Forget about Higuain, Fellaini or Cesar, Wenger’s biggest decision is which direction to take

Arsene Wenger

“Alas,” said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.”

     “You only need to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.

A Little Fable by Franz Kafka

Like any other Gooner out there, I am excited about the calibre of players we are being linked with at the moment; experienced, hit the ground running, quality players, is what our squad needs right now.

After years of economising and having to let go of the fruits of his hard labour, Arsene finds himself in an incredible lightness of being right now. Ferguson gone, new managers/transitional issues at Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Liverpool, no more need to let our best players go, AND a canon full of gold coins.

In the meantime, football seems to be evolving again. Barcelona’s advanced version of total football appears to have been ‘decoded’. First there was the super-basic ‘park the bus’ approach by the Chavs, which relied mainly on a mega-dosage of luck, and then there was the physical/athletic all-over-the-pitch-we’ll-hunt-you-down-and-not-allow-you-more-than-two-passes approach by the Bavarians. And we have seen a very similar deconstruction of Spain by the rampant Brazilians, just a few days ago. The double-DM pivot with multi-skilled midfielders seems to be the way forward now.

No doubt, though, Total Football will strike back again; but it might take a while.

Ten PL games before the end last season, Wenger and Bould made a conscious decision to go back to basics: more discipline in defence, a change of leadership and making our double-DM pivot prioritise on protecting the back four first and for all.

It did not exactly work a treat, but oh boy was it effective: Arsenal secured 26 out of 30 points from their last 10 PL games, and somehow managed to finish above the Spuddies once again.

It was not Wenger-ball, but industrious, blood, sweat and tears, we WILL survive sort of football; once we were ahead in those fixtures, most of us were just clock watching, hoping we would somehow hold on and take the three points. It was all aimed at finishing in the top-four and it was a great feat, given how low the team had fallen.

Arsene and Bould now have to decide what sort of football they want to play next season, and it will be really interesting to see which direction they’ll choose, as this will determine who will become/remain key players and who will be bought this summer (and not vice versa).

No doubt in my mind that Arsene and Bould will want to return to a (new) form of attractive, attacking Wengerball, with less emphasis on being solid defensively as our first priority.

However, it is unlikely that they will be happy to jeopardize all the good work that was done on being solid at the back during last season. And with Maureen back at the Chavs, a mean defence might be even more important than a highly productive, and competition outscoring, strike-force.

It is also Arsene’s last year under contract and although the club appears very keen to give him an extension, our French maestro might have doubts whether to sign-up to it. Also, Arsene might want to see real progress now, and next season will be absolutely crucial for him.

He needs to choose the right style and formation of football that will give Arsenal the best chance of gunning for silverware. He will have to decide who of his current squad are up for it and where and how they should play. He will need to add quality players who can hit the ground running and fit quickly into the team. He will need to keep the entire squad motivated, despite increased internal competition. He will need to give this team the belief they can win silverware this season and ensure there is plenty of leadership and hunger throughout the team.

Of course, Arsene (and Bould) has already thought about all this and he will now focus on adding new players to his squad who fit with his vision/chosen style of football for next season. From who he will buy (and for which areas), we will know a bit more how we are likely to play next season, and how he will go about to make the last year of his current contract a winning one; maybe even a truly special one.

Maybe this time round, Arsene’s direction, and tactical, on-field choices will outsmart the cat. It is about time he did. 

Written by: TotalArsenal.


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93 Responses to Forget about Higuain, Fellaini or Cesar, Wenger’s biggest decision is which direction to take

  1. James Bond says:

    thanks TA, nice one

    well said and written.

    indeed, no half measures this time, make your minds up early and come up with a strategy during pre-tour on what way you want this team to play, wengerball, in between ball or steve bould way

    hopefully with the right players and a decent pre-tour, everything will takecare of itself…

    i’m looking forward to the Arsenal vs Man City game…for me that will be an indicator on how AW is going to be setting up the team , tactics, formations e.t.c

  2. DanG says:

    Wenger’s total football philosophy is dream that he mastered a decade ago with his super talented squad of technicians. His philosophy never changed, but the calibre of talent did. It made him look bad. But 3 great signings will reignite the magic, I am convinced.
    1. A master finisher (Higuain?) to complete the craft of assists by Cazorla & Wilshere
    2. A quality DM (Fellaini?) to stop the opponents and initiate the next attack
    3. A leader with the absolute desire to win every game a la Vieira and inspire all around him.

    These 3 components within the current structure will elevate Arsenal by 50%. This squad had the best run of results in 2013 than any other team. 3 World class additions will make Wengerball tactics into winners again.

