Just go for it Arsene: Xhaka deep, Ox box to box, Perez, Iwobi, Alexis and Ollie in Attack.

Arsenal – Bayern Preview

What can we say about this game? We should be excited to welcome one of Europe’s best teams, currently as well as historically, to the home of football. But we are not. The season held a lot of promise but it has almost all fizzled out, and a big reason for this is the second half humiliating drumming by the Germans a few weeks ago.

We have a more than decent defence and plenty of excellent attackers but Arsene cannot get the midfield right, and this seems a structural problem. Would a fit Cazorla have made all the difference? Should we have kept Jack Wilshere? Would Rambo have turned our season round if he had played without recurring injuries? Who knows. Fact is that we are weakest in our midfield and that is where we are losing the battles with the big teams, and sometimes the smaller teams too. It sucks like a drain.

What is Wenger going to do tonight? Try and avoid further humiliation by defending deep and play on the counter? Attack, attack, attack from the start and go for it? Or a balance between secure and adventurous? Je ne le sais pas. But I reckon Wenger has not much choice in the matter… his midfield options are very, very limited without Santi, Elneny and a surely not fit enough (read too rusty) Rambo. Other than a youngster in the centre of midfield, which is not a good idea, he can only play two out of Coq, Xhaka and Ox. The first two are too similar in terms of wanting to be the anchor of midfield, so it has to be one of the them. That is Xhaka for me. So Xhaka and Ox, our attacking (b)ox to (b)ox for the night, is the duo to go for imo.

The rest is a matter of individual confidence and hunger, and I reckon Wenger will pick the strongest team, even though he knows the game is up for us, and possibly him. The game will still be watched all over the world and pride (and avoiding further humiliation) is at stake.

Predicted Team for tonight:


Bellerin – Mustafi – Koz – Nacho

—– Xhaka—————-

————Ox to Ox——-



Theo or Welbeck could start instead of Perez or Giroud, or come on later to make a difference. Rambo could replace the Ox in second half to put new energy into the midfield.

Let’s go and attack them and just go for it. Entertain the fans and regain some pride, even if it means risking another drumming. Es gibt viel zu tun, packen wir es an.


By TotalArsenal.

40 thoughts on “Just go for it Arsene: Xhaka deep, Ox box to box, Perez, Iwobi, Alexis and Ollie in Attack.

  • Hey BKers

    Just realized this is Bergkampesque’s 1000th post since we started!! A good omen for the game?

    Many thanks to all co-writers over the years (almost five), especially Seventeenho.

    Have a fab day.


  • Congratulations Bergkampesque. Many, many more posts to the years.

    These are tough times, and it’s only now that we are going to know the toughs. Kroenke and the Board? Manager and his crew, the players, the fans? Looks like the fans are at the bottom of the heap.

    TA, that’s a good team you’ve selected here, but firstly Ozil is not available and secondly I would enphasize on the importance of escaping the Bayern press by opting for 3 in the midfield. More numbers give more passing options. The midfield as you pointed out is the key.

    My preference hoping am thinking like Wenger (is it the other way round?) is :


    Bench: Cech, Gab, Nacho, Niles, Iwobi, Perez, Giroud.

    Wenger said we would play with “lucid rage”. I hope that gives us a decent result. My target is a result that would not increase the toxicity in the air. There are still plenty to play for.

  • Cheers x2, PE. Should have read the Arsenal.com team news first!! Changed now to the obvious replacement of Ozil…. your fellow countryman. 🙂

    Not sure whether Wenger would risk playing Welbeck again after Saturday’s game, but a nice line up and argumentation too.

  • Congrats on 1000 posts. And many more to come.

    Hope this milestone will encourage the team to play like it is the end of the world?

  • Congrats on the 1000 T A.

    I think PE ‘ team has a very small chance of achieving the impossible. I would put Perez ahead of Walcott. I think this would be a game to far for Iwobi and Nacho.

  • Congratulations TA! You do a great job with the site, which is excellent!

    In terms of some general comments on Arsenal’s performance, particularly over the last couple of months:

    – Arsenal’s central midfield and defensive line should sit deeper to show greater respect to the defensive side of the game.
    – Arsenal need to play an extra man in central midfield to account for the fact that Arsenal’s squad lacks central midfield options with sufficient defensive resolve and transitional skills to accomodate a central defensive midfield duo.
    – Irrespective of the chosen centre forward Arsenal need to play with more separation between their back 7 and front 3 to give their forward line the space it needs to create clearer goal scoring opportunities.
    – Whichever centre forward option Arsenal select, Arsenal need to pick complimentary wingers and fullbacks whose strengths accentuates the strengths of the chosen centre forward.
    – If and when Arsenal are able to monopolise possession in the opposition’s half they need to offer more of a long range shooting threat, ideally from two of our central midfield trio, to provide an alternative attacking option.

