How balanced is our team at the moment (not including long term injuries)?

These are the currently available and soon to be available players that Arteta can choose from.

For each position, he has at least two options except maybe for the 10 role (although Willock could play there). He also has some versatile players available like Saka, Martinelli, Auba, Xhaka that can play in multiple positions.

In defense, he has now 5 fit options to choose from for CB and at RB and LB, he can also pick from 5 players.

Arteta has a squad of 23 players available, which is thought to be a good number for a first team squad. He has options in all positions and can probably shape his team easily in a 4231, 4321, 442, 433, 343 and 352 given the available players.

Now the question is – do you find the team balanced in terms of quality and/or quantity? Explain your position 🙂

GK: Leno, Martinez

RB: Bellerin, AMN

CB: Luiz, Sok, Holding, Mustati, Mari

LB: Kola, Saka, Soares

DM: Torreirra, Xhaka

CM: Douzi, Willock

AM: Ozil

RW: Pepe, Nelson

LW: Auba, Martinelli

ST: Lacazette, Nketiah



31 Responses to How balanced is our team at the moment (not including long term injuries)?

  1. Thank you RC78 for the post.

    I have been thinking for a while (well the last few games) that maybe Lacazette could play as a no 10. We’re quite flush with guys to play up front and it would be a shame to have to drop Martinelli while we wait for Laca to find his scoring boots.

    Laca offers a lot more than Ozil in terms of effective defending ( I know Ozil does the running but Laca actually puts his body in the way 😉 ) He’s good in the air, he’d still be available to twist and turn in the box and get shots off. I think he’d be a nightmare for opposing teams given a more free role.

    Worth a try and the pressure would be off him, a bit, to score.

  2. Dibang Pius osang says:

    Pls Arteta should try his best to take arsenal to better position in the table, if things remains this way, it will be a big slap to all the Gunners. Because arsenal is one of the big teams.

  3. RockyLives says:

    Thanks RC

    You have Soares as a LB when my understanding is that he is primarily a RB, so really it should be:
    RB: Bellerin, AMN, Soares
    LB: Kola, Saka
    (Although no doubt Soares could be played at LB if absolutely necessary).

    DM – we know we really have only one DM in the squad in the Terrier. I suppose you could call Xhaka a HM (holding midfielder).

    The AM position is clearly weak unless Willock can grow into the role or, as some were suggesting the other day, we try Laca as a No 10 with Auba as CF.

    ST – I wrote a post a while back saying we need a Giroud type player to use off the bench and I stand by that.

    Areas we’re reasonably strong:
    RB, CB (notwithstanding questions of overall quality), CM (I’m putting Xhaka in there with Gwen and Willock), RW and LW (where we can add Saka to Auba and Martinelli).

    Area’s we’re still weak:
    GK (if Leno gets a bad injury we’re in trouble), DM, AM, ST.

  4. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC, a post right up my street 🙂

    I agree that we currently have the squad to play all the different options you mention. We have the options to be balanced in 2-3 formations so there shouldn’t be any reason to see an unbalanced side, but finding our current best one is another question, and I am not sure that Mikel totally knows this yet.

    Being slightly nitpicky from your list above I would say, that right now, I still view Saka as a winger / wing forward who can cover LB rather than the other way round. That could change of course.

    In terms of the wingers someone like Nelson could just as easily feature from the right or the left. It depends on what you are looking for from them in certain games in terms of deliveries into the box or goal threat and their preferred foot, but the modern way for a top team does seem to be with right footers on the left and lefties on the right to increase their goal-threat when they cut inside.

    Also you are right not to include Chambers who we will not see till next season but we should see Tierney back for the latter part of the season and in my opinion a fully match fit Tierney is our first choice LB so probably needs to be factored in to our thoughts making a 24 squad list.

    I think there are a couple of positional considerations before looking at best formations.

    Firstly a question on what is the difference between an attacking central midfielder and a number 10? We were lucky with Bergkamp in that he had the ability and sublime passing of an ACM but the goal threat of a number 10 so he was essentially both, and the ideal player to operate centrally behind the number 9.

    However Bergkamps are like blue moons and we should just be grateful to have had him rather than unrealistically crave for another like him. Good options can still be found even if they are not at the level of Dennis.

    Ozil has the vision and the passing but lacks the goal threat, so is more ACM than number 10, while Lacazette might be able to play as an effective number 10 with a greater goal threat than Ozil but we will lose something in the passing and build up play.

    Certain games may suit one player more than the other, but what is more important to us right now in selecting a go to best 11? If we had a Dennis in his prime right now this argument would be redundant.

    The second question is what constitutes a winger compared to an inside wing forward? The modern player seems to be both but with an emphasis on getting into the box as a goal-scoring wing forward so they get tighter to the number 9 and play more off him.

    This can dictate whether we consider ourselves lining up as a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or any of the other formations, but I have always said that often it doesn’t matter how you write it down pre game because as the game goes on you morph from one formation to the other anyway.

