Who would you pick in Arsenal’s midfield three? – Poll

Time for a poll.

This post has been prompted by various discussions on the site with bloggers stating various individual preferences for our midfield line-up – Guendouzi, Mo Elneny, Xhaka in a double pivot or even Ainsley M-N as a box-to-boxer are among the choices/favourites.

For the purposes of today’s poll let’s assume Unai is playing 4 at the back with his first choice players available. Also assume we have three up front, perhaps in a 2 wide and 1 centre forward formation or alternatively a number 10 behind a striking duo.

Here are the runners and riders for a place in that middle three listed in the order they appear on AFC.com (let’s include Alex Iwobi even though he’s down as a striker).

Mo Elneny

An excellent squad player and perhaps a touch underrated, though rarely gets picked as a first choice starter. Why?

from AFC.com

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Often used as part of the front three on the right side to provide some width. Could he be better employed just in front of two DMs?

Aaron Ramsey

Perhaps his best position (well according to his new Juve boss) is just behind a front two and it’s difficult to deny that proposition. Could he still be used in the middle three? When tried before, his natural tendency to be looking to make bursts forward into the box has sometimes left us exposed in midfield.

Mesut Özil

Another whose best position appears to be just behind the striker(s) in a front three. Then again, he often plays wherever he feels he can do the most damage which might be the cause of his contretemps with Señor Emery.

Lucas Torreira

When he first came to the Club and was being gently eased in as a sub, it seemed he was being used as the central DM sweeping across the width of the back four. Now he seems to be established on the right side. Where’s his best posititon?

Celebrating his goal against the spuds

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Mr Versatile means that we’re not sure which is his favoured spot in the team. Could he play in front of a double DM formation where his youth, energy and calmness might be perfect weapons for the position?

Denis Suarez

It’s a bit early in Denis’s Arsenal career to know where he might end up in the team. Does anyone have more of an idea they could share?

Matteo Guendouzi

Still 19, he can’t have imagined he’d play so many games for The Gunners in his first season. Not a natural DM perhaps, but another with a great engine. Maybe he’s also suffered playing in a team which is low on confidence sometimes and others look to him to provide a creative spark.

Granit Xhaka

A marmite player if ever there was one. Usually picked by whatever manager he plays for, so he must be doing something right.  Should Granit get an automatic starting berth?

Alex Iwobi

Another player maybe best suited to a front three position. Has he got the discipline to stay central? Or would he be wasted further back where his dribbling skills might be less useful?


Perhaps one of the Academy lads might be given the opportunity to step up. Smith Rowe and Nelson are on loan, but Joe Willock, in addition to his 2 goals at Blackpool in the FA Cup 3rd round, has had a fine season up to now for Freddie’s u23s .  Robbie Burton and Charlie Gilmour are also getting decent reviews and are names to look out for in the future perhaps.


Now for the poll. Choose the three you would prefer in your midfield three.

They could be in a 1-2 formation, a 2-1 (double pivot 🙂 ) or any other variation you can think of.  Specify your preference in the comments below.



34 Responses to Who would you pick in Arsenal’s midfield three? – Poll

  1. RC78 says:

    Great Post and question… It s hard to just pick a mid 3 if we don’t know who is playing behind and in front of them but I went for youth and energy so I picked AMN, LT, Guendouzi.

    I think they can all play to the demands of the coach. In front of them I d play Ramsey, laca, auba

  2. LBG says:

    Terrier and Ouzi in front of a largely ‘different’ back four. A M-N centrally in front of them. This position is the crux. If A M-N is not up to it, perhaps Smith-Rowe or A N Other. Youth is my mantra.

  3. LB says:

    Thanks for the read.

    I suppose another question would be:

    Do you really think AMN is ready for the midfield?

