4-4-2 till the end the season? Arsenal – West Ham Afterthoughts

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After the FA cup semi-final game against Wigan I was critical of both Cazorla and Podolski. I felt they did not do anywhere near enough to justify the trust Wenger put in them, their seniority in the team and the wages they collect every Friday afternoon. But yesterday, against the Hammers, they both performed significantly better, powered on by the veteran playmaker Rosicky behind and around them.

Cazorla played with a lot more zest and invention, even occasionally taking on defenders in and around the box to make things happen. He added another dimension to our attack yesterday, benefitting from Rosicky’s drive and willingness/ability to motor on our attack.

The other big positive yesterday was the Pod’s brace. We all know that if there is a chance in the box, Lulu is the man who should be at the end of it. His hammer of a left foot is absolutely deadly, especially in the box.

This has made me think again about what to do with the Pod: should we keep him and where should we play him in our formation/team?

The problem with him is other than a great finisher, and the occasional attempts to go past his man on the left flank and get the ball in the box, he does not offer much to the team. Wenger does not appear to like these sort of players: we only have to think about Arshavin, who although  a different kind of ‘left winger’ – let’s face it, neither of them really are – also had special individual attacking qualities but was neither blessed with great stamina and team spirit.

Without Theo, Jack and Ozil, the Ox still learning and Rosicky unlikely to play each and every game till the end of the season with the same vigour as last night, will Wenger opt for what looks like a 4-4-2 formation during the last games of the season? With Giroud (or Sanogo) our main target man and the Pod feeding off him with the same hunger and deadliness as he did against the Hammers?

Could this be Arsene’s new Plan B?

I thought it looked like we did indeed play more or less in a 4-4-2 formation, albeit with the full backs providing most of the width. Rosicky helped the DM-pivot duo of Arteta and (the growing on me) Kallstrom in the middle to keep things tight (and we have been looking a lot better defensively over the last two games, despite the two goals conceded), whilst Cazorla seemed to revel in his free role behind the two central attackers (with Rosa adding thrust and creativity).

I have little doubt that a 4-4-2 formation could be a safe way towards gathering as much points as possible till the end of the season, especially with Ramsey (and soon Ozil) coming back to full fitness and Kallstrom and Flamini being available too. But will it mean a lot of crosses into the box, with both Pod and Giroud attacking them, and with Cazorla lurking for any scraps?

Would this formation suit Pod best?

And finally, would Wenger really go back to such basic formation, even just as a temporary measure to keep us above Everton?

Over to you, FFGs 🙂

TotalArsenal

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91 Responses to 4-4-2 till the end the season? Arsenal – West Ham Afterthoughts

  1. AB says:

    Hi TA. There’s a lot to be said for this, and it would certainly favour the Pod – as well as Giroud probably. On the pro side, I think the risks of this approach are also more marginal against the ‘weaker’ sides that we will face in the run-in; a top side might make hay against us in this formation. The con however, and the reason why I don’t think we will actually do this, is that the return of Ozil and Ramsey means we can revert to our plan A, with most of the key components available again. I can’t see Wenger doing otherwise. It will be very interesting though who he leaves out this Saturday, assuming Ozil is available and Ox and Rambo are both fit. Ozil perhaps may start on the bench, but do we leave out Flam for Rambo? And, assuming the Ox must start if fit, which of Pod, Ros and Santi gets shuffled? Ros would be my guess. I can’t see KK starting to be honest – he might not get another start this season; but I would not be at all averse to having him around next season as squad cover.

    Top result tonight for us – though a shame they got a goal back near the end; I do worry about goal difference. And city tailing off now may take some of the media spot light away from us – which would be a blessing. Hull away next – they will be up for a dry run at us for the cup final; our boys need to pick up just where they left off yesterday – angry and full of fight! COYG!!!!

  2. James Bond says:

    nice one @ Skipper

    agreed with you that a 4-4-2 might well be the way to go for the next few games , however, with Ozil back – I think a 4-3-3 with the POD playing on the LW will be a thing of beauty and will serve us well , because we will be playing teams who player either a 3-5-2 (Hull )or a 4-4-2 ( Newcastle) themselves .

    the important thing to remember is that we are getting our main players back, and some who have a bit more pace and energy on the field as well.

    I genuinely think that Poldi should stay on the LW as he can provide decent crosses /accurate ones and also, is an asset on Free kicks …

    his confidence is returning just at the right time and I feel that both him and Giroud may well end the season on a high !

  3. Arsenal_VCC says:

    Hi TA – Good point regarding some of the potential benefits of the 4-4-2. However, I wonder if it may be a strategy to use at certain points in a game rather than the entire match. My concern is simply that given the lack of speed and inability of some of the offensive-minded players to track back, if it would expose the backline. I think that we have really suffered in not having Theo (or an effective substitute for him) around this season

  4. Twig says:

    Why not?

    Podolski Giroud
    Cazorla Flamini Arteta OX
    Gibbs Koscielny Mertesacker Sagna
    Szczesny

  5. alcide says:

    TA,

    I think 4-4-2 will be a clearly viable option to be used against the relatively weaker teams we will be playing against. I don’t believe however that Pod is a long term first team player, his flaws (limited dribbling skills, no (or bad) defending, average pace, poor aerial capability…) are too much of a tactical and individual limitation for a team we would like to compete beyond 4th place/16th CL.

    I Arsene will probably move in and out of the 4-2-3-1 / 4-4-2 / 4-3-3 depending on the situation, but may start games with the former, with who-scores-the-first-goal to determine evolution? By the way it looks like we have the best points per game ratio of the EPL when we score first.

    Agreed on Rosicky yesterday, but you have to mention Rambo – in 20 minutes he showed a forward drive similar to that of TR7’s, plus his vision (what a beautifully cushioned header!), capacity to turn around and get past defenders to break the press, and especially his asking for the ball *in movement* instead of standing still – this changes the whole game geometry at a rapid pace that defenders can’t adjust for instantly, and immediately opens space for through balls, creates player movement, and brings (back) dynamism to our play. And of course his engine gives him a running volume that is precious defensively.

