This midfielder’s Return Will Complete Arsene’s Arsenal Revolution

I don’t know how many times I have seen fellow bloggers write, less on BK but regularly on other blogs, that Wenger needs to be replaced by a younger manager with a modern and fresh style of play. There seems to be a belief that older managers cannot be inventive and ‘fresh’, like Klopp or Guardiola for example. The opposite is true.

Wenger is always innovating the way we play; in fact, I sometimes wish he would stick longer with a certain system of play rather than moving on too quickly. Having said that, I am very excited about Arsene’s change of style this season.

He seems to opt now for speed and movement by all 11 players, rather than have a few players in the spine around whom the game is played i.e. the BFG at the back, Cazorla in the middle and Giroud up top.

It is still early in the season of course and Arsene may well revert fully back to the system of play of previous seasons, but the success of the last few games, both in terms of style of play and results, may have encouraged him to stick with it now. And there is a buzz around Arsenal now that nobody will want to lose anytime soon, and especially not Arsene.

Mustafi has been a revelation – see also last post. He adds speed and bite to the defence and is already one of the top ten most successful passers in the PL. Up front, Wenger has made a personal wish come true by turning Alexis into a beastly, all conquering CF.  This has added speed and mobility to the attack, whilst Sanchez is also pretty good at coming for, and holding on to, the ball ala Giroud. Alexis is supported by pretty alround ‘midwingers’ who add  bite, speed, creativity, assists, and goals: Theo scores when he wants and Iwobi is in the top three of PL assist makers, and long may it continue. And Perez, and sooner or later Welbeck, are ready to compete with them for first team places.

The final piece in the speed-mobility jigsaw is pairing up Rambo with either Xhaka or Coquelin.

We need a player who connects defence with attack, supporting the deeper sitting DM  and our nr10 with continuous horizontal and diagonal runs, slick passing, interceptions, assists and goals, etc. That player is Rambo: the quintessential box-to-box midfielder. This does not mean there will be no first game time for Cazorla or Elneny. Santi can be played regularly as second midfielder in the DM pivot, or as Ozil’s best mate in an occasional 4-1-2-3 formation; indeed, Santi can also replace Mesut in the nr.10 position, if and when required. The Spaniard could become our super-sub and as such a very important player for the season. And Elneny is also a very useful player to have for a number of positions.

But once Rambo is fully fit he will most likely get regular starts to complete Arsene’s revolution based around speed, energy and mobility, and I cannot wait to see this team take to the stage once all are available:

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By TotalArsenal



23 thoughts on “This midfielder’s Return Will Complete Arsene’s Arsenal Revolution

  • Interesting times indeed T A and we certainly have a squad we can rotate now. I guess I am probably not as big an optimist as I used to be, we have had many false dawns before. I was convinced we would take Burnley apart at the weekend and we only just scraped through. I think there are still some unanswered questions out there (in my mind anyway). So without taking any of the positivity away, I have a few questions to pose.

    1. Ozil, is playing far below his best in my opinion. This time last year he was on fire. He strikes me as very much a player who thrives on confidence and it’s not fully there at the moment. Or is it just me?

    2. Whilst Sanchez as striker adds a new dimension, it does mean we lack height in the box (even Theo is heading the ball these days) . I found it quite frustrating during the Burnley game, how many times Bellerin in particular was in good position to put crosses in and turned and played the ball back across centre midfield.. In fact I think we looked more potent on the few occasions Mustafi came forward down the right. He seemed to have no problems whipping in crosses.

    The team has done really well to recover from the Liverpool defeat, but some players (Owobi in particular) were below par against Burnley. Not sure what will happen during the interlull, but I suspect the team needs freshening up over the next few games. Hopefully players like Gibbs, Elneny, Perez, Giroud, the Ox etc will be able to step up to the plate and maintain the momentu

    Lots of positives which have been well covered in previous posts, but still a few unanswered questions in my book

  • Good post TA! 🙂 and an interesting point you make about what to do with Ramsey. On this front, I am in the camp that thinks that he would have to earn his place by displacing Santi (which I don’t see happening). Yes, Ramsey brings a lot of running to the game but Santi’s vision, positioning, and ball control I feel are at a much higher level than Aaron’s. So, am a bit surprised that you have discounted these for speed. If aaron comes in, perhaps it might be at the expense of Theo or Iwobi (which on present form appears unlikely)?

