Mesut Özil Ate My Hamster …

I know, I know, but its a slow Wednesday morning and Sunday seems to be taking forever to arrive so don’t expect too much this morning people. The link, however, is the position that Ozil plays and I am assuming that had he been fit and on form then he would have played at the head of the diamond in place of Ceballos against Liverpool, agreed, or maybe not?

Özil or Ceballos?

This brings me to the link between Ozil and Ceballos and the question of why do we need them both; the answer is that we probably don’t. My guess is that Ozil remains wrapped in cotton wool on the off chance that someone might buy him in the remainder of this Euro transfer window. As a guess as to what is going on behind the scenes with him this is no big deal, pedestrian really, but how the club are going about replacing him is what is fascinating me.

Buying a tried and tested attacking midfielder would probably cost, in wages terms, around four hundred thousand pounds a week, hang on didn’t we have one of those but let him go – Ramsey wasn’t it? You get my drift, they are few and far between, they are expensive and even worse it is still possible to make a massive mistake. There is no better example than the debacle that United are dealing with right now with the “tried and tested” Sanchez — phew, dodged that bullet.

Back to Ceballos. Last week we all would have been happy if he were signed then and there and the name Ozil never mentioned again, this week, mah, not so much. It is also far easier to see why the club didn’t try and push the boat out in an attempt to sign him outright from day one. Cleverly, we get to see him develop all season before we choose to spend the big bucks, the club might want to do that as well but our opinion (we) is far more important of course, lol. It’s a good strategy, it’s a clever strategy and as an attempt to replace Ozil, be it this season or next, I think it is worth pointing out.

Ceballos or Torreira?

And, that believe it or not, brings me to where I wanted to be all along. Mike asked: “If you lose a game does it by definition mean the tactics are flawed?” Certainly not, in my opinion, but with the use of hindsight surely we would have been better off playing Torreira at the head of the diamond instead of Ceballos.

I am not convinced that our five foot, two Uruguayan is the defensive midfielder that we all seem to think he is. Has anyone seen such archetypal DMs such as Kante or Makelele steal inside the box and score goals such as Torreira’s against spuds or against Liverool on the weekend for that matter?

Our pocket rocket can operate well in the box and score goals, the importance of which should never be underestimated; perhaps I can describe him as a Swiss army knife with far more tools available than people are realising or maybe accepting — surely he is better deployed as an attacking midfielder than a rigid DM?

LB

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37 Responses to Mesut Özil Ate My Hamster …

  1. RC78 says:

    Thanks for a great post and read and some interesting questions…
    The underlying ones are:
    A) Why the hell didn’t we keep Ramsey?
    B) What are we going to do with Ozil (and to a certain extent Mkhy)?
    C) Is Ceballos the Real deal?
    D) Isn’t Torreira best fit to be a CM or BTB than a DM? And if he is an automatic starter and if Emery wants to play Ceballos, who is the 3rd midfielder to be added to the trio to have a balanced Midfield?

    A1) I do not understand why the club did not secure Ramsey…Miscalculation from the management team I think.
    B1) If Emery is playing Ceballos as part of our midfield 3, then I am afraid either Ozil or Mkhy is a player that needs to leave because we also have Willock that can play there and ESR so for our wage structure, best would be to see Ozil leave and maybe we can get someone to snatch him but apparently, he is very happy to stay so the chances of seeing Mkhy out before Monday are actually higher
    C1) I think Ceballos is a good midfielder and he will come in handy. Will he ever be as good as Silva, De Bruyne or Cazorla – only time will tell. From my side, I am not 100 per cent convinced because he is actually much more lethal when he plays really close to the strikers, a bit like…Bergkamp or Coutinho. Anyways, definitely an exciting prospect
    D1) I agree that Torreira should not be reduced to playing as DM/HM only. He has a bundle of energy and a good eye for the pass and the occasional goal so…who plays next to him? We can see that Emery is keen to play Ceballos so that leaves us with one spot left in the mid 3…You could argue that Xhaka would bring in needed experience and nastiness to the midfield or you could argue that Douzi’s energy in recovering balls and blocking shots could cement our midfield or you could argue that in the end, we need a more robust DM and maybe Chambers or Luiz could be given a chance…I d opt for the last option and wouldn’t mind seeing either:
    Torreira, Luiz , Ceballos or Torreira, Chambers, Ceballos

    Douzi, Xhaka, Willock would provide good cover and that brings us back to B, what do we do with Ozil and Mkhy? Quality players but one must certainly go as we are also trying to let RN get some playing time up front and ESR will also be eased in the team (inless loaned to Germany again).

