Liam posed this question to GoonerB…
I agree that a Guendouzi/Xhaka midfield pairing isnt likely to work in big games, but what pairing would you prefer moving forward?
This is the response from GoonerB …
Liam, your question earlier about how to set up with the midfield behind our front 3 (assuming that will be Auba, Laca and Pepe as 1st choice). I am not too sure what the best answer is to the midfield 3. I feel the problem is that we haven’t been playing with what I would view as a holding midfielder.
I don’t feel any of Xhaka, Guendouzi, and arguably even Torreira, are actually specialist holding midfielders (that invisible wall) in the way that Gilberto was and say Fernandinho is.
All of them look to be more free roaming box to box or creative defensive midfielders if you like. None of them seem to be that player dedicated to tidying up and being the screen in front of the back 4. Torreira is probably the closest but even he seems to be more suited to being a free roaming defensive midfielder. Willock could also be best suited to the BTB role as well so would join Xhaka, Guondozi and Torreira on the list for that role.
I think that Ozil, Ceballos and Micki are more suited to being ACM’s, so we have a choice of 3 for that role. My feeling is that we need to have a proper holding midfielder, and I wonder if either Chambers or Luiz would make us stronger in that part of the field. Then choose 1 from Torreira, Willock, Xhaka and Douzi for the BTB CM role, and 1 from Ozil, Ceballos and Micki for the ACM position.
I would suggest that while we seem to have a clutch of ‘free roaming box to box defensive midfielders’ who also love to join in the attack there’s needs to be really good on field communication between whoever makes up the two or three in front of the defence to control a defensive screen. I would love to see a midfield that really controls the game.
On to Burnley …………. it will be interesting to see how we set up.
peachesgooner, GoonerB and Liam
It is a tough one, isn’t it?
To throw another spanner (wrench, for you Americans) into the works, what if we go with a Back 5, with Luiz as something between a traditional CB and a defensive MF?
The sort of role we used to call “libero” a long time ago.
My problem with a Back 5 (let’s assume it’s Tierney, Bellerin, Luiz, Chambers, Sokratis) is that it leaves only five more places to accommodate Auba, Laca, Pepe, Willock, Ceballos, Martinelli, Ozil, Mikhi, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi and even Elneny (whom I note did not make it into the ‘defensive midfielder’ conversation at all).
Chav fans seem to feel Luiz was at his best in a 5, where his occasional defensive rushes-of-blood-to-the-head could be accounted for by the other CBs, but where his ball-playing, passing and deep-lying play-making could be used to best effect.
Sorry, I realise I did not address the actual question at all.
If we do go with a defensive midfielder, I wonder if Chambers is the best option.
He has spent a season on loan playing in that position and looks confident and accomplished.
Of the others, they are all, as GoonerB says, versions of a BTB midfielder, even Torreira.
If it’s not Chambers, then I just don’t think we have an “invisible wall” type player in the squad.
Thanks peaches et al ….
Hi rocky, I’ve always seen a back five as a more attacking option because it is really a back 3 if the team is offensively minded.
I think we would need to play with a back 3 to get the best out of Luiz and that would free Tierney and Bellerin to play a more attacking role and negate the need for wingers… but hold on, we’ve just signed Pepe to be an attacking wide player.
It’s not easy this management lark is it!
That’s the conundrum, isn’t it Rasp?
If you start with that Back 5, then our attack is probably Laca plus one of Auba/Pepe.
Some combo of Ozil/Gwen/Torreira/Ceballos/Xhaka to form the MF 3.
Or we go for a very attacking line-up:
I like the second line up Rocky … but there will be some expensive bums on the bench!
…which, when we’re attacking, is effectively:
Of course none of these line-ups include a certain player with the initials MO… hmmm…
We could have the makings of a very good “pace-and-power” team rather than the more technical, guile-based approach we’ve had in recent years…
Come to think of it, the addition of Luiz may radically change the way we play – I think there’s a Post in this!
Right, monologue over.
“Pace and Power” … I like the sound of that … the two attributes that summed up The Invincibles.
Horses for courses!
I hope the back four option is the one for us whether home or away, and without discussing that combination, but with Chambers currently the option at CB for me, l hope the following is what we work at :- midfield three Luiz centrally with Terrier one side and Ouzi/Willock on the other (Chambers can do the central role when/Luiz is injured/suspended). This combination allows for one (two even sometimes) when we have the ball to move forward in attack, but requires the remaining one to hold centrally. It also allows for wide players to move across and double team when opponents have attacking wide midfielders or full back (a la Liverpool).