    Also agreed on KK. He does bring some of the strength and height we were lacking in midfield, reads the game relatively well, has a good left foot and can pick short/medium/long range passes, and showed confidence for his first start. He misplaced a few passes (but I think it’s not bad considering he is being slotted in a place where we have suffered from heavy pressing, and are playing a difficult passing game). He actually completed more passes than Mikel… not a benign statistics. Also had most tackles for the team (failed quite a few though).

    JB, I replied to you on the previous thread…

  6. alcide says:

    Twig, I’d replace Arteta or Flamini with Rambo for a 4-4-2 (if he’s recovered). And Mikel probably needs a rest.

  7. Twig says:

    @alcide Certainly. I was working on the players fully fit at the moment. Will Ozil have a role in a 4-4-2?

  8. alcide says:

    A less obvious one, but LM or RM, but he would have to pull his weight tracking back..

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points, guys. I would like us to play Pod and Giroud closer together for a while with the Frenchman actually being the one to help out in midfield occasionally.

    Yes Ramsey is getting back to full fitness but Ozil won’t have many games left….and Wenger might go with plan B for the rest of the season instead.

    Let’s see what’ll happen. 🙂

  10. Twig says:

    I feel this squad has been underutilized. There are a lot of interesting possibilities that the manager has not explored. Sadly, we’re stuck with a manager that’s a bit too cautious to try new things…

    @alcide Ozil and Podolski upfront could work.

  11. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    Innaresting.. IMO, there is not really a 4-4-2 often, but actually a 4-1-3-2. The “1” is the DM or back half of a midfield diamond with the pivot the center of the 3, your distributor. If your wings are very aggressive many will call it a 4-3-3, ala RM with Bale and CR (and DiMaria).

    Thus, I think we lack that “1” particularly, but Kallstrom or TV in my oft heard opinion might be interesting there if we cant find the right one otherwise.

    It also requires your wings to remain wide and offer serious threat of pace, ala Theo, but not so much the others, to echo JBs recent comments. I.e. a 4-2-3-1 we have doesnt force that need so much, you control midfield and create (tho pace is always nice) and thus strangle your opponent … And score a bit less sometimes. Whereas 4-3-3 at teh other end of the spectrum with 4-4-2 (or my version) in between. The 4-3-3 is a high scoring aggressive beast and requires that pace we dont have enough of, and the 4-4-2 is the happy middle as long as you have that coverage beast DM type.

    Just my 2p — cheers — jgc

  12. geoffchase says:

    I should have said perhaps the reasons why

    4-3-3 = favors pace because it leaves lots of field open in middle and front, effectively teh field is longer with more room to run forward and create opportunities for pace

    4-2-3-1 = favors pace less because it opens wings but controls middle of the field, effectively shortening it, and requiring more guile and movement (ala Santi or TR or JWs bursts)

    4-4-2 is in between depending on how you play it..

    All IMO of course

    cheers — jgc

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment, ooh scalpel-sharp analyser! 🙂

    Agreed we dont really play 4-4-2, but the more we see Giroud and Pod operate together in and around the box, the more it looks like 4-4-2 and the more we seem to get from the Pod…

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey fellas, I gotta agree with what (I think) the professor is saying…I don’t really believe AW thinks “formations” in the standard way. Rather he works from a very standard blueprint and hopes to get guys to fill spaces for one another. As such, if Ozil and/or Ramsey can play, I think Poldolski may become our super-sub, ace-in-the-hole sort of guy if we’re chasing a result in these remaining matches. Santi (I believe) looked much more effective just because there was more space to fill–going forward–with the line-up used against West Ham than with the one used vs Wigan… As always, this is just my take on things…

    In the Wigan match we had two young guys (Yaya and the Ox) who were given attacking roles. Obviously Lu-lu was in there as well, but the clear priority was to avoid conceding. It didn’t work. Lulu looks very bad everywhere (IMO) except in the final third and the younger attackers couldn’t get the breakthrough (though they came close with the great cross and header early on). Moreover, we seemed to go from nobody in the #10 role to too many folks there near the top of the box. Again, other players need to work off Santi as he abandons and then refills that spot when it’s given to him…The younger guys will learn…

    Against West Ham the difference was Rosicky and Giroud in for the young guys. At first it was like (what I think of as) “Total Football” and Sagna even popped up in the CF spot (!) The downside to that approach is that guys like BFG covering for him (at RB also early on) look really gawky trying to play this ideal. Again, we conceded the first goal but this time, shortly afterwards, Poldi got forward, handled a lightning pass from Santi, turned and scored…

    Thank Dennis we got that one and then got the delicious (but also Route-1-ish) 2nd goal from Vermaelen to Giroud. The 3rd goal–a cross to a header down to a run off the shoulder ending in the Poldolski pile-drive–is more like the creative, break down the bus stuff we’re really after. Was it 442 or just movement induced out of the standard Arsenal formation? I think the latter, but WTF do I know?…

    Anyhow, onto Hull Tigers (or whatever their name is)… A big one, but I like how we’re coming back from the injuries and adding to the squad match by match… I wouldn’t expect a radical departure from “the Arsene-l way.” If the results (and the football) keep(s) flowing, however, it could be something to build on by the end…

  15. Don’t forget Schlongburglers…..ITV4 for live FA Youth Cup at the Emirates @ 19:30 !

  16. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, if you haven’t already taken a look at the comments from the last article, I provided a “bigger picture” comment that you requested.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Good comment, 17, and to you I give the same response as I just did to the Prof.

