Arsenal drop Mertesacker for mobility and pace | Theo Walcott’s confidence or Chambo’s possession? Or neither?

by & filed under Match Preview.

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I’m up early and ready to roll today, I hope you are too. Today, Arsenal host Chelsea in the biggest grossing Premiership game in history. Hopefully, the boys will make it worth every penny by taking 3 points from the leagues early leaders. We’ll be facing up to a new look Chelsea side this year with some familiar faces disgracing our eyes.

Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Ramires (or Lampard), Hazard, Mata, Torres, Oscar

The above line up is how one of the Chelsea bloggers sees it happening today. Obviously there are some key players we need to keep an eye on there. Juan Mata is Chelsea’s supremely gifted attacking midfielder, he glides around the pitch and has an eye for a quick pass. There’s obviously Hazard to watch out for as well. The young Belgian has had a mixed bag when it comes to performances so far this year, people writing him off already are wishful thinkers more than anything, he has the capability to kill us today, so our full backs needs to be super vigilant and at their best.

Rumours are suggesting there will be a centre back pairing of Vermalen and Koscielny today. That makes sense on a number of levels. The two ingredients those two give us are pace and mobility. Mertesacker has been excellent this season, but some games are clearly more suited to others and I think Chelea’s more continental feel this year is better placed with the other two. The benefits of having good centre back stock eh?

In midfield, pending any disasters, I’m hoping to see Diaby, Arteta anchoring with Cazorla sitting in the hole. Arsene Wenger has taken a sly dig a Song by sharing the reasons he didn’t buy an outright defensive midfielder.

“We try to find the defensive balance collectively. We have fewer players who are purely defenders but some are physically strong in defending like Diaby, some are tactically strong like Arteta.

“At the moment we have the balance because everybody participates, but we have fewer specialists, purely defenders. We are more versatile going forward because everyone has the potential to go forward.”

The above was kind of what I was talking about most of the summer. Looking around the league and in fact Europe in general, the traditional defensive midfielder is a dying breed. I think there is definitely a need to have more defensive minded midfielders, but what you actually want is disciplined well rounded footballers. The Makelele type player is a dying bread. Why do I think that is? Well, teams like Barcelona have shown that you are stronger as a unit if everyone can pass to the same standard. I remember Liverpool beating Chelsea in the Champions League by forcing them to give possession to Makelele. He couldn’t pass so the scouser broke their midfield flow.

Arteta is our deepest lying midfielder most of the game, but note how many times Diaby is level pegging with him. Watch how Cazorla bombs back if he loses the ball. There’s virtually no individualism in this side which makes for a more powerful collective. Today is going to be about confidence and taking our chances. We need to be ruthlessly clinical. We need to be efficient. We need to take the same spirit of Manchester City into this affair.

Whenever John Terry plays off the back of a scandal, he always has a blinder and it seems he always scores a goal. He’ll be one we need to play close attention to today. However, he could the weak link we need to take advantage of. He’s not the player he used to be, he doesn’t have the legs and he’s not playing with defenders that are as good as those in years gone by. If ever there was a player who deserved to be on the end of a humiliation… it’s this guy.

Up top will be interesting today. We either opt for physical presence and the hope there’s been a change in confidence by going for Giroud, or we look to pace in Gervinho. For me, Theo can at best hope for a chance out wide. I still can’t believe people are pushing for a player so constrained by inability to play through the middle. Anyway, the other option is to go for Podolski, I think that might be a waste though.

I’d probably go for…

Podolski Giroud Theo

To be honest though, it’s so damn hard to predict these days, it’s almost not worth it. If possession is important you’d go for Chambo over Theo. If pace and confidence are important, then you might opt for Theo. Whatever the line up is today, I’m confident we have a good chance of taking three points. Again, let’s not pretend we’ll be happy with anything else. We’ve got most of our key players fit and in form, we’re at home and the team has started to gel. A win would be a great way to kick off the weekend. I hope the crowd are all up for it, the atmosphere where I sit has had an injection of singing of late… I hope that continues on today. We need to make the Emirates a fortress and there is no reason it shouldn’t be…

Right, I think that’s your lot for today. Have yourself an exceptional day and enjoy your night in equal amounts!

