Where should Jack play next season?

4-2-1-3, 4-4-2 or 4-1-2-3 and will Jack play ‘in the hole’?

The current season was always going to be one of transition. Arsenal saw a number of new players arrive in every area: Mertesacker, Santos and Jenkinson in defence, Arteta and Benayoun in midfield and Gervinho, Park and the Ox upfront. They all needed time to settle in, and the lack of fit and available FB’s during a large period of our season also did not help the team in becoming a solid, recognisable unit. With the departure of Fabregas, and unexpected long-term injuries to Wilshere and (to a lesser extent) Diaby, Arsene was forced to adjust his formation and style of football this season. As a result of all this, we have been playing a lesser spotted form of Wengerball compared to previous seasons: less magic and more functional/result orientated, as getting back in the top-four became our prime objective.

Although we made great progress recently, the transition to a new Wengerball team is not yet fully completed. Arsene has tried both Ramsey and Rosicky in the advanced midfield position and both have had good, and not-so-good, periods in this pivotal role at Arsenal.

I am convinced we will see a big change next season with regards to our style of play and our formation: Arsene will transform his team once again to a purer form of Wengerball – Total Football – in order to make the next step up. The key questions will be who will become our first choice AM(s) – the ‘midfielder(s) in the hole’. In this post, I like to discuss the possibilities, to which you are more than welcome to respond in order to have a meaningful debate today.

Variant one: 4-2-1-3

Will Arsenal continue next season with two deeper laying midfielders, double DMs if you want, and one attacking midfielder? The DMs can be picked from Song, Arteta, Coquelin, Ramsey and Frimpong. Initially, I thought Song was the deeper laying DM and Arteta the slightly more advanced one, but as the season develops it looks like Arteta and Song decide between themselves who does what, and they both can be found either deep or more advanced in our midfield at any particular period in a game. The big question is, however, who will play in the hole next season.

I don’t think this role fully suits Ramsey’s abilities who I feel would fare better in one of the two DM roles. I would like to see him compete with Arteta for the latter’s current role. I rate them both very highly and in an ideal world they could share that position between them during the season. Rosicky has done well when we needed it most, but this is such a demanding role that I just cannot see him doing it week after week, for an entire season. Although I don’t think he is the best AM I have ever seen in an Arsenal shirt, the one thing he does, is he sticks well to his role and as a results he helps giving Arsenal the necessary shape to our formation.

So, if it is not Ramsey, and Rosicky is more suited to be our ‘squad player’ for this position, then who should we be playing in this role next season?

Should it be Wilshere, or Diaby, or does Arsenal need to buy a new player who can be slotted in to that role? I expect Arsene to play Wilshere as his first choice next season, and I would like him to. Jack has great vision and passing ability, he has a fine first touch, thinks and executes very quickly, and is able to turn defenders in a flash. He also has a great engine and is Arsenal through-and-through. I am sure Jack is the sort of player why Wenger still gets up in the morning and stands hour after hour on the training ground – why he still enjoys football so much. Jack is the sort of player around which a team is build, just like Fabregas is/was (Barcelona are currently not utilizing his strongest skills).

However, I am not sure whether we will be playing 4-2-3-1 next season. With our defence getting more solid and the type of players we have now available, I would not be surprised if we moved to 4-4-2 or, more likely, to 4-1-2-3 ala Barcelona/ the Spanish National Team.

Variant two: 4-4-2

I am assuming Podolski is joining us at the start of the summer and this would give us a strong basis for 4-4-2. It could mean that RvP would move into the hole, ala Bergkamp, and Podolski upfront: a mouth watering prospect. I can also see the Ox playing in the hole and either RvP or Podolski upfront. I am also assuming Campbell will get a work permit this summer and will become our third-choice striker (I just cannot see Park or Chamakh getting regular starts next season/ staying at Arsenal).

With a 4-4-2 formation, it is very important that both our wide midfielders are able to work hard and can combine wing play with midfield play, ala Pires and Ljunberg? Both Theo and Gervinho have potential for this, and as Gooner in Exile and I discussed during the Reserves game at and against Norwich a while ago, the likes of Gibbs and Coquelin could be good back up/ could be developed into these roles. Furthermore, Rosicky and, if we can keep him, Benayoun would also function well in the 4-4-2 wide midfield positions.

In the centre of midfield, we could select from Song/Arteta/Coquelin as our DM and Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Diaby as our AM. This will be a bit controversial, but I believe Ramsey would be ahead of Wilshere, Diaby and Rosicky in this more classical 4-4-2 formation. The best games I have seen Aaron play were in the AM position for Wales, in their 4-4-2 formation: he is a natural orchestrator and the additional space, and therefore time he gets in such a formation, suits him very well. However, the problem with such a formation is that a lot of our central midfielders will become bench warmers/unhappy, and I also doubt whether Wenger would go for it. He seemed to have moved on from 4-4-2 and I cannot see him return to it anymore. But I could be wrong.

Variant three: 4-1-2-3

The first half against Milan, at home for the CL this season, was one of the best I have seen in a while. Forced by injuries and the necessity to go all out on attack in order to wipe out a 4-0 away defeat – and to salvage our damaged reputation a bit – we played 4-1-2-3 with Song as our lone DM, and Rosicky and the Ox as our two attacking midfielders, with three upfront. It totally bamboozled Milan and they were lucky to escape on the night with ‘only’ a 3-0 hammering (mainly due to injury/fatigue to the Ox, early on in the second half, and no suitable replacement on the bench as Arteta, Diaby, Wilshere and Benayoun were all injured). On that night, we played the sort of football that puts the world on fire, and I for one, would love it if Arsene were to opt to play this formation regularly next season.

4-1-2-3 is totally based around pressing high up the pitch through ‘swarming’, suffocating the opponent with high ball circulation, deadly penetration and winning the ball back in a flash, if and when it’s lost. We have the players for it, but we could do with a couple of additions to suit this formation/system. For a system like this, Arsenal need strong and fast defenders and both TV and Koz really suit it to the core. Miquel would also be very good as back up, but both Djourou and Mertesacker might struggle a bit. I am not sure how much truth there is in Arsenal being linked with Ajax’ Vertonghen, but he would fit into this system very well. Our current FB’s would really suit such a system as well, and I especially would expect Santos to do very well in it.

In a 4-1-2-3 system, the DM role is pivotal. Song would be a very good lone DM, but I think Arsene has different plans for him, as Alex is such a talented, well-rounded midfielder – the best this season. It could be that Arsene would opt for Arteta to become the sole DM in such a system, and we have also been linked with Rennes’ M’Vila once again, but nobody knows whether there is much truth in it.

With Podolski very likely to join us, I would have no worries about the ‘3’, as we would have brilliant cover for all the positions: Theo, Gervinho, the Ox, Podolski, Ryo, Campbell, RvP: yippee!!

But the most exciting bit is who would man the ‘2’. Would it be Ramsey and Wilshere, or Song and Wilshere, or Rosicky and Ramsey, or Arteta and Song, or Diaby and Song, or Diaby and the Ox, or Arteta and Wilshere, Song and the Ox etc, etc, etc?! Ah, ‘die Qual der Wahl’ as the Germans say: who would you choose: they are all brilliant?!!

So what’s it going to be?

My heart says 4-1-2-3 with Arteta or Song as the lone DM and with the purchase of another CB or DM (and Podolski). It would not surprise me if Vermaelen were to be developed/ utilized as the sole DM on occasion as well.

My brain says Wenger will continue with the current 4-2-1-3 next season, but improve it.  If Wenger would like more goals from the hole position, he could opt to put the Ox in it. If he has money to spend, and the right opportunity occurs, he might buy a ready-to-play, quality player for this position. He seemed to have tried hard last summer as he almost bought Mata, so will he be looking again for a similar gem this summer?

I don’t think so: my money is on Wenger starting Wilshere in ‘the hole’ next season, with Rosicky and Diaby as back-up, and Ozyakup promoted to the first team. Jack will come down the beanstalk with the hen that lays the golden eggs and the harp that plays the golden music, and Arsene’s latest Wengerball team will be build around the biggest English midfield talent in generations.

But what do you think?


213 Responses to Where should Jack play next season?

  1. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Blinkin ‘eck Total,
    Now that’s how to write a tactical post. Pointy diagrams and all. That’ll learn old clever cloggs from yesterday. Off to read. Back in an hour 🙂

  2. Rasp says:

    Mind boggling post TA, I wish I had your faith in the precise tactical guidance AW gives the players 😦

    Cesc’s recent quote (allowing for misinterpretration etc) that he now knows exactly what is required of him at Barca unlike at Arsenal.

