Clogged midfield issues at Arsenal

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via @t0wey (instagram)

via @t0wey (instagram)

Great news to kick start our week, Hector Bellerin has penned a new £120k per week deal to stay at the club. That’s superb, he’s the best right back in the league for me and he’s still only a kid. Committed, hardworking, a wonder to watch moving forward and a pretty fine defender considering his age.

Things are looking up…

Thoughts on the United game?

Topline, 2 points from 6 against Spurs and United isn’t the worst. If you’re looking at average points per game across our November month, to improve on our usual pitiful return is a good thing. It was also exciting to see Chamberlain come on and turn a game with a beautiful cross, buried by Giroud who is an excellent plan b / impact player.

What wasn’t great about the last two big games we’ve played is Wenger really hasn’t gone for the jugular. We’re looking at Spurs and United on paper, rather than with context. Spurs were coming off the back of a tough midweek game and we bottled our starting 11, United have been chronically bad all season and we let them run the midfield by making a bland selection of Coquelin and Elneney, and making the decision to play Aaron Ramsey out on the left…

Wenger needs to get his shit together with our midfield. If he doesn’t want to play Ramsey through the middle, sell him and buy a player who can play on the right or left. His team selection is almost childlike at times, he’s looking at a menu and ordering 3 desserts. He doesn’t know how to work all his favourite pieces in to a functioning system, so he just plays them anyway.

Also, I still don’t understand how he can’t see that Xhaka is his best defensive midfielder. To buy a player of that calibre and then tell him he’s more of a B2B makes no sense. To not at least try him with Ramsey through the middle, when on paper, that looks to have devastating potential fills me with sadness. Also look at the impact it’s having on Ozil… zero key passes in a major game? Not good enough, but a familiar pattern for the German this season (compared with king stats last year).

As someone pointed out yesterday, if the manager feels that Aaron / Xhaka midfield would lack discipline… give the boys some instructions. Also,  don’t know how we’ve landed on the narrative that Xhaka lacks discipline… he spent a number of years under Lucian Favre, one of the worlds smarted tacticians. The boy has been raised on discipline. Sure, Aaron hasn’t, but just tell him the deal, if he deviates, give him the hairdryer and drop him. He’d get that if he went to any club that had a modern manager.


I just don’t understand how Wenger can go from having no defensive instincts before Coquelin, floating Alex Iniesta as a great player, to being chained to a midfield combo that doesn’t work becaue it’s too unambitious. Maddening…

But, in three years time, when he works out the best solution, we’ll all praise him for having vision. Like the Sanchez move to a central role people were calling right from the start has now somehow turned into a genius move.

Anyway, enough grumbling. Those two points will look very good if we can smash Bournemouth and then hopefully the same banter bus that is West Ham (you know that has banana skin written all over it).

Right, over and out. See you in the morning.

123 Responses to “Clogged midfield issues at Arsenal”

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  1. Samesong


    I coach an U13 s team and believe me they have that Arsenal trait. They go from world beaters to poop at times.

    Does Wenger let the boys know when they have been rubbish???? Or does he not upset any players feelings.


    I cannot understand why Wenger always want to find a place for Ramsey.He is absolutely rubbish on the flanks,no matter what plan. Only reason why Mesut had such a poor game,because Ramsey ALWAYS enter into his area.Sell him or use him as a Plan B player

  3. peanuts&monkeys

    Wenger needs to get his shit together with our midfield.

    Why? Why? Why the fuck??? Arsenal is winning tgis league. Calling it out, guys. It’s the best time bid this fuckedUpfossil goodbye. Sack the motherfucker and send a message to the next coach.

  4. peanuts&monkeys

    There absolutely no alternative to a Toure-like leadership midfield presence. There simply no one to take charge of the midfield. Xgaka is worthless. He is like that frozen sideways-passer Arteta

  5. peanuts&monkeys

    Arsenal still doesn’t have a freekick scorer. They never had. Arsenal still doesn’t have a strong arm who can throw like Rory Delap. Arsenal has still not replaced RvP. How they are in 5th place is a surprise!

  6. karim

    Bellerin re-signing when the likes of Barça were sniffing around is great news !

    Also, how can anyone call Alexis a mercenary, he’s giving it all week in week out


  7. paul35mm

    Arsenal have a great team but so do United and Tottenham. Manchester United went out and spent close to £250 million over the last three seasons and they bought huge players. Pogba, Herrera, Darmian, Rojo, Schneiderlin, Shaw, Martial, all cost a lot of money.

    Valencia, Rooney, De Gea, Young, and Carrick were all important players on the last United title team. Rashford is being hailed as the next great English forward.

