Rambo-Ozil-Xhaka (ROX) and 4 More Reasons Arsenal Could Win the League

“There is mountain air in this room. It’s cool and moist and almost fragrant. One deep breath makes me ready for the next one and then the next one and with each deep breath I feel a little readier until I jump out of bed and pull up the shade and let all that sunlight in – brilliant, cool, bright, sharp and clear.”
― Robert M. PirsigZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Five reason to be positive about Arsenal’s prospect this season:

  1. We are on a good run. Yes it was broken up during the summer but it seems to be continuing. Arsenal had some great results during the latter part of the season with well fought for wins at Stoke and Southampton and of course that awesome FA Cup final win against the league champions, for example. We beat them again albeit on penalties in the Charity Shield match and we beat the Foxes on Friday. Long may it continue.
  2. The media have written us off. None of the BBC pundits have us finish in the top three, let alone win the PL. The team will be motivated by this and so will be Wenger. Key, as 17HT has pointed out numerous times, is of course how the fans will deal with a setback. Will they stay behind the team or collect money for silly banners? Our bouncebackability – players, manager, fans – will be tested. I believe we have the players and manager to do this but the media will be on us like a rash time and again. The spine of Cech – Koz/BFG – Xhaka/Rambo – Ozil – Lacazette/Giroud/Alexis is one that has the leadership qualities to make us recover quickly from a setback. The rest is up to the support.
  3. Consistency. Wenger kept the team together and has added quality in the previous season’s two vulnerable positions of left back and a quality finisher in attack. Lacazette and Kolasinac are quality AND versatile players who fit straight into the first eleven. Furthermore, the squad is large and full of experienced players who are reaching, or are now in, the best years of their short football career. We looked wobbly in defence but I reckon this is quite normal at the start of the season with a number of key players missing. I expect us to play a lot more compact against Stoke (and going forward) and especially the full backs will be told to support their colleagues in defence much better. As a team we need to make sure we don’t stretch ourselves too much when we are playing the ball out from the back. Teams like to press us early and high when we play like this and it makes us very vulnerable as the defenders or central midfielders often become isolated. I am sure that the reintroduction of BFG and Koz as well as Mustafi will help with this, but key is for the whole team to work as an accordion-unit, moving organically with the flow of the game.
  4. No CL football. In order to win the PL it is a big bonus if a team does not need to commit all their key players in knackering and injury-high-risk mid-week Champions League games. The Uefa games, on the other hand, allow us to give vital, quality game experiences to our fringe players and young talents. Wenger can then try out some of these players in PL games if and when he thinks they are ready. This will make a huge difference if you ask me.
  5. Our quality midfield: The ROX. We have a deep squad in defence and attack but I am most excited about our midfield. The way Rambo, Ozil and Xhaka eliminated the much praised Chelsea midfield in the FA Cup final was very impressive. I have high hopes that these three players will turn our team into champions. Xhaka deep, Rambo as b2b midfielder and Ozil as the creator are a very strong combination of guile and deadly passing. With Coq and Elneny we have players Wenger can use to adjust the midfield structure if and when required. Wilshere and hopefully Santi will be excellent cover/competition for the ROX. And hopefully Iwobi will progress to the next level this season. And, just to please Johnnie, we may well see Wenger add one more player in midfield before the end of the TW.

So every reason to be cheerful and full of hope for another good and, most importantly, an enjoyable season (don’t focus on the destination, it is the journey that matters).

One Game at a Time (OGAAT) my friends and victory through harmony (support starts with the right attitude).


By TotalArsenal

41 thoughts on “Rambo-Ozil-Xhaka (ROX) and 4 More Reasons Arsenal Could Win the League

  • Great write up TA. Gotta agree with everything. I do hope we sign a quality CM/B2M before close of window though e.g. Seri, Goretzka, Krychowiak etc.

  • This may well happen especially as we are likely to sell a few before or on the final day of the TW, D-M.

    How are you doing anyway, it has been a while?

  • TA, am in full agreement with points 1, 2, 3 and 4. For point 5, it is our offensive quality that excites me most. Many terrific combination 3 is possible from Lacaz, Giroud, Alexis, Ozil, Welbz, Iwobi, Nelson. The goals will surely come.

    Our defense of Per, Kosh, and Musti, with covers in Monreal, Gab, Chambers and Holding should be equal to its task.

