Fellaini – Arteta as DM beast, or Fellaini – Theo/Pod/OG as SS?


Marouane: a versatile Fella ini? But where should he play?

This article will serve as a continuation with TA’s recent theme of exploring how rumoured transfer targets would fit into our starting eleven.

If you are a frequenter of this blog, it should come as no surprise that the majority of us here are desperate for a proper, beast of a Defensive Midfielder (DM). Not only would this acquisition ensure that our back four are properly shielded, but it would also unleash the creativity further up field. Players like Santi, Jack, Ox and Arteta would become the indirect beneficiaries and be given the freedom to take risks, knowing that they have a capable and dedicated defensive midfielder behind them.

However, the player we have been most strongly linked to recently is Marouane Fellaini of Everton. So, what if we bought him and were not able to acquire a proper, beast of a DM? Would he be a good purchase despite our obvious need for a DM?

For one thing, Fellaini is Premier League proven, coming off a great season in which he netted 11 goals and 5 assists in 31 starts. He is an established, physical player, capable of exerting his “Presence!” on a game, drawing in defenders and forcing the opposition to devise strategies to defend against or take him out of the game. Fellaini is versatile enough to play as a DM, a B2B midfielder and as a Shadow Striker (SS).

While he may not be a dedicated DM, he is assertive in the tackle, efficient in the air and has decent ball control and pace for a man his size. His passing success rate of 79.3% is not outstanding, but good enough to succeed in Arsenal’s system, as one must consider that the majority of his playing time came at CAM, where pass success rate is generally lower than when played further back in the pitch. His 1.3 key passes per game and 5 assists are further proof that he has some ability in setting up goals too.

So, depending on the price, Fellaini could be a good bit of transfer business for Arsenal. It’s difficult to come by PL proven talents, who have as much presence, steel and ability as Fellaini does.

But where would he play?

Fellaini DM

The first scenario has Fellaini in the DM-pivot with one of Arteta/Ramsey. He’s played here in his earlier Everton days and is a capable defender, with 2.6 tackles per game, 1.2 interceptions per game, 2.1 clears per game and was only dribbled 0.4 times per game. At the-DM pivot, he could form a partnership with Arteta/Ramsey similar to the one Arsenal was successful with in 2011-12 with Arteta and Song. The two players interchange between offense and defense to make our attack less predictable and to provide more options in the offensive end than we saw towards the end of the season.

Fellaini SS

The second scenario would see Fellaini play as the SS behind one of Theo, Giroud or Podolski. By starting Fellaini up front with Theo, Arsenal would have two more than capable goal scorers and Fellaini’s skills are the perfect contrast to Theo’s. If Fellaini and Giroud are paired together, Arsenal then have two target men to utilize through long balls, crosses and set-pieces. Fellaini and Poldi playing up front together is perhaps the most interesting proposition of the three, mainly because Poldi is our most clinical finisher and is as good at setting others up, as he is scoring them himself. Fellaini and Poldi up front together would mean that we have two capable finishers and two more players capable of setting others up.

Personally, I don’t have a preference as to which formation Arsenal would play in if Fellaini is bought; I would just like to see it happen and go from there! All the scenarios are tantalizing because it represents variety and unpredictability to our line-up – a luxury we were not afforded last season. Fellaini as a DM would give us better protection and attacking from central midfield, and as a SS, he would give us more goals and act as an additional target man (something some fans feel is necessary and missing when OG is not on the pitch).

Which formation would you like to see Arsenal play in if Fellaini is purchased? Would you prefer it if Arsenal bought a dedicated, beast of a DM instead?

Written By: Highbury Harmony

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172 Responses to Fellaini – Arteta as DM beast, or Fellaini – Theo/Pod/OG as SS?

  1. James Bond says:

    Thanks HH, that was a spendid read, well done

    yes, signing Fellaini would not only be seen as a sign of intent but it will gives us a lot of options…Fellaini is that 1-3 dimensional players, isn’t it

    he’s had his most productive season in the EPL last season playing a further forward on the pitch , no reason why he can’t be as successful playing as a DM either as i feel he can be that “box to box” midfielder you’ve been so wanting at Arsenal.

    the possibilities are endless both with the formations and our style of play, for me it should depend on what opposition we’re facing and we should use him accordingly and not just in one fixed position or formation – he allows Wenger this flexibility no doubt, as well as making him available to cover for any midfield injuries, for e.t.c

    i think the problem may well arise if he get’s injured though, then we might be in trouble.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    HH 🙂

    Very fine post and excellent question to ask. My favourite combination would be Fellaini with Jack in the DM pivot, or even better, Fellaini alone in front of the back four and Jack and Santi as our advanced AMs, terrorising the opposition.

    However, I can also see him play in the hole with Theo in front of him, or Pod as you prefer.

    Fellaini reminds me a bit of Edgar Davids who could also play everywhere and add value to each position. Ultimately, Davids found his best position as the deeper laying central midfielder and he was incredible there. Fellaini could play in a similar role and become world class.

  3. Oscar chandler says:

    Sub Ramsey play cazorla in the Fellaini in the centre, podolski on the left Walcott on the right, cazorla as the cam/cf and hopefully higuain as the st sorted

  4. TotalArsenal says:


    WordPress is playing up a bit and I seem to have lost the function to highlight text in certain colours…. As soon as it is fixed, I will make the changes! 😕

  5. JB3ast says:

    Fellaini is a dedicted DM, it’s his natural position, and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but he is a “beast.” Your formations are completely wrong. Why would you play arteta/ramsey next to Fellaini instead of Jack? You’ve got to be kidding me. Jack is ALWAYS in the starting 11.

    IF this happens, our midfield should consist of Fellaini/Arteta/Jack/Santi behind Theo/Gonzo

    Or alternatively take Arteta out completely because he tends to slow the game down too much at times. Fellaini/Jack/Santi/Theo behind Gonzo/Ollie

    Let’s see what happens.

  6. marcus says:

    Great article as always..Yes Fellaini has been played in advanced roles at EFC but he himself said he is a natural DM. One thing people may not realize because of his role at Everton is that he is very efficient at winning back possession. He is not the tough tackling type but he is very good at hustling opponents and his strength enables him to win the ball more often than not. And his energy is impressive for someone of his build. I saw this when we played against them.

    People look at how good he is going forward and quickly forget that he was signed as a DM and to him, that’s his most natural position.

  7. Fred says:

    Hi HH, Great post and I agree with you that Fellaini would be a good siging, and he is an EPL proven player which is always a good sign as we know what he is capeable of doing against our opposition. However, I would like to point out that everton haven’t really featured in many european competitions of late and as such he may not be used to playing as many games as (hopefully) we will be playing next season. Also in recent seasons he has been playing more as a CAM or SS as you correctly say, which in my opinion is his best position. However, it is also something we are not in desperate need of. Whilst he can also play as a B2B midfielder or a DM, which is the position we seriously need to strengthen, I feel that there are players that could be better for us in this position than Fellaini and would be available for a lot less money, as Everton seem to be holding out for someone to meet his buy-out fee which is around the 24m mark. For me Lars Bender would be a better option and would cost us 15-20m (probably slightly closer to 20m) and could also cover at RB as well as being the B2B/DM we are crying out for.

  8. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers JB, always value your input and thanks for the kind words!

    I truly value Fellaini’s versatility, Presence! and aggressiveness, but one must wonder whether or not his purchase would be the next Andy Carroll if you catch my drift. Now, of course we won’t be paying £35 million for him, but £23-25 million is still a hefty investment for AW and the board.

    Fortunately, Fellaini has been quite durable during his time at Everton (2010-11 aside) and his body seems to handle the physical demands of the league quite well. It’s interesting that I read that Fellaini actually prefers the DM position but can also play the SS role as he did last year and in 2008-09 when Everton were hit with injuries.

    He is definitely an interesting target and the possibilities are endless in terms of formation. I agree that his starting position in the line-up should be contingent on the strength of the opposition – if we are up against a team that PTB he should play as a SS and against the top clubs, he should be used in the DM pivot (as long as another DM is not bought or even if he is, he will play alongside him).

