4-4-2: Welbz and Auba Up-Front To Take Game to Man City | Preview


Morale is at all-time low. We have lost six matches already in 2018. We are 27 points adrift of table toppers Manchester City and a good 10 points off top four, albeit with a game in hand. We have just been humbled in the League cup final. And what saddens most, perhaps, is that the team has not been showing enough fight. Morale is low and rightly so, but never will we give up. There is a cup labelled Pride to be won in every match.

In the match against City a few days ago, where we lost by 0-3, we were able to muster only five attempts on goal of which three were from outside the box and only two on target. Playing against the same City we must do much better than that. It is obvious that we need to set up more offensively and show more courage. It’s our only option.

We have one of the top goal scorers in Europe (Auba) whose profile indicates that apart from scoring goals his other contributions don’t particularly stand out. To leave him isolated up field, starved of service is to render him useless. Big shame when our tactics should be geared to getting the best out of him. Another player up front to back Auba might be all that is required against this City side.

That supporting player, of course, should not be Ozil. It should be a player who has the pace and the power to pull defences apart and draw attention away from Auba. There is nobody who fits this bill better than Welbeck. Welbeck would do the yeoman’s job for Auba, freeing him to do what he knows how to do best.

In the League Cup final we had a paper formation of 3:4:2:1 but on the field we were compressed into a 5:4:1 which denied us the right shape for an effective offensive thrust. Consequently, our attacks broke down easily. This time we should tilt the balance of our Carabao Cup Final encounter slightly away from defence to attack, from 5:4:1 to 4:4:2.

In last Sunday’s game, Wenger had hoped to use his wingbacks to stretch play going forward. That never materialized, not when we found ourselves pinned back. If we should go 4:4:2 (doesn’t matter what the paper formation is) stretching the field would have to come from our midfielders. That would mean doing away with inverted wingers who invariably cut inwards, slowing down our speed of transition.

Against City, opposition fullbacks are hardly able to join the attack. A better defensive Chambers becomes more useful at right back than the more offensive minded Bellerin. Kolasinac fills in at left fullback for Monreal who is out with a back injury.

The line-up I would like to see is (I don’t give two hoots about the paper formation):


submit football lineup

SUBS; Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Elneny, Xhaka, Iwobi, Nketiah.

If for nothing else, we’ve got pride to play for. Ask me and I’d tell you, that’s always a precious prize.


By Pony Eye

59 thoughts on “4-4-2: Welbz and Auba Up-Front To Take Game to Man City | Preview

  • Uplifting PE!
    ThoughWelbeck in the behind- Auba role?
    Recall that Mkhi was in that role at BVB.


  • Hi PE, that is a fab preview with a feasible change in strategy and formation. It could work and I agree that we need to give Auba support in attack. Laca is the right person imo but he is still out. I would prefer 4-4-1-1 tomorrow with Ozil in the hole and Welbz and Mkhi or Rambo on the mid-wings. I would also put Elneny next to Jack and sacrifice Rambo, but it will not happen. Tomorrow is about showing character and giving them a game… will we though?

  • jw,
    If we loose tomorrow, my pride would take another painful hit. That’s why am up and fighting.
    I don’t mean Welbz to necessarily be behind Auba. Just two strikers with complementary roles. Welbz with a “nuisance” role; Auba for scooping the icing.

  • TA,
    Agreed. Laca would have been the man. He is a hard worker like Welbz and with more goals. Elneny also appealed to me but my desire for greater offensive potency decided my choice of Wilshere and Ramsey. If we have to go down let it not be in a whimper.

  • Good one PE, and probably appreciated by TA, as these seem like dark days (or, at least, better things to do…) for him… If you want the manager out, it’s a waiting game, after all…

    I haven’t wanted to write ANYTHING about the club because it’s truly about swimming against the tide if one still believes that AW is the best man for the job. How that makes me a Piers Morgan, I’ll never know… 😉 (I think it could mean that Admir and I are not so keen on both PM and President…So, in the end, we agree!!… More smileys…)

    We play them one at a time and pride might work as something for a match or two. We could sure use a good result, but then that just tides us over until the next bad one… What we really need is a good result AND a good performance (for those who can actually separate the two). For me then, it’s an(other) attempt to try and match up–technically–with the very best and see if you can go toe to toe.