  3. James Bond says:


    solid points,

    however, don’t you feel we could do with an experienced GK as well ? Cesar perhaps ? or are you happy with what we have atm.

  4. Gabriel says:

    Am tired of wenger not singing till the preseason starts. Last season we could not travell with the likes of pordisk, giorld and carzloa, this season will be the same? Who is fooling who we need fellani, huaigin and Rooney no excuses

  5. James Bond says:


    actually, most players did travel with us, however, there were a few niggles and i remember from memory that santi joined the squad first from Malaga to take part in training for that Colgne match ? (his signing wasn’t announced officially yet but he was with the team already, Santi was).

    unfortunately, when dealing with bigger clubs, sometimes these transfers can be a nightmare and can take time…i’m 99.99% certain that Higuain is coming to Arsenal (Terry’s sources said so, so i’m not gonna be doubting him! 😉

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Jambon 🙂

    Yes the Northern Oilers game will tell us quite a bit.

    I reckon we fixate a bit too much on the players we are signing. As we have the money, it makes sense to add quality rather than build further with what we have, but I am just as excited about the style of play/formation we are going to see next season.

  7. mA says:

    thank you TA for the amazing post

    Wengerball, as u call it, is always amazing and beautiful to the eye. Yet, we know that it has not done The Arsenal much favor as far as results are concerned. If Wenger is interested in making a decision that is going to take Arsenal places, I reckon he should carry on with the last ten matches of last season. Don’t take me wrong, but maybe we can also add that ‘Wengerball’ has been passed by events since the Invincibles. Or we could ask whether it’s the type of players that are currently in the team and or in the market. Am lost too but I am of the believe Wenger can arrive at right decisions when needed to.
    You have highlighted the different scenarios that may be advantageous to The Arsenal, and any decision made by Wenger right now is going to affect the club -positively or otherwise- for quite sometime. It’s not time to lie down especially seeing that Arsenal have proper foundation (history, financial muscle, burgeoning team, great manager, stability) already in place. Rather, it boils down to manager’s decision (s) regarding tactic, formation, studying the opposition and reacting accordingly, morale, motivation and others. Two or three class players and I believe The Arsenal can batter anyone including the self-styled one.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome DanG 🙂

    Three first team players would probably be too much. However attractive it would be, it would mean too much transition. Fellaini and Higuain would be great additions, and as much as we could cope with in terms of hitting the ground running without too many changes to the team imo.

  9. James Bond says:


    although you make a great point about us pinning all our hopes on “New signings”.

    however, for Wengerball i do believe this current squad, not enough players possess the necessary attributes and skills to enable Wengerball..

    for example, look at the potential Fellaini Signing…

    you can use him as a DM (Beast), as a Box to Box, or as a no.10 behind the striker ….that’s not only versatility but quality as well….not to say that it will work but it enables Wenger to not hold back and keep at it.

    also, if we were to focus only on the players we have available in the squad then it might not be such a bad idea to play both TV and Sagna as DM’s just in case.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Very fine comment, mA, and mostly agreed. 🙂

    Part of me wants, just like you, Arsene and Steve to build further on the style of play/formation towards the end of last season, and with Maureen very likely to opt for a similar lean, mean system, it might be our best chance for success.

    But I am hoping we find at least a blend between last season’s style and more attacking, attractive Wengerball football… I want some ooooooohhhhhhhhhs and aaaaaahhhhhhhhs! 😛

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Jambon, if we play two season with this formation (for example), would success not come our way?


    Other seven core players: Arteta, Jenkinson, Nacho, Ramsey, Pod, Rosicky, Miquel

    I want the signings too, but I feel we are a bit fixated on it at the moment.

  12. says:

    This is unbelievable! Why?
    Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

  13. James Bond says:


    who is to say that success will “Definitely” come even if we were to bring in the names we are linked with ?

    so further strengthening your point, of course if the same group of players were to play together a lot more, then the chances of us winning remain the same , however, we won’t be challenging for top top honours in my opinion.

    why ?

    that formation and team you’ve put up there might be good in England but not as good in the CL, certainly not with Olivier Giroud up front as our striker…i’m sorry but he’s got a lot of limitations as a striker for me, based on his first season in England.

  14. James Bond says:

    what hard to believe ? @

  15. James Bond says:

    just to add to the above,

    i look at the team you have posted @ TA

    and as an opposing team, i’m not really losing any sleep the night before or getting that fearful vibe i would playing other top teams, yep, that presence element is sort of missing

    psychologically we’re not doing much or any damage i feel…. just look at Swansea last season, they were coming to the emirates all confident writing us off even before the ball had been kicked…would that have happened in the past or years gone by ? i doubt it.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point about Giroud and Vermaelen is also possibly a weakness/risk in that formation, Jambon. But the thing with Wenger is that he can make them all play better and better, given time.