    With all of that said, and with Ozil missing with injury, the starting line up I would like to see versus Bayern is:

    GK: Cech (Ospina is not good enough aerially)
    RB: Debuchy (Bellerin and Jenkinson are not good enough defensively)
    CB: Mustafi (Arsenal’s best central defender)
    CB: Koscielny (Arsenal’s 2nd best central defender)
    LB: Monreal (Marginally superior to Gibbs defensively but marginally deficient offensively. Wouldn’t need attack too much in the set up)
    LCDM: Xhaka (Arsenal’s 2nd best genuinely defensive CDM and best long range passer)
    CDM: Coquelin (Arsenal’s best genuinely defensive CDMs who desperately needs another another passing option in central midfielder)
    RCDM: Ox (A great dribbler, long range passer and long range striker of the ball. Has significantly improved defensively)
    RW: Perez (Great off the ball movement in behind the opposition’s defensive line and a prolific scorer)
    CF: Alexis (Arsenal’s best dribbler and creator. Perfectly suited to a false 9)
    LW: Walcott (Great off the ball movement in behind the opposition’s defensive line and a clinical scorer)

    In that setup I’m envisaging:

    – Perez and Walcott holding their wide positions then making diagonal off the ball runs into the opposition’s penalty box when: Alexis takes possession of the ball centrally and outside the 18 yard box; Xhaka or Ox is on the ball deep in their own half; or Ox is dribbling the ball upfield.
    – The back seven keep it nice and simple by focusing on maintaining their defensive structure and shape, staying compact, tackling and intercepting and Ox and Xhaka being the transitional outlets and long range shooters.

    Alternatively, if Wenger is wanting to give Giroud a run, the starting line up I’d like to see is:

    GK: Cech (Same comment as above)
    RB: Debuchy (Same comment as above)
    CB: Mustafi (Same comment as above)
    CB: Koscielny (Same comment as above)
    LB: Gibbs (Marginally superior to Monreal offensively but marginally deficient deficient. May need attack more in this set up)
    LCDM: Xhaka (Same comment as above)
    CDM: Coquelin (Same comment as above)
    RCDM: Elneny (A quick one touch passer of the ball, solid defensive positioning and a good longer range shooter. Not the greatest in transition but his positional discipline makes him more reliable than Ramsey)
    RW: Ox (Excellent dribbler and crosser of the ball on the RW)
    CF: Giroud (Very strong both physically and aeirally and has scores roughly a goal every four games throughout his entire career. That’s more proflic than any of Arsenal’s other strikers. That said he needs regular crosses from the flanks to be effective)
    LW: Perez (Same comment as above plus he has proven himself to be an excellent low crosser of from the LW)

    In that setup I’m envisaging:

    – Ox and Perez staying wide and forward along side Giroud in the CF role and trying to deliver accurate early crosses for Giroud to attack.
    –Again the back seven keep it nice and simple by focusing on maintaining their defensive structure and shape, staying compact, tackling and intercepting and Elneny and Xhaka being the transitional outlets and long range shooters.
    – If and when Arsenal are able to monopolise possession in the opposition’s half I’d like the see purposeful build up play with the aim of creating opportunities for Gibbs and Perez on the left and Ox and Debuchy on the right to deliver accurate crosses for Giroud to attack.

  • How about Mustafi in the midfield, with any of three Gab, Per and Holding next to Kos? Perhaps that Albanian midfield of Mustafi and Xhaka would be the ace from the sleeve nobody expects.

    Mustafi is a ball-player, has a decent passing range and, if it is required, can hoof the ball forward to our forwards.

    Rambo would be our third midfielder.

    Alexis as a false nine flanked with Lucas (left) and Theo (right).

    Ospina – Bellerin, Holding, Koscielny, Gibbs – Mustafi, Xhaka – Walcott, Ramsey, Lucas – Alexis.

  • Admire, I love thinking outside the box. There is no doubt we have a CMF problem. Our only DM le Coq is miserable with the ball and Xhaka though excellent with the ball is such a poor tackler. Musti looks a better bet than either. I like Holden’s calmness. Calmness usually goes with intelligence. He might even be the best bet there.