    We didn’t do so well in the cup final and that first goal was a killer (as was the 2nd, of course). IF Ozil had shot and scored instead of passing to a clearly (IMO) offside PEA, things might’ve been a bit different. Same goes for the nudge on Mustafi by El Kun… Arsenal, however (IMO, again…) were playing a divey game–led by a player everyone seems to love–perhaps because he showed the most “pride,” or frustration (with the ref) or something–and the ref (maybe) decided he was tired of being harassed and giving ALL of them…

    This brings me to the subject of favorites and those who seem the opposite. I’m loathe to be put in with Roy Keane but I still cannot see why that player gets a free ride while others who seem FAR superior (Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Elneny) to my eye (and who can actually play without the ref on their side)…are routinely dropped from peoples’ preferred 11s. I will say this, my hopes for Mkhi as his replacement need some bucking up. Our new guy from ManU had those nice assists vs Everton but has struggled since. Again, IMO…

    Likewise, from some research of my own http://7amkickoff.com/index.php/2018/01/17/aubameyang-not-your-average-arsenal-striker/ I knew that PEA would, hopefully, be like a rich man’s version of Theo Walcott, who actually wants to play at CF. For him, then, it’s all about the goals. Score ’em and be a Thierry, blow ’em and the previous #14 is your lot. VAR would’ve called back the early attempt(s) but having them saved (for those who think the refs are always wrong) doesn’t help, either. Ah well, we can always blame Wenger (or maybe Ozil, as I think Admir tried to do…) for buying him.

    As such, I’m less concerned about him being isolated up front alone. It would be great if Welbeck could come in and get a goal (or three) but he’s struggled so much against tired defenses (i.e., as a sub) that I’d be afraid to start him. Indeed, a bad time for Laca to go down as well as for Giroud to move across town…

    We’ve gotta be wary of City’s (extreme) offensive potency but I like the idea of more attack and I particularly like TA’s idea of a 4411–and his inclusion of Elneny who could also slip back to make a 3 CB set-up go. And, yes, paper formations (or what they show in the pre-game coverage), IMO, are worthless. This is what I think we’ll get:


    I’d drop a certain English fellow for an Egyptian or Nigerian guy, and play more of a 4-1-4-1 but that’s just me… In the end, that would be three fewer English players (Welbs, Chambers, JW–for a grand total of zero…) than you suggest, but then that’d be one MORE thing the fans/media could blame AW for after the match.

    I’d also bite off your hand if you offered me a draw…

    Good time to be a Gooner… 😦

  • PE, I am with you buddie. There is no point playing Auba if we do not play attacking football and why not just go for it. Still it is also about balance and we cannot afford to be blasé about this, as it could get very embarrassing. So for me Elneny in middle of midfield-defence is a must. Jack also has to play deep and disciplined (or Rambo more likely), but then dare to push forward and take risks occasionally. We could do with a bit of luck/ score the first goal and get the belief and adrenaline going. Dare to attack in numbers and then get back into shape.

    What does piss me off when playing MC is that every time a team try to play out of the suffocating grip in their own half, the ;Mancs’ foul the player that gets through. This does not warrant yellow cards and it is highly effective in stopping opponents to get through. It is a typical Guardiola tactic and referees should see it as breaking up attacking moves and give more yellow cards imo.

  • Not go down in a whimper, PE?…

    Me? I’m fearing worse than the 10-2 (aggregate) that Guardiola’s former club gave us… How many to nil would qualify?… Frankly, a well played nil-nil would go down a real tonic (for me). This City team can run up a tally. (But with Nacho out, I do like the flat 4 back-line…) Things could get ugly if the home “support” turns on the players/manager and tries for the early tube-ride home…

  • Love the ambition here PE. We have nothing to lose here. Sitting back we will just get done again. I hope that Wenger resists the urge to go for the same set up to ‘show what they should have done’. But gets on the front foot as you suggest instead. I would agree with TA about keeping Elneny in the line esp with a back 4 set up. I’d also go with AMN instead of Kola at the left – for the same reason as you opt for Chambers on the right.

  • Hi there HT. I’d take a draw very happily too. I can’t say I’m optimistic. But I’d like a performance tomorrow. By that I don’t mean mindless effort. But some discipline and intelligence in the mix too, along with some real determination.

