Who would you build your AFC team around?

As we are in the transfer period, we are supposed to strengthen our squad but a few questions remain:

  1. Are we to stick in our 4231 system or will Arteta move back to his 433?
  2. Who do we build our team around?

I want to focus on the second one although one could argue that it is dependent on the first one and the argument wold be valid 😛

We have a few talented players in Holding, Tierney, Partey, Saka, ESR, Pepe (?), Martinelli…and then there is also the perennial question related to Aubameyang…so how do we put our best players in the best conditions to perform and who would you build your team around?

Do you build it around Auba and then maybe a 433 or 442 (4312) may be more adapted and who would play upfront with Auba?

Do you build the team around Saka and then is the 4231 system better suited and does that mean that Pepe has to play on the left side?

Do you build the team around Tierney and then do we need a CF that can be a target for his beautiful crosses?

Do you build the team around ESR and then do we need to play Saka, Pepe (or Martinelli) next to him and Laca up front, meaning leaving out Auba?

…We could go on and on…so who do you think we should build our team around and why?

45 Responses to Who would you build your AFC team around?

  1. Leon Kingsford says:

    Its pretty obious isn’t it ?

    Gabriel
    Tierney
    Saka
    Partey
    Smith Rowe
    Martinelli

    The rest of the first team ought to be a bit worried…

  2. RC78 says:

    No Holding? Pepe? Auba?

  3. LBG says:

    90% successful pass rate. He’s quality!

  4. pbarany says:

    I fully agree with Leon. I think we are short with a quality CM and a deadly striker. But on most positions we already have talents.

    If we focus on the next couple of years (and Xhaka stays) then we already have a pretty strong team. We just need a proper coach with tactical awareness that bring the best out of our players, can tailor the formation to the opponent, and create a healthy competitive atmosphere within the team.

    If we go beyond the next 3-4 year and disregard Partey, Xhaka, Elneny, Auba, Lacazette and Elneny, then we still have a strong core of young players, but we have to sign a world-class striker and a couple of top tier CM/DMs.

    I would build the long-term team around Mavropanos, Gabriel, Tierney, Azeez/Cottrell, Saka, ESR, Martinelli, Pepe, Nelson and Nketiah/Balogun

    I hope linking a friendly blog is not against the rules:
    https://bergkampesque.com/2021/02/23/how-arsenals-dream-team-is-going-to-win-the-title-in-2026/

  5. LBG says:

    Make Tierney Captain
    Build around ESR
    Right of him – Saka
    Left of him – Pepe/Martinelli
    Forward of him – Balogun
    Sometimes 41 32
    Provided we can buy a right full back who knows how to defend….
    …4….
    Bissouma/(Partey)
    Saka ESR Pepe/ ( Martinelli)
    Balogun Aubang

  6. fred1266 says:

    LBG u forgot not a single turnover

  7. LBG says:

    Fred
    I didnt forget anything, I was being ironic, and hope my prayers are answered In the near future!!

  8. JM says:

    1. Ideally, 4-3-3. A fixed backline which includes a GK, a RB, 2xCBs and a LB. 3 midfielders who can and are competent in both defending and attacking. 3 forwards who can inter-switch their positions to become unpredictable for the opposition.

    2. Currently, building around Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pépé. Gabriel, Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe are getting there and they need more consistent positive performances. Rob Holding (5 years with the club) and Calum Chambers (7 years with the club) are likely to be the senior players soon and need to be reliable. Gabriel Martinelli has to seize his opportunities whenever he is presented either in the starting line-up or coming off the bench.

  9. LBG says:

    Always interesting to hear views of players with which one has total respect on “behind the scenes”.
    Cesc asked ” who was the most underrated player you ever played with?” His answer – Alex Hleb.
    40 year old Hleb ” wonders now why I ever left Arsenal and Wenger for Barcelona and Pep”. ” Most players I know regret leaving Arsenal in the Wenger years”. ( I wonder if Cesc himself, RVP, Henry and perhaps a few others have regrets now?)

    On a personal note, and indicative of my passion (sometimes a bit mad) for our Club, I wrote a long letter to Alex, sent to the Nou Camp, telling him he was making a mistake and would regret it in the end.

  10. LBG says:

    And talking of “behind the scenes” to make you smile….Recommend Talkshites recent podcast by Hawksby and Jacobs on 1996 and “Football’s Coming Home”. Baddiel and Skinner.
    Gazza’s goal, after Seaman’s penalty save ( Yuri Geller convinced he made the ball move for McAllister). The Dutch game. Stuart Pearce’s penalty. And other penalties……..

  11. LBG says:

    ” What will England do……? Finish the sentence!
    “England will end up being a bit Spursey!”

  12. Las says:

    Thanks RC,
    Food for thought, really.
    TBH I would give a good run to the youngsters Tierney, Partey, Saka, ESR, Pepe, Martinelli, Balogun. I would even sell Auba if we get a good deal. He was not impressive at all last season.
    I would give a fighting chance to AMN and Willock.
    I know they are not star players (OK Saka is nearly there) but I think they are good enough to earn this status.
    Team must be built around Saka, ESR, Partey, Pepe and Martinelli.

