Arsene’s Dilemma: Perez or Giroud… or ‘Peroud’?


Vardy is 5ft 10ins. Perez is 5ft 11 1/2ins. Vardy is right footed. Perez is left foot. Vardy is at his best motoring the left channel. Perez is at his best motoring the right channel. Discount these mirror differences and you couldn’t tell one from the other in terms of playing style. Same pharmacokinetic data, different trade names. To Wenger, Perez is what the doctor ordered. He tried to sign Vardy but it did not work out. No hay problema as he crossed over to Spain and bought Lucas Perez.

What does it all tell us. Well, well, well…..Wenger’s mind is very crafty and we might all still miss his point, but to my inquisitive mind he seems to want his team to be the king of the quick transition, like his teams of the invincible era. Giving more credence to this belief is the fact that he has installed in deep midfield a bloke called Xhaka who pings accurate 30yds plus passes several times per match. In the Bundesliga he was second to Xavi Alonso in long accurate passes last season.

To fortify this belief even further we have to remember that already in the team is a Mesut Ozil, the best through ball provider in Europe. Apart from Perez, Òzil also has the trickery and pace of Sanchez as well as the exquisite off the ball runs in blistering pace of Walcott, all to feed.

All these, however, is hearing one side of the story only. If we don’t hear the other side, our logic would land us in dreamland.

Last season there was a disproportionate number of matches in the EPL that ended in favour of teams with less possession than should normally be expected. Leicester City won the league with 44.80% possession sitting at the 18th position on the possession table. Epl teams have learnt how to sit deep, frustrate and counter. I really wonder if our Invincibles wouldn’t have found the proposition a lot tougher now.

Do we begin to sit deep? Sitting deep is essentially a tactics fashioned for neutralizing superior fire power. Arsenal is a highly technical team, one of the best in the league. It stands to reason that its philosophy must be hinged on the utilization of its superior weapons i.e. to attack and dominate games, of course without prejudice to being committed to defending as a team.

With our superiority, it is inevitable that we would dominate most of our matches. That means that most of the teams would pack buses against us. With teams parking buses when they play us, where would we find the spaces for the quick transition machine that we have assembled? Where do we find the spaces for the fleet-footed anchor legs, except when we are countering the opponents’ counter?

Countering the counter, equipped with this machine that he has diligently contrived, must be making Monsieur Wenger salivate. But expect them to come few and far between. We, however, should not forget that there are teams and situations where toe to toe would be inevitable. Xhaka, Òzil, Sanchez, Walcott, Perez…….that’s awesome. Something tells me that a great number of such teams would live to regret. Still there remains this big task of the unrelenting parked buses teams. Stubborn, dogged, unyielding, well organized.

Giroud is a denizen of the box, both ends. His mailing address is ‘The Box’ and the boxes are where the goal posts are. Got that? In the box Giroud enjoys air supremacy. He’s got wonderful box flicks and box knockdowns. His box positioning is second to none. He is a right box bully. Ask defenders. A bulldozer for the buses.

Herein lies Wenger’s dilemma. Giroud the box bulldozer versus Perez the fleet-footed anchor leg. We wait to see what the wily old fox will do. I will give you a tip. He might do all. Giroud now, Perez then, Giroud and Perez also.

An exciting season awaits us. Bring it on!

By Pony Eye

50 thoughts on “Arsene’s Dilemma: Perez or Giroud… or ‘Peroud’?

  • Lovely post PE. 🙂

    I reckon you are right that Arsene has options to crack the various defensive strategies of our opponents, and agreed that Ollie is the one for the best players to have in the box and crack open the parked buses.

    More than Perez, I reckon that Sanchez is our new nr.1 CF this season for most of our games: Perez/Iwobi-Alexis-Theo/Ox. He has really impressed me in recent games and Wenger is likely to continue with him. Perez is possibly a good type for type back up and Ollie a brilliant plan B. But also don’t be surprised if we start regularly with Alexis-Giroud-Perez this season. All very, very exciting.

  • TA, so right your throwing Alexis into the #9 mix meaning Wenger’s dilemma is turned into a pounding headache. My guess is, he wouldn’t mind it at all.

  • That is true, PE. He wants the options and clearly whatever is his preferred attacking system, he needs good back up to deal with fatigue, injuries and lack of form during a long and hard season…

  • Oh dear what’s going on with the blogosphere? As a newbie to this blog I continue to be shocked by the absolute sense you talk. It’s so damned refreshing. Nice work fella.

  • HassocksGooner, you are welcome. Great name that. Bergkampesque thinks beauty and health.

  • Really nice of Wenger to stress Jack is part of his long term plans. Jack wanted to play a lot more and Wenger was honest with him. Now he can get back to full fitness and hopefully make real progress this season. Then come back and fulfil his potential at THOF.

