Ox, Iwobi, Campbell behind Giroud | Bielik and Flamini the Steel: Owls – Arsenal Preview.

The League Cup is a fine tournament for using the wider squad. Players need practice: the experienced ones as well as our promising youngsters. Playing the Owls on a dark Autumn night in Sheffield is the perfect encounter for a good game of football. Both teams have nothing to lose, as this cup does not really matter to us and Sheffield Wednesday are not expected to beat us. So football is likely to win, and I reckon that is why we all like these sort of games: we get to see some of our youngsters and some of our benched favourites and they will go out to play attacking football… the Arsenal way.

The great news is that 17HT, his wife and son will all be at the game, and they have also secured a ticket for me. Sheffield is one of the very few English cities I have never been too, and meeting my favourite Bergkampesque blog friend there with his family to watch our beloved Arsenal is just fantastic. Seventeenho is not able to do a match report, so I am doing it; but I need to keep it short as I am about to start my 200 miles plus journey from the hills of Southern Scotland to the seven hills of Sheffield.

I remember Sheffield Wednesday as a very decent PL team, playing good football and finishing within the top ten regularly. It is hard to believe that the fourth largest city of England does not have a single premiership team anymore. Both United and Wednesday are now blasts from the past which in some way is a shame. I don’t know much about the current Wednesday team and have no time to do research, but I am sure we will report back on their team after we have attended the game.

Arsenal’s line-up is hard to predict of course. Wenger will mix it up as our first team players need a rest after a momentous week, and a big challenge awaits us in Swansea on Saturday.

Cech and BFG start, and Flamini and Giroud are likely to do so as well, giving us a fine and experienced spine to build the team around. Add to that Chambers, Debuchy and Gibbs in defence, who all need a game desperately, and the core of the team is a solid one. Campbell needs a game and the manager has been singing his praises, so that is another start for me. Iwobi has been impressing, and this is a good game to show us what he has got. I reckon Ox will play behind the striker and Bielik will partner Flamini in the double DM pivot. Is this a team I would pay money for to go and see? You betcha! 🙂






Arsene could start Theo instead of Giroud, but I have a feeling he will give the Englishman a proper rest till Saturday.


By TotalArsenal.

19 thoughts on “Ox, Iwobi, Campbell behind Giroud | Bielik and Flamini the Steel: Owls – Arsenal Preview.

  • Congrats 17ht and TA,

    So envy of you guys to be able to get tickets and seeing an Arsenal game, abeit in Sheffield.

    Its been quiet here these few days, so something to look forward to after the game concludes.

    Gerry, where art thou?

    Other than the back 4, i am not sure if Theo will start rather than Ollie as Ollie had started the match on Saturday.

    Rather than leaving our top playmakers i think one of them will start the game instead, so Ox will be left out on the bench. Ok, i am continuing my anti Ox stance but there you go.

    Have a good match guys :D.


  • Cheers JK, Ox needs games, and although I am also not his biggest fan, I reckon this one is a must start for him. Cazorla and Mesut need a break and all other creative midfielders are injured…

  • Hey TA, glad you and 17 managed to get your hands on some tickets to support the mighty Arsenal. I agree that Ox needs a run of games and what better game to impress than this. Hope Bielik starts this one and it’s a shame we won’t see Reine-Adelaide play this one..

    PS I love how you put Ox in the hole. Reckon it would work?

  • I think so, Shrillex. Ox is our best option if we are resting Mesut and Santi, as all other creative midfielders are injured or out on loan. Flamini will help out in an attacking sense and we will have to see whether Bielik has an eye for the killer pass. Ox in a free role might give him wings. He needs it as it was clear to me he was our weakest player against Everton on Saturday.

  • Great work on getting these posts out guys, saw the last one last night and was going to write something this morning and then low and behold there is a shiny new one to digest and comment on – lovely stuff 🙂

    Nearly all the candidates for filling spots are out on loan this season so its a bit of weird one with most of the suggestions for places coming from the first team second choicers rather than the young guns who normally fill the ranks for this competition and its a great shame The Jeff is out injured atm. I’m fine with that line up you have there TA the only thing i might add is that Kamara is the more experienced choice in that DM role along side Flamini and in nearly all the reserve matches has taken this spot with Bielik taking up a CB position consistently these days.

