The transfer window closed without any reinforcement in our defence or attack. I said jokingly yesterday that Wenger was after a player starting with a ‘K’, as we were being linked with Klose, Kalou and Kim Kallstrom( KK). We got KK who is supposed to help out in the box to box position; but then he arrived already injured, apparently. If the squib wasn’t already damp enough last night, it became saturated this morning with the announcement that our only signing arrived with a back problem that will keep him out for at least six games.
I don’t know what to say, guys and girls…. So let’s move on.
With Flamini out and Arteta seemingly struggling with getting back to 100% fitness and form, we have to ask ourselves who can strengthen and reinvigorate the so important double DM pivot of our team. Flamini and Arteta looked slightly sluggish and disorganised against Southampton, and although I reckon the DM pivot will not be tested as much tomorrow as it was on Tuesday, we will need to make some changes to get the team motoring again.
We will do a pre-match tomorrow morning, during which we can discuss the best line-up against Crystal Pulis’ park-the-bus formation in more detail.
In this post, I would like to discuss what we can do to replace Flamini’s defensive and leadership qualities. Furthermore, it would be good to discuss who should play in the box to box position, now that Rambo and Wilshere look to be out for a few games at least.
I reckon we are missing a trick with leaving the enthusiastic and powerful Vermaelen on the bench for so many games. If Arteta is fully fit, he should normally play but if and when we need to have more steel in midfield – somebody who is good in the air and can tackle properly – Vermaelen could be our man. He also offers additional thrust and has a venomous long distance shot. On top of that, he offers presence and energy and he is now wise enough to contain himself when needed (I hope!).
The above is linked with the second question: who to play in our box to box role?
I am hoping Rosicky is recovered enough to play tomorrow, and in the foreseeable future, in this position. The combination of Arteta and Rosicky could work a treat, as both are experienced and multi-disciplined midfielders.
It would be good to have a second option, though, in case of fitness/injuries issues for Arteta and/or Rosicky. Should Santi play in the box to box role, next to Arteta? Wenger tried Ox there against Coventry recently, but that was with Jack providing the defensive cover (which is not his core strength, is it?). It did not really work and I reckon that either Cazorla or Ox can only play in the box to box role if they get proper defensive cover.
I have my doubts whether Arteta will be able to do this, especially in the big games coming up. Therefore, I am hoping Wenger is going to try something different here; and for me Vermaelen could be the answer to our midfield puzzle. With the Lion of Flanders protecting the back four, Rosicky, Ox, or Cazorla could play deeper whilst supporting the four in attack regularly. I could also see this being done by Nacho or Sagna, but TV5 is the best option of them all imo.
I would also like to see Ox play properly in the box to box role, although Rosicky will have to be our first option until Jack or Ramsey return.
What do you think fellow Gooners?
With Theo and Rambo out, and no additional striker bought in January, who are going to score our goals?
AB wrote this succinct comment which is directly linked to the above question:
“TA you said it’s our midfield that delivers these [goals] – we don’t need more in the way of strikers. And I agree that’s the model that Wenger has built. But without Walcott and Ramsey, the model looks less sound. Oz and Ros are more creators than scorers, although I have never fully understood why given their technical skills. Gnab and Ox both look like they will score goals, but are yet to really break through on this front, and it’s too early to count on them. Which leaves Santi and Pod, both proven goal scorers. However, neither has hit sustained form this year (partially excused given injuries) and Wenger does not seem minded to play both together. They are going to be really important for us in the next 6 weeks – not least because Giroud is as much a space creator as he is a goal scorer.
This all adds up to goals being harder to come by in the next 15 games than they were earlier in the season. The importance of our defence being water-tight is therefore all the greater.
What do others think – where are the goals going to come from if we are to put 2 or 3 past opposing sides?”
What can I add to this?
I reckon, Wenger will need to start playing Pod more now, and with Santi possibly in the box to box role it could work a treat. We could play Pod – Ozil – Ox/Gnabry behind Giroud and Arteta/Vermaelen-Santi/Rosicky in the ‘DM’-pivot. We would have three regular goals scorers in the team with Pod, Giroud and Cazorla, whilst Ozil, Ox, Rosicky and Gnabry also can contribute. I don’t think it will lead to goal fests but it might be enough to win a lot of games, especially if our defence keeps performing so strongly…. for which we need a good replacement for Flamini…
What do you think fellow Gooners?
Written by: TotalArsenal