  • Yes seventeenho, it is a waiting game now and good for you that you still believe in Wenger. You are his nr1 fan no doubt and I admire the loyalty. I still support my team with or without Wenger but there is absolutely no doubt that we need a new manager asafp. Just three weeks from now the Formula1 season starts again so I will cope! 😉

  • It is also noted that as much as you love Wenger you dislike Jack Wilshere. You see, everybody needs to let their disappointment out somehow and Jackieboy is definitely your outlet-person. 🙂

    I am disappointed in all our midfielders from Jack to Rambo to Mesut to Granit. They all have to step up, but I am not going to pick on just one of them (or two).

  • HT,
    The 7am stuff gives a clear picture of what Auba is. He is so much of a 6yd box man and that’s exactly why I want us to do away with the inverted wingers. 6yd box finishing is usually from early balls coming from wide areas. Ozil left wide would be a source, Mkhi right wide another source. From the centre would be Jack or Rambo. Welbz (Laca when fit) would be there to pull defenses apart and add more goals. Elneny playing conservatively might be best option to complete the front six. But then our fullbacks would have to concentrate on defensive duties.

  • Very good, TA… You ferreted out that JW was the player I didn’t name… Truly, I’d love to see him REALLY contribute, and, I think, I wrote something a few weeks back that clarified my position on him. (Fewer forwards runs, i.e., out of position in case of turnover, plus better passing/ball control) is what I prefer in my MF… Ramsey’s got similar issues…) Too many #10s, forced to play too deep is a criticism of Wenger that could very well ring true… If he picks Jack tomorrow, I’ll criticize him again. I’m not (completely) and AKB, after all… 😀

    I hate to say it, but it could all be over very quickly for him…though I have zero idea how AC Milan are playing these days…

    Still, I’m not sure how so many can be convinced that the players have given up on the manager. Is Ozil really just in it for the money? (For example…) Your fellow stoic says he was right about this a year ago…yet somehow we went on to beat big teams on our way to the FA cup… The cups only matter when you lose ’em, it seems… If only we’d played kids (oh, we did…) and were lucky enough to have been knocked out early in the league cup (too)… Damn you, Eddy… 😉 😦

    There’s my trouble… Winning (or good results like maybe the draw I’m after in this one…) only holds the misery over until the next disappointment… PE, though I don’t always agree with what he suggests, has stepped in nicely with previews and tactical stuff… Me? I’m more likely to send you an e-mail to tell you about my travels and the like… Plus, there could (finally) be a bit of winter (snow) coming… With warm weather sure to follow if it peters out… Escaping the Arsenal malaise is not such a bad thing…

    What about AB?… He’s a good writer with a balanced perspective AND seems to agree with me…sometimes, maybe… 😉 I always fancied Admir but he’s gone a bit dark, perhaps… 😮 Then there’s JW… Anybody else?

    Light at the end of the tunnel, that’s what we could all use… And for me, that’s not associated with Wenger out… Winning the Ropy league seems far superior, IMO… Go on then…

  • 17ht, i am not as confident compared to few months ago when we had to win the Europa League.

    See how tonight pans out. OGAAT.

  • Hi all.. Hi PE.. Great post as always..

    Bring back the Wenger’s winning formula is a great idea.. But will it be..?? I doubt it..
    I think Wenger himself will doubt it.. Hehehe..
    But why not.. Let’s try it..

    First I don’t think the back four is strong enough.. Chambers used to be our most weakest side.. Although he played well enough last game.. But who else will.. Bellerin surely not the option.. And If you mean to be more solid defensive rule.. Maybe Niles is the right man in the left.. He can defence better than Kolasinac.

    Then we put all four attacking minded midfield altogether.. It’s okay.. As long as we are sure about our defenders.. But sacrifice one of them and put Elneny there may be more reasonable.. Hehehe..
    Don’t ask me who must we sacrifice.. For I am also another un-wilshere fans.. Hehehe..
    And I’m a stubborn guy.. I stick to my view that Ozil is better in the middle.. Hehehe.. So the four man in the middle should be Ramsey – Elneny – Ozil – Mhkitaryan

    Two strikers.. Yes we discussed it for long time.. I think it time for the show..
    Damn.. How I missed Lacazette.. If he is available then it will be perfect.. Hehehe..
    But Welbeck isn’t a bad striker also.. Yes he missed some great goals.. But so did Aubameyang and Lacazette.. So let’s believe in him for tonight..