    Retsub – agree with your point regarding Mesut. Here’s hoping that he will continue to gather pace and will be on top form after christmas and propel us to the title. 😉

  • A tiny bit off topic….
    I hate to say it, but i think Total was right from preseason.. that Arsene is making Alexis first choice striker…. and I’m glad that he was correct… I didn’t notice at the time, but it must have been the reason behind Theos oddly timed statement that he’s now a winger again, after years of saying he’s a striker. I think Arsene sat him down and said it’s Alexis. Period. And btw, you will get many more minutes as a good right winger.

    Not just because it’s been overall mostly successful so far, because i know how things can change quickly. But in considering and watching what Alexis can bring in the middle, and sliding wide if he feels like it.
    He can look to tackle deep middle, maybe even break with theo racing to his right, possibly Iwobi or Ox on the left, as he has been, as long as his replacement on lw is up to helping Nacho and Gibbs defend, because that was something i was reticent to give up.. In theory, this may be why he seems to be even better at creating chances for others lately.

    On topic: To Totals post.. Ramsey will be a big bonus, because I’ve been vocal about preserving Santis health, and Ramsey must now be seen in the same light. I hope they can help share some burden. Ramsey has lungs that can run for days, but his hamstrings cannot keep up with 90 plus minutes 2 or 3 times in an 8 day period.

    If both Santi and Rambo seem 100% for a big match like manchesters, champions league knockout stages, i think we are very strong with both starting, (depending on how Wenger views Walcott and Iwobi in big games)….. as long as it’s not every week.
    I think Rambo will enjoy the new speedier tempo also.

    Best thing is, when he’s healthy Ramsey does so much in defending, tackling, attacking, that I’ve said here, he’s almost like 2 players on the pitch with his energy. Now I’m starting to see Mustafi that way also.. almost 2 players because his passing and dynamism.

  • Even more off topic, partly because I haven’t read your post yet TA, but I believe this to be very important too.
    Contract stuff.
    We have five key players who are subject to contract upgrades, excluding BFG who, in his words ‘can talk to other clubs in January’, and they are:
    Koscielny. Subject of our best CB pairing in the previous post. Deserves a new contract?
    Iwobi. Without doubt, imo, a key player, and specifically for the near future. Needs a contract to make sure he remains. Not that he has asked for one, but he could triple his income if so inclined.
    (I caught a bit of your above comment Retsub, to which you are fully entitled to make. But I have repeatedly said, when youngsters come into the first team and do great things it is fantastic. However, they do not have the experience to ‘carry the team’ when those around them are not playing well. I think it was pretty obvious that, with few exceptions, the whole team were a bit flat. But they still won!).
    Bellerin. Another valuable asset, who, as I pointed out yesterday, any temporary replacement from within would be a drop down. Permanent loss weaken our squad considerably. He too, would have no trouble in securing a move at a considerable increase in salary. Not a given he stays without even matching any likely offer?
    Then this morning, on BBC 24 Hour News program, two other key players were discussed. Not on football related ‘NewsNow’, but on ‘National’ television!
    ‘Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil demand 250,000 per week’ was the head line!
    Both key players. Both would get that salary elsewhere.


    p.s. Apologies TA. But for all the excitement for the season ahead, and other naval gazing, it could just disintegrate in January?
    When I have time to calm down I will read your post and respond accordingly.

  • If the above(new contracts) was not in question, I think this post would be worthy of a better response than I can give at the moment.

    I think AW has been moving towards this athletic, fast moving team for some time now. Indeed, Alexis may have been the first signing towards that end, and why he kept faith with Walcott?
    Ozil’s passing skills combine with seeing creativity in unlikely situations almost demanded it.
    Bellerin too, fitted this all action dimension. I would love to say that Welbeck was too, except he wasn’t exactly a Wenger purchase, only nodded agreement with little time left in that transfer window at the time .. And yet, he too could find himself fitting in quite well.

    I do find it amazing how the pendulum swings one way and then back again regards to Cazorla place in the side? Yourself, TA, had him down as ‘being found out’ two season’s ago. At the end of preseason most had him down as a regular sub? Some supported him loyally, and now he is back in fashion. Strange game, football?

    Few would have thought Iwobi would be a block to Ramsey playing his Welsh role either, but there he is. True, Ramsey on top form deserves a place in the side. But as St Henry as said, he should earn that right, and not just drop in on the grounds that he can run all day. We have Elneny who can do that, and more. We have Cazorla to move the ball quickly and accurately from defence to attack. We have Iwobi’s quick feet and quick thinking in the attacking midfield role. We have all firing, all speed of Walcott, whose pairing with Bellerin has been a real revelation.
    Sorry, but a less than sharp Ramsey does not do it for me in any of the above positions.


  • the way things are at this moment i hope ARSENE WENGER signs an other contract,best goal keeper JACK BUTLAND better than CHEC.

