB and DM so he is mistaken for being a defensive player. He is like Arteta. A box to bxo player who can defend so has been played in defensive roles.

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC as you will see from my upcoming article (I believe it comes out next week), Arteta is not a B2B midfielder. He lacks the pace, endurance, strength and physicality :).

  35. AFC says:

    HH, the reason why I said this is so team B the younger team would learn over a peroid of years how to play with the same group of players but I respect your opinion. 🙂

  36. AFC says:

    Sorry HH, thanks for correcting me. 🙂

    Arteta is now a DM but before that he was an AM or a attacking minded CM who can defend.

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I like part of your idea. Team B plays all cup matches and will be a younger squad and have players who won’t play in next week’s domestic game and/or hadn’t featured in the previous week’s domestic league game.

    However, I believe the bench players for Team A should be frequently rotated in (2-3 players each week), to incorporate the likes of Ox, Ramsey, Gervinho, Rosicky, Giroud, Jenkinson, Gibbs etc. to give them starting minutes and allow them to somewhat hit form.

  38. AFC says:

    However HH, jack is a box to box midfielder. He can play as a DM or AM but primarily he is a box to box midfielder who drives up and down the pitch attacking and defending.

  39. Bond James says:

    HH,

    Santi, Ros, Wilshere, Diaby, Ramsey (yep not entirely but still a b2b for me), i’ll give you Arteta as the deep play maker but the heart of the midfield happens to be box to box primarily, even the likes of coqu have urges to be present in the box far more than playing in the hole so to speak.

    while i was typing the above, i’ve just noticed something, do we have plenty of players with similar styles in the midfield – likes repelling ? how i would have loved Diaby to have played more games this season and stayed injury free…

    perhaps if Diaby announces his retirement from international football then he may yet have an arsenal future – thoughts everyone ?

  40. AFC says:

    If I used my idea at Arsenal, Rosicky would be sold same with Giroud and Gervinho and replaced. Ox, Jenk and Gibbs would be part of my team B. Ramsey would possibly be on the bench of team A.

  41. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, the only reason I’m hesitant to label Jack as a B2B mid is mainly because of the physical demands of the position and toll it’ll take an already fragile body. I think AW also understands this and realizes Jack has a better chance of staying healthy as a AM.

    The traditional B2B role, the style Jack and Diaby play, is slowly being phased out of the game because of injuries and the lack of talent that is capable of dominating at both ends of the pitch, while also transitioning the ball up field (a la Schweinsteiger, Yaya Toure and Xabi Alonso in his prime).

  42. marcus says:

    TA and AFC,
    I agree, it has its downsides..But for a team like us who are competing on
    4 fronts, its necessary. And with the kind of intensity the league throws at us, having a thin squad will only get us so far..

  43. marcus says:

    HH,
    You took the words right out of my thoughts..great addition..

  44. AFC says:

    BJ, Diaby hardly plays internationally so he should retire from international football. I have a post coming out on Diaby where I will ask you 5 questions regarding him so I will say no more.

    Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby are our only box to box midfielders. Song was as well.

  45. marcus says:

    BJ,
    Thanks mate..He should do a benitez..well put..

  46. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ,

    Santi is definitely not B2B, neither is Rosicky – both are AM. The traditional B2B is someone who constantly runs up and down the pitch, attacking and defending, while dominating at both ends, in addition to transitioning the play with the ball at their feet almost the entire pitch.

    Arteta is not B2B, he lacks the pace, strength, endurance and physicality to play that position. Modern B2B players are like Ramires, Vidal, Sissoko, Khedira etc. if that helps you understand my categorization better. They cover every blade of grass on the pitch and never stop running, contributing at both ends of the pitch (unlike Arteta who only sits back and doesn’t have the pace, nor endurance, to run back and forth)

    Can you name one player on our team capable of this other than Jack and Diaby? Didn’t think so. Diaby’s too injury prone to be considered a capable B2B midfielder and same with Jack, which is why AW has put him in a less physically demanding position at AM, where he can further develop his creativity.

  47. Milo says:

    I know HH touched on this earlier, but guess who’s not a box to box midfielder and is injured??? GARETH BALE!!!! 😀 Absolutely made my day, I tell you!!! 😀

  48. AFC says:

    HH, I get your point but if he could stay fully fit he is a box to box midfielder for me. I have some comments regarding this role but I will save them for your post.

  49. Highbury Harmony says:

    Exactly AFC, we don’t really have B2B midfielders, considering that Diaby is generally always injured and Jack as well when played there. Ramsey has the endurance to play B2B, but lacks the skill and strength to truly dominate and make the position his own like a Vidal, Ramires, Khedira etc.

  50. AFC says:

    Milo, I’m happy as well. 🙂

    Btw, did AVB try to play Bale up front with Adebayor?

  51. AFC says:

    HH, Wilshere could be a good box to box midfielder but is too injury prone, Diaby was perfect for this role and I feel Song is box to box though.

  52. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, yes let’s please not spoil a wonderful article by Marcus’ with our discussion on who’s a “B2B midfielder”. We’ll discuss in length when the time is appropriate.

  53. Highbury Harmony says:

    All agreed AFC, as you will see in my next post 🙂

  54. AFC says:

    For me Yaya and Diaby are among the best at performing this role in the Prem. Ramires is box to box but can also play out wide as an RAM/LAM. He is not a natural wide man so he cannot play as a RM/LM.

  55. AFC says:

    HH, we’ll save it for your post! 🙂

  56. AFC says:

    Marcus, back to your post.

    It is hard for Wenger to do squad rotation when we are required to win every match and cannot afford to mess up. Benitez is doing this at Chelsea and they are paying the price.

