Laca CF, Supported by Mkhi, Ozil, Rambo |Elneny and Jack in DM-pivot: Preview

Arsenal v Everton

A new beginning at the home of football?

Every game is a big one nowadays and tomorrow’s one against Sam and Feo’s Toffees will be an even bigger one. We had a hectic but very successful final week of the TW, during which, regrettably, we also suffered a painful loss away to Swansea. This loss allowed the gap with Pool (and now also with Chelsea) to slip to eight points again, which has left the Gunners in a precarious positions to say the least.

It is all about balance between defence and attack and Arsene keeps struggling to get it right. Yes some of the individual performances were below par and there is nothing Wenger can do about these, but in terms of formation and game plan something is missing. Many want a beast of a DM to protect the back four, but Wenger doesn’t see it that way. All-rounders in midfield is his solution, but he keeps changing players as to get the balance right. Key is that the two deepest midfielders form a horizontal mobile wall to both protect the defence and push up to keep the opponent hemmed into their own half when we are attacking.

Unfortunately, we have seen the more attack-minded central midfielder join the attack almost constantly, thus leaving his mate often isolated when there is a turnover. We look so  vulnerable in midfield so often in games, and this has to change asap. I feel we are totally dependent on Jack to make our midfield work. He is  the natural leader who has the discipline to stay central, sit deep when needed and choose the right moment to join the attack. He also has that rare ability to go past a player or two and thus create crucial movement and unpredictability up-front. His added ability to pick a brilliant deep pass is also very important. Elneny or Xhaka are the obvious options to sit deep with him. The former is the more disciplined and has my preference right now.

Up-front it looks like Aubameyang may not start as he will have a late fitness test, which to me sounds like he will be on the bench (Welbeck is still injured). Wenger may want to keep him fresh for the pivotal Spuddies game, as to scare the cr*p out of them. 🙂 So I am going for Lacazette up-front with Ozil behind him in the hole. I then would love to see Mkhitaryan and Rambo ‘on the wings’, interchanging with Ozil as much as possible. Both Henrikh and Aaron should also give the midfield extra protection when required and they will work well on the flanks with their full backs.

So this is my preferred line-up for the Toffees match:

submit football lineup

Whether Wenger will do the same remains to be seen. He will have to get it right as we cannot afford more points being dropped.

I reckon it is time to do the 7/4 split for the rest of the season once again: seven players focus mainly on defending and keeping it tight – basically focus hard on a clean sheet; and four players who are mainly focussed on creating and taking chances. Of course it is not as black and white as this, but I guess you know what I mean.

Anyway, cannot wait to see the boys play tomorrow.

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!

By TotalArsenal.


121 thoughts on “Laca CF, Supported by Mkhi, Ozil, Rambo |Elneny and Jack in DM-pivot: Preview

  • I really like your team for tomorrow. I think as well (with Theo gone) Nelson may have a big role to play as a wide forward either coming or from start in future games. It Can be difficult to break teams down without width and i believe he can fill this role. Fingers crossed for a new start tomorrow.

  • Agreed on that lineup. We might be doing a 3-4-2-1 instead with the same people, but it is up to Wenger to call the shots. And yes, we cannot afford to drop any more points. Every game is a cup final to us from now on.

    Just don’t put Iwobi in the starting lineup Wenger. Please don’t.

  • Bingo TA! Exactly the setup I was considering. Jack and Elneny in the ‘buddy system’ can work. One stay mindful of the other. Placing Ramsey in that attacking foursome gives higher probability to ‘keeping clean sheet’.


  • Thanks for the preview , T.
    Great comments from everybody in the preceding post also.

    I like your line up just fine, but I prefer Jack more advanced than Rambo for a few good reasons.

    Going forward into the exciting future, I like Pony Eye’s suggestion yesterday, with Auba a bit wider using his pace…. I really think Lacazette can take advantage of the attention PEA will necessitate. And he really can put away chances.

