How to Beat Pool: Rambo nr10, Alexis CF, Iwobi/Joel on Wings, Xhaka/Elneny DMs

And Chambers and the Nacho-Man as our CB pair!

It is still too early to predict the team against Liverpool on Sunday with exactness. We will know more after tomorrow’s press conference – assuming there is one – and Friday is also a typical day for a new signing by Arsenal…. We live in hope. If indeed we do sign a defender or attacker by cop tomorrow, there is only a small chance that they would start in Sunday’s 4pm battle. But I reckon we will be able to field a strong team that can get all three points and give Pool an early nosebleed.

The obvious area of concern is our defence. We have not looked too good in defence during most of the friendly games, and especially the now injured Gabriel did not look fit or focussed during any of his outings. So at the moment, we have our nr1 defender Koz back in training but probably not fit enough to start, our nr2 and nr3 defenders BFG and Gab long-term injured, which leaves us with youngsters Bielik, Holding, and Chambers. The latter should take this opportunity to break through to the first team and Wenger will use the next few games as a big testing moment for the young Englishman – his first team future at Arsenal could depend on it. I reckon Callum will be ok as long as we partner him with a cool and collected, experienced defender. At this moment in time, this has to be either Debuchy or Nacho, and I am going to suggest the latter is the best option. A combo of Chambers and Nacho, with Bellerin and Gibbs besides them and the experienced Cech behind them, should form a very decent defence.

I was at last season’s Arsenal v Pool game and the visitors really impressed me with their pressing football, high tempo passing and great running with and without the ball. Even though they have changed managers, the style of play is not very different. On Sunday they will try to press high up the pitch and not allow us to build from the back. This will actually suit us, as we can play compact and deep and play on the counter regularly. And playing compact will also help the likes of Chambers and Monreal to control the box better.

What will be absolutely crucial is who we will select for the double DM pivot and our mid-wingers. They all need to be able to help out our defence and are key in winning the midfield battle. They also need to add the spark to our two main attackers and get themselves into scoring positions as much as possible. This is where we can make a difference, and our performance against MC last Sunday is cause for some optimism.

football formation

I reckon we can win that battle in midfield and then there will be space and time to play some aggressive attacking football that will get the home crowd very excited. Regular readers know how much I rate Elneny and I simply don’t think we could do without him. Next to him it should either be Le Coq or Xhaka, and I believe the latter has that extra weapon that could bring us our win: the diagonal long-ball to our midwingers or CF from deep in our own half. Having said that, it may be that Wenger prefers to play Coquelin as he has more PL experience and adds that little bit extra protection to our defence (I would imagine).

In front of these two and behind the CF, I would play the One Aaron Ramsey: he can add that extra defensive support to Xhaka (Coq) and Elneny when required. He also can make those runs into the box and form a great partnership with my preferred CF for Sunday’s encounter: Alexis. Both have the quality and confidence to take our chances and their work rate is second to none. I can also see Wenger playing Theo up-front and Alexis on the wing, but I would rather bring on Theo in the second half to replace either Rambo or Alexis.

Image result for joel campbell images

On the (mid)wings, I would prefer to start with safe pair of hands Joel and the lively Iwobi. Both will support their FBs well and add real threat up front whilst also having the engines to keep going which will be crucial against Pool, as this will be a high tempo, very intense game for 90 minutes.

Image result for Alex Iwobi images

I am not sure whether this will be our starting eleven but I reckon it would give us a really good chance to play some fine football and take all three points.

In just a few days the footie feast starts again – I cannot wait – COYRRGs! 🙂

By TotalArsenal



26 thoughts on “How to Beat Pool: Rambo nr10, Alexis CF, Iwobi/Joel on Wings, Xhaka/Elneny DMs

  • Hey TA…First?… 😀 Nice match preview… What a relief to have you do the honours (British spelling)…

    I think you may be right about the defensive line-up but I’m not so sure up front. Personally, I think we’re a lot more menacing with Theo in the line-up and, like Arsene, I believe, I remain not wholly convinced by Joel Campbell. He shows a lot of effort (while Theo shows very little…) but it’s all about effectiveness and the threat a player carries which can help occupy defenders. His relentless tendency to come central (onto his only good foot, the left one) makes our attack very narrow. Putting Theo near the front with Alexis means we have a lot of pace for pressing… Liverpool, just like us, are far from the most convincing at the back… I might be tempted to try and wedge another more defensive minded or at least B2B MF type into the line-up, so, for me, playing Le Coq or Santi from the start would probably be my druthers… This seems a match that could turn on a mistake, so lots of experience and a more conservative approach seems worthwhile.