In front of them should be a flexible three (or two, will come back to that). Aubang and Pepe wide and Laca down the middle, with much side change as and when either A or P are having less change out of wide defenders.
My “two option”, sees us playing a diamond in midfield with Willock, A M-N, Mesut, Micky, Smith-Rowe,taking the role and two of Aubang, Laca, Pepe playing closer and off each other, with the other providing a dynamic substitution.
Needless to say does away with the current Captain ( which doesn’t look as if it will happen, unfortunately!) Sorry just me, I think.
That recovery and tackle back by Willock against Newcastle was a ‘get you out of your seat moment’ … that lad is hungry … I hope his spirit is infectious.
Left or right of Luiz (Chambers), for me.
I think what we can see from this quandary, that we will probably have the second or third best second 11 in the Premier League when everyone is fit.
I would agree with the Rock
as for yesterday
if you had to rate the worlds top 3 cricketers
1. Ellyse Perry
2. Don Bradman
3. Steve Smith
Worlds best yeast extract
3. not sure if you can rate Marmite as I’ve found out its banned in many countries due to unapproved ingredients and illegal additives
In summary, yes we should play with a defensive midfielder and I would like to see Luiz or Chambers in that role
Now there’s a challenge
I would go:
But my favourite cricketer of my lifetime is still non-marmite Beefy.
Re-quote from my own post dtd. (August 13, 2019 at 3:23 am)
With current available players (as of now, e.g. not injured/ recovering from injury/ rested for special cases – as with Özil & Kolašinac) :
Backline: (GK) Leno, (RB) Maitland-Niles, (LB) Monreal (capt.), (CB) Sokratis, (CB) Chambers
Midfield: (DM/Volante) Luiz, (CM/B2B) Torreira, (CM/AM/Playmaker) Ceballos
Frontline: (RF) Pépé, (LF) Aubameyang, (CF) Lacazette
Luiz as DM (Pros):
– physical strength and good height (6ft 2in)
– technical player with range of distribution (long, medium, short passing) and confidence with the ball
– freekick/deadball specialist (useful at direct freekicks around attacking D areas)
– the team can be made flexible in switching between a back 4 and back 3 during matches whenever required, with Luiz (as a modern libero) slotting between Sokratis and Chambers.
The midfield axis of Luiz-Torreira-Ceballos (less communication barrier; latin american style football with a few shithouserey).
Willock and Guendouzi will still get their chances and minutes to shine whenever squad rotation is needed.
Chambers could be a good option in the near and far future DM/volante (while learning the positive traits from both Xhaka & Luiz, i.e. ball distribution and retention, shielding defense, some shithouserey work etc.), when we have Holding back from injury at 100% and Saliba comes in next season.
Wisden rates –
Rank Batsman Rating
1 Donald Bradman 262.4
2 Brian Lara 255.2
3 Graham Gooch 252.0
In terms of all round skills, I agree Sobers beats them all into a top hat. The best all rounder of all time. But difficult to surpass the batting influence in proper cricket i.e. Test, IMO.
Willock torreira for me
Well I asked the question so I guess I should give my thoughts. For me it should be fluid based on how everyone’s playing and who we are playing. Obviously theres a difference between going to the Etihad versus hosting Newcastle, and for that reason I would look for two different line ups. The one point I will make/ask… Why did we buy Torreira?
One of our biggest problems is that I don’t think that Torreira nor his partner whether it be Xhaka/Guendouzi see themselves as the defensive midfielder. It also seems that right now, people (myself included) think that he’s not quite defensive minded enough and see him as a BTB midfielder. I believe he was bought to play DM and has the ability and quality to be a good one. However, I don’t think he is good enough to be a BTB in this team given Guendouzi and Willocks new found success (granted… he was bought before their successes). So with all of that said…
When playing weaker teams, I think a midfield 3 of DM: Torriera, BTB: Willock/Guendouzi, 10: Ceballos would be a very good option if and only if it is made clear to Torreira that he is the DM.
When playing stronger teams, I would go with something along the lines of a midfield 3 of DM: Luiz, BTB: Torriera/Guendouzi, 10: Willock/Ceballos
Just my two cents
A) you were up really early today.
B) As to your concern; — “My problem with a Back 5 (let’s assume it’s Tierney, Bellerin, Luiz, Chambers, Sokratis) is that it leaves only five more places to accommodate Auba, Laca, Pepe, Willock, Ceballos, Martinelli, Ozil, Mikhi, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi and even Elneny.”
I think I can help you there — you should play all of them.
As you know, I am a student/follower of the venerable Micky – who done did it; and you could be forgiven for thinking I am just taking a leaf out of the attacking master’s manual, but my solution, above. to your problem, is taking his mantra to a whole new level.
