Thoughts On TheTactics And Starting Eleven Against Tiny Totts

The Barcodes have kept United in check. There is still a lot to play for. Wenger is also getting some players back from the treatment room. I guess we can call this a good news day.

Tactically, there won’t be any surprises in this game. I expect a lot of long, diagonal balls from the Spuds defenders and midfield directed towards their speedy wingers. Sagna and Clichy will have their work cut out but in the past both have shown they can deal with pace. Even then, Arsene should not leave the responsibility of dealing with Lennon and Bale on his full-backs alone. The wide attackers and midfielders have to provide better support in the wide areas. If the Gunners leave the wings open often enough, the hosts are definitely going to score from one or two of their chances.

Redknapp, if he stays true to his notions, is quite likely to start Crouch up front. He will be the target of some long balls out from the defence and also a million crosses from either wing. Djourou and Koscielny will have to do a good job of marking him, and along with the midfield they will have to track the runners to the second ball. Song will have to produce a big game and he must keep his priorities on defending. There are times when Arsenal do this really well and on other occasions we have seen some players switching off. At this stage of the season nothing short of unwavering concentration will suffice.

The Tiny Totts will certainly play at a higher tempo at home and the initial phases of the game will make for an interesting tussle. The Gunners will find themselves trailing if the start is sluggish. On the other hand I expect good counter attacking opportunities in the early exchanges. Should Arsenal capitalize on at least one, it will make the rest of the game even more open and exciting.

I believe Van Persie’s movement and technique can really trouble Spuds’ central defenders. The Dutchman can pick up a brace or even a hat-trick in this game if he puts away the chances that are bound to come his way. Even Nasri and Walcott can get on the score-sheet if they are alert to the gaps that will inevitably appear in and around the opposition penalty box.

In some ways, Arsenal just have to play the steady style they have been using away from home. The midfield must stay deeper and focus on supporting the defence. The opposition must be allowed to come forward with most of the pressing, tackling, and interceptions being attempted in the middle third of the pitch. Of course, a number of tackles will have to be won on the wings and the defenders will have to win some headers in the box as well.

The final point that stands out is that the players should keep their focus on the game at all times. For instance, even if they score a late goal that seems like a winner, the thoughts should not be about celebrating but on concentrating in defence.

I don’t think picking the starting eleven will be a difficult task.

Szczesny – Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy – Song, Cesc, Diaby – Walcott, RvP, Nasri.

A point can be raised about including Wilshere in the starting line-up. It’d be a fair one but I think the youngster is very close to a burnout and a mini-break will do him good. Anyway there is another game at the weekend.

With that game in mind and considering the fact that Spuds have had a week’s rest while Arsenal played a gruelling tie againt Liverpool, some might suggest the need for freshening up the side with a couple of changes. I guess there is a case for picking Arshavin to start but I’m not convinced any changes to this starting eleven will maintain the right balance. The players just have to produce the performances at the business end of the season.

These kinds of games are difficult to predict. Arsenal can stamp their authority on the neighbour’s ground once more, they can make some mistakes and concede two points, and I can also see them gifting the undeserving hosts all three points. I expect some goals in this one, at least three, and quite likely more. Hopefully, the majority will be in the right net.

24 Responses to Thoughts On TheTactics And Starting Eleven Against Tiny Totts

  1. Tim says:

    Spurs beat us in the last two Premier League games.It is time for revenge.Let’s smash them like we did in the first half at the Emirates but without bottling it in the end.

  2. santori says:

    If anything, even if we fall short in the end, we should at least have beat the Spurs for pride.

    They need a sound trashing the totts but I’ll settle for a 1 goal win at this point. 😀

    Bale will take some watching out right so Walcott’s pace might come in handy.

    What’s important is we need to commit forward (in numbers) when we win the ball back. Particularly with an extra body in the box (Where Diaby may come in handy)

    I also hope we take more shots. Gomes isn’t exactly the Bank of England or for that matter Brasil.

