Do Arsenal have any DMs left: The Options. Chelsea – Man City: best result?

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With Flamini probably out for a few weeks and Arteta at least suspended for one game, the question we are all asking is: who should we play in our double-DM pivot against the Chavs?

Although the League Cup does not really matter too much, I still would like us to put out a team with the full intention of winning it. We don’t know whether Maureen will take this game serious – as in fielding his strongest team – but we can be assured he does not want to be beaten by us either; and with a strong squad he should not find it too difficult to field a team that has a good chance of doing so.

Wenger will want to rest a few players, though, and I expect the likes of Mertesacker, Sagna, Gibbs, Ramsey, Ozil and Giroud to get a well-earned rest on Tuesday.

The starting eleven for the encounter with the Chavs is likely to be: Fabianski, Jenkinson, TV, Kozzer, Nacho, Rosicky, Gnabry, Cazorla and Bendtner – as all these players really need a(nother) game; but what is not so clear, is who is going to play in the double-DM pivot come Tuesday.

I have a feeling Jack will start in this game, and he might even play in the deepest of the two DM-pivot roles: the Flamini or Arteta position, if you want. Jack can actually defend very well and his positioning and anticipation skills are good too (especially, if taking into account his young age). But he is still a bit frail and will need to put his body on the line if we are to beat the Chavs, and it remains to be seen if he can do that for 90 minutes.

So, it would be good to add some proper steel next to Jack in the DM-pivot and the question is who that should be. I would say, Frimpong is a strong option, but then I don’t know how fit he his and whether Wenger still has plans for him. It looks like he is not going to make it at Arsenal, but I could be wrong. Frimmers would definitely add steel but the combination of a lack of games and proneness to get himself booked is not great right now.

Then there is the very promising, Chelmsford born, Isaac Hayden. I have not seen enough of him to decide whether he would make a good DM partner for Jack on Tuesday, but I welcome your views.

We also have the Leytonstone born, multi-skilled, Nico Yennaris, who really could do with a game and who really impressed me during a Norwich-Arsenal Reserves games I watched a year ago.

We could also chose for more experience in the middle and put Ramsey or Rosicky next to Jack, and if Jack is not fit enough to start, I would also not be surprised if Ramsey and Rosicky will start both in the DM-pivot against the Chavs. But Ramsey could do with a break and Rosicky is needed in the hole…. Not easy at all.

Finally, Arsene could do something left-field and put Nacho, Sagna or TV in midfield for this one….. Nacho would mean Gibbs needs to play another game, but that should be fine as he missed out on playing in the England games. TV would mean playing BFG as a CB, which is not ideal as he did play in Germany’s International games…. And Sagna could do with a break for the same reasons….

Really hard to say what Wenger will go for but still good to see we still have a few options for the DM-pivot on Tuesday.

Southern Oilers v Northern Oilers: ideal result?

Today’s game between the Oil-drugged clubs should be watched by Gooners with interest. Whoever wins this one will come out of it with a strong belief they are the bee’s knees this season, and whoever loses will suffer a setback. A draw would not be too bad for either and would probably help us in terms of having a mini-gap with both teams before we go into a couple of more challenging games.

In one way,  I want a draw but I would love to see the Chavs properly beaten today. I still feel they are our main competitors for the title this season, and we could really do with a morale deflating result today. Citeh are likely to continue dropping ‘easy’ points in away game this season, and I feel we have a good chance of beaten them in our direct encounters with them.

But what do you think: who should play in the double DM-pivot and what is the best outcome in today’s battle of the Oilers?

Written by: TotalArsenal.

Arsenal – Fenerbahce: Frimpong’s big chance, Rosicky in the hole, Full-Backs fully back?

Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium
Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium

Let’s park the bigger discussion about the club’s continuous failure in the TW, and focus for now purely on the CL qualifier against feisty Fenerbahce tomorrow. Nothing is better after a disappointing defeat than to get a chance to make up for it a few days later, and the Fenerbahce game gives the boys a fine opportunity to bounce back.

Would it not be nice to see a repeat today of the score line almost five years ago, when we beat Fenerbahce 2-5 in Istanbul. This was the team that played for us back then: Almunia, Eboue, Song, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott (Djourou 84), Fabregas, Diaby (Ramsey 73), Denilson, Nasri, Adebayor (Vela 86).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Van Persie, Bendtner, Gibbs.

Only Ramsey, Walcott, Gibbs, Fabianski and Diaby are left from that squad, and especially Ramsey (late substitute), Diaby (played 70+ minutes) and Walcott (was unstoppable on the night) will have good memories from that game with all scoring a goal (Song and Adebayor were the other scorers).