    Wenger needs to use the Bayern and the Lincoln games to seek out a solution to his CMF crises.

  • I find it really frustrating that Perez can’t get a game. When does play he’s done pretty well and let’s be honest, it’s unlikely we are going to win 4 – nil tonight.

    Maybe he’s saving him for Lincoln. lol

  • Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Xhaka, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Sanchez.
    Subs: Cech, Gibbs, Gabriel, Coquelin, Ozil, Lucas, Giroud.

    Bayern Munich: Neuer, Rafinha, Martinez, Hummels, Alaba, Alonso, Vidal, Thiago, Robben, Lewandowski, Ribery.
    Subs: Ulreich, Costa, Bernat, Muller, Coman, Kimmich, Sanches.

    Referee: Tasos Sidiropoulos (Greece).

    Very attack minded with a likely middle three of Xhaka-Ox-Rambo… (or Ramsey as the #10.) Ozil in on the subs bench…No Iwobi…

    TA, Congrats on the 1000 posts… Thanks for the opportunity to contribute…

  • Comfirmed line up.

    Bel–Musti–Kos- Nacho

    Bench: Cech, Gab, Gibbs, Coq, Ozil, Perez, Giroud.

    10/11 for me.

  • Rio Ferdinand … a legend in his own lunchtime. Was just asked if Arsenal can cope with losing their star player? His response was we’ve seen this before, star players leaving. He quoted, Cesc (agreed) Van Persia (agreed). Errrrr Clichy????

  • Waldo & Admir, those are very revolutionary selections which I would have liked but Wenger never makes such changes unless forced. It would be nice to see Mustafi in midfield snapping at the heels of the Bayern midfield men. Debuchy on for Bellerin is something I have wished for but until Wenger plays him in say the FA cup, I’d say the Frenchman is finished at the club.

    It is a near mission impossible situation for us so all I ask for is some effort and courage.

  • Oh, and congrats, TA for that milestone.

    Ah! I see the team list is out and only surprise for me, is Ramsey starting (maybe to leave for Ozil later in the game, if things are going according to plan). He will be rusty and this isn’t a game he should be risked for, but I get it that we are short in that department and Rambo has heart.

    The Robben-Ribery threat is my big concern. We just don’t have the full backs for the job. Going to be tense.

  • Iwobi is said to be ill. I feel Perez does better than Theo in a game as this. Why Wenger persists with theo is a mystery for me, other than the fact he scores in big games. Football is a game with 11 on each competing side. Anything can happen; one bad injury; a red card to a key player; an off day for a few players….who knows? The problem is we lack confidence these days. No better opponent to rediscover our zest against, if you ask me.

  • I think I read that no team in the Chamoions league has ever overturned a four goal deficit. Bayern, possibly the best club side in the world. It just ain’t gonna happen. It we could get 3 or 4 of them sent off maybe? Or maybe some dodgy lasagne?
    Let’s just do our best to be proud.

  • Oh shucks! Welbeck was supposed to be my trump card for a respectable result tonight. That’s so disappointing.

  • I can say confidently that if it was Welbeck on, we’ll have two goals by now because we would have the benefit of speed and guile, to go with his strength. Lucas may just have a say in this game. I like the fact we are able to keep them out all half. The next goal will be extremely important.

  • Well played lads, can’t complain abou that. The ref looks a bit weak to me. A more cynical side might try to exploit that.

  • We weren’t, going to win anyway, but that 4th official should be shot for a comical decision. I think the worst thing about it, is it totally killed off what was an entertaining match. You have to feel sorry for those supporters in the Emirates who had paid good money to have it all ruined by some clueless idiot.

    All that said we shouldn’t be embarrassed like this at our home ground.

  • The only thing that would have been surprising is if we kept them out. I thought Ox worked for 90 minutes, never letting his head drop and just kept running. As soon as Koscielny was shown the red, it was Groundhog Day all over again.

  • It either says a lot for Kos or very little for the rest of the side, that 9 of the goals were scored when he wasn’t around.

  • Down to 10 men and at 6-2 aggregate Wenger ought to have signaled a damage control exercise by immediately bringing in Gabriel and Coquelin an taking off say Giroud and Sanchez. The match might have ended 2-1 against us which is a respectable score line. We kept streaming forward. So shocking because some of these things a really basic.

