Thoughts On The Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Udinese

A lot has happened in the last day or two. Nasri’s move has been officially announced, Wilshere suffered a relapse (anyone else worried – perhaps unjustifiably – that he will be this season’s Vermaelen?), and the summer’s most believable, intriguing, albeit a tad dramatic story claimed there was a rift between the board and the manager.

I don’t want to dwell on any of these issues for the moment as it’s hard to do justice to them when the focus is on a game that is financially worth in excess of £25M, and potentially a lot more due to its undoubted immeasurable impact on the mentality of the current players and those who might be close to joining the Gunners.

In the first three games of this month, which has been anything but august for Arsenal, the Gunners have shown they are weak but willing to fight through the tough times. The same spirit will have be to combined with a greater degree of tactical maturity and clinical attacking qualities in order to sustain the record of playing in the Champions League every year under Arsene.

Udinese showed their strengths at the Emirates with a positive, and at times dominating, performance. I expect them to do even better at home. This is similar to the difference in quality Arsenal experienced against the likes of Shakhtar and Braga last season, who were not that impressive in London but provided a much sterner test in familiar surroundings with the support of their fans. The Italians weren’t as easily dismantled as the other two sides so there is all the more reason to believe the second leg will be a tough ask.

It will be interesting to see whether Guidolin sticks to his 3-5-2 formation or modifies it to suit the occasion. He said at his press conference,

We have tried some alternative tactical solutions, but a team cannot change identity just like that. What we do require is a great performance, because we are facing a strong side.

I think the 3-5-2 can work in Arsenal’s favour due to the pace on the wings. But it can also work for the hosts if they are able to push the Gunners back for prolonged periods as they did at the beginning of the second-half in the first leg.

I’d really like to see Arsenal sit deeper in this game just as I have been hoping for tactical changes since the start of the season. Wenger does not have a squad that can effectively push a team back and break a well-organized defence. Nor does he have the squad that can be relied on to defend a one goal lead for ninety minutes in such a tie away from home. There is no doubt that Arsenal will have to score at the Stadio Friuli if they have to have any hopes of progress. And it can be best achieved by exploiting the space behind the Friulani defence. For that the space must exist in the first place and the best way to create that is by inviting the opposition forward and hitting them on the break with a quick exchange of passes.

For large periods, this game will be about individual battles. The players who will be able to resist the pressure put on them by the opponents will control the momentum of the game. This will of course be aligned with the off-the-ball movement of both teams. Arsenal’s wingers, Walcott and Gervinho in all likelihood, will have to time their runs better and the midfield will have to show an improved understanding of the forwards’ movement.

Such games are often decided by moments of outstanding quality. As we saw in the first leg, both teams had plenty of space and created some chances but the final ball or the finish were lacking. That routine might be repeated in this game but it would be naive to assume the Italians will be just as profligate at home as they were in London. Van Persie can make the difference but so can Di Natale, it’s hard to pick.

In the first leg, Arsenal’s central defenders allowed Di Natale to drop between the lines and play one-twos with his teammates. It’s a risky strategy but they are probably vary of getting caught out of position if they do track his runs and get turned. The best way to counter this is by having a defensive midfielder really close to the back four. Again this necessitates passing from deeper positions and the team will have to use the length and breadth of the pitch in an intelligent manner.

In order to provide better cover to the defenders, I would certainly prefer Song and Frimpong starting in tandem rather than the technique and experience, marred by the occasional defensive laxity, that Rosicky brings to the pitch.

Traore has been included in the squad and might be picked ahead of Jenkinson to restore Sagna to his usual Right-Back position. This will leave the Gunners weaker on the left as the youngster has a tendency to switch off in advanced areas of the pitch. While he does have the pace to recover, it might not be enough and could, at the very least, lead to dangerous set-pieces if not clear chances from open play. We have already seen Di Natale’s quality on free-kicks and it will be extremely risky to give him such chances.

I’m hoping both full-backs show more restraint in bombing forward. Instead of making predictable pre-determined bursts they will be better off biding their time and picking the right moments to provide width. This will give the wingers more space and will leave the full-backs in a position to provide better cover to the central defenders. It should also help them conserve some energy that can prove invaluable in the final minutes or if the game stretches into extra-time.

