Xhaka-Rambo DMs, Ozil back in hole, Iwobi/Alexis/Perez in Attack: Line-Up and Preview

Bournemouth v Arsenal

Image result for vitality stadium images

Bournemouth away just 48 hours after beating Palace is not an easy fixture… but maybe this is not a bad thing. These festive fixtures are all about focus and the Cherries’ ‘cup game win’ over Pool a few weeks ago will still be crystal clear in Wenger and the boys’ minds; this should help us with taking the game serious from the start and play with the required tempo and intensity to take all three precious points back to Ashburton Grove. Pool went to lowly Sunderland on a high after beating Man City but then gave a lead away twice to drop two big points – something I have seen Arsenal do many a time over the years…

We have a fantastic squad and Wenger should not struggle much in avoiding tired legs and minds on the pitch. However, he will not want to tweak too much as to not disrupt the flow of our game/style of play.

A win will take us to one point off Pool and six off the Chavs, and the latter are playing the Spuddies at the swamp tomorrow so there is a decent opportunity to reduce the gap with the leaders and/or increase the gap with our North-London rivals. But we need to focus on our game and Eddie Howe’s outfit want to play football, which, especially for an English manager, is of course great. Even though they will be without Jack, they have the players in midfield to give us a game and they will create chances. Afobe has cancelled his participation for DR Congo in the ACN and of course he would love to score a few against his former club. The Cherries are as strong at home as Man City or Man United and they will be on a high after beating the Swans away convincingly three days ago, so let there be no doubt that we will have to battle hard to get that much needed win.

Arsène Wenger

Who is going to do this for us? There does not seem to be team news on Arsenal.com this morning, so I have to make some assumptions.

Predicted Line-up:

Le Coq could start ahead of Xhaka but I reckon the Swiss maestro was so good in controlling and orchestrating our game from deep that Wenger will be tempted to start him again. Rambo in the B2B for me, and this will be a big opportunity for the Welshman to establish himself in the team again (and with Elneny away at the ACN and Jack out on loan, and Santi still out injured, THIS is his opportunity). As Bournemouth are likely not to sit deep we need good attacking runners in the team, so I have gone for Iwobi, Ozil, Perez and Alexis. Perez needs, and imo deserves, another game and I reckon Ozil will have recovered from his ‘cold’… a typical Wengjury if you ask me. Gibbs is still an injury doubt apparently, so Nacho to play another game. I am not overly confident to get 11/11 today but let’s wait and see what the gaffer does.

Looking forward to this one. 🙂

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!

By TotalArsenal.

21 thoughts on “Xhaka-Rambo DMs, Ozil back in hole, Iwobi/Alexis/Perez in Attack: Line-Up and Preview

  • Nice preview TA.

    I’m expecting Eddie Howe’s team to attack Arsenal with greater regularity than Crystal Palace did and commit more players to attack.

    Accordingly, I think Arsenal’s central defensive midfielders and defenders will need to focus on positioning themselves closer to Cech and prioritising defending over attacking.

    Offensively I think the team would be wise to focus on using Xhaka’s long passes to as the primary means of transitioning from defence to attack. Also given Bournemouth’s attacking tendency there should be a decent amount of space within Bournemouth’s penalty box for Arsenal’s wide strikers (Walcott and Perez) to make off the ball diagonal to runs into, with Ozil and Alexis pulling the string in central attacking positions.

    With that in mind the starting 11 I’d like to see versus Bournemouth is:

    GK: Cech (Undisputed number 1)

    RB: Jenkinson (Has been more impressive defensively this season than Bellerin.)

    CB: Mustafi (Should be fit and ready to start versus Bournemouth. Half of Arsenal’s undisputed first choice central defensive pairing.)

    CB: Koscielny (While I think he should have been rested versus Palace and it’s certainly not ideal for him to be playing two games in 48 hours, I think Arsenal need their two best central defenders versus Bournemouth and Koscielny is one of them.)

    LB: Monreal (The only option in light of Gibbs’ injury.)

    CDM: Coquelin (Arsenal will need their best two genuinely defensive central midfielders versus an attacking Bournemouth side. Coquelin’s is Arsenal’s best option in that regard.)

    CDM: Xhaka (Like Koscielny, I would have preferred that Xhaka was rested versus Crystal Palace so he was fresh for the more challenging clash versus Bournemouth. That said, I think Arsenal will need his defensive solidity alongside Coquelin in central midfield for this one. Also I think his proficiency at executing accurate long passes will be crucial to allowing Arsenal to play on the counter attack.)

    RW: Perez (I thought Perez’s performance versus Crystal Palace was excellent. Very Freddie Ljungberg like. Along with Walcott, I consider Perez as Arsenal’s best wide forward option, thanks to his off the ball diagonal runs from wide to central positions and his goal scoring efficiency. With Perez being naturally left footed, I think Arsenal should persist with deploying him on the right wing (provided Alexis is deployed in the CF role) as it provides him with better shooting angles.)

    CAM: Ozil (If Arsenal play off the ball running wide forwards on the flanks and the elusive and creative Alexis in the CF role, Ozil should be an automatic starter in the number 10 role (injury or fatigue permitting).

    LW: Walcott (Along with Perez, Walcott is Arsenal’s best wide forward option, thanks to his off the ball diagonal runs from wide to central positions and his goal scoring efficiency. With Walcott being naturally right footed, I think Arsenal should try deploying him on the left wing as it would provide him with better shooting angles.)

