Ospina to start, Flam-Coq DM pivot, Giroud returns? Preview & Line-Up

Great to have Mesut back again.
Great to have Mesut back again.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer us playing on Saturdays rather than Sundays (let alone Monday night games). However, if and when our direct opponents drop valuable points, as the Spuds and Northern Oilers have just done, it is actually quite nice to still have to play.

Of course, beating the Orcs is a strong motivation of its own. And we owe them one all-right! I really hope Terry’s 5-0 prediction is correct for once: how fecking fantastic would it be to send them home up the M1 and M6 with a fat thumping from the Gunners imprinted in their limited brains? A hat-trick by Ramsey would especially be very sweet.

We are getting players slowly back and Wenger might spring one or two surprises on the starting line-up for us. Will he start all of Flamini, Ramsey, Theo and Ozil, or will he stick to the same eleven he played against Hull? Will he reintroduce Giroud or stick with the slick Alexis in the middle? Will he leave Szczesny on the bench and give Ospina a second game?

This is my predicted line-up:

Ars v Stoke jan 15

I expect us to start solid and Arsene to try out Coquelin once again. The Flam-Coq DM pivot looked good against West Ham and why not give it another go? I have a feeling Ospina will start: he deserves more games and Wenger can test him properly in this one. I also feel Szczesny could do with a break to get his mind focussed again. You never know with Arsene though… he might play Wojciech as to not affect his confidence too much. Giroud up-front again is a given, I reckon.

Let’s hope we will see Theo, Ramsey and maybe even Ozil tomorrow as well at some point.

What is your predicted line-up?

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35 thoughts on “Ospina to start, Flam-Coq DM pivot, Giroud returns? Preview & Line-Up

  • I’d always pick Szczesny over Ospina becuase he is the better keeper…simple as that.
    Because it is a home game Wenger is only going to pick one real defensive midfielder. One of Chambers, Coquelin, Flamini…Chambers might have a chance because of his height on set plays.
    Either Ox is playing in central midfield with Walcott starting on the right or Ramsey is going to start.
    Back four, Giroud, Cazorla and Alexis definite selections.
    And I can’t wait to see Mesut again =)

  • Good line up. Agreed with you about our young but not so young plucky goalkeeper. This team should be able to do the job, provided the real Arsenal turns up. In Abuja our main rivals are Chelsea and not the spuds. I can’t forget all the derogatory comments from some Chelsea supporters hauled at our section of the viewing gallery the day we lost to stoke. That’s arguably my lowest since I started supporting Arsenal. If we can beat Stoke City 3 with a clean sheet added to it, that would be the best New Year gift from Arsenal to us. What I dread most about our team is that when you expect so much from them, they don’t turn up. I earnestly want a win as am sure that Southampton and Man U will cancel out each other and the spuds lost from a winning position more so now that pochetino have lost face after mouthing off about making top four without the grace to include us in his calculations but included Liverpool who are below us, u will see that getting the three points against a rugby Stoke will come with a very sweet flavour. COYG lets teach this rugby playing team how to play football.

  • Perfect opportunity to leapfrog the spuds and keep the pressure on those pretenders from southshmampton.. We are entering an extremely exciting period where just about our entire squad is available for selection..! Bar Jack and Welbeck, our strongest XI in some time could be finally upon us.

    Guessing your predicted line up is not far off @ TA. All agreed on Ospina– even if it is just to spite smoking Szcez and his loudmouthed father..

    I’m not sure two defensive midfielders is the way to go for this match or the way forward in general. Like Nik mentioned, I predict it will be one of Le Coq or Chambers for the holding role and I would be happy with either. Hoping Ramsey is restored in the B2B role and I have a feeling Theo might just pip Chambo to the RW. No doubt that Giroud will start up top. We’ll need his physical presence and structure. Strange having so many options up front but i’m definitely not complaining!

    Hoping our record signing gets an extended run out. Might even start but I’m guessing that won’t be the case due to the nature of this particular contest (or rugby match, as someone perfectly described it in the previous post). Looking forward to seeing this newfound “hunger” that the manager has been going on about. What a boost the Real (pun intended) Mesut Ozil would bring!!

  • Nik, Frozen, you could be right re just one DM. I reckon Arsene wants to avoid a repeat of five weeks ago and opt for solidity. If ramsey is fully fit he will start, but I don’t think he is. The beauty about Le Coq is that he can add offensively as well. The new Song! 😉 😆

    Ospina is a good GK and adds maturity to the back four so for me no reason to put Szczesny above him. And he deserves another game.

