No Need for DM, Rambo Rocks, Mustafi Missing Link, Kolasinac adds Steal: 8 Observations

I sat in my car in beautiful Ardnamurchan, listening to Talksport with very limited reception. Every twenty seconds the sound would disappear for ten seconds or so, but it was a joy to listen to the radio nevertheless, with the odd golden eagle flying over and sensing that our boys were putting up a fight against the Chavs from the first whistle. All I wanted to know is that we started with fight and intensity, and the boys fought for ninety minutes alright!

Eight Observations/Discussion Starters:

  1. Wenger showed the rest of the world that we do not need an old-fashioned DM to beat a top team. Rambo and Xhaka played as a tandem and both Kolasinac and Bellerin helped them to make the midfield solid. It is all about playing as a team with intensity, rather than outsource defending to one or two classical DMs.
  2. On Sunday, everybody defended and we attacked as a team. Welbeck and Iwobi fought for the team and helped to keep it tight and intense until they were substituted. Clearly, it came at a cost in attacking terms, as Sanchez and Ozil have the maturity and magic to score a goal, but in terms of team cohesion Welbeck and Iwobi were good alternatives.
  3. The return of Mustafi has been very good. He is not our best defender but he adds bite and energy and combines very well with Koz and Nacho. Two games two clean sheets; it is something to build on.
  4. Rambo is growing into a man. The Liverpool humiliation may have done Aaron good. He is now at an age when he cannot look around himself for inspiration anymore; he should be the leader who makes things happen. And that is what he did on Sunday, coming very close to score the winner and influence the game all over the pitch.
  5. Kolasinac is adding steal to the team. Those who want a typical beast of a DM in the team should want him to play next to Xhaka or Rambo. But I like him on the left. He combines power and speed with a fine first touch and good close ball control, and his final ball into the box is simply superb. With Koz and Hector on the right and Nacho and Kolasinac on the left we have some very strong wings. IF Hector would improve his final ball into the box, and he looked a lot better re this on Sunday, we can boost very strong wings indeed;
  6. Lacazette is playing in isolation. Alex is very mobile and does not need much to hit the target, but the team is still learning to play attacking football with him. Neither Welbeck nor Iwobi have developed a bond within as yet. I reckon he needs somebody like Ozil, Welbeck or Iwobi, say in a 3-5-2, to play closer to him as to get the full value from him. I would also like to see Giroud-Lacazette to start a few game together this season.
  7. How strong is Wenger!?! Whether you want him gone or not, you have to admire how quickly he turned things round with the team, in terms of structure, tactics and belief. We were closer to winning on Sunday than the hosts, but the most important thing was that we improved our team defending from a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Pool to a hard-fought for 0-0 against the Champions. Many pundits predicted us to lose badly; Wenger stood up against all of them.
  8. Alexis is nowhere near 100%. Welbeck’s injury was a blow, as bringing on Alexis for Lacazette seemed a very good move. With Danny gone and Giroud replacing him, we became less mobile and effectively had to change our style of attacking play. And, as I have said before, Giroud and Sanchez just do not go well together. Alexis is still growing into the season and we need him to get sharper soon to win us games when we need it most.

By TotalArsenal

23 thoughts on “No Need for DM, Rambo Rocks, Mustafi Missing Link, Kolasinac adds Steal: 8 Observations

  • TA, in games like this where we mark man for man, we have better positional sense.

    If we play against teams that deploy 4-4-2 or others, Rambo will stay top most of the time and Xhaka will be positioned in an AM position during attack, which opponents with a strong counter attacking strategy can expose our weak underbelly.

    I agree with the rest of the points, especially that Lacazette is playing alone. If we play Ozil or Alexis with him this will not happen. The previous few games he was very much involved in our build up play, so I would like to see the three of them playing regularly together.

  • Hi all.. Hi TA.. as charming as always.. hehehehe.. and I loved Eight.. hahahaha..

    1. About Xhaka – Rambo tandem..
    Last night they did great.. but not always did.. so they must learn more to be more understanding each other..
    I love to saw Xhaka kick from behind.. a hard quick kick.. almost give us a goal.. hehehe..

    2. We always did it all the time TA.. One for all and All for One.. hehehehe..
    But sometimes it just didn’t happen as we wanted.. And maybe we were a bit depending in Ozil.. I said several times that we can survive without Ozil.. but not Sanchez.. We need more Sanchez’s type players..