    Wenger most definitely thinks in, and sticks to, formations, but that does not mean players cannnot move about…. and I have seen a shift recently towards more of a 442 approach. But like you, WTFDIK! 😛

    My question to you is: how CAN we get the best out of one of the most accurate chance converters in the PL/Europe…. the answer surely is 4-4-2, no? 🙂

  18. proudgooner says:

    I would leave Podolski were he is now on the wing, he is doing a fine job at the moment, scoring a lot of goals and he does put in very good crosses.
    I like the 4-4-2 idea a lot as a B plan , 1 of our biggest problems that i have noticed this season is that after some really good fast attacking play, when we are ready for the final ball no body is in the box. We need more bodies in the box so playing 1 more striker could well be the way. 🙂
    p.s
    Oh and i want Podolski in the long term plans, he is world class, he is doing a great job at the moment but he is a specialist a crosser and powerful shot-shooter. he is not a marathon man. But a very deadly hitman, i like him, we need him, he is better then Gervinho and letting him go was a mistake. Podolski stays til the end of his carrer

  19. proudgooner says:

    Come on you young guns,under 18s ITV4 1 nil down to the chavs and 3-1 down on aggregate , we need 2 for extra time. Tough ask , but they are playing at home at the Emirates

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Total, I think I get what you’re saying… You like to use the formations (and I don’t…), but I think we’re asking the same question, which might be: if Poldolski plays, how can we keep him up in the final 3rd (where he is actually useful)… The answer might be Vermaelen at LB as it was the other night. Yes, he can come forward now and again, but by inclination, he prefers to stay back. Gibbs, on the other hand, when he comes forward, tends to bomb all the way to the by-line…Nacho (as the haters will rejoice…) seems truly injured…

    So maybe that’s the answer? Call it a 442 (if you must…) or just say that we’re using guys who might tend to stay in their areas to increase their effectiveness. Personally, I think we might see it again on Sunday if the only change is Ramsey for Kallstrom (or Rosicky). More likely would be that change plus Gibbs for Vermaelen. If Ozil were to come in, I think Poldolski has to sit with Santi given the starting spot on the left wing…

    All told, as guys find their fitness (or are no longer subject to Weng-juries, i.e., enforced rest…) we’re looking more flexible. Yaya spells Giroud; Ox and Rosicky (and maybe Ramsey) share the right wing (starting point); Santi, Rambo, Kallstrom and (hopefully) Ozil (and maybe even Flamini or, get ready for it…Diaby…) get the 2 more attacking (#10 and/or box to box) MF roles. Hell, even (ancient, creaky, ready for the pasture or the glue factory…) Arteta might get a game off now that Flamini is available as our last man in front of the CBs. Left wing (Poldolski’s spot) is the one area of trouble. If we need that goal AND the others can get him the ball in the box, he’s the man. If we’re holding a lead a guy who can fill spaces and help on defense, even if he doesn’t have Lu-Lu’s finishing ability is probably the way forward…Kallstrom, with his strong left foot might be an option over there, I would guess. Like I say, for us to play at our best, I think it’s Santi’s (working with Gibbs) as the first option…

    Or, of course, we can fire the manager, sell all the players and try a whole new approach… 😀

  21. proudgooner says:

    Ray Parlar teaches LuLu Podolski some Cockney slang, for the non English Gooners it is also a chance to learn some of the lingo 🙂
    http://swol.co/funny-arsenal-legend-ray-parlour-teaches-lukas-podolski-english/33978?

  22. proudgooner says:

    17,
    I like the way your thinking, and i think you are right that is why it worked the other night. I am not always a fan of to many defenders attacking. Not all the time any way.
    I like it your right let LuLu attack and let the defender defend simple. 🙂

  23. proudgooner says:

    1 worry issue i have at the moment is Sagna and KOS both threatening to leave. We need KOS and we need Sagna KOS more so. But we need both Losing Sagna on a free would be madness give him what he wants. It will be his last big contract and he deserves a big 1, he covers RB and CB
    The othe option is buy another for what 10-15m to get a player of the same class, so why not just give him £80,000 a week, you would be saving money,he will not find it hard to find another club even more so on a free.
    Sam,e goes for KOS he is on £50,000 a week, other big clubs are sniffing around . To break up the BFG-KOS partnership would be a disaster so give him a pay rise of the same £80,000 , i know its crazy money but that is what they are worth in these crazy times 🙂 ha ha ha ha it defo beats the min wage lucky bastards
    What would you do for £ 50,000 a week????? ha ha ha ha ha

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Haha PG, I just read that if AW signs Sagna could too… The Kos to Bayern stuff I don’t even click on…We’ve got enough to worry about with the matches, I think w/o getting worked up about these stories which (I often think) are just agents doing their jobs… Arsenal have shown that they are putting their money into keeping players more than in playing the transfer (lottery)…

    Of course, that’s with salaries that are within reason. RvP makes 50% more than our highest paid guy and now Rooney’s signed on for another 50% beyond that (!) There’s talk of Reus to United (or was it Kroos…) for 250K/week (or was it 300?)… When does it end?… Like I say, I try not to get too worked up about these stories, but they (most certainly) play to the “if only we spent our money” or “Wenger is a f*cking skint” crowd, who seem willing to get into a froth while giving the papers the hits/reads that makes them THEIR money…

    Don’t do it. Instead, bow with us (or me, at least…) and say your prayers here at the church of AW and all will be OK…

    😀 (again…)

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    I disagree with PG that Pod is good on the LW. I dont like him there at all. I like him to be in the box and being fed most of the time rather than a feeder himself… he can do it, which is a good ADDITIONAL skill to have but the boy has a hammer to be served nails in the box….. bang bang bang!!! 🙂

    So the idea of 4-4-2 with OG and Pod playing mostly close together but with the Frenchman helping out in midfield a lot – far more effective than Pod there – could actually work. We need goals as we have not scored many in the last few months, so why not continue to play Der Pod more centrally?!