    The midfield 4 of Bel/Ox, Xhaka, Rambo, and Kola/Monreal, without doubt are difficult to match going forward. My worry is when they have to perform the rearguard action. Will they be repeatedly caught too high up the field? Can they invest the same zeal they put pushing forward to the reverse action? Kola/Monreal can, but what about the other three. I now know for certain that am a little bit more defensive minded than Wenger but of course not to the extent of boring Morinho.

    IMO, we need a player that can give more defensive balance to our midfield for example Fabinho of Monaco.

  • Fully understood PE. The question is how such a player would fit into the midfield. Where would Xhaka go or Rambo? Imagine we would buy Kante of Chelsea: for sure we would be stronger defensively but we would have to sacrifice Xhaka or Rambo and I actually dont think we would be better off. I used to think we needed a DM beast but have changed my mind last season. We need Xhaka and Rambo to become (again) an all conquering duo, both in supporting defence and providing attack with the quality service they are capable of.

    In certain games we will need to sit deeper and then Elneny or le Coq can bring something the other two do not have. Although I would welcome the arrival of another quality defensive midfielder, I cannot see it happening. I think our biggest risk is an injury to Ozil: will Iwobi fill the void this season? Or will Wenger bring a player who will quicker grow into the next Ozil (around 23-26 years old)? Or has he anybody else in mind of the current squad?

  • TA
    I am convinced– there are no other ‘Ozils’.
    Mesut is not a ‘great player’ by common measure– but certainly a unique talent.
    Most? See talent when obvious, in acknowledged form.
    Even Real Madrid wasn’t convinced– though Christiano Ronaldo was.
    A genius recognizes genius.


  • The PL is ours for the taking TA,vast squad with a great adventure coming ourway as Gooners this season as everything from the article points to Glory! Glory!


    kenyan fans are from the school of thought that we should be preparing for 2018/2019 season.

  • T, I’ll attempt point by point.
    1.. agree- but we have finished strong most years, and it hasnt really carried over enough to make a difference.

    2… yes but they write us off even when we’re in contention or leading at Christmas. The fake news hates Arsenal.

    3. …Disagree.. i think we have had the most settled team over the past few years, but unfortunately fell short. Especially the past 2 seasons.. most disappointing. I remember thinking when we only really added Cech, that he would be the final piece to the puzzle.

    4.. i dont know how europa will affect us really, but it’ll be horrible travel to Uzbekistan and wherever Borat is from. The whole team will travel, and despite what Arsene says, I’m sure more than a few of our regulars will play. Thrilling for spurs or Everton, a bit demoralizing to our guys that are spoiled from years of the big stage.
    I agree some kids will gain experience, but overall we’d be better off with #ARSEXIT from Europe. Just kidding… i don’t want to be bounced from the competition, but it won’t help at all.

    5….. I think you’ve been right there with me on Xhaka, I love him, already, bitter gooners are on his case, I just don’t know how they don’t see all the good he does.. things that no other midfielders could do. We were lucky to get him.
    You already know my concerns about box to box. Ramsey’s good, but we need a quality player to spell him. Typical Arsene mistake would be to try and get by with what we have. Injury prone Jack and damaged Santi. No, I didnt forget El Neny.lol.
    Ozil is also a genius, a subtle, under appreciated player . So, We only need one addition, or a very healthy Santi to make our midfield great again. Wink.

  • Cheers J, great response.

    1. We see the same glass and content but value it differently. The change of system and ability to hold on to our players makes me feel positive about continuation of our good run. The game against the Orcs will tell us more, no doubt.

    3. And we finished second two years ago and won the FA Cup last season. A good return if you ask me. I also feel that the squad is stronger than two years ago as many are now in their prime period.

    4. Good point. I don’t think Wenger will risk playing first teamers in the Uefa league but I am concerned about him having to travel far on a Thursday and the disruption it may cause on the first team. Time for Bouldie to step up?

    5. A very healthy Santi and Jack would be bliss. I reckon we will win the league if at least one of them is available throughout the season. You heard it here first! 😀

  • Lost Bob (I write this whilst on a train in thick mountain mist), glory glory indeed. Thinking ahead is hard for fans but it is a good point. We could need a few replacements by then!

  • The transfer market is going to see some interesting developments: Neymar sale, Barcelona humiliation from arch rivals, angry fans….. the cash will be splashed. I reckon they need Theo, would you agree? 😀

  • Just read a news (fake news maybe?) that Africa’s richest man Dangote is trying to buy Arsenal and fire Wenger.

    To me, this seems bull**** as today’s businessman seems to have no knowledge of football and they just want profits.
    To heck with that.

    If another manager comes in we will need to find a suitable one that can continue the tradition of the club.
    If any Tom, Dick or Harry comes in we will become a buying club like the mega rich clubs and that is something that i truly despise. Not just angry but despicable of turning football into a business.

    What say you?

  • I like your confidence TA but I don’t believe there is anyway we can win the league without making another 2 quality signings.
    Midfield is key to me, can we rely on Ramsey, he was shocking last year but found form in last couple of games of season & FA Cup final :-).
    We really need a player to play Carzorla role.
    Also I don’t think Sanchez situation is a good thing & think its unsettling to the team.

    njk84sg, that fake news was circulated last year which as has come up again may carry more truth than we think 😉 but your probably right

  • As an african :), I can confirm that Dangote’s desire to buy Arsenal is well documented here to the point of boredom. I doubt it holds water in terms of actualizing, but I assure you it is not fake news.

    I’ve been good TA; Arsenal has given us many reasons to be upbeat of late.

    Even though I would ideally like a CM/B2B to come in, I do not necessarily think this is an automatic requirement for EPL success or first XI…think the Xhambo pivot is great as it is. My concern is the abyss beyond those two:
    El Neny is reliable but not exceptional.
    Coquelin seems to only excel alongside Santi who shoulders the passing burden for him.
    I do not think it wise to pin our hopes on an ageing Santi and injury prone Jack. (Do not doubt the quality of either though.

    We have long season of Thursday-Sunday fixtures and can no expect Xhambo to play everything, so ideally we need a decent alternative to both of them. Someone (one player) who can play alongside either Xhaka or Ramsey.

    But as I say one can only dream…but we can certainly still do great things without additions.


  • Good one, TA…Sorry I’m a day late in responding… The mountain air up here isn’t quite so gloriously clear and there’s lots of running around to do. This time next year, the kid should be able to drive himself to and from his various activities… Gulp…

    As always, your optimism is strong and (at least somewhat) infectious… As you note, I’m obsessed with the OGAAT element and I believe that our support will only believe in the project as long as the results are palatable. This next pair of (very difficult, IMO) away matches are HUGE and will heavily influence how Gooners feel about our dealings as the transfer window comes to a close. This time around, I fear, we’ll have to follow the action right down to the deadline…

    As you (and others) point out, the media plays a big (too big…) role in how we feel about all this. Personally, I don’t go in for the “fake news hashtag” stuff but I used to fancy that Arsenal fans were smarter than the rest and could see the forest (big picture) despite all the trees (temporary distractions), or something… I’m a good deal less sure these days and I wonder about expectations. Is getting back into the CL places good enough? Probably not…

    Giving at least a very strong run at the title is what’s needed and that means weathering the inevitable disappointing results and giving enough in the way of promising performances AND being close enough to the top when the European eliminations start (February). I agree with A-Kev (among other voices…) who has noted that English teams do not seem to be built for Europe these days. If we can move through the lower tier of our Euro competition elims (there’s an extra round in the Europa League, of course) while other top English teams are losing to Monaco or playing dead rubbers (like ours in recent years) during 2nd legs, there could be a confidence bounce that helps with the run-in. Those are good points by you (TA) and jnyc about which members of the team and (on-pitch) management will have to do the travel and how it might affect those who stay behind. We also have to realize that some (of those obscure continental) clubs will fancy a chance at beating a high profile club like ours while others may want (or need) to just play the match and get back to their own domestic troubles. We’ll know more on the 25th when the draw takes place… At this point, I think it’s awfully hard to know if playing in the 2nd tier of Europe is a net benefit… Seems like there’s a post (or three…) people could write on that topic…

