Arsenal Strongest 11, Best Formation, And Ideal Player Addition

The hiatus continues and will probably last a few more months. It takes time to adjust to the situation, but a lot is at stake here and we must learn to do without live football whether we like it or not. The one thing I am realising once more from this situation is how important it is to just see your team play. We are always looking at a game just played in terms of how it will help or hinder us to finish in the top four, win a cup etc, but that just makes us focus on the future and it undermines the experience of the game itself in the here and now, so to speak.

football ground deserted

Now that we have no games to watch, and I don’t see us kick a ball again before 1 July at the earliest, we will fully experience what it is to just not see our team play. Who is still interested in whether we win the FA Cup or finish in the top-four now? Just to see our team play again is definitely my biggest wish.

It is hard to write about football or Arsenal at the moment; well at least for me it is. But let’s try to get back to talking about Arsenal again; and I encourage other BKers to put forward their posts in the coming weeks. We now had a decent chance to look at our squad and I am interested in BKers answers/views re the following three questions:

  1. What style of football and formation would you like us to play?
  2. What is your strongest eleven from the current squad (assuming everybody is fully fit)?
  3. If there is one player you would like us to add to the squad, regardless of cost, who would that be?

Here are my three answers:

Style of football/formation

4-5-1: I think Arsenal played its best post-invincibles football in this formation and I think it best suits us and these modern football times. It makes us compact and work as a solid unit all over the pitch. I reckon it gives us the best protection of our defence and most creative football up-front; and I always prefer four at the back to three or even five.


ideal 11

** my ideal addition to the team

The one player

That would have to be Kevin de Bruine for me. We need more goals from the centre of midfield and KdB just is that sort of player that should have worn the red and white rather than the sky blue from the moment he came to the UK. We missed out on him but I cannot think of a better embodiment of the Dennis Bergkamp of this era. Sorry Mesut.

Over to you! 🙂

By TotalArsenal.

32 thoughts on “Arsenal Strongest 11, Best Formation, And Ideal Player Addition

  • Further to the post: I would have Laca and Pepe as super-subs, or start them in a number of games. But I want us to play with ball-tide wingers who can move all over the pitch and combine cleverly. With Nelson and Saka we have two great talents.

  • Good morning football starved BKers.

    My thoughts on your three questions are very similar to your own.

    My strongest eleven and formation would be –

    ————– Leno——————-

    Bellerin – Sokratis – Mari – Tierney

    Ozil – ——– Luiz ———– Saka



    The missing link would be Virgil van Dijk, because we lack a dominant force in defense, one who is commanding, big, strong and most of all – an on field leader.

    Somehow not having any kind of sports especially not being able to watch football especially Arsenal feels like I’m being punished for something that I didn’t do!


    Be careful with how you lead your live’s, the corona virus is a huge threat to all of us regardless of where we live or how we lead out lives – one cough from an infected person who you are near could make you a victim so take all of the necessary precautions.

    Personally I’m cancelling or delaying all of my medical appointments (to avoid being near other sick people) and I’m isolating at home for the next three weeks – I’ve got enough issues without adding covid- 19 to the list – especially at my age. My son will be doing all of our shopping.

    Take good care of yourselves BKers.

  • (sent you another reply, TA – mustofgotlost in cyberspace …)
    4-2-3-1 preferably (said something about 3-4-1-2 in my former comment)
    saka-özil- aubameyang
    (bukayo’s gonna be our robben/salah, mark my word)
    no buy! rien! nada!
    we sell/do not buy:
    i have nothing against any of these lads, actually I ilke them very much, have defended each and everyone of them when needed, but …
    we need to trust, really trust, our golden generation, we should give two years to mikel, in order for him to nurture them into becoming a 1989-2004-kind-of-group, something like:
    swanson-ballard-mavropanos (medley)- oseitutu (medley)
    mniles (smith)-guendouzi
    if we don’t do that now, when will we? might as well shut hale end down

    hope you all feel fine, BKers
    eerie lockdown atmosphere down here in normandy
    and our former minister of health (a professor of medicine by trade) has just declared she knew what kind of bitch the virus was as soon as … 3 months ago, and what consequences not taking the proper measures (which she didn’t) then would have
    there are times when you’d like to hop into wells’s time machine, so as to get back to guillotine times …

  • Cheers GN5 🙂

    Van Dijk would indeed be a strong addition, especially to our defence, and I like your line-up. A very attacking team but why not?!

    I think you are making the right decision re isolating yourself. My dad has to do the same as he has underlying issues and I do worry about him a lot. A person in his village got the coronavirus and is now in hospital and that makes me realise how close it got to him. Scary times.

  • Hi TA,

    I think everybody must be hiding behind their covid-19 defenses. It’s a very scary time for mankind and it’s hard to be critical of any governments actions as this has literally materialized over night (I exaggerate to make a point) but it would have been good if they had followed the Chinese example a lot earlier.
    Be safe.

