Arsenal’s PL Best Eleven: Finger-licking Good!

Two days to go to the start of the PL with our game against the Shakespearean Foxes. Of course OGAAT is the only way to approach every PL encounter and Wenger has set the team a target of 85 points, ten more than last season. Whether that will be enough to win the title remains to be seen, as the Chavs won it last time with an impressive 93 points. But there is no point focussing on a target too much in the heat of the season; every game counts and is a battle for three points each and every time.

With the PL being our main competition to really focus on, Wenger will have the rare luxury to save his best players for the 39 vital games ahead. The FA cup games don’t start till January and, after winning it three times in the last four seasons, he could decide to rest his key players for this tournament too. The UEFA league is a great competition to mix youth with back up players and those first team players in need of match fitness.

it does appear to help teams when they can just concentrate on the PL, as the Chavs and the Foxes have shown us recently. The beauty for Arsene is that he can play more or less the same eleven until the crazy Festive period. The International breaks will provide some further rest for some players and Wenger seems to have good arrangements in place with the key international managers regarding using players sparingly whenever possible.

I reckon playing the same eleven is key in getting consistency and a group mentality of winning every game. Of course, sometimes a tactical adjustment will be required, especially in midfield where the attack-horny Rambo may need to be replaced with a more disciplined midfielder – but less capable in supporting our attack – like Elneny or Le Coqster. So who are going to be the chosen eleven? These are my picks:

  1. Cech: solid, calm, experienced- will enjoy the coaching support from mad-Jens
  2. Nacho: passion, hunger, loves the shirt, experienced
  3. Koz: our leader and he so deserves to hold up PL silverware this time round
  4. Mustafi: another leader with great drive and passion
  5. Kola: first outings have been very promising; he and Nacho will own the left flank
  6. Bellerin/Ox: Ox will challenge Hector and offers better wing play in attack, but Hector is a solid defender and does seldom drop his concentration- he also signed a new contract …
  7. Rambo/Elneny: am a big fan of both. When we can afford it Rambo will start but when we need to be tight and sit back, Elneny is our man
  8. Xhaka: the conductor is, together with Ozil, the key player for us. Together they add that extra dimension to our game. Jack and Santi can provide back up, or even compete directly with Xhaka and Rambo, IF they can get back to full fitness. If they do, I predict a very strong season in all competitions.
  9. Alexis: will stay and once fully fit he will be a force once again. Wenger has alternatives in Welbeck and Iwobi
  10. Lacazette: looks like he will form a lethal partnership with Alexis and Ozil. When we played parked-bus teams, Giroud may proof a better option as CF. I can also see both Frenchies start together regularly.
  11. Ozil: will have plenty of freedom and can feed – and feed off – Alexis and Lacazette with his unreal passing ability- this could be his best season ever.

Well that is my first eleven fellow Gooners, but do you agree?

by TotalArsenal


38 thoughts on “Arsenal’s PL Best Eleven: Finger-licking Good!

  • Good list Total, Some comments.. between Nacho and Kola, I’m not sure yet who will be defender and who the wing back. I haven’t seen enough of our new tank31 to be sure, but who knows what Arsene will think. Nacho has great interception and tackle skills, but also has shown some great assists when going far forward. Kola looks more like a defender, but we will see over time. Great pair of choices either way.

    Mustafi, excellent player, must show more discipline though. I love him, but he’s too often in the opposing six yard box and not even on set pieces ! We should begin with the attitude that we want a clean sheet every week. That’s the first step to a title.

    On number 6, you have convinced me that Ox needs to be shown who’s boss, and that’s the club. If he’s angling to leave on a free, I’m over him. He can sub in the 80th minute in Tajikistan for Europa. I wouldn’t even make our stars travel to such places, by the way.
    He has been extremely well paid in his very young years here, much more than he would’ve gotten from any club. Whenever he was starting to get a run of games, he pulled a muscle, breaking his own momentum. He’s disloyal for not signing on and letting us sell him properly if he must leave.

    Makes me sick that spuds may get 100 million from selling Walker and Rose, while our homegrown attacking player pushes to leave on a free. Sign or get frozen out. We have very good wb options. My favorite being our hard worker Danny Welbeck.
    Rant over.

