Time for TV5 to replace Flamini & Who to be our (b)Ox to (b)Ox player?

Time for our Lion of Flanders to motor us forwards again?

Time for our Lion of Flanders to motor us forwards again?

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

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70 Responses to Time for TV5 to replace Flamini & Who to be our (b)Ox to (b)Ox player?

  1. AB says:

    Top stuff TA. For the life of me I cannot fathom why Wenger has not tried Verm in the DM spot – it seems to be crying out as an option. He must see something that does not work for him; I can only assume its a sense that he does not have the passing range to link up play, but who knows. Maybe he doesn’t want to have all his CB options out at once regularly as it leaves him no cover. But unless we find a meaningful role for Verm he will leave and we will be the weaker for it.

    I am less worried by our immediate DM problems though – Arteta is not yet fit, but I have a high level of confidence in him still. And Ox is just back from a long spell out, but he will come back strong soon, with playing time. Jack will be back next week, as long as we are not being spun a line on him. But its true there is just no more margin for us by way of mid-field injury.

    Up front, I would love to see Santi on the right and Pod on the left. We have to give Pod some game time, as he can get through the parked bus. Staring with Gnab and using Pod as an impact sub feels the wrong way round to me. Whoever it is, lets hope we are up for it and at them from the start tomorrow.

  2. Naz# says:

    I’ve been saying this for ages. I reckon TV5 will do a job at DM.

  3. Twig says:

    I believe Sagna can play the DM role as well, with Jenkinson taking his place on the right. Vermalaen, with his physique, would be perfect for that role. Maybe the idea has never even crossed Wenger’s mind?

  4. I don’t have to say anything, this says it all !.

  5. AFC says:

    TA, good post and I am with you. 😀

    What I would do is play Verm as the sole DM and two of the Ox, Wilshere or Rosicky slightly ahead as CMs with two of Santi, Podolski and Ozil on the flanks. If Arteta comes in he should play in the DM line next to Vermaelen and the rest of the team follows Wenger’s normal selection.

    Problem is we have let Johan go and have not replaced him so by playing Verm all our recognised CBs would be playing and we would have no replacement option at CB when they are fatigued.

    It is a risk but one I would certainly take at this period.

    AB, Verm has a pretty high pass rate if I am correct. Besides a DM does not have to be good at passing. The role of an DM destroyer like Mikel is to break up play, add presence and give the ball to more advanced midfielders.

  6. Fatboy Gooney says:

    Nice one TA,
    Why would wenger knowingly sign a old player,
    With a back injury.
    At that age (31) he will never be able to recover properly.
    Was this out of desperation?
    Is this wenger’s weakness?
    Did you see Charlie Nicolas and Paul merson’s reaction to this on sky sports?

    Absolutely, a sad state of affairs….
    I hope this doesn’t affect our players morale,
    As most of them were begging for new signings too.

  7. AFC says:

    Cockie, Durham will have a field day when he hears as well.

  8. AB says:

    AFC. Yes Verm’s stats look sound. But a basic destroyer is not what Wenger wants; its the pace of playing out as well as part of the double pivot. I think he has taken Flam in as a couple of year stop gap, plus someone who can fill in across a range of positions; but he is not Wenger’s preferred model of a DM. To be clear, I’d be happy seeing Verm try this spot; I’m just trying to reason out why Wenger clearly is not.

  9. davydavy says:

    Well done TA, I think that’s top quality analysis.

    Looking ahead, I’d like to see us try this against Palace rather than wait till the ManU or Liverpool games. What I like about Vermaelen as a defensive midfielder (rather than say Sagna) is his powerful marauding runs forward and ability to take shots at goal, and as DM these will leave us less exposed than when he used to attack like this a few years back.

    Of course it will also be useful to give him more game time as well and see him recapture that early form so that we can start resting Kos and the BFG more often with these two big months now upon us.

  10. AFC says:

    AB, I know but what Wenger has to understand is needs must. I do not care if we have to play long ball for this next month to won all of our matches, you do whatever it takes to win matches.

  11. AB says:

    AFC. You can only laugh with Durham. Yes he is a twat. But he is winding us up knowingly and happy to score easy points whenever given him. In short he has never, to my knowledge, said anything worth listening to about the Arsenal.

  12. AFC says:

    He did say Källström was a fantastic player. I wonder if he was trying to wind us up then.

  13. Aussie Mike says:

    Totally agree with TV5 being given a chance at DM. Go back some years and remember the fine form of Emmanuelle Petit who joined Arsenal as a centre back. He was excellent when converted to midfield and scored some great goals.