  57. AFC says:

    Also, I feel squad rotation is only needed when you are in a number of competitions. Early in the season Wenger should have done this. But as we only have PL matches I do not see the need to rotate that much.

  58. allezkev says:

    I’m not altogether sure that Arsene has ever really rotated.
    Both Bobby Pires and Thierry Henry suffered from being overplayed, in fact, I believe that Wenger admitted as much after Pires broke down in a game vs Newcastle…
    Arsene does rest players for the domestic cups, but rotation, I’m not convinced tbh?!!!
    Great post Marcus btw.

  59. jgc says:

    All

    A quick addition. What is not noted here in my mind are the two (unfrotunately) unknowables:

    1. When is a player tired and needing rest – somewhat measurable but not vs desire I think, which plays a role as well

    2. When is rotating an on form player a bad idea (besides after you do it and lose when you didnt expect to)?

    Each is a dilemna, and, more importantly, the good thing perhaps is we have enough good players to at least be confident of having the argument!

    cheers — jgc

  60. allezkev says:

    Ferguson, I believe, does do some rotation, but mainly at the beginning of the season, that way he saves his players and keeps them fresher for those crucial months after Christmas…

    I’m personally an advocate for rotation, but I’m not sure that our squad is strong enough for Wenger to do it whilst keeping the team at the level it needs to be to compete.

  61. AFC says:

    JGC, you are right, we do have the players to consider squad rotation.

    I mean look at Spurs. Sure they can rotate a few players but apart from that they have a thinner squad than us. There bench is mostly made up of players like Frimpong, Coquelin. Most of their bench would be part our reserves.

  62. William says:

    Squad rotation is a must. How the managers juggles his players is the key to success. Whne RVp was around,he would invariably play in every game.
    Now the red faced says RVP had no such intensity compared to OT.THis most hated boss forever thinks he is a winner. RVP is currently having a mini slump. I just hope he continues in this vein when the gunners next meet the red faced. It’s about time Arsenal beat him.If the gunners play in the BM game,there is no reason why MU can’t be beaten.

  63. Bond James says:

    HH,

    we were in agreement re- arteta, however, the rest of them happen to be functioning more or less b2b thanks to the steve bould influence , putting in decent shifts but i do see your point and where you’re coming from, i will say no further and won’t hijack a solid article by Marcus .

    so that’s bale injured for the season (hopefully), RVP next on the injury list (come on, it’s got to happen otherwise i no longer believe in footy gods;)

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, yeah best to leave that debate for another day. The last thing I’ll say is that the coaches are forcing certain players into a B2B role, which in turn creates injuries. Based on skill sets, most are not B2B mids. The square pegs into round holes theory works here. If Diaby were healthy, he’d be an outstanding traditional B2B midfielder, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait another year to see if that will materialize.

    Also, I would never hope for a player from another team (that I may happen to hate) to get injured, but can’t say I’m not grinning when I heard the news.

  65. Michael says:

    Fergie takes liberties when he squad rotates, yet dumb ass teams still bend over for him.

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    Very hard to keep up with all the (very good) posts and comments but I’m trying. After all, why would you read mine (which all suffer from too much length) if I don’t read yours….

    Squad rotation without sacrificing results is the goal but hindsight is always 20-20. So many times this season I’ve been screaming at my telly for AW to sub more aggressively (rotation-in-matches…) and (for me) there’s no greater sin than failing to get a result with fresh bodies left on the bench. It’s part and parcel of starting matches so tentatively that he’s wanted to stay with his first 11 as they’ve come into the matches and started creating real pressure and look on the verge of getting the needed goal(s) to clinch a result. To his credit it worked a few times (the FA cup matches with Swansea stand out) but there was the spectacular misfire at Bradford City (and others where the squad just petered out). For such a strong team to play 2 full hours and then bungle the pens meant a whole lot more than just going out of the kiddie cup….

    Now that we’re down to just the league run-in life is sooo much easier and the current rotation seems like it’s working. I don’t expect too many changes at WBA (Gibbs for Monreal, only, I would guess. Maybe Poldi for Ox)….Again, no problem if we get the result…. After that we’ve got a full week starting at Norwich then our make-up match with Everton, both at home, so a great time to ease Jack and Theo back….Get through those in style then finish the week at Fulham….(Fingers crossed, eh….)

    Sorry, but I don’t buy ANY of these discussions dissecting our midfielders into types and I don’t worry about people playing against their so-called “type”. AW doesn’t look at it this way so why should I?…. For me, I look at the attributes of the players (ideally over time, thus making it far easier to be excited and/or critical about our own players rather than transfer targets/rumors) and I can see some good things happening. I missed out on the last two posts but what’s interesting is that I think we’ve got two very fit and energetic guys in Rosicky and Gervinho who get palpably worse the closer they get to goal. As such, though technically we are down to bare bones in MF (with Wilshere and Diaby, who should both be 1st 11, out) we still look very good. Gervinho is at his best getting the ball deep and turning upfield (like Diaby and Jack–If only he could spot a pass and execute as those two can, assists vs Swansea notwithstanding). Likewise, the space Rosicky needs due to being so right-footed is at less of a premium the deeper he plays (Ramsey too)….Even Santi, I think, is better now that he’s got the fitness to come deeper and help out in MF. It’s far easier for him to use his two great feet (but poor acceleration) to make the key through (or over….) pass than it is for him to get past defenders in the box or get his shot off. In short, though we’re currently so light in MF, but relatively healthy further forward, the attributes of the available players means I think we’ll see more chances and good attacking positions but (I worry….) fewer shots on goal and goals themselves. Hopefully we’ve got enough to get the results required….

