ROTATION IS THE KEY TO ARSENAL V C PALACE/ B’MOUTH IN ABOUT 48 HOURS APART.
Gunners, compliments of the season.
After the Crystal Palace match, Arsenal have only about 48 hrs of rest before they take on Bournemouth. Eddie Howe’s boys have an extra day’s rest. That extra day is massive when viewed on the recovery graph. The only way we can offset this advantage they have is by clever rotation and substitution of players that would guarantee fresh enough legs, yet without the quality of the starting two XI’s being compromised. We have the squad depth to easily achieve this.
Apart from fresh legs for maintaining good performance levels, crowded fixtures tend to increase the chances for muscular injuries occurring if legs are not kept fresh by rotation. Crowded fixtures push players quickly into the red zone. The top six teams on the table represent a tough-tough field, and what we have to strain to avoid are injuries arising from poor management of rotation of players. This could make all the difference at the end.
Let us look at the different positions and the options in players available to us.
GK: Cech/Ospina – not much to choose between the two, but Cech, not being an outfield player, can handle the two matches.
RB: Bellerin/Gabriel– Bellerin the obvious choice but Gabriel has performed well there.
LB: Nacho/Gibbs – very little to choose between the two.
CBR: Gabriel/Holding – not much between the two but hoping obvious choice Mustafi would be available for the Tuesday match. I hear he has started training.
CBL: Am afraid only Koscienly available here particularly as Mustafi remains doubtful or is just about to return.
DM: Coquelin/Elneny. Against Crystal Palace/ Bournemouth little to choose between them.
B2B: Xhaka/Ramsey. Again, against these oppositions either will do
WR: Walcott/Ox/Perez. No big gulf between these.
WL: Iwobi/Oxlade. Difference only in tactical choice.
#10: Ozil/ Sanchez. They enhance each other’s performance meaning it’s best to always play them together so Sanchez is deleted here and Ozil stands alone at this position.
CF: Sanchez/ Giroud. The tactical set up of the team determines the choice.
What the above suggest is that only Koscienly and Ozil, and of course Sanchez who must always partner with Ozil, are indispensable for the two matches and therefore substitutions must have to target them.
Crystal Palace is 11th on the possession table while Bournmouth is 8th and Arsenal 4th. With Crystal Palace playing at away, expect Arsenal to dominate possession, but at the same time don’t expect Palace to pack the West Brom kind of bus. Palace has shipped in 33 goals. Only Swansea has shipped in more. On the other hand Palace has scored 29 goals, the 6th highest in the league. They love to go down fighting. What effect would their new coach Big Sam have on their game? Maybe more hoofed balls. So I would say Koscienly and Gabriel to man our central defense.
Bournmouth would be playing at home and they like to play the Arsenal way, but they have shipped in 31 goals and scored only 23 which isn’t Arsenalike. Their big brother on the other hand have conceded only 19 goals and scored 39. That suggests that big brother needs only to stay in their comfort zone at Dean Court to give Bournemouth a hiding. Plan B wouldn’t be necessary and Sanchez starts as #9.