The Joy of Watching Willock, Nelson and Lacazette | Line-up v Bayern

I’m writing/typing these few words prior to the Chinese leg of our Far East and Australian tour, so I can still proclaim that it’s steady as she goes.

Mentioning Australia what a wonderful experience for all connected to club, how good was that reception from the good people of the antipodes, the enthusiasm for sport in that part of the world, surely has no equal.

Of course the openness, inclusiveness and thoroughness showed by the people at Arsenal made a lot of friends in Oz, nobody can smell out BS better than an Aussie, so those at the club responsible for the organisation of the tour so far should be applauded for a job well done.
The team and coaching staff all bought into the experience, taking time with the fans, coaching the kids and buying into the Aussie culture, it was a great adventure and left behind many fond memories. I’m sure that it won’t be too long before Arsenal return to the Lucky Country.

As for the two games, both played in a good spirit, it was of course about fitness, but it also afforded Arsene the opportunity to experiment both in positional terms and tactically, which might well be worth revisiting later on during the strength-sapping domestic season that’ll soon be upon us.
It was encouraging to see so many youngsters enjoying 1st team exposure, all of them had some good moments and all of them would have gained something in terms of their football education.
It’s comforting to know that we have so much talent and promise just bubbling along under the surface, out of the spotlight, it isn’t all about big headline grabbing transfers as Retsub will tell you. Our club has a proud tradition of developing talent from within and I get as much pleasure from watching a Joe Willock or Reiss Nelson as I do an Alex Lacazette.

With Arsene more or confirming what most of us thought re: UEFA Cup and a League Cup style squad, it’s going to be fascinating seeing how our youngsters develop this season. The jump from U23 to EPL is a chasm in these post-Football Combination times, so the UEFA Cup is a fantastic opportunity for our club to encourage the next generation.

By Allezkev

Predicted Line-Up v Die Lederhosen:

By TotalArsenal.

87 thoughts on “The Joy of Watching Willock, Nelson and Lacazette | Line-up v Bayern

  • Nice on kevski. It certainly is a joy watching our boys and men playing the beautiful game again. I though we were fresh and focussed and what a squad we have. Bring on the Lederhosen!

  • Good preview Kev.

    We needed the youngsters to step up and continue the club tradition of promoting the youngsters to the first team.

    Hope to get a ringside seat on Arsenal Player.


  • Nice one Kev… In fact, I had just poured myself a cocktail (it’s 7pm in my part of the world…) and was planning to edit and put out the post, but TA beat me to it…

    Over here, there was zero TV coverage of the matches in Oz, but the Bayern match kicks off tomorrow at 4:20 am so I’ll record it and try to get back into the swing of things… As much as I enjoyed my little break, I guess it’s time to ramp up to the new season and try to make an assessment of where we’re at…

    Unfortunately, I don’t find myself optimistic as the summer rolls along. The Alexis transfer situation and how it’s being used to (further) divide the fan base is supremely depressing (for me). I say sell him and use the funds to buy a replacement (Lemar?). Despite all the talent, IMO, Alexis is not a team player and we’ll do better without him. To me, it’s completely absurd that he’s seeking money akin to one of the top handful of players in the world… We’ll see how it all plays out, but carrying him w/o a new contract being signed seems like a disaster…Again, in my opinion…

    But that’s just from reading the news (including the blogs)… Watching some Arsenal football might be just the antidote…as it seems it has been for many–like Akev–who watched the Aussie tour matches. Cheers for sharing the enthusiasm…

  • That’s a beautiful vision, Kev.
    Unfortunately the competition for the top and the demand for success from the fandom is so unforgiving that the pressure has driven the top teams to instead seek the proven articles from anywhere. It’s now like the whole wide world has become the Academy for the super clubs. They simply employ their money to buy the PROVEN best from wherever. Even for Barcelona, those coming up from the ranks have dwindled dramatically over the last few years. This pressure has forced the super clubs to all go semi-Galatico. Manu let Pogba go. When he proved himself they gave him a 1st team role, albeit at a huge cost.

    From the perspective of your post the Europa becomes a beauty because it affords our youngsters the opportunity to grow and show what they’ve got. For youngsters aptitude is easy to perceive, but their attitude as they transition from boys into men is so difficult to predict. And we know that right attitude is all important for reaching the heights. I’d keep hoping and dreaming even though many a dream of mine have been dashed before (I thought we had a world beater in Zelalem).

  • Hi all.. Hi Kev.. TA.. Nice post

    Kev.. Nice team..
    I like to see Monreal and Kolacinac play together.. Hehehe..
    But I’m not so sure about the right side.. Bellerin as our CB and play along with Ox..?? Hehehe.. Better to have another guy..

