Does Giroud hold Ozil back? Part 2.

In this earlier post from TA, entitled:

‘Are Arsenal Getting The Best Out Of Ozil – Is Giroud holding him back?’

https://bergkampesque.com/2014/01/15/are-arsenal-getting-the-best-out-of-ozil/

Happiness is a warm Gunner!

Happiness is a warm Gunner!

And from within the text, followed with this:

Three things are clear to me:

  1. Ozil is learning to play with OG as our ‘holding striker’ and has some way to go;
  2. OG is not the sort of striker who can take full advantage of Ozil’s vision and passing ability.
  3. There is potential for a clash of styles here and, as a result, a risk of frustrating/not getting the best out of Ozil in the process.

And these questions:

  • Which formation should we play?
  • Should they play together at all?
  • Who should play around them to get the best value out of both players – do we need to buy or is there a solution within the current squad?

This was my first response:

TA – Fine post, much needed. Thanks.

I cannot be very original in my response as much has been said already. So take it as read that, time (to get know player’s preferences), first season (different challenges from a more competitive league), and changes in personnel (altering the balance of the side, as well having different contributions to make) are a given ….

But then as I continued my reply, I quickly realised this post raised some really deep, fundamental questions that needed to be answered, but too much for a simple reply, even the length some of my replies run to? So this post was born. Hopefully answering some of those questions, and raising others. I began with this:

I query the question Ozil and OG playing together less well, than say, Santi and Ozil, but that too may work out in time. The trouble is, in this season and the position we are in – i.e. being TOTL and being hard pressed by two of the moneybags clubs: One who spent heavily at the start of the season with their changed manager already at the helm, as with Man City; and the other, whose new manager inherited an expensive set of players, but is now retuning, by buying and selling in this January transfer window, Chelsea. – Whereas we haven’t really got the time to work through mini clashes of style, at the expense of possibly losing valuable points?

 

So to answer these questions I ran through the following arguments.

What will liven up our attack will be the introduction of Ox, Gnabry and Draxler (JD) (WHEN) he arrives. I don’t believe there is much of a problem with OG, that other threats on goal, particularly in and around the box, will not cure. Mostly when we play, OG is isolated. In the Villa game a few times we saw a typical example when the high ball is played forwards they had two or three players close in quickly for an easy turnover ball, because he had no immediate support. JD will be the player that AW has in mind to be the CAM who will be near enough to help out, as he has the speed and dribbling ability to get past defenders so that, if my theory holds good, they will not be able to put more than one on Giroud. That will change the whole dynamics up front?

Gnabry is the player we have, who, as the audio commentary team reminded everybody, played second striker (to Akpom) last season, which is probably more his natural position. Even AW since has said ‘the middle is where he (Gnabry)will end up’. Also, it might become a double threat with JD on the left and SG on the right in the future?

We have now played Fulham since TA’s original post, and I believe it showed how the side might develop as the players get more time together? It still had the same problem that TA alluded to in his post, that Ozil struggles to make key passes when those around him are not moving into viable spaces, and particularly where such passes would lead to goal opportunities. It is not Giroud’s strong point to drop a shoulder, twist turn and dribble on his way to score. We know that. Another reason is partly due to the amount of bodies wanting to be in the central area, from our own players pulling in defenders? Even when the opportunities did come, the lack of clinical finishing meant the chances went begging.

However, in the first half there was a lot of movement from our midfield, as well as with Giroud. A lack of composure from young Gnabry, and a not so sharp Giroud meant the score stayed at 0-0. The real point to me was, probably for the first time, the whole of the midfield was involved? The heat map of Gnabry showed bright spots on the left and left centre, but the heaviest involvement was centre right and right wing. But he also had his moments deeper helping the defence. Ozil’s heat maps usually show a similar pattern, but with less emphasis on the central area. Whereas, Wilshere would have shown a distinct bias in a broad central strip.

In this game Cazorla was the main beneficiary, whereas in the Villa game Ozil had more say in pulling the strings.

So who will be the Chief Puppeteer?

Wilshere had a third game where he showed his best form, and he is also key to how this master plan unfolds. The reason why his game flourished in the Fulham game I think is twofold. One I think is his ‘maturity’ in getting a ‘true’ feel for being a creative midfielder, rather than trying to carry the team single handedly. Others are there now, so he can concentrate on what he can do best? What I basically mean by that, he was playing a supportive role, rather than trying to be the conductor? Secondly, operating straight down the middle, to play and receive balls, he did not displace Cazorla from doing his creative work in the same area, and so they complimented each others play. Which works well as long as others moved around intelligently, which they did. Ultimately, it was Santi’s interaction, with Wilshere in particular, across the box that enabled him to get the two snap shots away that produced the winning goals. Perhaps that is the one thing Ozil does not do often enough, as he enjoys providing for others. That is a subtle difference between them?

But there hangs the dilemma. With the rise of Cazorla’s performance, Ozil became more of a peripheral figure as the game wore on. Not that he was not contributing, but there were only flashes of his genius to make key passes?

It will take time I think, for him not just to link with specific players, but get more familiar with the space, and for the others to get to know that same space where the ball is played? I would guess that is why Ramsey can do well playing with Ozil. When he is high on his confidence and simply playing intuitively, he too can see the same space. This is what we need more of, as well as see the whole midfield working as a complete unit?

Gnabry, in just two games, has improved no end with his off the ball movement. So, with his dribbling skills and shooting with both feet will be a joy to behold by the time he is 20. But in the meantime he is still another option to be developed into a goal scoring threat. As it stands at the moment, he may not be enough of one to drag defenders away from Giroud, but that will change?

The Ox too, could play this role, but he too will have to get up to speed. The key to all these players, OG included, is how well they will link with Ozil? Podolski has not got the goals he has by being a duffer either. I agree with those suggesting it has been a fitness issue that may have kept him out recently. The calf wrapping shown in the training photos before the Fulham game lends support to this? Also AW has an aversion to doing early substitutions, so rather than start a game, I think he will do more ‘last half hours’ for the time being?

That then is the case for the attacking threat. We have the players, and are likely to add to it before the transfer window ends. Who ‘they’ are, if more than one, or even less than one, we will know on February 1st.

Ozil, ideally needs quick thinking players who have the necessary pace around him, and then his true value to the team will surely blossom. So, the combinations that work well with Ozil are; the ‘mutual admiration society’ candidates Rosicky at the head; Ramsey, playing on ‘instinct’ higher up the pitch; Wilshere in his ‘mature’ mode, but still a work in progress; Cazorla on the evidence of the last game also still needs work on how to involve Ozil more when playing together? Ox, as another creative, attacking midfielder, will like Gnabry become the alternative scoring threats, and will only get better the more they play?

However, the fundamental question asked was, should we change our current style and bring in a striker who fits the requirements of Ozil, but changes in quite a big way, the whole set up of the way we are playing at the moment?

The case for Giroud, who is our main striker, and as such would be expected to be our main goal scorer. The fact that he is not a quick, nimble footed striker, he does not fit the natural mould of what sort of player Ozil would like to play key passes to? But does that make him redundant? Do we really need to find a replacement, as TA’s post asks?

I do not think AW is looking to replace him, going by the intention of getting Suarez, or indeed, the ‘new RVP’ in JD? I support that view. I will now try and answer the ‘BIG’ question – Does Giroud hold Ozil back?

The lack of natural fit is a hard one to argue with, regards the Ozil/Giroud combination. But I will deflect that by looking to see if that is who Ozil should be interacting with regards to getting goals?

I have a slightly radical idea that Giroud is not actual a proper No 9. Instead he is more an atypical false No 9, and would do a lot better if he were to drop back 10 or 15 yards? Basically, to where such false central player would play? Now instantly you will think ‘he ain’t going to score many goals from there’?