    Wining away in the Premier League is always difficult. Winning away to top six opposition is not something a lot of teams manage. Arsene Wenger has been criticized by pundits and fans year after year for not being pragmatic when traveling to the big teams away. He was pragmatic against United, selecting a very defensive team with Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, and Ramsey in the midfield over Gibbs, Iwobi, Xhaka, and Ox. Was this noted? No. What was noted was Arsenal’s lack of forward play and failure to generae shots on goal.

    Arsenal squeezed out a draw and are now 14 games unbeaten this season in all competitions. That’s a good thing. Trust the Wenger Out Mob to find a dark cloud to go with every silver lining.

  8. Sky

    Ramsey is average at best. You can’t point out his key attribute and he is not even better than Denilson. This post makes reference to including Ramsey in our first 11 as a central midfielder but his average technique, poor passing ability and inability to hold the ball under pressure renders him unfit for the central midfield position. I will rather have James Milner in my team than Ramsey.
    We all saw Ramsey in the midfield after Cazorla’s injury and he was completely useless.

  9. vicky

    Can we stop this shit that Ramsey is a hugely talented player who will thrive under some other manager – every time he has a horrible performance which is quite frequent to be honest people come up with this excuse. Can’t pass quickly, loses the ball too often, has no pace,got poor decision making and yet people would have you believe the only problem with him is his lack of discipline, otherwise he would put Luca Modric to shame.

    Similar sort of excuses are put up for Ozil – the players surrounding him make him ineffective, it’s always others’ fault.

  10. Pedro

    84.2% (74 passes per game) pass success rate would indicate he can pass. His passing style is bucketed with Silva and Yaya. 1.8 key passes per game. 2.1 shots per game.

    He’s a pretty good player played in the wrong position. He bossed the Euros. Madrid are in for him. Pep was after him this summer and Juve. Hardly average.

  11. azed

    “I coach an U13 s team and believe me they have that Arsenal trait. They go from world beaters to poop at times.”

    Do you by chance use the words, ‘quality’, ‘mental strength’, ‘handbrake’ around the team?

  12. vicky

    Oh Pedro, just because one blogger put him alongside Yaya and Silva in some sort of weird passing style comparison, you take it as a gospel. And I didn’t say he can’t pass but rather he’s a slow passer. Arteta also had a very high pass percentage but most of them were side to side innocuous passes. I hope Madrid is in for him, the sooner he goes, the better.

  13. vicky

    Anyways, the proof of the pudding is in the eating – who cares if he’s the next Zidane in people’s estimation if he performs like Denilson match after match.

  14. Kelvin

    Pedro do you even watch Ramsey? or you just use it as an excuse to belittle Wenger??

    Pedro so you believe Ramsey would be a starter for Madrid or a Ped team, c`mon…you smarter than that.

  15. Pedro

    Vicky, those guys often work with clubs.

    Also, Pep, Allegri and Zidane rate him.

    Stats stack up. He bossed the Euro’s.

    But Vicky says he’s average. So he must be.

  16. loyika

    @ Vicky

    There is a good player in Ramsey? just that Arsene doesn’t know how to get the best out of him and plays him in the wrong positions just to have him in the starting eleven.

    Anyways, we have some tasty fixtures coming up, lets see how AW mixes things up with the squad.

    League still has a lot of laps to go. Thank God the Ints are out of the way for a while.

    Would be good when we get the group stages of the UCL done and dusted as well. (I trully believe all the hype concerning Chelscum and Pool os due to the fact they are not involved in those European comps)

    Time will tell. Chelsea have 2 bruisers coming up in The Scum and Citeh? Lets see where their at after them games. We just have to make sure we get maximum points in our upcoming fixtures. I predict the top of the table will change alot each week going into the new year.

  17. daniel

    Am amaze that u complain that d Coq is limited technically,wish I admit is the truth when compare to xhaka or eneny but if we r sincere to ourselves I will say Ramsey is even more limited than Coq,i remember eneny standing tall against barca in the same match iwobi announce himself to d arsenal world but I also remember Ramsey struggling to make any accurate pass,even d simplest once,av notice we struggle in our fluid passing game wit Ramsey in d team,so I keep asking is Ramsey a mid fielder or what is dz B2B tag u guys keep using 2 make excuses for Ramsey’s game…..he has no long pass,he can’t play in tite spaces n he is not skillful…… 4 thought stick a modric in Place of Ramsey on the left, in d Man U’s match,will he as been as Poor as Ramsey was,even Denilson has played d left of our midfield n was ok

  18. Pires7

    Ramsey played because he was meant to give us more solidarity down our left and middle but he had a bad game and was ineffective.

    It was blatant why he was played there. People complain about iwobi and how he doesn’t track back enough but kick off when an alternative is played instead with a clear plan.

  19. Kelvin

    Ramsey was a logical choice ahead of Iwobi for the utd game which am not disputing even if i didn`t see the defensive solidity he gave us (hindsight).

    Isolating the utd game, i can`t remember the last game he had a stellar perfomance or put in a good shift (Pires, any?), now thats the problem i have with him.

  20. vicky

    If tracking back and helping our defenders is the reason why Ramsey is put on flanks then sorry Joel Campbell did a far better job- both in defense and in attack and that is when Joel was hardly a quality player either – a so – so player if you will.

  21. Joe

    Said. Ramsey , under wenger , is. 4/5-10 player with the occasion 7-8/10 match 3 years ago.

    When a player has been bang average for 3 seasons after 1 six month purple patch i would say his level is bamg average and not that of the purple patch

  22. daniel

    I stand with sky n vicky views on dz
    The euros was very poor generally…..portugal won it that should give u a clue……we keep saying he was good in 2012 or in the euros….vicky n sky r watching dsame Ramsey I think i av been watching 4 a Longtime,even when song was giving Van P doz Hollywood. Passes I knew he was a poor player n I predicted he would b found out under a manager that’s not Mr tolerance(wenger) n that’s how it turned out in Barca…..common let’s tell ourselves the truth Ramsey is not in d class 4 doz teams u mention

  23. Pires7


    To be fair I can’t remember the last stellar performance he put in for us. He’s obviously a good player just look at the euros and how he played but it’s been a while since he really stood out for us in a good way.


    Campbell is a forward with minimal defensive attributes and an attacking mentality.

    Ramsey is a midfielder far more balanced and suitable than a forward thinking winger at OT asked to do a disciplined job. Campbell can’t even last 60mins Ramsey can.

    I’ve already said Ramsey didn’t play well and didn’t give us the protection he was meant to and ended up nearly assisting them a couple of time. He’ll eventually play himself into form but will he be given the minutes to do that?

  24. vicky


    “Also, Pep, Allegri and Zidane rate him.”

    Searched extensively on Google, couldn’t find any direct comment from Pep, Zidane and Allegri on the quality of Ramsey. However there’s one comment from Allegeri about rumors of his interest in Ramsey to which he says :

    ‘These media tabloids like to make up stuff as they go along’, laughed the Juventus boss. ‘As it stands, we have expressed no interested in this player.’

  25. Sky

    6 months of football in Arsenal’s jersey and one European tournament does not make Ramsey a good player. Even Denilson was once rated based on some of his performances. Ramsey is average and he belongs to the level of Tom Cleverly.

    His running all action style is deceiving to the eyes. He is selfish, has poor positioning, average technique and a dull football brain.

  26. vicky


    Fair enough if you think Ramsey is a good player but would you recommend us giving him game-time to bring himself in to form in a league which is so competitive. 4 points separate the 5th placed team from the league leaders and we’re anyway behind 3 teams at the moment. Do we have the luxury to allow him to play himself back in to form ?

    P.S – I personally don’t think it’s about his form but rather his quality or lack of it but I will keep that aside for argument sake.

  27. Kelvin

    Pires7 i agree with you re Ramseys euro performance and his 6 month purple patch (according to Joe) he had for us. Like someone pointed out earlier it was a poor euro but take nothing away from Rambo`s performance. But haven`t we given him enough playing time? why do we persist with abject inconsistency? when do we say enough?

    Do you see him starting for Madrid, Barca, Bayern? even with the transfer rumours linking him to top clubs?

    If Arsenal wants to compete its time to bid mediocrity farwell, i want us to win the league or champs lg and am tired of waiting, aren`t you?

  28. Wallace

    Wales build their team around Bale & Ramsey. the rest are there to provide a stable base for those two to go about trying to hurt teams. but at Arsenal Ramsey’s maybe 7th or 8th best player among the midfield and forwards. he’s just not going to get the opportunities that he does for Wales.

  29. Christian

    this coq hate really is extreme..even on a bad day you can always identify at least 2 tackles by him that could have led to a chance against us,he also tries to track back but clearly doesn’t get much help from teammates.he is a defensive midfielder so enough with the limited forward drive.if he wins the ball back there has to be someone he can give a simple pass to push forward.occasionally he gives good crosses and forward passes

  30. Batistuta

    Ramsey is a shit player,end of and like someone alluded to,he’s at the tom cleverly level of player,west ham,Everton,spurs maybe, Southampton but definitely not The Arsenal,never seen a more ordinary player than Ramsey,heck I’d soon as give Wilshere another crack at it than continue with Ramsey

  31. Emiratesstroller


    The major problem with Wenger is that he recruits players whom he considers to be utilitarian and capable of playing different positions.