  • It is fashion to compare KDB to Özil these weeks. Yeah… I would love Mesut with Sterling, Aguero, Gundogan, Silva, Sane….. and a coach who has had £500 M to build his team.

  • Hi T,
    Life’s been a little nuts since mid 2019, so I haven’t been around here. I thought it couldn’t get worse in 2020. Right. But I haven’t forgotten this special community here.
    Best of luck to the whole gang. I’m in my bunker. Don’t be afraid to be extra cautious. No harm in that.

  • My answers to your questions:

    1. 3-2-2-1-2 in attack, 4-5-1 in defense

    2. Same as your starting eleven, TA.

    3. Messi?

  • Alex, a swap would really not be a bad idea. We need assists and goals and key passes and there is little doubt that KdB is the master of this in the PL. I agree that Mesut could do with better players around him, even though the likes of Xhaka, Saka, Auba and Laca (and Nelson) are hardly garbage, but let there be no doubt about it that KdB is a truly Bergkampesque player who we have missed out on.

  • Messi at Arsenal, 84, would of course be great and would strengthen the team tremendously. Saka – Auba – Messi with Ozil to feed them…. yes that would be nice.

  • Now for me to explain in detail:

    1. 3-2-2-1-2 in attack, 4-5-1 in defense
    I had always talked about the need to be dynamic in our gameplay. Interchangeable football is the way forward in the league nowadays and we had seen more and more teams playing this style.
    The idea is to protect the centre core during attack, which we were poor when we attacked and we were slow in defending from the counter.
    So many times we were overridden from the midfield to the defense, and in most cases Leno saved us in 1v1 situations.

    3. Messi?
    At the point the name came out of my mind is Messi. Yes, he will be a good player to join, and other than Barca the football style that he liked to play is Arsenal’s.
    However, the clear minded part of me kicked in and realised that we do not need a Messi-ah. We need someone that is of Arteta, Santi and Rambo. Ceballos is a close one but doesn’t quite cut it, hence the lack of game time.
    We need someone that can control the midfield and allow Ozil to roam around with less stress and make more chances.
    KdB is a good choice TA, but I see that we have Willock and ESR, who plays in Ozil’s position. The reason why Arteta played Ceballos behind Ozil is that he sees Ceballos as a deep lying playmaker. You can see that Ozil struggled when he was tasked to be the deep lying playmaker under Emery, and when there is Rambo playing on the same pitch Ozil performed better.
    The only player that I can think of currently playing for us is AMN.
    He is a midfielder, and he wants to play in midfield, not as a RB. And his defensive skills make him the perfect deep lying playmaker for us. Rakitic is a close second.

  • Legallos, I like that line up a lot. Surely, though, we could strengthen the squad with one purchase… I like the young team too btw. Plenty to look forward to…

    Re “guillotine” let’s just say that we are lucky we don’t live in those times. The French revolution and its favourite ‘weapon’ created the platform for Napoleon and what did that lead to? 😕

  • Nice topic for the “interlull”.

    I would also go for the (good old) 4-2-3-1 formation, and provide the strongest XI and a secondary – young but quite powerful – line-up:


    subs: Macey, Mustafi, Soares, Kolasinac, Ozil


    subs: Mavropanos, AMN, Willock, John-Jules, Balogun

  • Tell us more about Havertz, PB. Nice comment. I am not so keen on continuing with PAL up-front and leaving Saka (and to a lesser extent Nelson) out of the strongest starting 11.

  • out of sight, out of mind – forgot about saliba, thanks for refreshing my memory, pb
    just caught glimpses of him with saint-étienne, can’t pretend i know the lad much but from the little i’ve seen i think he’s a very good buy, though a work in progress at the moment: of course, he’s a perfect fit for the younger arsenal i look forward to.
    all of you have been very impressed by mari, obviously. i’ve been too, but to a lesser extent, i want to see more of him before regarding him as a clear first choice. i was taken aback by what antonio did to him at the beginning of our latest game: i couldn’t help thinking that, against a 26/27-year-old Kos, the hammer forward wouldn’t have had a snowball chance in hell to pull the same tricks.
    as for “guillotine”, ta, tell me if i cross a line by pretending to give you reading advice, but the more enlightening, balanced study of “violence and terror in the french and russian revolutions” i’ve ever read was arno j. mayer’s “the furies” – might be time to pile up books, rumour has it that you might be confined too, sooner than later
    hope rumour has it all wrong, of course, and that you’ll stay out of harm’s way – confinement’s no fun, believe me.

  • Kai Havertz is a 1’89cm attacking midfielder playing for Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
    He is the more efficient Donny van de Beek, the younger Bruno Fernandes / Kevin de Bruyne, and the central attacking Ousmane Dembele.
    He is the second most valuable German player behind Leroy Sane.
    And he is only 20 years old.

    In 2015-16 (at the age of 16) he was directly involved in 20 goals – however in the junior championship.
    In 2016-17 he was involved in 13 goals (10 of them in the first team).
    In 2017-18 he was only playing for the senior team, with 13 goal contribution.
    In 2018-19 (at the age of 19) he was involved in 27 goals (scored 20, assisted 7)
    This year he is still only 20, yet has 18 goal contribution (10/8) already.

