Arsenal’s Most Valuable

A couple of seasons ago, I penned a post making the case for Theo being our most valuable player.

It stated that I didn’t think he was our best player in any particular position, rather that he was the most irreplaceable because of the threat he posed an opposition defence, and hence the value.

This summer saw us make some great signings right the way down the spine of the team. Of course we haven’t seen too much of Lucas Perez, but that is more to do with Arsene’s juggling of the pack across the front.

Right now, Arsenal are playing the best football we have witnessed in many years, however, one thing is for certain, both injuries and fatigue will come, and then we’ll see the real strength of the squad.

We have been watching what many would consider our best starting XI, and equally, many will be nervously thinking about where it will go wrong. Therefore, I’d love to hear your thoughts on where you see our Achilles heel.

The little I saw of Holding fills me with enormous confidence, and I also have a sneaky suspicion Gabriel might come good in the same way Laurent did, meanwhile the defensive side of midfield looks to me our strongest area.

My own view on Aaron differs to some regulars on here in that I don’t see him as a specialist in any role of our current system, however, he is a superb multi-functional stand in for a number of roles. I remember how last season we played arguably our best two games with Aaron on the right.

Strangely, and here you’ll think I’m being wildly optimistic, I fear injury to Mesut less than before as I believe Iwobi would do a more than adequate job standing in for an unreplaceable.

If I had to pick one player to represent that bit of Achilles, then it would be Bellerin.

What do you think?

Written by mickydidit89


87 Responses to Arsenal’s Most Valuable

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Mmm, Bellerin eh Didit? Interesting choice.

    Yeah, I think he represents irreplaceable speed and balance both in attack as well as defence.

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, and Iwobi as a N010 stand in, are you mad?

    No I am not. His timing and vision with the perfectly executed through ball are top notch.

  3. chas says:

    Thanks, Micky.
    I’ll get a comment in early before those who know something about football (the big-hitters) come on.

    Interesting you should say “We have been watching what many would consider our best starting XI” as I don’t think anyone would have picked Coq, Santi, Mes, Iwobi, Alexis and Walcott as our best front 6 at the start of the season.

    You have a point about Hector. The left flank of defence seems well covered with Gibbo looking sharp. Who knows if Jenks’ time at the Hammers will have allowed him to move on up to the next level.

    One thing for sure is that the whole squad will be needed and formations/tactics will have to change along with who’s playing.

    For our Achilles, I’d probably pick ‘the fans’. Haha.
    If only they could ride the season like a set of waves, just as the team and manager are obliged to, instead of reacting to each result as if it alone defines the whole season.

  4. chas says:

    Arsene Wenger revealed in his pre-match press conference that the midfielder even trained yesterday. “Coquelin is looking much better than expected,” The Boss told the gathered press. “We had a test today but I still think he will be short for Sunday.”

  5. chas says:

  6. mickydidit89 says:

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh the unbearable lightness of being – we need GB to come up with 11 Achilles heels to keep us grounded. 😉

  8. LB says:

    Clever post, a real thought provoker.

    The fact that we all have to really think where we are weakest is a sure sign of just how strong the squad is.

    Theo has improved beyond what I thought he was capable of. I was one of the loudest voices calling for his sale in the summer so what do I know. There was only one person I seem to remember who at the beginning of the season, while everyone was calling for his head, calmly declared that this season will be Theo’s break through — Chas. So, chapeau to you sir.

    As to the very thought provoking question of where is the achilles heel, I think a yard stick needs to be established. My suggestion would be: which player if injured would lead to a reduced points tally and on this basis I don’t share the view that it is Bellerin. As good as he is and we would miss him I don’t think that we would stop winning. There is only one answer in my view and that is Mesut, Iwobi or Ramsey could fill in and the loss would be lessened than it may have been in the last two seasons but we would drop points, no doubt about it in my mind.

    Coming back to Ramsey I think there was a bit of confusion about this a couple of days ago. A common problem really and that is some people were talking about how they thought Wenger viewed the Welshman and others how they viewed him themselves.

    My view is that Wenger sees Ramsey and Xkaka as “the Kings couple” and for good reason; that being, that quite simply Ramsey adds more to the defense.

    Now I probably prefer Cazorla in the team ahead of him but it has to be admitted that Cazorla offers far less defensive cover than Ramsey and I am not saying that Ramsey offers a huge amount but it still is more than Cazorla and that is important, maybe not against Burnley on Sunday but against City? Who ya gonna choose? You are or at least you should be choosing as much ball winning power as you possibly can in the middle of the park and that is Ramsey.