True, but what he does well is hold up play, and give knock downs and flicks to others if the options are available. By being that bit closer to our midfielders he should not only have more options, but also be less heavily marked. He is, by and large, our main outlet ball from our goalkeeper, be that free kicks or long punts up field. But he does not have to be the furthest player forwards to be effective?

So I believe the right striker, should we get one, or JD, or both, or the Ox, the Gnabry, would be the ones to drive forward in the middle. But should another winger materialise, then a knock down ball to Ozil could have a field day spreading passes out wide? Balls cut back should still find Giroud in space, and with the right one-twos and movement in the box Giroud could be deadly with his best weapons, his feet, whether assisting or scoring?

Where are the Jack’s, Santi’s, and Ozil’s when we switch to attack. Perfecting what they did in the Fulham game. Pass and Move. Pull defences out of shape. Make the openings for a number of bodies to score. Since Giroud has been with us we have scored more goals overall that in the RVP year of being the ‘one man band’. Let us not lose sight of that fact. Giroud does not score many goals with his head, so have him pulling defenders away from the keeper so others can? On set pieces we have Mert, Kos, Sagna, and even Ramsey can all put the ball in the net from headers, as well as knock it back for people like Cazorla, Wilshere, Gnabry, Ox, and yes, Giroud to score from slightly deeper positions with their feet.

The key is finding space. That is what Ozil is about. If we get JD, fine. We will have a player who can make use of his skills. If we get a striker who is also quick, and maybe able to head the ball, that too would be a bonus. But above all, we want players that compliment our squad, because the players we are developing, in time, are likely to be better than those available now, JD excepted, as he too will develop along with them. But all will appreciate having the unselfish Giroud and Ozil doing what they do best.

We should too?

So, my answer to the statement in the previous title;

‘Are Arsenal Getting The Best Out Of Ozil – Is Giroud holding him back?’

The answer is No, but Giroud is not the problem.

The answers to other points raised:

 

Q.- Ozil is learning to play with OG as our ‘holding striker’ and has some way to go?

Answer; Should read learning to play ‘around’ OG, and that has some way to go?

Q.- OG is not the sort of striker who can take full advantage of Ozil’s vision and passing ability?

Answer; True, in the direct sense. But vision and passing ability is Ozil’s department, and he should be using it in more appropriate areas, eg out wide, or in the box, to players that can benefit?

Q.- There is potential for a clash of styles here and, as a result, a risk of frustrating/not getting the best out of Ozil in the process?

All players get frustrated when their efforts are not rewarded with an end result. However, by focussing on Giroud as his only outlet for a successful conclusion is where this observation is misplaced, and Ozil’s if he feels that?

And these questions:

Q.- Which formation should we play?

A.- That depends on two things; Who is available; Where they can best be used. But a variation within 1-4-6? That allows for a variety of patterns to be formed according to who is bringing their strengths to the game. Our usual 1-4-2-3-1 may be adjusted to allow and extra body up front?

Q.-Should they play together at all?

A.- If the ‘they’ refers Ozil Giroud together, I believe the strength’s of both can be used very effectively.

Q.- Who should play around them to get the best value out of both players – do we need to buy or is there a solution within the current squad?

A.- This is the bigger question. From the above I have argued for both points. We do need a player who is a threat in the box. Ideally that player will be quick, nimble and score goals(JD), but in time, both Ox and Gnabry could become that type of player.

Time, in this season we do not have, so buy is the likely option. A different type of striker is also a possibility, but that depends what else he can add to the squad. I should also add, that should Bendtner recapture his best form, he too could benefit from any addition, and has the addition of being a good header of goals?

But that is only half the problem. At best, with Giroud and Ozil playing it leaves just 3 players to fill the remaining places. One B2B, two creative/attacking MFs, so getting the right balance will be the most important. Should a solid DM be on the shopping list, then possibly 3 rather than 2, out of the 7 or 8 possibilities to choose from? AW is going to be very creative to keep all parties happy, and more importantly, fresh and ready to start when needed? But any kind of pecking order will lead to frustration if over used?

Combine that with who works best with who, and you have a balancing nightmare if all stay fit?

If AW was prepared to play Ozil twice in every three games, not that strictly regimented, but say, over a period of ten games, he starts in six of them? Then, I would say alternate Ozil with Cazorla, based on recent evidence. Similarly, Ramsey and Wilshere. Rosicky, as I have said already, will work around whoever else starts. The younger pair, Ox and Gnabry, and to some extent Podolkski, would have to take their chances as they arise. Mostly from the subs bench I would guess, except when the need for width arises. But may be this is where new signings may also compete?

None of this is set in stone, but it is going to take a great deal more flexibility within the squad for all to maintain the unity that the smaller squad offers?

However, for this to fully work with this many MF’s committed to attack, you need a holding DM behind them to slow down attacks to allow the proper defensive lines to take shape? This is covered as long as we have both Arteta and Flamini fit. If Frimpong goes out on loan, we have the returning Frances Coquelin to assist. He is quick, but also likes to get forward. The replacement we need is someone who ‘commands’ that space behind. A ‘Presence!’ no less. More importantly, if we are continuing to use our FB’s as wingers/wing backs, a single DM allows us a more dynamic midfield, but probably neither Arteta or Flamini are capable of doing on the their own? However, if wide attacking players are used, then the need for advance FB’s diminishes? That could at least defer the need for the SQ DM until a suitable one is available in the next window?

In conclusion; Ozil will find his space no matter who else is playing, but how effective he is depends on how well they all work as a team. If you play Cazorla in the free central role, the ‘Arshavin’ best position, working across the line of opposition defenders, it will bring the best out in his game. Ozil can pull the strings with the wider players and create spaces for the central bodies to work better. You then have Rosicky and Ramsey for energy and drive, Wilshere for the central support. Gnabry and Ox for width, and Podolski as an alternative frontline striker, unless we get other options in this window?

Such are the complexities within our midfield, that the best combinations will gradually be found. But I also think having the one of the most creative midfielders around, we should not get to be too reliant on just his input in every game? We have talent to spread the load, we should use them?

We are, as it stands at the moment, reliant on Giroud to be our ‘holding striker’, and he is very capable of scoring many more goals this season. But if we can share that burden with whoever is available to play for us after January 31st, then he too will find life a lot easier?

Nobody said managing a football club was easy. Thank heavens we have got somebody who has practical experience running our club, rather than my theoretical aspirations to what might work?

Comments will be appreciated if they go beyond one liners. But on the fundamental question of changing our approach to accommodate one player’s needs, is very much open for discussion?

Thanks for reading.

Written by: Gerry.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Does Giroud hold Ozil back? Part 2.

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Gerry. A lot of thought and analysis went into that post. I think I agree with most of it, especially with the notion of either Ox, Gnabry or JD (if indeed arriving this week) making both Giroud and Ozil even more effective players.

    The post also opens up a question on who would be the best box to box player for Ozil (positioned in the hole)? Ramsey, Jack, Rosicky, Ox…

    I don’t think Cazorla is the nr1 replacement of Ozil. Not in our system. He is too slow and tends to play too close to the striker/box to be really effective in that role. For me, it is Jack and Rosicky first.

    Anyway, more tomorrow. Je suis fatigue.

    Bonne Nuit.

  2. Sayed Omar says:

    I finally found someone who can say exactly what I am thinking since Oxil moved to Arsenal. Cazola when he plays always drift to the middle and it become crowded, which pull the defense to the middle. Wilsher and Ozel play together in harmony. It will take time for each player to learn their spacing and how to clear for the other. Untill this happen, we will see the team acting like a fire drill.