  14. Hahaha AFC. I cant wait to listen to Durham, he does make me laugh !.

    Who`s going to score the goals ?…………no problem !……..Arsene felt no need to bring in anybody in the TW, so who am I to argue with him, he must know what he`s doing !………he`s a qualified coach, a qualified economist…….I`m just a van driver !. 😉

  15. AB says:

    AFC. Yes, fully with you – I will be happy with the ugliest 3 points in history! We have to be pragmatic, and to be fair we are showing much more of this in the last 12 months. But we are not at panic stations yet. We are not digging up reserves and schoolboys to fill our 11 or midfield bench. Tomorrow we can start with 2 of Arteta, Ox and Ros in our pivot – hardly impoverished! And we have Jack coming back, we think, next week. Whilst Flam err rests to conserve his strength for later challenges! If needed we can bring in more unfamiliar options, like Verm, but there is no critical need right for it now.

  16. No that wasn`t sarcasm, Durham does actually make me laugh and anyone who does that is ok in my book !.

  17. Milo says:

    JB, I never threatened to stop supporting the club…I said “I can’t take this shit anymore”, when we drew to Southhampton, but I didn’t mean supporting the club. I meant being positive about our chances. I think what Wenger did or didn’t do with Kallstrom is rather funny and amusing. I was a little angered by it, but it’s just our luck that he would step off the plane and get injured, hahahahaha 😀 I am a little concerned that we are paying his wages, but there was no transfer fee as far as I am aware of, and the wages are a drop in the ocean for us, with all the money we have accrued 😀 I think it was a waste of time, and I’ve never heard of another top level manager pulling this particular stunt, but Arsene has done a lot of GOOD things, that other top level managers never have, and never will do 😀

  18. AFC says:

    Cockie, I know he does and he thinks Spurs are a even bigger joke than we are.

    AB, Arteta can only play one game a week which means we rotate him, to prevent him from getting injured. Who do we play against Bayern or any other top teams we face. Rosicky and the Ox can fill in but against top opposition, I am not fully convinced they can.

  19. proudgooner says:

    Great post TA,
    You hit the spot with what i would do and what i think Wenger will do.
    That is putting Podolski on the pitch much more time in the end of the season. I have hoped, thought that Podolski is going to do great things and be vital at some point this season.
    Wenger rates him highly and has been saying how good his finishing in front of goal is. He even went on to say He is 1 of the best he has worked with. That is some compliment when you think of the strikers we have had.
    Podolski is a secret weapon. The weapon that has gone under the radar due to his injuries.
    I expect big things from him. Wenger not playing him a few times has made us wonder why? But Wenger will have a good reason, a reason only he needs to know, i like to think its just wanting to get him 100% right and to make sure he is fit for a time like now.
    The goals will come , i would like more goals and not signing another striker will cost us a few i think, but he tried , having loan deals turnt down etc.
    I haft to remind myself that Podolski, Giroud have only been here for 1 and a half seasons. So now they will be at there best. The same goes for Cazorla
    People keep on saying Giroud has to play every game., when Bentdner can play.
    Before you think i have gone mad, he was playing well just before he done his ankle, back to full fitness too. Plus he has been with Arsenal for 8 years, that tells us Wenger believes in him.
    A year ago people were booing Rambo saying he was shit, sell him.I think NB could surprise a lot of people, i hope he does.
    Also the way we play 1 up front, NB is able to play this role well, big and strong a like for like.

  20. AB says:

    AFC. Not sure Art can only play once a week – he’s not a pensioner yet. No, he can’t do it regularly, but on occasion I don’t see the need to be too soft. For Bayern, Flam all comes in. But hang on, we seem to be moving from having Verm as an option at DM (which I favour) to seeing him as the answer against the very top teams (which is a huge leap of faith, which I have to question). The TW has been disappointing, but let’s not overstate our squad predicament; our problem is more that we have little left if we have a couple more injuries rather than we are in crisis now.

  21. AFC says:

    Ahahaha AB, just shows how highly I rate Verm as a DM.

  22. proudgooner says:

    That was to AB above lol,
    I dont think there is a massive problem Arteta and Flem are fit, TV5 and cover and Rosiky has been playing it really well.. I like the balance we now have between defence and attack i think we have it spot on really.