    What Arsenal need to do is recruit players who are the best in a particular position.

    Players like Wilshere, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain are expected to play
    in a variety of positions where they are more often than not suited. Ramsey for
    Wales and Wilshere now for Bournemouth are playing in positions to which
    they are best suited.

    This has always been Wenger’s problem. He may identify decent players, but
    more often than not he does not play them in their best position and we have
    far too many duplicates in certain positions and weaknesses in others.

  32. Batistuta

    With Coquelin, you could point to times where he makes interceptions or tackles but the likes of El Neny and Ramsey pad up their stats with stupid sideways passes

    I’m sorry but just don’t see what El Neny brings to the team,his football is just way too simplistic for my liking,doesn’t take any type of risks whatsoever, just makes the easy pass and runs around……good squad option though but shouldn’t be starting games at Old Trafford for us

  33. Joe


    Agree with you 100%.

    That fact that guys like Wallace et al say crap like he’s the best value for money signing at 5m shows they are just brainwashed Wenger sheep and see everything Arsenal related through wenger tinted shades.

    Elneny would not be anywhere near the starting 11 for any other top team in Europe. Neither would Ramsey. Barca and real are sniffing around hahahahah

    Don’t get me started on Jenkinson. He’s not good enough to be second string RB

  34. stephen dwyer

    haha – why do you even bother following football? – i mean seriously you are the most depressive person ive ever come across – any time i read this site – its always – always – depressing – just think about it – you are in this mindset – every day, every week – every year lol – why dont you just stop following it? its either you just secretly enjoy being miserable or its like an addictive relationship – do whats best – end it!! lol

  35. Batistuta


    I mostly scroll through when folks on here go on and on about what Ramsey might add if he’s played in the “right” position like he’s just been here recently,its annoying

    Jenkinson is just not good enough, would have expected at least a change of formation from Wenger maybe try 3 at the back especially with Bellerin out or just play Mustafi there and move Holding to partner Kos, i mean he must see how bad jenkinson is,Debuchy is at least for and played for the under 23s last week,I’d rather he’s brought back too,just anyone there that isn’t jenkinson

  36. Pendrey

    Your Comment HereArsenal have a big and talented squad. However they do not look as though they are very well organised. I cannot see the point of Sanchez spending time back with Monreal, if he is the central striker then he should be up front more often. Giroud has done well but is obviously on the ‘outer’ with Wenger. Ramsey is all over the place and does not seem to fit with Ozil.

  37. Bamford10

    Ramsey is a talented player, but he is undisciplined, immature, all emotion and ego and gets no tactical instruction from Wenger. He was completely useless on Saturday. Rather than playing wide, he clogged up the center, made poor decisions with the ball, accomplished nothing.

    He hit one good 40-yard drive to someone on the opposite side of the field, but that was all.

    With better instruction and discipline, he could be a player. But he’s never going to get that at Arsenal, so he will remain the inconsistent mess of player we’ve seen for some time now.

    If he’s going to play wide, he should play WIDE and combine with the overlapping fullback. Otherwise play a genuine wide player wide.

    We would have been better off with Giroud through the center and Alexis wide.

  38. Frankie T

    This Ramsey thing is ridiculous. It’s quite obvious he is not a very good player. What does he excel at? Nothing?
    He has no tight control, wayward shooting, slow decision making, poor vision, no change of pace, inaccurate passing, slow tempo to his game. How on earth do people rate this man? Oh but Madrid want him so he must be amazing? Two words for you – Thomas Graveson

  39. Joe


    It’s not like the Man U game was a one off for Ramsey.

    He is always bang average for us. For at least 3 seasons now.

    Ramsey’s Man U display is par for the course for him. Bang average. Crap. 4/10.

    But just wait until we play a championship side and he will light up. Just like ox. Elneny. It’s their level.

  40. Black Hei

    I will agree with most here, Jenks is just not suited for Arsenal.

    I think he is good defensively, that was never his weakness. He is just too weak technically which leads to his low offense and is a liability in possession. He needs someone ahead of him to be technically accomplished.

    I won’t write him off yet. Walcott is bad with his technique and control as well but he is not experienced enough to hide his weakness better.

  41. rollen

    Ramsey is crap player with rare ability to sometimes play good in offense.
    He had good euro but did not boos is. Classic big fish in small pond thing.