Fenerbahce were recently banned from playing European football for match fixing, but as they appealed the decision they are still allowed to play pending the outcome of the hearing, which will take place a day after the return fixture. But of course, we cannot take much notice of this and just have to focus on beating the Turks over the two legs fair and square.

I am not too worried about tomorrow’s game, as I expect Arsene to use his European experience to get the best out of the team and a positive result to take back home. However, Fenerbahce should not be underestimated as a hostile atmosphere combined with an early Turkish goal could lead to considerable trouble, if we do not keep our cool.

Therefore, Wenger will have to select his best and most experienced team for this encounter, and he will have to get his players to totally focus on tomorrow’s game and nothing else. We need a calm and well organised defence/GK, we need a well organised, solid and multi-disciplined midfield, and an energetic, continuously pressing, and lethal attack tomorrow. So, that means a step improvement of all three lines from Saturday’s under-par performances against the shitty Villains.

I reckon Arsene will have to make one big change and that is in midfield. The Rambo-Wilshere combo did not work as we were left far too exposed in the centre of midfield throughout most of the game. I am a huge fan of Wilshere but I reckon he will start on the bench tomorrow, and Frimpong will replace him. He is our best defensive midfielder at the moment – which says a hell of a lot – and I reckon he will play in front of our defence and shield it with his life. I expect Ramsey to play in the more box-to-box like position and Rosicky, because of his experience and his truly fantastic performance on Saturday, will be back in the hole again.

Up-front it is likely to be Cazorla, Giroud and Theo, with a second half cameo by Podolski.

At the back, we have had some fantastic news that Sagna somehow has got over his horrific fall on his neck and that Gibbs can play too, so they are likely to play; although both Jenkinson and Monreal (appears to have recovered from his pre-season injury) are also available tomorrow.

My predicted line-up looks like this:

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Enjoy the game fellow Gooners and let’s get behind the boys with all that we have tomorrow night.

COME ON YOUR RIP ROARING GUNNERS!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

West Ham Preview: no Diaby – no Diame, Frimpong & Jack reunited, Ox & Pod to start, Theo or OG?

Giroud at his very best: we need more of this Ollie!!
Giroud at his very best: we need more of this Ollie!!

Tonight’s game against the Hammer is a massive one and an absolute must-win for Arsenal. We have no time to dwell in melancholy over last Sunday’s dismal first half display and loss, as today’s derby will be a big challenge for us once again. The Hammers have nothing to lose and surely will make it a physical contest again.

When Arsenal encountered West Ham earlier this season – also after losing against the Chavs by 2-1 – we probably played our best game of the season. It was the last match before a two-week international break, and all was looking well for us after we beaten the Hammers with an energetic, physical and clinical performance. Late goals by Theo and Cazorla clinched the game for us, but my best memory belongs to Giroud’s powerful equaliser, five minutes before the break.

We know that West Ham are not an exact copy of Fat Sam’s previous teams: they still like to play football on the ground and at times play some attractive stuff. However, no Sammi Allerdici team will be denied height and physical strength, and once again we have to be wary of high balls being pumped into the box. Let’s hope the BFG will have fitted some coils in his shoes tonight, as he will need to jump a few times I reckon.

No Diaby – No Diame

We lack height in the team, and it looks like Diaby will not get a start tonight. This is what Arsene had to say about the lanky Frenchman: “Diaby is one of the guys I will have to check. You could see he was not completely physically fresh from the start on Sunday and he did dig deep to do what he did. He has played four games on the trot after being out for three months, so I will have to check him.”

Having watched our game against the Chavs again, I noticed how Diaby was our weakest link in midfield throughout most of the game, and it would be best to give him a rest.

The big question is whether our midfield will play against Mohamed Diame tonight. By the time we kick-off he might even be a Gunner! Apparently, he has a buy-out clause of only £3.5m and we could do with a beast of a DM right now. He appears to be unhappy with the way his buy-out clause is being handled and is now threatening to report his club to FIFA.

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I am not sure Diame is the sort of character Arsene will want at the club, but let’s hope he won’t be playing against us tonight anyway.

Frimpong and Wilshere to be reunited?

With Coquelin and Arteta out injured, it looks like we might see the return of our own DM-Beast: the raw, energetic and passionate Frimpong. He was on the bench against the Chavs and I reckon he will play; and Jack will move out of the hole into the lynchpin role next to Frimmers tonight.