    Finally, I too like our MF and also agree that a healthy Jack and/or Santi could be a real boost. Playing 3 at the back makes the numbers in MF less of a worry and the fluidity of our game means that more attacking mids (Alexis, Iwobi, Ramsey, Ox, Ozil) can work backwards when needed while more defensive minded guys (Xhaka, Coquelin, Elneny) can help out in attack as necessary. I’ve ALWAYS hated the division of our mids into these more rigid roles: AM and DM. “B2B” and “Beast”, are more descriptive, but seem to mean “mobile and slight” vs “slow but tough in the tackle.” By definition (for me at least…), when you say “midfielder” it means “midfielder,” i.e. a player who bridges what’s needed between our front and back lines. We’ve got quality there. Elneny’s “jack of all trades, master of none” game is consistently underappreciated and LeCoq has gone from “the answer” at the back of MF to “can’t play without Santi,” which seems far too harsh. Both are better than that, I think… I also believe that MF is where having the consistency (no new mega-buys…) is most critical. If we were to buy in MF before the window closes–which I think only happens if one of the contract hold-outs (Alexis, Ozil or Ox–all MFs at heart…) gets sold–I’m guessing it would be somebody on the younger side who would need time to work their way into the first 11… Consistent fitness for the starters (ROX) seems very important, but that’s always the case…And, at least we know (or think we know…) who’s first choice for the first time in a while…

    So, a very nice post… and even nicer if things go our way in some 50 hours at the Britannia…

  • Oops, Sorry to drop that post on top of yours D-money and good to see you back around these parts…

    Also, sorry if I summed up the assessments of the Elneny and Le Coq as if they were yours… (I didn’t see your comment before I posted mine.) That they matched so closely makes me think that we’re (consistently) too harsh on our own players and overly generous with those we might buy. Has anybody really watched any of these mooted MF solutions–Seri, Lemar, who else?… I have to confess I NEVER saw Kolasinac play and only have watched Lacazzette in more than highlights when he played (and hardly impressed…) in an Emirates Cup match a year ago…

    Overall, in assessing the team–esp. if we continue with 3 at the back–I think we need to be far more flexible with our views on starting positions. Are the “wingbacks” defenders or are they wide mids or are they actually wide attackers? Anyhow, I know it’s helpfu (for discussion)l to put each player in their own little hole, but, for me, the game is too fluid for that. This is another reason we should look at the overall quality of the players who make up the squad–and their ability to add that quality to the whole–rather than playing fantasy football and think it’s easy to just buy the right piece and slot them in…

    Just my opinion, of course, and I (try, at least…to) appreciate that others have their own…

  • No problem HT. I think even the lazy Ligue 1 fan would have noticed the HUGE African contingent in Ligue 1, so for that reason I follow Ligue 1 closely. I have wanted us to sign Lacazette for 2/3 years now…and whilst everyone will enjoy this season of “discovery” with Laca, I’m hoping he is as good as I’ve always thought. (Full disclosure: I badly wanted us to sign Gervinho [over Hazard even] at one point and look how that turned out…so what do I know?!?)

    The funny thing with Lemar is that you genuinely get Arsenal fans who prayed for us to sign Mbappe, but say they don’t know Lemar…how? They were playing in the same team? Then surely you shouldn’t know either of them? Or do you simply go off the media hype? I would hope that isn’t the case…

    In any case from what I have seen of both Lemar and Seri (which is a fair amount), I would say Seri more directly responds to our needs than Lemar does. Not to say that I think Lemar is not good, just a matter of priorities really.

  • I appreciate that as fans we will be divided on how average/good/great certain players are…but like I said I do not think its “sign a midfielder or bust” for our season, I rather think to increase likelihood of success it would be better to do so. Certainly not disastrous if we don’t.

  • Where are based, D? I’m sure I knew at one time, but trust me, the memory goes as you get older… Cheers also for the Ligue 1 scouting… I remember thinking (maybe wishfully…) the same thing about Gervinho vs Hazard… Gerv’s time at Arsenal got off to a bad start via one Joey Barton and soon after the “supporters” got on him… (Unfortunately, I fear there’s a bit of a racist streak amongst a small fraction of our support… In Rome, where he’s done better–like Szcz–at Roma, the extreme anti-black player sentiment seems more of problem at Lazio…)

    M’bappe’s coolness in front of goal vs ManCity was awfully impressive… which might be where many Arsenalistas first saw him… I remember the rest of team also being very (very) good (as a group, but M’bappe stood out, esp. for such a young guy…

    Is there anybody else we should try and poach from France–or elsewhere?…

  • Hi all.. Sorry for late comment.. A little bit busy for my Independent Day.. hehehe..
    Indonesia maybe the most busiest country for their Independent celebration.. hahaha..