  42. Shaun Wilson

    So gratifying that the ’emperors new clothes’ effect seems to have worn off on people’s perceptions of Ramsey. The countless times each game that a promising move breaks down when he falteringly controls the ball and runs into an opponent with that strange giant he has….

  43. Wallace

    “I told him Arsenal was not the game for you. I don’t think he needs 10 or 20 minutes from the bench. He needs less pressure and better conditions for him to express his qualities.

    “I think he needs a good game and he needs to either start or, if not, to come on for the second half.”

    – Mourinho on Mkhitaryan

    well, there’s the money I guess. if he’s at a loose end he can always be counting his money on matchdays.

  44. Wallace

    reports of Alexis being given 2-3 weeks off at some stage in the next couple of months. guessing it’ll be when Lucas is back fit again.

  45. Wallace


    Mkhitaryan isn’t even making the matchday squad. a least Xhaka has had some opportunities to show what he’s capable of.

  46. Wallace

    I’m surprised Xhaka has been overlooked in some games recently, but I’ve no doubt he’s going to be a fixture in the midfield long-term. you look at Mkhitaryan’s situation at Utd though, and he’s 28 in January. if things haven’t improved for him before then he’s probably going to be thinking about a loan move. Ashley Young & Jesse Lingard are being picked ahead of him for chrissakes.

  47. Wallace

    Black Hei

    yeah, I saw of few of those kinds of posts the other day….anyone that thinks after 20yrs in charge that a player could be brought in without Wenger’s full approval doesn’t really deserve to be taken seriously.

  48. Emiratesstroller

    Surprisingly Arsenal have a smaller selection of midfield players than we had
    on books in January.

    At that time our midfield options were:

    That was 10 player competing for 3 positions in team. In reality it was 9 players
    competing for 2 positions, because Ozil was more or less guaranteed a place at

    Messrs Rosicky and Arteta were more or less redundant for most of season.
    Cazorla,Wilshire, Ramsey and Ox were injury prone. Coquelin was first choice DMF and to be honest Flamini and Elneny were not good enough for starting

    This season we have recruited Xhaka at a cost of £35 million who has yet to
    secure a regular place in first team and offloaded 4 players. So we are now
    down to 7 players.

    However, we have still got only one midfielder in Ozil who is guaranteed a starting place.

    The other six are effectively competing for two positions with no certainty that they are good enough.

    Cazorla is of course a top class player when fit and should be guaranteed a
    place. However, he is now almost 32 and injury prone. You cannot rely on him.

    Ramsey and Oxlade-Chambelain have not really progressed and are also injury prone. Both are at best squad [bench] players at level we should be competing at.

    The anchor position in team should be Xhaka, but Wenger has yet to be convinced that he is a better option than either Coquelin or Elneny. My view is
    that Xhaka should be playing with Coquelin in squad. As I have expressed before I don’t think that Elneny is good enough to play at Arsenal.

    So basically Arsenal need to buy a world class Central Midfielder to replace
    Cazorla and then make a decision about whether we should keep Ramsey,
    Wilshire and Ox as squad players.

  49. OleGunner

    Elneny is far below the level that we need at the Arsenal.
    It’s shocking how many fans think he should be a nailed on starter for this team when we have far more quality in players like Xhaka, Coq and even Ramsey if he got to play central midfield.

    He’s essentially Denilson Mk II, with a better engine and more humble personality. Mastered the side ways pass to an art form.

  50. Black Hei


    I think Elneny can function reliably when placed alongside Xhaka.

    The reason why things have not progressed is down to Coq-zorla being a great partnership and Xhaka being prone to red and yellow cards without a reliable midfield partner as yet.

    As many pointed out, Xhaka is the high quality midfielder for Arsenal’s future and I am confident he will prove it. I am also sure that if he started on the weekend, he would have been sent off and we would have lost the game.

  51. Emiratesstroller

    Ole Gunner

    I agree about Elneny. Not Arsenal quality.

    Arsenal are currently playing a 4-3-3 formation with Sanchez, Walcott and either Giroud or Iwobi up front.

    It is important that Arsenal do not make the same mistakes as Man Utd and make wholesale changes in transfer market.

    My view is that Arsenal need to buy one world class midfield player to replace
    Cazorla in starting lineup to play alongside Xhaka and Ozil. Then the club
    needs to make a decision on the rest of squad positions.

    We should then pick the four best options for the other squad positions from
    Coquelin, Cazorla,Wilshere, Ramsey and Ox. If more than one of these players
    want to leave then of course we need to find an additional replacement.