  • I know what you mean TA ….. with that front 4 and over 90 minutes we would always nick a goal or two and the 7 would assure that Cech’s clean sheet record is regularly broken by him.

    Your line up looks like it but am like a kid desperate to play with his new toy Auba. We might see 25 minutes of him.

    From your line up I’d swap positions for Miki and Ramsey. Why? Ozil likes drifting left while Ramsey likes drifting centre. That would leave our right flank deserted which would then entice Bellerin to move up upsetting your 7/4 default split. What more, Bellerin isn’t that fabulous with his deliveries from that right flank. So I’d put Miki there and Rambo left. Rambo drifting centre and Ozil drifting left becomes like a switch between the two during play.

    On the defensive side we should not play a high line. Walcott’s off the shoulder runs are excellent and our central defenders are quite poor at picking out such runs, made worse by the fact that Cech is not nimble enough coming off his line.

    Elneny made 100% pass success rate against Swansea. As far as am concerned that tells a story of passes that lack penetration. He needs to improve his verticality. That slow horizontal build up allows the opposition to put men behind the ball which gets us stuck in front of their 18.

  • Rambo drifting centre “from the left” and Ozil drifting left “from the centre” become like a switch between the two during play.

  • From 7amkickoff ….. “Arsenal’s defense is a shambles. Of course I didn’t need to tell you that, you’re probably an Arsenal supporter and you’ve probably watched Arsenal play football this season. But more specifically, Arsenal lead the League in defensive errors leading to goals with 11 – 4 of those errors have come from Petr Cech alone (leads the League as a player).”

    Is it time to switch to Ospina? A goalkeeper that has gotten prone to errors affects the confidence of the men in front of him and that’s a recipe for disaster. Cech is poor with the ball at his feet and that hampers our ability to play out from the back which is a big negative for a possession based team. It’s important to recognize that possession is part of our defensive ploy.

  • I like the line up a lot TA. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Iwobi in the Rambo place though. And whether Elneny has replaced Xhaka I’m also less than sure. I’d be very happy to see your line up take the field. If Auba starts then my hunch is Mkhi misses out to begin with. Big game for us.

  • Hi all..

    TA.. Can Wilshere play..??
    Isn’t he sick and also Auba..??

    With our lost against Swansea.. I begin to confuse about our defense style..
    Which one is the best.. 2CB + DM or 3 CB.. Hehehe..

    If Jack absent.. I recommend we playing 3-4-2-1.. With Kolasinac and Bellerin as WB.. Two in the middle must be Elneny and Ramsey..
    Three strikers will be Mhiki, Ozil and Lacazette..

  • PE, when Petr Cech was at Chelsea, I believe that the Chavs employed his regular goalkeeping coach, the man who had worked with Petr most of his impressive career.
    At Arsenal Petr is coached by Gerry Payton, one of Arsene’s choices, Peyton took over from Bob Wilson, who worked impressively with David Seaman.
    Now I don’t know what anybody else thinks but I don’t think that Peyton is the best you could have in that dept, in an area where Arsene doesn’t seem to be too strong himself, that is goalkeeping and the judgement of goalkeepers. And let’s be clear, Arsene has over his time at Arsenal has signed quite a few limited goalkeepers.

  • Therefore, you have to question what help can Peyton impart on Cech during this period when his form has suffered a dip.

  • I think Cech’s position needs addressing with the club going in seriously for a top replacement like the guy at Atletico, but I believe that Petr isn’t as bad as what is being suggested in the media, it’s as much a confidence thing as anything and that isn’t a surprise given the shambles in front of him.

  • Maybe Auba would start (my new toy). One other thing I wold like to see is Ozil operating from deeper areas. He brings intelligence into our play from deep. A modified 4:3:3 (4:1:2:3) would bring Ozil deeper and paired with Jack whom he gets on very well with. This gives the line up as:-

    Bel Musti Kos Nacho
    –Ozil — Jack–

    For me, Ospina starts ahead of Cech because the confidence of the players in front of Cech, particularly with ball to feet must have gotten battered.

