Ox, Chambers, Jack, Gibbs, Welbeck, Theo: The Future of England Looks Bright

The continental media have often suffered from a superiority complex towards English football – both at national and club level. They love to talk down English tactics and the ability of English footballers and managers. They often get away with this as it fits the general perception of English football in Europe, and the media are generally lazy and stick to their dusty old scripts.


For example, after round one of the CL games, a journalist of Voetbal International – a renowned Dutch football magazine to which I subscribed as long as 38 years ago – came out with the cheap, presumptuous statement that German clubs are far better tactically than English clubs. In fact, he called English clubs tactically naïve.

Yes Arsenal had been beaten by a far better team on the night, yes Bayern managed to win at home against MC (but only just and with a late goal), and yes Schalke was able to hold the Chavs to a draw. So what? MC and Arsenal still have to play the Germans on these fine shores, and the Chavs probably had an off-day. Let’s see what will happen in the next few months, and how many German teams will top their groups come the end of the group stages.

The football played by Arsenal and Citeh is of a very high order, both tactically and technically, and the Chavs are the Chavs, as much as Maureen is Maureen. We might not like the way they generally play football, but nobody can call it tactically naïve, can they?

On a national level, things have been quite different for a very long time. The FA tried to change the way the national team played football by throwing lots of money at very expensive, internationally renowned managers like Capello and SGE. It did not really work out as various England teams underperformed during the last major tournaments. Roy Hodgson seems to be making a difference, albeit slowly. The oldies have gone and a whole new generation of more technically and tactically gifted footballers are now wearing the shirt with pride.

Last World Cup clearly came to early for Hodgson’s (long term) vision, as the team performed without much bite, purpose or self-belief. But with SG now retired as well, Woy can shape the team as he pleases. And it looks like our own boys will play an important role in England’s future, by occupying key positions in defence, midfield and attack. England started with four Gunners, and at the start of the second half there were even five on the pitch: Gibbs, Chambers, Wilshere, Welbeck and Ox (2nd half). And our most experienced international, Theo, will soon be available as well.

Some Gooners questioned whether this is a good idea, as our players will likely suffer fatigue and injuries from their international games and tournaments. But I reckon it will be key to both their individual development as well as establishing a strong core to the English and Arsenal teams.

It is hard to judge our players’ performances against a part-time park the bus team, full of players who’ll never stop believing their luck for playing against the big stars of Europe a few times a year.

We saw the versatility of Jack, playing more advanced in the first half and a bit deeper in the second. His over-the-top balls for Rooney were exquisite, but so were his defence splitting balls during both halves. His vision was sharp as a razor and his composure was professional throughout the game.

Danny was busy with putting pressure on the defence and had a few good opportunities before he scored his well anticipated and executed goal, made by the Ox. San Marino did not give England a lot of space, so we did not necessarily see the best of Danny on Thursday, but a goal will do and nobody can deny he put in a fine shift.

Chambers had one of his weakest games since he joined Arsenal. There was not much to do defensively as his attacking skills were mainly required on the night. He worked hard and played with healthy aggression and thrust, but his passing under pressure was often off and so was some of his decision making. I am hoping he will be rested for the game on Sunday, so he will be fresh when we face Hull City in a week from now.

Gibbs was solid and disciplined and supported the attack constantly. There was a maturity in his play that really pleased me, and I hope Hodgson will give him more opportunities like these.

Ox brought real thrust and excitement to England’s second half performance, and he will be pleased with his two assists (for Welbeck and Townsend). We all want him to burst through to the top this season, just like Aaron did last season. At the moment he seems unable to keep up his performances throughout the whole game, relying too much on periodic bursts of energy and purpose, whilst disappearing in between them. With Ozil out and Theo not yet back, AOC has a great opportunity to play himself into the team, rather than remaining a great option from the bench.

Let’s see what Hodgson will do against Estonia tomorrow: how many Gunners will he start and in which positions? Of course I am worried about our young talents getting injured, but I am also excited in seeing them play in an undoubtedly tougher game than midweek’s. I like it that Hodgson sticks to a system (the Diamond formation) and is getting his players to learn to play in it. He is a pragmatist and will make changes if and when required, but it is very important to have a system that all the players recognise and have learned to play in, and our boys are becoming the very core of this.

With the right system of football, tactics and quality footballers, England could soon be at the top of European football nations again, and once and for all silence the lazy European football press. And Arsene/Arsenal will have helped to build it. Arsene to proudly lead England at the next world cup? Pourquoi pas? 🙂

What did you make of our boys’ performances? And who are likely to become core players in the national team for the next few major tournaments?

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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16 Responses to Ox, Chambers, Jack, Gibbs, Welbeck, Theo: The Future of England Looks Bright

  1. AB says:

    Good stuff TA. There’s no doubting the talent that Arsene has brought together – it would be great f his legacy were to be helping England progress, just as he has done Arsenal (and the PL as a whole). I would add Jenks to your list by the way. I see Chambers as a CB and, if Jenks has a good season on loan, he may yet establish himself with the Arse and England. I’m hoping so anyhow!