  2. LB says:

    Great pics

  3. RC78 says:

    @Sue – Mustafi edging closer to Italy and Roma specifically. One year loan deal with a clause to automatically buy the player for 23 Mln EUR.

    @all – Sanchez to Inter and seems that Neymar will join PSG for roughly 220 Mln with 170 Mln EUR cash (100 payable now and 70 next year) + players (Semedo, Sergio Roberto , Dembelecould be part of the deal)

    @all – El Neny still being monitored by Bordeaux. An offer of around 10 Mln may reach AFC.

  4. Sue says:

    Cheers, RC… 👍

  5. RockyLives says:

    Thanks LB

    Great headline and a good Post.

    To take RC’s “4 Questions” approach…

    A) Ramsey: clearly a management cock-up but also I don’t think UE fancied him when he first arrived. Only as the season wore on did UE come to appreciate how important he was for us, but by then the bridges were well a-flame.

    B) Ozil and Mkhi: both need to go, for everyone’s best interests. And I speak as a long-time defender and supporter of Ozil. It’s just that time moves on and Mesut is firmly associated with our failures of recent years.

    C) Ceballos: I was raving after Burnley, but he was almost invisible against ‘Pool (apart from trying to gift them a goal). I’m not worried though. What he showed against Burnley were skills that can’t be taught, and he hasn’t lost them because of one poor game. I think he could be an outstanding player for us this year and supplant Ozil as our creator-in-chief. I like RC’s suggestion of playing him in an advanced role a la Bergkamp or Coutinho.

    D) Torreira: hmmm… he’s definitely not a DM and some of his performances last season disappointed me (he seemed very lightweight at times and unable to win physical battles). On other days he looked amazing. I’d go for a BTB role, where his goal threat is useful but where he also contributes bite to our MF.

  6. GoonerB says:

    Marvellous post LB, thank-you. I missed all the later quality comments yesterday but the main points you raise today do somewhat allow for brevity in covering some of yesterday’s discussion.

    I do agree with you that it is not always the formation that loses a game but conversely it can be the formation that loses you a game.

    On Saturday I still stand by my feeling that Emery’s formation was completely wrong. I am not saying a better formation would have seen us win, as Liverpool at Anfield is one of the toughest places to go, but I feel the narrow diamond never gave us a chance to be in with a shout.

    I think if it was one of 4 possible formations to choose from then the narrow diamond would have been the weakest. In fact I think had you put 4 possible Arsenal formations in front of Klopp and asked him to choose which he would prefer to face he would have chosen that one.

    We have seemingly been buying and promoting players to allow for a front 3, as most top modern sides play, and now we have many options for this, so I found it strange that we didn’t play a formation with attacking wide players. I hope not to see that line up again and think there are 2-3 stronger go to formations for us.

    On Torreira I agree that he can play a more dynamic role with more input further up the field. I am not sure he should be the most advanced spearhead of our midfield and see him as the box to box player between the attacking spearhead and the holding midfielder.

    That allows me to answer redders question to me yesterday about what do I mean by this. I know others have said that they don’t like that pidgeon holing type definition but I find it a good way to regard a type of player.

    It is more about the predominant quality in each player and how that compliments and balances players around them.

    The holding midfielder is predominantly more positionally disciplined and defensive but ideally has some ball playing skills, Luiz.

    The box to box player is defensively tenacious but has the ability to drive play forwards and can carry the ball with an occasional goal, Torreira, Willock Douzi.

    The attacking spearhead is just that creative player that ideally scores a few, Ceballos, Ozil, ESR, Micki.

    I think having 3 with those predominant qualities gives the strongest balance.

    RC78 asked an interesting question regarding what midfield 3 we would ideally like to emulate. I believe each league is different in what is required, and in the faster more physical EPL we need physical athletes that are tecnical rather than technical players that lack the physicality.

    Sometimes when you get that all round package of the physical players that are also great technically you then see the English teams become dominant in Europe. My choice is to try and emulate the Mackalele, Essien, Lampard midfield 3, and I dont feel we are far from having the right players to do this.