1,133 Responses to “Arsenal drop Mertesacker for mobility and pace | Theo Walcott’s confidence or Chambo’s possession? Or neither?”

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  1. Ben D

    I really hope Giroud starts today, and that he scores. I can see the floodgates open once he gets off the mark properly (not counting the one against Coventry. There is something about him that screams ‘CLASS’ and can’t wait for it to come out……

  2. SUGA3

    morning 😉

    I am a bit concerned wit Mert being left out, Terry likes to score a header against us, why deprive ourselves of the height advantage?

    and there is also that golden rule of not fixing what is not broken in the first place, it’s not really as if we need to play two virtualy identical CBs for the sake of pace alone, is it?

    remember, the Koscielny + TV pairing was pretty much our first choice last season, don’t need to remind you the GA value for the last season, do I?



    I was at the game on Wednesday, and whilst I know we only played Coventry, I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with Giroud’s movement. I was thinking to myself, blimey, he could really struggle against the better teams.

    I thought Theo had a good game and I am one who would like to see him played more centrally (certainly ahead of Gerv) but again watching him I cannot see how he is an out and out forward just yet – a long way to go. He took his goals well though so I don’t buy into the deal that he couldn’t become and out and out forward.

    Santos, by the way had a shocker on Wed – he is not a defender , he is lazy too.

  4. Sid Murrey

    Nervous, excited, think we can win and I want that racist scum bag leaving the Emirates with nothing but a ‘how did that happen?’ Expression.

    I think Hazard will be trying to prove a point and that may help us if he tries to do everything himself.

    Big game for Jenkinson.

    Up The Arsenal!!!

  5. Pedro

    Joppa, I didn’t get to the game on Wednesday, but generally speaking I think Giroud’s movement is pretty good… I think his ability to win everything in the air makes him standout.


    I’m hoping he comes good. He looks a strong unit. Today would be a good time to start. Tough game today though.

    If they carry on the way they have started the season though then you cannot ask any more than that. 100% effort is all you can ask.

  7. SUGA3


    saying that he can win everything in the air is quite an exaggeration, when we played Citeh, Lescott outjumped him on a few occasions and he is not the tallest, I am yet to be convinced about him…

    Bendtner can win as much if not more in the air, but it does not make him a great striker, does it?

  8. ashvin

    2-0 to arsenal. Giroud to score.
    We’ll need to be careful while tackling Hazard and Oscar around the box. We’ll see dives worthy of gold medals if Koscielny or Verm goes into a tackle with hazard anywhere near the penalty box. But the main danger will be Mata.If we can keep him quiet we can win.


    Come on you Gunners! 2-0 to the most prestigious, class team in London.

    ps, I noticed when watching the Spurs v Lazio game the other night that WHL looked, tired, dated and even more of a shithole than usual.

  10. Kripakar Marur

    I think it will the same team that played City except Verm coming in for Mert. I know lot of people don’t like Ramsey in there but his ability to retain possession will be vital. Chelsea can break at lightning speed this season. Hence we must minimise turnovers. So Ramsey or Oxo on the right for me.

  11. Kripakar Marur

    And I don’t think De Matteo is ballsy enough to start Oscar, Mata & Hazard against us. Lampard, Mikel will play CM and Ramires will play right wing to nullify the Gibbs-Poldi-Santi axis.

  12. Mayank

    Jenkinso has had a dream start to the PL season and it feels like his career is finally up an running.

    Today he will be up against the best player he’s ever played against. But at the same time Hazard will not be able to use his pace like he’s done against other full back.

    The biggest danger for him is of course giving a penalty, I think we should play AOC since their left is quite strong. Still not confident about Jenk conceding a pen.

    Podolski should be able to handle Ivanovic. Other than that their right side tends to drift inwards.

  13. Iceman

    ———————Don Vito—————-

    This will be the team…….Chambo and Walcott to cum in at 64 if we down or at a stalemate——Ramsey, Coq, and walcott to come in if we leading……..