  23. proudgooner says:

    I hate United, i get a real pleasure out of watching them getting scored against and losing. 🙂 ha ha h ha ha

  24. proudgooner says:

    You zimmer crew keep rocking chap,Can’t beat a beat an OAP gang bang in the Mc D’s car park fairplay. ha ha ha aaaaaaaaaa
    Oh and just hope the mrs does not invest in a set of binoculas , or she will get a bigger shock then if she did see a UFO ha ha ha

  25. AB says:

    Agreed PG. I only wish we could have had more footage of RVJ at the end of the game. He must be knotted up with anger about what he has landed into. Shame…..

  26. proudgooner says:

    I would of paid money to see the look on his face when Fergie told him he was retiring , Oh i love it. Plus he is back to the injury hit days of old usual. I dont think they will get CL football next season, i even bet a manc fan that on the day they signed Mata

  27. proudgooner says:

    I mean when people say he must regret leaving us. I mean he must really think what have i done? How much of a prick do i look? Loved at United, but for those who have supported him for 10 years are just sickened by him. Weigh it up ha ha ha , He must think i could be there with them .

  28. AB says:

    PG. Will be interesting to see what happens with Rooney too. He may just be making noise now to get a big contract, but can you see him accepting paying Europa league football next season? I love the thought of an ageing RVJ stuck in the Manure whilst Rooney forces a move out and their team have to rebuild from scratch. RVJ is no team player when a side is up against it – he is a good-time Charlie. Let’s hope his relations in the dressing room go the same way as their fortunes on the pitch

  29. jozefos2013 says:

    Thing is though PG, he probably couldn’t. A doom and gloom Gooner mate was distraught when we sold Henry and look at how well we were playing the season after. One of the reasons AW sold Thierry was that everything was going through him, which made our patterns of play predictable. I’m sure I heard a stat, possibly on here, that we scored more goals the season after RVJ left.

    I also wonder what conversation AW had with him which convinced AW that it was time to sell. Maybe he was just throwing his rattle out of the pram and Wenger decided enough was enough.

  30. proudgooner says:

    All so true mate. I think Rooney should move on. He has proved that he is there best player this season. I would love it if he left .All that talk by Moyes at the start of the season, saying i need you as back up, just incase RVJ gets injured.
    I would love it even more if he signed for us. Imagine that AB 🙂

  31. AB says:

    Everything seems to suggest Chelski for him, but we shall see. Arsene certainly will have the cash reserves, as we know well!

  32. proudgooner says:

    Agreed AB everything you said. On top of that though for me it was the disrespect he showed Wenger in many ways especially questioning his ambition. When he done everything for that man, He made him the player he is, turned him from winger to striker and that was how he repaid him.
    Whilst Wenger was right in saying the players we have are not far away from title contenders.

  33. proudgooner says:

    if there was any signing i could have , even over the next 2 it would be to see Wenger sign a new contract i am sure he will, i know he loves the club though and though. But it makes me a little nervous him still not doing so.

  34. JM says:

    Either Gibbs or Monreal (as our makeshift box-to-box midfielder) partnering Arteta in centre midfield.

    That would give us Gibbs, Monreal, Cazorla playing at our left half of the pitch & support midfield together at the same time.

    For me:
    Szczęsny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Gibbs, Özil, Cazorla, Gnabry; Giroud.

    Subs bench: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Rosický, The Ox, Podolski, Bendtner

  35. proudgooner says:

    Frimpong today oh dear, he is funny

  36. Nizam says:

    I f I aint wrong.Vermallen has not been playing for some time.With the Swede’s injury,why not play him.That is unless Wenger has been faking the former’s job. You never know.
    Older fans will recall the 1978 CF against Ipswich. Robson,then Ipswich manager,said one of his key players was injured. But on the actual day,the guy turned up and if remember correctly ,he played a stormer.

  37. proudgooner says:

    Plus Judas was the club captain and he jump ship and joined united what a disqusting act for an Arsenal captain to do. To me its just unbelievable the more i think about it.

  38. proudgooner says:

    It could be Wenger has been known to do it before ,Wenger is a very cleaver man and would not sign him for no reason, he does make mistakes though.
    Also the media has said this not the club, il wait to hear what they say. I am sick of the media whinding up Arsenal fans and Wenger


    Interesting TA

    I have a theory why Arsene wont play Verm there, hes not up to it. hahaha

    No, ime be serious, Verm would get dizzy, knackered, and have a nightmare.

    The modern midfield player requires the ability and skill to receive the ball from all angles and release it when pressed at any 360 degree requirement.

    Ox will play tomorrow, hes very close to full fitness.