  4. LBG says:

    Testing…..is there anyone there

  5. Ademiluyi Sunday says:

    Guendouzi and Torreira should stay behind Ozil. Unai should tell Torreira not to go any where that he should stay dip down the middle of the pack and tell Guendouzi to be going forward and come back to help Torreira.
    he should also tell Ozil to stay at the back of our front three of Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Lacazette. Ozil knows how to creat many goal chances more than any of our midfielder.
    Aubameyan should our main striker not Lacazette, Lacazette should be opperating from the wing with Mkhitaryan/Iwobi.
    Forthermore our defence should be like this Monreal at the leftback, Papastatopolous and Koscielny in the middle of defence and play Maitland-Niles at the rightback.
    With this set of players and formation i think there is no team we can’t defeat.
    the coach should just forgive and forget what Ozil did to him and play him, we miss him in most of the matches we play because no other players in the team can creat chances that result to goal than him.
    So manager Umai Emary yield to our voice and start using Mesut Ozil so that we can go back to winning ways.
    Not all the players in the will mark when we have Torreira and Guendozi/Xhaka in the team that can mark for him. Please our dearest manager end the fight between you and Ozil, he is a great fighter and a great passer.
    God bless Arsenal!

  6. fatgingergooner says:

    In 4-3-1-2 then it’s Xhaka and Torreira. I don’t think Guendouzi has enough discipline yet to play with just 2 in midfield. We’ve seen all possibilities tried and I think the Xhaka/Torreira partnership showed most promise until defensive injuries forced Xhaka into the back 3.

    In a 3-4-1-2 or a 4-3-3 then I’d go with Torreira/Xhaka/Guendouzi. It worked well against Chelsea and still gives us 3 attacking players.

  7. RA says:

    Good Morning Ferrets; 🤪

    Nice one, Chas, it will bring out some interesting comments.

    I voted for Douzi and Torreira + 1 other.

    I have left out those who are leaving or about to commit Hari Kiri (Mesut and Rambo, much tho I love them).

    I have left out everyone else because I do not think they are the right quality. [In answer to LB — AM-N needs to grow up and apply himself better – too much showboating.]

    I do not see Douzi and Torri as the complete articles either. they really need breaks while they are learning the game, and often seem physically or mentally exhausted. [Too much, too soon]

    Looks like I am going to go and kidnap two or three of the Spuds midfield — and their manager while I am at it — and probably their GK — maybe Son and Kane, too — but I would draw the line there. 🤠

  8. fatgingergooner says:

    Saw a really worrying article this morning that suggested we could sign Ever Banega and he would be our Jorginho….

    I couldn’t think of anything worse!

  9. RA says:

    LBG @ 8 a.m.

    In answer to your testing question – “is anyone there’ – on the basis you were referring to AA and not Kilimanjaro – I can definitely say you were there.

    The situation is fluid, so don’t know where you are now.

    Hope that helps. 😏

  10. RA says:

    Hi FGG,

    If you are right about Banega, I too would despair.

    He does however seem to meet Emery’s requirements, a) he is going on 31; b) he played for Seville; c) he is looking for a last big payday as his career wanes; d) presumably he is cheap.

    As for being unable to think of anyone worse, we might get his older sister if the team struggle anymore.😂

  11. David James says:

    We should always play Xhaka/Toroiera/ Ramesy and in the absence of Ramsey- Willock. Guenduzi will in the next 3 years be probably a good midfielder, currently he is running like a headless chicken. Time to stop this madness. I am intrigued that the coach is playing a 3-4-3 system in the major games with opponents strolling to the net.

  12. RC78 says:

    Banega is a fighter and a player that Emery rates highly BUT I would rather buy someone else. The guy is very good but I believe we can get a more robut player like:

    – Gueye, Allan,
    – Ndombele, Doucoure, Parejo, Aranguiz, Herrera (Porto although I d take the Man U one as well)

    for a similar or less money

    I d love us to sign Gueye because I think he would allow LT and Guendouzi to move forward more freely

    LT, Gueye, Guendouzi -> gives me assurance
    DOUCOURE, Gueye, LT -> gives me assurance, strength and stability

    If I were Emery,

    I d focus on buying two midfielders:
    1. A DM, a ball winner. A guy like Kante, Gueye, Allan.
    2. A CM, that is physically strong and that can not only get the ball back but also move the ball through the middle of the park and score goals. A guy like Wijnaldum, Rakitic,Ndombele, Doucoure.

