The Ideal: Torreira/Xhaka, Guendouzi in Hole, OLA up-front, Hold/Sokratis CBs…

— But it won’t happen. 

Full of cold and not much time for a preview, so I suggest you read the Arsenal match brief instead (with some good stats in there!):

In terms of starting eleven, I guess it will be the same as last week’s, with starts for Xhaka and Guendouzi in the middle of midfield – in my opinion a guarantee for conceding at least a goal again tomorrow – and Rambo in the hole. In attack we will see again OLA: Ozil, Laca and Auba and at the back it is Cech, Monreal, Sokratis, Mustafi and Bellerin

The starting 11 I would like to see are:

submit football lineup

  1. Give Holding and Sokratis a chance to grow as a CB duo
  2. For flip sake start with Torreira and Xhaka in de DM-Pivot: for balance and control
  3. To show that I do not dislike Guendouzi, I would play him the hole as the B2B midfielder. That way he can support the attack without leaving our defence exposed. It would be good to see how he would do in that position as we need to start planning for life after Rambot
  4. Laca, Auba and Ozil to play together again and build further on their growing collective form.


By TotalArsenal.

36 thoughts on “The Ideal: Torreira/Xhaka, Guendouzi in Hole, OLA up-front, Hold/Sokratis CBs…

  • TA, …… great of you with all the cold.

    Torreira is my first name on the sheet. About a month and half ago when I came across an expert opinion that rated him second in Europe behind only Busquet as a holding mid, I dismissed it as one of those opinions. Ever since and increasingly, am taking that assertion more and more seriously. He is positionally very disciplined, a consequence of his excellent awareness on and off the ball. Blessed with that initial 4 meter bust of speed that is so crucial for winning balls, what I regard as the best part of him is what he does with the ball when he has it. Not only does he have a panoramic view of the field but he is able to respond very quickly to that field situation be it in the form of simple pass or the most penetrative. Anytime he steps onto the pitch he seems to sort it out for everybody.

    Further forward is where Emery has problems in his hands. Ozil, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan are all #10s. Auba and Laca are both point men. Ideally Emery should pick only two of them at a time, one from each group. In a sense that’s strength in depth but there is always that little matter of egos to manage.

    Iwobi is becoming a big factor in the equation. He is our best ball carrier, best dribbler and a quick passer of the ball. In my opinion he is turning out as our best option for the wide left position. Auba in that role is but a misuse of a specialized talent and to me only three positions should remain available for our fab five, striker, #10 and wide right unless Emery decides to come up with a formation designed to accommodate more of them.

    For the match against Everton, Emery’s early substitution of players like Auba, Iwobi and Torreira in the Thursday night match leaves them available for selection. Same for substitutes like Ozil and Guendouzi.

    My prediction:-






    Bench:- Leno, Leichsteiner, Holding, Guendozi, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck.

    Clean sheet? I wouldn’t put my money on that. Arsenal to win 3-1. By the way, Monreal should see to it that Walcott’s love of football deserts him at the Emirate for the 90 minutes duration of the match.

  • We’ve got to stop agreeing like this TA– someone is bound to notice 🙄

    (Posted a version of this elsewhere– but relevant here too:)
    Winter is coming. So is life-after-Rambo (come January).
    (As much as I have enjoyed ‘Clutch’ Ramsey winning FA Cups?)
    Drop Aaron, play Matteo in the hole vs Everton.

    Ramsey was either going to deliver goals/assists this Fall– or he would be pressing to deliver them. With a tally of 0/0? Clearly, the latter.

    Damn the torpedoes! Play all three of Guendouzi/Torreira/Xhaka.

    With this (IMO) a transitional season– that still has the chance of some level of surprise? No reason not to pair Holding and Sokratis after seeing them so solid and at-ease on Thursday. Would also like to see Leno versus Everton. (As with Mertesacker, I appreciate most highly– a ‘pro’s pro’. But it is, like it was with Per– time for Petr to be eased out.)

    These are the things that will progress the club. This is the time.