    Midfield pairings, I still think we need to buy because its foolish to count on Santi ever being the same. Great if he does come back healthy, then he can be the occasional maestro for when we rest Ozil. Ramsey can’tbe used for 50 games. Le Coq is to spell the excellent Xhaka. El Neny for less vital situations.
    I will be annoyed if we don’t add a good cm.

    Up front, Lacazette will be a marksman and succeed. Giroud an excellent sub option, and Walcott will always be good when motivated by occasional chances to play.

  • For me, we will not be content with just Ox and Bells in the wing positions. We need to find another winger, or play Kolasinac on the left wing. Our tank needs to be on the move, and not shooting shells like a Howitzer. Bells will be good on the right wing with Gabby as backup.

    As much as I am thinking of options where we can leave out Ox entirely, he springs surprises on his good day. So, better get Wenger to ask Ox if he has a good day ahead and field him when he says yes.

  • TA

    Briefly as always of late, I like it, but since comments are about quibbling, here are my quibbles:

    a. For attack days, Ox in wing and Bellerin back for Mustafi
    b. There will be injuries, so Mustafi covers Koz and Bellerin Mustafi in your lineup, and Rambo/Granit are a pair that way too. Iwobi also went back well and could be backup or replacement for form (or on attack) for either side.
    c. I could see a front line in a 3-4-1-2 of any two of Lacazette/Alexis/OG with backups of Iwobi/Welbeck.
    d. I think you/we will see more of Kolasinic sooner than later

    And if you read all that, then, Walcott is a conundrum..

    cheers from NZ — jgc

  • Hi all..
    TA, I agree with most of the team.. but we can’t really know our first eleven untill the WT is over.. cause Wenger isn’t stop.. and we still don’t know what will really happened to Sanchez, Ox and Ozil..

    But assume that this are our best team..
    First, I think I would like to see Mertesacker in the middle of our 3 CB.. with Monreal on the left and Kos ini the right.
    It’s a hard to choose 3 from 5 great CB (exclude Gabriel, for I think he might be gone).. I wish Wenger do the continuous rotation between them..

    Kolasinac is no doubt our best RWB for now.. because he fulfill the speed and strength..
    In the right between Ox and Bellerin I have to choose Ox..

    In the middle, Xhaka is a must.. Then Ramsey come second.. I hope Cazorla will comeback more early.. hehehe.. Elneny will be a great subs..

    The last three in front no doubt will be given to Sanchez and Ozil.. for CF nothing I can say than Lacazette.. Giroud already doing his job for several years and maybe it’s time to make some fresh CF..

    Ohya.. I forget about Cech.. Yes here is still out best GK.. But I don’t like the way Wenger plot him and Ospina last year.. hehehehe

    RA/HenryB.. When will you arrange another game for us here to play.. hehehe..

  • When all available, TA, your eleven is the team that would march out of the tunnel. But for Wenger and whomever else, coming up with that list would be preceded by a lot of selection headache.

    Is Per’s organizational ability needed in the back 3? If so who goes? Kos, Musti or the indomitable Nacho? And what about that cool headed lad who dared to call Costa a nutter?

    Ox or Bel? Nothing better than Ox going forward but he doesn’t touch Bel in defensive awareness. But the 1st choice is Bel, no Ox, no Bel, no Ox, no ………………..?

    Rambo or Elneny? With El’s pre season form, particularly in his game against Chl, the choice here has become a head splitting headache. Rambo is more attack tuned. El is balanced, is mid, and we are talking about mid field. Meanwhile le Coq is saying ” Am the one who complements Xhaka. And my pairing with Sant is ordained in heaven”. He has a point there.

    Xhaka is sitting pretty but not when Santi is back and really back.

    The Tank, is all by himself. An opium. But should he switch roles with Nacho at CD?

    Ozil is branded an untouchable. But Iwobi is become terrifying. Cesc provided a pathetic sight at Wembley, all thanks to Alex Iwobi.

    Alexis is another untouchable. But for that inside left forward position I just feel like eating my cake and having it. Play Alexis there and have Welbz there too for his pace, movement and pressing. Particularly if his pressing is to be backed by Iwobi’s, by Lacazttes’s, by Elneny’s. Chelsea just didn’t know what hit them on Sunday. High press and movements.