    Another issue is that AW lies (when at all possible) to protect his players’ confidence. Players who have been dropped are often (said to be) “injured” or “a little short” while other players who are truly unable to play (still injured) are given a bench spot to buck up the impatient supporters. Poldoski, I suspect, has been playing hurt all season, for example. It’s very frustrating for us (give us the truth, we can take it, and so should the players….) but I can see why he does it. Still, it’s hard to know (at any given moment) how deep we truly are…..

    Finally, I believe that the quest for “positive football” combined with our very shaky defense (our season long GK and first choice CB/Captain are currently benched!!) has made rotation, esp. with the young players really difficult. Why does Sagna come in at the first hint of fitness over Jenks? Because he’s an immaculate defender and never misplaces passes in our defensive half. That’s just a single example. With our over-extension offensively AND our propensity to get killed on the quick counter, we cannot afford too many chancy runs (and last-ditch giveaways) from the likes of Ox or Gervinho (or Ramsey, the sometime winger)….. While we salute their directness, they need to see their teammates earlier (and convert those passes) or put the ball out of play. If the final ball isn’t there, you’ve gotta at least have a plan B that won’t hurt us….. Against the lower teams who struggle to finish (even the bus parkers….) it’s not quite fatal. Against the better teams it compromises results too much.

    Anyhow, just a few of my thoughts on the subject. Overall winning (results) allow rotation and (successful) rotation gets results, so, again, hindsight is everything. Hopefully the manager gets it right in this key stretch….(then re-jigs over the summer and keeps the pressure off with good results next season….etc., etc., etc…..)

  67. Red Arse says:

    Well as we have come to expect, yet another very good Post, marcus. It certainly gives plenty of meat to chew on, as was witnessed by all the comments!! 😀

  68. Red Arse says:

    Good Morning, TA, 🙂

  69. Gerry says:

    17HT – I think you have hit several ‘nails on the head in your mini blog(affectionately said, as the term has been applied to me in the past. ha ha).

    It has been fascinating reading the comments and counter arguments, but a lot does boil down to what we may not know? There are a few key issues that, on certain players, a strong case could be made for not being rotated. The lengthy run of Ramsey, in various positions, could hardly be justified on merit. For the opposite reason, Jack being played because he was so vital to have in the side.(Here HH I think you got emotional in your argument when you say Arsene LOVES to grind players into the ground – Come on? He may play overplay out of necessity due to the lack of equal replacements, but with the ‘red-zone’ technology he has at his disposal put against the players assurances that they are fine to play, I would say he makes a difficult decision. One that WE don’t have to, but that is not the same as your quote, imo).

    The two team theory would fall down when, to howls of derision, team B gets knocked out of Cups at an early stage leaving them no outlet to play?

    Fringe players will always be what they are, and when there are too many of them, some for understandable reasons, then rotation is probably the last thing a dodgy first eleven needs. By ‘dodgy’ , I mean a team lacking in confidence through lack of results. The old adage of don’t change a winning team has its merits – for example, we have almost all agreed in the last few games ‘Don’t change the back 5!’ – but rotation at its best does require the occasional tinkering? Now whether in these remaining few games you replace Per Mertersacker now the back line has some creditability as a working defensive back four, despite the number of games, including international’s, is where the call for rotation get well and truly tested? Likewise Santi Cazorla??

    Leaving that ‘hot potato’ aside. You get the other extreme of have two exceptionally good LB’s who, rather than rotate, could actually play at the same time? That is a slight false argument I admit, because I would imagine it is a more ‘one off’ possibility, despite it being an attractive one regards width and pace? Even more outrageous was my thought last night, to match up the young, but extremely talented Bellerin ahead of the full back on the right, again giving pace and width down the right in the absence of Walcott? But that is a possibility for later, maybe as a sub finding his way into the first team sometime next season. I digress …

    So, while I think most agree that our rotation of players should be better, I am also of a view, that for most part there have been good reasons for no doing it. But the ‘Benitez way’ of making 5 or 6 changes to the previous team has invariably backfired on us. So while we have momentum, I see little likelyhood of too many changes in our next match.The two ‘W’s will be back for the Norwich game but neither should assume a start if we get another win on Saturday? Who would I rotate for Saturday: Jenks and Gibbs in(with or without Nacho?), just maybe Ox for Rosicky. Bench to include Eislfeld and Gnabry … pretty please?

  70. Gerry says:

    VCC – Smarting from my Zero last week, I have taken more time to consider my sels for UMF

    They are:

    Reading v Southampton – Draw

    Norwich – Home win

    Stoke – Home win

    Everton – Away win

    Chelsea – Home win

    p,s A little more restraint on the Bale injury, it might just inspire Spurs on?

  71. VCC says:

    Good morning all.

    Hi Gerry, cheers for your entries this week. Your odds are = 89-1

    GLiC your odds are = 1514-1.

    Gerry, where is your money going on the National?

  72. VCC says:

    UMF entries required from =

    VCC
    Alex
    Highbury Harmony
    Herb
    Total
    Oz
    Red Arse
    Rocky

    Please…. 🙂

  73. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    VCC, i can draw them all out of my hat if you like? 😉

  74. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Ooops, Guten morgen BK

  75. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Marcus, great read and great comments been thrown around to add.
    Hmmm, rotation? We have all cried out for it, but imo it must be done wisely. At the moment Arsene is damned if he does and damned if he doesnt. Totals’ comment at 23.00 carries alot of weight and i tend to agree.

    The only thing i can say is that we dont know what goes on behind closed doors, or who is close to the red zone etc. Some players need to play as much as possible to get us to the promised land of CL football and that is a simple fact. Some players are simply not ready to start in Arsenes mind. Can you imagine if Van Judas was rotated for Chamack last season. Yep thats right….damned if he does and damned if he doesnt.