    There have been many times this season when our midfield has been a shambles with no-one apparently understanding their role or unbalanced and lacking a left side.

    Arteta was able to bind the whole thing by staying deep and reading the game, without him we are in trouble.

    The midfield will have to work properly on saturday to give us any hope of beating the chavs. No Benny, no Arteta, Song playing wherever he wants – we need discipline and organisation. Past experience doesn’t fill me with hope – we have not won a game that Arteta hasn’t played in this season.

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Naturally I am deeply offended. Our Dutch Master has analysed every possible formation that can actually work in real life, and it excludes the 3-5-2 😦 🙂
    Pretending for a moment that you are right, any system using the sole DM will, I think, send AW out with the fat cheque book in search ofan M’Vila, as thatthen becomes a hugely pivotal role.
    Back to the Pod issue. You may well have a point about the 4-4-2 as it means bot strikers play and we do have the personnel to fill up the other slots. Must stop now as typinh blind behind these stupid boxes.

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Blimey Rasp. Won none without MA starting! Yikes, now I am really depressed.

  5. gooner21 says:

    Its going to be a 1-2 midfield with with wilshere ramsey and song this was wengers blueprint for this season and i bet he’ll try it the next season.

  6. Rasp says:

    Lost 5 and drawn one Micky

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If I say what I really think about tactics at Arsenal, I will be hounded all the way to legrove 😦

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Micky, I lost those ‘stupid’ boxes after I upgraded to the latest Explorer version a while ago. I am now using Google Chrome and that works even better (my wife sorted the bookmarks out – didn’t you have the same problem with not finding your bookmarks?).

    I am still thinking about smokehouses though! 🙂

  9. Red Arse says:

    Flip me over twice and call me Sarah!

    To mention your linguistic excellence is so very passe, but the sheer depth and analysis of the tactical variations blew me away, and once again I have to say ‘chapeau’, ‘tap my tifter’ and ‘wow’! 🙂

    Not sure about ‘tap my tifter’ – but you get my drift! 🙂

    I have to demur on only two matters. First, you have not mentioned my favorite tactic – 3:5:2 — shame on you!

    And second, the only bit a nincompoop like me could understand was Jack, the beanstalk and the laying hen.
    Who gets to play the Giant? Merte?

    If you could redress my grievances, all will be well!

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Come on guys: how did we get from 17th to 3rd this season? Especially in Europe Arsene has been showing his tactical skills and ability to make adjustments.

  11. Rasp says:

    😆 Micky, Wengerball is such a delicate creature, if all the pieces are in place (the opposition allow us the space and time) it is incredible, but very few teams are that naive.

    All the chavs have to do on Saturday is play in the same way as they did against Barca and the result will be the same.

  12. Red Arse says:


    Micky and I are in the same quandry, vis a viz the 3:5:2. 🙂

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha RA, the giant(s) are the Oil Barons!

  14. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA 🙂 Love “tap my tifter”.
    Even people as clever as Chas and RA couldn’t get me to switch to chrome for more than ten minutes. Mind you, that’s probably the problem, they are too clever.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point Gooner21! 🙂

  16. Rasp says:

    TA, we got from 17th to 3rd because we had Arteta using his ability and experience to make the whole team tick. Before he joined we were dreadful. If we are a one man team then the one man is Arteta not RvP. I don’t think for one minute he was told to play that role, I’m sure he just uses his experience to read the game.

  17. henrychan - indonesia says:

    I prefer 4-5-1.. Don’t need to mention the defenders, we have it all.. and with probrably Vertonghen come, the defenders problem will be done.. The main roots of all our problem is lack of creativity of our midfielders.. Missing 3 of our best midfielders (Fabs, Nasri and Wilshere) had give us some big problem. Arteta do the good jobs, but we can see from our last game again Wigan, without Arteta we lost balance, and Ramsey is not there for us. So in my opinion we must have 5 midfielders alltogether. 2 stopper for Song and Arteta, Frimpong and Coquelin for backup. 3 attacker for Wilshere, Rosicky, Ox, Ryo, Diaby, Ramsey, Oguzhan and Eisfeld. RVP for strikers and Walcott / Gervinho for his backup. I think with this composition we don’t even need to bring anybody.. If it is so, we may only need to bring 1 or 2 attacking midfielders.. Wish all the best for Gunners.. Go Gunners..

  18. Red Arse says:

    Err, I did not mean you are a bum, TA, it was a minor expletive, and anyway I have it on good authority (Evonne) that you and GIE have very nice bums!

  19. tee says:

    you did a nice job with this analysis however, you are a bit bias perhaps cos u r a briton (no offence intended). Aaron Ramsey???? I dont know how you see it but he is the worst fit midfielder for Arsenal this season. I dont think wenger should base his plan on this lad. He has alot to learn, a place on the bench or a place in the cup games wont be a bad idea.

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Its just the tactical blips, and they invariably concern the left side. Bendy, Chamakh and Ramsey have all played there.

  21. Red Arse says:

    Good stuff, HenryChan! 🙂

    You could be a foil to TA’s masterclass. 🙂 I like your thinking, and broadly agree with you.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, you are a bit blinded by Arteta’s role this season. He was good, he was important, but we have others who can play that role. You seem to be forgetting Song’s enormous contributions which are at least equal to Arteta’s. The most important role is still the one in the hole and Rosicky had a good period in it recently and that’s one of the biggest reason we had such a good spell. The biggest problem we are facing is not replacing Arteta, but keeping TR fit and somehow find a fit replacement if and when needed.

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m still reading your diagram as a 3-3-5. Have I got it the right way up. Or down? 🙂

  24. Red Arse says:


    I suspect you are not for turning re browsers, but have you considered the latest (free) download from Mozilla/Firefox?

    It is from a non-profit organization and is absolutely first class, very practical for blogging and really easy peasy to use.

    I use different browsers dependent on my mood 🙂 and Firefox knocks the ancient IE (internet explorer) into a cocked hat.
    What is it with these hats that go around ‘cocked’ all the time?

    [I will now cease my cackling about browsers!] 🙂

  25. Norms says:

    “Where should Jack play next season?”

    For Arsenal of course.

  26. Rasp says:

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree on that one TA, but I’m not blinded and I wouldn’t accuse you of being so.

    I believe Arteta has been way more influential than Song. People are blinded by the fact that Song can hold off 3 players and still emerge with the ball. What they don’t question is why did he get into that situation in the first place? Arteta would have passed the ball on quickly and kept the game moving. Arteta reads the game better than Song, his passing is more accurate. Arteta conducts play, I don’t think you can say that about Song. Song’s ability to find a killer pass (assist) is very impressive whereas Arteta’s management of the midfield has been crucial.

  27. Rasp says:

    TA, who do you think can play Arteta’s role – or will play Arteta’s role on Saturday?

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Henrychan, I like your idea of a wall of 5 all singing and dancing midfielders and that you are using our existing midfielders in it (with maybe buying one or two new players).

    Who would you like to join us this summer?

    And how big is the support for Arsenal in Indonesia?

  29. Red Arse says:

    Tee, TA is not British!

    Rasper, I have a solution to the ‘we lose without Arteta’ but he is injured conumdrum.

    We simply stake him out in the middle of the pitch — we have Arteta – we win. Solved!! 🙂

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, apologies – I meant blinded by the shiny reflection of your hero, but I know you make your analysis in the cold light of day and are usually spot on.

    I really don’t think Arteta orchestrates, but maybe I should have attended more life games this year. For me, he hoovers up balls and does the simple stuff really well. Song does that too when he is in front of the back four. Song is better in taking risks in trying to force something, in creating something, and that is of immeasurable value to us. For me, they should be analysed together – they have been the pair of the season.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Tee. The writer is Dutch 😀

    henrychan. Good comment. I agree the squad needs little adjustment, perhaps another attacker and that man is probably Podolski.

    The problems will come when our better players get taken in the summer. There is an assumption AW will be able to maintain the squad …. and that is based upon what?

    We have lost our best players regularly over the past few seasons; Vieira, Henry, Flamini, Cesc, Nasri, Toure, Clichy, Adebayor(?) etc etc

    We can expect the same this summer. My guess is it will be Song who goes and I hate to say it but RvP will be top pf the target list of every big club in Europe.

  32. Rasp says:

    Thanks TA, but who do you think can/will fill MA’s boots against chelski?

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    You know as much as me, Rasp, who will play in the Arteta role: AR16. He will start the game afresh and will make us forget Arteta for 90 minutes.

  34. Red Arse says:

    Rasp, you plead Arteta’s case with great zeal.

