Wilshere, Santi, Ozil in the same First-11: Swansea Preview and Line-Up

Wenger Worries on his Welsh Warrior and Welbeck; Who Will Wow us at (w)Right Wing: Wilshere or Walcott?

Jack's back

Jack’s back

Last time Arsenal played Swansea I went with alliteration in the match preview, using many a word which began with the letter S.  That one ended in another S word, so I shall not repeat that style for the return fixture.  Hopefully, a little Monday night football in front of the home support–and against a team securely in mid-table and struggling with injury issues–will be a chance to continue our fine run of recent form and get right back to some of the irresistible attacking football we played up at Hull City.

With Chelsea already crowned as league champions, Manchester United losing and failing to score in their last 3 matches (before yesterday’s game) and Liverpool 5 points behind us with two less to play, some might argue that Arsenal look very secure for a Champions league spot and also have nothing to play for.   I would respectfully disagree.

We may be safer than usual for the top-4 and also out of contention for the major trophies, but the team and individual players will want to lay down a marker before our trip to Old Trafford in a week and before the FA Cup final at the end of the month.  Additionally, all but the most jaundiced Gooner will have noted the pure fun the players were having in their last outing.  Jack Wilshere was positively bursting at the seams to get in on it in a substitute’s role, while Aaron Ramsey looked sore at being pulled off so Jack could do so.  Others will want a chance, and the team will be itching to get back at it.  Unfortunately, again, they–and we–must wait until Monday night.

Sitting nine places and 19 points higher in the league table, Swansea should represent a tougher challenge than Hull, who were perhaps looking ahead towards more winnable matches in their struggle against relegation.  While Arsenal were weakened through injury when we lost to them in the aforementioned match back in November, Gooners who watched it will know that the Swans are an unselfish group who balance patience with a measure of quality and attacking flair.  Both teams were cautious in the first half of that one but it came to life in the 2nd, especially after Arsenal scored a lovely goal on the counter.  Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain got us ahead of their lines and fine work from Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez capped it off.  Unfortunately, Swansea responded in kind.   A beautiful Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick made the score 1-1 and, just three minutes later, Jefferson Montero crossed for Bafetimbi Gomis to seal the defeat.

Swansea will bring that same sort of quality and resolve into this one.   They will also bring former Arsenal goalkeeper, Lukas Fabianski, who, on the strength of a fine first season with his new club, will be keen to show what we gave up when we allowed his contract to run down.  The Swans greater struggle will be up front.  Gomis will likely return to action after a hamstring strain, but Wilfried Bony, the true fulcrum of their attack, is gone, having transferred to Manchester City in January.  Nelson Oliviera has held down the position in recent matches but he hobbled off after 40 minutes vs Stoke a week ago.

This means it will be more about Swansea’s excellent midfield men.  In addition to the quality always on display with Sigurdsson, Jonjo Shelvy loves a belt from audacious distances and is an imposing physical presence.  Sung-Yeung Ki is quietly putting together a fine season and is one who is always on the move, specializing in finding spaces between defenders and pouncing on poorly cleared loose balls.  Leon Britton and Nathan Dyer should not be underestimated due to their diminutive statures as surely Montero will not, having tortured Callum Chambers down our right side in that earlier match.  Wayne Routledge will miss out through injury, but the bigger worry for Gary Monk’s team will be finding four to field in front of Fabianski.  Kyle Naughton and Jordi Amat are both out.  Still, Ashley Williams, a player many have stumped for at Arsenal, and, perhaps, former Arsenal trainee, Kyle Bartley, who played very well in the earlier match, will provide resistance.  No matter who plays, we can count on Monk’s squad to give a solid effort over the entire 90 minutes.  At times this season, especially in January after they sold Bony, observers have expected a let up from his group.  Monk must be doing something right as none has yet to be seen.

Arsenal should not let down either.  The easiest way to get up for 2nd in the league–which would be our highest finish in a decade–will be taking full points from our three remaining home matches.  We also have the FA Cup final looming on the horizon and players should be keen to lock down their positions for that one.  Most of all, we are a much improved side since that earlier match.  Not only are Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud back and anchoring our attack, but we’re also a rebuilt squad at the rear. Laurent Koscielny has returned to partner Per Mertesacker, meaning Nacho Monreal will play as left back rather than alongside the big German, as he was forced to do in Wales.  Likewise, the pace of Hector Bellerin on the right should present more of a challenge to Montero than Chambers was able to muster.  Moreover, on either side of this back-4 will be the calmer presence of our new #1 keeper, David Ospina, while Francis Coquelin will take the role Mathieu Flamini played as our deepest lying mid-fielder.   All told, these seven positional changes (six new faces) have made for a group which gives Gooners a more solid sensation, with a record of results to back up the feeling.  Nine wins and a draw from our last 10 in the league is nothing to be sniffed at.

Up front, in addition to Ozil and Giroud, Alexis has re-found his goal scoring form and has his sights set on Thierry Henry’s tally of 17 league goals from the legendary striker’s first season with the club.  With some of the scoring burden lifted, Santi Cazorla is showing off his full array of skills from a deeper lying spot alongside Coquelin.  Ramsey, having taken that knock at Hull, has not been training, so he will likely be held out of this one.

Will it be Wilshere, who made many remember his qualities in his cameo up there, or Theo Walcott in for the former Cardiff player or might Wenger go wild and give Tomas Rosicky a run?   Mathieu Debuchy, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will not go, but fears that the latter two were done for the season were allayed in comments from Wenger this week. 

My hunch is that the injuries in our squad are not so desperate and that most players could play if they were needed, as they may be for the ManUnited match or in the Cup Final.  At full fitness, many fine players in our squad must be left out of our first-11 and even the subs bench.

Here’s my best guess as to who will make those spots:

ars v swan

 Subs: Szczesny, Gabriel, Gibbs, Flamini, Arteta, Rosicky, Walcott

In truth, it’s a more conservative bunch of choices than I would have expected a couple of weeks ago.  My hunch is that Wenger will go with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” mindset.  Additionally, it may be irresistible to try and play the best football we can, especially in light of other teams, notably Barcelona, doing likewise in their 3-nil Champions League win this past Wednesday vs Bayern Munich.  Both teams played to a very high level but the deadlock was broken on the superiority of Lionel Messi late on.  Wenger, I think, might want to see more of what his best group can produce so as to assess his squad and think about tactics for getting the very best out of them–all the while considering tweaks for the off-season.  As much as many believe he’s overly indulgent with his current players, I sense a ruthless streak as he nears the end of his coaching career.  Individuals must show what they’ve got and suffer no May-laise (sorry).  With good players waiting in the wings–and plenty who wouldn’t mind joining over the summer–this is no time for a let down. Swansea might appear to have nothing left to play for, as perhaps some might believe we also do not.   I think a deeper look reveals plenty.

Go on then…

By 17HighburyTerrace

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158 Responses to Wilshere, Santi, Ozil in the same First-11: Swansea Preview and Line-Up

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Seventeenho for another finely balanced and rightly pitched match preview. You are doing the opposition justice with some fine observations and really made me look forward to the game. Love the line-up and it would be good to see Jack start. Not many realise that Wenger sees Bellerina as our winger and whoever plays in front of him does not need to be one…. hence Aaron was favoured to more orthodox wingers in recent games. Jack would love the freedom playing there and would be disciplined enough to cover for the Bellerina. The idea of Ozil and Jack interchanging is also mouthwatering, and Cazorla can add further creativity from deeper in midfield as well.

    Let’s hope we will get another three points and play some fantastic football again. COYG! 🙂

  2. Retsub says:

    Nice write up 27ht, I would be surprised if you are not 100 per cent right with the team. I have two concerns and one thought.

    1 Fabianski will undoubtably play a blinder

    2. Jack is so keen to please, he is going to get himself injured again.

    And finally I hate Monday night football (other than when it gives you something to look forward to on a dull Monday

  3. Gerry says:

    Total Cabbage here … I have just spent 2 hours painstakingly writing a message writing left-handed on an upside down keyboard ….
    only to wipe it before sending.
    Sorry HT a short version later perhaps

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

  4. Xavier says:

    Nice One HT. Looking forward to the game as well. Why do you figure Jack to replace Ramsey rather than Theo? Or Welbeck? Im just curious. I think it may be Theo. He does need the game time more than Jack although I agree with TA about Wenger not wanting to fix what aint broke. Good game to look forward to. My only tweak in your lineup will be walcott for jack.

    On a side note I was thinking about what exactly our formation is nowadays with Ramsey/Jack on the wing. I get what it looks like on paper but on the field theres something different about it eh? I mean even mertesacker says it looks confusing for him watching from the back. Its a good thing I guess as the opposition cant figure it out as well. 😀 I’ll try and see if I can make any sense of it tonight.

    COYG!!!