    Good point about Vermaelen staying behind more, 17. But with 442 – or shall we call it OG-Pod in the box? – we do need our FBs to come forward and put crosses in too, and Gibbs does this very well.

    Yes players are coming back but I have seen Wenger sticking to a ‘Plan B’ before towards the end of the season, as to bring home le bacon.. and we cannot afford another period of adjustment. So lets see what happens to Hull and back! 🙂

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    I watched the second half of the youth cup game and it was not good. Depressing actually. The Chavs played sooo much better collectively and most of the one to ones were lost by us. Vickers, the young goallie is looking like a great talent; despite his unfortunate own goal, he did everything right. Akpom was isolated but fought like a tiger and the defence held out well, but not much else to be positive about.

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ooh…that doesn’t sound good (re: the youth cup)…

    Total, I hear what you’re saying about Pod tucking in more central and I have no objections. If Gibbs were at full fitness he’d be great making triangles on the left with him and Giroud or a MF. Many people noted the good combo work between Poldolski and Gibbs, though I have trouble remembering it as we’re talking over 1.5 years ago. My worry is that Gibbs’ stamina is on the lower side as he (maybe) hasn’t been able to train much due to injury…

    Like PG, I really don’t mind the Pod *anywhere* in the final third. That ball he sent in (early in the match) to Giroud should’ve been an assist but Ollie couldn’t adjust to it in mid-stride. Of course, it got overshadowed by the uglier miss a few moments later when he (Giroud) refused to use his right foot and toe-poked wide with the left. Fortunately both are (somewhat) forgotten by the goal he did score…

    I’m hopeful that whoever plays on the left is able to help out more with the scoring (Santi is due a goal or three…and I love to get KK one before the year is out…) and a lot of it is about our basic possession play and forcing the other team deeper into their own area. Injuries, (though, of course, never an excuse–rolly eyes…) have hampered things. We need the ball and we need to move it from our half into the final third and make chances. Not giving it away cheaply (as vs Wigan or in other matches with even worse results) would help…A LOT. Having boys like Ramsey and Ozil (and Rosicky and Flamini) will help in this regard. (Is Jack done for the season–and the Summer?–I fear he might be…) I liked Kallstrom’s contribution the other night and he’ll improve but it took him awhile to settle into the match (I thought) and he was slow tracking the ball on their goal… He doesn’t hide, however, which seems a very nice thing…

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Giroud’s goal was very special, 17, and so were his misses hahaha 🙂

    He is an enigma, but I am pretty sure he will be leading the line again next season.

  29. geoffchase says:

    TA and 17 and PG et al

    I’d side with TA and 17, Pod is enormously useful attacking but less so with defense. Thus, up front suits better. Good burst but not as much pace favors that too.

    We do need the top cover tho for the sole DM. that said much of our remaining competition might favor a 4-1-3-2 (yup sticking with that) where assuming fitness we could go with something like

    GK

    Usual 4 backs +/- TV

    Flam/TV/KK?

    AR – Ozil/Arteta – Ox/TR

    Pod – OG

    Where my first listed is preferred choice, but Ozil may not go a full 90 for awhile yet. For example…

    I’m hopeful we won’t be too pressed that we need a double DM and can thus maximize the players we do put on the field. There’s also Gnabry and TR et al as impact subs .

    Just some pence.. jgc

  30. geoffchase says:

    Oh

    Shoulda added in Santi either with Ozil or AR …

    Cheers — jgc

  31. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice stuff TA.

    I dont think we need a change of formation. For me, the key is Ramsey.

    With his “perpetual motion” he should be able to get up and support Giroud and thus allow Pod to drift into the box menacingly on the left side.

    The injuries have really hurt us. Its basically made good players like Giroud and Pod look crap.

    Fourth place and the FA Cup this year, and the title next season.

  32. Admir says:

    Nice stuff, TA.

    Lukas Podolski conundrum is a really heavy one. It seems that his best role might either be as a left striker in 4-4-2 or perhaps as a central attacking midfielder that is positioned a little bit on the left in some sort of 4-3-2-1.

    There is a joke in Bosnia that goes like this:

    a Bosnian was asked whether he would have sleep with Scarlett Johansson or with a bear twice. He put a palm on his chin, took some time to think and after a few moments he gave a response: “With a bear twice, of course. Scarlett Johansson is Scarlett Johansson but twice is twice!”

    So, let’s beat the Tigers twice.

  33. James Bond says:

    or thrice 😉

  34. James Bond says:

    Poldi for me needs to be playing all the time, even as a Striker – PRovided Ozil plays in the same game.

    the reason why he doesn’t make those runs forward is that , he knows there won’t be many people providing that killer pass hence what’s the point and I do not blame him either

    however, with the likes of Ozil, JW nearing a return – he is going to be focal to our goal scoring and I would much rather have him as a CF than to have a target man like Giroud for some games , yes, I would bench Giroud and play Yaya then bring on Giroud as a super-sub as opposed to bringing Poldi as a super sub for now.

    next season if Giroud is leading our attack then there is something fundamentally wrong with our mindset at Arsenal (the think tank) – let’s hope Giroud is there at Arsenal but not leading the attack more like supplementing it

    he can lead the attack whenever we play in London or at the Emirates though 😉

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey there…Anybody around and watching the matches today? Lotsa relegation fights on the card and we’re getting close to some teams needing wins to avoid their fate…

    Anyhow just looking for a little chat if anybody is interested…Maybe the Aussies are still up on a Friday night…Anybody else?…

  36. proudgooner says:

    I am not against Pod playing more centrally, but i still feel like at the moment he is playing well and scoring lots of important goals. He is left footed and is scoring a lot drifting in from the left.
    That said we all know how the Prof likes to convert a winger in to a centre forward. An idea i think Wenger has given a lot of thought as he recently said something like due to his deadly finishing he is not always sure were to play him.
    The main thing for me is that he is playing, he is in very good form. Scoring plenty,.
    What about Sanogo / OG partnership?