    Then I d buy:
    1. CB
    1. Forward/Winger
    1. A full-back that can play left and right maybe like Hakimi or Guerrero

    5 players total…

  13. LBG says:

    Your explanations to the deeper meanings of life always help.
    My plea, from just South of Kilimanjaro, was to WordPress who keep asking me to confirm my identity AND then are not showing my comment. It’s tiresome!😖

  14. JM says:

    Long term planning (and not including any new signings), my picks are:

    (DM/CB/Liberio) Calum Chambers, (CM/AM/Regista) Mattéo Guendouzi & (DM/CM/Volante) Lucas Torreira

    Supposedly we are starting in a back four, with Rob Holding & Konstantinos Mavropanos as our centre backs pairing.
    Our DM (Chambers) can move back to form a back three seamlessly during any part of the match, while our fullbacks switch forward to wingbacks (Héctor Bellerín
    & Sead Kolasinac) in attack mode.

    Players with adaptability regardless of any tactical systems (3-5-2, 4-4-2 diamond, 3-4-3, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-2-1).

  15. fred1266 says:

    Mesut Ozil may be in a “comfort zone” at Arsenal after being given a bumper new contract last year, according to former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

    Ozil signed a three-and-a-half-year-deal in February 2018 with his new contract reportedly earning him £350,000 a week and placing him among of the world’s best paid players.

    But despite being named one of a group of captains by Wenger’s Arsenal replacement Unai Emery, Ozil has drifted out of favour and has started a single Premier League game in 2019.

    Ozil was left out of the travelling squad for Arsenal’s 1-0 Europa League defeat away to BATE last week and was an unused substitute in their 3-1 Premier League defeat away to Manchester City earlier in the month.

    And Wenger questioned Ozil’s motivation while claiming it would have cost the Premier League club £100million to buy a replacement for the former Germany international.

    “I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team. But sometimes there are special cases,” said Wenger at Monday’s Laureus World Sports Awards, where he collected the Lifetime Achievement honour.

    “Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they practice, they play their best. Because they might be in their comfort zone.

    “He has a contract but the problem is that if you want to buy a player like him you have to spend £100million. And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Ozil case, it is more about the way football is structured.

    “To buy players of top, top quality you need £100m. So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?”

    View image on Twitter
    View image on Twitter

    Mesut Özil

    ‘When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.’ 🙏🏼 || #DennisBergkamp

    3:05 PM – Feb 15, 2019
    27.2K people are talking about this
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    The day after Arsenal’s BATE defeat, Ozil sparked discussion about his future at the club with a post on social media quoting Gunners icon Dennis Bergkamp.

    “‘When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong’,” Ozil wrote on Twitter.

  16. LBG says:

    If Napoli take up their option to buy David Ospina – 4m, shame, ie not at the sale, but at the pocket money return- and given Petr Cech is retiring, do we have an opinion regarding Nick Pope of Burnley?

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Chas,

    I would opt for three things in midfield.

    1. Non stop tenacity.
    2. A skilled play maker.
    3. A tough stay at home player.

    So my choice is obvious –

    1. Torriera
    2. Ozil
    3. Xhaka

    I leave Ramsey out as I would not use players who we know are leaving.

  18. VCC says:

    I’m with GN5. Leave out players who are not committed to Arsenal. So my line of three is.


  19. RA says:

    Hi VCC, 😁

    Nice to see you, my man — but what have you done with Terry?

    Your choices pretty much agree with mine. Hooray!!

    Well, someone agrees with me at last. 🤠

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    We have multiple choices in midfield and Unai can mix and match based on the opposition.

    I will be very disappointed is we do not focus on upgrading our defense, including goalkeeper, during the off season. We have more than enough to offer in both mid field and attack but we are constantly let down by our defensive frailties.

  21. RA says:


    There is summat oop with WordPress.

    My comments get delayed so much I forget what I had written, and have to keep reinput my email/name each time.

    Of course we need to be a bit discrete here, especially you, as clearly the culprit is one of your 3 bros — either of Ant ‘n Duck, or Chas.

    Me — I go for either Duck or Chas as it’s two for one!🤪

    It’s nice that you thanked me for my hard work as a Professor of the Bleeding Obvious as criticism can be hurtful for one such as I.

    A while back a blogger said on here ‘I entered an empty room and there was no one there’ — when I drew on. my years of classical training and pointed out that he was being illogical – because whence entered the room someone was there — i.e. himself.