    Hindsight is always a beautiful thing.

  76. marcus says:

    AFC,
    Let me explain further..For example, in midfield we have santi, Jack, Rosicky, Arteta. These 4 players all have enough quality to be in the starting 11 but they all can’t be at the same time. That’s where rotation comes in. At his best, Rosicky can play Jack’s role (b2b) or Santi’s role (in the hole) perfectly without compromising the overall quality of the team. If wenger were clever, he would make sure that they all play enough to stay in top form but also not too much as to end up in injury/ fatigue. Look at how Fergie rotates his 4 strikers and you get an idea of how proper rotation goes. We can’t have one starting eleven playing 90% of the games and the rest 10%. Not if we want to win anything.

  77. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Here are the UMF1 entries for Oz,

    Reading, West Ham, Sunderland, Fulham, Stoke all to win

  78. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Marcus, any chance you can do some digging and find out the consistency in roatation in our invincibles season? Im currently under the pump, otherwise i would. Really curious?

    By the way, your comment @10.27am you say “If Wenger were clever”
    What do you mean ‘IF’. The man is a genius. hahaha

  79. marcus says:

    Let me all take you back to the 2007-2008 season when we led the table for 6 months. That term we had the best first team in the league but it ended there. We had 11 fantastic players backed up by mediocre players who wouldn’t even get a whiff of game play. Result? We led for 6 months then ran out of gas and ended up finishing 4th. After leading the table for 2 thirds of the season. Now we are in a much better position where we have about 17 players who are good enough to start and with a few key additions, we could have a squad so strong and so deep that not only could we effortlessly challenge for silverware, we could go for multiple trophies. Let’s face it, even the league alone can’t be won by just 11 world class players.

  80. marcus says:

    poldi,
    I didn’t mean that he is not. It was suggestive that he would benefit from a better rotation policy.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Some super comments in response to Marcus’ thought-provoking post!

    No rotation without a solid base is still my view on the subject, as every game counts and Arsene is still searching for the right formation and set of players to play the football he wants.

    However, now we are playing a more simple and effective sort of football, with two DM’s committed to protect the back four and keep it tight in midfield, I reckon we’ll see a lot more rotation between now and end of season. Only Cazorla, Mertesacker, Giroud, Arteta and WIlshere if fit, will play most if not all of the remaining games. The rest will be subject to form and availability.

  82. Ben says:

    Hi everyone, new to posting here but have read everyday.
    Now on to rotation, i personally think all the 1st team players should play ‘all’ league games, except when players are out of form, .ie TV5 schezza, but more importantly play players in their ‘natural’ positions!
    I was a big hater of Ramsey this season, but watching him in his natural CM position he is slowly bringing me around for him being my favourite player! He is not a RB nor a winger he is a all tackling, hard working, tenacious CM, watch how he plays for wales and where he plays.
    Horses for Courses, i believe!

  83. Ben says:

    And also I would love to see Poldi be given a chance up front!

  84. AFC says:

    Marcus, you could then argue Wenger has started to rotate. Last match Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky and Cazorla all started when normally Rosicky would not have started.

  85. AFC says:

    Marcus, you are right in we have the quality to rotate. But suppose we had a team like Spurs, decent (probably not) first eleven with a bench made up of 1/2 other decent players and the resdt of trhe squad who are not ready. Do you still suggest we rotate?

  86. AFC says:

    * rest of the

  87. Ben says:

    Don’t change a winning team.

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome Ben 🙂

    All agreed on starting with the same/strongest eleven in the league as much as possible. Interesting point about Ramsey. Yes, he plays better centrally but his ability to adapt to other positions might be a clever move by both Ramsey and Wenger. In a total football system player should be able to play in more than one position and both feel comfortable and be effective in those positions.

    The Pod up-front is something that most of us would like to see, but he can also be pretty effective on the left wing, especially with Gibbs behind him in support.

  89. marcus says:

    TA and AFC
    Yes I get and full agree with you. It is vital that before we begin full rotation, we make sure that we have quality all round. My thoughts here are geared more towards next season with the assumption that this transfer window will see acquisition of top talent.

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC, BJ, HH,

    You have been in fine form over the last 24 hours or so! 🙂

  91. Ben says:

    Thanks TA, and everyone that submits posts its a really nice blog and different to all the rest. 😀

    The reason I highlight Ramsey is because he has been awful for half the season playing out of position.
    Due to the injury to our beloved jacky, he has been put back into his best position and boy has he shined!!
    So coming back to rotation issue, why rotate players into positions that are not there best? I would rather see a slightly inferiour player play in his best position ie le coq as DM , than ruin their confidence playing le coq as RB or Ramsey as left wing!

  92. Ben says:

    And Poldi up front, I remember we had a striker that had a good left foot, but for the life of me can’t remember his name now!! 😀

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Yes I am in full agreement with you. Rotation has many benefits and should be put into place systematically.

    I reckon Arsene relies too much on the same players which makes us a bit inflexible, and we often suffer when one or two players get injured or suspended. Mertesacker’s injury last year against Sunderland was followed by two immediate cup exits against Milan and Sunderland; and Arteta’s late injury last season also led to a dip in results.

  94. AFC says:

    Hi Ben, and welcome to BK, there is a really good reason why Wenger played Ramsey at right wing. Wenger says that when you play on the wing you have less time to think and make the right/killer pass so when Ramsey plays there he has to think quicker and play better. And then when he moves centrally he has more time to think and play the pass and because he is used to thinking quickly he is can always make the perfect pass.