    I can’t wait to see how the OX gets on tonight, i think a few here feel i have lost faith in him and this is definitely not the case i just call them as i see them and at the moment he is under performing and going through a phase where everything he touches turns to shit lol. Case in point the other night he lost the ball miles away, probably as far away from our goal as possible but still somehow that mistake ended up in a goal to the other side, whereas Sanchez lost the ball countless times in VERY dangerous areas many times against Bayern of all people the other night and not one instance resulted in a goal – just the way the cookie crumbles i suppose and i can’t wait until the lad’s luck changes and he shows us what i know he is capable of once again.
    I will be happy to see him in any of three positions tonight; CM next to the DM, in the hole as you have him in your line up or on the left wing cutting in like Sanchez does – just please not on the right bloody wing, please.

    My line-up would only see the inclusion (to start) of a mere couple of U21 choices, probably Iwobi and Willock if i had my pick, the rest of the positions filled by first team players.
    Myself i have a weird thing where i really value competency with both feet in a CAM, Santi had it, Ozil has it, Wilshere has it, it simply opens the options for playmaking and allows them to take full advantage of that pinnacle role there in the middle of the pitch. With this in mind i would have to put Iwobi there as he is very good with either foot.
    OX i would put in the CM role as i know he is a player that can drive through midfield and he has the stamina and speed to get back and defend when necessary and he gets stuck in (well he used to until this season lol).
    Joel on the left cutting in, lets see what this boy can do, with Theo up top and Flamini sweeping up the mess behind them – hopefully he has his sensible DM head on this game and we won’t see him in the bloody penalty area doing a striker impression for large portions of the game lol.

    My line-up then:

    ———–The OX————Flamini————

    Maybe if all goes well we can see some younger options included late on:
    Kamara for Flamini
    Move OX up to replace Willock and bring on Ben Sheaf for that CM role
    I forgot to say i expect to see Macey in goal also.

    Also like JK says where’s Gerry? I thought he’d be all over this match – where u at mofo?

  • Cheers TA for filling in for me on this one… Maybe I can do the 8 positives… 😀

    We’re in our hotel VERY near the stadium and looking very much forward to the match. I really don’t know who’s gonna play but that’s OK by me. My little bit of research on Wednesday is that they’ve got a new owner whose goal is promotion. After a woeful start to the season they’re undefeated in their last 8 including at Newcastle in the previous round. Lots of new players who took time to bed in but are now starting to hit their stride… Certainly they are as ready as ever for a match like this… As much as their players who play tonight will want to give their all, their manager (Carlos Carvahal) might have an eye out for the weekend matchup in the Championship vs Nottingham Forest. So, like TA says, a game both sides will want to win but shouldn’t cry (too much) about losing…

    I will concur that the Ox could use some luck but I don’t know why it can’t come from the right side. Using Debuchy over there might work a charm with the 1-2s (IMO)… Ox in the hole is a very interesting prospect, but a bit of a long-shot, I would guess…

    I think a few first teamers will have to be suited up for this one as there’s always a risk that the match might go the full two hours (and then pens)… In truth, I think we’ll see at least two out of Santi, Alexis and Ozil at least dress for this one and both Ollie and Theo, but again, I’m just guessing. Joel Campbell, slight as he is, did fairly strong work as the lone forward for Costa Rica in the World Cup so he could always slide over there too. It would be a good night for him to get his first Arsenal goal…

    So, we shall see… Already dark here in Sheffield and time to head out for some food and bev…


  • Great post Total…

    So pleased that you have all got tickets for the game.
    Hillsborough is a old’ish traditional English stadium…
    Before FACup semi finals were played at Wembley, Hillsborough was, along with Villa Park, the usual venue for that cup tie…
    It was also the scene of the 1989 disaster at the Leppings Lane End.
    I was there in 1973 (Sunderland) and it was a nightmare then…

    Interesting poser concerning who starts up front TA..?