    I think Wenger sees it that way and that is why I think Ramsey will come straight back in the team ahead of Cazorla.

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    It will be interesting to watch how Walcott and Xhaka’s partnership develops. It’s odd that a holding midfield player and a RW would have any link up at all, but Xhaka’s ability to play the ball forward early and accurately makes Theo even more of a threat. It’s Xhaka’s passing ability that also means the loss of Cazorla is no longer such a concern. We missed him badly last season but Xhaka is very good at getting balls into the forward players early and therefore I dont think we would miss Santi as much this year.

    Other than the obvious Koscielny, Özil and Sanchez, I think a big loss for us would be Iwobi. He works very hard on that left hand side in front of Monreal and also has the ability and intelligence to link up with Özil and Sanchez in those tight areas. It’s this ability that is drawing defenders in and is leaving Theo one on one, or even free, on the RW. I also think the loss of Iwobi would see us having to reshuffle players and possibly tactics (Sanchez back to LW, Giroud at CF) which is never ideal.

  10. fatgingergooner says:


    It’s interesting that Wenger was talking recently about Xhaka being more a box to box player than a holding player. This could suggest that actually it will be Coquelin and Xhaka for the big games, with Xhaka expected to do a little bit more going forward and Coquelin being the holding player. I do agree with you that Ramsey and Xhaka are the most complete pairing in terms of attack and defence, but I still believe Coquelins added defensive ability could see him starting the big matches.

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    That’s great news about Coq.

    I knew I was the wrong guy to pen sensible thoughts. Great comment

    Damn it, should have included a vote. I’ve just been in a very important meeting, and thought I’d probably vote Kos, although along the lines that FGG is thinking, Iwobi would be a massive loss as he is so versatile 🙂

  12. mickydidit89 says:


    “The fact that we all have to really think where we are weakest is a sure sign of just how strong the squad is”

    I intentionally didn’t use weakest link wordage, rather most valuable, as I wanted to keep positive spin rather than negative, although I know what you mean.

  13. LB says:

    Nice spot Slim

    Xhaka with Walcott, hadn’t noticed that one, makes a lot of sense.

    Where I disagree is how much you suggest that we would miss Iwobi, true he has linked up well with Monreal going forward but he leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to covering Monreal; in fact, in my opinion, he offers nothing defensively (yet).

    Sanchez may be playing well as a number nine but we are still missing out by not having him out on the left where he has always been so potent. The assumption of an Iwobi injury would force Sanchez left and then bring Giroud back to the centre is not necessarily the case as we still have the possibility of Perez staking his claim as the number nine.

    But if, however, you are saying that if Iwobi got injured tomorrow then you may be right because I suppose that would mean bringing in Giroud but if Iwobi’s injury was long term I don’t think it would take long for Perez to make the number nine his own ahead of Giroud.

  14. VP of Oz says:

    I would be very worried if we lost Petr Cech even with Ospina as back-up.
    I agree with the below –

    Chelsea skipper John Terry said the signing of Cech would net Arsenal at least 12 extra points this season and, while Wenger refused to quantify his significance, he admitted his addition to the squad was key.

    “You cannot measure it,” he said when asked if Cech could prove to be worth 12-15 points.

    “You cannot measure that. But you know one thing: you need a top-class goalkeeper. I have said many times that it is an underrated position. And you need a top-class goalkeepe

  15. chas says:

    I think I suggested it might be The Ox’s breakthrough season rather than Theo’s, but thanks anyway. 🙂

  16. LB says:

    No Chas

    I remember quite clearly, I was on my high horse about how awful Theo was and you did say as a matter of fact that you expected this to be his break through season.

    I don’t know anything about football, I’m only in it for the laughs, yeah right, the lengths some people will go to avoid writing head line posts 😉

  17. chas says:


  18. Neverhappywhingeingdoomer says:

    Cheers Micky I agree with you about Iwobi and Bellerin

    Big hitter here Chas. As it happens I would have picked Coq, Santi, Mes, Iwobi, Alexis and Walcott as our best front 6 at the start of the season 🙂

    We put in another marvelous performance against Basel. Not worried about the fact we should have hit 7. I feel our conversion rate will improve if we carry on like this and their keeper got 11 out of 10 as well.

