Time For Arsenal’s Strength In Depth To Shine Through

Arsenal are building up some momentum. A hard fought win against Birmingham was followed by an emphatic one against Shakhtar. Subsequently, a massive win over City has put us in the second spot in the League and the vibes that were highly negative at the time of the last international break just after the defeat against Chelsea, are certainly quite positive.

What we need now is consistency so that we can go into the traditionally tougher winter months of November and December with a highly positive mindset.

Thankfully, with some players returning from injury, Arsene seems to have a large enough set of players to choose from. This means he can rotate the players without making a big compromise in terms of quality of the starting eleven.

Of course, I don’t expect us to field a team anywhere as good as the one that won at the City of Manchester stadium but we should have a starting line-up good enough to win a tough away fixture against a physical, hard working side that knocked Chelsea out in the previous round.

I’m finding it difficult to comment on the tactical aspect of this game because a lot will depend on the choices of Chris Hughton. Broadly speaking, I expect us to continue with our style irrespective of who starts for either team. Similarly, we can be fairly certain Newcastle will rely on their physical game and aerial strengths. The details will depend on whether they have enough quality in midfield and attack and their approach to the game. I hope the hosts won’t play for a draw hoping to get lucky in a shoot-out. I don’t have to remind anyone that we could do without the extra minutes.

Arsene has said that he will send out a strong side with a core of first team players. It’s not surprising because we have guys like Denilson, Gibbs, Eboue, Vela and Rosicky who need games and others like Bendtner, Walcott, and Koscielny who also need playing time as they are returning from injury.

I won’t be surprised if we see only two or three youngsters in the starting line up. Having said that, I can see it’s not a completely valid statement. Walcott, Gibbs, and Vela are all still youngsters; just that they are well advanced in their development.

Many of us have been looking forward to seeing Szczesny in goal and it looks quite likely that the youngster will get his first big chance on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to his performance. Having heard a lot but seen very little, I’ve not formed an opinion on the youngster and so I’m excited at the prospect of seeing him in action in a tough away game. Arsene hit the nail on the head when he said, “Let’s not make stars before they prove they are.” For the young Pole, the process of proving he has what it takes begins at St. James’ park.

The back four should be fairly strong. I expect our regular full backs will get a rest with Eboue and Gibbs coming in. If Koscielny is fit enough to start that should also see Squillaci getting a well deserved break. Djourou needs more games as he has not played as much as the others.

Wenger’s real headache will be in the midfield and attacking positions. If Walcott and Bendtner are fit to start, the striker and right wing positions would be reserved for them. That leaves an opening on the left and three in the middle.

Denilson could start as the holding midfielder and Rosicky as the attacking one leaving one spot in the middle and one on the left.

I’m not sure what’s going on with Diaby but if he is fit he should play. If not I’d like to see Lansbury get a start in a central midfield role. Vela could come in on the left but that might leave us a bit exposed on either wing.

The other option would be to have Diaby and Lansbury in the middle and Rosicky on the left.

Such a line-up would mean that the unbelievably (in Wenger’s words) talented JET will have to be content with a spot on the bench. The problem for him is that Bendtner and Walcott need to play and they take up his best positions.

I expect the following line-up,

Szczesny – Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs – Denilson, Diaby, Lansbury – Walcott, Bendtner, Rosicky.

On paper that looks like a very strong team. However, I’m not sure these players will be able to play together as well as the first team does. The main reason for that is that many of them haven’t played regularly and will be rusty. They will also struggle to understand each other on the pitch and we won’t see the instinctive understanding we see when Cesc, Nasri, and others play.

That should give Newcastle some hope, especially considering the fact that they have decent depth of their own and will be playing at home. Let’s also not forget they went away to a place like Stamford Bridge and won after scoring 4 goals. That too after making 10 changes, if I’m not mistaken. That said, I still expect Arsenal to win this one but it won’t be as comfortable as some might suggest.

We will have a strong bench and that should help us recover if things don’t go our way. Apart from kids like Eastmond and JET, I expect regulars like Arshavin, Chamakh, Cesc, and Song on the bench.

A strong display will set us up nicely for the game against West Ham. We don’t have to think too far ahead; small, emphatic steps will do just fine right now.

40 Responses to Time For Arsenal’s Strength In Depth To Shine Through

  1. goonerbegood says:

    A strong display will set us up nicely for the game against West Ham. We don’t have to think too far ahead; small, emphatic steps will do just fine right now.

  2. Nischit says:

    The midfield looks a bit technically weak in my opinion. I have a feeling that le boss will go with rosicky, denilson, diaby in the center with walcott on the right. By my estimation, we have one spot on the left wing available for either JET or Vela. On current form, I’d say JET deserves it, but by AW’s logic of players deserving chances, Vela will get the runout i think

    • santori says:

      Sounds about right. I feel Lansbury will be pushing a spot too.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure JET can do that well on the left.

      Rosicky would be very good in the middle but I’m not convinced by his work rate for that role. He seems to switch off at times. In such a game it might not be a problem though.

