Ozil and Alexis Back | Our Strongest Possible Team against West Brom

….Playing football the Arsenal Way!

Proper football is back on the agenda this weekend but we need to wait till Monday evening to get our ‘injection’. It will be interesting to see how our main competitors for the title will fare this afternoon. Hopefully some will drop points to give us an opportunity to move closer to the top four.

The good news is that most of our first-choice players are fit. Ozil is still a doubt but I reckon he will play. Welbeck is out but he was only keeping Sanchez’s spot warm. Our defenders will be well rested as will be our midfielders and wing backs, and Lacazette will be relishing a new opportunity to win over the home fans.

It will be nice to see Kieran Gibbs return to the home of football. I am glad he moved on and chose to play regular football. You only live this life once so may as well take the opportunity to play football rather than warm the bench season after season at Arsenal. Let’s just hope he plays ok against us but not a blinder.

As many here know, I am excited in the partnership of Rambo and Xhaka and reckon that, together with Ozil as the more advanced midfielder, they can lead us to silverware. As a team we need to play with intensity and focus as to attack AND defend together as an unbeatable unit. Against the Chavs we saw, once again, how strong we can be if we play like purpose, pace and discipline.

Now it is important to continue with the same shape and focus against Pulis’ West Brom, a team that will sit back and defend with discipline, hoping to beat us on the break and with set-pieces. If we attack them without intensity and not as a solid unit, we will make it hard for ourselves. I reckon Ozil and Alexis – our two true top footballers – will both start on Monday with Lacazette in the CF position, and I cannot wait to see them play together from the start. This is a very exciting attacking trio to have, possibly the best one we have had in more than a decade.

The final excitement I want to talk about is the trio of Koz-Mustafi-Nacho at the back. Surrounded by very good wing-backs and a solid, steady goalkeeper , they have the speed, aggression and defensive skillset to allow us to press high and dominate play in the opposition’s half.

And as long as Arsene is at the helm, this is the only way for Arsenal; and long may it continue. Good, classic defending may be an art worth watching – and we all like a clean sheet – but true excitement comes from relentless, clever and deadly attacking football. We have the team and bench to play that sort of football so let’s go for it.

Predicted Line-Up:

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By TotalArsenal

23 thoughts on “Ozil and Alexis Back | Our Strongest Possible Team against West Brom

  • TA ….. that line up looks 11/11. If there is going to be any tweaking I’d say let it be in the striker position. West Brom are likely going to sit back and leave no spaces for movements. That suits Giroud more than it suits Lacaz. Further more, most of our attack in the 3:4:3 come from the wide areas which again suits Giroud better. Against Bournmouth and Chelsea only 22% and 25% of our attack went through the center (Whoscored). So I’d understand it if Wenger uses Giroud instead of Lacaz. Also defensively Giroud would stiffen us adainst West Brom’s set pieces, an area of strength for them.

    The rest of our fellow top 7 teams of last season won their weekend matches. We dare not loose ours. We should approach this game patiently with emphasis not to conceede first. Over 90 mins our goal(s) would come. The key to our success I suspect would lie on how disciplined (patient) our CM pair of Xhaka and Rambo play. West Brom would be set up to catch us on the counter.

    TA, I share your sentiment on Gibbs. If their is one player who should be very well received it’s him back home at the Emirate. He never raised a dust throughout his career with us.

  • Hi all.. Hi TA..
    Don’t rushed for Ozil.. Let him rest much longer.. Good for him and good for the team..
    We know that Wenger won’t let him sit quietly if he is available and that’s mean we never have a change for another formation in our team.. I like to see us playing 3-5-2 formation..
    I wish to see Xhaka and Ramsey but also Wilshere.. So the best thing happened if Ozil was absent.. hehehehe..
    Sanchez and Lacazette Will fit with two strikers upfront..

    Yes.. West Brom isn’t an easy thing to deal.. but we must try all kind formation that can release all the potential in our team..
    I still believe Sanchez and Lacazette Will suit more in 3-5-2 formation.. hehehe..

  • Ozil wasn’t really injured HeheheheHenry. Just given a break to think about his contract I reckon. I like Jack but Mesut is our main creative player.

