League Cup exposes Arsenal squad as… STRONG.

by .

courtesy @allthatchas

courtesy @allthatchas

Everyone loves a League Cup game, especially Arsenal fans, who spent years enjoying the competition because it was an opportunity to see all the sublime youth talent our scouts had hoovered up from around Europe.

Those days of child starting 11s have faded. Tonights Forest 11 looked tasty and extremely strong. Xhaka and Elneny pinning the midfield, Perez starting, the impressive Rob Holding and the returning Gabriel at the back, plus forever reserves Gibbs and Chambo and Jeff.

The game impressed, that’s for sure. I absolutely loved the midfield pairing of Xhaka and Elneny. They had a very good relationship moving the ball forward, opening space for one another, making themselves available for the defence very readily. They also have the ability to move the ball quickly and accurately. Not to mention both having the engine to cover lost ground.

They were a touch shaky at the back, leaving the defence exposed at times, but look, that seems to be a bit of a tactic from Wenger to win the ball back further up the pitch. Just to cement the performance, Xhaka opened the scoring with a monster effort from 35 yards again. I really hope Wenger doesn’t beat that out of him, it’s an advantage to have a player who can strike fear into defenders who traditionally would back off our unambitious shooting efforts.

Jeff, a man of legend for no real reason, had a solid first half. He set Chuba up for a one on one that the Forest keeper did well to palm wide. Niles looked good going forward as our makeshift fullback, but he was woefully short at times getting caught out too far up the pitch.

Perez looked industrious up top and made it count early in the second half when his pass to Chuba led to a penalty. He stepped up cooly and slotted him for his first Arsenal goal. He made it two shortly after when was first to a pass Chuba made after a powerful run, he battled hard, forced a mistake from their fullback, he worked it passed the keeper and scrambled home! A very gritty goal. Using power, pace and determination to score a goal. How novel?

Chamberlain had a pretty pitiful first half making weak decisions that broke up our attacking progress at times. He improved as the game went on, making a very sexy run from outwide to set up Perez late on. He also bagged a late goal with a surging run / one-two with Perez / cool finish. Still be question marks over his ability to channel out those ‘pass it to nobody’ demons, but he’ll be pleased how he turned that around.

Overall, a very pleasing performance. Considering the hodge-podge of a setup, you can only be happy with how cohesive the passing was and how clinically we finished the game off. Perez looked very promising, he has Jamie Vardy like work rate and his finishing looks pretty good (heard that his finishing has been out of this world at training). Xhaka and Elneny made the case for a first team promotion, or at least deeper consideration. Rob Holding was impressive. Even Chuba looked like he had squad credentials.

A great evening, superb to finally have a squad.

Onwards, to a hopefully tired Chelsea next…

210 Responses to “League Cup exposes Arsenal squad as… STRONG.”

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  1. Louis Almeida

    Wenger’s comments on Perez re interesting especially considering Ozil and Alexis are both extremely one-footed, the latter in particular. I don’t even recall a goal he’s scored for Arsenal with his left foot.

  2. Leedsgunner

    Tunny

    “You’ve been talking to me for too long on here. My optimism has rubbed off on you 🙂 :)”

    Maybe…. but I like to think that when the team does well I give credit where its due… and yesterday they deserved all the credit — even Wenger, he got his selection spot on.

    On another note…

    I hope Debuchy is moved on in January. A combination of bad luck with injuries and circumstance there with the emergence of Bellerin… surely we could get at least £2m-£3m for him?

    I would put the money towards a new left back. Gibbs isn’t good enough, and Monreal won’t last forever.

    We should sell Gibbs to Liverpool who’s desperate for a left back and nab Granit’s international teammate Ricardo Rodriguez who we were linked with in the early summer.

    If we sell Gibbs for £12m, Debuchy for £3m and Sanogo for £1m we can pick him up for a net spend of less than £5m… we should definitely do it in January. WE need to use Granit’s standing with the Swiss team to get their best players! 🙂

  3. vicky

    Xhaka-Elneny-Ramsey ? Possibly the worst midfield combination given our options. Suggests athleticism and engine is all that you’re looking for when deciding your midfield combination. It’s no different from Matic-Kante-Wilian combination which also is a very defensive and pedestrian midfield besides the fact Ramsey is even worse than Willian in terms of attacking flair and creativity.

    For me Xhaka-Elneny-Santi is the perfect midfield combination with Ozil playing wide although with freedom to come inside. Ramsey is a CM. If he can’t earn a starting position there, it’s useless shoehorning him in other positions such as CAM, right flank etc.