I’m back this side of the pond at the moment so not too much of an early riser after all.
Are you here or over there? (I’ll leave it for you to work out which is which).
If you don’t mind me saying, I think you’re slightly in error in your interpretation of Micky’s preferred approach. By “play all of them” (ie the players I mentioned) you imply that that includes Leno, whereas I am sure Micky would dispense with so negative an option as playing a goalkeeper.
Have we heard anything from Ant and Duck?
The first home game of the season will not be the same if we do not get their customary travelog, menu and drinks fest, revealed to us as they go, like a supporters strip tease of everything important, as they make their way to the Ems, via the pub.
Come in — Ant and Duck — your time is up, on Saturday — your fans need you!!
Would Bradman be as successful with today’s fielding standards, I’m not so sure?
Best batsman Viv Richards
Fast bowler Michael Holding
Best spinner Shane Warne
Best w/keeper Alan Knott
Best all rounder Ian Botham
Best tailender Phil Tufnell
Best team in the last 40 years?
The West Indies of Clive Lloyd
Afternoon all. So much to agree with with many comments. I actually feel that for the first time in a long while we can field a strong and balanced side in any formation we choose from 4-3-3, 3-5-2, 4-4-2 and 3 4-3. The first 2 have 3 CM’s that need to be balanced and the 2nd 2 have 2 CM’s that need to be balanced.
The key is in playing the right players for each formation and also the players that compliment each other. I still that I dont feel Gouzi and Xhaka compliment each other and are really vying for the same spot.
Also some of these formations I feel require a proper holding midfielder and I only see Luiz and Chambers as properly fitting that description in our squad.
That leads to the possible elephant in the room that I think we are still over stocked with too many samey midfielders that are really vying for the same position but are often played together in what I feel is a non complimentary partnership.
I do feel that Xhaka, Torreira, Douzi, Elneny and Willock are all vying for that one spot that compliments and plays between the holding midfield player and the attacking central midfield player.
We still have too many and I feel we need to be more ruthless and decisive in who we keep and who goes otherwise we are complicating that part of our midfield unnecessarily.
For me Willock must be prioritised as he has potentially everything you need in a top BTB CM. Torreira also showed last season that he has an ability to make surging forward runs while still being a tenacious DM.
After that I think we only need 1 from the other 3 and my choice would be Douzi as we still could have a gem on our hands. However for me Willock has moved ahead of Douzi.
Damnation!!! You are right, Rocky, well spotted – Didit, the esteemed Attack Master, will never forgive me. 😩
Right, let’s call it a deliberate error — and amend the Order of play for the Day — dispense with any goalkeeping nonsense, bring Eddie back from Leeds, and stick him up top. Sorted!!
I am still unable to fly, following my op last Fall, so I am still here, shuttling betwixt Manchester and Glasgow and trying to keep busy — and I need the money!! 😳
Sorry, typing from phone so hope you understood it even with the shite grammar
I am delighted to confirm that Ant and Duck will be on the tipsy train to The Home of Football on Saturday. I’m not sure that our travelogue really fits with the site nowadays as it just seems to be tactics, transfers and other serious stuff rather than food, poor dress sense and other alcohol nonsense?
Except for Fred of course!
Morning all. So herein lies the question for the season. What’s Unai going to do. It’s all well and good saying player X “doesn’t see himself as”or “isn’t” this or that type of player but the truth is, all of them can fill a role. If you doubt that, ask one of Klopp or Pep’s players. If Torreira is playing DM then it’s up to Emery to make sure he does it. Xhaka was supposed to be our new great DM hope. Personally I don’t think he’s good enough anyway but apparently he may also “not see himself as” a DM ?? That’s the answer to the question in my mind and if none of our specialist midfielders can’t or won’t do it, try Luiz or Chambers. But if we resort to that, shame on Unai and the rest of them. As my son will attest, DM is more about positional discipline than anything else.
Moving forward hopefully we can develop the fluid MF trio or quartet where everyone covers everyone else and interchange (a la City or Pool, Barca etc) but we’re not there yet. This season we need someone (in some games a duo) to step up and fill the role.
Allzkev, I think I’d agree with all of your picks !!! I was fortunate enough to watch the LLoyd Windies on a few occasions. Much fun !!!!
Mike, they were a thing of ruthless beauty, chin music, fabulous batting, outstanding fielding, relentless pace attack and not a piece of sandpaper in sight…
They destroyed England like nobody else, but you had to respect them.
I love your notorious nuanced comments, and I am prepared to overlook the reference to ‘an elephant in the room’ as having any surreptitious reflection on my growing girth, otherwise I will swipe you with my trunk,
What is far more intriguing, is that in a very short comment (by your standards) you have used the verb “to feel” approximately 5 or 6 times. You are letting emotions cloud your judgement, and should simply take the attacking road to success, as outlined by the absent tactical master – aka Micky. 🤪
Good point Mike, but said player still needs the required skills for that role and I really only see it in Chambers and Luiz right now.
Ant, 2 degenerative reprobates cleaning out British Rail en route to the FFB followed by THOF is the yin to the yang of all the “we know better than the manager” tactical bolleux merchants.
I love it so bring it on, and BTW I do hope to catch up with the degenerate reprobate at some point this season.
Kev: to be fair, they destroyed most everybody !!
Alternatives for batting would be Lara and Tendulkar, Bowling Lillie and Marshall, all rounder Imran Khan. All I can think of off the top of my head
What about Brian Lara surely he is number one
Apologies to JM I should have used some of your comment when I was putting together the post.
I’ll rattle Ant and Duck’s cage to see if they’ll be able to blog on their way to London …….. they are both going to the game.
The aforementioned micky that didit would almost certainly dispense with a goal keeper 😉
Rocky were you thinking of writing a post about David Luiz ……. we could use it tomorrow if so. Are you going to the game on Saturday?
GB do you really think so? If so (and I’m not sure one way or the other so I’d like your opinion), what are they? The only thin I see CC and DL being able to do better would be heading and on the filp side, CC especially certainly isn’t as mobile as the rest (except maybe Xhaka).
Seems my magic wand is still working, I only had to think of Ant and he appeared 😉 Hello Ant. Now if only I could make it work for Chas and MickyDidIt
Hi Ant — can I just say — YaaaaaY —to your confirmation that the Vines Show will be on display next Saturday, and thereafter!! 😜👍👍👍
Bollocks to all the tactical stuff — on Saturday, we need your classy approach to prodigious piles of suspect food, your fashionable poor dress sense and of course your exquisite taste in alcoholic beverages.
As Shakespeare once said; “If Ant and Duck’s travelog be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.”
(well I think he went over the top, a bit, — after the word ‘surfeiting’ I would say – ‘the appetite cries out for more!!!’
Who does Shakespeare think he is — pillock!?
Nothing to do with my 2:17 then, Peaches? 🥺
And ‘Duck’ is Chas’ nom de guerre.
I can’t do it for tomorrow (too much ‘duty calls’) but in the next few days, hopefully.
I’m in the south west (of England, not London) and won’t be up for the home opener but will hopefully get to a game soon. It would be nice to see the gang again.
Shakespeare a surfer? Who knew? I suppose the clues were in his play titles:
All Swell That End Swell
Merry Waves of Windsor
Tube Gentlemen of Verona
No wonder they call him the Board of Stratford
@ Rocky. That was truly terrible. Well done !
Thanks Rocky, no worries.
Anyone got a few lines they’d like to share with us tomorrow? …. I can embellish with frills ‘n stuff 🙂
I don’t know about David Luiz as a player, but he’s certainly mounting an impressive charm offensive in his utterings.
Micky will be delighted to see you mistake him for the Beard of Old Trafford.
Now, I am pretty sure that with so many of our blogger friends having headed off into the sunset, that few will understand ‘Twelfth Gnarly’ our Aussie nemesis — buy well played, sir.
It is some years since I last toyed with a shakespearean quote, and today in accord with GB’s reference to elephants, and also being a camel man, I was sore tempted to mention the line about a ‘hart’ to extend the animal scene. But no – instead I have another which will accompany you in the direst South West England;
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
Footie blogs and Shakespeare, eh? 😎
David Luiz : Utterings? What. utterings? Can you fill the aching void of longing for a Luiz utter? 😜
Maybe you have a Post right there?
I only wish we had the historian GN5 to titillate our lust for an Arsenal education with another Post.
Other matters aside — I really thought we had bought an uncut diamond in Jeff Reine Adelaide – and AW said as much at the time.
He had an injury that set him back – but talent is not hurt by a leg injury – never the less we sold him to French club, Angers, for £1.5m.
News is coming out that Lyon are about to buy him for £25m. No doubt he will be sold on in the relatively near future for multiples of that.
It will be disappointing to see the uncut jewel sparkle in the future, altho I wish him well on a personal level.
Bugger and damn whoever, at Arsenal, decided to sell him.
Well that is a bit of a shame, I like to know the list of beverages and salty snakes that I will be consuming on my vicarious trip to THOF.