  • Hi Don’t,

    Would be good to see a bit of Nelson today. Good shout about having width. I am hoping for a strong line of creative midfielders who will find the gaps in the double parked busses of the Toffees, and both Nacho and Bellerin should regularly get behind their defence too. But a proper winger on after 60 minutes also sounds attractive.

  • Summer window would then be for a world class keeper, strengthenning of the defence and the CM. We seem to be rebuilding from the front.

  • JW1,

    Yes I like Ramsey to play on the right a bit higher up. We need goal threat and that is what he offers. Also like to see him play on the ‘same line’ with Ozil and Mkhi.

  • Johnnie, Jack is needed deeper with both Ozil and Mkhi already on the pitch imo. I feel he and Elneny will make a very strong tandem in midfield.

  • I suspect we never planned for Auba, but we moved quickly when he suddenly became available so ‘cheaply’. Our defensive area needed more urgent attention.

  • Hey PE,

    Good comment even though I don’t agree with most of it.

    Rambo functions well on the right side and I like him, Mesut and Henrikh to interchange a lot. I also like the FB to play a bit more conservative today: only now and again come forward and from a strong defensive line with the CBs.

    Elneny 100% pass completion is just great. Not sure why you could see a negative in this. He is our hub in midfield and keeps things ticking over. Top guy.

    Cech may make mistakes but he also makes big saves for us. I am 100% behind Petr – nobody is Betr. 🙂

  • Hey AB,

    I reckon Mkhi is an almost ‘certain’ to play today. I rate Xhaka and I reckon he will come good, but I reckon he would play better in the Jack role than in the Elneny one right now.

  • PE, we have to see how it will go with Laca and Auba (they sound like exotic islands in the Caribbean). My view is that Laca will benefit from a bit more space around him as all defenders know that he should not be allowed to get in a shooting position. Auba is strong in the box and a bit more of an athlete. So my preference for now is to play: Laca – Auba- Ozil with Mesut ideally playing a bit behind the other two, and Laca playing a bit more on the wing.

  • I like this titbit from the BBC website:

    describing his team-mate Leon Bailey in admiring terms: “He’s often our tin-opener, the guy who opens the scoring or comes up with the winner. In this sort of form, he’s worth his weight in gold.”
    Leaving aside the question of how the tin-opener metaphor works (it may have been lost in translation) we have been calculating what Bailey’s weight in gold would be.
    Leon Bailey went to Bayer Leverkusen for 20m euros (£17.5m) last year.
    He weighs 75kg and gold costs about £30 a gram, so his weight in gold would be about £2.3m.

  • Petr is betr, 😃

    Just a thought about Aubameyang and his age, PEA is at his peak and is for the here and now, which is what we as a club need right now. At 28, he could give us 3 or 4 really productive years, also his age shouldn’t kill the prospect of Nketiah and/or Mavididi making the grade.

    And whilst on the kids, what a great performance by Kwame Ampadu’s charges in going up to Middlesbrough and getting the better of a team who had beaten them at London Colney earlier in the season. Another great crop coming through the system it seems…

  • Gino, our sailing Gooner, please let’s hear from you again. You wanted change in January…. What do you make of our signings and departures?

  • TA.. If that’s Wenger said.. So we will see Auba play.. Hehehe.. And I hope Lacazette playing in a new Sanchez rule..

    And I still believe that Mustafi must warm the bench thistime.. Hehehe..
    To many mistakes for a very mature CB.. Only competition will make them shine..

  • PE–
    Understand the consternation over the ‘errors attributed’ to Cech.
    Though we’re likely not having the discussion if it weren’t for Mustafi playing a ball back to Cech in horrid conditions with 3 attackers nearing the goal. A very poor decision.


