Paulista: More Koz than Mertesacker?

The new Martin Keown? :P

The new Martin Keown? ๐Ÿ˜›

Still no official news re the signing of Gabriel Paulista which is a bit worrying given the comment by Arsene on the 25th January, saying the club was close in completing the deal: โ€˜”Itโ€™s on the line and I think weโ€™ll get over the line tonight and tomorrowโ€.

But letโ€™s assume Paulista will join the club, and ask ourselves what sort of CB he is and whether he is more of a BFG or Koz type of defender.

A good defensive pairing is of course crucial, and so are the triangular relationships: backwards with the keeper and forwards with the DM(s). Furthermore, the partnerships between the CBs and their nearest FB, as well as the whole line of four, are equally important. A good fit of skills and balance are paramount for a well functioning defence.

In an ideal world, we play one CB with strong organisational and leadership skills and one โ€˜first soldierโ€™ type of CB. Adams, Campbell and Mertesacker are excellent examples of the former and Martin Keown, Toure, Vermaelen, and of course, Koz were/are all brilliant first soldiers.ย Two BFGs do not work, but neither do two Kozs…

I am a big fan of the BFG. He is a world cup winner and plays for the best team in the world by focussing hard on his strengths rather than letting his few weaknesses grind him down. This takes a lot of strength as it is so easy to succumb to the critical voices out there and inside your head. And in our society: at school, in families and at work, we love to focus on (improving) weaknesses rather than building strongly on core strengths and talents, and this is so often holding people back left, right and centre. In this respect alone, Per is a hero to me.

Mertesacker also loves playing for us and always gives his all. He reads the game very well and organises his defence excellently. We rely on this heavily, as was demonstrated again against Brighton & HA last weekend, when our defence looked brittle without him. Wenger of course knows about Perโ€™s โ€˜lesser strengthsโ€™ for which he needs to compensate within the team. He will always need a fast, energetic, yet composed, strong in the air, and brilliant tackler of a CB next to him (and good protection on the flank and in front of him). Koz is such a player and together they make a bloody brilliant pair. Without Per Koz often looks out of sorts, lacking composure and control to some extent: together they are awesome.

We have missed Koz this season when he was injured, and letโ€™s hope he will play most of the remaining games this season. He is a very fine first soldier as we saw once again against Citeh, when he played an absolute blinder next to the BFG, who also had a very good game. Monreal has been Kozโ€™s main back up this season and he did okay, with clear room for improvement. I reckon Nacho has potential to become a decent back up, as I agree with Wenger that he reads the game well. But surely, this is a work in progress and we need him as our (back up) left backโ€ฆ

We also need a good back up for the BFG and maybe we could/should even improve further on him in the long term. This is easier said than done, as good CBs with leadership and organisational skills are hard to find, especially if we also want them to be fast, great tacklers and a beast in the air. I reckon Debuchy has quite some of the required skills and Chambers has good potential too; but ideally, we strengthen our squad for this key position this year.

So, what sort of player is Paulista and for which position has Wenger bought him?

Well hard to tell at this stage, and I welcome bloggers to give us their views if they have seen him play a lot in either Spain or Brazil. The โ€˜Whoscored?โ€™ stats give an interesting picture.

Paulista compared to Mertesacker and Koz on key defence stats:

Paulista Mertesacker Koz
Games Played 25 21 14
Total Minutes 2147 1890 1196
Tackles per Game 1 1.1 1.3
Interceptions per Game 3.9 1.9 3.7
Fouls per Game 0.8 0.2 0.6
Offsides per Game 0.6 0.8 0.6
Clearances per Game 4.2 6.8 4.9
Blocks per Game 0.4 0.8 0.6

These stats are interesting and indicate that Paulista might be closer to Koz than the BFG as type of defender. Gabriel has slightly fewer tackles per game but also slightly more interceptions than Koz, and he has fewer clearances and blocks per game, but this is not significant. There are quite a lot of similarities between the two.

Paulista has double the number of interceptions per game compared to the BFG, but commits more fouls per game โ€“ an area in which Per excels โ€“ and has significantly less clearances per game โ€“ Per is a lot taller than Koz and Paulista (185cm). Another important stat is that this 24 year old Brazilian has remained fit this season, already clocking up 25 games and 2147 minutes of first team football.

Of course, stats are just stats and we need to see Gabriel in action, if indeed his signing is completed and he is granted a work permit. Wenger might also have other plans with him: DM or even LB/RB, who knows?

But from what I can tell, Paulista will be Kozโ€™s first replacement and might be used in other positions as well. I cannot wait to see him in action, and we should be all happy that the club has now strengthened in central defence: Bring on the rest of the season! ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you think, fine fellow Gooners?

By TotalArsenal.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

126 Responses to Paulista: More Koz than Mertesacker?

  1. Hey TA

    Lovely piece of writing. And way to nail it on the head on human nature stressing on the weakness forgetting what’s good about ourselves

    Apart from the usual video clips on youtube and reading on the internet from people who’ve watched him, i also do not know what to expect from our new yet to be announced CB. But the one thing that keeps appearing about him is his similarity to Koscielny in terms of his gung-ho style and aggression in terms of defending

    Given how we struggled without Kozzer, Arsene appeared to be struggling in his attempt to come up with an appropriate partner for the BFG. Chambers is still a young lad and though he has been an astute signing, his partnership at CB with BFG looked anything but..Monreal performed admirably well but with him playing CB, we were left thin in terms of depth at LB and Debuchy only really played like 2 games there meaning we can’t really judge if he can do the job consistently at CB

    So the imminent arrival of this Gabriel fella can only be a good thing.. Given Kozzer’s tendon’s restrict him to playing a large amount of games, having someone similar as a backup left-sided CB is some good piece of business from the club. Its a win-win as we get to carefully manage Kozzer and not been left thin in his absence by having a backup who complements BFG

  2. Gerry says:

    I think like most people, I would like to see him play, and which side he will play on before passing judgement.
    The stats can only take you so far TA, but they do look revealing as far as his ratio of fouls go?

    I had another thought with plenty of links to other CB’s still coming in, is whether AW is looking for backups to a 3 centre back line? Kos left, Per in the centre, and GP on the right? Speed either side of Per would help, as would pushing Bellerin and Gibbs further forward?

    Mind the deal is not done yet.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey KG! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good to hear from you. All agreed, what are we going to do if the BFG gets injured, knock on Glics skull?!

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Not sure whether Arsene is remotely interested in three at the back, Gerry.

  5. James Bond says:

    nice one @ Skipper – you put in a shift digging up all the stats and doing your thorough research on it and I couldn’t disagree with your findings either .

    he be more of a replacement for Kos or fill in as opposed to the BFG and he can also be played as a DM .

    Gerry,

    you might not be the eternal hub of knowledge but fortunately for you, I am ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    you should know by now that I am not much of a google user hence I can’t find you the correct references on the 5 and 10 yellow card rule, however, since I am the eternal hub of knowledge, just take my word for it, ok ?

    you get 5 yellow’s before 31st of december = 1 game suspension

    this then gets extended to 10 until the end of the season and if you have accumulated and served 1 game suspension due to the 5 yellows before 31st of December then you get a 2 match ban .

    so in theory, Le Coq can get a yellow against Villa and be available for the Spuds, he will only get suspended now if he accumulates 10 yellows .

    if he gets suspended then it’s all Glics fault and yeah, what is this world coming to when you are having to agree with the Glicster, ha

    That Ospina one was tongue in cheek .