    Maybe it’ll all depend on who Wenger has in mind, for Munchen in a weeks time?

  • I pretty much agree with your line-up Total…

    A good mixture of experience and youth, although as Steve suggested, Kamara might get the vote over Bielik…

    Hope you all enjoy the evening and hopefully the win….

  • Its beyond a joke now first Ox goes down within 5 minutes and his replacement Theo has to come off injured 15 minutes later.

  • Down 0-3 now our defending is unacceptable. The same old setpiece and concentration issues have reared their ugly head again. I am not just trying to be negative, while I have enjoyed our recent run of form I have been observing how we still have to improve defensively, especially in the Everton and Leicester games. Our defenders fall asleep and get attracted to the ball while leaving men free. Its also alarming how much of a drop off we have without Coquelin in front of our centerbacks.

  • Bye bye Joel Campbell, hello Leroy Sané lol 🙂

    I think the 17 and 18 year olds can get somewhat of a pass for tonight’s shite performance, i mean i know i am one for youth but jesus they were young lol, that’s the price of letting your proper youth players all go out on loan i suppose. Akpom, Gnabry, Maitland-Niles, Zelalem, Crowley, Toral, Hayden, Silva etc – they would have made much more of a game of it. Bennacer and Bielik are only 17 and Kamara only 18, i think even Hayden with two extra years on him would have found that quite a rough night lol.

    The more experienced players however were all shite, the whole back line were terrible with Debuchy probably the worst of the bunch. Flamini showing again he is far better suited scoring in the box than he is defending midfield and making passes forward. Campbell was woeful as was Iwobi on the other side and Giroud never even touched the ball for me to make a judgement lol. No surprise then the ball just went from left to right to back and repeat the entire night, i don’t think i saw a forward pass all game.

    Oh well i just hope those injuries don’t turn out to be anything serious, shame though i really wanted this cup as another competition for our returnees to play in further down the line ie. Wilshere, Rossa, Welbeck and i suppose now OX as well.

    oh well fuck it

  • The only bright spot. Bielik. Very assured in his play and a commanding presence. A good backup for our depleted MF.

  • Pony Eye, he has that BFG run though no? That one that looks like it takes almost every ounce of effort in him to reach a decent speed or be quick off the mark in response to something. Not saying he played badly (compared to the rest) i’m simply moving on from from over valuing big commanding but slow and slightly cumbersome moving DM’s now – thank the energetic Le Coq for that lol

  • Hardly a football match but plenty of, er, atmosphere… And, of course, great to finally meet TA…

    Very worrisome with the injuries but I think we might have been up against as it was. Ox is looking like he just can’t catch a break and now I wonder when (if ever) he’ll get a chance as a #10.

    Our core group–which was down to very bare bones after the Ramsey injury is now looking extremely thin. Swansea away, Bayern Away, Totts at home… We just have to pray that we have enough (quality) bodies to get us through. I guess we have to hope that at least the Theo injury was more precautionary than serious.

    As soon as the injuries happened the last thing we probably needed was to actually advance in this tournament but that makes it no less sad on the night and a bit less fun for those who came up from London (or down from Scotland or out from California… 😀 …) but so it goes. Indeed, F11ngers has it right, the league cup just doesn’t work for the bigger clubs if all the next generation is out on loan and thus we have to play the next-next gen… Our stockpile of veterans has pretty much evaporated too…

    Without a proper #10 and without a willingness to send long balls up to Giroud (who we cannot afford hurt) it was played out wide…and back across (and rarely forward) except when it went to Wednesday players for them to score goals…

    Our wide players (Iwobi, Campbell, Gibbs and Debuchy; was Bennacer supposed to take over at playmaker? he was all over the pitch…) looked not very up to it on the night. Maybe if it were just one or two of them, they might have looked better. Iwobi looked particularly poor when it came to that business of untangling one’s feet and doing something useful. Kamara and Bielik, I thought, were a notch better.

    Ah well, time for sleep, (except for the happy Owls)… Gotta hope for a different Arsenal on fancy dress day down in South Wales…

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