Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Everton

The close proximity of fixtures means there is no time to reflect on the previous game but we can certainly enjoy the transfer dealings on a hectic final day before the serious stuff starts with the visit by Everton.

Torres, Luiz to Chelsea; Carroll, Adam to Liverpool; there are plenty of potentially season defining deals going on. I’ll write a piece on that once the window closes and we know for sure who’s gone where. For now I’m looking at pictures of burning Torres shirts and trying to make sense of £35M+ for Carroll. In the words of a wise man named Keys, “The world has gone mad.”

I don’t expect any ins or outs at Arsenal. Bendtner to Newcastle is a funny one but can’t really be anything more.

Coming to the subject of the post, I believe the game against Everton will be a tough one. David Moyes’ side are slow starters and a bit inconsistent but have only lost one game this season out of nine played against Arsenal, United, City, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool. Of course that one defeat was against Arsenal. Last season we beat them convincingly away from home but drew at the Emirates. This season’s win at Goodison Park was a close fought encounter and Tuesday’s battle will not be easy by any stretch.

As far as the starting line-up goes I expect the first string to be in action with Nasri’s spot up for grabs. I have a feeling one of Arshavin, Bendtner, or Rosicky will get the nod. All three were involved on Sunday with the first two giving their all for the duration of the game. Rosicky on the other hand has just recovered from serious sickness so we can never be sure if he’s fit enough to start.

Some might want to pick Chamakh as the third attacker. I can’t argue against the fact that the Moroccan is likely to be the sharpest of all available personnel due to his lack of action recently but I don’t like the idea of either Chamakh or RvP playing on the wing.

Assuming he’s fit, my choice is Rosicky because he offers the best balance. I can see him supporting Clichy on the left, linking up well with RvP, Cesc, and Jack, and creating chances for Theo and other players in the box. Was his stoppage time equalizer against Everton in last season’s fixture the last he’s scored for Arsenal?

Preferred starting line-up,

Szczesny – Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy – Song, Cesc, Wilshere – Walcott, RvP, Rosicky.

Tactically, we will have to see how Everton approach the game. Broadly speaking I have seen two distinct styles used by David Moyes.

There are times when Everton use high tempo pressing. They just don’t give the opponents any time on the ball and force mistakes. This often creates openings for their attackers and they look for quick transitions to attack.

I don’t think they can use this tactic for the whole of 90 minutes. So we might see them starting on the front foot and looking for an early goal that they can defend. That means Arsenal will have to match their tempo and ensure there are no mistakes at the back or in the midfield.

Everton did play a tough FA Cup tie against Chelsea on Saturday so they might not be at their sharpest. Moreover, they might not be able to rotate as many players as Arsene can.The Gunners will have to make this physical advantage count.

More commonly, and quite understandably, we see a big blue bus parked in front of the goal. Everton put 9-11 men behind the ball based on the situation of the game and invite pressure on a very well organized defence.

They can be a threat on the counter attack if Arsenal give them space down the middle. The visitors will certainly be a big threat on set-pieces but I guess many of us already close our eyes and pray when any opponent gets the chance to put a ball in our penalty area.

One trick that works well against Everton, easier said than done of course, is to score the first goal. After that they are forced into being more expansive and gaps start opening up. With the likes of RvP and Walcott up front Arsenal can really exploit those openings.

I’m not sure if Cahill will be back in time for this game or not but even without the Australian the Toffees have plenty of bite up front. Their attackers might not be the most hyped players but the likes of Saha, Coleman, Arteta, and others can punish the opposition if given space and time around the penalty area. Walcott will also have a big role to play on both ends of the pitch against Baines.

I am looking forward to a fast paced, entertaining game tomorrow. There should be some goals and great football.


51 Responses to Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Everton

  1. james says:

    Let’s hope this Chelsea signings help them beat the Mancs twice and destabilize them (Chelski) enough to propel us to the title.
    Even with my annoyance at Wenger, today’s made me realize why there’s no other team or manager I’d support. UEFA, on their high horses, are going to say nothing about these inflated fees and the fact that all this is being done in anticipation of the finance rule they’ve put in place next year.
    $35 million for Carroll when David Villa cost the same price is a freaking abomination (the soccer Gods are weeping right now, its like paying the same money for Pele and Sheringham); Chelsea seem to be going back to their old ways as an acceptance of the fact that when it all comes down to it, they can’t and will never be able to compete with us on an even playing field.
    It’d have been nice if we brought in a CB on loan for the rest of the season but I now totally understand and respect Wenger’s mores- this is unjust and plain wrong, the January transfer window was originally set up as a ‘refresher’ for injuries and stuff like that, no other league is experiencing this type of madness and when teams are allowed to f*** up the market like this, someone needs to grow balls and protest.
    The joy I’d get if we won the league this season amidst all this irresponsibility and with a team that we ‘developed’ from scratch would be immense.
    Here’s to a well-run, responsible club and sometimes ‘wacky/miserly’ manager, there’s no club like Arsenal.
    Funny thing, seems like Harry just found out how disregarded his team is: did he really expect Aguero or Llorente to want to play for his small London team- money can’t buy class.