  6. retsub1 says:

    T A nice write up and interesting comparison. Never been one for stats, but I always find defenders one interesting.

    So a 15 million pound players barely makes one tackle per game and can’t even manage a complete block per game. Judging by these figures I have to ask what do the lazy buggers do for 90 minutes????

    Stats huh

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    It’s the way the game is played now, Retsubster. Look up Terry or Cahill and you’ll see Paulista compares well too.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening JB ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    So Paulista now officially conformed. Excellent news. What will happen next in the TW? If anything?

  10. James Bond says:

    evening @ Skipper

    am enjoying the Torres show vs Barca as I refused to watch the spuds play, ha

    by the way, another thing worth mentioning and noting is that Paulista has an extremely good fitness record and recovery, similar to Alexis – touch wood it remains the same .

    this was another major reason why we chose to sign him, his fitness levels are top notch quality is what I have been told .

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed, and he quite looks like Keown! ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Maureen instructions, no doubt. Cesc looks so old for his age.

  13. James Bond says:

    somethings never change and Suarez is still diving to win penalties ahahahahhahahaha

    looking at his game now and goal scoring record the sentence – how the mighty have fallen comes to mind .

    yeah, he looks old for his age and exhausted, I just hope he doesn’t return back to action anytime soon as I don’t want him to overtake king Henry’s 20 assists record .

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Should be playing for us and not the dirty Chavs, but that ship has sailed.

  15. James Bond says:

    yep, once a traitor always a traitor ahaahahahahahahhahhahhaahhaha

    come on everyone, come out and play – skippers post is a top notch post and deserves more comments and hits – our first proper signing and lack of activity here is rather shambles .

    where is the excitement ? ? ? or like me amigo says – all fcuking Sczny’s fault , ha

  16. AwayGunner says:

    Good point JB and great post TA. Welcome Gabriel! I’m so happy to see that AW is starting to strengthen the spine of the greatest team on earth. We continue to move closer to an era of fulfilling our potential. And to think – Signed, sealed, and delivered BEFORE deadline day (finally starting to get some colour back in my hair..) Look out.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    It is very quiet indeed, JB. Nowt queerer than folk as they say. Ah well, early night then! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one AwayGooner. Let’s hope Paulista is as good as Koz and Wenger will have done the rabbit/hat trick again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. proudgooner says:

    Welcome Paulista ….. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Nice piece TA, i am looking forward to seeing him play hopefully he can fil in for both or even improve us.
    I am going to the Villa game so i might be lucky enough to see him make his first apperance. I am hoping for great things for him.
    Come on you Gunners.

  20. allezkev says:

    Very interesting post Total…

    Comparing stats can be deceiving mate, your also comparing two different leagues.
    I imagine that Paulista will be making a few more robust challenges or whatever, in the hurly-burly of the EPL…

    As far as judging is concerned, as a few have said before, let’s have a butchers hook before we judge.
    But I have read others’ comparisons to Kozzer.
    Not sure about comparisons to Keown though, as that might have more to do with his chisled facial features (?)…

    Pleased to see him at the Grove all the same, as strengthening in that dept was quite a need.
    In fact, it would be nice if those responsible for transfers, had another late Suprise present for us…

    I have heard that Joel Campbell apparently signed a new contract before going out on loan.
    Don’t shoot the messenger. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Admir says:

    Hello, people!

    TA made another lovely article to present our new Keown. I like this guy as he looks both mean and Arsenal-esque nice-in-soul in the same time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Someone mentioned Chavs… I realized what I want from our match against them in April:

    -we are leading 3:0, only two minutes of the injury time before Wenger’s first victory over Big Mouthinho;

    -Wenger decides to leave the game earlier in the same manner Mourinho did last year;

    -on the press-conference, journalists ask Wenger why he did that and he responds: “I just wanted to inform Mourinho’s wife about the result. I noticed he hadn’t left the game earlier to call her to notify her about the result so I did it for him.”

  22. jnyc says:

    Admir ! I love that !
    that is the second best thing that i could imagine in my life ! The best thing involves Adriana Lima.

  23. geoffchase says:

    TA et al

    Interesting. I won’t wxho the others good points. Instead I’ll toss this spanner…

    What makes you think BFG hatched as is? All players evolve and change. The best do it consistently. I see Koz maturing and becoming that leader, while Gabriel evolves into Koz. Chambers may stay wide or be in that mix directly…but, suffice to say they’ll all be a little different next year if they are truly top flight….

    For the better one hopes, opting JBs comment on Suarez, and the links to Cescs Summer Olympics training…

    So, to me, the real question… In two years, who will BE the leader, and who will be first soldier…? Now matters less..

    Cheers — jgc

  24. geoffchase says:

    All

    Good anatomy of a transfer. Note the three negotiations part:

    http://www.espnfc.com/feature/story/_/id/12038766/how-a-transfer-works

    Cheers — jgc

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Enjoy the game PG ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev ๐Ÿ™‚

    Agreed on stats and yet they appear to tell us a story. If a player does well in Spain, especially a defender, then they are likely to do well in the PL. They have better strikers there and I think it is not true that the PL is tougher. His and Villareal’s defence stats are good which is a positive. But let’s see how he adapts to life here.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Admir, you were the first to make the comparison with Keown’s lovely looks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Quite a compliment to the eye that Adriana Lima, Johnnie! ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Geoff, interesting spanner throw….. I cannot see it as Koz’s strengths and talents are of the first soldier variety and I have seen little evidence of leadership and organisation qualities. Make a super salesman an account manager and they get bored quickly. BFG was always the right type and he could never do what Koz does…. Together they are one.

  30. allezkev says:

    Agree Total, it’s just the memories of Squillaci that never go away… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Having read his recent statements re: move to Arsenal, he’s certainly making all the right noises and saying the right things.
    If he is as good as his word, then we could have ourselves a good ‘un…

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh yes, Squilly was a nightmare on the pitch. Paulista was only in Spain for less than two years, so we are getting more of a Brazillian than a ‘Spanniard’ anyway.

  32. geoffchase says:

    TA

    Yes, but …. We’re you the same worker and type 20 years ago (3-6 in footballer years) … Some people don’t evolve, but IMO, the best do. I’ll end philosophically,

    “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”

    — Cardinal John Henry Newman

    I’m a fan of or believer in perfection perhaps…?

    Cheers — jgc

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Perfect your talents and strengths and you’ll be happy and successful; if that requires change, as in attitude, focus, believe etc then I am all for it.

    The BFG could have been focussing on getting faster and turning quicker during his career and not have gotten anywhere, is what I am saying. The drive for ‘perfection’ is very often a disabler rather than an enabler.

  34. Gerry says:

    Geoff – You must have read ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ when you were younger?
    ๐Ÿ˜€

  35. steve says:

    Excellent post TA and very analytical – nice!
    From the very little i have seen of him i have to completely agree with you, he does look more like Achilles cover than a BFG stand in.