    In my opinion he is the best (young) player in the position we lack consistent quality the most. With him we should definitely aim for the Champions League, and soon for the title.

  • Hi all…I just wanted to pop my head in and let folks know that I’m back with family after a wild week of travel. I didn’t do too badly out on the road, but here in the mountains, I think, is where I’ve really perfected my social distancing… 😀

    It’s crazy times and I really don’t feel qualified to be blogging about the questions at hand, having not seen much of the recent matches. In truth, I don’t have a lot of football on my mind, and I’m sort of overwhelmed by what’s happening. Covid-19 has yet to hit home for me (personally–though there was A LOT of disruption in terms of travel and whatnot) but the economic impacts have already been massive–and I really think we’re just seeing a tilt at the tip of a huge iceberg of forces. As much as we might want to create us vs them distractions (like with the football…) we’re increasingly linked through the new communication technology and maybe it’s takes a communicable disease to realize that we’re all connected and–actually–need to care for one another. So, maybe there’s a silver lining in that cloudy (and dark) sky… Maybe?….

    Anyhow, this is the stuff that occupies my mind. By comparison, the football is a trifle…but, there is something, as TA says, about the games and just being a part of something that represents a community–seeing your team take the pitch and create something (a story maybe…) that we can then pore over, dissect and discuss…

    From what I have seen (and the fact that Arteta was running his faves, more or less, into the ground) I’d say we need to be very flexible when it comes to talking about formations. I like attacking football played along the ground so I’m not so much of a fan of our route one stuff with three big booters. Leno’s not a great long kicking keeper but Xhaka (who is more a CB than a mid in Arteta’s current scheme, I think) and Luiz can bang ’em long. Like I say, it’s not really what I’d like to see so I’d probably keep neither of them… But, a total remake of the squad wasn’t one of the questions, was it?… If it was I’d say that, while football will always slant toward defending as a first priority, the shift in that direction (under Emery) has left a lot of scar tissue and a big turnover (in personnel back there) is what’s probably needed. But, youth and potential are what sells and there’s a lot of nice young attacking talent in the team. But, who should stay and who can we actually market as the (G)next Gnabry? Additionally, it seems just about impossible that next season we’ll have the three leftovers from the Wenger era (PEA, Lacazette, Ozil, four, if you include Bellerin) in among the kids. (I think it’s far more likely that we could lose ALL of them, in fact…) So, I’m expecting a VERY different group when Arsenal kick off (what hopes to be) the next “normal” season…

    What about making the transfer season NOW… Imagine the distraction, and not a ball need be kicked or one player breathed or sweated (or spat) upon… Surely, the wheels are in motion and that’s what’s already happening. Who’s gonna write the post–The 6 Players Arsenal Need…and the 10 players whose salaries–and incoming fees–will pay for them?

    I can’t do it. My head’s just not there (and hasn’t been for a while)… The future of the world, however, I’m happy to discuss, though politics (which I’ve been told I shouldn’t…) might come up…

    In the meantime, I wish everybody as much health (and happiness…and luck) as is possible…

  • And so it goes on, the gradual incremental steps towards the total lockdown of London.
    Euston is a lonely place with only cab drivers and no passengers to break the tedium.

    The only positives, and that’s where I want my mind to be, are the 35 possible vaccines that are being worked on around the globe and the news that there’s some existing drugs which could, if used in the right cocktails, treat sufferers of the virus.

    Everything else is just noise…

    Take care, wherever you are.

  • Legallos, thanks for the book tip, noted. I am currently studying the history of Scotland and that will keep me busy for a while. The history of France from before and after the revolution is a very interesting one, so I may well read that book one day.

  • Havertz sounds very promising, PB. Only 20 years old?! WOW. Thanks for sharing. What do you make of the Dutch manager of Bayern Leverkusen?

  • Good to hear from you, 17HT. That will have been some journey back for you.
    Interesting POV re Auba, Laca and Ozil (and Bellerin). Cannot see it myself but you are good at predicting these sort of things. I would sell Auba or Laca, ideally the latter, and Ozil may want to finish his career somewhere anew. Would do him good, I think (and JW had him play in the USA I think, which would make sense). Talking about the Torro of Texas: give us a shout JW1!

    Opening the TW now has some merit but may be tricky in terms of travel and medical testing etc. I cannot see a ball being kicked before August the way things are going here. The only thing possible would be, perhaps, derby games behind closed doors (but on TV). Arsenal v Spuds, ManU v ManC, Liverpool v Everton etc, etc. There would be little or no travel involved and players could be tested before they make the ‘journey’/ start the game. I could be a best out of five or something like that and be highly entertaining, despite the lack of public..

  • Kev, that sounds boring and a bit scary too. Time to keep the motor at home, put your feet up and enjoy a brew or two (with a hobnob or two!). 🙂

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