  37. proudgooner says:

    im am watching the games 17,
    il be cheering on Fulham ha ha ha

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey PG, Watching Totts-Fulham…Nil-nil after 20 mins and both teams have had some chances but both look pretty tentative, i.e. the game could use a goal, as they say…

    I know you’re big on Poldolski–and it’s hard not to be when he gets goals–but I think there’s a problem with his game which is the essence of Total’s post…

    Not to oversimplify, but it could be said that he’s *only* valuable to the team when he scores or assists and maybe he *needs* to be the “main man” even if he does his best work when defensive attention is diverted towards another striker. Giroud (and Sanago) are big fellows who defenders must respect. If their finishing was just a bit more lethal (or in Yaya’s case, if there was any film of him in an Arsenal shirt actually scoring a goal…) the defenders would have to worry about them even more…Poldolski, tucked in fairly close on the left could be a beneficiary.

    But then again, so could a lot of other strikers. As such, many were hoping he might have to compete with a younger German (Draxler) back in the January window… That guy seems to have a more complete game even if he (most certainly) cannot match as a finisher. He also seems to have the ability to get past defenders, one v one, and create chances in a way that Pod cannot. Given that it’s a team game–even mores maybe at Arsene’s Arsenal, it could be argued that there are a lot of players (not just Draxler…) who might be an improvement in Lu-Lu’s spot.

    Anyhow, it would seem a tough time to drop him after the brace vs West Ham. Still, if Ramsey and Ozil are healthy, you would think they might have to play. Likewise, the pace and power of the Ox also seems worth getting into the match. My hunch is that Poldolski starts tomorrow at Hull (as does Ramsey, Ox and Ozil on the bench…) but that he gets subbed on the earlier side if we need a goal. Even if we don’t he might get subbed on the earlier side if we could use more defensive help…

    Spurs go ahead, set-piece from Eriksen tapped in by Paulinho, completely unmarked…

    Hahaha…Sidwell scores at the other end, almost immediately…

  39. proudgooner says:

    True 17, probably Pod/OG would be better then OG,Sanogo at the moment. Like you though i think we can’t afford to drop Podolski at the moment neither would i want to anyway lol
    Ozil is very good on the right wing too, that way Cazorla could still play as the number 10 role as he has started to do well lately, true on the OX as well, it sure is nice to start getting players back.

  40. proudgooner says:

    We do need Sanogo to break his duck, i am hoping he will be like Rambo once he starts scoring won’t be able to stop. I believe he is going to be a top striker, he is looking better and better even with out scoring.

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    PG, I’m OK with using Poldolski as a sub. (i.e., dropping him)… I just don’t think we will…

    Also, it sounds like Gibbs is out and Nacho is a fitness question so Verm is likely to go again at LB which I think helps Lu-lu’s game as Verm stays back more than the other guys (allowing Pod to stay forward)…

    The things I like about Yaya are his size and his attitude. He definitely could use a goal. He seems to (maybe) need to avoid rushing his chances, just a bit. I’d love it if he could get some late action (and that goal…) in the league matches but I’d probably like to be leading by a couple if he’s gonna come in. I definitely think he could start in the cup final given that it’s a (potential) 120 minute match…

    Totts get in front through Harry Kane… poop…

  42. proudgooner says:

    3-1 to spurs it looks all over, that Ericson sure is a class player, we really shouid got him at the price went for, oh well never mind. He is spurs best player by a mile

  43. proudgooner says:

    17, that was a terrible penalty by Sid considering how valueable a point would b for Fulham

  44. James Bond says:

    I don’t really think that there is a problem with Poldi’s game, moreover there’s a problem with how AW uses him.

    I am going to make a big statement (surprise surprise) – Poldi is the only big match player we have currently in this entire squad, yep, not a flat track bully this German.

    it doesn’t help when he’s not given enough opportunities to justify his high wages – at the start of the season, he was hardly used and when he was, Against Fulham I think he scored ? then in the CL play off game, he scored twice then got injured for 4 months – came back hungry and was used and is still used sparing – when was the last time AW last played him 3 times in a row ? I can tell everyone – you will struggle to find the answer to this one, however, it may change when he starts tomorrow and I think it will be the first time this season ?

    in times like these, you need your big players firing at all cylinders and Poldi for me is a big player for us, who has been under used – but that’s just according to me.

    yes, AW likes converting wingers to strikers and CF’s to wingers for some strange reason…if it worked with Henry 10 years ago, doesn’t mean it will work again (Gervinho, prime example).

    how can you be this poor at taking penalties @ Sidwell ? considering you were once a gunner !

    nah, Erikson can stay at spuds – he can be a big fish in a mid-table team and look good.

    give me one of the best players in the world, any time aka Ozil @ PG 😉

    oh manners manners, Hola me Amigo 17HT and Ello PG 🙂

    where is Fozzie with a B these days ? and Price, you can’t do that to us….write all that and then just disappear, come out and play with your gooner family and let us have your thoughts on the Poldi’s conundrum 🙂

  45. James Bond says:

    *Prince

    and Sparingly *

    just looked at the training pictures and my days, do the boy look happy and united or do the lads look really happy and in high spirits !!! great to see

    and even more chuffed to see the likes of, Ozil, Ramsey, OX, Rosicky, Santiago, Flamini, Arteta, KK and DIABY at it…

    we will have JW and TW out :Shock:

  46. proudgooner says:

    Just a thought we may finally get to see Ozil and Podolski link up, that is a pairing i have been keen to see flourish, i hope it does. We will soon see i hope.