    I actually feel our main achilles heel will be if we move away from this set up to a different style again. The main way this could happen is by changing from a mobile front man. I know some think it is good to have an alternative option but I really feel that this is only for the last 10 minutes if you are chasing a game.

    Most of the top sides have a style of play and the back up players mirror the first choice in style. You don’t find many top teams that completely change their style of play from one game to the next. I think it could get confusing and upset the natural development of our plan A game.

  19. chas says:

    I never doubted you for one second. 🙂

  20. GoonerB says:

    LB, don’t worry, I’m not upset that you forgot that I was one of the only ones sticking up for Theo last season 🙂

    LB you make an interesting observation on Ramsey and Cazorla. I too prefer Cazorla in the role. It is true that Ramsey will be more a ball winner but Cazorla protects possession better thus meaning we don’t have to win it back so often. I prefer this myself. I also think Coquelin is important against say a City. We also have Elneny as an option for the 2 man midfield.

    I am not too sure about Ramsey’s role myself now but don’t feel he should go straight back in. That could change the whole dynamic that seems to be working. It is probably my achilles heel number 2 behind changing the type of number 9 we use.

  21. chas says:

    Only 9 more to go. 🙂

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Two down nine to go, GB 🙂

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Chas, snap 🙂

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    The reason I prefer Rambo next to Xhaka is his ability to run, run and run more, with our without the ball: the key characteristic of Box to Box wee beastie. Yes he can defend alright, but he also can make those late runs into the box to give our full backs (or midwingers) a chance to find him and to get those extra goals from midfield. Not Rambo but Santi should become our supersub in midfield. And if Ozil gets injured I would move Santi in the nr10 ‘free’ role and the leave the rest as it is.

    There are plenty of fears to conjure up, but I think we have most of them covered more or less. Every team would like their core 6 or 7 top top players to be fit as much as possible, so there is always a worry that too many get injured at the same time… or a loss of form at the same time (neither Ollie, Theo or Alexis finding the net for many a game comes to mind).

    I reckon we are a little thin on the ‘midwing’ positions. Can Theo and Iwobi keep this tempo up for the whole season? Who to replace them… Perez perhaps, Ox.. not for me…. Welbeck get a wriggle on!

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Micky,

    This is the complete 1st team squad shown on

    I cannot remember us having a deeper or more interchangeable group of players. Of the 29 players we have 4 are out injured – Ramsey – hamstring, Coquelin – knee, Mertesacker – knee, Welbeck – meniscus, with Ramsey and Coquelin both being out short term.

    Injuries have ravaged us in the past and have been a key reason for us not being more successful, let’s hope that the “injury Gods” are kinder to us this season. However the squad appears to be strong enough and deep enough to withstand injuries better than we have previously.

    There are always the intangibles that we cannot control like – refereeing, drop in form, other teams improvement (oil money).

    It will be a real dog fight of a season with 6 teams competing for the top 4 positions – Arsenal, Man U, Man C, Chelsea, Spurs & Liverpool.

    Frankly at this early stage of the season I have no idea who will win the PL but Man C are looking to be unbeatable right now.

    1 – Cech
    2 – Martinez
    3 – Ospina

    1 – Bellerin
    2 – Debuchy
    3 – Gabriel
    4 – Gibbs
    5 – Holding
    6 – Jenkinson
    7 – Koscielny
    8 – Mertesacker
    9 – Monreal
    10 – Mustafi

    1 – Cazorla
    2 – Coquelin
    3 – Elneny
    4 – Jeff
    5 – Oxlade-Chamberlain
    6 – Ozil
    7 – Ramsey
    8 – Xhaka

    1 – Akpom
    2 – Giroud
    3 – Iwobi
    4 – Perez
    5 – Sanchez
    6 – Sanogo
    7 – Walcott
    8 – Welbeck

  26. fatgingergooner says:

    If we are talking about what is our Achilles heel rather than who, then I would say it’s how confidence effects our style of play. Confidence effects every team of course, but it effects some more than others, and if there is such a thing as a confidence player then our style of play definitely makes us a confidence team. We rely on quick touches, speed of thought and movement, and a dip in confidence can bring that to a halt as players take an extra touch just to be sure and don’t move the ball a they normally would.

    I think we are improving in this department, as shown with a great result away at PSG when playing poorly, and the way we’ve bounced back from the Liverpool defeat, but the end of last season shows it can still be an issue.

