Is This The ‘Lucky Break’ Arsenal Needed?

While the postponement of the Stoke fixture has led to a rather boring week for fans, I feel it could just turn out to be the lucky break Arsenal needed.

In terms of personnel, Arsenal will probably have the best team available for the big one against Chelsea. I’ve not checked the details but it could be the first time in a long while that a full strength Gunners side will meet one of the rivals.

The game might be too soon for Vermaelen but I rate him on par with the other central defenders at the club so to me personally it won’t be a loss. On the other hand, a fully fit Diaby could address the weakness Arsenal have in the left midfielder role. Cesc and RvP can bring the potency that has been lacking against the top sides and makes Arsenal look toothless.

Van Persie in particular has been key to some rare wins over the rivals in recent years. The Dutchman will have to play in the central attacking role to make the most impact.

The other major advantage of this break is that it gives the team some time to train together and work out different tactical systems.

Earlier during the season Arsenal were playing every three days and that left very little time for making tactical modifications/adjustments in training.  So we saw Van Persie playing in an unfamiliar role and struggling, we lost a couple of games in the Champions League as the rotations didn’t quite work out, we saw a tactical change against United but the balance between attack and defence was missing, and so on.

This two week break should have given Arsene enough time to work on the tactical adjustments that are needed. Next Monday we cannot have the excuses about players lacking sharpness or too many injuries.

Hopefully, Wenger will have had the opportunity to work on the psychological aspect as well. The team has to find the balance between positive, aggressive play and solid, organized defending. This balance has to be in the players’ minds as much as it has to be tactical on the pitch. In the past, Arsenal have lost big games by throwing numbers forward and getting hit on the break. More recently, the losses have been due to lack of sharpness in attack after conceding a freak opening goal. The solution lies somewhere in between and this is the best time to find it.

Of course, the flip side is that the other teams also got this opportunity to regroup. Chelsea will almost have their best side back. And I’ve no doubt Ancelotti will be spending the fortnight ensuring his defence is as strong as it used to be.

In some ways it’s unfortunate that Arsenal don’t get to play the opponents when they are missing their key players. The point is not that Arsenal cannot beat the best side of their title rivals. The issue here is that a run of losses has been built when Arsenal have missed their best players and it would be fun to see how the game turns out if the tables were turned.

For now we won’t get to see that but I don’t mind watching both sides putting out their best elevens.

I also have a feeling that two teams out of the top four will push on when football returns after this forced break. If Arsenal start slow they probably won’t catch up with the others. So even if there is no football, I feel this will prove to be the most crucial fortnight in the League this season. Can Arsenal make it count?

50 Responses to Is This The ‘Lucky Break’ Arsenal Needed?

  1. MistaKen says:

    Don’t remember ever seeing our best eleven on the pitch at the same time. Is it just me that thinks we have one of the worst injury record in the last 5 or 6 seasons?

    • Talia says:

      For the last few years, yes.

      But this season we’ve not had injury problems like we’ve had in the past. With a stronger squad we’ve not been so reliant on Cesc and RVP. Only in defence have we missed Vermaelen – but that’s given Djourou the chance to play.

      Right now only Frimpong won’t be available come early January.

      Then, our problem will be determining exactly who our best eleven actually is. Sweet.

      • desigunner says:

        I agree, this season has been relatively much better injury wise. Even then, Fabregas and RvP have missed a lot more than I’d have liked.

        And determining the best 11 is going to be a real challenge for Arsene no doubt.

  2. MistaKen says:


  3. Boop says:

    Don’t know how match sharp Diaby will be. But Wilshere could use the break, along with RvP and maybe even Walcott. Nasri and Arshavin could use a breather, too. So you may well be right that this benefits us more than others.

  4. La Shiz says:

    It will take some time for the ‘First-picks’ to get back into any sort of form. Van Persie has had a couple of games and has seemed like he’ll back to his best soon. Fabregas will take a couple of weeks I’d say.

    Its nice to see how close we are to the top of the table even with our 2 best players having started only 5 games between them.

    • desigunner says:

      Normally Arsenal start strongly if the players have had a good preseason. I’m hoping this will be like a mini preseason and the big guns will come out blazing. Of course it’s just hope, difficult to predict what we’re actually going to see on the pitch against Chelsea.

  5. santori says:

    Lucky break? I’m not so sure.

    In any case you make your own luck as they say.

    I would have thought it better had Chelsea gotten back to ‘winning ways’ against United and had we beaten Stoke.

    Come next week, we will be up against an extra pumped up Chelsea who wouold have unleashed their current league frustrations on the Mancs.

    We’d better be ready for the kitchen sink is what I say.

    Those Big players of ours (Fabregas and RVP) had better get into gear now as oppose to soon.

    And yes, hopefully we’ve worked out a way to keep tight at the back by then.

    After all, if other ‘lesser’ teams have gotten the better of Chelsea of late, no reason why we can’t as long as we keep it tight at the back.

    • desigunner says:

      Given the way Chelsea postponed their game with United it’s difficult to believe they would have unleashed anything against United. I’ve a feeling they’re short on confidence and will need some solid defensive performances to get it back.