  52. peanuts&monkeys

    Hey ArsenaLosers, your real below-par member of Arsenal football team is Arsene fucking Wenger. He has balls of foam and brain like a peanut. He is 10 years past his shelf-age as a football manager. Do you ArsenaLoser AKBs realise that???

    Anyway, the league is gone from your hands now. And, Spurs are going to finish above you too. he He he…

  53. Rhys Jaggar

    The DM is saying that Arsenal will give Alexis a ‘winter break’ so he is good to go for the final 3/4 months of the season. Me thinks Giroud will see more game time if so. The four home games up to January 1st are games the team needs to win, so Giroud can hopefully bang some goals in and get the credit he would be worthy of.

  54. Wallace

    Black Hei

    “As many pointed out, Xhaka is the high quality midfielder for Arsenal’s future and I am confident he will prove it. I am also sure that if he started on the weekend, he would have been sent off and we would have lost the game.”

    not sure here. I was worried about his temperament before the NLD but I thought he came through that excellently. was surprised he didn’t start at Old Trafford.

  55. Wallace

    for the first time in years I have absolutely zero interest in the daily transfer speculation. I like the squad, and don’t see any obvious holes. the thing now is for Wenger to find a way to effectively utilise the 15/16 players of first team quality at jhis disposal.

  56. Emiratesstroller


    I have no concerns about Xhaka’s temperament. The red card was for a poor
    tackle and was more about misjudgment.

    So far I have seen nothing in his temperament to suggest that he is a hothead
    as was case with Vieira in his formative years at club.

    Xhaka is a quality player, but we need to find someone to complement him in
    midfield. As I wrote in past that should be a younger version of Cazorla when
    we are playing offensively or Coquelin when we play defensively.

    Watching England’s game against Spain I thought that Isco might be a possibility. He can play both as a AMF or CMF and in my view is more accomplished than Ramsey. If RM want Ramsey then I would suggest a swap.

  57. Dream10


    I think we have a good midfield unit, but not a great one. Long term, I would like us to play with Xhaka at the base plus two ahead of him who have technique in tight spaces and work rate. Ideally, we buy two young CMs with a high ceiling.

  58. Cesc Appeal


    Completely agree with that. That is what I would like as well, I really like the PSG style of the midfield ‘tick’ when they played Motta, Matuidi, Veratti a season or so ago.

    Was talking to Karim on here the other day, Rabiot and Tolisso are two young CM’s to keep an eye on.

    Still need a ST as well, would still say a wide playmaker as well, and looking more likely that we will need a LB this summer as well.

  59. Dream10

    Cesc Appeal

    Agreed. PSG midfield style of play is aesthetically pleasing. A controller, with a number 8 on either side. We were linked to Rabiot for consecutive summers. You can see why. He is technically very good, w/ good awareness, mobility and size. Then you have Verratti and Matuidi, two established players. Think they will look to sign a controller with Thiago Motta, a seasoned CL player, w/ a younger player who has similar qualities.

    Going to back to us, I think the majority of the group has reached its ceiling. In my opinion, we have six first team players, who due to their age, can become much better players. They are Mustafi, Holding, Bellerin, Xhaka , Iwobi and Chamberlain. The area where signing a player or two which can make us a better team is up front. Walcott is on a lot of money, & he can be hit and miss.
    Alexis will be on mega money and is a great talent. But, for me two things go against him. First, I don’t see him starting as a centre forward for any other quality CL team, He’s our most talented attacker, but is he worth acccomodating in the central role which he craves? Second, I don’t think he is the type of player that will age well. He does not have the physical build of a Costa or Ibrahimovic nor does he have the sublime technique of an Aguero or a van Persie. He is a unique player in terms of style, but at times, he hinders us as much as he helps. Absolute warrior, but very frustrating as well. Sometimes, painful decisions need to be taken to improve the team. Barcelona sold Ibrahimovic and improved.
    Pretty sure the he will sign a new mega deal because of money (which a few teams will be willing to pay) and also selfishness. Arsenal is one of the few CL teams where he would not be forced to fit in tactically.

  60. Dream10

    Dean @afcamden saying that Aaron Ramsey sat out training this morning. He is suggesting that he might have a broken toe. Ramsey is willing to play through the pain to contribute. He may have been struggling with it during the Man Utd match.

  61. Dream10

    @chriswheately_ saying that Ramsey and Walcott were training in the gym earlier but both expected to involved tomorrow night

  62. Cesc Appeal


    I agree really in terms of my preferences in central midfield, I like a holding player who is most defensively minded and can control tempo, distribute from deep as well, then as you say, two ‘No.8’ type players, though one slightly more conservative in terms of roaming, the other to be more attacking, a good dribbler who can drive from midfield.