    So although I have a big doubt about this formation.. But if we play 4-4-2 then my team will be :
    Aubameyang Welbeck
    Ramsey Elneny Ozil Mhkitaryan
    Niles Mustafi Koscielny Chambers

  • Interesting point about inverted wingers, PE, though I’d say (again) that I probably don’t agree… Everything I’ve ever read (or heard) is that crossing for goals is a low percentage play… Not that we shouldn’t try it when on offer, of course. The additional issue with crossing for goals is that both the crosser and his target man (or, ideally, men) are going the wrong way. If the ball gets cleared, the counter is on… Back in the day, with heavier balls and sodden pitches, it’s easy to see why this became so popular in English football. And why a thunderous counter attack, (maybe finished by a cross of it’s own with a few guys running with total commitment) was a fairly rare and wonderful thing to see. Wenger was one of the earliest to move on from this approach and (from what I’ve seen–the Invincibles tape, for example) one of the best (in England) at recognizing the importance of transition from defense to offense (and visa versa), though, of course, there were a bunch of those great romping goals too. Over time–as the lesser teams get better players and play more and more on the break, his emphasis on possession based attacking football, however, is at odds with this, though, IMO, he’s become notably more pragmatic as time has gone by and the football–not to mention the results–has been far less satisfying. I gotta say, however, that I love a walk-it-in goal and a heads up diagonal cross from a(n) inverted winger as much as anything. Ozil and Mkhi serving ’em up to Auba (or Ramsey or anyone…now that Nacho is hurt) would go down a treat. If we can’t keep City out of our net, getting a goal of our own, seems really (really, really) necessary… Ideally we can get the fans on our side early (some hard tackling of our own, maybe, to go with that first goal, perhaps) and show both fight and technique…

    Oh, I guess I missed Bellerin’s comments about ArsenalFanTV while getting ready for my holiday a couple of weeks back… I just read a good one over there on Tim’s site (7amkickoff) about them… I think I’m more in love than ever… 😀

  • Good “pep” talk PE! 😉👍 Formations notwithstanding, I am really puzzled about the doubt and hesitation that appears to the way we play these days. Most moves down the flank appear to go down to ~3/4 pitch then turn and pass back to the centre-halves! Is this something that seems this way only on TV? Can anyone who has been to a recent game comment?
    Anyways, here’s hoping for a return to playing with freedom and the Arsenal style (and results) of old. As Joplin (I think) sang “Freedom is another word for nothing left to loose”…

  • HT,
    You are right about crossing the ball for goals as a low percentage play. But the fine point is that am not asking for crosses. Crosses invoke pictures of kicking the ball from the wide areas into the box and hoping-for-the-best. This type is the low percentage play you talked about.

    There is another type that does have one of the highest percentage play. I’d not call it a cross. It’s putting an early ball into the space between the back line and the keeper …. what I call the no man’s land. It particularly suits Auba whose pace and instinct usually gets him ahead of the back line. He scored many goals for Dortmond that way.

    Two such opportunities were missed by Mkhi (against Tot) because he tried to place the ball into the no man’s land with his weaker foot as he was positioned as an inverted winger.

    That “sitter” Auba apparently missed against City was actually a fault of Ozil and that was because he had to place the ball with his very weaker right foot as he was playing in an inverted position. His ball came slightly late and slightly behind Auba. Had these three instances been the other way round it could have been three 6yd box tap ins. This would be playing to Auba’s strength, which can be summerized as “pace and positioning”.

    Against City whose half is usually undermanned this arrangement would be even more applicable.

  • Henry, I like the 11 players you selected. Compared to mine you have AMN for Kolasinac and Elneny for Wilshere. I could easily have ended up with your players. It’s your arrangement that I do not buy. Against mighty City, Ramsey has to be at the centre because of his industry. Delicate Ozil moves wide left.

  • St Henry,

    Yours is puzzlement. Mine is frustration. What you described happens because we use inverted wingers who have to cut in and have wingbacks who are not aggressive enough going forward. Auba (am always returning to him because he is £56M) needs quick transition play that would give him spaces for his movements.

    Do a slow build up and the spaces are gone leaving Auba impotent (leaving £56M impotent!)