  • if we can keep injuries down & keep hold of OZIL & SANCHEZ we could win the premier this year.

  • Either it is the wrong time of day, or their is sunned silence?

    Let me make some observations on these contract discussions.

    1, I think there is a competitive edge between Alexis and Ozil as to who is to be the highest earner? The trouble is that is has now escalated to a point where there is a huge doubt over whether Arsenal or Arsene would pay such a price?
    Big decision. To match other club’s willingness to pay inflated wages, and have to cover the trickle down effect that will have on the other player’s demands?
    The answer to that I think is very unlikely.
    However, if AW can convince the BoD that the Champions League title is within their grasp with both players?
    Then may be?
    Also, if this were to be AW’s last season, perhaps the thought that a new manager would find this squad more attractive as it is, and any saving on Wenger’s salary might tip the balance?
    That is beyond my power of speculation.

    2, One could leave in January, and the other might settle for less?
    That might generate the income to get a replacement? Namely Isco for Alexis, or Lyon’s Ghezzel for Ozil? Only a suggestion.

    3, Offer them less, so if neither signs a new contract, then let them go in the summer ‘on the cheap’?
    That way we stay intact for this season, and start from scratch next season.

    As regards the others, I am hoping it is ‘agent speak’ with Bellerin? But anything over 100k a week will have a knock on effect for others at the back?
    Iwobi should be covered by a high ‘buy out’ clause, as well as a generous rise.
    They ought to keep a close eye on Jeff R-A’s situation too, as he will be a target very soon. Top talent is in very short supply, so if you can develop your own, so much the better.
    Koscielny should also be rewarded, rather than go down the Sagna route, and wait until he is tapped up?
    The thing the club will be aware of is this accumulation of wage demands will eat into any future transfer kitty. Something AW will be only to aware of? Sadly, I do not see any quick resolution ion the horizon?

    Anybody else got thoughts on this?

  • On the subject of contracts, i think if we must go higher than we wanted with our stars than we had planned, we have no choice. Firstly, we are now a team with stars after many years of keeping reasonable high earners, but no worldies, Cesc was the closest. Van persie was for one or two seasons.
    Ozil and Alexis are world class, we cant let their contracts wind down. Our worst case scenario must be to give them close to what they want to extend, then sell them for world class prices, maybe setting ridiculous release clauses.
    If we now can afford 50+ mil transfer fees, we have to step up the superstar salaries. Ozil and Alexis arent underpaid, but are on fair salaries currently. A player like koscielny also deserves to be taken care of.

    Can’t let them go to premier league clubs at any cost. No Ozil to Pep or mourinho for example. That would be disastrous.

  • Cheers Retsub, a bit of left field response to the post but hey why not?! 🙂

    Ozil was brilliant against Chavs and Basel, even though he did not score or assist. He looked a bit tired against Burnley but so did many a player… He always adds value to what we do and I have no worries re him whatsoever..

    Height in the box?! I reckon Wenger does not want the traditional balls into the box anymore, well at least not as a regular feature. Having said that, it would have made a difference if we had had Ollie or Welbeck joining the attack against Burnley, but they were injured.

  • St H, Santi is not a box to box midfielder for me. If we have to sit deep, he is really useful and if we play 4-1-2-3, he is great too, but in most games we need a connector and that is Rambo (with Elneny as back up). The idea that Rambo is only good at running, as you seem to suggest, is not one I share. Rambo can score 10+ PL goals which Santi cannot (anymore), and he is also a far better defender when it comes to it. I feel Monreal is not covered enough and reckon that Rambo will do a far better job re this than Cazorla currently does. To fill the gaps you need a great engine and you and I know who possesses this in abundance. 😉

  • All agreed Johnnie. Sanchez is a joy to watch and the number of assists until now is amazing. A goal or assist around every 70 minutes now. WOW.

    Love the picture of Rambo and Mustafi being two players in one… and does not go the same for Alexis? We field fourteen players!!! 😉

  • Gerry, who knows what is going on re new contracts?! More than money I reckon Wenger’s contract situation is key in all of these contract situations. The BoD will have it under control as much as they can. I am not worried at all.

  • Gerry, when I said he was being found out it was with reference to his ability to score a goal from the edge of the 18 yards box…. and that is still the case. The post is about speed and mobility and how Rambo fits this style very, very well. I have nothing against Cazorla and reckon he is a very important player for the team. But I predict that Wenger’s revolution will be complete once Rambo is fully fit and ready to play as our B2B beast.

    I like the thought of Johnnie that Rambo and Cazorla can swap the B2B role regularly to keep each other fit and support the team according to the game to game tactics.