    I think its time to test the team.. The real game.. Against Munchen..
    1. If we must lost Sanchez.. Who can cover him or whom we need to bring more..
    2. Our new 3 CB system.. Can it really work against Munchen or other big team..
    3. Are our youngsters ready enough to cover the first team if any of them injured

    We will see soon.. VCC

  • Good preview, Kev. The tour pics seen, so far, suggest the lads are having a good time of it and this can do team bonding no harm. If I was one of the players on extended rest, I will feel left out, seeing my mates visit exotic places and eating exotic dishes. Then, with the training having a different level of intensity to it, one can only hope this bodes well for our season.

    To the predicted team, I am not sure you meant to stick Bellerin on the right side of the back 3, knowing he isn’t even in the travelling party. So, maybe Mertesacker will be central while Montreal and Kos flank him. I like Kolasinac as the right wing back, let’s see how he fares against a team he would know well. Or maybe, he doesn’t start and comes on in the second half….

    Expect the usual raft of changes in the 65th minute of the second half…the youngsters will like to have a piece of Bayern too, methinks.

  • When I look at that line up.. is it Kev or T’s? .. i think… where will the goals come from .. its just frustrating sometimes watching welbeck work his ass off, and almost never get a goal, same for iwobi, big talented kid, should use his size more, but even with his talent, doesnt threaten to score really. Ozil on the other side? He’ll drift in, and hopefully ox will try to advance into the box. He also doesnt score, but he will break out in a big way someday. Hopefully for arsenal.

    We need alexis to stay, or another boost from transfers…. Maybe both.
    Also, if Ramsey goes down at any point this season, with Santi out, who of Arsenal quality stands in?

  • Morning chaps, thanks for the feedback, the team is from TA…
    Like the team Total although I’d probably start BFG with Koz…

    84, I’m always optimistic about our young players, particularly the ones who’ve come up through Hale End and have the club in their system.

    HenryC agree on your points, maybe introduce some youngsters, a couple perhaps, later in the game and see how they cope, now is the time to experiment imo.

  • 17tino, much of the chitter-chatter re: Alexis has most probably been inspired by his agent, I did read somewhere that Mino Raiola had muscled in ‘on the action’, that could be fake news but these self-styled ‘super agents’ do make themselves busy….

    I’ve been quite encouraged by Wengers most recent comments on the subject and although Arsene does ‘play the game’ at transfer time, I tend to believe that he actually means what he says this time.

    Appreciate your concerns about the dynamics in the dressing room, but we have in Kolasavic and Lacazette two strong characters so if Alexis ‘kicks off’ I’m sure there’s enough in the locker room to put him back in his box.

    On the field I have no concerns, Alexis loves playing too much, so if he stays I don’t see any issues in that area mate.

  • PE, that was a very thoughtful comment which I found I could not disagree with in any part.

    I actually think, given the present climate in football at the top level, that Arsenal do very well in terms of developing youngsters. Look at Everton, last season they had a whole clutch of young players breaking through or on the cusp of it, but now their squad has to absorb 9 new signings who Koeman must use to justify his judgement, so will those in the Everton academy find a glass ceiling at Goodison all of a sudden?

    Selling young players with a buy-back clause could be one way to go?
    Then if they develop you have the option to buy them back, even if it’s only to sell them on at a profit.

    Zelalem could be another Gnabry PE, a succession of injuries and loans leading to him leaving when his contract expires.
    I did hear somewhere that his father is quite a difficult man to deal with, just saying…

  • Eris, not my team mate, but the penny didn’t drop on Bellerin till I read your comment, so what do I know eh?

    Not sure why but I feel more encouraged about our prospects this season, doing some early business could be one reason, but also the backroom changes, it just feels as if things are being freshened up.

    I think the arrival of Lacazette has had an invigorating effect on the squad.
    When you have a guy who, more often than not, finishes off all the approach work, then that’s always going to give the squad a boost.

  • JNYC, yep, see your point.

    Big season for Iwobi as he’s finished his apprenticeship and now has to move up a level by adding some end result to all those step overs, so a few more goals from Alex jnr to assist Alex snr…

    Danny needs a run of games I feel, being in and out of the team doesn’t help his rhythm, but I still see him as a big player for us, especially if Giroud does leave…

  • Arsenal XI: Cech, Bielik, Elneny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Welbeck, Lacazette…

    BFG pulled out through illness…

  • Arsenal substitutes: Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Martinez, Malen, Nketiah, Walcott, Bramall, Nelson…

  • Looks like a game of 11 vs 10 or 9 so far. Class vs confusion. Coquelin and Xhaka together, i hope never to see as starting duo in a real game. Protecting a lead, one as a late sub, maybe. Even then they are a yellow/red threat together.