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed PG, Eriksen is quality. I think we’re kinda set in his category with guys like Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere and Ramsey. Of course, we could’ve (maybe) gotten him AND a striker like Higuain for the money we spent on Ozil…

    The blocked pen (and earlier) strong save by Lloris on Rodellega’s header were probably even more important. Lloris will be a big key for France getting anywhere in that tournament in Brazil, I think…

    Spurs have a lot of players with some value. Once they get a manager in and he (and Daniel Levy) starts his wheeling and dealing, people up that way will get excited about their chances…Should they have stuck with AVB? We’ve got enough trouble in our part of N. London for me to worry about that question…

    Now, which of the 3 o’clocks is worth watching?…

  48. James Bond says:

    west ham vs crystal palace 😉 😉 😉

  49. proudgooner says:

    Hello JB,
    I agree with you on Podolski, he was not used enough and the gamr v the hammers was the first time i believe for ages that he played 90 minutes. I think Wenger must of had his reasons, even though i nearly always back up Wenger i won’t on this 1, but i think he realises now like us that Podolski is hugelly important to us at yhe moment and i hope for years to come.

  50. proudgooner says:

    Come on Palace , JB ha ha ha could be a good match, both same standard

  51. proudgooner says:

    prediction on the match????
    il go for 3-2 to Palace

  52. proudgooner says:

    i did not know Chamakh was out, but i will stand by 3-2. They lose a bit going forward with out him though.

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey 007, I agree that I’d like to hear from Prince (and the other Aussies)…

    Re: Pod…Yes, a big game player IF he’s in position to take his chances. The problem, I think, is that the English game or at least the way we play it, is too up and down the pitch for him to be in position often enough. When he’s not, he looks pretty poor (in my opinion). With Wenger holding Gibbs out (and calling Nacho a fitness question, i.e., he’ll be on the bench) it looks like the Verm at LB, Pod ahead and not much overlapping will be the order of the day… I hope he keeps scoring but (to me, again) I doubt this set-up is AW’s preference…

    These run in matches are all about not conceding, esp. on the road. If we give up the first goal (again…), Hull City (or Tigers or whatever they’re called) will be better focused than the Hammers were, knowing that beating us in the league will serve as an inspiration for the cup final. It’s a tough match and we need to match the energy they will bring…

    Additionally, the new faces are great, but we have to hope they can work together. As such, I think we’ll see minimal changes to the starting 11, probably only Ramsey for KK, but maybe AW will have a (slightly) quicker look to the bench if things don’t go to plan…

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, fellas, who’s going down?… CP vs West Ham, though it is a derby, might be between two clubs who are safe… Are Swans and Villa “too good” to go down?… I might watch a little of the Toon-Swansea match, I think…

  55. proudgooner says:

    Sund, Cardif and Norwich going down i think 17

  56. James Bond says:

    or it could may well end up being a very entertaining 0-0 @ PG 😉

    agreed – Re- Poldi with you.

    yes, but that’s why you have the likes of Arteta and Flamini playing, no ? it’s not due to his poor positioning with the LB , it’s due to our lack of a Proper DM , one with pace and presence – and it’s not TV5 playing at LB to shield Poldi , it’s more along the lines of KK playing and reading the game properly and allowing Poldi to do what he knows to do best , which is to be a threat .

    but that’s again just me and you might be right that this isn’t AW’s preference the whole set up but he is clever enough to know something which goes like this ” why fix something that’s not broke “.

    @ 17HT

  57. James Bond says:

    well, if WHU lose today then they are going down along with Cardiff and Norwich possibly @ 17HT

    what do you reckon ?

  58. Dylan says:

    Lots of discussion on Poldi. My opinion is that he should be an impact sub. Or used as a false 9 with very pacey wingers (which sadly only Theo and Ox could fill the roles of). Therefore, he should be on the bench unless we have some serious injuries. For Hull we will need to be careful with our lineup. We need some strong players both mentally and physically.

    Szcz
    Sagna Mert Kos Verm
    Flamini Kallstrom
    Ox Ozil Poldi
    Giroud

    I seem rather contradictory after saying Poldi should be saved for the bench, but with Gnabry out and Santi being too small to face a physical team like Hull (and he could probably use a rest) Poldi will have to come in for this game. Santi will be an important game changing sub. I also have Verm over Gibbs at left back because Gibbs and Monreal are both doubts and I thought Verm was fantastic at left back against West Ham. He completely shut down Carroll and few times and made no glaring mistakes that I recall.

  59. Dylan says:

    17HT, I think Norwich will go down (sadly, because I have a close friend who is a Norwich fan), I think Cardiff will go down (sadly because I quite like Cardiff), and I think Fulham will go down (not sadly because I hated watching them and their seemingly apathetic attitude towards the game today). A win for Villa today makes them seemingly safe. I think West Ham is safe. CP is safe. Hull is safe. West Brom is under threat. And Sunderland is under threat, but Sunderland can take confidence from the City draw and Sunderland has enough in hand to pull out of the relegation zone, probably on the last day.

  60. Dylan says:

    Uh oh. Forgot that we have Rambo! I’d put Rambo on there instead of Kallstrom.

  61. James Bond says:

    soon you’ll have to find a space for both JW and Diaby as well, me thinks @ Dylan

    good selection headaches to have in my opinion but then it makes you wonder, what’s the point if AW get’s his starting 11 wrong ?

    how he could play Sczny vs WHU after the Fabianski show 3 days prior to it, I will never understand – had Fabianski played, we could have won 3-0 easy.

  62. Dylan says:

    JB, Diaby will not be fit this season I think. Even if he is, he doesn’t belong on the starting line up. Our fully fit starting line up is this.
    Szcz
    Sagna Mert Kos Gibbs
    Jack Rambo
    Theo Ozil Ox
    Giroud

    Even Flamini is well ahead of Diaby. As for Fab, he’s a good shot stopper, bad goalkeeper. That’s why he’s best in cup competitions. Penalties are his specialty. His decision making is pretty poor. Even worse than Szcz. That being said, Szcz isn’t the finished product. But he is deservedly first choice. However, Fab belongs in the FA Cup final and should stick around as our second choice for next season.