    • desigunner says:

      Could be the last throw of the dice for Abramovich before the fair play rules kick in. He clearly tried to steer the club towards youth but it didn’t work out half as well as expected.

      I too was hoping Arsenal can find a defensive player but if they can’t they so be it.

      ‘Arry should stick to his wheeling-dealing. I can’t see why any big name international striker would want to come to Spuds.

      • james says:

        Yeah, sounds like a last throw to me and it’s the highest definition of cowardice, these guys literally scoured the globe poaching almost-ready-made talent in Kakuta, Sturridge and Ramires and they finally have injuries that force them to play their young ones and boom, the experiment unfolds.
        Sad thing is the money-obsessed commentators are going to stay silent about this failure but year after year we’re laughed at for going all the way with developing young players.
        Can you believe that we actually got to the Champions League final and lost to a Ronaldinho-led squad with a half-junior team.

      • santori says:

        Too late now but I would have hoped that we had decent cover for Song.

        Somehow recalling the likes of Lansbury doesn’t strike me as comforting.

        Perhaps Ramsey with Wilshere but again we are gambling somewhat.

  2. Phv says:

    “Being an Arsenal fan on deadline day is like being in detention at school and watching other kids play outside!”
    This is exactly what I feel today but I will forget about it in the next few days.At least if we play Lansbury instead of Denilson, I would feel better and more excited.

  3. JJ Pittman says:

    Nice analysis. We sure do see a lot of buses! Need the first goal and should get it. Amazing amount of missed finishes lately, maybe broken by the Bendtner deflection yesterday. Most of our guys are thoroughly rested, and I am confident(but always nervous) we can win this one. Saw my first live game at Highbury in1971 and am a Gooner forever!

  4. WingedGooner says:

    I think Arshavin would be a better choice than Rosicky. Rosicky is just coming back and he was forced to play very early into the game against huddersfield. And now with Sami out I would love to see Arshavin hit top form by the time Barca roll up in the emirates. He is already showing glimpses of how he can be a gamechanger with those assists against ipswich and his effort(both offensively and defensively) against huddersfield.

    • santori says:

      Agree. AA put in a good shift against Huddersfield.

      We need him to click back into gear in time for Barca. He needs to keep playing.

      If he is still floundering agter 60, put in Rosicky (who is still just returning from his bout of illness)in his place.

    • I would like Bendtner on left , he is not worse than Arshavin as a choice. Also we Arhsavin has played last 2 games we all know his fitness levels i doubt he could put up another fighting show. If he does not he will be crucified again. Among Bendtner or Rosicky or Arshavin for fitness reason alone i would go with Bendtner.

  5. Kubla Khan says:

    In which world do you live? Rosicky ahead of Arshavin? I agree, the world has gone crazy and I am relieved Wenger doesn’t read you before picking his eleven.
    And, since football doesn’t obey the laws of physics but is ruled by chance and another chance after the last one, why donyou bother predicting. But then, why did I bother with my comments too?

    Ciao

    • IncredibleG says:

      Welcome to the world of blogging. If people weren’t entitled to post their opinion and analyse in their own way, there would be a distinct shortage of journalism of any sort.
      Everything is chance, the best we can do is look for the patterns that are noticable to you. If you’re going to disregard all analysis, you might as well bog off back to Xanadu.

  6. T2T says:

    I agree with your starting line except for Rosicky. I really like TR7 but he has been out for a while and I’d rather see him as a possible sub around @ 60-70 min.

    NB52 or AA23 are both alternatives. In the game against HT on Sunday, AA23 played well. AA23 creates chances and with him, CF4 and TW14 supporting RvP10, we have a very impressive offensive line up. NB52 on the left side could offer up an alternative. I know a lot of fans hold a grudge against the big Dane but he does score quite a bit and offers a target for high balls from TW14, CF4, GC22, BS3 and let’s not forget JW19.

    Regarding the transfer window, Liverpool will probably do OK financially but Chelsea… They shipped out a lot of guys in the summer and they’re now adding both huge transfer fees as well as a couple of nice chunks of money every week. Newcastle is the winner; £35 or thereabouts for Carroll…

  7. Boop says:

    I expect a big helping of drudgery tomorrow, tbh. Happy to be surprised however. Keep up the good work there Desi.

  8. AnonymousGun says:

    Just pray Kos holds up for a grueling night ;_;

    He had to play again with only 51 hours T_T..