  5. Gerry says:

    Okay, the pleasantries and praise disappeared into the ether – but take it as read HT, they were very good. 😀
    Alas so did my well reasoned argument for the following line up, which were also excellent:
    —————————–Ospina———————————-

    Bellerin——-Mert———————Gabriel————Gibbs

    –Wilshere———-Cazorla———-Coquelin——–Alexis–

    ———————————Giroud———————————

    ——————————Walcott———————————–

    As you will not see from my well reasoned arguments ….. er, unless you have an ether reader?
    But all were accounted for two prime reasons: We are finishing in the top 3; Players need game time in case of need against Utd next week. …and we don’t need Ozil to pull up injured.

    Note to Xavier – It looks less confusing if you think of it as a fluid 4-4-2? Which is what I think AW will try and develop for next season – with or without Walcott, but this may sweeten the contract talks … if he can deliver the goods tonight?

    The Utd game is the bigger stumbling block against finishing second, imo. But as you also see from the ether reader, I think Swansea will play to win as they have an outside chance of reaching the top 6. So an open attacking game will suit us fine, with either line up. Less so if AW, in his infinite wisdom and massive blind spot, swaps Jack for Santi, imo.

    Please note, I have exaggerated my infirmity somewhat, but I think the root cause is a repetitive strain injury, which throwing balls for dogs and one hand typing for many hours does not improve it. Before TCM gets the wrong idea, the strain is in the shoulder, okay.

    Back to rest and recuperation …. Keep the faith

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey fellas, thanks for the responses… I’m not sure why so few are participating these days. Better weather? Too busy? Not much to play for? More likely, I fear, good results are the Kryptonite of the (average) on-line Gooner. It’s hard to know more than Wenger when the team isn’t losing…Maybe?… My hunch is that too many have too much at stake in (Arsene’s) Arsenal being a failure… 😦

    If that’s not your thing, I think there’s a lot of really good stuff happening and a closer look is very worthwhile. Unlike in previous seasons we’re not just stumbling in the dark hoping to come across something good… which doesn’t mean it cannot be better. Personally, I’m looking forward to the matches, as I hope is reflected in the previews… I still feel regretful we’re not in that other tournament…

    More specifically, I think TA is right about Bellerin being as much about going forward as anything. That opener against Liverpool (with his off foot, no less) and the late angled shot last Monday (which Jack would’ve put back, but for the handball..) show a lot of attacking verve. The winger ahead of him can thus go central or wherever he wants. This is why I’m stumping for Jack in that spot although it appears Ramsey could be fit enough to go again. As well as he’s been playing how do you keep him out of the first 11?… Theo, I fear, has to do more with whatever minutes he gets. If we need a goal, he’ll be our guy–and scoring it will get everybody back on the Walcott-wagon…

    As for other ideas, including Lefty Gerry’s from the cabbage patch… Everybody is entitled to their own. Personally, I don’t see those kinds of things getting tried, but what do I know?…

    Anyhow, my hope is that the boys can stay focused here and that a good spirit of competition for places is working as the big motivator. United away and the Cup final should be everybody’s objective, but we only get to those–in ready-to-rock fashion–not to mention the start of next season…by playing our best in these remaining home matches.

    Here’s to a good one tonight…

  7. AwayGunner says:

    Great preview HT, and mostly all agreed. I’m very excited for the game as waiting until mondays has been killing me. I think Theo will start (out of necessity at this point) and make way for another Jack cameo later on.. I’d agree with your line up completey if he were 100% match fit, but starting him now would be careless i think. Deep down would i really be surprised though..?

    Either way, COYG!

    AG

  8. AB says:

    Evening HT. Great preview. I’m really gutted to be out this evening, so I can’t track other than by text updates from a mate. I think your line-up is probably spot on, assuming Rambo will be protected. My only wonder is whether Rosicky gets a look in on the left – he might not get another start for the Arsenal, and could be given 60 min without holding anyone else back. We all know his quality and I’m sure he would love to show us it again one more time. Sentimental perhaps, and not part of building for the future, but he would be a safe option as well as a quality one, with either Jack or Theo coming on later.

  9. James Bond says:

    nice one @ Me Amigo

    You might find the Likes of Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere playing today.

    that being said, I think we have bought ourselves a £30 million striker, our Kun type aka Theo – AW doesn’t come out in the open to make such big statements if he didn’t mean them, so I do expect Theo to play as a striker today and be rotated with Giroud from now on as Welbeck plays on the wings along with the Ox’s, the Gnabry’s and Alexis’s.

    Don’t be surprised to see Theo Start tonight. That be my only change from your predicted 11.

    3-0 to the Gooners!

  10. James Bond says:

    Before we go any further… let me tell you that Arsenal are unchanged for the fifth game in a row. Aaron Ramsey is fit to play. The last time they did that? January 1994.

    Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud. Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky, Walcott.

    Swansea have been forced into one change from the 2-0 win against Stoke, with midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson pushed up into an attacking ‘false nine’ role following an injury to Nelson Oliveira, the striker on loan from Benfica. That means Ki Sung-yueng is recalled in midfield, while forward Bafetimbi Gomis is only on the bench having returned from a hamstring injury.

    Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Cork, Sigurdsson, Montero, Dyer. Subs: Tremmel, Richards, Britton, Grimes, Barrow, Emnes, Gomis.

  11. The Cockie Monster says:

    The usual classy PM, much appreciated !.
    Just one thing though my Tahoe Tactical Temptress ……………….we are in contention for a major trophy !……..The FA Cup !……..or were you teasing ?. hahaha

    UTA

  12. alcide says:

    Hi guys,

    Well I’m all for keeping the same team on the pitch – lets secure three points, we’ll have Sunderland to rest whoever needs to and give some time to Jack and Theo – and hopefully they will come in if we’re ahead tonight. Glad that Rambo is playing – 3 goals and 4 assists in the last 6 games is too good to pass on…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Half time…Disappointing in that we’ve got plenty of the ball but no real chances created… Ozil, Alexis and Rambo are coming back deep for the ball to the point where Santi is finding the need to get forward. I can’t really see how to change things for the better, but maybe the manager can…

  14. alcide says:

    I didn’t expect Swansea to park it like that… We must have had 70% possession but lack some bite. A few over hit passes spoilt a few good opportunities too. But I guess it’s good we don’t rush it too much, even if we’ll need to produce a bit more – not much space to be found but we’re a bit static at times?

  15. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yeah, that might be the answer–forwards switching sides behind their back 4 just to get the defenders looking around and thinking about such things… Maybe?… Some successful dribbling and getting past defenders could be needed too…

    Sounds like Theo is warming up with some purpose…

  16. James Bond says:

    who see’s my point re- Giroud against parked buses now ?

  17. James Bond says:

    Ramsey and Giroud not at the races today.

    bring on Theo and JW.

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    Not sure why you’re singling out Giroud, 007…Must be because Szcz isn’t playing…

    Giroud looked decent there but the Swans D was strong too…Bells might’ve pulled it back for Rambo?…Better movement all around, I thought…

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good work there from AR, except for the final ball…

    Gotta be careful defending as well…

  20. James Bond says:

    I’m calling it as I see it. not sure what Sczny has to do with or what point here you are trying to make @ 17HT ? : )

    am singling out whoever is slowing us down and not looking at the races.

    Giroud as a striker isn’t giving the defenders anything to think about – easy to defend against and there is not much movement for our creators to exploit up front.

    if you fail to see my point, then I’m speechless.

    now watch Giroud score a hat-trick and make me eat my words.

    famous last words ?

  21. James Bond says:

    there you go, clear cut chance and he smashes it straight at Fabianski – take those chances Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiroud – must do better.

  22. James Bond says:

    Swansea are wasting a lot of time here – clever.

  23. James Bond says:

    what on earth was that @ RAMSEY

    least the tempo has picked up- GOOD

  24. alcide says:

    And what a pass from Mesut

  25. James Bond says:

    WOW – Ozil

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry, 007, it just seems like with Szcz out now, you’re reserving your ire for Giroud…

    To me, against the parked bus, Giroud’s physicality is a big bonus…In an open game, Theo all day long…

    Nice bits of D from Ozil…

    Time to score, eh…

  27. James Bond says:

    Sanntiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    oh nearly

  28. James Bond says:

    fair enough @ Me Amigo

    I actually think the reverse probably works better but that’s just me.

    Nacho is having a superb game.

  29. alcide says:

    Jack for Coquelin… Wow

  30. James Bond says:

    Le Coq = OFF

    Shere Power = ON

    good, me likes !!!

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Jack on, Le Coq off…

    Time to start buzzing here…

  32. alcide says:

    I hope Rambo will not bomb forward too much…

  33. James Bond says:

    JW playing on the RW.

  34. James Bond says:

    nearly the unlocking pass

    ENTER THEO

  35. alcide says:

    And Theo for OG… All before 70′ 🙂

  36. James Bond says:

    there you go, there you go –

    GIROUD = OFF

    THEO = ON

    it’s theo time alright!