  3. MSL says:

    I am guessing JET will definitely get a run in this game after watching Wenger’s interview. I think only one of Diaby or Denilson will be there. I will go with Diaby if fit.
    Szczesny – Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs – Diaby, Lansbury,Rosicky – Walcott, Bendtner, JET.

    • Phil23 says:

      That could very possibly be the lineup but then again its very unlikely that any of us will predict the right lineup. A far cry from last year when the biggest injury crisis hit! This year we have been hit by injury but have such huge depth in the squad that we can still field two full teams at most times.

      • MSL says:

        I always get this wrong. I am still torn between Diaby and Denilson. I guess now that we have been healthiest we have ever been and youngsters coming of age, the full impact of Wenger’s little experiment is beginning to hit us. Maybe there should be an Arsenal A, B and C. Don’t we have the biggest squad on paper with all those under-21s?

    • desigunner says:

      I really want to see JET in a competitive game. Doing well in reserves and junior level is good but this is a completely different ball game, so to speak.

      How he does will also make an impact on others in the reserves. If he struggles others will know there is a lot of hard work ahead, if he is successful it can be inspirational.

  4. santori says:

    Any space for young Nortveldt?

  5. Phil23 says:

    I really like that line up Desi but just to show the depth we have I would have a changed line up from that but with probably the same chances of winning the match as your won above.
    Szczesny – Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs – Diaby, Denilson – JET, Lansbury, Rosicky – Bendtner

    If this was the line up i’d expect Walcott to be the first sub for JET as he will need a solid half an hour. I know that its more likely Eboue will play but I honestly feel like we need one of Eboue or Gibbs to become a starter but not both. This is because we need balance by having one defensive full back, to make up for an attacking winger such as Walcott or Arshavin. The offensive full back is supported by a deeper winger who covers, for example Nasri or Rosicky.
    I am also a 100% convert of the 4-2-3-1 formation as it works for us very well with our players if utilized properly.
    This is a winnable game as long as the players stay focussed at all times and keep aware in defense, we should have the firepower to put a few past them.

    • Phil23 says:

      One* and when I looked I only had changed two players and the formation but oh well you get the drift.

      • Wenger made it clear all of Koscielny,Szczesny,Vela,Walcott,Bendtner start. So i guess JET will be in bench unless he can play in midfield i know he can, but whether Arsene wants him there or not.

      • Phil23 says:

        Thanks for bring that to my attention, I did read that later on but I wouldn’t have expected Arsene to pick my lineup as he knows more than a fool like me. Lets just hope whatever he picks its the winning combination!

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure Wenger sees our full-backs as attacking or defensive. They are supposed to do both and get the balance right. And all four are supposed to do it.

      The only doubt I have is that Eboue has started taking things too easy at times but having Clichy on the other side won’t help if he does that at the wrong moment.

      We need a good understanding between our full-backs and the winger. I think Rosicky is the one who brings them into action the best. Others are still learning. Arshavin is an exception we just have to live with.

  6. faiz says:

    you are forgetting young JACK WILSHERE…midfield trio of lansbury, rosicy and WILSHERE, vela on the left, walcott on the right bendtner up front… If we are winning…jet might come in

  7. Viejo says:

    AW didn’t mention Diaby in his ATVO chat as far as i know (anyone hear anything?) and considering he was withdrawn last minute against citeh with another ankle problem I’d expect him to be left out to regain full health, no risks.

    Other influencing factors to the starting lineup will be match fitness levels. Considering Kos (just returning), Gibbs (been ready since a couple of games), Walcott (only managed 1 minor sub appearance), & Bendtner (2xsub) are all less than 100% match fit they can’t be expected to last the full 90. Kos and Gibbs probably can but i wouldn’t be surprised to see Nordtveit replace Kos after 70mins if we’re winning. Bendtner will definitely start but i’d expect him to come off too.

    For this reason I’d use Walcott as a sub and build up his return over the next 2 games so as not to over-load him.

    My team would be –

    Eboue – JD – Kos – Gibbs
    -Eastmond – Denilson-
    Lansbury – Rosicky – Vela

    subs: Fab1, Nordtveit, Squillaci, Diaby, JET, Walcott

    • desigunner says:

      Fair point. Could be that Diaby isn’t even in the squad.

      Excellent point about match fitness levels. If we start too many who are coming back they might not be able to complete and we could run out of substitutions.

      Interesting team selection. I just feel Eastmond, Lansbury and Vela would leave us a little weak in the middle and we could lose the midfield battle.

  8. Gunner says:

    with our current players available, as well as new castle did mention they will be playing a weaken team, i think we need to fully utilise this opportunity to rest those players that have played for more then 3 games (eg chamak especially) and any player with minimum injury doubts.

    we wont want to take any chances for any 1st team player to get injured, and our 2nd team is nearly as good as our 1st team. of coz we might keep some trump cards like fabagras, nas, or chamak on the bench in case of the unexpected.

    and pls keep those just back from injuries for a short game for ard 60min.. cant risk them going back on treatment table for recurring injuries again.. (eg: walcott, bendter, kos)

  9. Desi ,
    Wenger already said Bendtner, Walcott, Vela, Koscielny will all start. so that leaves us with the following lineup.
    Since Rosicky has not played for a week Rosicky is sure to start.