  • I think Guendouzi instead of Ramsey would be the most rational decision as would playin Iwobi on the wing. I would use Özil then replace with Mikki at half time. Also drop Bellerin for Lich for God’s sake if we want to stop leaking goals.

  • You should be the coach mention
    It yah,only one of ozil Ramsey should be on the pitch,only one of lacazzete or auba, the coach needs balls ,ozil on 10, or wing is a plain liability

  • PE, that is a fine comment my friend. You may be right re having to make choices re the four attacking positions (most attacking positions) and I agree that Emery needs to find the balance. Like you, I am a big Iwobi fan and would not mind see him start today. Your line up is a very attacking one, and to leave all of Mhki, Guendouzi and Rambo on the bench is a bold move. Maybe too bold?! 🙂

  • JW1, Cech or Leno is an interesting shout. I like it that Emery shows so much respect for Petr, shows that he is a man with class. I reckon Petr is paying him back with a willingness to learn and some assured traditional goalkeeping. Leno is the (near) future, no doubt, but the helmet-man is fighting for his position and that has to be admired.

    Glad we are aligned re the midfield 😀

  • Peter, I also have my doubts re Bellerin but Lichtsteiner is less strong going forward and Hector is starting to deliver good balls into the box. Licht was clearly at fault, be it unlucky, for the first goal v Vorskla, and the second goal also came from his side (but the DMs let the defence down for that one, as so often happens when Torreira is not on the pitch).

  • Cheers Kev, just a lot of sleep and blowing my nose constantly it is for me. It is a real shame as we have brilliant autumn weather here in Embra. Thanks for your fine comments on the Thursday game. 🙂

  • Hi TA. Hope you are on the mend. Like others I like your line up a lot, though I don’t expect to see it today. Of this line up Guendi is the hardest to fit in at 10. There are so many alternatives. Injuries, real or expedient, will not doubt limit options today. Tor needs a league start sometime soon. Iwobi and some of the youngsters also deserve a try in order to find a better balance than simply playing all the big stars up front. Cech still has it for me in goal for his stopping skills. Yes he looks clumsy playing out. But he’s stopped a lot of goals without this far costing us by being clumsy. Leno’s time will cone I’m sure. But not yet.

    I’d be right behind the coach over some selective benching. The big egos need to perform, sign contracts and work hard. Otherwise why should they expect preferential treatment. Reminders without rubbing their noses in it would be good for them and for the team ethos generally.

    No prediction for today. We are too open and inconsistent for that. I’d love a clean sheet, but don’t see any sign of it yet until a team field 11 short and slow defenders against us…..

  • Thanks AB and all good observations. Agreed re it being hard to predict the score and loving a clean sheet (and v unlikely to get it). Attack is our best defence and therefore I would play OLA up-front again today. Iwobi and Mkhi can be on show again on Wednesday and should also get 30 minutes or so today.

  • Total, I know that a lot of fans have their views on the choice between Lacazette and Aubameyang, but I’ve always thought that we need them both in the team, with our midfield and defence a work in progress we have to compensate by having as big a goal threat as we can I feel. In our strikers we have £100m of talent and potentially 60+ goals, so why put 50% of that on the bench? The only people happy with that will be our opposition.

  • I agree on Laca and Auba. It’s just how best to combine and with whom. I wonder about Laca in a 10 position with Auba in front. Leaving one of Ozil and Mkhi in the right and Iwobi or even Danny on the left. Could leave us very open in the midfield. But then that’s where we are right now anyway.