    By the way, every one knows my views on FFP but when pressed my standpoint has always been do not pre occupy yourself with the rules or UEFA and Platani

    What is UEFA? Its a body that only exsists because the big European clubs allow it to exsist. Who is Platini, apart from been a great player and a man who resembles Sacha Distel, an employee, that is all.

    FFP is not primaraly about the rules (economics), it is about Politics.

    There are only a handful of Clubs, Man City, and the two French ones that are currently flouting the rules big time. Dont talk to me about rules. I am an accountant in practice for over 20 years, I know how to bend every financial rule imaginable. Lets talk Politics.

    Now ask yourselves this, How long before the big Traditional Clubs of European football gang up and go to UEFA demanding action if this situation continues? Not long i think. if Uefa dont deliver, then the Big clubs will form a break away.

    It wont come to this. There will be a compromise because its every one interests that there is.

    FFP is having an impact now, but its effects will become more evident over the next few years.

    Keep the faith

  40. proudgooner says:

    Very interesting. Sounds like the darts situation and i can see how that could happen

  41. James Bond says:

    cheers @ TA – that’s a very viable option and adequate solution – that is something which AW should have tried instead of getting a player for the sake of it , really.

    what you suggest is exactly what I had in mind, TV5 is the way to go, you actually mirror my thoughts and write them ever so eloquently.

    this is a healthy solution for everyone really and I can’t see why TV5 wouldn’t prosper at this role either –

    saying that, it’s not quite reached the level to panic just yet, we have plenty of players who are eager, fresh and raring to go….

    both Rosicky and Poldi are big match players and I expect them to deliver the goods in these next crucial 2 weeks , when we need them both the most along with the rest of the core.


    ah ok, sorry I thought TMHT might be confusing me with you , as it stands I was confusing you with someone else, my apologies for that one.

    regarding the rest, not much to disagree really but you know what they say right ? always a first time for everything in life – this will go down in history or keep repeating itself in every transfer window ” Arsenal signed an injured player during the transfer window to provide cover for their injured players , who returned backs to full fitness before their loan signing “.


    from the previous post ,

    it’s all cool @ TMHT – I knew you didn’t mean ill and I am a lot more mellow these days, for reasons well known 🙂 and no, am not on the morphine, just yet !


    cheers mate and I think the medics are getting the blame unnecessary in this one, since they informed AW about everything and AW went ahead with it – it was his call as is everything else.

    am not going to criticize AW anymore on this, he knows what he’s done , it’s his team and as long as he gets us 3 points tomorrow and keeps winning, I don’t care whether he uses NB, Park or anyone else – his team, his problem – he gets the blame for it and he gets the credit for it, I only demand 3 points and 7 goals tomorrow (I don’t ask for much, do I ? 👿


    Yes PG, City will play in the BBC version and take on Barnsley in the final.

    Good old Frimpong will the have a choice of Birds from Barnsley and Manchester, and I for one will be delighted for him

  43. James Bond says:

    oh yeah, and you can already see the likes of Chelsea (jose) already beginning to make plenty of noise about City’s finances and urging UEFA to investigate (the cheek of the fcukers ehh) @ TMHT

    also, it’s good of both AW and JM to highlight the fact that man city have gotten very lucky with the ref’s and owe them a lot, they said it in a very nice manner – rest assured, the favourable decisions will reduce now as the ref’s will know, the heat is on them thanks to 2 top managers highlighting this in the open and questioning it –


    Mourino is obviously a hypocrite Bondy, but the truth is Chelsea are in line to fulfill there FFP obligations. Thats why they havent won the league for near on five years.

    FFP is flexable and a compromise designed to satisfy all parties and stop a possible divison at worst and the odd exclusion at worst. City and the French clubs are fully aware of that.

  45. proudgooner says:

    Oh thats fantastic, some football back on the BBC again it will be like back in 1980’s , Will th city team grow beer bellies andbecome angry and sweaty.

  46. James Bond says:

    solid points and agreed @ TMHT

    not sure if that was the reason for them not winning the league but am going to put Glics new DFS sofa on the line and say that they won’t be winning the league this year either, neither will be man city but I can tell you that it’s a team from London though , the Northern side of London and no, it’s not shi*hart lane either.


  47. proudgooner says:

    mind you they will probably double our TV licence tax bill for the privalege

  48. James Bond says:

    that’s typical of them to do so, no ? @ PG

  49. proudgooner says:

    Yeah it would be JB, tv licence is just wrong.
    I hope something does come out of the ffp.
    big games coming up, including tomw, i am not sure what i predict for the score yet.