    If we’re still deadlocked, for goodness sakes Wenger put one of the big boys in the box to help muscle space for van Persie and the others to wriggle through, or simply add an extra dimension (The Aerial one)

  3. Domhuaille says:

    Can’t wait to see the Gloomers and Doomers crawl out of the woodwork if we don’t come away with 3 points at WHL.
    If we do, they’ll say its still mathematically almost impossible to win and that we’re not likely to beat Manure at home either so all is lost,waaaahhhhh, its all Wenger’s fault, etc.!
    there is a distinct possibility that we can take 6 points over the next two games and that Manure will drop more points, especially at Chelsea!
    Here’s hoping!!!!
    By the way…a big Thank you to the barcodes!

  4. jhoudini says:

    i think its time to play either 29 or 52 with rvp..revamp the lineup..this lineup hasnt produce offensively for a while, bar blackpool game, its time for some changes

  5. zaragooner says:

    i don’t mind we finish the league at second as long as we finish this scums tonight…huh..agree with the selection, i feel wilshere need some rest. He play too much game for us and it cost us in several game. I appreciate his contribution but seriously he look fatigue nowadays. Looking at Diaby’s reputation, i personally think he is the right choice to start tonight. They will come and play with their 200% energy in this game after they lose to Real last week. They will press and try to attack us as much as they can and they will give a very tough job to our back 4..Sagna is back, so no need to worry much. I think we will win this with 2-0 (Chesney will keep clean sheet). To the lads, please step up and win the game tonight. We believe in you guys. Come on you Gunners!!

  6. Goons_with_Guns says:

    F**k it. It doesn’t matter with Le Wanker still in charge. Even if Manure wilt and we or Chelski pip the Title. He’s got to get the f**k out of here. Le Wanker won’t change, he is as stubborn as mule. And the Board won’t change it either, especially when they are still making a profit. See this letter exchange that I sent to Gazadis, Fizman (1 week before he passed), Kroenke and Wenger (Hill-Wood is a tosser, minority owner).

    Here is my email letter to Gazadis (ripped off from “Celine Dion” here: dated 3rd April and Gazadis’ personal response:

    “I am 36 years old, I have been married for 8 years and I am the father of two young children aged three and five. I started going to the Arsenal in 1986 when I was about 12 and it became part of my life from there. When I was younger football was something I took for granted. I used to say that if I had only 20 pounds to my name, I would spend it following the Arsenal.

    Because that was all it cost, 20 pounds, to travel by train from my home in Kent to Highbury and stand in the north bank with money for beer and food on the way home, or to take the tube to Watford and do the same, or even travel to Norwich, give or take 10 pound more.

    So it was easy to become part of the family of Arsenal, you soon got to recognise the faces that went to the away games, or formed the hard core support in the back of the North Bank or Clock end, you got to know the songs and the camaraderie, the people and the names. It was like opening the door to a wonderful new world. Players like Merson and Wright were like fans on the pitch, and the team had grit and heroes like Tony Adams.

    Life changed for me after that. I went to University in Liverpool. I did the odd away game in the North, but in the main and for many years I was only interested in nightclubs. I met Mrs Celine Dion, and lived with her in Camden. During the wonder years of 1998-2005 I was rarely at the ground, and if it was, I was paying over the odds for a seat.

    When the Emirates was built, I saw this as an opportunity to get back to how things were, and get regular football back into my life. The bug took hold again very quickly – moving to the present day, I HAVE to go to every home league game, other match going fans will understand this, something would be wrong if I sat at home when I could actually go to the game.

    Opium of the masses the heart of a heartless world

    Life can be pretty crap, outside football; big business has taken a grip of our country and our lives. Saturday is something I look forward to, too much so, in fact, as the antidote to the rubbish dysfunctional life I lead. It’s not just the game itself, it the ritual, it’s the beers before the game, it’s going to the Gunners, it’s talking to the away fans on the way back to the station.

    But there’s a distinct difference to it all nowadays. The Emirates has a lower tier of cheap seats, or so-called cheap seats, £35 a throw when Wigan or Wolves are in town. But these sell out quickly; most Arsenal fans need to pay £50-60 to watch the team. Plus travel. Plus £3.70 a pint and £5 for a small cardboard box full of chicken strips. With train fares, programmes, and all the rest of it, a day at the football doesn’t cost £20 anymore, it costs £100 at least. And that’s just for me. Heaven forbid if I wanted to take one of my kids.

    But what about the team nowadays – well, the Arsenal team has got progressively worse since 2004 and there’s no way anyone at this point in time can disagree with me. There’s no two ways about it, each time a top quality player leaves, for whatever reason, they are replaced with a cost-cutting alternative. Eduardo for Henry, Almunia for Lehmann, Denilson for Flamini and Flamini for Gilberto, Squillaci for Gallas.

    The spreadsheet-shuffling marketers at the top of the club know exactly what they are doing, they have been peddling the brand of Arsene Wenger and his cut-price youth driven title winning potential for years and years now. They have successfully drawn Arsenal fans into the economic argument, you hear people saying ‘We don’t want to run the risk of going BANKRUPT like United or Chelsea COULD.’

    Like there’s something terribly WICKED about spending 15 million on a player, even though everybody else does it and we used to as well. As if Arsenal are some kind of hippy co-operative movement that charges everyone £2 a seat to watch their team of plucky underdogs ply their trade against the unseemly monoliths of Chelsea and United. It’s all bollocks, frankly. Twenty five million pound a couple of times a year isn’t going to send a club our size bankrupt, loan or no loan. And even if it was, sell some of the underachieving injury prone sh*te that’s in the squad already.

    Take a walk around the middle tier of Arsenal as I have done. Half the investment bankers in Europe can be found there, drinking Chateau-Lafitte and eating big fe*king cream cakes. The whole place STINKS of money. Increasingly, I find that the people who are most protective (and they are, condescendingly and vehemently so) of Arsenals’ magical team of accountants and their representative on the pitch Mr Arsene Wenger, are people who don’t actually go.

    Throwing it away
    As for the people who do go to the Arsenal. Well, there’s something wrong frankly. Yesterday we played Blackburn Rovers. This is our best opportunity in the last five years to win the league. A bit injury hit – but not half as injury hit as usual. Out of the Champions League nice and early. The league has become a bit of a holy grail for me personally. It hurt me when we got so close with the Hleb/Flamini/Adebayor team, then just broke it up and started again. It hurt me last year when we threw a great position away last year when we failed to predict our yearly injury crisis in the second half of the season and ended up getting twatted by the likes of Wigan.

    This year was our window of opportunity, Chelsea got caught short with an aging team and a run of poor form in a way that is unlikely to happen again for a long time, Man City are a year or two off total dominance, and United whilst a better team than us, are catchable. Our first team is ridiculously dependent on Fabregas, and I would suggest that this season was rather an important one to nail down a trophy to show him it might be worth staying.

    So I turn up to the Blackburn game, after the disappointment of the lunchtime United comeback, and I’m pretty psyched up for a victory that will at least keep us on their tails until the big Liverpool Spurs and United games. But the whole place stank. You would think that with a couple of hours extra drinking time people might be in a singing mood, but apparently not.

    The team were prancing round in their usual directionless fashion of late, for their third draw against much less powerful opposition. The great failing of Arsene Wenger is that if at first he doesn’t succeed, he just tries the same f*ck*ng thing again and again. Doesn’t vary his tactics, still hasn’t sharpened up the physical side. Why change when you’re already a genius?

    The crowd is busy eating their little tubes of Pringles with their bulging bag of Arsenal Merchandise tucked neatly under their seat. Fabregas is on the bench, having a little rest. Shows you how much Wenger wants the league doesn’t it. He plays the bloke with an injury in Barcelona, when the Cup with Big Ears is flashing her knickers at him. But not against Blackburn in the title race with eight games to go.

    Blown Title Race

    So that’s it really, we blow the title race, and everybody goes home again. Chattering happily. Off for a drink, or perhaps a nice meal. The man on the tube next to me was having a read of ‘The Spectator’. I’ve done about a grand and a half on football this season, the wife’s not talking to me, but the club doesn’t give a f8ck about that, it’s got three more just like me, even if they’re from Stockholm and wouldn’t know the words to any Arsenal songs even if I gave them a little card with them all written down.

    Day Trippers

    It might be a small detail, but take a look at the toilet queue outside the gents by block 22. Stretches back to the turnstiles with people patiently waiting ten minutes for a p*ss. Oblivious to the other toilet two blocks down five times the size with no queue. The people who were at the last game will not be at the next game. And the people at the next game will not be at the game after that. And that’s just what the club wants. Just a big revolving door of tourists sampling the Arsene Wenger experience once or twice a year and taking home a big shopping bag of Arsenal tracksuits.

    Its money not trophies

    They don’t care if there isn’t a big party in May in The Gunners because they’ll be back in Kuala Lumpar. It’s dawned on me. I’m just watching a big spreadsheet, that doesn’t give a toss whether it wins anything or not. How much more money do you get for winning the league than coming second? About a million pounds. So what’s the point of spending the twenty million on cover for Song or a striker better than Bendtner or the invisible man?

    That’s right, there isn’t one. Just make sure you don’t drop out of the top four. Do you think Tesco’s’ main objective is to win Supermarket of the year? Nope, it’s the bottom line mate. We are all having the urine taken out of us by a load of accountants and a load of mercenary players who think they are better than they are. Why do you think they don’t come and clap the away fans? Because they couldn’t give a f*ck, half of them, that’s why. They just play their athletic ballet dancing routine football and if it doesn’t win back they get into their big jeep and go home again. Same again next week, and next year. The money comes rolling in, lovely.

    Better to walk?

    Well it’s all bollocks and I’ve had enough of it. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life, you won’t beat corporate power, especially when most people can’t see what’s happening. It’s better to walk away en masse.”

    …and here was Gazadis’ personal response dated 7 April:

    “Dear Yurovski [my email alias, haha],

    Thank you for your email. I appreciate you taking the time to write.

    Everyone at the club understands and shares your disappointment and frustration at recent results. Nevertheless, despite the recent setbacks we remain in second place in the league and have a chance of the title. It is important that we turn our recent performances around and finish the season well.

    I want you to know that everything we do on and off the pitch is designed to make loyal supporters like you proud to be part of your great Club. That involves balancing many competing factors and we make all decisions carefully and thoughtfully with the Club’s long term interests at the heart.

    We understand the magnitude of our responsibility on your behalf and we will work hard to restore your faith as we move forward.

    Thank you for your support of the club.

    Best wishes


    Ivan Gazidis

    Chief Executive Officer

    Arsenal Football Club plc

    Highbury House”

    F**king Tossers, the lot.

  7. CanadianGooner says:

    Just found this posted on a United blog. Made for a great read. Makes me realize that no matter how good a team is doing their supporters always want more more more more and more.

    • zaragooner says:

      If United, no One on the league and still facing the glory hunter supporters, you can’t imagine what will happen to us sitting at no. 2 on the league..nice article mate..thanks for sharing..

  8. 037 says:

    I think it’s key that Arsenal play down the middle (like the way Arsenal usually plays). Avoid having too much possession down the flanks, because it usually ends up with a useless cross which our players can’t reach.
    The way Arsenal played against Liverpool, there isn’t enough of the classic 1-2 passing that Arsenal are loved for.
    The players just don’t seem to know where to move off-the-ball nowadays.

  9. zaragooner says:

    i think all of us have read that. We share the sentiment with you, everybody knows that. Le boss contract will end next year. By the time, board will decide whether they want to renew his contract or not. Until his resgination is confirm or until the board decide they want to fire him, please show him some respect and get behind the team. We have an important game tonight..

  10. Mike gunner says:

    I hope by now the gunners don’t go to sleep after taking the lead. Football is littered with these complacency setting in. The most famous being when the red faced staring at defeat managed to score in the 90 plus min to win the cl.More recently after Chelsea had equalised ,they conceded a goal to the rfc less tahn 50 sec.
    I expect a tight game and if Wenger plays the same way ie passing all over the pitch and in front of the Spurs defence without shooting,the gunners will lose. I don’t have to tell you how. There are many instances of the gunners dancing in the face of packed defences only to concede and lose.
    Watch out for the Spurs wingers. If the gunners have more shots at goal and the ball ricochets,the opportunity is there to shoot in the rebound.
    I have enough of the over play or pass a thousand times without shooting.The name of the game is scoring and winning and not to see beautiful /sexy football only to lose or draw.

  11. james says:

    Sadly, I partially and painfully agree with the letter quoted by Goons_with_Guns and I can honestly say that it just isn’t what it was before. From the players to the manager, to the stadium to the supporters, to the lack of support and the frustration from the stands, to the dearth of leadership and presence of 4-5 muppets, to the absence of fight and ease of giving up, to the ‘funny’ refereeing decisions to the hope that something underhanded isn’t going on, to the fact that I want to believe that we’ve been cheated a lot this season to the fact that Old Trafford has always been the theatre of you’re-dreaming-if-you-actually-think-a-ref-is-ever=going-to-give-you-a-penalty but Titi, Vieira, Bergy and Pires could care twopence about that, IT JUST ISN’T WHAT IT WAS BEFORE.
    I’m honestly done caring for this team. Nowadays, I think I only really appreciate Sagna, Song, Cesc (the few times he’s not injured nowadays and you realize that this boy is smth special), RVP (when he makes you wonder why he’ll never play a full season and not end up messing up our continuity), Nasri and Jack. I don’t even think the players care for the team anymore and it’s not all their fault, the manager and we (the supporters) are to blame. The stands always give off some funk of constant fear and it gets to the players. The manager gives off an attitude of fear and a willingness to blame everything else- this gets to the players too. And significantly, some players are not worth much and do not even show fight and this gets to players who are not that way.
    At the end of the day, I look at everything and the majority of blame lies with the Board and Wenger and I point to 1 thing- we let too many veterans (actually all of them) leave way too early, this for me is the greatest failure and it’s bitten us in a big way. With all Wenger’s innovations in keeping players healthy and fit for long careers, I think he missed a big point in that the long careers should be with US! You don’t sell all your veterans just to get money and say you got value from their sales when they were finished, what value do you then place on experience and the concept of culture and tradition being passed on in a club. Literally every failure we’ve experienced in the past 4-5 years- and I do not count every part of our barren run because we DID get to a Champions League Final in the waning years of Henry and I honestly don’t remember a pervasive sense of failure in our mentality that season even though we weren’t as good as we has been a couple seasons before that; I actually felt fine after that heartbreaking final because I felt things were only going to go up- has been because up there (the head) where it matters the most, our team just doesn’t have it and you can only get that from watching, understanding and learning how people who have it behave unless you’re extremely fortunate to be naturally strong-willed.
    We lost the Arsenal tradition when Wenger chose (purposefully or forced) not to retain all of stalwarts even to their dying days and this has literally killed us and potentially damaged his legacy. That continuity is what helped Henry, Vieira, even Ljungberg, Pires and Lauren. Now, all we have is a team that at best will only get that from a mixture of failure (very unlikely considering how they’ve reacted so far) or if we draft in experienced heads from outside to knock it into them (this is much harder than armchair critics including myself state so simply).
    Thankfully, recent ‘failures’ (and it is very harsh for me to characterize everything we’ve been through as failures because that is an exceedingly short-sighted view of things) may be a blueprint for the near future and our possible resurrection (and I say this without a completely defeatist attitude towards our chances this season). You need brain and brawn, the artist and the artisan and especially experience and youth. To copy the works of that spectacular Ajax team in this day and age will be hard, near-impossible in fact given the obscene amounts of money thrown around by idiotic teams and owners.
    We know now that Wenger is not at fault for not being a great disciplinarian but he is at fault for fostering a culture where players are taught not to challenge themselves other than in the area of expressing the beautiful game. He failed to realize that one of his greatest accomplishments as an Arsenal manager was holding the bastions of the Graham era (Adams, Seaman, Keown, Dixon, Winterburn et al) and drafting in players of his ilk who could learn the other side of the game from those players (no need to mention these greats again). I don’t know how this mistake can be remedied, I don’t know if he has the courage and humility to admit this error, push away his pride and struggle to fix this but I do not see things getting any better if this is not changed.
    Sadly, I will dirty my thoughts using the unmentionables from Man U. Sir Red-nosed regardless of his faults is actually a weirdly humble manager. He caught whiff of an excellent manager (Wenger), learnt from him and copied his book (With some updates) to send himself to the Hall of the Greatest Ever Managers. He used our European-flavoured challenge to make his team better prepared in the Champions league and whenever he realized he had gone too far, he reverted to the parts of English football culture that will always make a strong-willed team. Wenger, please take a cue from that man’s book and change this team!!!