  13. Las says:

    And sure as hell Tierny!
    🙂

  14. pbarany says:

    Mostly agreed, but players who had a poor season and have astronomical salaries are generally unsalable. Auba and Willian will be staying, not only/mainly because we are categorically reluctant to sell them, but because no club/manager with right minds want 31-32 year old players with 250-300k salaries who are not at the very-very top of their game.

  15. RC78 says:

    ————————Leno—————————-
    Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney
    ——-Willock—-Partey——ESR
    Pepe————-Martinelli———Saka

    Would that work out?

  16. RC78 says:

    Ryan – Bellerin, Mavro, Mari, Soares – AMN, El Neny, Azeez – Nelson, Balogun, Auba

    No recruits so far…

  17. LBG says:

    Modern day football, short pass, pass back, short pass across, pass back, turn on ball, short pass to midfield, pass back. Boring, boring, boring.
    Dynamic pass forward to best player on pitch making a run, defence opened up. Goal!

  18. fred1266 says:

    Can someone explain to me how transfer rumours are start, hearing Tierney going city now

    Dey are so ridiculous with it

  19. Dexter says:

    Fred
    It’s just because Neil Lennon said he could see KT playing for them in the future.

    Transfer rumours are 99% BS.

    Like a few posts in here today! 🤣🤣

  20. RC78 says:

    Kalvin Philips is now hailed as the Kante of England…is he that good?

  21. RC78 says:

    And I got my French open predictions all wrong…Djokovic – Krejicikova land the trophies…well done to them

  22. LBG says:

    RC
    Not quite as good…..yet. IMO.
    But what he is is quick, excellent at positioning, intelligent in reading of danger, plays with his head up, and proves, for example with the goal, that midfielders who break up play can be “creative” going forward.

  23. LBG says:

    PS
    Tennis predictions are only marginally easier to make than golf ones.

  24. Pete the Thirst says:

    Saka can be world class. His ability to play on both feet means he will be an inside forward on both the left and right.

  25. Pete the Thirst says:

    @LBG I love that passion! I wonder if Alex has kept your letter?

    “On a personal note, and indicative of my passion (sometimes a bit mad) for our Club, I wrote a long letter to Alex, sent to the Nou Camp, telling him he was making a mistake and would regret it in the end.”

    I wrote to the Club back in the 80s saying that the fencing on the North Bank wasn’t good for supporters. I got a well reasoned letter back from Ken Friar effectively saying the fences won’t be removed. This was before Hillsborough.

  26. LBG says:

    Hi Pete
    Glad I’m not the only one with that kind of uncontrollable desire to move our Club forward somehow.
    Doubt Alex did anything but make a paper aeroplane, even if it actually reached him! (His Secretary probably said ” Not another Gooner nutter”).
    As an older member of the AA fraternity, writing letters has always been my way. I have wonderful personal replies from Arsene (Gorgeous George and Ken Friar) to several letters, which are treasured, and I even take n the most personal credit for the first and subsequent announcement of the crowd figure at home games, following a letter to the Club ( published in the programme) in the late sixties.

    Sorry for the self publicity. The old days were often the most personal for supporters IMO.

  27. Pete the Thirst says:

    That’s a good claim to fame LBG.

    Only shadow cast on that was the crowd figures were manipulated. When I first started going regularly in the late 80s there were games where the North Bank was packed to the rafters, then you’d see the reported attendance figure way below capacity. It was only when I was a lot older I understood that declaring a lower crowd meant that the income from paying spectators would be subjected to less tax. It was pretty much all cash on the day back then.

    One game v Everton in the Littlewoods Cup semi final in 1988 was so full that my feet hardly touched the ground all game in the North Bank. Official attendance was something like 55,000. Actual attendance was more like 65,000 to 70,000.

    The bottom line was always more important to the Club than the welfare of the fans. Was ever the case.

    In fact back when I started going to games the treatment of fans was downright disgusting. I once had personal items stolen by a policeman who was meant to be enforcing law and order.

  28. LBG says:

    Certainly understand your comments, Pete, and bringing it up to date. As a season ticket holder throughout Emirates existence, to suggest that some of our home games in the last ten years have been full capacity is complete bollox, as thousands of empty seats are clearly evident. That the Club already has the money is a “fraudulent” claim regarding attendees.
    My first request for figures also hoped for accuracy, but I too witnessed games in the 60s that must have had 64 to 70000 attendees, given how many were “lifted” into my beloved North Bank by “friends”.
    I have currently an ongoing dispute with The Arsenal regarding my season tickets. E-mails have been exchanged and at the moment I receive “standard response to all” replies. I will not give up, but wont bore everyone with more detail.

  29. Pete the Thirst says:

    I’ve been in debate with the customer services team at the Club a few times LBG. In my experience their responses have been so bizarre it seems like they would struggle to butter a slice of toast.

    Anyway has anybody else noticed how short Ken Friar is? He would make Jack Wilshere look like a giant!

  30. RC78 says:

    Leeds has some decent players then on each line…

    Meslier, Llorrente, Philips, Rafinha, Bamford

    Would any of them be an upgrade on our team?

