Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Huddersfield Town

After seeing off Championship side Ipswich Town in the League Cup Arsenal next face Huddersfield Town from League One in the FA Cup.

To be honest, Arsene Wenger must have been really pleased with this draw. I know I am really happy Arsenal are facing a team two divisions or 44 places below them, and that too at home. Given the fact that this fixture is just two days before Arsenal host Everton in the League we could certainly have done a lot worse in the draw.

It won’t surprise you if I confess ignorance about their style of play or the attributes of most of their players. Arsene said in his pre-match interview that he expects them to be very organized and throw their bodies on the line. They have a big striker who is good at holding the ball up and a small one who links up well. Le Boss also mentioned that the Terriers are good at coming out in support of the striker once he gets on the ball and holds it up. Not very different from the recent meeting with Leeds and Ipswich one would think.

As long as Arsenal turn up and perform, this game should not be a problem. But given the proximity with a crucial League game I expect many second string players in the starting line-up.

I’d not mind a forward line of Arshavin, Chamakh, and Bendtner for this fixture. The Russian is working his way back to form, Bendtner keeps improving as he gets more game time, while Chamakh must be refreshed and raring to go.

The big decisions for Arsene will be in the midfield and defence. And this is where I am a bit surprised Arsene has let the likes of Eastmond and Lansbury go. He could have played one of those two in the midfield for this game.

I won’t be surprised if Gibbs and Eboue take the full-back spots. Denilson will probably keep his place in the starting line-up from the Ipswich game.

Arsene will have to find the right balance when he picks the other two midfielders and central defenders. At the back I don’t see much choice. If Squillaci is fully fit he could come in for Djourou. Koscielny will have to keep his place.

In midfield the choice is between Diaby, Rosicky, and the regular first team starters. Since Wilshere played against Ipswich I expect him to sit this one out. In my opinion Song should start this game to ensure Arsenal put out a strong defensive unit. The other starting spot in midfield should go to Nasri.

Preferred starting eleven,

Szczesny – Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs – Song, Nasri, Denilson – Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner.

There is no argument this is not Arsenal’s strongest eleven but we have to be realistic. I’d like to see a strong first half with a couple of goals. After that Song and Nasri can be replaced by Rosicky and Diaby as both will be needed against Everton.

If Arsenal start strongly and score a couple of goals any eleven players from this squad should be able to hold on to a lead against Huddersfield, no disrespect intended. In fact, the front three of Arshavin, Chamakh, and Bendtner should relish the prospect of playing on the break against the Terriers.

Given the fragile nature of this back four and the fact that they haven’t played together for a while now, it will be critical that Song stays deeper and provides cover in the early part of the game. The attackers should be able to score goals without the need for the Cameroonian to be adventurous.

Similarly, if Arsenal get an early lead it will be important for the midfielders to stay deep and allow the front three to exploit the space behind the defenders, which will inevitably be created.

The only way I see the visitors scoring is through a long ball on which a run is not tracked, on a set-piece, or on a counter attack down the channels. Almost all attacking moments for the visitors will be a combination of these. Most of these situations can be defended easily if the midfield is available to win the second ball or to provide cover on the wings.

I’d also like to see the tactic used against Leeds repeated in this game. Song should play on the left side of midfield to support the Gibbs-Arshavin axis. Denilson can play alongside Bendtner and Eboue on the right.

I’d like to see Gibbs show better position discipline and judgment in terms of his forward bursts. I’m also hoping for better concentration and decision making from Eboue. One of the two full-backs must stay back at all times and this will require good understanding and reading of the game.

The final point that comes to mind is that the offensive players will have to be clinical. For that reason I’d like to see Bendtner get into the box as often as possible. Over the course of this season Arshavin has done well to create plenty of chances for Walcott and Nasri when they’ve played on the right. Hopefully, he will do the same for Bendtner but for that the Dane will have to make some well timed diagonal runs. Huddersfield do have a good young goalkeeper in England U21 international Alex Smithies. Let’s hope he doesn’t put in a MotM performance.

It will be massive embarrassment if Arsenal fail to get past Huddersfield. A draw will just put us in shuddersfield while I can’t even comprehend the reaction to a loss at home. Some might say that calls for a stronger team to be selected but I feel it’s time everyone in the squad stands up to be counted.