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    haha Ben, you mean ‘Robin van one goal in twelve games and counting!’?

    I reckon Rambo can play in different roles where he can add his fighting spirit and stamina into the mix. In an ideal world he would play in the centre of midfield in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, but in Arsenal’s current system none of the roles are totally right for him.

    However, agreed he has played better recently and like you I hope he will come good. I have never hated him though, as he has always worked hard for us and plays with pride for the shirt.

  96. AFC says:

    Ben, also Wenger is doing this with Walcott. By him playing on the wing he has to make his decisions faster improving his decision making for when he plays as a ST.

    Wenger is not trying to play Ramsey as a RB. He has only played there when jenks got sent of early in the season. Also when we attack both of our fullbacks attack so when at times we we really need to score and go ultra attacking we have an extra midfielder in midfield.

    Two points. I have alway though the Ox would be a perfect ultra-attacking RB to bring on when we really need to score.

    Wenger should play Wilshere more on the wing to develop his final ball as it is not perfect.

  97. Ben says:

    Hi AFC

    The point i was trying to make is that Ramsey got hammered by fans for his performances on the wing, but put him CM he has been our best player last 3 matches, (without the razzle dazzle) yes he cant shoot to save his life, so maybe he can evolve into a CDM and relieve arteta to move forward a bit (his legs must ache) to his best position that he played last year and for everton. Again i say horses for courses, i would rather see players in correct position, so they play to their strengths not paper the cracks.

  98. Ben says:

    And as Rb issue, Bellarin looks world class, i think Sagna will leave and jenko and Bellarin will battle it out!

  99. AFC says:

    Ben, you are right.

    There is no point in playing Ramsey on the wing and trying to develop him into a CAM when he cannot shoot to save his life and his best position is probably CM.

  100. AFC says:

    Also Ben, I would like to see Arteta played as an CAM again but a lot of people think he is now too defensively minded and can never return to this role.

    Regarding RB, I really do not know much about the youth team. But my view and probably Wenger’s is that Bellarin (not sure of spelling) is not ready so if Sagna leaves I can see him buying an experiemced RB to allow Jenkinson to develop further.

  101. Ben says:

    When you watch Ramsey play for wales he is everywhere, the 2nd star man, after that player from the enemy! (injured to give st totteringams day an excuse when they finish 6th)

  102. Ben says:

    Afc, i watched every nextgen european game and alot of the u21(if thats what is called now) Bellarin or Bellarini is stolen from barca youth and he is epic, fast, can cross, can defend, can shhot and is aggressive in his play.

  103. AFC says:

    Ben, regarding Spurs and Bale these are my views.

    Spurs are a one man team. People point to RVP but he was our striker it is his job to score goals. Your left winger should not be creating and scoring.

    Bale is overrated like all players from the UK are.

    Bale is a good player not an exceptional player. He is in form (like every player has a period when they are in form) which could lead to people being misled to believe this is the natural level he performs at.

    Spurs is no way near the level of Ronaldo and Messi and never will be. I can name 20 players better than Bale right now!

    If Real are stupid enough to offer Spurs around 50 mill for Bale, they take it and use it wisely. Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud all together came around to the same money. I would rather have Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud than Bale any day.

  104. AFC says:

    Ben, as I said before I really do not know anything about next gen players, so if what you says is true he should be promoted to the next seasons squad. 🙂

  105. AFC says:

    Sorry Ben, * Your left winger should not be creating and scoring all of your goals, last season Song and Walcott created most of our chances and Walcott also scored a considerable amount of goals to help us get 3rd.

  106. Ben says:

    Yes AFC

    I detest Bale, the way he celebrated at our defeat!

    But if you look at ‘1 man teams’ as we were last year, how can we be so many points behind the worst manure team in epl history!
    Who do we blame the players? the manager? the board? the fans?
    I don’t know but i have a feeling that next year we will be massive, 3 signings for me
    isco
    jovetic
    capoue

    and maybe i can not have heart attacks during every game! 😀

  107. AFC says:

    * Bale is no way near the level of Ronaldo and Messi and never will be. It is an insult to Ronaldo, Messi and other players who are or were at that level for Bale to be compared. He has done nothing yet. Performed a minor part of the season and had one good CL performance a few years back. I am not convinced. If they get CL and that is a big if and if he score goals in their knockout matches against the real big teams in world football then I will rate him.

  108. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry,

    There was no emotion in my comment, I have seen AW do this for years now and before this season, left it to a lack of quality depth players or that it was necessary because we needed to gain ground in the standings.

    But either way you look at it, it still comes down to AW’s/the BoD’s fault. It’s one of their faults because they failed to bring in the level of quality in players to adequately rotate players on a consistent basis. Yet another failure on the part of management, which is becoming increasingly disappointing when I analyze our own failures over the years (lack of silverware, lack of rotation, lack of the ability to stay healthy, buying the wrong players more often than not etc.).

    PPP, you raise a good point about being foolish on rotating certain players, like van Judas for Chamakh last season, but your comment is still flawed. van Judas is a striker and does not play at a position that takes a large physical toll on the body, such as in midfield, on the wings or at fullback. These three areas could definitely serve to have more rotation, as they require players to constantly run up and down the pitch, contributing in both attack and defense.

    Instead, we continue to see AW grind players into the ground with what works after a victory. There’s something to be said for chemistry in a winning formula, however it was evident earlier in the year, that this formula was excruciatingly inconsistent and that more players could have come into the starting side to give us a fresh perspective in attack and on the game, while potentially keeping our other players hungrier and healthier.

  109. Ben says:

    Btw. what do you think of Cazorla getting more games for spain than cesc4?