    Giroud is not prolific but he could get better at setting others up and holding up play so others can join the attack.

    But we can afford to add further quality and it is fair to say that Wenger does not have much time left for building success purely bottom-upwards any more.

  17. allezkev says:

    Nice post Total.

    A stark choice mate,

    Pragmatism vs Wengerball.

    A combination of the two would be ideal.

    A quality finisher (or two) could make the pragmatic more digestable?

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    It only takes a few big wins by these boys and the opposition come to the Emirates with senior citizens’ nappies! hahaha 😛

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    My more serious point is that Wenger will gradually make them into a top team, not because they are all great individuals, but because he will let them play very well in a fantastic system of football.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    hi allezkev, you might well be right, although a sound a bit like Fergieball hahaha 😛

  21. allezkev says:

    Fergieball, 🙂

    A season of Uncle Bouldy footie, with a trophy at the end of it, yep I’d take that..

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    It is a bit as with chasing the pretty girls, isn’t it, Allekev? After a barren period desperation sets in and you’ll lower your ‘selection criteria’ significantly… 😛

  23. James Bond says:


    there you have it, you’ve nailed it..”Time”

    8 years and counting.

    not sure about the rest but my patience has already run out, so i’m not in favour of giving Wenger and the current squad more time (2 more years as you have suggested) due to the following reasons :

    1: with time, this squad won’t be getting any younger and may well lose the zest and drive, who is to say that we will be able to keep hold of our prized assets ? Dortmund weren’t able to keep hold of gotze even after being successful.

    3: with 70 million at our disposal, the time is now to go out all guns blazing, if not all guns blazing but least keeping that cannon fired enough.

    5: 8 years without a trophy for a big club is borderline criminal, considering we have one of the best stadiums in Europe…we need to be filling up that trophy cabinet and increasing our fan base.

  24. johnnie nyc says:

    JB is right…beautifully written post TA, he is also right about the need for additions of quality.
    But I won’t follow your suggestion in the title, not even for a minute. We need to get two good players in for morale (I suggest forgetting our feelings, that is- the anxious supporters), I really mean, our players are watching (jack,Kozzer,Santi,Mikel) these guys want to see a committed club. Also, for future dealings, it would be nice to seen as a big club, and serious in the transfer market.
    It’s all related…
    Last year our new players…three starting attackers — all missed out on almost the entire pre-season.. You saw the early results, dropped points because of sputtering attack against mediocre teams, dropped points to Chelsea and Manu especially, because of disorganization.
    You said it yourself, we need to hit the ground running, but signs so far are worrying. Very soon, teams who see 26 mil for Higuain as fair, may realize they cant get lewandowski or Cavani, and where do you think they will turn.
    I agree with your last comment, we are fixated on signings at the moment, but that’s because it is the time for signings, and failure after the last two summers could really kill any momentum our young, hard working team want to bring into next season.
    I’m not greedy, just want a skilled striker, and a tough midfielder to help Mikel get some rest and improve our quality there a bit. im not worried about a keeper, or a fourth cb. we can deal with that as needed.
    It’s transfer time, so let’s take care of business, then it will be much more fun to think about how to deploy our players and which tactics to use.
    For me, I would vary tactics more according to opponent, a la Maurihno. But without giving up our style most of the time. Just want to remember what we did in our last 10 matches, when we needed to get something done.

  25. allezkev says:

    Total, I wouldn’t kick the FA Cup or League Cup out of bed… 😉

    Night mate…

  26. ProudGooner says:

    I have complete faith in Wenger and his style of play will not change a lot. We all want Higauin badly and all we are waiting for is the EYEBROWS to give the go ahead and finally give the man a chance to play regular first team football and let us get on with it, rather then mucking about.
    Either way and who ever Wenger signs i am comfortable they will be class. Just think of this while all our rivals have made massive signing that give teams great lifts in the dressing room, while we have been losing our. Now not only will we be keeping our stars but bring some in and getting them big lifts in the dressing room. 🙂
    Higauin, Victor and Ceser please.

  27. panther says:

    If Wenger doesn’t sign any top class players for the start of next season; he should be sacked. I use to have respect for Wenger but now all I have for him is CONTEMPT. He refuses to do things quickly or efficiently; its always a long drawn out process with that stubborn old twat .