  • I am not sure about another game in less than a week for Alexis. Sure, he is the best man in that position, but i think Wenger will try to put Iwobi there first and then Alexis as a sub.

    We should not under estimate our opponents, and as Gibbs knows our tactics clearly, it is for sure that they are going to give us a hard time.

    I agree with you TA that it is really quiet here, and it might pick up tomorrow when our regular commentators come in.

    Get the win tomorrow lads.

  • Yeah TA, I also noticed the number of views vs comments… That said, having gotten up late and seen that all the top teams were winning, I didn’t have much to add… In such a situation, trying to sum up the bottom-line, what can be said beyond, Must Win?…

    For Gooners who don’t want excess hand-wringing, we’ll probably also want a(nother) clean sheet and commanding performances from the groups you mention, including shows of “happiness” (at Arsenal, contracts surely to be signed soon…) from Alexis and Ozil. I wonder… We’re getting no word that negotiations are progressing (or even being attempted…) so maybe Wenger needs to talk more about “lacking match fitness” and “small problem with his knee” and get the “don’t need them anyhow” headlines going with starts for Iwobi/Jack/Giroud/Theo, etc., etc.

    Putting that soap opera over to one side, I think you’re right to highlight Mustafi at center-center as the lynch-pin that sets Xhaka and Ramsey into motion, with support and balance coming from Nacho and Kos, and, just ahead, Kola and Bells. In general–for me at least–this is the key: can we get the fore-aft balance correct so that we look impeccable at the back (i.e., continued clean sheets…) and spaced enough at the front to make sufficient good scoring chances? Three (or is it five?…) at the back looked good enough vs Chavs but less so in midweek vs a team that sat back. West Brom are a good test as they won’t be quite so passive (as Doncaster was…) and will be keen to take the ball from us and get it forward in a hurry. Kieran Gibbs is one player who can play a role but let’s not gloss over Grzegorz Krychowiak, a guy many believed should have been ours, as he could have been the (ever elusive…) “new Vieira.”

    This is not an easy match but it’s also one where the expectations have been set by the results of our rivals. As such, I’d call it a “Must Win–(but) Can’t Win…” situation. Good times…

  • Fine comments all round as we have a Monday game foisted on us, despite being in Europe on Thursday this week. I only just arrived LAGOS this evening and couldn’t see this earlier.

    First off, I am not one of those who thinks Ozil’s injury is one in Arsene Wenger’s repertoire of “diplomatic injuries”, simply because Ozil himself confirmed the injury, while assuring he was working his way back to readiness. Usually, the players maintain silence when Wenger comes up with these stories, but Ozil corroborated it. Why did he need to, when he should be sulking? Answer me that.

    Which brings me to the selection; I feel Ozil won’t be rushed back unless he has kept himself in shape and the manager buys it. So, as JK stated, maybe Iwobi comes in for him until about the 60th, when Ozil may come in to weave his magic. Only area I don’t share JK’s concerns is on Alexis starting or not. I think he’s going to start, being the whole idea of playing him for 90 minutes in the Carabao cup (don’t forget Ozil started that game too).

    Pulls is sure to make the game hard for us, as he is wont to do. The added spice of Jake Livermore (ex-Spurs), Evans and then Gibbs playing will make the game tastier (read harder), but we should be beating WBA at the Emirates and it is time Lacazette started to stamp his authority on the games; his bedding in period is surely over now and he has to take a look at our rivals’ other new strikers to the league and how they are hitting 3s and 2s, with assists. He has to or he may soon find himself under pressure to show his worth, which isn’t ideal for the Frenchman.

  • OT.

    It’s been pointed out in the past that one of the reasons English clubsides find it tough going in Europe is the high intensity at which the game is played in England, the lack of a winter break/frequency of games and the lack of support from the FA with regards to fixture spacing/scheduling in weeks leading to CL/Europa fixtures.

    The Germans and Spanish do this well and so do the Italians. All three federations always ensure their teams in Europe get to play their games no later than Saturday, preceding the Europe game. For instance, Bayern played on Friday last week, as they go to PSG later this week. Real Madrid, Athletico, Sevilla and Barcelona all played their league fixtures early on Saturday. Monaco played on Friday as well, while PSG played on Saturday.

