Rambo Behind CF, Xhaka Deep in ‘Koeman Role’, Mahrez and Reus to Win the League

Early Euros Lessons and Thoughts on Summer Purchases!

These Euros are all about teams with conservative, compact defences versus teams that will camp in the opposition’s half with 10 players whilst scratching their heads, and other spherical objects, on how to break through the double parked buses. It often does not make for good viewing and there is a dreaded vision that all football, including at club level, will become like this. BAH! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

At Arsenal we are of course used to this, as we are often the one facing unambitious, defensive teams whoย hope, not without good reasons, that they can get something from the game by playing on the counter and/or from set-pieces, often leading to nerve-wrecking, sweaty and frustrating spectator experiences…. especially at Ashburton Grove..

I can understand that inferior teams reckon their best option is to sit back and absorb pressure rather than go out there and play attacking, adventurous football. Turkey wanted to play football against the Spanish and they got severely punished for it. Conversely, the conservative Swiss – some may say that is a tautology – or even minnows Iceland, have a good chance to do a ‘Greece’ in these Euros and win the tournament by being defensively sound and therefore hard to beat, with the odd goal here and there to get all the way through to the end.

The quality teams are all struggling to punish the conservative teams. Spain needed a late, ‘ordinary’ headed goal from a defender against semi-defensive Czech Republic to get the three points from their group opener (with bad memories from the World Cup two years ago still haunting them); the Germans could not crack the resolute Poles; the same goes for Portugal against the stubborn, and ever-so-lucky Austrians and Icelanders, and; the French just could not create much against the Swiss.

The best football is being played by the Welsh and a few other nations like Spain and Croatia. Chris Coleman has his team play with structure, discipline and desire and our man Rambo is firing from all cylinders. He is reveling in his free role behind the striker and it is making me think that Arsene should consider moving Rambo up into the hole for next season. We need goals and assists from our ‘nr10’ and Aaron could deliver on the former especially.

What would happen with Ozil, I hear you say. Mesut can be our floating nr.10, playing on the left of Rambo and continuously interlinking with him. If we play two defensively minded midfielders in the double pivot, say two of Elneny, Le Coq and Xhaka, we can afford more to give Ozil a free role on the left. Effectively playing with two nr.10s – Mesut and Aaron – would give us another dimension, as it did to a large extent when we combined Ozil with Cazorla last season.

We can play Alexis on the right and Ollie up-top, or even opt for Alexis to be our CF and play another all-round midfielder, like Jack, Santi or possibly Iwobi on the right. Adding Mahrez to the squad would also make sense, as he can play in various positions and appears to be the sort of player who would fit Arsenal like a glove. And on the right we really have space for a quality player.

I reckon we need to change a bit to get the best out of Rambo, but also Alexis. Is it time to make the Chileanย our CF? Well you know how I feel about Ollie but I reckon if we play Rambo in the hole centrally, we have a good player to shield and hold the ball in front of the D, which would provide us with a strong attacking pivot, with whom both the midfielders and the CF can link up with and feed off from.

What we have seen from Xhaka is that he plays deep and orchestrates the game in front of the defence. His long balls and accurate passing remind me of a young Ronald Koeman: a cross between a defensive midfielder and a CB. Elneny is the athlete who fits the b2B role like a glove and together they could really make the difference in terms of finding the perfect balance between attacking and defending and giving us the perfect platform to make our attackers shine next season. I am really excited about the combo of Elneny and Xhaka, and even if we do not buy any new attackers, I still feel we will improve further because of them. We needed a more solid midfield pivot and with Santi, Francis, Mohammed and Granit we now have options to suit every game/opponent. This, my fine fellow Gooners, is progress.

Wenger clearly is after another attacker who can play centrally as well as on the wing, but it looks like Vardy is too scared of the big city and the bigger fish tank that is The Arsenal. Fair enough, and the sooner it is confirmed the better. We need quality that can hit the ground running and I am sure Arsene will find it. Mahrez would be very nice but I am still hoping we can get self-confessed Gunner Reus to complete our set up. Both would be even sweeter.