  • Sczny
    Debuch BFG Kos Gibbs
    Le Coq Ramsey
    Walcott Giroud Alexis
    Subs:- Ozil, Ox, Chambers ….

    As much as you think Ospina is to get a chance have we really seen enough of him? I agree SCZNY had a mare against Southampton but was excellent against West Ham. I suspect Stoke to play a similar aerial style to them. As regards Ospina I don’t think Stoke are the team to make your you prem debut to as a keeper. We’ve seen he’s a great shot stopper in the WC but I don’t think crosses are his strong point. (He’s much smaller that SCZNY)

    The back 4 picks itself.

    Le Coq has been great since returning from Charlton and for me is above Flamini in the pecking order. If Ramsey is fit he should partner him in my opinion although I can see Wenger putting Flamini in here. I don’t think we need 2 defensive midfielders at home. Attack and more creativity against this Stoke team is the way to go.

    On recent form Cazorla has to play and centrally.

    With Giroud back from suspension and Welbeck still not ready then we should lead with our current best 3 attackers. Giroud in the middle battling with Shawcross and knocking balls down for our 2 speedy attackers. The pace of Walcott and Alexis should also worry stoke on the break. Giving us excellent counterattacking options.

    What’s your thoughts?

  • Good Morning TA – It may be short, but it does not have to be any longer. We know what we have to do, and you have set it up just fine.

    I have to say, at first glance, I would say that your eleven looks spot on ….
    But then I ask myself, will Wenger really do that?
    Will he really drop Szczezzer? Or will he play him to put the matter of ‘showergate’ behind him. If he plays, he better have a perfect game. AW will want to be seen to displace him for on field conduct, not off field retribution?
    How can we be sure of Koscielny being fit? Or Gibbs for that matter. Press box comments are not always what they seem. But if they ARE fit, they play.
    Double pivot, or one flying solo? Again, home tie or not, I agree the FlamCoq axis makes more sense if we are going to work from a solid base. They will try and play us on the counter, but these two can still high press. They need to take the leaf out of other team’s approach by not trying to get somebody to out-jump Crouch, rather have them anticipate the direction of his knock downs. FlamCoq should be spot on for that.
    Santi is probably a given.
    Ox to start? He gives a good combination to link attack at speed and an extra defender. But Rosicky has shown he is up for that too. Doubts over Ox’s fitness make me think AW will opt for the combo that worked so well last time.
    Stoke will do their best to wind up Giroud with rotational fouling, but he is unlikely to snap this time so soon after his red card, so he plays. Alexis too, will have his share of niggly fouls, if not some outright ugly ones. Fingers crossed he survives.
    It may look a tad defensive for a home tie, but I think that is the way we need to play them. Avoid them scoring the first goal. Or any goal come to that, but we should have a good bench to alter things, as long as AW does not leave it too late. 10 minutes after half time would be ideal to bring on Ozil and Walcott? The yellow card count might decide who come off between Flamini or Coquelin, and influence in the game might decide Santi’s fate, as Rosicky will probably adapt better. The score is more likely the decider between extra oomph up front, Campbell or Akpom, or solidity at the back, Chambers.
    If we play with quick, accurate passes our attack should again be too strong. Sloppy play in the middle of the park will spell disaster.

    I will feel more confident if AW is of a like mind to me …
    So I hope the bench looks like this:
    Ospina, Chambers, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Ox, Akpom/Campbell.
    Bellerin and Monreal are the losers here, but there is always next week.

  • BennyGoon – Similar thoughts to mine.

    I want to see Walcott linking with Ozil’s passing, and as I don’t see him starting, I’d rather both come on early in the second half.

  • Okay you Gunners. Here is a question?

    In the game that follows ours, which would you rather;
    Man Utd win, and we get MS in THIS window?
    Southampton win, and MS is crossed off the list … for ever?

    Seriously, it could be that simple. Provided we win of course. Because with both wins going against Southampton, 4th place is no longer in their hands, and that I think will have a big bearing on a possible sale now?
    A draw and we all march on the the next game, but they stay ahead of us …

  • would really like to see ospina in goal because with the way szcesny has been forming lately to me it seems he doesnt see ospina as a threat to him.
    My preffered eleven;
    Debuchy BFG kozza Gibbs
    Le coq ramsey
    alexis ozil santi
    NB:if ramsey isnt fit then the ox can start.COYG!

  • BennyG 🙂

    You could be spot on with that line up. A fit Ramsey any day, but….. Is he?

    Ospina did well with balls into the box against Hull and a test is just what he needs. And with Szczesny’s need for his mummy rather than his butbrain farther, which all this sucking on bottles and fags seem to indicate, a break will do him good Imo. 🙂

  • Hi Gerry 🙂

    Good additional thoughts and all agreed. The beauty is Arsene has options which makes it hard to predict the starting eleven exactly. Flam le Coq makes a lot of sense to me as per your views.

  • ———————F*ck knows——————
    ———-The OX—————–Cazorla——-

    does anyone know where Gnabry and Hayden are?
    Have they joined Diaby in narnia?

  • Starting team:
    Ospina, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla, Alexis, Giroud

    Szczesny, Bellerin, Flamini, Ramsey, Ozil, Campbell, Walcott

    No Gibbs and Chambers.

  • Just watching sky sports, fascinating stat. Pretty sure they said with Kos playing Ársenal average nearly a point a game better… Wow

  • Yes Restub, he makes a big difference when fit.

    Ospina and Coq and Giroud starts, only Flam and Gibbs wrong. Not bad, I say. 🙂

    Enjoy game.

  • Pretty decent first half. Really warming to Le Coq, always felt he would come good. He really gets stuck in. If those not very nice people from Stoke stop kicking lumps out of our defenders we should be well placed to add a few more.

    When Alexis scored the 2nd I went jumping around the room (as I usually do). I look at the Ársenal bench and they are clapping politely. Get some passion on the bench boys!

  • Speaking of stuck in, I have noticed that we have been using more stuck-in-approach to our tackles since Arteta has been out.

    Alexis is a tremendous player.

  • Well I enjoyed that. I thought when I saw the line up we would be okay going forwards, but might be a bit light at the back.

    But young Coquelin just keeps getting better. Got his passes right today too. Like most, he does not quite see out the 90 minutes, but then only Rosicky seemed capable of that?

    I also think that the above pair and Santi, may not be our best trio in midfield, but they do seem to bring he best balance. Just proved today that last time was not a fluke, they really do compliment each other’s game. Of course it helps to have somebody like Alexis up there with them 😀
    Ox did well, and was taken off before he lost his edge. Bellerin made the injury to Debuchy a mere blip. Meanwhile Giroud worked hard and Ospina is still wondering when his first big test will come 😀 Monreal deserves a mention, as he too probably had his best game all season?

    All in all, it was a very satisfying game from front to back. It looks like the Mert/Kos partnership is back, although Per looks like he could do with a winter break at the end? Perhaps we can send him on a scouting mission to the AFCON for a month to freshen him up?

    Nil nil in this next one will suit me fine ….well give my UMF a boost anyway.

    Okay Totes, which Wanayama is going to turn up; the very good or the below average?

  • Have to disagree with the draw. Would like a Saints victory. I think Soiuthampton will fade anyway, whereas United will get stronger as the season goes on.

    Really pleased with our result today, it was one of the few games where we had looked really comfortable. Long may it continue

  • I would love a Manc loss, retsub, but that might be too much to ask…

    Schneidi is looking very solid. Just a great reader of the game. Wanyama is strong and solid as always. Not sure whether they have enough to hurt the despicable Mancs though… 😦

  • Well, from a tactical point of view, that was a brilliant game to watch. Two DMs make it so much more easy for a defence, especially if they are as good and well-matched as Wanyama and Schneiderlin. Brilliantly solid throughout. Not total football of course, but Koeman is made of different stuff and he is an illegitimate son of Guus Hiddink, no doubt! 😛

  • @ TA

    Haha always how it works isn’t it. Blogs are always packed when we lose (vent time). When arsenal win the blogs are silent because everyone is content with their lives

  • Good result,comfortable win and sweet football. All in all its pay back time for what Stoke City did us. After the first goal we never looked back. Le coq is improving day by day. Hope this won’t be a false dawn for him and give our manager the excuse not to reinforce in that department. Walcott will do with more games to get in the groove. Carzola and Rosicky bossed the midfield. Alexis is a class act. Ospina gave me some jitters. He looks decent but have not been really tried and tested. Still wondering how Ozil, Carzola, Alexis, Ramsey, Walcott, Welbeck,Chamberlain and Wilshere will fit in the midfield. What will our best midfield combination and who will make room for who. If Wenger can get it right there we will go places. A confidence boost to head to Etihad. I believe we can get a result there. They are not as watertight as they used to be. For now lets take it one at a time. Keep the guns blazing.

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