David Luiz Could Mean The End Of Ozil

Arsenal’s signing of David Luiz on the final day of the transfer window divided opinion among the faithful.

But love or hate the fuzzy-haired Brazilian beanpole, I fancy that few of us have fully considered the impact he’s likely to have on our style of play this season.

It could be massive, and here’s why.

Although we have had some good footballing centre backs (Mertesacker stands out in recent years) we have never had what you might call a “deep-lying playmaker.” And that’s exactly what Luiz is when given the chance.

How does a deep-lying playmaker affect the way we play? Well, in just about every way you can think of…

We have grown used to Arsenal teams where the primary responsibility for creativity has come from attacking midfielders or withdrawn strikers: the likes of Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey (some of the time), Fabregas, Arshavin even Sanchez on occasion.

In this system our defenders’ job is to bring the ball out from the back and give it to the “creative” players ahead of them (an alternative being to push it down the wings to wide players who, invariably with Arsenal, then cut inside and lay it off to the creatives).

It’s not an unusual approach – most top teams do it (although some make better use of wide attackers than we do). But at Arsenal in the later Wenger years and also during Emery’s first season it has led to a constipated way of playing: we get an uncomfortable blockage in the middle and when we eventually manage to squeeze it out there’s a huge feeling of relief, only to start all over again.

The build-up is slower, opponents can organise their defence and we need to use guile to break them down rather than speed and power. When we manage a rare breakaway goal (as we did with the winner at Newcastle) we all get excited and remark how it’s the sort of goal we used to score during the Invincibles era.

The “central guile” approach was a deliberate policy by Wenger after the break-up of the Invincibles when he was building a team around Cesc Fabregas, modelled on the Barcelona tiki-taka style and we have never really shaken it off since.

What does Luiz offer?

In short, something we have not had for years – a talented play-maker from deep. He can bring the ball out from the back and dictate the play with his excellent range of passing or with his willingness to advance with the ball at his feet, commit opposition players and then find the gaps.

Examples of deep-lying play-makers that come to mind are Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (for Italy and Juventus) and, interestingly enough, Jack Wilshire for England for a while under Roy Hodgson, before injuries lost him his place (again) and then Hodgson lost his place after England’s abysmal performance at the World Cup in Brazil.

Of course, none of those are primarily central defenders like Luiz, so perhaps a better comparison is one of the best players ever to have graced the turf: Franz Beckenbauer at Bayern Munich and as a World Cup winner for West Germany (in the days before German reuinifcation).

Beckenbauer was a more reliable defender than Luiz but his ability to dictate play from the back was similar. Germany built such a successful system around him and this approach that they made two World Cup finals (winning one) and two European Championship finals (again, winning one) with it in just six years.

If this is how Luiz is going to play for us, what are the implications?

Well, for a start there is a lot less need for a playmaker further forward, which might mean curtains for Mesut Ozil. In fact I would not be completely shocked if we offload Ozil before the foreign transfer windows close (DC United anyone?).

Don’t believe me? Look at the Chelsea team that won the Premier League in 2017 with David Luiz playing a central role. Notwithstanding a few appearances from poor old Cesc (after Wenger sadly declined to bring him home to Arsenal as he’d hoped), Chelsea played most of that season without an out-and-out playmaker ahead of Luiz. They had protective midfielders like Kante and Matic and pacey attackers like Hazard, Pedro and Willian, with a despicable but undoubtedly effective goal machine up front in Diego Costa.

I know you could describe Hazard as a playmaker, but really he’s a wide attacker who is blessed with such brilliance that he can bring in other players at will and change games on his own.

Don’t be surprised to see this year’s Arsenal resemble that Chelsea team.

One positive aspect to starting our playmaking from the back is that it gives us a chance to return to the pace-and-power approach that worked so well in the first half of Wenger’s Arsenal tenure.

Although we did not have a defender-playmaker under Wenger we were able to move from defence to attack very quickly, whether through Seaman-Vieira-Overmars-Bergkamp-Anelka or through Lehmann-Vieira-Pires/Ljungberg-Henry.

For Arsenal 2019-20, with Luiz taking the lead playmaking, role perhaps a future first team line-up looks like this: Leno, Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Tierney, Luiz, Guendouzi, Torreira, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Well, I for one would be pretty excited by that. And, of course, we have sufficient squad depth and strength to change it up as needed for particular opponents or if it just isn’t working in a given game.

Am I barking up the wrong tree with this? Or just barking?

Let me know…

RockyLives

107 Responses to David Luiz Could Mean The End Of Ozil

  1. Mike M says:

    I think it is more likely to signal the demise of Xhaka. His only unique strength is his delivery from deep. If Luiz can deliver from deep then the defensive midfielders (one or two) can focus on the defensive side, esp if Luiz ventures upfield. Question is do we have the midfielders to be that disciplined? Even Torreira started roaming upfield more as last season progressed. Another problem is that all managers seem to love Xhaka – but I hope that Luiz can wean us off his regular brain-farts. One can dream.