  110. AFC says:

    Ben, we were not a one man team. RVP scored most of our goals and he should considering he was our main striker but without Walcott’s goals we would not have got 3rd place. Also without Song (who led us in assists that season) RVP would not have scored. He needed the team to help him. Bale does it on his own for Spurs.

  111. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, just take a look where our injuries have occurred this season and that only further proves my point. Our fullbacks, wingers and midfielders have all been the victims of injuries, mainly because they have been overplayed at premium physical positions (Podolski, Ox, Theo, Jack, Arteta, Coquelin, Gibbs, Sagna and Diaby).

    This problem can be solved in one of two ways: 1) Rotation and 2) Buying better depth players. Until AW rotates more frequently, we’ll continue to suffer in every aspect (silverware, squad morale, injuries, players’ form etc.); no team is meant to start 5 weeks in a row in almost every match, with the expectation that bench players can magically come in on form and produce at a high level.

  112. AFC says:

    Ben, they need Santi at the moment. Cesc is needed to play as their CF in their false 9 formation with no other striker good enough. Villa is getting older and might not be at the level required. Santi is very experienced and I heard they play him on the wing.

    Also, one of my friend’s has told me that, Santi is ahead of Silva and Mata. Is this true?

  113. Highbury Harmony says:

    Ben, I think nothing of that. Cesc is a better player than Santi, but unfortunately Cesc does not receive the same level of game time as him, being behind two of the best midfielders in the world in Xavi and Iniesta. Also, Barca are currently not lined up to Cesc’s strengths with two AM’s in their set-up.

  114. Ben says:

    HH

    We are one of the best teams in the world, pays top wages, they should be able to perform week in week out, no exceptions!

  115. AFC says:

    HH, you are right and that is why teams can have up to (I think) 42 players in their entire squad.

  116. Ben says:

    HH

    So lets get cesc4 back to the Emirates! 😀

  117. AFC says:

    HH, Cesc is needed to play CF. But I have heard Santi is ahead of Mata and Silva which is good news. Not sure if he is ahead of Navas.

  118. JM says:

    3 men central midfield (Arsenal):

    The Destroyer(21st century Liberio): (Vacancy-available)(Complete package), Arteta(2nd man), Coquelin(Deputy)

    There is space for improvement of personnel here: either both the main man and/or 2nd man. I would foresee an acquisition in this coming summer for this position, possibly coming from La Liga, someone (with the initials, J.T.) familiar to both Cazorla and Monreal, be a good role model to Coquelin and free up Arteta to be the facilitator for our team.

    The Facilitator(Midfield General): Arteta(Complete package), Wilshere(2nd man), Ramsey(Deputy), Diaby(Deputy)

    Eventually, Arteta will pass on the baton to both Wilshere & Ramsey.

    The Creator(Maestro): Cazorla(Complete package), Rosicky(2nd man), Wilshere(Deputy), The Ox(One for the future).

    The Ox and Eisfeld (should both continue to improve in their overall footballing qualities) to eventually take over from both Cazorla and Rosicky.

  119. Highbury Harmony says:

    Ben, what does wages paid have anything to do with players being able to hit form after no meaningful minutes played in 4-5 weeks? If anything, that only proves that it was AW’s fault in either the lack of rotation or paying underachieving players inflated salaries.

  120. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I would love nothing more than the bring Cesc back home to the Emirates. Every day, I search on google “is Cesc returning to Arsenal” hahaha! Then, I hope on over to youtube where I proceed to watch a video of Cesc’s best plays at Arsenal, before agonizing at the fact that Barca are wasting his talents.

  121. Highbury Harmony says:

    Wow that was poorly written, guess that’s what you get for typing on a phone.

    to bring Cesc back*
    hop on over*

  122. AFC says:

    HH, Ben said he would love to see Cesc back, but I would as well. When Barca brough him they said it was to replace Xavi but this does not make sense. Xavi looks like he could easily play for another 6-8 years if he really wanted. I then though he would play DM but Sergio’s got that position. So I do not see where he fits in. At Spain he plays as their CF so I see why he is needed at Spain but not for Barca.

  123. Ben says:

    Guys wht would spain need cesc4 as center forward when they have david villa?

  124. AFC says:

    HH, Cesc has won stuff but has he really contributed as much as he shoul have. He should be looking to come back to Arsenal where would be a crucial player for us. He has now won things so what is stopping him.

    I do not know if you heard this but Lukaku (not sure of spelling) has said he will not even touch his CL and FA cup medals as he had no part in winning them.

  125. Ben says:

    AFC

    Yes i think Cesc will come back soon, he has his medal now he has unfinished business with Arsenal.

    And lukaku doesnt even want to play for the chavs!

  126. AFC says:

    Ben, when Villa was injured cesc filled in and now the manager trusts him. Villa could be seen to be unreliable after his injury, fallen out of favour at Barca and is not getting any younger. So when he can no longer play who replaces him. Torres is a joke and the manager thinks Cesc can do a better job than any of the other Spanish strikers.

  127. Ben says:

    ok 2012-2013 stas for spain, cazorla has featured more than cesc4, surely that has annoyed him! From star player to bit part barca player and hardly played fo spain!

  128. AFC says:

    Ben, Wenger and Cesc himself have ruled out his return. However, Fabregas has said he will only leave Barca for Arsenal and apparently we there is a clause in his contract which means that if he wants to leave and Barca get offers and we make an offer, we get him first.

  129. Ben says:

    AFC

    Who would rather have as main striker? cesc4 or villa?

  130. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    I just wanna put this out there. I absolutely love reading JMs comments. I know he is not on often, well not often enough, but hats off bud!