  63. James Bond says:

    you never know re- Diaby, he’s playing in 2 reserve games in this coming week – I don’t know about that Dylan, I much rather have a fit (match fit) Diaby ahead of Flamini and Arteta any time of the week, day or evening – why ? he’s got presence and is a very intelligent footballer and is an asset, providing this one dimensional midfield with additional set of skills.

    disagreed re- Fabianki, remind me the last time he conceded more than 2 goals or even 2 goals whilst playing for Arsenal since he got his mini run vs Bayern Munich last year ? if he was such poor at decision making and so on, then surely we would have struggled massively to put on a run of 10 undefeated games in a row or gone undefeated in the FA cup with an opposition who had put 5 goals past us earlier.

    let’s not kid ourselves with him being a penalties specialist stopper either, his distribution is better than Sczny as well.

    nah , I don’t think he deserve to stick around only to be a 2nd choice for next season – I wouldn’t blame him for leaving as in most clubs around Europe, he would be their number.1 hands down and the lad deserves it.

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, halftime thoughts…it was kinda fun watching bits of all the matches and trying to figure out who was really pushing and who wasn’t. Tough pen for Cardiff to give up there right at the end…

    Agreed, 007 that proper DMs might allow Lu-lu to stay more forward… Disagreed, Dylan about Hull being such a physical team (esp. compared to West Ham… Carroll and Diame, esp.) and benching both Santi and Sicky (not to mention Arteta)… I know you like the younger and bigger guys, but the experience, I think, will be key…

    My grander point about Poldolski is that ANYBODY playing in his spot will benefit as our midfield gets healthier and thus better (relative to the opponent, and luckily, we only have clubs whose MF should be weaker than ours…) Pod came up big vs Hammers (note, both Santi and Sicky were available and playing) but not so much against Wigan (where Ox’s contributions were mostly in trying to finish or make assists over on the right and Santi was all over the pitch filling holes–some maybe made by Poldolski not being so strong at playing the same sort of role)… So…on this point, I’m with Dylan. Poldi is best when we need goals, i.e., as the super-sub. Of course, in the must-win games, we need goals from the kickoff…

    Overall, beautiful smile notwithstanding, it seems like it’s becoming an issue between Lulu and the manager over his use…As such, esp. if we bring in a winger/forward (and don’t forget about Theo) I have to wonder about his future at the club…

  65. Dylan says:

    Fair enough JB. Your points are valid re-Fabianski. And I agree Diaby SHOULD be a player with huge presence and technical ability, but his injuries and lack of playing time has ended any chance of him having a career I think. We will have to bring in a player like him in the summer (still won’t give away my wish list yet 😉 ).

    17, I think players like Elmohammedy (spelling?), Huddlestone, and Livermore will bully Santi off the pitch. They won’t necessarily do that to Arteta and Sicky, but I am becoming increasingly worried about the number of yellows the two continue to pick up. Especially Rosicky. Some questionable yellows lately and without the ball at his feet, he isn’t the most useful. His running with the ball is intelligent. But his passing is just average and runs off the ball are only slightly above average. I would pick Santi above him for this game. But a Rosicky over Santi for a game like Norwich.

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cardiff back to level with the Webb make-up Pen…

    Haha, the debate about the PIGs (Poles in Goal) is funny. 007, I think you overstate to defend your territory, but that’s the nature of this (stupid, pointless) activity… At some point will you tell us that actually Szcz is shorter than Fab…

    Just kidding, of course… Personally, I think they’re both pretty good keepers but I’m with Dylan and I was glad that AW is the manager since I was scared poopless remembering Flappy vs Newcastle and coming late when they beat us (at home) on a Carroll header a few years back. Not saying that Sir Chez doesn’t do his own stupid stuff… But there are a lot of close calls and you (007) have a selective memory…Remember Sz stopping that critical penalty against Udinese in the CL qualifier, for example. Or Flappy getting into red-card and pen position vs Sturridge in the 2-1 Cup win. He chose not to dive, but if he had, Webb would’ve surely pointed to the spot after not giving the Suarez dive on the Ox clattering earlier…

    Lots of folks are getting worked up about who should start the cup final. (Obviously, Flappy. IMO, and then we try to keep him at the club…) I also think Yaya should start that one (Giroud needs to rest before Brazil…and all the ladies on the beach…)

    Cardiff goal, in the net, but called back…Still 1-1… Swansea has leveled as well…

  67. James Bond says:

    or you would think that it’s AW’s master plan to push the 2nd highest earner at Arsenal out of the team to accommodate and make room for new SQ signings (wishful thinking)

    I don’t know what it is but I agree with you @ @ 17HT ?

    ahahahahahahahahahahahahha – agreed @ Dylan but I do think that he still has a good chance of having a Career at Arsenal, even as a back up and to be used with care, like one game per week , the same way Ledley king had been managed by Spuds and England – the lad deserves to have a career, after his unfortunate injuries and events – he has taken a pay cut from his contract during all this time out due to injuries, I bet you didn’t know that ehhhh

    he is not one of those, who likes to take his full pay whilst being injured ala RVP e.t.c e.t.c e.t.c

    he has my respect for it and I would like him to still succeed at Arsenal and come out as an Arsenal legend by the end of it, helping us win many many trophies (although, we still need a proper DM or Bender though, hence agreed with you there as well !