  • The ref did us big time tonight. Such a cnut. IFAB has waived triple punishment but he didn’t get the memo. Without Kos Bayern had doors to our goal wide open.

    As for Wenger… If it’s his tactics to lose so many games that Kroenke will decide to sell the club, then it makes sense.

  • Its a sad day. The red card was just unimaginable. The team played really well but there is no plan B for situations like the red card. If Arsene is to stay he needs at least a goalscorer like Griezman, a midfielder like Rabiot and a defender who can organise the team if Lolo is not in. Mustafi lacks organisational skills maybe Holding can be the one. I wonder what Stan thinks about the current situation. Definitely he needs to buy more quality players and pay good salaries otherwise we just blame Arsene when the owners dont want to invest in the team

  • The Ox was our best player by far. His career was nearly destroyed playing wide. I hope Wenger is now convinced.

  • That was quite excruciating….
    I’ve not seen the game or highlights of the game, listening to it on the radio was painful enough.
    Despite going down to ten men, there is no excuse for throwing in the towel.
    I’ve seen Arsenal teams in recent years, going down to 10 men and still going onto win the game.
    But this mob just lack the moral fibre to give it ‘over my dead body’ and find it easier to give in.

    Arsene Wenger doesn’t deserve his tenure to come to such an embarrassing conclusion, but I fear that the end is going to be messy.
    It leaves me with a feeling of sadness for the manager…

    I was looking forward to the Lincoln game this Saturday, now I’m dreading the atmosphere.
    Arsene would be better off playing a cup team, as in a mixture of youngsters and fringe players.
    The likes of BFG, Holding, Gabriel, Gibbs, Niles, Adelaide, Lucas, Welbeck (if fit), et al….

    I remember being at Highbury, back in the day, when Spartak rolled us over 5-2 in the UEFA Cup.
    I never thought that it would get any worse than that…

    Mind you, thinking about it now, getting knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Winterslag was bad as well… That was a poor poor Arsenal team, in those days

  • I read reports saying that the ref was under investigation in his home country. And he officiated in this important game. Is the FA and the UEFA trying to show us that they are gangsters and that someone internally bought Bayern to win big and they used this official purposely?

    However, we are not blameless ourselves. Without Kos we are just headless chickens on the field. Sanchez can do better, and maybe by playing Perez more from now will allow the team to attack more and get forward more. Rambo is traditionally good at central midfield, but without someone to provide the ball from the back to him we are not seeing him strutting his stuff.

    Between Perez and Theo, I would prefer Perez to play as he is like a younger Ozil, on the wings. I know Theo is a good player, but Perez likes tight spaces. Theo doesn’t.

    I have yet to watch the highlights, as is Allezkev, and like Allezkev I will not watch it as it is painful to see us conceding.

  • We were very impressive in the first half and well deserving of the lead. The penalty wasn’t a professional foul so even if it was a penalty it wasn’t a red card. All the same, why would we go hung ho with 10 men and at 2-6 aggregate against a classy team. It was most unprofessional. How can Xhaka be a CDer. Bournemouth held of Man U for 45 minutes by just sitting back and making defensive substitutions. Many questions hang over Wener.

    The positive is the midfield trio of Xhaka, Ox and Rambo. They dominated the midfield befor the sending off. Sanchez was the villain, turn overs, wrong passing, no support at all for Monreal, turnover at the edge of our box that led to a goal, and worst of all couldn’t hold back his amusement at the slaughter of his team. This should not be condoned, irrespective of whether Wenger is past it or not. Why did Barcelona reject him. Must be the same poor attitude. Yes, he is a fighter on the field, but what drives him is his ego. Sorry Bkers, am so disgusted by him and I would never succumb to his blackmail. The four teams currently above us are getting along without Sanchez. We will get along without him too.

  • Really interesting to see Arsenal’s average player positioning for the Bayern match. Arsenal effectively played 3-1-6. With Monreal, Koscielny and Mustafi the defenders, Xhaka the lone midfielder and Bellerin, Walcott, Ox, Giroud, Ramsey and Alexis all occupying attacking positions.

  • Pony Eye says:
    March 7, 2017 at 22:43
    The Ox was our best player by far. His career was nearly destroyed playing wide. I hope Wenger is now convinced.

    PE, Wenger has always tipped him for a midfield role in the future.

  • Thanks Goonereris for drawing my attention to that. I should have put it this way ” Wenger should now note the the Ox has come of age for the MF role”.

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