    That said, I’m not sure about the home support and if they share my feelings… It’s all about RIGHT NOW so buying and winning (right now…) seems more important than anything. And, this deal for Mustafi seems like it might take some time…

    Frankly, I wish this game was on the road as I think the Emirates has become a very tough atmosphere for our boys. I hope that the negativity is offset by the enthusiasm for the new season but I fear a collective lack of patience has beset the support. Dennis forbid we play too long at nil-nil or fall a goal behind. My hunch is that only the correct result will mollify and that would be a win, of course, ideally in comfortable fashion. Fingers crossed on that account and the breathing room 3 pts on opening day would create…

  • Hi 17HT ⚽️😀

    It is at best a pre-preview, just some thoughts on our strongest line up.

    Good arguments for a different line up and you know we see things different re Campbell. Theo would leave us too exposed on our right wing which could easily lead to that one mistake mentioned. If he is to start it has to be as CF for me.

  • Great post Total and interesting comments from 17tino…

    I’ve seen the highlights of all our pre-season friendlies including the whole of the Viking and Man City games and frankly I haven’t got a clue how Arsene is going to go and who he’s gonna use in midfield and defence.
    That could be, in the case of our midfield, because we have so much choice and that’s fabulous.
    Unfortunately in the case of our defence it’s because of last man/men standing and that’s a huge worry…

    If we go a goal behind and on the back of Arsene’s ‘will he, won’t he’ in the transfer market, and with the frustrations that that brings to the fans, then the atmosphere could turn nasty very quickly.
    An inexperienced defence could, in those circumstances, begin to get nervous, so although I was hugely impressed with Holding, I do hope that he doesn’t start.
    Chambers has, to me, looked edgy at times and likely to mess up, but I saw him settle down and look more comfortable during the City game as it progressed. But as to his partner… ?
    I’d rather leave the full-backs in situ and therefore go with Debuchy, but it’s a dogs dinner…

    Up front, for me it’s Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, with an emphasis on tracking back and getting behind the ball when the Scousers have possession.

    If you offered me a draw now, I’d take it…..

  • Cheers Kev

    Interesting you would take a draw now. I reckon we have a good chance for a win. The starting team will be strong and there are good options on the bench too. Agreed though that the home support could be a negative factor 😒

  • Ouch!
    Take a draw. Home, Liverpool? Somebody is pessimistic. Glass half empty feeling.
    It’s not Barcelona at camp Nou.
    No result would surprise me, and i dont love our situation, worried about cbs… but please, don’t surrender yet.

  • Btw , they will coming at us in waves and relentlessly to pressure cbs….. but if we stay cool, maybe can hit them on the counter with either theo, alexis, or ox.
    Never give up! Never surrender ! Who knows what movie thats from?

  • Nice optimistic preview TA. Let us hope the players out there can live up to it?

    I cannot say I agree with your line up though, even though it may well be what AW goes for, with a couple of tweaks?
    For example, Theo on the right. I cannot believe Arsene will ditch him now, having persevered with him throughout the friendlies …. and so close to getting back to his best?

    Any other bits of tinkering, I think, are all tied up with the back 4. Namely who they are, and how they want to play it.
    Starting with the FB’s. Are they going to be held back to support the ‘young CB pairing, or play that novel term, mid-winger roles?
    That leads on to how we use those dual purpose midfielders?
    Once those questions are answered, you can then look at how to deploy the attack.