  • Great opportunities for a Ozil and Lacazette which really should have been taken.

    Soft penalty for Bayern, but they had a good goal ruled out for off-side so what goes around I guess. We look what we are atm a mix n match XI vs a very streetwise Bayern, who should be a couple more in front.

  • Agree with you Jnyc.. pity we don’t have Ramsey in our bench..
    And I think Welbeck must change also..

    Kolasinac had a bad day today.. Don’t know why..?? Any news..

  • It’s 1-0 Bayern. Couldn’t wake up early enough but seen the last 34 minutes. For my money, Coquelin has played very well so far, nibbling at the Bayern midfielders, retrieving possession more than any other and has put in great tackles, in my view. We’ve played well in a fairly even game with chances at both ends. It must be said that Cech has made two fine saves (last ditch, in one case) to prevent them going 2 up.

    Kolasinac seemed to have picked up an injury and had to go off after his niggle prevented him covering his side of the defence to allow Bayern in on goal. Good decision to take him off as there is no need to see if he could have run it off.

    While Welbeck has worked hard, his touch has been off on a few occasions. Lacazette was put through on goal, placed the ball well but for some elastic goal minding by their keeper, it may have been 1-1. Ozil, as usual, prefers the easy side of the game and sneakily avoids going in on a chance for the tackle or staying with a ‘free’ man to make things easy for Bayern where he is the opposition player. We have been passing side to side, as Bayern play with 9 men at the back when we come forward; you feel we need to shoot more, just as Bayern has been doing. Wenger has to tell the players to play freely. They look tense to me and just have to take the game to Bayern while keeping a defensive shape, should there be a counter-attack.

    The Ox, Giroud, Iwobi, Theo and Willock should get game time; Nelson already on for Kolasinac.

  • ….wonder why Bramall wasn’t brought on for Kolasinac, instead of Nelson.

  • I feel Wenger is trying out different combinations in defence to see how we cope with Koscielny’s impending absence at the start of the EPL, owing to his red card suspension. From the evidence, it doesn’t look too good for the right shape. Elneny isn’t the dominant figure you will need at the heart of things. BFG has to keep his fitness; wonder what he may have eaten to result in illness while on this tour.

    Bayern are just a touch fitter and hungrier than we are and I am not sure why since both teams started pre-season training about the same period. However, it is all about the minutes and getting back into the groove of things. With all the changes now made on both sides, we may have a chance to even things up but, worryingly, we are yet to test their keeper, by the 70th minute.

  • Eris, it is the way that they play and the way that we were prepared for the game.
    Ended 1-1 courteousy of a Iwobi header and an excellent assist, but it is true that we should have done better in terms of attack.

    We played the defensive game, and they piled on the pressure from the start. It wasn’t pretty to see that, but our 3-at-the-back made wonders with a makeshift defense, and the superb Cech made all the difference.

    Good pre-season run-out for us, and we need to train more on not losing the ball so frequently.


  • Yeah, JK. I recall Wenger saying something about the focus going to be on our defending. Some of our players did look tired at times; avoiding the tracking job. We need to train more on that aspect too.

    Overall, a good workout for both sides and nice to get the win, even if on penalties.

  • Our good results with the 3-man defense, I fear, might have distracted us from wanting to fortify our defense with new quality signings. Kos is already down with a back ache not to mention his chronic achilles problem that can flare up anytime. Then there is Per battling with age, Chambers and Holden still learning the ropes, Gab not quite up there(imo). Then there are the convertibles Nacho and Kola. Musti is about the only one we can fully count on. It all sounds a bit rickety.

    To make matters worse, our CM 1st choice pairing (Xhaka and Ramsey) are so much poorer defending than attacking. Wenger is almost defense blind. I hope the benefit of our past defensive woes would force him to go against his grain by strengthenning our defence a lot more. It looks like Sanchez would be made to stay and we have already reinforced the attack, which even last season scored enough goals. Our undoing was that we were conceding too many. The 3-man instead of 4-man defence could not have been sufficient to altere our fortunes so dramatically as happened in the run in. 7amkickoff stats concluded that it was Cech’s heroics that was the real difference. We need to recruit personnel to improve us defensively. The strength of a chain is the strength of the weakest link.

  • The media mentioned that there was a few players that had food poisoning prior to the match. We won on penalties despite that.

