Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Leyton Orient

From Barcelona to Leyton Orient … Hmmm. If I’m honest, I find this fixture a bit underwhelming. No disrespect to the League One side because I fully acknowledge the possibility of an upset if the Gunners don’t turn up at their best. But the game against Barcelona was one that had been in my mind for a long while. And the performance has ensured that it will be in my mind for an even longer period. I believe many fans will be able to relate to that and a bit worried that some players might have similar feelings!

I liked the way Arsene talked about the game.

We can gain more respect from everybody if we turn up on Sunday with absolutely full commitment then people will say this team is ready to have a real go and not choose the competition or the games.

When you are a top-level competitive man or team you go absolutely 100 per cent committed into every game.

But Arsene almost always knows the right things to say. Crucially, the players must back it up with a display that doesn’t turn into an anti-climax after all that Arsenal have achieved since the middle of December.

Le Boss will certainly rotate. I don’t have a problem with that. The key will be to find the right balance.

I expect some changes to the back five. Almunia, despite the reservations expressed by some fans, will probably get another game. It’s important to keep him involved because Fabianski is already out for the season and if Szczesny picks up an injury, even a minor one, we’d not want Almunia to come in from the cold.

I’d like to see Eboue get another game as Sagna will needed for a stretch of games after this one. Gibbs should also get a run out. Squillaci will come in for Djourou or Koscielny. I’d guess the former.

In the midfield I hope to see Song partner Denilson with Rosicky in front of them. It should be a strong enough midfield if the players show the right kind of understanding. Little Mozart will have to take more responsibility and move all over the pitch like Cesc does.

The front three will probably be Arshavin, Chamakh, and Bendtner.

The starting line-up could look like,

Almunia – Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs – Song, Denilson, Rosicky – Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin.

I realize picking this team is risky. A number of those players haven’t played regularly and might struggle to gel together as a unit in front of a partisan crowd, especially in an away game on a pitch that is not likely to be the best. In the past we’ve seen that 7-8 changes to the team can result in a disjointed effort on the pitch.

There is a strong argument for the inclusion of one or two regulars but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea given the strains of the previous game and the undoubted physicality of the next one against Stoke.

I don’t think Nasri or Van Persie should be risked for this game. So from the first string, Fabregas, Wilshere and Walcott are the more realistic picks. Arsene might pick one or more of these players to give the side a better balance but I’d trust the line-up I’ve mentioned.

In the earlier games Arshavin and Bendtner were struggling for form but both are now playing much better. Eboue too put in a strong shift against Barcelona even if his decision making in the attacking third wasn’t the best. So that team is not likely to be as annoying as the ones that struggled against Ipswich and Leeds.

We can have Cesc, RvP, and Theo on the bench if push comes to shove.

Tactically I feel Arsene will have to ensure the players remains compact and the midfielders provide the right cover for the defenders and full-backs. Arshavin has shown a marked improvement in his work rate but I’d still want to see Song on the left to provide better support to the inexperienced Gibbs. Denilson, Eboue, and Bendtner should be able to handle the right.

I’d also ask one of the full-backs to stay back without fail. Gibbs and Eboue have a tendency of getting caught up high up the pitch. We will need the midfielders to cut out the counter-attacking channels and an extra defender at the back to ensure the centre-backs aren’t exposed in a 2v2. If Arsenal don’t make it easy for the opponents to attack our goal we should win this game with any starting eleven.

In attack I’d like to see Bendtner get into the box more often and swap places with Chamakh on a regular basis. The Dane has an influential presence in the box and often pressurizes defenders into a mistake. If we do it often enough goals are bound to come.

With improved confidence, I hope to see some good runs from Arshavin. Rosicky has the ability to find him. I’d also like to see Tomas get into the box a bit more like Fabregas does. Bendtner and Chamakh should also be ready to make the runs as Arshavin and Rosciky are capable of finding the through ball for the strikers. If we come up against a parked bus the aerial presence of the two strikers should give us a heady advantage.

Leyton Orient will offer a stiff challenge and will grow into the game if Arsenal don’t boss the early exchanges. As a number of our players will be fresher and technically better they’ll have to impose themselves on the individual battles to hold off pressure, to press, to move the ball quickly, and to counter the effects of the crowd and the occasion which will surely give the opponents a lift.

Since the middle of December, the young Gunners have been on a steady ascent towards stardom. The last win has taken us high and given us a distinctive sheen. The next couple of games are like a pocket of turbulence before we reach the first milestone on the path to glory. It will be rough but we have to get through while balancing our resources.