    Unless Mustafi does get his registration in in time to play on Sunday, but if he does I think he’ll start. But in his likely absence ….
    My preferred line up goes like this:
    Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, Gibbs.
    Coquelin, Ramsey, Xhaka
    Akpom, Alexis
    subs; Ospina, Monreal, Elneny, OxCham, Campbell, Walcott, Iwobi/Jeff R-A.

    I would be happy for Ox and Theo to come on against tiring legs. That would allow for Bells to be used his pace in attack … providing at least one of the three MF’s stay back on defensive duties, assisting Coquelin.
    Equally, I am happy if Bielik starts in place of Chambers, because if all this talk of a hostile crowd turns out to be right, although first game of the season God knows why that should be the case, except for a tiny minority? At least they might make allowances for the youngster?
    Monreal on the bench so he does not have to worry about changing positions mid game, and Gibbs has looked good in the pre-season games. Not to mention he has more pace.

    Key to it working is having pace up front on the counter, so they can attack before the ‘Pool defence gets set. All backed up by a solid defensive midfield, and Santi high up for the killer passes.
    What’s not to like? … Get in there Chuba, fill your boots!
    Sorry TA, it is Ramsey or Elneny, as neither are as creative as Santi?

  • It’s interesting that it’s still difficult to pick a line up. We have so many different options.

    AT the back, I’m inclined to go with you. I’d also play Xhaka and Elneny, though as you say, Coquelin could start. He’s had the more settled pre-season and is more experienced in the PL. But any stray passes and we could be exposing the defenders to trouble. This is a tough one, but is exactly why Elneny is important.

    Up front, I have two possible lineups. Alexis-Santi-Campbell with Theo up top, or
    Iwobi-Ramsey-Ox with Alexis as striker.

    Theo is likely to be high on confidence right now after the City game, and with Liverpool pressing could have space to exploit with a long ball (hence why I’d like Xhaka) But I wouldn’t trust him on the right. He would leave Bellerin on his own, and our defense needs all the help it can get right now. Hence he could play up top. If so, we need a more creativity and control from our no. 10. Hence Santi. Having Alexis on one side gives the attacking thrust, and Campbell provides the defensive balance along with the ability to play through balls.

    Alternatively, Alexis starts up front, but needs Ramsey to run around him. Iwobi acts as a runner, but also provides some ability to come inside and link up, while the Ox provides the wide forward thrust.

    There’s a press conference today at 9AM.

  • I was at the Liverpool home game last season too 🙂

    Pity that the Ramsey goal was called offside. Would have made for a more interesting game.

  • Hi all.. So this is the time.. PL is back..
    TA.. I think second half game against City will be our best start..

    For CB.. give Holding chance duet with Chambers.. He will be great.. Monreal didn’t play CB for a long time and he like to go forward also.. put him in his position.. Holding-Chambers played a lot games together.. they know each other.. and they certainly very excited for this game.. And with Xhaka or maybe Coq in front of them.. to give them more secure feeling..

    For Midfielders.. I choose Cazorla for our #10.. but I prefer 2 AM.. Ramsey and Cazorla both playing.. Wenger must do try 2 AM.. for Ozil to easily return to the team.. if he want to keep Ramsey playing at his best.. 4-4-2 will be great.. hehehe..

    Theo and Sanchez as our forward.. They can be swicth to a Winger, CF or Second striker as easy as they want to.. Very flexsible and fast.. hehehe..
    and we need speed.. He have Xhaka and Elneny with their long pass.. We have Bellerin and Monreal who like to play forward and give a nice assist..

    So if we playing 2 AM, we can easily win the midfield.. and Ramsey-Cazorla can also switch easily as a winger..
    With this flexibility.. our squad can play a very dynamic ball.. and with our fast forward and also fast fullback.. we will dominate the game.. Campbell or Iwobi can give more speed and freshness in Second half.. hehehe..

    But I know this team may not fit Wenger.. hehehe.. But if Wenger realized how good Theo and Sanchez as a double striker.. maybe my wish will come true.. hahahaha..

  • Excuse this interruption TA – I have just reset the BK Best Bloggers league on the Fantasy Football Premier League.
    It is ready for those who like to play the ‘fantasy’ stuff for real, rather than dabbling in the thoughts of Arsene Wenger.
    I only set it up, I do not pretend to do any week by week commentary. Feel free to do that if you are that way inclined. Okay?