    I was distraught and sulked for at least 10 seconds. 😒

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed with GN5. By a mile the best midfield trio available, as long as Xhaka/Torreira are allowed to played naturally deep and mostly in a horizontal line. Either of them can move forward occasionally and support Mesut ‘in the hole’. Unfortunately, Unai does not see it like that and we keep struggling to dominate midfield and produce attacking moves from that area. Use your available super tools wisely you stubborn carpenter!

  23. fred1266 says:

    Arsene Wenger has suggested Aaron Ramsey would still be an Arsenal player next season if he was in charge of the Premier League club.

    Juventus confirmed earlier this month that they had agreed a deal to sign Wales midfielder Ramsey at the end his contract in June, ending an 11-year association with the Gunners.

    Unai Emery replaced Wenger after more than 21-and-a-half years at the helm for the start of this season and Ramsey had often been deployed as a substitute under the ex-Sevilla boss.

    The 28-year-old’s switch to Juve was long mooted but, speaking at the Laureus World Sport Awards – where he received a lifetime achievement prize – Wenger claimed there had been a change of heart after his own Emirates Stadium departure.

    “In the case of Ramsey, it’s not a question at all of [running down his] contract, not at all,” he said.

    “I think it was not a financial situation and not a desire of the player to leave. But, as long as I was there, I was convinced that the player would stay.

    “What happened after, I don’t know. It was not a financial problem, not a desire to leave problem.”

    View image on Twitter
    View image on Twitter

    Aaron Ramsey

    3:07 PM – Feb 11, 2019
    26.7K people are talking about this
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    Ramsey will reportedly be handsomely remunerated for his services in wage terms, having joined Juventus on a free transfer.

    Wenger feels this factor, along with spiralling transfer prices for elite players, is increasingly influential and gives an incentive for players not to commit to contract extensions ahead of time.

    “It’s very simple: the transfer market is so big now that they think ‘if I run out my contract, I will not get the whole [outlay of the] transfer [but] I get the big part of it’,” he explained, having seen star names Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil enter the closing stages of their Arsenal deals on his watch.

    “Adding that to inflation means that the financial incentive for a player is to run out his contract. You’ll see that more and more, because a good player today [costs] between 50 and 100 million.

    “So, the player will not be bought for that price. His interest is to run the contract down and say to the club who wants to buy him ‘okay, I don’t want 50 [million], but I want a part of it’.”

  24. chas says:

    Fred is lolling about getting Banega’s older sister.
    If anyone was wondering.

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    Here is my random Lol to keep the Lol’s rolling.

  26. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m off to see a quack about my arm. Lol

  27. LBG says:

    Must be friend of Ant and Duck!

  28. RC78 says:

    Emery interested in Ndombele, Herrera and Banega to improve midfield

  29. chas says:

    So, the poll concluded that our top middle three players are Terrier, Guendouzi and Xhaka.
    An unbalanced three.

    I presume most chose either Guendouzi or Xhaka to partner Torreira.
    And also chose either Ozil or Ramsey to play in front of a double DM pairing.

    Neither Ramsey nor Ozil are suited to playing in the middle three really as both prefer to play further forward.

    This seemed to be the main conclusion i.e. we are missing a player who links defensive midfield to the front three. (A.M-N either not ready or not suitable as yet)

    How much would Santi be to buy back? 🙂

  30. chas says:

    Holy shit!

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    Very disheartening to watch Gnabry tearing Liverpool’s LB to bits last night. I also noticed Chris Willock has 8 goals in 22 games for Benfica’s B team since leaving.

    We can talk about managers, tactics and transfers till the cows come home, but what we all should be wondering is what the hell happened in the last 5 years behind the scenes that allowed such a royal cock up of so many transfers and contracts!? Also, how did the club become so unattractive to these players that they decided they would rather look elsewhere than hang around?

    So frustrating.

  32. chas says:

    I saw similar comments about Gnabry last night and the main response was that he was injured for virtually the whole of his last season with us and refused to sign the contract extension offered.

    He’d also been given opportunities to establish himself in the first team but had not really been good enough when called upon.

    Since leaving us in 2015 (effectively) he’s been loaned out, played few games and is only now, this season, establishing himself in the Bayern team.

  33. chas says:


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