  • Total, as experienced as Lichtsteiner is Total, it cannot be easy making the odd appearance, as you cannot get a feel and rhythm for the game. He’s made two errors in games and been punished both times, I honestly think he’s just been unlucky.
    Hector is regularly hung out to dry, only Mkhitaryan has shown any effort to give him support in games, if Mesut plays you can forget it, if he had a Ray Parlour or a Rocky Rocastle alongside him I don’t think he’d be left out on his own so often especially as he’s expected to play wing back in a back four.
    Everton are going to target the gaps he leaves when he goes forward for sure.
    This game isn’t finishing 0-0, more likely another 4-2 to us – with the emphasis on the US…

  • Kev, AB,

    I reckon it will make a big difference IF we play Xhaka and Torreira in the very centre of the team. Both can defend and attack and the four in front of them can play with a bit more freedom. Yes the full backs need cover and both Ozil and Auba are not ideal for this, but with Xhaka and Torreira we have good extra cover, as long as the one in the hole also comes back to help out. Guendouzi and Rambo are v suitable for this imo, whereas Ozil, Auba, but also Mkhi and Iwobi can be supportive too from the wings.

    When we play the top teams, I would be tempted to play Xhaka, Torreira and Rambo/Guen as a three in midfield, with Rambo/Guen on the right. With Ozil in the hole and both Auba/Laca in front of him, we could be both more solid and lethal up-front.

  • Kev, fair point about Lichtsteiner and I would love to see him start again today, but I want to give a shout to Bellerin as he has been improving his final ball and has been a great outlet for us in attacking terms. Defensively he is a work in progress, agreed.

  • Just watched most of the Vorskla game on Arsenalplayer and that was quite enjoyable. Iwobi starred with fine wing-play and if he just improves his final ball – pick the right man, keep the ball to the grass and don’t overhit it – he can become very effective. I reckon this is hard to do, as you need the adrenaline to get past players but you don’t need it when you need to make the pass. Overmars was a master in finding the balance and maybe Alex should watch some of his videos.

  • AB I can see and respect your points and Total is right about the Xhaka/Lucas combo, I just hope they’re fit, because when Lucas went off on Thursday our midfield lost its glue.

    I really like Aubameyang, he has so many facets to his game that reminds me of TH14, but to play him as the lone striker without a Welbeck or Lacazette seems to me to leave us vulnerable to the ball coming straight back at us.
    Lacazette has certain strengths to his game that I see as an asset in these formative months of our development under Emery, not least his ability to hold onto the ball whilst under pressure, it allows our midfield to get up in support or wins us free kicks, both help our defence to regroup and have a breather.
    I guess also that Aubameyang is still adapting to the Premier League, I’m not sure how many games he’s played for us domestically but it has to be around 20, so he’s still learning I guess?

  • Total, I like the fact that Emery adapts his tactics and team to take into account what our opposition strengths are, it was something that drove me to despair with Arsene.
    Showing the stronger sides respect and playing a more solid three in midfield seems eminently sensible, it’s just obvious to me.
    As for Iwobi, maybe he is going to be Emery’s Rahim Sterling, in that he’ll work on him to help him get rid of the noise in his game and focus him on what he does effectively in his game.
    Part of what annoys a lot of Arsenal fans with him is that we know there’s a good player in there somewhere. When he’s good he’s really good, but he has to do it consistently.

  • Kev, that is a typical analysis for a youngster coming through (your last sentence). I agree that Unai can get Alex to become more effective with his passing and taking his own chances. Maybe, hopefully, this is his season to break through!

  • Hi TA… Well done with the quick preview and the (longer) follow up comments. I’m up early and even saw a bit of the 1st half of WHU-Chelsea. Still nil-nil in that one…

    Who knows who Emery will put out there in our match. If I were a betting guy, I’d stump for the same 11 he played at Cardiff and Newcastle even though it’s not my preferred group. I’m with you on dropping Ramsey, though not quite for the same reasons. I agree about Iwobi, too… There’s some indication that Mkhi will be “hurt” for this one, even if Torreira seems to have recovered from whatever stomp he took vs the Ukrainian team…

    I’m thinking it might be fun to do a bit match commentary for this one, putting up a new post when the line-ups come out. You should let me know what you think, and, if you like the idea, I can make it happen… This one seems an important game to win… Our record under Wenger vs Everton was very strong, but they are a wounded beast (having given up all three points–at home–to West Ham, who had none beforehand) and they’ve had all week to rest up while watching and training for this one… Plus there’s Theo and his angry hair…