  2. Bojangles says:

    I’m with you on it but I was happy enough when Luiz was signed. He’s a class player, maybe lost a little but not much. There’s no doubting his passing ability and range. He’d walk into many teams in England and other European leagues. Anyone against his signing are likely to find faults

  3. LBG says:

    A” libero” Rocky.
    Heaven forbid, the role earmarked for Hoddle in his later years. In the Beckenbauer era, Bobby Moore was also capable of it.
    Although one of those not convinced Daviiid is right for us ( mainly in terms of potential disruptions in camp), If he plays in front of a back four, there is little doubt as to his skill level in many areas.
    Even if it doesn’t change our style significantly, it is another option, and I am all for adding to the variety of attack.
    A Rockingly good post, sir.

  4. Wow Rocky ………… I was excited before to see how the team sets up but now I’m super excited.

    I’ll be passing London Colney in an hour, maybe I’ll print off the post and stick it in an envelope for UA 😉

  5. kelsey says:

    Hello Rocky nice to see you on here.I just wanted Rasp and peaches know that I shared this article, out of courtesy.They will explain.

  6. Rasp – who have you stuck Luiz’s head on today?

  7. PE says:

    Rocky, ….. excellent. That’s a team that would challenge. Luiz as a deep lying playmaker seems to me so obvious to see. Xhaka’s deep playmaker role has not been effective. His long passes (which seems to have vanished) are invariably to the wide men, hardly ever as a final pass. Added to Luiz playmaking ability, he also slots in as our holding midfielder. No body in our CM fits that role, not Xhaka or Douzi (too slow, too defensively unaware) not Torreira (lacks the physical attribute).

    Luiz as our holding MF/deep playmaker would make a dramatic difference to our team, defensively and offensively.

  8. kelsey says:

    Hello Rocky nice to see you after so long. I just wanted to tell Rasp and Peaches that I have shared this excellent post on FB.Peaches will explain..

  9. Rasp says:

    Blimey Rocky …. you’ve got me thinking tactics, formations and strategy … that’s usually anthema to me 🙂

    I’m going to have to read other bloggers’ views before I can make an intelligent (that’s a subjective term) response.

    The optimist in me thinks Luiz will inject more directness and thrust into our play and in that he outweighs Ozil. I have my doubts whether Ozil will play for us again amid all the safety concerns for him and his family.

  10. Rasp says:

    Hi Kelsey .. great to hear from you. It’s like the ‘good ol’ days’ on AA again!

  11. Neil says:

    Luiz = upgrade. Simples.

  12. kelsey says:

    I think one of Rocky’s posts years ago was an alltime record for views and comments.He has a knack. I would add that Xhaka is a liability and always has been, not captain material and Mikkitarian is one of the worst and most expensive buys in recent years.I like the team and we have the few youngsters to bed in.Now as the window closes in Europe much later IMO we should drop the price of Mustafi, alleged to be £30 million and get rid as a loan deal isn’t beneficial in the long term and I also expect Elneny to go in this European window.If that all happens or not our net spend(not value) this Summer with all the sales is about |£35 million, shred transfers with staggered payments in some cases by Raul.

  13. Rasp says:

    Ok, this is the way I see it …

    With Ozil out of the equation, I like the idea of Luiz in the centre of a back 3 or even better as the deep lying playmaker Rocky describes sitting in front of a back four.

    If Luiz has the respect of his teammates he can become that much needed leader on the pitch .. but he may need to curtail his ‘brazillanness’ and be a tad less cavalier when good old fashioned defending is required.

    It’s obvious that any new player in a team will affect the way the rest of the team plays. He may make others more effective or cause them to be marginalised.

    What we need, as Rocky says, is a player to make those around him more effective by orchestrating the play. I think Luiz could do this. I don’t see him as a replacement for Koscielny, we have Chambers for that, but as an alternative to Xhaka? I’m all for it, let’s give him a chance.

  14. Jake says:

    Loool you fool you think we signed Luiz to play him in midfield? Your first eleven doesn’t even make sense, no Sokratis? You mad ? Regardless of what you think, Sokratis will always be first choice. So piss off

  15. GoonerB says:

    Barking? …. most likely Rocky. Barking up the wrong tree? …… not at all Rocky. You are onto something here. I would say you are at least in the right corpse even if you haven’t quite found the specific tree you wish to bark up 😁

    This kind of answers Mike’s question from yesterday. Sorry Mike I may be a bit late in my replies. I think the holding midfielder should have ball playing skills but still have the primary instinct to protect and defend.

    Even an attacking coach like Guardiola recognises how important this player is. They can actually make a team better in attack by allowing the other players to play more.

    In the absence of getting in a specialist holding midfielder a ball playing centre half is the next best thing. I agree Rocky that Luiz in that role could transform our team especially with the front 3 we could field.