  • Nice analysis Pony.
    T, thanks for the stoics chat yesterday. I am looking into Seneca on your recommendation. I’m an ancient Rome aficionado, so, should be perfect. I say you should read “the first man in Rome”. Brilliant novel series.

    On Arsenal, the atmosphere surrounding the club and all of us is pretty low lately. I don’t even pretend to have any answers. I am hoping that our new executives will continue to make moves, and that they turn out well. I can’t see us winning Europa league unless we can get our team to gel and play well as a unit. Right now very disjointed, which puts more pressure on the new guys. I don’t think Arsene has any answers anymore for this group.

    But I can’t stand the state of our civilization when rude, nasty people disrespect Arsene publicly.

  • j nyc well put agree totally.
    I don’t think it matters what side he puts out tonight, unless the players showy some commitment they might as well not turn up.

  • Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Aubameyang Subs: Ospina, Holding, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Iwobi, Nketiah

    Man City: Ederson, Walker, Danilo, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva, Bernardo, Sane, Aguero Subs: Bravo, Stones, Laporte, Jesus, Zinchenko, Toure, Foden

  • Thanks for the book tip, J of NY.

    No real surprises in the line-up. Looks like PE gets his wishes with Welbz and Auba up-front(ish)…

  • just had a sign. Gary Nevile interviewing at the Emirates ( brave or stupid) went up to an American guy and asked what he wanted to see tonight? He replied. “Passion”. Cmon 17HT it’s you in diisguise isn’t it?

  • Not me, retsub… I want to see quality and technique… The passion is a given… 😉

  • Coming on late for this one (been busy, lately). Other than the concern I have with our midfield balance and Bellerin’s ability to keep Sane in check, I expect a different game tonight. We should go for it; no other way to go about it.

    Come on lads. Let’s do this!

  • Jack must have one of those diplomatic injuries since failing to sign up. He’s gone, methinks, unless a compromise can be reached.

  • I’m losing my signal due to snow on the satellite dish… Maybe a good thing?

    Just when you think things can’t get any worse…

  • Wish I had snow on my Ariel. But….. I don’t think we have played half as bad as we did on Sunday. Not sure City can play as well as that again.

  • Looks like no comments here tonight; maybe, we caught that bug that spelt a bit of inevitability as to how the game will pan out. Never before have I seen a more despondent bunch at Arsenal. The weather and low turnout didn’t help matters, either.

    I thought we started well and looked like we wanted to prove a point but the timing of their first goal seemed to knock the stuffings out of our boys. When they got two, you could see the heads drop. The 3rd simply had everyone having a sense of deja vu . Surely, lightening won’t strike twice. Alas! It did. City have won their first game at our ground in many visits, underlying just how good this particular class is (or perhaps, how badly we are playing now). To be fair to the boys, they showed up a bit more tonight, albeit only after going down 0-3.

    I’ll say well played Welbeck, Ozil, Xhaka, Ramsey, Mustafi, Mhki, Kola and Bellerin. Koscielny was just okay, a bit shaky at times. As for Aubameyang, it seems so long ago when we were eulogising Mslintat for getting him for us; the “no service” excuse cannot be used on his output today. Nothing to do with him but more to do with our style of play which requires our striker to be hassling defenders and holding up the play. A quality he doesn’t possess. He hardly wished to put his body on the line, won’t jump for headers with Kompany, didn’t apply pressure on City’s CBs and when he was given a chance to help his confidence (I thought Xhaka, Mhki or Rambo should have taken that spot kick), the keeper saved his penalty kick. I made the observation too that Ref Mariner failed to show a second yellow to Otamendi for the penalty call.

    The players have to gather their wits, pick one another up and make one last push for the end of the season games, including the Europa league.

    PS: Pep being generous with his compliments to Arsenal’s approach today. Well, well.

  • Goonereris

    I think we did ok, Ramsey wa our best player, but some of the others were poor. kola looked like a park footballer to me. Anyway now is not the time to pick on individuals, I must confess I don’t follow European football, so I have only seen Auba play very occasionally. But from what I can make out he is exactly what it says on the tin, if that’s the case you have to question why we got him in the first place?

    Just watching Arsene on the TV. He looks a broken man to me. Please somebody help him out.

    never seen Auba play before.

  • @retsub1: Aubameyang is a predator. He scores goals mostly because of his pace and that’s pretty much it. Can miss unmissable chance cos of his technical flaws.

    Simeone plays 4-4-2 and was desperate to sign Lacazette for Atletico so there might be a dawn after the dark after all.

  • If you keep saying that the teams that are better and won against us by a considerable margin then you and the team have no eagerness to succeed Wenger.

    No point saying much here without the will to succeed by the team.

  • Not seen the game, I guess seeing it in the flesh at Wembley was enough for me.
    Man City are superb, wonderful talents expertly prepared and coached.
    They will be worthy champions and should go a long way in the CL.

    As for Arsenal, well Brighton is going to be one hell of game on the back of three successive defeats at an aggregate of 1 goals scored against 8 goals conceded.

    Defence remains an issue, that is clear, and it’ll probably remain so for the rest of this season.
    Why that is, is a question for the coaches….

  • Hi all..
    We’re better team than the Carabao.. but yet still lost the same 3-0.. Hard to believe it..

    We lost the spirit.. We still to humble to attack.. To afraid of losing ball.. And Yes our players losing a lot of ball.. Still so easy for City to cut our flow..

    But for me.. It’s better than before.. And if we keep doing the same attacking system.. Of course with better flow and understanding each other.. We can still win the last 10 games left.. Hehehe..

    Keep the spirit high..
    Victoria Concordia Crescit

  • We were decent enough. City was simply out of this world. Or was it our defending that made them look so fabulous?

    My biggest concern is Auba. It communicates better to see him as £56m. For £56m to be completely ineffective in 3 games running is tragic. Either we have made a blunder of a purchase or we are completely inept at fashioning the team to play to the strength of £56m. Am missing Laca.

    Welbeck was our best player followed by Ramsey. Both showed energy. Mkhi was decent. Bells is always average. Our CD were poor. Xhaka’s lack of athletism must undermine his otherwise decent contributions. Kola is not Arsenal stuff. He seems even not intelligent enough to recognize that the only thing he can do is race up the touch line and send in early balls. Cech made one great save but we can’t guess how much damage he has done to the confidence of our defence. A pass back to the keeper is a major plank in defending. Cech can never sort his feet out.

    All said and done, I can’t wait for the next match. How else can I hope to bury my misery? I cant also wait for the summer to come. The sales would thrill me as much as the purchases. There are quite a few I want gone mostly from our back 6.

  • @PE: We can sign Messi next summer but as long as Wenger is on the bench, players will underperform as there is obviously no coaching at Arsenal. Wenger has spent almost 200 millions on Lacazette, Aubameyang, Mustafi and Xhaka and each one of them look.as a worse player than he was when arrived at Arsenal. We got Xhaka for 35 millions when Spuds signed Wanyama for 11. That sort of scouting is the reason they are 10 points ahead of us for the second year running. No wonder talents like Nelson don’t rush into signing a new contract with Arsenal, no wonder Ox left to join Klopp.

    Özil is a lazey one. He insisted on Aubameyang to sign a new contract and he got him. Ditto Mustafi last year. Sanchez was forced out of Arsenal even if he was head and shoulders above every other Arsenal player. Bellerin’s confession that Sanchez desire to win was too much for them speaks volumes. 14 years ago, Henry was chasing Lauren in the locker room for not passing the ball v Man Utd to make it 2-1. Campbell chased Lehmann for giving away a penalty v Spuds at WHL. That what winners used to do. We now have number of poorly managed lazey players who collect big wages for underperforming. Next manager will need a good brush and enough time to prevent us from reching levels of Everton or, God forbid, Aston Villa.

  • Dark clouds hang over Emirates and wherever we go..when will the light shine on us again?

    My last comment was done on a rush, and didn’t had time to think straight.
    Thinking back and reading comments like PE and Admir (come on Admir, please do not throw stones into those fallen into the ditch), the team needs a confidence boost.

    Can the PL let us play lower teams to boost our confidence?

  • @njk84: We look like a team that other clubs use to boost their confidence, pretty much like MU of Moyes did. More games lost than any other BPL team in 2018 (7). I can see us losing to Brighton for weekend before reinvigorated Milan put us out of this misery.