    It is no secret to AAers that I think he is OK but no more than that. If he is the pinnacle of what we have available at the club I would be disappointed.

    This may be radical, or even utter tosh, 🙂 but as Kozzer is available at the week-end, I would play him and Djourou as CBs and put Vermaelen into midfield.

    One of TV’s weaknesses as a CB is his tendency to wander forward to try and inject some pace and goal scoring when the team have become static in recent games.

    That weakness could also be his greatest strength as a goalscoring midfield player alongside Song (who I must say is a much better player than you are giving him credit for — just my opinion, of course).

    Perhaps now is the time for AW to play ‘outside the box’ [pun intended] 🙂

  35. Big Raddy says:

    TA. This is a brilliant analytical post. Thank you.

    I see the future as flexible. Squad rotation will become the norm as we will have a higher quality 25 than ever before.

    The big question for me is whether JW will be able to play 30+ games next season. He is so central t our future that patience will be essential in order to give him a long career and not “top out” at 24 like so many others.

    Of the formations, I go for the 4-2-1-3 with TV or Kos moving forward in midfield then the opposition is midfield heavy.

    I see the Ox playing a major role next season and expect him to play on the left of midfield.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    RA. “Flip me over twice and call me Sarah” lol

  37. Rasp says:

    TA and RA. If you get a chance, go back and watch a game in which Arteta has played and just concentrate on his movement and role. I do this all the time at games. I’ll just watch one player to see how he performs when we’re not in possession.

    Our problem of late has been our work rate and positioning when not in possession of the ball. Theo has been particularly poor but is improving. Song is often way too slow to get back when we are under pressure at the back. Arteta by staying deep, covers for others and orchestrates the play from deep connecting the defence to the attack and plugging the gaps the other more wayward midfielders leave.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, we only have one proper AM and that is TR7, maybe the Ox in order to surprise Chelsea with the Gerv on the left. I also would not mind the Gerv to play in the hole with the Ox on the left.

    Sorry, but I just feel really good about our game against the Chavs on Saturday – a lot better than before the Wigan game, anyway! 🙂 And that’s because, we have a soft underbelly when it comes down winning ‘the easier’ games… as you and I discussed a while ago at the Tavern 🙂

  39. Rasp says:

    TA, I’m afraid Gerv is completely out of form and not the player we want on the pitch against the chavs.

    Our midfield will probably comprise Song, Theo, Ramsey, TR and the Ox – I just hope they are organised and work together rather than as individuals.

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. That my well be true but we are an attacking team and hopefully Song relies upon Arteta covering defensively when he attacks.

    Song is much improved in his tactical awareness, not the finished article yet, but playing alongside Arteta has and will improve him.

    Unfortunately, this reverts back to the armchair/live argument. I can’t tell where Song is when Arteta attacks because the camera follows the ball ….. so the above statement is bollix!

  41. Rasp says:

    If Coquelin was fit, I’d play him in place of TR or Ramsey as he is better defensively. We have to play the Ox wide left if we want a balanced midfield.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Raddy, good point about rotation. Wenger should rotate more, but it seldom works out for us. In fact, it seems to take a while for Arsenal to adjust as soon as a regular player gets injured (think back about Arteta’s time out and especially Mertesacker’s injury).

  43. Rasp says:

    I agree Raddy, it is precisely because Arteta plugs the gaps that Song can get forward and make those assists. Without Arteta, Song should be the experienced player to fill his role but we all know that won’t happen.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, Arteta does not orchestrate, but moves the play on from deep – that’s quite something different. Fabregas orchestrates, Rosicky, on a good day, orchestrates, and Ramsey can orchestrate too but is still developing this.

  45. Red Arse says:


    I don’t doubt you for a second. Given my ‘ruthers’ at this stage of the season, I would ruther have Mikel in the team.

    My own view is that as a player he is OK but not likely to get better, as he is at that age where inevitably even the best players start to go into decline.

    You are also right that Mikel does have some very good statistics, and in contrast Song, in recent games, has been rather out of sorts.
    That said, I feel the team would miss Song more than we will miss Arteta, and with PingPong injured there really is no direct replacement for Song, whereas i have made one or two suggestions on how to resolve the Arteta problem. 🙂

    Incidentally, I agree with Big Randy, my gut feeling too is that Song will try to leave in the summer – perhaps that is why the rumours about M’Vila keep circling?

  46. Rasp says:

    TA, just watch him in a game and tell me he doesn’t orchestrate play – he is the major guiding influence in our play.

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, so what do we do with players that are out of form? Give him a chance again. He was fantastic against the Chavs in the away game – he can get past their defence and create chances in the box. He just has to be told to stay at the byline.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    @10.52: I was talking about the Gerv.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    I have a feeling LB is still thinking about a response to the post. When it comes it will be awesome! 🙂

  50. Rasp says:

    I’ll never agree with that type of thinking TA, the team comes before the individual in my book.

    My only concern is to give us the best chance of winning the game not the personal development of a player. I’d leave Gerv on the bench and play the Ox and bring Gerv on when the Ox looks tired.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, we have to agree to disagree, but I loved the debate anyway. 🙂

  52. Rasp says:

    RA, I have said from the start of the season that I expect Song to leave this summer. I have seen nothing to change my mind.

    I believe AW has been looking at replacements for Song for a while but M’Vila could be too pricey.

  53. Rasp says:

    Thanks TA, great post BTW, sorry if I took it a bit off topic.

  54. oz gunner says:

    very well written TA, i swear you and GiE should write some sort of football coaching/tactics book.

    I love the tactics stuff, it gets you thinking.

    Personally i prefer the 4-2-1-3. I think it suits us best because gibbs and sagna like to get forward a lot. If we lose the ball (in a 4-1-2-3) we are prone to the counter attack as Song gets dragged out wide leaving space down the centre of the pitch. With two defensive midfielders one can go to the player, while that other can guard space and track the run from behind. The problem with Song as a sole defensive midfielder is he does not have the discipline to stay back and protect the back 4. Yes he hits the hail Mary ball but he has a tendency to go for it to often now. Not to mention Vermaelen who likes to bomb forward.

    If we have that solid defensive foundation then our attackers can give everything they’ve got to the attack, without worrying to much about over committing themselves. Song is definitely one of those two players, as long as his partner is more disciplined (e.g a coquelin or Arteta).

    IF we had a fit Diaby i would play Diaby as the attacking midfielder (wilshere partnering Song) because his shooting ability is brilliant, as is ability to ghost past players. Unfortunately we cannot rely on him being fit so Wilshere should play the attacking midfielder role.

    At the end of the day it all comes down to fitness for me. If you have that solid endurance base thanks to a good pre-season all you have to do is maintenance throughout the season to keep it there. This solid foundation allows you to run over top of teams and press defensively all game long. I don’t know what Arsenal do during the pre-season (i know a lot about Aussie rules training not so much football) but a month in Utah doing altitude training does wonders, not to mention building good comradery. If you don’t want to travel due to a big workload previously (euros, olympics, ect) build an indoor altitude facility or even use hypoxicator systems. If Aussie Rules teams can afford it Arsenal sure as hell can.

    For those not familiar with altitude training, it’s designed to get the body to adapt to the relative lack of oxygen so when athletes return to sea level they use oxygen more efficiently. In Finland a scientist named Heikki Ruskon created a ‘high-altitude’ house which has been replicated by many sports around the world.

    Get that fitness base and watch the 4-2-1-3 high pressure game win us trophies!

  55. kelsey says:

    Thanks for a very technical post, and I am not ashamed to say that I am no master of th best frormation for any given game and of course it does depend on who is available.

    I am also in the camp that appreciates Arteta but by no means do I think he orchestrates the team.his latest injury is not only inconvenient but if you look at his latter years at Everton he missed many a game through various injuries, and he is not getting any younger, and therefore I draw the conclusion that we shouldn’t be too dependent on him.
    I still think the midfield needs reinforcing, the likes of frimpong and le Coq are still understudies, and with a fit Wilshere ramsey will not play so often. Benyahoun most probably will go, and even Song is not sure to stay.Rosicky, to my and several others has literally come back from the dead,but I doubt he has more than one or possibly two seasons left.
    I can see the transition period lasting for at least two more seasons unless we really go out and buy 3 quality players early in the Summer.