So here is a team formation I could get very, very excited about:


Jack, Santi, Giroud and Iwobi would play regularly in this team, and who knows even Theo and Ox might fight themselves into our starting eleven over time. And once Danny is back he should also have a good chance to push into the starting eleven.

If we get Mahrez and/or Reus, or good equivalents, I will be looking forward even more to next season. And even if we don’t, with Xhaka we really have added a great, and much needed player, to the first eleven. It will allow us to play Rambo in the hole and move Alexis centrally, and those could be just the changes that will make all the difference.

By TotalArsenal.

33 thoughts on “Rambo Behind CF, Xhaka Deep in ‘Koeman Role’, Mahrez and Reus to Win the League

  • Why did Wenger move for Vardy and not Mahrez? I’d much have preferred the latter. And it’s still not certain Vardy has rejected us. He’s had plenty of time to “decide”. Nonetheless I suspect he’s been negotiating a new contract with Leicester all thus time.

    Of course we’d all like Mahrez and/or Reus but I don’t see any suggestion we’re either moving for them or that they’d be interested in joining.

    We can of course dream, and that’s the whole point of the transfer window!

  • NJ9,

    I believe he went for both and Mahrez is a medium to strong possibility, especially if Vardy stays. Reus is a personal preference and yes a dream ๐Ÿ˜„

    Reus was not selected for the national team and Wenger may have been able to talk to him, but of course I am just thinking wishfully. He can play on the wing and central and would fit in perfectly. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

  • I am sorry bro, I dont agree with you. Ozil and Santi is far far better than Ramsey. They are intelligent, mature and far more simple with the ball. The reason why Ozil got so much assist this season was because he was played through the middle.

  • Cheers Nair

    Mesut can do those assist from anywhere and we also need a stronger goal threat from midfield, and that is why Rambo is an interesting option for in the hole. Santi is good back up and can play in Elneny’s place as well.

  • When you say “went”, do you mean past tense or future tense? Has he already made an approach for Mahrez *officially*?

  • i would like wenger to try ramsey as a false nine at arsenal same like gotze or fabregas at national team,

  • Hi all..
    We had at least four #10 in our team.. Oziel, Cazorla, Ramsey and Wilshere all are best at CAM role.. Not to mention Iwobi..
    The Problem is, they’re just too good to earn the bench.. hehehe.. So somebody must played wide.. and mostly our Winger such as Walcott, Ox and Campbell must lost their position..

    And for that reason.. I believe Wenger won’t bring any Winger at all..
    Maybe We must play 4-2-4 formation.. to let all our AM create all their chance and goals.. hahaha..

    And I wish Stone will be our next sign.. Everton just not good enough for him.. And as I remembered.. Stone honour Wenger a lot.. And I hope Wenger give us a nice surprise again..

  • Hijkl,

    Interesting, but I still prefer Rambo maurading the midfield areas and leaving the striking task to Alexis and Ollie.

    Looks like after a period of signing a new striker is imminent, but now it just descends to “I-do-not-know-if-we-will-add” phase. For me, Vardy just does not suit our play.


  • Yes TA.. Someone like Goetze.. hahaha..
    But will Wenger sacrificed Ramsey or Cazorla if they’re fit..??
    Xhaka will automatically play.. Oziel and Sanchez either..

    Sanchez don’t play CF with Chile.. So why must he play that roles here..
    If we still believe that Wenger will keep playing 4-2-1-3 or 4-2-3-1.. than a CF is a must.. And that’s mean Giroud.. so only 2 more space for Ramsey, Cazorla, Elneny, Wilshere, Coquelin and others midfield or Winger.. including Walcott.. eventhough he might be our reserved CF..
    If other winger (Mkhitaryan/ Goetze / Reus / Mahrez) really come.. I proposed us to sell some players like Ox, Wilshere, Gnabry and Campbell.. for they won’t have any time to play in our team.. unless another big injury happened again.. hehehe..