  • Arsenal vs Everton Confirmed Lineups:

    Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Ramsey, Xhaka, Iwobi; Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan

    Everton: Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Williams, Mangala Martina; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Bolasie; Niasse

    by Taboola Sponsored Links

  • Jw1,
    He leads the league with 4 errors that resulted in goals. Arsenal leads the league with 11 errors that were goals.

  • Line up:

    Bel Must Kos Nach
    ——Xhak Ramb—-
    Miki — Ozil — Iwobi

  • PE–
    And my point is that had it not been for that last one– which was Mustafi’s error in reality– then Cech isn’t standing out by his lonesome as ‘the leader’– and we likely aren’t even discussing it.


  • That midfield doesn’t fill me with confidence, not a lot of protection for the back four.
    Why no Elneny?

  • Elneny? I am also thinking Jack. Iwobi can’t defend for his life, but I am thinking we simply want to overwhelm them with offensive play while leaving the defenders to do the job of preventing goals, along with Cech. Well, let’s see how it works. Too much pressure on Auba; should have started Laca and eased in Auba.

  • Here’s the kickoff… I’m too under the weather to do any kind of live-blog today… Sorry…

    COYG (It’s my B-day, so give me a present, eh…)

    Oooh, Mustafi in trouble, puts Cech under pressure but he’s up to it…

    OK, that’s my contribution…

  • That buildup was fab.
    Auba with the pre-assist to Miki to Ramsey.
    Sure Auba doesn’t do much but score.

    1-nil good guys.


  • Seemed as if the cross went right through Mangala on the goal… That said, it WAS a lovely move by the Arsenal…

  • Damn… That was some nice stuff from Mkhi… Just wide with the shot… Feeling it, I guess…

  • We broke!
    From our third!
    And completed a cross!
    Resulting in a corner deflected from a shot by Auba.

    Kos with a header 2-nil!


  • That was Iwobi setting us forward… Perhaps there IS a reason he gets to play?…

  • 2-0 to the good guys. It looks like Monreal’s shot has come off the leg of PEA, which was rather fortuitous for Pickford as it was headed on goal.

    Ramsey makes it 3!

  • This is amazing.
    The movement of the ball is unselfishness at it’s best.

    Ramsey with a toe-poke from the 18 for 3-nil.


  • Iwobi assists for the 3rd. I guess it is all good when everyone is playing well. The thing is we must not let up so as not to give them a chance to come back into this.

  • Theo…almost in, but needs it on his right foot and Mustafi is there to deflect it over…

  • The best form of defence is attack… 🙂

    Good to see Ramsey with his shooting boots on.

    Happy Birthday Amy… 😉

  • Walcott gets loose just inside our third– Nacho(!) runs him down while Mustafi get back into position to slide into Theo’s shot– for a corner that comes to naught for Everton.


  • Amy says Cheers, Kev… At 3-nil both teams are still playing hard… All the January changes at both clubs means that players are keen to impress, no matter what the score-line?…

  • With Xhaka on the ground well out of position Miki assumes the role in front of the CBs clearing with a header.

    The following break down the left flank saw Auba outrun the defence shooting left angle from 10yds– with Pickford making a leg save.


  • Beautiful diagonal from Miki to Auba at the 18– and Auba chips calmly over Pickford.
    And the players party like it’s (Dortmund) 2015/16. :sunglasses:


  • Xhaka down. Undercut while in the air for a header– falling directly on his coccyx.


  • Cech punches… Ospina (great shot blocker that he is) would’ve taken a step back into his goal on that one, I think…

  • Mkhitaryan is in the middle of everything.
    All over the pitch– and Everton have little choice but to try and be physical with him.


  • Too tight in the box?… Finally, Xhaka takes the shot but it’s blocked…

  • Some nice bounces but this appears an Arsenal team with happy players working for one another… Alexis cut an angry figure in the earlier match by comparison, I thought… Still, he won a pen, then took it and had it blocked but only to where he could tap it in… In the stats it’ll look as good as any of our goals…

    …but it wasn’t…


  • Did somebody express worry about… defending?
    Everton dare not commit more than Theo and Bolasie forward.