    TA.. I thought it will be 8 like usual.. hehehe.. But 5 are great enough..
    I just don’t know where to start this comment for the discussion is already far advanced.. hehehe..

    Maybe I can start with consistency.. This were our main problem over the years.. Not enough equally qualified star.. made our season up and down so dramatically.. hehehehehe..
    So I hope we won’t have that situation again..

    TA.. Not involved in CL doesn’t mean PL will be easier to archive.. Yes last two season winner did it.. but they also didn’t involved in EL also.. We glad that Wenger had already said that he will focus on PL.. But will fans be happy if we lost in EL with some smaller and unfamous Club.. hehehe..

    Your ROX will be so much better if we can add S there.. so become ROXS.. Sanchez is the man..
    Although speculation keep going on.. but Wenger again said it that he will stay.. So I must believe him.. For I am a Wenger fans.. hehehehe..

  • OT.
    Makes me sad to see Gabriel go, to be honest. I like his liveliness in the dressing room and his ever smiling visage, even when he wasnt gettting minutes as often as he would like. With the World Cup around the corner, he may realize he would need to play to be selected. So, it may be better that he leaves to a club where he will play and stand a chance to be named for Brazil’s World Cup squad.

    Wish him the very best.

  • D-money,
    Thank you for admitting that gervinho/hazard thing.
    I was one who loved Gervinho potential, it’s a shame he couldn’t put it all together for us. The negative gooners were all over him right away.
    I never have thought Hazard has shown that much, or even produced much, even in his best year at Chelsea. Never impressed me. Strange that, i consider my self a keen observer.

    Also 100% agree with you and BRYAN that it’s a big, typically Arsene mistake, to rely on health of Jack and Cazorla, and The Santi hole in midfield is huge, though i like Ramsey, but i dont want to run him into the ground from over-use.

  • T,
    I read your line about having either of a healthy Jack or Santi being bliss and us winning the league. I imagined that as i was reading it, and i did feel such confidence that for a moment it was like bliss, i think it could be enough to win the league.

    But then the reality hit me that first off, there is no chance of a healthy Cazorla for most of the season, as he is probably months away.
    On Jack, who i love, it seems obvious that even Arsene has lost any hope that he can stay healthy enough to help us .. first the loan, which was a surprising step, and now, he has opened the door for him and suggested he go somewhere else to play. Now he’s changed his tune a bit, because i dont think Wilshere likes any of the team alternatives he’s seen.

    You know that I’m not a person who cries to spend big money or who calls for transfers to solve all problems. But this one time, you see me saying that we must fill that Santi cm hole from an aquisition, because i see the rest of our team as very strong, and to win the league, in face of the toughest competition in many years, we can’t make typical Arsene mistake of hoping some kid will step up.

    The need is clear, we should act.

  • J… Who (or is it whom?…) do you propose to fill Santi’s big (or are they little…) shoes?… Others may disagree, but to me, players like Santi don’t grow on trees… Also, for me, Jack Wilshere at full health (and the very top of his game) is no Santi Cazorla. He’s always shown a good deal of promise, esp. for such a one-footed player, but I never saw that promise realized… As always, your mileage may vary…

    I agree that we should act, but only if we can find the right player… If any player will do then who cares if Santi (or Jack) get healthy and we should just get a body (or two) in…but I don’t think that’s what you’re saying. It’s fine to declare, “The need is clear, we should act” but that sounds like fantasy football to me (and preparation to hand down a big heaping of blame)… For management, it’s a real world problem… So, again, whom (I’m leaning that direction re: who vs whom…) should we buy? Or maybe we shouldn’t say the name because then we’ll be linked with the player and one of the silly money clubs will step in with a bigger offer… 😀

  • Hi 17,
    I’m sorry, It’s just that we’ve known about the need since the end of last season, that means the whole transfer window to use our talented scouts and their reports. Also our famous computer evaluation system, but i think that one is set for bargain suggestions only, as in El Neny.
    Here’s a couple i would’ve liked to see.

    How about common sense. What if we had acted quickly and bought Matuidi at the beginning of the window, or as soon as the Neymar possibilty emerged.