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    Looks like Rambo has moved to DM…

    Kos almost 1-2s into the box… Jack good but for the final ball straight to Fabs… And then almost finds Rambo…

    Giroud out, Theo on… 007’s wish is granted…

    Commentator here says, “When Swansea are sitting so deep it’s hard for Walcott to use his pace,”
    or something close…

    Corner…

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Two corners from Alexis cut out by the first man…

    Theo toe poke too weak…

  39. James Bond says:

    I would be tempted to take off the BFG and bring on Rosicky @ Alcide

    they have firmly parked the bus, we don’t need a back 4.

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ki out, very, very slowly… Gomis on…

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow..nice from Nacho… pulled down, no?…

  42. James Bond says:

    I thught he was @ me Amigo – should have gone down instead of taking the shot, IMO

  43. alcide says:

    Geez we just don’t want to score!

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh my…Cannot believe Alexis and Theo didn’t score there…

    And Santi too!!!…Gotta pick a corner, I guess…

  45. alcide says:

    And now santi shoots at Flappy :/

  46. James Bond says:

    we let the wrong POLE go.

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Rambo thought he was passing to Giroud there…Theo too short… 😦 😀

  48. James Bond says:

    I really rate Ramsey, but sometimes he tries some audacious stuff, really.

  49. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahahah yeah we needed Giroud there but unfortunately, he wouldn’t have been able to read that pass 😀

  50. James Bond says:

    WTF

  51. alcide says:

    Oh my

  52. alcide says:

    Man that’s going to be one of the biggest robbery

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Goal given?…WTF… Oops…

  54. James Bond says:

    didn’t look in real time but it was in.

    poor poor from Ospina, why go in with the ball.

    will take a point from here, come on lads

    we need 1

  55. James Bond says:

    when it’s just not your day it’s just not your day

  56. James Bond says:

    Fabianski = MOTM.

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    Doesn’t seem like Fabs is gonna get beaten today…

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…

    Well, maybe some extra action on the blog, at least…

  59. alcide says:

    Well we should have hit the net instead of Ospina 4 or 5 times… Flappy saved them but barely had to dive… Damn.

  60. James Bond says:

    never mind lads, does it really matter whether we finish 2nd or 3rd as long as we don’t finish 4th ?

    keep the chins up and even if we lose against man utd, we still be in the driving seat for 3rd with a game in hand.

    we got our tactics wrong today.

    Welbeck and Ox are being missed.

  61. alcide says:

    Agreed with JB, when it’s not your day… A little defensive lapse perhaps, but it was a serious performance with plenty of opportunities that should have been buried – Flappy motm but to be honest here shot at him most of his saves…

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    Montero to Gomis was almost exactly like the winning goal in Swansea…

    I dunno, seems like too many bodies in our box, bringing too many defenders with them… Of course, a bit of luck and maybe shooting at the posts might’ve helped…

  63. alcide says:

    Dunno about Welbz and Ox, we just missed shooting boots

  64. James Bond says:

    let’s put it this way.

    would you much rather take losing to Swansea at home and finishing 3 possibly and then winning the FA cup

    or would you much rather we won today, finished 2nd and then lost the FA cup final ?

    this is a good timely reminder and an eye opener to keep our players and manager on their toes.

  65. alcide says:

    Annoying to see the goal being replayed 12 times… Nacho had a great game except he forgot to attack the ball vs Gomis (who lost ALL of his headed vs Nacho part from that one)

  66. alcide says:

    With a little luck Swansea will take a league spot from Spurs too 🙂

  67. Admir says:

    This was the game I had been afraid for months and, sadly, it turned out to be true. I wrote two months ago that I expect us to play a draw against Swans. Swansea are simply our jinx club. It turned out that I was, actually, an optimist.

    Perhaps Walcott on the wing, Cazorla on the bench for Old Trafford? Let’s make third place our own!

  68. ArsenalNorth says:

    Disappointing result but on another day we could’ve scored a few. Maybe it’s just me but we seemed more willing to swing in crosses after Giroud came off. Perhaps they were running out of ideas? I think we could’ve moved the ball a bit quicker at times. It seemed like they were a bit too comfortable out there, like they figured they’d score eventually. I would’ve liked to see wilshere on from the beginning just to change things up a bit, and jack has the ability to inject a little more pace into the game with his quick bursts. I can see why Wenger might be reluctant to change a winning team though.

  69. Gerry says:

    Difficult one to point out collective errors v individual errors, and decide which were the greater?

    Collectively, despite all the possession, the pass and move was very safe and ponderous in the first half. Which made their defending much easier. I thought we had developed enough to know when to snap into action quickly and spend a little time to regroup. This first half looked like we were in ‘regroup’ mode throughout?
    Swansea were of course well drilled and made it difficult. Even so, we did create create the odd half chance, but that is really all they were.
    Too much of the time they kept trying the chip over the top I mentioned in the last game … the Alex Song to RVP type, except not even Alexis seems to have perfected that skill?

    I don’t like pointing fingers at players when they all worked very hard, but Alexis and Ramsey lost the ball countless times in attempting things that would be better left on the training ground. Cazorla was not immune from that, and sadly Ozil was only given slim chance of getting a ‘key’ pass away.

    The second half did brighten up the longer the game went on, and as Swansea retreated deeper. Take nothing away from Fabianski, who deserved his MOTM award, but our shots on goal were a bit like the first half performance – safe and predictable.

    When Jack came on for Coquelin, which in itself is not a bad idea, as the latter does tire a bit towards the end, but the switch to put Ramsey, who was having a ‘not his day’ game, was not the best thought out … with hindsight. I chuckled when the commentary team took time out to mention the change of positioning. I even thought of the in-game writers on here smiling sweetly at the move. It was a bitter sweet chuckle from me, I can tell you. Whoever thought Jack would stay out wide, and me promoting him to start in that position ha ha ha. I’d love to see his heat map, because the dark spots will not show up down the right … any more than Ramsey in the deep lying defensive midfield spot.
    But hey, Swansea were in retreat, so why not push for the win?

    My biggest disappoinment was of course Bellerin. He had Montero in his pocket all game, yet the one time he gets a byline cross in, they score.

    Would we have done any better with my line up? Possibly, possibly not.
    Gibbs on the left would have had more direst pace, but could have left space in behind.
    Wilshere starting would have disappeared off the right wing just as quickly.
    Gabriel for Kos, who hardly put a foot wrong, although I would have loved him to go through Shelvey the way he did to Alexis. So it might have been worth it. 😀
    Walcott up front and Ozil resting? Mmmmn, that might have worked, given the longer Walcott was on the better he looked? It might have left a little more space in the centre of midfield where Wilshere was inevitably going to gravitate towards, and that in turn might have helped Cazorla a little, provided the others offered the same off ball movement that Mesut did.

    No more valid speculation than JB’s logic of finishing 2nd and losing the FA Cup?

    Disappointing is the only word that sums the night up. Luckily, Man U are a different type of opponent. OGAAT

  70. Admir says:

    One thing is a bit…I don’t know how to call it…well, interesting.

    I’ve had a discussion with several Bosnian Arsenal fans. Regardless of whether they are pro- or anti-Wenger, they’ve been playing the same tune for the last month:

    “Arsene, don’t play Cazorla!”

    There is a general thought (and I agree) that whilst Cazorla has had an excellent season that he should be benched, Ramsey should be moved to the middle next to Coquelin with Walcott (until Ox returns) and Alexis on the flanks to support Giroud.

  71. The Cockie Monster says:

    Dont beat Manshafter Std on Sunday and that will be one win in four !……..relegation form !. hahaha

    Never been bothered about coming 2nd or 3rd !…..in fact I`d rather come 3rd, then I wont stress myself out on…”what might have been !”. There`s not much difference in the prize money and to tell the truth, if it could have be/been so and we were in 3rd place and had the chance to get 2nd on the last game of the season, I would rather settle for 3rd and rest the players for the FA Cup Final as we wouldn`t want to tempt fate on the injury front !……………wise words from BK`s wisest !. hahaha

  72. The Cockie Monster says:

    Are you Bosnians fcuking mad ???………………..Santi`s a magician !. 😀

  73. Admir says:

    Of course we are. 😀 How many people in the world speak jokes about their own stupidity? 😀

    But it makes sense, really. Even putting Rosicky for Cazorla in the latter stage of the match last night could have made the difference.