Di Natale said that qualifying for the Champions League will be akin to winning the World Cup for the Friulani. There is no doubt the Italians will give everything and more in this tie. Hopefully, both sides will be within professional limits and the Gunners will not suffer from any further injuries or suspensions.

Expected line-up,

Szczesny – Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Traore – Song, Ramsey, Frimpong – Walcott, RvP, Gervinho.

Rosicky and Arshavin are tempting choices but both bring certain weaknesses that the side cannot really afford at the moment.

I believe Arsenal have the quality to see this one through. But given the current circumstances and the series of mistakes and unfortunate events, it is hard to be confident. Vermaelen and Van Persie are the two players who can make a difference in the areas that count on either end of the pitch. Others will have to support them with utmost focus and determination.

In the recent past, when Arsenal have struggled they have allowed the opposition to score more than one goal quite often. The players have to avoid panic and stick to their strengths even if Udinese start strong and score an early goal.

I am sufficiently concerned to have given some thought to the pros and cons of elimination at this stage, something I haven’t done in the past, but will leave that out for the time being. I feel the hosts will win on the night but the Gunners will advance on away goals.

80 Responses to Thoughts On The Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Udinese

  1. torontogooner says:

    Very good post desi. I like the idea of song and frimpong in front of the back four, in fact i think that should be part of our regular starting midfield along with wilshere ( thus wilshere playing a more advanced role). We can then bring ramsey off the bench if we need a change in the midfield. Back to this game, i actually have a pretty good feeling that arsenal will play very good defensively and keep a clean sheet. They proven, at least in my humble opinion, that they’re capable of playing very good defense and i believe arsene will have them ready. My prediction is 1-0 to the arsenal.

    • ujang suhara says:

      mr wenger please buy goetze…. please mr wenger with all our money now… we should have this kid…

    • Samuel says:

      I agree with Song and Frimpong playing together in midfield with
      Emmanuel playing Wilshere,s role of getting forward ,but what
      about Miyaichi ,the Japanese player ,he should get some game
      time tonight,in place of Walcott ,whether 20 or so minutes or even half an hour ?

  2. Dammy says:

    Nice Post I like it

  3. Why do injuries continue to hit the gunners?Is it any wonder other teams are not as badly hit as the gunners.
    Could it be the gunners playing style is responsible?9Could it be the gunners overplay or overpassiing responsible for this/
    To blame it on luck is far fetched. Wenger should find find ways to reduce such injuries.

    • Simmer 10 says:

      To many hospital passes,player’s ball watching and aw’s outdated training is why we get so many injuries!

  4. no hoper says:

    I am going to state what you all are feeling but are afraid to admit – Arsenal will concede a stupid goal late in the game and will be dumped out.

    I don’t know if the board is at fault or it’s all down to Wenger. But together they have created a right royal mess and the fans will pay the price fiscally and emotionally.

  5. BarDel says:

    Desi, like you pointed out I think that our biggest risk is giving away silly free kicks. Di Natale is clearly dangerous with the dead ball. Specifically I think both Song and Frimpong have a tendency to give away unwarranted fouls. Other than that, I think that we should be able to hold back their attacks. We should focus on using our wingers as much as possible.

  6. Placid jr. says:

    I think the lineup given by Desi is good and Wenger should use this formation if he want Arsenal to go through to the group stage.

    • watts says:

      i believe for this game we should use arshavin in the hole (CAM) rather than ramsey……arsh has a more assuresd final pass and he can shoot from distance……then have frimpong and song behind him. i hope frimpong learned from the liverpool game that collecting stupid yellow cards early on in the game is fatal and he needs to keep calm and be disciplined

  7. Nikko says:

    I think we need to stop worrying about oour defence and this Di Natalie guy. He’s good at free kicks? Is he RvP level? Really? No. They need to watch out and keep Persie quiet. Counter attacking football? Yes, we should implement this for that game. Frimmy and Song? Yes good deal. I think Wojo will pull the stop like he’s done before, Verminator will step up like he always does, and RvP and Gervy will have to get creative if we wanna score.

  8. Menace says:

    I’m not too sure of the line up but I think your back line will be different. I see Arsenal winning without conceding.

  9. bob says:

    if it didn’t hurt so much, your “august” pun is the best of the year! I just can only hope that we’re not seeing the autumn of 2011 at Udinese. great analysis. any idea who the ref is? another UEFA x-factor under their chief of referees, Basura, who allowed the choke holds at Barca and whistled RvP into suspension and Arsene into punishment for violating free speech. in any case, though it might be our fall, hope springs eternal.