    We have seen Martinelli and Pepe operate deeper on the wing with ozil up nearer to Aubamayeng or Lacazette looking more like a 4-4-2, but if Ozil drops deeper and Pepe and Martinelli angle in closer to the 9 that shifts to a 4-3-3.

    Actually how different is that to our great team with Henry, Bergkamp, Pires and Ljunberg? They were always listed as a 4-4-2 but the formation constantly changed in its shape during the game and would have resembled a 4-3-3 for large parts of the game. Really the only thing that significantly alters this is in choosing between a back 3 or back 4.

    what is our best go to line up though RC?

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    In near history the best Arsenal teams always played with one winger and one more robust midfielder on the other side. Think Pires and Parlour or Limpar and Rocastle. I’m sure there are more examples.

    I’m not sure we have the players to play 3 up front. They seem to be crow-barred into the formation and it leaves us very light in midfield.

    PEA has to be up top with a wide player: Martinelli or Pepe. Pepe seems very left footed so why can’t he switch to the left at least some of the game? Try Laca deeper and drop Mr O to the bench. Behind we could play Xhaka, LT and Guendouzi.

    Over to you Mik.

  6. RC78 says:

    Seems there is a growing consensus that we should try Laca as a 10 and drop Ozil. I agree and been saying it for a while. I think he ll do wonders for us there and add the goal threat although he has been missing his scoring boots lately.

    Soares is indeed a RB but apparently Arteta picked him to cover at LB.

    Saka is indeed a winger so I agree we can put him up there, which means that we have Soares as LB de facto as Kola s cover. I think Tierney will come back but will he be match fit before end of April?

    Seems Arteta will stick to a 4231 and in that set up I think we should play

    Leno – Bello,?, Luiz, Kola – Torreira, Xhaka – Pepe, Laca, Martinelli – Auba

    We then have good ammunition on the bench as well with AMN, Soares, Mari, Douzi, Willock, Nelson, Saka, Ozil and Nketiah

  7. RC78 says:

    And I also agree that all EPl teams need a Giroud type of players because the league demands it. Sometimes you need to play the long ball and also put a big body up front for deflections, corners…

    Talking about big bodies, how scary is Haaland? The guy is bulldozing through the Bundesliga and now he ll face my home team PSG.. Am scared… Lol

  8. RC78 says:

    @Pete – it s true. As a result, do you think we should go for Grealish? I think he d be quite a recruit and could play on the left as the more robust midfielder you describe.

    Torreira, Xhaka – Pepe, Laca, Grealish – Auba

    And we have our superstar in the making Mr. Martinelli on the bench as our supersub. I d be OK with that especially because Grealish can help cover Xhaka s defensive laps and still bring creativity and goals upfront

  9. LB says:

    My initial feeling to the idea of Laca at number 10 was, hmmm, good idea, I hadn’t thought of that; he has the strength to hold off players and certainly adds far more to the defensive cause than Ozil.

    But thinking further those two attributes are far less valuable than the ability to open up a defence with a slide rule pass; that’s to say, surely we want goals and assists from our number 10 not brute force and defensive cover.

    It could be argued that Ozil does not provide enough goal scoring opportunities from slide rule passes and that view is not without merit but the problem as I see it is with Lacazette not with Ozil. Lacazette’s close control is poor, Ozil can make a pass to Lacazette who is unlikely to be able to return it even if he is capable of controlling it, which more often than not he isn’t. By way of example: think of the interplay between Sanchez and Ozil — incredible.

    So, if Arteta wants to improve the team he should change Lacazette not Ozil.

  10. RC78 says:

    by the way…I (seems all of us too) forgot Ceballos…

  11. RC78 says:

    LB – I think we could look at chances created or balls recovered or big changes per game maybe to decide more objectively who should be dropped. Both players are certainly underperforming lately

  12. RC78 says:

    Just did the comparison on

    Laca has a 6.9 score and Ozil a 6.6
    Laca has 5 goals and 2 assists and Ozil has 1 assist
    Laca has 2.1 Spg and Ozil has 0.5
    Laca has 1.1 aerials won per game to 0.1 for Ozil
    Laca has 1.2 tackle per game and 0.3 interception, Ozil has 1 tackle and 0.3 interception
    Laca has 0.3 clearance per game to Ozil 0.1
    Laca is dribbled by opposition 0.5 times per game and Ozil 1 time per game
    Laca gets dispossessed 1.4 time per game and Ozil 1.3
    Laca makes 2.4 poor touch per game to Ozil’s 1.3
    Laca dribbles once per game and Ozil 0.9
    Laca makes 1.1 key pass per game while Ozil makes 2.4

  13. RC78 says:

    @Pete – I just checked Grealish stats and I think he d do wonders under Arteta.

    So in terms of priorities and based on the current squad, I think we should invest in a CB (still and even with Saliba coming in), a DM/CM (still) and a AML…

    For the AML, I think Grealish would be ideal.
    For the other positions, there are a few names

  14. Pete the Thirst says:

    @RC78 I like Grealish. He’s really matured since his earlier mishaps. I think ultimately he’s going to be a no.10, but he also has bite in his tackling, so could play deeper.