  • Nice write up PE. What you say about parking buses is so true and that Leicester statistic is a very good example. I have no stats to back this up, but I feel in previous seasons, Arsenal are sometimes a little naive in this respect. As I say it might just be my dodgy memory, butI seem to remember numerous games where we have battered teams for an hour or so before finally getting a breakthrough. Having established a lead we often seem to give away equalisers all to easy If we could add a little more steel in this respect, it might well add those extra few points we need to win the title.

  • Now I wasn’t expecting this. Like buses, two excellent posts come in quick succession.
    Great stuff PE.

    Actually I only came on to correct my misinformation on the previous post, regarding the Under 23’s. They are away tonight playing Derby. The first game BT are covering is the Chelsea game on the 23rd of Sept. Mia culpa.

    Regards the theme of this post, I think you have it right PE. Quick transition is key to catching out the PTB teams on the counter. But for that you need several things to be right.
    1, You have to allow the opposition possessing in your half, in order to counter?
    2, You have to be able to defend well … obviously.
    3, You need the players to have the skills to play this style. They also need to be able, with subs if necessary, to do it for 95 minutes. Leicester won a lot of games in the last 10 minutes.
    4, You need to have the team working as a unit so we do not get caught out by a counter attack ourselves, when we lose possession on our attacks.
    5, Cutting out individual mistakes will help the cause no end.

    Bring all that together and it will indeed be an exciting season. For all the talk of this being a group of 6 or 7 teams that can win the league, it will be decided by the team that takes the most points out of the rest of the league, and does not lose too many to the select 6 or 7, as they will no doubt take points off each other. However, just because team A or B take the most points off the nearest ‘expected’ rivals, it is no guarantee that they will squash all opposition with the other teams, especially if returning from a long haul flight back from a mid-week European encounter.

    So don’t expect everything to click straightaway. That said, I do have a good feeling about the result tomorrow.


  • Retsub, you are right about the previous need for for a little more steel, which I believe we have now addressed in the signing of Cech, Mustafi and Xhaka.

  • Gerry, well analysed. Number (1) on your list is most intelligently taken care of, if we can equipped ourselves to counter their counter. This is a tactics much evident in boxing and tennis and we very well have the personnel to implement it.

  • Very late to the game here on a Friday afternoon…but…I just wanted to say cheers for the posts. I had actually started a match preview but got way-laid with other stuff… (I’ll be trying to do a live-blog tomorrow what with the 3 pm kickoff…) My line-up was a bit different from yours TA as I think Wenger will want a very strong squad for both this match and Tuesdays with very little rotation.


    That’s just my best guess, of course and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coquelin and Lucas get starts on Tuesday (in place of Santi and Theo). We need some game-time for my avatar guy (Elneny) too… I think much will be performance based, at least in the attack; do well and you work your way forward in the pecking order…

    In general I find the depth and quality in the squad very intoxicating and PE makes some good points about how Wenger can shift things against PTB teams vs those who want to come out and play. Overall, I believe Giroud is a very useful player who I think we want on the pitch more than others believe. I’ll have to see about Lucas who I think might try and play a bit of a Theo-esque (semi-invisible, but very direct when the ball comes his way…) role–in the early going at least …

    There’s some good feeling (finally!) around the club with the signing but we need to get things clicking and get a string of results over these next couple of weeks. Lordy I hope we can do it but I have to say I’m looking forward to the (real) football as much as I can recall–I may even try to get up (very) early to watch that Manc derby…. 🙂

    Thanks again for the posts….

  • Well the youngsters did well in the Under 23’s, as no senior players were involved. You can take it from that, that there will be no youngsters making the bench today.. Unless Iwobi has made a full recovery from his injury.

    Apparently Akpom did his chances of making the squad against N. Forest, as he scored two and made the assist for Willock who opened the scoring. They ran out 1-3 winners, but you can imagine Derby’s second string not having quite the depth of ours?

    Others who got a mention were Mavididi, who played ‘deeper’ than normal. I tried to picture what that meant before waiting for some highlights on the ‘Player, but I can’t. Normally, Mavididi would go out wide when displaced, but apparently Sheaf was coving that role. So I guess he either played behind Akpom as a high central midfielder? It seemed to work well for him, without scoring, so another string to his bow.

    J. Brd’s full report here:


  • I watch the PSG game last night … and they are alarmingly poor!

    Being a follower of ASSE, I was especially pleased that St. Ettienne scored an injury time equaliser.

    Don’t get me wrong,PSG are stuffed with good players, and will be dangerous opponents on Tuesday … if they click? They appear to have lost the swagger they had when dominating lesser rivals last season. Minus Zlatat, and Cavani only came on as a late sub, they look a shadow of their former selves.

    Throw in the stat that AW has not lost to a French side in France, we might get away with just being good?

  • Back to the here and now. Did you see Lawro has us down for a 3-0 win? He rarely strays outside of a team scoring more than twice, as that is the %age call. What does he know about Southampton I wonder, or is it high expectation of Arsenal … another rarity!

    As I wrote yesterday, the new kick off rules do allow the team kicking off plenty of time to draw opponents forward, before committing to an attack. So if Saints kick off we may get an early insight to how ambitious they are?