    However I think we still need an attacking creator further forward and, if he is still with us this season, Ozil could become a man reborn. The new team set up could bring the best out of him.

    A creative holding midfielder that can properly defend and a creative attacking midfielder to pull the strings for our front 3 and overlapping FB’s with a BTB player operating between them.

    I think the players under threat are the other defensive midfielders. That list comprises Xhaka, Elneny, Torreira, Willock and Douzi. We can really only entertain 3 of the 5. My first choice is between Torreira and Willock closely followed by Douzi.

  16. Rasp says:

    Hi Jake, what a charming fellow you are … do you tell everyone who holds a different view to you to ‘piss off’?

    AA is not the site for you my friend, we left the schoolyard many years ago.

  17. opoo emmanuel says:

    i expected to see mustafi go but for luiz fantastic addition

  18. RA says:

    Good Morning, All, and of course the Rock Man,

    I think GB has saved me from lowering the tone on AA today, but I will carry on trying. Barking – indeed.

    You argue a good case, Rocky, positing that the signing of Luiz will inevitably signal the end of Ôzil by allowing a material change in personnel and tactics, and it has made for a top Post, which of course we have come to expect from your good self. 😁

    I’m not sure that we know enough about Luiz yet, and although in the short-term the changes will freshen things up, particularly as Emery does not seem to have a place in the team for Mesut in any event.

    But Luiz, at 32(?) is no spring chicken, and as you know, chickens tend to have reduced career possibilities the older they get.

    I think the off field events concerning Mesut and Sue’s man, Kolasnikov, might make all this rather a moot point anyway, as he may want to bring forward his retirement and go to to Turkey very soon, which apparently is where he wanted to go anyway.

  19. Marcus says:

    This is quite an interesting take on things and I think I will way in. There’s a lot to unpack here, some I agree with and some I will challenge.

    Let’s start with what I challenge.

    David Luiz is obviously not your typical CB, as he has that samba touch in him. He is an excellent passer of the ball (especially for a CB). However expecting him to make that much of a creative impact that he replaces/substitutes Ozil is very ambitious. I mean Xhaka is arguably a better passer but we still struggle to create chances when he doesn’t have an Ozil in front of him. Might be too tall an order to expect Luiz to consistently be our creative spark.

    Now to what I think.

    I have watched David Luiz almost all his Chelsea career and I noticed something about him. He had his best 7-10 games in the EPL when he was played at defensive midfield. I really do not understand how (the then Mourinho) did not see this and keep him there permanently. What is even more baffling is that everyone who has coached Luiz insists that he plays best when in a 3 man defense, but I feel they are missing the point.

    David Luiz is an all action player who loves to be in the thick of things. Last weekend Mou even mentioned that he only makes mistakes because he sometimes has lapses in concentration. When he plays at the back he may not see as much of the ball (especially when playing for a team that dominates its opponents) and that is where his concentration lapses. But Luiz is one of the most dominant players around. When he has the cover of a back four behind him and he is constantly in the thick of things, he can be unplayable. Physically, tactically and energy-wise. He is a beast at the base of midfield where he gets more of the ball and more importantly protects his back 4.We once played Chelsea when he was played there and we could barely string passes together, let alone create anything.

    I honestly believe we should play him there.

  20. Alan says:

    No cabellos in this system ?Does he also get marginalised from the no 10 role behind the front 3 ?

  21. RA says:

    Isn’t it a bit early to know how Ceballos will perform in the EPL?

    He is only on loan, and may go back at the end of the season.

    I hope he preforms in such a way that he makes waves and becomes a serious player for Arsenal, and perhaps makes the coach make yet more strategic, tactical changes that are more effective.

    That will depend on him.

    Luiz on the other hand has had years in the EPL, and altho opinions will undoubtedly differ as to his best role, the Premier League will be no mystery to him.

  22. Love your constipation metaphor Rocky.
    It’s true that Arsenal could adapt a system which you describe, but I think it more likely that Luiz will be in the back four (possibly three) and at the most a more defensive midfielder, but I drool at the idea of a Pirlo and I’m not sure that David is up to it.

  23. RockyLives says:

    Morning all and thanks for the comments.

    It’s by no means a given that we’ll adopt the approach outlined in my piece. I was just thinking about how we could use Luiz and one thought led to another…

    And even if we did have Luiz as a deep-lying playmaker it would still be possible to have another playmaker further forward (maybe Ozil or Ceballos) at the expense of one of the front three or of one of the two protective MFs.

    And as Marcus and Rasp have elegantly explained, another option is to have Luiz playing an out-and-out DM/deep-lying playmaker role in front of a back four.

    Also interesting that some see Luiz as being more of a threat to Xhaka’s role than Ozil’s, which is also a fair point.