  3. Alan says:

    All fantastic stuff and it’s great to have such riches in talent across our midfield. Cannot help thinking that we really need to have more cover and options up front, and I think with higuain we may have been further in front this season. Even Remy, instead of bendtner and sanogo, would have made more of a difference. Wenger has to prove, unlike the “Eduardo season”, that he can sign the right players to take us across the line. Draxler, plus a quality striker, and one more CD cover, could do the trick. I remain of the view that more than anything else we have neglected the spine of our team during the trophyless era, and a ya ya toure type player, was more important than the surplus of skillful midgets ( however they gel together) . This is what gives City their real edge, toure and the depth of striking options. We are imbalanced, with about 8-10 options in midfield, but no real depth up front.

  4. I think Arsene Wenger is about to introduce a new brand of football. Barcelona and Spain introduced the False 9. Le Prof seems gunning for ‘Stiff 9′.

    He surrounds his team with world class midfielders of technical marvel, brings Olivier Giroud…tall, strong, fighter…but a very poor finisher. Instruction – win aerial balls, hold up play, play midfielders in, and rejoice whoever scores the goal…then track back, help defend corners and set plays and we grab another three points.

    If Wenger actually signs Julian Draxler, I’d confirm Le prof never really wanted any other striker than Giroud that perfectly fits into his strategy and let’s remember he’s topping the table. While Draxler is the kind of midfielder, who’d immensely benefit from Giroud’s playing style. le Prof is gunning to win the title with a Stiff 9 approach.

    And already, I’m enjoying it

    On Ozil, he is such an intelligent and technically blessed player that he’ll alawys play with whoever Le Prof lines up around him.

  5. viooo says:

    wenger didn’t care about arsenal fans and players …. this is last Change for him to carry trophy when he sign striker ….

  6. Gabriel says:

    This is the best post i ever read for the past years. OG is so slow his pace is so slow, wenger should look for a good stricker or arsenal should forget about top four.

  7. Xavier says:

    Wow @ Gerry. TA wasn’t messing around when he said this will be a test of out reading stamina. Luckily it’s a topic I like so… 😀

    I agree with a lot of your analysis. I wish you’d have also considered more in depth the Rosicky angle as I think he can do well on the right wing too and anticipate özil passes.
    But that’s that though. You did mention he can play anywhere in whatever system we use and it’s a great plus to have such player.

    As I said in the original post, I don’t think Giroud is holding özil back..mainly because I don’t think Giroud is the direct beneficiary of özil’s passes.
    Just thought of something…can we get stats on how much özil assisted the wingers in Real Madrid as compared to their strikers?? We don’t even have to consider Ronaldo (as he’s their focal point) but we can try say di Maria and benzema who’ll prolly have around equal chances for an özil assist.

    Anyways, love the post and in the end the numerous options we have in the middle can be optimized to our advantage. There’s a lotta food for thought in the post too.
    I guess I’ll be commenting as the comments come pouring forth from the able brethren. Hehehe.
    I’m pretty sure I’m going to be readings this again though. Too much to take in all at once.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Xavier and other FIne Gooners 🙂

    Good point about the real beneficiaries from Ozil’s service, X.

    Tai, welcome and very fine comment. Stiff 9 is an excellent description, and yes he will remain Wenger’s focal point for years to come. Chamack held well, but was too poor with his feet. Van Judas was too selfish/focused on scoring himself and Giroud plays the role better than both.

  9. jnyc says:

    Well Gerry, here’s a one liner for you.
    Impressive article. 🙂

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Sayed, good observation about Santi.

  11. Gerry says:

    TA – Thanks TA for the opportunity to theorise at length. I must have been on a manic phase with 3 posts so close together, hence my time out over the weekend. It is funny, that aside from the TW chatter, a lot of replies yesterday touched on this very subject?

    So, if I might add, you have the touch of Ozil for slotting it at the right moment? 😀

    I still think Cazorla is has the same variety of pass and vision, to a greater degree than your other options. I know you have Wilshere at the top of your list, and I think in time he may well be. However, i think the way he came to prominence, first with Cesc, then without him, and put his mindset about 5 years ahead of where he should have been. Injuries came at a bad time too, not that there is a good time, but it robbed him of a learning period he might have had if Cesc was still around. So I believe he needs to take the remains of this season and probably next season too, just doing the solid simple things, and take the opportunities as and when they arise, to score or assist, instead of trying to force the issue. All the time he has two great players around him to learn from, and then we will see the real Jack Wilshere as one of the all time great midfielders in the EPL.

    Cazorla is not a clone of Ozil, and all options have their differences. He plays his best stuff close to the action, but that best stuff is where key passes can result in goals, of which he is quite capable of scoring. Nobody, least of all me, will deny what Rosicky brings to the team, but his strength is his off the ball- on the ball movement, which is like the finest oil in an engine. He makes sure what the other parts do, they do it smoothly. He is the creator of options, which allow the creative operators to work their magic.

    If you are saying Cazorla does not see the perfect pass as quickly as Ozil? i would agree, that is why Ozil is one of the best in the world. On Friday we saw the tiniest glimpse of someone who may yet be the best ever? I am talking GZ here, but he, like Jack 4 years ago, has got to survive all the pressure on to get to where Jack would be now had circumstances been different. So I hope he will not be rushed into taking on the mantle that Ozil currently holds. But with that knowledge we have he is in safe hands. In the meantime, it shows we have the players to take us on for many years to come.

    I just hope my confidence in current(TW) negotiations have not blighted a successful conclusions?

  12. Gerry says:

    Saved Omar – Thanks for your comment. Like I said in the post, it is not easy to be a manager and get it right all of the time. But at least we have the best manager to get it a close to perfect as any?

    We have a great talent in Ozil, but we should not neglect the others, so variations will be needed.

  13. Gerry says:

    Alan – Thanks for your comment. I do am not one for going back on ‘what might have been’ myself.

    This was about how we manage what we have, and how to get the best out of all. Hopefully there will be a successful outcome in the TW, but it is not a certainty. At least not in all areas of concern.

    I would still like to tie up our existing players, and I am not too worried if a RB is on the agenda. It could mean the CB issue could then wait?

    However, when we get all our players working seamlessly together, we will be a match for most?

  14. Gerry says:

    Tai Emeke Obasi – Beautiful description of Giroud’s role, although I think you are harsh on his finishing skills. Given a lot less attention from defenders with more threats around him, and he will still add to his tally I am sure.

    I see we are on the same wavelength re the player we haven’t got (yet), so fingers crossed.

    I am very pleased that you added to the post, you should drop by more often?
    Cheers

  15. davydavy says:

    Wow Gerry, I think you might be a top-flight football manager in disguise!

    Fantastically written and thought out article, and I think you really nailed it with the comment that a single DM allows us a more dynamic midfield. This reminds me of how Spain turned out in the 2010 World Cp, with their 4-1-4-1 formation and the great Xabi Alonso as the single midfielder in front of the back four. I like this formation for the Arsenal, as we have so many combinations of four dynamic and interchanging midfielders who can score and create chances playing off a holding striker like Giroud. Giroud’s ability to play knock-backs and his ball-winning expertise perfectly complement this system.

    The arrival of Draxler would enhance the number and quality of midfield combinations available and add that precious ability to attack a defender and get behind the defensive line (agree with you 100% on that one Tai).

    So, how do we fill that DM position? It seems that AW doesn’t trust such an important role to Frimpong or Coquelin, and Arteta and Wilshere don’t specialise in closing down the space in front of the CBs and seizing the ball and then carrying/passing it forward in the way Vieira and Gilberto used to. The best of these players are rare – maybe Pogba will be one, maybe Bender and Carvalho are two more possibilities. Busquets in certainly a good example, and I think that Bayern might have one in Javi Martinez while Man City of course have Yaya Toure. All the top clubs have a SQ DM.