  7. GoonerB says:

    Rocky, I agree that probably both Ozil and Micki should be consigned to the past and moved on now. As much as anything else we have other options in this position now.

    Ceballos is the obvious one but I would very much like to see ESR promoted to be deputy for that role and get reasonable playing time this year. I see a bit of an Ozil, Ramsey, Lampard mix in him and have high hopes he can become our longer term answer to the attacking central creator in chief.

    Redders, I think I need to further explain my answer to your question yesterday about the box to box midfielder. I see the box to box midfielder as a defensive midfielder with a great engine and ability to cover ground quickly so that they are both commanding the central midfield arena but can get forward and support the attack at pace.

    Vieira was that supreme player in that mould and would dominate the midfield but could really put on the afterburners at times and drive forwards. Vieira generally operated best here when provided that bit more freedom in having a more positionally disciplined defensive midfielder along-side him, Gilberto for instance, who would cover defensively behind him when needed so that Vieira wasn’t always the last line of defence in midfield.

    The problem for us is that we don’t have that positionally disciplined defensive midfielder out of the current crop we traditionally consider as our midfielders, which is why myself and some others have turned our attention towards our slightly more technical ball playing central defenders like Luiz and Chambers to potentially fulfill the role.

    All of Xhaka, Douzi, Willock, Torreira and Elneny are really defensive midfielders that need that covering disciplined defensive midfielder alongside them to get the balance and best out of them individually.

    I am not generally a fan of playing 2 of them to kind of cover the 1 job at the base of our midfield. I think it restricts our forward thinking play and draws away from the natural instinct of each player. I think it often gets confusing as to who is doing what at which time, and we end up with no-one taking the defensive responsibility at times in games, but also neither playing freely going forwards.

    I feel that from our current crop that Torreira and Willock look our most dynamic defensive midfielders in the box to box type mould closely followed by Douzi. The other 2 could go for me as we have too many, and it wold balance out the numbers and clear the confusion somewhat in our midfield set-up.

    Someone asked the other day who do we have that can carry the ball from midfield and break the lines of play. Obviously Ceballos showcased this at Burnley so he is 1 option, but sadly maybe only this season. Willock looks like he has that ability to run with the ball as well as ESR, and Douzi possibly will develop this way as well.

    Xhaka doesn’t have it which is why I think he is suited, as others say, to a lower level or perhaps a different league. Who did have that ability was Iwobi and I still maintain he had the makings of a ball carrying central midfielder more so than a wing forward. Personally I am still a bit sad about that and feel in retaining Xhaka and letting Iwobi go we chose the wrong player to recoup money on.

    The thing about Willock, ESR and Iwobi is that any of them, as they developed further, could still have become either an attacking central midfielder or a more defensive box to box type. I would have kept the options open on all of them.

  8. Sue says:

    So it looks like our friend, dear little Sanchez, is off to Inter… but wait, i thought he left us to win everything with United 😂
    5 goals in 45 appearances….. should have stuck to playing the piano!! 😂
    👋

  9. GoonerB says:

    Thinking further on the formations and player combinations that give us balance I remember doing a post where I was arguing that there are a few basic formations only and then the strength or individual quality of the player dictated the subtle distinctions from the main formation.

    The narrow diamond we played Saturday was a 4-4-2 variation but didn’t have traditional wide players. Put Lacazette up top with Auba and Pepe either side and it becomes a 4-3-3 with attacking width (outside of relying only on FB’s).

    Interestingly we always considered our greater teams under AW as a 4-4-2 as follows (example):

    Lehman
    Lauren Campbell Toure Cole
    Ljunberg Gilberto Vieira Pires
    Bergkamp Henry

    However because both Ljunberg and Pires would cut in as goal-scoring wingers they were really more modern wing forwards and Dennis would drop deep to become creator in attacking midfield as well as get forward and score as a traditional 10 would. You could jiggle that formation to be :

    Lehman
    Lauren Campbell Toure Cole
    Gilberto Vieira
    Bergkamp
    Ljunberg Henry Pires

    A variation on the 4-3-3. The thing is it was balanced to have support to Henry and pace and attacking width plus a defensive screen, a box to box DM and an attacking CM or number 10 in Dennis.

    We just need to find that balanced set-up with our current crop with the players operating in their best positions. We can get a similar balanced set up to that great side with what we now have at our disposal. No need for being overly clever and tinkering with it too much with players out of position.