    Unless Song drop to CB to partner DJ and Wilkshire/Den/Diaby slotted in the 2 Mid slot behind Fab. I prefer Diaby to counter afroboy Fellaini.

    • Phil23 says:

      I dont like Song at Cb. If you watch the Hudderfield game he is just not the same force as a defender and seems to be caught unaware of players runs quite often. Imo Squillaci’s red could do as much damage to us as Nasri’s injury. The fatigue of Kos and Djourou was already high. Now they have to play 3 more games in a row and one of them has to play 4. This is after an extended runs of starts already.

      • desigunner says:

        Isn’t Squillaci suspended for only one game?

      • Kushagra India says:

        Squilacci and Denilson its better with 9 men…

      • IncredibleG says:

        Song would make a fine CB if he played there regularly but in the rear you need understanding and he does not have that yet. It is, however, a massive waste of his talents playing him so far from the front line.
        @Desi – Yes. 1 match suspension for DOGSO. No violent conduct.

      • Phil23 says:

        Someone else said it was one game too so thats a relief.

  9. santori says:

    Very nervous about this one.

    I hope we’re well prepared because as you said, Everton are tough.

    I’m expecting to trim my nails tommorow.

  10. Kushagra India says:

    Its a very big gamble once again By Monsieur Wenger he did the same thing last Jan when we needed a striker and we all know the outcome so FINGERS CROSSSED big time .Dont want Song playing as a CB as he is our best CDM and we never know how will Vermy return …

    • desigunner says:

      And we never know how a new player will adapt, and we never know whether or not the new guy will get injured soon after signing – ‘we never know’ argument can work both ways.

      I don’t like Song in a CB role either but these issues are never that simple.

  11. Kushagra India says:

    Why people keep on insisting to play Song as a Centre Half when he has been phenomenal in the midfield one of our best players along with Nasri…..Less said about his replacement Denilson the better he has regressed big time…

    • AnonymousGun says:

      Because all our opinions (including Desi here, sorry) are worth nothing in the end.. Its Wenger that have the final say, and he included Song as one of the option in CB position.

      The possibility is there, as you can see in Huddersfield match, Song will; in extreme case; revert to that CB position if Wenger deems fit to play him there.

      You dont like it? Neither do I, but I’m willing to risk him there then overburning Kos.

  12. Assuming that Tomas plays, I’d say that he will open his scoring again against everton. Am I wrong to think that you also have the same opinion, desi? Well, was it the same projection like the one you had about nik before?

    Cahill has been given an extended break after the asian cup, so at least we have less threat from the air attack. We don’t have to worry either about pienaar since his transfer to soon-not-to-be neighbor.

    Everton is a tough nut to break, but I have the confidence on our first team even without Nasri, so I will watch this match comfortably believing that another home win in the bag.

    As for the transfer madness, I’m only hoping that the merseyside can punish torres and his new employer this weekend by a goal from suarez and carroll each. And an own goal by luiz. Is it too much to ask?

    • desigunner says:

      I’m hoping he gets his scoring touch back.

      I’m also hoping Chelsea go on a good run now and beat United on the 12th.

  13. amaan says:

    Desi…I think u shud join twitter…….now….

  14. Hong_gunner says:

    when we met the merseysiders last year at the Emirates, things were a lot different than it is now. Pienaar ran us ragged that day, and now he’s gone. Cahill may not feature, hence it is a bit of comfort that we wont have to deal with many aerial balls around the box. and more so, we are far stronger this time around than when we faced them then. my potential line-up:

    Szczesny – Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy – Song, Wilshere – Walcott, Cesc, Arshavin – RVP

    but lets not under estimate David Moyes who can put up a side to give us a good fight. I still expect a 3-1 win for us.

  15. Kushagra India says:

    it seems fairly obvious to me that we have 3 centre backs who are up to the job 1 of which is injured, the other who is injury prone and the third who is still adapting, therefore an extra centre back was pretty desperately needed! .

    • IncredibleG says:

      I’m assuming the injury prone player you’re talking about is Djourou. That’s just a short memory talking. Djourou missed 15 months for ONE hamstring injury which was particularly problematic, that does not make him injury prone. I’m not saying he isn’t but for such a young guy, making that assumption is just scaremongering.

  16. Kushagra India says:

    – just to lighten the mood……….

    BREAKING TRANSFER NEWS: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has issued a hands off warning and has insisted that Howard Webb is not for sale.

    • AnonymousGun says:

      Nah, best SHOCKING transfer news was Jack Wilshire..

      He transfered from his sofa to his bed, believed o be an absolute bargain .. FREE!

      Can you believe that?