    Don’t know how easy it will be to get a top top quality defensive mid because once they are well known the oil clubs will move for them. I think that AW is aware of the need and that’s why he was lucky to get Flamini back and before that it is why he tried to get Luis Gustavo last year.

    Back to Giroud, and thinking along Tai’s lines, I don’t see Ozil and Giroud as being incompatible, in that Oz and OG create so many chances between them for themselves and the team. But I would like to see a fast mobile striker as an alternative and maybe more direct option, a la Thierry Henry or even Theo Walcott. Someone like Marco Reus would be perfect if only he were available. I have high hopes for Sanogo though and Podolski can also slot in up front, so we should be OK this season.

    Thanks again Gerry for such an insightful article. Can’t wait till Southampton!

  16. Gerry says:

    Viooo – I think you missed the point where I mentioned that we have scored more goals from more players than we did when we had a top striker scoring?

    Not that additional firepower will not help.

    Comment on AW is grossly out of order. Arsene Wenger has wanted the Club to be as successful as it can be throughout his time as manager. That should be what true fans should want also?

    Not caring for players sounds like you are picking up the comment on the Walcott injury? If you saw the tackle that has put him out of action for the next six months you would know it is the type of thing that goes on all the time in the game throughout the EPL. Most result in nothing at all. This one looked like nothing at all. Even on the stretcher it looked like a two week job?

    These things happen. He had a long recovery time from a stomach operation, repeat, STOMACH,
    not an ankle or knee problem. He came back with three games behind him looking fit and well.

    Use your own eyes, don’t just believe what the press put out. Okay?

  17. Gerry says:

    Gabrial – I loved your first line .. 😀

    However, criticising a player for what you want him to be, when he isn’t that type of player is not so good … err especially as I went to great lengths to highlight his real qualities, and how they might be more successful with the right additions … Did you miss that bit?

    Seriously, the need for front line player who can take on defenders in the box has reached AW, Hence the Suarez attempt last window?

    Replacement striker goes against my argument in the post ..

    I still like your first line though 😀

  18. Gerry says:

    Xavier – I thought you might like the topic 🙂 But then you want me to make it longer? ha ha …

    I did not mean to belittle Rosicky’s role in the great scheme of things – see my reply to TA earlier – but he was not part of the ‘who plays best with who’, bless him. He is another of our great assets who should be treasured and valued with another contract.

    Interesting thought that on Ozil’s previous stats. He may have more freedom to operate with us though. The last heat map I saw of Ozil it was very light near the centre circle, suggesting that he only moves through that area, and thus suits Wilshere game more? But one may be of a consequence of the other. Whenever I saw RM, he tended to be dripping sweat down the right wing?

    Warning the post does not get any shorter for a second reading 😀

    Cheers Xav

  19. Gerry says:

    jnyc – Toerag! I suppose I asked for that 😀

  20. Gerry says:

    davydavy – Hey, I am the pretend one, AW is the real thing.

    I was hoping for a shorter answer here as the dogs are making more noise that the gales outside.

    The 4-1-4-1 works fine if players get back to fill the spaces. I still think, even with a strong DM we might have one MF holding back to be the outlet ball as well as the nearest to assist. Getting a DM is a bigger problem?

    I was interested in the gossip that we are sending a team over to Germany to sign a Freiburg player, which, as it happens is where the guy i mentioned yesterday, Yttam Retnig, resides (I hope your are keeping up with comments?), so that could be a thought?

    Yes, the JD is/will/should/ damn it missed him/ be great signing. But as a contingency, the true wide players have been mentioned. But we will have to see if that is as well as, or instead of the aforementioned?

    I could have have happily spent the summer budget this winter. Matic was my choice for DM, he played quite well for Chelsea yesterday I thought? However, I have noticed that AW tends not to go back for players if they have got interest elsewhere, so I think KZ4 is a slim to zero possibility.
    One of the reasons nobody else has gone for JD is because his agent has told them where he wants to go, at least that is me reading between the lines?. We will have to wait and see?

    Your final point on Sanogo. he is a long term project. Next season we may see him flower into full bloom, but right now he is a bud that is still suspect to frost … if you follow the metaphor.

    Talking of buds ..Cheers buddy, glad you enjoyed the read.

  21. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thank you Gerry

    We may have a different outlook on life, but I tend to agree with your football views, and boy, do you know your football. Superb stuff.

    I find this topic a bit perplexing. Whilst recognising the effect one player can have on another, its horses for courses surely?

    Giroud is like a mobile battering ram. His movement across the line, drops deep to receive ball or head on, create opportunities for other players to expolit

    The main “direct” beneficiary of Girouds play has been Ramsey, who has the stamina and ability to gain full advantage of Girouds play.

    Players like Ozil are “indirect beneficiaries”.or if you like, secondary in the move. Girouds play will afford off the ball runners like Theo, Ramsey, Serge, etc the gap to move in to, and players like Mesut and Jack will look to play the pass.

    Ozil will be just fine with Giroud. Lets remember its the Germans first season. Next year he will go up a level.

  22. VCC says:

    I have looked closely at Ozil’s passing actions, and come to the conclusion why he is so successful in his accurately completed statistics. (take a look, see if you agree?).

    Many of his passes are not always sent flat along the ground, he clips/chips the ball over the oppositions feet heading towards the recipient. This is born from his childhood days, playing within the tight confines of the cage he used to play in, whilst living in Germany.

    Playing within the limited squeezed parameters, and being the youngest and smallest within his Brothers group of friends, he had to adapt and try something different.This is an unusual style and credits him well.

    The position you quote being TOTL and being hard pressed by two of the moneybags clubs will, imo, inevitably take its toll. If we do not acquire a supporting role, in this January window, to support Giroud, it will result in us falling just short this season.

    Draxler, if he is coming, will enhance our offensive play immensely. Ox and Gnabry are excellent young players, but with the addition of JD, it may just be the icing on the cake to get us to the finishing line and remain TOTL. (doesn’t that sound nice)

    Wilshere is at least two years from becoming our puppeteer, but we have more than adequate players to fulfil this role until he matures.

    By changing/tweaking our current style of play can give us a plan “B” if so required. My preferred formation is 4-1-4-1.

    Ozil and Giroud is a work in progress. Give it time and it will surely flourish.

    Finally…….BOY, that was a fine post.

  23. Hello Gerry, fellow goons

    That was an excellent read Gerry..good write up!

    like i commented on TA’s earlier post, Ozil is intelligent enough to figure out how to play with Giroud..no doubting Ozil works better on fast-pace football but looking at our current system, i have NOTHING to complain about…how many times has Arsene said Giroud is indispensable in our attack??..in a team blessed with divine midgets, he is the BIG man who brings them into play and for now at least, having that physical presence upfront is absolutely necessary

    imo, the ONE player who complements this two is Rambo..runs into spaces vacated by Ozil and chips in with goals to relieve Giroud’s goal scoring burden..

    you mention that Cazorla works best in the number 10 position…i actually thinks he is most PRODUCTIVE starting wide and drifting into midfield where he can use his quick feet, wonderful technique and two-footdness to influence the game more.. not to mention there are two players who play the free role far better than him(Ozil and Rozy)

    I’ll have to read the post again as it was quite long and informative but it was a really good read Gerry!

  24. Morning Gezzers Gigantic Gonad Glossary !. 😆
    I have bemoaned about our next 2 months of fixtures or Ten Weeks of Torture !. Gezzers post would keep me busy behind the sofa for that time !. hahaha
    All that time at Uni to write an epic !.
    Credit where it`s due and you deserve all the plaudits you receive !. My simple and uncomplicated answer to it is that …….we are TOTL due to all our players playing as a “team” and includes the way certain players have reacted to other players ( Giroud/Ozil etc`), so if it aint broke, don’t fix it !. Although, I do predict a massive breakdown in the next ten weeks and if Arsene doesn`t bring in some SQ now, then it will be too late once the TW is over to fix any breakages !.
    Why do I predict a breakdown in the next ten weeks ?. As if you don’t know, but in league we have 6 teams we have only took 5 points from last season !. With all the cup football and even more if we actually manage to get through the tough cup games ( FA + CL ), it could be a bridge too far !…..our success to this point of the season could be our down fall and may be only cup exits will keep us on track. Only time will tell and it`s not far away…..Ten Weeks of Torture ?.