    Anyway, work calls and quiet on here so off for a bit.

  10. Mike M says:

    Morning all. To get straight to it, I think Ramsey was let go because his agent was holding Arsenal’s feet to the fire. After Sanchez and Ozil’s contracts, the bar was set and Emery, The Kronke’s, Vinal and Raul decided they weren’t going to continue down that path. The Ramsey situation sent a clear message to all current and future players that we will agree contracts that we feel are reasonable and sustainable.Hindsight is a powerful thing but as Rocky said I don’t think Unai had enough time to assess Ramsey. I’m not sure it would’ve made a difference anyway.
    As far as DM, HM, BTB, My feeling on it is that team shape (and therefore tactics) are meant to be very fluid in a good team. That takes collective responsibility and that’s where we’ve failed miserably over the last 10 years. From Song to Denilson, Eboue et al, Arsene’s perception of collective ethic just didn’t work.These players didn’t bleed for the team, they weren’t dedicated enough.
    Scenario – In a tight game with City at the Etihad, Torreira, our DM sees a lane open. It’s 85 mins and we’re tied at 1-1. During the game, he’s barely crossed the h/w line. He goes for it. What happened next?:
    1) He gets the ball, no one from City picked him up because they didn’t really expect it and he scores. We win 2-1 (provided we don’t gift them a ridiculous goal late on !!!).
    2) He gets the ball, fails to score, we lose possession. City break and play a ball to David Silva who drifted into the space left by Torreira. As he receives the ball he gets clattered (fairly but hard) by Willock who was covering Torreira and the ball breaks to Ceballos who had also dropped deeper because he saw Torreira go forward and Xhaka had been caught too far up field because he’s not very good or smart.We retain possession.
    3) He gets the ball, fails to score, we lose possession. City break and play a ball to David Silva who drifted into the space left by Torreira. He has loads of time and finds Aguero who buries it and we lose 2-1. All of our midfielders are looking at Torreira wondering where he was.
    So DM, BTB, AM, HM ?? There will be predominant tendencies in every player but the best TEAMS maintain shape by covering each other. We now have the players to do it but they don’t include Xhaka, Miki or Ozil because it’s not natural to them.

  11. fred1266 says:

    Still wished we kept Sanchez

  12. RA says:

    GoonerB, you have done it again!!!

    That was a brilliantly explained, and well thought out response to my slightly tongue in cheek observation.

    If I was King coach I would make a decree that no one known as an Arsenal DM, is ever allowed to play the role of a travelling minstrel’s elbow, up and down and round about, so they would be banned from crossing the halfway line, under threat of losing their goolies, if they did.

    But I am neither King nor coach — so your argument wins — especially as concerns Willock, ESR and Iwobi. (I suspect the latter was sold to recoup the transfer outlay.)

    Thank you monsieur!! 😁

  13. RA says:

    Rasper,

    My apologies — reading all the comments after your excellent pot pourri of a Post, I did not compliment you for it and thank you — I would like to do so now. 😳

  14. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders … thanks … but it was LB’s post.

  15. RA says:

    Thank you, LB, for a pleasant and interesting Post. 😁

    I thought the comment about the loan of Ceballos to Arsenal sounded particular sensible, but I think there is no actual buy out (permanent deal) clause available at the end of it.

    If he is great — expect the fee to increase commensurately, if he is cobblers, we could buy him for the cost of a packet of crisps.

    The latter is totally unlikely, so Ceb could cost us big bucks — I don’t care, how much, these things take of themselves, and frankly I am hoping we are past the “pay peanuts and get monkeys” era.

  16. RA says:

    Rasper,

    I was referring to your Post of many bits (hence pot pourri) that was yesterday’s delight.

    You do remember doing it? 😜

  17. JM says:

    (4-4-2)(4-4-2 diamond)
    Leno
    Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney
    Pépé Luiz Maitland-Niles Ceballos
    Lacazette Aubameyang

    (4-2-1-3) (4-3-3)
    Leno
    Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney
    Luiz Maitland-Niles
    Lacazette
    Pépé Aubameyang Ceballos

    (3-4-1-2)(3-4-3)(3-5-2)
    Leno
    Chambers Luiz Holding
    Bellerin Maitland-Niles Ceballos Tierney
    Pépé
    Lacazette Aubameyang

    *Luiz and Chambers interchangeable between CB and DM/HM
    *Maitland-Niles (with his experience playing at either flanks and good engine) can help cover either FBs/WBs (Bellerin/Tierney) when they move up to join attack. He primarily plays the B2B role.
    *Ceballos, Pépé & Lacazette are interchangeable between AM/WF(wing-forwards)/2nd striker roles.

