NLD Preview: Jack, Mohamed, Aaron, Henrikh and Mesut to Boss the Midfield and Mash the Spuddies

I don’t need to tell you how much this game means to us. The NLD is always a special game and tomorrow is no different.

There is a media love-in with the trophy-hopeless Spuddies and a subtle belittling of the mighty Arsenal at the moment. It is time to put things right and show the swamp-dwellers and their Fleet street admirers once again who are the kings of North-London. It is time to give the Spuddies a Wembley mashing we will be singing about in decades to come. It is time to stand up and play football the Arsenal way!


How are we going to do this?

By selecting a starting eleven full of talent and passion. Jack has to play. Koz and Mustafi have to play. Ozil, Ramsey and Cech have to play. They will form the spine of the team. Around that we need talent with hunger, passion and focus. I think you all know who should play tomorrow. We may argue over one or two players, and Wenger may see it differently, but I am going for  these 11 Gunners to rock Wembley and leave the pitch covered in the smoothest mashed Spuddies:

submit football lineup

This would be my preferred choice. Jack and Elneny to play intelligently and protect the back four with discipline, good interceptions, strong ball control and slick passing – only to join the attack when appropriate. Both Jack and Mohamed are intelligent players who will make the right judgements. Happy to see Xhaka start instead of Elneny, but the Egyptian has my preference. I would like Rambo, Henrikh and Mesut to play in a line of three behind Aubemeyang and in front of Jack and Mohamed. These five midfielders are able to push the Spuddies back and control the game in their half. I reckon this is our best strategy to win the game tomorrow.

Alternatively, we could play with three (or should that read five) at the back:

submit football lineup

My money is on Wenger going for three at the back and something close to the starting eleven as showing above. This is good too but Granit and Aaron have to play very, very disciplined and so do the full backs.

Let’s see what Wenger goes for tomorrow and how well the boys are drilled for this game. Let’s take it to them and play with pride for the shirt. 1-3 to the Mighty Arse!

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!

By TotalArsenal.

159 thoughts on “NLD Preview: Jack, Mohamed, Aaron, Henrikh and Mesut to Boss the Midfield and Mash the Spuddies

  • I like the 4,5,1. We have had some recent success playing with the 3 at the back in similair fixtures, but I think we can sieze the initative in this one. With Elneny in there you also have the potential to drop him back into defence and change the shape if nèeded.

  • Hi all.. Another great post from you TA..

    First.. Let’s us be glad cause we will back to Wembley today.. We almost win everything there.. Maybe it must be our homegrown not Spurs.. Hehehe..
    And the fans will happily song the Wembley songs.. Hehehe..

    Secondly.. We have a brand new reborn team.. With an excellent spirit and energy..
    And I think we find the balance with 4-2-3-1 formation.. And the new players look enjoyed the scheme.. They blend in wonderfully.. As if they were with us for a season long..
    Great performance and hoping the enjoy the atmosphere we bring to Wembley..

    But besides that great news.. We also have a bad news.. It is the Referee.. We knew what had happened with Wenger and Taylor.. Still can’t believed why FA seem have something in purpose by letting Taylor as the referee.. But hoping that they all will work professionally.. So we won’t see the Taylor and Wenger new episode.. Hehehe..

    TA.. For the team tonight (19.30 wib).. I still hoping for Wenger to give a big surprise to the fans by letting Lacazette playing with the team.. The rest I think.. The same old Arsene will put the same players.. Except Ospina and maybe Kolasinac. .
    Another big surprise will be Elneny.. Just can’t see more than one surprise at one time.. But still hoping.. Hehehe..

    So My team will be LAMORE+ back four + Ospina..
    Isn’t is nice the LAMORE (sounds L’Amour)..
    I love this team.. Hehehe..

  • I’m liking your first choice Total, but as with you I think Arsene will go with the second, with possibly AMN at LWB.

    Just over 11 hours to go so I’m gonna hit my bunk and dream of an Aubameyang hat-trick. 😃

  • Morning TA. Insomnia striking here. The great thing on first reading is the pleasure in being able to say I like both options you have set out here. We do have real options available with this squad. We can shift formation and play with either more pace or more power. The pivot is where the question mark comes in.

    I hope Wenger will select for this game alone. But I’m not sure, as I don’t think that’s ever (or often at least) how he works. He prefers strategic development of his best 11 over tactical choices for individual games.

    On specifics, I can’t see him changing the Rambo role after his hat trick last weekend. And he seems set on Xhaka in his preferred line up. I’m less sure of the latter in this game as he won’t have anything like the time and space he had last week. He will be pressed more and have to tackle more, both of which are harder for him.

    The other question is around Iwobi. Not popular I know, though I struggle to see quite why that’s so. Again I’m not sure Wenger would normally drop a young player after putting in such a good effort last week. Unless he selects truly tactically for this game. We shall see. But an unchanged 11 should surprise none of us.

    I don’t know how a manager can instil a home game mentality into his team. But if ever there was a case for it it’s this one. Play like we do at home and we can win tomorrow. Sit back cautiously and I worry for us. I like the fact that a few spuds have been mouthing off in the media. I hope that gets under the skin of our team and they look to make a point or two on the pitch. I’m genuinely looking forward to the game. It should be a good test and we have a team that’s capable of making us proud.

  • It’s just past noon here in Singapore, and the kick-off is at 8.30pm local time. 8 hours to go. Loving the suspense.

    TA, your lineup for 3-at-the-back seems without midfield support for the back 3. Drop Xhaka and bring on Elneny.

  • TA, lovely post, smooth, calm, assured but I remain all tensed up. Today is a clash!

    …….. “By selecting a starting eleven full of talent and passion. Jack has to play. Koz and Mustafi have to play. Ozil, Ramsey and Cech have to play. ” ……. The tougher question is who has not to play. How I wish football was an XVII game and not an XI game so we can pack in all our talent.

    Spurs suffocate the midfield with numbers and activity, press and all. We will respond with nimble footed passers. Sorry Xhaka this is an XI game so you drop off.

    Back 4 is given. Ozil and Auba are un- droppables. Miki and Ramsey are returning heroes. These give 8 names with 2 outfield players outstanding and to be chosen from Jack, Elneny, Iwobi, AMN and our forgotten Laca. Bear with me a little while I cogitate. ????????????? ?????????????? … .?????????????? …… Elneny and Laca all things considered.

    My line up in a 4:3:3 :

    Bel Musti Kosh Nacho
    Ramb — Elneny — Miki
    Ozil —- Auba —- Laca

    This is a fantastic team. As long as that back 8 play disciplined as TA put it, my money is very much on the front 3 giving us goals.

    For TA’s 4 at the back, personnel wise, I have Laca for Jack.

  • Insomnia is a dark beast, AB. Hope it is purely game related.

    I love your description: “I hope Wenger will select for this game alone. But I’m not sure, as I don’t think that’s ever (or often at least) how he works. He prefers strategic development of his best 11 over tactical choices for individual games.”

    I think you are right and that is why the second one is the most likely one.

  • PE, I like your first eleven too, just worried that Elneny will find himself isolated with Ramsey and Mkhi alongside him. SO yes discipline and focus are key. It is also a matter of midfield energy, hunger, or as the Professor would say ‘Presence!’.

  • Morning chaps. Martin Keown just made my days. He was asked about playing Spurs and said he got sent off at White Hart Lane, “or three point lane as we used to call it. “. Great line love it.

  • Wow it is quiet! Morning Retsubster, yeah great response by Keown.

    These are the line-ups:

    Arsenal have no Aaron Ramsey in their squad despite a hat-trick last weekend, he’s injured, but new signings Pierre-Emeerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both start.
    Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Wilshere, Xhaka, Elneny; Ozil, Aubaemyang, Mkhitaryan

    Spuddies: Lloris; Trippier, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Son, Alli, Eriksen; Kane

  • Confirmed.

    Bel Must Kos Nacho
    —— Eln Xhaka
    —-Miki Ozil Jack

    Rambo out I’ll.

  • Rambo slightly injured, Wengjury I reckon. Elneny for Ramsey and Jack for Iwobi make sense for this game. I will state here that I am very happy with the eleven picked by Arsene. Good to see Cech fit again.

  • T A surely not a wengury?? Although they doubtless exist?

    Surely he wouldnt Be dropped after scoring s hat trick? I am pretty sure if he is dropped he will be seething.

  • Ramsey is truly injured or he will, at the least, be on the bench.

    Well, looks like Elneny on is the surprise today; Xhaka proving undroppable by the manager too, despite most suggesting this isn’t a game for him. I reckon Jack won’t be playing (not Elneny or Xhaka), had Ramsey been fit.

    Still, a cracking team. Good luck to the lads. COYG!

  • 4:20 here in California… Sorry for radio silence yesterday… Travel, work & health (inner ear) struggles… All are on hold right now and I did my best trying to get sleep ahead of the match… It’s as big as they come, I’d say…

    No Rambo, so the goals will have to come from elsewhere… Both my guy (Elneny) and everybody else’s (Wilshere) get starts… PEA in but Lacazette for later on…

    Spurs are as strong as they’ll ever be… We need to equal them and get some bounces our way… Ref Taylor should be well warned not to be their chump…

    Here’s to a good one… Go on then…

  • Teams come out in front of 85,000!! That’s a massive number to watch a league game.

  • PEA should be used to the big stadiums… Dortmund’s seats a bunch, right?… Same as Mhki then…

    OK, we’re off!!

  • I dunno, being the team playing on the break might favor both teams… Early on both seem OK with defending in numbers and allowing posession…

  • Cagey, so far with the home side getting the better of the exchanges but we’ve held well and waiting for an opportunity to spring them. Got one such chance on the break but uncharacteristically, Ozil elected a wrong choice of pass.

    Jack springs Auba and the ref has blown offside. Replay shows it was a wrong call.

  • PEA flagged for offside… Replay shows it was level… It was a nice entry ball from Jack…

    Back with Spurs… Wembley is echo-y as they sing the Southampton song…

  • Agreed, JW…

    Bells is defending well on Son but allowing corners… Dier gets his head to the latest but nice and wide…

    Both teams looked poised to break quickly… Mistakes in MF could be the difference…

  • Mustafi giveaway but then Son tries a long one, poorly hit… Other end, Jack’s right footed volley…the less said the better…

  • Taylor won’t give Jack a whistle trying to run the ball near the center circle… No diving allowed today, let’s hope…

  • Cech requests the ball in play be retired due to some defect– play stops for half-a-minute.


  • Mkhi lofts across to… no one… Arsenal at least had the better of the MF to set up the play…

    Totts trying bigger passes from further back… Arsenal winning the MF battles, perhaps? Cagey at this point… First goal will be massive and there look to goals, I think…

  • Both sides cancelling each other out, at the moment with Arsenal happy to force the spuds wide and defending well from wide.

    Cech calls for a change of the ball. Back in Africa, that will get tongues wagging as to some suspicion of witchcraft. Lol.

  • Sounds like your feed might be ahead of mine today, JW… I’m on my Aunt’s cable this morning…

  • Hey Eris… Are you watching in Canada (or Nigeria) today?

    First bit from Eriksen…is a loopy ball when he couldn’t get his head out of the way of Trippier’s cross to his mates…

  • Taylor is definitely letting the defenders defend… Ooh… Good chance by Kane (from Eriksen) but he heads over…

  • Monreal almost gifting Kane with a chance as he tried to keep him offside, not watching his CB to see he was further back, playing Kane on. The ref is letting some tackles go and I am not sure if it helps any side.

  • 17ht, I am in Nigeria.

    Dembele scoffs his shot as it dribbled into the path of Jack and then Cech.

  • Cross from Ericksen to Kane ruled offside as it’s headed over.
    Until that try– I’d agree that we’ve been in good stead in controlling their midfielders.

    Witchcraft. As diving appears out? I could see Spuds resorting to hoodoo. 🙄


  • OK, my (first, long) coffee is in me…

    Oooh, some pinball is a worry from a(nother) Totts corner…

    It’d be nice to create some pressure down the other end… Even if I still think playing on the break might be the way (for either team) to make the breakthrough…

  • We are allowing them too much of the ball, and they are starting to create a few opportunities but for some alert defending by Mustafi and Monreal. Long balls to Auba ain’t working because Tot’s defenders are eating up the long balls before Auba even jumps.

    I think if we open up a bit, we will take them.

  • Thanks, Eris… for the report on your location… This time next week I’ll be in the tropics myself…

    Uuuugly from Mkhi… PEA was begging for a cross along the ground…

  • Poised buildup results in possibly Mkhi’s first poor touch as a Gunner– skying a cross long past the goalmouth.


  • Mkhi…almost takes down a long one but Sanchez does enough…

    Giveaways & takeaways in MF by both teams… Game’s in our half now, however…

  • Dembele is being forced to step up a bit, after sitting from deep, clearly under instruction. That may be a good thing if it can be exploited.

  • Taylor surrounded by Spurs whining for a YK on Mustafi’s challenge on Son.
    Ensuing FK cleared by Mustafi.


  • Mustafi uses his hand… Cynical but well-done… From the FK we defend and PEA does his part too…

    Mkhi leads a break nicely buy Ozil to Nacho doesn’t result in a real chance…

  • but, not buy…

    Bells shoots but it screws up and over the near corner… Had guys to pass to…

  • Bellerin has our first shot, off target though. Or, had there been other shots from us I missed?

  • Mustafi gets a whistle in his favor this time… Replay looks more like an even shout…

    Yeah, Eris… Not much in the way of shots for either team, I don’t think… Nothing on target at least, I’m pretty sure… Unless you count a Spurs dribble or two…

    Jack scythed by Dembele…

  • Half time, on the dot of 45 minutes. An indication of how uneventful, if tense and focused, the game has been.

  • Last bit of danger (not so much) before half– as three Arsenal players handle deflections
    front-of-goal confidently to clear at the whistle.


  • PEA tries a dummy but Mkhi isn’t on the same wavelength to dip in front for it… Ozil’s pass is probably too pacy…

    The half ends with some worry in our box but Elneny’s ball down to a teammate is better thought out than (frightened) Gooners originally think…

  • We were strong defensively and it looks like we are trying to wear the spuddies down, then take advantage of it in the second 45.