  28. davi says:

    We’ve started dominating the midfield area since Ramsey moved back there alongside Arteta and it’s hard to see us improving significantly on that, so while Fellaini might be a good signing due to his versatlity, I don’t see him as necessary for a DM role and I’m not particularly excited at the prospect of signing somone who could push Ramsey out the side – he was the major reason we turned our form around at the end of the season and deserves the chance to take that run into next year!
    We have enough creativity to be dangerous going forward but have struggled at times with not having a deadly finisher with good movement, as Higuain has, and that could make a difference in tight games – this is where the bulk of the money should be invested imo. Aside from that we just need a couple of players who can come in and give more depth to the squad in certain areas.
    On another note we need to figure out how to play wilshere. His form last year was grossly over-rated and the team never looked as good when he was in it. Obviously that’s not because he’s a bad player, but I don’t think he was playing the right role. He has a lot more to give and Wenger needs to figure out how to get that from him…

  29. ProudGooner says:

    Oh and i like the new picture on the top on the page, the ICE MAN Dennis must be proud of it lol.
    Some people still can’t see the genius behind Wengers thinking and business in recent seasons. that is just the way it is some cant see the bigger picture,I am sure he will make some big signings.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Jambon 🙂

    The biggest difference is we can hold on to our players for a while now. I like us to add quality on top of that, of course. But the biggest factor for success now is the right choice in system of football and making it really work on the pitch. That is what I am more interested in than who we actually buy, if you know what I mean.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comment Johnnie and mostly agreed. 🙂

    Fully agreed on the need for a boost of morale by getting a top draw player.

    Arsene will never do game by game tactics though; that is not his style.

  32. TotalArsenal says:


    Sweet big-Cups dreams 😛

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    davi 🙂

    Did we really dominate the midfield area? The lower part maybe, but not the bit in the opposition’s halve.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers ProudG – it is such a typical Bergkamp picture isn’t it?!

  35. ProudGooner says:

    I dont think he will set out his team much different TA he has always been an offensive style manager, how ever the end to last season must have made him realise just how important a strong defence is the last 10 matches proved that. Hopefully a mix of the 2, it feels like a bit of a coup out to say that but IMO that is what we should do. Depending on who we play.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Night all 🙂

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    I agree about the mix ProudGooner and that is why we need to add a tackler and real physical presence in midfield as our first priority imo. Sometimes we need to be able to play 4-1-2-3 without being worried our defence is not adequately protected.

  38. ProudGooner says:

    It sure is (picture)
    I wish he could grace the the new stadium, i would not be surprised if he looks for another Dutch player , he loves them techinquely.We normally have 1. I would settle for Jan Hunterlaar as you know.

  39. ProudGooner says:

    Agreed we do need that Viera style of player out there, if Frimpong is not that man then he must get another really good 1.
    Goodnight TA

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Night PG

    Yes a Dutchman would be great, but I cannot see Wenger go for anybody this year.. maybe Strootman, but I don’t think so.

    Just for you, have a look at this – the perfect balance between AM and Shadow Striker – Ooh how we miss him:

    Really gone now. 🙂

  41. Nizam says:

    The headline is spot on. Wenger is a trained economist and wants value for money. I can see him go for guys coming to the end of their career or players coming back from injury. Silvster springs to mind.
    Regardless of what he does or doen’t do in the tw,make the coming campaign his last one if the gunners cannot compete. If not Arsenally could finally be ejected from the cl and spend years wandering in the wilderness like Liverpool.
    They have been overtaken in the rankings for the world’s top clubs and if they can’t compete will finally be pushed down from the top ten.

  42. Dannie Cee says:

    Very nice post.

    I would like to see more of the way we played in the last 10 games of the season. Our defence was very solid. Although Merty played very well with koscielny, I reckon TV will provide solid games throughout the season when he finds his form.

    I would love to see Fellaini As our box to box DM, he would provide us with dozens of attacking cues as well as stopping attacks. Higuain… Would be a dream up top. Prolific finisher, can dribble with the ball and he has an eye for for assists. Throughout the season, especially the last 10 games, we had plenty of chances for goals. Typically we couldn’t finish them. Higuain, is our man to change that, given the chance he’ll finish 1 out of every two shots (Real Facts). Given the time we have the ball in the oppositions half (Which is ridiculously a lot!), I can honestly see with the playmakers of Ohhhh Santi and Jack (maybe even Theo) I can see Higuain bagging and very successful season if he comes to us. A lot of people don’t think he will, but I’ve been watching this guy over the years, and he will be a beast. I assure you ;).

    GUNzalo Higuain

    We could see a big change, just with those names^
    Continue the way we played towards the end of the last season. Wengerball can defo be suited with it.

    Hopefully this transfer window won’t be too grustrating!

    Take Care fellow gooners!