  74. 17highburyterrace says:

    Admir, Sorry, but I think you and your countrymen are wrong… Good to have a scape-goat you can agree upon, however. Even better that it’s one Wenger will not go for, (after all, Santi is our VERY BEST player on the ball….) meaning it can deepen over time. I guess Wenger losing just the one match isn’t enough to make him the issue at this point. Hopefully we’ll struggle at Old Trafford (and lose that cup final…) so that the anti-Santi-ment (and AW hatred) can grow stronger…

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but scapegoating, esp. when it’s backed by no logic (only a “mob-thought”) bothers me… Of course, you’re free to point fingers wherever you like… And, at least, you’re actually commenting… 😀

    Frankly, I think AW had it about right suggesting that the finishing was rushed. Personally, I didn’t like the subs. Wilshere in for Le Coq (and supposedly to right wing…) and Ramsey moved central mean two more players clogging the works. Theo as our target man also seems illogical. Even our FBs are thinking about getting into the box and scoring (and Nacho almost did)… Of course, if one of those scrambled balls had found the back of the net, all would have been fine… If Le Coq (or a would be right winger) were still in the match, perhaps Bellerin might have had a little help and not lost out to Montero for the goal…

    Unfortunately, we need Giroud in there, as a (faux) target man for high balls and as a back to goal player for 1-2s… The problem is that he’s lost the supporters, (see, for example, our own 007…) so he’s probably better used in away matches when they can at least make noise with “Hey Jude.” All the injury faking slows the match down and is the exact opposite of the English ‘ard-nut way. If Ozil can adjust his propensity to look a lady part, why can’t our big fella? Flicking the wrist or pounding the turf as if your season or career are over–when everybody watching, including the ref–knows better…is simply daft…

    Wenger, sensing the big man’s nerves, the most rushed shot of them all–and those of the crowd–goes hopeful and brings in the English boys. Now we’ve got 8 men in the box (plus 10 Swansea guys defending)… If it works he’s a genius and Theo and/or Jack get their 150K/week new contracts. If not, oh well, blame Santi… (Ozil or even not-so-all-action, Alexis, could be good choices as well–but please don’t forget the Spanish fullbacks, either)…

    Onto the Old Trafford match…At least Van Gaal won’t park the bus so much, suggests Gerry… Why not? Play 10 at the back and pump it up to the fella with the ‘Fro (and Running Rooney in behind)… If we lose that one, it means we go 4th, albeit with the game in hand vs Sunderland, who may have quite a lot to play for when they visit next week. In other words, as nice as our good run has been, I’m not sure we’ve convinced anybody, esp. the buyers of the “highest priced tickets in Europe,” that we’re value for money…

  75. Admir says:

    I’ve always been here, not just after defeat. 🙂

    The thing is, we have had five games in a row with the same starting eleven. Giroud has scored just one goal in those and that one came when we had both Alexis and Welbeck to stretch the pitch.

    BAFL (Bosnian Arsenal Fans Logic) follows these steps:

    1.we have place for three midfielders,

    2.Coquelin and Özil pick themselves so that leaves just one space in the team,

    3.Ramsey has scored 23 goals from an open play in the last two seasons,

    4.Cazorla has scored just one league goal from an open play in a year and

    5.Giroud doesn’t function well when we don’t have width in the attack,

    6.idea of either Cazorla or Özil playing on the wing is unacceptable as our full-backs would suffer.

    Pretty logical to me even if I like Santi a lot. If we had secured third place, I would have suggested an experiment with Özil in the attack, Walcott on the right, Alexis on the left, Cazorla behind Özil and Coq-Rambo axis in the middle.

  76. Admir says:

    Also, Ramsey on the wing leaves Bellerin exposed. Montero was giving him hard time in the first half as well.

    I forgot to say: we’ll win at Old Trafford. 4:1 for Arsenal the final score.

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    Admir, I’m not trying to single you out…Overall, I’m sad about lack of comments here at the site… TA, of course, has gone missing, so maybe that’s the larger issue… Personally, I wish you were writing posts here (instead of that other site)… 🙂

    I agree that Theo needs a chance to start wide right and stay out there… We need to feed balls towards goal from out wide even if Giroud isn’t the best header… (Alexis, backing him up, will surely get to a few of them…) Unfortunately, I think Theo will need to sign a new contract before we see that idea in play.

    I realize everybody is awestruck by Le Coq at DM. Still, when teams part the bus, he’d be the guy I’d risk sacrificing–much as the manager did for the last 25 mins… Playing the ball out of MF and getting forward can be the job of all MFs… Rambo and Santi, side by side would be my choice… Of course, leave him in and at least get the single point, maybe…

    The bottom line is that maybe we’re agreeing that we need different personnel for different tasks. Le Coq was great in the win at Man City (and the notable absence that day from the current first 11 was Ozil–Ox got his spot…) but maybe less so vs PTB Monaco, Chavs and now Swansea… I dunno, I don’t have all the answers but benching Santi doesn’t feel right to me…

    Maybe Santi was rushing his finishes (or kicking them straight into markers) because of this incident before the match… http://metro.co.uk/2015/05/12/arsenals-alexis-sanchez-steals-santi-cazorlas-suitcase-spaniard-has-mild-panic-attack-5194157/

    So…In the end, it was Alexis to blame… 😀

    Here in a bit we’re going to see the improved Barcelona side finish off their work in Munich. Why are they better? Neymar, Suarez and Rakatic are upgrades to Alexis, Pedro and Cesc? Maybe…

    I call it cynicism, with the biting being the most extreme form of it–and a deal breaker for me, if not for the club who claims to be more than a club–but Suarez is a win at all costs kind of player. If somebody else can score the goal or even if he has to get himself sent off (see the last two world cups) he will do it… I’m less sure about Alexis (whose missed pen, for example, cost Chile another round or two of the WC at Brazil’s expense)… Obviously he’s a terrific player but he looked at sea yesterday as we pressed for the goal. Over and over (and over..) in these comments I have read about Santi having been “found out,” but I cannot help but wonder if a similar fate is befalling our player of the season as it lingers on…How many times can he fake left and move the ball onto his right foot for the shot? Likewise, does anybody else cringe when he’s in our own half and the head goes down as he tries to dribble out of trouble? I haven’t felt so nervous since Gael Clichy left the club… 😀

    We all love the work-rate and the fun he seems to bring to the task (and the dressing room, probably, see the link), not to mention the obvious athletic abilities and skills. And, clearly, unlike Giroud or maybe Ozil, he doesn’t over-think things… Still, I find him frustrating and my feeling is a few more serious thoughts–and little additions to his game–might take him from best player in the team (this season, maybe) to leader (or very important element) of the PL (or CL) champions…

  78. Gerry says:

    I have to say I agree re Santi, HT. But I don’t think we are quite on the slide just yet.
    They still worked hard for each other, so the spirit of the team is still intact.

    I would also like to see Theo start, just to see if he can grow into the game. Let’s face it, he has had little time to get to know who goes where with our previously successful run?

    But again, I would like him alongside/near to/ahead/ of Giroud .. as per my suggested line up?
    And as I have previously stated, if anybody comes on for Coquelin then it should be Gabriel.
    I wasn’t ‘getting a’t Bellerin in my earlier post, just felt sorry for him. Again thinking ahead to the Sunday game, as Chambers is the only other LB – although currently being Left Back in cheap seats – it could be time to ditch both the ‘pretend’ wide players and play Bells in from of Chambers? He could be Per’s legs.
    One other thought, as everybody thinks Jack’s the Lad, stick him in at No10 and give Ozil a rest in the Sunderland game.
    Of course much of what I am saying now, disappeared into the ether, but we have got Sun-Wed-Sun games before 6 days to prepare for the Wembley game. As they said on the Arsecast this morning, players like Debuchy, or Gibbs have got to get some game time in before then if they are to make it to the bench. Never mind about Rosicky, Arteta or Flamini if they are going to get a Fabianski/Sagna farewell gift … although actually picking the team that is going to win it for us might take the priority this time?
    All I am saying is the game yesterday was a wasted opportunity.

  79. The Cockie Monster says:

    7eventeenho thinks the Bosnian Gooners are wrong and I think they are fcuking mad !……which of us is the potential diplomat, you decide !. hahaha
    The problem I see in playing Giroud up front with Ramsey and Alexis wide is that neither Ramsey or Alexis are proper wingers !……Ramsey is a midfield player ( no shit Sherlock ) and although nothing wrong all the time with this….Alexis likes to cut in from the left onto his right !…this plays into teams hands as it “squeezes” our play into the congested middle of the pitch and does not play to Girouds strength`s of being a big CF who wants plenty of balls coming in from the wings !.
    Arsenal under GG were the masters of this, when it was the FB`s job to make and direct wide ( wingers ) players into the middle and “squeeze” the play !.
    I have said before that I like the current strengthening of our squad, but we need a proper SQ skillful speedy winger !…..Ox was doing it sometimes when fit and Bellerin as well as a wing back !……..whether we do it all the time or not is not the main point, but to have that weapon as a “plan B” or permanent only adds options to our tactics and squad……..and no !….Theo is not a proper winger !,.

