Arsenal’s Crucial Missing Ingredient

Who is our mystery missing link?

Which currently available player who is not in Mikel Arteta’s “first eleven” would make the biggest difference to our performances?

It seems like a pertinent question, following our lame capitulation to Aston Villa on Sunday night.

And before you ask, this is not a roundabout why of trying to reignite the Ozil debate. Ozil is not in our Premier League squad so he is not available for selection. End of.

In fact this Post was inspired by a comment from kfdickie in response to yesterday’s match report.

Dickie said: “…why wasn’t AMN put on to stop Grealish? That would have stopped 50% of their play.

I’m sure some of the Arsenal players had nightmares on Sunday night in which Jack Grealish was running at them, ball glued to his feet, all energy and intelligence and not to be stopped.

Reading Dickie’s comment I thought: “Yes! Why didn’t we do that?” And it led me further to think that Maitland-Niles was the one player I would most like to see given a run in our Premier League starting line-up.

He was outstanding in our successful FA Cup campaign this year and, in some games, played with great dedication in shutting down dangerous opponents.

If we take it that (at least as of last Sunday) Mikel Arteta’s first choice team is/was: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Elneny, Partey, Saka, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang, who would you swap in? And for whom?

I’m talking about a player you think should be given consistent starts in the EPL.

(Since you ask, I would put AMN in on the right of midfield in place of Elneny, assuming all other options are fit).

Over to you.

RockyLives

21 Responses to Arsenal’s Crucial Missing Ingredient

  1. kfdickie says:

    Thanks Rocky, I don’t often post, but an avid reader, and an angry one yesterday. At the present time I would leave out Willian, put Saka in his role, and bring in AMN. He has the ability to disable players and mop up, and move forward when we have the ball, imagine him and Partey together.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    Yes that would work. I think there are a number of internal solutions to the problems we’re facing.

    AMN & Willock would definitely add something to the first 11 and put pressure on the incumbents.

    Another one is Nelson. He has pace to burn and like an orthodox winger can beat his defender and cross to the centre. Not sure why he hasn’t been given a chance considering how poor Willian and Pepe have been of late.

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Looking back at the Villa game they came with a good plan. Sit back and defend, get the ball to Grealish quickly and target our right hand side.

    They did the same against Liverpool.

    We do struggle at home against teams that sit deep and hit us on the counter. Leicester did the same. This has always been the case at home and we need to do something slightly different to break these teams down.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Rocky, it goes wrong and what do humans do? 8 out of 10 want to apportion blame to fellow human being(s). The other one or two don’t ask the who? question but ask why and how questions. I so hope Arteta ignores the blame brigade and plays the same 11 v Leeds. But if there is a player who should start every game when fit it is of course the much maligned on here, XhakA. But, as per your poll recently, only about one or two in ten get that. Ah well, I should have stuck with chess when I was a teenager. 😜

    Keep up the good work Rocky, LB, that fellow from Norwich, and the camel lover.

  5. RockyLives says:

    Dickie – yep, I would drop Willian for now. Let him try and work his way back into contention.

    Pete – You’d think Willock’s recent Europa League outings would have earned him a crack at the first team. He does have that ability to break between the lines.

    TA – nice to hear from you and point taken about the blame game. My worry about starting the same starting XI would be that we have been creating so few chances, but maybe a change of formation might be the key.

  6. LBG says:

    Leno
    A M-N Holding Gabriel Tierney
    Elneny Partey
    Nelson Willock Saka
    Aubang/Nketiah

  7. RockyLives says:

    Good line-up LBG

    Watching the way Ollie Watkins played for Villa the other night, I really think we could do with a different type of CF who could play alongside Auba in a front two.

    I like Fast Eddie, but he is more of a Laca/Wrighty type of striker whereas I feel we need someone more like Giroud (or someone who can do the job for us that Firmino does for Liverpool) although I suspect that is not part of the Arteta plan.

  8. RC78 says:

    As mentionned in the previous post, I think we need to improve the “right stream of our starting XI” if we keep on playing in 343 set-up.

    So the missing ingredients for me are a RCB (in lieu of Holding) and a hard working attacking midfielders (in lieu of Willian).