    Statistically we were short in completed passes, and we should have done better.

    Should be good to go in the second 45.


  • Ericksen and Alli both playing deeper than normal.
    Jack and Elneny have done well to control tempoand limit the two attack-minded MFs.

    The not-offside call on Auba when he was through from Jack– and the headed effort by Kane (offside?) the only true chances generated in the first-half.


  • Mhki’s slip on the cross for PEA, as bad as it appeared in the end, was another opportunity…

    Very cagey thus far with some folks (Dier, Xhaka) doing little but forcing play away from themselves…

  • Just cold enough to put on a jumper and a (lucky?) scarf… I guess I could turn on the heat, but this seems better…

    2nd half is on…

  • Very disciplined and mature performance by the team. On the break we look dangerous but our final ball/ pass lacks precision. Need to up the tempo when we attack and show a bit less respect. First five minutes may tell us a lot. COYGs

  • Spurs from the kickoff waltz to the goal line before Mustafi slides in a tackle to thwart.


  • That looked like it was coming as we changed nothing and looked a bit loose in positioning. Kane scores from a clean header, even as we are complaining about a possible push on Koscielny. 1-0.

  • Too much space in the middle– Spurs Davies crosses to Kane in the box and he heads lower-left for the goal; Cech with no chance.


  • Climbs Kos a bit but he was definitely first in the air and right on it…

    Game needed a goal but I had hoped it would ours… Nothing to do now but get on our horse…

  • Defending and inviting the opposition hasn’t been our thing, maybe we will be forced to come out now. Kane gets another chance from another cross for Kane.

  • Jack skinned on the left sets up a strong shot but Cech is up to it and Son can’t quite get on the rebound… Gotta keep this at one and sacrifice a MF for Laca… A draw doesn’t help us too much…

  • Dembele needs to be stopped from making those runs. I don’t see who has that responsibility. Our shape is faulty. Is there anyone here who can say he doesn’t miss Iwobi? He would be doing better in that left side and will defend a bit.

    Well, I would pick too but he hasn’t been up for it. Maybe, not used to the need to defend a bit.

  • Bells pulls back for Xhaka in the box but he can’t round the defender… It’d be nice if we could get on top in MF before we change the numbers…

  • Some tight work in the middle but Totts are up to it…and doing fine keeping it down our end… I’m missing Iwobi, Eris, but I’m just one voice…

  • Mustafi gives up another FK… Defended but out for a corner… Cech punches then catches the next ball in… Can’t get it out of our half… and Spurs win another corner…

    Laca and Iwobi getting ready…

  • Unable to retain possession after regaining it in our end.
    Spurs halting everything at MF.


  • Wilshere with a blast from 18 center– Lloris with a good save.
    First dangerous move forward by Arsenal in some time.


  • Jack wins a whistle…

    Then does a nice dummy in MF to get Ozil going on the break…then works a ball onto his left for a shot… Nice height and spot for Lloris to save… A shot on target, however…

  • Thankfully Son was horrible– in fluffing his only speaking lines– skying an open shot top-of-box.


  • Nice game for the Korean but not a good way to end it… Lamela in…

    More Cech goofiness at the back… Gotta keep this at one, eh… And get some O going… Dele should’ve doubled it there… We’re a mess, I fear…

  • Alli misses two gimme’s.
    The footie gods are keeping this one close.
    Not sure there’s another explanation why it’s still just 1-0,


  • We’re really playing badly and only alive by a strong Cech foot save on their break… Only a matter of time, it appears…

  • Iwobi giveaway…Bells can’t get through… Jack over the top from the back?… We look out of ideas…

  • Cech saves us again…

    Only thing looking good at the moment is the score-line… Unfortunately, we need two goals…

  • Spurs smell blood– we haven’t maintained possession of a ball in minutes.
    Till now– then Iwobi is dispossessed by Alli.


  • 15 mins to get two goals (out of nothing that suggests we can) or else we’re a cup team only…

    We’re unlikely to get them if the game’s played all in our half, I fear…

  • At pace slide tackle by Lamela on Jack… Our guy jumps but that was dangerous and gets a deserved yellow…

    OK, ball’s in their half but Laca is offside…

  • Jack has gotten Lamela wound up– the latter taking a YK while dropping F-bombs at Wilshere for the better part of a minute with play stopped.


  • Iwobi in MF hasn’t done much for us… Laca offside upfront = neither… PEA tries a volleyed pass and Laca gets a first (non-offside) touch…

    Now PEA is offside… Flagman’s been good for Spurs today…

  • Tin touches here of late.
    And Auba floating offside on a ball to beat the Spurs high-line at MF.


