The Burnley Preview
For once, I think this is all about us, and how well we play, which makes this preview a lot easier to write. Not that we can just dismiss Burnley out of hand. If we play badly we could easily lose. They may be a bit suspect at the back, but they are a ‘team’, and will play like one.
Apart from that, they are capable of scoring, given the opportunity. It is up to us not to give them that opportunity.
Not unusual this season, we go into the game with injury doubts over Jack Wilshere and Keiren Gibbs. The latter is clearly the one that will call for a bigger reshuffle, even if he is only on the bench. But with Kos already out, the back 4 probably picks itself.
The most likely scenario is: Bellerin, Chambers, Mertersacker, and Monreal.
In midfield, I think Arteta and Ramsey are the likely back pair, but after the first 10 minutes or so, I expect Ramsey to get forward in the B2B role regularly.
Whilst the attacking trio, without Wilshere, will be: Ox, Cazorla, and Alexis. Or will it?
Leaving Welbeck up front.
The Bench will be interesting if you follow this list of possibilities, because apart from Martinez, the remainder all have a prefix of ‘Could start’:
Flamini, Hayden, Rosicky, Podolski, Walcott, Campbell, and Gnabry.
Now this is where we get to play musical chairs with ‘could start’s’?
Supposing, if you take the base listed above, and AW wants to repeat the DM base of Arteta and Flamini….. Ramsey could then displace Cazorla or the Ox?
Hayden starting throws up all sorts of permutations. At CB he could indirectly displace Bellerin by having Chambers go back to RB? At DM he could partner Arteta, and have Ramsey repeat the above. Indeed, he could displace Arteta and partner Ramsey? That would probably mean he would have to fly solo some of the time, and that would be an interesting experiment?
Rosicky? Whilst possible to put him deep, I would think he would more likely displace the Ox; which makes the OX available for the ‘fresh legs’, and he seems to pick up the pace of the game quicker than Rosicky does these days?
Podolski has a good chance of giving Welbeck a back seat, although that might take a tweak in the formation to a 4-3-3? And as a surprise element it might work, but maybe a step too far? However, still replacing Welbeck in a reprise of the Sunderland game, partnering Alexis up front could be a better option?
Walcott.. is this really on? Well yes, because AW has been saying he is fit enough, just needs to get used to the knocks. Burnley are a solid enough side to give him a stress test; so a real runner, excuse the pun.
The big question who he might replace? Ox is the obvious one, unless he moves over to the other wing, and Alexis takes over the playmaker role from Cazorla?
Campbell? Only if Ox is jettisoned for Walcott, and Alexis moves inside as above, thus making space down the left, but he is equally capable of switching wings with Theo. So although an outside possibility, it still has some merit?
Finally Gnabry. Now, I think he would be a straight swap for Welbeck, but clearly the Ox/Walcott slot would be another possibility? If not this week, then some time soon I can see him lining up alongside either Alexis or Danny?
Now whilst that was a bit of fun, you could repeat the same exercise if Gibbs is declared fit.
Compared to the importance of the CL match coming up, where his pace will be vital, I don’t think his absence here will make much difference.
However, I would say if he plays, the twin pivot is more likely. Monreal will not get forward that much, and may not need to, given the above options on that wing?
Actually, it is a bit like a Chinese meal, you can take one option from one area and another option from another, if they are compatible, and mix and match.
Sanchez in the No 10(advanced), in place of Cazorla?
Walcott to start?
Hayden in the DM slot? Or CB?
Bellerin at RB, with Monreal at LB?
Who would be a manager, eh?
Whatever side is chosen, and we can all have our own ideas, I think we should just be too strong, provided we ‘keep it simple(stupid)’ or a KISS for jgc, pass and move, keep our width, and be more clinical with our shooting …
Is that too much to expect?
For the record, my team would be this:
With Campbell and Walcott eager to impress out wide, Alexis pulling the strings up front, and Poldi not coming back to defend. DM pairing putting up an effective barrier, and either of them pushing forward to make the extra man. Speed out of defence: from Bellerin to Walcott or Hayden to Campbell; and Alexis down the middle and Poldi to get a brace, Walcott to set up an Alexis hat-trick, and Campbell to open his account …. SIX NIL I hear you cry…
They could, you know?
Keep the faith.
Written by: Gerry.