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Interesting thoughts Dylan. I really like Elmohamady (spelled all kinds of ways, including El Mohamady, I think…translating from arabic is guesswork…) Huddlestone is big but slooooowww…and Livermore not much faster. They are mostly offensive players, IMO… Curtis Davies is a strong athlete… Are you gonna write the match preview?… IMO we could use new threads with a bit more frequency…

    Also, agreed about your picks for who’s going down… Can’t see West Ham really falling that far but they are now down vs CP but I haven’t really studied the table and the remaining fixtures…

  69. James Bond says:

    there you go, you can talk about Fabianski and what he did a few years ago and so on but let me remind everyone that football is a current business and like in any business, i mean sport, you look at the bigger picture

    and in the bigger picture – Sczny has single handedly cost us 2 CL’s in consecutive years, almost cost us the top 4 trophy in 2 years running and has a brain fart once in 2 games, on average on a good week.

    he’s 24, has played more games than most goalie’s and still there is talk of him “maturing”

    I don’t have a problem with him being at Arsenal for years to come but out of all those years and decades to come, he needs to be on the bench , if there is a keeper performing better than him and on merit is ahead of him – which to be fair to Fabianski, he is at the moment.

    but we all know that AW has his favourites, that’s why you have the likes of Sczny and JW getting the treatment they get from him – not always deserved I reckon.

    oh Palace winning, how nice ahahahahhahahahahaha

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Thanks 007, always lovely when people agree with me…. lol…

    I’m really rooting for Diaby… I think, however, that we tend to remember the good over the bad when guys are out. For sure he is a talent–I esp. loved the standing stab tackles he sometimes pulled off, but we’ve got to see him in action again. As good as his talent suggested he never really imposed himself on (took control of) matches as you want a central MF to do… Dude is seriously skinny but I wonder if he’s able to put on a little muscle as he gets older. Some guys are that way and he might be the type (I think)… If he is, and he can keep fit, and if he’s been diligent in watching and learning during his time off, I think he’s got a chance…

  71. James Bond says:

    it’s difficult not to agree with the voice of reason and I am not foolish to disagree with you just for the sake of it, ha

    Dylan has raised good points and so have you, it’s all a healthy discussion and good to see !

    Diaby when fit, has actually dominated games – last year he was the reason why we won 2-0 at Anfield ? he also dominated in one of the games for France (world cup qualifiers) and then got injured…

    he is obviously capable of doing it but yes, caution is the way to go with him – he needs to retire from international football for the time being and we need to use him once every week , even after a proper pre-season.

  72. James Bond says:

    sunderland to win against Chelsea today.

    with that being predicted – am off, been a pleasure as always everyone.

  73. Dylan says:

    JB, I have actually head Diaby is taking NO wages while injured. Quality guy, doesn’t make him a quality footballer.

    17, not sure if I have time to write a match report. Perhaps I can write a quick something tonight.

  74. Dylan says:

    Mark Schwarzerjsheidbajdhwh (I believe that’s the exact spelling) in goal for Chelsea! Borini and Wickham to score! I predict 2-1 to Sunderland and for Chelsea’s home win streak to end!

  75. James Bond says:

    quick one –

    don’t be so quick to write off diaby, yet @ Dylan

    we had a guy by the name of Robin Van Persie , who had similar injury patterns to Diaby and look how his career panned out (maybe Diaby needs a horse placenta as well, ha

    for me he is a quality football when fully fit and match fit though as is Rosicky, I know you don’t really rate both of them but that’s down to you being more demanding , ha

  76. 17highburyterrace says:

    You’re maturing so nicely, 007… 🙂

    Good point about the Diaby match at Liverpool…I might’ve watched that one on a stream (when I was in Spain)…

    Now I’ll say something controversial…

    This whole bit about using the form player and the notion that football is a game that’s all about the “right now” is how the supporters might like it, but it’s not the same as “managing.” Managing is a balance between the need for results NOW and in the future. As such, sometimes you gotta play your young guys even if they’re not ready (they need the experience) and rest your better guys, even if the match is a “must win” (Aren’t they all?–the example I’m thinking about is Ox and Yaya starting in the semifinal while Rosicky didn’t even make the bench…) We don’t get the straight story from our manager (very frustrating) and our expectations are ridiculously high, but I like the way our guy (AW) tries to balance the “tyranny of the moment” vs the long term improvement of the club…

    That’s just me, of course, but (as I’m starting to do regularly…) it seems more appropriate to judge the manager (or ask others to do likewise…) based on his overall approach and long term record rather than match to match based on results. As such now’s the time for the “Wenger Out” statements, not tomorrow if things go against us, in my opinion…

    And on that note, I’ve got coffees to pull… 😀

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    Back now…Chelsea match to kick off…Sorry, but I don’t see Sunderland as the team to end the Moo-man’s unbeaten home record…

    007, Dylan doesn’t think Diaby and Rosicky are no good because he’s more demanding…Nope, he just hates old people… 😉

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon guys 🙂

    Interesting discussions going on, although no new points of view 😉

    How deep have Newcastle fallen, giving a home lead away with such lacklustre performance?

    Chavs, unfortunately but with no doubt, will win today, and remain my tip for the title (ever since they beat Mansour city).

    Dylan are you offering to do a preview? Please let me know as soon as you can.

  79. Dylan says:

    Hahaha 17 and JB. I don’t hate old people! I am just a fan of youth and have very high standards of players surrounding their ability to pass the ball, specifically.

  80. Dylan says:

    TA, I will write a preview. I will mail it to you tonight (for me) so in 7 or 8 hours probably. For now, I’m off to watch the Chavs game.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Good response there, twice, Dylianus 🙂

  82. Dylan says:

    1-1. Wickham on the board. My prediction looks on, just a Borini goal now and my prediction is spot on!

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not so soon, there Totes… Schwartzer (talk about your old folks…) spills one… Wickham taps in…

    1-1

    So, while I’m at it, Wenger out, TA?… 😀

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Okay I eat my words! Wick ham is on fire.

  85. 17highburyterrace says:

    Believe me, I hate Chelsea, but how is that not a penalty?…Even in American football…

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    It is up to the man himself, 17.

    Am I excited about another season with Arsene in charge? No.

  87. proudgooner says:

    wooooooohoooooooooo hooooooooo hoooooooooo lets all laugh at Chelsea

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