Line-Up against MC: Rosicky to start, FlamShere in midfield, Sanogo or Welbeck?

Is it time for Rosicky to start a match?
Is it time for Rosicky to start a match?

Over the last few days, many a Gooner has given us their predicted/preferred line-up for the game against Man City on Saturday. As I far I can tell, nobody has predicted exactly the same line-up, which tells us both that we have a lot of players ‘to play’ with and are still undecided about our best eleven this season.

This is one of the nice things of blogging: predicting and dreaming about line-ups. I have predicted the line up many times but seldom got all eleven correct. This is partly due to Wenger often doing something unexpected AND my inability to keep the personal preferences fully out of the equation.

It looks like Ramsey’s twisted ankle is not too bad, and he might even play on Saturday. As others have noticed, Aaron is not firing on all cylinders at the moment, despite the goals he has bagged already. But he scored the all important second against the Northern Oilers during the Community Shield game in August, and if he is fit, he should play in my opinion. On the other hand, we have a big game in and against Dortmund midweek, and maybe it is better to rest Aaron for that bruising encounter.

It is also not clear whether Ozil is fully fit again. He missed both the Germany games but I have a gut feeling he will play on Saturday. Mesut is another player who has been struggling for match fitness and form a bit, and after two weeks of rest, this is the one for him to shine in and ‘re-launch’ himself.

Many predict a start for the Basle Brace hero, but I am not so sure. I reckon Wenger will start Sanogo as this game might just come a little bit too early for Welbeck. It takes time to settle into a team and get to know your team mates, and there would be a lot of pressure on Danny. I feel he might start against Dortmund instead, away from the home crowd and with some more days of practising with his fellow attackers under his belt. It would also be typically Wenger to persevere a bit longer with Sanogo and place Welbeck on the bench.

Many have Santi starting in the hole, as they assumed Ozil would either not be fit yet, or be played on the left. I am not a big fan of Cazorla in the hole, as he stays too close to the box and does not track back enough. Our midfield and attack are often too disconnected when he plays there, and he has not got the thrust that, for example, Jack or Rosicky have. These two are also better at bossing the midfield, whereas Santi’s strength is playing just outside and inside the box (an ideal formation for him would be 4-4-1-1 with him behind the striker). Personally, I would play Alexis in the hole in each and every game: he is the perfect mix between an attacking midfielder (Cesc) and a nr.10 (Bergkamp) and I would love him to take that role as our first choice; but that is unlikely to happen on Saturday.

I reckon the back five will be unchanged and both Flamini and Wilshere will be played in the ‘2’ of the anticipated 4-2-1-3 formation (rather than 4-1-4-1). I am a big believer of playing Jack in the hole, but he is not ready for it as yet (as we need regular goals from this position, and his final pass needs to improve a bit further). I also liked what I saw of him in the deepest midfield role in the ‘diamond’ against the Swiss: there is a potential Pirlo in Wilshere. So, in order to provide a solid, no nonsense double DM pivot, I reckon we will see both Flamini and Jack ready for battle on Saturday.

That leaves us with the wings. If Ozil is fit, he will start on the left with Alexis on the right (and Cazorla in the middle). If not, it might be Rosicky on the left and Sanchez on the right; or Sanchez on the left and Ox on the right. Whatever it is, it will be a strong attacking line-up, although I am still not too impressed with Ox’s form to warrant a starting place (and I know that many will disagree with me on this). 🙂

Predicted Line-Up:

Arsenal v MC September 14

Preferred Line-Up:

Ars v MC preferred September

The idealist in me would like Welbeck to start, just for the fun of seeing a new toy in action. I would like us to play with a solid midfield against the Oilers, keeping it tight with our passing and giving them very little time to settle. Rosicky is both so experienced and so passionate that I would love him to start. He had a decent game as captain for his nation against Holland and will want more now. Ozil on the right or left: it does not matter to me, as he will have a licence to roam and help out Welbeck and Alexis whenever possible. And yes Alexis in the hole for me. 🙂

What do you think fine fellow Gooners – and what are your predicted ad preferred line-ups now we are getting closer to Saturday?