    I am not overly impressed with this signing tbh and i understand how ridiculous that standpoint is having never seen him actually play for 90 mins. I just have serious doubts about any defensively rated player coming from the Spanish league.
    Don’t forget this is a league where Sergio Biscuits has made his name as a world class DM!
    The only team they have in that league that displays the same defensive hardness that most of our lower table teams do is Athletico Madrid and they went on to win the bloody league with that kind of steel and defensive performance.
    I guess i’m also a little pissed off because if you are going to sign a young Brazilian CB for ยฃ10 mil then it has to be Matheus Doria all the way!
    I also don’t get this “one is this one is that” CB partnership theory, i understand why in many teams it looks like that has become the norm but this is surely by necessity rather than design. If say Man City had the choice surely they would have two Kompany’s rather than a Demichelis / Kompany partnership. Surely the idea is to strive for a tall, strong and quick player who has those defensive organisational skills also. Obviously you have to teach experience and a ready made product like Kompany would cost a fortune but you can start with the physical qualities and teach the experience (especially when yo have great teachers in your team like BFG and Kos). Can’t believe its looking like we are not going to go in for Van Dijk, that guy has every physical quality you need and would have developed incredibly at Arsenal.

    Anyway like i said i am very aware of how ridiculous this negative attitude is to this signing and i hope my feeling is completely unwarranted and that he excels here at Arsenal, can’t wait to start seeing him play some games and seeing how he does.

  36. Gerry says:

    Steve, TA did point out he has only been in the Spanish league a couple of seasons.

    I am sure you will be much happier if, with the money we have ‘saved’, we get one of those on the top of your list?
    just because he has the physical look of Kos does not mean he lacks the organisational side that Per gives to Kos?
    The TW is still young, let us see what else might develop, eh. As for V v D, he might be the summer target, should we need him?

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting point of view, Steve. I think you find that most great defences have an organiser and first soldier type in defence. Combine Kompany with Koz or Cahill and you have an very strong pairing for example. Combine him with Mertesacker or Terry, and I am not so sure. Is Demichelis not a Kompany type anyway?

    You want Van Dijk but he is so unproven, and plays in an inferior league to ours or indeed Spain. He is great on clearances but not so on interceptions and he commits more fouls than our guys.

    Look at the top goal scorers in the PL now and that should give you an idea of what is most important in a defender. They are almost all smallish and very nimble, technically gifted and intelligent players. Of course we need strength in the air as well, but we need clever readers of the game, with quick interceptions and not allowing gaps in the defence if we want to deal with those threats. The Spanish league is therefore a brilliant learning ground and I reckon Paulista comes therefore with a strong CV. The rest is up to him and the club and colleagues. ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. proudgooner says:

    Thanks TA i will. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I think it is fair to say TV5 has now be well replaced , in fact Paulista has even taken his number 5 shirt.
    I hope he is better then TV5 who really seemd to lose his form and was very injury hit. So o that front it is also great business by Wenger, i think people should give him credit for that. He sold TV5 for 15m and in getting Paulister5 for the price he did it means the rest pays his wages for at least 1 season possibly pushing 2.
    He is also younger.
    Who says Wenger has lost it????
    The old dog still has it for e, in fact he is a lot more wiser,
    In Arsene we trust !

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, this is another fine post and your point about developing strengths is intriguing. Naturally, I’ve got a few thoughts of my own AND I’m up early (the timer on the espresso machine woke me…) but I’ll try and keep this one short, for Xavier… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Having only seen the tiniest bit of Gabriel in play, my first thought was that he was more of a BFG type. but that may be because he was playing RCB, had a long stride and looked bigger than his listed height might suggest. The glory of Kos is in the playmaking…Short strides and a burst towards the ball. Gabby might have that as well… With a face only a mother could love, he may be the beast of both worlds… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ It sounds like he’s very versatile and can play anywhere along the back. Between the tender tendons of Koscielny and how much we’ve overplayed Per, surely he’ll get his chances…

    I also have to agree with the Professor about the evolution of players. As such, I’m glad to hear other recent news in this window about Schneiderlin and Arteta. All signs point to the former coming in the Summer with (perhaps) some sort of compensation heading to his current club in return. We live from match to match, but getting the right player, even if it’s later rather than sooner, seems better than getting the wrong one. Additionally, there’s plenty of sentiment (based on our current–and best–run of the season) that our two fine French ‘fensive mids (Coquelin and Flamini) can get us through until then. If Arteta can contribute before the season is out and offer some leadership (and calm) during the run-in AND be a bridge for the team over the Summer, all the better. I know some feel he’s a weight dragging the club down, but I (and management, it appears…) think differently. Talk about a player who has evolved and changed his game…

    My hunch is that–for this season–all the changes at the rear make us just a little too much a work in progress. (If we want the really satisfying results we’ll probably have to score a lot of goals ๐Ÿ˜ฆ …) There are just too many new faces (Ospina, Chambers, Bellerin and Gabriel) who will have to step up. The injury to Debuchy, a new face himself, looms large, I fear, and touch wood we get no other big ones. Despite the good draw, nobody gives us much of a chance in the CL. Also, despite the recent stumbles (and stomps…) from the teams ahead of us, people are pretty resigned to another battle for 4th. Still, being in the two cups–with manageable draws directly ahead–rotation and competition for places is possible. One match at a time, of course, and if we keep winning them perspectives may change and a predictable rearguard may emerge. Bad results and the supporters will require new players (and a new manager…) and all that sort of thing. It’s tough, because the margins are so tight and plenty of good play goes out the window if a mistake is made which leads to a goal which leads to dropped points or an early exit…

    Overall, I’m very pleased with the signing and all the tapping up for bigger changes in the Summer. Given the team’s form it’s only sad that the matches seem so few and far between. (That all changes soon enough…) If we can avenge the opening day loss from last season (perhaps with a measure of style) and maybe get a debut for the new signing… it might make the supporters OK with a very quiet closing day for the TW… Maybe?…

  40. proudgooner says:

    17,
    Nice to hear you say pro-Wenger views .
    In truth for me Chelsea have always looked to strong at the start of the season and were probably always going to take the title this season,
    City of course are also very strong but we have shown lately that we have bridged the gap and beat them twice and drawn at home with them.
    The point is 3rd or 2nd was probably the best we could have hoped for imo.
    I agree with you the team now with the new players are ready to win the title, but like you said its a work in progess, plua we have given the Chavs a 10 point hanicap with the 1st half of the season.
    4th i hope 3rd and the FA win again this summer and i think we can surprise a lot of people in the Champions league this season with some luck, i really believe we can win that this season, fingers crossed , plus no more big player injuries.,

  41. The Cockie Monster says:

    Thanks Totes !.
    I think Wenger has said it all in the press, that he had to get a defender in to cover Kozzies problems with his Achilles !.