On a side note, I’m travelling over the weekend and might not be able to watch the game so the match report is also likely to be delayed. Apologies in advance to those who like an early review and discussion. Hopefully the performance and the result will extend the current state of euphoria and fans will be happy to dwell on the game over the next few days.


21 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Leyton Orient

  1. JJ Pittman says:

    Definitely have to use as many as reasonable in this match. Of no relevance at all, I went to a match at Brisbane Road in 1979, took hours to get there from Sloane Square area on tube and bus. Got into the stands in the 2nd minute, missed the only goal of a 1-0 game. Think we should score 3 or 4 no matter who starts. As I write, however, ManUre are only ahead of Crawley Town 1-0 just after halftime.

  2. puppyguts says:

    i think u got the line-up completely wrong, to many changes will definatley lead to a disjointed team

    if bendy plays on the right, sagna HAS to be there to support him, i would start nasri as our captain and i would love to see start wilshere in cesc’s role.

    Almunia – Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Gibbs – Song, rosiscky, wilshere – Bendtner, nasri, Arshavin.

    chamakh shouldn’t start imo

    thoughts ?

    • AnonymousGun says:

      You want to have Nasri who just recovers from a hamstring injuries to play.

      There’s a reason why teams have 25 players.

  3. Mikhail says:

    I can’t remember exactly but it looks like only 3 of the first XI v. Barcelona are on your starting XI.. that’s a bit risky. Granted that B52, C29 and A23 came on as subs to win the game for us, it would be 5 changes to the team! Kinda risky if you ask me.. I’d definitely want to have wilshere or nasri in the starting lineup, regardless of where they play…

  4. wildflower says:

    Nasri is just back from injury so it would be stupid to rush into a second game. Fabregas looked really tired at the end of the last game and deserves a rest. Van Persie might get injured in such a physical cup game. Wilshere and Walcott should start. Denilson or Cesc to come on at 60 depending on whether we need attack or defence.

  5. toskany says:

    yeah i like dat line up, i know dat this team can perform well unless the god of soccer is against dem, of which i know it will not be like dat!! If we can win our next 4 match fixtures, i think everybody will be sarced of play us, YEAH QUOTE ME RIGHT. GUNNERS 4 LIFE

  6. T2T says:

    There are 3 questions that need to be taken into consideration:
    1. Who cannot play (injured/suspended/on loan)?
    2. Who needs a rest? (Barca on Wednesday, Stoke and CC coming up)
    3. What is the strongest team possible from the remaining players?
    I have to admit a fourth question could be “who needs a game”?

    From these questions, I’d start with;

    Almunia
    Eboue, Squillaci, Muquel, Gibbs
    Song, Denilson
    Rosicky
    Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin

    Subs:
    Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie

    The tactic… Start the game as it means something and continue playing to WIN! We are facing much stronger opposition than ManU and they just about scraped through.

  7. goonerblood says:

    haha looks like no one can agree on the starting XI
    oh well, here’s mine:

    Almunia
    Sagna, Squillaci, Song, Gibbs
    Wilshere, Denilson
    Rosicky
    Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin

    Subs:
    Szczesny, Clichy, Koscielny, Eboue, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie

  8. Phil23 says:

    I have looked at the fixtures all the way up until Barca and made a rotated lineup so that each and every player in the 1st XI is fresh for the barca game yet also fielding strong teams at the right time.
    4 day gap since Barcelona game: Leyton Orient
    Almunia
    Eboue Squillaci Koscielny Gibbs
    Denilson Wilshere
    Bendtner Rosicky Arshavin
    Chamakh

    3 day gap: Stoke

    Szczesny
    Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy
    Song Denilson
    Nasri Fabregas Arshavin
    Van Persie

    4 day gap: Birmingham

    Szczesny
    Sagna Djourou Koscielny Gibbs
    Song Wilshere
    Bendtner Fabregas Nasri
    Van Persie

    6 day gap:Sunderland

    Szczesny
    Eboue Djourou Squillaci Clichy
    Song Wilshere
    Walcott Rosicky Arshavin
    Chamakh

    3 day gap: Barcelona
    Szczesny
    Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy
    Denilson Wilshere
    Walcott Fabregas Nasri
    Van Persie

  9. FoolishgooNer says:

    I think Desi got it right! If we play our B team it should not be taken that we don’t want to win every single game! Players who need rest should get rest. Denilson/Rosicky/Song can handle the middle. Andrey NB should provide enough problems and chances if the middle is functioning right. Chamach it is about time he gets full 90Min to wake up again. Almunia is more Than caple gibbs and eboue should play. CB’s your pick sir not whole lot of options. Let’s get the win and guard from the let downs inconsistance and what not. I’m still high on barca win I hope our players aren’t like our fans and can do the job professionally. Let’s win.