  6. Ketch says:

    Do you really rate Vermaelen as good as the other CB, Thomas i owuld say is the best in my eyes.

    • MSL says:

      Verminator is error prone and mis-positions himself every now and then. Of the back four, I think Djourou is looking the most impressive. Kos is still raw.

    • desigunner says:

      Vermaelen got a lot of praise last season but bulk of it came as a result of his goalscoring exploits. And he will definitely bring something extra to Arsenal’s attacking threat when he returns.

      As far as defending goes, it’s hard to say Vermaelen is better than any of the other three. Last season he and Gallas made the Keeper’s life really difficult by not dealing with the aerial balls. Even his positioning is questionable at times.

      • KBevers says:

        Vermaelen + Djourou will make an excellent pairing as their skill sets play off each other extremely well. Djourou is a monster in the air, and verm is excellent as a player partnering an aerial tower as he’s not bad at all in the air, but is quick and steps forward more with the ball and also to mark a little farther forward. If they’re both fit, that’s my pick. Squilacci and Verm second

  7. Joe says:

    whaaaaaaaaaaaat, you only rate vermaelen as good as the other two?

    come off it, he was one of our best players last year! i would much rather have two vermaelens than any other pairing we could put together in defense

    • KBevers says:

      Yea, look at last year, and anyone who watched arsenal at all knew that the one player we absolutely could not lose was vermaelen. We don’t have him for half of this year, and when he comes back he will boost our defense a lot b/c he is the general of the backline when he comes back. If only song would be a bit more tactically aware. There are certain times when he needs to be aware of the situation and sit for 5-10 min.

  8. Joe says:

    *three, my bad

  9. Anuj Nayar says:

    WOW. I’ve never read your blog before and after reading:

    “The game might be too soon for Vermaelen but I rate him on par with the other central defenders at the club so to me personally it won’t be a loss”. I probably NEVER will again.

    Completely lost all credibility with that analysis. Football is about opinions but what you have surmised is akin to saying cheryl cole is a minger, gold is worthless and sharukh khan is crap.

    As a fellow desi, it hurt to make this comment.

    • johnny says:

      Dude, I am a fan of Vermaelen just like you, but he looked good last season when compared with Gallas and Silvestre. Desi’s points about Vermaelen not dealing well with aerial balls and making some positioning mistakes are extremely valid. He’s a very good defender, but Kos and JD are more than a match for him right now.

    • yogesh darra says:

      off topic. but sharukh IS crap.

  10. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Arsenal News Feed, EpiKnightz. EpiKnightz said: DesiGunner: Is This The ‘Lucky Break’ Arsenal Needed?: While the postponement of the Stoke fixture has … #Arsenal […]

  11. MSL says:

    I was worried that Stoke game would leave us a bit more injured and worn. Cesc, RvP and Diaby may well return but how they will perform after a break is yet to be seen. Stoke’s defense would have been a good rehersal.

    During these two weeks, I hope AW has a defensive plan A that is not solely based on possession. Everton were defensively organized and looked immense today against Man C for more than hour. Wondered if AW was watching and make a few notes.

    • desigunner says:

      I’ve a feeling against Chelsea it will be more about dealing with long balls over the top, Drogba’s strength, and counter attacks and not like Everton who were under siege for bulk of the game. That doesn’t take away the importance of defensive organization though. Arsenal will have to defend as a unit.

      • MSL says:

        I didn’t mean we would be pinned in our own half but it would be nice to see if Arsenal can deal with that amount of pressure because Barca are coming.

  12. IndianGunner says:

    My only concern is the pattern of losing 2 in a row which we seems to have fallen into. I was pretty sure we would have beaten Stoke and we could have carried that momentum to the Chelsea game.
    But offcourse we could have had some injuries playing the cave-dwellers.
    I just hope we don’t kick-start Chelsea’s season again. However they still look vulnerable and i believe they would be hesitant to commit too many forward given their recent form. If we can get an early goal i am pretty sure we will win the game.

    Just hoping for a strong performance from the boys

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah that ‘losing two in a row’ seems like an irrational point but one I’m concerned about. Time for the players to prove it’s just one of those things and not a real trend.

  13. […] Is This The ‘Lucky Break’ Arsenal Needed? While the postponement of the Stoke fixture has led to a rather boring week for fans, I feel it could just turn out to […] […]

  14. The BearMan says:

    No matter what team Mr. Wenger puts out against any opponent for the remaining games of the season. Each player has to first overcome their inner “FEARS”.

    Such as the FEAR of losing;

    The FEAR of the opponent;

    The FEAR of getting cut from the team;

    The FEAR of being benched and;

    The FEAR of disgruntled fans;

    In all professions the expectations is very demanding, but m,ore so the same applies in the World of football, where we witness the comings and goings of players at a rapid pace. The here today, gone tomorrow system works both ways as players the moment they begin to shine is on the look out for a better deal somewhere else. Football managers are on a shorter lead, and all signs points only in one direction, the exist door.

    What is the expectations of fans? Not that the club is managed in a professional manner, not that the books is balance, not that their is any stability, growth, or the prospects of a longtime future. None of those things matter.