    You know what`s interesting to me and I`m possibly one of the few to see it !. Everyone expects The Chavs to win this league with ease this season and rightly so given there position with outstanding players and managerial tactics, but remember last season at this same time ?……….we had played 22 games and had 51 points and were top of the league !……guess what ?….The Chavs are only one point better off than we were this season compared to last season !. Yet, will they buckle under the pressure ?…..does anyone expect them to drop to 5th and get into 4th by the skin of their teeth ?…..no chance !.
    As I predicted this time last season with the help of my like for like Chart of Doom, we were never going to keep top !.
    Why though ?………………do the Chavs have better players ?…..better at buying players to cover injuries ?…..better tactics ?……better manager ?……better coaches ?……stronger mentally ?.
    What ever it is, I wish we had some of it and hopefully next season we can give them a run for their money !………money !!!……maybe I should have added that to the last sentence !. ๐Ÿ˜€

  42. jnyc says:

    17ht, i love arteta as a leader and a person. And i Know many things he does are subtle.. but now that i see what a more athletic dm does for the team. .. This is what i want. I’m afraid that coquelin will not get the starts that he has earned, because of arteta and wilshere. For this reason, he may walk away at the end of the season.
    I think this will be a disaster, because we will be back where we started with arteta, injury prone, and a 17 year old.

    And i don’t believe for a minute all these rumours that schneiderlin is coming, arsene will not spend on that position the money that he will cost.
    So i was not happy to see him extended. . We have too many midfielders, and i want rosicky to stay also. I wouldn’t mind mikel as a coach in the future, assistant, or whatever.

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Why though did those same Chavs and Manager get eliminated in the cup by Bradford and won nothing last season? You are blinder than a Chav. It is just money, now that you did get right. Ooh to, ooh to be…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Gerry says:

    HT – Funny you should say that the changes in defence will hamper our chances in the league?
    I am more inclined to think that it will be changes further up field that will cost us?

    I think the defence will settle now. If Gabriel can play either side and organise and be organised, then between the three of them I am thinking that part is sorted. Ospina in goal seems experienced enough to know who he has confidence in?.
    The fullbacks will be Gibbs and Bellerin, unless injury, or the threat of one looms.
    The defensive midfield will be Coquelin plus A.N.Other.

    However, in front of them is where the tinkering will occur? Probably starting this weekend.
    Against Villa, I would say we have a much stronger side, playing much better football, than the side that was expected to win their opening match of that season?
    Tottenham will be where the cracks will show up. They seem to me like a side that turns up for the big matches. They are also one of the sides we need to knock out of contention for a top 4 spot.

    I also think the cracks are appearing in the Chelsea team. Every team in the league will turn up to put in a performance against them.They are fighting on 3 fronts. And results just seem to go against them when they only two or three players put in consistent performances. One of them may be getting a bit more close attention from the Refs, if not a ban in the near future. Fabregas may be carrying a hamstring problem, and as I have mentioned before, theory has it his performances drop off in the second half of the season?
    If Spurs keep winning against those nearest to them, they pose the biggest dangers in the title race, and more importantly, to our CL chances. That is the must win game for us, so don’t let’s be fooled in what might work against Villa will be repeated a week later.
    You know what I am saying Arsene???

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    I think Arteta was not played to his strength as his original position was untenable at Arsenal. It was a compromise and hardly an example of the much vaunted ‘perfection’, and once the much criticised and underestimated Song had gone, his weaknesses were often cruelly exposed. But he gave his all and has done the club proud.

  46. Gerry says:

    Ah Ha!. As I write some enforced tinkering. Alexis is a doubt for Sunday.?

    So Ox or Akpom down that wing? No of course not, we can play Ozil there.

    Now why didn’t I think of that ?!

  47. steve says:

    Gerry, from the website;
    “Alexis Sanchez who has a hamstring concern, and that will be decided on Saturday”

    Bollox to that don’t bother testing him on Saturday, wrap him up in cotton wool and rest him for the spuds game!!!

  48. steve says:

    No problem as far as i can see though, especially against Villa:

    Akpom——-Giroud——–Walcott
    ——-Rosicky——-Cazorla——–
    —————-Coquelin—————

    Subs later on:
    OX or Ramsey for Rosicky
    Ozil for Cazorla

    No worries! COYG!!

  49. Gerry says:

    Steve – I wish!

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    17, good to hear Paulista can also play RCB.

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hahaha…Even the great Atlas, er, Alexis, isn’t immune to a Weng-jury…Winter break, I would guess, not a hamstring… Spoiled for choice up there, Gerry (and not with the absurd line-up F11ngers suggests… :shakes head: ) worries me a LOT less than a bunch of unproven guys trying to work it out at the back… Gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, I fear…

    ProudGooner… Naturally, I always like it when you pop round, given your positive outlook… Tossing the manager with each disappointing result is silly, but that’s what people do…At some point he will have to leave, but my hope is that it’s from a position of strength, and also comes with a reasonable plan for the future… Being realistic is the way to stay upbeat, of course, and you’ve got that too…

    You never know with the Cockster but he can speak some real (dollars and) sense (cents) when he comes out from behind the sofa… Good to have you back…nom, nom, nom… ๐Ÿ˜€

    I dunno, I watched most of the CoC semi between Chavs and Pool and they played hard for that one. Both teams are decent. Chavs have the best defense (and keeper) and some fine attacking talent too, even if they seem, erm, temperamental, i.e., they have tempers and border on being mental… Finally, Diego Costa will take a ban (I think) for his consistently dirty play. Eden Hazard is very good and Oscar is finally coming into his own. All of them (Cesc, too) play with plenty of confidence Still, if the ref isn’t cowed by the cynical approach these guys bring (encouraged by their manager, of course) they can be vulnerable. If City wasn’t reeling themselves, I’d pick them for an away win on Saturday…As it is, a draw probably works for both teams…

    Pool will take heart from the match too. The fact that they’re still close to the top 4 spots means they too will fancy getting back into the CL places, as will (the horror of) playing in the Europa League. Replays in the FA Cup (at Bolton) give them another chance to find some goals (and more cohesion). ManU, of course, have the fewest matches, will likely splash more silly money on Monday and be right there. As much as our match with Spurs (in just 9 days) looms large, I’m less concerned about them. In truth, I really want our team to give United a beating (or two) this Spring… In many ways, those matches (I’m pretty sure we’ll hit them in the FA Cup…) will define whether or not we’ve made “progress” this season.

    OGAAT, of course and the lower teams can always hurt you. (The TV money allows them to get stronger year over year). Villa are poor, however. Very talented (and physically imposing) players like N’Zogbia and Benteke seem unfit and uninterested. Weimann and Delph, however, work very hard and will test our less experienced defenders. They can get goals (even if they’ve struggled badly as of late) and they tend to be stingy at the back. Nothing to lose (for them…) and us looking past Villa to the NLD is a very dangerous combination. Fortunately we’ll remember how they deflated us on opening day 1.5 seasons ago…

    Will beating them be enough or will Gooners still be freaking out on Monday if our TW is done?…

  52. The Cockie Monster says:

    I was just pointing out the fact that we are in very similar positions ( -1 point ), but a million miles away in expectations !.
    It is also a fact that we…along with Manshafter Std…..have the greatest FA Cup record…..even Mmmmmmmourinho will have to go some to beat that, now the funds of his club are comparable to ours in transfer dealings. So no great shock ….as that’s what the FA Cup is all about !…………….but the league is a different animal, with all the power of the big 3, it`s all about who has the less blips than anything else as they will all win most their games !……..yes, I know FPF is in transition, but going by your ( Totes ) own talk in the past of his ability, he will get it right !………..sorry FPF is Frying Pan Face !. ๐Ÿ˜†

    You have to admit though, it`s an interesting stat !. Was you aware of it ?……..or………. are the drugs still blinding your bias towards Mmmmourinho ?. hahaha……………..but as I said, I hope to give them a run for their money next season and that is partly due to the information provided by Wenger himself, in that he said he listened to the players before the Mansour City game and guess what ?….we played like we should have been playing for a few years against these teams….shape, organisation and discipline ….hey presto !…keep that type of performance and we can compete !.

    I`d walk a million miles for one of your smiles….Mrrrrourinho……….sorry …..John Sammels !. hahaha

  53. The Cockie Monster says:

    Bollox !!!…..by the time it took me to write the last comment ……….Alexis has gone all Diaby on us !……..scrap my last comment….we`re doomed !. hahaha

  54. The Cockie Monster says:

    Maybe The Diaby Doomsday Virus is airborne !……..cremate the talented bastard now before he infects Gabriel !.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    100% Wengjury for Alexis. Two week holiday and well deserved. Back to mash the Spuds.

  56. steve says:

    17HT, “the absurd line-up F11ngers suggests”, what the fuck are you talking about now?
    Cazorla – MOTM at City
    Rosicky – MOTM at Brighton
    Both compliment each as a midfield partnership
    Coquelin – has to be the first choice DM
    Giroud – has got to be the main guy up top
    And on the wings, if we have lost Sanchez and maybe even OX then surely Walcott would logically take one of those spots.
    The only wild card i threw in was Akpom who i would prefer to see on the WING rather than an out of position Ozil.

    How is that line up absurd? please enlighten me

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    Also, before I have to get going on my day here… (Another sunny one, f**king Chezzer…) I wanted to say that I agree with jnyc, another wise one from this side of the pond, about the average fan being a whole lot dumber than the average manager… IMO, a lot of that comes from the history of the game. Saturday afternoons in the rain, blind (pissed) drunk and watching scrums in the mud. Over there you have to watch the 3 o’clock matches on streams!! As such, MOTD rules the roost so highlights and pundits calling for two-leggers is (still) what it’s all about. Therefore, it’s natural that a beast of a boy dominating up in Scotland (maybe, this Van Dyke character, who I haven’t seen play…) is favored (favoured…) by some over a skinny Brazilian playing in an effete league with nice pitches…

    Sorry F11ngers…Nothing but love for you, mate… ๐Ÿ˜€

    The better pitches and the telly allow for some watching of the patterns of play. The real divide between observers these day, IMO, is those who can only watch the ball and those who are looking elsewhere. Even Alexis, who wants the ball more than any player I’ve ever seen, is off it for much more time than he’s on it. How can we appreciate him (or any other player) without noting what they’re doing that 80-99% of the match when they’re not in the focus of the lens?…

    Anyhow, nothing more than food for thought…and I need some breakfast…

  58. The Cockie Monster says:

    I`d like Akpom to start and get a hattrick !…..then Wenger can offer him a 5 year deal with the promise that he will be ahead of Sanago, Campbell, Podolski, Chamakh , Bendtner and Park in the striking positions !.

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    Steve, seriously, nothing but love… You like the extreme comments, so maybe that’s where “absurd” came from… Sorry…

    Giroud (of course)
    Ozil, Santi, Theo/Ox
    Ramsey, Coquelin (Rosicky and Flamini as subs depending on scoreline…)

    That’s your line-up… Ox will still be nursing his Weng-jury so Theo starts, I would guess, but that call is 50-50… Akpom on late if we’ve got a lead, maybe…

  60. The Cockie Monster says:

    And Francis Jeffers !.

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    The focus on “position” (i.e., Ozil playing out of…) is also lazy stuff of the part of…everybody…as is the focus on formations and combinations of players who “can’t” play together. Yes, we were more defensively oriented at City, but it was with “attacking” players(!?!)… Little Santi–playing like a DM in that one–was as important as Coquelin and the nice clips on the telly showing him yelling at his teammates… Ozil doesn’t yell–and he won’t take any corners before his teammates are ready–but he will slot in a treat in Alexis’ spot…

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    You forgot Adebarndoor… ๐Ÿ˜€

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Go and have that breakkie, Seventeenho. You need to up your sugar levels hahaha ๐Ÿ˜€

  64. steve says:

    Except for the Rosicky / Ramsey swap and your inclusion of Ozil rather than Akpom (how predictable are both of us lol) it is the same team as mine, like you said. I kind of get your reasoning re my extreme posts and giving me my own medicine but just a very strange time to decide to do it and probably one of the least warranted times lol – i give you plenty of opportunity lol.

    No worries though bud, enjoy the sun

  65. steve says:

    HT saying Ozil can slot into Sanchez’s role – must refrain from making extreme comment lol, can’t give him more grounds to justify his characterization of me lol
    Can’t think of two more different players … ahhhh… stop, hit the post comment button before i say anymore…. ahhhh

    ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

  66. The Cockie Monster says:

    Actually !……if Alexis is injured, I`d still put him on the bench all kitted up !……if he`s not on the bench and laying in a hospital in one of Diaby`s cast off plaster cast`s, then Villa will get buzz of deranged hope, whereas if he`s on the bench although secretly injured , they will think….” Fcuk !….look at their bench ! “……………….I should definitely be the Professor of Psychology on here !. hahaha

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    F11ngers…We agree more than you let on…Just have differing views of players and their contributions…Perhaps due to differing views on the pitch… Watching on a big screen in HD with an espresso in hand is (fundamentally) different than watching on a stream with an afternoon beverage…One is not better than the other, just different… (And then there’s watching from behind the sofa…hahaha…another approach entirely…) Trust me, when I come over and we watch one together, I’ll do it your way… ๐Ÿ˜€

    It is an extreme view, in light of his “success” (the fact that Arsenal paid 50 million Euros to get him, among other things…) to suggest that Ozil is a worthless player… but hey, hyperbole is the essence of communication, as they (or at least I…) sometimes say… Ozil and Alexis ARE different (like our ways of enjoying the game, like chalk and cheese…) but that doesn’t mean they BOTH cannot be appreciated…

    In my opinion, of course…

    ๐Ÿ˜€

  68. steve says:

    haha HT we will go the red bull and vodka route when you visit, caffeine and alcohol all in one ๐Ÿ™‚

  69. proudgooner says:

    ……………….Giroud…………
    Rosicky……….Ozil…………Theo.
    ……….Cazorla……Le Coq
    Gibbs…….Kos……BFG………Chambers
    ………..OOoosssppinaaaaaaa

    From a selfish point of view i say just play Alexis coz i want to see him play live, but it makes sense to rest him or leave him on the bench.

  70. proudgooner says:

    The other question i ask myself is do we need 2 DM’s v Villa??
    Probably not so that may change formation.

  71. Gerry says:

    HT – I hope your are supping your caffeine boost.

    I agree with Steve because that is the side, bar Akpom, that is a proven working model.
    If you had said Ozil instead of Santi, this would be a good time to test that one out.
    In fact as I feel pretty sure Arsene, will include Ramsey and Ozil, at the expense of Rosicky and Alexis, we may find out if it is lazy pronouncements that they will not work (as well) together.
    Like I say, I would rather find out this weekend, than test it next. But then again, if Alexis is’better’ then one of that trio will have to drop out? May be the one that doesn’t perform so well this weekend? And I have every confidence One, both will not do so well as they wold separately.

    PG – I think you may have just got AW to a tee! ๐Ÿ˜€

  72. proudgooner says:

    Gerry,
    I take it you mean the do we need 2 DM’s v Villa bit, that has Wenger to a tee, you can’t mean my line-up can you? Or do you? lol

  73. Gerry says:

    PG – Purely your line up. As one ‘DM’ is really a B2B?

  74. proudgooner says:

    I think it would work lovely mate. Plus they are alkl in form players and i think you have to reward that, or the players will lose heart.

  75. proudgooner says:

    I’d like to see Gabriel – Akpom – Rambo all come on as subs from the bench, Akpom is in form and i don’t like that Liverpool are sniffing around him and that he is out of contract at the end of the season, Wenger will have to play him or rick losing him.

  76. proudgooner says:
  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Sad to see TV end his career like this.

  78. Thr Cockie Monster says:

    Sad, but has to be one of Wengers best sell offs !…….sell Diaby for ยฃ15M and even I will call Wenger a genius !.

  79. geoffchase says:

    TA

    Ah, perfect is the enemy of good (or good enough)…. But, is good enough what we want…

    I will leave you with “To believe a thing impossible is to make it so…”

    cheers — jgc

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Geoff, you are talking about something very different now. We all want the best for the club but we differ on how to treat strengths and weaknesses of individuals. As a professor it is something you have got to think carefully about, as do I in my profession. ๐Ÿ™‚

  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just checking in…Lunchtime here…

    I’m not sure I can follow all the professional talk about good vs perfect… In our football observations and desires it’s all about the moment (game at hand) plus managing (confidences, fitness levels, etc.) for the future. We take our cues from the past, of course…

    For Villa at home on Sunday (early match) AW will play Ramsey and Ozil even if some prolific bloggers here prefer others. Ramsey can run and run (and run…) and cover a lot of territory, morphing from attacker (and CF option next to Giroud…) to a classic DM helping out Coquelin and the back line. Santi, in his own penguin-esque style, covers just a bit less ground between the boxes too… For me the questions come at the back. Bells in for Chambers at RB, Gabriel in for Koscielny and with Per back at RCB. Maybe? Nacho or Gibbs at LB seems an even call, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the Englishman has a “little knock.” Same goes for Theo vs Ox (who maybe is still carrying his “groin problem” and only makes the bench. (BTW, I agree about the usefulness of intimidation through “bench presence…” and all those guys plus Alexis should get a spot there…)

    The league is where “best 11s” happen but they’re subject to the necessity for results as are 2nd leg CL matches. If we “need” a win (this weekend) it may require a very slight modification in personnel. Likewise, if a draw will do (vs Spurs, I hate to say…) a more defensive line-up may be in order. Clearly, however, Wenger believes his best players can play conservatively, so Ozil and Santi will likely be tried together, no matter what the pundits may suggest and I’d expect changes to be minimal. Or maybe not…As always, WTF do I know?… ๐Ÿ˜€

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    18 vs Aston Villa 1 Feb. 2015 Best Guess…

    Giroud, Ozil, Cazorla, Walcott, Ramsey, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Flamini, Rosicky, Gibbs, Monreal, Gabriel, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Chambers, Ospina, Szczesny.

    If anybody is counting that’s 19… So maybe Ox’s groin or Alexis’ hamstring is really bad and they don’t even dress…

    Please compare with Aston Villa 17 Aug. 2013…

    Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Walcott, Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Szczesny (starters)…Podolski, Cazorla, Jenkinson (used)… Sanogo, Frimpong, Gnabry, Fabianski (unused).

    If you ask me, the improvement is to be seen (Ozil + Alexis = 90 million Euros invested in fees alone…Ospina, Chambers and Gabriel = 30 million more…) Also, check the balance of the squad. No “defensive minded” players beyond Frimpong (who is where exactly now?…) and Jenkinson… Progress, perhaps, is being made…

    Maybe? (Let’s see the result…Anything better than Arsenal 1- Villa 3 *might* qualify…)

  83. James Bond says:

    some great comments in here and it’s the usual suspects again – really enjoyed 17HT’s direct attacks and then back tracks @ Stevie Wonders ๐Ÿ˜€ very shrewdly done ; )

    yep, Alexis is a WengJURY – and gives him more time to spend with his dog (he often posts selfies with his dog after his the gf ditched him for Glics),

    disagreed – re Sicky

    we start with

    Le Coq————-Ramsey

    Theo——-Ozil————–Santiago

    ——–Giroud

    let’s keep Rosicky hungry , starving and eager for the spuds !

    giving Rosicky a Cameo to keep him sharp be rather good but we don’t have much pace in the squad with no Alexis , OX and Welbeck hence Akpom might get a few minutes as well with Gnabry on the bench ?

  84. AB says:

    Evening all. I don’t know what you put in the recipe TA, but it certainly generated some interesting results from those ruminating on it. I think JB has the front 6 right (assuming the Sanchez news is sound), though I think Santi and Oz swap their starting positions – nominally at any rate. At the back for me, I go with form, therefore:

    Ospina
    Bell, Mert, Kos and Nacho

    I hope our new boy does not need to be called on I confess, as I would rather give him some time to train with the squad. I’ve seen nothing of him beyond tube clips – he looks very promising, but a bit raw; i.e. we need to expect a few mistakes as he beds in. I’d rather he gets the chance to do this in a couple of ‘safe’ games rather than under the spotlight.

    I hope we are at them from the off as per our last game; complacency looks like our biggest risk.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening AB,it’s been a while; good to see you back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    I reckon the line up will be close to:

    Szczesny/Ospina
    Bellerin – BFG – Koz – Gibbs
    ————— Coq —————
    Theo — Ozil — Ramsey —Rosa
    ———— Girouffe —————–

    If Wenger is adventurous he plays Santi next to Ozil and leaves ramsey out.

  87. AB says:

    Only lame work excuses I’m afraid TA – as ever! I’m enjoying our progress of the moment though, and the slips a few other are making. The next few weeks will be proverbially ‘interesting’, and all to play for. History suggest another scrap for 4th up to the end, and pool and spuds positions would support that. But if we can put a strong run together then I think we might surprise ourselves, and a few others. Big if mind! We need to start with a convincing win at home on Sunday, whilst keeping our 2 first choice CBs fit for the following week.

  88. AB says:

    I think the shift between 4,1,4,1 and 4,2,3,1 will be fluid through the game, with your formation the natural one when we are on top. You pick Ros ahead of Santi? I love them both, but I think Wenger is playing for the future as well as the now, on which basis Ros starts on the bench in most games and only from the pitch when there is active rotation/injury. Harsh on him I know as he is quality still. Dropping Santi and selecting Oz would feel like a huge kick in the teeth to the latter. Ramsey has to start, if fit, whatever – again he is central to our future, and his form improves with playing time. But, wtfdik!

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes agreed AB, OGAAT as always. Villa won’t be easy. Lambert is a cunning fox who prepares well tactically against the stronger teams.

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    My view is that Santi gets a rest which is easy enough to explain to him. I have Rosa on the left as he can play a bit like Alexis there. He can make runs with the ball and take on a player if need be, he has drive too: we need a dynamo, which is either Rosa or Ox in Alexis’ absence for me.

  91. AB says:

    Well argued TA. I agree that Ox and Ros are more akin, in terms of drive, to Sanchez. But I’d look to Ramsey to provide some of this now, and Santi has also shown more purpose than he did at the start of the season, hence Ros on the bench for me. If Ox were fit then there would be a dilemma I think, over whether to start him of Oz on the left…… Hey ho, a blessing of good choices for us, whichever combination he picks!

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Ab, good options all round.

  93. 17highburyterrace says:

    I agree with AB and I’m curious as to what you’re drinking… ๐Ÿ™‚ It must be good, because you’ve got the team picked…(IMO)…

    Rosicky as “da man” for our FA cup matches makes sense to me…In other words, the line-up vs City but with Ozil “in for” Alexis (the quotes are for Steve, to indicate that they are not like for like players)… Also, I think Nacho is #1 at LB and Theo likely starts ahead of Ox…Those are both close calls, however…based on their recent Weng-juries… Presser (tomorrow?) likely brings some new “information.” Who knows if Gabby only suits up or actually plays?…

    Y’all (as we say) are off to bed, but my questions are still out there… Will folks be satisfied if there’s no further action in the window and can we sense progress in the squad from the last time we played Villa at home…or must we wait for the result to “know” for sure?…

    Just asking…

  94. geoffchase says:

    Hmm

    I think, TA, that all I am saying is that while one cannot turn a giraffe (girouffe) in to a cheetah (Costa is a banned cheetah no.. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) … One *** CAN*** turn one’s mindset around.. If, and only if, one believes it possible.

    Thus, professorial-like, I will pronounce/profess, my belief, once again until you all fall asleep in your chairs, that Koz could well become a leader like BFG.. If his mindset is flexible enough. … without losing the edge of how he plays…

    Our best going example of this is Alexis who was A, changed to supportive B at Barca, and is back to a different sort of aggressive playing/hungry A that we will call C (just to be professorially confusing and because I can.. ) … Mindset over material opinions

    Oh, and because everyone else is

    Ospina
    Bellerin – BFG – Koz/Gabriel – Nacho/Gibbs
    Le Coq
    Santi/Ox – AR – TR
    Ozil
    Giroud

    4-1-3-1-1 because I am being difficult today… and where the / choices are about injury level (Gibbs, Koz) and need for recovery (Santi with Alexis excluded).

    cheerios — jgc

  95. geoffchase says:

    17

    Its about who is available. I’d want a DM of the few we all tend to agree towards, but they seem unavailable, so.. why wish or go second rate?

    cheers — jgc

  96. davydavy says:

    I think I 90% agree with TA’s line-up, except that with Alexis out it might be wiser to keep Santi in the starting eleven rather than rest them both at the same time. Also, Monreal has done enough for me to keep his place, so we should see Theo slotting in for Alexis as the only change from the lineup against City.

    Ospina
    Bellerin – Koz – BFG – Monreal
    Coquelin
    Theo – Ramsey – Cazorla – Rosicky
    Giroud.

    I’d love to see Akpom, Ozil and Gabriel come on as subs if we are comfortable going into the last half hour, but against Villa (who can be tricky) there’s an advantage to keeping continuity with the combinations that have given us our current successful run of form. Their defence is good and they have just started scoring again, so I’m not underestimating them!

  97. Gerry says:

    Some interesting comments since I left off.

    I could certainly be happy with davydavy’s line up.

    It just shows how much the absence of Alexis has, to start to wonder, ‘who will score our goals’?
    Yes, the front 5 are all capable ‘on their day’, and that is the difference. Alexis seems to have ‘his day’ every time he gets on the pitch. I think that will have a big psychological effect on the players if we are held to 0-0 with 30 minutes to go.
    So, linking other open questions, I will be a tad disappointed if there is no further TW activity. It would be a bonus if we were the ‘vulture circling’ and swoops to take away our prey. We then would not have the situation I described above. So far, we have only signed one young player, but they may keep until summer. Whereas I think a little extra now might secure a couple of players that we will miss out on, when many teams will look to regroup in the summer window. We have available slots without selling, which is a BIG advantage.

    On the Geoff/TA discussion. On an individual level, I go with Geoff. But, when it comes to a team thing, when your best is what is needed, then I go with TA. Concentrate on what you are already good at, and try self development in your own time.
    Here are three players that come to mind:
    Koscielny. A really great ‘first soldier’. With Mertersacker, that is the player we need. Without Mertersacker it would be lovely if he could just take over the leadership role, but at this moment in time, whenever he tries his own game falls away. So, while he is developing the art of being leader, should the team suffer his lower performances? Or should we appoint someone else to be a leader, and leave him to what he is very good at?
    Coquelin? Yes a surprising example this, but very relevant. For the last few games Coquelin has been doing a fantastic job at defensive mid. By not trying to do anything other than read the game well, put in decisive tackles, make interceptions, and move the ball quickly. In fact he has been so good at it, he is now seen by some as the player we desperately need. But, on a personal, individual level, he is not improving his long passing game. He is not making runs forwards to be an extra player in the box. In short, he is not the player he could be?
    But his best role for the team is the one he is doing now? (This should be at the top of his thoughts when thinking about his future. Does he want that confined box that Arsenal would like to keep him in, or try his luck elsewhere so he can broaden his abilities?).
    Ramsey? Well he has seen the player he can be, and likes it. AW is allowing him to use other games where he is not at his best to get back to that level, and it seems, that can go against the team’s interest in the short term?
    Only the individuals can answer what is right for them, but ultimately it is AW that pulls the strings.
    The team for Sunday will be:
    Ospina
    Bellerin, Mertersacker, Gabriel, Monreal – Reasoning that if Monreal plays, then Bellerin provides the pace/support for Walcott. Koscielny will be rested for the Spurs game, so a match fit Gabriel will start. Should not be a problem. He is in his right position. Has Per alongside, and Ospina behind. I expect this combination to be used a couple of times before it is Per’s turn to be rested.
    Ramsey, Coquelin,
    Cazorla.
    Walcott, Ozil, Akpom – Reasoning that AW will be desperate to show faith in Akpom, and Giroud had a tough game last time. Equally desperate to find a solution to the Ozil v Santi conundrum. Fluidity across the front and Santi, the Coquelin ‘out ball’, transition should be swift and safe.

    Anthony Taylor the referee, Villa may be counting on cards staying in the pocket as they serial foul their way through the early game. However, Mr Taylor was criticised on TV last weekend, so I am expecting him to be a little more vigilant. Probably more hope than expectation though.

    The only thing that could be a problem is if this attack fails to score?
    Well may be not the only thing, as even with out injuries, Ramsey, Ozil, and Akpom are the ones likely to be subbed, but we do not know how well Gabriel will survive?
    I am guessing the bench will be evenly split between defenders and alternative attackers, along these lines:
    Szczesny, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ox, Rosicky, Giroud.