  14. SUGA3


    this is because form wise, we are yet to play anyone better this season and I am expecting Hazard to put in a ‘look what you are missing’ kind of performance, that’s why…

  15. ashvin

    Mata and Hazard will probably start with oscar on the bench. Jenkinson is in for atough time. Hope he can handle it. Podolski will have to help gibbs out like he did against liverpool.

  16. Paulinho

    Would be stupid to drop Mertesacker. Chelsea will play through the middle and we need someone calm and assured to read those little passes through the middle. Kozzer early on will be too nervous as usual and make a hash of clearing them.

  17. ashvin

    Hopefully it’ll be a performance full of failed tricks and back heels from hazard.I would love to see us score on the counter from one of those.

  18. Ritesh

    A bit worried that Mert not playing possibly. He gives us composure at the back.

    TV and Kozzer are great but they can sometimes have a headless chicken moment, particularly the former.

    Up front, I would like to see Gerv on the right wing as he would be a poison for Cole and Terry. Walcott if he does play will be in search of personal glory and may be reluctant to pass to Giroud.

    Santi should make sure Lampard has a lot of defending to do so that we take him out of the game. At the same time the old guard will want to make their presence felt, so expect so hard tackles on Santi, Gerv/Walcott/Arteta/Diaby in the opening stages. Lets hope the ref. does his job.

  19. SUGA3


    Chavs are unbeaten so far and only drew once, so bullish statements of accepting nothing but a win are, just that…

    ‘Twice the pride, double the fall’

  20. Kripakar Marur

    Chelsea are seriously susceptible to counter attacks. Even Stoke looked threatening on the break at the Bridge last week. We should also sit back, invite them forward and smash them on the break.

  21. valerie gooner

    Ok today is the day where no excuses can be given – its been 7 years of “oooooooh if only yada yada…”

    A clinical no nonsense win is needed…

    I cant see Wenger dropping Meteresecker – agree with Mistah Suga,,,hes not quick with his legs – but hes like lightning with his mind…thats whet weve been missing for a long time…the man is undroppabale…

    Anyway, Im off to get my nails done and my muff waxed ….

  22. Kripakar Marur

    This is their first match in the league against decent opposition. They were slaughtered by Atletico Madrid and played off the park at home by Juve. We are playing at home. I don’t know why we shouldn’t expect a win.

  23. Kripakar Marur

    Even I am uncomfortable about not having Mert. His reading of the opposition’s play has been vital to our defensive improvement this season. I really hope Wenger doesn’t bring back the suicidal high line today. We will get smashed if he does.

  24. Ritesh

    Another reason to have Gerv on the right wing is that he was part of the deadly wingers of Lille with his partner Hazard, so he will know his play well.

    Ramsey is also good but he may struggle against Hazard as he has a quick burst of pace and is technically brillant.

    Someone who could do a good job on that right wing is Oxo, small, quick, can track back, technically good, can dribble forward…but played in midweek.

    Its very tricky really. At least we have options.

  25. Paulinho

    So then, Wenger makes his first real cock up of the season. Knew it wouldn’t take long for him to fuck things up. He can’t help himself.

    He’s too impressed with Kozzer’s late in the game interceptions and marauds up front rather than concerning himself with the actual art of defending.

  26. Kripakar Marur

    That was away to the defending champions. Our performance at Anfield was quite good too when you compare it to how the Manchester clubs played there. I am not saying we will win but I will be disappointed if we don’t.

  27. Ritesh

    Krip, thats my fear also.

    A partnership of Kozzer/TV can get carried away in the heat of the moment. Mert has the German discipline and is calm and experienced. He seems slow, but actually his turn of foot is brillant and reads the game so well. He had the City forward in his pocket, bar one mistake on the Aguero shot.

  28. valerie gooner

    kripakar –

    if thats true – then I think its a mistake ….Vermaelen and Mert orrrr Koscielny and Mert are the best pairings – Verm and Koz look alot more tactically sound when playing alongside the big man…when playing together they have a tendency to drop concentration for a second or two – and then bang its in the back of the net…

    Mertesecker is like a cross between Gary Kasparov and a Silver Birch… tactically brilliant yet tall as a tree and goes a nice silver hue in winter

  29. Ritesh

    Yep Krip. Hazard is really is problem if he goes at Jenks. The guy is a top top player, even a fit Sagna would struggle against him.