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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43 thoughts on “Line-Up against MC: Rosicky to start, FlamShere in midfield, Sanogo or Welbeck?

  • I won’t try and 2nd guess, it can be difficult to guess the team. My choice is:


    Debuchy Per Kos Nacho

    Flamini Jack / Ramsey

    Sanchez Ozil Santi


  • Hi

    I agree with Ms a bit and you a lot… Well, since I communicate with AW directly through my tinfoil helmet, I know what I told him and I am sure it will look like my *preferred* lineup, which is:

    Debuchy – Koz/Merts – Monreal
    (2 of AR/JW/MA/Flam) — based on fitness, in order of my preference
    Alexis – Ozil – Ox

    Like you, I know AW is struggling against my imposing will and may throw some surprises. Thus, it could be Sanogo and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pod for Ox. The Cazorla – Ozil thing has to get sussed eventually, but not sure how. it’ll be Cazorla in the hole if AW uses his Ozil is hurt excuse to ignore my mental dominance…

    I think it will be less about the players than about how we play … not too too many back and sitting a little deeper to negate counters combined with a good press up front from my preferred Welbeck-Ozil and one of Ox/Alexis will do the job and stop City.

    jgc-damus calls it 1-1 draw in the head, 2-0 victory in the heart… still unsure who will rule that battle in the UMF call.

    cheers — jgc

  • I would put welbeck in rather than trying sanogo as it is a big game at home, also Rosicky will get the team moving with his energy all day #SuperTomas

  • That would be a good possibility. Ox and Alexis on the wings would be exciting, JGC. I just hope Ox starts to play at the required levels now… Rosicky has my preference for this one.

    I think your prediction is realistic but let’s stick to the heart. 🙂

  • We have pace up front. We need tenacity in midfield to cover the absence of a proper DM. Jack and Flamini give us the tenacity.

    My fear is going 4 1 4 1. I think it wastes Ozil and stifles Ramsey.

    Double blow.

  • Fully agreed. I reckon 4-1-4-1 was just a temporary thing, but in 4-2-1-3 the most advanced midfielder needs to connect attack with midfield and nobody has claimed that position properly yet.i hope Ozil reclaims it on Saturday.

  • You could be right TA, but apart from my attempt to cover the possibilities, I managed to mix up the dates of Dortmund CL game, and the COC the following week. But the Under 19’s do play in Dortmund while the seniors play at home. And the Under 21’s play today.
    I was right about Alexis in Chile in (our) early hours yesterday. What with jet lag and the early kick off he must be more of a doubt about starling than Welbeck?
    Throw in the the CL tie. and I would say nobody will be risked on Saturday if it means not being available for the Dortmund clash?
    So where does that leave us? Ospina played a on Sunday against Brazil, and I cannot find a later game. He was in training yesterday. A risk to play him against Man City, but, BUT just may be a bigger risk against Dortmund? In the CL it is hard to recover from a setback, in the league …mmm?
    Debuchy and Monreal I guess are certain to play, even if Gibbs is halfway fit, with the extra few days and he could get a start in the CL.
    Only Koscielny would be rested here, but no, the MertKos pairing are inseparable when fit, and neither played in midweek.
    Midfield – Triple tricky? Arteta back in training, but I say bench then CL. Ramsey ditto. Wilshere? Interesting comment in the week about him searching for an ‘identity’, for England more so. At 23 he should have had his role in the Arsenal line up sorted by now? But partly AW, partly injuries, and partly some indifferent play he is beginning to look like a spare at a wedding?
    Harsh? Perhaps, but there is an element of truth there, in that nobody can say he has nailed down a position as his? Shown promise, but that has to be followed up. To be fair, I think he does look more focussed at the moment. I am guessing there was a whole more to his ‘conversation’ with AW than he let on. THIS IS his make or break season!
    Conclusion; Jack will play alongside Flamini with the instructions to bring the ball out in transition, and pass early. Full box to box runs will be kept to the minimum. His primary role will be to back up Flamini.
    Higher up the pitch I don’t think Ozil will be risked if there is a doubt he will miss the CL game, so Cazorla is. Like you TA, I have niggly issues with Santi. He is not the player to play one-two’s in the box because he can be knock off the ball too easily. He roams, but his more accurate passing foot is his right, so he needs to be aware of both sides of the pitch. So if he stays that little bit deeper, makes himself available across the width of the box, and leave the inside the box for the stronger types. That should be AW’s instructions.
    Now in my imaginary world, pace either side of him will be Ox on the left and the Blitzing Bellerin on the right, thus keeping both our full backs defending. Those two will utlise Welbeck’s pace and movement to it’s maximum?
    In AW’s world, Ox may start as he is another looking for a position to nail? Versatility is one thing, but be extra good somewhere for continuity’s sake is another. The Blitz will likely play today, along with Hayden, and it could fall to Rosicky’s experience on the right.
    Welbeck WILL start. He is full of confidence. The vacancy of a central role is staring him in the face, and AW would be fool not to oblige him.
    So AW’s surprise team selection will be:

    Bench: Szcz; Chambers; Arteta; Ramsey; Ozil; Alexis; Sanogo.

    Formation: Fluid. 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-3-2 or 4-5-1 defending or 4-1-2-3 attacking.

    Prediction? I don’t do them.

    Keep the faith..

  • Fine comment, Gerry, and of course you could be right re your line up predictions. I am 95% sure Welbeck will not start, and 80% sure Alexis will. I like your line up though, although too weak for the oilers IMO. Alexis simply has to play, and he is fit as a fiddle anyway. Sanogo knows the system and Welbeck needs settling in. It would be very unlike Wenger to start him, but I could be wrong, and won’t mind either way.

  • Nice line up totes, and as much as not my preference Sanogo will start and although a friendly he played Sanchez on purchase week at Emirates cup so might start Danny boy.

    Like baba I like jacks tenacity oppose to Ramseys runs for this one at least for the first hour.

    Gerry your wrong sorry dude Sanchez will start 100%

    Here’s the starting line Arsene emailed me this morning

    Debuchy BFG Kos Monreal
    Arteta. Wilshere
    Sanchez. Ozil. Ox/Santi (he said he’s undecided)

    I did email back to swap Arteta for Flamini and Sanogo for Welbeck here’s was his response

    Mikel will organise the team he needs to play and Danny is having his first training session today so may not be up to speed, but as his job is straight forward he will probably play just not likely from the start.

  • H Bo, You should have emailed to ask which match he would prefer not to lose?

    Yes, there is a chance Alexis will start, and leave Rosicky to come from the bench?
    However, if he flew back yesterday, he will not do much training until tomorrow?

    Welbeck on the other hand, not only scored, he played at our new second home. No travelling as he is probably in temporary accommodation with Theo or Ox, even if he is in a hotel, still no travelling. He has played with Ox and Wishere before, but this time as team mates.
    Come, it is a no brainer?

    I see Sanogo coming on late against a slowing defense. Just what he needs. So whether it is with Rosicky or Alexis, there should be openings for him?

  • Predicted line-up: who the hell knows with wenger.

    Preferred line-up: (if Gibbs is fit)

    —-Sanchez———-Wilshere———-The OX–

    Named Subs:

    Any injury to GK then straight swap
    Any injury to right side of defense then drop back Chambers and bring on Flamini in midfield
    Any injury to either defensive midfielder or if it looks like the occasion is too big for either of them then sub Flamini in.
    Any injury to the left side of defense then bring on Monreal to cover either position.
    Any injury or tactical need for replacement in AM bring on any of the extremely capable replacements.
    Any injury to Welbeck bring on Sanogo.

    Should give us a strong, gritty, pacey, eager defensive pairing with tonnes of stamina who will both sit and let the front four play.
    The front four should give a very pacey, dangerous spearhead with Wilshere providing the passes and of course the tenacity that fair outweighs that of either Ozil or Cazorla.

    I think this shoring up in midfield with two DM’s coupled with an insanely pacey and talented front line should make the most of a game that includes maybe one of the only teams that can hold a greater amount of possession than us, which just screams counter attacking break to me.