  50. James Bond says:

    yep, and most of the time, no one even bothers with BBC anyway thanks to all them digital boxes and the internet now…but C’est La Vie.

    predict 7-0 mate, can’t go wrong ; ) or your usually reliable 3-0

    it will be difficult though against Tony PUBIS’s men , absolutely hate that fcuker

  51. proudgooner says:

    me too mate, but i want Palace to to safe in the Prem and he will give them that.

  52. proudgooner says:

    I am going to try and get my head down for some sleep. Goodnight mat, speak tomw or today.

  53. James Bond says:

    see you later @ PG

    thoughts for tomorrow’s game

    why don’t we tweak our formation a little ? why must we need someone besides Arteta anyway ?

    we can always go with this formation


    Sagna……………….Best CB pairing in the world …………. Gibbs




    sorted ? against the negative Tony Pubis at home, that will work , I reckon.

  54. nee naa says:

    I had been thinking of these. TV5 more than capable in that role, i think AW had been thinking about it earlier. The only reason i think of why AW doesn’t do so, is because he wont dare to lose TV5 as a defense cover, his the only experience cover we have.

  55. James Bond says:

    Gerry , where art thou… hope you’re feeling better now and the toothache plus earache have vanished…looking forward to your match day tactics and starting 11.

    JGC….you as well … don’t be a stranger !

    17HT must be enjoying the long awaited snow.

  56. bsmithy1954 says:

    TA enjoyed possible utilisation of great resource in TV5 but as suggested by TMHT can see issues for him with quick recognition movement and intricate passing required against the high press defensive attitude of top teams. Love the thought of the improved aerial strength and his speed and strength in tackling and his energy but don’t think we will likely see it and NO WAY could Sagna perform I this role.

    If ever Arsene could be excused for a “nothing ventured nothin gained” moment surely versus Crystal Pulis would be it?

  57. Gerry says:

    Good morning all, I am glad to see we are getting down to the reality of moving on?

    Nice post TA – You have opened up the debate in that key area, DM. Trouble is I don’t think AW really sees the position in the same way as most of us?.

    We (assuming I have the majority sussed?), would like a player who can get opposition teams in a mindset that makes them want to play around this guy, not go through him?
    Whereas, AW wants the player to be positional sound(Arteta), can organise the defensive shape(Flamini) and be able to switch from defence to attack when we repel the opposition(JW, Rosi). Tackling seems to be assumed, or is of lesser importance?

    There hangs the problem. Not one of the above can be said to have it all without being weak, or weaker in one or two areas. Take Arteta for example. He tackles well enough, and reads the game pretty good. But is not that quick, so cannot cover a large area, and possibly does not see the early pass forward. He is less vocal to get team mates in the right places. Flamini’s strength is the latter, plus covers larger area, and is great at filling the ‘spaces’. Tackling not his strong point. Jack is the better than both at bringing the ball forwards, can tackle, but can have some defensive positioning lapses. Rosi is just simply better at bringing the play forwards and bringing others in an advanced area into the game. He can tackle, but you would not want him to be doing it all game?

    So we can all add names of who could ‘do a job’, but they each carry similar weaknesses. It is a specialists role, hence there are a few of them. So whoever plays, they will need a sidekick to cover what they lack.

    TV5 would be the tackler. Probably best suited to a central opponent like say, Benteke? Less suited to the quick footed, nippy players.
    My own choice, with support from an Arteta type, or even with TV5 in a real shut down, would be Gibbs. I differ slightly from JM with the idea that you would have a trio of players on the left side, as Cazorla should be on a licence to roam. But even so, you have enough quality going forward, albeit only on the left side, and speed to get back and assist in the central defense area. In a similar way that Ramsey would?

    If Hayden is as good as some of the coaches reckon he is/will be, then he alone is the one possibility to do the ‘solo’ sometime in the future. In which case, we should be seeing more of him coming off the bench and playing alongside the experienced guys during the remainder of this season.

    It remains to be seen if Coquelin gets to figure as the B2B player, but his chance will only happen when JW10 and AR16 are out at the same time. Not to mention Kallstrom?

    Right, the game today will require a little thinking about, in that area, and others, so i will ponder that now.

  58. Gerry says:

    Lost my broadband and so lost a possible team set up!!!!!

    Briefly, Gnabry plays ahead of Podolski. Either Ox or Rosicky partners Arteta. Otherwise all the usual suspects.