    Perhaps I’m heaping too much expectation on the Brazilian’s shoulders and we’ll all be disappointed, but for now the possibilities are intriguing and exciting.

    Kelsey – hello, hope all is well with you.

    GoonerB – I’m slightly troubled by the idea of “being in the wrong corpse” – this isn’t an episode of Silent Witness you know 🙂

    Redders… hmmm… 32 is an interesting age. Some players start seeming over the hill by then. Others seem to be able to play at the highest level to age 35 or 36. Which is Luiz? Let’s hope it’s the latter (but you have inserted a little niggle-worm of worry into my mind).

  24. RockyLives says:

    SR
    Thanks. I thought of continuing the metaphor along the lines of “…you can only shift the blockage when you get the runs right..” but issues of taste restrained me 🙂

  25. Sue says:

    After getting over the initial shock of us signing him… I’m now up for some (more) fuzzy hair, of the Brazilian kind… I’d prefer to see him with the master wrestler Sokratis (not completely sold on Chambers as yet……) in a back 4… hopefully starting on Saturday!

    Ozil & the hunk are back in training, so I read, hopefully they’ll make the bench…..
    Another spot on read… fancy being told to p**s off 😯

  26. RockyLives says:

    Apparently Xhaka is an injury doubt for this weekend, so maybe the Luiz-for-Xhaka approach will get a run out sooner than we might have expected.

    Sue – not to worry, Jake is obviously someone of robust opinions and a pithy (if limited) approach to dialogue. Funnily enough, I kind of agree with him about Sokratis. I’m a fan of our Hercules and would not have too many issues with swapping him in for Holding or Chambers in my proposed line-up.

  27. GoonerB says:

    Haha Rocky. Predictive text. I am sure I don’t need to explain to a gentleman of your intellect that I meant copse and wasn’t in any way suggesting you have a penchant for hanging around mortuary’s.

    Alan I believe our 3 senior attacking central midfielders are Ozil, Ceballos and Micki. I don’t believe Luiz at holding midfield is a threat to them but is a threat to the 4 that have been at the base of our midfield of late.

    I actually wonder if Ceballos was insurance for Ozil as no one quite knew if he would still be with us this season.

  28. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cheers Rocky

    Like all 1960’s South American Marxist Revolutionaries Luiz could offer something flamboyant to a midfield needing creativity and those who desire a T Shirt pretending to be cool.

    The problem however is that like other anti CIA pin up boys Luiz has a trait of debauchery, which could result in heavy drug intake, injury inducing sex, and a frustrating flashiness resulting in giving the ball away in dangerous areas

    I’m all in favour of injury induced sex and moderate to heavy drug use, but giving the ball away resulting in us letting in goals is unacceptable. So is trying to look cool when you live with your mother. I know, I’ve tried it.

    I don’t think our midfield needs Luiz. if you examine the evolution of football closely, you will find that Nixons presidency and Kissinger “real politic” resulted in a glut of ball playing midfielders or forwards.. For example, without Kissinger, Rodney Marsh would have been a Plumber. Either way though, he will always have been a Twat.

    Lets try Luiz at the back first.

  29. Rasp says:

    Now there is the something ‘barking’ we’ve been looking for …. welcome TMHT 🙂

  30. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hows it going Rasp?

    I liked our midfield at Newcastle. We managed to confuse the Geordies by playing 3 midfielders who worked hard. I also suspect that they think Che Guevara is a central London Restaurant.

  31. kelsey says:

    Just read on the official site, that Tierney is expected to start training sometime in October.(these injuries always take longer) and despite a good window and a net spend this Summer of £35 million (not overall cost) I still think every really good tem is built initially on a solid defence and then midfield and attack.Sokratis has impressed and we have a good balance now bar the wing backs which has been our downfall on the counter attack for a few years. Edu will work well with Emery I hope but the first two months are critical with some really hard games to come.

  32. kelsey says:

    TMHT, you still being a naughty boy at your age ? 😉

  33. Akan says:

    If our style of play were to evolve as you have described with such detail, what would you do with Xhaka?
    The constipated style that the team is currently playing is designed to accommodate Xhaka’s lack of ambition and quality to bring the ball forward the way Kante does which frees up his attackers to find space like, the same way we used to play with Fabregas. I watched Sanchez become more and more frustrated after Xhaka’s introduction into the team in 2016 because he ended up having to having to drop deep to collect the ball to make his own plays. Remember him sitting and shaking his head saying to himself, what the hell is this and where are we going from here. Till eventually he got fed up and left.
    Emery’s solution is to employ an additional non creative tackler to compensate for Xhaka’s inability to perform any task particularly well, except pointing his finger,. That solution has resulted in the team going backwards literally, and becoming painful to watch.

  34. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Kelsey, my dear fellow, hope you are well.