  • Just takes a moment of brilliance (or luck) to get level… No signs of such, however, as Nacho, in quicksand, does enough to only concede a corner…and a pair of minutes for Spurs to sub off Dele for Wanyama…

  • Welbs in for Xhaka… Somebody needs to score…

    Sanchez, worried about PEA, puts it behind for a corner… Ozil can’t beat the first man…

    Jack keeps it in but Welbs can’t control his throughball…

  • Welbz on for Xhaka.
    Corner for Arsenal played out –Jack recovers and pushes a pass too heavy for Auba to run down in the box.


  • This is kinda painful… I love the Nacho man but watching him try to run down a lofted pass isn’t so pretty…

    Other way, Lamela lets a ball go too wide and loses his angle for the shot…

  • Not a bad cross from Bells finds Laca but he swings his volley a full half second early… Row Z…

    1 of 4 played…

  • Ooooh… Laca wide after a spectacular throughball from Iwobi…

    Time to round up the usual suspects, I fear…

  • FK won by Welbeck… Alexis special coming… Oh, wait… Maybe it’s a better spot for a lefty…

  • Walls it instead… Spurs 7 points clear… Jack showing a bit of passion… (Lamela saying something about “what do you think of shite, now, Jack…”)

  • The 1-0 scoreline flatter us.
    Though the footie gods really wanted a draw apparently.
    Lacazette’s prayers unanswered.


  • Kane just loves to score against us and it is now a 7points gap between us. To be honest, we didn’t deserve anything more (maybe, stealing a draw had Lacazette been a bit more clinical).

    It was nervy all through and it is a measure of how much respect we now have for them that we needed to have a formation to soak up pressure and look for opportunities on the break. Cech has saved us a bit and we have to look for another route into the top 4 then.

  • Confidence drainer today for a bunch of our players (Laca and Mkhi would lead the list, I think)… Hate to say it but we were marginally outplayed in just about all spots on the pitch… Only lost by the one goal but couldn’t trouble them too much. We’re not quite drilled enough with the new team to use lots of bodies and try to hit on the break.

  • Only remaining matches against the top 6 are at ManU and home to ManCity… Those will be tough ones… Hopefully we can build our confidence in the other ones… Top 4 in the league seems a pipe dream… 😦

    So, the cups are still opportunities…as is the summer TW…

    Instead, I know, let’s get a new manager(!!!)… 😦

    Daylight coming here… Better things to do… Cheers for the company, fellas…

  • Eris, we can forget about top 4. Just focus on getting into the CL via EL cup win.

    We will lose more away games from the way we played and this is not something that Mkhi or Auba can help. We just did not rely on the midfield for our counters.

  • Totally agree it could easily have been 5 nil. Dembele in midfield doing a Vieiria impersonation made most of our players look like boys. How many times did Bellerin get the ball out right and then push it back infield? It was particularly evident when Iwobi came on and completed the cock ups. bellerin actually defended reasonably well today, but a short full back who isn’t too keen on heading the ball is a pretty useless. The one time he pushed on a clearly out of form Lacazette nearly kicked it out of the ground.

    If Xhaka was a Us quarterback he would surely have the most sacks and negative yardage. Please get him out our defence.

    I could go on but some might find it a little negative. Thank god for Jack Wiltshire

  • Indeed deserved to lose. Yet had Auba not been flagged offsite in the first half it could have given us wings and been a totally different game. Small margins and luck always play a part. Second half was very bad though, very bad.

    A big shout for Cech though who almost singlehandedly got himself a 200th clean sheet. We desperately need some Swede revenge midweek.

  • Wiltshire (sic) as our savior?… Only if Tony Adams comes in as manager, I say… 😀 😦

    Just kidding, Retsub… I know that I’m one of the few who don’t believe passion wins you trophies (even if they help with the celebrations…) I’ll say this, Jack got enough calls to not hurt us too badly in MF AND he got a couple of good throughballs in, the best called off when PEA might’ve been level. A shot on target (even if it took too long to get it onto his good foot) also might get credited. Like ALL the rest of our guys, I’m not sure Poch would drop any of his players for him…at least on what we showed today…

    The new guys need some bedding in, I fear… (As much as transfers feel like the answer–like a new manager– they often take time to really bear fruit, I think…) This match came a bit early after the big changes… (As might these next couple in London against ManCity…) Gotta use this last third of the season to build towards the future, I fear…

    Please, however, don’t hold back on the negativity…at least not on my account… 😉

  • We can’t hit consistency at a high level without an athletic midfield.

    I also feel that with Auba at the tip, we should abandon the inverted wide men. That failed counter by Miki and Auba would have worked if Miki was wide right instead of wide left. I must confess there is something immense in the Tot’s team.

  • With hindsight– there is little to argue about after halftime.

