Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Blackpool

I’m really looking forward to the visit to Bloomfield Road. They aren’t vintage Oranje just yet, but the Tangerines have a distinctive flavour of their own. This one could turn out to be one of the most exciting games of the season. Blackpool have been playing with gay abandon in their debut season and I hope the current relegation dogfight will not force Holloway to change his approach.

The Seasiders are extremely lethal on their counter-attacks and have made good use of set-pieces. Interestingly, those two are Arsenal’s main defensive weaknesses. I expect the home side to maintain their record of having scored in every game at their ground. Needless to say, the Gunners will need two or more goals if they want three points from this fixture.

Finding the right balance in the absence of Song will be a real challenge for Arsene. None of the other midfielders has the ability to chase the ball all day long and that could expose the defence to fast breaks by the Tangerines.

One approach would be to play a safe game with the defence dropping deeper every time possession is lost. The Gunners have used this fairly effectively in some away games, especially against the likes of Everton, Wolves, and such teams. The midfield would sit in front of the defence and most of the attacks would be created from deeper positions. It’s a strategy that could work against Blackpool because they’re not likely to sit back for a 0-0 draw.

An early goal does make it easier to play a slow, deep-lying, patient game. I hope to see a purposeful start with some quick exchanges. Arsenal have the players to put one in within the opening ten minutes but could easily concede one as well if some of the players are off the pace.

The hosts do have a leaky defence that is by far the worst in the League. They are the only team that is conceding an average of over two goals a game with 63 in 31. I have no doubt the Gunners will create some chances and with some luck they’ll be able to convert a few of those.

With Fabregas coming back into the starting eleven we should see an automatic improvement in the performances of the front three as they receive better service and will always have Cesc available when they need him. From this point on a lot will depend on the way El Capitan plays. His fitness and performances could still have a significant impact on this season.

Up front I expect the trio of Nasri, Arshavin, and Van Persie if Walcott does not pass the fitness test. All three of them will have some scoring chances if they are able to get into the right positions. There is no doubt Blackpool will offer some space if the Gunners are willing to find it.

Wenger will have to make a difficult choice in the midfield. Wilshere and Cesc are sure to start but the third player will be tough to pick. With no truly defensive minded player available for selection, Arsene will have to pick one from Ramsey, Rosicky, or Diaby. Many fans will prefer Rambo but I’m not convinced he is ready for the League just as he showed against West Brom a couple of weeks ago. I’ll go with Diaby with clear instructions to hold back and let the front players dominate the attacking areas. It won’t be an ideal choice but one that seems mandatory given the circumstances.

At the back Sagna is another major doubt. Eboue will most likely come in but we can never be sure which Eboue will turn up. The Ivorian can be lazy and casual in some games or focussed and effective in others. Squillaci and Koscielny in front of Almunia will have to do. Clichy will have his task cut out on the left.

Probably starting line-up,

Almunia – Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy – Diaby, Cesc, Wilshere – Nasri, RvP, Arshavin.

I expect at least four goals in this game but can’t quite figure out how the teams will share them. United needed a big refereeing gift to get three points at this venue but Arsenal might have to do it with the decisions going the other way. Nonetheless, this should be a memorable game; hopefully, it will be for all the right reasons.

36 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Blackpool

  1. gazzap says:

    Diaby is a very lazy and indisciplined player. He has been worse this season than ever. He and Densilson simply dont ever deserve to represent the club. Even if Rambo isn’t quite ready I’d go with him. Its a dangerous fixture, they will go for it, we could lose.

    • BergkampHenry says:

      i somewhat agree gazzap. i think Denilson will leave in the summer this ‘injury’ he has sustained recently after some pretty poor performances certainly suggest it. Diaby is inconsistent and although he is a good player with great skill on the ball that makes piercing runs, he will often create a poor pass and undo all his good work. personally i think next season diaby should go on loan somewhere to find consistency (unless of course he has a solid pre-season). I agree with you, i would rather Ramsey play!

  2. Omar Almasri says:

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    Cheers and have a good one

  3. Lt Segun says:

    I agree with Bergkamphenry. The scoreline will be 3-1 in favour of Arsenal

  4. Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

    I have seen Ramsey coming back to his best slowly but surely and would enjoy watching him play defensive midfielder in the holding role since he can switch to attack so quickly but still track back at high pace. He works very well with Cesc and Wilshere and that can make all the difference. Diaby is unpredictable and Denilson is playing Russian roulette with our defense, so Ramsey for me. Knowing Wenger, he’ll play Denilson and then, once we are a goal down, switch to Diaby?