  35. Alan Briefel says:

    I still don’t get why xhaka seems to be so universally popular among our managers
    Frankly if I had my way he ‘d have been sold and we should have gone for someone like ndombele (spell?) .
    He d be in my first 4 to be sold with Mustafi, jenkinson , Oezil and iwobi .

    Alan Briefel

  36. JOHN ABRAHAM says:

    I like it Rocky. Let’s hope our Head Coach sees it that way also. I particularly like the idea of opponents guessing what we might do each game. That prospect alone is mouth watering.

  37. Alan Briefel says:

    Ha , I knew there was another midfielder that we needed to sell. That s Miki .
    I think there are implications for our attacking midfielders (at least the number we can play) by having Luiz sitting in front of the back 4 (or in a back 5)
    Either that or we ll have to rotate between aubemayang , lacazette and Pepe (2 out of 3 per match )
    Interestingly torreira seems to be the forgotten man in many proposed line ups . Will his criticisms of life in London , and the kroenke s propensity to get some cash back on the balance sheet , see him sold off before the sell deadline ?

    Alan Briefel

  38. kelsey says:

    I think the Sanchez/Mikkitarian deal reputed to be to a value of £32 million is the worst swap deal in recent years.Mikki is either second or third highest wage earner and IMO is distinctly average Not for me and with Pepe hopefully a great signing can we afford mikki or his wages.

  39. GoonerB says:

    Alan, have you left your number because you are hoping the lovely peaches or Sue will call you? 😁

    Alan a harsh but quite well analysed critique. With all available players at present I would be lining up with a 4-1-2-3 as follows:

    Leno
    AMN, Chambers, Socratis, Monreal
    Luiz
    Ceballos, Willock
    Pepe, Laca, Auba

  40. Rasp says:

    Hi Kelsey, I think unfortunately, it’s more a case of ‘can any other prospective team afford Mkhi’s wages?’

  41. Rasp says:

    GB … I was just about to send this …

    Hi Alan and welcome to AA, good to have you on board.

    I guess you must be sending comments from your phone. I’ve taken your phone number off the bottom of your comments, assuming you’d rather it wasn’t circulated. There is probably a setting on your phone that gives you the choice of including it or not.

  42. GoonerB says:

    Sorry the 2nd bit was in reply to Akan

  43. Alan says:

    Thanks
    We also seem to be forgetting about gendouzi , who was arguably our best player at Newcastle. Despite all the star signings , we somehow need to find play time for him , nelson , the Brazilian kid and of course Willock. Rotation more likely to fool our players more than it will the oppo , and most successful sides in the league actually win it with a stable first choice 11 , with good back up players when needed . Man City and Liverpool are examples of this.

  44. RockyLives says:

    Hello Terry
    What a pleasant surprise. Quite frankly you’re the only regular on here who ever talks any sense 🙂
    Interesting analysis of the Brazilian-South American-Revolutionary-CIA-Realpolitik background to the Luiz signing. I’m kicking myself for not having addressed it in the Post.

  45. GoonerB says:

    Rasp, I’d check with Sue and Peaches before removing Alan’s number. If he turns out to be a bit of a dish they won’t be happy with you.

    Brilliant to get a Rocky post and to hear from TMHT and Kelsey. I feel like I am in a blues brothers “were getting the band back together” moment. Just a few more to hear from.

  46. RockyLives says:

    Elwood: There’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

    Joliet Jake: Hit it!

  47. RockyLives says:

    I’d put in the clip if I knew how.

  48. GoonerB says:

    Rocky 😁😁

  49. RockyLives says:

    GoonerB
    Surely you meant:
    😎 😎

  50. Rasp says:

    Where’s Chas …. he’d find the clip

  51. Sue says:

    Haha GB… he may be a Kolasinac doppelganger 😜

  52. Rasp says:

    I’m better than I thought 😂

  53. RockyLives says:

    Lovely Rasp. Great moment from a great film.

  54. Ambrose says:

    just a thought Arsenal lovers….how about using Luiz or kolasinac as defensive midfielders to partner xhaka while the backline is manned by Holding and Papa when fit….i like their tackling and could help us against teams that bully us like Stoke and Watford(Deeney)

  55. VCC says:

    Wow, this is almost like old times. A Rockilicious post, a Kelsey accountancy sheet, Vocabulary lesson from Redders, and a most welcomed visit from the mad professor Terrance.

    GoonerB has let us down with several short posts, this Rocky headline surely deserves better. 😉

    Nice to hear everyone is well. Hopefully OUR Arsenal can keep us that way.

    COYG

  56. VCC says:

    Oooops Sorry Rocky. A smashing read.

    I’m on the fence that says Luiz should be our Defensive mid fielder.

    Until everyone is fit my line up would be.

    Leno.

    AMN…..Sokratis……Chambers…..Monreal

    Luiz

    Torriera……Willock

    Auba…..Laca…….Pepe.

    This formation would reinforce our defence whist allowing our front three + Willock to terrorise opponents.