    Whatever adjustment Pochettino made– was rewarded in wide-open space on their left of midfield –as either Xhaka or Elneny went AWOL. Several balls by Davies and Ericksen were crossed into the box and another across the box for shots. Then Alli (twice), Son, and even Kane were profligate in easy opportunities. Cech, made every save possible that was asked of him. But also had several goofy moments handling the ball. Both at his feet and distributing.

    Mesut Ozil did not dictate play today. Perhaps bringing on Aaron Ramsey for Xhaka– and playing Elneny in the deeper role may have opened things up.

    Wenger in the post-match interview was mostly pragmatic. He did state the obvious about Kane’s CF play being the difference. He was ruing the lack of quality final balls in the first half it seemed —
    more so than Laca’s pair of misses late.


  • Very early start time here this morning… didn’t do any surfing earlier. Did just read that Ramsey wasn’t even on the bench due to a minor groin strain. Could have used his efforts. Thought that omission was odd.


  • Wilshere had a very good game, Retsub. I am with you. He had given a lot in the first half and seemed a bit tired at the end, but boy did he play well. A real shame that the boys in front of him had v little cohesion, which, as others have pointed out, is understandable.

    The real difference was in defence today. The Spuddies have tall, athletic defenders and we have hard working, energetic ones who are too easily beaten in the air.

  • I agree, TA… About Jack’s game and his giving so much and tiring… Taylor was definitely keeping his whistle quieter than Jack might’ve preferred, which didn’t help. I also agree that our aerial game was non-existent today; we could’ve been punished a few times more at our end while I can’t recall us creating anything dangerous through the air at theirs…

    I’ve got a couple of minutes here… It’s still too early on a Saturday morning and I’ve done all I can before firing up my saws in my Aunt’s (somewhat) dense neighborhood…

    This is maybe better fodder for a post of its own but I’ll take it up here because I’ve been thinking (naturally…) about your (TA’s) call-out in the text of one of your earlier posts. It’s true, I’m not that excited about the notion of Jack and Ramsey leading our MF, though, maybe, I can see why others like the idea…

    My thought is that players who work to “break the lines” are what English football is all about and our #s 10 and 8 are definitely those sorts of players. There can be downsides to such impressive looking attributes… I’ll get to those later..

    Wilshere does his thing with his clever running onto the ball and luring his markers to try to nip in on him and take the ball. When it works, it leaves him unfettered to push up, get the ball onto his fine left foot, and, ideally, pass it through the next line of defenders to a teammate to create a chance. If the pass isn’t there, he can keep pushing up himself. What supporter (besides me…) doesn’t find that thrilling? In fact, I DO find it exciting… I just wish it would result in more clear cut chances and goals… And less risk if the move doesn’t come off…

    Ramsey prefers to break that last line with dashes in on goal, often to the opposite post than the one taken up by the more forward players who are (often) drawing the defenders with them. We missed that today, a lot, I think and AR might’ve helped moved a balance a bit (or a good deal) more forward. As a MF, however, nobody is ever quite sure what he’s going to do. And, like Wilshere, it always looks like he’d prefer more time to take that extra touch. Also, like Wilshere, that tendency can lead to 50-50 balls and attendant injuries from overstretching to reach them–or taking a stomp from the other party. Like it or not, the injury records of the two mean that, despite all their time at the club, we only really have hazy memories of the two of them playing together.

    Their games ARE exciting…The downside of that is called “positional indiscipline,” a phrase almost as awkward as the situations Arsenal can find themselves in when those attempts at getting through the lines don’t come off.

    For me, though it’s not nearly as fun to watch as guys taking the risks to make something happen, I think the most important thing is moving THE BALL through the lines. Protective footwork, using one touch when defenders think you’ll need two (or two when they’re thinking three) and PASSING it through–while remaining positioned in case it doesn’t pan out–well, for me, that’s the way…

    …Hence the great hope for Mkhitaryan (whose presence will not help our Brit-boys getting minutes). He didn’t have such a good game (the one fluffed cross really stands out…) and Iwobi also didn’t look good in a deeper role…at least until that excellent ball forward to Laca that might’ve stolen a point for us.

    Anyhow, whatchagonna do?… Dif’rent strokes and all that. They’re all good players, really, and I don’t think we need to throw out any (or all) of them. More time together and learning the different tendencies and patterns will help… Esp. against a team like Spurs (and their linesmen…) who push so far forward and DARE opponents to get beyond their back line…

  • Hi all..
    Tonight is another weird starting eleven..
    I still believe our main problem.. is not putting Ozil in his best post.
    Yes Wilshere did okay.. But Ozil seem fade away.. And I also think Wenger put too many DM.. It might be better if Wenger choose two from Elneny, Xhaka and Wilshere..