    Matuidi is so good, so under appreciated, even though he’s not young, he has plenty of quality in him to give, especially if it’s to rest Ramsey. El Neny is levels below him.
    ..He is tough as nails, and could handle English competition, as he has done at highest level in champions league. Not his fault that Psg underperformed there. And he’d be around long enough for us to cultivate, or find a longer term solution post-Santi. But we just blew that. Yes, i was hoping we’d buy him.

    In the case of Thomas Lemar, If Arsenal really liked and wanted him, we shouldn’t have let it drag out. Though I’ve only seen him on left wing, they say he can play central.
    We could have closed sooner, before the super-escalation of prices. Chelsea made a strong offer, got Bakayoko. Man City didnt haggle, got Mendy, Bernardo Silva went quickly also. The stubborness of Monaco and price went up after losing big players from last season, and seeing how much big Teams were willing to pay.

    Then prices going higher because of Neymar, once people in the business realized that Neymar buyout could happen, even as an inside rumor, we all knew prices were going even higher. If there’s even a chance of Mbappe going,we’ve waited too long to close.

    I am not a scout or an expert, but i would’ve CONSIDERED Seri of Nice just because of what i read from Xavi about him. He raved about him like I would never have imagined. Glowing, rave reviews about him. Me Watching videos is not enough to predict how he could do, but it’s enough to see the similarities to Cazorla. But who knows, maybe the scouts see something that wouldnt work well in England, that is possible.. but Xavi, at least worth a look.
    He has a reasonable buyout clause also.

    I’m never rash in calling to spend money. How much patience is enough though? Do we need to be humiliated in front of the world 10-2 on aggregate in the champions league to realize that change in behaviour is needed.

    Yes, we closed on Lacazette early, good job, but truth is, we should’ve bought him a year ago.

    We blew Higuain by haggling and bargain hunting also. How does that look in hindsight? We could have doubled our offer at the time, and still sold him for a big profit, the way things have gone. Now, I truly believe Lacazette is exactly what we have needed, but for how many years have we needed him?

    So, I trust that this football club, one of the biggest in the world, has the resources to, at least identify a midfielder if we need one. Do i need to say “I told you so” when Ramsey pulls a muscle.
    ….. The same muscle.

  • I am so acutely aware that the ball has two sides. Xhaka is a passer. An excellent one. That’s one side of the ball. He has slow feet so is mindful of going into tackles. He tracks back too slowly. The much shorter Okazaki out jumped him for the 1st goal we coceeded against Leicester. These are not to say he is not a wonderful player, but to say he needs a more defensively equipped CM partner (X) to complement him.

    Ramsey too is a fabulous player. Mentality wise he is hooked to attacking football. He should be an attacking midfielder whose big engine and big appetite to be involved guarantee that his offensive game overflows into defensive MF duties. That’s an extra feather to his footballing cap.. Like Xhaka, he needs a more defensively equipped CM partner (X) to complement him.

    In other words for our CM pairing:
    Xhaka + (X) = Excellent.
    Rambo + (X) = Excellent.
    Xhaka + Rambo = Lacking defensive balance.

  • Hi all..
    PE.. Who Will be your Mr X..?? hehehe..
    If we talking about defensive player.. then Coqueilin is one of them.. an old fashion DM.. Even Cazorla can’t beat him in term of defense.. hehehe..

    But I don’t agree with you about mr defensive X.. We already play 3 CB.. and 2 WB that strong enough in defense.. So practically we play with 5 defenders.. Why we need another DM in front of our CB..??
    We absolutely not ‘Mou’ style of playing.. We know and hates that kind of playing.. what we call ‘parking bus’.. we are an offensive team.. at least as long as Wenger still there.. hehehe..
    So, I don’t see Coq or another strong DM will arrive and play regularly in this team..

    The only thing to worry about is.. we still haven’t get our Ozil back to his best.. He lack of creativity in front.. Maybe, just maybe after two season playing with Sanchez, Ozil a little bit forgot his main duty to make assists as much as he can.. hehehehe..

  • Chan, good calls. But first am not requesting for a Makelele kind of DM. We already have that in le Coq. I want a DM who is also good with the ball a Fabinho, Idrissa Gueye, as examples.

    I appreciate your point about the 3-man defence with 2 wingbacks not requiring any further emphasis on a defensive minded (or able) CM. Except when you realize that our wingbacks are lopsidedly attack minded. Skill sets should be differentiated from roles. Kola has good defensive skill sets but it’s quite clear already that he loves attacking roles. Even as a CD he was always found in the box!