    That Lacazette’s curled shot that hit the upright has a ton of promises in it. I can hardly wait. But then Giroud’s exquisite lay offs and flicks I must have at the same time.

    Cech is on his own. But let me whisper this …… I wish he had the feet of Ooooospina!

    Yes, TA, at the end of the day it is your eleven that would march out of the tunnel!

  • I want to go on record about something..
    If any rumors are true, if Arsene does some wheeling and dealing, it’s ok with me… sell players, Ox, even Alexis, it had better be for a very good price.. Ox Β£35 mil English premium. Alexis ..foreign club for Β£ 65++

    If we do sell Alexis , we had better bring in 2 more damn good players. . Its not too much to ask at this point, we have needed a cultured striker for years since van Persie left, so Lacazette was no big favor to us fans.. long overdue. So we finally did it. If we lose Alexis because of his frustration at our feeble attempts the past 2 years, so be it, but only if the money is right, — don’t sell him cheap —because we only paid about 32-35 mil. Bargain salary as well for years.

    So I’m open to deals, sales, but we better not cry that it was too late to buy, or it was out of our hands. I know that there hasn’t been so much activity from other clubs yet, I’m just saying now… no excuses for our management if they botch all of this.

  • A very good Post, as usual, TA — your standards do not slip, my friend. πŸ˜€

    On that point, you were very kind to me yesterday, comparing my writing with Seventeenho’s – but can I say outright that 17 is in a league if his own.

  • Hi ya, henrychan,

    Good to read your comments, always intelligently thought through, and agreeable!

    I have difficulty with the timing of the blog, as most of you guys are writing and exchanging views at times when I am mostly in bed. I usually read the headline Post but do not often comment, or have to write a lot of comments by myself at one go — when you are all in bed — not together — obviously. πŸ˜€

  • TA,

    A suggestion that you and the guys might consider.

    There are many excellent bloggers on BK, many of whom have written excellent Posts, and in particular I have been really impressed with the detailed, knowledgeable comments of both Jnyc and Henrychan and perhaps they can each be enticed into writing a headline Post to inform and entertain the rest of us. I would love that!! πŸ˜€

    The fact is, some of their comments are already of Post quality, and just need ‘filling out’ a little.

    And with that – I have to say adieu for a while.

  • Forgot to say — Jnyc has hit the nail on the head in his 6:40 comment. Spot on.

  • Damn — I am rushing too much — I think Pony Eye’s response is spot on too. Thank you sir. πŸ˜€

  • For me, Arsenal’s best 11 in a 3-4-2-1 setup is:

    GK: Cech
    RWB: Debuchy
    RCB: Mustafi
    CB: Koscielny
    LCB: Monreal
    LWB: Kola
    CM: Ox
    CM: Xhaka
    RCAM: Ozil
    LCAM: Sanchez
    CF: Giroud

  • Waldo, as much as you rate Debuchy highly, he has no future in this team.
    The rest of the lineup is agreed, if Wenger decides to slowly ease Lacazette into the team.

  • Nacho Kola, sounds like a cheap meal, should also develop a strong partnership, J, and agreed not sure who should play where. A fit Santi would be a big bonus, but we need cover for Xhaka and Jack has that same passing range as the Swiss young master, so the Englishman’s recovery would be key for me.

  • HeheheheHenry, good point about the BFG. I do like his calm in the middle of defence. Something Koz offers less. I also feel that Holding is a central defender with the potential of becoming a BFG type of player (but quicker). Finally, I agree with Seventeenho that Elneny is a good option as CCB too.

    Btw, it was VCC who organised the footie competition, not RA (he prefers Sudoku πŸ˜‰)

    Depending on how busy I am going to be we may do a weekly prediction game.

  • PE, like your appreciation of Elneny and fully agreed. Good point about Le Coq, surely he will help us defend a lead when needed and strengthen us in games we cannot afford to lose.

  • Johnnie, I don’t believe Alexis will be sold. Wenger needs him for getting back into top four. Ox should be sold if he does not sign, in fact I am happy to see him leave full stop, but he appears to be playing silly games with the club. Never trust a man with a dodgy πŸ’‡β€β™‚οΈ 😝

  • Great to hear from HenryB-RA-Zee!
    Don’t even worry about the timing of responses, i always go back to read recent comments, and post whenever convenient. The participants here that TA has bought together are so good, it’s worth it.