    Grrrrr, blasted high winds dropping my connection.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comments last night, fellow G’s. terry might have a point, but we can only judge once we seem him play there. Why would be more ‘dizzy’ in the DM role than the CB role, though? There is a lot of Flamini in TV, I reckon, which what we need in the next few weeks.

    Arteta still has something to offer but against the bigger teams he is vulnerable and needs too much support from our box to box player, leading to a disconnect with our attackers… Something different is required.

    Maybe it is Gibbs but I prefer TV’s leadership and experience.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point, Gerry, that nobody is complete in skillset. Great follow up comment. Hope your bb works again now.

  61. jgc says:

    TA, JB et al

    Ok, am here. Wildly under gun work wise, late Jan and Feb are my worst months every year, many grants due, new under and post grads arriving, scheduled research travel and summer holidays with family if they fit…

    Regardless, a few breathing minutes in Liege/Luik … My take

    A. JBs lineup today to crack the canned bus

    B. TV could do well in what I used to call the “breaker” position. When I coached we often played 4-5-1, much to disgust of parents but I’m a visionary and it suited my team. My central 3 played a diamond. A distributor (Ozil), a non B2B holder (Arteta) and the breaker. The breaker runs b2b has good skills but more energy and defense.

    C. What does a breaker do? Why not this game? When playing good teams with offensive prowess, there is usually one star who makes it all go in their engine. Say, like Yaya for City… E breaker in those games has two jobs:

    #1 : break up the other teams star player. Deny them service, time, space and just run them off the field. If it’s a striker never let them receive the ball outside of their own third of the field. Regardless follow them everywhere…. You lose one player but so does the opposition. It hurts them more!

    #5 : and yes I numbered correctly, support the attack.

    Given enuff energy this is possible and the attack doesn’t fail either… I see that as TVs role more than the typical definition of b2b.. And he’d be great at it too IMO..

    D. When to play? When the other team is overly reliant on one engine.. IMO, to win the league, we must win our “doable” or expected games. Then we must at least draw Chelsea and must beat City at home. Easy? Use TV for City vs their midfield engine or just Aguero, Chelsea to shut down strikers so they. Ever get a shot, and so on… Versus parked buses he’s not as needed..

    E. For today: I like JBs lineup. I also like Poldi in a B2B in a pinch or up front as needed. Recall he has a cracker shot at distance not unsuited to the b2b role..

    F. Kalllstrom, I think is merely loan insurance for outside backs where he’s played before and where we’ve not the flexibility to shift as we do in midfield…

    Cheers — jgc

  62. AFC says:

    JGC, that was logic when I was thinking about using Verm in bigger games. Luiz was converted performing the ‘breaker’ role(?) when Benitez was in charge at Chelsea and became integral to their team.

  63. AFC says:

    Another point linked to JGC post is the use of man marking. Very effective when the opposing team has one two star players. I remember when the Czech Republic done this against Portugal in the last Euros if I am correct? They had Gebre Selassie (at RB) and their LB who I cannot remember followed Ronaldo and Nani wherever they went with their two DMs filling in for them when required. Man marking seems to be something we do not use but could be very effective?

  64. Morning Palace Pants Probers 😆

    Lots of talk about Mansour City`s Financial Unfair Play in the papers and on here !. Talk usually ends up as talk when the perpetrators are filthy stinking rich, only action will appease !.
    I do now understand that the Chavs are finally falling into line and it seems they are doing what we were doing for many years…..selling players to buy themselves !.
    I can agree and see the logic in what Stretch says about all the ( normal ) big clubs ganging up on UEFA and demanding some action, but that’s what is needed ….ACTION !.


  65. geoffchase says:


    Normally, man marking costs you shape and continuity. Thus, the return has to be worth the cost. In our case with our injuries it may well be so! Equally, even without one our midfield and outer defenders are well blessed in the shape and continuity capability , so, again, maybe a good choice now to best suit what we have!

    Cheers — jgc

  66. AFC says:

    Now reports are saying we want to send Källström back…

  67. Not bad for a mid-table team !.
    As previously revealed by Scoop Monster…..£70M and not forgetting the £53M per year which will soon come from Chevrolet !……£123M per year without all the others clambering to get in on the Global Monster ( Not related to me ! ) act.
    To be as big as them is about trophy`s and to acquire them you have to spend some serious dosh !. Especially when you have the money and need the players due to perennial chronic injury problems !.

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post, New Post. 🙂

    Dylan has written a fab, energising preview, and he has even convinced his very own mum to contribute! 🙂

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