Arsenal’s Best 11 in 2015

Since Arsenal beat Manchester city, they look like a team capable of going very far this season.

Arsenal v Queens Park Rangers - Barclays Premier League

There are many reasons for this change in fortunes, however, I believe that the key reason is that we now have competition for places. It has been well over a decade since we had this level of squad depth. Not only that, I can’t remember the last time when Arsenal had only two guaranteed first team starters (Sanchez & Koscielny).

At the moment, only those two players can walk into the team with their eyes closed. Every other position is being fought for, tooth and nail. Even at RB, Bellerin and Chambers have both impressed enough to make life uncomfortable for Debuchy when he recovers. At LB, Gibbs & Nacho are arguably equally as good. Sure, Nacho has been less than impressive at CB but when he plays at LB he really does play well, especially going forward.

At DM is where, at the moment, Coquelin is undeniably the best. Flamini has been appalling. In fact, in my opinion he was at fault for both goals against Brighton & HA. For the first goal Chambers may have had a poor touch but Flamini gave the opposition too much space. Same goes for the second one: he just offers no protection to our back four and I think his time is up. As for Arteta, he is past his sell by date unfortunately. It is the one position we are short.

From attacking midfield going forward, we have more quality players than the American flag has stars. I wonder how Arsene is to choose between TR7,Ramsey, Wilshere, Ox, Theo, Sanchez, Gnabry, Ozil, Cazorla, Welbeck and Giroud for only 5 spots. He could field 11 attackers! If only in that mix we had a truly world class no. 9, say Eddie Cavani or Karim Benzema.

Given this situation, picking a best 11 is quite the challenge. The only two players in the team guaranteed a starting berth when fit are Sanchez & Koscielny. Even then, the signing of Gabriel means that while he is undoubtedly first choice, Kos still has to look over his shoulder.

That said, only 11 players can be fielded at once. So given that everyone is fit and firing, what would be your best 11? 

I’ve put weeks of thought into this and the only solution i came up with is this: there is none. Bear with me for a moment. I think the first choice should be chosen based on two things: our opponents & the form of our players. For example:

When playing opponents who will force us to defend (like at the Etihad), I would start Theo & ozil on the bench.

Based on current form, our first 11 should look something like: Ospina, Bellerin, Per, Kos, Monreal, Coq, TR7 Santi, Alexis, Ox/Theo, Giroud.

Arsenal best 11 2015

However you choose to look at it, we are on the path to EPL/UCL glory.

COYG!!!!

By Marcus.

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103 Responses to Arsenal’s Best 11 in 2015

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one Marcus: a very positive post with plenty to discuss. 🙂

    Very harsh on Flamini. He did not have the best of games but to blame him for the two goals goes too far for me: others were equally to blame. He’ll be back though and we will need him during the rest of the season.

    Best eleven for me from currently fit players:

    ——–Ospina————-
    Bel – BFG – Koz – Gibbs
    —-Coq——–Rambo—-
    ———–Ozil—————
    Theo—————-Alexis
    ——–Girouffe———–

    Rambo to hold back against the tougher teams and team to play deep. If more adventurous we could swap Rambo for Santi or Rosicky. The players who are first on the team sheet: Alexis, Giroud, BFG, Ozil.

    Cheers buddy. 🙂

  2. Marcus says:

    TA,
    Re Flamini, I should have put it this way; He may not have been directly at fault but any decent DM would have gone some way in preventing those goals. & for me really, it has been that way for a large part of the season. He just offers no protection to our back four.

    And for the best 11 I think you are right, but only when Rambo is at his best. Which he isn’t yet.
    The thing is, Ramsey at his best gets Sanchez status. But when at the moment I feel TR7 deserves the nod, and here’s why;
    TR7 is one of the most tenacious players we have in the tackle. Sure, most of his tackles end up in fouls but you have to give it to him for getting stuck in. Maybe Ramsey edges him on this aspect a bit. TR7’s real strength is how he just dictates our play. He is soo good at controlling possession, picking decisive passes, holding the ball & running at players. Every time he plays we look more dangerous in the final third & we control games better. Plus his decision making is PERFECT. I just do not get how he has been a peripheral figure all along.

  3. Marcus says:

    And then the reason I put ox/Theo is because when we are playing a game like Mancity, for me Ox is the man. Simply because of the fact that not only does he put in a defensive shift, he is a ball carrier which you need to ignite counter attacks. But when we are playing a game where we are completely dominant and are creating chance after chance, Theo is your guy. He will finish off those chances.

  4. me says:

    I think Arsenal’s First 11 Should be: Ospina-Bellerin-Mtsk-Kons-Monreal-Coquilin-Ramsey-Ozil-Cazorla-Alexis-Giroud

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    He could have done better but then so could Chambers, Koz and Monreal for those goals. I agree that Flam is looking less strong at the moment but I don’t like to write hin off yet.

    Happy to agree on Rosicky v Rambo argument. Both are great players to have.

  6. godfried says:

    OSPINA ,BEL,BFG,KOS,MON
    WAL,TR7,COQ,OZ
    SANTI,G-BOZ

  7. godfried says:

    please i dnt want Rambo nt 4 nw plz….

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    I think if we had played a fully fit Theo against City we would have scored more or been under less pressure. We had plenty of ball carriers in that game but could have done with Theo’s fantastic goal threat. Ox is a work in progress for me.

  9. steve says:

    Great post Marcus, i think you answered the question (well half of it) in the last sentence of the post mate. We finally have enough strong competition for each position for the best XI to constantly be alternating dependent on current form. A great example of this is Cazorla, if we had the squad available that we do now back at the start of the season when Cazorla was decidedly average then anyone of Rosicky, Wilshere, OX, Ozil, Ramsey etc could have taken his place until he started to produce again in training or in sub appearances. Gone are the days of watching Ramsey trying to find form again for almost half a season or watching Flamini f*ck up for the hundredth time and simply having no other option other than to stick it out and hope they come good. Obviously when they do come good these players (Ramsey in Particular) are excellent and so could easily be pushed into the (at that particular time) best XI but the fact remains their place is never assured and form wins out above all else.
    The other half of the answer comes from also finally being able to be proactive in our approach to games. There’s no better example than recently against Manc City and Villa. Our approach to the City game was at last a disciplined, quite defensive one with a view to catch the opponent on the break. The wingers employed that day were (quite rightly) Sanchez and OX who both put in a massive shift as far as closing down, tracking back and staying disciplined is concerned. Now flip the approach to a should win home game in the shape of the recent Villa match and you can see how the change to Ozil and Walcott made sense (and worked a treat). With the greatest respect to the guys i really don’t think that Theo and Ozil could have done that type of job on the City players that Sanchez and OX did but does that make them worse players – not at all, just horses for courses thats all – and its f*cking lovely to see us have that in our squad now! 🙂

    So the best XI of 2015 – completely dependent on who we are facing and where and based on this, which of the players in the hat for selection are hitting the highest form 🙂

    Happy days!! 🙂

  10. henrychan says:

    Ospina
    Debuchy – Mertesaker – Koscielny – Gibbs
    Ramsey – Coquelin
    Cazorla
    Walcott – Giroud – Sanchez

  11. cristian says:

    my 11 takes this look;
    Ospina
    Hector Per Kons Gibbs
    Coquilin
    TR7 Santi
    walcott sanchez
    MO11
    akpom

  12. Gerry says:

    cristian – That’s my kind of team. Fit everybody I want in, and then find I have named twelve ..
    😀 It happens to us all one time or another.

    My twist would be this:
    Ospina
    Hector Per Kons Gibbs
    Coquilin
    TR7 Santi
    MO11
    akpom sanchez

    How does that look for you?
    TA will say it has no shape without Giroud, but it is great for pace.

  13. allezkev says:

    What a great question and a great post…

    Re: def/mids,
    Arteta for one more year.
    Le Coq, of course… 🙂
    Schneiderlin, yes please Arsene!
    Bielik, who should be an interesting prospect once he’s filled out.

    As for my XI…
    Well Santi ‘has’ to be in it ( Total 🙄 )
    So;
    Ospina, Bellerin, BFG, Koz, Monreal,
    Santi (of course), Ramsey, Le Coq.
    Sanchez, Giroud, Mesut…..

    Happy Days

  14. allezkev says:

    Just to quantify my selections, i love Rosicky, but could he play twice a week?
    Bellerin, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
    Ospina = Safe Hands.
    Monreal, stays fit, intelligent player, good defender.
    And I like my full-backs, primarily, being defenders…
    The rest, speak for themselves.
    Quality players who stay ‘fit’…..

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    It i the sort of question where everybody is right hahaha 🙂

    So no arguments from me Gerry, Kev and others. 😉

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Should be a good game tonight. I like the way Pool play but they just cannot finish opponents off it seems. And playing Bolton away in Feb on a cold night is not to be poo-pooed. My money is on 2-2.

  17. AwayGunner says:

    “Best 11 in 2015”, I’ll assume MD2 will be healthy at some point..

    Ospina
    Debuchy – BFG – Koz – Gibbs
    Le Coq
    Theo – Santi – Ozil – Sanchez
    Giro
    ——————————————
    Ospina
    Debuchy – BFG – Koz – Gibbs
    Le Coq – Rambo
    Ozil
    Theo – Giro – Sanchez

    TR7 would be an obligatory midfield substitute each and every game, regardless of situation.

    Exciting times.

    AG

  18. Gerry says:

    I’ve just seen the CL squad list, and not much room for new signings without some out goings.
    Diaby and Flamini would be the obvious ones most likely, but beyond that ….?

    Gnabbers is on the B-list this time, and to my delight so is B54. Anyone out on loan will not be eligible, But both Giroud and Gabriel are added.

  19. The Cockie Monster says:

    Now I`m the most virile and hetrosexual Gooner in the Universe, but I have had to go and see my Doctor and ask her why I have and what she can do about the bulge in my trousers when I see photos like this !.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha Cockie, very brokeback 😉

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    I don’t mean to be negative…and I know we need something to blog about…but, I don’t like these sorts of posts… 😀 What’s funniest, in the end, is that the title contradicts the conclusion…

    Why aren’t we discussing, for example, the need for a new manager? Just a couple of months back, this was a nearly unarguable conclusion… 😉 :/

    Rereading the post, I think Marcus is saying Wenger (or whoever is manager, or Marcus, if he was manager…) would play different players when different results are required. The discussion centers around games where nil-nil would be an acceptable result. There’s also a notion that form (not reputation) should dictate selection. Santi and Rosicky are “in form” so he makes the squad even if (at his stature) surely he cannot be considered a defender.

    Such analysis, ignores a bunch of stuff, most notably that scorelines change on the tiniest of margins. If City had scored first Santi (and Ox and Ramsey) could’ve “morphed” into offensive threats, as is their more normal game. That’s why they were out there… Nacho might be considered the more defensive of our LBs (I consider him the “better” one…) but it was his offense which turned the match. Hmmm….

    Additionally, what does Ozil need to do to show that he is in form? A goal at Brighton, a goal and an assist (and a 2nd goal, incorrectly called offside) vs Villa. Instead of being photographed at the Shisha bar during his time off, he’s added muscle. There must be a very deep prejudice against him. Is it the Turkish/Muslim background? Is it the stupid hair or just the (supposed) lack of ‘ardness? My guess it’s more the promise (supposedly) unrealized. Still, however, if you look at the period after he joined the club we topped the league. Alexis (a fine player, no doubt, but still one who can be questioned…) has only led us to a mid-table position. Our biggest victory of the season (on Sunday past) was without him, yet he is automatic first 11?… Again, Hmmm… (Resting him, as the manager is doing, I think is very smart, a lesson learned perhaps from his experience a year ago with…Ozil… Maybe?…)

    What sort of treatment will Schneiderlin come in for when he arrives in the Summer? Will this purple patch of Coq (an image for my monster friend…) be the reason we shouldn’t be putting Schneiderlin on 125 K/week?… Are we really just wasting money on the extra year that Arteta has just been given? I agree that the assessment on Flamini is harsh in the extreme, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if his contract is not extended…

    My point, and I truly don’t want to belabor (American spelling…) it, is that if you want to play manager then you have to think like a manager and this is one of those questions I really don’t think managers ask themselves. First 11 is determined on match day and depends on quality, fitness (availability), form and tactics. Additionally there is the “man management” of keeping players hungry, confident and otherwise engaged in the collective effort. Cost of investment (reputation) can play a role, as can public relations. As such, Wenger gives players injuries rather than telling the press he’s dropped them. He also seems to reward player loyalty and feel aggrieved at the opposite. (IMO, it’s actually a pretty tough and complex job and I support the current guy. This, again, seems as good a time as any to discuss why he is unfit for the job and who would be better…)

    Managers DO have to decide first 11s match to match. There’s a big one on Saturday (in the dreaded early time-slot, but bigger ones, may, in fact, loom…) so, for that one I’d play…

    Ospina
    Bellerin, Mert, Kos, Nacho
    Coq
    Theo, Ramsey, Ozil, Santi
    Giroud

    Subs = Alexis, Rosicky, Flamini, Gabriel, Chambers, Akpom (or Ox), Szczesny

    Of course, I could’ve copied and pasted that line-up from the Villa match…and saved everybody a bunch of reading…

    Sorry… 😦

    On a happier note, Pool trail at Bolton after a pen… 😀

  22. steve says:

    I got a little lost there HT, your third sentence comes across as though you are not in agreement with many of the conclusions Marcus arrives at like playing different players when different results are required (tactics) or using form as a significant indicator. However then you go on to state in your seventh sentence that you yourself would base selection of the starting XI on the very same factors;
    “First 11 is determined on match day and depends on quality, fitness (availability), form and tactics.”
    Fitness is a given, I think quality and form (on the day, maybe not so in the long term) are the same thing and then just as Marcus stated there are tactics also.
    I think i have misread the intent of that second sentence as such a complete contradiction within the same comment is simply not like you.

    What did i miss mate?

    Remember be kind, my brain is a little frazzled at this moment in time 🙂

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooh… That’s a shame… Bolton bound to collapse now… Extra time will be no fun for anybody…

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry about that, F11ngers… Of course tactics are a factor, which is why the manager never selects any of your line-ups based on things like pace or youthfulness or Englishness or lack of Ozil-ness… 😀

    We can express it as formation, at times, in that at City we were maybe playing a 4-5-1 with Coq, Ramsey, Santi, Ox and Alexis as the 5… Did Wenger (with input from the group, so they say…) change the tactics or change the personnel?… Quality and form were the key there but it’s also very possible that Ozil and Theo just weren’t fit enough to do the heavy lifting. Interesting that AW thought Rambo was up for it…

    Ahh dammit… Pool get their 2nd and avoid ET…

  25. steve says:

    Lack of Ozil-ness lol, nice (i’m still not sold on him yet btw)

    I get what you are saying about the formation structure tactically wise but i disagree with the personnel bit. I really don’t think that the pairing of Ozil and Walcott could have produced the level of tracking back, defending and midfield battling that the OX and Sanchez pairing did which was so influential in keeping City at bay. In fact we tried that very combo last year and got battered 6-3, we scored more because of Theo’s runs and Ozil’s Ozil-ness but without that added defensive character in the wings we obviously conceded a lot more.

  26. steve says:

    so you were agreeing with Marcus in that second sentence btw?

  27. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    Two quick comments:

    a. Hard to say anything if we talk form of Ozil or Theo – they would be “not rated”. On return both have been excellent. For 2ish games..

    b. Regarding Monreal and Gibbs, where many plump for Gibbs… I would note the following copied from ESPN site just now, very intriguing

    “statistically, the Spanish international’s numbers are better. Via Squawka, we can see Monreal’s pass completion is 87 percent to Gibbs 82 percent. He wins out in aerial duels won by 42 to 21, and interceptions by 47 to 34. He also leads the way in clearances with 73 to Gibbs’ 40 — and these stats come from playing the same number of Premier League games (17 each, with Monreal playing 31 more minutes in total).

    In all competitions Monreal has played 25 games for Arsenal this season, and has been on the losing side only twice. It’s hard to draw any real conclusions from individual records like that when it’s very much a team game, but the perception that he’s some kind of disaster zone is a long way from the truth”

    IMO, Nacho has been the one leading lately.. full bit FWIW at:
    http://www.espnfc.com/club/arsenal/359/blog/post/2281707/monreal-a-better-left-back-for-arsenal-after-stint-at-centre-back

    And from totally unrelated .. I am going to root for Dortmund to win the CL as after todays loss to Augsburg they are bottom of the Bundesliga, which would have to make them the very very first team to win the CL or equivalent **AND** be relegated the same year.. Very weird!!!

    cheers — jgc

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Marcus says you can’t pick a first 11 but then he (or TA) does… I agree, you can’t… Gazing into the crystal ball just doesn’t float my vessel…As such, in addition to the houseguests, I can’t really get into all the lists from your recent comment/post…

    One thing I’m definitely NOT saying is that Alexis has been dropped (or should be). I do think the key to much of our future success, however, will be how he and the other automatic first 11 players–(Ozil and Giroud mainly) can do the job. There is a reason he (like Ozil before him) were considered “touchable” at the big Spanish clubs.

    I get that people are enjoying watching our players and enjoying our results. To me this is infinitely better than not watching them (but hearing about them….) and suggesting that all we need is…blank… My point is that the margins are tights and “form” can be a matter of millimeters. As such, guys like Ospina or Coquelin are revelations, at the moment, but I’d suggest that the real test is how they (and we…) react to their first mistake… Of course, just being on the pitch (or waking up in the morning…) is enough for some fans to blame certain players (for just about anything) so hopefully we (as supporters…) will cut them a bit of slack… The manager has probably bought himself a single bad result before he needs to go too… (Imagine if Pool had gone out tonight…Talk about your derby day pressure… 😀 …)

    Finally, to show I can maybe not be such a sourpuss… Here’s my opening day team… (Aug 2015) Naturally, I reserve the right to change my mind… 😀

    Ospina
    Debuchy, BFG, Kos, Nacho
    Schneiderlin
    Alexis, Ozil, Santi, Ramsey
    Giroud

    3 changes from Saturday (Alexis, Debuchy and Schneiderlin) so, maybe, we’re not so far off…

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops, sorry Professor… Not sure if you still read my stuff, but agreed about Nacho… Also agreed about Dortmund…Crazy stuff, no?…

  30. geoffchase says:

    I read it! 🙂

    just very busy of later days… jgc

  31. St. Henry says:

    A topic sure to invite a wide range of opinions Marcus – nice one 🙂 What a fantastic problem to have 🙂
    I agree with most of the lineup you have with two exceptions.

    Ramsey in place of TR7 for the same reasons as others have said.

    And Ozil in place of Theo. The speedy outlet is provided by Alexis (and Ozil is pretty good too). The movement that Ozil provides as well as his better control of the ball, I think, will give him the edge over Theo (who will be the impact sub). Defensively too I think Ozil is under-rated. Granted he is no Alexis, but he is not as bad as the pundits would have it.

    Any idea of the form of the rest of the Spurs team (minus Lloris, Kane and Ericksen) ? Hope Bellerin does well given this is at WH Lane and first NLD…

  32. The Cockie Monster says:

    I`m waiting for the sequel post to this one……..Stevies Best Fingers 11 in 2015 !.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Every manager has a best -11 in mind, and Wenger would love to have them all fit and available; and every fan thinks about the perfect, best 11. It is also a fun thing to do, hence the post. Good to see you came up with one yourself in the end, Seventeenho…. was fun wasn’t it hahaha! 😛 😉

    Here is Wenger’s Arsenal tenure favourite (English spelling) eleven in pictures:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/picturegalleries/10706333/Arsene-Wengers-greatest-Arsenal-XI-in-pictures.html?frame=2855719

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    ST H, the Spuds are more and more playing as a team, just as we are doing right now. Key is to remain focused and cohesive for ninety+ minutes. If we have a ten minutes period against the Spuds as we had against the Villains in the second half, we will get punished. This will by no means be easy on Saturday and hopefully we have Alexis back. We will need him.

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, the above link fails (for me) when you try to navigate away from the Henry photo… 😦

    Now you’re DEFINITELY talking about a first 11 the manager is NOT thinking about… (Entertaining however…)

    The Arsenal best 11 is the one which just beat Spurs…Until the one which just beat Leicester, etc., etc.

    When we lose at Spurs (or vs LC, etc., etc.) the manager explains (or tries to keep his job) by talking about (parts of) his best 11 out with injury, illness, etc. Gerry will disagree with me, but Alexis would be well over his “hamstring” if results had disappointed vs Villa or at Brighton, I would guess… 😀

    Agree to disagree?… 😉

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    The stats re Nacho and Gibbs are interesting, Geoff. I feel Gibbs is the more all-round performer and stronger going forwards, but Nacho has been brilliant going forward recently as well. I would like to see more assists and goals from our full backs, especially the former, and all our full backs – left and right – need to improve. But I am happy for either to start: both very competent.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    17, to me it was very clear during the previous top Arsene teams/periods who his first eleven were. He has had no chance to create a best first eleven since the move to the new ground. Now he is in a position again to keep hold of his players and I reckon he is not far away from his ideal first eleven. But it is also a squad game as we have to deal with injuries etc, and sometimes Wenger will want to tweak his first eleven, even if everybody is fit, to make a tactical adjustment to a team. Let’s see what will happen over the next few months, with hopefully no more big injuries. I expect him to get more and more to playing the same eleven as much as possible.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry 17, yes happy to agree to disagree 😛

    Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday.

  39. Frozen says:

    Reading through the discussion and I feel inclined to give a little shout-out to 17. While he may come off as a “sourpuss” to some, he is undoubtedly a voice of reason. Contrasting Ozil and Alexis and their respective effect on our league standing in 14′ and 15′ was a brilliant bit. It’s the type of question and thorough analysis that many fans seem to avoid entirely. So, cheers, I guess is what I’m trying to say.

    As others mentioned, a set-in-stone starting XI is a bit unrealistic these days. So my XI for saturday goes a something like this..

    Ospina
    Bellerin Mert Koz Monreal
    Coquelin
    Ox-Santi-Ozil-Sanchez
    Giroud

    Subs…
    Walcott for Ox if we’re losing around the 60′.
    Gabriel for Ozil if we’re up around 75′.

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    Final thought, though I know you’re off to dreamland…

    Winning the league–and competing on additional fronts, the mark of truly top teams, is only getting tougher, mostly due to the improving quality of the lesser teams through the TV contract. Some clubs will also take up the Southampton model and focus even more on youth development…

    As such, a deeper squad and the “two world class players at each position” model of the greasy one (and his Oiler aspirants) is real, I think. The most notable signings in this transfer window were the Cuadrado upgrade (to Schurrle and Salah) at Chelsea and the major reinforcement for City at striker with the Bony transfer. We did nice business at CB ourselves, of course, and our guys are looking fit all at once. Meanwhile the majority of the action was with clubs at the bottom who keep buying to avoid the drop. All told, as the money moves in these (mysterious) ways, it just keeps getting tougher to win the league. As far back as we are, with proper focus and a bit (or a lot) of luck we can keep nibbling at it. (Good results/draws in the cups are key too…)

    Unless, of course, we drop points at Spurs, in which case the sky will fall… 😀 :/ But let’s cross that bridge when it collapses, or something,

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers Frozen… You must’ve missed my part about the manager and the “injuries” Alexis and Ox are carrying… 😉 No love for Rambo? To me, he’s playing quite well and is a key guy even if he’s not grabbing the goals or assists…

    All I’m really trying to say is that we miss a lot when the result informs everything–That said, I (fervently) hope we never drop another point… 😀

    Cheers, again…

  42. davydavy says:

    I would agree with seventeeno’s line-up, and we could well see the team that beat Villa turn out again against Spurs, with Alexis coming on off the bench after about 60 minutes. We had great team cohesion last weekend and we can smash Spurs if we play like that again.

    Ospina
    Bellerin, Merts, Kos, Monreal
    Coquelin
    Theo, Ramsey, Ozil, Santi
    Giroud

    What is our best first XI though? I would only make one change, so that Alexis comes in. But then who drops out? Our attacking players are all such talents that it’s a great problem to have.

    What impressed me the most against Villa was how fit and strong Mesut Ozil looked. He was fantastic and, looking at him and Hector and Theo, I suspect that we are now reaping the benefits of the new strength and conditioning programme brought in by Shad Forsythe at the beginning of the season.

    Watching the Chelsea v. Citeh game, and then Villa against the Arsenal, I saw two teams above us in the league who looked sluggish and in need of a break, and then in our team I saw freshness, energy, and an abundance of players coming into peak fitness and form at just the right time of the season. I have no doubt that Chelsea, Citeh, and even Southampton are starting to struggle a little, while we are most definitely on the up, and it might be Forsythe’s team that is making the difference.

    It seems like years since we Arsenal fans have seen so many options across the whole team at this part of the season. I have a real sense of optimism about the momentum we have now both in the league and in both cups. COYRRG!

  43. Frozen says:

    An in-form Rambo is undroppable along with our other Worldies.. Alexis, Koz, Ozil, etc.

    A struggling-for-form-after-injury Ramsey (who’s put in some decent shifts i’ll admit) is just edged out by the incredible consistency and physicality of le Coq. But thats just one man’s opinion.

    Either way, I think Ramsey will be starting this weekend but I couldn’t find a spot for him in my preferred line up..which is a crazy thought in itself. In this limbo-y form we’ve seen from Ramsey this season, I feel he’s more of a gamble in place of a midfielder who’s focus is purely attack (ozil) or purely defense (coquelin).

    Forgot all about the “injuries” to our boys on the flank. Now i’m certain they’ll start 😉

  44. Madhel Madut says:

    Ospina_Bellerin_Gabriel_Koscienly_Gibbs_Coq_Ramsey_Cazorla_Walcott_Giroud_Alexis

  45. Gerry says:

    I am not going to get get any further involved in what constitutes a Wenger face saving injury, or the real thing. Like many things, it is on tested out on what happens later.
    The only thing I would say is that if it was a ‘slight hamstring’, he most likely would have been on the bench against Villa. Then we were told he had little chance of playing, so the severity of the ‘injury’ was either a ploy to rest Alexis or, too severe to take a risk.If the latter, and if’improvement’ has been shown, he might make the bench this weekend.
    If it was all Wenger tosh, he may play?
    However, Spurs are not a haunted team like Vlla. We need a very Man City type display, and probably then some. So I hope AW will make the decisions that turn out to be the rights ones.
    Only Cortana can say what those are, bit it came up with the right result last night, and has us down to win … but team selection could change all that?

    Back to the four leeged fellows that would be hard pressed to keep up with Bellerin, on my figures anyway 😀

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    I thought the Ozil and Alexis ‘season influence comparison’ was a joke by Seventeenho. If not, then please substantiate as i have not heard somthing sillier in quite a while.

    Re two world class players in every position, 17: nobody in the PL has this anymore. Key injuries or absentees at ManCity have cost them dearly this season. Maureen plays the same eleven as much as possible and he has not got world class as back up everywhere anymore.

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Gerry, we need the Citeh game mind set and game plan.

  48. all pretty observations,bt i’d prefer(ospina,bellerin,gibbs,kosc,paulista,couque,rosick,santi,ozil,theo and alexis) nd no doub 4 solid defence n midfield plus attacking 4ce wz alex at the frontline

  49. steve says:

    hahaha i must admit i missed that bit about the Ozil vs Sanchez influence in HT’s comment TA, i think i simply prioritized a different part to chat about last night.
    HT you have outdone yourself 🙂
    That has got to be the statement of the year for all those that absolutely hate bloody statistical analysis to highlight.
    (if he is correct) then the stats don’t lie TA (with Ozil vs with Sanchez), when Ozil joined we went on to reach the top spot but with Sanchez we could only muster a mid table position. The stats are pretty clear on this; Ozil obviously had the bigger influence 😆 😆 😆
    Taking into account none of what actually goes on on the pitch and the fact that Sanchez has pretty much carried the team for most of the season and lets not forget transformed others players into better more tenacious ones.
    lol, that there is my hatred for statistics all summed up in one perfect little statement, thank you HT and TA for spotting it.
    +1 for just using your eyes and judging what actually goes on in a game to draw conclusions 🙂
    sorry i know all you guys love your stats but that was simply a great statement 😆 😆

    btw that was not aimed at you HT, just read it back and it sounds like im taking the piss, not at all and i’m sure you are correct in your analysis of the data – its that statistical data i’m taking the piss out of and how people use it to draw (imo) skewed conclusions.

  50. Neeraj says:

    Hey Folks,
    Steve long time no talk
    You had some upcoming medical procedure if I remeber right
    How did it go ?
    The Arsenal fans are buzzing after the recent excellent performances
    The fact that hardly 2 of us are getting the same best XI says it all
    The Armory is stocked with weapons waiting to be unleashed by The Professor.
    The competition is also getting the best out of our players. Nacho Monreal is the best example. Who expected him to keep Gibbo out of the team at the start of the season.
    The return of Welbz n Wilshere is going to force Wenger to double his painkiller dose to keep his from turning a complete 180°.
    The derby win would just take the confidence to another level.
    COYG !!!

  51. Gerry says:

    Hmmmn. – HT not having a good day. Alexis is out of the NLD. Official!

    As I suspected, it was a real injury.
    Same squad as last time. But Ox is also out. Cough cough, Wilshere ,cough cough back in tranining next week.

    Still a chance of Akpom starting alongside Giroud, if Walcott is the super-sub?
    I did confess that Chuba is a ‘favourite’ of mine, hence I agreed with the modified team that @christian put up. 😀

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Thats disappointing news, Gerry. Agreed same team as last week on Saturday.

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Neeraj

    How’re doing and what is the weather like in Pune?

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve, let’s give 17ho a chance to clarify his statement. He watches the game naked, but for a red and white scarf around his bull neck and three striped socks on his manlihood and testicles, on a big screen out side in the snow, with nothing inside him but espressos. He sees things we can only dream of! 😀

  55. Neeraj says:

    Hey TA,
    How are you ?
    I’m doing well, have my final exam in 2 weeks time.
    The weather in Pune has been weird lately. Cold mornings, hot days and humid nights.
    The season is changing and summer will be here soon. Then it gets really hot here. About 30-35 °C sometimes more

    Gerry,
    I have been really impressed by Akpom in his last few performances. He is looking hungry but Theo still get the nod for me ahead of him just because he is Theo. Akpom will have his share to do depending on the situation. Though Theo still looks a little under done. The Theo from 2013 would have thrashed home the 3 through balls he received in the last 2 games. He still is getting used to contact maybe. But he deserves his chance.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Good luck with your final exam and then you need to find yourself a girlfriend to keep you warm in the mornings 🙂

    All well with me, thanks. Days are getting longer but still cold.

  57. Gerry says:

    I agree with you Neeraj, Theo on his best form, especially when Ozil is around. But something has to give. They agreed on the Arsecast that if it was Alexis to fit in, Walcott would be benched. Their view.
    I think having a balance of pace down either wing, and subscribing to the theory that Bellerin plays when Gibbs doesn’t, he is the pace on the right. Monreal to stay back and defend, with Akpom the pace on the left in transition? He has the ability to mix it up a bit up front too.
    Basically, I’m just sticking up for ‘my guy’. 😀

    Gnabry back with the Under 21’s on Monday night. That’ll be interesting?

  58. steve says:

    Neeraj is back in the house! How you doing mate? 🙂
    I’m good, first half of medical shit done, in recovery atm then a second bit and i’m ready to rock and roll baby 🙂
    Agreed on all your points, what a strong squad atm!! 🙂
    sounds like things are looking good for you atm, final exam soon and the weathers about to get hotter – summertime!! 🙂

    TA, lol i know it sounds like i was singling out HT but it wasn’t my intention it was just the best example i have had in ages to prove why i hate an over-reliance on statistical conclusions by so many (not just HT). If he feels shitty about it i am very sure he’ll put me in my place later amid the morning caffeine rage 🙂

    Gerry, haha stirring it i see lol. Theres a little bit of a conspiracy theorist in all of us so its no surprise many question the validity of these injuries. bummer nevertheless and i hope both he and OX get back to fighting fit soon.

  59. Neeraj says:

    Bielik will also be playing in the U21 game. We’ll get a first good luck at what the guy’s got if they show it on Arsenal player.
    TA,
    The Girlfriend is at the top of my summer to do list. 😉

    Gerry,
    I think if at all you were to include Akpom I would then but Welbz ob the other wing. Both of them will have a tremendous work rate we may need that against their full backs.
    Against Villa too, we were lucky that Hutton played like shit but Monreal was exposed on more than 1 occasiona because Ozil did not track back. Even when Ozil does track back he tends to end up some where near the penalty box which is too deep for a winger as he is playing as one.
    Walcott was regularly tracking back and also he is always there when Arsenal start a counter attack and gets some good assists sometimes which Akpom may not be willing to do.

  60. The Cockie Monster says:

    Damn !…….No Alexis or Ox !……we`re doomed !. hahaha

    Here`s an interesting game. It`s possible we all have certain players we would like to be rid of or do not rate !……Stev11e`s is Ozil……Hamez Bond`s is Szczesny and mine is……..actually they have been sent out on loan and Arteta is still injured, so I`ll go for management instead !….Wenger !. hahaha
    Basically, what I`m trying to say is ……if Arsenal lose on Saturday and they play Szczesny and Ozil…..and just by chance Wenger is still manager, then that`s three of us who have someone to blame straight away !. hahaha
    So BKers…..who is your secret scapegoat ?……we may be able to get a team full of them and have a good moan if we lose !. hahaha
    7eventeenho doesn`t have to play this game as he will go on a moral crusade and take a fatwa out on me, next thing I know, my arms and legs are imprisoned in his (brackets) !.
    Yes, it is all bollox, but I`m bored and have nothing better to do other than sit looking at photos of BK WAGS and my kids !. hahaha

  61. Neeraj says:

    Im doing great Steve,
    Gearing up for my final exam and a couple of entrance tests after that. I hope to get into a good College for my Engineering.
    My Dad has promised me a trip to the Emirates next season if I score well in my test so I am really pumped up. Hope you will be up and running by that time.

  62. allezkev says:

    Sanchez out of the NLD…

    Cue panic and foreboding from the Press zzz

    Ah well, we’ll just have to struggle on with the team that stuck 5 goals past Aston Villa.
    What a disaster… 😉

  63. steve says:

    Cockie,
    Mine – Ozil
    yours – Wenger
    JB – Szczesny
    HT – Wilshere (though he wont admit it)
    TA – difficult one but i would say OX since he deemed it very feasible that a loan may be the best thing for him.

    Anyone got Ramsey? his forms not that great atm, must be someone, come out come out where ever you are lol.

    Neeraj, I’ll be up for that matey i should be back in business by then and well up for it – good times!! 🙂

  64. The Cockie Monster says:

    That`s the thing allezkev !…………..Alexis is such a top Super Quality player ( which we`ve all been dreaming about for years ), that even with the strong looking squad we have, we all ( well me and some others, maybe not on here hahaha ) fear the worst !………..I`ve had to get a re-mortgage out to buy ten Sofas since I heard the news, as one sofa is not adequate enough to hide behind……… I`m fcuking bricking it !. hahaha

  65. The Cockie Monster says:

    Oh yes !, Stev11e. Totes was a bit hard on the Ox, I do recall !. hahaha

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    I don’t blame players Cockster unless they are not putting in a shift, like Cazorla did at the end of last season, and I have never trusted Arshavin fully.

    But opposition teams are scared of Alexis, more than any other Gunner, despite him dragging the team only to fifth place this season. 😉

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Ox is a lovely guy and everything but effective as the never lying stats say! 😉

  68. steve says:

    hahahaha got to love them stats 🙂

  69. The Cockie Monster says:

    Yes !…..I think I once heard 7eventeenho breath out a low sigh when he saw a picture of Jack puffing on a fag !…………..I should really use the word cigarette as 7eventeenho might get confused as we all know what a “fag” is in the good old US of A !. hahaha

  70. The Cockie Monster says:

    True Totes !….I`m the same and love a player who puts a shift in as it`s only down to hard work !…..Arshavin should have been burned at the stake !. hahaha
    Mind you !…..Theo is a bit of a cazy lunt !…….I`ll just go and get some kindling to start up the fire !. hahaha

  71. steve says:

    Arshavin, Adebayor, Van judas, Nasri, Cole – we’re gonna need more wood!! 😆

  72. The Cockie Monster says:

    Maybe not Stev11e !……………………….Arshavin and Nasri always seemed to be carrying plenty of timber !……It`s a wonder they didn`t spontaneous combust when shaking hands !.

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ouch…Tough night…It felt like I was sleeping on pins and needles, but it turns out they were slings and arrows…

    Statistics, statistics…you can buy them at the art supply store and use them to paint whatever picture you like. Indeed I was only goofing about the different first half seasons of our two big signings from the Spanish giants. Ozil and Alexis are both great players and I would have to raise an eyebrow at anybody who leaves them off an Arsenal first 11. That said, AW did just that with Alexis in the home match… We can argue all we want about how “real” the injuries are but (the fact is…) we’ll never know. Is there something AW sees about Spurs that makes him want to keep Alexis away? Again, who (TF) knows?… Still you would think, no matter what, that a bench spot would be his if he was healthy.

    Even with Alexis this would be a tough one. They seem much improved from their early season form and Pochettino has finally found a regular group he seems to like. We need to be esp. careful about giving FKs in the wrong spots. Eriksen is kicking them better than anybody in the league, atm. As such, it’s a bit of extra pressure on Coq and Bellerin. Beyond Eriksen their big scorer these days is Harry Kane. Still, it’s a lot of pressure to try and keep that going in the derby. All told, I mostly hope we can continue to look composed at the back to create a platform for going forward. No more lop-sided results in away stadiums at Saturday lunch is goal #1. Take care of that, play some controlled possession football while also remaining happy to let them have the ball and staying ready to pounce on the break. Do this with our quality in MF and then, I think, it’s onwards and upwards…

    Beyond that I’ve got no prescriptions…but maybe that’s because I can’t take the (overnight) heat two nights in a row… 😀

  74. steve says:

    Damn it HT i thought you were being serious and had some data to back it up, that was my pin up statement for how shite stats can be at showing the real picture.
    Damn you HT! dream crusher! 😆

    No arrows from me btw matey, i’m just on a personal crusade against blank statistics atm and really needed something awesome like that to drive my message home, no attack on you personally matey.

  75. Gerry says:

    Steve – How about the Bellerin one, where he has a better goal scoring statistic than Balotelli at Liverpool 😀

  76. steve says:

    Gerry, a stat that shows Bellerin is more of a goal threat than Balotelli – that paints a pretty accurate picture of the real situation tbh lol

  77. allezkev says:

    10 sofas, blimey you must have more furniture true than DFS…

    I usually find Cocker, that 10 pints of Peroni does it for me… 😉
    Although I reckon you’ll be safe to sit around the front this weekend…
    Santi will see us home… 😀

  78. The Cockie Monster says:

    Kev !………an old school mate of mine from Daneford School in Bethnal Green became a cabbie and you might have heard or known of him as he was ….( if you have heard of the programme ) …..in a programme called 7 UP, a series following kids every seven years of their lives !. He tried to become a jockey and also had walk on parts in EastEnders….funny enough as a cabbie !. I wont say his name but if have followed the programme, you may know who I mean and I`m sure he was a Gooner as most in my year were !…..may be you`re him !. Then again his name is Tony !….Oops!. hahaha

  79. proudgooner says:

    ………………………..Giroud
    Alexis………………….Ozil………………..Walcott
    ……………..Cazorla………..Coquelin
    Gibbs……….Kosielny……..BFG………….Doubechy
    ……………………….Ospina

    Very hard to leave Ramsey, Jack and the OX and Rosicky out but.!
    Strange as it sounds i feel now after the latest trannie window shopping, i feel if we get an injury or 2. We can 1 handle it and even use it as a chance to mix it up a bit with the players who are not in our best X1

  80. proudgooner says:

    Cockie,
    My scapegoat is Puma zip jacket dept man. For making Arsene look a dick every single match day.

  81. proudgooner says:

    On Arsenal’s clothing dept, i got myself a lovely pair or Arsenal slippers from the Arsenal shop.

  82. proudgooner says:

    Another thought is its funny Alexis was forced to take a rest so to avoid an injury…
    What happens?? He gets injured lol you have to laugh.
    Hopefully the best player in the EPL will be back after the Spurs game.

  83. steve says:

    PG, “trannie window shopping”
    spend much time in Thailand matey?? 😆

  84. proudgooner says:

    I really think we need to send Terry.M hair transplant down to the pitch or someone else to bless the pitch or to perform a witch dance to try and rid our new stadium of and injury jinx.
    The recent EPL injury stats clearly show a strange and unfair injury handicap heaped upon Arsenal.
    At the moment the injury table is not to bad, i just don’t want any more so we can retain the FA cup and hopefully win the Champions league.

    By the way what do you guys make of Dortmunds bottom of the German league situtaion? What are the i want Klopp to replace Wenger lads and ladies think now?? lol
    Glad to say i always backed Wenger..

  85. proudgooner says:

    Steve11,
    LOL
    I wish mate, i have always wanted to go there and have watched all my mates do just that.
    I will go there 1 day. 🙂

  86. allezkev says:

    I know of the programme Cocker, but I don’t any cabbies called Tony…

    Although I did meet Tony Adams once, he was giving out prizes to my eldest boys football team, Gidea Park Rangers…

    My youngest spent the entire evening gazing up at him in awe, and holding his can of beer for him…

  87. allezkev says:

    Steve 😆

  88. steve says:

    PG, i seemed to go everywhere but there last time i was out in Asia so i think i will join you mate – maybe we can keep each other from getting into any trannie window shopping trouble lol.

  89. The Cockie Monster says:

    My Brother lives in Thailand and married a Thai girl !….definitely a Thai girl, which was only confirmed when she gave birth to my brothers son !. hahaha
    I also have Arsenal slippers….which come in handy for beating my mother-in-law to within an inch of her life !…..bitch !….she`s lucky I let her out of the cellar once a year just to sing me happy birthday !.

  90. proudgooner says:

    Steve11,
    You do hear some horror stories from out there, it would be really helpful to have another set of eyes Adams apple spotting with me .
    Cockie,
    Your slippers really were a good buy then, pestky old moulds .

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    Ask the villa fans whether stats matter! 😉

  92. proudgooner says:

    I sat next to some old lady Villa fan on the Train on the way home it was a long ride and she just sat there looking sickened in her Villa coat with no other Villa fans and full of Gooners i felt sorry for her you could see she was a die hard fan.
    All the way from Birmingham and back on her own bless her.

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    You should have consoled her, PG Tips. 🙂

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    Dortmund are going through a nightmare, PG. Unbelievable really.

  95. proudgooner says:

    TA,
    I probably would of done if my little cousin sitting on the other side was not showing me all the stuff in the programme and talking about all the goals lol
    Still they had tere day in that opener last season, but 10 hours without a goal ooouchh lol

  96. proudgooner says:

    Yeah i think it is just a shockingly run of bad luck and dip in form, because they topped there group in hen CL
    It just goes to show what can happen in football

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    You’re a decent guy, PG. 🙂

  98. FL08 says:

    Always an interesting topic to discuss Marcus!

    In my view the club’s best 11 from the current squad are:
    GK – Ospina
    RB – Debuchy
    CB – Mertesacker & Koscielny
    LB – Monreal
    CDM – Coquelin
    CM – Cazorla & Ramsey
    RW – Ozil
    CF – Giroud
    LW – Sanchez

    Basically the team that beat Man City at Etihad with Debuchy replacing Bellerin and Ozil replacing Ox.

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one FL08 🙂

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