  18. GoonerB says:

    Mike, I agree that a top side should be fluid and that the top players at the top sides should all cover each other when necessary, but I do feel that there still needs to be a structure with certain specialist players employed in specific areas.

    Even Guardiola pays attention to specialist roles within the side and always seems to favour having a deeper, positionally disciplined, ball winning midfielder. This probably frees up other players more to focus on unlocking the opposition.

    We have mostly still maintained being a fluid attacking team over the last number of years, but have we maintained a structure to go alongside this or has it on many an occasion been a slightly chaotically fluid style of play?

    I feel we have lacked certain specialist players in certain roles that could have brought us greater balance and solidity without upsetting good fluid attacking play.

    The current elite coaches (like Guardiola) do this, and I think it is an area that has let us down significantly that we seem to be addressing for the most part but still with question marks in certain departments.

    I would also agree that we haven’t been the best drilled and disciplined either in players covering for each other. Maybe this is something Emery has improved to a degree, but I don’t think this alone is enough without the right balanced formation utilising specialist players in specific roles.

    Personally the two main specialist roles I feel we have lacked that would have brought us that better balance and structure have been, firstly that deep lying ball winning midfielder, what I term the holding midfielder (sorry for those that dislike the term), and secondly goal scoring specialist wide players or wing forwards if you like.

    I am not referring to the individual quality or lack thereof in certain positions, i.e centre back, because we have always actually had centre backs, just maybe not of a high enough standard, which can obviously also contribute to team performance level and results. I am more referring to positions where we just haven’t had that type of player while other top sides were paying attention to these positions.

  19. Mike M says:

    Gooner B – I think that’s my point. The only chaotic part of AW’s latter years were without the ball. I think our overall attacking efficiency in the latter years diminished mainly because teams playing us knew that if they could lull us far enough forward, they’d have an advantage on the break because of our inability to defend cohesively. So let’s see if we can figure this out by looking at past and current midfield options.
    Vieria, Petit, Lungberg, Pires Gilberto,Parlour, Edu. Only Bobby would not defend very much without the ball.
    Song, Denilson, Cesc, Hleb, Rosicky, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Nasri. It’s hard to pinpoint who in that group other than Cazorla would work hard without the ball but either way, not many could be called tacklers (maybe Song but his lack of positional ethic nullified his contribution).
    Xhaka, Ozil, Miki, Iwobi (if you want to include him), Willock, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ceballos, Ramsey (thinking about last year), Elneney. Maybe now you can see why I’m so keen on 3 from 4 of Willock, Gwen,Torreira and Ceballos. I think all of them can play hybrid roles and maybe Gwen and Torreira would be better at the deeper role. I’m not sure they will all maintain their form or potential but at the moment, that’s my take.
    And of course I think it goes hand in hand with the fact that we have a phenomenal front 3 is an essential ingredient. Hope that helps !!

  20. GoonerB says:

    Hey Mike. I can see your argument for the 3 from 4 in hybrid roles, and it has an appeal at face value, but I still can’t see it working without having the more disciplined specialised holding midfield player.

    Why I say this is because I think both Wenger, for many years, and Emery last year have between them tried out numerous combinations of hybrid defensive midfielders without a proper recognised holding midfielder.

    Some combinations looked better than others but ultimately they always failed when confronted by a better team or a team that came with a tactical plan. I can’t see anything in the current crop that would suggest we will now suddenly get it right with 2 job sharing pivot shift type deep lying players sharing responsibility.

    This deep midfield position I feel has been one of our main achilles heels for many seasons. I feel it is important to finally address this if we want to be more consistent across the season without the yoyo variations in performances.

    On a positive note I think operating with a proper front 3 with 2 attacking wider players will not only improve our attacking threat but will also make us better defensively.

    The advanced attacking wide players can offload some of the responsibility from our full-backs to be the sole source of attacking width, allowing them to pay more attention to their defensive duties. They can overlap at the right time rather than being permanently camped high, and also therefore not be as exposed so often to a counter-attack in the space behind them.