@Rasp. I’ll do a bit on what we should be looking for from a DM if you think that would work>
Fantastic tributes being made by his Scots colleagues about Kieran. Will be a fan favourite if he is prepared to “run through brick walls for Araenal”.
Hi Mike, everything you write works believe me. Actually you’ve saved me from publishing something rather smutty 😂
How come now one has mentioned Dwayne Bravo
He Ants and duck how have you been
Rasp (and Peaches)
I managed to grab half an hour to do the David Luiz Post, so you can have it in the bank to use as well as Mike’s.
Excellent … thanks Rocky
Hi Fred.. sorry, I only just saw your message. The draw is on 30 August
4321 it will be for me and with current squad it gives you
Bello, Holding , Luiz, Tierney – Ceba, Chambers, LT – Pepe, Auba – Laca
Otherwise I d opt for a 343 with
Holding Luiz Sok – AMN, Torreira, Chambers, Kola – Pepe, Laca, Auba
In any case Chambers would be my DM coz none of the other CMs we have give me DM confidence
Morning all …
… New post …
Hello, guys I am new on this blog. first of all I am impressed to find a blog about Arsenal that’s not regurgitating talking points often negatives and awful from the tabloids and some Youtube channels, I am sure you guys know which I am referring to!!
Let me start by agreeing with most comments here that Xhaka is not a defensive midfield, he is at his best with someone behind him, who is a tad more defensively minded but having said that I think he is defensive game has honestly improved compared with when he joined us and I think the last 10 minutes of the Opener this season proved that. however he gets so much hates, even though Wenger and Emery both made him one of the first names on the team sheet..
so why is that ?. well because he is a wonderful passer of the ball, good at recycling possession, he is weakness to me is when we are out of possession, basically his movement off the ball still shows a lack of natural defensive minded style of play, which is different say from Torreira(more on him later). In fact in this regard, look a the goal of Suarez in preseason Xhaka and Guendouzi are standing together whereas one should be behind the other if front of the back four occupying the space Suarez ran in to between chambers and mustafi! yes Torreira was on then but you guys get my point.
well that leaves Torreira and Guendouzi. And at first glance neither seems like a defensive midfield but when you look closely It’s not in fact true!! why they are modern defensive midfield!! It’s just we have been conditioned to the likes of Makelele as the gold standard, Kante would be the closest thing now to him albeit Ferandhino could claim being a modern version of Makelele or more precisely a modern version of our very own silent wall Gilberto!!
So basically to me , these two(Torreira and Guendouzi) are modern defensive midfield. where do I get from?. we often judge our players on how they perform in big games right?. which is of course never tells the whole picture but since they are young let’s throw them in the deep end!!
To me those games were Liverpool at home last season for Torreira and Spurs away for Guendouzi. although we drew both it showed us the two young modern defensive midfield in action.. Torreira was sublime in that game and was brilliant in every aspect of his game that night, Guendouzi would repeat the same thing in that away game at Wembley..seriously take a second look t those games and tell me. Of course you could say what about our hammering at Anfield then and you would be correct. People said that our defense was in shambles but If you look closely that really was Torreira worst game of the season for me although I would add BAKU JUST BEHIND. in both those games he gave the ball away, did not break up play, screen the back four, etc. I put this to mental and physical exhaustion, why because they are young lads. so what about Guendouzi, well he suffered the same exact fate in that Liverpool game although to be fair the signs for the two of them had been evident in the preceding game in the 1-1 draw away.
To conclude my opinion, let me throw another name although no our player into the mix, look at Paredes at PSG, Martinnez at Bayern(under Guardiola), Verrati at PSG under Emery, Fabhino at Liverpool and you got your answer, Barca is trying to force Rakitic into this role although he is a box to box, Real has already done it to Kroos, It will be interesting to see who Guardiola goes for as his silent wall is getting older but the picture of a modern defensive midfield is very clear to me!!
So I would say Its Torreira and Guendouzi fighting for the same position and can of course play together in big games away from home to give us a solid midfield two like in the city away game, I don’t think people gave them enough credit after that game..but I knew we would lose it I just watched it to see how they would fare and I had a little smile after because I knew our future was secured at the base of the midfield..and then I watched Joe willock in the last game of last season and that smile grew even more!!
Even more preseason show Willock kept improving and add to that Burton, If he is at where Willock is for next preseson then Xhaka will really have serious competition next season, of course willock will keep improving with game time bar injuries.
what about the number 10 role?. I think Smith Rowe and Matt Smith and Greenwood will compete for that in the future but let me save that for another post.
Thanks sue thought it was this week super excited for the draw so I finally start booking hotels etc
I think you have noted some very interesting details, regards for the post.