  4. Rambo Ramsey

    Louis, this isn’t even about Xhaka. My initial point was handing out all three midfield positions to players who aren’t particularly known for/good at creating chances may see the team struggle.

    Yes, we’ll have a lot of possession but might struggle to convert it to goals.

    Have you seen what Pep has done with great success? He has only one conventional midfielder in Fernandinho occupying the role, supported by deBruyne and Silva.

    Contrast to Mourinho whose struggles are mainly because he starts with three midfielders, all devoid of any real creativity.

    You cannot get away with shafting your one and only creative genius to the wings.

  5. Paulinho

    There was one giveaway in that compilation of Xhaka that highlighted my concerns with him. When he gets given a ‘hospital’ pass, he panics and loses co-ordination, which results him shinning the ball to nowhere in particular. Still big concerns over him against top midfield; that he doesn’t drop too deep too often because he feels safer receiving the ball deeper where there is less pressure.

  6. Leedsgunner

    If the long term plan is to use Ainsley Maitland Niles as a RB, does that spell the end for Jenks? I personally will be sad to see him go if so.

    I personally don’t think we saw enough of him… and he could provide realistic competition for Bellerin and keep him from taking his position for granted… I would keep Jenks.

  7. Paulinho

    “Hats off to Lucas for his finish last night and a couple of nice passes, but my concern re him is that he was still largely invisible in a match where we dominated a Championship side. I like him as a player, but I don’t think he offers enough physically”

    Yep, said similar the day after he signed. Compared him to Negredo. He doesn’t really a position and kinds of float in no mans land, and he doesn’t have the acceleration or real athleticism to threaten alert centre backs.

    He’s obviously an accomplished footballer but skeptical whether that will be enough.

  8. tunnygriffboy

    Leeds

    Yes we did well last night. Pleased with a lot of things. Lucas got his first goals, hopefully that will give him confidence. Xhaka and Elneny are kicking the door in demanding to be picke. The youngsters did well.

    Holding is a super signing for that price. Akpom and Maitland Niles did well but I think JRA will be the one to come through first. If we can bring through the likes of Iwobi and JRA not only is it exciting but it saves us a fortune.

    The agent Raiola has been talking about young talent in Europe. The one he’s most excited about is Donyell Malan ( had brain fart couldn’t remember his name) a lad in our academy we’ve not seen in first team yet.

  9. Louis Almeida

    Ramb Ramsey, I’m only suggesting this for the biggest games. Most of the time I’ll keep a 4231 with Ozil at #10 but certain other games we need to be more solid IMO. Ozil has played from the right for Germany loads of times and had success. Didn’t he score against Italy in the Euros from that position? In a big game too. Most of the time he should stay at #10 but in games like against Chelsea you need to adapt a bit more for the opposition.

    Pep and Mourinho do operate differently. Pep likes to defend high and have as much security as possibly by overloading the team with possession players. It’s as much a defensive tactic as it is an offensive one why is why his teams always concede next to no goals. Mourinho is a bit more passive and likes to sit off. I agree he needs to get his formula right by playing more creative guys. Rooney needs to be dropped, same with Fellaini. Maybe introduce the likes of Carrick, Schweinsteiger and Mkhitaryan.

  10. Louis Almeida

    I think it’s too early to judge Lucas. I do agree with the assertions that he was on the periphery initially. But after he scored his goal he played with more confidence and freedom. His second goal was akin to many of the goals he scored for Deportivo last season. He looks robust and while he doesn’t have Welbeck-like pace he is still very quick across the ground and more assertive infront of goal. I think it is understated how important it is for a striker to score early when they move to a new club.

  11. vicky

    Cazorla completely exposed Scheweinsteiger last season when we beat them 3-0. There’s a reason why he isn’t in Mourinho’s plan. The guy should move to Turkey or China.

  12. Leedsgunner

    “Holding is a super signing for that price. Akpom and Maitland Niles did well but I think JRA will be the one to come through first. If we can bring through the likes of Iwobi and JRA not only is it exciting but it saves us a fortune.”

    Agreed.

    What I don’t want is for them to make a brilliant start, be hailed as the next best thing — get a huge contract too early — then for them to slip into mediocrity… or into an injury no man’s land because they have been overplayed.

    We need to start having a whole career view of these talented youngsters. I want them to stay here and win trophies… not p*ss off when they come good.

  13. Louis Almeida

    I’m not that hyped on JRA. It was the same way I felt about Zelalem. They show nice flashes but there’s not enough substance to their game. Iwobi has more end product and plays with more purpose IMO. It’s kind of crazy how all these players looked better than Iwobi in the reserves but he is the one that has stepped up and looks comfortable at senior level.

  14. Dream10

    Louis Almeida

    From the little I have seen of Lucas, he seems to have the qualities of a second striker. Perhaps he’ll look better with a quicker forward (Walcott, Chambo or Welbeck). Hopefully he’ll be more willing to make runs in behind in comparison to Alexis (not as fast as Griezman or prime Costa) or Giroud (good player but slow).

  15. Rambo Ramsey

    The problem with Elneny-Xhaka combo is they are similar players, too similar who share the same weaknesses. Ideally you’d want players to complement one another in any partnership.

    What does Elneny offer you that Xhaka doesn’t? Does he atleast help rectify Xhaka’s weaknesses? No, for me.

    Yeah, they look terrific when they’re strutting about, spraying their passes around against mediocre opposition but that’s hardly the only scenario that the team’s gonna be facing.

    How will they fare in games where we don’t see much of the ball? How will they cope when the team loses possession and opposition breaks at speed?

  16. Louis Almeida

    Dream10, for me he’s a #9. Wenger likes his #9 to be well rounded rather than just a poacher. It didn’t help Lucas that he had 3 players behind him last night who weren’t creative. Akpom is a striker. Ox isn’t a 10 and isn’t creative. JRA is just ok. If he plays with Ozil, Alexis and Iwobi behind him he can focus more on penetrating the last line of defence rather than always dropping deep but his second goal showed he’s happy running in behind too.

  17. tunnygriffboy

    Leeds

    I agree. We need to look after them. There’s no need to play iwobi every week s we have enough players to comfortably rotate and rest him

    Louis

    Not saying that JRA will make it but he is a prospect. If he continues to develop he could come good. He’s a few years younger than iwobi as well. Bringing these guys through saves us big fees

  18. vicky

    Rambo

    I don’t think Elneny is a similar player to Xhaka. I see Xhaka operating more from deep positions, getting the ball from CBs and then spraying it around. Elneny is more of a box-to-box player. The ease with which he moves from defensive to attacking positions and then back to defensive positions is his best asset. I know Forest is not a great team and all that but the way he was moving up and down covering distances yesterday was fantastic. At one moment he was in our box receiving the ball from CBs and the very next moment in the opposition box playing good link up passes with our wingers and CAM. Xhaka is more defensive in nature and is more suited for long passes from deep than moving up and down.

  19. Louis Almeida

    “The problem with Elneny-Xhaka combo is they are similar players, too similar who share the same weaknesses. Ideally you’d want players to complement one another in any partnership. ”

    I think they are compliment each other very well. Both like to play behind the ball so we are rarely caught in transition. Xhaka is a deep-lying midfielder/playmaker in the Alonso mould and Elneny is a B2B. For me it’s the perfect balance. Xhaka likes to sit deep and spray passes. Elneny uses his engine to get about the pitch and has good ball circulation.

    Where we disagree is that I don’t think we need a conventional destroyer in the Coq mould for every match, just big games. In most games we are going to need to take the initiative so I’d rather have good passers. Only in games where we’ll be without the ball for long periods would I introduce a destroyer. Yes last night’s opposition wasn’t the best but it was a decent blueprint for the way we could play. We won’t be getting caught much in possession with those two as they are very secure and don’t get caught ahead of the ball.

  20. Paulinho

    Yeah, don’t think really think Elneny or Xhaka are at all similar.

    Elneny is better at receiving the ball in tight situations and using his agility to extricate himself from danger. Good and concise short passer, and always on the move.

    Xhaka more of a longer passer, always looking for balls in behind or spreading play.

    They both keep it too simple at times, which is a fair concern, but for me they dovetail well and there is consistency and substance to their play. Coquelin and Cazorla is a poor partnership because they make it up as they go along; always off the cuff, which can be good thing against average sides, but the lack of structure and understanding between them always gets exposed against top eight sides.

  21. China

    I disagree that putting ozil on the wing would ever really do is a favour

    He’s played there before for us and was really weak and we already lack creativity amongst many in our squad

    The midfielders and attackers in our squad who’s positions and place in the first team deserve to be assured are xhaka ozil and Sanchez. These are our 3 best players outside of the defense and I don’t think anyone else has done enough to deserve being an automatic starter. With that in mind I think if we haven’t even got an established first 11 the last thing we should be doing is playing any of the 3 best players out of position. Sanchez up front has got us a few goals but he should be back scoring and assisting from the wings. Ozil needs to do much better this season and I’d be happy to see Wenger tell him that, but he’s still too good to be out of position. Same for xhaka.

    We already have so many questions about our best 11, the last thing we need is to turn our best players into question marks too!

  22. Emiratesstroller

    tunnygriffboy

    I think that Arsenal bought well in the summer transfer window, although I will retain judgment on Peres until he has played several games at EPL level and in particular against best teams.

    Xhaka is in my view a top player and will provide the team in longterm with the “leadership” in midfield that we have desperately needed. At 23 he has a
    long career ahead of him.

    Mustafi may not be the best defender on the planet, but he is certainly an upgrade on Mertesacker and Gabriel.

    Holding is for me the type of player that Arsenal should be looking for in the future. He cost peanuts and is clearly a solid defender. I think that it may be
    difficult finding top midfield and strikers in the lower divisions, but not necessarily good defenders.

    If there is one lesson to be learned from Leicester’s performance last season it
    is that football is a “team game” and Arsenal should find the right balance, team spirit and leadership qualities which they demonstrated.

    Building a team around overpriced “stars” like Pogba when the rest of your team is average as is the case at Man Utd is never a solution.

  23. Rambo Ramsey

    vicky, his energy was great yesterday but I am yet to see him use it as well against PL opposition. I recall last season when he mainly paired up with Ramsey, didn’t really work, it was Ramsey who’d occupy deeper roles but both left a lot to be desired. What I noticed was Elneny wasn’t very good when put under pressure high up the pitch, appeared clumsy at times.

  24. Rambo Ramsey

    “Coquelin and Cazorla is a poor partnership because they make it up as they go along; always off the cuff, which can be good thing against average sides, but the lack of structure and understanding between them always gets exposed against top eight sides.”

    Yeah, here’s the thing- You know this because you’ve seen them play together, a lot. With Xhaka-Elneny, you’ve barely seen them together on the pitch. Its all theory, we don’t know how they’ll cope against high pressing or pacy sides.

  25. Paulinho

    “Its all theory, we don’t know how they’ll cope against high pressing or pacy sides.”

    Theory based on their attributes.

    Elneny is the best we have at receiving the ball under pressure and keeping a clear head under intense pressure. Showed that at White Hart Lane last season. Spurs tried same tactics as previous season and tried to press but Elneny kept calm and managed to spread play behind their pressure. By contrast in the previous Coquelin and Cazorla completely bricked it and wave the white flag every time Mason or Bentaleb went near them.

    Cazorla can excel under moderate pressure, but is useless under intense pressure. Same at Old Trafford that season as well.

  26. vicky

    “The midfielders and attackers in our squad who’s positions and place in the first team deserve to be assured are xhaka ozil and Sanchez. These are our 3 best players outside of the defense ”

    I like the look of Xhaka but I think he still has a lot to prove before he’s anointed as one of our best players. At this moment, Santi is miles ahead of him both in terms of reputation and class.

  27. BigCheese

    Has anyone else noticed that we seem to be committing a lot of players forward lately? Usually we tippy tippy around the box but have only Giroud to aim for.

    Now we have at least 4 it 5 in the box each attack wave. Probably why we’ve been awarded so many penalties…

    Hopefully need Ozil to get back to his best and we could be in business.

  28. Rambo Ramsey

    “Elneny is the best we have at receiving the ball under pressure and keeping a clear head under intense pressure.”

    Weird but I think the exact opposite. He’s not the most physical and I’ve seen him easily shrugged off the ball by opposition players time and again. He’s not particularly adept at dribbling himself out of trouble as well.

  29. Louis Almeida

    Agree with Paulinho. I think because Elneny’s stats aren’t always measurable people just think he’s a basic player but he’s always available for the pass, always on the move, presses well and is a good key part in helping to facilitate fluidity. Like Xhaka he also likes a pop from range too. See his goal against Barca last season.

  30. BigCheese

    Rambo – you don’t need to be physically strong to handle the high press. That’s one way to skin a cat but having a cool temperament coupled with a good passing ability is an alternative.

    Elneny is no superstar but he seems to have a good appreciation for space and positioning. Always moves into space after a pass rather than standing still and admiring his pass – something Xhaka seems to do in my opinion.

  31. Leedsgunner

    I really hope Wenger doesn’t train out the shooting from distance out of Xhaka. He won’t be successful all the time but having a DM that is willing to shoot and score from range is a very valuable asset — especially against teams who play “park the bus” against us.