  17. Ajinkya says:

    i was going to ask Desi to write a Transfer-window special, but it looks like this post has been turned into one.
    Many have been thinking a CB is needed. And we have to play 3 more games without a backup CB. Worrying, but we must get past that. Let us have a look at the upcoming fixtures: 1 Feb- Everton, 5 Feb- Newcastle, 12 Feb- Wolves, and then barca on 16th.
    So, Squillaci misses all the three league games. Will it be OK for Djourou? Physically that is. The games must not flatten him. We have to face top sides back to back. And then Squillaci is available for the barca game, but is he upto it? He has played for sevilla before, but this is a really trying period. We cannot afford to lose Song in the midfield( as cover up CB).
    Hope we get through. It really feels as if this is our season. We have to perform consistently.

    • IncredibleG says:

      Honestly guys, it’s one match Squillaci’s out for. Djourou Koz should be our back two for Barca barring any further issues.
      Although we are overdue for a whole lot of issues…

  18. IncredibleG says:

    Alot of people are moaning today (like last year) about our lack of transfer action. For me, the ridiculous ammount of money spent by other teams answers all questions about why we couldn’t find someone that suited. I’m not going into how ridiculous the prices are, suffice it to say we can’t afford to pay what those other lunatics have.

    The positive we should take is that a lot of teams have just destabilized themselves right before crunch-time. I’m not saying that the other teams have thrown away their seasons but for the big changes like Newcastle losing Carroll, a bedding in period should be expected.

    As for tonight, a win will do. Another 3-0 would be a great message to send out but I think we can all feel a scrappier, more difficult match on the cards. Cahill is supposedly still resting after the asian cup but if he’s even close to ready I’d play him against us.

    • Kushagra India says:

      We are not saying that we splash 35m on a player who is six month old in premier league but certainly fair priced defenders were available Mertsacker Mexes come into mind…agai like last year we are taking a big gamble and last year if u remember we were trophy-less…

      • desigunner says:

        What were the prices for Mertesacker and Mexes? And what wages? Why didn’t Chelsea go after them?

        From what I recall, last season Bordeaux didn’t want to sell in Jan and Chamakh didn’t want to come at that time either. Rather than a gamble I’d say there weren’t many options. If you want to insist it was a gamble and there were options you need to provide irrefutable proof.

  19. Kushagra India says:

    Why everyone thinks spending 10m quid on a defensive cover will send us Leeds and Pompey way …..anyways I just hope no more injuries and Vermy comes well and good Fingers Crossed…

    • IncredibleG says:

      10m on defensive cover! See this is where we’ve got to. Cover should be someone we expect to see in emergencies and against weaker opposition through rotation. Someone like Squillaci, who knows he’s reaching the less valuable days of his career and does not mind warming the bench for the majority of the season. You want to pay £10m for that? What does that cost us in wages?
      There is no doubt that with Vermaelen injured we are walking a tight-rope. Just like when Ferdinand is injured Man U are walking a tight-rope, like-wise with Chelsea and Terry or Alex(whichever is worst at the time). This is sport, it’s not Football Manager, there will always be risk. You don’t get backup after backup in every position because there isn’t the money and most players don’t like to think of themselves as just backup.
      If managers at the top level continue to refuse to pay the ridiculous Man City prices for players, the inflation can be limited. That is what needs to happen to save our game and you can bet that Arsene Wenger will always look to the long term because he is intelligent. I’ve seen him referred to as myopic 3 times today and I think all that shows is that at least 3 Arsenal Bloggers don’t know what myopic means.

      • Prabal Rakshit says:

        Good one IG 🙂

        Squillaci was brought in as a thrid choice defender, somewhat of the Sol Campbell/ Silvestre role, and from that angle he has pretty much done his job. He would not have played so many matches had TV5 not been injured for long.

        With Gary Cahill evaluated at a mind boggling 20m, it just goes on to prove that desperate buys in the January window would just cause financial grief and nothing else. Most people in blogosphere so not consider the weekly salary of the footballer in question. ON that count even a 10m buy is a significant cost.

        I believe what has caught us blindsided on the defensive front, is our inability to play someone like Sagna as a CB (with Eboue and full back). This would not have necesitated Song in the CB role (somehting that he is no longer comfortable with). Chelsea’s use of Ivanovic for example, shows how this can be a more than a decent stop gap arrangement.

      • desigunner says:

        Well said IG & PR

    • desigunner says:

      You mentioned the names Mertesacker and Mexes earlier. Are you saying these players were available for 10M? I’ve never been convinced by Mexes but that’s a separate issue. I’m not sure these players were available at a fair price.

  20. Hong_gunner says:

    Mertesacker ain’t any improvement than what we already have. and older than all our center backs bar squillaci. whats the point?

  21. […] Thoughts On The Starting Eleven And Tactics Against Everton The close proximity of fixtures means there is no time to reflect on the previous game but we can certainly enjoy the […] […]

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