    T, the reason that i even posted about transfers, even though off topic, was that i heard Wenger (ever so slightly) backing off his pledge not to sell Alexis in statements yesterday. My ear is trained in Wengerspeak. I will be furious if we let him go for anything that’s not near current silly valuations Coutinho,lukaku, Morata, eg., regardless of only having a year left. If not great offers, take the financial hit. I wanted to believe he meant business when he said Alexis stays -exact quote–
    ” because we don’t need the money” .

    If I’m right, and he’s considering selling now or feels forced by Sanchez, we had better have a plan.

  • Hard to argue with your choices T A . I think the key is around the squad though. When those early season injuries come pouring in it’s vital that we have the squad available. I think we do. People always complain about Giroud and Theo, but they both look hungry to me (as they always do this time of year).

    Kola looks indestructible and I think he will be a great acquisition. You almost get the impression that if any of our players get bullied, Kola will sort the opposition out.

    Really looking forward to the new season and getting off to a good start


  • TA, barring further additions/exits at the club, I’d have to say I agree with your 11, with my only concern being at right wing back. It will have to be the Ox for me, every time; however, I be got to say it is subject to him signing a contract. It will be sad if he goes on a free after all the club has done for him. There will be games in which Wenger tweaks with that 11 though; while Nacho/Kos/Mustafi is our most dynamic back 3, Nacho/Merts/Kos will be more secure when we play against tactical sides and long ball teams.

    As for Kolasinac, I will stick him in front of Nacho to allow him maraud down that flank, offensively and defensively. His stats show he had 12 interceptions in one game, highest by any player in europe’s top 5 leagues, last season. He had the most assists (5) by Bundesliga defenders last season scoring 3 goals while creating numerous chances in the process. In comparison, Eden Hazard had 5 assists last season too, and in more games. Kola’s skills set need him to be free to roam on that left side side, as he can thrive whether in a back 4 or back 3.

    Roll on Friday evening already.

  • Hard to argue with your choices T A . I think the key is around the squad though. When those early season injuries come pouring in it’s a vital that we have the squad available. I think we do. People always complain about Giroud and Theo, but they both look hungry to me (as they always do this time of year).

    Kola looks indestructible and I think he will be a great acquisition. You almost get the impression that if any of our players get bullied, Kola will sort the opposition out.

    Really looking forward to the new season and getting off to a good start


  • TA

    Hiyer… Still in NZ, mostly.. Moving is hard at my age and level, or at least seems to require more maneuvering… Coming up to my bigger travel months, will be in Europe at least the first half of November, and likely the early part of December ..

    Regarding that football club in the logos on this site.. I think the key here is not players, though we, I think, need to keep Sanchez and Ozil, but.. consistency. We can win any game against any team. We lack the consistency in doing it. Every. Bloody. Year.

    I can understand some letdowns and such, as these things happen, but we are simply not clinical enough consistently it seems. I have no idea why… :-/

    cheers — jgc

  • Prof, you’re back. And definitely we lacked the mental toughness.

    I am unsure of the stats, Eris, as Kola is now in another league and sure he looked good against the Chavs and i am sure he will against the ultra defensive teams.

    The question is if he can show the same form as that against Bayern last season. They could not get past him.

    Fired up for tomorrow morning (local time)

  • Hi Retsub, early injuries to Xhaka and, or Ozil could be damaging as they are hard to replace in terms of what they offer. Other than that I am confident. We need Jack to be available soon (and Santi of course). The good thing is Ozil and Xhaka only have to play PL games this time round.

  • Eris, you are probably right re playing Kola on the wing back and old head Nacho in defence, but I can see them interchange a lot too.

  • Well Geoff, there is a good quality of life in NZ, they say…

    Agreed re Being Consistent. That is down to quality, maturity and leadership, on and off the pitch. Maybe, hopefully, just focussing on PL will help a lot in producing this unbeatable OGAAT unit.

  • In Vienna for the weekend and only have iPad to type with, and Seventeenho is not able to write a preview it seems… may write something later today for the Leicester game, but if so it will be short and sweet.

  • No post for today EPL start..?? Hehehe..
    Any news about our unfit players?
    Can’t wait to begin the new season.. We are stronger than before and will have a great result..

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