    3. Mustafi bring back the Rock in the back.. That’s the real Mustafi we knew..
    And hope he continuing his great job till end of season..

    4. Rambo.. Yes, I always love him.. I am a big fans of him.. And his move in Chelsea defenders was marvelous.. If only that was a goal.. We will remembered it as one of the best Arsenal’s Goal..

    5. Kolasinac.. Best Transfer ever.. hehehehe..

    6. Lacazette.. No.. I don’t agree with you.. Sometime CF can had a bad time.. like Lacazette did.. Giroud did it several times.. Laca had some great opportunity, just didn’t make it..

    7. Wenger.. Arsene is Arsenal.. hehehehe..

    8. Sanchez.. Yes just give him more time.. He will be better and better..

  • The need for DM
    Ramsey is injury prone so you can’t rely on him for the whole season, i still don’t trust Xhaka – Elneny combination both players are yet to convince me and Coquelin is not better either,so a solid defensive midfielder is necessity in Arsenal with central defender(an average height of 6.5 mm both) Arsenal need a physical presence in that middle to protect both the back four and our central midfielders,also to see the best from lazy players like Ozil , we wouldn’t have conceded such Selah goal against Liverpool if a physical presence was there rather than Bellerin ,Another problem is that Wenger doesn’t even know how to manage his injury prone players, the likes of Ramsey,Wilshere,Welbeck,Walcott,you don’t play them week in week out, if you stress them much then ready to loose them for weeks or months,I rest my case

  • 84, thanks for commenting. IF we play with the right focus and intensity, we do not need to worry about what team structure we are playing against. It is about intensity and we are getting it right at the moment. A big factor is also that Mustafi adds a lot of midfield bite, Bellerin is playing on the left and Kola is great on the right (how different from the Pool game with Bel on the right, AOC on the left and Holding at the back).

  • To those who call Ozil a lazy player, I am not sure if you are a plastic fan or not. Or know how to play football or not.

    Those who play and feel footy will know what Ozil is a footballer that creates more than he scores. He is a creator of chances for the team. So, if someone calls him lazy, try playing in the midfield and you will know that it takes more than just a player who can create than scoring. Creating is something that most players lack as they aim to be a one-man show, and those that creates chances for the team is a good team player.

    TA, I am still puzzled as to why Wenger puts Mustafi in the centre of 3 centre backs rather than Kos. Both are equally agile and quick and equally strong in stopping players, but I still have that question in my head. It seems like a role reversal from last season.


  • I reckon Mustafi is slower than both Nacho and Koz, but he can push forward to support the midfielders when necessary. Mustafi is also a natural leader, so playing him in the middle seems to be the best option, 84.

  • True enough TA, regarding your reply to my comment. We now have the right players in their right position, so we are playing with better sense of where we should position ourselves.

    Pegging the opposition back is something that we are really good at, so we need to find space between the opposition walls too. This is a good trait of Lacazette, so we need him to play well.

  • TA ….. excellent review. In the match we gave and we took. We came up with jaws that are not made of clay. Only one thing left … how to give permanence to this quality. I believe the basic ingridents are there ……. a dependable back 7. Ceck a giant. A rock of a 3-man defence. Enterprising wing backs and a born-again CM pairing. Our problem has never been with scoring enough goals.

    There is so much noise about Ozil playing or not playing. If Ozil had played the result would probably have ended as a score draw instead of a goalless draw. Which is your pick?

  • On Mustafi Wenger said that Mustafi reads the game very well. He added that he is very vocal, which is very important in back line defending.

  • Well written T A I agree with the most of your comments with the exception of the defensive midfield. As much as I love Rambo and Xhaka played a much better game this week, even with the support of the wing backs, i don’t think you can beat a pair of disciplined centre midfielders. just my opinion.

    I thought the team played very well on Sunday and all of them put in a huge effort, particularly Danny welbeck, not my favourite player, but he does give his all. In my limited opinion if Ozil had been playing it would have been a different story entirely. fantastic player that he can be, he needs hard working top quality players around him to allow him to work his magic. For whatever reason we don’t seem to have this and I wasn’t too upset to see him not playing on Sunday (was he really injured).

    Inn my opinion thats what happened at Anfield ( along with other mistakes by Wenger). I and many others have often made reference to that classic defensive performance at the Etihhad a couple of years ago when we won 2 – 0. I took a little peek and Ozil didn’t play that day either.