  9. bc says:

    The important thing is to get as many of the best available players as we can then worry about it. For example if fellaini rooney cesc and higuain are all available and we can afford to get all 4 sod it let’s get them. Imagine adding those 4 to walcott podolski giroud cazorla wilshire arteta ramsey chamberlain and rosicky. It dorsnt matter how u cook up the midfield and attack with those 13 players you have so much world class, top class and highly promising talent that we could have bought a team to carry us for the next 6 years given that players would not face burn out. Even though the likes of arteta rosicky and cazorla will probably be gone within 1-3 years and rooney podolski in 3-5 years thr rest will all still be 30 or under in 5 years. Giroud fellaini cesc higuain walcott wilshire ramsey chamberlain still 8 players competing for 6 positions in 5 years time. £100m could land all 4 but could also mean arsenal dominance for the next 6-8 years now that is what I call investment in the team. We would not have to sell any of our 3 keepers or our 8 defenders but santos could go. Diaby could go from the midfield whilst coquelin frimpong yennaris aneke eisfeld could all take season long loans with a view to competing for arteta and rosickys position in the 13 in a year and cazorlas place in 2 years. Gervinho park chamakh and bendtner could go immediatley with campbell sanogo afobe and ryo taking another season long loan or two with a view to replacing podolski and rooney at some point

  10. Liam Smithies says:

    He would be a beast of a DM, he has clearly stated in many interviews that he prefers playing DM and wanted to do so at Everton, but Moyes spoke with him about his influence further up the field. He said he understood why Moyes wanted him in that role, but he re-iterated that he wants to play DM, so lets get him and employ him in the role that we need filling and he would be a beast in!!!

  11. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gentlemen, the line-ups are mere speculation, not what I would like to see.

    JB3ast, my assumption was that Jack would not be healthy enough to start the season and AW will take his time in bringing him back into the line-up again. Signing Fellaini would give us that luxury.

    Fellaini is NOT a dedicated DM, he is a dual DM/B2B player similar to that of Alex Song. However, he’s not as astute in reading the play and creating interceptions, but he is good at winning back possession with his aggressive style. He needs to be complemented by another defensive player and Jack is a true B2B mid who’s defensive play often leaves much to be desired.

  12. mbuchu says:

    just imagine thd havok that Kos,Fellaini,BFG,Giroud cld cause in opposition defense! It’s more mouthwatering when defending corners…Fellaini favourite position is Dm n that where he should play

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA :), cheers for the kind words mate!

    I’m not convinced Fellaini’s best talents would be taken advantage of if we played him as a sole DM or alongside another offensive player in Jack. In fact, that would do the very thing we are trying to avoid, which is exposing our back four.

    Make no mistake, Fellaini is a great DM/B2B mid with presence, but he is not a defensive beast. He is, however, a beast that can make an impact at both ends of the pitch, but there’s a difference between that and a defensive beast like Wanyama, Capoue etc.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed he is not the same sort of DM as Wanyama and Capoue, but I can see him perform well in a Barca sole ‘DM’ set up.

    Wilshere is more than a decent defender and I would love to see them both do the DM pivot: two complete midfielders imo.

  15. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Glad to see you back on BK more regularly and thanks for those two articles you wrote last week; I enjoyed them both! Also, thanks for the kind words :).

    Agreed that his natural/favoured position is as a DM. However, Fellaini is still not that “dedicated, proper DM” that we are looking for. He is a quality DM/B2B mid capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch though. What that means is that he must be further complemented by another willing and capable DM in order to ensure our back four is well covered and that one of the DM can join the attack.

    And yes very good point about people forgetting about Fellaini’s defensive ability. He’s a great tackler, with a good work rate and is a very willing combatant in the rough and tumble of the game. He could stand to work on his positional discipline, discipline in general and his ability to read the play though. That is why I think he would be well complemented with one of Arteta or Ramsey next to him in the starting line-up.

  16. Fred says:

    Even more reason to go for Lars Bender ahead of Fellaini, well in my opinion anyway, Lars has a buy out clause of 15m euros (£12m) thats half the price of Fellaini and that extra 12m could go towards trying to bring Cesc back home!

  17. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, agree to disagree then, I think Jack is a decent defender, but by no means a great one. He’s physical and likes to get stuck in challenges, but his defensive discipline is not quite there and he’s not an astute reader of the play like Arteta.

    I think we would be left exposed at the back or not take full advantage of Fellaini’s play if he was used alongside Jack. What I mean is Fellaini would then sort of be forced to become a dedicated DM since Jack likes to carry the ball up field so frequently.

  18. Highbury Harmony says:

    Liam, you like many others, have inserted the word “beast” when describing Fellaini’s preference to play DM.

    Fellaini is a DM in the mould of Alex Song, in that he can contribute at both ends of the pitch and is aggressive and willing, but he lacks the interception ability of Song and is not a disciplined defender like Wanyama or Capoue. Instead, he prefers to run up and down the pitch, helping out in any way he can.

  19. ageno alemu says:

    if Arsenal can make it real, i tell u,
    next season we will win trophies.

  20. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Fred :),

    Thanks for sharing your perspective and for the kind words!

    Very good point about Fellaini’s durability coming into question since Everton have not featured in as many competitions. All the more reason to not solely depend on one player and bring as many options as possible to attack all competitions!

    Apparently, Moyes played Fellaini at SS out of necessity due to injuries over the years, not because he thought that was Fellaini’s best position. However, it has worked wonders for him and he has become a better finisher year after year. Fellaini’s preference is to play DM.

    However, I agree with you that there are better options for the DM position and ones that would cost less than his reported sum. Lars Bender if the buy-out clause is true, I heard it was £20 mil+, then he would certainly be a better option. Hard to go against a proven EPL player who’s size and style of play would give us that presence! that we are currently lacking.

  21. Phillip Johnson says:

    With the players mentioned in this article and others mentioned this summer, i think the formation that should be considered would be the 4-3-2-1.

  22. Highbury Harmony says:

    Bc, thanks for stopping by!

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but were you not the individual who has previously stated that we should buy as many players as we can, so long as they are upgrades over what we currently have?

    If so, I agree with you and it falls in line with what you just wrote. Fellaini is better than the DM/B2B options we currently have and gives us that presence! that we lack on our team. Higuain gives us a more clinical finisher and is better than the strikers we currently have. Same goes for Rooney.

    I guess the only question remains is that if we buy TOO many new players, will it disrupt the chemistry, balance and momentum of our squad? Also, how will AW be able to manage the playing time between players who want to play every game?

  23. ProudGooner says:

    I think most of you now know that i would prefer Nigeria i mean Kenyon Victor Wayama. However Fellaini is a very interesting target, also the fact that he has [played with Arteta at EFC so they will instantly click.
    What happened to the French proper DM Beast we were linked to, the guy that seemed to ruined his chance due to his behavier, prehaps a year or 2 more muturing may have been all he needed. He was meant to be the real deal. What was his name.???
    The point is there is other options still, in Wenger i trust! Buy VICTOR lol

  24. Highbury Harmony says:

    mbuchu, the thought of having Fellaini as another aerial threat is tantalizing. It makes OG being left out of the starting line-up easier to digest, especially once we sign Higuain! Fellaini’s aerial presence and presence in general should give the opposition match-up fits and free up even more space for either himself if they focus on shutting on Santi, Theo and Higuain or more space for those three!

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    The idea would be that both Jack and Fellaini can hold the fort and go forward: between them they can sort it out. Where we have to disagree is that I see Fellaini as a better version of Arteta and he would allow Jack to be the best b2b in the country. Yet, Jack can swap with Fellaini at times during the game to offer variety.

  26. Highbury Harmony says:

    Proud G, I think the player you are referring to is Yann M’Vila and I’m no longer interested in him as a target. The reported behavioural issues continue to plague him and I’m pretty sure he’s only been ok since joining Rubin Kazan.

    I’d prefer to invest in one of Wanyama or Capoue if Fellaini is off the cards. Both those players also have presence!, but are also dedicated, proper DMs to boot!

  27. Fred says:

    True I see what you are saying, and to be honest I would be very happy with either of them, and Fellaini’s versetillity is one of his key selling points for me. But also that could be our un-doing. As many have mentioned if he does become a super-signing and does get injured then I am not too confident we have the strength in depth to deal with his injury.

    As I and many others have said a fully fit Diaby would solve the problem although that appears to happen about as often as Pigs flying – such a shame really as he is a very talented player. He would almost definately help us challenge more in the EPL and should do in the Champions League but is unproven at this level, but we’ll never know unless we try.

    Regarding the fact that he was played upfront out of neccessity I think that Everton accidentally found his best position. He is a huge presence anywhere on the pitch but especially up front. If we signed him I would like us to also sign a more conventional DM maybe not a marquee signing but just someone who can get the job done, and for me that would be Diame, at 3.5m he wouldn’t be the biggest signing but if we were to go for Fellaini I would like to see a proper DM signed just to add that little bit of extra strength in depth and allow us to fully make use of Fellaini’s versatillity just incase injuries happen to anyone of our midfielders.

  28. marcus says:

    I do agree with you and have said that we need a pure blooded DM. I’d even settle for someone who’s technique and vision may not be fantastic but can defend and shield the back 4 properly. A Makelele, Mascherano sort of player. A player who would shoulder the defensive duties in midfield entirely. Preferably a physical one.

    One thing I’ve noticed with DM’s is that once they get a taste of going forward and realize they are good at it, they begin to crave that role. In Song’s last season for us he did a pathetic job of shielding the back 4, always bombing forward. His surging runs forward and reluctance to track back accounted for a large chunk of goals we conceded that season. I’m afraid it could be the same with Fellaini..

  29. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, Fellaini is not Arteta imo. Not as many interceptions and not as patient in the defensive end of the pitch. He’s more Etienne Capoue in that he’s an aggressive pitbull who hounds the opposition until he wins the ball back.


    Fantastic piece of writing Harmonious

    I read your piece with interest because i have often wondered were Fellanis best position is. I have come to very similar conclusions to your self in that i believe he can play any of those roles to.

    However i have nagging doubts. In the last couple of seasons i have been to Arsenal Everton at the Grove and have ended up on both occasions leaving the match feeling that Fellani was man of the match

    So why the doubts. First of all when you watch Fellani live, the guy dosnt run, he jogs. Secondly he slows the play down, and thirdly once hes beaten for pace, hes like a duck without water.

    Yet everytime i watch him, if the ball is any were near him it dosnt who the opposing player is Fellani will beat him. He will either win the ball back or if he has it, then twist them inside out. When balls are knocked up to him, he wins the duels at an incredible ratio.

    Very very strange player, but if we have an option to take him, i would do it without hesitating.

  31. Highbury Harmony says:

    Fred, we definitely should not counting on Diaby to be healthy. If he were, the DM position would be more or less an afterthought at this point.

    Fellaini’s versatility is key, but we also must remember that by purchasing Fellaini, we are weakening a competitor and also gaining a step on those ahead of us – Utd, City and Chelsea all do not have physical players like Fellaini, though Ramires is somewhat close. Hopefully, he would be able to stay healthy, but we can never depend on that no matter who we are buying. Fortunately, we have players like Ramsey, Arteta, Coquelin, Jack and maybe Yennaris and Frimpong for additional cover if Fellaini did go down.

    Nothing wrong with signing Diame, so long as he understands his role as an occasional starter and more of a depth signing (unless he forces his way into the starting line-up). That would give us further versatility and Fellaini could be deployed as a SS too then.

  32. Highbury Harmony says:


    All agreed and excellent observations! Perhaps that is the Arsenal curse in that AW breeds players to become complete players, opposed to one-dimensional ones. Often, defensive play comes as a sacrifice for total football unfortunately. However, hopefully we can instil a better collective team defending mentality and thus the need and desire for a dedicated, DM becomes less of a priority?

  33. ProudGooner says:

    Thanks TA, that was the name M’villa. Oh seems that will not happen then Wenger likes a professional camp. Luckly i always trst Wenger for signing he right guy, but i just cant wait for it to happen and the season to start. Fixture list in the morning will get us all wanting it to start even faster lol

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for giving me the credit, Proud, but it was HH who remembered it was MVilla! 😛

  35. Fred says:

    HH, totally agree with you, only reason I named Diame is because I know he would be a cheap and chearful signing, with his sole purpose to provide us with more strength in depth, and as he has always only ever been a DM it gives us a couple more options and makes us a little less predictable. Another good signing could be Camacho from Malaga, a very gifted DM in my opinion although unproven in the EPL. Also Malaga are reportadly after Bendtner, maybe offer them Bendtner + a little bit of cash for Camacho?

    The key reason I am dropping these names is because I think that if we do sign Fellaini in order to make the most of the players we have available we need to rotate, his primary role if we did sign him would be as a DM. But also to add a bit more variety we need a back up plan and for that we need someone who can just shield the back four and then we could move Fellaini further up the pitch.

  36. Highbury Harmony says:

    Terry :),

    Feels like an eternity since we last chatted! Cheers for the kind words!

    I definitely understand your perspective on Fellaini and it is a good one. There are times where he simply looks like a passenger, but then he comes to life with rage filled tackles or runs at the opposition that make you forget about his laissez-faire attitude for the 10 mins prior.

    When he makes a mistake, he makes it his personal responsibility to regain possession of the ball and this is where he often becomes undisciplined and picks up yellows. This natural aggression and the speed he picks up once he gains some momentum is scary and players take notice. I think his reputation alone makes it easier for him to win 50-50 balls and possession back because other players are inherently scared of him. That benefit of the doubt is extremely useful and something we’ve been lacking for quite some time (since Vieira and Gilberto imo).

  37. marcus says:

    Well that’s another way to go but in my view it would be re inventing the wheel. Arsenal at their best are one of the worst if not the worst pressers, when off the ball, in the league. Even bottom teams like Reading press the opposition better than we do. It would take a lot of time, training and re education of the players to achieve this so I feel getting a DM would be the easier solution.

  38. Highbury Harmony says:


    Camacho would be a great depth signing who could eventually vie for the starting DM role. Signing CM depth never hurt a team and the more options and variety you have, the more insurance you give yourself when injuries inevitably occur. With as many competitions Arsenal are in, it’s crucial to have depth to compete on all fronts.

    However, the problem is that AW has never been one to properly rotate his players and ensure equal playing time so that players can stay on form. Whether this be a fault of his own or out of necessity remains to be seen, but too many good players may cause more harm than good from squad unrest and poor morale over playing time.

  39. ProudGooner says:

    lol your welcome TA , you know me i only just found out Victor Wayama plays for Ivory Coast 😉

  40. Highbury Harmony says:

    Fair enough Marcus, perhaps it is a dream of mine that we can defend as a whole unit like Bayern does :). A proper DM would be the easiest and quickest solution for sure.

  41. Highbury Harmony says:

    PG, I saw the winky face there, but I’m still not sure you know what country Wanyama plays for after your comments yesterday hahaha!

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    Phillip J, the 4-3-2-1? Interesting, never considered that. Would the 2 be wingers or two CAM like Jack and Santi? If the latter, what would happen to the width in our attack? Are the three in front of the 4 all DM?

  43. Fred says:

    True, if we were to say go for Camacho and Fellaini, I would see Camacho as a more defenside and long term replacement for Arteta, his passing success rate is pretty good and considering his age and working under Wenger that would only imrpove. Those two signings would improve our Midfield both in the short term and in the long term. True Wenger has never been one to rotate effectively but hopefully he will have realised the neccessity of doing this after our failure to challenge for trophies over the last couple of years.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha ProudG 😀

    Wanyama would also be a great signing!

  45. marcus says:

    Playing like that would mean getting everyone in the team to play like Wilshere. Can you imagine what it would take? That said though, it’s not impossible. 2 seasons ago, we beat Man city 1-0 at the emirates with Arteta scoring the winner, remember? In that game Arsenal were perfect in terms of pressing. And it was through the whole 90 mins. I’ve never seen us play like that (of course since the invincibles era) since that game. It shows that we can do it, Wenger just needs to employ a hard ass approach. Any laziness when off the ball and you’re benched.

  46. marcus says:

    HH and PG,
    Wanyama is my fellow Kenyan and friend.

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    Fred, I’m sure we all hope AW will rotate better with more depth and better players, but is it our hope that he has learned from past mistakes or what will actually happen ;)?

    I agree that Camacho could be Arteta’s eventual replacement, but it seems Ramsey may even be groomed for that role. I’ve never been Ramsey’s biggest fan but he’s superb for what he is and is disciplined defensively if asked to be. The passing completion % is yet another reason why I would try and stay away from starting both Fellaini and Wilshere in the DM pivot.

  48. Highbury Harmony says:

    Marcus, playing like that more or less calls for every player on the pitch, save our ST, to attack and come back to defend and press the opposition like a B2B mid. There were moments in games last season where we were brilliant and played this exact type of football, but it was not consistent throughout an entire game and definitely not consistent game to game.

    I would love to see us get back to this type of football, opposed to the passive and at times boring approach we have resorted to and it would guarantee more frequent rotation. Players become extremely fatigued from such a high tempo style, but that is what a summer of additions should give us: options in depth to rotate!

  49. AFC says:

    Guys, this is one way to stop everyone fighting about wether Fellaini should play DM, box to box midfielder, AM or SS. Play a standard 4-3-3 formation with no DM(s), box to box midfielder or AM(s) but three CMs who take turns in attacking and creating and defending and tackling. Any three of Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby, Fellaini and even Cazorla would work. 🙂 😀 😉

    HH, I’ll be back later to fully comment on your fantastic post. 🙂

  50. AFC says:

    * whether

  51. Phillip Johnson says:

    HI HH,

    I think the 4321 (as used by England in Euro 96 by Terry Venables) would give either SC or TW (or who-ever) the space or freedom to cut in or outside the oppression fullbacks, or if the confidence returns with the back four, a diamond is used which gives you fluid 4321 to a 4141

    Or am I barking mad and optimistic?

  52. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, that is the gold standard to play a 4-3-3 with 3 CM’s in no defined roles all interchanging between attack and defense, but will their understanding between each other be good enough to have enough men committed at both ends? Will Fellaini, Ramsey or Arteta be as good creators as Jack, Diaby and Santi? Will Santi, Jack and Diaby be as good defensively as Fellaini, Arteta or Ramsey? What is the perfect balance between those 6 midfielders?

  53. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Phillip J,

    Not barking mad or too optimistic at all! I’m just trying to figure out how it would work and if it would be successful in this day and age where the game has evolved :).

    Definitely an interesting proposition, I’m just unsure if we become too compartmentalized in our strategy or too narrow in our attack. If we go with the diamond, that sort of leaves us thin at the back or isolated up top, unless of course we buy into a collective team defending mentality.

  54. TotalArsenal says:


    I am convinced Wenger would play Jack and Fellaini in the double DM pivot as his preferred, first choice option next season, if the Belgian joins us indeed. I respect your views but to me this would be the right thing to do and totally mouth-watering. 🙂

  55. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, Jack is my favourite Arsenal player and together with Fellaini is a tantalizing, attacking prospect. I just have reservations about their combined ability and patience defensively and how much their emotions will get the better of them in general. I’m not saying both can’t play together on the pitch at the same time, but I think there’s a need to balance out the exuberance of both players.

    Also, I don’t feel we’d be taking full advantage of Fellaini’s abilities if he were to become more defensive to allow more freedom to Jack. If we unleash the reigns on both, it will become a disaster for our back four and defending in general. We are not a team that knows how to press and we leave ourselves open to be countered when only a couple players press and the rest are stationary.

  56. Highbury Harmony says:

    Unless of course, you are predicating your thought of playing those two on the notion that the best defense is a good offence ;). Then, they could dominate possession and force other teams to defend more than they can to defend, in which case it could work :).

  57. Highbury Harmony says:

    defend more than they can attack*

  58. Glic says:

    Thanks for a cracker of a post HH !. Forgive our host, he actually means he wants some mouth watering fellatio in any position, especially the bent over double pivot !. hahaha
    I`d rather Arsene was at the U21 Euros watching Thiago ( why didn`t we insist he was part of the Cesc deal ? ), Isco and Muniain !. I`m telling you, the bastardildo will be sucking my scrotum if he doesn`t do as I say !.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Fair points of view, HH.

    I would ask Fellaini to sit in front of the defence and hoover all the balls up, win tackles and aerial battles and pass towards his team mates as much as possible, and then sometimes allow him to burst forward when nobody expects it. I think that would suit him and us fine. Yes it would curb his attacking ability to a large extent, but we have plenty of players who offer that.

    If we were to sign him for the nr.10/AM position, I would be slightly disappointed as I would much prefer Jovetic (or Cesc or Rooney of course).

  60. AFC says:

    HH, playing with 3 CMs would be very useful if we was playing Diaby, Fellaini and lets say Arteta because all of these players are effective at attacking and defending. Ramsey would fit into the system quite well if he was brought on to help close out games. Wilshere may struggle to fit into the system and Cazorla would not be able to defend so I would use Diaby, Fellaini, Arteta and Ramsey in such a system.

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Before I hit the pillow, just wanted to say thanks for a great post that generated a lot of excellent comments, HH. And the night is still young! 🙂

    And well done to BK’s Aussie Gooners for qualifying for the World Cup in Brasil. 🙂

  62. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahahaha Glic, not sure how you maintain your form on such a consistent basis. Get AW to sign you up! Also, thanks for the praise as always ;).

    Funny that you mention that, but AW was rumoured to have asked for Thiago in return for Cesc as a makeweight years ago but Barca dismissed that notion immediately. He was considered an untouchable and the long-term replacement for Iniesta when he would eventually retire.

    Isco is likely out of our reach by now as AW will not compete on wages with either Real or City and both clubs may be seen as “bigger” in this point in time. I say that temporarily because Isco is supposed to decide on his future by the end of this week and as of now, we have no confirmed signings to prove that we can compete with them otherwise (we will eventually though).

    As for Muniain, well let’s just keep our fingers crossed that AW makes a move on him (oops meant for him) eventually!

  63. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I don’t think Fellaini would be signed for the nr.10/SS position but as a DM. My point of contention is only starting Jack next to him as I believe Fellaini has great endurance and is at his best when running up and down the pitch, opposed to as a dedicated DM.

    The idea of him playing as a SS is simply a plan B and to show how much versatility he would bring to our current squad, and still be effective no matter where he plays.

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    Interesting AFC, it’s too bad Diaby is always injured or else you may have been on to something. Jack is decent enough at defending that he would definitely be able to fit into that system since it is contingent on the other two midfielders (or at least one) dropping back and defending when the other(s) attack(s).

    You are right that Santi would not fit in, since he is more of an attacking maestro, with some defensive ability. He’s quite adept at stripping opponents of the ball, but is not good when required to run up and down the pitch. He would have to play in the wing in your proposed set-up.

  65. AFC says:

    HH, onto Fellaini.

    I think Cesc and Rooney are not coming so I would buy Fellaini as a general midfield player and then sell Coq and Frimpong to fund the transfer for a DM like Wanyama which would allow Fellaini to be used all over the midfield. That then gives us a midfield of Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Wanyama, Fellaini and the injured Diaby. Ramsey learns the trade from Arteta and the Ox learns the trade from Cazorla and Rosicky. In a few years, Arteta becomes our Scholes and Rosicky becomes our Giggs in the future only making cameo appearences but are the experienced pros, leaving us with a midfield of Ramsey, Wilshere, Fellaini, Wanyama, the Ox and Diaby if he is still up for it.

  66. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC :), cheers for the compliments earlier mate!

    I agree that I can’t see both Cesc and Rooney joining this club. I think Fellaini’s position will not be set in stone if he comes and will be a utility starting player capable of impacting the game anywhere he plays, but starting most at DM.

    However, I can’t foresee Arsene buying another DM on top of Fellaini (if he buys Fellaini). I say this because he has a lot of faith in all of Arteta, Ramsey and Jack’s abilities and will be sure to at least start 1 of them, if not 2. Also, the only way I would sell Coq is if he requests a move away. He still has a lot of potential and could even end up becoming that DM player we are all thirsting for. Hopefully he recognizes his place in the team as a depth one who needs to prove he is capable of displacing others in the starting line-up; until then, he’ll only start in cup matches. There won’t be enough playing time to pass around between Fellaini, Wanyama, Ramsey, Arteta, Jack, Rosicky and the injured Diaby imo.

  67. AFC says:

    HH, I suggested that system because we play total football which is all about players interchanging roles and players attacking and defending. It would also make our midfield unpredictable. Having to defend against a different attacking player (for every different attacking move), running at you and looking to create or having to try and get past a different midfielder who happens to be defending at that period of time.

  68. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, the issue isn’t about the strategy but on the execution. When you think hard about it, do we actually play “total football”?

    By definition, total football is exactly as you described: one player moving out of position and another taking that player’s place, in order to retain the intended organizational structure. This creates a fluid, interchangeable system where any player can play any role.

    However, when was the last time we actually played like that? If anything, we’ve shifted to a more passive, possession based approach where players’ roles have become clearly defined, but with the freedom to join the attack. I don’t see any interchanging between players, aside from some occasional link-up play on the left and I definitely rarely see a shifting of fluid parts in attack and defense.

  69. Highbury Harmony says:

    The only aspect of total football that I still see adopted in this team is in the philosophy of player positions. AW chooses to play players out of position in order to get them to better understand different roles and to improve on their weaknesses at positions they may be unfamiliar with.

  70. AFC says:

    HH, we might have to have patience with Coq. I just feel he is getting older and not really progressing. I could be wrong.

    Excluding Diaby, we would have 6 MFs. That’s two quality players for each of the three MF places. 6 MFs is just like having 2 LBs, 4 CBs etc. But you are right, I do not see Wenger buying Fellaini and a DM.

  71. AFC says:

    HH, you are right there. We no longer play free flowing, total football but organised football. I feel Wenger will want to play total football again next season. Maybe he is preparing the players in the current squad for total football next season by playing some of them out of position.

  72. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, agreed. I think your idea of total football and mine (fluid, collective team attacking and defending) are mere pipe dreams at this point in time. As marcus pointed out, it’s extremely difficult to alter your entire team identity and change the system back to what it was before, especially when it was not producing consistent results.

    However, I would largely blame the quality of players in place, which did not allow us to play total football, not because of a shift away from that philosophy. So, I guess it is possible to start playing total football again, but it will definitely be a challenge since we will largely be relying on new players to give us the quality needed to fully commit to it, as well as having a good enough understanding between current players as to when to interchange positions or attack/defend mentalities.

  73. blink says:

    I think he would be a very good signing for us.
    Not been any speculation yet however i wouldnt be surprised if moyes thought about taking him to Man U.

  74. AFC says:

    HH, Wenger was right to abandon total football when he realised it was not working. If we had sticked to total football we might not have finished 4th. Maybe Roberto Martinez failed to understand this. Wigan played attractive football and got relegated. I often hear people say that Stoke are boring and need to play like Wigan because they are sick of watching the ball being booted up the pitch and I disagree with them entirely. Now that makes no sense. If I was a Stoke fan I would rather Stoke play unattractive football and stayed in the league than play attractive football and get relegated. A team should focus first on winning/avoiding relegation/winning trophies before they focus on how they play there football.

  75. AFC says:

    * their football.

  76. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, perhaps you have misunderstood me. I am not saying AW was wrong in abandoning total football these past few years, but am trying to find reasons to explain why he abandoned it. Was it the quality of the players at his disposal? Was it a realization that the modern game had evolved and that teams had figured out how to beat total football?

  77. AFC says:

    HH, I know you was not saying AW was wrong in abandoning total football these past few years. That statement was for the many fans who feel Wenger was wrong to abandon total football.

    The Stoke and Wigan piece was for you though. 🙂

  78. AFC says:

    HH, I feel it was due to a combination of the two reasons you stated in your previous comment and our position in the league. Wenger’s tactics including total football have been figured out meaning opposing teams now know how to deal with us. Has Wenger moved away from total football entirely and is changing his tactics for the future? That could be true. The quality of players we now have are not as good as the players we have had and the fact that almost 50% of our first eleven have just joined the club and do not know how to play in our system could have also contributed to Wenger moving away from total football.

  79. Highbury Harmony says:

    Very good points AFC and I completely agree. The hope is for us to move back to total football if the right players are bought this season AND if it proves to be successful and consistent early on. Otherwise, we are better off sticking with what works, but hopefully that does not come at the total expense of our attack in having to commit two midfielders to purely defensive roles.

  80. davydavy says:

    I agree and disagree. Looking at the way Spain is bossing the u21 and confeds tournaments sends a pretty clear signal that a total football approach is still relevant, with only a small number of player upgrades required at the Arsenal.

    Perhaps in midfield we should be looking at the Spanish players like Thiago and Isco, even though they may cost a bit. In my view possession football based on close control of the ball has made the concept of the defensive midfielder redundant, as possession itself is the defence. That;’s why Javi Martinez, who for me is the best DM in the game, hardly gets a game for Spain’s first XI.

    So rather than Fellaini how about one (or both) of the two Spanish lads?

  81. Highbury Harmony says:

    Davyd, good points mate :). The problem lies in whether or not our current players can also play total football. You can bring in a host of new players in order to achieve that objective but you are more or less making everyone we already have redundant (unless they can play that style.

    Our current style of play is not total football, rather possession football without any directness or true purpose. We keep possession for the sake of keeping it and nothing else.

    I’m glad you brought up Spain’s defensive mids though. Javi Martinez is 100% off the cards as he is a permanent fixture in Bayern’s starting 11 and will become even more important with Pep taking over. Once you go to Bayern, you don’t go to a smaller club in Arsenal unless they no longer want you anymore.

    However, AW has been following Spainish U-21 DM Asier Illarramendi. He would be a cheaper alternative at £10 million and his qualities suggest he could be the eventual successor to Arteta, but with more pace and creativity/dribbling.

  82. Jojo says:

    What happened to wilshere is he leaving arsenal or something?

  83. sammy says:

    i can see it now arsenal vs barcelona cl … neymar and messi having a field day against the lighting quick fellaini….please no…hes not for our team manure maybe… fellaini giroud…what are we stoke?….all he brings to our team is height and strength…you can get those qualities in players who offer a hell of a lot more e.g. capoue who has a passing range above 5 yards…witsel who is a far superior player…quick actually fits with our game with the physical benefits fellaini brings plus speed, creativity and hes a gunner…1 more thing arteta fellaini would be horrible…fellaini is slow unable to press like ramsey or even match his passing…hes a second striker and would not play there for us as we are not a long ball team.

  84. jgc says:

    HH, AFC, TA et al,

    Final exams and such here, hecticity is maximised… Anyway, a few quick thoughts repeating what you all know about me anyway, to comment on this post and see if anyone had wondered if I died… 🙂

    a. Flexibility = Choices –> different looks and “more total” football

    b. Flexibility = Choices –> we can cope with injuries or loss of form without panic or wondering whether the “new” pairings will work well. IMO, Ramsey coming on so well at the end of last year was the best possible outcome from a change (not for injury but loss of form)

    I think Fellaini offers these things and would work well in either spot with a range of combinations around him. We could also rest him without risk with the players we have. Same for Jack, Arteta, Cazorla etc.. Otherwise, we, I think, risk our st totteringhams day events…

    Just my 2p, now back to the madness!

    cheers — jgc

  85. Highbury Harmony says:

    Jgc, thank you for stopping by to comment! We’re always wondering where various BK regulars are, but being the summer, assume that interest may fluctuate during silly season ;).

    All agreed that Fellaini represents flexibility to our line-up that we don’t currently have. I’m not sure if he’d 100% fit into the Arsenal mould, but he certainly has an element to his game that we lack – aerial ability in central midfield and presence and spine in general.

    Best of luck on your exams!

  86. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Sorry I don’t have enough time to read all the comment..
    Maybe my comment had already said by others.. hehehe..

    For me Fellaini will never replace Arteta rule.. he is a ADM (Attacking DM).. hahaha..
    He can only take Ramsey place.. or Diaby.. but not Arteta..
    But this kind of players.. ADM.. is what Wenger really need.. remembered Song..??
    And Felliani will be so much fit with Arteta.. as they already did before at Everton..

    I think the most important thing is to find someone who could replace/subs Arteta..
    and I think that man will be Strootman.. or Gundogan or Lars Bender..
    But Leverkusen had already lost their star.. Schurrle to Chelsea.. I don’t think they will sell Bender too.. cause they need him to compete in Champion league..
    Gundogan was already renew his contract with Dortmund.. cmiiw..
    So Strootman is the avaliable ones.. and he is eager to play in EPL..
    So..Let get him.. Believe me.. He will be our best buy.. hehehe..

  87. henrychan says:

    HH.. nice post bro..
    Your first formation is better.. Felliani to replace Ramsey.. Ramsey as a subs..
    but i think it will be even better if Higuan/Giruoud as CF and Walcott as RW.. Ox to subs Podolski.. and Willshere to subs Cazorla.. hehehe.. and Miyaichi or Gervinho to subs Walcott..

    Your second formation won’t happen.. better to put Podolski as a SS than Felliani..
    Still Fellaini to replace Ramsey.. hehehe..

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Good luck with your exams, jgc.

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    21 posts on BK, HH!! You have come of age now! 🙂

  90. NW says:

    Felliani’s type of player is just what the team needs. If the team has to choose between Felliani or a striker (eg. Higuain), I would prefer Felliani.

    The reason is simple, Poldi, Carzola, Giroud has just spend their first year in the team and sure to improve. So does Walcott who has been growing steadily. The attack is really not that bad.

    On the defensive side, the ability of the players have already been max. out since most of them are settled into the team and we can still point to weakness such as Sanga (RB in general) and the reserve DM.

    Felliani is good at defending and controlling the midfield so he can improve the team when they go foward and fall back.

    Yes Arteta is doing a very descent job covering the back and Ramsey seems to rediscover a proper role but both of them have weaknesses. Arteta is aging, his service time is limited and he needs someone as a reserve.

    Ramsey, he is still developing and we are not sure if he can replace Arteta. AND HE HAD bad injuries so he could suffer a bad one and take a long time to recover.

    Another thing is Roisky is also aging and the team still need one more player to have 6 qualtiy players for 3 positions (Carzola, Roisky, Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey). Ox is not there yet so I am counting him out and let him sit on the right front.

    You can see that I have given up on Diaby as most who make sense would. He can always plays as a reserve. The team needs plenty of players if they wanna challenge more than one trophy.

    At the front, the team currently has Giroud, Walcott, Poldi, Ox, Gervinho and Santi works half time there. It would be very nice if they get Hiugain. That way, they have two very descent team in place.

    If Wenger still thinks he need some funding, just sell off or loan Gervinho. Even selling him and use the money to buy a young talent make more sense. I do not hate him but since he does not fit into the group game, its better to let him go and find someone who can.

    My priority (and fund that I am prepared to pay this summer) is

    1) Felliani 20-25M
    2) Hiugain 20-28M
    3) keeper 10-15M
    4) RB (sagna and replacement issue)10M
    5) sell Gervinho(8-12M) and get a young striker (5-15M)
    6) CB (as two of our CB might be seeked by other team) (10M)
    7) creative midfield yound talent (10M)

    Funding needed 80M – 105M

    If I am the manager, I will use that priority until my fund is used up. Honestly, I expect only to see 4 signings and with transfer spending around 60M to 80M. If they make the purse tight, thy might only spend 40M.

  91. Jeremy says:

    IMO..If AW is to buy a DM-a beast-,he should ensure that Arsenal stop using two players Arteta and Ramsey to perform a similar job which one single beast DM can perform.The beast DM should shield the back 4,mop up the play and make the crucial interceptions and tackles in our own half on his OWN,this in turn will ensure the guys in mid will surge foward and provide more attacking.Having said all that i don’t think Fellaini can deliver all this,i’d prefer him at an advanced role,probably as a false 9.Also when I watch Capoue,I see Veira-esque in him,he’d be great at DM,but then there’s a question…what happens to Arteta,(one of our most clinical and consistent players this season)when we sign a DM.

  92. jgc says:

    Hi HH, TA

    Short break, but fortunately it’s been long enough that I GIVE exams now rather than receive. 🙂

    That said, it’s “grants season” which is our form of TW in academia where we submit our best proposals and hope someone finds them attractive enough to give us money. Its not too different than blogging about this TW.

    The agency/funder has X to give and we think that what they need most is (fill in blank with something they do well), thus we propose a WQ ____ for €XXX over YYY years and promise to deliver top quality award (no trophy but..) winning results that will change your world and how you feel about it. In the end, the funder does some things expected and several that can only be explained with serious gymnastics moves, and the research season comments anyway…

    Sound familiar? 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  93. marcus says:

    Have you had a look at our fixture list? its a pretty favorable one. With proper top quality signings and focus we have a very real chance of getting 30 points from our first 10 games. 27 at the very least. We also have a good run in at the end so I’m really hoping Wenger doesn’t let us down. Next seasons there won’t be any excuses as the fixture list is on our side and we have money to spend.

  94. henrychan says:

    Glic.. thanks for the info..
    Usually we had a bad month on January.. but with the new schedules.. I think March will be the hardest month.. Stoke (A), Swansea (H), Spurs (A), Chelsea (A) and City (H)..
    And we also start the game with draw in the last three season.. cmiiw.. I hope this season we can beat Villa (H) and continue winning until November we meet Liverpool and MU.. hehehe..

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc – that was me thinking you were doing exams! Thanks for explaining you’re holding them, not doing them.

    The funding process sounds stressful but exciting at the same time. I have done a lot of commercial bidding for very large franchises and concessions and nothing beats becoming the preferred bidder / winning contracts. Good luck! 🙂

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the fixture list link, Glic. I will do a post tonight about it, so won’t say much for now.

  97. TotalArsenal says:


    I just saw your email and I have responded. 🙂

  98. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys,

    A very interesting Post, HH, which has received a very good response, but its premise is not one that I can agree with in a number of areas. 🙂

    First, I am worried about repeating myself, but Fellaini, according to some Everton supporters, has only had one good season, and I am not sure he will repeat that, or that we need him at Arsenal.

    For the sake of argument, if we did buy him, it would have to be to replace the ageing Arteta who is not a genuine DM even tho he has done very well in that position, or else Rambo who was getting better and better last year, and whom I expect to continue to improve.
    The Ox will also feature far more next season, and Jack Wilshere is simply not in the ‘who will play’ equation. He is a gifted all round midfielder and our future captain, and he will play whenever he is fit.

    Basically I am not convinced we need Fellaini, or that he is a big improvement over our existing squad, other than his height. and sharp elbows. 🙂

    As regards the team formation; the CF position is clearly under review, with a new player almost certainly coming in, as well as the already ‘acquired’ Yaya Sunogo, as well as the possible inclusion in the squad of Joel Campbell and Myaichi, and in addition, many believe the Pod will leave.

    Whatever the case, we will never play Theo as a lone CF, leaving aside my own bias, many respected pundits just do not believe he has the necessary skill sets.

    Do not misunderstand the tone of my response, it is just the expression of an alternative opinion, and possibly is cobblers (a nice British word) 🙂 and does not detract from my admiration of your well written Post. 😀

  99. Red Arse says:

    Glic @ 9:22,

    Thank you for that my man, I will definitely look out for the safety of my penis — so nice you care!! 🙂

  100. marcus says:

    Red Arse,
    i’m actually convinced that if any of our front men will leave it will be Gervinho..

  101. Red Arse says:

    Hi marcus,

    I had forgotten about the Gerv possibly going to Italy. Thank you.

    That might explain Arsenal being linked to various players like Nani and Payet and Uncle Tom Cobley on the wing — Myaichi for me!

  102. AFC says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    If you look at our current midfield options then for me Arteta starts over Wilshere. I do not see Wenger replacing Arteta from the starting line-up. Arteta is our vice-captain, deep lying playmaker and our leader (in midfield and in the whole team) but I do see him being rotated with Ramsey which cannot be bad for both players. Arteta gets a rest when needed and Ramsey can continue in his development as a DM/CM. Wilshere will be coming back from various injuries and operations and has not really found a position which is best for him. This of course could be down to Wenger of course.

  103. AFC says:

    Regarding Fellaini, he is a gamble but which teams are not taking a gamble. For example City spending 30 million on Fernandinho, a 28 year old does not even feature for Brazil. Not saying we should do that, of course but Fellaini would be playing for a better team than Everton with better players, would know Arteta very well and could form a really good partnership, is bound to improve under Wenger and is still relatively quite young and is about to enter his prime, has EPL experience and is very versatile- Fellaini can play as a DM, CM, box to box midfielder, AM and SS meanwhile offering PRESENCE which we are lacking in our midfield options currently.

    I think 20-24 million for a player like this would be money well spent considering inflation in the price of how much players cost in football nowadays.

  104. AFC says:

    * who does

  105. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    Definitely agreed that I’d prefer a dedicated DM beast opposed to Fellaini. Committing two starters to compensate for one void seriously hinders our offense. However, I’m not convinced Capoue has the skills to play Arsenal football either as his passing completion % is nothing to write home about and he’s not the most skilled player on the ball either.

  106. Highbury Harmony says:

    Henry, thanks for the kind words mate :).

    I agree with you that Fellaini is not a proper DM, but more of a hybrid DM with B2B/attacking intent. However, we saw Song and Arteta work very well in an interchanging offense/defense tandem so it’s possible that Fellaini could thrive in the same role as Song.

    Strootman is a very interesting prospect especially with his confirmed interest in the PL. Not sure what’s going to happen with transfers at this point, but I do hope something happens soon!

  107. Red Arse says:


    As is often the case with these subjective opinions, problems occur immediately when there is no agreement as to what type of player is the subject.

    To you, Arteta is a deep lying ‘playmaker’; to me he is our DM, and our respective opinions are dictated by those assessments, and will never meet.

    Similarly, Rambo to me is primarily a DM too, tho often played out of position.

    I am absolutely sure that when Jack fully gets over his lingering injuries, you will see the ‘real’ play making Jack, that I have watched since he was 13 y.o., and he and Cazzor will rule the roost, playing together.

    Opinions — that’s all! 🙂

  108. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers RA, glad to see you on BK more often :).

    Despite what the article may lead you to believe, I am not 100% on board with bringing Fellaini to this team. I would much prefer Wanyama, Gundogan, one of the Benders etc. to come before him, but the article was simply used as a point of discussion in a series of articles to examine how certain transfer targets would fit into our squad.

    Thus, I am inclined to agree with all your points!

  109. Red Arse says:


    Nothing can/will happen, officially, until the TW opens on the 1st July, after which we should know more, especially when other managers and their players are back from their holidays.

    So, in the meantime we all have to be patient, and ignore the rubbish spewed out by the media and the blogs.

  110. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA, I disagree mate. Nothing can officially happen in terms of players being formally added to teams, but clubs can officially announce signings on their websites. Waiting until July 1st to begin/officially announce transfer movement would be an excuse by Arsenal to delay transfer activity because, as usual, they are likely haggling over £1-2 million.

  111. AFC says:

    HH, when playing a deep lying playmaker you are supposed to play a box to box midfielder next to him i.e. Song, Diaby, Fellaini as opposed to a DM. The only time you play a DM next to a deep lying playmaker is if the deep lying playmaker is a player who cannot defend and has had no experience in a defensive role. So if someone like Rooney is the deep lying playmaker it would make sense to play a DM next to him but if playing someone like Arteta as the deep lying playmaker it would make more sense to play a DM next to him.

  112. AFC says:

    * without the mistake.

    So if someone like Rooney is the deep lying playmaker it would make sense to play a DM next to him but if playing someone like Arteta as the deep lying playmaker it would make more sense to play a box to box midfielder next to him.

  113. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, agreed with that point mate. I just think there are more skilled B2B midfielders out there that could be had than Fellaini ;).

    Or else in theory, Jack would be the perfect complement to Arteta.

  114. Red Arse says:


    I realise your Post was a focal point to allow discussions, and it has achieved that very well.
    When I have written Posts, on many different Blogs over the years, they have been done with the same objective in mind.

    My response, as is the case with any comments I have posted is to repay good Posts with appropriate comments, hopefully to carry on the discussion (as with AFC for example) — whereas rubbish Posts, which do not happen on BK, thankfully, get no response from me.

    Keep writing — you are very good at it!! 😀

  115. AFC says:

    HH, the only thing is the box to box midfielder would have to have physical PRESENCE like Diaby to make up for Arteta’s lack of physical presence.

  116. AFC says:

    RA, why is Arteta a DM to you?

    In my opinion he has none of the physical attributes which a DM has but is played deep to dictate play much like Pirlo who is a deep lying playmaker. Your thoughts?

  117. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA, I did not take your comment as an insult/rubbish at all :). I actually did not have much to respond to because I believe what you have written about Fellaini not being a good fit with our team is true and are my concerns as well!

  118. AFC says:

    HH, if we could play the system I suggested yesterday we would have no problems in the midfield but we are missing one versatile midfielder and of course Diaby to use this system successfully.

  119. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I don’t even think Diaby has that physical presence that you are thinking of, but Fellaini does. However, Fellaini does not have the ball skills and vision that Diaby does, so combining both players would be the only remedy for a long-term B2B solution.

    For example, Arturo Vidal of Juve combines both the physical aspect (Fellaini) and the skilled aspect (Diaby) and would be the perfect complement to Fellaini. Pogba would also fit this description, as would Schweinsteiger, L.Bender, Gundogan etc.

  120. AFC says:

    HH, and that is why we should never had sold Song. Song along with Diaby would have made our midfield one of the best in the world. These players are very hard to replace.

  121. AFC says:

    HH, Diaby himself has said he is better at attacking than defending and is only comfortable holding in a ‘2’.

  122. Red Arse says:


    @ 15:32.

    It is not really an area where disagreement applies.

    No club which is part of a limited company can confirm something contractually before such a contract period is permitted.


    Well, players and their agents can say they have agreed to move to club x or y before the qualifying date, and clubs can give a nudge or a wink to that, but any such agreement can still theoretically break down, so every properly run club, bound by both the statutory Companies Act (in the UK) and the Stock Exchange cannot and will not break the rules.

    Also, most professional footballers have contracts that run until the 30th June each year, and legally they cannot enter into another contract covering the same period, even if they wanted to. However, they can, and often do, enter into a pre-contract agreement, and announce that as such, but that is not a legally binding contract.

    In addition, Arsenal are a quoted Public Limited company, as it is known in England, and cannot confirm contracts before they are legally binding (i.e. from the 1st of July), and they never have done so.

    You are not disagreeing with me. You are disagreeing with the Law. And that’s your prerogative, if you wish.

  123. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting comments today 🙂

    For me it is a big Yes to Fellaini. Midfielders who can combine physical pressence, stamina, PL experience, good ball and passing skills and ability to assist/score are rare, and I am surprised how many BK’ers do not believe that Fellaini and (fully fit) Wilshere in the Double DM pivot would be absolutely top class. It goes to show that football, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. 🙂

  124. Highbury Harmony says:


    I was more so disagreeing that signings can only be confirmed by July 1st. The deals themselves can only formally be pushed through on July 1st, but clubs are free to announce signings well before that. I was pointing out that the July 1st official opening is simply an excuse of sorts for fans to find answers in the lack of transfer activity by our club (not saying you were, just in general).


    That was confirmed on April 30, 2012, two months prior to the July 1st official TW opening.



    Navas and Fernandinho were confirmed by City’s official site well before the July 1st official TW opening as well.

  125. Red Arse says:


    If you read my comment, you will note that I said Arteta is not a true DM. He never played in that position for Everton, and physically he is not suited to that role.

    He is not big enough to be a ‘beast’, he is not quick enough to cover or tall enough to be effective against crosses or corners.

    That aside, he has been asked to play in that position by AW, and the reason is that he uses his intelligence and experience to fill the role, and we do not need him as an attacking midfielder as we have Cazzor and Jack, when he is fit — not to mention Diaby and Rosicky.

    So, the answer to your question is that he is not, in my opinion, physically suited to be a DM, but he does what he has been asked to do, and that is to play in a DM role, and not as a play maker.

    I hope that helps explain what I meant earlier. 🙂

  126. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, my comment contained more than three links and is awaiting moderation…

  127. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry, HH,

    Re Strootman. I have been watching PSV – Ajax again this afternoon to see whether Strootman is ready to come to the PL, and I was not impressed. He should continue his progress at PSV and maybe look at him again next year. Not a DM but B2B maybe.

  128. Highbury Harmony says:

    Agreed TA, I actually pointed out months earlier that Strootman’s consistency and concentration within a game is lacking, not to mention how much work he still needs defensively.

    He is just Henry’s BOING! signing hahaha!

  129. AFC says:

    RA, I know see your point about Arteta. 🙂

  130. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha HH, yes anything Dutch is BOING for Henry – he is worse than me hahaha 😛

    PSV’s Lens could be a good squad signing though.

  131. AFC says:

    * now

  132. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA,

    10,000 fans can have 10,000 different opinions, and my view is that anyone who has a different opinion to me is a wazzock! 😀 So, that’s 1 : 9,999 — excellent! 🙂

    The problem there is that you and I disagree about certain players, and if I call you a wazzock, I could be sent to the basement with Terry and the Glic!! 🙂

    [Hmm — let’s see — state my opinion and to hell with it — or be condemned to torment with the deadly duo in the basement.]
    Well, at 6’5″ and 18 stone, I can sit on those two and keep them quiet – so, my opinion, honestly given – is what it is! 😀

  133. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA,

    Respect, respect for your opinion, and all the other 9999! 😛

  134. Highbury Harmony says:

    Makes you wonder what Henry’s feelings towards you are like, TA…hahaha 😉

  135. Red Arse says:

    Totally agree, Total A!!

    I have a lot of respect for all wazzocks!! 😀

  136. AFC says:

    Guys, what are your thoughts on Axel Witsel?

    From my understanding is a CM who can also play AM.

  137. AFC says:

    * he is

    Not sure if he can play box to box.

  138. JM says:

    @ TotalArsenal June 19, 2013 16:10

    Unfortunately for us, Jeremain Jens (PSV winger/forward) shall sign for Dynamo Kiev (1st July 2013). The same goes for Dries Mertens (another PSV winger/forward) who shall sign for Napoli (1st July 2013).

  139. Glic says:

    I love seeing more of Redders ( obviously not in an Isco sort of way and anyway his name is too long to get on my todger ! ) comments and miss the Ledge when he`s recuperating ! . ( just some fancy word for having some nurses tit in his mouth, hopefully it`s not an hairy moob ! hahaha )

    Didn`t end up at St Ives today, I was on way when I got a traffic report of an over turned car causing long tailbacks, so detoured to here instead !.

  140. Glic says:

    Right , taking my puppy for a walk around the block ( 2.75 miles and for those Platini Euro Bastardildos who want it in Kilometres…….suck my award winning sour cream scrotum ! hahaha ) naked !….no, that’s not me naked, as I would be arrested for being in possession of gorgeous body too tempting for the local ladeez !. It`s my dog who will be naked as it`s a bit too hot for him to wear his Bergkamp Arsenal shirt !.

  141. TotalArsenal says:


    That is correct. Nobody of the PL came and so in the end he signed for Dynamo. He would have loved to come to the PL.

  142. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC< I don't know much about Witsel, maybe JM can help. 🙂

    Glic, nice photo but enough about the sour cream S of yours – I was just eating a yoghurt when I read that! 😈

  143. Red Arse says:

    Glicster, 😀

  144. JM says:

    @ TotalArsenal & AFC,

    It would be tough, near impossible, getting Axel Witsel.