    The yet to be decided as to whether Alexis plays, to me suggests he will. If AW has a team ready to go, the decision could have been made already? So I suspect AW would want to see how the Alexis pairing with Perez works, before committing to it on Tuesday? Alternatively, if, as some suggest, it could be he has him lined up as CF, with Giroud ready to drop in should Alexis suffer from jet lag. Both require a tactical change?

    I am not sure if the Vardy comparison is strictly accurate PE, as he invariably starts out wide, and only took up a left side central position when the ball came from the opposite flank (Mahrez). Whereas, from what I have read, Perez success last season came from him being in the middle? Givein we have good wide players in Ox and Walcott, and excellent overlapping full backs, I cannot see him moving Perez away from where he is most successful? Twin strike force with Ozil and Cazorla feeding them both with cute through balls works for me, but throw Giroud into the mix and it changes the dynamics, imo. Not necessarily to the detriment, but it requires a different approach.

    I also think this has a knock on as to how effective the LB can be if Alexis is pushed out wide. As previous comment from TA remarked, Alexis tends to ignore the overlap, and just uses it to come inside. But if his starting position is on the left of centre, then the emphasis will be on the overlap to pull back crosses? Intelligent runs from Bellerin, (or Walcott and Ox, if Perez is flying solo in the middle), will be key as to how well our new man fares.
    This requires the midfielders to drop back on whatever side the attack goes through. Team game and all that?

    I think whatever team AW puts out, we have the variety to win this game, whether it be a first half blitz, or second half sub driven revival.

    Go on, Lawro’s 3-nil ….. Make it so!


  • Gerry, yes both Vardy and Perez operate as #9 but while the former likes drifting left like Henry used to do, Perez likes positioning himself right of centre.

    Our font three will always be anybody’s guess. Contesting for positions are;
    1) WIDE RIGHT; —-Alexis, Iwobi, Walcott, Ox, Perez (5No.).
    2) WIDE LEFT ……..Walcott, Perez, Alexis, Ox, Rambo (5No.).
    3) #9 ……………………OG, Perez, Walcott!, Alexis (4No.),

    It might interest you to know that there are 57 possible combinations of the FRONT 3 from these groupings!!!!!! Wenger’s lovely headache.

  • I think it will be easier for Wenger to say, ‘look Alexis I need you fully fit against the Parisian Oilers on Tuesday, so let’s rest you for this one’ than usual. Would be surprised if he starts today.

  • I think that only applies TA if today’s 60 minute run out is detrimental to turning out again on Tuesday?
    I am sure he will argue he slept well during the flight, and he adjusts quickly from jet lag?

    I should have checked first as the squads will be announced around now (12.10pm BST)

    Off to do my racing selections …

  • T A what do we want from the Mancers today? Multiple injuries, sending offs etc etc the result is immaterial.

  • Hey all… Manc derby (plus espresso, of course) seems fairly entertaining thus far… Very open and now De Bruyne scores so it should get even better… Bailly and Blind will not feel good about that one….

  • City have some very nice spacing in MF but have lost a couple of 50-50s that have led to breaks so it’s far from over. That said, Lingard isn’t in the game at all and I cannot believe he gets picked over Martial (or Mata)…

    There’s Lingard with a handball. Mk-tarian also needs some time on the ball…

    Hahaha…Rooney and Guardiola tangle on the touchline…

  • Hey, to each their own…and the caffeine to weight ratio of your Nescafe cannot be matched…

  • City have learned to play passing football and that goes a long way today. Mourinho will be hoping for a dollop of luck already. They are clearly hoping for getting a MC player to react and get sent off…

  • Pogba and Fellaini are giants but where is the ball control?… Meanwhile, the high line and sweeper keeper style City employ seems a very (very) sharp double edged-sword…

  • TA, wanna set up a live-blog? It will require a 2nd espresso at half-time but I can do it…

    How does it truly work in Britain? If you pay enough money to Sky can you get the 3 o’clock matches?…

    2 nil, City completely dominant and that goal off the post makes United look really, really poor…

  • OK, then, I’ll give it a go…

    The pubs (commercial license?) can get the matches, right? Will you be popping down to the Star Hotel to watch or listening on the radio?

  • Wow….Not there. Bravo completely out of position but Ibra only dribbles it towards goal…

  • No the pubs cannot get it legally but some link up to international broadcasters through Internet or satellites for which they could get in trouble. Will be listening to Arsenal player.

  • Cheers for the info, TA…

    I’ll have to send you (or post) a photo of my espresso “room” at some point. Once the machine is warmed up (it’s on a timer…) it all happens very fast (espresso, of course, means quick in Italian).

    Anyhow, with a 2nd coffee in me, I should be able to do a quick new post here…

    Those were a couple of nice goals off defensive errors but United need some big changes here at HT to add to their late luck…

  • Wow, Bravo is having a debut to forget. That should be a pen and a card…

    New post is up…

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