    Maybe I am being a little unfair to the guy, but it seems to me when we play the big sides away from home, they close him down quickly and render him ineffective. He offers very little from a defensive perspective.

    Just my (unpopular) opinion but I am anything but a plastic supporter!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Incidentally I may have got to the bottom of my missing posts. When I click on the Bergkampesque icon on my Mac, Sometimes I get my puppy logo coming up which works fine. However sometimes I get the icons allocated by the programme as per the green one next To Pony eye’s sign in above and that is when i hit problems. there is no sign in process its purely random which icon appears. I am sure someone with more intelligence than me can explain

  • The Mesut Ozil question will persist and it is no surprise he looks to be seriously considering his stay in the league. With Arsenal, if it isn’t one thing, it is the other. I don’t feel he’s worth the wages he is said to be eyeing, but he is certainly an important player who should start in most games, unless for tactical reasons.

    Retsub1, like you, there are many who will like to attribute our performance in that last game to his absence, but we have had a few battling performances where he played and did his job as well, even in defending from the front. One thing should be made clear; we didn’t WIN at Stamford bridge and the fact we are ‘celebrating’ the performance is a reflection on how poorly we have performed lately, against direct rivals, as a team. Not about one player.

    Recall that Ozil played when we beat both United and Chelsea 3-0; he defended from the front, played a great high press alongside Alexis, Theo and Giroud, to good effect. He gave Kante a torrid time and was responsible for dispossessing said Kante a couple of times in that game. He also played in games against Liverpool, City (2-2; he was coming back from injury for the 0-2 result at City) and Spurs. There’s no evidence that he has been involved directly in any loss of possession in these games which resulted in a goal against us. Stats show he’s played 27 games against the rest of the top 6 sides (last season’s) since 2013. The records show: 5 wins, 12 draws, 5 goals, 7 assists. That’s not lazy, by any stretch except that we lost 10 of those games, as a team.

    I am not too sure he would have done too much worse than Iwobi (much as I enjoyed the lad’s contributions) in direct defending. He is also versed in passive defending; the one that keeps defenders and midfielders penned back for fear of his abilities, should they venture forward and he benefits from a turnover. That’s impact you just cannot ignore. If it is the consensus with the coaching team that Ozil be rested in the big games (can he then still be referred to as a big player?), I do hope it has been well considered. However, be assured he was injured or he would be gave startied at Stamford bridge. He hasn’t been training.

    I do hope the media do not kill his spirit and love of the game here, to the detriment of Arsenal.

  • On the move this early week so no time to say my usual too much… πŸ˜€

    Cheers for the list of 8 and I agree with just about all of it… I can’t say likewise about Ozil out, of course and I think we’d have had a better chance to win with him in, for sure (in my mind, at least). I like our new guys (A LOT) but mostly I enjoyed the way we were able to keep our shape and defend as a unit. Mustafi as center center seems a very good thing. He could be the best passer from the back in the whole league, IMO, and Kos is a natural at helping him on high balls. Except for the super-scary Pedro chance (Mustafi late in pushing up the high line…) we never left anybody stranded. If they got by one man there was another who was at the ready…

    Like others, I’m not so worried about us getting goals and I’m more pleased that we looked comfortable (after a bit of a worrisome start…) in defending as a group. It’s a shame we didn’t edge them for the win but I’ll take the draw, just as I would have before a ball had been kicked. Hopefully we can build on the performance and keep some more clean sheets, which, more times than not, should yield 3 points at a time… That’s two in a row and 2 league matches undefeated… 48 more and surely the fans will get on board… More smileys…

  • Goonereris. I wouldn’t dare to take you on in a fact or figure compretition, because I know who would win. But let me just stress one thing, I don’t think I have ever suggested Ozil is lazy. It’s justwhen we play away to the big teams he adds very little in my opinion. He appears to be a much better player when we are either the stronger side or at home . When we are pushed back I think a more industrious player is more important to the team. I know we beat them at Wembley twice and at the Emirates, but we haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since the RVP hat trick. Even though we were the better team on Sunday it felt like a win to me

  • Retsub1, i am referring to those more vocal of Ozil. You are more subdued in your criticism of him and you know that he can be a good teamplayer when we are all doing our job.

    Nothing much to fret about, go on about your daily lives, support for the Gunners will be very deep rooted in our veins and everyone is entitled to speak out.