    Interesting that you talk about sometimes making difficult choices between personnel and team, essentially selling or removing a player who is a big talent for the betterment of the team as a whole, where do you fit Ozil into the concept of a deep player and then two No.8 players in a central midfield? That for me is the big problem, keeping all of Ozil’s talents, but regaining midfield balance and control and reducing the impact of his weaknesses.

  63. doctore

    IMO,make Ramsey Ozil’s understudy,he seems to be a mobile number 10,maybe not nearly as creative as Ozil but a lot more mobile and hard working,if we’re lucky we might get out of them what we getting from Sanchez and Giroud in the cf position.
    what I don’t get is why does Wenger have to wait to lose Sanchez to get Reus,get Reus and Julian Brandt and shelve the dumb idea of playing Ramsey on the wings.
    And while we at it get a traditional defensive midfielder like William calvalho he would do all couqelin does and more,and he’s very available,mvp at the European under 21s says a lot about him.

  64. Dream10


    I would like us to play a 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2. Playing with three CMs with good technique and Ozll on the right or centre in the fnal third. That way, we’ll have better ball recuperation and retention while allowing Ozil to be the great final third player that he is. Long term, I would like Iwobi to play deeper as one of the CMs. He has good technique in terms of passing and dribbling. I don’t think he will be a regular goalscorer or provider. A quick, mobile #9, complemented by a second striker who needs the ball less and is willing to run in behind more than Alexis (more of a Griezmann/Reus type) w/ Ozil is my ideal front line. Alexis can be decent as a second striker if he cuts out his love for holding on to the ball.

  65. Dream10


    very good point of waiting to acquire good players only after losing one or two of the same quality. Back to square one

  66. Cesc Appeal


    Is interesting, seems there is a feeling that in terms of set up we have got stale and need to reinvent ourselves a bit.

    I like the 4-3-3, but my only worry is Ozil, he does make us tactically inflexible in that he really needs to be in the centre, if he can operate well from a wider position, that would be great for us as a team, would mean an ability to have a stronger centre able to control games, whilst also still keeping Ozil’s craft.

    Vicky was talking about something as radical as a 3-5-2, whilst you have no chance of anything like that with Wenger, would be interesting to see. Bellerin and Gibbs maybe as wing-backs, Xhaka, Ramsey and Caz/Coq/Elneny in the centre, Sanchez and Ozil up top, or Sanchez and Giroud/Walcott/Perez.

  67. Jim Lahey

    Slightly off topic, but regarding Xhaka’s red a few weeks ago.. We’ve all seen very similar challenges go unpunished since or just given a yellow. I have huge distain for referees and their inability to remain consistent on matters like these.

  68. Dream10

    Cesc Appeal

    decent suggestion from vicky, but like you say, it’s unlikely to happen under AW.
    Different formations allow a team strengthen one area to minimise the weakness in another and also free up certain players to express themselves more. Chelsea are a great example right now

  69. Dream10

    Jim Lahey

    100%. Xhaka was lambasted on all media by journalists and pundits for making a red card worthy offense. I didn’t think it deserved a red. Many players have committed more dangerous and cynical fouls in every game. Darmian could have been sent off against us on the weekend for two stupid fouls. Not to cry wolf, but there is certainly a bias against us in comparison to the coverage to other teams. It’s up to us to commit more silly fouls like Spurs and make sure we crowd the referee to debate most decisions like Spurs and Chelsea.

  70. BigCheese

    Pedro –

    Agree that Xhaka is our best defensive option in midfield and definitely our best passer bar Santi. Thing is the days of having one player patrolling in front of the back 4 and that’s it are gone.

    Currently, on form at least, the 2 best defensive midfielders are Kante and Matic. Both are brilliant at breaking up play and stopping attacks but both have a massive influence in the final 3rd too.

    Xhaka is in his comfort zone when he’s not venturing beyond the centre circle and pinging passes 60-70 yards to our forwards but that limits our play. For me his biggest limitation is himself. He knows he hasn’t the pace to recover if he ventures too far forward so plays it safe by staying back. He needs to let that go to be able to boss a game single handedly.

    Also box to box means he needs to play under pressure and quicker. Was it not agaisnt Swansea he was pressed into a mistake which led to a goal? He needs to play quicker tempo and not expect to get 30 seconds plus to hit a pass.

    Like I said comfort zone.