    Now here is the important bit. I have set the league to start at Game Week 3.
    Not this weekend coming, but the next one. So you will have a couple of matches to assess players and teams before final selections. Thereafter it is the usual one transfer per week.

    Once you have your team set up, the code to enter our league is:


    Thanks TA, I thought this was a good post to launch it.

  • Great team thought fellow BKers 😀

    The inclusion of either Theo, Chuba, the Ox or Santi, or indeed all of them, makes sense to me, they are all good player and explains why I and Jack think we are not desperate for another attacker anymore. I reckon my line up is the strongest one though, but Wenger will have his own thoughts no doubt.

  • Gerry 😀

    Cheers re FF. It’s not for me but if others want to join your league then it should be fun. Keep us posted re progress regularly.

  • Thanks TA – For anybody who wants to play FFPL only occasionally, there is an interesting thing on the (very) long Arsecast. About 35mins in, to save time, bur the Pod is worth a listen.

    Basically run weekend games where you just pick 11 players, subject to the usual FF
    rules, and you can win money. On the paid leagues that is, but there are a couple of free ones, and you might win £25.

    If anyone fancies it, that is where to find it. However, I reckon you have to be very good to win the big prizes …. which is why I went down the ‘freebie’ route 😀

    Oh, if you go direct, Arseblog is the code.

  • Oh the above only applies to UK residents, sorry

    Our CB ‘signing” appears in doubt, as the agent releasing the story may not be Mustafi’s agent?

    That will be another week to muddle by then …

  • Hi guys, thanks for the insightful writing from you all, and the fine regular posts TA. 😀 Plenty to talk about and I am keen to discuss our team this coming season. Now the real footy begins!

  • Welcome back FMJ and with a superb comment to boot! All agreed buddie. 🙂

    Like you I am looking forward to see the team grow into the season and become a real unit to be reckoned with. There are one or two areas we need to strengthen in but this could come from within as well. Still hoping we get good CB cover but also excited about our solution to the CB injury crisis (until Koz returns).

  • Hey TA! Thanks for the praise, I’m slightly embarrassed haha. There have been some excellent insights recently by others so I wanted to make sure I commented on something fundamental to our club in my first comment of the new season. Yeh go ahead I would be proud to see it as a post on here haha. 😀

  • I suspect Coquelin may start given his experience . I am reasonably happy with any of the other variations in midfield and up front. As for the centre back position, it has to one of Debuchy or Monreal or possibly both. I really hope I am wrong but if Chambers starts we are in trouble, his confidence is shot. What is Sol doing on Sunday?

  • I like your team selection TA. With such a lot of options in the midfield and forward line it will come down to training ground performance and the need to impose our game, which as you mentioned could well be the counter attack. I like the selection of Joel for his defensive capabilities and hardwork. I’d probably go with Granit alongside Santi. Xhaka for the quick long pass, Cazorla for the speedy link up transition, Alexis as centre forward. With not so many options in defensive positions this should suit us well and force us to defend as a team. So the personnel in central defence wont be as defining on the result as the defensive performance of the whole team. For that reason I would try out Holding and Chambers at the back, as henrychan said above. The team must help them or whoever it is bed in by being nice and compact.

  • Cheers FMJ, it will be such an athletes battle in midfield that I feel we cannot afford not to play mr Efficiency – Elneny.

    I am worried about playing Holding without an experienced CB next to him… not against Pool, I reckon. But hey, it could work out well.. 🙂

  • Yep lets bring Sol back in! Maybe Coquelin could do well there? But yeh Monreal is probably a safer bet. The amount of running Elneny gets through is phenomenal, so I guess Santi has to be benched. With one, two, three passes from the counter we may not need Santi to make the forward pass, we could rely on Xhaka to do it. Perhaps it make Klopp’s job of nullifying the counter easier if there are fewer players able to make those crisp incisive passes forward. I’m just speculating. Very tough call. Highly tactical game.

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