  56. dandan says:

    TA absolutely stunning post,, so much so that I have forwarded it to Mr Wenger who sends his thanks.
    On the other side of the coin AW is less than happy with the venerable Rasps supposition that we cannot play or win without Arteta and ask me to remind him that we did beat inter without him and are of course not in any way a one man team, perish the thought
    My recommendation for Rasp would be a quick blast of always look on the bright side of life with the Monty’s, for as Chelski proved last night it is not always the Artists that win the game, Fabregas is a vastly skilful player but perhaps without him that would have been a different result . Drogba on the other hand is a thespian thug, but hey the drama queen won the day.
    So the thought of Jack in the hole with song and Ramsey behind him for the new season, fills me with a warm glow the like of which I haven’t felt since a spuds fan poured Bovril down the back of my pants when Ray Kennedy scored that league winning header at the lane all those years ago.
    A front three of Theo, RVP and the Pod does not sound half bad to me either and the Ox sitting on the bench to replace anyone having a bad day is also hardly the worse of scenarios.
    IMHO opinion our main problem next year will be in keeping some of this year’s starters happy and that will include both Arteta and the Gerv.
    As for Saturday Rasp, GO on have an attack of the positives, accept Chelski are bound to have a reaction to last night’s effort and the thought of getting hurt before Wednesday re run makes it highly likely they won’t be at their best.
    If you are going beware any Bovril drinkers cos we gonna score goals.

  57. Morning all, and a slightly depressing Arsenal outlook it is surveying the media coverage.

    My brain hurts today so I can’t do justice to your excellent analysis of next seasons midfield options, TotalA.

    In keeping with my doomer persona did anyone hear about the reasoning behind why Jack will always get ankle injuries ? Apparently when he runs he puts all his weight on the outside of his feet and therefore his body weight “runs on” his ankles. So a flaw in his running style could make him a Diaby-like permanently injured player.

    I hope this is not true and surely the coaches at Arsenal would sort this out ?

    Just seen the League Managers Association have awarded Wigan the “Performance of the week” accolade for their victory on Monday..bastards !

    But then we’d expect that level of rejoicing when Arsenal lose as ole Bacon face sits on the panel that awards that prize.

  58. kelsey says:

    sore goals, dandan 😉

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp @10.58, I have said previously that the team is made of individuals who all have confidence issues sooner or later. The manager needs to help players with confidence issues, and a player will never fully regain confidence until he has proven it on the pitch. This is a fine balance for the manager and Wenger is a master in turning a player’s confidence round.

    But on the basis of what do you believe the Ox is a better option on the left at the moment? When did he have last a fantastic performance that blew us all away? I like him, and I am happy to play him, but he is currently no better option than the Gerv.

  60. kelsey says:

    You just made my day,chary 🙂

  61. I know what you’re thinking Kelsey “Shall I put up the Samaritans help line number?” 🙂
    This constant rain is not helping my good humour either.

  62. Red Arse says:

    I agree with that, Rasp, 100%. The individual players must be subordinate to the needs of the team.

    But in practice that does not always happen. AW has a loyalty to his players that to some seems obstinate and to others is the epitome of good man management.

    For example he tolerated some of the personal excesses of Robin 3 or 4 seasons ago, when a nother manager might have show him the door. Recently he has stuck by Theo thru thick and thin despite the howls of many fans, and has been rewarded by some excellent displays — altho still too few in my eyes.

    So in the end, as a manager, you (and the fans) can only tell by the end result whether you were right or wrong.

    In essence your statement of principle is correct, in practice the manager who perserveres with an underperforming player will tell you that what he was doing was for the team – and not exclusively for the individual.
    The two are so interlinked it is impossible to divorce one from t’other, as they opposite sides of the same coin.

    [Do I sound just like an accountant who enjoys nattering about football?] Oh dear! 😦

  63. Slimgingergooner says:

    4-2-1-3 is the answer for me, but not with the current group of players we have. This formation gives much solidity to our team, but has taken away some mobility and freedom in attack.

    Last season Wenger sorted the defence out, and the swapping of Merts for Vertonghen would add the finishing touch to our defensive unit. But, for me, the midfield and attack was never sorted out. You can’t lose Nasri and Fabregas and only bring in Arteta, Gervinho (whos been poor) and the youngster Ox and expect to get the same quality and creativity.

    This transfer window we need to bring in either a World Class attacking midfielder or box-to-box midfielder and then let Jack have the other role. I think we lack an out and out runner from midfield at the moment (something Ramires does at Chelsea). We need more energy in there and also more creativity. Jack can give us one, but not both, espescially after a full season out.

    If Wenger can bag one of these along with Podolski and Vertonghen then we could be champions again.

  64. kelsey says:

    If one really wants to be critical, what does Gerv actually bring to the party. he is forever getting his feet mixed up, though hopefully he will improve, and to add to the last point made by TA should ether gerv or the Ox be regular starters at this moment of time ? podolski can play wing or in the central role, so that’s why perhaps we are supposedly buying him.

  65. Rasp says:

    dandan, our best chance of victory on Saturday comes from the chavs resting players for Barca the following tuesday.

    Our midfield is disorganised without Arteta and unbalanced without a proper wide left player. There have been many times when our midfield has been congested in the middle and bypassed by teams with pacey wingers. The chavs will probably play Torres, Kalou and Sturridge which means they could run through us if we aren’t organised.

    I expect that Ramsey will be given the central role and I hope he plays a blinder and gets MotM.

  66. oz gunner says:

    This will be Arsene’s thought process during the pre-season:

    “It would be folly of me to try and replicate a game style that was played three, four, five years ago. The game changes so rapidly”

    “What we’re trying to do as a coaching staff is be innovative, stay ahead of the curve, and play a style of footy that we think is going to be successful in the future, not one that worked in the past”

  67. Rasp says:

    Great comment SGG, I completely agree.

  68. oz gunner says:

    @ Kelsey

    I beg to differ in regards to Coquelin, it is his time now. If he doesn’t play he will leave. He understudied in France, with game time he will flourish. Frimpong would have had his time had he not been injured, so it delays him by a season as he still needs to learn better positioning sense

  69. kelsey says:

    Just to add to the joy brought to us from chary, i hear the mert has injury problems which could repeat themselves time and time again,and the more i hear i think he will be unloaded as well .
    Again i haven’t been impressed with him, not in Wenger’s system, but he may turn out to be better than I think at this moment of time, but at another club.

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Top comment Oz, and a fine analysis. 🙂

    I think the days that Wenger can choose to prepare the season somewhere functional/practical are over. It is all about meeting our international fan-base and spread the word. Very good points though about altitude training.

  71. kelsey says:


    I was writing as if i was wenger and how he picks players, not what I necessarilly think

  72. Piresleepy says:

    Ramsey will find it hard to get into the team once Jack Wilshire comes back to his full potential.I think Ramsey should be played just behind Van Persie.

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    Chary, hope that is not true about Jack – I can see him running now and they might have a point. 😦

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Kelsey, hope you are wrong about the transition lasting another 2 to 3 years. I think we’ll be ready in August!

  75. kelsey says:

    TA, I said

    “I can see the transition period lasting for at least two more seasons unless we really go out and buy 3 quality players early in
    the Summer.”

    I like to cover all circumstances 🙂

  76. That’s the weird thing TotalA, we were promised Jack back in September, then before Xmas, then “in the New year(2012)”, then “for the season run in” and now not till next season.

    I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist/Arsenal medical team hater, but how can you mis diagnose something for so frequently and get the return date so horribly wrong ?
    Sorry to whinge so much..must be my time of the month or something, lol.

  77. henrychan - indonesia says:

    TA and Big daddy, thanks.. I like your comment too..
    I am too Arsenal in habbits.. I mean we never do buy an expensive stars don’t we..?? We only need to buy a good stuff with good price also.. hehehe.. I wish for Kagawa in my first choice, and Sneijder and Dempsey.. Dempsey is good altough a little bit old.. Sneijder was the best player nominates two years ago, and he is dutch, so maybe with his coming RVP will happy enough to stay..
    Indonesia is the 4th biggest nation and also population in the world, with 240 million people. Indonesian mostly like MU first and Arsenal second.. But for Dutch-team, Indonesian is very Orange.. it’s because lot of player from Dutch have an Indonesian-blood. And sure the historical of Dutch for 350 years in Indonesia before.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    You are right Kelsey, you covered yourself there! Muy bien 🙂

  79. oz gunner says:

    Don’t worry chary sports science is a wonderful thing and has come along way since the Michael Owen days. This important thing is to locate the problem quickly before it turns into a Diaby like problem. If it’s a weight distribution problem it can be fixed by looking at his running bio-mechanics and changing his style. It happens with a lot of athletes, they will put the coloured balls on him while he is running, then the balls will show his bio-mechanics on a computer then it’ll be analysed, and adjustments made.

    The Diaby situation which is an all to familiar one when a badly injured ankle is involved. The individual unknowingly favours his other side creating lopsided weight distribution. The problem with this is over time due to strain you pick up constant muscular injuries, these constant muscular injuries lead to scar tissue resulting in a ruined body. It often leads to early retirements in athletes.

    Have no fear “we have the technology!” (insert 6-million dollar man sound)

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Chary, maybe Jack has been up and down the beanstalk too much – can’t be doing good for his ankles?!

  81. henrychan - indonesia says:

    Sorry.. I mean Big Raddy.. hehehe..

  82. I certainly hope so Oz, it looks like we’ve needed a Steve Austin type midfielder for ages.

  83. oz gunner says:

    ‘big daddy’ haha BR you have a new one.

    @ Kelsey

    i wasn’t having a go or anything, just my opinion. I think Wegner does give understudies more of a go, look at flamini, song and denilson (just to pick the same position). Coquelin’s season could be the next!

  84. Could be TotalA, but we could do with some magic beans for our team to prevent another lethargic performance like the one we got on Monday.

    See what happens when I don’t drink enough before the game ?!

  85. Red Arse says:

    Before I depart for a while, can I say how enjoyable I found the cut and thrust of the conversation has been on here today.

    Just imagine if we had elected one of our number to be the manager of Arsenal for the day. With all the different shades of opinion, let alone the diametrically opposed opinions, about players, tactics etc, anyone foolish enough to take on the role would go crackers within the day.

    Now imagine being Arsene and having to deal with 1 million pundits who all try to second guess him?

    Good luck with that Arsene — you earn your salary!! 🙂


  86. goonermichael says:

    Rasp I just read your first comment. We spanked Milan without Arteta so we should be able to cope without him. Benny was out that night too.

  87. Rasp says:

    gm, Milan are a typical Europen side – they gave us plenty of space to play. It would have been far harder to play Stoke that evening than Milan.

    As I said earlier, all the chavs have to do on Saturday is play with the same game plan as they had against Barca and we will find it difficult to break them down.

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    Henrychan, many thanks for the response. Let’s wait and see what happens this summer. I really cannot tell any more. I can see us getting Podolski and that’s it, but then again, I can also see us a buying couple of £20m+ stars. Who knows.

    You’re not the first one to like Kagawa. I think he is brilliant, but something special is being developed at Dortmund and I think they all will want to stay this year.

    Good to hear you speak so positively about Holland. I have a few Indonesian friends in Holland, and the Indonesian-Dutch people are well liked and integrated in Dutch Society. Gio van Bronckhorst is one of my favourite Dutch players in recent years and I bet you screamed your head off when he scored that screamer at the last Word Cup?! 🙂

    Good to hear Arsenal are well represented in Indonesia. Are there any Indonesian-Arsenal websites?

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz, very fine ‘sport science’ comment. Now I am smiling again! 🙂

    Rasp, Song was immense against Milan. Arteta has been consistent, but never reached the same height as Song did that night.

  90. oz gunner says:

    haha Ra i agree, by days end i’d have wrinkles, no hair, and in a loony bin only to break out jump on Terry’s back at a bus station until he crys and has life long scars!

    I think Arsene should appoint the AA collective as his number 2 next season:

    TA= tactics
    GiE= coaching
    Kelsey,Micky and Myself= scouting network
    Evonne= keeping Szczesny’s in line, and attacker of delap in stoke games
    Peaches=sneaking of under age Arsenal players into night clubs via her pockets
    DanDan= Positive reinforcement psychologist
    Accounting + Legal Team= sorting out money + contracts for the scouting networks.
    GLIC= keeping everyone happy
    Rocky=expert analyst
    Chas= in charge of everything media related (including studying of opposition tapes)
    Chary= in charge of music (including pre-game song choices for players and fans)
    Big Daddy= pre-game warm up and pep talk (pat rice short shorts needed!)

    Other positions needed, apply within

  91. oz gunner says:

    slimgg= nutritionist
    GM=team hairdresser (fix up songs do)

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Btw Rasp, I love the way you don’t seem to adjust the charts at the top after we have lost a game. Are you waiting till Saturday with the hope we’ll win again, after which you will adjust the charts in a flash? 😛

  93. henrychan - indonesia says:

    Sure.. http://www.id-arsenal.com

  94. Rasp says:

    TA, the whole process takes me about an hour and is very fiddly – but you are right, I am much quicker to do it after we win 😳

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz! 🙂 Top stuff!

    In addition:

    Terry-Telescopic: long term vision and first contact with the Gods
    IrishG: tattoo specialist and massager
    Sharkespeare: prematch bollocking, postmatch poetry
    RA: club philosopher and psychiatrist

  96. goonermichael says:

    I find it funny that the press are creaming over the chavs “performance” last night. They act as if they are the first team to ever beat them. Thier plan didn’t work (despite the win) as barca has a lot of chances and could easily have scored 5. For that plan to be a success they would have to deny them any scoring chances. If the game goes the same way in barcelona then the chavs will get a spanking. Cesc is rubbish BTW. Glad he’s gone the little shit 🙂

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Henryc, wow that looks very good. Shame I cannot read it as I am really interested in how Arsenal ‘lives’ over there. If you, or a fellow ID-Gooner, would ever like to write a post on what it is like to be a Gooner in Indonesia, let us know! We can help with putting the final touches to it. But, more importantly, please keep visiting and make comments as and when you want. You have made some great contributions today! 🙂

  98. ive not read the comments yet, but what a great post TA.
    I can only add that Barca have set the datum for total football. There formation as you say is, i’d like us to play that way but you have to have world class personell in the front 5 positions, we have the potential to do this, especially if the back line becomes more solid.
    Podolski. MVilla & Vertonghen please….

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, it is ridiculous but it suits us fine. Let the press talk the Chavs up and up, and then we’ll shoot them down on Saturday and all is well again 🙂

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Tommy and nice to see you back 🙂

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    Raso, one day you will get your just reward for all the good work you put into AA 🙂

  102. Big Daddy says:

    Firstly, unless someone leaves I cannot see us signing a DM. Coquelin looks although he has all the attributes to be a fine player, and when we need muscle PingPong is your man. They are both too good to spend too much time out of the squad.

    RA.. Re: Loyalty. AW commits to a player , we all know that and it is to his benefit that so far it has worked with most, but …….. this loyalty has cost us over recent seasons. Denilson and Almunia immediately spring to mind.

    The downside of his loyalty is a non-acceptance of the need for a better player and the relegation of a reserve who could easily become top quality.

  103. Big Daddy says:

    HarryC. Thanks for the new name – love it. And may I commend you upon your English, it is very good.

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Brilliant link and great you Gunners over their have a fantastic site.
    Loved this: “Kiper Arsenal Wojciech Szczesny bersumpah tidak”.
    I do wish Gervinho would bersumpah the bloody tidak more often 🙂

  105. Dannyboy says:

    GM The homesick Spaniard was kept quiet last night.I remember him saying that Arsenal would have all the position in the game and then bang Drogba scores.He said Barcelona was different in that everyone knows where the other play is on the pitch.Well looks like habits havent changed for him as they had 70% posession last night.or maybe he went missing again like he used to do with Arsenal against the big teams.What time did the Jumbo jet leave the pitch at Stamford Bridge?

  106. GoonerB says:

    If we get Vertonghen I would like to see us go with a 3 man defence and 2 wing backs. I think this would play to our strengths more and I feel, even though you lose 1 from the back line, we would be more defensively stable. I think TV, Koscielny and Vertonghen would be very hard to get past. I also think our full-backs are more wide attacking players being forced to defend in a flat back 4 and making them wing backs would play to our strengths. It means we can have 5 in midfiled when we are in possesion making it hard for the opposition to have any possession in midfield and that we have more players in positions to win the ball back higher up the pitch. Also we get to play 2 strikers and I for one would like to see RVP play in the hole behind another striker. This could be Podolski or even give us the chance to see how Walcott is leading the line. Jack would be one of the 3 central midfielders in the more attacking sense and we wouuld have the option of playing 2 holding midfielders and one attacking or 2 attacking and 1 holding depending on the opposition and whether we are home or away. AOC could be either an attacking midfielder or play in the hole. I notce you mentioned Barca’s system with a back 4 but last night they looked like they went with a back 3 as did Wigan against us.

  107. Rasp says:

    Very perceptive comment GoonerB, the back 3 was a system discussed in our post yesterday


  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bloody brilliant comment GoonerB if you ask me 🙂
    Big Daddy. Ha ha , that’s so funny.

  109. Big Daddy says:

    No wish to chat Barca, but David Villa’s broken leg has been costly. Sanchez is nowhere near as good a finisher

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    GoonerB, are you MickyDidIt in disguise? If not, top comment! 🙂

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for video Big Daddy. That was a special night. 🙂

  112. oz gunner says:

    cheers for the vid BR, god it would have been amazing being at tht game! What a comeback!

    That twit Fabregas looks like he’s in tears after the game, don’t worry he helped out with the back pass in the second leg

  113. LB says:

    Great post TA

    Really enjoyed reading it very slowly.

    To me the answer is obvious, we will continue next season with the same system as we have used for years.

    We may start each game with either 4-2-1-3 or as in the game against Milan 4-1-2-3 but the system is such that it can and does alternate between the two every match depending on how each game develops.

    It is difficult, almost impossible to have a rational debate on the merits of Wilshere and Ramsey. To me they are totally different types of player with a completely different set of skills.

    Ramsey is no defender — Wilshere is a very good defender.

    Wilshere has shown no signs that he can play AM — Ramsey has, although, his honey moon period is clearly over. The one thing that we can learn from that is Wilshere will not have a clear run to super stardom, he will come in for considerable criticism along the way.

    To me Wilshere simply alternates with Arteta next season eventually making it completely his own while Rosicky, Diaby, Ramsey and the Ox battle it out for the role in the hole.


    “He (Wenger) seemed to have tried hard last summer as he almost bought Mata.”

    You are the first Arsenal supporter I have ever read to understand this situation properly.

  114. chas says:

    In depth post, TA.
    It all goes a bit above my head, though, I’m afraid.
    I’m neither a hairdresser nor have the supreme understanding of the situation that LB has.

  115. Red Arse says:


    I have watched L’il Jack, off and on, for many years thru’ the youth and Reserve teams. He tended to play as and attacking midfielder, often brilliantly, in what could be called the DB 10 role.

    In February 2008, aged 16, he made his debut for Arsenal Reserves against Reading, and scored Arsenal’s only goal of the match, which ended in a draw.

    He then scored a memorable goal against West Ham reserves in March, picking the ball up and curling a shot into the top left corner under the watching eye of Arsène Wenger. He then managed to record 2 goals and 2 assists in just 3 appearances for the reserves at the end of the 2007–08 season.

    He played in the Under-16s victory in the Atalanta Cup, being named as player of the tournament.
    He played an important role in Arsenal’s 2009 FA Youth Cup win, scoring goals in the semi final and producing a man-of-the-match display in the first leg of the final against Liverpool, assisting two goals and scoring one himself.

    Now it seems he is just a very good defender —- where has it all gone wrong, I wonder? 🙂

    Answers on the back of a postage stamp. 🙂

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I don’t understand your comment about Mata. I thought it was fairly common knowledge we tried to sign him. Help me out here.

  117. Red Arse says:

    Chas, 🙂

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    LB, I am really happy you joined the debate as you take a different angle to the discussion.

    Firstly, an interesting point re combining 4-2-1-3 with 4-1-2-3 within a match. It is of course possible, but the formations are different in terms of style, management of risk and roles of players. So it would take quite a bit of adjustment.

    Our current system with two deeper laying midfielders is quite a safe one, especially in away games. It can soak up pressure and quickly form a defensive wall in front of our back four. With 4-1-2-3 a lot more risk is being taken, because once the opposition breaks through the high line of pressure a break is potentially very dangerous. Think about our second goal against Barca and Chelsea’s winner yesterday. Holland’s national team has had a weak central defence for quite a while and the only way van Marwijk seems to able to deal with this is by playing two DM in front of the CB’s. This is very un-total football/ un-Dutch, but if van Marwijk would change it to 4-1-2-3 his team would become too vulnerable.

    So, switching is the system within the match is difficult/risky, and I am not sure whether we could play one of the two systems every other match either.

    Secondly, JW: RA made some very good points about him. I guess we should define firstly what we understand an attacking midfielder to be – what sort of player we want in the hole: was/is DB an attacking midfielder, or E Petit, Rosicky, or Fabregas, CIteh’s Silva, Mata, Aguerro, Tevez, Rooney, etc? And what do we expect of him: creating chances for the strikers only, or do we expect between 12-28 goals a season in order to call our AM successful?

    For me Fabregas, during his penultimate season, was the perfect match, and I feel Wilshere has a similar skillset going forward. But what do you, and others, think?

  119. TotalArsenal says:

    RA 🙂 It is really great you saw so many youth team matches over the last few years. It must give you a great insight in our players. Is there anybody you used to think would become big but has not ‘delivered’ (until now)?

    Chas, you are too humble! You just don’t like strategic bolleaux 🙂

  120. TotalArsenal says:

    Housework is calling! Bye bye.

  121. RockyLives says:

    Busy today (I’m sure being unable to blog on AA infringes my human rights) but just wanted to say what a thoughtful and interesting Post TA.

    You have won me over to the idea of 4-1-2-3.


    Great post TA

    Now, been well endowed, im more ways than one, with supreme knowledge in all subjects know to man, i will tell you mere mortals what will happen next season.

    We will continue with the same system and Wlishere will start in the deeper role, creating a lovely balance between him and Song. As the season progresses Jack will alternate between the holding and attacking role. You mere mortals will not be able to comprehend this, and will have to rely on the genius of Terry to explain it to you on the AA forum, which i am willing to do, because not only is Terry a genius and very good looking, he is also very generous.

  123. Big Daddy says:

    THMT. You are too humble.

  124. Red Arse says:


    Typical! Ask me a question and then take a hike because you think I will bore you to death!! 🙂

    My major disappointment has been Emanuel Thomas. He looked an immense talent (and he was big too 🙂 ) and I had every expectation that he would set the Prem alight once he got his chance. I still think we were a bit too quick to get rid of him. I read today that Fulham want to buy him in the summer.

    Another very interesting player, that I fully expected to make it, was Kyle Bartley. He had his injury problems too, but I feel he has now been at Rangers on loan for too long, and I rather think he will be let go eventually. Pity.

    Alternatively, I saw just as much of Hoyt and Eastmond and I am amazed that they are still with us. Frankly, in terms of skill and future potential they could not be more unlike Thomas. Pedestrian, ordinary and – how can I say this – oh, yes – hopeless!!

    Others like Rhys Murphy and Connor Henderson really looked to have great ability, but were always injured. Sad for them and for us too.

    The best of the bunch tho’ was always Jack, and altho’ he was good enough to defend, when necessary, (he did not take prisoners) but his creativity in assisting others to score and also hitting some beauties himself marked him out as something special.
    I cannot wait for next season to start to see him play and develop further. He will be in the team in his own right, from the off, and none of this alternating with someone else.

    I had better stop there. 🙂


    Yes, i know Raddy. hahahaha

  126. Red Arse says:

    TerryM, my dear boy, it is sad that one telescope toting dude can be wrong on so many counts — “Terry (is) a genius and very good looking, he is also very generous” — or so Ghostly Glic told us when you were not looking! 🙂


    Redders, i suppose i should have mentioned i am also rather delusional. hahahaha

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total @ 1:22:
    “Thanks for the video Big Daddy. That was a special night”.
    Okay….I do know that some people like to video their “special moments” together, but sharing it on a public forum? That’s for a different audience altogether!

  129. chas says:

    Some people like to text details of their “special moments” to work clients. 🙂

  130. MickyDidIt89 says:

    chas ha ha

  131. goonermichael says:

    Lovely post but way too technical for a hairdresser. I’ve actually got no idea what you’re all talking about. You could have at least thrown in a few voting boxes. Talking about young players Eastmond will never make it at Arsenal. I don’t even think he’s much of a gooner.

  132. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m reasonably broad minded, but what I find most unsavoury is the thought of Total sharing a “special moment” with someone called Big Daddy.

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I really am changing the subject. How much would we get for Robin now, and how much in 12 months time?

  134. Red Arse says:

    The give away was when he said slap my ass with Big Daddy’s geetar but don’t smudge my lipstick with your tongue!!

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Tea Sir? Did you spill, break wind or smash anything?

  136. Red Arse says:


    £30m now — £0 in a year’s time!

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I do miss the signs sometimes. Must get out more 🙂

  138. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Crikey! Why do I think I know what our board may be thinking 😦
    Lob in an injury, and that becomes one expensive season.

  139. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh jees Chas,
    Please don’t tell me that’s TA on all fours!

  140. Red Arse says:


    Well it is double dutch!

  141. Red Arse says:

    RVP isn’t Nasri, and he does not seem bothered about DNA, like Cesc, so he is pretty much a straight guy, but he will have to sign a contract pretty pronto at the end of the season or he will go.

  142. goonermichael says:

    If he insists that he only wants to go to Feyenoord because of his “dna” 2 shillings and sixpence Micky otherwise £40m

  143. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I simply cannot shake off the idea that Podolski is a cheap replacement. I can’t work out how he will fit in otherwise. Must get these nasty thoughts out of my head.
    Off out for the evening. So until the morning, its goodbye from him.

  144. goonermichael says:

    Tea was lovely thanks

  145. goonermichael says:

    The late, great Shirley Crabtree

  146. TrQi says:

    Excellent post… I was also thinking of a 4-1-3-2 where we ♓ªVε the back four as they are, the front 2 as RVP and say Podolski. Song plays as the DM and the 3 will be alternated between Diaby, Wilshere, Rosicky, the Ox, Walcott, and importantly Arteta plays in their too and deputise with Song should the pressure be much in some instances. We have all the players to suit so many formations, I’ll want the Boss to try new things

  147. Big Daddy says:

    GM. Was it 50 pounds worth?

  148. barumgooner says:

    Nice post Total. I would love to see 4-4-2 again but dont think it will happen while Arsene is with us. It is I think true that tactically Wenger seems to pick a player (fabregas) and everyone else reacts to what he does, so when he has an off day or isn’t available we lose shape and focus. Song is an enigma to me, undoubtably a fine player but just seems too in-disciplined to play the holding role and seems to want to be the new-cesc. I think 4-3-3 is what will happen with Podolski switching between left side and centre. Robin will stay and M’Vlla and Vertongen will be added.

    sagna kos tv Gibbs
    Song MVlla Arteta
    Theo Jack Pod

    subs Vert, Rambo, Ryo, BFG, Jenks, Flappy, Ox, TR

  149. Big Daddy says:

    Barum. Interesting but I disagree. Song works because he is our only player of that type. Had Coquelin stayed fit I think we would be raving about his potential. I do not see us signing Vertonghen, especially not to sit on the bench.

    It is pure rumour about Mertescker being swapped (and about is supposed chronic injury). He will become an important player for us, an intelligent defensive organizer. Something new at THOF (well, since O’Leary).

    We will not buy M’vila unless Song leaves. Too similar.

    That said, I would love it if they both came and no-one left

    Where we do agree is about the formation. I see us sticking to the 4-3-3

  150. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, thanks for the update on your youth scouting. Thomas not making it at Arsenal was a surprise to me too. I have yet to see Henderson in action and am looking forward to it. 🙂

  151. TotalArsenal says:

    Micky@5.15 – have you been in the smoke-house too long today?

  152. jnyc says:

    I have been posting for months now that rambo should play for arteta to allow him rest in his position, and share time with him there next season. Not as am and certainly not a winger. So i will see for the next few weeks if i was right. Im sure he has the attributes to be successful there. Just not sure if he is ready to step in there in big matches right now. I wouldve preferred him to sub in for mikel a few times to acclimate. But i love his spirit and effort, i hope for all of us, and him, he plays well.
    and maybe people will see that i was right all along if hes successful there. But please stay off his back. Hes a hard working gunner, and its been a tough couple years for him personally, and hes still very young.

  153. TotalArsenal says:

    Barum, good point about losing shape and focus when the pivot gets injured. Rosicky is not the best AM in the world but when he plays, there is a clear shape to our formation which makes all the other players play better. When he gets tired or is substituted the shape changes and Arsenal often become less effective. Of course, it would help if we had the likes of Wilshere and Diaby fit and available. 😦

  154. barumgooner says:

    BD. My head tells me you are probably correct but I do think there is something to the stories surrounding these two. Personally I like the BFG too but we need at least 3 quality cbs and with our left backs being a bit un-reliable TV or Vert can go in there as well as dm or cb. I dont think Song likes or wants to play the dm role and see him being given more freedom or going elsewhere. For the first time in a lot of seasons I would actually not mind if we didnt sign anybody this tw ( apart from the pod), but if its true that these two want to come it might just be too good an opportunity to say no.

  155. TotalArsenal says:

    jnyc, as the French say: je t’embrasse! Top comment and I agree 100,000% 🙂

  156. barumgooner says:

    jnyc. Well said. totally agree

  157. TotalArsenal says:

    TRQI- I like your thinking! I need to give your 4-1-3-2 a thought. Where would the width come from in your formation?


    Its been a great discussion on here today, despite my earlier sillyness, ive realy enjoyed reading peoples perspective on systems and the personel required to make them work

    My take on the matter tends to focus on players rather than formations, but this in no way diminishes the importance of tactical formations, after all, teams must have a structure. I do believe however that systems tend to be a defensive remedy to there enviroment. Take the 3 men in the middle.It first reared its head in England around 2005, in my opinion to counter Arsenal, then Mourinos Chelsea started using it and now every ones at it. In other words, teams are scared not to employ it because it will empty the midfield.

    The 3 man midfields demise will come when a super team comes along, hopefully Arsenal, were the prevaling tactic of employing it will be ineffective. When you think about it, our 2004 team was so good, it heralded the end of 442.

    In the short term we all know we will continue with the 3 in the middle. What is required to make a difference is the players employed within it. Ability, intelligence, and perhaps most importantly maturity shown by our players will determine when the system is abanded for somthing new. I am confident that in the future we will be the team to crack that nut and our rivals will have to think of new ideas to negate the mighty Arsenal.

  159. Big Raddy says:

    Terry. Agreed

  160. Total,
    Amazing post, but I think I will join chas and gm , that was completely above my head, we shall now be known as the 3 stooges !.
    I will have another look tomorrow though, as at the moment all I can see Is white lines ( what do you expect after over 500 miles of Motorway and 12 hours of Talksport ).
    The best person I`ve seen play In the “Hole” Is my Mother in Law and I`ve never shovelled so fast In my life !.

    There was something on the Hawksbee and Jacobs (Talksport ) today ,Joleon Lescott and another footballer from Millwall called Jordan Stewart have gone into a clothing line partnership called Lescott Stewart, as usual H&J asked for some other celeb /sports names from listeners making up partnerships.
    I`m not surprised my text to them about an old Bradford City player called Tommy Mycock and Sex Pistol`s Johnny Rotten didn`t make It on the show !. Funny enough ( or not , depending on your sense of humour ) , the same names occur in Terry Telescope`s answer to his Doctor`s question of ” Whats wrong” ?. 🙂
    Where did those sheep appear from ? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  161. chas says:

    Robbed from LG

    Shurely Dennish ish in the wrong tier?

  162. LB says:

    Well, it looks like there is a growing school of thought who believe that the Vertogen rumour is more likely than not to be absolute tosh. I am definitely part of that group – pie in the sky boys, pie in the sky.


    I think we have slightly picked up different ends of the stick, I am not saying that we could alternate between 4-2-1-3 and 4-1-2-3 next season, I am saying we do that every game right now. Maybe we start with the former more often than not but it changes effortlessly to the latter if a particular game requires it, we also switch to 4-4-2 on occasions by bringing Chamakh on, this is usually right at the end of a game if we are behind.

    I slightly disagree with you when you say that Wilshere has the same skill set as Fabregas. The home sick Spaniard could not and still can not defend; Jack’s defensive game on the other hand is very, very good. This might mean that Jack turns out to be an even better player, I am sure we all hope so but I can only repeat that I have seen nothing to suggest that Jack has a strong attacking game in his locker.

    Lastly, the most annoying generalisation of the day is that Song is undisciplined, I truly want to scream when I read such things, don’t these people realise that he is not a subbuteo player that you place in front of the defence and he stays there until moved.
    Song is part of one of the most fluid midfields in the world; he breaks up play far more than any other midfield player we have and that is unsurprisingly of course because he is the most defence minded midfielder we have. To compare him with Arteta is laughable. Apples and oranges people, apples and oranges.

  163. I feel as though I`m setting myself up, but here goes,
    chas , whats a goat tier ?


    Cornwall, hahahaha.How did you know that. i dont even bother with doctors anymore. When somethings wrong i don the surgical mask and operate on myself. ime getting realy good at it. i wonder if theres a market for bogus doctors performing complex operations, i could make a fortune.

  165. Just move down here Terry, I`m sure I can make room for you In, “Dr Glic`s Amazing Emporium” ! 😆

  166. Gooner In Exile says:

    Started reading this post at about 9am, only just finished it.

    Top post as ever TA….the variables are needed as we don’t have enough carbon copy players of equal quality to make the same system work week in week out when covering for injuries and suspensions.

  167. Gooner In Exile says:

    Haven’t read comments so if talk has moved on to who plays instead of Mikel….I give you a surprise choice of Ozyakup

  168. LB says:

    Coquelin is surely at the top of the pecking order.

  169. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thought he was still injured LB

  170. LB says:

    I have just realised, when I was watching the subs warm up against Wigan I thought I saw Coquelin, doh, it was the Ox…..well, they all had hats on.

    Ozyakup……interesting call.

  171. chas says:

    Don’t know what a goat tier is. I just assumed it was a top level.

  172. chas says:

    Ah, just found it, GOAT means “Greatest Of All Time”

  173. LB says:

    I’m glad you cleared that one up chas because I was seriously confused.

  174. goonermichael says:

    Raddy. I left work just before your question earlier. The tea was actually £42 each. I thought it was good value. It’s a bit like being at a kids party and eating as much as you want. But posher 🙂

  175. TotalArsenal says:

    LB, I agree we currently have a fluid midfield and it changes shape/formation a lot during a game. Most of the times this works out brilliantly and occasionally it does not. For me it is still a work in progress and I dont think Wenger has many options at the moment, due to the lack of available (attacking) midfielders. Next season, I expect Arsene to opt for a particular/recognisable formation, build around his new orchestrator(s).

    I cannot agree with you that Fabregas cannot defend. I first saw him as a 17 year old against Liverpool at Anfield, next to the mighty Vieira. I was so amazed with his timing and reading of the game. He just constantly anticipated what would happen next and was able to gain the ball back time and time again. That is a big part of defending. But an orchestrator should not be playing the drums, and although it is great Wilshere has gained good defensive skills, it would be a waste if we were to give him a role in which he is occupied with too many defensive duties. It is like asking Nigella to cut all her vegetables and fruit herself, and then do a bit of creating recipes on the side. Jack’s got vision: he sees the pictures that so few can see, he finds gaps and can pass the ball into them with speed and precision, he has got close control, he can dribble, he has got drive and can score goals. I am just so surprised you have not seen that yet, but I hope one day we’ll watch a game together in which super-Jack plays and we can analyse his game together.

  176. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic, you should not have read that post after 550 miles of driving! 🙂

  177. Gooner in Exile says:

    Can’t score goals?

  178. goonermichael says:

    That tier think is so subjective. very few players from a long time ago. Can’t find Gordon Banks or Bobby Moore. and bergkamp on the bottom do me a favour

  179. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry, interesting points about focussing on players rather than formations. There have been some interesting developments this season with the likes of Swansea, NC, Norwich and Wigan focussing strongly on formation/certain style of football in which players excel and from which the clubs achieve above expectations. It might indicate that a club does not necessarily need many great players in order to succeed.

    Arsene has been proving this point for many years now.

    But it is late, and it probably deserves a separate posts in the next few weeks. Great comment though 🙂

  180. goonermichael says:

    Where is Haji he was a great player. George Weah was great too. Found Bobby Moore though 🙂

  181. Thanks chas, Now I know what them Cornish farmers mean by GOAT goat ! ( mind you, I dont blame them, a bearded goat Is probably better looking than a bearded wife ! )

    Dont worry Total, my multi-tasking is legendary ! 😉

  182. TotalArsenal says:

    G-G, I am impressed you can listen to talkshite for so long and still do anything else. I would be bashing my head against the windows after two minutes!

  183. Rasp says:

    I wasn’t comparing Song to Arteta, I was pointing out the differences. Arteta reads the game better than Song IMO and crucially he doesn’t have a habit of giving away possession in dangerous areas.

    Coquelin is the player with the game nearest to Arteta’s.

    Song is a one off, he’s very strong and has shown that he is capable of delivering pinpoint assists, but he is not a complete player. If he could take it to the next level, the big clubs would be after him.


    Rasp, i agree 100% with what you have just said. Now, turning it on its head, what about Arsenal taking it up a level by bringing in some like Mvilia for Song?

    Anyway, off to dream about us winning the European Cup. Night all.

  185. chas says:

    Morning early-risers,

    GM, it’s definitely subjective. Hagi is on there, but spelt correctly. God isn’t on the bottom, but in the top 50 greatest footballers of all time. Agreed though, he should be alongside Thierry at least. 🙂

  186. chas says:

    Micky and Big Daddy,
    It was Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler in the From the Jam clip the other day, though Rick Buckler has since left and the drummer is now Mark Brzezicki (from Big Country)

  187. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I was right on two fronts. Foxton as well as not knowing the name of the “other bloke” from The Jam.
    It was always Foxton Weller and that other..

  188. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Another comment vanished. Basically saying…gis us a song chas!
    Another From The Jam is fine with me. The sound is better than clips of the original.

  189. chas says:

    Here’s an old one for you, Micky.

  190. chas says:

    Do you remember this, Micky?

  191. Red Arse says:

    Morning Peeps, 🙂

    Feeling crap this morning but saw the Vid posted by GIE last night showing Jack scoring that brilliant goal against Wham.
    He scored and made many goals for the Youth/U18s teams. Tough, clever, brilliant!

    I was there and loved the buzz. (CharyB too, I think) Thanks GIE, that’s bucked me up.

    The other player it jogged my mind about was Barazite.
    How did he not make it? Apparently he is doing very well in Austria now so he might still make it big time. (I think injuries did for him too while at Arsenal). Pity!

  192. chas says:

    Here’s one for you, RA.

  193. Red Arse says:

    Chas, great Vid — never heard of the Jam — have to find out more! 🙂

  194. Gooner In Exile says:

    Glad to have obliged RA

    I only really saw him for the first time in the FA Youth Cup games, and the final when we beat Liverpool. He just dominated the game from start to finish.

  195. Gooner In Exile says:

    Do you think Chippy saw Jack and felt he was staring in a mirror?

  196. Red Arse says:

    Thanks Chas. He clearly can’t score decent goals can he? 🙂

    Keeping him is going to be a problem for us in the future. How can we keep him out of the hands of Madrid/Barca/Oilers? Someone is eventually going to bid £80m for him! 😦

    That lad is just soooo toothsome!! 🙂

  197. Red Arse says:

    I will let you into a secret GIE, most of us who went to Barnet, and a couple of the Youth away games, thought we were a privileged minority and thought it was watching history in the making.

    Without his bloody injury this season I think we would have been challenging for the title. Dreaming? maybe — but not after I saw what he could do!! 🙂

  198. Big Daddy says:

    One of my top 10 gigs was Big Country at the Forum.

    James Taylor playing here next week but at 80 quid a ticket!! Leonard Cohen coming in summer …. £120 for an outside concert!

    If I take Mrs Daddy and buy a couple of beers that is over £250 for a concert. And to see two pensioners (no disrespect to pensioners)

  199. Big Daddy says:

    RA. Sorry to read you are unwell.

    JW will not leave for at least 5 seasons. Let’s worry then.

  200. Gooner In Exile says:

    Jack Wilshere won’t leave.

    He will be our Steven Gerard.

    Except he will be more successful because of the other talent emerging alongside him.

  201. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA I have just been watching some youth team highlights and the thing that strikes me is how much easier the youngsters find space. I know this is because of the skill/coaching gulf between them and many of their competitors, but I wonder if they wouldn’t be better served in a nursery team playing in a senior league, I would guess even playing in the Conference or top of the old Isthmian Leagues would be more of an education.

    When I was playing senior reserve football we used to play a Norwich Youth team, we would have good games with them, and I guess it helped them physically to be playing against men.

  202. Big Daddy says:

    GIE. Interesting idea regarding the Youth team. I wonder why they don’t?

  203. Morning all

    New Post ………………

  204. TotalArsenal says:

    Leonard Cohen £120 a ticket? WOW!

  205. Leonard Cohen ? I’d rather see Leonard Nimoy.

  206. Watch wwe extreme rules…

    […]Where should Jack play next season? « Arsenal Arsenal[…]…

  207. Kevin says:

    That’s a great article 🙂
    I honestly would like to see Shinji Kangawa in an Arsenal shirt next season but that’s unlikely. You forgot to mention Miyachi!
    Coming back to the question about our formation, 4-1-2-3 will be exciting. Song as DM, and Wilshere + Arteta/Ox/Rosicky covering the ‘2’.

  208. Kevin says:

    That being said, this would be my desired formation for next season. Like I said, Rosicky/Arteta/Ox could play along side Jack and if Ox does play there, Walcott could cover the right wing.

  209. Sowunmi kehinde says:

    Jack should come bank next season so dat d centre we be ok.

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