    No one achieves anything in their comfort zone. He needs to push past that.
    Perhaps that’s what Wenger wants him to do? I personally think if

  71. BigCheese

    Pedro –

    Agree that Xhaka is our best defensive option in midfield and definitely our best passer bar Santi. Thing is the days of having one player patrolling in front of the back 4 and that’s it are gone.

    Currently, on form at least, the 2 best defensive midfielders are Kante and Matic. Both are brilliant at breaking up play and stopping attacks but both have a massive influence in the final 3rd too.

    Xhaka is in his comfort zone when he’s not venturing beyond the centre circle and pinging passes 60-70 yards to our forwards but that limits our play. For me his biggest limitation is himself. He knows he hasn’t the pace to recover if he ventures too far forward so plays it safe by staying back. He needs to let that go to be able to boss a game single handedly.

    Also box to box means he needs to play under pressure and quicker. Was it not agaisnt Swansea he was pressed into a mistake which led to a goal? He needs to play quicker tempo and not expect to get 30 seconds plus to hit a pass.

    Like I said comfort zone.

    No one achieves anything in their comfort zone. He needs to push past that.

    Perhaps that’s what Wenger wants him to do? I personally think if he can get past that then we potentially have the next Xabi Alonso on our hands.

  72. Wallace

    Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score against Manchester United on Saturday but has seen his starting opportunities limited.

    “I have only good players,” Wenger said.

    “Every week I leave top players on the bench and rotate. Olivier was out injured for a long time and is ready now.

    “He is not forever on the bench. He will play games and start sometimes like everyone else.”

    Asked whether the France striker will start against PSG, Wenger said: “I have not decided yet.”

    – bbc sport

  73. Wallace

    “He wore a bandage before the game because of tightness in his hamstring but he was checked before the game,” Wenger said.

    “I follow the medical staff and the player’s advice, then make a decision.

    “I have never demanded anyone to be injected to play. The suggestions we push Sanchez to play are completely wrong.”

    – bbc sport

  74. Charles

    This Ramsey thing… I see it how it is and I have never seen anyone in an Arsenal shirt give the ball away as much as him, he’s dispossessed far too much and dithers on the ball too often, I don’t know how this can be the result of being played out of position? Simple ball control, passing to a player wearing the same colour shirt, doesn’t matter where you play. What I do like about him is his head never drops, he never goes hiding…. hope he gets bettter, Pedros right he did brilliantly at the euros. Nice to see chambo cross theball so well for once, more of that please, he’s gets in such great positions down that right hand side to only then normally balloon it.

  75. Red&White4ever

    “Two Manchester United supporters deliberately locked themselves in Old Trafford stadium toilets on Friday night to be sure to attend their team’s encounter against Arsenal on Saturday”
    “They were discovered on Saturday morning, during a routine inspection by the security guards at the stadium”

  76. Wallace

    Lucas back in training, although not yet with the first team squad. and Debuchy also close. would imagine once he’s fully fit the Frenchman will replace Jenks at RB.

  77. Bamford10

    We don’t play a 4-3-3 today, because Ozil doesn’t actually play in combination with the two CMs. He plays far higher up, closer to the CF, such that we really play with two CMs.

    This is why Cesc’s suggestion of playing a genuine 4-3-3 — with Ozil as wide playmaker — is an interesting one.

    That none of our four CM / CDM options — C, X, R, E —- have convinced all that they must be in the XI is a big problem, though.

    Each is inadequate in some way, save Xhaka, who has played well st times but has yet to convince.

  78. vicky

    I still feel we missed a trick with Kante. He could have played with any of Santi,Xhaka or Coq and each of the combinations would have worked at least on paper. Kante-Santi at Emirates, Kante-Xhaka in big away PL fixtures or even in CL . Kante-Coq partnership if we needed to be ultra-defensive.

    In contrast, Ramsey for sure can’t play with Coq or Santi , while I still would be concerned from defensive point of view if he partnered with Xhaka in the middle of the pitch. If Wenger was ruthless in his approach he would have had far more success that he has had so far. Every time I watch Chelsea play, can’t help but be massively impressed by him.

  79. Joe

    Wallace etc

    How is bang average 5m pound signing Elneny starting before xhaka in one of the biggest games of the season?

    The only time xhaka has got any decent minutes was when when coq was hurt.

    And if his temperament isn’t good enough for a match vs united. Then why did we pay 35m for him?

    Did viera’s temperment change? Did Keane’s?

    Says a lot of what wenger thinks of him that Elneny is starting before him vs Man U.

    And Elneny really is nothing special. Average at best.

    Because he’s gotten a few more minutes than mikhit doesn’t make this situation any different. Xhaka didn’t come
    Here to be a sub. And we didn’t pay 35 m for him to be a sub