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers AB 🙂

    It would be good if Jenks can make it too, AB. Cannot see it at the moment, but he is still young.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Night ‘all’ 🙂

  4. Shrillex says:

    Nice one Total. Everyone did great during their games especially Szczesny. He looked unbeatable against Germany. Hope we won’t get anymore injuries during this international break, we really don’t need another injury. The next thing you know, Gunnersaurus will be out for 9 months with a broken tail 🙂

  5. Xavier says:

    Good post TA. Unless I skipped it in the post you didn’t talk about Akpom though. That dude will give Danny a run for that too position. Came of the bench in the England U20 game against holland and scored 2 goals in injury time to help them to a 3-2 win. Tell me you don’t see greatness there somewhere. Keeping my fingers crossed on him and hoping wenger gives him a chance. I like that almost half the English team is made up of arsenal players. Now all they need to do is win a trophy with The Arsenal and that belief might take them to glory in the Euros. Roy is doing okay I guess. Looks like the boys like him and his methods too. 😄

  6. Gerry says:

    And Hayden captained the side, Xavier …

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Shrill 🙂

    Xavier, you might be right, but early days still. Same goes for Hayden, Gerry, and whoever Steve comes up with ext! : D

  8. steve says:

    unfortunately Xavier TA is right,
    we have a player who quite literally can’t stop scoring in league one in Afobe, so he will be gone at the end of the season a la Aneke. 😆
    We won’t see Akpom in the first team until Wenger has finished molding him to “the position he really sees him at” probably CB. 😆
    And Hayden will be let go at the end of the season because we have come to the realization that we don’t need a defensive minded DM at all and he will be surplus to requirements. 😆

    I’m only joking of course 🙂 what Wenger has done for England is actually nothing short of incredible tbh, and an almost complete realization of a dream i had for Arsenal many years ago – long may it continue.

    There are literally only two other players in my dream team we are missing from and English perspective in the Arsenal squad (and i am not surprised they are not there already as they are very controversial).

    Ravel Morrsion – More natural talent than i have ever seen in an English player but stunted by a ridiculous attitude. An injection of Arsenal class in this boy would produce an incredible player.

    Andros Townsend – the only naturally left footed, scoring, pacey winger i can think of that England has. Think OX on one side Townsend on the other both going down the wing or cutting in and scoring – it would be like having two Robben’s in you team on either side of your wings.

    Imagine being only a couple of players short of the dream team you’ve always dreamed of – I’m a happy bunny my friend 🙂
    And the lads we do have already continue to impress game in game out!

    COYG!!! 🙂

  9. Admir says:

    TA, you made an interesting and optimistic article with a deep analysis on our boys’ performance against San Marino.

    First of all, I don’t agree with you that the continental media haven’t had a point with their criticism of English football.

    1) There have been a comparison between English and German football policy. The Germans had suffered a lot before they realized they had to change something. So they applied things from the Spanish football (quick passing with a scientific method of measuring time between receiving the ball and releasing it – they’ve had an intention to get their players release the ball in space below one second) and appointed Matthias Sammer as a person in charge for all youth categories. Number of coaches per players ratio is also much higher than it has been in English football.

    2) German clubs have German players as their best players – Bayern have been always a core of German national team (at World Cup they had Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Boateng, Müller and Kroos) and world-class players like Robben, Ribery and Lewandowski are there to enrich a healthy base they already had. Top English clubs haven’t had too many English players as their top players – Chavs have Terry and nobody else, Manchester City have Hart and nobody else, Manure have Rooney and so much belief in Shaw that they signed Rojo and Blind…with Arsene and Rodgers making steps in that direction. Southampton also deserve praises for their work.

    3) Germany produce goalkeepers – people tend to mock English ability to shoot penalties in big tournaments but maybe they should focus on inability of English goalkeepers to save one. The last time England had won the penalty-shootout David Seaman saved one kick from the spot and the other hit the bar. It happened almost two decades ago.

    4) Germany produce managers – where are English managers?

    5) Hodgson’s fiasco at World Cup had a lot with his poor use of an exciting bunch of English players. He took Liverpool players but didn’t adapt his tactics to their abilities or to the one that worked for Rodgers last term.

    Anyway, as I’ve said already, Wenger’s presence in English football might be the biggest blessing for our English players and England.

  10. Neeraj says:

    The first ISL match took place today
    The Kolkata side completely dominated it
    Mumbai were missing Ljunberg(injury) and Anelka (suspended for the ridiculous Nazi gesture)
    I think they will improve ones the player gel but their midfield needs some work completely absent throughout the match

  11. Neeraj says:

    The highlights are available on Youtube
    Search: atletico de kolkata vs mumbai city fc

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    All good points about German football strategy, Admir, but not relevant re the media’s criticism of the English teams’ ability to do tactics. More tomorrow. 🙂

  13. RA says:

    Total, my little genius. 🙂

    I got here late, but have to say reading your Post after the event I loved it.

    How do you you do the red words? 🙂

  14. RA says:

    When I said red word I did not mean ‘communist’. 🙂

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    There is a pallet function on wordpress, Redders: you can pick any colour you like. 🙂

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    Retsub tells us all about his impressive encounters with the rich and famous 😛

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