  25. VCC says:

    TCM, I suggest you take a 70 day cruise vacation, starting from next week end. 😉

  26. Admir says:

    Wow. Wonderful piece of article, Gerry. You know, the one that make a regular reader envious for not writing it. 🙂

    I would like to mention something that I’ve wrote about before. After Van Judas had signed for Manure, our attacking play went to a serious change. Van Judas is a complete forward that can both score and assist (he scored 30 and created 14 more in his last season for Arsenal – that’s 44 out of 74 goals we had scored in 2011-12). Walcott was on the right flank with Benayoun (remember that lad?), Arshavin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho…playing on the left at some part of the season.

    Then we lost Van Judas to the brat inside him. Our signings Giroud and Podolski – instead of adding second and third option to our attack – competed for that place in the middle. Even Gervinho was considered for that role after he had scored five goals in the beginning of the last season. Cazorla was an improvement in the middle, something that we hadn’t had since Fabregas and Nasri had left for the greener pastures elsewhere (speaking of which: I believe Rosicky would have either suffered Arshavin’s destiny or been condemned to Giggs-like status at Arsenal had we had Nasri, Fabregas and Wilshere on disposal in 2011-12).

    Losing a world-class striker and getting two strikers of above-average quality made a difference – we haven’t been very successful against the big teams (just 7 points out of 30 against the rest of the Top 6) but we have been merciless against the “small clubs” – we had won 66 points out of 84 against teams last term and have spilled just five points against clubs placed below 7th-placed Manchester United this term. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to say it’s all because of Giroud, Cazorla and Podolski – Mertesacker has found his feet and Koscielny has been a wonderful partner to him while our midfield shield has been more effective with Arteta and Ramsey. Our defending set-pieces has improved ever since BFG joined and Giroud uses his inches against opponents’ penetration as much as he uses them for his own (yes, it’s a terrible pun).

    Speaking of puns, here is something for The Cookie Monster: I’ve just remembered a stunning Korean actress So Young Go (seriously, it’s her name). I googled a bit about her and nearly fell of my chair when I saw that she is going to have another child with a man named Dong Gun. I’m still laughing like a mad man.

  27. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Admir, hahahahahahahaha

  28. Admir says:

    Anyway, what I tried to say before aforementioned two Koreans forced me to change my pants is that we haven’t relied so much on an individual quality since 3rd March 2013. When it comes to Giroud and Ozil, both the German and the Frenchman have suffered the biggest blow when Walcott got injured. Walcott’s pace offer width to our team that Ozil’s clever balls (yes, it’s another unsuccessful pun) can use while Giroud has more space in the middle. Before Walcott’s injury, Giroud scored four goals in four matches.

    Then, there is a story I used to talk about Giroud’s shooting technique. When he receives the ball in the box, there are two options: either he will slam it with his first touch or try to do something with it and screw up the opportunity. That’s why I’m so excited about Ozil-Podolski reunion from the national team. This match against Coventry was the first one where both of them were in the starting eleven and – boom! Podolski scored a brace.

  29. VCC says:

    Admir……..the Cockie Monster will rip into you later tonight. Brace yourself. 😉

  30. Gerry says:

    Right, I’m back for round two. First up …

    TMHT – Don’t worry about our difference views on life, it is the football we should concentrate on.

    I am not sure I ‘know’ my football as well as many on here, but I have a brain that is good at looking at puzzles. I had plenty of time to work on this post due to the delay in posting, immediately after part 1, but that is another story.

    It is a complex issue without doubt. But you get examples all the time of players not thriving at one club, moving, and then become super stars, and vice versa. I suppose at the top of the tree we expect top players to produce the goods whoever the are playing with. But with players, it is difficult to see the knock on effects.

    I agree with you that Ramsey did well out of Ozil’s passing, and Giroud’s presence, and the absence of Walcott when he was at the peak of his form. I just hope he can come back and carry on with that same level of confidence he had then. One of the reasons why I would like a DM is so he does not have to tie himself to the defence, but be one of several who will come back and provide defensive cover.

    I was not implying that Ozil could not work around any problem on the field. It is us fans that want to see his key passes and assists. So in games we look to see what the problem is. The original post offered Giroud as one possible reason. So I agree, with the right additions, next season could be a magnificent one if all goes well?

  31. OK, So now I’ve read Gerry’s post twice…(After the first read, last night, I knew I’d need another go at it, after my morning espresso… 😀 ) And…Uh…I think you’ve covered all the bases, or something… Personally, because we “know” each other, I don’t mind taking a trip inside your head, (I also enjoyed the story of your studies…) but I’m not sure it’s THE most effective way of communicating things. Basically, what I come away with is that there are many (MANY) ways of looking at our attack and that you’re OK with what you see…

    Hey, me too!! We’re much improved over the seasons where we lost Cesc/Nasri and (then) RvP/Song and the players we’ve gotten in AND developed have taken us where we are. Arteta and Mertesacker (2.5 seasons ago) have strengthened our defense. Giroud, Poldolski and Cazorla made up for RvPs goals and assists (1.5 years ago) and Ramsey, JW (and Theo, before injury…) were VASTLY improved and contributing as required. Serge and the Ox look like potential fillips now and top quality down the road. And, of course, Ozil is world class and learning his English match by match. Rosicky, fighting the long term injury issues, is a real luxury–when he’s available–and notches us up substantially… Trying to break it all down and discuss it–well, that’s where the trips around each others’ brains comes in…Some focus on the defensive or holding elements (Total’s last post, for example). Others, rightly so, I think, note the limitations in Giroud’s play (and the drop-off if he’s not available) but hope a buzzing MF can work around him and those who might stand in for him…(Or they cry out for new, never gonna happen in a million years strikers in his stead… I watched Leo Messi yesterday and despite his current goal drought, I think he could really help our team… 😆 🙄 )

    To me, re: big Ollie, it’s all about the work he puts in. He already drops back (false-9 style) and tries. He lumbers further forward and tries. His efforts, plus the pressure we can bring keeping our opponents pinned back IS our game. If OGs work ethic inspires Bendtner, Sanogo and Poldolski it cannot be a bad thing. Sure, more goals would be nice but others can make them and his layoffs and 1-2s (esp to his left side) are quite good. This brings me to the real question (another one we’ve been re-hashing): How badly will we miss Theo as the season gets down to real business. Early season Ramsey filled the void and, I think, the rest of our season largely hinges on whether he can find that form again. With our run of (very) winnable games I think he’s been given extra rest and I won’t be surprised if he starts tomorrow. If so, he MUST show that he’s like Gnabry (who will sit…) but moreso: Shots from distance (but more accurate), deeper runs into the box (to make chances and goals), quicker ball movement and better defensive and outlet play when he finds himself deeper. As much as Ozil watches what other guys are doing (to give them space) Rambo must do likewise. Bottom line: He’s not Theo but he’ll be needed to pick up much of the offensive threat that Theo’s absence entails, while doing all the other things he can which Theo cannot. For me, that’s the key. Gerry is correct. Gnabry is very good but still too young to be relied on so heavily…