    If Diaby is in that area, its not ideal as he’s not fast enough and Arteta can’t be everywhere.

    Today, we really need a winger who tracks backs to slow Hazard down and let the second or third midfielder/defender get the ball off him.

  30. Super G10

    I’d rather play chambo… Chelsea have a typically solid back line and we all know walcott struggles with teams like that.
    Chambo is calm and composed on the ball and will be a much more affective cog in the arsenal machine. If he is struggling i’d bring theo on thereafter.

    And confidence..chambo had a good game and scored an amazing goal in the COC so he should be full of it!!

  31. Iceman

    Diaby slow?? He looks slow but covers alot of ground quickly…….Hazard will struggle against Jenko, too lightweight…..Gervais should be fine on the right…..


    Pedro, when I see them working as a team I can’t ask any more than that. Also we are playing some fantastic football this season. It’s exciting. The club is in good health, Wenger seems to slowly be regaining his marbles. I’m happy. I cannot see what there is to be negative about.

    Oh, I can think of one thing. 2 x Chesseburger, 1 x Chips, 2 x Drinks £18.

    Fck me the burgers were as flat as a pancake! Why do that to their own fans? Makes no sense. Treat your fans well, not fleece them.

  33. Ritesh

    Having said that, we should be giving them some headaches down our left.

    Gibbs, Cazorla, Poldi and Giroud will give them a lot of work there. But we have to be careful about Ivanovic taking the corridor and that should be Poldi’s job.

  34. Paulinho

    I think that team is poor.

    Can play well away from home like last week when there are more spaces but when the onus is on us to take the game forward, Diaby and Ramsey will flop.

    Need Cazorla to have an absolute stormer.

  35. Ritesh

    Ice, very true. He’s like the studious guy who takes his time and can be a great player for us.

    At the same time, make no mistake about it, he will never be an Arsenal fan. All the same.

  36. SUGA3

    and I will gracefully not comment on playing Ramsey in the attacking third, Wenger just can’t help himsel with the square peg round hole bollocks, can he?

  37. Iceman

    I really dont like the lineup……..why Ramsey? Why on the wing? If anything he’s good thru the middle……..Wenger up to his tricks, lets hope the trick works…….

  38. valerie gooner

    if that reeeeeeeeeeealy is the team – then its another disaster waiting to happen…

    unlike this breakfast im about to make – well hello mr white pudding, would you like me to slice you up nice and thin you little tramp? yeh, youd like that wouldnt I….yeh n those mushrooms are gonna get it too…

  39. SUGA3

    we sold the league’s best striker, replaced him with some French dud who does not seem like he would score in a brothel with fistful of £50 notes, unless the said brothel happens to be a third rate one, we don’t play him because Wenger obviously does not trust him, which is confirmed by playing a headless chicken winger centrally ahead of him and yet we don’t have another striker to suit out formation to fill in…

    madness or what?

  40. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal are now defending much better than in previous years. That is
    in part due to a more stable defence under influence of Bould, but also
    to other players in midfield and in forwards who are prepared to work
    hard in the defensive department of their game.

    In the past we had too many players on the field who contributed very
    little to this aspect of game.

    No team is going to win titles or trophies if they do not address this aspect of game. Playing pretty football may be entertaining, but you land
    up losing too many games or points.

    The game today will be a true barometer of how good our team is. Chelsea are obviously one of favourites for title but more importantly have been in good form.

  41. SUGA3

    and yet we have expendable £70M in the bank and when you open BBC’s Arsenal subpage, the lead article is Gazidis jizzing his pants about the increase in profits…

  42. Mayank

    Not overly impressed by the line-up.

    Looks like we’re playing not to lose.

    And playing strikerless against Chelsea didn’t work for Barca, why are we trying it? Possession stats are nice and all but seem very hollow unless backed up by goals.