  • Everton keeping possession– and a series of foolish half-efforts defensively– results in Bolasie striking off the post– where he ought to have scored.


  • Everton are keeping it in our half but our defense seems well massed and doing enough… Ooooh not there… Only the post saved us after some dodgy work by Kola and Mkhi gave it to Theo whose cross deserved a goal…

    Cech down hurt…

  • Cech’s OK…Doesn’t want to give up the clean sheet, maybe…

    Iwobi makes amends with some…defending… You heard it here first…

  • Mkhi runs the break and exchanges with Bells but strikes weakly with his left at the end of the move…Easy for Pickford…

    Other end, Kos is boss over Theo trying to get on a fine ball forward…

  • Xhaka’s been laid out down on the turf twice with no call– and now is awarded a FK for a tap on the ankle. Cleared by Everton.


  • Nice touch there by the fans to clap Theo off the pitch. His former team mates as well to a man. Great servant.

    Now we have to keep an eye on his replacement. Strong kid.

  • Kolasinac groundbound left to mark 2 airborne attackers– and Everton scores.



  • Clean sheet gone… 😦

    Nice work by Davies in the build up, but Kola failed to gather himself for a jump, choosing to keep the first player pushed off, forgetting about the 2nd guy who scores…

  • Cech looks done… Which is too bMFad, same as Nacho getting subbed. I would have liked to seen more of our MF/attack guys get some rotation…

  • After conceding, Cech has no motivation to continue and Ospina will be coming on. Hope he has warmed up enough because Sam Allardyce will request a bombardment. We need to get hold of the ball again and start to be efficient again.

  • Sounds like Jack for AR-8… Not a bad ball into him from Iwobi there…

    Ospina not quite as convincing as Cech trying to punch a high ball…But the danger is eventually cleared…

    RAMBO!!! Hat trick!!!

  • Hard to stay focused with the current score-line, I fear… Bells sells out but where are the tracking mids? No matter as Calvert-Lewin can’t keep his shot on target…

  • Geez, both teams look ready for this one to end… Inneresting that PEA and Mkhi are (or need to) finish the full 90…

    Spurs play Pool tomorrow then a cup replay match in midweek?… If so, we should have some good training (plus rest for any who need it) before the NLD…

  • Good thing the ref didn’t buy that attempt to fool everyone for a penalty. That’s cheating and really shouldn’t be condoned.

  • 17, we had those couple of injuries which meant we had forced changes.

    Full time. 5-1. Nice work out before the NLD.

  • Full time… Happy B-day to me… Nap time, hoping to feel better and stop this cough and headache thing I’ve got… Thanks to everybody for sharing their in-match impressions…

  • A talking point to note. I have heard some moan about Wenger’s preference to make his changes (substitutions) some point after the 69th minute mark, unless forced. They make it sound like it makes him predictable, where Mourinho will make the change in line with his whims, really. Well, the injuries our players sustained in this game shows a good reason why it is, maybe, better to wait to be sure you aren’t having a serious injury to, say the keeper.

    Had we made all the changes before Cech asked to be subbed, it may have to be Xhaka going in goal and us down to 10 men.

  • Sorry for silent.. Hehehe.. Just too excited..
    The real Arsenal is back.. This kind of football that we should play game by game..

    Glad for Ramsey hattrick.. He will be MotM.. Just hope everybody will be ok.. Hehehe..
    You know what people always said after Ramsey’s goal.. And tonight 3 goals.. Will it be trio..?? Hehehe..

    Mhiki also three assist.. Wow.. Fantastic..
    What a great addition to the team..
    The barter with Sanchez seem a good deal..

    Happy to see Ozil playing in his best position.. Although no assist from our most expensive guy.. But he makes thing happened..
    It’s seem we will be ready for NLD.. So be careful Spurs.. We will win the NLD..
    London is still red and white..

    And Happy continuation day 17ht.. Wish you a healthy and happy life..

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