  5. samir nasri says:

    thank god you’re back desi, i hope you don’t deal with all of the shit i’m reading on other arsenal blogs.

    i’m not happy with arsenal currently either, but wow. just wow.

  6. D says:

    “Clear instructions”… hmmm… Desi, I’m pretty sure the lanky midfielder has received “clear instructions” on numerous occasions to sit back and hold but unfortunately it’s not in his game to sit back for 90 mins… you have to agree that going forward Diaby is something else, I know his end product or the killer pass so to say is clearly not in the same league as cesc but with Nasri and Arshavin drifting in am sure they can receive the baton from the upper third of the park where Diaby is most penetrative… am of the opinion that Cesc and Diaby should swap positions… Cesc is a master playmaker with remarkable vision and I’m confident has the work ethic to harry the opposition in our defensive third… also in that deep lying position Cesc can be lethal and play that Pirlo-esque role to perfection… I know that Cesc has had the freedom to roam around the park but in the 4-3-3 system we have seen him upfront more than in the holding role… the holding playmaker is Cesc’s bread and butter considering his whole game was modeled on Guardiola and he came in as a replacement for Viera..

    My ploy would be to either deploy Diaby or Rosicky upfront and give Cesc the instruction to hold and control the play… but that’s just my opinion.. as usual Arsene Knows best… 4-1 to us!

    • santori says:

      I have to agree with you.

      I have been of the opinion that sitting deeper actually suits Fabregas better and he should hold in concert with Jack.

      Diaby could be interesting as a battering ram going forward, especially if the Tangerines decide to set up camp but I’m not sure if he can sustain the position behind RVP without losing some discipline

      I would think if Diaby does get the nod then there will be a rotation going on between him, Fab and jack, with Fab more likely to stay in a more advance role.

      But Diaby inconsistent and flagrant as he is does offer us something different going forward and it’s going forward that we are having a problem with at the moment.

    • Edu says:

      I concur with you, Cesc has ability to play efficiently in the deep 3rd Pirloesque is to aptly put it. Play Nasri behind RvP and we have the most terrible attack to behold with Arsha & Theo down the flanks. —Almunia—–

      What say you gooners?

      Especially hen we have our proper back 5 starting!!

  7. malaysianatheart says:

    Diaby is NOT a defensive player. His natural tendency is to go forward. And he ought to be allowed to do that if he is in the starting 11. Unfortunately the great Wenger with his out of this world managerial capability has not seen this in Diaby and keeps insisting that he play a holding position which serves only to frustrate the lad. Wenger would not have assessed Blackpool’s strengths or their weaknesses. But because Blackpool have such a leaky defence – only a little worse than ours if you assess it on a weighted average method – we might scrap a win out in this game. But given the lack of any desire of the manager or the team to win anything, and the fact that Blackpool are in relegation zone, my prediction is that the game will be a draw.

    • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

      Mugatheart….from what you say it seems your managerial ¨skills¨basically lie in your imagination and nowhere else. First off, our defense is 2nd best with a +/- difference of 30, second only to United…so your weighted average is bull! Desire is not judged by 1-2 bad games but what happens after its all over and your Gloomer-Doomer opinion is just that…based on your dislike of Wenger and not a balanced view of our season so far.
      Leave the intelligent management to Wenger and go back to your Fantasy Football games where you are such a legend!

      • santori says:

        If anything, we’ve been a little too careful and it has inhibited us going forward in numbers, although of course that is perfectly understandable with Squillaci and Kos holding at the moment and Almunia in goal.

    • Slugboy says:

      I agree that Diaby is not a defensive midfielder. Apart from Song, we don’t have any. I think with such an abundance of attacking midfielders, they all need to do a shift as the defender, which I think is Wenger’s tactic. Only problem is, some are not disciplined, not good enough at the role.

      Diaby does add height to the team in defensive positions, ….but doesn’t always use it to good effect. Put a brain on that guy and he’d be great!