    Dropping Mert might prove to be a mistake on Arsene’s part. Kos and Verm will get pulled out of position by Chelsea’s nifty frontline.

    My confidence for the game has waned.

  43. Iceman

    Why must Wenger always do this……..just when we think things are looking good he comes and shoves this line up in our faces…………i hope his plan works…..

  44. Radio Raheem

    I don’t particularly rate Ramsey but he does give us extra energy in midfield and the role he has been given – basically run around along the right and occasionally cut into midfield – is one that suits him. It stops him mucking things up centrally. He could be our very own Park in big matches.

  45. kwik fit

    I Think that the front six are going to line up as follows;

    ——–Ramsey Arteta
    The top four will be flexible and interchangeable.

  46. SUGA3

    oh yeah, let’s stick a player who is not a very good midfielder out of position in the formation where we already have one player out of position just to make ourselves toothless, fucking radical idea!

  47. Mayank


    Well to be fair, he’s played the exact same line up as the one against City. He clearly wants to continue the flow of that match. Can’t say he’s tinkering.

    My concern is at home we should be going for the jugular.

    Gervais shouldn’t be dropped on the back of one bad performance after 3 goals in 2 games. However, playing Ramsey on the wing seems negative. If he’s doing tremendously in training play him for Diaby.

    Chelsea’s defenders are more than capable of handling a strikerless formation unlike Southampton.

    Still let’s hope its 1-0 to us.

  48. SUGA3

    and I am baffled as far as Giroud situation is concerned, why does he not play?

    I mean, Gervinho is not exactly Maradona, is he?

    some will say he needs time to bed in and I agree, I have been saying exactly that from the moment we sold RvP, but how on earth is he supposed to bed in if he does not play?

  49. Maciek

    Maybe Arsene fears that Hazard and Oscar and Torres will be to tricky to handle for Mert?

    After all their movement is exceptional.

    But, I agree that benching the Big German is unfair. From our 3 quality cb’s Vermy is our poorest defender.

    And Ramsey and Gervinio in our sstarting 11? OX and Arshavin should start ahead of them.

    We will see.

  50. Guntastique

    Two things first big concern:

    1. Hazard said Gervinho will always be his favourite partner…

    2. Usmanov still very much in love with Arsenal…ughhh!

    OK for the team Mamasucker should start together with Vermy and Kosy.

    Yes, Vermy will replace Arteta…just for fun…

    Don Vito

    Jerky – Mamasucker – Kosy – Gibby

    Vermy – Cazorla

    Theo – Arshavin – Pods


    Wanna bet? Arsenal 6 Chelsea 1…

  51. Rhys Jaggar

    Two key battles today:

    1. Arsenal pace: Cole/Ivanovic to be tested.
    2. Chelsea attacking midfield: can Arsenal stop them?

    Of course, Cazorla thru the middle can destroy them too.

    Arsenal can make a big statement today about title ambitions.

    I expect them to make it.

  52. SUGA3


    and if we don’t get 6:1, do you promise not to come on here and spout your bollocks ever again?

    yeah, let’s play all three CBs, risking their fitness, neglecting the small issue of fatigue management and making the team even more negative than it is now, especially that you want to drop Arteta of all people…

    *mother of all facepalms*

  53. PragmatistGooner

    I want the game to finish Arsenal-2(Podolski,Arteta) Chelsea-0 but I have a feeling that we’ll lose this one :'( Some misplaced sense saying Arsenal-1(Walcott) Chelsea-2(Ramires or Lampard and Mata)..Just hoping we win today…Its high time we make Emirates our fortress.

  54. Ste

    I know it’s a day late, but when is Arsenal going to start work on Drayton station like they promised for the increased capacity of the emirates????