  • Iwobi looks to have made some critical changes to his game, I think, notably eliminating the static 1v1 stuff that kills our movement. It’s the same stuff that made the Real Madrid fans not mind losing Christiano Ronaldo (along with other acts of absurd selfishness…), and Alex, I hate to say, is no Ronaldo. That said, if he just keeps moving he’s got all the attributes to be a fine player. His work on the break for that first goal on Thursday was just about as good as anything I remember from Alexis, the guy we’re working to replace from the wide left starting spot…and he got rid of the ball quickly (to Mkhi) who moved it onto Welbeck’s head for the 2nd goal. Keep the ball moving seems Emery’s priority (even if we give it away) so credit to Alex for working the program…

    But, the wide left spot probably belongs to Aubameyang even if (I think) we could move to more of a 442 in order to get both Pierre and Alex into the line-up. We should note that Bellerin plays more like a winger than a full back but that’s OK as long as Mustafi can shift wide and cover for him. If the one guy Gooners hate (Bellerin) can get covered by the other (Mustafi) we’ll be fine…as long as the most hated of them all (perhaps?…) Xhaka, does his work tracking back to cover pull backs to the top of the box…

    That’s how we’d keep a clean sheet… At which point Gooners wouldn’t know WHO (or whom…) to hate…

    Giroud off for Chavs and Fabianski saves from his sub (Morata) with his face… Lucas Perez on for the Hammers but still nil-nil…

  • Hi Seventeenho, a match commentary post sounds great. I will be watching the game on TV so can contribute too. WH v Chavs game is dire to watch in the second half (just now a few chances for the west Londoners)

  • Hi Kev I think we are all wrestling with the same problem. And the fit is a bit forced whichever way we put the current team together. It’s what the coach has got to resolve, be that with these players or some new. Laca just off Auba up front feels ideal. But needs midfield legs and creativity behind them both. Ozil or Mikhi could provide the latter. But neither really dominates the midfield. Tor and Xhaka can pull the strings from deeper. I’m happy with that pairing. The problem is we don’t have real wingers if we play Ozil in the 10 and Ozil isn’t a winger either. What to do? Build around Ozil or try something else? I can’t see us replacing Ozil with the same quality so my vote is to build round him. Which prob means letting Rambo go if he can’t become a new right mid in a 4,3,3 system. But can one of our young players step into a right mid role? Or would we be ok with a mix of Mikhi and Iwobi? Too many questions. Looking forward to the game!

  • OK, TA, I’ll give it a go…

    Hi AB… I agree (get what money we can for Rambo in January) and play a “shifted” 442 as I described above…essentially making Bellerin and Iwobi our wide guys…

  • As a self confessed Rambo fan I beg to differ,, it I may be the only one on here now. I suspect last seasons hat trick against Everton him no harm.

  • Watching West Ham vs Chelsea 0-0 at 78′ with the Hammers having played stout defensively since I began watching about 15 minutes ago. Presumably prior too.

    Yarmalenko, WHU’s hero from a week a ago (a 3-1 win over Everton) missed a wide open header from about 6-7yds from a pinpoint cross in the the only bit of attack for them to this juncture.

    If we’re counting ‘breaks’ that Arsenal do/don’t receive– that, for me, is chalked-up ‘against’.


  • retsub–
    I’ve written the briefest of paeans to Ramsey upthread. But– my sentimentalism exited the door with AW. It’s all and only business now. That was the decision the club made. As such, my youthful footballing-soul is the darker for it.

    Sorry Aaron.
    Like Theo, like Jack. I wish you well and farewell.
    Except whenever we see you again.


  • Sorry guys have I missed something.? As far as I am aware he was still negotiating and if anything Gazidis had disrupted things by leaving.
    I like Jack and Theo a lot, but don’t consider them in the same class as my boy Rambo.

  • Phew! What a first half. Everton has expended so much energy this half. I expect them to slump in the second half.

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