    What about Bielsa? Would he be an upgrade on Arteta?

  31. LBG says:

    Clear evidence in the Scotland game that many European nations have much better teams than we ( well, so called newspaper experts) ever consider……and Slovakia proving it against Poland as well.

  32. RC78 says:

    England, Italy and Belgium holding their favourite status so far…

  33. LBG says:

    RC
    What?
    France, Portugal, Germany?

  34. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC, and of course Rocky for recent ones. Been that busy that I haven’t managed to get on here and only being bloody ill has allowed it.

    RC, I’ll firstly go with my feeling that the 4-3-3 is a formation that encompasses many variations, but at base level they could still be considered a 4-3-3.

    What changes the subtlety of the line up is what type of player you are looking at in certain positions.

    For instance Pepe and Auba right and left of Laca looks more a front 3 than Saka and Martinelli who are still slightly more predisposed to operating wide but deeper than Pepe or Auba.

    The reality is they all need to do a bit of everything sometimes closer to the 9 and sometimes dropping deeper.

    With a back 4 the other main consideration is how many DM’s you go with. With 2 it sets up more a 4-2-3-1 but with 1 we can go bolder at times with a 4-1-4-1.

    This is why I’d like Bissouma as well as Partey because they can cover each other when one is injured but could also operate together. It’s also why I’d like Odegaard because I feel he and ESR could play the 2 central attacking positions if you go with the 1 DM and the 4 behind the striker.

    If Odegaard is undoable then I would look within the EPL. Players Like Traore (Wolves), Perreira (WBA) and Raphinha (Leeds) are all quick with an eye for goals and assists and can cover both the wide area and one.of the central attacking 4 positions.

    So its Bissouma and one of Odegaard or those 3 for me and we are well covered with Willock, Azeez and Patino all looking to break in.

  35. LBG says:

    We all see what we want to see, but even the Swiss know…….!
    “pundits in his home nation( rated) his performance ( against Wales) as 4 out of 10″.
    George Bregy said ” For me Xhaka was enough, nothing more”. He criticised their captain for ” having too little influence on the game”. ” He had no ties, was never really in the game, never hit an opening pass, never went forward.” ” He was in his comfort zone”. ” Xhaka wants to be a leader, then he has to show it.”
    Blick’s Rene Weiler agreed, “Xhaka…has to graduate more often into the danger zone”. ” The defenders behind him can all play football, it’s not about passing quality, but about efficiency. About going into the interfaces, but that’s not Xhaka’s style”.

    Dont expect much agreement here, but thought interesting myself.

  36. LBG says:

    GoonerB
    Sorry to hear of your almost demise!

  37. RC78 says:

    Get better soon GoonerB

  38. Sue says:

    PL fixtures are released this morning 👍

  39. Sue says:

    Brentford away first game…

  40. LBG says:

    And Chelski the following week !

  41. GoonerB says:

    I think we as a club need to be realistic in this transfer window. We need to understand what types of players will be attracted to us that can strengthen us.

    With no European football many players are not a realistic option for us. There is no point chasing unrealistic pipe dreams with certain players, and we are not really a club who should be paying over the odds to make an otherwise unlikely deal happen.

    This means the player is not really coming to us for the right reasons. What we need are quality players who are making a step up when they come to us and are ambitious to prove themselves and become a top player.

    Desperation signings and deals have crippled us over recent seasons and we need to reset our priorities.

    Fortunately we have a good group of players already and are a lot better than last seasons overall position indicates. Our league position taken from Boxing day shows we are close to taking a forward leap.

    I expect players like Saka, ESR and Martinelli to take another step up next year and should be considered among the leagues best players next season. Balogun, Azeez and Patino are all waiting to contribute. Our defence is solid and if anything is still top heavy in CD options, and we have the best left back in the league.

    A few smart additions to this group can make all the difference but it is important that we get players that are ready to contribute from the start which is why I would mostly look within the English leagues for recruits.

    Fancy names from overseas can still take a whole season to settle no matter how well they have been doing in France, Germany, Holland e.t.c.

    Fortunately the domestic league is strong right now and there are a lot of good players in teams that would look at us as an opportunity and a step up.

    Players like Ward Prowse, Ings, Bissouma, Pereira, Traore, Raphinha. These are the players we should look at rather than Fekir and Aouer. They are already here and adapted to the EPL and can strengthen us where we need it and hit the ground running.

  42. LBG says:

    GoonerB
    Tend to agree with most of your assessment.
    I believe no European football is a massive advantage to us at this stage in the development of the squad. The opportunity to exploit our marvellous bunch of youthful potentials. The opportunity to rid ourselves of those brought into the Club at ridiculously inflated prices, who believed their own ( and agents’) publicity that they were much better and worthy of playing for The Arsenal. The opto bring in players who ” are stepping up”, keen to prove themselves and motivated to push themselves to their limits.
    Some will prove they are up to it immediately, Kieran Tierney for example. Some will take more time to settle into the system and the special pressure. But hopefully, unlike so many of our recent squad, WANT it to happen.
    For this reason the Bissoumas, Willocks, even Neves are no second level options, gB.

  43. RC78 says:

    New post in drafting

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