  43. Milo says:

    Gotta love the regulars. (reference directed to poster above) Why don’t follow a club not run by a person familiar with economics. Chelsea might be more your speed eh???

  44. Muhammad N. Muhammad says:

    yes,i will like to recieve new post

  45. Gerry says:

    TA – Top of the morning to you – You have in you own inimitable way said what is needed, and in a quality way. Who else would start with Kafka – ‘We’re all doomed! I tell ya, we’re all doomed’ – Dad’s Army …
    unless we change direction?
    Or indeed, be super fit and be strong, perhaps?

    This seed you plant that Barca/Spain = Total Football (modern day version) and Bavarians/ Brazil = Physical/Athletic … is somehow, anti football, is not one I can go along with though.

    I saw nothing but totally committed Brazil play beautiful football, against a tired looking Spain. Their passing was a delight, and with more end product, I might add. I also saw much the same with Bayern. Indeed, I think it was following that example that gave us those valuable 26 points, albeit in a less attractive way than BM did against Barca. Twice.

    Now, when referencing the Brazil teamwork, there was not much of a ‘defend first’ mentality. Far more like ‘Total football’ in that they attacked even when they did not have possession? By forcing errors with physical and athletic players – it amused me at the line up to see Spain’s height average drop lower and lower as the camera panned across …their midfield onwards must have averaged about 5’8”? – and their(Brazil’s) ‘physicality’ was not just crude fouling, but timely pressing.

    What AW and Arsenal look to be trying to do, with signings, as opposed to the reshaped team you put forward, is to make them have an end product. Those 26 points were a struggle. We need games that we ought be capable of winning to be much easier. Having a zero goals let in does not, by itself, make for easy games. However, putting away early chances can. Then the style of play can be released to the full?

    So, if we can expand on what the team achieved last season we should win more games. But to play in a one dimensional way, by just changing the numbers will, like Barca/Spain, grind to a halt as teams work out how to stop us? That means having intelligent players who can adapt to situations where and when the game is not going our way. These are the players that I believe AW is trying to recruit.

    Higuain is the clinical finisher. That is step one.

    Bender would have been the physical b2b player who can defend high up the pitch.

    Le Gren would be the intelligent and skilful play maker (worth every p of £18m) to fill the Cesc void.

    On top of that trio, we have the potential of Sanogo, who may be ahead of Joel Campbell as he looks like leaving ‘Betis. Ryo who may go out on a recovery loan? Which I think leaves room for one more attacking option to come in to give variety and alternative to the way we play. If we have options that can make our formation unpredictable and less easy for others to counter us? Which leads to whoever comes in for the Bender/DM position to be filled?

    I doubt AW is willing to try a back three to accommodate TV5, with Per in the middle, although that could be an option if we want to shut up shop? So we could do with a CB if Miquel is sent out on loan? Beyond that, and the GK back up, I cannot see why we should not play positive attacking football that brings plenty of success, and easy on the eye?

    Stiill 6o days of the Terror Window to folks …

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Welcome Dannie C

    Very nice, upbeat comment and all agreed.

    Good to read you are so positive about what Higuain would bring extra to the team. Will we get him though?

  47. bioye bankole says:


    Laurent— Per—–—Thomas


    Theo —- Oliver/higuain————-Santi
    what do u think, strong in attack and strong at the back, wenger we can work well with this formation.

  48. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, 🙂

    Loved the Post, and the points you made!!

    By the way, you should issue a warning to anyone relying on “Terry’s source” in respect of transfer info, that his ‘source’ is his imaginary friend known as PeePee. 😀

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry 🙂

    All good point and yes Brazil and Bayern played attractive football. In fact, Bayern and Brazil approaches were definitely not anti-football, and I never said that in the post. But I can see why you believed I planted that seed hahaha 🙂

    A lot of their play is based on winning the ball back and then pounce by breaking quickly via the wings or through the middle, and with deadly consequences (mainly as a result of great individual talents). It is in many ways a bit like Arsenal used to play during the Bergkamp era. Both teams can also carefully start an attack but they seem to prefer quick turn-arounds as it offers space and unpredictability.

    We both know that Barca and Arsenal having been playing an all possession game, based on carefully dominating play and building up attacks from the back, and I think this approach is suffering a bit at the moment.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning and cheers RA 🙂

    Terry is in hiding – he knows what’s coming! hahaha 😀

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi bioye 🙂

    Like the line up, but not sure about Ox on the right as he is not strong enough defensively. Maybe with Coquelin or Jenkinson there would be more balance?

  52. henrychan says:

    TA.. No one is better than Bergkamp.. hehehehe..
    Only Messi can do such thing that Bergkamp did.. but less magic.. hahahaha..