  • Come on Admir, I believe that we would play better than what we did. With Elneny instead of Xhaka in the lineup.

  • “He insisted on Aubameyang to sign a new contract and he got him.” Source, proof, quotes, anything? Apart from the trash press, of course.

  • @Alex: He waited to sign a new contract till AW bought Aubameyang. Mirror agrees with me but I suppose that doesn’t satisfy you.
    @njk84: Elneny is press-resistant unlike Xhaka but doesn’t contribute much to our general play. I was saying for years that we look like a team that doesn’t prepare enough in terms of automatic movement of our players. We just ping the ball around hoping that Ozil or Sanchez (when he was here) would create goal on their own or make a set piece for Giroud to do a lay off for someone (he is no longer here either). It’s good thing Guardiola is in BPL now to show it is possible to have perfect movement with and without the ball without taking anything from beauty of the game. Having unlimited budget helps but compare his work with Sterling, Sane, Jesus, D.Silva, Walker and De Bruyne with Wenger’s work with Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Xhaka and Bellerin. Wenger used to make average and above-average players better than they were, he now makes ready-made players look bang-average.

  • “Mirror agrees with me…”
    Wicked irony, or canny sarcasm?


    Don’t believe we can judge Auba until we see him with a reshuffled squad. Probably in August. Possibly paired with Laca. Our defense and MF are not tailored for countering prowess that would highlight his ability.


    Tuned in online twice– each time for about a minute at work, early-on.
    Each time City scored a goal within 30 seconds. Figured I should stay busier– and checked back after full time.

    Didn’t watch enough to comment on the match.

    That said, and in a proactive sense will state– I’m not disappointed. Haven’t been since the 3-3 vs Pool in December. Had hardened myself to the possibility that this side of the new year might come to this.

    Was hoping back in December that at this point in the season– results would be more positive. Still stoic in the belief that the plan was to make a run at top-4 and/or EL-for-CL. There was– then, and is– now, no chance that our manager leaves until Summer. No way the club was changes direction/names an interim manager at that– or this juncture.

    Reminded of the old wheel, that a politico can weather any scandal up to “being found with a live boy– or a dead girl.” It’s like that till May.

    The backroom team is in place. The youth academy has it’s new leader on board. Much deadwood jettisoned. Possess the nucleus of a good attack. And Wenger will, one more time, brave a nasty onslaught by pundits, press, and know-nothings for the next 8 weeks. Buying time for the Svenraulivans to prepare for a shopping spree at the World Cup supermarket.

    As an old-school marketer– if I had to guess? The club will make the announcement in tandem with Arsene Wenger after the match at Old Trafford on April 29th. Leaving the last Emirates tilt vs Burnley on May 5th as his farewell. Wouldn’t see it beyond the pale if there were a ceremony of some sort with Wenger announcing his replacement and handing him his ring of keys.

    Nothing to do but grin and bear it guys. Sorry to say.


  • @jw1: Alex asked for the source. The closest thing to source is “The Mirror”. I don’t blame anyone who think differently – you know, that Ozil actually likes the club (if I was paid 350k per week and was allowed to perform every…other week while still getting a full wage, maybe I’d love that job as well) or that he is impressed with Wenger’s vision (he might be impressed with Wenger’s ability to earn more money while showing less for that money though) – that’s what people do, have different opinions on things.

    Just like Mourinho who can’t deal with Pochettino, Guardiola, Simeone, Klopp – all newer managers, Wenger is well past his best. Now that every other top club (and Spuds) has a modern manager who does tactics and knows how to prepare for the opponents, Wenger looks out of depth. It’s a natural thing to happen – we will all decline sooner or later (if we are lucky to live long enough to decline that is, with Trump, Putin, islamists and all other evils of the modern world) – but it’s only fair to admit when that happens and leave the stage for those with fresh ideas.

    My wife’s uncle used to be a brilliant mind and it’s no wonder that he’s raised three wonderful sons with amazing intelligence and academic success. The problem is, uncle H. is 77 and doesn’t want to accept the limits God has installed in all of us once He created us. H. had a stroke two years ago and narrowly escaped death. It left consequences that strokes leave – he can’t remember things or names, he can’t talk longer than 10 minutes or so and he walks with a lot of difficulty. The biggest problem is, he won’t admit he can’t drive any more. Aunt tried to force him by hiding keys, tried to persuade his nephew to cut the wire in the car so that uncle can’t start it at the first place, begged him, asked sons to persuade him…nothing helps. My wife’s other uncle drove with uncle H. and recited every prayer that exists during the five-minute drive. H. even caused a small car accident but, fortunately, no one was injured. The main issue with once great, independent, strong and intelligent man way ahead of his time and place is that he doesn’t want to admit when he should leave the keys to someone else and enjoy retirement.