  12. Phil23 says:

    My line up would be the same as yours Desi although I want to see Nasri moved to the right and Arshavin given the starting role on the left. Both of them must play as left sided attacking midfielders rather than wingers. We can play straight through them with Vp, Cesc, Nasri and Arshavin playing close together up top. This means both Song and Diaby must help out a lot on the wings in defence. If one goes to help the other must come central and cover the front four. I think with this set up we will have too much for Tottenham in attack and will possess lethal counter attacks later in the game with Walcott coming on late. It is one of our strongest weapons to use his pace when players are tired from end to end games so I really want him to be used this way. He has also not quite put together 90 minute performances since his last injury. Come on arsenal 1-3 to the mighty away team for me!

  13. Kushagra India says:

    Time for a cescy show and to put his boot where his mouth is Arsenal 3-2 Spuds completely agree with ur team set up will like to discuss Cesc’s interview as he was angling for the move last year and things have only gotten worse he makes some damning points and then try to sweeten it .Anyways its up for grabs now COYR…

  14. Kushagra India says:

  15. cupsui says:

    I’m tipping a 3-0 spanking of the totts. Cesc had better come out and put his money where his mouth is because he should be the “winner” and the “leader” so cesc do it for us we know you can.

    One more thing if anyone saw Manure bore fest against newcastle and watched Chicarito’s little springboard dive would have had a chuckle it was pathetic, well done ref. The thing that is so disappointing is the way it was handled by the media after the appalling precedent set by their handling of the eduardo “dive” against celtic. There was not even a murmor in the press, and their angry Scot defends him and claims a pen goofball. Typical Manure bias in the press. Any other foreign player for anyother team does that they are roasted!!

  16. Kushagra India says:

    This team has lost it bottlers all of them my God can’t take it anymore

  17. Kushagra India says:

    Manure will lose everygame and we will still bottle it..

    • desigunner says:

      I have covered this in the past. The board should have issued new shares to bring money into the club even if it devalued their shares a little. It would have been a good, legal way of bringing money into the club. Could have generated a fair amount. I am not a big fan of the directors for this reason and was one of the reasons I avoided writing a Danny Fiszman eulogy.

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