    I still can’t wrap my head around having Arsenal play a fixture against a WBA side who would not have anything against playing the game on a Sunday, for instance, on a Monday night when we travel all the way to Bate Borisov to play in an early fixture on Thursday; a tough trip, by every consideration. The fact we play at night on a Monday leaves us with very little time to rest, train, pack our bags and head to Eastern Europe. The argument may be that we play a weakened side in Europa but the FA should not concern itself with such matters and should not even be seen to be encouraging such anyway. In any case, we will usually play some of our key 1st teamers in Giroud, Mustafi, Elneny and who knows if we won’t take Ozil and Alexis along for the insurance. It only goes to fuel conspiracy theories, even if it all has to do with MONEY after all said and done.

  • Hey ‘Eris… Interesting comments… You must’ve meant somebody besides Ozil re: starting Weds vs Doncaster, so that bit was a little hard to follow…

    Re: the scheduling… Indeed, it’s all about the money and also, IMO, about the lack of respect for those couple of clubs playing on Spursdays… In Spain the TV contracts are organized in a very different manner and, I’m guessing, RM and Barca more or less tell La Liga when they want to play.
    We have the deeper league, which is fun on the one hand, but also makes the probability of an English team winning the CL a lot more remote. (Although those silly money teams ought to be giving it a go…)

    In truth, I’m kinda liking the idea of lots of Sunday games, which, like this one, means that you more or less know what’s needed to keep up with your rivals. My guess is that this means even more emphasis on defending first and trying to keep clean sheets. Already we are well behind on goal difference with the Manc teams so I can’t see that as a real concern. Likewise, I’m not sure Lacazette should be thinking about his goal (and assist) tally at this point. If he’s the starting #9 on a team that’s doing well, he’ll get his time with the French team alongside the likes of Benzema, Greizmann, Mbappe, and our own big Ollie, the guy who should probably be quite concerned about making it to Russia next summer. In other words, just like everybody else, we should be focused on getting the 3 pts tomorrow night and not be overly concerned if we fail to run up a tally. West Brom are a strong team who will relish it if we come out thinking attack, attack, attack. Playing on the break–even if they can only get a few corners or FKs from fouls–suits them to a T. Losing to them 3-1 the last time out would suggest expectations for a very difficult game. Of course, those go out the window, you know, “if we want to show we can compete for the title,” thus, there will be plenty of jittery Gooners if we don’t score early and often. Once again, as always it seems (to me at least), our extremely demanding fan base puts excruciating pressure on the boys…

    Dennis forbid if they don’t measure up… 😮 😦

  • Maybe not so many comments, but top quality.. I find that people the posters here often sway my opinion by the power of their argument.

    Eris, agreed that Ozil slight injury was real because of his twitter posts.
    Agree even more about rank stupidity of the Monday scheduling, because it was completely avoidable, with no harm to any ratings or finances.

    Pony makes a good point and i would not be surprised if Wenger chose Giroud, though this is not exactly the same style as the Stoke days of Pulis, even if he will probably set up similarly.
    Anyway, i hope you are wrong, because i have lacazette in my fantasy squad. I would choose him in reality myself.

    17, didn’t get a chance to comment, but on the previous days post about Wilshere, I disagree on a few levels…. I reallly hope to be debating you about Jack all season long… meaning… he will be fit and playing all season. He will win you over if that’s the case. Especially important that he is regularly available through the holidays, where there is the hope that even Cazorla can be worked in little by little.
    I thought Jack showed great signs regardless of the competition.
    I made a point of watching him play for Bournemouth last season, to analyze, and i could never shake the feeling that he just couldnt pull that team up to his level, though he was trying certainly. Even with an almost complete second Arsenal team, I thought he looked like the player we all remember. I hope Wenger continues to mix him in wisely, to keep him healthy, and happy. My gut says that he will renew with Arsenal if the club asks him to.