    —————————— Szczesny ———————————-

    • Hong_gunner says:

      “Since Rosicky has not played for a week Rosicky is sure to start.”

      i think thats a lame reason everyone has been coming up with, for the reason to start Rosicky. he’s been featuring in almost all the games this season, and the only reason he features tonight is because Wilshere is not available, and be our creative threat down the middle. if we are sitting/winning comfortably tonight by the hour mark, watch Wenger giving Rosicky a rest as he’ll need to start on saturday against West Ham.

      • Rosicky in the current form will not be very happy with out a start in a week. I think that has been the pattern so far. He almost started one game a week either it is PL or CL or CC. I do not think Rosicky will start a premier league unless there are ridiculous amount of injuries. I am very sure he is not going to start on West Ham, by the way in whose place he will come in to the side in West Ham ? I dont see him replacing anybody even Arshavin.
        I want Rosicky to start by the way in place of Arshavin (in premier league) but that is not going to happen as Arsene is very clear on that.

        For your information Rosicky started only 2 premier league games this season that too because of the injuries.
        1. Blackpool ==> Cesc and Nasri both inured.
        2. Bolton ===> Nasri and Walcott both injured.
        For PL he is behind Wilshere/Cesc/Nasri for the midfield position. Also for the wing he is behind Nasri/Walcott.
        In Champions league he started in place Nasri/Arshavin when they needed a rest.
        Give your “not so lame” reason for Rosicky starting against West Ham.

    • desigunner says:

      I guess either I missed the part where Wenger says these players will start or we have interpreted his words in a different way.

      I like the team, seems to be a strong line-up. As Viejo mentioned some of those coming back might not last 90 mins. Wenger will have to keep that in mind. I’d missed that point but it’s critical.

  10. Ajinkya says:

    JET looks promising, though I haven’t seen much. He could to do nothing against chelsea, the game being out of hand when he started. What is his exact posotion?

    • Hong_gunner says:

      he can play anywhere across the front six. but most naturally(when he played for his school team), he plays up top as a center forward.

    • He is a left winger for reserves. He has not started as a Center forward though.

      Apparently nobody knows where he is going to play.
      This is what Arsenal.com says. I guess he has played as Center forward in his loan move

      He can shoot, he can pass, he can tackle, he can head, he’s strong and he’s got a good engine. But where on earth will Jay play?

      The final position of this multi-talented youngster is up for debate and ultimately Arsène Wenger will make the decision. But even the boss admits: “Jay can play anywhere.”

    • desigunner says:

      JET started as a Centre Back, then moved to Left Back before getting into forward areas. Wenger said in his career JET was the only player who made the transition from defender to attacker, normally it’s the other way around.

      I think right side of attacking three is his current position. A lot will depend on his work rate and attitude over the next season or two.

  11. Hong_gunner says:

    here’s my line-up for tonight:

    Eboue Djourou Koscielny Gibbs
    Eastmond Lansbury Rosicky
    Walcott Bendtner Vela

    bench: Fabianski, JET, Nasri, Cesc, Arshavin, Diaby, Denilson.

    pretty balanced starting starting 11 and a strong bench for me. Eastmond surely deserves a chance after playing a string of good games for the reserves. Lansbury can’t be denied a starting place after playing so well at shithole in the last round. Rosicky will be there to provide guile be our creative player. and he definitely has better defensive responsibilities which will be needed against a team that like to pass the ball as well. I won’t care about Newcastle’s team selection, because tbh, they have a pretty big squad and have players who fight to play for their club. will be a mouth watering trip tonight.

    • Hong_gunner says:

      This was the Newcastle team that beat Chelsea;
      Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini (Mike Williamson, 63), Sol Campbell, Ryan Taylor, R (Cheik Ismael Tiote, 63), Alan Smith, Jonas Gutierrez, Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson (Joey Barton, 90), Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Nile Ranger.

      We should have more than enough quality to beat them, even at their place.

    • desigunner says:

      I’d say Denilson hasn’t played much so he is more than likely to start and deserves it really. I’m not a fan of Eastmond, he seems to have a lot of room for improvement.

      Secondly, we need Song on the bench because we need cover for Centre Back.

  12. Arsenal4 says:

    If all first team player fit, our Carling Cup team aka 2nd team player would be:





    On the bench would be Cesc, Nasri, Walcott, Song, Arshavin, Nasri, RVP, Diaby, Chamakh, Vermaelen, Koscielny (well pick your fave 7)

    I think it would be realistic enough for us to aim winning CC even with 2nd team player.

    If we compose and clinical enough, ManU will be only the main rival.

  13. […] Time For Arsenal’s Strength In Depth To Shine Through Arsenal are building up some momentum. A hard fought win against Birmingham was followed by an emphatic one against […] […]

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