With the usual Jinx Disclaimer, I’d like to predict goals for Nasri and Bendnter with Arshavin picking up another assist.

42 Responses to Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Huddersfield Town

  1. IME INYANG says:


  2. Aussie Jack says:

    Yes, I agree the second string have to stand tall and get us to the semi`s when we hopefully will be ale to turn up the heat, not forgetting we have Europe to handle first. A stong bench is required tomorrow.

  3. chpangemanan says:

    Dude, what’s with the capital letters? Maybe Rosicky has picked up a virulent disease and needs to be put away from the others to prevent them having the same virus…

    I’m curious to see whether, granted if they were pencilled in, Almunia, Squillaci, and Diaby could put out a strong performance.

    It is indeed the time for the second string to stand and be counted…

  4. Petit says:

    Rosicky is sicky.

  5. w12mcee says:

    song needs start every game for us til frimpong is ready just to make me feel secure and keep my grey hair progression to a minimal. i’d also like to see vela, wellington, botelho, ramsey, galindo, bartley, JET, and miyaichi but i’ll have to wait til the mayan calender expires. seriously though c’mon rosicky, where you hiding?

    • AnonymousGun says:

      I take your grey hair over tiring the most important player in our team, TYVM.

      Important as he is almost irreplaceable in his role for the team right now.

  6. w12mcee says:

    diaby needs to stay fit, there is too many who seem to not realise how good he is and what he adds to the squad. would be good to see him back

  7. zecooler says:

    arsenal gonna finish top of the league spured on by d carling cup win . mark theses words gunner 4 ever

  8. Sagna has been ruled for the game so it’s definitely Eboue in the RB position, then we might see Almunia *shudders* behind the stick tomorrow *additional sign of cross*.
    The squad you listed is strong enough to thrash Hudderfield but it depends on how focused they are. I hope we won’t have to call on the ‘first XI’ players on bench for any rescue mission.
    Would be good to see Rosicky get that elusive goal.

  9. geoff reid says:

    with denilson bedtner eboue and the waiter playing-wegner is throwing this match–I will put my money on huddersfield to win 2-1–wegner always subs after 70 mins-so no chance of a draw–also why did he not buy a defender -what a oppertunity we had–I just knew he would blow it-he always does cause he is a looser.

  10. tomiwagunners says:

    let’s hope our team continue with d winning tempo,getting into carlin cup final is a morale booster so i see us flying past our opponent today….and let ‘s wish our players injury free for the rest of the season.

  11. sam says:

    geoff please!

    that squad is made up of at least 9 internationals.wenger has to rest senior players as we need 3 points tuesday against everton.playing walcott, djourou,song cesc,wilshere and van persie twice in 2 days will be risk.
    ever heard of harmstring injury?

  12. sam says:

    3 points on tuesday is more important than fa cup tie

  13. FoolishgooNer says:

    Yes man I second that. 3 points against everton is more important then the cup. However, players available should be able to secure a comfortable win at home. Diaby should not start he needs to come back slowly. Get it done boys.

  14. Aussie Jack says:

    No Boop, semi`s only then will we be able to risk the top eleven.

  15. MattK90 says:

    Yeah how come we get the short straw and get a game on Sunday and Tuesday? Then u get united who get just one game a fortnight so the refs have time to practice their bias toward them 😉

  16. critic says:

    hey desi, can’t there be any arrangements to “like” comments???we all love ur blog but some of the comments are also fabulous and insightful.

  17. GERALD says:

    yea yea is all about concentration and a little awareness from the lads. i know not think that we have the best team in the EPL right now.
    My Preferred starting eleven,

    Szczesny – Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs – Denilson , Rosicky, Arshavin- Chamakh, Bendtner, Walcott. Rosicky and Arshavin in the middle while bendtner should play from the left cos he likes cutting in then charmakh should start from the right. walcott should keep them back with his pace playin upfront. you may think our middle is not strong enuf but the presence of bendtner and charmakh occasionally in the middle will help. Yu guys may want my head for what am about to write but Amulnai should be in post.
    This team can only lose this match if they want to lose it. go gunners and keep ur 3 goal serie goin

  18. Sobin the gooner says:

    My starting 11

  19. adeokoya says:

    If d squard players can’t get pass this match without d Fab intervention then they have no right to wear an Arsenl Shirt

  20. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by itweetarsenal, EpiKnightz. EpiKnightz said: DesiGunner: Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Huddersfield Town: After seeing off Cha… #Arsenal […]

  21. mohammed assefa says:

    I don’t really feel comfortable with d lineup.We ‘ve 2 think about tuesday’s game against Everton so we should give some players a rest.If wenger select d following it ‘d b at d top of my interest.

    eboue squillaci kos gibbs

    rosicky diaby denilson arshavin

    chamak bentdner

  22. watts says:

    whatever team is played should win this one…….all players should take responsibilty once selected to the squad on any matchday. no more over-relying on our super stars…..all should keep their heads down and work thier socks off for the sake of the team. and i think concentration should be high for this…..eboue……no dosing on the opponents half while guys are sweating behind u…..

  23. IndianGunner says:

    I would like to know your opinion whether we should play Miquel or not in this game. Even if his loaned out he is supposed to play in a Championship side, and this team is from a lower league League 1. Surely if we have to test him we could play him. I know starting him would be unwise but Kos has been playing a lot of games as well and we need him fresh too. He doesn’t look injury prone so far, touchwood
    but fatigue does bad things to your body
    Anyways a rest would get him back to top shape for Everton
    Speaking of Everton on Tuesday, they are playing Chelsea in the FA cup and i believe they would have the first team for that match. Which means they won’t be that fresh for the league game. I expect a lot easier defensive game for us

    Anyways our second string should be able to get a result against this team. Hope for a good match

    • desigunner says:

      Initially I thought playing Miquel in this game might be a good idea. But considering the fact that Squillaci, Gibbs, and Eboue are likely to play it might not be a wise move to throw the youngster into the mix.

      The problem with defenders is that they can lose a great deal of confidence if they have a few bad games. Unlike attackers they don’t get many chances to have assists and goals to get back into form.

      Another point I find relevant is that Miquel needs to go on loan because he still has a lot of mistakes to make and nuances to learn, especially in defending against long balls and physical play. Not sure such a game is a good place to start that education.

      • ding says:

        I disagree. No offence to Huddersfield, but Miquel is unlikely to ever get much weaker opponents against whom he can make his debut. Also, Wenger keeping him in the squad and not brining in another CB, it seems that he is ready for a step up into the first team, as a back up at least.
        Additionally, even with the reserve defence, we should be able to keep a clean sheet, and this would do wonders for the lad’s confidence.

  24. Arsenal4 says:

    Definitely Arsenal B
    sczezny, eboue, gibbs, squilacci, kosc,denilson, rosicky, diaby (if fit) AA, NB , chamakh
    still good enough for a

  25. pH says:

    Your previews and reviews are really good quality, n you are second to none in analysing tactical details. Well thought out articles too.
    However, sometimes you just neglect the opponents’ game plan or how they play. In this one also you are admitting ur ignorance of the opponents n simply just skipping it, without any attempts to find it. I’m sure it won’t be such a time-consuming, hard work to try googling it. Will make the articles more complete.

    • desigunner says:

      Can you give me a link to an article where huddersfield’s play is analyzed. I just want to get a good idea of what you expect.

      I did comment on a few points that Arsene had mentioned and I looked for highlights but didn’t find much. Against Leeds I was able to do that. I don’t believe in reading other articles and repeating what was written because that makes me uncomfortable.

      But I’ll be happy to add more if you can give me an example.

  26. Lex says:

    If everyone is fit I would like to see our “B” team,


    Eboue, Koscielny, Squillaci, Gibbs

    Denilson Diaby


    Bendtner Chamakh Arshavin

    Surely this team has enough in them to beat Huddersfield Town, it won’t be easy I’m expecting them to come at us the same Ipswich & leeds did in both first ties. Still expecting a win. If we are up 3 or 4-0 within 60mins I would like to see Koscielny rested.

  27. […] Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Huddersfield Town After seeing off Championship side Ipswich Town in the League Cup Arsenal next face Huddersfield Town from League One […] […]

  28. critic says:

    yay, yay…finaly we see some champion’s stuff…and without the help of ref..

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