  • Yes TA, but both myself and St Henry say that Ramsey should not walk back into the team, just because of what he can do. At his best, fine. He does however, have a bad record of coming
    back off injury breaks and being nowhere near his best. That point is the one you keep dodging?
    His other problem is he has got to get up to speed with the new one touch, pass and move style?
    AW may see it differently and only play him when we have a Plan B up and running?
    p.s. l am glad you’re not worried. True, nothing we can do but watch it unfold.
    I am with jnyc in that if we can, keep them out of our rivals hands. But big buy out clauses doesn’t put these clubs off? I am not that confident AW will even go down the big salary route though.

  • Ramsey’s return will upset the balance we have right now, just like last season when we started so well with the Caz & Coq pairing. As soon a Caz got injured, Ramsey came in central and it was not the same as he is does not possess Caz’s quickness of thought which is vital when it comes to transition from def-mid-front. Ramsey like to ‘do a little dance’ whenever he receives the ball, and by the time the dance is over, the opposition have re-parked their ‘bus’.

    Wenger obviously likes Ramsey as a player, but the faith he shows ultimately costs us. Case in point, playing Ramsey on the right at the expense of pacey players just so he could squeeze him into the team. Ramsey has openly stated that he does not like playing wide and wants to play centrally. Alas, we don’t play like Wales, and we have more creative and much faster players to compete with in all positions.

    Rambo had his golden season, but I don’t think it likely to happen again. The only time I see him as a legitimate option is against smaller teams and/or when Ozil is injured. With his dancing style, he should not be playing anywhere near defense.

  • T A apologies certainly out of left field, but straight from the heart lol.
    I think the Rambo debate will go on forever. After Shawcross attempted to amputate his leg, Wenger in my opinion persevered with him too long (PS Rambo is my favourite player) then a couple of seasons back, he ran into a really rich vein of form and was scoring for fun. I don’t think he has ever quite replicated that form, although he does run close on occasions. This will no doubt subject me to torrents of abuse, but when he is on form, I reckon he is the best player in the side…. Nuff said

  • Hi all.. Nice post and comment..
    Wenger is a different person this season.. He is unpredictable now.. maybe.. just maybe this is his last season with us.. and that’s mean Rambo won’t be easy to get his time.. just as Giroud..

    We have a lot of quality in midfielders.. Just pick three from six of them.. whoever Wenger pick can mean quality.. Coq, Cazorla, Ramsey, Elneny, Xhaka, and Ozil.. the team that make others club jealous.. hehehe..

    So we don’t have to worry if Ozil bench.. even the worst scenario that Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey all off.. Coq, Xhaka and Elneny still can give a good balance in our midfield.. hehehe..
    Is it to much.. no I think.. that’s the fact.. Iwobi can do the Ozil role also.. So can Ox cover the midfield.. Wow.. is that good..?? No.. it’s Amazing.. hehehe..

    So.. back to Ramsey.. Wenger can easily give him time to rest more.. and no need to worry like ever before.. hehehe..

    We also have a lot f choice for Strikers.. and Ospina did so well to give us more relax about who will be our GK..
    All we need to concern more is our two solid rock CB.. Will Holding and Gabriel do the same solidity if needed..

  • Okay TA, perhaps ‘dodge’ was the wrong word. However, because Ramsey is back in training, the tone of your post implies an imminent return to first team action? Yes, I do note you say ‘when he is fully fit’, but that in physical terms could be after this break. That confidence and mental sharpness will only come by playing. I want him to do that in the Under 23’s not the first team..

    24 hours on from the news yesterday has only left me with a bit more of a concern over contracts. I think AW will be as shocked as I was to see our normally so controlled, in-house discussions, so that they are only get made public when negotiations are completed, not splashed all over national television?
    Whatever their physical status when they return, I can see us having a whole new front line against Swansea? If you want a precedent, look back to RVP? He already knew where he was going, so the public statement he made, denouncing AW’s transfer policy, was just to ensure it. I think it naive to think that these players (A & O) haven’t had offers put to them or their agents? No doubt it is the same agents that have released their separate demands? Net result, Arsene fury.
    I fully expect when the players return there will be no more loose talk to the press, by them or their agents. I also think it is the end of the line for both, because Arsene hates betrayal.

    Sorry, but that is my considered view.
    Still very angry that, just when it looked like we had a team that could challenge on three fromts, will be all change by 2017.

  • Gerry, what a load of nonsense. You base your scaremongering on your internal thought processes, for which I really have no time. Maybe others want to co-indulge in your dark thoughts.

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