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    Occasionally I pop my head around the curtain and see many people filling the page with long and sensible sentences

    I think I’d be best lying low. I’ll drop by at tiffin time

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    Bugger, just seen the time. Nosebag on immediately.

  29. Aaron says:

    Going in a different direction:
    man$h*ty have a much larger Achilles heel than we do as of today- his name is Kompany. He is out, been out, but when he is in the win, win and just win. Without him at one point their won loss record towards the end of last season was 43%. They are going to be in for a rough patch right about now. Celtic put 3 past them..

    Back to our topic- goals which means Sanchez!
    He would have beaten TH’s record to goals in 1st 100 games if he did not play all those extra COPA and world flop games for sure!

  30. chas says:

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Unusually good post.

    Sanchez for me. His link up play with Theo, Mesut, Santi and Iwobi is the key to our play. He knows when to come inside and make space for the overlapping FB/MF. And he scores goals.

  32. Eddie says:

    oh wow, what a sensible post from Mr DidIt 🙂 Who would have thought you can be serious?

    Agree about Aaron, he is one of the best team players we have, If not Kos then I see him as our captain, why not.

    Agree about our defence – best for many, many years. No idea where BFG will fit in when another BFG took his place, but I won’t lose any sleep over Per sitting on the bench. The old boy deserves a rest.

    Don’t agree about Bellerin. I think he is a fantastic player of my favourite breed of animal – small, Spanish midfielder, yummy. But I doubt we would be considerably weakened by his absence. Cazorla’s injury last season cost us dearly and we need him to stay fit for another year. Bellerin wrecks havoc in the defences and can shoot from distance, but he isn’t key to our last terrific form. I think it is Sanchez-Ozil-Walcott trio and any injury to these 3 would rock the boat.

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Not going too well in the golf 😦

  34. RA says:

    Hi Guys, 🙂

    Thought I would pop in to see what was going down with you fellas, and to see how the Rasper was doing, as I have rather missed the man who does not believe in luck, but holds to the view that the universe is a harshly mechanistic and deterministic place with an unpleasantly perverse attitude on occasions, or as Chas would say just random chance. 😀

    The way we have played in the last two games makes the aura of Arsenal seem to be an inception of a new Invincibles era.

    All that on two games? I don’t care – it makes me feel good. 🙂

    Reading the comments [and a very good Post, Mick-ish] I thought it is just as well that the lovely GoonerB is nothing like that bastard Neverhappywhingeingdoomer 😀

    Great to see everyone in high spirits.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Good to see you too, hope all is well.

  36. RA says:

    Hi, Raddy,

    Hope you are well too — and I am much the same – just plodding on and keeping my head down 😀

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    Hey, RA keep you head up and held high.

    🙂 🙂

  38. Eddie says:

    “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino say they are open to managing England in the future”

    The FA have said last week that Wenger was their first choice last summer, but he rejected the offer because he was under contract with the Arsenal.

    I hate clichés, but this one is worse then most – “if you wish for an elephant make sure you have big enough garden”. Wenger out might be a true possibility and I am not happy about it, garden is not that big

  39. chas says:

    Poncetino ditching the spuds and becoming the England manager sounds like a perfect scenario.

    Maybe not yet, though – he has to give us a few more ‘last days of the season’ excitement before dumping them.

  40. Eddie says:

    now that is a lovely elephant 🙂 I prefer the African ones, much nicer

    are you going to Lancashire on Sunday?

  41. Eddie says:

    in that case Pardew’s got the job, fooking terrific. I may as wel support Poland

  42. chas says:

    Couldn’t get tickets.
    Sold out to 30+ away credits – we stood no chance.
    Smalll stadium equals small allocation.

    Managed to get Sunderland away today. But that’s because the allocation is big and 12.30 kick off for Londoners isn’t the best.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Somewhat iffy goal for Everton. I like Lukaku and think we should swap him for Sanogo

  44. Eddie says:

    I imagine getting any tickets is going to be harder now that we are finally playing as we should 🙂 Even I am tempted to go more regularly. Fair weather supporter called Eddie, yep, guilty as charged.

  45. chas says:

    Lukaku for Sanogo might be a canny move.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Chas, I have tickets for that game too. Let’s try and have a drink before or after kick off?

  47. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all… thoughts on our potential Achilles heel? Arsenes squad management.