Jack and Emmanuel have played together a lot in the past, albeit at a lower level, and I reckon they will get the best out of each other tonight. There will be no lack of passion or drive, but the obvious risk is that either of them will go too far tonight and end up with a sending off.

Ox and Pod to start – Theo or Giroud, or both?

Apparently both Ox and Pod are available again, and we could do with some fresh pairs of legs tonight. However, if we are to play both Ox and Pod, it will mean Arsene has to either leave Giroud or Theo on the bench, or he will have to play 4-4-2, with Giroud and Theo starting together again, and Cazorla getting a well-earned rest.

I have no doubt Giroud will start tonight: we need his height in attack, and especially during set-pieces against us. I also feel that Arsene will need to play Theo again tonight; he is after all our top-scorer. Therefore, I reckon Ox will not get a start but Podolski will.

Predicted Line-up:

Arsenal West Ham line up

 

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Let’s hope we’ll start strongly and keep it up for 90 minutes and for no further injuries (especially in midfield). A win tonight brings us close to the top-four and will give us some much needed momentum.

Come on boys: show us what you are made off and what it means to you to play for the mighty Arsenal! And not for 45 minutes but for 95 minutes ffs! 😈

Written by: Total Arsenal.

Arsenal’s biggest priority is to buy an orthodox DM

Arguments can be held for prioritising on the purchase of a quality left back, another central striker, or a right winger; but I reckon our first and most important new arrival should be a quality, experienced, beast of a defensive midfielder, come this January.

Arteta is a very fine player, and from the moment he arrived from Everton he has fitted into the team extremely well. Many of us had expected Arteta to play in a more advanced role, but he became indispensible in the deepest midfield position: the anchor role.

I have written recently what a shame it was to break up the partnership between Song and Arteta. They both made each other better players, and as a duo they became awesome last season. Their biggest problem was not having a high-quality attacking midfielder in front of them for most, if not all, of last season.

With Santi, and now also Jack, we have two very suitable players for the most advanced midfield role; and would we still have Alex Song playing for Arsenal, we would have far better options to rotate our midfielders regularly.

At the moment, we don’t have that luxury. Rosicky and Diaby have been injured for months now, and Coquelin is not given enough opportunities by the manager; which must mean only one thing: he is not impressing Arsene enough during training sessions and the few opportunities he has been given  in the first team this season.

I like Coquelin: he has potential to become an Arsenal first squad regular over time. But I can see why Wenger has not given him more regular starts as yet. He has not quite made a mark for himself; and in this new era for Arsenal, in which the young, up and coming players have to compete hard with the new, more experienced arrivals – a policy which started after the acrimonious departures of Cesc and Nasri two summers ago – you have to take your chance if and when it arises.  Gibbs and Jack did it, but Coquelin and Frimpong – for different reasons – have not grabbed their chances (as yet).

As a result of all of the above, thirty years old Arteta has been played in all twelve PL games, and all five CL games. And it is starting to show now. Especially in the middle of the second half of recent games, Mikel has looked a bit jaded, and the shield around our defence has suffered as a consequence.

Some opposition teams have also tried to target him, and he is often left isolated in our current 4-3-3 system; in which our midfield is often stretched vertically, with the lynchpin position – currently held by Jack – having to move between defence and attack almost constantly.

Arteta is incredibly versatile and can play in all three midfield positions. He is a great player to have in our squad, but I reckon we need to get a more traditional defensive midfielder in as soon as possible. Jack is the best player for the lynchpin role – especially now it looks like Diaby’s injury problems are haunting him once again; and Cazorla is our best option for the most advanced attacking midfield position.

If Arsenal can get a heavy-weight, traditional DM in January, Arteta could be used either for cover of any of the midfield roles; for which there will be ample opportunity, or he can keep his first team position – but we know then that we have very good cover available on the bench, if and when needed. It would also cover us for the potentially very costly risk of Arteta obtaining a long-term injury this season.

My personal view is to go with the former. I reckon a strong, traditional DM would protect our defence better and allow Jack to join Santi more regularly in making things happen up-front. Jack is not bad in helping out on the defensive side, but he is no Song; and Diaby is unlikely to come back for a long run of games. Arteta is more than capable in the deeper midfield position but he does need defensive support, which he is not getting enough of currently.

By buying a classic DM, Arsenal would become a more balanced team and Arteta would become very useful in helping with the necessary regular rotation of our midfielders. I would love a new LB and a RW, but more than anything, Arsenal need to buy a super quality DM in January.

Total Arsenal. 

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