Wolfgang Amadeus Mesut: Arsenal’s nr1 Conductor Ozil holds the key to Silverware

Mesut Ozil would always be one of the first players on my team sheet if I was the Arsenal manager. I have never seen him play a bad game but in some games he is more effective than others. In order to fully appreciate him, though, you have to see him play live: not in an arm chair but in a football stadium, which I know many Gooners are unable to do.

His creative genius and willingness to work hard, combined with his desire to ALWAYS add attacking value to his team with every ball he touches, make Mesut so special. His running with and without the ball is superb, and his ability to find the killer pass is unsurpassed. He is not a loud extrovert but a humble introvert who lets his feet do the talking – this, among many other qualities, he shares with his nr10 predecessors, Cesc Fabregas and the great Bergkamp. And the English game has been blessed with the services of three of the finest European nr10 geniuses – two of whom are luckily still in action and should meet each other once again tomorrow evening.

It is fair to say he has not yet reached his peak this season. Mesut had ‘just’ 2.3 key passes and 57 passes per PL game, and he scored one goal and is yet to produce an assist, this season; whereas he reached a brilliant 4.2 key passes and 65 passes per PL game, and scored 6 goals and produced a whopping 19 assists, in 2015-16. But it is of course early days, and I rather see him peak towards the end then at the beginning of the season.

Some believe Mesut is still tired from the Euros but I reckon he is simply lacking form and has been given time by Wenger to improve it gradually. Tomorrow, against the Chavs, he needs to be close to his best form if we are to find a way through the parked blue and white buses. Mesut will be 28 next month and is reaching now his best footballing years. If we are to win the league we will need a strong core of six to seven players of top quality and the right attitude. Mesut will be one of them.

With Alexis as CF and excellent runners next to him with the likes of Iwobi, Theo, Ox and (possibly) Perez for Wenger to pick from, Mesut has to find his form to be our nr1 conductor once again. The sooner this happens the quicker Arsenal can reach top level.

No pressure Mesut but tomorrow you have to rediscover your inner Mozart and make the troops play to your tunes. Ich glaube an dich! 🙂

By TotalArsenal

 

Ox – Welbz – Alexis to Haunt Terry & Cahill | Rosicky to Nullify Cesc: Preview & Line-Up

What will Arsene have up his sleeve for this one?
What will Arsene have up his sleeve for this one?

So, we’re going into a match that certainly will be marked as one of the most important matches this season; certainly, it is the sternest test we have had to face so far. Most gunners, me included, have doubted our own team’s ability to hold up the current league leaders. However, I have no doubt in my mind that the boys can exceed our expectations and get a good result against the men in blue.

However, the Blues will not go down without a fight, especially with a certain Jose Mourinho involved. Mourinho’s tactical acumen is adapting his team to counter the opposition’s set-up, and this is one of the main reasons for Chelsea’s recent success. This is in direct contrast to Le Prof”s tried and tested formula, regardless of the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.

Although we worry about the injuries to our key players, I believe the enforced changes to our line-up will provide some unpredictability to our style of play, and possibly help us against Chelsea. While Chelsea are indeed undefeated, they are not invincible: far from it. Their games against Schalke and Swansea have given us a hint of the brittleness of their defence. If we can sacrifice some of our traditional passing game build-up for some direct-pace approach, Chelsea can be unsettled.

Alexis, Welbz and Ox should focus on using their superior pace against the technically brilliant but slower duo Terry and Cahill. For this game, we should play Ox on the right and Sanchez on the left. While Ivanovic is a good, in-form defender, he is slow on the turn and who else but Alexis to cause him a few headaches with his fancy footwork? Ox is put on the right because Azpelicuta, or however you spell his name, is perhaps the best man-marker other than Koz in the PL. The only way we are going to expose him is through sheer pace.

Matic is a tougher nut to crack. He is usually so solid against good teams. But Chelsea’s match against Schalke has shown opposition teams how to expose him. In that match, he was up against Draxler. Draxler got past him with absolute ease with his sublime skill and forced Matic to foul him countless times. Which is why I want to give Alexis a free role on the left, interchanging positions with Ozil regularly. If anyone will replicate Draxler and finally break Matic, it has to be Alexis.

Another major threat for this match will be the Costa-Fabregas partnership. Costa will be hard to stop but I trust Koz and Per to nullify the threat he brings. Most importantly, we must stop our former talisman. We should deploy Danny to man mark Fabregas. We should deprive him of the ball and that will undoubtedly slow him down, or hopefully shut down – their source from midfield. Or we could drop Ozil and deploy Rosicky to harass and abuse Fab.