    Yes PE.. Mhiki is better in the right..
    Ozil in the central.. Lacazette in the left..
    The team didn’t have the same effectiveness like last week game..
    Sad to see him off for Lacazette.. He must be the last man who we must change..

    The other strange position is Auba in the LW for Lacazette as CF.. It happens in second round.. Hehehe..
    I wonder what is the used for sending Mhiki off then.. Why don’t subs Auba instead.. Auba lost his charming skill as soon as Lacazette come in..

    Yes.. We deserved to lost tonight.. But there still a lot of games remind.. Seven points can be reach.. If we start playing the right way again.. The Gunners Way..

  • T A agree with what you said about there defence. Harry Kane got man of the match no surprise there, but to my mind Dembele was fantastic. If Kane had been in Red I doubt it would have made much difference. It’s not the end of the world we did win on aggregate two to one. I am sure we will all get excited again once win a home game or two. But then………

  • I feel for Wilshere when I see him struggling to be defensive. It comes to him as an after thought. His real position is #10. And as far as am concerned, against parked defences he edges Ozil in that role. Ozil needs spaces to excel.

    Mkhi is wasted on the left. He is so much better on the right. Auba’s biggest strength is that he gets into the box so fast that the best route to him should be by our wide men getting behind the back line and seniding in mostly ground crossings. The inverted wingers are forced to cut in and get the attack through the centre leaving getting behind the back line to the FB or WB who are poor in delivering intelligent balls. Bel is so poor at that but Kola who defensively is not 1st choice is excellent there.

    Back to Jack at #10 would mean Ozil goes wide left. In a 4:3:3 he could be exempt from tracking back to defend. This arrangement I believe would play to Auba’s strength.

  • I don’t remember Lamela saying anything after we beat them 2-0 at the Emirates?
    C you next Tuesday Mr Lamela.

  • Lunch time comes early on a day when you get up at 4… (Takeaway Burmese Curry… Pretty nice…) City have just gone ahead of Leicester… Sorry, but to me that looked like the defender should’ve done better… D-Bruyne is getting all the credit, however…

    Gotta agree with you, Retsub, about Dembele… He always looked a presence at Fulham and probably helped them stay up an extra season or two… Was he an AVB purchase, using all the Bale money? My memory ain’t what it used to be and Google is just too much effort…

    That will be the test to see if there’s a REAL power shift in N. London–can they keep Kane? We hate him, of course, but he’s (by far, IMO) the best traditional CF playing in England… By comparison, Laca and PEA couldn’t figure out the linespeople today, while our rearguard had enough fear to not even try for offside calls…except for the time Nacho did and Kane headed over. Even the best CFs fluff some chances… Which goes to show that it’s all about staying confident… As Gooners we should probably try and get behind Lacazette–who will need to become a goal-machine for these 9 Europa League elims ahead of us… One at a time, of course, but it’s a good opportunity–for him and us–for sure…

    Alright, another goal from El Kun… That should do it for the champions… Time to focus on the CL for them… Too bad they didn’t get Alexis or Mahrez in the window… Breaks my heart…

  • Our team is not good enough. Xhaka, Mustafi, Elneny, and Iwobi must be at teams like Swansea. We will never win the league with such players. Xhaka is so average its painful to watch. Mustafi does not have a football brain for he always gets in tricky situation because he can not pass soon enough. Most of his forward passes are poor. We can at least play Kolasinac at left back then Monreal at CB with Maitland-Niles as the DM. We could have kept Coquelin and sold Xhaka. Players like Bielik need to be given opportunities instead of persisting with failures like Xhaka. Wenger is no longer good enough and very sad to see him and the team going backwards every season. You cant even compare this team to the one which had Arteta, Song, RVP, Walcott, Sagna. Although they never won the league they were much better.

  • Thanks for explaining your thinking, Seventeenho. I am sure you will not be surprise to hear I don’t agree with much re your views of Jack and even Rambo. Rambo has his limitations but Jack does not fit at all your description. You wrote:

    “Their games ARE exciting…The downside of that is called “positional indiscipline,” a phrase almost as awkward as the situations Arsenal can find themselves in when those attempts at getting through the lines don’t come off.”

    There was no positional indiscipline from Jack today. In fact, he was perhaps too disciplined at times. You are right to point out that Henrikh had a stinker of a game and Ozil had also many misplaced passes (so uncharacteristic of him). And then there was Auba who was isolated and did not worry the defender much.

    Jack had a very good game – better to focus your analysis on some of our other midfielders, especially the attacking ones.