  21. fatgingergooner says:

    Tactics is 1 thing, having quality players is another. Of course tactics are important, but are they to blame for the decline over the last 10-15 years? Or is it the fact we lost loads of world class players and replaced them with not so talented ones?

    It’s true that a lot of teams play a holding midfield player to win back the ball, but you could put me in that position at City and they’d still win most of their games. Same can be said of Pep’s Barca team and a lot of the great teams of the past.

    Exceptional players allow for a larger margin of error in tactics because they can do unbelievable things to cover their managers arses! How many times have Ronaldo or Messi rescued a poor team performance and won their side a game? I imagine it’s quite a lot! Having great tactics gives you an advantage, but having great players wins you trophies.

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    GB,

    I think the problem with Wenger trying 2 CM players rather than a HM is that most of the time they weren’t even CM players and were actually more AM players!!! How many times did we have to sit through games where we played the likes of Ox, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Rosicky etc as a CM pairing where both got caught in front of the ball!!!??? It was so infuriating and quite different from the Willock/Geundouzi or Torreira/Xhaka partnerships we have seen recently. I think we’ve all admitted that those players have defensive qualities and therefore I think it cold work, especially if the AM player alongside them is also willing to work hard as Ceballos has shown so far. I know you don’t see it that way and tbh with you, of course it would make more sense to have 1 world class HM player who can control the whole midfield, but unfortunately we don’t have that player (Chambers and Luiz would just be fill in options and are not good enough to do it on their own) so I think at the moment it makes more sense to play 2 similar types who can communicate and cover each other. All teams used to play 442 back in the day and that’s what CM players had to do, so I don’t believe it should be too difficult for us to achieve it and the early signs at Burnley and Newcastle were that we are capable.

  23. GoonerB says:

    All fair points FGG. You could be absolutely spot on with that comment and it may yet prove to work.

    Just because I have a preference it doesn’t make me right and I will happily hold my hands up to yourself and Mike and others who feel it can work with 2 pivot shift DM’s if that proves to be the case.

    It is a shame that UE didn’t go for a 4-3-3 on Saturday with that in mind. Would have been very interesting to see how it would have looked against top opposition in a tough game.

  24. Mike M says:

    FGG – Very well put. I also think that once a team begins to have success (even if it’s the Spursy type where everyone says how great they are but they can’t actually win anything!!) players will work harder for each other. I don’t know if Santi’s ability or his ethic were more important when he played for us but in my mind he’s a legend because he left everything out on the field every time he played. If you look at Spuds and Liverpool, Juve (Pirlo was older) and Atletico they have all competed recently at the highest level without outstanding individual midfielders but very good quality goalscorers. I think ??!!

  25. Mike M says:

    GoonerB So I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting that not only do we have a complicated rotation/cover system with interchanging but we add to that a different system when we play against better teams by employing a 4-4-2 where we play all 4 of them !!!!!!! I haven’t done the stats (but I promise I will) but how many of TAA and AR’s crosses actually hurt us on Saturday? Their players that can hurt us are their front three and their full backs but mostly when they get behind us. We stopped that from happening and against City away, I’d take that set up again all day long. Especially if we can carve out a couple of golden chances as we did.
    I think this is what separates the great coaches from the good ones – making your team stick to and execute a plan, no matter how hard it is. As we’ve all pretty much agreed, tactical failure isn’t always because the designed tactics were wrong. I agree we should play 4-3-3 in most all of our games but in a few, we need to try something a little different. Of course a dedicated DM would be great and I think FGG and I agree on that but as he points out, we don’t really have anyone and Xhaka isn’t going to cut it. So for now, this may be the best solution.

  26. Sue says:

    Forest at home, in the cup!

  27. fatgingergooner says:

    Mike,

    I think I’ve said this before, and it’s a very simple way of looking at it so please ignore if you think it’s shite 😂 but sometimes you can look at team areas (GK/Def/Mid/Att) as a score out of 10, and if that score is high enough (33 above), regardless of which areas are making up the total, then you can have a successful team:

    GK 7
    Def 9
    Mid 7
    Att 10

    GK 8
    Def 10
    Mid 7
    Att 9

    GK 9
    Def 7
    Mid 10
    Att 10

    Now if one of these areas is a 5 and the rest 10 then it may be that the 5 costs you in the long run, but for the majority, I would say having 2 really strong areas is going to give you a chance. Right now, I believe Arsenal have 1 really strong area but need some improvement in the other 3 to get us to the elite level.