Alongside that, I sincerely hope Gibbs and Calum don’t venture too far forwards in this match. We should go for a more cautious approach, and by keeping back Calum and Gibbs we can blunt the pressure given by the Chelsea wingers.

Most importantly though we mustn’t concede within the first five minutes, like we did the last time. And even if we do, I hope we won’t be pushing everyone forward to get an equaliser. Stay calm, pass the ball around and slowly gain momentum from there. This may not be a blueprint for success but if done right, we might be able to salvage a point or even go on to win the game.

Predicted starting XI

Ars v Chavs Oct 14

 

PS- VCC, if I get the line-up completely right, I’m expecting 20 points for the UMF league 😛

Written by: Shrillex

Bergkampesque has a number of regular bloggers from all over the the world, and at times it might look we are all very familiar. However, we will welcome new bloggers who like to add to our debates in a constructive way with open arms. Just place a comment and join the debate – It’ll be fun. 🙂

TotalArsenal.

Forget Cesc – Ozil is the player Arsenal needs!

 

Arsenal-form

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the future of Cesc Fabregas and how he is the missing piece of the puzzle for Arsenal to return to Wengerball – however, I disagree and believe a second season from Ozil will simply be all we need.

Aside from the fact that Cesc may be abandoning his promise to only ever play for Barcelona and Arsenal, and is apparently willing to go to Chelsea to reinvigorate his career, he should still not be a priority signing. We have an embarrassment of riches in the creative midfield area and he would simply block the progression of players like Wilshere, Ramsey, Zelalem, Eisfeld and even Ox (since one of Ozil, Santi or Jack would likely be pushed wide to accommodate Cesc in the starting 11). There’s a necessity for depth in any team’s lineup, but center attacking midfield is certainly not one where we are lacking options. Factor in a likely improved second season for Ozil and a rebound year for Santi, and we’re beyond set for creativity.

Ozil often receives misguided criticism for his lack of emotion, relatively carefree motion on the pitch, subpar finishing and inability to constantly influence a match. I challenge those that condemn our most expensive signing ever by highlighting that Ozil is simply more intelligent than the majority of footballers that play the game. His lack of emotion can be attributed to high composure and keeps him out of trouble with fouls; his relatively carefree motions on the pitch are a result of the grace he plays with and not needing to expend the extra energy to make his presence felt; his subpar finishing is an area he can obviously improve upon, but he did score a respectable 1 goal every 5 matches in the league last season; his inability to constantly influence a match is a testament to his understanding of the team game and that other players also need to be involved in the creative aspects of a match, in order to inspire unpredictability and true team unity.

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Ozil can change the outcome of a game without a moment’s notice with one decisive, splitting through ball. He will be more familiar with both the league and his teammates and also have better outlets to pass to in Theo and hopefully a new striker capable of scoring at will. The catalyst in playing Wengerball is the ability to transition the ball quickly from defense to offense – this is often not the responsibility of a number 10. A number 10 is expected to be able to find his teammates in the final third and produce as many clear-cut scoring opportunities as possible. There are few, if any, better at this than Ozil.

The most shocking revelation is how little faith Gooners have shown Ozil after just one season. Fans continue to give Giroud the benefit of doubt, yet do not afford Ozil the same, even though he produced 5 goals and 9 assists in his Arsenal debut season. At the conclusion of next season, I have no doubt in my mind that Ozil will be one of the most influential and effective players in the EPL and those questioning his ability to be Arsenal’s number 10 will be regretting they ever did.

Written By: Highbury Harmony

The most important signing of this summer is surely Cesc Fabregas

The Terror Window is only a few weeks old but it has not disappointed one bit. Nobody signed yet of course, but now Arsenal are also apparently not interested in bringing the conductor back to the home of football. I did not make much of this, until I read an article on the BBC website which as good as confirmed this rumour.

Without a conductor Arsenal will continue to struggle to find its rhythm and depth again.
Without a conductor Arsenal will continue to struggle to find its rhythm and depth again.

Fabregas has never been replaced, and since he left, Wenger has been unsuccessful in getting us anywhere near back to how we used to play attractive, attacking football. Mansour City and Pool play better football than we do now. They have copied us and are surpassing us… an uncomfortable fact for us Gooners.

Ozil is no conductor, Ramsey is no conductor, Cazorla is very limited as conductor, and Jack will need a few more years  to establish himself as our conductor. If we want to reach the next level, the first player to sign is Cesc Fabregas: he will give the much needed midfield direction and dominance back to our football.