    (1) He is at Zenit St. Petersburg and the club will not see for anything less than what they signed him on (£35.2 million).
    (2) Witsel has a big wage (similar to Hulk when both of them moved to Zenit) and a long contract till 2017.
    (3) Finally, his agency: “Mondial Sport Management & Consulting Sarl”.
    (which is also the agency for Cavani, Isco, Ramires, Raphael Varane, Llorente, Muniain, Ben Arfa, Belhanda, Ganso, Geoffrey Kondogbia etc etc) and has a big group of agents and solicitors working on players’ deals. Witsel is their 2nd most marketable player, after Cavani.
    IG and his men shall have to perform their best to get the player. (Giroud and the Ox are managed by the same agency as well)

  145. AFC says:

    JM, thanks for that.

  146. TotalArsenal says:

    That is crazy, crazy money, JM. 😕

  147. VCC says:

    Not sure if this has been posted already???? trying to download the photo. Higuain spotted at Heathrow airport this afternoon…Could it happen?????

  148. VCC says:

    Higuain to Tottenham Hotspurs or Arsenal?????????. I will be gutted if its Spurs.

  149. James Bond says:

    is that legit, VCC

    or tampered ?

  150. henrychan says:

    JM.. thanks.. that’s exactly what I want to tell TA.. Lens is already gone to Rusia.. hehe..

    TA.. HH.. I am talking about who would suit for replace Arteta.. Yes Arteta isn’t classical DM.. I don’t know what should I call on his rules.. but for me.. no Ramsey.. no Diaby.. no Wilshere.. or even Feilaini could take his jobs.. his rule is very unique.. He can’t be a single DM.. that Wanyama or Mvilla jobs.. but he is very strong and sharp in distributing the ball..
    Only a view man can play his rule.. and that view guys one is Strootman.. hehe..
    Why..?? Because Wenger play 2 DM not 1.. Will be very different if he play 4-1-2-3.. then I will choose Wanyama.. haha.. so it not because Strootman is a dutch.. hehe..

    But yes.. something just ain’t right without any dutchman in Arsenal team.. hahaha .. don’t you think so..?? Hehehe..


    hahahaha, Vics has been quiet coz hes in deep mediation willing the arrival of Higuain.

    The power of the mind is an incredible thing. There was this Bird i used to fancy who worked in the local bank. A few shops down there was a Mcdonalds and i went in there several times and mentaly focused on her coming in and sitting on my lap

    Then after several goes, the amazing happened and she walked in. Unfortunitaly she was with some bloke who i think was her boyfriend because they were holding hands.

    Incredibly, they came and sat on my table. I stared at her whilst she munched on her veggie burger, he however was a brute, munching on a double whopper chesse burger, dont know what she saw on him.

    I think they realized i was staring, and my shuffling under the table probably made them suspicious.

    At this point they looked realy worried and got up to leave, and as they hurried to the door, i looked at her and shouted “your mine baby”

    Ok, it didnt work out, but through power of the mind alone i was very close.

    So, i say we all focus and mentaly wish Higuain in an Arsenal shirt, its bound to work. hahaha

  152. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha Terry – you is mad! 😛

  153. Red Arse says:

    Higuain? Is he one of these?

    Professional footballers are very rich
    Often seen face down on the pitch
    Girlies felled with consummate ease
    By the smell of a tackle or a gentle breeze

    Manly defenders weep at the sight
    Of forwards who have mastered flight
    They scream so loud when departure is near
    Turbo lift off they glide through the air

    The referees whistle brings them back to earth
    Joyful team-mates will gather in mirth
    Upset defenders swear bitterly and bitch
    And it’s how these footballers get really really rich


  154. Glic says:

    The hot weather certainly brings out the nutters !.
    I just got back from the walk and found a Jehovah`s Witness and a Sikh at the door. I thought ……”for f**ks sake, how am I going to get rid of them ? “. I told the Sikh to go and hide for a game of…”Hide and Sikh” and I would count to one billion !. So off he went, I then punched the Jehovah`s Witness in the face without him having a Witness !, but just as I punched him in the face, a f**king Buddhist arrives and witnesses the act !. So I punches the f**king Buddhist so f**king hard, that It knocks him back into a previous life in which he is a Deaf, Dumb and Blind person (basically a Tottenham supporter !. Deaf, that he wont listen to anything about how shit his club is. Dumb, nothing good to say about them. Blind for 52 years, hasn`t seen them win a title ! ), so that sorted out the witness problem !.
    The St Johns Ambulance people who I called, then accidently on purpose run the Jehovah`s Witness over when reversing backwards and forwards ten times !.
    I`ve now had enough of the Buddhist standing like a monolith in my garden, so it`s time to go and punch back further into another life so to get the c**t of my property and the Sikh guy is doing my f**king head in by continuously asking have I finished counting yet !. F**king nutters !.

  155. AFC says:

    Guys, according to talkSPORT, Olympiacos have made a move for Rosicky.

  156. Glic says:

    The senile old git VCC has been quiet !. His missus tries to help and tells him to go on BK, but after a while she comes back and he`s just staring at the screen !. 😯
    She`s say`s…” I thought BK was your favourite ! “….VCC replies….” I`ll have French fries and a strawberry milk shake with that ! “. hahaha

  157. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA, never heard back from you about my comment at 16:04. Surely, if Poldi was announced early on arsenal.com last year before the July 1st opening, then it could and should happen again. The only difference is Arsenal are a little slower in completing their transfer business this window.

  158. Glic says:

    If Kroenke or Uzzy were that clever, they would buy….” Mondial Sport Management & Consulting Sarl ” !.

  159. VCC says:

    007. your clip is the 8th ? Today is the 19th ???. John Cross of The Mirror is convinced he is coming to Arsenal.

    Terry is right. We should all play mind games and WILL Higuain to the Emirates.

  160. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, what JB is insinuating is that it’s an old picture that was re-posted with today’s date. Likely not a real, live capture.


    I was worried Vics had been abducted Cornwall…..by Aliens.

    This happened to me once and to this day i shudder at the thought.

    One night i was down town with the lads on a pub crawl, Near the end of the night we were all plastered and i couldnt even remember my name.

    I remember needing a piss so i stumbled into some bar looking for the bogs. There was loads of big hairy men wearing leather in there and no women which i thought was a bit strange.

    Anyway, i dont remember nothing after that, but when i woke in the morning i had red marks around my neck, which resembled been gripped by super strong hands, and my arse was very sore.

    I contacted a friend who was into the occult who explained that this was classic symptoms of Alien Abduction, and that what they do is grip you in some wierd vice and probe you from behind. He gave me a number for a support group and after talking to them i was amazed to find that they could abduct you at any time

    Some bloke was taken and probed at a farm after falling over been chased by a horny goat. Another poor bastard had to admit his alien shame to his Mrs after a probe was left up him after he came back from a business trip to Berlin

    i hope Vics is alright

  162. Glic says:

    F**k Vics Stretch !, I`m still getting counselling from our last trip to the Emirates !. I have this hazy fazy memory of being in the Arsenal Tavern toilets with you and Vics. We were at the urinals when I noticed your flies unzipping on their own and an hairy alien pops it`s head out and starts to syphon the piss out of the urinal !, it`s evil one eye then looked at me and I dreaded it sucking the shit out of my arse, so I turned around to Vic`s to tell him to f**king run for his life !, when he`s zimmerframed flies opened and something that looked like an Autobot appeared and started to transform into Rodimus Prime !. Mind you, I did have 6 cans of Red Bull, so I might have been mistaken !. hahaha



  164. Simba Murerwa says:

    Fellaini would be massive for us. However how the formation might change considering the new players coning in. During the first stages of the season I see Wenger twitching his formation to accomodate the new buys although this might also change depending on results, form and whether players can play together. It is my view that Wenger sees Arteta as the most important player in his desired play so at the moment no formation would eclude him.

  165. James Bond says:

    Highbury Harmony PERMALINK
    June 19, 2013 18:41
    VCC, what JB is insinuating is that it’s an old picture that was re-posted with today’s date. Likely not a real, live capture.

    that and it’s not HEATHROW airport : )

  166. James Bond says:

    ahahahahahhaah blimey hahahahahahah @ both Terry and Glics

  167. jnyc says:

    HH. I would like to see him with us also. And a great point about passing stats different for up front vs the back.

  168. AFC says:

    Simba Murerwa, all agreed. I just do not see Wenger excluding Arteta from the starting line-up. The same can be said about Cazorla as well.

  169. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post 🙂

    A maiden joint post by Marcus and TA. 🙂

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