    Higuan in on the way.. Soon be our.. and Sanogo is already our..
    With all the strikers we already had.. Our forward will be very dangerous..
    Wenger.. please get Cesar.. and I will be happy enough,
    even if you don’t bring Fellaini, Strootman, Gustavo, Bender, Gonalon, Grenier, or Fabregas.. hahahhaha..

  53. henrychan says:

    @ Bioye.. Nice team..
    But i don’t think Wenger will change his formation.. 4-3-3..
    Only a little modification of that.. to become 4-2-1-3 or 4-1-2-3..

    My first team if Wenger bring Fellaini will be : ( 4-2-1-3 )
    Jenkinson – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Monreal
    Fellaini – Arteta
    Walcott – Higuan – Cazorla

  54. Gerry says:

    You’ll be disappointed then henrychan – ha ha.

    Sagna, when he signs, and Gibbs, barring pre-season injuries would carry my vote. One for his experience, the other for his speed.

    Depending if the first meaningful match is the CL tie, then Cesar, if he signs, could well be the option, but Szcz against Villa.

    Your disappointment will also be seen in the absence of Fellaini/Bender/Strootman and Gonalons then … but Gustavo might soften the blow?

    Wilshere is another to carry the caveat ‘if fit’, is probably more likely start alongside Arteta, depending on who the DM is that signs, but he will come on to replace on or other, at least in the opening matches?

    Yes, the front line may have options this time, and whilst Higgy would likely start in the CL match, AW may prefer Giro if Villa still have Benteke around? And by putting Jack in the B2B position it opens up the possibility of having the Ox on the left and Santi roaming behind the front three?

    The ‘first eleven’ I think will lose its meaning as the season unfolds. There may be a core of 5 or 6 who will play more than most, but I hope that even they can sit out around 10 games?

    It does give us all something play around with though, even if it is AW that has the call?

  55. marcus says:

    Excellent post. And very intuitive. an issue i’d like to raise though..

    One thing that has come out in this post (I don’t know whether intentionally) is that its EITHER we play beautiful football or we use the new double DM pivot system. I’d like to kindly dispute that. We can and have done both.

    You see the double DM pivot was also used by Real Madrid (with Alonso and Khedira) but wasn’t very effective. So too did Spain with Alonso and Busquets. The idea of a double DM pivot system simply means that we have a DM whose sole job is to shield the back four, a B2B player whose job is to sit deep and help the DM defend and once we have the ball move it forward or create from deep and a hole player. Last year Arteta/Martinez sat in front of the back 4, Ramsey/Bastian were the b2b’s and Santi/Muller were the hole players. The reason why Arsenal and Bayern were successful where Real and Spain were not is because when Real and Spain used this system both DM’s statically sit deep and waited for opponents to attack so that they spring into action. This meant that when they attacked, they were short in numbers. I’m sure you noticed that their games suffered (Spain more so).

    With us however we have the perfect combination. Once we bring in a physical, purely defensive player we can still maintain that double pivot with Wilshere playing as our B2B. Wilshere is the PERFECT kind of player to play in this system because he is as good attacking as when he’s hustling for possession. This means that he will fight for the ball when we are being attacked (like he did against Barca) and when he gets it will push on up and join Santi in attack all the while maintaining our impeccable quality of football. Basically what I am saying is that we will not need a radical change to continue this philosophy

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry at 12.31 Yep that would be a fine first eleven team. 🙂

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    Wenger and regular, systematic rotation….. nah, cannot see it happening..

  58. plive says:

    great article,

    there doesnt seem to be much happening with felliani, should we look at capoue or kondogobia instead

    I like the point where you mention a double pivot of DM in reference to brazil recently with both players being able to possess technical ability, this what we had during our successfull years, bergkamp dropped deep, henry, pires , ljungberg and bergkamp would run riot at he opposition.

    would like to see jovetic arrive and play the bergkamp role just behind higuain, with him and carzola trading places between left and centre,

    could be devasting.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus 🙂

    You summed up the issues regarding the double-DM pivot perfectly.

    It only worked for us last season if and when Ramsey was tasked to stay close – mostly in a horizontal/parrallel line – to both Arteta and the back-four. We became a seven-four team: seven defenders and four attackers – two units that worked mostly separate from each other. If we play this system again next season then Wengerball will suffer a lot. IF, however, we can free up a b2b midfielder – and I agree Jack is perfect for this, as is Diaby IFFFFF fit – to bridge defence and attack continuously, we will see more attactive, all dominating, possession and passing, and winning football from Arsenal.