    If Rambo cannot, then massive pressure falls to Gnabry (and likely the Ox…) and to these next 5 days of the Transfer Window. I feel we’ve come too far and this JD fellow (for big money) is on his way. Of course he’s both young AND injured. As good as he might be down the line (and it’s mouthwatering)… for this season, allowing him to contribute without undue pressure is a must. He (and Poldolski and Bendtner and Sanago and Gnabry and the Ox) may be the key to keeping Rambo from going leggy. Injuries are sure to play a role (note–of these 7 names, ONLY 18 yr old Gnabry is not either injured or struggling to find form and fitness after being injured)…

    Anyhow, I’ve gone on too long and I shouldn’t make people spend too much time in MY head…I like our team and I think we’ve got some real quality up and down the squad. I absolutely LOVE the fact that our best player (Ozil) is so focused on making others better. The key will be taking that cue, working together, taking their chances when they come and slotting in for one another at least somewhat seamlessly when the (very tough) matches come thick and fast. As Admir points out, we’ve shown great concentration beating the lesser clubs; stepping up and doing likewise against the big ones is the next challenge. On that note, Tomorrow night’s match on the South Coast isn’t all that easy. Who’s doing the preview? 😀

  32. Obviously Yennaris wasn’t as good as Gezzer had hoped, he`s signed for Brentford not Mansour City !.
    I see Wilshere get a knock on the ankle against Coventry and thought to myself….get him off ! …………he`s now doubtful for the Soton game with guess what ?…….Arsene may have the qualifications, but I have common sense, something I have yet to see in years of dealing with highly qualified people, I should imagine not only are my fellow BKers highly qualified, but have tons of common sense, to have thought the same !. hahaha

  33. Alan says:

    Thanks Gerry. While I m not one to mull over history for a laugh I think we can learn a lot from what we did right and wrong in the past. The “Eduardo” season sticks in my memory coz at this stage we were on for the quad and probably playing even better football than our current team . Wenger is not shy at watching old videos and studying the past and this is the year where he needs to demonstrate that he can actually “close” . At the time I predicted injuries (anyone can) , and however he ends up juggling the surplus of options we have at our disposal in midfield (which is what your article is about) any hypothesis for our success may depend on the “Multi-midget ” strategy compensating for a possible Giroud injury . And also our CD being able to perform if Kos or BFG get injured or suspended. In any successful organisation you have to do your risk analysis and act accordingly. Bendtner and sanogo are not adequate cover for Giroud, and maybe Pod should have been given the central striker role vs Coventry (though he did well whatever) . My plea is to assess the risks properly and act on them now, while we can, and learn from that eduardo season (when we didn’t ) . With city facing tough games at spurs and then home to chelsea, we have the opportunity to pull a handful of points away from them before things get really tough. Let’s not fail because we failed to plan . Let’s put this one to bed . We can .

  34. Yes yes, we have known this since Noah let the cat out of the bag, but where`s the signing`s ?.
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/puma-and-arsenal-announce-partnership

  35. Gerry says:

    VCC – I am glad I have got your juices flowing here …

    Yes, Ozil has not got to the top of the tree without learning a trick or two. One of my biggest bugbears with Ramsey during his ‘barren years’ was his constant reliance on a flat ball pass. Cesc was full of variety too, but Alex Song also perfected that backspin chip over the top that got RVP a couple of ‘Goal of the Month’ titles. But it has only been this season that Ramsey has added that to his skill sheet? Is that down to Ozil watching. Jack too is working on those. I was full of praise for young Zelalem and his little stab pass in the Coventry game. Something he has learnt with playing with older players perhaps? I also think GZ saw the pass he wanted to make the moment the ball came to him, but had to shake off his marker first, just long enough to zip it away. Despite his size, he was not dispossessed once. I can tell you? He is not all hype. But lessons learnt from those who have gone before, one season at a time. I cannot wait for Toral to get the chance to train with the first team so they can all learn from the master that is Mesult?

    I also think Wilshere just needs a steady period where he gets back the experience and growth that he lost through injury. I would say by the 2015/16 season he will be a serious player, and it will do him no harm at all just to help those around him who are directing play in the meantime.

    I think the formations we play, when everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet, will be a lot easier to adapt to according to who is available, than what sometimes upsets the balance of play now? Hence my vague ‘variations within a 4-6-0’ set up.

    Happy you enjoyed the post Vics, Cheers

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wilshere “knock” is the same as Ramsey and Arteta being “out” for Coventry. Nobody’s actually hurt here. It’s rest and rotation, my furry friend… Wenger lies, dontchaknow?…

    What I like about you, Cockie, is that for all your bravado and unfathomable attractiveness to all members of all genders (male, female AND those in transition 😯 )… you truly are a sensitive character, unafraid to tune into that side of yourself which is afraid (to watch the matches, or anything less than a victory…) or to read the very worst into the news headlines or fixture list. I’m sure it serves you well–low expectations being the key to happiness, etc., etc… (Just joshing, you know I love you, right? When are you coming for a visit?, etc., etc… I’d suggest summer time when we can frolic naked on the beaches and run the trails here in Tahoe together… 😀 )

    Speaking of scary headlines and RBs…Maybe we need Yennaris back… Seems as if ManCity are gonna make a play for Sagna…

  37. I look forward to that,17 as long as you`re there….I mean, can a Sasquatch cough you up like a fur ball after he swallowed you…..I can just about see your face before being fully engulfed !. The missus has that ……” Am I bothered ” look !. hahaha

    Mount Etna erupted yesterday !………it will be nothing compared to JB`s eruption if we buy Draxler !

    hahaha

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry

    KG is my spokes and he said once again everything I wanted to say about Cazorla. Not a nr10, but a free, uninhibited bird who is best positioned on the flank – not that he will stay there long.

    17, the prematch is yours if you want it.

  39. Gerry says:

    KG – Thank for the comment. I could return the favour by saying when I started to write this post, I had read all the early replies that had gone in overnight. So I think you can take an ‘assist’ along with a few others for how it developed. Cheers

    I sort of answered the point on Ramsey in my replay to Terry. So it will be a tremendous boost if we get Rambo back in that same peak form, once again without Walcott. Just a coincidence that, but it will be interesting if another winger/striker does arrive before Feb 1st how that plays out?

    Slight correction. My reading of the Cazorla position is working along the line around the edge of the box, either looking to play a one two’s and finish himself, or clipping passes to others to work an opening. That part is the ‘Arshavin’ model of being at the hub and being involved in most of the attacking play. I see the No 10 role as slightly more restricted to being around the central striker? (I guess that depends on what type of player is there?) Therefore, Santi will come in from the left or the right. In the Fulham game he was often wide right. The difference is he is looking to be involved after the pass he has made, whereas Ozil is happy for others to do their stuff once he has given them the opening. That is why they are not exactly like for like, nor are the mutually exclusive in that they could worked together, but they are more likely to duplicate things, or as has been happening, one drops out from the control of play. Which is my basis for alternating them, and using them as each others subs when not resting completely. This is where the free role gets complicated. Rosicky is the least of our problems when it comes to a free role. He is just brilliant at driving the play forwards, switching play to either wing, and back again if needed, and it makes little difference as to who else is playing. A fit Rosicky would be one of the first names on my team sheet. If Santi has a weakness it s probably that he does not always look back from where he comes from. Ozil’s is probably that he does not shoot often enough, when in a good position?

    At least it is bringing in good discussion points?

    Cheers KG.

  40. Gerry says:

    Admir Thanks for the compliment. I think your reply is pretty darn good too 😀

    I am glad you remembered Benayoun. He made a tremendous difference to our post Christmas run that season. Yet another midfielder playing wide? He got more involved than Ashavin did it has to be said. But yes, those things that happened did eventually give birth to the team we have now, so for that we should be more pleased with how it has worked out? It is hard to put the finger on exactly why Gervinho did not worked better that it did. Perhaps we were an Ozil short of perfection?