  • jw,

    Sorry that I left a wrong impression in my comment. Am still a strong believer in Auba. It’s so clear that Auba is a prolific poacher and not much else besides. That means it is not Auba that has to adjust to the team. He can’t. It is the team that has to adjust to him and my disappointment is that i don’t see any sign that we are trying to retool for him.

    Maybe am again being unfair to our technical crew. Auba has played four games and three of them have been against difficult teams Tot and City twice.

    Auba needs space. Speed and space are like two sides of the same coin. That means abandoning our slow horizontal build up for greater verticality. Verticality means more turnovers which in turn demands intense pressing for winning the ball back. If we are not ready to or cannot alter our approach for him, why buy him in the first place.

    I know retooling needs time. In the interim it’s probably right to miss Laca.

  • Hi all.. Yes we missed Lacazette..
    The problem is will he be ready for Milan..??

  • Usually, teams do retooling in the summer when players are back from holidays, go on tours and bond better. Auba and Mhki will get better next season. However, Auba will have to adapt to the task of putting defenders under a bit more pressure; and try to take on defences with his speed.

  • PE–
    Think we’re both expressing the same ideas just differently.
    Outside of our attackers (Auba, Laca, Mkhi, Ozil), and Ramsey, Wilshere, Kos, Bellerin, Monreal?
    Think we could improve at every other of the sixteen (of the 25-man) roster spots. When those spots are filled? Hopefully with higher quality than currently exists; moving others down the pecking order– and strengthening the club a good deal. Real depth– means real improvement.


  • Total, Arsenal are like a swan, everything appears serene on the surface whilst underneath the legs are going 10 to the penny.

    I wonder what Josh has made of it all?

    He’s apparently gone back to the States, no doubt to report to his Ol’ Man but is due back to the UK anytime.
    Rumours of a Lord Harris offering his resignation are currently doing the rounds…

  • Btw PE, that was a very good post…

    I wonder if Arsene will pick the same XI for Brighton?
    If we played as we did against Man City it would probably be enough to get a result.

  • TA–
    Thanks for that Guardian link. Sums up most of my view on the state of things. The exception being the notion that Arsene will continue past this season.

    One idea mentioned in the article; involves an unspoken aspect about the inner machinations at the club at present– a ‘siege mentality’. From a military point-of-view– those inside a sieged enclave know it– eventually. For some time at the outset though, there’s still a vestige of how things might end up well. Hierarchy (management) is not inclined to keep the population (players) updated on their end-strategy. Therein is the issue.

    Occurs now that Arsene will step down at season’s end. In a £1B+ (profitable) business, all the contingencies have been discussed. The manager and the principals are clear on the end-game at this juncture. A few weeks back, with the League Cup and Europa League still upcoming, there was hope on the horizon to end this season with some positivity.

    Wenger had made all the Great Escapes before. But to have to do so against (still arguably) one of the great clubs of the era– and twice? Was a mountain too high. Now? Thanks to cannibalism disguised as media? Getting to mid-May with all his extremities intact seems like a reasonable goal.

    The mental strength of a manager or athlete is one of the traits that makes them professional caliber. Pressure, to the best, is an ally. Stress, OTOH, can overwhelm anybody. I have never witnessed a more unrelenting and toxic environment to perform within– than that concocted by the modern day media– as it applies to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, and on any given day, individual players. From former club greats– to every know-nothing troll with a keyboard. Echoing one another for days on a theme, to feel self-important. Or worse, to draw a wage.

    Nobody deserves this.
    Those who argue otherwise have no shred of decency left.


  • Good comments from Kev and especially jw1. Cheers guys.

    It is shit on a stick at the moment, but it is good to remember that structurally we are in a very strong position indeed. And tomorrow is another meaningful game and nothing changes our mood better than the ball being banged against the opposition’s net. 🙂

    New Post. 🙂

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