    I’d have him, but also his midfield partner McGinn will be an excellent player. I’d take both, but the transfer fees will be enormous.

  15. LBG says:

    So, interesting post RC, thank you, and particularly since it seems Mikel seems to have considered “balance” high on his priorities for the near future.
    Afraid I am going to buck the trend and not select Laca as a No 10 and probably worse for some, not even have Mesut on the bench, most of the time.
    I believe we have a squad balanced enough to take the quality and style of the opposition into serious account when selecting a team. I am also going to resurrect my continued belief that Daviid should play in front of a back four!!!
    Thus my preferred team, not taking into account opposition, is in CAPITALS and the alternatives, in some cases when fit, are in brackets.
    PS I believe Smith Rowe will become our future No10 and will be interchangeable with Willock.


    I believe Laca, Pepe, Nelson, Kola, Sokratis, Mustafi, Ceballos and Xhaka would currently be on my bench.

  16. fred1266 says:

    Guess am ahead of my time in FIFA 20 I have been playing lacazette in the CAM role an there do I say he scores more than aubameyang, so maybe that The role for him as other suggested

  17. RC78 says:

    @Fred – let us see if we can turn fantasy into reality. In Lyon, Laca played from the left and he often played with Fekir behind him but they would interchange a lot so he was also playing as a 10 or 9 1/2 and was quite effective. Laca is the real Benzema heir.

  18. LB says:


    This confuses me: “I am also going to resurrect my continued belief that Daviid should play in front of a back four!!!”

    In our recent difference of opinion, I gave the example of the Frankfurt game as the only chance we have had of seeing Luiz playing in front of the back four, a game in which I said I thought he played well until he unfortunately got injured after 15 minutes, your response to this was to say that the best thing that Luiz did in that game was get injured — what am I missing?

  19. LB says:

    Instead of Auba going to Barcelona I would be chuffed if Real brought Laca.

  20. RockyLives says:

    Laca is going through a tough spell, but in his first two seasons with us he scored 36 goals in 69 starts, which is a really good return.

    I don’t think he’s been helped by all the recent change and uncertainty (three different managers in the last two months, each with their different systems and player preferences).

    I would back him to come good. Although whether that’s as a number 9 or a number 10 is beyond my brain power ability…

  21. JM says:

    How about we have: Saka, Martinelli, Pépé and Aubameyang as our front 4?

    Martinelli will be the sort of 2nd striker/withdrawn forward behind Aubameyang and linkup with our midfield in the attacking third. He is our 2nd highest overall goalscorer after Aubameyang (so far) this season in all competitions. Furthermore, he has speed, innate instinct and positional awareness to either create openings or get into goal scoring positions. Both Saka and Pépé do their wing forward plays from left/right flanks (coincidentally, they are our 1st and 2nd assist makers in all competitions this season).

    Full starting team (at least till the end season) could look like:

    Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis(Holding), Mari, Kolašinac(Soares/Tierney), Torreira, Xhaka(Luiz), Martinelli, Saka, Pépé, Aubameyang.

  22. RC78 says:

    I d keep Laca any day. He ll become our Benzema or Aguero next year 🙂 and Pepe will turn into our Sterling

  23. RC78 says:

    JM – I do not dislike your team at all and if Saka and Pepe manage to cover defensively as well, it could work. My fear is that we are leaving Torreira and Xhaka a bit exposed if we play Martinelli further up the pitch closer to Auba BUT I am willing to take a look at your team on the pitch 🙂

  24. fred1266 says:

    Benzema heir I don’t like the sound of that, next thing he starts black mail his teammates

  25. fred1266 says:

    Instead of letting lacazette play the mesut role let just change to 442 formation

  26. LB says:


    I like your optimism.

    I thought when you said that you expected to become Benzema’s heir, that you expected him to join Real. 2+2=5

  27. RC78 says:

    Benzema is underrated – the guy can score 20 goals a season and give 10 assists easily. Now that CR7 is gone, he is flourishing. If he gets injured, Real Madrid has no chance in the league or the CL.

  28. Le Coq Monster says:

    Hi GoonerB (from last post)

    Me Gary Bloke?……………………Mmmmm…………Bleak Orgy is an anagram of Gary Bloke, so yes! 😆

  29. fred1266 says:

  30. LBG says:

    You remember the facts wrong. Luiz was injured after three minutes and was a dangerous passenger for the next twelve or thirteen. If you look back at my comments you will see I have always advocated Luiz as a holder/creator in front of the backline. I believe Torreira should definitively hold and Daviid should in fact be free to both spray the passes and advance progressively forward with the ball.
    I apologise that since our disagreement I have chosen not to respond to your comments and hope we can resume cordially relations on the best Arsenal blog in existence.

  31. Morning all

    We have a New Post ……………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: