Sead, Jack, Aaron, Granit to Boss Midfield against Man City: Line-Up|Preview

These are the sort of days us club football supporters live for. We know that after today we will fall in a dark club-football abyss with yet another fortnight of international football on the cards. But today it is a football feast as we travel to the money-for-glory Northern-Oilers, who are flying high on their investments in both (probably) the best manager in the game and a fabulous squad of players. They are flying higher than Icarus once did, so let’s present them with hellish, blinding, relentless canon fire and bring them back down to earth.

Wenger has a good record against Guardiola, despite always being the poorer manager of the two, and from the interview with him on we know that he has been preparing well for this pivotal match. A win would be just what we and the competition needs…. and a loss would create a massive gap between them and us – one that we are very unlikely to bridge during the large remainder of the season.

Arsene does not want to sit back and absorb City’s pressure for 90 minutes, but he also realises that we cannot impose our game on them, as this would leave too much space for Guardiola’s men to attack us with ease and deadly consequences as soon as we lose the ball in midfield.

Wenger’s best game against Guardiola was our 2-1 win against Barcelona at home a long time ago (it seems). Who does not remember the Wilshere-Fabregas instigated counter-attack from deep in our own half that was finished so brilliantly by Arshavin? I reckon our best chance to beat MC is once again by fighting them in midfield tooth and nail and sitting back as our base position. We need to be able to keep the ball when we have it and pass our way out of their suffocating press. In my view, Arsene needs to play five in midfield with one/two mobile attacker(s) ready to be at the end of a counter-attack or receive the ball from over the top. We need to keep them away from our ‘D’ area and protect our flanks by doubling up, or even tripling up.

Alternatively, and Wenger may well be tempted to do this, we can opt to push them back in their half and play our game – similar to what we did against the Chavs in the FA Cup final. But I hope we do not try this.

If there is a weakness at MC it is their CBs, and the likes of Alexis, Lacazette, or even Theo, could cause a real threat in this game. I would opt for Alexis and Lacazette in attack, but Wenger may be tempted to play Theo up-top for his added speed and ruthlessness when a ball is played over the top.

At the back we are likely to see Cech-Nacho-BFG-Koz, as Mustafi still appears to be unfit. The BFG is a brilliant organiser and interceptor and his lack of speed will not be exposed too much as long as we play compact at the back, and a lot deeper than usual (which is to be expected).

The big decisions Wenger has to make are what formation will we play and who to play in midfield. Luckily, he has plenty of options with Jack, Rambo, Ozil, Elneny, Xhaka, Bellerin, Kolasinac and Coquelin, and even Debuchy, all available. Wenger may stick with 3-4-3 on paper but surely we will see a compact formation that looks more like 3-6-1 or 4-5-1 or 5-3-2, or, most possibly 3-5-2.

In terms of midfielders, Wenger will have to go with experience, ability to control the ball in tight areas and passing skills. Ozil is a sure start. Kolasinac is a sure start. Rambo is a sure start (but his discipline will be a key factor). Xhaka and Hector are question marks. The former may struggle with the lack of space afforded to him, but then again he is the one who can play a ball over the top with precision… The latter is still a work in progress and his final ball when he is attacking is not yet good enough.

My gut feeling is that Jack may start in this game, possibly next to Rambo in the centre of midfield, or next to Xhaka with Rambo playing on the right side of midfield. We need proper, ball-loving midfielders in midfield for this one. So my predicted line-up is as below, with both Mesut and Alexis playing a little deeper than usual so we can win the battle in midfield.

Predicted Line-Up:

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Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal

23 thoughts on “Sead, Jack, Aaron, Granit to Boss Midfield against Man City: Line-Up|Preview

  • Ramsey instead of Bellerin?

    That’s radical, I can see where your coming from, one our best performances in recent years was at home to Bayern, Ramsey on the right, Pep in the dugout and Ozil had a sparkling evening.

    But dear old Arsene is far too conservative for that Total, it’ll be the usual EPL Line-up.
    I’m really looking forward to the game, these are the matches that it’s all about.
    A 2-2 draw I reckon, but it might depend who scores first, I wouldn’t want to have to chase the game. Pep is sure to remind his players about Wembley, they’ve got a score to settle for that one.

    Jack on the bench coming on with 20 minutes to spare.

    Just an aside, do you think that Pep would be interested in taking Jack in the summer?
    A nightmare scenario I know, but it’s up for grabs…

  • My favourite team of Arsenal is the same like that. Peter Cech and Ospina also weaken sometimes. So i want to see Macey atbthe goal. Mertesacker is a bit slow so i want to replace him with Holding.

  • Quite radical a line up, but one that may work if City do not also come with fast paced wingers. Ramsey cannot match Shane’s speed with the ball; not many can, in any case, so the best bet is to play with our quickest full back for the job: Hector Bellerin. He has to know why he is in the side and that’s to stop Sane marauding down that flank, which he must do with discipline.

    I worry that Sead Kolasinac was not seen in the last training pics. If he is able to start, great. If he isn’t, it also works well because it will give Wenger the excuse to play a 4-3-3 (metamorphosing to a 4-4-2, or 4-5-1, as required) formation for this game. I feel we shall have Kos and Mert in CB; Bells and Monreal as Full backs, with Xhaka, Elneny and Rambo in midfield; Ozil will be the pivot for the midfield while also attacking from the right when we have the ball, to allow Ramsey make his runs into their box. When defending, Ramsey and Elneny will have to support the full backs, doubling up on either of Sterling and Sane for the period they remain on the pitch.

    One minor concern though, for me, is the vast knowledge of how Wenger prepares for such games that Mikel Arteta possesses; I bet Pep will rely on him for this one and he will probably be able to second guess a man he’s worked with as captain and technical leader for years.

    Let’s hope his counsel will be foolishness like that of Ahithophel (Bible scholars will get that) for this purpose.

    COYG!!! Let’s do this.

  • Pep frankly, has no need of taking Jack, with the riches he has in the same position. Of course, you have some of them aging but City also possess youth with great skill, if you’ve seen some academy games and the stars they had in the World Cup winning England youth sides. Any such rumours now will only serve to distract the young man from focusing on getting back into contention for club and country.

  • Well written T A a very positive spin. I don’t think Wenger will change the A team much, but personally I would rather have Debuchy than Bellerin if he could last 90 minutes.
    If Ozil turns up we have a chance, but I hope Wenger is brave enough to haul him off early if he isn’t pulling his weight.

    I agree about Xhaka if City put him under a lot of pressure we may struggle, important if he plays the players around him provide a level of protection.

    I think we all agree if we trade punches up front they wil outscore us and if we play to deep they will eventually break us down. All about balance I guess


  • Hi all.. Hi TA..
    Is Kolasinac fit enough to play..??
    I hope so.. We need him to win this game..

    3-5-2 is my favourite..
    I hope for once Wenger will try this.. hehehehe..
    Yes, I’m agree we must win the battle in the midfield.. And I still think Ozil will be more succed as AM than as a Winger..

    Playing Wilshere – Ozil and Ramsey together ia a nice idea.. but to put Ramsey in Bellerin post is too advance and to risky in such important game..

    Let’s hope our Gunners warriors are fit enough to fight.. and we Will see all real EPL fight tonight.. VCC

  • This is one of those games that I don’t really have a feeling how Arsene wants to set up. I assume the stars.. Ozil, Sanchez, play if fit. Probably not Jack, but i would love to see it. I hope we give City a match like they haven’t seen yet this year.

  • A little bit annoyed that Lacazette isn’t starting. He’s better at holding the ball than Alexis but Alexis a lot more dynamic with it. Probably the better choice with a back four to counter wingers and fullbacks of City. COYG

  • Well, teams are out and Kolasinac starts but, we’ve dropped Mertesacker, Lacazette and started with Iwobi, Alexis and Ozil up front.

  • Eris.. 4-5-1 is also reasonable if Kolasinac can’t play.. But maybe 4-1-4-1 make more sense.. and thats mean we need Coquelin.. Or cancel we trust Xhaka for that..?? Maybe Elneny can do it, after several games as a Central CB..

    Sanchez-Wilshere-Ozil-Ramsey can be great..
    But are we prepared for that..??

  • Manchester City XI: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Stones, Delph, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, Sane, Aguero
    Substitutes: Bravo, Danilo, Gundogan, Mangala, Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Toure

    Arsenal XI: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis
    Substitutes: Macey, Debuchy, Elneny, Wilshere, Walcott, Lacazette, Giroud

  • Does this also mean Mert may have picked up an injury? I do hope Kolasinac isn’t being rushed back but he is the man to keep Sterling in check, if he stays disciplined and recover back in time.

    I like it when we reshuffle things for a specific game; so much for the old narrative that Wenger only focuses on his team and the “way we play”, and never seeks to negate oppositions’ strengths or exploit the other team’s weaknesses. The idea here will be to disrupt the flow between Fernandinho, Silva and DeBruyne, who is likely to shift over to the wings to overload that area in the hope he can slip in a full back or Aguero, depending on the stage of play. Hopefully, Ozil keeps them busy too while Ramsey plays his normal game with both Coq and Xhaka behind him.

    Come on, lads. No nerves, now….

  • I was right, not just about myself, but nobody could have called this starting 11. I understand the thinking, its a defensive set up. I was thinking i would use coquelin today, so no disagreement from me there. But again, i rate lacazette, so I dont like his exclusion.

    Honestly, if we want hard workers, who help in defense, maybe drop Ozil. I know many gooners feel that way. I dont usually call for it, but this might be the type of match to “rest” him.

    I hope Mesut comes out and impresses, and proves many of us wrong.

  • jw1 says:
    November 5, 2017 at 13:34
    FWIW– across the bottom of my screen reads AFC in a 4-3-3.


    Yeah, jw1. Just like my first post stated, we have “an excuse” to go 4-3-3, so as to nullify some of their threats in midfield. This devolves into a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, depending on the situation we are in. It is largely going to be a 4-4-2 as Iwobi may be forced to come in-field to steal the ball off Fernandinho or Debryune.

  • Hi guys… Bit of a disastrous morning here… Trouble with the espresso grinder… 😮 Luckily with the extra hour (we did our time change last night…) I’ve got it fixed and now I’m here…

    Should I be trying to do my live blog thing? I can do it here in the comments or start up a new thread…

    To me it looks like a 4-2-4-0 or a very (very) defensive line-up… Sorry for those who wanted Jack in there, but there was zero chance of that happening, IMO after 90 mins on Thursday and some time down on the pitch after some crunch tackles. Some say he’s learned not to go in for those. Given the pace this game will be played at, he would be cruisin’ for a brusin’ (as they say). Maybe late on if things slow down a bit…

    Ramsey at RB? That’s a position where the team actually needs you to man a particular part of the pitch. I think Hector’s due for a big game and is a fine RB so I’m always surprised that so many have turned their back on him. Maybe if that smash against the bar had gone in last weekend…

    How many changes in City’s line-up from Napoli… Only a couple, I think. That might be considered a positive (less rest) but they’ll likely be just fine in front of their own fans. We shall see… Totts see out CP with that boring, boring scoreline… Too bad…

    TA… Lemme know re: live-blog stuff…

  • You’re right Eris, much responsibility on Ramsey in this game. He will be working his hardest, i have no doubt. And I have called for 4-3-3 recently because of shortage of central defenders. Today, I like it as a defensive formation. Mertesacker maybe considered not quick enough to handle this attack of Sterling, Sane, etc.

    Henry, I guess, Alexis is our closest to striker today. I liked him used that way early last season.

    I am looking for something from Iwobi, effort I expect, but also looking for some production.

  • Well, I’ve gone and done it… Mostly because I found a photo I liked with some of our extra midfielders… Please join me over on the…


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