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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