    The names I had mentioned were Fofana (RCB) and Grealish (AM).

    Leno – FOFANA, Luiz, Gabriel – Bellerin, Partey, El Neny, Tierney – GREALISH, Auba, Saka

    I think we could keep Bellerin in this team because Fofana is so much more solid than Holding.

    Now if you press me, I would have to pick Fofana ahead of Grealish because I am a firm believer that strong defenses win in your leagues and tournament.

  9. RC78 says:

    If I misunderstood the post and only have to use our players, then I would play and keeping the 343 set-up used so far:

    Leno – XHAKA?, Luiz, Gabriel – AMN, Partey, El Neny, Tierney – Nelson, Auba, Saka

    Tierney and Saka need to play higher up the pitch and Nelson could start to give Willian and Pepe a bit of a wake-up call.

    If we changed systems, then maybe the following one may work:

    Leno – AMN, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney – Partey, El Neny, Saka – Ceba -Laca, Auba ?

  10. Sue says:

    Amidst all the doom and gloom – Gunnersaurus is back!! 🙂

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky, that is still a challenge and Arteta will want us to play higher up the pitch with more intensity. But that is a work in progress as was clear on Sunday.

    V Leeds we will get plenty of chances as they run around all over the pitch like puppies. 😁

  12. RockyLives says:

    Sue – do you think it’s a Mesutosaurus in the costume?

  13. RockyLives says:

    RC
    Xhaka in a back three – very interesting idea. I think I like it !

  14. Mark Cannon says:

    Drop Lacca bring in Smith-Rowe

  15. RockyLives says:

    Mark
    You mean playing ESR as a No 10? (Alongside Auba)?

    Or with a different formation?

  16. Sue says:

    😆 Rocky…👍 He has to earn his money somehow!! Haha!!

    Chambers, Saliba, Macey, ESR and Balogun start for the U21s tonight in the EFL trophy….. Come on!! 👊

  17. RockyLives says:

    I can’t help feeling Balogun is worth a run out in the EPL, even if only as a sub to start with.

  18. Paul says:

    I agree with you AMN would be the obvious choice for me. Elneny is ok but he ain’t doing anything to progress the team, Arsenal fc are slow and very predictable atm Arteta needs to brings in some of the academy wingers am sure there’s one who ready to make name for himself Arteta really need to get that balance right. Pepe has a long way to go I fear he will never fulfill his potential because he is not strong enough. Jack Grealish ran the show its shocking the England manager is omitting a player like that shocking.

  19. LBG says:

    Much talk of Saliba’s vision last. Going to resurrect the idea of you giving him a chance alongside Gabriel, Mikel.
    The Saliba, Gabriel, Partey Triangle…….somewhere for Gooners to get lost in!

  20. GoonerB says:

    I really thought Saliba was going to be a factor for us this year LBG. I have always had a feeling that they made the wrong call with how they oversaw his development this season, and more, I wonder if they realise this belatedly.

    His talent is obvious to see and from what I have seen he is one of those rare CD’s that ticks every box if you break down the skill sets; physical strength, pace, aerial ability, ability on the ball, reading of the game.

    Most CD’s, even at the top level, excel in certain areas but are lacking in one or two of them which is why Saliba could become that rare top of the top tier CD’s in the mould of a Vincent Kompany.

    What is against him is his tender age and experience, and seemingly a concern that he didn’t get a proper season last year due to injury. Still, at 19 he is around the age when everyone started to notice john Terry and he was becoming a regular 1st teamer, and with all the early EL games plus cup games he would surely have been better served by being involved in more 1st team games with us to date.

    Mikel like other managers is not happy with the fixture pile up, but that could have worked in Salibas favour had we utilised him more, but for some reason we haven’t.

  21. Thompson HEDEDZIE says:

    Dear thanks for this write up. Our coach has favour for some key players and hate our key man to unlock the opponent’s defense. I mean Mestu Ozil which they are paying his wage bills but shut him out of the Squad. Is there any economic sense in this? We don’t have any hope of even Top 6 this season. The Oracle have spoken

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