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Gerry, I’m gonna try and watch a bit of BM-Barca, but it sounds like Pep’s already on his way out after a looooong period of no goals in all comps…So the home team might roll over, with the away team content to not run up a score… Or maybe they’ll get a couple and it could be interesting…

    It’s always easier to point out players who are struggling but Santi, just like, 007’s new scapegoat, Giroud, isn’t the problem. The system is such that we’re just really, really struggling to make good chances against PTB teams. Personally I think it revolves around the winger-FB interactions (or lack there-of) AND the rotation of the group who play in front of the two CBs–the DM and the FBs. We need the FBs to overlap and get crosses in rather than do the diagonal runs into the box. They also need to get back to defend of course… Also, if one gets forward, the other one (on the weak or non-ball side) might need to hang back… Finally, a dedicated DM (Coquelin) is fine in games we’re happy to draw. Otherwise, we need more flexibility with MFs filling fore and aft. Swansea looked extremely comfortable with Ramsey, Alexis and Ozil dropping deep and only Santi moving up…

    But that’s probably waaaaaaaaaaaaay too subtle compared to buying players in the window or fond memories of guys from the bench playing at their best… Football is a game that turns on individual moments (those which make the highlight reel) but requires teamwork. There’s only one ball but 22 men crowding (or spacing…) the pitch…

    I get what you’re saying about getting defenders on ahead of other defenders, but that’s not how Wenger has built the team, I fear…

    Bayern scores…on set-piece defending that would put Arsenal to shame… Inneresting…

  81. The Cockie Monster says:

    Poor goalkeeping and no defenders on the line !!! WTF !…..1-0 Munchies !

  82. The Cockie Monster says:

    Yes ! 17 ……it`s true !…..I`m watching a live game !….no stress !. hahaha

  83. The Cockie Monster says:

    Slide rule pass from Messi !……………………1-1

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cockie… Me love it when you actually talk the football…

    I think we’re saying the same thing…Except that Giroud isn’t really so good in the air, IMO…Still you gotta try that route and FBs getting to the goal line and sending in crosses at least means everybody’s on-side…Agreed that Walcott isn’t a proper winger but I still would’ve preferred leaving Giroud in…

    Also agreed that Alexis should use his FB (Nacho) more than he does…Pass and move away rather than always demanding it right back–if he passes it in the first place…

    I think it’s still too early for Man City selling players our way, but Admir’s suggestion of Dzeko (the Bosnian Bendtner, lol…) is a good one, as might be Jesus of Navas, a true winger if there ever was one. Playing Bellerin in that spot, like I said, seems unlikely, at least for now…

    Barca walk it in…Suarez to Neymar with Messi as the decoy… 1-1 Now it’s over..

  85. Admir says:

    “I realize everybody is awestruck by Le Coq at DM. Still, when teams part the bus, he’d be the guy I’d risk sacrificing–much as the manager did for the last 25 mins… Playing the ball out of MF and getting forward can be the job of all MFs… Rambo and Santi, side by side would be my choice… Of course, leave him in and at least get the single point, maybe…”

    I think that taking out Le Coq could have cost us a point against Chavs. If you remember well, Santi and Nacho each had to take one for the team after Wenger decided to pull Coq out. 😀

    Before you start thinking something else, Chavs had two counter-attacks that could have panned out like the one Swans pulled last night. Our Spaniards had to stop them.

    What I’m trying to say is, we need a shield in front of Mertesacker and Koscielny. In 2012-13 and for the biggest part of 2013-14, we had a double-pivot with Arteta and Ramsey protecting the back four. In a way, Ramsey was Arteta’s legs just like Kos has been Per’s. That had worked well before Ramsey’s problems with injuries revealed how Arteta is well past his prime. Now, Per and Mikel were brains in those combos. When we played Aston Villa, awful, scandalous and brutal performance from Anthony Taylor had hidden the fact our midfield lacked balance because Ramsey was paired with Wilshere with neither of them caring too much for defending so Mertesacker and Koscielny were destroyed by Agbonlahor and Benteke through our soft middle. At this moment, the only competent defensive midfielder we have is Coquelin. With Rambo and Cazorla next to each other, I’m afraid, we would be destroyed down the middle against serious players.

  86. The Cockie Monster says:

    Hahaha yes I can sometimes use the gray matter !.
    Was watching the footie , but the missus has just come down and demanded we watch some recorded stuff, so that will be Gotham, Flash and Stalker !. later my friend as unlike a squirrel …..I like my nuts kept in a nice warm place and not buried !. 😀

  87. Admir says:

    “I think it’s still too early for Man City selling players our way, but Admir’s suggestion of Dzeko (the Bosnian Bendtner, lol…) is a good one, as might be Jesus of Navas, a true winger if there ever was one. Playing Bellerin in that spot, like I said, seems unlikely, at least for now…”

    Has Bendtner ever scored four against Spuds at Shite Fart Lame? 🙂

    Bellerin on the wing? Sounds like a fine concept but only if either Debuchy stops pretending that he’s Diaby or Jenkinson makes a serious return to Arsenal. I agree with Wenger’s statement on Chambers – he’s our new Per.

    In my book, I’d be happy with Schneiderlin next summer to give us a proper competition for Coquelin. If we can get Reus – so be it!

  88. 17highburyterrace says:

    2-1 Barca… Another nice pass from Suarez to Neymar… (Surely Alexis would’ve shot…)

    Admir, I basically agree…Santi’s got the passes and the dribbling out of trouble and Le Coq organizes and intercepts, so they make a good pair… The problem is width and balls from the by-line to the target-man, IMO, vs the PTB teams. If we had a guy who could do a bit of both (pass and defend and maybe take a belter now and again) from a deep lying spot, we might have something, esp. for those situations when we need a goal but cannot afford to concede…

    Diaby will be fit again soon… 😀

    My point is that if we buy that guy (plus maybe another target type up front) AND we start using our FBs better, we’ll be looking pretty strong, I think…

    Win the league and/or the CL and maybe the fans we’ll even start to believe…

  89. 17highburyterrace says:

    See ya later Cockie… Happy nut-warming…

    Haha…Debuchy, this season maybe gained an extra football year a la Rosicky…

    Whoa…Where’s the goal line technology for Lewa’s slow roller… Of course, Bayern need 5…

    Admir, like others have said, we’re gonna need to replace the BFG and Arteta sooner than later. As much as we missed Giroud and Ozil in the Autumn, we also missed Arteta. Finding Le Coq and Gabriel in January have helped but we’ll probably need even more in these areas over the long-term…

  90. Admir says:

    Yes, speaking of full-backs, I agree. Our best chances against Chavs were the ones created by Bellerin in the first half and Monreal’s sitter for Özil and Welbeck in the injury-time. (Given what happened the last time our full-backs tried to bomb down against Chelsea, I don’t blame Wenger for using more conservative approach in that area.)

    Last night Monreal had a good chance to score whilst Bellerin – aside from our first chance in the first half – didn’t have enough space due to annoying Montero threat.

    Anyway, who cares – we’ll beat United and secure 3rd place. Fabianski will make another heroic performance to deny Agüero as well and we’ll beat Sunderland and West Brom respectively to confirm our second place. 😀

  91. 17highburyterrace says:

    I like your way of thinking Admir… 😀 Also, I think we’re on the same page re: the FBs….

    My bigger point, and then, I’ll feck off, as I cannot picture the 2nd half being too much fun to watch… is that we have certain guys who are beyond criticism, but with only mild upgrades to their games, they could be true keys to our success…

    Alexis, on his day–or in a group without so many others who also want to make things happen–is “da man.” If he could bring others into the game in ways that help space the pitch…boy oh boy…he’d be Suarez without the chompy bits… Same with Le Coq…He needs to use this moment of fan support (which could be all too brief…) to become a real game breaker in that critical part of the pitch he occupies… Against the PTB teams, I kinda wonder if he can do it…

    IMO, if anybody can get those two thinking in these sorts of progressive ways, it would be the current manager… Of course, others see him as the entire problem, so whatchagonnado?…

    Inneresting that the two dominant German Managers are gonna be done at their current clubs (I would guess…) Will Klopp get a try at BM if Pep goes elsewhere (Man City?)… (Admir, tell me where ALL the German players/managers are headed, since I have zero idea… Reus could give Debuchy and Diaby company in the physio room if he came our way, no?…)

  92. Admir says:

    Agree about Reus’ injury troubles.

    However, regarding Bayern… He has already given them a middle finger once (when he picked Borussia Dortmund at the first place) and has been pretty aggressive in stating he would never sign for Bayern.

    Although, I can see him going to United or Real next summer (Bale back to England?). He has contract with Adidas so…

  93. Admir says:

    Klopp might get a chance at Real Madrid if Ancelotti – as usual bottles the league and fails to retain Champions’ League.

    1) Schuster and Heynckes have worked there.

    2) He has given Real hard times and impressed with far less expensive team.

    3) He prefers direct football that is attractive to watch.

    4) Real obviously need something to take the throne in Spain again as they have won just one title since they signed Ronaldo.

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, I skipped out on the first 20 mins of the 2nd period but Bayern and their moral victory have pulled me back in… That Barca defense isn’t particularly impressive…

    Tell me more about Dortmund players who might be on the move…

    In truth, I hadn’t thought too much about Klopp to RM… Seems made for England, esp. the more Northern reaches… I guess if he could bring a player or two with him, his value goes up…

    Finally, I’m not quite so confident about our trip to OT…It seems a great chance for some of their attackers to get a last lick in ahead of their own (surely turbulent) summer… Additionally, Van Gaal can park it good if he’s already made up his mind on the likes of Falcao and RvJ. Also, does AW ring the changes (Welbs, for example) or stick with the group which let him down vs Swansea?…

    Oooh Neymar with just the keeper to beat tries to lay in Messi but too strong…

    FT, but Bayern win the home leg…

  95. Gerry says:

    Interesting discussion after I left … to cobble together a decent keyboard, i.e. one where all the keys work. Good news is, my efforts seem to be rewarded.