  10. Nabil Mukadam says:

    Denilson to play barca away in that role would be suicide, mate. I’d really love him to play these smaller games and games against relegation tumblers rather than some like barca. We require the mettle to shake them passers of barca.

    Hoping Tomorrow I get to make more noise than the home fans at Brisbane Road.

  11. samir nasri says:

    i don’t care who plays, as long as we play with an all-in attitude. although.. i’d like nasri to come off or onto the bench at half time, but we never see half time subs at arsenal.

    think he needs to get minutes, because i’d like him AFAP before the next barca game.

    as amazing as he was, i can’t have been the only one to notice the lack of searing pace that we’ve seen all season.

    and of course, as always, if le boss throws him into the starting line-up, i won’t complain. watching him dribble is one of the things i look forward to week in, week out.

    and if barcelona taught me anything, it’s that even if huddersfield decides to slow him, he’ll always be back for the big games! 😀

  12. carla says:

    for me they were very good, and for me its about the tactics. for me it was a great match but for me there were not enough tactics for me.

  13. santori says:

    Spot on I feel.

    That line up should be enough to finish off Leyton and Orient.

    Chamakh needs to be played to keep sharp (god forbid RVP gets a knock)

    Ditto Arsharvin who may be coming back into good form. Nasri probably needs to stretch his legs too and should come in for AA come the hour.

    I’m not sure if Song should start or Fabregas but I think with these sort of (rough and tumble) games, Song is prob the better choice.

    We need to keep it fresh for the midweek match against Stoke which I think is a dangerous fixture (not to mention the cup final come end of next week) so we need to give our first choice players as much of a rest as poss.

  14. Hong_gunner says:

    It’s a massive contrast of a game to the one we played on wednesday night. from the quality of opposition, to the style of play, everything will be exactly the opposite. but we should be on a high. here’s my starting XI:

    Szczesny
    Eboue Squillaci Kos Gibbs
    Rosicky Song Denilson Arshavin
    Bendtner Chamakh

    I expect us to again use this chance to work out the system wenger has been trying to bring into play whenever we get a chance(low league oppositions). it is a very flexible system, and if works well, could destroy teams week in week out, but to date, with Chamakh and Bendtner up front, hasn’t worked to date. here is another chance. we could very well start with a 4-3-3 setup or a 4-4-2 on paper. but more will depend on how we adopt initially. if we start with a bit of a cautionary approach, a 4-4-2 system seeing rosicky play a bit wide and arshavin playing a bit deep would be appropriate. Chamakh and Bendter to try use the space as a result of this and help link up the play. Bendter’s first touch, hence, has to get better. as the game goes on, Arshavin could very well be given a bit less defensive responsibility and rosicky to come into the center a lot more to build attacks from there and help us transform into a vague 4-3-3 setup. Bendtner’s intelligence will be absolutely vital deciding when to pick a full back or play against a center back in the middle. however, as much giant killing Orient have done, and them being at home, I expect us to win this game. 1-2 win for us. Arshavin and Chamakh to score.

  15. Arsenal says:

    IMO through my observation of EPL, Championship, League One. Numbers of clubs had really improved tremendously over the past 5 years. Orient had plenty of Ex-Arsenal and trainees players under their rank, and they had few decent tricky players. I had a bad feeling that if we underestimate or perform under par we would lose out this match or worst went into penalties and lost the match. Frankly Desi some of the players seems dead woods and possibly Wenger to sell off end of this season especially Rosicky (on his game he was an important figure but it seems he became a liability), Denilson (never seems to have the fitness to track back in defending or intercept dangerous through play for important – Mind you I’m giving respect but never truly glad with his performances), Squillachi (Do you think as an Arsenal fans you cannot felt a moment of trust or relief when the mentioned of his name in the team sheet)…. I believed and saw the benefit of Wenger phiolosphy etc and the club definitedly going in the right direction.

  16. JJ Pittman says:

    And our reward will be a trip to face ManUre where we can really shut the flapping traps of all the pundits and naysayers all over Uk a d elsewhere. This is perfect matchup for us. Why wait til Wembley? Go you Gooners!

  17. […] Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Leyton Orient From Barcelona to Leyton Orient … Hmmm. If I’m honest, I find this fixture a bit underwhelming. No disrespect to […] […]

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