    Why? Fans are all experts, they are the Simon Cowell in the music industry, an expert on critiquing singer on the planet, but unable to deliver to the world a musical note of their own.

    Fans only demand? is that their club/team, delivers silverware each season even if it means emptying the bank of all savings to achieve this one goal. “I want, therefore I must have”! “I do not care if the club can survive the hard times, just give me/us trophies”! Why? So that we can maintain bragging right in our local and community. Silverware has a certain ring to it, it goes well with several rounds of bear and a few packets of crisp. The evil of this habit is that we raise or children to do, behave, and expect the very same. This Christmas, despite all the happenings in the uncertainties of the economy, we put on blindfolds and give our children everything they demand, whether they have been naughty or nice.

    Seasons Greeting: Now the bear must return to his Den with his favourite jar of honey.

  15. T2T says:

    What is our best XI when they all are fit and in form?
    Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Clichy
    Song, Fabregas, Diaby
    v Persie, Chamakh, Arshavin

    I do not know anymore. There are so many opportunities in the offensive areas. I rate TV5 as our best CB, but we haven’t seen who TV5 strikes up the best partnership with.
    What about Nasri? or Walcott (before the latest injury)?

  16. Sam says:

    I would mainly agree with that side for the Chelsea game T2T, but I would move RvP into the center and put Nasri on the left replacing Chamakh. In my opinion, he gives an extra edge to the team.

  17. Sam says:

    *right, sorry

  18. ytgunner says:

    I actually think Wilshere needs a real rest now. he’s looked tired recently, and Arshavin should be dropped for a while now that van Persie is nearing full fitness. Walcott and Nasri are showing more hunger than him, and his laziness is really not good for the team. I’d go with a front three of Nasri, Chamakh and van Persie.

    • Miranda says:

      Yes, Wilshere needs a rest. Trouble is, Ramsey may not be an adequate replacement for quite some time and Denilson seems to be seriously considering a move, which could leave us a bit short in central midfield when the fixture congestion kicks in. Maybe Lansbury will be back in early Jan, maybe Diaby won’t get injured the instant he plays, but whatever I still think we need to buy cover in defensive midfield. What happens if Song gets injured, like he was last season when we faced Barca away?

  19. realistic tony says:

    i dont like seeing RVP and break in the same sentance!…its a big game against chelsea…if all our best players are fit then we’ll have no excuses will we!…. good news about TV5….by far the best defender we have…in fact i could imagine him as a destructive defensive midfielder.

  20. Armory says:

    Vermalen not better than the rest of the central defenders?? Come on now desi what ever you are smoking….shere with us:)

  21. aaaa says:

    to say that tv is a cb is a fass cos he is dm because of his attacking and that is wot he was got for the only reason he played cb was jd got hurt so he had to play there fact

  22. Miranda says:

    Agree on the whole but the team facing Chelsea won’t be quite our best because Fabianski will probably have recovered by then.

    Is anyone else hoping his current injury might be like Almunia’s? Not that I wish either of them ill, but Szczesny would be a better bet against Drogba, I think, as he would have been against bully-boy Stoke; also, he’s at the stage in his development where every bit of experience is going to help him improve.

    Nice post yesterday and I always like your tactical analyses. I thought of commenting but didn’t as there’s just too much to say on the subject of cliche-ridden football journalism in England and the reasons behind it.

    • desigunner says:

      I do have this irrational desire to see Szczesny in goal even though my rational mind says he is bound to make some mistakes in his early days and if they come in big games he might go down the Senderos path i.e. great talent but sunk by mistakes.

  23. goonerbegood says:









  24. cabdi says:

    are you crazy ?
    leavin nasri on bench ?
    what is wrong with arsenal fans dont u know what nasri is n dont u realise v persie is just fiction for real he is good player but he never be enought to be great striker he always injury or not infarm so nasri is our best player how can u leave ur best ?
    ever fabragas is not fit enough yet so stop fancying the bullshit off the v persie n fabragas

  25. Stepanov's sidestep says:

    I can’t see us beating chelski with RVP central and solo. He’s not enough to keep terry etc busy-whats he going to do when he receives the ball and is surrounded by blue shirts? It’s about time we went back to playing two strikers,with RVP in a floating role. He’s more dangerous and has scored many fantastic goals coming in from wide having turned fullbacks inside out.Keep Chamahk in the central role and get him to play in terrys face giving RVP the chance to feed off him. This is also dependant on a more direct and varied game with the ball going in to Chamahk or through for Arshavin and RVP.The point about having two strikers is that they should have a frothing at the mouth desire to put the ball in the back of the net( remember the days when two strikers would compete to be top scorer, and also hunted as a pair?)Otherwise it will be the same old story of one side playing pin ball and the other just waiting to pounce on an exposed defence.
    Sagna Vermaelen Djourou Clichy
    Nasri Fabregas Song Arshavin
    RVP Chamahk

    Subs: Bendtner Wilshere Rosicky Eboue Squillachi Diabi

  26. Stepanov's sidestep says:

    Oops! I forgot to put the youth team keeper on the bench!

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