    For that we do indeed need a beast of a DM.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    plive, agreed, agreed 🙂

    If we cannot get Cesc back, I would love to see Jovetic in the hole, interchanging with Santi on the left!

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC 🙂

    If you are reading. Come back out and play, mate. Forget about writing those posts and just comment till your heart’s content.

  62. plive says:

    Total Arsenal

    thanks for agreeing, we dont need a central attacking midfielder just some with vision,technical ability and can score. Jovetic seems like such a good signing for us, hope wenger is keeping up in the dark with this and surprises everyone.

    From what ive read juve are full of strikers, real are interested but would he wanna go somewhere where you have to play as an extra to the ronaldo show? chelsea, they are full with atacking players, dont think moyes would know how to get the best out of him, city dont seem intrested.

    It would be easy to say bring cesc back but wouldnt cesc want what he had
    before? controlling the game from midfield but saying that spain won the euro’s with him playing as a striker.

    Ideally if RVP hadnt left couldnt have been that player

    anyone has any thoughts about walcott and with higuains arrival does that mean his central role has gone?

    ive watched higuain many a time he can bring players into the game but he is more devasting as central striker.

  63. TotalArsenal says:


    I would love to see Cesc bossing the space between midfield and attack, finding the throughballs and scoring himself regularly. Jovetic is a different sort of player but would also be brilliant in the hole.

    I feel that Arsene will continue with a fluent-three up-front with lots of interchanging of positions. A lot of the natural, positional width will have to come from the full backs. Luckily we are well stocked in those positions now.

  64. PeePee says:

    Good Afternoon Friends

    What a wonderful site to talk all things Arsenal this is.

    I am a first time poster, not by choice though. That horrible Mancini Transplant person keeps me locked up in the loft and does terrible things to me, usulay when theres a full moon or after hes watched a dirty movie.

    He ties me up with an old pony tail, it cant be his its ginger, stuffs a wig in my mouth and then goes on to Bergkampesque and Porn sites on his computer. i just sit there in terror as he alternates between the two.

    Hes a realy horrible vile man. He posts nice comments but behind all your backs says how you all talk crap, would like to make love to your women and steal all your money.

    He recently forced me to spread a rumour about how we sealed a deal for Higuain so he could take some kind of false credit, the mans a horrendous pig

    I had no choice but to do what he says. He aggresivly forces himself on me if i disobey and has a disgustingly brutish body covered in fur. He says hes straight, but ime a man for Gods sake.

    He now wants me to spread a rumour about Fellani and i dont know what to do. Ime terrified if i dont do what he says he will get blinding drunk whilst watching those henious films and force himself on me again. .

    Oh nooo, i can here him coming up the stairs.

  65. PeePee says:

    I can now confirm that we are in advanced talks for Fellani, and a deal is imminent.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Pee Pee – I bet you hate most his colgate smile hahaha 😀

  67. Red Arse says:


    We will get up a petition to have you transferred into the care of that loony — sorry, lovely — Dr Glic.

    Now I know he is reputed to carry out very weird rituals in the basement of his shack down in old Cornwall, but you should not worry about a thing.

    He is an expert hypnotherapist and will have you doing his willy — damn — sorry, I meant his ‘will’ — and you won’t remember a thing. Just look at how he turned that nice innocent Terry into a syrup wearing, rumour mongering fur coat, and then getting him to blame you!!


  68. James Bond says:

    ahahahahhahaha @ PeePee (Oh RA, what have you done!!

    right a bit off topic but is it me or anyone else see JW and THEO being the next DB & TH in the future ?

    DB & TH was a fantastic partnership and in years to come i feel both JW & Theo can be right up there…

    you see the reason i feel DB was so effective and devastating was not only because of his skills and vision but also understanding with the rest of the team …

    i just feel that JW and Theo can step it up a notch and take both their games and understanding on the pitch on the next level this season with a good solid pre-decent under their belt.

  69. James Bond says:

    and yes, there are some talks circulating with Arsenal announcing 2 Signings tomorrow (one may well be Higuain and the other one might be Fellaini ?

    fingers crossed !

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha Jambon – I’ll have what you have been having 🙂

    Theo is good and JW is very promising but TH and DB calibre…………….. A very small maybe, but I cannot see as yet.

  71. James Bond says:

    no, not as yet

    but they both got time on their side to reach those heights within the next few years – potential is there, no ?

    besides if anyone can come close to both then it has to be JW and THEO i reckon.

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Potential is there, but just watch the video I posted above of DB and you realise once more how bloody, bloody good he was. A similar video can be found our on best ever club top scorer. 🙂

  73. James Bond says:


    DB was a genius and wrote poetry on the football pitch,

    however, he did have the philosopher at hand to fine tune his artistry, as it happens both JW and Theo happen to be under the supervision of the same professor ala philosopher aka AW.

    this where i expect AFC to come and take my wishful thinking a bit forward ahahahahhaha

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha Jambon 🙂

    Yes AW is a great philosopher/magician!