    Btw.. my favourite team this season will be : Cech
    Bellerin – Stones – Koscielny – Monreal
    Cazorla – Xhaka
    Walcott – Oziel – Sanchez

    So all we need is Stones.. hehehe..

  • Read about the confirmation Vardy will stay on.. given the whole saga it looks like he is using us to make more money..

    i say give it to him back tenfold of what he deserve when we meet his team next season.


  • A big hug for my fellow Europeans who have woken up this morning seeing this devastating and desperately sad result. We live in a foreign country from one day to the next. ๐Ÿ˜ง

  • Hey TA, We could use a hug over here (in the US) too…

    If politics are off limits, please delete this comment…but for me, this is a(nother) vote for blame and its corollary, hate. It’s also a big (long-term) blow for English football and its teams, including Arsenal. Short term, given our relatively good position in that world, it might not be so bad. For me personally, it’s a(nother) reason to try to distance myself from my emotional involvement and support for the club… Good thing I hadn’t bought my tickets for the team’s exhibition match in San Jose…

    On the other hand, with the pound dropping to lower and lower and lower values, maybe it’s time to think about traveling over for a match or two… In 2006 (when I lived at my screen-name) it was almost $2/pound…

    And for you, up in Scotland, you’ll be voting to leave Britain soon enough and (re)join the EU, so maybe not so bad?…

    Finally, does this mean the Home Countries are gonna have to forfeit their elimination matches in France?… If so, what a shame, as at least one of then (Northern Ireland or Wales) was gonna make the quarters… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Switzerland out, I wonder if Xhaka will be back in time for the trip to the USA..?

  • Allezkev, maybe we will see him sooner as Xhaka begins his mandatory 4 week break and then joins us proper. which means we will see him in action in USA.

    I am eager to see how he plays. Swiss team is unlucky not to score a second goal against Fab Fabianski, and they paid the price for that.

    Maybe we will get to see Alexis in preseason too, as he plays tomorrow morning (early morning 1 am in England) in the Copa finale.

    I hope to see the core of the team getting ready in preseason and hope that we will start the season firing on all cylinders.


    PS: Sorry for m off-limit previous remark TA.

  • It is both scary and sad how some of the older generation think about the world and how this has reflected on the outcome of the referendum. Our children will not have the same travel, study and work opportunities in Europe as we had and possibly not be able to grow up in a tolerant and diverse society as we have. This will have consequences, no doubt.

    More and more of the proverbial will hit a speeding up fan for a long time to come. The EU will be remorseless negotiators, making sure the rest of Europe will see how bad an exit will be for them by giving us nothing in the exit deal. We are going to pay for this so badly. There is the issue of the status of the millions of Brits abroad and Europeans in this country. The financial and employment impact on families will be significantly and structurally negative. There will be absolutely no upsight to this whatsoever, unless you enjoy scaring people, making them leave etc.

    this vote was not about an informed decision about the long term benefits of staying in the EU or not; we all know what it was about, and I am disappointed in the party leaders for letting that happen. This will become to be seen as the big historic mistake by the UK with very likely to have a structurally negative impact on the rest of Europe.

  • Hi TA glad to see you have broken away from not speaking about politics here. I voted to remain. Like you I have deep appreciation of what we have achieved together as a European Union allowing great benefits for employment, work, travel and other good work on envionmental standards etc. I also voted remain in the hope of re-democratising some critical spaces within what has become captured institutions by the neoliberal consensus of austerity and cuts. Many of those affected by this have allowed themselves to be fuelled by divisive political leaders who know how to prey on the vulnerable, that they themselves (the politicians) are responsible for with their support for neoliberal policies and economics. Leaving doesn’t change the need to recapture those spaces that will otherwise be captured & fuelled by the far right.. Football is a great release from these tensions TA but it should not be a distraction or a retreat from what, all together, needs to be done. This is a good article: http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/the-left-should-celebrate-brexit-the-uk-just-kicked-neoliberalism-in-the-nuts/