  • I would be loathe to criticise Henrikh. The whole defence including Cech, looked awful when we had the ball, particularly in the 2nd half. I am sure once we get some confidence going at the back he will improve, especially at home. Anyone remember Stroller? he reminds me a little of him

  • Jack got badly skinned trying to play a little LB… The chance (wide open, top of the box) was hit straight at Cech, luckily… (Or at least that’s the best I can remember it… No DVR here at my aunt’s…) So, correct position, just not able to defend properly…

    It happens, and, In truth, I don’t want to pick on Jack. Like I said, he had a fine game and (like I also said) I can see why his game impresses. On this site, however, he seems to get a bit of a “free pass,” esp. compared to younger, more “foreign” types (Bellerin, Iwobi) who’ve also been at the club for long periods and (maybe…) have contributed more than Jack (with all his injury troubles–and despite their young ages). I’ve suggested why I think this could be true, but I won’t go there again…

    Yeah, some of the other mids could also take some lumps, including the guy on the massive new contract… Xhaka and Elneny, I thought were solid and the latter wouldn’t have been my choice to sacrifice when Iwobi and Lacazette came on. Elneny, when he gets full games, doesn’t seem to tire, in my view… Down a goal, however, we really needed something (or someone) that might have gotten us two. With two teams to catch, a single point wasn’t gonna help very much…

    Overall, on the day, I think you (TA) have it right… The Kane threat over the length of the game (as our MF tired) was the difference. He was able to trouble our defenders in a way our (more along the ground) play was unable to trouble theirs–esp. with their help from the linesmen… I also think I’m right… Against poor teams, the new signings can do some fun things (see Everton, last weekend); against the better ones, where the margins are far tighter, it’s gonna take some time…

  • I always feared totts getting Poch he has this team so well organized. They seem to have 3 central defenders with height who are all better than our options but the way the team is setup defensively stands out when you watch them play. I love Bells but when was the last time he put in a decent cross, Sagna was never the best going forward but statistically I bet he has more assists as a ratio from crosses than bells and could be relied upon to shutdown the best of attackers he came up against. The xhaka thing just isn’t working and overall besides organization our midfielders lack athleticism even though thats not everything it plays a part. Maybe this is down partially to the new faces not being acclimated but I can’t remember an Arsenal team being so poor in possession and giving it up so cheaply at times and Mkhi was the biggest culprit although ozil wasnt far behind but just didn’t get into the game at all.

  • Seventeenho, am really disappointed we got beaten by a goal from the eighties. I am no fan of Kane but we got to respect his ability to score these sort of goals.

    The new signings will make a difference but the Spuds away game came too soon. Last weekend we had such an adrenaline boost but it will take some time to integrate everyone. I am a bit worried about Auba’s lack of involvement in the game/ lack of touches. Is that what we are expecting of him?

  • So annoyed at Wenger for effectively blaming Lacazette, in his post march press conference, for Arsenal failing to get any points from this match. Both chances he had were very difficult and Wenger has totally destroyed Lacazette’s confidence by failing to implement a more vertical or counterattacking system that plays to his goal scoring strengths. The same thing will happen to Aubameyang, who is a very similar striker.

    Add to that that blind Freddie could see that Arsenal don’t have central midfielders with with the necessary defensive and transitional skills (despite there being a whole host of players with that skills combination that Wenger could target – Demme, Gonalons, Illarramendi, Fabinho, Krychowiak, etc) and the whole situation reeks of a Arsenal legend desperately clutching to power.

  • Total, that’s a good point, the Spuds game really came too soon for our new players.
    Aubameyang has had a handful of training sessions with his new team mates, he’s still getting to know them and vica versa.
    Mkhitaryan down the left didn’t seem to work, hopefully he’ll return to and stay on the right for the rest of this most bipolar of seasons.

    Having watched the highlights of Man City surgically dismantling Leicester on MotD, it sends a cold chill down my spine when I think of the League Cup final, my pleasure at finding that my son has got me a ticket for the final has now been tempered by the thought of what City could do to us at Wembley if they are in the mood.

  • I gotta say…

    …That one of the silver linings of losing a match are the wise words of the guys with all the big ideas that our management missed…

    No really… (And they won’t read my writing so they shouldn’t take offense…)

    Simba always has some interesting ideas, as does Waldo… The latter was mad enough to stutter a couple of times but didn’t dig deep for the Debuchy would’ve made the difference comment I was expecting… Then there’s the new guy (Makayah) who actually seems like he might be reading some of our stuff (Welcome, if you are). He makes some salient points too, even saluting the great Bac Sagna… Mostly, I like that he’s the exact opposite to me when it comes to using…

    … the full stop key on his phone/keyboard… 😀

    Sorry, long day… Nightall

  • Am watching Huddersfield vs Bournemouth now. Both teams were playing at a high tempo and both teams have more willingness than us last night. And it is 2-1 to Huddersfield currently as i write.

    On hindsight, the player that could have saved us is not Lacazette, but Welbs. He did well to win the free kick but Ozil’s shot went off the wall. And overall Auba did well to trouble the spud defense.

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