    @JM – What is Toulalans’ first name? 😉

  131. AFC says:

    Ben, I am not sure of this but I will say it.

    Fabregas plays as a CF for Spain and Villa plays as a ST for Spain. This means that Cesc is theory Cesc is not really a striker. He is the furthest forward but this means at times you can also see Xavi, Iniesta etc as the main striker at times. However, Villa always stays as Spains main striker.

    I would rather have Cesc. He is younger and can interchange postions with all the other midfielders which makes Spains philosophy of Total Football easier to play.

  132. JM says:

    Spain (4-3-3):

    Midfielders: Busquets, Xabi Alonso/Javi Martinez, Xavi/Fabregas

    Forwards: Iniesta/Nevas, Pedro/Villa, Silva/Cazorla

    Next best forward after Villa should be Pedro (neat return of 12 goals from 26 caps).

    @Prince-Purrfect-Poldi, April 5, 2013 15:49

    It is pronounced as “JAIR-eh-mee”.
    I could see another potential deal involving Malaga’s current CL QF’s opponents with us. (1LF + 1TR for 1RW). They need it, we need it as well.

  133. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    @JM,
    I could live with that. Tomas isnt getting any younger and he would get more pitch time and a bonus break at Christmas. I have to be honest, i dont know much about Roman, except that he is 32. Is he involved with his national team at all?

    What i would really really love is to give them 25m and they give us 1MR 🙂 Never happen though if 1TR went that way.

  134. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, my UMF predictions:

    Southampton away win
    Arsenal away win
    Spuds vs. Everton draw
    Norwich vs. Swansea draw
    Manure vs. $hitty draw

  135. TotalArsenal says:

    Ultimate Master of Football predictions:

    City away
    Stoke draw
    Everton away
    Chelsea draw
    Newcastle draw

  136. JM says:

    @ Prince-Purrfect-Poldi, April 5, 2013 16:30

    RW, experienced as he is for his club, is not in the frame for national duty; no senior caps to show for. Currently, MN is the No.1, RA is No.2, their have their youths R-RZ and M-AtS as No.3. Also throw both TW and TH into the group.

    At the moment, BD has are in line for CL next season. With RL seeming to be heading off, MR could be their main man upfront if they are not recruiting any new player for that position. (Although they would consider both SK from BL and AS from M05 to boost their ranks). They could benefit with TR backing up MG in their AM, playing behind e.g. MR, JB and KG etc.

    As to the Sagna rumours to PSG, ok… if they want Sagna, we get Christophe Jallet from them + cash.

    So that would sum up the summer window for me: JT, RW, a new FW/HS (not saying who I think it might be), CJ for BS (if).

  137. Highbury Harmony says:

    JM, you’re forgetting about JS, who Dortmund fans are pretty high on. He’s supposed to be the successor to RL once he departs this off-season, though I could also see MR filling the void. Plus, we all known JK will immediately replace any departing player with one of similar quality.

    If only AW did the same!

  138. TotalArsenal says:

    What’s with all the initials, guys? Please give us at least surnames so we can all understand who you are talking about?! 🙂

    I bet is PPP who started it all! 😛

  139. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    @JM,
    There are/were a few rumours of us getting AS from M05, but then the media like to link us to any possible target that may fit.

    I also watched Jallet play against Barca. He has a haircut like me 🙂 But i would prefer GvdW or to promote Bellerin. I think Jenks can do a job as a regular starter

  140. TotalArsenal says:

    According to Sunderland’s website DiCanio has picked 11 Right Wingers for Saturday’s game! 😛

  141. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Sorry Van Goldmember, im trying to keep up with JM. He started the initial thing with his name 🙂

    By the way Total, why have you changed your philosophy? I see that you are missing 2 draws in your ‘Ultimate Master of Football’ predictions. 😉

    Never a boring day on BK

  142. TotalArsenal says:

    Well spotted, JM. I just want to win points on a Manure loss at least once this season! 🙂

    How do you feel about tomorrow’s game, Px3?

  143. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Ok, here is the run down so far.

    JM has made a fair call on what might happen in the transfer window.
    We need an experienced keeper, so rather than go for a known name that could potentially stall WS career, he believes that Wenger might opt for Roman Weidenfeller from Dortmund with Lukas Fabianski and Tomas Rosicky going the other way.

    His other call for an enforcer was quite astute when he said “JAIR-eh-mee Toulalan”. He knows Santi and Monreal as he plays for Malaga. Also Malaga are not eligible for Europe next year. He is French and would be a perfect stop gap solution before Le Coq is able and ready to come into the fold.

    We also need a FW. Im still trying to figure out CJ for BS(if) 😀

  144. joey says:

    rosicky one foot = tripe, when do you see him getting robbed of the ball trying to get it on his right- cant recall this situation. Jack wilshere box-to-box – Wrong- hes an attacking midfielder with grit and drive/great dribbling which enables him to play deeper…but think why is it jack, arteta, cazorla is so poor defenisively, how many runners does jack pick up?..when u move jack up and put diaby or even ramsey alongside arteta we are abundantly improved and jack also…think back to the game against spurs jack was at the heart of all our good moves, when he moved back he was poor. im not saying jack cant be disciplined but he is not a box- to-box player he can do a job there though. sorry for the rant but it gets on my tits when i hear rubbish like jack is box to box…another point s coquelin is questionable if he is a dm because i remember games such as swansea (fa cup) where he was recklessly going forward abandoning his position leaving diaby to cover his mistakes..diaby as we know is no a dm but a box 2 box player, however he is way more disciplined than coquelin. i dunno maybe coquelin is just really naive but its what i’ve seen…just something to think about.