    I am not too bothered about our points off the top teams, at least at this moment in time. The one team we could have done more against was Man U, with a little more belief, and having the better knowledge we have now that they really were there for the taking? II am hoping by the end of this week we will be a bit stronger is some areas, and the tight pre-New Year schedule has left us with better foundations to take on them all, 2nd time around?

    I am not to sure if it was a direct result of Walcott going off for surgery that caused a decline in Giro’s scoring, or that and a combination of that, and other things.

    The thing about his options is a little left of centre, in that if he doesn’t shoot straightaway he has a couple of defenders on him. But you are missing out the ones where he takes a touch when in space on the left and gets a cracking shot away. The key to both is having the space. We needed someone to draw defenders away from him?

    The Podolski link with Ozil should be another winner, as long as he is not the central striker?

    Cheers Admir, the posts are catching up with my replies …

  41. Gerry says:

    17HT- I think I may need to read your reply a few times, as you have got quite a lot in there, but as they are stacking up , I try and be briefer that I would like to be.

    I’ll start with Giroud absent bit. I think Bendtner will do fine if he keeps getting some game time.
    if we do get another winger, even better, and I haven’t given up on a striker either.
    Sanogo, I keep saying is for next season.

    If both he and NB23 go missing, then it will be a proper 4-6-0 line up.

    I agree on the Ramsey coming back near the form he was in. Only lack of confidence will surely dent that? But we have Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosicky who have been scoring. The likes of Ox and Gnabry will chip in once they get more confident and control over there shooting, get one, others will follow. So Rambo being rushed back is probably not quiet as desperate as it might have been. If the JD signs, and is ready for March, that too will be a bonus. What we are missing here is the fact that we are seeing games out a whole lot better than we have for a good while. So let’s not panic just yet. And the other teams in the top 6 are starting their difficult period this midweek too?

    Agreed on the use of Gnabry and Ox, who between them will provide useful cover, but as I point in the article, we do not have many place to fill each game in MF?

    Take the 6 in the formation I described, variants within:One goes to the Giroud/Bendtner option.
    One goes to the Ozil/Cazorla option(in my team); One goes to the Arteta/Flamini option; Two goes to the Rosicky/Ramsey/Wilshere option; leaving the final one going to the Poldi/Gnabs/ Ox option

    If the 3 for 2 goes belly up you have the displaced Arteta/Flam, or the displaced Pod/Gnabs/Ox?

    That is without any additions. I grant, not too much going to come from the academy though.

    Yes, the first test in OGAAT starts tomorrow.

  42. Gerry says:

    TCM – Don’t give me half news. Is that a loan, or full? He was down for the Under 21’s Cup tomorrow night against Chelsea?

    Later with that. Wilshere probably would not be playing anyway, as that would have been 4 in quick succession? Saving face perhaps?

  43. Gerry says:

    Alan – I think you are misrepresenting the post if it was talking about Giroud and injury. The post was largely about the qualities that Giroud has, how he adds to the way the team play, and Ozil using his passing skills bring others into play.

    I think the team has moved on from Eduardo?

    I disagree about Bendtner not being adequate cover. His ankle twist was just a setback, when he was getting sharper each game. Do I need to repeat Sanogo is for next season? Anything he does late this season will be a bonus.

    Podolski has not to date been a 100% success. He is far better left of centre.

    The TW has a few days to run, so let us both hope that problems are being addressed. The talk of a RB may have less to do with Sagna leaving, than giving better cover should he be needed at CB, for example?

    So let us just assume that AW knows exactly what the risks are, but sometimes they have to bear them when other solutions cannot be found. He is the one doing the job, we are both theorising from the sidelines.

    Cheers

  44. Gerry says:

    TA@14.45 – Your spokesperson got my reply. Semantics? I nearly studied that too 😀

  45. Gerry says:

    Dog feeding time … back later ..

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, cheers for the personal reply…Obviously you put a lot into your Arsenal musings so much appreciation is due. Your views are actually coming into better focus as I read your responses. Still, sometimes it all gets a bit much for me as you mull ALL the possibilities. At some point I sorta hafta limit my ponderings to what I actually see on the pitch, i.e., not what’s in my own and other folks heads… Good on you for not letting such mundane limits keep you down! 😀

    I’m not panicking yet (by any means) but I think Rambo’s contribution will be key. Like you say, if he can get the confidence back (and the execution…) we will be looking very good. If not, count me as concerned and I just hope that Wenger has the moxy to yank him (or have him suffer an “injury”) so that others can give it a go. This seems especially true if this Draxler fellow arrives…

    TA. While waiting for Gerry’s reply, I’ve been working on a match preview…Almost got it ready to send your way…

    Cockie, where did you find that photo of me and the missus? In truth, I’ve got a bit more forehead showing these days, but that one is one of my faves… 😆

    The day ahead beckons…It could be the last sunny one for a bit…Chance of rain tomorrow, definite by Thursday and then, possibly, some snow… Fingers crossed, eh…

  47. Xavier says:

    Hi Gerry, read the post again and yeah, it really doesn’t get shorter. 😀
    Had a couple more ideas but after reading the comments I realized all have been added already. Too many geniuses in this one blog. Hahaha.
    But yeah, I think we all agree about Ramswy being key this next half of the season. All he needs is his first goal. Of course if he doesn’t get up to the heights reached previously, there’s options, too many, that with a lil tweaking can keep us ticking.
    There’s so much permutation and combinations that can take place concerning how our midfield should be with Giroud and özil being key. Things are looking bright from my perspective and even though it’s hella tempting to join TCM behind his couch (or on his 70day cruise if he’s paying) I actually feel we’ll surprise a lot of people this feb/march. Including Bayern and Chelsea.

    17, I’m also looking forward to your post on Ze Professors liez. I think I’ll enjoy that as much as this.

    Umm, finally, how awesome is it that we got guys coming back from injuries now? Vermalean is training again!!! 😀 😀

  48. He`s the Bees Knees now Gezzer !.
    http://ladyarse.co.uk/2014/01/nico-yennaris-signs-for-brentford-on-permanent-deal-photo/

    17
    I saw that photo on another site and immediately thought of you !……. 17 being eating alive was then born out of my imaginative juices !. hahaha

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    ToTL, you’ve got mail…

    Xavier…I’ve just sent off a match preview so the Wenger-Lies effort will have to wait…Maybe after the window closes and contracts are signed and the TRUTH(S) is (are) revealed…

    In the meantime, I think the folks around here work ourselves around to consensuses of sorts with the occasional contrary idea thrown in to stir up the pot. What’s nice is that people (mostly) tend to read and (try to) respect each others’ efforts…

    As such, carry on… 😀

  50. James Bond says:

    ooh la la – that was mouth watering but sadly, you’ve covered all the basis and answered most of the questions plus whatever needed to be said has been said above by some very fine and insightful gooners – yep, white flag from me Gerry , Its one for the purists and I can only admire your splendid piece and some very fine fine comments.

    however at the risk of repeating something that has been covered already above – Santiago will click with Ozil sooner rather than later, it’s only a matter of time when it happens really, the difference between Santi and Ozil is such that when Santiago is in the center and has a clear shot at goal, he takes it – where as Ozil still looks for that killer pass – Santi’s best position even last season was playing out wide but drifting in as he had the licence to thrill and play (he still does) but this means that he has to put an additional defensive shift, for this reason the combo of santiago and ozil isn’t an issue, more like who plays at LB is – Nacho should be behind both Santi and Ozil on the left and everything else takecares of it self… with Poldi you can play Gibbs and you will see a rise in tempo and directness

    you’ve pretty much covered the Giroud conundrum and as you are an expert at solving puzzles, I’ll take your word on it 🙂

    cheers for all the further tailor made replies which were a treat to read as well –