    That’s why I laud the lads for doing a good job in the Summer heat, and another game at the weekend against the Chavs is important for us. Would have liked them to come to Singapore for the final leg of the ICC, but the Emirates cup and preparing for the season ahead is more important.

  • I think Iwobi read my comment just before the game started. Played well, used his size and headed the ball.
    I’m really not comfortable with our midfielder combos. I loved the Xhaka signing, but i think Wenger had him going too far forward, where he doesn’t have the pace to get back…. hence, some of his cards last season.
    With no Santi, Ramseys hamstrings are the only thing between us and mediocrity. ElNeny is a nice little player for secondary competitions, not premierLeague challengers level.
    Coquelin is a Great second choice for dm, but hate to see him together on pitch with Xhaka. I guess ox is in the mix if Ramsey needs rest, but does he have the nous to control a match for a team like arsenal? Maybe if he leans on Ozil.

  • Njk84, you live in singapore? If so, is it a fun for a visit? it looks beautiful, but some people says its sterile or boring. I’m fascinated, and i love the night gran prix .

  • Hi Jnyc,

    Yes. I am born and bred here. It is a fun place for a visit, but like any other place if you were used to it after a while it gets boring.

    We have a few places of interest for sightseeing and there are places to chill out too. As we do not have much land space here, the weekends are either spent at shopping malls or across the border to Malaysia. I am an outdoor guy though and I love to explore natural places in Singapore.

    If you are planning a visit here do let me know.. my email address is


  • Football + tourism = ?

    I’m just envious of you guys.

    Love the comments and really pray we’d have less and less of Wengerouts, concentrate and get something out of Europe and the local competitions, then move forward and upwards from there.

  • Jnyc.. If you want a travelling sensation.. then come to Indonesia.. We Have Bali the Paradise island.. Yogyakarta city of thousand Candi.. Belitong Island, Raja Ampat Papua, Wakatobi, Bunaken and so on.. We have thousand island bigger than Singapore.. peace JK.. hehehe..

    Even JK go to Batam and Bintan several times.. Are you JK..?? Hahaha..

  • Jnyc.. Xhaka go forward because Coq is playing deep.. If we saw our last games when he play with Ramsey as our DM.. he was very good at the back..

    So, maybe Wenger just want to testing all his team ability and possibility for rotation the squad..

    I hope next game.. We will see the real first team first.. VCC

  • JK.. Bintan is more beautiful than Batam for sure.. but BALI is very recommended.. almost complete for vacation.. You can find almost every kind of pleasure there.. hehehe..
    Except maybe only for Casino.. hahaha..

  • Great result in terms of resilience and hanging in there, almost Germanic in the way we equalised at the last moment then won on penalties, the irony…
    Shame it wasn’t in the CL, but any win over them buggers will do for me…

    Bielik – that boy is quality – now I wouldn’t loan him out, not if we’re gonna move Chambers on – hopefully with a buy-back clause inserted.
    Seems as if a buy-back clause is the plan with Wilshere if he leaves?

    I thought our youngsters actually turned the game in our favour, their energy and enthusiasm took it away from Bayern in the 2nd 45, I was very impressed with their efforts, I think we’ve got some interesting rough diamonds among them.
    Nelson again showed no respect for reputations, he just got stuck in, showed his quality and actually looked as if he’d been part of the squad for ages.
    I liked Willock again, playing an unfamiliar role against top top opposition, I thought he acquitted himself admirably whilst Maitland-Niles after a rocky start came back well…

    Singapore and Indonesia sound really nice places to visit.
    Shame I don’t like flying… ☹️

  • Allez.. You seem so similar with our Superhero.. Bergkamp.. hehehe..
    The unflying Dutchman..

  • HenryC I knew where Dennis was coming from on that score mate, believe me… 🙂

  • I prefer Lombok, Ko Henry.

    AMN was not as steady as Bielik and Nelson did. The youngsters were so full of energy that they did not care if is 37 degrees or 40 degrees. And they were so good.

    Coq was quite passive in the first half, and it could be that we were defending for most of the game.

    Bring on the Chavs.

  • Thank you so much JK. I wouldnt go without talking to you first. And thanks for the advice henry also.

  • JK.. Yes Lombok island is a great place also.. But not as complete as Bali.. They only can give you a nice water and white sands.. almost the same thing you got in Bintan island.. hehehe..

    Talking about Chelsea.. They got Morata from Madrid for 80M.. And so Chelsea won’t go for Sanchez anymore.. Moreover Wenger already said if he must to sell him, it will be out of PL..

    Now Sanchez have been link with PSG.. for me PSG is the most reasonable place to go if we should sell him.. They have money and needed a striker badly after only finish second this season.. They missed Ibra so much.. Cavani alone isn’t enough.. So 80 M seem a realistic price.. hehehe..

    If we must barter one player from PSG.. Whom you prefer..?? I will go for Draxler.. hehhehe

  • Henry it’s interesting that you point out that xhaka was playing more advanced when Coquelin was holding deep. Because of my worries about midfield options, i would feel better with him as a choice centrally. I’m not sure that he’s quick enough, but I’ve seen that he still has a great eye for incisive passes from further forward. Santi is near impossible to replace. We were spoiled by the way he mastered that position the past couple years.

    I wonder, what do you guys think is the money value of a player who does all that Santi does, would be worth on the open market? When i think of all he was doing for us, I come up with a really big number.

  • Henry, I’m hoping that we keep Alexis. He’s Even a better player now than when he arrived. But i would be tempted by 75 mil from psg. Considering that a lump like lukaku, and an adequate player like morata go for that, Alexis is easily worth more.

    If i accepted 75 now from psg, it would be only to prevent united, chelsea, or city from picking him up on a free in a year.

  • Jnyc.. some players are irreplaceable.. Santi is one of them..
    But hope Ramsey could fill that lost..
    And I like Ross Barkley also..
    I think he might be great addition.. hehehe..

  • Fine comments BKers and good to see Johnnie and Seventeenho commenting again. I thought the starting eleven was very strange. It is of course only a friendly but you would have expected a stronger starting eleven. Having said that, the boys did us proud and great to see IwobI score such a fine header from a fine cross by Rambo. Also liked Martinez’ fine penalty saves.

    Wenger is clearly trying players in different positions and that is what friendlies are all about. Bring on the Chavskies on Saturday.

    Keep truckin’ non-flying cabski!

  • A long day, just drinking a nice cup of green tea before I turn in, not as sexy as a cocktail I know, but hey, this is Essex not California… 😉

    84, I agree that AMN wasn’t as impressive as Nelson and Bielik, you are correct on that, but what I liked is how he recovered from giving away/ being conned for their penalty and the torrid time Ribery gave him, he didn’t mentally collapse he stuck at it and did ok in the end.
    Well I thought so…

    Total, I have flown before, but I hate it, Lyon being the longest I’ve gone.
    I would all the same welcome another flight to Lyon next May mate…

    HenryC funny you should mention Barkley as we are now being linked with him.
    Probably via his agent…

  • Yes Allezkev..
    Everytime we face Everton.. Barkley is the only man who really can give us a shock.. not Lukaku.. Delufou maybe a bit.. hehehe..

    Last season we also link with him.. but nothing happened.. I like him.. but I don’t like to see Ramsey warn the bench also.. hehehe..
    Cause they play the same rule.. and the same shirt number also..

  • Funny that Kev and Ko Henry should talk about Ross Barkley.

    The time he gave our defense a heart attack was a few seasons ago.. last season he did not do much against us.

    I will not be able to comment much as he rarely played last season, but i will say that we have enough midfielders to form another team.

    So, no to Barkley for me.


  • Hi all.. no8 Players mean a lot to the team.. Barca-Iniesata, Madrid-Toni Kross, Munchen-Javi Martinez, PSG-Tiago Motta, Monaco-Moutinho.. and so on..

    I have list some promising #8 players..
    1. Schalke #8 Goretzka
    2. Porto #8 Brahimi
    3. B.Leverkusen #8 Lars Bender
    4. RB Leipzig #8 Naby Kieta
    5. ATM #8 Saul

    Who Will you choose..?? Hehehe..

  • JK.. Barkley still a great player..
    A great opportunity for us that he didn’t play as well as before last season, so that his price can be cut to 30-35M only.. hehehe..

    So, which player do you pick from 5 young #8 list..??

  • HenryC, Arsenal seemed to be linked to Lars Bender every single transfer window for about 4 years, then it all stopped around 2015, so maybe we or he have missed the train on that one.

    Goretzka seems to be the ‘new Bender’ for 2017 anyway and he certainly seems to be an Arsenal type signing, young, talented, at the end of his contract next year and whilst Schalke 04 don’t won’t to sell, in public, in private they’re probably open to do a deal.

  • For me, maybe Brahimi, but i am not sure whether he can be up to the EPL standard.

    There is a higher chance for Naby Keita, but he is the one that all the clubs with endless cash are aiming for.

    We have a few good youngsters in that position too, and I, for one, tip Reiss Nelson to make it in this coming season.


  • Allez.. Do you mean Goretzka will be our next Sead Kolasinac next season..?? Hehehehe..

    JK.. I love Saul.. He play brilliant in U21 Euro cup.. a hattrick against Italy in the semifinal..

  • For tonight’s game against Chelski.. do you think Wenger will start the same youngsters that ended the game against Bayern?

    I will not start the same defense. They played 90 mins and needed some much needed rest.
    For me, I will start Ospina in goal, then start BFG, Kola and Bielik.

    This will be the optimal lineup against the Chavs.


  • What about the psg rumours. Would you sell for 70 mil £ ? I think i would. But only if sure of securing a very good player to replace him.

  • The only good player capable is Lemar.
    I would sell for slightly more, about 80 million quid, and bring in Lemar for about the same price.

    We will only see Alexis strutting out for us in the Emirates Cup, so if he wants to stay he have to work hard with the team. If not, he is best out of here.


  • Ospina
    Mertesacker (c)

  • Arsenal substitutes: Martinez, Bielik, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Elneny, Nelson, Malen, Nketiah, Giroud, Welbeck…

  • Wow. Ominous signs for Arsenal in both the Bayern and Chelsea matches. But for Cech’s brilliance versus Bayern, the German side would have run up a cricket score against the Gunners, while Chelsea comfortably beat us. The glaring problem (again) for Arsenal in both games has been the poor defensive and transitional performances of Arsenal’s central midfield.

    It’s not really a surprise as to put it simply, none of Arsenal’s central midfield options (Ramsey, Cazorla, Coquelin, Ox, Wilshere, Elneny) have proven over recent season that they have the necessary combination of ball recovery skills and the propensity to quickly transition the ball from defence to attack (either dribbling or long range passing) to fulfil the inherent requirements of the 2 central midfield positions. The only possible exception is maybe Xhaka but his pre season showings have been less than impressive.

    At the start of the transfer window I was really hoping Wenger would make some wholesale changes to Arsenal’s central midfield to finally give Arsenal’s attackers the defensive and transitional platform in central midfield that the team have been missing since Vieira and Gilberto. Specifically any of Gonalons (who has subsequently joined Roma), Demme, Fabinho, Illarramendi and Krychowiak would represent a marked improvement on Arsenal’s current central midfield cohort.

    However, with Wenger seemingly disinterested in purchasing any players in that particular position, and none of those players showing signs so far of improving, it doesn’t bode well for the Gunners’ prospects this season coming.

  • It is never easy to watch your team being trounced by a rival, pre-season or not. But, we still need to have some perspective about the whole set up. With Mustafi, Chambers and Holding on extended leave, and with Koscielny suspended for the first game, Wenger has been trying to give all the potential defensive players a run in that area but this has resulted in a shaky back line. Lacazette looked like the occasion got to him but he did lack supply; maybe we need to have Welbeck or Giroud playing close to him, for starters to bed him in slowly. He will still get the goals.

    I agree too that the problem seems to be with the way our midfield got overrun too easily, exposing Mertesacker’s lack of pace. Wenger has to have that fixed or continue with a strict 3 CBs at the back so as to have 5 in midfield, along with the wing backs. To be fair, it did look a step up in class for both Bramall and Maitland-Niles as they kept losing the ball or misplacing passes and headers.

    In addition, we must not ignore the fact we have played 3 games in a short space of time, travelling long distances and experienced contrasting climatic conditions. These things do have a way of affecting the players; I can imagine our players would feel like tourists on the last legs of their holiday, which could serve to slow them down as they look forward to the trip home. We lacked energy and couldn’t keep possession. Chelsea looked fresher and eager to avenge their FA cup loss.

    All in all, it was an early warning for the players to know they need to step up; and for the coaching team to see where they need to make changes/additions. The thing is Wenger is unlikely to make the changes we require or I will say get in Leon Groetske, add a good creative player (Lemar or Mahrez, with the latter still my preference, because of EPL experience) and we will be good to go.

  • Spot on Eris. I predict we will be ready in two weeks time and beat the Chavs in every department, and especially in midfield. And we don’t need to buy anybody. Bring it on.

  • TA.. Love your spirit.. But still a little bit of sadness remain.. hehehe..

    I think Wenger just testing his team again.. Never really want to win the game..
    For me.. It look like Mertesacker is ready to be our Captain in the middle of 3 CB.. With Koscielny will still off in the first game against Chelsea, I hope Wenger play Mustafi and Holding as Merte partner.. Pity that we can’t test their work together before Chelsea’s game in Community Shield.. Hope they work it in training zone..
    Our youngsters just need time to handle Chelsea’s firstl team.. hehehe,,

    i’m afraid Kolasinac isn’t ready also.. Better put Monreal as our RWB for a while..Need time for him to blend into the team flows..
    Ox didn’t play as usual, he look a bit fat and slow.. Need time to get him to the track.. Hope 2 weeks are enough.. hahaha..

    I must say that I don’t like what Giroud did in our last 2-3 games.. Especially this game, he missed some nice assist..
    And all Our strikers aren’t good enough.. We miss Sanchez badly.. With 3-4-2-1 formation, Sanchez rule is almost irreplaceable.. His partner with Ozil is the key to our success in front..
    I don’t know if our CF is done with Lacazette.. If not, I would like to see Ibrahimovic there with Lacazette as our new Sanchez.. Although Wenger again make us believe that Sanchez saga is over.. And if it is so, we must play 3-4-1-2 with Sanchez and Laccazette both as our striker..

  • Henry, there were just five sure starters at best in the ones Arsene had on the time sheet. Reading anything into this friendly is wrong in my opinion. Would have preferred a better outcome but nobody got injured and more fitness was gained.

  • Waldo echoing my recent concerns about our cm. I dont agree though, with listing Ramsey and especially Cazorla as failures there. Cazorla was brilliant there, so much so that i think he wasted years as a winger, but i dont know if he will ever really come back healthy..

    I think Ramsey is good enough, but with fragile hamstrings, making another option vital. The rest of the list is not even top 4 worthy.

    Ox has potential, but not seasoned enough for league games, maybe cups or europa for experience.
    … le Cog strictly dm, and i wonder if My boy Xhaka is quick enough, i doubt it, i hope his eye and touch for passing prove me wrong…

    We dont hear rumours of Arsene looking at mf buys. Even lemar wouldnt have enough experience to in and play that position in non-experimental matches.

    I think that if Wenger was shopping for that position, he would’ve bought very early. I’m afraid maybe he’s leaving us short again, while everyone is obsessed with Alexis .

  • I saw the 1st 45 then had to go to work.
    I’ll watch the 2nd 45 in a bit…

    Defensively we looked vulnerable, Bramall isn’t ready yet and AMN isn’t a defender, unless in an emergency, but I like him and think that hs’ll be an asset this season.

    Xhaka did ok (he’s winning me over TA) although he has to stop those snidey trips or else he’ll cop cheap cautions and suspensions.

    I thought Iwobi looked very good at times I’d just like to see him shoot occasionally.

    Disappointing result leaving a lot to work on and I can easily see the points Waldo and Jnyc made but let’s see how we do in the Emirates Vase before we abandon hope…

  • Xhaka/Rambo pairing is good enough (top 4) with the ball, but poor without the ball. Once the midfield has been overun, a flat back 3 or 4 however good is badly exposed . We desperately need a Coq that is also good with the ball. Our CM was our undoing last season. 3-man defense cannot provide the whole cure. We need to inject new and right personel(s) to bolster our defending ahead of the flat back line.

    Waldo, Jnyc, am on the same page with you on this. Again 3:5:2 would rob us of one attacking player (Ozil or Sanchez or the striker) and non of them would fit into a CM role. So, imo, 3:5:2 is out. We need a well rounded DM a destoyer/creator. There ain’t too many of them, which just means they are expensive. We should be equal to that.

  • PE, finding a well-rounded DM with good defensive and attacking skills is like finding a needle in a haystack.

    We need to pray hard that Santi will be back soon. He is our best midfielder in a while and it will be hard to find one that has the same grit and vigour.

    Xhaka can be trained to become the next Santi, but he has to dig deep and learn to keep his head down and he can be the next Vieira. I am still having high hopes for Kolasinac, and I hope that both of them can terrorise the left sided area.


  • Interesting views in the last few days.

    Xhaka – Ramsey is a phenomenally good pairing in front of a back three. I would not swap them for any other pairing in the PL. Xhaka deep is already playing at a very high level and reminds me of Pirlo. Rambo as b2b is one of the best in the PL once he gets going. I love it that they are taking it easy right now. No point in risking injury in a meaningless friendly.

    To get the full benefits out of our 3-4-3 formation, the boys need to play at a high tempo and give the opponents no chance to think or act. Clearly, we are not going to get this at this stage. The big question is of course who can replace Xhaka and Rambo when they get injured. Cazorla and Wilshere is my first thought but they are injured. Elneny is a fantastic midfielder and I see him as nr1 cover for Ramsey right now. Replacing Xhaka is harder of course right now. Maybe Holding can do it. He has great calm and overview and is a very good passer – including long distance passes.