  • Ozil’s game is so much based on intelligence which more or less flies out of the window under exhaustion. It appears that Ozil paces himself to last the 90 mins. At Real, he was frequently subbed at 60-70mins which could allow him push himself much harder. Is that the way to go with him? Still makes him a luxury player though.

    Less visible but equally critical is Sanchez’ turnovers. Each time there is a turnover the ball is handed over to the opponent. Just think of the amount of sweat required to regain possession. Sanchez is full of pluses and full of minuses. Like Ozil the net value is not easy to work out. But there is no doubt that the two players add to the strain to our defending. More goals on either side of the field. Tough!

  • Hahaha, Retsub1, you flatter me but this isn’t so much about a “fact and figures” competition than it is about having perspective on a subject that divides fans, pundits and rivals, alike. My reference to the ‘lazy’ tag was in taking umbrage over the long running narrative that some of the ex-players caused to reach festering point, after the game at Anfield.

    I take on board the point you make about Ozil’s potency in big games Away from home and it may be a fair enough comment. Like I said, whatever the coaching crew do has to be well considered in light of the other strengths of the player.

  • That was by far and away Arsenal’s best performance from their central defence and central midfield. Arsenal’s central defence positioned themselves high up the pitch which compressed the distance between Arsenal’s defence and midfield which made it difficult for Chelsea to transition. In terms of Arsenal’s central midfield, they seemed to purposely play in a very controlled manner with a focused on their defensive responsibilities and transitioning the ball from defence to attack rather than recklessly attacking.

    In terms of individual performances:

    GK: Cech
    Another solid performance from Cech who was strong in the air and showed his shot stopping skills.

    RWB: Bellerin
    A quiet performance from the Spaniard who was again poor in terms of his defensive awareness and tackling effectiveness. His transitional play via the dribble was also non existent. That’s said, he made a couple of nice off the ball runs down the right flank and his crossing while not prolific was reasonably accurate.

    RCB: Koscielny
    Demonstrated excellent defensive awareness and was strong aerially. That said, his passing accuracy wasn’t the best and his tackling effectiveness was quiet poor.

    CB: Mustafi
    Demonstrated solid defensive awareness and was reasonable in the tackle. Like Koscielny, he was strong aerially though his passing accuracy wasn’t the best.

    LCB: Monreal
    Demonstrated excellent defensive awareness and tackling effectiveness. Was solid aerially and was very accurate with his passing. Arsenal’s best on ground for me.

    LWB: Kolasinac
    Demonstrated solid defensive awareness and was excellent in the tackle. Didn’t offer much offensively though as his forward dribbles and crossing was virtually non existent.

    CM: Xhaka
    Off the ball, he demonstrated solid defensive awareness and was excellent in the tackle. On the ball, his passing accuracy was relatively poor and his transitional passing was okay but down on his usual high standard. He didn’t offer anything in terms of transitional dribbles.

    CM: Ramsey
    Off the ball, he demonstrated excellent defensive awareness and his tackling effectiveness was also excellent. On the ball, his passing accuracy was good and his transitional play via the dribble was excellent. He didn’t offer much in terms of transitional passing.

    RAM: Iwobi
    A hard working but largely ineffectual performance by Iwobi. His passing accuracy was excellent but he didn’t complete any forward dribbles, attempt any through passes or have any attempts on goal.

    LAM: Welbeck
    A similarly hard working but largely ineffectual performance by Welbeck. His passing accuracy was down on his usual standard (and below that which Alexis typically offers) and his creativity in terms of forward dribbles and attempted through passes was minimal. He show good intent in terms of having a number of shots on goal but his shooting accuracy was again poor.

    CF: Lacazette
    A difficult game for Lacazette who was largely deprived of any service from Bellerin, Iwobi, Welbeck and Kolasinac. He had a couple of efforts on goal, one of which was on target and he was surprisingly solid aerially. Hard to be too critical of him when the team is not playing to his strengths.

    All in all an encouraging defensive performance from Arsenal’s central defence and central midfield. Whether Arsenal’s central midfield can repeat that type of defensive performance match after match is a big question. Who Arsenal should deploy in the two attacking midfield positions behind the centre forward also remains a problem for Arsenal as Alexis (poor ball security and passing accuracy), Welbeck (poor creativity and shooting accuracy), Iwobi (poor creativity and goal scoring initiative) and Ozil (poor goal scoring initiative and ball security) all have their evident weaknesses. That said, I’ll take a controlled defensive performance from Arsenal as opposed to a reckless attacking performance any day of the week.

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