  75. ProudGooner says:

    Thanks for posting that video i really enjoyed watching Dennis (Iceman) Bergkamp. i loved watching those quick feet beating players and his death touch loob’s what a fantastic football player! That team was awesome, Henry and Bergkemp up front lol just leathal. I hope he does or has a really good future in management, it would be great if he comes back to the club in some way.
    The Higauin deal is looking very close now he is in London 🙂

  76. James Bond says:

    obviously we missed a trick with the higuain deal, it would have been much more smoother and done much sooner , if we had offered RM Bendtender in exchange, hell we would have got 10 million plus Higuain had we done that

    but oh well,never mind 😉

    and no, he’s not in london yet unless you have it on good authority or have your own sauces @ PG

  77. ProudGooner says:

    I believe he was at the airport so i asume he was in London now.??
    It is great to see Chamahk back in training with us :/ even better JB give them him as well and take him for bender and Chamahk and 1 million.

  78. ProudGooner says:

    I would not slate 1 of our players normally , the reason i do him is i believe he has the talent and skill still. But i don’t think Chamahk tries hard enough to play or puts enough effort in. He could still be a good player i think.?!

  79. ProudGooner says:

    His display in that wonder game in the cup match against Reading that finished 7 – 5 to us showed he still has it i think he scored 2 Theo got a hat-trick. What a game that was by the way 🙂

  80. James Bond says:

    that photo and video doing the rounds is Higuain actually arriving back to Spain from his holiday from USA and not on his way to london apparently.

    or maybe he has already been to london, signed and now returns to spain

    but yeah it’s not him flying from spain but arriving in spain

    he didn’t get a fair crack in my opinion because RVP was in the form of his life after he returned from his injury , re Chamakh

  81. ProudGooner says:

    Thanks for putting me right , don’t believe everything you read hey .Someone said that he was but his father is suppose to of said he has been given permison to talk terms with us so if true that is good.them mecical i suppose.

  82. ProudGooner says:

    Back on Chamahk that is a fair comment and true , but i defo get the feeling he is happy to just collect his big pay check and not play. I hope he realises that football is a short career and he makes the most of it , hopefully does some good for us, time will tell.

  83. Dannie Cee says:


    I think we will get Higz, especially after his Dad supposedly saying that he cannot wait for his “son” to play in the premier league. Report from Spanish newspaper “Marca” say that AFC and Real have agreed a “£23m” deal (Dunno if this is true, but really hope so). Also, he’s supposedly meant to be flying to london to “sign tha ting”. But, again, I don’t know it this true lol.

    I think AW is playing very smart in the transfer, I don’t think he’s not being active to piss people off, he’s trying to keep other clubs thinking what we will do next.

    At the moment, we are a club that competes and get CL spot every season (qualification at least). We are team that worry the big clubs I.e. Man U, man city, Chelsea etc. now that we have money to spend big, they gonna be very concerned. So, AW playing smart in the transfer window makes sense. He’s trying to throw other clubs off. Once we secure big names, we gunna be a very challenging team next season.

    I absolutely can’t wait!!!

  84. ProudGooner says:

    That is what i read to Dannie. its on the sky sports news site so it is a very good source. I also agree with what you are saying about Arsenal and can’t wait for next season it shpiuld be a really good 1.

  85. James Bond says:

    spot on , PG

    as long as we get him, doesn’t matter what airport he’s leaving or arriving at, ha ha

    re- Chamakh then i guess that WHU move was an absolute failure as well, he should have gone to QPR instead, least would have got more playing time

    anyhow – roll on tomorrow ?

  86. ProudGooner says:

    I know the feeling , i am checking all sites like a mad man ha ha ha news now, sky, bbc and the AFC official site for a big signing. Once they have signed Higauin i will be able to chill out a bit. I know they are coming and i need to be a little patient . Lets just hope it is done tomorrow or by the weekend.

  87. James Bond says:

    yep, the wait is a killer no doubt,

    remember that robinho deal ? everyone including Robinho thought he was going to be signing for Chelsea and last minute it was Man city ? even he himself said that along the lines of him signing for chelsea and then someone corrected him and said, no sir you signed for more money like a typical Wh0$£”$£$!”$!


  88. karim khanst says:

    arenal should sualy sign dis prayer 4 beta pafomans.

  89. James Bond says:


  90. James Bond says:

    about time 😀

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    cheeky sod! 😛

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