  • Hey TA, you’ve got mail…

    Personal activities have kept me away from seeing much of the football so I’d love some insight from those who have been watching it… France, this morning, down a goal to an early pen, look like they could concede more and need to get lucky if they want to draw level…

    Personally, I don’t see a lot wrong with talking politics here just as I see even less being right about that vote. Arsenal, well positioned as we are, might solidify our position due to the “tightening” effect of the leave vote and our ability (like Leicester maybe…) to offer new and better contracts to our current guys. I like watching the highest quality footie I can find, so, long term, I’m guessing, I’ll be watching a good deal more continental football and less and less Arsenal. “I want my Arsenal back” seems a sentiment akin to that of many who “won” this referendum and I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time looking backward given that I stumbled onto the team only a decade ago. IMO, doing that sort of wishful (wistful?…) thinking is best if you’re (personally) done and, regrettably, that’s my overwhelming emotion here…

    The momentum behind English football and modernizing forces in it (led by the greatest modernizer of them all, Arsene Wenger…) have done enough so the game should be well insulated from too much retrogression, for several years, at least… So, a few good seasons with our multi-cultural, multi-national squad, but then less and less and less… The FA (IMO) should think about reducing the size of the league (and domestic cup) trophies to reflect the desire for smallness expressed by the “will” of the people…

    Or maybe not… As always, WTF, do I know?…

  • Guys I copied and parked a comment here that I also made on another weblog, as I didn’t want to lose it, but great comments and all agreed.since 23 June we live in a different world, so happy to change the blog policy of no politics as long as comments are constructive. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • FMJ… That is a very interesting comment and I could go on quite a bit given the politics over here that have gone from “dog whistle” straight to dogs feeling quite entitle to bark and snarl. You guys, however, have to now live with the (big) bite, which (i’m praying…) we can avoid…

    Regarding the football… Griezmann gets it done but Giroud’s work pulling defenders away from the little guy will only be noticed by those with a footballing brain… That said, I believe that Ireland would have done better believing their 1-goal lead might see them through. Wanting a 2nd let the game get too open which suited the more athletic (and better crossing/long passing) French players to a T… Like TA is suggesting, only Giroud is used to having to work the ball in tight spaces. IMO, France will need to do much better on this account if they hope to get past the others on this (the stacked) side of the draw…

  • Continuing on with the politics, I’m sorry to say…. Many Germans wouldn’t want him as a neighbor but he volleys nicely from distance… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  • OH NO…. Ozil penalty blocked… Commentators saying Ozil could be following the Bergkamp example when it comes to taking pens…

  • I am happy for Chile and Alexis after they won their second Copa America title.
    However, in one of the pictures he had his calf strapped with ice bag. Hope it is nothing major.


  • With England wasteful in attack and their defense and GK in shambles, I wonder Joe Hart will continue as number 1 keeper in Citeh next season.

    Playing like sp**s is one of the reasons why England lost. Play like Gunners and you will see why Germany and France won. Haven’t saw the highlights for Spain yet, so I am unable to comment on why they lost.

    I quite like the role that Ollie does for his national team. Holding the ball and giving chances to his teammates by pulling away defenders makes him better than Gignac, but if possible I will play both of them together, if Gignac is able to shoot better.

    I foresee Germany vs France in the Semi-final, and then Germany winning against Belgium in the final. The most lop-sided finals ever, but then that is what made Leicester champions.

    Bring on the preseason games quickly, please!!! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • JK.. as I said.. No Santi No Glory.. hehehe.. Italia played a very great game.. That’s what we must do to overcome Barca.. Conte is something.. Chelsea will be will be dangerous this season..

    Sorry guys for England lost.. Islandia Saga happened at almost European or World Cup..
    Let’s support Wales.. to beat Belgium.. hehehe..

  • Yes Ko Henry,

    If there is Rambo, there is possibility that Wales can win against Belgique.

    Yes. Conte is someone with a better strategy than the chief red devil and he is someone to look out for. When we play against the Chavs, we should not play like Spain / Barca.


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