    Now I won’t hear many bad words said about Mr Wenger and I believe he is oft criticised for things outside his control when they go wrong and then overlooked or give back handed complements when things go right. For instance on at least two podcasts I listened to this week It was asserted by two journos that Wenger has probably looked at what Klopp is doing at Liverpool and decided to change. Yep the manager criticised for never following others paths to success has now borrowed from Klopp.

    Anyway back to the point of my opening line, in the last few seasons I don’t think we have had much choice to rotate (with stockpiled injuries etc) but presently we have a number of options and Arsene needs to use them, initially to keep players match sharp and secondly to avoid injuries from overplaying especially given summer activities of many of the squad.

    The problem he has in starting say Ollie over Alexis or BFG over Mustafi we could end up with a bad result and the knives out again. I know I wouldn’t be a manager!

  48. chas says:

    Burnley away went on sale before we hit this purple patch.
    And it’s at a shite time for peeps coming from London.
    So we thought we were in with a chance but, unfortunately,
    not everyone’s fairweather. 🙂

  49. chas says:

    We don’t do ‘after games’ but before in the ‘Spoons would be excellent.
    The William Jameson on the walk up to the Wearmouth Bridge is where we usually go. 🙂

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha we don’t do after games… The W Jameson sounds good to be. No boring me with tactical bollox though 😜⚽️

  51. chas says:

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha ha

    I see Chas can’t do after game drinksss (plural)
    Well bad news for TA, he doesn’t do drink (singular) before games either

  53. chas says:

    Golf looking a bit Justin Rosier.

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    Sorry to dive in early with football talk, but just seen Totnum home to City tomorrow

    A draw and we go 2nd, just three points adrift if we can take all three

    However, given that we know we’re always going to end up above our sleazy neighbours, maybe a Spud win would prove City aren’t that good, and consequently, we’re definitely going to win the league

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    Didn’t see you sneaking in Chas. Morning

    Are the US golfing fans wearing boating shoes?

  56. chas says:

    What’s the point in having just one drink?
    May as well be a teetotaller.

  57. chas says:

  58. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Hope Swansea improve this afternoon. And as Didit says, a draw would be good at the Lane

  59. Big Raddy says:

    If I am honest it seems more than 20 years since I stood /sat in the Clock End discussing the arrival of the new man.

    Much water etc etc

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Hats doffed to the guys who make those things

    Who’s the current front runner to replace Fat Sam?

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    No Erik
    I want a Spurs win

  62. Eddie says:

    Pardew. The FA want Arsene, but I won’t let that happen.

  63. Eddie says:

    Arsene Wenger would “fit the criteria perfectly” of the next England manager, according to Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn

    Totts are playing tomorrow

  64. Big Raddy says:

    This may be blasphemy but I would like AW to take the England job in the summer of 2017.

    But perhaps this is a post-worthy discussion

  65. Eddie says:

    shut up Raddy, I am writing a short post 🙂

  66. mickydidit89 says:


    Can we whisper?

  67. Eddie says:

    no! rules are rules you know

    I sent it to nuts, not much and it needs Voting thingy added

  68. Eddie says:

    oh, it bounced back. What’s the email address for nuts?

  69. Eddie says:

    DidIt – I sent it to you 🙂

  70. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh here we go 🙄

  71. Eddie says:

    you knew where to send your post yesterday, surely you have forgotten?

  72. mickydidit89 says:


    I don’t really know about these things, but I reckon Rasp is at work and he’s the only one who does the voting thing

    Given it’s a yes or no, and we don’t give a shit what non-commenting readers think anyway, can’t we just get Erik to publish?

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, and Chas can simply type the words “Can’t decide” 🙂

  74. Eddie says:

    there won’t be many of those. It is going to be a straight yes or no

    go for it, let Rasp earn his money

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    Right, Eddie, let’s do some planning while they rattle around in the office

    Say you become a regular poster, you get a banner. What would you like on yours?

    No pugs. Some lesbians perhaps? Good as a talking point.

  76. Eddie says:

    I am not a regular poster, don’t want a banner, thank you very much 🙂
    prefer pugs to lesbians I think.
    Before they rattle around in the office – terrible news about the young Scottish boxer. I used to love boxing, but cannot watch it anymore, awful sport really.

  77. I’m here, I’ll sort it …………. back in a few ………….

  78. Morning all

    There’s a New Post everyone …..

  79. Sorry Eddie, I don’t know how to create banners. Will add a pic in a minute

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