    At the moment, I do not see any need for AW to change the pairing of Coquelin and Cazorla, for the simple reason that it works, and both players are happy doing it. The problems lies elsewhere, and are complicated by several factors, not least, in order to keep the best players playing well he needs at least two very good players not to start. That is further complicated when, or ‘if and when’ we need a ‘Plan B’, the players left out do not offer anything distinctly different. There are exceptions of course. Oxlade-Chamberlain for one. Gnabry down the line maybe another, and there is still hope that Chuba Akpom will fulfil his potential at some point.
    Walcott however, is the here and now, and time is running out for him.

    AW is right about Theo in one respect. His ‘best years’ should be just ahead of him. However, if he does not do enough to give the club a reason to move his way on contract issues, then sadly I think he will leave this summer. Decisions will be made in August, once Arsene has a chance to see if Wellington Silva looks the part in pre-season. Honestly that looks a big ask for a guy who has struggled with every new move he has made … But, he is all grown up now. He has had a pretty good second half of a season behind him, so fingers crossed he is a late bloomer. of course we still have Joel Campbell out on loan, but I don’t think AW has too much faith in him for a return and stay? But while still on players from within, the progress of Iwobi in the Under 21’s is another who could offer a future ‘threat’ to the Walcott position.
    All this, with so much as a glance at the TW. 😀

    Not that I haven’t kept up with the rumour mill, and one name did come to my notice that might appeal to AW, but as I say, for this particular position I think no activity will be made until August and AW knows what he has got.

    I want to think there is some agreement with Santi that he stays and gives the the league title his farewell year present. Undoubtedly he will return to Spain and finish his career, and only a new signing directly threatening his position as creative midfielder will bring that departure forward.

    Meanwhile, the type of player who might come in up front, again largely depends on who steps up now and in pre-season, but it seem more likely that a new name will be added to our front line, and we will have to live with the fall out from that. Indeed, that applies to any position where an ‘upgrade’ is brought in?

    So the players have a lot to play for over these next 4 games, especially those hoping to take to the field in the fourth game? Let’s hope it brings the best out in them.

  96. JM says:

    I would expect both Man Utd. and WBA to deploy frustrating defensive+counter attack tactics (to put it negatively – the infamous Park-the-Bus system) to negate our team when we have more ball possession. Only Sunderland might be prompted to take the game to us and this also depends on whether they would have collected another league win (thus getting 39 pts.) before our meeting, and thus take calculative risks in their remaining 2 matches.

    Van Gaal is not adverse to employ exhaustive tactics, among his many “systems”, to control and contain opponents (in opposite of his normal 4-3-3 attack system). He would play to their strengths of having a solid GK in de Gea, and having Fellaini feed Rooney, Mata, Young, di Maria, with the knock downs from clearances. “Shrek” likes scoring against us.
    Besides Man. Utd needed only 1 single point to mathematically confirm their Top 4 status and qualification to next season’s CL, an improvement from their last season’s debacle of missing out in Europe. This is an upswing in their fortunes and should they move to either 2nd or 3rd (overlapping Man. City & us) at season end, that is a bonus to them.

    For us, it could be a downswing, an uncomfortable pre-season (U-21 Euro 2015, Copa America, Asian Tour etc which our players will be involved in) and a resigned feeling of “same old 4th place finish” heading to the FA Cup final, should we concede automatic qualification to CL from an advantageous position (either 2nd or 3rd) and be knocked down to 4th.

    As for WBA, they have nothing to play for in mid-table and being the last match, would look to close up shop (while parking a bus or two) and avoid a defeat.

    Which brings to us the last match of season against Villa in FA Cup final, where we could expect another containment exercise by our opponents, against a messy forward in Benteke to keep out.

    =========

    My thoughts in combating against Swansea and most Park-the-Bus teams:?

    (1) surrender the ball/possession to them …. in their comfort zone, deep in their congested defensive areas (penalty area, goal area, defensive 3rd etc). This brings a mentality switch, a question to them: what will we have to do with the ball, deep in our own congested area (where they have “parked their bus”)? Now they have to take the initiative with the ball. Either they have to bring the ball out from their comfort zone in transition or they take risks to play keep ball in their defensive zone. Both ways, should our players successfully win back the ball/possession, we would have more time, less distance and more space to attack their goal directly, when the opponents positioning are disrupted momentarily in transition.

    Our players will need to do the close downs and cut offs of passing/crossing lanes, anticipate transitions and go for quick counters/ attacks directly at opponents goal. While at the same time the 4 defenders (CBs and FBs) look out for quick runners from deep midfield and delay/block their paths “professionally” w/o committing serious fouls.

    When we have the ball in our own half and them parking their buses deep, direct football with hidden intent works best. Target their FBs and their area.

    E.g. Normal positioning: Alexis at LF/LW, Giroud at CF, Ramsey/Walcott/Wilshere at RF/RW. Cazorla/Coquelin/Koscielny/Monreal/Bellerin with ball possession in our half, near the center line. (Similarly with Ospina from goal kicks)
    Giroud switches play with either Alexis or Ramsey. Say he switches to RF/RW and creates a mismatch against the opp. LB, while Ramsey moves inwards to area as a decoy to occupy opp. CBs. Alexis anticipates the space at LF/LW b/w opp. RB and CBs. Ozil moves towards Giroud’s new position in RF/RW, drags opp’s main DM along. Bellerin moves towards Giroud’s position.
    Koscielny launches direct attack play (the ball) towards Giroud’s new position at RF/RW, bypassing our need to bring ball slowly with short passes to attacking 3rd, while giving opponent more time to regroup and park-the-bus(es). Giroud challenges the ball in the air against opps. LB. Win or lose this 1st challenge, small matter, what is important is our players in anticipating the 2nd ball/ knocked down ball, the Ozils/Cazorlas/Bellerins/Ramseys.
    If opp. collects ball, they might have to break away from the parked bus and in a congested area to move the ball out from that flank. Their options to bring ball out are narrowed in their left side area, coz hitting left is to the touchline, meaning we regain possession. The above mentioned Ozils/Cazorlas/Bellerins/Ramseys would look to cut off passing lanes towards upfield and right/centre.
    If the Ozils/Cazorlas/Bellerins/Ramseys collects ball, our path towards goal is shorter and a smart and quick pass or two could hope to dissect the opponent ranks while they are still reorganising into parking bus(es) mode. That is where our off-the-ball runners should be able to get a clear path to goal or be in a one-vs-one situation, in this case, Alexis at the far end vs the opp. RB and running in b/w the space of opp. RB and CBs (while Ramsey is occupying their attentions) and while opp. DM is dragged away to other end by Ozil.

    Hope the above makes sense. If not, do read a few quotes from {Sun Tzu, The Art of War}:

    “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

    “If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected .”

    “When the enemy is relaxed, make them toil. When full, starve them. When settled, make them move.”

    “Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.”

    “Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.”

    “For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.”

    =========

  97. Gerry says:

    Nice one JM. I feel I went to that match too 😆 Aaaargh, if only ….

    The big if in that is do you think we have the players to be that disciplined?

    Anyway, in OGAAT mode, I still don’t rate the United defence very highly, but in attack they do keep going. So if we are closing out a game I hope AW picks the right subs to do the job?
    Whilst I think our best is better than theirs, a draw effectively keeps top 3 position in our hands. A loss means no more errors, thus more pressure. I am not sure a 4-3-3 wouldn’t be a bad approach either, although it would undoubtedly look more like the 4-5-1 set up that we are used to seeing. Which basically is a more defensive version of 4-2-3-1, i.e. supporting our defensive mid (Coquelin) with more than just a deep lying creative mid (Cazorla). And for that, if we are into counter attacks from deep, I would turn to Rosicky rather than Wilshere or Ramsey. Not that AW will see it that way. 😦
    Cheers

  98. proudgooner says:

    I have just read that Asmir Begovic has a price tag of just £8,000,000 and Stoke are ready to cash in after contact talks have basically ended after Stoke refused to make him the clubs highest paid player on there books.
    At 27 he is my first wish for Wenger to sign this summer.
    I honestly think since Cech’s injury to his head he is not quite the same player though still world class and I would love him to join us, it will not happen , full stop..
    No way will Jose sell him to us so I say it’s a waste of time wasting any efforts trying to and risk possibly missing out on Asmir. Cech is also 32 and though in goalkeeper years it is still ok Asmir makes more sense to me. Plus I believe he will be more hungry for success then Cech who has already win it all.

  99. proudgooner says:

    Evening everyone ,
    Surly United have to attack against us?
    They really have to beat us to finish 3rd surly?
    I think it will be an open all out battle I hope so.
    They will give it all v us
    I hope we get the right result a good win , but a must not lose
    It might even be wise for us to defend and hit them on the counter..???