  • Anyone reckon Jack will feature in tonight’s match? It is at a bad timing for me (2.45am local time) so i will only catch it on the highlights and the full match replay.

    For me, i would like the team to play well but conserve energy after scoring in the first half. Thursday night footy is no joke as it takes a toll on the players. Playing in Eastern Europe only adds up to the physical stress.

  • Njk, i doubt Jack would be used. He should get a weeks rest, and would set it up nicely for Thursday if Wenger chooses a slightly more important game than Doncaster.
    But mostly, I don’t see any reason why a fit and rested Ramsey and Xhaka wouldn’t start anyway. They worked very hard at Chelsea, and Jack probably won’t supplant them this season anyway. I see it more as a proving fitness and quality year. But no doubt he will be the best midfielder in England (not just best English midfielder) eventually, with any luck.

    I know, I sound like Total.

  • njk ….. I believe Wenger will be extremely patient with Jack so at best he’d sit on the bench.

    Tony Pulis would sit back for sure and invite our attack. More than loving to attack, Rambo loves being where the action is. He played with great territorial “discipline” against Chelsea, because of the fact that most of the action was in the midfield. West Brom would present a different kind of temptation to him. We will dominate possession up field and Rambo must get himself to be part of that action. Fair enough because his presence helps to cause overload.

    It would however result in Xhaka being the only one manning the large space between our back line and our attackers, as the wing backs will be used in the forward areas for getting behind the opponent lines. This would leave us vulnerable to counter attacks, exactly how we were hurt by Stoke.

    In the attempt to counter this, the back 3 might push forward but again leaving themselves susceptible to over-the-head balls.

    Where is the solution? Against Stoke (a team that sat back) we had 77% possession meaning that our 3-man defence (3 out of 10 outfield players) had virtually nothing doing in the game. That appears to me a luxury that should not be accommodated in our tactics.

    A possible solution is for 1 of the back 3, say Mustafi, to push up to support Xhaka in that big space leaving 2 holding the rear. This has to be supported by aggressive pressing by our forward players whenever they loose possession. That pressing amongst other thing disrupts the opponent’s ability to transform their defensive stance into an offensive shape. However the whole texture of the game changes if we score early forcing Tony Pulis to come out fighting.

    Novelty aside, I believe this is a game very suited to Giroud as the striker. Lacaz is preferable for the more open games.

  • I think you are right TA aweekend without football left me feeling a little flat, made worse by all the other results. Tonight’s game will be really tough. I think the key to it will be if we can score early and then defend properly. How many times lately have we struggled to score and when we do, immediately give it away at the back.,,the Ozil position worries me a little. If he doesn’t play, I don’t think Iwobi is firing on all cylinders at the moment.

    I think Theo may have a part to play tonight. I know it was only Doncaster, but that goal last week will have given him much needed confidence.

  • 17ht, – Likewise, I’m not sure Lacazette should be thinking about his goal (and assist) tally at this point. If he’s the starting #9 on a team that’s doing well, ….

    You’re right, it shouldn’t concern him now (just me trying to negate the rival fan banter and memes), but soon enough, it should. It is in the nature of strikers to think that way, so I hope Wenger retains confidence in him and keep right on playing him in the games, no matter what. He still looks like the ‘new guy’ in the team and you feel he needs to shed that toga and assert himself more.

    Retsub1, it just didn’t seem right not seeing us play at the weekend (Saturday or Sunday); to think we could have as only one game was played on Sunday, anyway. Just read we even have an early fixture next Sunday, after returning from Bate Borisov; good thing Wenger isn’t moaning (a new leaf, he’s turned there) or it could well carry through to the players.

    I think if he starts, Iwobi will hold his own against Westbrom, especially if his instruction will be to drive forward, different from instructions at Chelsea. Theo still needs games where he will play the full game, to regain his confidence.

  • We need to forget about the competition tonight. A win takes us to seventh which is a massive leap. And another win will takes us closer to either City or Chelsea or both the coming weekend. OGAAT. Will watch this in pub with a bit of luck. COYGs

  • Hi TA…I’m gonna try and do the live-blog thing…so I hope you (and others, of course) can join in with thoughts about the game…

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