    Btw we’ve had the Invincible’s, now how about the Invisible’s lol:


  • Steve I like your ‘visible’ line up
    But I have a gut feeling that Wenger will put in Diaby against fernandinho n toure
    so just replacing Le Coq with diaby
    Even chambers isnt quite ready yet for midfield so arteta will play

  • TA – Have you seen the training photos? Welbeck to start??

    Steve, you could do worse than watch ‘The Breakdown’ video on the Leicester game. Particularly the point about leaving us open to the counter attacks?
    Good mention for Cazorla too … and playing from the deeper position in the clips.

    I’ll be watching the Under 21’s live on the ‘Player later. Kicks off @18.45bst. This is the BT Partnership at work I guess?

  • Gerry,

    It’s actually on Sky Sports 2 on channel 403.

    Akpom has played brilliantly, and Zellalem, Crowley, Maitland-Miles, and well all of them really are looking superb.

    These lads look the best we have had as a group for many years.

  • Thanks RA,but I got it fine in HD on the ‘Player.
    I cannot understand why Maitland-Niles was on the right? Must be developing his left foot?

  • Steve I like the invisibles creative

    Gerry Sanchez trained today although he looked very lonely on the end of the bench in squad pics

  • H Bo,
    That was exvactly what i was thinking, about Alexis looking lonely and feeling sad.
    This is when Arteta comes into his own, you could see Ramsey really feeling for him but he can’t speak Spanish. Arteta will make him feel at home i am sure. It must be a big change for him.
    Arteta is a great captain , the players are happy that he has the armband too.

  • Surprised that you think sanogo will start over welbeck TA? I think given our strong English core a lot of our players have already played with him and that edges it in his favour.
    I doubt we’ll see more than half an hour with artrta or Ramsey given their recent injuries, which as many have said may work in our favour with flamini’s tenacity.

    Nee raj- diaby is playing in the u21s today so he almost certainly won’t play tomorrow

  • Also TA can you explain your incredibly bold decision for Ozil out wide and Sanchez in the middle?

  • All is explained in the post, Rohan. Ozil does not hold the centre enough and Sanchez is the perfect hybrid between Cesc and Dennis and would fit in the hole like a glove.

    Wenger will stick with the holding striker model and Sanogo fits this better right now. Welbeck will need time to get used to all the players and I feel it would be typical Wenger not to play him straightaway in such an important match. Best to come on in second half with less pressure on his shoulders, I reckon.

  • I would like to see Alexis in the hole, i think he could be amazing there.
    My first pick would normally be Ozil in the hole. But i dont mind seeing him on the left to try Alexis there

  • I am not to bothered about who starts on Saturday Welbeck or Sanogo.
    Both scored 2 goals for there country this week, in fact i think Sanogo got 3 goals in 2 games, but it was u21s .
    Sanogo is a fine player. V the foxes he found the space very well he just did not find the back of the net, he also hit the target but the keeper saved very well.

  • 2 more sleeps.
    Then have a nice early kick off v the northern oilers.
    Really looking forward to this match.

  • I do see what you mean regarding Sanchez and it could certainly work under the right circumstances but I don’t think it would currently work with our current injuries and opposition.
    Forgive me for getting my tactics nerd on but the reason I say this is Ozil and cazorla(or rosicky) all love to drift inside and that will congest the middle and restrict our ability to cross. While Sanchez could certainly move into channels to create width and the full backs generally push up when this is done,it would be a recipe for disaster with Jesus navas or nasri racing against monreal or debuchy.
    Essentially i think we would need quicker full backs or out and out wingers. Hence why I would like to see it tried with Gibbs on the left and Walcott on the right. Perhaps bellerin in the future.

    I can’t profess to having watched loads of Danny welbeck but I thought he could play as a target man? What would you think of Campbell playing in that role like he did for Costa Rica?

  • Jesus Navas and Nasri will make those runs anyway, regardless who plays in the hole, and they have to be dealt with by the team (including the two deeper midfielders). Dont see why this would prevent us from playing Alexis there. It wont happen though, not yet at least.

  • Rohan
    I thought diaby might have played against city or atleasy maybe a sub but looks like he is still recovering from injury anyway I read he played well in the U-21 game. Looked tired in the end though

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