    Until now, ultra defensive teams have been successful against us because we haven’t have had an alternative form of breaking down defences except by passing them too death.

    Yet, now with Xhaka willing to score from distance, any ultra defensive team will be forced to come and play especially if, like last night, Xhaka gains the first goal. Sure it won’t work all the time, but the threat of it will force opponents to come out, out of position to try to shut him down — consequently creating space for other other playmakers… and attackers to make runs.

    I think Xhaka will expose teams like Stoke and West Brom and sit back and try to catch us out on the break… and enable us to win ugly because at last we will have a Plan B when teams try to “close up shop.”

  32. Paulinho

    Rambo – He faces the play when pressurised, which means he can see the whole or most of the pitch to pick out that subtle but pressure releasing pass to runner, or if he does get closed down the chances of getting a free kick our much higher than if he is facing his own goal. Against Spurs he would quickly switch play just before getting clattered by a Spurs player. Either ref gives free kick or plays advantage. Season before Coquelin and Cazorla were facing our goal – giving off distress signals to ref – and ref allows Spur to get away with more because he know Cazorla and Coquelin are looking for a way out.

  33. Wengaball

    Our problem currently are not the capabilities of people who have the ball – Elneny, Xhaka, Cazorla and even Coquelin all have decent ball skills to beat a press.

    However no player can do this consistently if he does not have receivers giving him options.

    The gap between our players has seemed larger than normal to me this year plus they also seem not to be providing multiple passing angles to the player on the ball.

    So under a press the player on the ball seems to have not more than one option – this is easy to cut off by the pressing team.

    This was visible time and again in the Liverpool and PSG games.

  34. Rambo Ramsey

    Paulinho/Bigcheese, yeah I guess we’ll have to wait and see how these various combinations work out on the pitch. I’m surprised that Wenger has been so reluctant to tinker with the options at his disposal.

    The only combination we know inside out is Coq-Cazorla.

  35. gonsterous

    Here’s a theory. Xhaka is dropped in the weekend cause he’s not playing the arsenal way.. tippy tappy football. We need to walk it into the net !!

  36. Rambo Ramsey

    Wenger was questioned about the goal, and he revealed that he was not aware that his new signing had that in his locker.

    He said: “Honestly, not really.

    “I knew he had a good shot. But he played very deep last year [at Borussia Moenchengladbach] and didn’t get forward a lot.

    “But I hope that will give him the taste for more.

    “It’s great for him to get confidence as well and to know that he can score goals.”

  37. Steveyg87

    Gonna be interesting to see what Wenger decides to do once Ramsey is fit..

    With Coq coming in to the fold, I’m assuming he will have to make way for Rambo, unfortunately. Elneny/xhaka combo will be exposed in with teams playing a higher line. Also, too many similar qualities for my liking. Ramsey and Coq need to rotate with caz/ramsey and Coq vying for the other spot. Knowing Wenger he will forsake any goodwill created by playing good balances too prop in his favourite(Ramsey)

  38. Barking Arsene

    One thing I do like is that with Kos & Musty at the back (plus Bellboy at RB) we do at least have some mobility there.

    As long as one of our midfield pairing can hold their position we shouldn’t (in theory) get into too much bother in transitions.

    On another note Rambo and his position is a becoming more of a conundrum by the day.

  39. Sam

    I ignore Anti Chamberlain comments coz He’s suffering from what most of Arsenal players do under Wenger.
    He’s forced to become a winger n failed but Wenger still insisting on it
    and haters joined coz they love it when Arsenal players suffer lost of form.
    they even compare him with that foking Dele Ali, let him come to Arsenal n get forced to play out of position n see how he’s gonna turn out.
    how quickly people forget, Adelaide is playing just like Chamberlain when he first arrived, hopefully he’ll survive wengerisation process.

  40. Leedsgunner

    Is Xhaka fit enough to play three games in a week? I know that he’ll be desperate to play against Basel… but surely we need him against Chelsea more? I guess with him making such an impact on the team I don’t want to see him picking up a long term injury.

    We need our best players fit.

  41. Sam

    I don’t agree with Vieira but

    He was spot on when he said Arsenal need players with personality
    Influential players that scare off the opposition

    Now we have dumboz pushing their agenda to replacing Coquelin with timid Elneny.
    Even tough its clear as a full moon it’ll never happen.
    They’re all part of our rotation but your campaign to push the Coq out is so pointless.