    So in response to your assertion that we already have 5 defenders, I’d say we have 3 plus 7 attackers.

    Furthermore, even if we proceed on the basis that we have 5 defenders, it is a defensive structure that exists as a flat line, and all flat lines whether 3, 4, 5 are susceptible to being run at directly. It only need to be pierced at a point to collapse (remember the French Maginot Line during the 2nd World War). We need defense in some depth (a shield in front of the back line).

  • I’m with Henry, in that, we have the correct people to let Ramsey and Xhaka work their magic. Thierry said it on Sky the other night.. everyone knows that with a back 3, you cant have your 2 holding midfielders in or around the opponents box at the same time. Even one WB should hang back if the other is bombing forward. It takes great communication and discipline at all times.

  • Well that’s Gabriel Paulista sold to Valencia for around £10m, which seems a bit of a low fee to me.

    A strange one in my mind, does it mean that Arsene is planning to promote Krystian Bielik some time this season?
    Or does Arsene have a defensive signing up his sleeve?
    Cohen Bramall is surely cover for Sead…
    Where does this leave Calum Chambers?
    Surely Wenger isn’t still set on selling him as well?

    Maybe Gabriel was sold as the club couldn’t move on Gibbs, Jenkinson and Debuchy and the club needed to free up some salary before signing anyone else?
    You know FFP… 😄

  • Hey TA… Sorry, but I wasn’t planning on writing a match preview… In fact, I’m probably needing some (more) time away from the blog… My original plan was to wait and see how I felt after the squad was set (i.e., early Sept.) but I got a little swept up in the enthusiasm from that opening night comeback and the optimism you (and others) are feeling about the team. Unfortunately that sentiment was short lived. I’d like to be able to rise above and say, “To each their own…” but I get very (very) down when I see my fellow Gooners readying their torches and sharpening their pitchforks with demands that the club can’t possibly meet.

    Hopefully, the football itself (rather than the results and the hub-bub surrounding them) can bring me around, but I wonder…

    Again, sorry…

  • I think Gabriel’s move to Valencia is a good one for the player. By my reckoning, the Brazilian was forth choice CB at the club behind Koscielny, Mustafa and Monreal. Conceptually his departure should mean more game time for Chambers and Holding (god help Arsenal if Mertesaker gets close to starting anytime soon). That said, Wenger doesn’t regularly rotate his starting 11 in any sort of systematic way, but only when injuries strike. So it could be slim pickings for one or both of Chambers and Holding this season, which is not good for their development.

  • No problem Seventeenho, your heart has to be in it. The conditional nature of fans’ support will unfortunately not go away, and if you cannot have that it will be another hard season for you as it is likely to be another rollercoaster. A real shame not to have match previews from you at the start of the season, though. 😞

  • My preferred line up against Stoke is:


    SUBS: Osp, Chambers, Bel, Coq, Iwobi, Theo, Giroud.

  • Yep PE, I like that XI, AOC at right wing-back is a good call.

    I wonder if Giroud might start with Alex L moved to the left, we might need Oliver’s height as Stoke are certain to launch a succession of scuds into our box?

  • Hi all..
    It’s oke TA.. We still exciting without new post.. hehehe..

    PE.. I like your team.. all of them..
    Glad to have Mertesacker and Mustafi back..
    I think Giroud Will play.. either for starter or subs.. I want to see Lacazette and Giroud playing together again.. Because I was impressed with Lacazette playing the Sanchez role.. hope he can do better and better each week..
    Maybe Welbeck can be plot as our CF too.. switch with Lacazette..
    And Walcott must also have some time to play.. I missed his killing touch.. hehehe

  • We need more 17ht …. not less.

    PE, I think that’s the lineup Wenger will choose. I’d go with that generally, though I’m still not sure who’s the wingback between Nacho and Kola.

    Also i would start Iwobi over Welback. I really like the way Danny is playing , and I’d go easy on his work load for a while, keep Iwobi interested, I expect him to have a better season.
    Waldo, I hope chambers and Holding will start in all the other competitions. That could be just enough work. I say hope, because Arsene doesn’t rotate enough as far as I’m concerned.

    Watching United, this is exactly what i was worried about – Mouhrinhos 2nd season with a club every time.

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