    COYG

  57. Mike M says:

    Morning all. I was out last night and I did have a few adult beverages but I actually don’t remember writing the 9.28 comment. Indeed at 3.18 am I was definitely asleep. Which leads me to believe there’s another Mike M. Or i was in much worse shape than I thought. Either way, here’s my take on Luiz. It might be an interesting concept to play him as a midfielder but I see a few issues. @ Marcus – was his midfield excellence under Mourinho in his first spell or in his second spell? If it was the first, it was quite a while ago. Which leads me to my second point. Playing as a creative midfielder rather than playing penetrating balls out of central defence have one fundamental difference, time on the ball to make the pass. At the back, he gets time to see the field and pick a runner. I’d venture to say he’d be less effective if he was playing teams with a good high press. So by definition, he’d likely be less effective further up the field.I just think we should be careful here because play makers are at a premium for a reason – it’s a very difficult thing to do in a modern day midfield. In fact they are a dying breed and the game is moving past them. I think it’s unlikely a 32 yr old CB could fill the role. However, anything’s possible and I do think he’d be better than Xhaka. But I’d prefer to see Torreira, Guendouzi, Willock and Ceballos in the centre of midfield at this point.
    If there’s another Mike M, let me know and I can change my name.

  58. RA says:

    Hi Terry,

    I actually understood every word, and every thought you put into your comment, which is really terrifying!! 😜😳

    You OK? Not seen you for a while.

  59. RA says:

    Hi VCC, 😁

    Whenever I see your gravatar name I immediately start counting in Latin.

    Did you see Le Coq (aka GLIC) saying, yesterday, that he played footie in South London and scored myriad goals for St Mary’s or some such?

    Makes me laugh as much as Terrible Terry does!! 🤪

  60. fred1266 says:

    Shouldn’t we wait and see how luiz plays/fits into the team before we make all these assumptions

  61. Sue says:

    Surprised at Sol leaving Macclesfield… he was doing alright … or so I thought….

  62. RockyLives says:

    Fred
    We could wait, but where’s the fun in that? 🙂

  63. RA says:

    No, sorry, Rocky, I think Fred has a point — so I will shortly delete all today’s 70 odd comments, especially Fred’s — and we can all look at blank screens.

    Or …….. maybe I will just delete Fred’s — he did not want to read the Post or the comments anyway!! 🤪

  64. RA says:

    Just referring back to something I said a few days back, in that wr had a really encouraging transfer window recruitment — coupled with far more injury and absentee problems.

    The injuries are beginning to take on Wengeresque proportions, and now the Mesut/Kolasinac security problems.

    The Mesut/Kola situation seems to be easing, but they are unlikely to play on Saturday.

    Those still out because of injury.

    Holding
    Smith Rowe
    Xhaka
    Mavro
    Tierney
    Belli Button

    2 + 6 = umm — quite a lot — Sue’s good at math – we can ask her to total it up. 🥺

    .

  65. RockyLives says:

    Now just you lay off poor old Fred, Redders.

    I can sympathise with his viewpoint. Not everyone revels in idle speculation and cockamamie theorising about tactical bolleaux (TB).

    To be honest, I’m not much of a TB man myself, but every now and then a thought pops into my noggin, rattles around the empty spaces for a bit then emerges as an attempt to seem like I know what I’m talking about.

  66. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    It really is like old times – we even have an injury crisis like we used to have a few years back 🙂

  67. Mike M says:

    Xhaka is injured !!!!!! Now while never wishing misfortune on any player especially ours (and that is sincere), maybe this could be an interesting development !!

  68. Rasp says:

    Mike M … we’re looking into the doppelganger comment at the start of the day. It was a good comment, so it may just be that someone else shares the same blog name. We will send an email and get back to you.

    Incidentally, your post in drafts dovetails nicely with today’s so we plan to publish tomorrow if that’s ok with you …

  69. Sue says:

    So who’s playing the drum on Saturday then? First home game, drum trials, expectations are high… going to be loud & proud!! Can’t wait!

  70. Alan says:

    I’d rather we sold him for £40m , than him get an ACL . Get rid of him , ozil , Miki and Mustafi before the European transfer deadline

  71. Rasp says:

    Are you going on Saturday Sue? … Five or six AAers will be there and counting ….

  72. Sue says:

    Yes I am, Rasp 🙂

  73. Rasp says:

    Ah … the good ol’ days with a full sick bay …as follows:

    Granit Xhaka
    Bruising to lower back and leg. Being assessed ahead of Saturday.

    Rob Holding
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation and now participating in full training with the first team.

    Emile Smith Rowe
    Groin. Aiming to participate in full training in 1-2 weeks.

    Hector Bellerin
    Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

    Kieran Tierney
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

  74. Rasp says:

    Where do you sit Sue?

  75. VCC says:

    RA. 3:05. Le Coq also played for SENRAB ( Barnes Street) who played at Forest Gate.