  42. Louis Almeida

    Leeds, why not? He was a sub against Hull and last night was his first 90 mins for us since Watford. I think fatigue shouldn’t really be an issue right now. As we get to November/December it becomes more prevalent.

  43. raptora

    You guys are underestimating Casorla’s influence by a margin. Last season we were leading the table AND playing great football till he got his injury. For me he is THE player at the moment for Arsenal and so far his performances have been great. What he does and no one else in the team does is that he adds this calmness whenever the opponent’s team is pressing us high and he can deal with that with ease. His passing is the best when it goes down to eliminating that pressure and moving the ball a bit forward with 1-2’s and some tricks and neat moves. Also he has a quality that almost no one in our midfield and attack can brag with – he is extremely constant in his plays. We talk about Alexis not having a day, we talk about Ozil not being active and hiding and Santi is never hiding, he is always active and he always gives us that composure and calmness. Also it is unreal how he moves through the enemy midfielders and gets them booked cause he’s escaped away of them. Imo the spaniard is a little gem, very underrated and it mighty sucks that he’s already in his final big football years. If we have a player who has earned his starting lineup place for every important game, that is him and Koscielny for me. Both really solid and immense for us so far.

  44. Red&White4life

    “You guys are underestimating Casorla’s influence by a margin. ”
    Reading all those negatives comments about him, I was just thinking the same thing…

  45. Sam

    I am sure you can picture in his time at Arsenal

    When you just take a look at Keown, Vieira, Campbell, overmars in the tunnel. you know what you are facing
    none of these guys even laugh, don’t even try to say hi

    and Today?

  46. gonsterous

    Santi is good, I’ll give you that.. but running him into the ground is exactly the reason he got injured. If I was Wenger I would bring him on if need be. Other than that I would save him for the Basel game !!

  47. salparadisenyc

    Santi was a huge influence last season, no doubt our form dipped when he went out. The numbers don’t lie. But we didn’t have Xhaka or Elneny for the first half of the season either.

    Like to see this vs Chelsea

    Xhaka Elneny
    Ozil
    Iwobi Perez Sanchez

    But i’d put money on Wenger reverting back to Coq/Caz and giving Giroud the start as well.

  48. Rambo Ramsey

    I don’t think I need to remind you guys what happened the last big game Wenger went the ‘energy’ route? A midfield of Elneny-Coquelin-Ramsey with Cazorla on the bench. Battered by Liverpool; okay,granted we had rookie central defenders but the performance from midfield was absolutely shambolic.

    It took Cazorla coming on as substitute to steady the ship somewhat.

  49. tunnygriffboy

    Sal

    Sorry. I agree that Xhaka has to start. For me it’s him and Coquelin.

    Wenger will go with Santi and Coquelin with Walcott, Alexis and Iwobi. Theo has to play especially if Alexis plays up top. He makes runs into the areas Alexis vacates. Theo has played pretty well so far this season.

    Not sure where Giroud fits in atm. Only know that he’ll know that when he gets his chance he has to take it. It’s great having competition for places

    Big Cheese

    We’re getting more players in the box because atm we’re pressing teams right back in their own half. Win the ball back there and we’re automatically close to their penalty area so we can easily get bodies in there

    It’s high risk/reward but because Kos and Mustafi are pretty quick we can now play a high line in defence.

  50. Uwot?

    For me it has to be xhaka & coq.el nanny ,Santa & iwobi in front of them with Sanchez & feo up top.power ,pace craft & stamina.the chavs will try & counter at pace.not a game for oz from the start.too physical.perhaps later along with the handsome Frenchman.

  51. Uwot?

    However,we have a tactically inept,reactionary manager so it could be all over before we can get at them.by the way.what’s the big panic that terry might play?yes he scores a few.but those days are few & far between.his pace is shot now so let them play him I say……

  52. Leedsgunner

    Last year, Chelsea beat us by Diego provoking Gabriel and getting him sent off. Let’s give them a taste of their own medicine…

    Although their midfield has lots of creative and attacking players, their defence is nothing to write home about. Instead of Giroud leading the line we need pace pace pace up front. David Luiz is unpredictable enough that if our CF goes past him he is liable to make a foolish tackle drawing a penalty… and or a sending off

    For that reason I would be tempted to start with Alexis on left… Perez through the middle and Walcott on the right.

    Once the defenders tire later on in the game bring on Giroud to torment their defenders some more.

    More than anything, let’s not make their job easier by conceding a penalty or a sending off. Let them lose their cool.

    We can beat this lot if we keep our discipline.

    Up, up, up the Gooners!!!