Any arguments about having enough midfielders already, is missing the point. We do not have a conductor. There is a vacancy and there is no better footballer in the world for us to fill it than our ex-el-capitan.

Let’s face it: Wenger likes to play with an army of midfielders, and this will not change any time soon. We have a holding striker in Giroud, whose role it is to bring the midfielders into play and allow them to both create chances, for him and other midfielders, and to score goals. We don’t do wingers in our team; even Theo is not used as a proper winger…. and he wants to be a central striker anyway. Pod is not a winger either, and neither are Cazorla, Ox or Rosicky.

We play with midfielders and lots of them. So with 5 midfield positions and possibly 60+ games in all competitions, Arsene needs to fill about 300 starting positions in a season. We have Cazorla, Jack, Pod, Ox, Theo, Arteta, Ramsey, Flamini, Ozil, Rosicky, and hopefully Cesc soon, and let’s say a youngster like Eisfeld or Gnabry will break through: 12 ‘midfielders’ for 300 games, which makes a nice average of at least 25 games for every player.

We also need a dedicated DM, which we probably will not get once again this summer; but even if we did, we could let either Flamini or Arteta go, to not increase the numbers further. 12 players for 5 midfield slots, or 2.4 player per position…. does that sound unreasonable for a 60+ games season?! I don’t think so.

Furthermore, our youngsters, Ox, Eisfeld/Gnabry, Jack, but also Pod, Theo and Rosicky, are all injury prone, so it is more likely that the likes of Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey and Cesc would play a lot more than 25 games a season next season. If all are fit, we can start rotating players properly, thus avoiding the need to keep playing our key players till they burn out and get badly injured.

The idea of starting a dedicated DM, with Ramsey or Wilshere next to him, Fab in the middle and Ozil and Theo on the ‘wings’ is mouth watering.

But so is playing in the next game, Arteta and Fab in the double DM pivot, Jack in the hole and Pod and Ox on the ‘wings’. Or Flamini and Ramsey in the double DM pivot and Cazorla and Gnabry on the wings with Rosicky in the hole in other games.

arsenal with Cesc

But when it really matters, against the big teams, we play Cesc, Ramsey/Jack, Ozil, Theo, and a beast of a DM in our midfield positions. The ‘beast’ – say Nigel de Jong or Wanyama or Martinez – can also pass the ball well enough to fit it. Ozil would suit the ‘free role’ on the left well and Jack and Rambo can compete for the b2b position. Theo on the right adds speed and Cesc and Ozil and Jack/Aaron interchange constantly. But Cesc conducts it all until Jack the pupil is ready…

Cesc is not a nicety in our team but an absolute must if we want to start winning the PL title again. We need a conductor to make Arsenal play the finest tunes of football again, and I cannot think of a more important signing for Arsenal this summer than Fabregas.

Let’s just hope that Wenger is playing hard ball, as he knows that Cesc will not go anywhere else than to Arsenal if he is forced to leave Barcelona, and wants to negotiate the price down…. just like they did to us three years ago….

Bring him back home, Arsene; we need him, we want him, we love him; and three out of three ain’t bad.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

The one player that can give Arsene his magic back

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Where has the magic gone?

Last April, one of the best writers of the last century passed away at the age of 87: Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I first read the Columbian’s master pieces like ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ and the phenomenal ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ in my late teens/ early twenties, and they opened a new world for me. Marquez’s books are very colourful and full of imagination and magic; a stark contrast with most of the Dutch literature I read back then. These were an introduction into magical realism for me: Marquez’s stories appear too fantastic, too dreamlike to be true, but he was just able to give ‘reality’ another dimension – a quality that only brilliant storytellers possess. As he put it himself in response to a question by a good friend of his:

“The way you treat reality in your books … has been called magical realism. I have the feeling your European readers are usually aware of the magic of your stories but fail to see the reality behind it … .” “This is surely because their rationalism prevents them seeing that reality isn’t limited to the price of tomatoes and eggs.”

After Marquez, I read a great number of Latin/South American literature: Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Joao Guimaraes Rosa, whose ‘Grande Sertão: Veredas (translated as ‘The Devil to Pay in the Backlands’) is one of the best books I have ever read: open this book at any page and read a few sentences and you will find it is pure beauty.

Adding beauty and magic to life is one of humans’ greatest gifts, but it takes a lot of effort and focus to do so, as well as being able to see and appreciate it.

By now the more impatient readers of Bergkampesque will be asking themselves: but what has this got to do with football? And my response to this is: everything and nothing. The quest for beauty – whether in football or life in general – is important to me, as it compensates for all the horror, sadness and injustice we get confronted with in our daily lives. Beauty is the brother of human warmth/love, and without these two what would life mean?

As a Dutchman, and in stark contrast to most of our 20th century literature, I was lucky enough to grow up with magical football. From the dazzling Dutch National team of Cruijff and Michels in 1974 to the Ajax teams in the seventies and mid-nineties, I have truly been spoilt by the beauty of (total) football.

Regulars on BK know that Dennis Bergkamp’s move to Arsenal – who for me, and I know many others, was the on-field personification of beautiful football – led me gradually to our beloved Arsenal. Dennis would not have become such a club legend without the guidance and football philosophy of Arsene Wenger. But this goes also the other way: without Bergkamp, Wenger would not have been able to implement his beautiful Wengerball with such impact and success rate.

Thanking The Guardian for the picture.
Simply Sublime.

Gradually, however, the beautiful vision and skills of the wunderkind from Catalonia, Cesc Fabregas, replaced Dennis’ mastery and conductorship. Around him, Arsene build another fine brand of football, which did not win us prices, but was always a joy to watch. We can only wonder what would have happened if Arsenal had been able to keep hold of its key players and strengthen the squad every year with one or two quality players, during the initial post-Highbury years. But winning is not everything, at least not for me, and I have great memories of how we played the game under conductor El Capitan.

Since the departure of Cesc our football has seldom been of the Bergkamp and Fabregas standard. There have been moments in games, and sometimes even whole games, when we played beautiful football. But it is fair to say, Wenger has been struggling to get us back to the standards we have become accustomed to over recent decades. I have no doubt he can get us there again: his passion and vision are as good as ever; but I am wondering how he can do it.

For me, Arsene needs a conductor in the middle, ideally in the ‘hole’ position. I have seen enough to believe that Ozil is a great player but not a conductor who shapes and commands the midfield. I have great hopes for Jack, the best young footballer I have seen in the game since Cesc, but I reckon he has not got the stamina/fitness yet to be a continuous force in our team. Ramsey is our ideal box-to-boxer but I don’t see him as a conductor in our team.

In order to get back to full-on Wengerball, with now a better chance to win something in the process, we need to add at least a DM who can pass the ball as well. I have written enough about this recently, so will not elaborate much further. Suffice to say, we need a player in front of our back four who can defend, has great stamina and physicality, allows his fellow midfielders to play higher up the pitch and can pass the ball well (enough).

But we also need to fill the hole with somebody who owns the area in front of the opponents’ ‘D’, all the way back to the middle line, and if Cesc is really willing to leave Barcelona……

They lift you up where you belong
They lift you up where you belong

 

Written by: TotalArsenal.

Be good to yourself.

Is it the one or the many that we need? Shakespeare and football

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A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse! – Shakespeare, from Richard III

This seems to be the battle cry recently about our play, especially after the Mancs episode and any less than brilliant effort of recent. Substitute a “horse” for “the magic guy who links all play and bosses midfield” or just “Cesc” and you about have it summed up… or use “Iniesta” if it suits.. 🙂

Arsenal-v-Barcelona-029[1]

That it comes from Richard III a Shakespeare play with a central theme about the tension between fatalism, and let’s face it we are all Gooners, and free will, makes it the perfect quote to encapsulate our desire for (even?) more and our fatalistic attitude that we are forever short that one magic piece of the puzzle. That it takes place in England, even better!

However, as I have said before, football is a game for anyone who can count to five. Even better, if you explain this later, hold up four fingers to emphasize just how simple a game we are talking here. It is always better to attack with more players than the opposition have, … always.  It’s that simple, or more succinctly, it is better to play 3 v 2 than 2 v 2 or 2 v 3. Obvious, no? So, how to get from there to our current “issues” such as they might be?

The main thing is that on attack, the motion is fluid and players have to make themselves available to stretch defenses and create numbers. Simple as that. If you are continually playing “uphill” into (larger, pressing) numbers you are one long ball away from the opposite. This is guaranteed to be true because unless the ref has failed to count accurately both sides have the same number on the field. Want more evidence, Ozil, game 1 for Arsenal, long ball to Ozil on to Giroud, goal… From uphill against numbers to 2 v 1 and goal…

Football is a simple game! Don’t believe me? Try Da Vinci, he was Italian so you know he was probably into football:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

which of course matches our prejudices about Arsenal football! J

So, what’s gone wrong? I don’t think we lack a single guy, but offense is a team or unit game. Not one player, but all working to create numbers where it matters. In particular:

Defending third: The extra player added is almost always a defender coming up just a little. This is where Sagna, Gibbs and even BFG excel.

Middle third: this is where it all happens, and where the football pundits always look to say “see XYZ wasn’t into the game today, or was taken out of today’s game”. But, in reality, it’s the added player that makes it all easy. Usually, an outside back coming forward or overlapping, or a striker coming back. Witness OG on goal #1 I believe vs Napoli, coming back to about 40m from goal and on the side line, to flick on Ramsey and then Ozil and .. history! OG was the extra player there even though Ramsey had the ball and was unmarked for a moment. He made it 2 v 1 and we were away.

In other games it has been other players.

Attacking third: Well you rarely get numbers there if you didn’t already have them so it’s about creative motion, like TR pulling defenders to allow others to score, or about OG isolating himself 1 v 1 for a cross with the defender blocked out (witness Spurs goal!)

Overall, it’s about the extra man and the effort made to get there to provide the impetus and numbers to take out defending players and create opportunities.

Thus, link up play, that drive that some feel we are missing, isn’t one player, it’s the unit. The unit is not fully succeeding to get the most out of what it has as component parts.

So, why is that? Some reasons might include two F-words (no, not those Cockie!):

  • Fatigue: we are a bit thin with the (love this but forget where I read it) “injury sniper” targeting us most frequently this year. OG, AR, Ozil are all a bit over played. Santi is underplayed and coming back into form as is JW
  • Familiarity: Santi is new to Ozil, as is most of the team. Same will hold true as Theo, Ox, Poldi come back. Gelling takes time and we need be patient, especially as Ozil has at least one bit of magic each game, and is patient enough to be the guy who “runs away” to create space.

And that’s it. The main issue with wishing for “the one” the “focus of all our attention” is that it’s bad, single minded football. For evidence I point you towards two cases in point:

  1. Arsenal with RvP and without: With him, all balls went one place. We were predictable, defendable and beatable. Without, we were better, maybe not in placing last year, but better as a team. Now, even more so!
  2. RM vs Barca: Both are galactic teams. But one is a galactic team with a titanic striker (CR 7), ie RM. The other is a titanic team with a galactic striker (Messi), or Barca. Is it any coincidence that the slightly more team focused unit has edged solidly ahead in recent years? I think not myself.

Further, for those doubt witness last years champions league finalists. Both BM and BD had excellent teams who happened to be made of top stars, not vice versa really. Especially, BM as BD were a bit thinner in squad and thus in my mind fortunate with the injury gods, and would that we were so! J

Thus, for the Mancs game, I put it to a bit of fatigue. The fatigue means the last step doesn’t get made, the last effort doesn’t get put in, and thus the last bounce of the ball doesn’t go your way. We are thin and will rectify that shortly. One hopes. But, I don’t think we lost so much as didn’t have that last step.

In general, one plays with the team or hand one is dealt. We have a great team. Iniesta would make us different but not improve us. We need to find the right combinations and effort to get numbers with those we do have. When we do that right on defense and transition (as I have written on), and on attack with the extra players coming forward, we are unstoppable. If we lack anything it is the confidence in our own ability to make it so. Or to quote the bard, about the team and the fans perhaps:

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” From Measure for Measuire.

I.e. if we lack anything it is resolve, which I think is growing every game despite any apparent setbacks, and perhaps explains slower starts first time around against “big names” like BD and the Mancs (but not Spurs or Liverpool, so how about that! J ).

And thus endeth my rant. Attack, like defense, like football is a game played by, and won or lost by, teams, not individuals. Some may play better or worse, but if one is marked or pressed out, others should be there to take it all forward with impact. In fact, focus on one, like Ozil, should make it easier for others!

We need to see more of this and I think we will as we gel further and players out injured come back into play.

Thus, to end, as I started, with the Bard… but modified because football **IS** poetry, really:

To want a single star, or not to want such: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler to seek singular stars or simply seek crass numbers

‘Gainst the slings and arrows of outrageous competitors

Or to take arms against a sea of pundits, agents and second guessers…

 

And that is your question.. I think we play beautiful football and increasingly with resolve. We don’t need the right star, we need to be a bit better rested, which may require some reinforcements in January, and to gel even more than we have, and to go into the biggest games with a touch less anxiety and a bit more “tude” from the get go. We have already shown we can play beautifully and create the numbers that signal victory, next comes even more consistency.

Or to be more simple. We don’t need another Fabregas or Iniesta or anyone else. We already have the stars and perhaps the whole squad, we just need to get the numbers!

Or even more simply, football is a simple sport and religion with many small intangibles. Like any religion, we simple folk are always striving to explain the various “slings and arrows of fortune” with simplistic answers like “if only we had player Q” all would be solved, or “it’s player Y’s fault”. But, really, so much is simplicity of numbers, and the inevitable complexity of creating them versus an active opponent seeking to do the same!

What do you think? Do we need to replace parts, or get the current parts better?

 

Will the threat of Theo’s speed and ability to create numbers make Ozil even more unstoppable, or really speaking, make him less able to be targeted?

 

Who are the best of those out injured to complement or augment our midfield to be the “multiple threats from everywhere” that it is (and has already shown it can be)?

 

Written by: jgc

Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshere: who will be the next Fabregas?

Arsenal-v-Barcelona-002 

On a night when eleven South-Americans made Chile Con Carne of a disjointed and uninspired England team, Jack stood out as the only one with ‘football intelligence’. It keeps amazing me how not a single national manager has been able to get a particular style into the England team since many a year, and Hodgson is also failing in this respect.

Chile are a decent team but not more than that; yet, they made England look poor on the night. They put pressure on England all over the pitch and never allowed them to have a sustained period of pressure on their goal. And when the Chileans had the ball, they passed it round so much better and with so much more purpose and penetration. It was a lesson in modern football for the English boys and a clear indication they have a long way to go.

Despite some committed performances by Rooney and Lallana, only Jack was able to break the stranglehold of the Chileans and then move the ball forward intelligently – leading to the (few) best attacks on the night. Yet, it is clear that Wilshere is nowhere near 100% fit and in form, and we really need to hope hard that this will change rather sooner than later, both for Arsenal and England.

This brings me to the discussion of who should play in the hole for Arsenal, both short and long term. There are various candidates but nobody has totally convinced me they have all that it takes to perform all the required tasks for this position to a high level.

I reckon in a 4-2-1-3 formation the one in the ‘1’ – the one in the hole – is the most important player of them all. He should:

  1. Instigate our attacks
  2. Help out defensively in midfield
  3. Give shape and structure to the team
  4. Produce a large number of assists and ‘penultimate assists’
  5. Score goals regularly

For me, the player who embodies these five qualities in a 4-2-1-3 formation better than anybody else is Cesc Fabregas. Our former maestro has it all but is currently wasting it away at his other boyhood club.

Super Santi ready to move into another gear?!

I reckon Cazorla is good at 1, 4 and 5, but his defensive abilities are not great and neither is he able to give shape to our team very well as he lacks the presence and physical strength to boss the middle of the pitch. He likes to wander off and move where there is space, rather than hold the fort in the middle.

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Ramsey is growing into a great player now and offers a lot towards the above five points. He has started to score goals and produce assists, and his defensive abilities are impressive as well. He also has potential to give shape and structure to the team and instigate our attacks, but this is not showing a lot yet. I reckon he is best positioned in the box-to-box role right now, but could be considered for the AM role in the future.

Little Mozart needs an orchestra and a podium to perform on more regularly then currently is the case!

Rosicky adds drive and purpose and is great at instigating attacks. He does not score anywhere near often enough and neither does he produce a great number of assists, but his defensive abilities are great and, most importantly, he also gives a lot of shape and structure to our team when played through the middle. When Rosicky plays we often play our best ‘Wengerball’ football.

But for me, there are two candidates for the ‘man in the hole’ role: Ozil and Wilshere.

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Jack is a natural midfield general and remains the best candidate in the mid to long term imo. He loves to stay in the middle and boss the area, he can defend and pick those defence-splitting passes, and he is starting to score goals now.

However, something is not right with him at the moment and it is more than a lack of form – and nothing to do with confidence as some believe, as I reckon Jack is a very confident person. No, something is not right with his body and fitness levels: it is to do with his running and feeling in his foot, and it all seems to stem from the operations he has had on his foot in the last 12 months or so.

I really hope he will come good and that we, the supporters, honour our role and support the guy through thick and thin (taking into account that he is still very young and what we were like around his age….).

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That leaves me with Ozil, who does very well with regards to most of the above mentioned required qualities. He instigates attacks really well, produces a lot of assists and scores goals regularly, and his defensive qualities are okay but not great.

The one area where I still have doubts is in his ability to give shape and structure to our attack: to really boss the midfield.

Fabregas was brilliant at this, and I would like to see more dominance and presence of our record signing going forward. Some believe that Ozil goes missing at times, but this is only true in a ‘shape-giving’ sense, as he will always give his all during the match. Mesut is just a clever player who constantly is anticipating what will happen next and how to maximise on this (similar to Fabregas), and he will keep doing this as long as he is on the pitch.