    Come on you gunnersssssssss

  55. Guntastique

    Yes such an insult to Gambon’s intelligence

    The only way to stop Chelsea flowing is to dump 5 defenders

    The rest 5 guys upfront confused them as none actually a real striker, Spain did that playing all midfield no strikers

    Confuse your enemy

    I bet none of you dicktars ever read Sun Tzu Art of War book (especially Gambon)

  56. PragmatistGooner

    @GAMBON–What’s your prediction??Do you think your favourite demigod Wenger will bring out a win from his magical hat?? 😛

  57. SUGA3

    I happen to have read Sun Tzu, but football is a simple game and if I was to point to the biggest reasons for our failures of the last few seasons, Wenger trying to outsmart everyone will be up there 😆

    we are at home, therefore we should just go for it, the predicted lineup is defensive enough as it is…

  58. Guntastique

    Gambon prediction is always be pessimist idealism: Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0

    He prefer to hire Klopp as new Arsenal manager

    Big joke when he pissed at Wenger’s prudent spending yet prefer exactly the same German version of Wenger – Jurgen Klopp

    If Gambon own Arsenal today that GBP160m cash pile gone into thin air this January and then hug Usmanov wife begged her to become Ladyboy for Usmanov

  59. valerie gooner

    In the last 33 Premier League games between Chelsea and Arsenal, the Blues’ record with Drogba playing is W7 D3 L1. Without him, it is W0 D9 L13. (Opta)

    so on that basis I reckon we’ll win 3-1

  60. Lordbergkamp

    This is best chance for years to beat the chavs, they are trying to play like us, they won’t be coming and sitting and letting drogba batter us.

    4-2 arsenal.

  61. Guntastique

    @Guntastique ANd how did we manage to beat Chelsea 3-1 and 3-5 with two CB’s?? Magic or what??

    You forgot today Mata and Hazard collectively offset whatever Cazorla and Podolski intricate passing

    This game is a game of equal strength top contenders the only thin fine line separate us vs Chelsea is how lucky Eboue’s wife now never have to face John Terry

    Go check who created that Eboue wife joke will ya

  62. valerie gooner

    Im hittin a wall here gona stay awake for the teams then do a 30 min nap – anyone got the teams yet?

    think im still drunk…

  63. Guntastique

    Nope Insec no dope today

    Vermy always fancy going forward a bit…like I said let’s try him just for fun if not when? Worthless Cup game?

    For Chelsea they’ll thought it’s another Stoke game bus in the park thing

    Yes you can afford to do it for fun…Stuffs of Champions…real Champion do crazy thing…

  64. Guntastique

    I think we will win, maybe a draw.

    He He He finally Gambon no longer the ideal pessimists he used to be…good for you dude

    Otherwise a loss can only justify why Jurgen Klopp should come here next…

  65. Radio Raheem


    I know it does seem unfair to Mert but like i said yesterday chelsea have a quicker more mobile forward line than city with Dzeko in it. I am quite hopeful but if we haven’t scored at half time i would like to see Giroud brought on earlier.

  66. PragmatistGooner

    Yes real champions do crazy things like going a season unbeaten but these current crop of Arsenal team does crazy thing every season for the past 7seasons..You’ll get to know that after March how much crazier we actually get..

  67. Guntastique

    Btw Gambon, Jurgen Klopp with that cap is one hideous plumber riding in old Ford transit scamming you around with crap sink job

    Do you wish him as Arsenal manager? Podolski hated him

  68. Spud

    Oh God i’m excited!
    A little confused with the line-up would have liked to see Giroud start as a focal point for attacks.
    Having to rely on a stream as im not in the UK at the moment.

  69. incesc

    you’ve put verm in midfield for a game against the european champions when hes never played there before and left out arteta and diaby who have been great in midfield this season

    and put arshavin in for his 2nd game in 3 days when everyone knows he cant do 2 games a week, plus theo who hasnt been starting.

    salvia suga3?


  70. Guntastique

    Whole Arsenal players should snub John Terry void of handshakes

    That’ll drive him crazy instantly and lost focus for entire game

    Real champion do crazy things

  71. ArsenalJoe

    No one has mentioned Ashavin yet. Reckon after the game in mid-week he could get the nod to come on at some point.

    Also this may be a stupid question, but why would Terry be playing today? Has the 4 match ban not kicked in yet? If so, why?!

  72. abeeola

    Chelsea Line: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Hazard, Mata, Oscar and Torres.

    Going for possession right there.