    John Terry + Ledley King and more famous players wore their shirt. They have been a top side for many years.

    My Sons side played in the same league, and always had a hard game against them.

  76. Sue says:

    All over, Rasp…whatever I come across on the ticket exchange! North Bank this week. How about you? Season ticket holder?

  77. Rasp says:

    Sadly not Sue, I have a couple of silver memberships which I and others can use. Im sitting near LBG, ant and peaches (all ST holders) on Saturday which is NB upper, roughly in line with the left corner flag as you look from behind the goal.

  78. kelsey says:

    Surprise of the day is that Ozil and Kolašinac are 100% fit and ready for selection for Saturday. I have my own theory on all of this which you probably have already discussed but I feel it’s not over as yet. Sue, pleased to meet you. I am one of the original life long members of AA and VCC is always mocking me. 😉 Rasp you have a good point about Mikki.Gazidis has to take a fair proportion of the blame with Laws for these past few years.I feel it will take a few seasons to get back regularly at least in the top 4 or even challenging for the title as I am a realist.

  79. Sue says:

    Silver’s good, Rasp….. I’m red.. which suits me, I can’t make it every week, what with work & other commitments. I’m on the season ticket list (😆) whether I’m offered one in my lifetime or not, who knows haha!! Maybe once my mortgage is paid off, I’ll probably go more….(10 max atm)
    Great view from up there hey?! And I bet you have a hoot 🍻😀

  80. Sue says:

    Hello Kelsey…. nice to meet you… well it’s a great site 👍 You’ll have to excuse me, as there are some people on here, I’m not familiar with (being a newbie.. ish)
    Well that certainly is great news, about Sead & Mesut 😁

  81. RA says:

    VCC,

    Yes I understood that Le Coq-a-Doodle was pretty good, and as Senrab are obviously a top club for youngsters, and your sons played against them they must have been/are very good too. 😁

    My problem is that I did not know that — but I have googled it now. Impressive.

  82. RA says:

    The great VAR debate showed how worked up football fans can get about something new, and want to let the world know they are not happy.

    I have been watching the Eng v Oz cricket – (England are getting pummelled) and there was quite a contrast with the England fans simply accepting the off field umpires decision, backed up by the video.

    Woakes followed a ball down leg, and thought he had not touched the ball which had been caught by a fielder. The batsman queried the decision to give him out, but video and a sound detector showed there was an infinitesimal feather touch on the batsman glove which he would not have felt.

    The batsman accepted the decision, as did the England fans — the guy was out from the equivalent of a glancing kiss — OK – move on.

    Not that I know much about kisses – glanced or not! 😳

  83. Pat7 says:

    Better late than never but I am 4 hours behind here rather than 2 in front :-). Great post Rocky and you have increased my relish to what we will be capable of this term.

    I can’t wait for Bellers and our new man Tierney to light up those wings along with Pepe (and Aruba)….. I looked at Luiz’ signing as a big plus: his ball ability, organisational capability (captain), brilliant defender and not to be messed with just adds up to strengthening our spine!

    You now add the possibility of losing Xhaka and Ozil, our weakest defenders – Wow! Forget Kola in DM – he might be large, have balls 🙂 but he can’t tackle!

    As a recent post said, let’s see him settle in first and step by step bring in the moves. I recall the time when Alonso could have been ours for £10M and as usual we missed out….oh for a DM from that time!

  84. I found this comment on yesterday’s post, I’ll try to get in touch with the author

    Bruce Hervé (@hernino25) says:
    August 15, 2019 at 12:54 pm (Edit)
    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.

  85. RA says:

    The amazing shirt deals that clubs have made as shown below.

    Despite our decline in reason years we still are popular.

    1. Manchester United – £64 million (Chevrolet)
    2. Manchester City – £45 million (Etihad)
    3. Arsenal – £40 million (Fly Emirates)
    4. Chelsea – £40 million (Yokohama)
    5. Liverpool – £40 million (Standard Chartered)
    6. Tottenham – £35 million (AIA)
    7. West Ham – £10 million (Betway)
    8. Everton – £9.6 million (SportPesa)

  86. RA says:

    Hi Pat7,

    You well? 😁

    Why are you so behind?

    On holiday away from Cyprus, many peoples favourite holiday destination? — Show off! 😜

  87. RockyLives says:

    Hello Pat

    And VCC – really pleased to see you still here and glad you haven’t vanished like me… I trust all is well in VCC-world?

  88. Pat7 says:

    Hi Team, sorry forgot to say earlier! Yes, not to make you jealous but at my complementary home in Nova Scotia to avoid the 35-50C of Cyprus…..So glad the team is now almost complete again but recruiting too :-). Must fly now as a run in the sun and some renovating takes me away……enjoy!

  89. RA says:

    After having had a moan about who the hell at Arsenal agreed to sell The Jef to the French Team Angers for buttons, it has been confirmed today he has already been sold to Lyon for £23m today.