      I’m hoping that the team move away from this ‘possession at all costs’ tactic, which is too defensive and as a result we don’t appear to be able to break down defenses. Push the two ‘wingers’ up on to the full backs and ask the full backs to get more involved.

  8. jesus says:

    I have come to save arsenal. no more worries.

  9. ak47 says:

    im going for 5-1 to us with diaby having a blinder…he’s due 1.

  10. geoff reid says:

    Wegners a wanker

  11. Kushagra India says:

    Desi yep Diaby is the only other option we have and it tells us a lot about our squad depth….Fingers Crossed for this one ,El Capitan should prove to be the difference,I hope Arshavin gets a shot for full 90 mins or so ,he has been the most improved player .

  12. Dark Prince says:

    Desi, Good thing you have stopped predicting scores. Really feel the jinx is for real…

  13. chpangemanan says:

    One thing that people usually forget is even Denilson and Diaby can play great football when they have Cesc marshaling the middle of the park.

    Therefore, I believe that even when Diaby plays as a holding midfielder, he can look worldclass just because Cesc is there…

    The very reason of Cesc’s presence is so vital and we can see a different Arsenal showing up tonight with of course a more favorable result than before…

    • santori says:

      Let’s hope Cesc has a good day at the office. We really need El Capitan to stand up and be counted now. Don’t go missing senor.

  14. santori says:

    Welcome back Desi.

    I think we’ve been a tad too cautious of late and that has translated to clean sheets but also drawn blanks up front for us.

    Song is a big miss for us and one reason why we have been impacted points-wise of late.

    If Diaby plays, he could help us overload on our attacks a little but I also think we should learn to use our width a little.

    This especially if we are still held 60 minutes on and decide to put on Chamakh and Bendtner. some decent crosses and to the strengths of these two wouldn’t hurt surely. With Diaby in the mix, we could have height aplenty (assuming he isn’t taken off by then of course)

    I hope we put in a good shift and win handsomely. 10 points behind and playing catch up, it would help psychologically if the lads rediscover their mojo now.

  15. santori says:

    or would you prefer …

    …………….back 4…………..

    AA and Diaby can swap as and when.

    You could also take one of them off, drop RVP into the hole and load up Chamakh.

  16. Chuma says:

    Arsenal must win so as to revive our title hopes. & my first eleven. Alumnia,sagna or Eboue, koschelny,miguel,Gibbs,wilshere,fabregas,nasri,van persie,arshavin,walcott.

  17. Phil23 says:

    This post sounds more like the Desi of old! I found this really interesting:

    I agree Diaby should come into midfield. Ramsey can’t be expected to come into a new role while he is not in form yet. Diaby must surely be rested and full of energy. With our season on the line I expect him to perform.

  18. Bolataofeek says:

    Pls buy some solid players, we dont need goalkeeper d one we have is ok thaks

  19. Hong_gunner says:

    Interesting thing that whenever we travel to a football playing side, we miss a proper midfield breaker, aka song. But then again, i won’t mind that tonight as blackpool will leave acres of spaces in different areas of the pitch and we can cover up the mistakes we make. However, playing ramsey or diaby too deep could prove suicidal in such an open game. And hence i’d like to see wenger omit them both and start with a more compact 4-4-2(4411 if you like), with cesc dropping deep if needed and arshavin and nasri staying up top to make it a conventional 433. It also provides an opportunity for nasri to cut inside if cesc ain’t having a good game. The starting 11 picks itself. I predict a 1-3 win for us.

  20. chpangemanan says:

    Great prediction desi. From the starting line-up (but lehmann), tactical instruction to the 4 goals tonight…

    Glad to finally get back to winning ways…it’s been too long…

    Diaby played really well, btw…

  21. Kushagra India says:

    PhiL Hillwood has been a PR disaster SHAMBLES..

  22. Kushagra India says:

    Stan Kroenke is in advanced talks to take over Arsenal…

  23. Kushagra India says:

    arsenal stand-in keeper after being asked if he will stay in goal for the gunners next match “i don’t care” what a legend!

  24. […] Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Blackpool I’m really looking forward to the visit to Bloomfield Road. They aren’t vintage Oranje just yet, but the Tangerines […] […]

  25. WafflingWenger says:

    lol I must say, that in retrospect this is a very good preview desi =P . Spot on as usual.

    Keep up the good work.

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