  100. Gerry says:

    I need to keep my keyboard activity brief today, but after watching the fruitless RM battle last night, one question kept recurring – Why was Bale still on the pitch?

    I came up with two possibilities:
    They paid so much money for him they couldn’t publicly admit that it might have been a mistake?
    Or that Ancelotti wants to make Bale ‘want’ to come back to the EPL, and he come along as part of a double package?

    What was plain for all to see, including his fellow players, that Bale’s confidence is shattered, and he could not handle the heat. His, class of heads was the perfect excuse to bring on his replacement … and it could have been anybody because RM were reduced to 10 men if they kept him on? Or the RM Prezzer instructed Ancelotti to keep him on so they can sell in the next month or so?

    if Bale is one of those people who are incapable of learning a second language (although I would understand if it were Welsh 😀 ), then his future in Spain is very bleak indeed.

    Don’t get your hopes up Arsenal fans, much as he might prefer to live in London, he’s MU bound.

  101. The Cockie Monster says:

    Just looked on Arsenal Newsnow and it`s a rumour we are either after Gotze for £30M or Isco for £45M !………………this is a very tricky decision for me and will probably come down to toss of a coin ……..no !, cant find a coin so it will just have to be a toss !. hahaha
    Actually !….this leads me to a very pertinent question !…………which two players if we had a chance to buy them and you could only choose one would aggravate your repetitive strain injury ?.
    No sticky post card answers please. 😀

  102. Gerry says:

    Or to put it another way TCM, would you rather lose Santi and/or Wilshere, or Ramsey and//or Walcott?

  103. steve says:

    cockie,
    first up a right sided winger, with the speed of Theo, drive and tenacity of OX and the tricks and skills of Sanchez:
    OX would do just fine but i personally want him in the midfield
    Depay has gone to the shit bags
    So i think we should get this guy…… Oh wait he already plays for us 🙂 🙂

  104. The Cockie Monster says:

    No Gerry !…..what I`d rather have is some cream for my repetitive strain injury !. hahaha

    Yes Stev11e !……fast skilful winger is top of my list !……Wellington looks good on the video !…..shame he didn`t cost us £40M though !. hahaha

  105. The Cockie Monster says:

    “Honey !….How do I look in my new totnumb ?”

  106. proudgooner says:

    Cockie,
    Pic above, he looks pretty skinny for a Spurs fan
    Tottenham .lol that must be hating it this season, i have been ripping t out of my uncle who is a season ticket holder.
    I am not sure that any of there players would get in our team
    Loris would and maybe Erickson but the rest would struggle

  107. proudgooner says:

    Gerry,
    On the Bale issue, there is rumors of a bit of bullying going on in the dressing room for him.
    It is clear that no one is passing to him.
    With Bale always trying to be like Ronaldo in the past you can imagine that must be a bit awkard as well .
    I think he is really struggling to fit in there because of Ronaldo mainly
    They did massivly over pay no matter what and that will never change.
    He needs to leave there but no one will pay or might pay half of what Real paid but will Real take that bigger hit on him.?

  108. steve says:

    Bale – £70 million
    lacazette – £50 million
    lloris – £25 million
    Scneiderlin to rotate with Le Coq – £25 million
    Confidently and brazenly stating to the rest that we are going for the title next season you cunts – priceless!

    Fastest team in Europe???

    Bale————-Lacazette————-Walcott
    ———-OX———————Ozil—————
    ——————–Coquelin————————
    Gibbs——–Kos———-GP5———Bellerin
    ———————–Lloris————————–

    ahhh its nice to dream lol, do we even have £170 million to spend?

    btw you never said which two players you would sign Cockie?

  109. proudgooner says:

    What do you guys think?
    Will we see Diarby play before the end of the season?
    Will he get a new contract at all? even a pay as you play 1?

  110. proudgooner says:

    Steve11,
    I like all your points and players you would like to buy. But?
    Where is Alexis in your team you have? lol

  111. steve says:

    PG,
    he replaces Walcott when he leaves in January 🙂

  112. proudgooner says:

    Bale is not as good as Alexis imo.
    Alexis is world class player and is proven to year in year out.
    He is a better Suarez as in he is not a nasty dirty little turd.

  113. steve says:

    I really hope Diaby stays and if fit for a long time, he actually plays like Ramsey tries to lol

  114. proudgooner says:

    Oh ok.
    I want to keep Theo myself and Wenger does so hopefully we dont lose him altogether.
    Wenger wants to make him and or Alexis that winger to striker world beater .

  115. steve says:

    Problem is PG we need a left footer on the wing because Sanchez cuts in every time, although still at an unstoppable level it is becoming quite predictable.
    I can’t see why Sanchez can’t be the main striker, he out jumps most people so no worries for headers from corners.

    Bale———-Sanchez———-Walcott

    NICE!!! 🙂

  116. proudgooner says:

    Fingers crossed on Diarby Steve,
    When you think we have players like him still plus Podolski, Campbell and the not doing so well as he should Sanogo out on loan some do have to move on. It is a shame though all have massive potencal to really become great under Wenger but they cant all play simple.
    Podolski we know wants to come back to us.
    I dont know, some tough desisons for Wenger as we all know he loves all these players

  117. proudgooner says:

    Steve.
    Know that front 3 looks the business mate.
    That is what we need a lethal front 3 like Barca

  118. steve says:

    PG, Its going to be an interesting summer 🙂
    And also probably a sad one, should we see a few of our favorites move on

  119. proudgooner says:

    1 other thought everyone is saying we still need a great DM but lets not forget Wenger did buy 1 in the winter Kyrstain Belik. He is suppose to be a really good player tough as nails type.
    He will be egar to play next season , i don’t know how good he is but it will be a factor for Wenger surly

  120. steve says:

    Exactly mate, Wenger himself said the other day that Barca still perform consistently while playing expansive football so why can’t we.
    Now that team above wouldn’t have failed to register a goal at a PTB Swansea last weekend thats for fucking sure 🙂
    It screams Arsenal to me mate, its the way i always remember us playing, high tempo and pace, expansive football

  121. proudgooner says:

    True mate.
    You kind of have to wonder about the likes of Arteta, Rosicky, Flemini maybe Podolski and Diarby.
    How much playing time will they get next season if they stay, you have to say it will be hard for them to get in.
    With Zaleem, Beilek, Gnabry etc all looking to make the step up.
    Wenger has always brought a few young guns though and i dont see that completely stopping, though he has slowed down on that front, he has had to to keep up

  122. steve says:

    He hasn’t impressed me all that much in the U21’s this season but then again he is still settling in and don’t forget he’s only just turned 17, it will be a couple of years yet before we see him make the team imo. Really want to see Hayden given his chance to play there though, but if i’m being honest i can’t see anyone budging Le Coq from that spot (including Schneiderlin should we sign him), he has strengthened that spine of ours incredibly from what it was before.

  123. proudgooner says:

    The good thing is we are very close to getting a great side.
    We no longer sell our best, just add to it.
    I still have hopes for Welbeck and Giroud . I think they will both still improve next season
    Welbeck has it all there once Wenger get him hitting the back of the net he will be great, with his pace.
    I will state now as i did with Ramsey, once he starts scoring a few he wont be able to stop.
    Welbeck will become a great striker

  124. steve says:

    Those five players you listed right there could move a mid table team into a position were they are challenging for europe yet they are sat on our bench (almost permanently) – its a bit of an insult to the lads really, would love to see them all play again on a consistent basis even if it wasn’t for us.

  125. proudgooner says:

    Oh ok , i have not seen him play hardly at all if i am honest.
    You are probably right then he is 1 for the future.
    We really are quite well stacked though that is for sure. We do have that depth to the team now and that has also been missing for years.

  126. steve says:

    i am a quiet supporter of Welbeck but i think his future will be very much decided in the summer, If Wenger buys another striker then he will become third choice behind Giroud or lost to the place of death (the wing) where Wenger puts every player who isn’t a fucking winger lol.
    I hope Wenger gives him a proper run as the main man up top, i think he would be great in a front three like the one we were just discussing, strength and pace as the central of the three – great combo 🙂

  127. proudgooner says:

    It is true but sadly these days you have to be like that.
    You need to cover class with class incase of injuies. But i am, with you, i just cant see them getting in now.
    But look at Jose he has made Cech sit on the bench all season. That is how ruthless its become lol

  128. steve says:

    I wonder if we brought all our players back from loans etc and signed say three new players in the summer, how many would have to make way to have a regulation squad – hmmm now you got me thinking of a little exercise that will keep me busy for a couple of minutes, damn you lol 🙂

  129. steve says:

    great point mate and awesome question, pick you top three favourite players and ask yourself would you choose to see them sit on the bench for the next couple of seasons if it meant guaranteed silverware.
    haha i think i’m going to have sound like a softy and say no lol
    I would rather see Wilshere, OX and Sanchez (my three) all play as bigger part as they can and risk not winning anything then seeing them sit out and watch the team definitely pick up silverware – am i mad???