It might well turn out that Ozil is best positioned ‘on the wing’ – in a free role; a bit like Santi in a way. But I would like Ozil to link up better with his fellow midfielders and to start owning the centre of the midfield more; to drive the team forward and to give more shape to our football and attacking play.

And I hope Wenger will get him there gradually, just like he did with our former El Capitan.

7cb7581c-9624-4a25-b3dc-671eb4992883_OzilWenger_tussenbeeld

Or maybe, Wenger still has a space for our prodigal son? 😉

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YzUVDUWB_A

Written by: TotalArsenal.

The Return of the King, DB10’s Testimonial, Beating Barca: 10 Unforgettable Moments at The Emirates

Arsenal-v-Barcelona-029[1]

Over the past month and a half, us Gooners have been waiting for the signal of intent which was put out there by Ivan Gazidis. As we all know nothing has happened since then.

I, for one, am sick and tired of the transfer window. I just want the Football to start once again. We are only days away, and rather than the usual doom and gloom over potential transfers, or the lack of perceived activity by our club and how thin our squad is at the moment, I would like to revisit my 10 favourite moments at the Emirates so far.

I invite you all to agree or disagree, and please feel free to share your favourite moments on Bergkampesque.

Here are mine:

Nr.1 – THE KING RETURNS TO THE EMIRATES
Could a better script have been written on that night? The king returns, comes on as a substitute and scores the winning goal. “THIERRY HENRY, THIERRY HENRY, THIERRY HENRY, THIERRY HENRY”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXdcfEnLHos

Nr.2 – ARSENAL VS BARCELONA 2-1
Barcelona, a Team that has swept all other teams aside. Arsenal, a team that had no hope or was not given a chance of winning this game. The script doesn’t always go according to plan. The little Russian produced a stunning goal to seal it for the Gunners.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv2mxzmVvdg

Nr.3 – DENNIS BERGKAMP TESTIMONIAL
Who could pass up a chance to see DB10 play once more for the Gunners? Besides, it was only right to give him a farewell worthy of all the hard work and memories which he has provided us all
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVt5xZKi8yI

Nr.4 – ARSENAL VS TOTTENHAM 5-2 (Not once but twice)
Nothing more needs to be said.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJnLl81-lUs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r72qwUSGVCM

Nr.5 – ARSENAL 3-0 TOTTENHAM 2009, CESC SCORES RIGHT AFTER RESTART
The magic of Cesc and the demolition of our noisy neighbours. Things do not get much better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8EP3bVswok

Nr.6 – ARSENAL 3-1 CHELSEA
Always great to beat Chle$ki
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3AZ0tn5s64

Nr.7 – SO CLOSE, ARSENAL 3-0 AC MILAN
It was mission impossible from the start but so close.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzgSq014c84

Nr.8 – ARSENAL 1-0 MANCITY – ARSENAL DOMINATE BUT 1 GOAL SECURES VICTORY
A wonder strike by Zorro gives us the win we deserved
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrdniMPOIhE

Nr.9 – ARSENAL 7-1 BLACKBURN – HENRY SCORES LAST GOAL IN INJURY TIME. OX SCORES A BRACE.
Who doesn’t like a whipping going our way especially after the whipping we received earlier that season against ManUre
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xofgku_arsenal-blackburn-7-1-all-goals_sport#.Uas7sJVjClI

Nr.10 – ARSENAL 7- 3 NEWCASTLE – SIX GOAL SECOND HALF ONSLAUGHT SEES OFF THE BAR CODES, THEO SCORES A HAT TRICK AND PERHAPS GOAL OF THE YEAR.
In my opinion, Theo scores goal of the season by his persistence and skills.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nytjRh7R5AQ

I hope you have all enjoyed a lighter post and look forward to sharing your favourite moments at the emirates.

Written by: alexgunners

 

 

Could we live with Cesc going to MU, if Rooney came to Arsenal?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain England

This Torture Window is just not getting any easier for us Gooners. How many headlines did we read recently telling us Higuain to Arsenal was a done deal? Now it appears he is off to Napoli. Then there is our pursuit of Suarez which still feels not real or genuine to me, but that is just a gut feeling.

The best news we could hear is the return of Cesc Fabregas to his real home of football. Again, my gut-feeling is telling me this will not happen, at least not this summer. The only reason I can see it happen, is if Barcelona need the money and/or the new manager does not see a regular first-team future for our ex-captain.

The Torture Window does, however, continue to pain us with links about the Mancs making offers for our former midfield maestro. Seeing Van Judas in a Manc shirt is hardly bearable, but seeing Cesc in it would be too much. I have no doubt the supporters’ backlash would be immeasurable if that were to happen.