    OK, we will get £5m from the ‘sell on’ clause, but as I predicted, Lyon will eventually sell him on again when he has got the experience and probably £50m — well that’s just a guess, but probably not too far off the mark in today’s market.

    Frankly, we had a good transfer window, but that balances it out – negatively. 😒

  90. LB says:

    On the tarmac at Heathrow, top post and great comments.

  91. RA says:

    England cricket all out for a measly total in less than a day — again.

    Me too — ta-ra.

    [91 comments, so far, Rocky — well done, you literary beast. 😁 ]

  92. RockyLives says:

    Well let’s make it 92 Redders: I couldn’t agree more about Le Jef…

  93. Welcome home LB, I was getting worried you’d be missing the game on Saturday 😉

  94. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Vics, you old bugger. Hope you and the family are all good. For anyone who has not met VCC he looks like everybody’s favourite grandad, yet he’s only in his mid forties.

    I’m well Redders, hope you are too? Cornwall is always banging on about that Sernab team. I think he was trying to bait me because I opened up to him how at school I was always the last to be picked. Been picked last left me with terribly low self esteem so I have spent my whole life in search of psychological security.

    About two years ago I joined a group called “My ego has done a runner” and started to feel better about myself. One bloke was so damaged from never been picked and when there was a lack of coats, been forced to be one of the goal posts, he would only communicate by video link and even then he was hooded.

    My improvement soon evaporated when the organiser of the group announced that as a bonding exercise he had organised a match against the society of “Where has my self worth gone”. The game ended nil nil but the low self worths hit the post three times so I ended up with bruises, a broken nose, and now also wear a hood

  95. Sue says:

    Terry.. 😂😂 quality!!

  96. VCC says:

    TMHT…….glad to see you haven’t lost it. Crack me up all the time…..LUV IT.

  97. GoonerB says:

    TMTH 🤣 you have surpassed even your high standards of comedy. I loved that and found it hilariously satirical until a thought crossed my mind that maybe those societies actually existed and that I might have attended them myself. I have tried many in an effort to find my inner self.

  98. Mike M says:

    @ Rasp – I liked the comment attributed to me so no problem there but if we’re both using the same name, I’m ok with changing. Tomorrow is fine. lot’s of comments on this one also apply so hopefully it won’t be redundant. May focus more on Xhaka than Luiz. Which brings me to @Bruce Herve – great comment on our midfielders. Some of it I agree with but I have this nagging question (Gooner B will attest !!). Where are the stats or even instances that show Xhaka is actually good at what he does – whatever that may be? I’m searching for positives – believe me I am because I want to be behind every one of our players. Xhaka makes it so difficult because in practical terms, I just can’t see his contribution. In a nutshell, if he isn’t a DM he’s way behind getting into our midfield. If he is, he’s horrible at it. If he’s some sort of hybrid, as you point out, Torreria and Guendouzi are way ahead and for me, Willock would be great at it and happy to do it. Ceballos too may be better defensively than we know. So, help me out here !!!

  99. LBG says:

    Mike M.
    Tend to agree with your reservations on Xhaka, and also believe Terrier and Ouzi can be educated into the “alternating” role of CDM, particularly if Luiz can teach those skills. I believe Lampard will start using Kante in the role again and he is the modern template because his engine surpasses significantly Makelele’s.

  100. Mike M says:

    @LBG. Couldn’t agree more. Hopefully in the bigger games he might use them together. As you will see tomorrow, I also believe Kante is the real deal and I sent that post in yesterday !! I do believe Chavs will use him in the position where he was when they (and Leicester) won the title. I’m still looking for answers as to why Xhaka is rated by many fans and our manager. It’s a genuine question for me.

  101. fred1266 says:

    Lol ok rocky, the reason why I didn’t want to speculate cause am not a fan of the transfer so actually don’t care if I don’t see him play, especially in midfield where I want willock to lock down a starting spot

  102. ZulSaad says:

    Luiz are not inspiration player, he not creating opportunities. We shud look how Brazil not progress in their defence due to individual talent not TeamWorks

  103. RA says:

    Terry,

    I had to go out before I saw your reply yesterday.

    Switched on the blog this a.m. and could not stop laughing — that’s a great start to the morning — Thank you — Thank you.😁😁

    I wish I had known you some years ago. I had close contacts with some very successful professional comedians, and I think you could have said ‘stuff it’ to accountancy, and joined them as you are such a natural comedian yourself.

    I have lost touch with them over the years – probably because I ate too much at the Groucho Club. 😇

  104. RockyLives says:

    Redders, I have to agree.

    Terry’s comedy is bordering on genius. Every comment takes us on a bizarre and hilarious journey (the way Eddie Izzard or Bill Bailey can do) except with Terry’s unique style and nuttiness.

  105. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    …New post …

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