  130. proudgooner says:

    lol
    there is loads to think about.
    Wenger has got a hard job, which no manager in the world has managed to do the way he has for the past 10 years.
    He is truely 1 of a kind, some fans really dont respect just how gooder job he has done.
    We are so luck to have him.
    Now is the time for him to have some fun and reward himself i just hope he does , he deserves it massively.
    That stadium really should be named after him.
    Knighted by the Queen as well imo lol
    That is how highly i think of him.

  131. proudgooner says:

    Some of his sales were GENIUS!! lol
    Adebayor to city for 30m ha ha ha ha ha

  132. steve says:

    I think the biggest compliment i hear repeated a lot about him is when the younger emerging talents seem to single out our place as a high priority when signing because of how well he brings them through and helps them develop – fucking credit to the club to have a manager that attracts the latest talent emerging while they are still at affordable fees. Definitely one of our greatest assets the guy, just wish he would stop putting midfielders on the wing lol

  133. steve says:

    hahahahahaha
    Fingers crossed we will soon be saying the same about Van judas, form permitting 🙂

  134. proudgooner says:

    Kolo Torue 15 m
    Eboue 8m
    Song 15m
    That is probably block M to S paid for lol
    Have we still got a buy back on Song coz he is only on loan to West Ham

  135. proudgooner says:

    LOL
    Yeah that is another great thing the man manages to do, honestly i dont know how he fits it all in to his time. He clearly works really hard.
    The best thing is he loves the club. It is his baby in way.
    The modern day Herbot Chapman

  136. steve says:

    hahahaha the guy’s a genius, and thats the reason no matter what the Wenger out’s say the board will never get rid of him.
    Mind you i wonder how he will conduct business now he has more freedom and doesn’t always have to think about paying back debts?
    Maybe why we have the biggest squad we’ve ever had atm, no rush to move players on 🙂

  137. proudgooner says:

    By the way i was Gonna put Van Judas on my list, i think he can go on there now tbh
    lol
    That man u season was the last great 1 he had in him

  138. proudgooner says:

    It is a factor mate but he is a GENIUS.
    Perhaps he is stock pilling for future managers to have to fund the future of the club. 🙂

  139. proudgooner says:

    If Chelsea had not of brought loads of great players Jose would of had a much harder time in funding his latest buys.
    For FFP rules
    So it really does make sense to

  140. steve says:

    crap i’m outta here PG, i’m late as it is chatting away the last hour lol
    catch you later mon amie

    Oh and i wouldn’t put it past him mate – the final master plan lol

  141. proudgooner says:

    laterz Steve11

  142. Gerry says:

    Nice to have something fresh to read in the morning – Well done PG and Steve.

    Mind, I do note your short term memory Steve. Earlier in the day you put up an enlightening video of Wellington Silva, yet who pops up in your team? Walcott, lol.

    I am not joining in the transfer discussion, except to repeat, a decision on Walcott will not be made (if he is still haggling contract deals) until AW assesses Wellington in pre-season. From the video I would say he has a great chance of increasing our penalty calls … or yellow cards for diving? He certainly looks the part if he can do it against stiffer opposition. Although it was noticeable that the Spanish opposition took him seriously by closing him down with two or three defenders? I could be cruel and say it only takes one to stop Walcott, ha ha.

    However, I am glad to see you both take on board that signings will mean exits, and possibly not just with the fringe players. The point I made to TCM.
    Not that I am against upgrading. We clearly have to, but all the nonsense on NewsNow is farcical.
    I do think PG, that Bale will leave RM though, and the ‘hit’ they take will be cut by saving on the wage deal they agreed. I think he has another 2 or 3 years to run, and it would have been a big chunk to get him to leave Spurs? In today’s market, given that he is not the hot property he was when he left, and only the two Mancs clubs and Chelsea can afford his wages, and only Utd have a pressing need for a ‘star addition’, he will go for around £40-£50m …unless a bidding war starts. But I cannot see him moving to Chelsea or us because of his Spurs connections, and all bar Man U and us have to worry about FFP? Even then, Man U have Nani returning to confuse the issue?
    Nor am I saying that a confident Bale back in cooler temperatures would not do our team any harm at all, but just unlikely. But then I don’t see him moving anywhere else in Europe either, so you never know? – That is just a teaser, btw 😀

    Much more pressing will be HT’s take on changes in our line up on Sunday? Keen to restore the winning combination of his preview and Arsenal success I am sure he is giving it some extra thought over his espresso(‘s). May the force be with you HT.

  143. JM says:

    Gerry,

    Bayern might come calling for Bale and they can afford him, fees and wages. They also have the pressing need to recruit a wide, scoring player to relieve pressure on the injury-plagued Ribery & Robben, and support Lewandolski & Muller in attack.

  144. Admir says:

    Good news for Sunday as Rooney won’t play. Donkey without Shrek against our defence, that is.

    @Cookie:

    “Actually !….this leads me to a very pertinent question !…………which two players if we had a chance to buy them and you could only choose one would aggravate your repetitive strain injury ?.
    No sticky post card answers please. 😀 ”

    Reus or Vidal. Arturo would be a Vidal addition to our title-Chile-nging team while Marco’s sexy-football would make me…er…”singing a capella” to the tune of Seal’s song “Kiss from a Reus” after every goal of his, if you know what I mean.

  145. Admir says:

    BTW, speaking of the match against United…

    I would really, really, really love if our players would read the next row of mine regarding the game:

    Shoot in De Gea’s right-hand-side! It’s his weaker side. Giroud and Monreal have already scored shooting there from a relatively difficult positions while Wilshere’s, Cazorla’s and Alexis’ shots that went on De Gea’s left-hand-side were saved.

  146. proudgooner says:

    Gerry,
    Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
    On Bale i think you may well be right. I hope you are except the part were you say he would be United bound, which sadly i do agree with, it is by far the most likely place for him if he does.
    If i was him i would fight for my place and i mean really fight for it. Sometimes when you are to nice people take the piss a bit, if i was him i would take a different stance and fight for it for at least 1 more season. He made it clear that it was his dream to plat for Real.
    If that is the case then it is something well worth fighting for.
    Plus there is a lot of talk about Ronaldo moving . If he did then his role at the club would become so much better.

  147. The Cockie Monster says:

    Talking of genius, bastards !……………………….apparently, if Barca win the CL…we get an extra £3m on top of the £15m paid for Vermaelen !……and he hasn`t played a game yet ! ………..Wenger, genius money maker !.

  148. proudgooner says:

    Admir,
    That is good news about Rooney, he has always played really well against us and seems to score a lot of really good goals v us which is also annoying lol.
    Interesting thing you noticed about De Gea, you are probably right in the point that most keepers have a prefered side of diving too.
    Let’s hope we can score a good couple of goals, 3 would be lovely. I would love it if we turnt up there and thrashed them, we still owe them for that 8-2 grrrr
    In truth i think Wenger will take a slightly defensive style as he said in his press conf a draw would be a good result really .

  149. proudgooner says:

    Cockie,
    I see that lol
    The man is a GENIUS the geezer has not even kicked a ball, thats Barca £3,000,000
    i love it! lol

  150. proudgooner says:

    thanks not thats

  151. proudgooner says:

    He did the same to United for winning the league with Judas
    He is so shewd on top of creating amazing football teams
    Arsene FC he really is just made for our club.
    Speak later, of for a ruby and a couple a beers 🙂

  152. VCC says:

    17HT………….PLEASE visit the UMF………….

    HENRY…….no predictions????????

  153. henrychan says:

    VCC.. sorry for my late prediction..
    Newcastle.. Arsenal.. Chelsea away win.
    Liverpool – Palace.. Westham-Everton draw..

  154. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, you’ve got mail…

    VCC, I believe I straightened stuff out in the UMF thread…

    6-1 in the early match and maybe So’ton are showing us the way forward for the cup final. All nil-nils except for the one goal QPR-Toonies match… A thrill a minute in the relegation battle…No cocaine for me (unlike the former Spur/Hull guy)…but another espresso might be needed…

    Anybody watching?

  155. proudgooner says:

    John Carver thinks he is the best manager in the premier league ha ha ha ha
    What planet is that guy on lol
    17ino
    I am looking forward to watching the Saints match and goals on MOTD
    It is defo worth Arsenal taking a close look at ay , could well be the way to Victory.
    3 more games to go then the FA cup final which i am massively looking forward to.

  156. Admir says:

    Hm, I wouldn’t take this game against Southampton as the reliable one. I understand what you, my dear Gooners, want to say but I’d always pick the game where our opponents showed quality for preparation.

    Villa didn’t have a realistic relegation fear and I bet their minds have been set on the FA Cup Final for a while.

  157. 17highburyterrace says:

    I agree Admir… When did Guzan get dropped?…That was some, er, confusion, at the back they had during that (quickest ever?) hat-trick…

  158. TotalArsenal says:

    Some fine comments over the last few days, cheers for keeping the blog going in my continued absence.

    New Post New Post. Super-17ho has done it again! 🙂

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