    TCM,

    or maybe the next 8 weeks are an opportunity to stamp our authority and fcuking run away with the title ? win again the fools (out of top 4) win against utd (out of top 6)…win against chelsea (you can settle for 4th , you obnoxious son of a gun Jose ) …win against Man city (you can finish 3rd you $cums ), now now, I know I know – all of you are curious as to who finishes 2nd…well I can tell you it’s not the spuds but what I can’t tell you is who the fcuk cares when we are going to be sat pretty at the top 👿

  51. Hope you`re right, X-Man, but I only see it as ……….Ten Weeks of Torture !…………………………………………..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW7Op86ox9g
    All my comments should come with some relevant background music !. hahaha

  52. James Bond says:

    my amigo 17HT is spot on with the WengJURIES – no doubt 2 out of the 3 (Ramsey/Arteta) were being rested with bigger games in mind and rightfully so, now it’s the turn of JW to take a few days off before he returns for Crystal Palace, no doubt.

    it’s the correct approach by resting and rotating, not so sure about the manner he does it by saying a knock or not sure e.t.c e.t.c

    there was no mention of Rosicky, So am gonna assume that he will be in the starting 11 tomorrow 🙂

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry’s got a weak spot for the youngsters…No need to tease him about it, Cockie… As long as everybody is over 18 then it’s all legal–even if it’s not quite right… 😆 😯 Only a year to wait then until the official lusting over GZ, then…

    Nico did pretty well a couple of years back during the great FB crisis of 2011 (or was it 2012, or 2010–memory is slipping)… Still, with the signing of Jenkinson, it had to be imagined that his stock had dropped. Isn’t Brentford where Sir Chez went on loan? Maybe there’s a bit of payback (or a budding relationship with a lower tier club) in the works?…

  54. My above comment is also relevant to James !. More chance the wheels coming off imo !. Hope you`re right !. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW7Op86ox9g

  55. Under 21`s ( Gezzer Porn ) Vs The Chavs away in the League Cup tonight, a toughie !.
    https://twitter.com/Arsenal

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Bond…All’s well with the missus? Hopefully so…Personally, I think it’s a little early to be complaining about her shopping… Maybe she gets it from YOU, given (ALL) the (INSANE MONEY) players you think Arsenal should buy… 😆

    Draxler’s a done deal, correct? Of course, I think you might’ve said just that in the last window(!!!) Who’s our bonus signing this time? 🙄 😉

    Just giving you grief, old boy, and I wouldn’t want you to betray your sauce… I’ve learned to wait until everything is official. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask (clamor, clamour?) for an update…

    Cheers!

  57. Gerry says:

    Now Now HT – I am not in the TCM Isco lusting league. I don’t know you are as bad as the kid on the school bus … my favourite was was a joke that went like this:

    Why does Gerry like 28year olds?

    Because there is 20 of them …. 😀

  58. You can listen to The Clock End on Arsenalplayer…..now, and if you like you can phone in and talk !. I shall listen in hope of Adrian Clarke saying….and we have a new caller….”Sassquatch from Tahoe ! “. hahaha

  59. Xavier says:

    Hehehehe… I always love it when I receive wenger mails. 😃😄😄

  60. Gerry says:

    Thanks JB – Part of the post was about answering questions raised by Totes one.

    I agree with you on Santi more likely to score than Ozil. They are two similar types of players in that they are creative and move about a lot. It is the little differences that make them interesting as to where they play.

    Having got this far with the JD thing it would be a shame if it did not come off. Mind, they are not going to sell cheaply after the Puma announcement? Same goes for any other possibilities too.

    Is anybody doing the post-match review? Anybody?

  61. James Bond says:

    how kind of you to remember what I shared with you during the last window re- Draxler @ 17HT 🙂

    let’s just enjoy tomorrow’s game and put the transfers on the back burner for now ; ) we will have plenty of time from wednesday to friday to speculate and grill and dream and then you get the gist, am sure 🙂

    Re- the Missus , I don’t know whether I should be honest and ruin the atmosphere and everyone’s mood once more or should I dress it up and say that she is hanging in there ?

  62. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    From a simple selfish point of view, something I am very good at, I am going to the Utd, Munich, and City home games. These matches have a special atmosphere anyway, but this season, because of our position, they carry extra resonance.

    The crowd will have to play there part in these matches. If we can get at these teams defences, there will be one hell of a roar at the Grove.

    No doubt about it, its were we want to be. Fighting for the title, a big cup tie, and playing the Champions of Europe may be nerve racking, but its a fantastic buzz.

  63. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Sorry to hear that Bondy

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geez, Bond, I thought everything was looking up… As it is, I think you’ve said enough to put a little (or GIANT) chill into everybody… In for a penny, in for a pound (as they say on both sides of the pond)… I thought she was out of the woods (and it was a mighty relief)… Please tell us that it’s only a minor set-back…

  65. AFC says:

    Gerry, It took three times as long as it normally would to read a post on BK. 😀 Great post though. :)I do not really know where to start and trying to address all of your points in detail would lead to a series of posts from volume 1-10. 😀 So I will try to answer the question posed at the top of your post on whether Giroud is holding back Ozil.

    There is certainly a clash of styles between Ozil and Giroud but can Wenger find a way to make a clash of styles compliment each other? This is possible but would require Ozil to adapt his style of play slightly whereas Giroud has already adapted his style the best he can.

    The relationship between Giroud and Ozil is affected by the other midfield players also playing in the team.

    A major factor is the whole team formation/system, roles within the formation and players in this formation/system. The one thing that came into my head when we signed Ozil was that he was not an Arsenal/Barca type player, by that I mean someone working with other technical like playmakers and did never really play in an Arsenal/Barca type system. If you look at his time at Real Madrid he was the focal point of their attack and it was up to him to dictate play in the attacking third and supply Ronaldo and Benzema/Higuain. He played in a system where it was up to him and him only to be that playmaker. Di Maria can also create and supply but he is that traditional winger that hugs the touchline so he did his creating more from the flanks. So Ozil was playing with a false 9 (Benzema), hybrid winger (Ronaldo) and traditional winger (Di Maria) and two deeper midfielders which means he did not really have to think about what his teammates were doing as they did not really get in his way (which explains Ramsey’s success with Ozil) and were not affected by his movement as they were not looking for pockets of space like playmakers do. He is now in a system where there are at least 3 midfielders in the team looking to do what he does but all our playmakers are slightly different in how they try play make. There seems to be a clash with Santi and Ozil already, and Rosicky can work around anyone. Wilshere seems to want to orchestrate play centrally which I think he can do from a deeper position as can Ramsey but for us to see the best of Jack orchestrating play from deep we need a SQ DM destroyer to give Jack the total freedom to do this. 

    Could the key to getting the best out of Ozil and Giroud be to adopt more of a Real system. By that I mean a traditional winger like Di Maria on one flank (we do not really have this kind of player) and a hybrid winger like Ronaldo (Walcott in our team or even Podolski) or even two inside forwards (which could be any two of Walcott, Podolski and Gnabry) on the flanks.

    I think Ozil and Giroud can coexist but I see Wenger bringing another quality CF/ST in the class of Benzema and Balotelli who might be better suited to Ozil’s style of play which could eliminate the whole problem of whether Giroud is holding Ozil back as Wenger would want to pair this new CF/ST with Ozil. It is not the end for Giroud if that happens as Ozil will need to be rotated and maybe Rosicky is the guy that is best in the CAM role to work best with Giroud while bridging the gap between the DM line, that is the point of having a squad.P.S.

    P.S. Thanks for the advice on the end of the last post. 🙂

  66. AFC says:

    So to answer the question I think both players are holding each other back.

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    17 has produced a fine pre-match for this important, potentially pivotal game, as we could create a gap between us and Citeh over the next two days.

    James, hope that Mrs James gets back on track soon.

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