    Arsenal

    GK 7
    Def 6
    Mid 7
    Att 9

    I guess my point is that I agree that the midfield doesn’t need to be full of world class players. It could easily be an 8 as a unit and that’s good enough IF other areas have real talent in them.

  28. fatgingergooner says:

    I just want to point out that this is t the first time we’ve used the diamond. We actually used the exact same tactics from the Liverpool game against Chelsea at home last season and won 2-0. It worked perfectly as Chelsea had no height in the box from open play (Willian/Hazard/Pedro) so their crosses were easily nullified and giving them the flanks wasn’t an issue. Whilst it was far riskier to give Liverpool the flanks (their full backs are much better attacking wise), the reality is they didn’t hurt us from those positions. What we did do against Chelsea though is control the ball and the game much better. Maybe that’s just an advantage of being the home side and using it away at Liverpool was always going to be a struggle.

  29. Sue says:

    Jenko will be back at the Ems… be weird seeing him in the opposing team! Jeez, only been gone 5 minutes, he can’t stay away from the place 😆
    I want revenge, for that FA cup defeat!

  30. Mike M says:

    FGG and GoonerB I think we all agree on one thing. We can’t have a passenger in midfield (especially with a 4-3-3) and there have been times when we’ve had 2 or even 3!! This has made our adequate if sometimes mediocre defence look even worse. So whether we play a dedicated HM or a combination of hybrids if they all work together and do their jobs, many systems would probably work. If you have a fearsome strike force, add a top class CB and good FB’s you end up winning the league (or coming 2nd with 98 pts!!). We’re not there yet but I really think we’re headed in the right direction.

  31. allezkev says:

    Yeah Sue, you can’t ask for anymore than a home draw and as you say, we do owe them…

    It should be a great opportunity for Emery to give some of our youngsters minutes on the pitch, TJJ, Burton, Martinelli and Saka perhaps?

  32. Aaron says:

    Really top analysis lately.

    Was going to mention the diamond a week back, everyone here is on that.

    Mike, we have not had a top class CB who plays with another complimentary cb for a very long time Kola is not a defender, and his ability to break or pass out of the press is abysmal. AMN is not a true rb, Sok is a back in back 4, but no place in back 3, and Luiz played with Sarri at Chelsea in a back 3, and Nacho has no recovery pace.

    According to FGG’s matrix, our defense is a 5 tops, (51 goals conceded 2 years running confirms this.)

    Now, the goals conceded is more complex than that as we all know who was playing in front of them

    So, NO Xhaka at the base of the diamond or at the top. My personal view from yesterday’s post is Guen is a no no either in this formation as I would take Tor or Ceballos on either end all day.

    But, like Gooner B says who will be our true holding midfielder?

    Looking at JM’s formations Ozil has no place in any of those formations at present.

    Also, some great analysis on Emery on other sites too. Emery is reactionary, with only up top pressing, and bring it out the back with sideways passing, yet no 1 touch passing as a centerpiece. I really have a hard time figuring out what he is trying to do against the top squads away that will develop our team, another problem noted elsewhere.

    If the Arenal are set up to absorb pressure week in and week out, concede possession, do not develop a way out of a press, and rely on the counter for 1 or 2 really good chances, then we are all in for a long season against the top 6.

    Hope he makes up his mind and figures this out soon, as our defense is still frail, and this constant tinkering will not work in the long run. Klopp and Pep stick with their identities and make the team work with the players they have- or move them out.

    Emery can’t afford to do this longer than half a season, and he better have the Arsenal continually in the top 6 by Jan, or he will be looking for another line of work.

    We shall see what team shows up this weekend, but know this, the spuds will be UP for this game.

  33. RC78 says:

    For the game vs Spurs at Spurs, I can see Emery trying to again counter opposition rather than control the game…

    Leno – Chambers, Sok, Luiz – AMN, Torreira, Xhaka, Willock, Kola – Pepe, Laca

  34. Morning all

    There’s a New Post ………………

  35. fred1266 says:

    Damn I wish I was going that game just to see jenks one more time

  36. SpankBang says:

    This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am
    really pleassant to read all at single place.

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