Cesc+Fabregas+Short+Hairstyles+Short+Wavy+FYwtfJRLGCgl

But what if we were to get Rooney and the Mancs got Fabregas, in some sort of gentlemen’s agreement between Barca, MU and Arsenal?

Barca sell Cesc to the Mancs for say £50m and Arsenal get Rooney for say £40m. Barca get £25m – but apparently they still owe us money for the Cesc deal, so in effect it will be less; we get the other £25m from Barca as per a clause in the sales contract of the Catalan, and possibly even more; the Mancs lose £50m but get their missing midfield maestro; and we get Rooney to play in the ‘hole’ position, or as our main striker, without having to dig deep in our cash reserves.

Now let’s assume Rooney would be keen to come and join us, which is by no means a given, and we would be able to accommodate his enormous salary, and justify it to our other key players somehow; could we accept such a ‘swap deal’?

Leaving the morale issues aside for a moment, the other key question is, would Rooney strengthen our team more than Cesc would strengthen the Mancs? Do Arsenal most of all need an AM for which Cesc is the ideal candidate, or are we missing a number 10 attacker, for which Rooney is the ideal candidate?

Or should Arsenal do everything to get Fabregas back and use a considerable sum of its £70 transfer fund to do so?

These are the hypothetical questions I would like to put you, fine fellow Gooners!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

If Arsenal sign Higuain and Fellaini, Cesc will have to make the decision of his life!

Cesc+Fabregas+Short+Hairstyles+Short+Wavy+FYwtfJRLGCgl

Watching Spain’s game against Italy yesterday, I just could not understand why del Bosque did not start with Cesc, let alone bring him on as a substitute. Spain lacked their usual dominance in midfield and, especially in the first half, Italy produced a number of quick counterattacks which easily could have led to the Italians taking the lead. Had Balotelli played yesterday, the Italians would have been one, two or even three nil up at half time.

Spain did not maintain their usual high tempo, in terms of chasing the ball and passing it round, and no doubt Cesc would have led by example in order to turns things round for them. A year ago, Spain embarrassed the Italians in the final of the European Championship by utterly dominating them, but this time round they were never superior and could only beat them by just about being better at converting spot kicks.

Fabregas, would you believe it, is 26 now, and it looks like he is still playing third fiddle to Iniesta and Xavi. He is now entering the very best years of his career, and as he is everything but a mercenary, he will need to make a big decision about what to do next. Our former El Capitan is a romantic who not only wants to win silverware but also enter the realms of football immortality. If things continue as they have been going over the last few years, Cesc is not going to make it past the threshold.

Whoever is managing Barcelona next season, they are unlikely to give Cesc a dominant role in their team. Despite Xavi turning 34 in January next year, it is unlikely that he will be benched on a regular basis any time soon. With other talent coming through and new signings arriving – where, for example, will Naymar play next season? – Cesc could face another spell on the fringes of the team. And immortality is, unfortunately for him, not one of the fringe benefits.

I have always said Cesc went too early. I understand why he went two years ago, but it was nevertheless the wrong thing to do. He became a chairman’s gift to the fans, who maybe wanted him, but did not seem to love, or even need, him.

Now, I know we are all not sleeping comfortably at the moment, as we seem to be waiting for an eternity to see the Higuain signing confirmed. But Terry Mancini Hair Transplant’s mate has said it is a done deal, so he’ll be a Gunner anytime soon! 😀

These things take time, and it was obvious that the appointment of Ancelotti would be used to further increase the pressure on Arsenal to improve our final offer for the Argentine. However, I expect him to be announced as one of us by Monday or Tuesday.

I am also convinced we will get a high quality DM, who can play footie as well, this summer. The links with Fellaini remain reasonably strong, but who knows who we’ll get this summer.

But, surely if it is Fellaini – or another high calibre defensive midfielder – Cesc would have to make the biggest decision in his footballing life. With a midfield/attack line up of Fellaini and Jack as our combined DMs/DM-B2B, Cazorla and Theo on the wings and Higuain up-front, the Home of Football would not be complete without Cesc playing in the hole for us next season.

This would be the team that would suit his talents to the max; it would finally provide him with the platform on which he can shine and cook with Fabregas.

This summer’s Terror Window will not be for the faint-hearted, as there will be many twists and turns, but there is real potential now to strengthen the team properly, and although the above scenario is a big dream, it could well happen.

Two quality signings and who knows, Cesc might decide to return to where he is wanted, needed AND loved by (almost) all.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

 

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