  • T, agreed on Holding. I don’t think he disappointed in any time he was used. Really surprising composure for such a young player, in a pressure position. Gabriel, who i always liked, makes me worry more. Our record defensively when he played was poor.i know youll say there were other factors, but im not as sure. But it is worrying.. I put Holding ahead of him at the moment.

  • United just beat Real Madrid on penalties after ending the game 1-1, at the ICC tournament in San Francisco. While United played to end the first half leading 1-0 against a good number of Madrid’s starters, Zidane had made sweeping changes and introduced academy kids with Cacimero and Kovacic, the only recognizable players. Not sure the United players had a sniff afterwards; well, they did okay but it was amazing how those kids made a fist of it, with United looking ordinary, frankly. They deservedly equalized and only lost in the shootout with both sides performing poorly with too many missed kicks.

    The Spanish academies must be special to have such intelligent players, with good decision making. Lukaku hardly had a sniff while Fellaini was embarrassed a few times. Pogba could not even influence the game. Real Madrid look like they are poised to remain a force in Europe in the coming season and beyond.

  • Man City have constructed a defence that has cost in excess of £200 million, think about that for a moment, that’s £200 million big bucks for a defence that cannot defend…

  • Hehehehe! To be fair they had outgoings in defence too who needed replacing: Sagna, Zaballeta, Clichy and Kolarov all left. Seeing as the going rate of players for EPL sides comes with a premium, replacement costs can be high. The additions of Kyle Walker, Danilo and Mendy are intended to plug the gaps, but they have come at ridiculously high sums.

  • True, but compare those three Eris with say Kolasavic, Bellerin and Holding?

    How does the old saying go, ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’…

  • Kev, … Pep becoming a checkbook manager.

    If he doesn’t get a trophy this season, that will be 5 straight seasons of disappointment. 3 at Munich where any of us could have guided them to bundesliga titles.. No champions league titles, so, a step down from Henckes. Last year, simply not impressive.

    If people call this rebuilding, it’s a weak excuse for Guardiola. with the talent on that squad, de Bruyne, silva, aguero to start, and the TOP available players bought at every position for obscene money, including expensive, overpaid bench.
    This year will tell us much about Pep.
    I and many friends always predicted that he’d be in for a rude awakening if he came to England, because of level of opposition.

  • I get you, Kev and it has made me chuckle at times to think how the game has become all about throwing money at it to win trophies. By the way, it is “Kolasinac” (I assume it is Sead, our free transfer you are referring to). 😃

    As for the great Cheque book managers, is anyone bigger than Jose Mourinho? Eric Bailly for £32m, Lindelof £31m, Mhkitaryan £33m, Pogba for £122m in all and £90m for Lukaku (all as reported)! That’s about £300m in two seasons and he isn’t done yet with 2017/18 purchases.

  • I am not sure how much truth is in that, but the news about Perez feeling cheated makes me feel for him.

    He is a good and hardworking player, and i quite like his workrate, but the way this was being handled was just crazy.

  • That’s right Eris, I’ll just call him Sead in future…

    I’m hearing Mbappe to Real Madrid for €180million.
    Monaco must be rolling in it if true.
    Might make the Lemar deal more problematic?

    Real Madrid might be releasing a few interesting players to balance the books though…

  • Jnyc, the media etc go on about Wenger, the expectations and the pressure he is under and that is true, but the pressure Guardiola is under now must be enormous, especially if Mourinho – perish the thought – gets off to a flyer.

  • Alles.. if the Mbappe news is true.. Monaco will be the richest club this year..
    They gain alot from selling players..

    But it seem Monaco did it almost every years..
    Rodrigues to Madrid.. Martial to MU..
    How can they do that..?? Hehehehe..

  • Allez.. We did what Monaco do today.. Although not in such massive way.. hehehe.. I wonder what their Fans will react..??

    With Sanchez stay.. Lemar won’t be needed.. Carvalho is coming.. hehehe..

  • Wow.. Pep also change his team to 3 CB.. 3-5-2 is very suitable for them.. they win 4-1 against Madrid..

    I think we may try the 3-5-2 also.. with Sanchez and Lecazette up front..

  • Ko Henry,

    But who to supply the balls to Sanchez and Lacazette and know how to defend properly? We do not have the Vieira replacement yet.

    3-4-3 is our best option, as we can have a optimal balance between defence and attack.

  • As they should, Kev. They stood out during the tours to Sydney and Shangai/Beijing.

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