    Pre-empting a preview, and my usual view on the photos in training, but that is my take at this moment.
    OGAAT …. but one eye on the next one?

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    It is simple Geoff, I am from down to earth Europe. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Why try to turn a perfect first soldier into an organiser against all odds at a top club like ours. At best he’d become a good one: and to repeat your question: is that good enough for Arsenal?

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Davy ๐Ÿ™‚

    You might be right. I reckon Ozil wil and should start, and play centrally. Gibbs over Monreal too, best LB we have Imo.

  100. geoffchase says:

    TA

    In answer, to be even better…

    Your “against all odds” indicates that “down to earth” means of self limited possibilities. I’m from Silicon Valley in the 90s… Everything IS possible! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers — jgc

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    What it means is focus on strengths and talents rather than improving weaknesses at all cost. Eight out of ten appraisals are mainly focussed on improving weaknesses, with very little time for strengthening strengths and talents. Eight to nine out of ten employees worldwide state that they are hardly or not using their core strength in their roles. This is so wrong on more than one level.

    Make Koz the best First Soldier in the country, even Europe, rather than ‘yes you can’ him into an average to good Organiser/Leader of a CB. We only have to look at what was done to Vermaelen to see what the cost can be of ‘everything is possible’ when it comes to developing individuals.

  102. Gerry says:

    Geoff and TA – Can you at least agree that Arsenal will not encourage such development if it goes against their interest. Be that be short term or long term?
    Now if we do not get a SQ DM, then I am sure they will try and help Coquelin develop an all round game. The odds look stack against him?
    Compare that with Ramsey, of whom they have seen SQ, and therefore is allowed to pursue it.

    It is not totally up to the individual in football. To a greater or lesser degree, all clubs screw their players to the best advantage of the club. They are a business. That is what businesses do.

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, key for me is talent and strengths and finding the best position(s) for the player. And especially with young players this can be a bit of a journey. I think we all know what Coq’s key strengths and talents are and where he should play. What we don’t know is how much he fits into Wenger first team plan. And him not signing a new contract might force the issue soon.

  104. geoffchase says:

    And for me

    You’ve ignored the let him, himself, evolve his core skills as he himself evolves. Not force, but evolve. Big difference

    — jgc

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    And Geoff Silicon Valley is probably a great example of successes being achieved by people developing and utilizing their core strengths and talents to the max. I am all for ‘nothing is impossible’ when it comes to the wider goals and ambitions of organisations, or indeed, our football club. ๐Ÿ™‚

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    I am all about evolving strengths and talent, Geoff, and I have given you lots of practical examples of what I mean. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  107. allezkev says:

    Just catching up…

    Some interesting line-ups there, although I tend to agree with Davy, Walcott 4 Sanchez.
    The rest of the team, as it were from the ManCity line-up…

    Paulista to get his Arsenal debut from the bench perhaps and another cameo from Akpom hopefully…

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    Let’s also think back about Sagna. A brilliant FB who actually also possessed the core strengths of leadership, reading of the game and defence organisational skills. Thus he would have made a good CB despite his lack of height. Koz, however, has not demonstrated to me that he has such core skills and talents. Therefore, I would support him into becoming the absolute best in his current position.

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    Would be nice to see Paulista, Kev. You really think Ozil will not start?

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral today. Now there is a man who believed in his strengths and did not give one iota about his supposed weaknesses and related criticism, and what a difference he made to our world then and today! ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/30/winston-churchill-50th-anniversary-of-funeral-commemorated

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    From BBC:

    Arsenal’s manager said that defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin is close to signing a new contract, but Mikel Arteta has yet to agree a deal.
    Wenger said: “On Mikel Arteta, we have nothing to announce yet. On Coquelin, it’s 99% he will stay here.”

  112. allezkev says:

    Just a hunch Total…

    The way Santi has been playing, I wouldn’t see Mesut as an upgrade atm.

    Walcott for Sanchez looks an obvious one to me.
    Ozil will have s big part to play this season, I’m sure of that.
    But I like to see players who are performing, given the chance to regain their place.
    And those that are returning, earning their place.

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    good reasoning, Kev. I am 99% sure our second best player will play now that our best player is set to be injured/rested. But I agree with you that Santi should play too and probably will. So maybe it will be:

    Le Coq – Ramser
    ———–Santi———–
    Theo—————-Ozil
    ————Giroud——-

    If I had a spare tenner I would put it on these five starters.

  114. allezkev says:

    Yeah, you are probably right mate, as AOC is still out.
    Forgot about him…

    Santi is arguably playing the best football of his Arsenal career. So to move him out wide would be crazy imo.
    I don’t really like seeing Mesut out there as it’s such a waste, but something had to give.

    Sanchez back for the Spuds, fresh n raring to go.
    Welbeck also, it’s looking good for the second half of the season Total.
    The fixtures between now and May are set up for an Arsenal onslaught up to end of the season. Try as I might, I’m quite excited at how 2015 could pan out… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    He is Kev and what a turnaround this season (he really p*ssed me off last season, especially after the Chavs game). The thing is that we also need goals and assists and Ozil offers this in spades and without Alexis, we just need him to do his magic. 26 PL games, 5 goals and 9 assists, 4 MOTM for Ozil last season….. We need it back baby! ๐Ÿ™‚

  116. allezkev says:

    ๐Ÿ˜€

    Great news re: Coq and his contract (99.9%).
    What a difference that lad has made.
    Just keep on playing him while he is hot…
    A great attitude as well, not afraid to voice his opinion.

    Total, what do you make of the Schneiderlin rumours?
    A done deal perhaps?
    Or does the emergence of Le Coq change the scenario?

  117. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, I dont do rumours as I have been burnt too many times hahaha ๐Ÿ˜›

    But I love the guy. Such a clever reader of the game, great composure, great timing, great engine, healthy aggression, and a beautiful, allround kind of a midfielder as well. If Schneidi is not a Wenger player than you are not a London Cabbie hahahaha ๐Ÿ™‚

    What do you make of him?

  118. allezkev says:

    Yeah, I see what you me regarding rumours, but I still look at NewsNow like an addict… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Wasn’t really sure about Schneiderlin, until I saw him in the World Cup.
    But I like him, he’s a proper footballer, would really like him at Arsenal.
    And I was impressed by Griezmann as well…

    Actually thought that your lot had a couple of decent players, the fella that plays for Celtic for example. A tough hombre…

  119. The Cockie Monster says:

    allezkev !………….you being a London Cabbie, you must have picked up some celebs over the years and maybe some Arsenal ones !….don’t be shy, give us some juicy gossip, the more outrageous the better !. hahaha

  120. TotalArsenal says:

    Kev, the big one to watch is Memphis Depay.

  121. allezkev says:

    Glic, I couldn’t possibly comment… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Although I did pick up Harry Harris once. Full of bull.
    And Teddy Sheringham, in a suit that he must have been wearing for a bet…

    Yeah Total, I do know of him, isn’t he a midfielder?

  122. jnyc says:

    TA, a big salute to Churchill.

    How the west could use him now!

  123. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes an attacker midfielder/winger, Kev. Very explosive, fast and technically gifted.

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Johnnie. An extraordinary man. God knows what would have happened to the world if he had not been alive back then.

  125. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post ๐Ÿ™‚

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