  145. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Total. Quietly confident. How about yourself?

  146. Highbury Harmony says:

    Toulalan is getting too old for me, though he would be a stronger version of Arteta (not a bad thing by any means). I would still be considerably concerned with our DM’s pace, especially if you consider Arteta and Toulalan playing in the midfield together.

  147. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, you’ve got mail :).

  148. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Hi HH,
    I understand and recognise that. But im warming to the idea of a stop gap solution. Le Coq will definately be our midfield enforcer, destoyer, beast for years to come. Question is, will he be ready for the next term. He could definately learn a thing or two from his ‘old’ fellow Frenchman before throwing him in the deep end.

  149. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    AM= Santi + Jack
    B2B= Arteteta + Ramsey
    DM= Toulalan + Le Coq

    Bye Bye Diaby…………maybe

  150. VCC says:

    Afternoon All.

    Prince, If I don’t hear from Oz before KO I will use your predictions for him. The odds are 2567-1

    Total odds = 703-1
    HH odds = 176-1

    VCC selections =
    Pool v WHU …..home
    QPR v Wigan….draw
    Spurs v Eve …..draw
    Chel v Sund……home
    New v Ful……….home

    odds = 44-1

    Still waiting for …..Rocky/Herb/Red Arse/Alex

  151. Red Arse says:

    VCC,

    My UMF predictions;

    LiverBugs v WHam = Draw
    QPR v Wigan = Away win
    Spurs v Everton = Draw
    Newies v Fulham = Draw
    Chelsea v Blunderland = Draw

    If that does not beat the Road Runner Glic’s predictions I will eat an eel! 😀

  152. Red Arse says:

    Has anyone seen/heard from Herb recently?

    He is near the top of the UMF league, so he must be doing something magic! 🙂

  153. Highbury Harmony says:

    PPP, as you’ll see from my upcoming article (Monday I believe), we can scrap the B2B role, unless we pursue a modern day B2B destroyer like Vidal, Matuidi etc. Arteta is no longer a suitable B2B candidate, due to his lack of pace, I’d prefer to see him transition into a Pirlo as a deep-lying playmaker.

  154. VCC says:

    Cheers Red Arse… Your odds are = 1044-1

    That’s leaves……Alex/Rocky/Herb

  155. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Okie dokie HH, looking forward to it…….on the back of an Arsenal win, no doubt.

    HI Redders, it has been a long while since Herb has graced us with his presence?

  156. Red Arse says:

    Hi P3,

    Yes, I thought Herb might have taken a break, but perhaps he has found a new site.

  157. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, another thing to consider about Coquelin, is how much longer will he start at Arsenal? He gets almost no playing time and is only used as a sub in the dying minutes of a game or when our squad has numerous injuries. All comes back to proper rotation…

  158. Highbury Harmony says:

    stay at Arsenal*

  159. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA, perhaps that site is “in SAF we trust”? Hahaha just kidding!

  160. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Redders,
    I dont believe its any ‘new’ site, as we all like to frequent different sites in the blog world. My opinion is that Herb is a gentleman, and seeing as we have come to the stage of the season known as “squeaky bum time” i believe that anxiety may have set in, therefore he chooses not to comment so as to not upset others. You have often touched upon this topic in your comments in the way certain things in our personal lives can affect our support of the Arsenal and vice versa, how Arsenal can affect us in our personal lives. Well, something like that. (give me a break, its almost 5am here)

    Herb, if i am way off the mark, i apologise 🙂

  161. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    🙂 Forgot my emoticon after (give me a break…..) 🙂

  162. TotalArsenal says:

    PPP, I feel 60/40 positive about the game. West Brom away is not easy, but we have the bit between our teeth now…..I hope! 😕

  163. glic says:

    Evening Feces Felon`s 😆

    Another day on the road to hell !.

    Thanks for another fine Post Marcus. What a lot of comments through the night !. AFC must have Nuclear reactor fingers or he`s on Red Bull !. hahaha

    I`ve always said …..play your best team !. But with all the games nowadays, rotation is fine as long as there is quality in depth in all positions and you are battling on all fronts !.
    As we stand at the moment though, I say play your strongest team available, they must be fit enough to play out the rest of the season with only one match per week, if not there must be something wrong with our training and sports science !.
    Below is Arsenal`s squad and appearances for our first ever double season in 1971.
    A 16 man squad and Sammy Nelson and Peter Marinello only played a handfull of games between them, so realistically only 14 players used !,
    Only one sub in them days if I remember correctly and on some very heavy sticky mud pitches with the likes of “Chopper” Harris, Styles, Bremner, Hunter hacking from behind with limited Reff` protection. Not so much rotation, more like someone else getting a game because another player had been assaulted on the field !.

    http://arseweb.com/history/stats/71.html

  164. glic says:

    I just had a look at the programme from the Reading game and comparing it too my above comment, well it is staggering how the game has changed and the fact is, we have used 35 players in all competitions this season with Santi (playing 41 inc` 2 subs appearances) being the most played player, if he plays in the final 8 games that will make 49.
    None come near to what our boy`s in 71 did. I think it`s fair to say we have been rotating quite a lot this season…..35 players used !.
    What do I think !, I think they`ve got it f**king easy and are molly coddled to an extreme !. Please, dont anyone talk about any….. “Red Zone ” shit, it`s insulting !.

  165. glic says:

    PS
    In all competitions in 1971, there were only 14 substitutions !.
    With 8 games to left to play this season, so far there have been 122 substitutions !.

  166. Michael says:

    Wenger’s the biggest the culprit by putting it in their heads that they’re tired by emphasising the point in post match interviews.

  167. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post 🙂

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