    CF: Alexis (With there likely to be more space within Bournemouth’s penalty box for Arsenal’s wide strikers (Walcott and Perez) to make off the ball to runs into, I think Alexis is the ideal choice to pull the strings from the CF position.

  • Well written T A picking tonight’s team is going to be really difficult tonight, in fact anyone who gets this one right may well be Arsenal Wenger in disguise. I would think he would play the Ox ahead of Perez tonight, given Perez is only just back. The holding midfielders is anyone’s guess and whilst it would be good to see Xhaka again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rambo and Coquelin in harness. The Bournemouth keeper (Boruc?) has been generous to us before, lets hope he keeps up his record.

    Waldo you also have an interesting perspective, but if Wenger players Jenkinson ahead of Bellerin I will eat my shorts.

  • Giroud is scoring at a rate of one every 69.8 minutes in the Premier League, the best of any player in the division, and has eight goals in his last six Arsenal starts.
    Not only that, but when you look at the goals that he has scored, you see just how important they have been, from the volley to give us some breathing space at Sunderland after the hosts had pulled one back, to his last-gasp equaliser at Manchester United.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1617/pre/first-team/bournemouth-v-arsenal-the-inside-track#ICOQI8f4QTLcOrBR.99

  • There is a common theme of your selections TA, but at this moment in time I do not believe AW necessarily shares your support.

    I don’t think you can have Ramsey in as the B2B player AND expect defensive discipline? A point that AW has commented upon. And if he is tied to the defensive role, then the better option surely goes to the rested Coquelin?
    Giroud, when his confidence is high, W tends to want give him a run of games. If that is the case, then your flavour of the month is crossed off that RW slot because he cannot cross with his right foot, as he amply demonstrated on Sunday
    Ozil is a party goer, and could well have gone down with the flu in the dipping temperatures/ But I also think AW is trying to see if he can justify losing him for a ‘winter break’? I think he will be on the bench, but only used if necessary. Having Iwobi out on the left is a waste, imo, if he is tracking back for Monreal. Just because ‘Palace sat back and gave Nacho the freedom to go forward at will, I cannot see Bournemouth doing so?

    Welbeck will be an interesting possibility on the left, as it was quoted he ‘looked sharp’ in training. But whether that will materialise as an untried combo with Alexis, or replacement from the bench will be one to watch out for?

    Until it is announced otherwise, I will just hope Bellerin is fit, and we do not have to shuffle the back 4 unduly.

    Ergo, I think AW will go with this:
    Cech; Monreal; Koscielny; Gabriel; Xhaka; Coquelin; Alexis: Iwobi: Ox-Cham: Giroud

    With very few of these turning out for the Cup game! AW has his eye the the League title.

    AW could equally start with Welbeck, and bring on Alexis and Ozil for a second half blitz?

    It will be a good game to win, that’s for sure.


  • Sorry if that comes across as overtly critical TA, but in trying to be briefer, it is easier to bounce of one set of ideas, than a longer explanation with my free flowing creative writing.

    Plus Mercury is in retrograde ….

    and I am going for the Retsub1 prize of being AW in disguise 😀


  • Excellent preview TA. I believe Wenger’s major trust would be to rotate to the extent that would give the best performance.

    I suspect Ozil would be on the bench not fit enough to start, but Gibbs to start. Informed guesswork.

    My pediction remains;


    Subs: Ospina, Gab, Nacho, Xhaka, Jeff, Ozil, Giroud.

  • Am leaning towards Gerry’s/Lennons XI, fresh legs from Coq & Ox, but fitness allowing, I’m in the ‘leave well alone’ camp.

    This evening is going to be a very tough assignment for the good guys…

  • I’m hearing:

    Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Sanchez, Giroud

    Subs: Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Gabriel, Holding, Reine-Adelaide, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas

    Ramsey on the wing or in the hole?

    Afobe out…

  • Kev, he will not stay on the wing, and that means Bellerin will be exposed?

    Plus, Iwobi will be tracing back if Ramsey will end up in the middle … another waste/

    1-0 down already

    it is going to be a long game…

  • Disappointing first half, but all to play for. Need to press them into their own half and pass the ball quicker. Too many players not finding each other. I would put Alexis as CF or in number ten position and play Perez on the wing, sacrificing Iwobi. Ramsey needs to step up big time. Still all to play for so let’s do it.

  • Well that wasn’t pretty. So frustrating when we play like this. I still think with a break or two we can win this, but they need to get their heads right. Just a few observations.

    Rambo is trying but he seems to be all over the place.

    Alexis Ian looks to me like he is fed up with being put out wide

    Owobi looks like a boy in a mans game

    Bellerin is looking really rough

    Mustafi looks like a player just back from injury

    Shaka needs to concentrate more.

    This could be a big night for the Ox If he can just get that self belief going.

    Lastly I have seen a lot of people suggesting Cech isn’t good at penalties. Just before Wilson took the penalty , TV showed where he had previously placed them. The majority of them were pretty close to centre. I was shouting at the TV for Cech to stand still. But it’s easy with hindsight


  • Well we had a good second half, but a draw isn’t good enough. I cant understand why the Zhaka push was a certain penalty, but when their player pushed Bellerin over it’s great play? Can someone please enlighten me?

    Giroud got mom but I thought Alexis was the driving force.

  • It was a refereeing disgrace, Retsub. Total theft. I reckon Ollie was the MOTM for his contributions to all our goals, but Alexis was great too.

  • Haven’t see the match, so cannot comment about our overworked defense.

    Without Ollie starting we should have played better? No?

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