  10. nikkogunners says:

    Gervinho ——————-Asharvin/Chamberlain

    Fringpong with a free role in the Midfield to enforce. Alex and Ramsey with the role to play box to box Gervinho and Asharvin on the wings. Walcott gets to assist RVP. Sagna LB. When under attack Alex and Ramsey fill up the gaps in the defence and Frinpong prepares to launch the counter and block the attacks.When We are attacking Fringpong comes in to assist with the wingers providing the necessary options.


    • BarDel says:

      Sounds expensive… We aren’t ManCity fyi.



      • BarDel says:

        Ok…. Then who do you want to buy? Also, how many of them would actually sign? Also how do you attract top quality players if you could possibly be eliminated from CL. How much of a wage premium is it going to cost to bring these players in? How do you prepare for existing players resigning contracts (RVP, Verm)? Certainly you’ll need to pay them more otherwise they’ll follow Nasri to greener fields.

      • Here are the five players and the estimated cost:

        Cahill – Centreback – 16 million
        Leighton Baines- Leftback – 15 million
        Scott Parker – Defensive Midfielder – 7 million
        Harzad – Attacking midfielder – 25 million
        Rodhaelga (from Wigan) – Striker – 12 million
        Total – 75 million

      • BarDel says:

        Cahill and Baines are possible. Hazard I don’t think would sign for us… Especially if we lose in Italy tomorrow. I disagree with needing Parker. Song and Frimpong are suitable. I don’t think Rodhelga is a quality signing.

        I agree with you, that we need to sign more players. But our focus should be towards replacing our attacking midfield. I already mentioned why I don’t think Hazard will join Arsenal. I think that we should use as much of the funds available to add to the CAM position, but I’m not sure who would actually join us. Also a CD, but I prefer the Samba mold.

      • The point I am trying to emphasize is that Wenger should stop being frustrated subborn and helpless, the solution to the top is available. The whole world, Arsenal fans, players, opposition fans, coaches, journalists, pundits and former players see it, Wenger is somehow throwing tantrums because he does not see a path to victory. This is where the likes of Dein would take him aside and help him out, its very lonely at the top for him. Shame on the board for not whispering the obviousl in his ear.

      • BarDel says:

        Agreed. Signings are needed, but I fear that the club’s reputation is making it difficult.. Mata being a case in point.

        Honestly, why would a neutral player ever sign for Arsenal ahead of Chelsea or ManCity.

        A sad situation indeed…

      • santori says:

        I think we have to be a little realistic.

        We are not going to spend 75m.

        1)Hazard will not come. Why should he? Lille are guaranteed Group stage. Where are we? Lille just sold us one of their crown jewels. They won’t sell another with CL footy this season.

        2)Scott Parker is cheap but he is not IMO an improvement of what we have. Song and Frimpong are better than Parker.

        3)I’m not sure Cahill will be moving this season even with a year left on contract, but both Baines (18m) and him might see their prices come down toward close of market. Of the two, Baines is more realistic.

        BUT Wenger will want to provide Gibbs and Traore the opportunity to shine. A move for someone who can play in a different position but cover LB may be more enticing for Wenger.

        4) Samba is no improvement and is not mobile enough for the way we play. Jagielka may fit our system better but like Baines, it remains to be seen what Everton’s tolerance levels are being that they are in trouble financially. He is a possibility Jagielka but we can get better Cbacks for cheaper IMO.

        5) Rodallega. Maybe but 12m is steep for his service. I don’t think our striker issue is that bad as one of Chamberlain, Afobe or Campbell may come good and we can afford to punt a little as our attacking midfield line up is not bad (once we sort out a creative mid to provide for them)

    • Prabal Rakshit says:


      Why did you switch to lower case all of a sudden? 🙂

    • Samuel says:

      Another striker when we already have enough but Walcott is a major problem,he,s not a striker at all,a woeful first touch ,can,t
      synchronise his feet and his brain to work together ,can,t put in quality crosses so maybe God,why him of all people, needs to remove your blinkers ?

    • Brinks says:

      What about buying the entire birmingham team? after all they won a trophy last year right? it’s easier than playing fantasy football manager..

  12. Charlie says:

    It’s on at 2:45am here in China, worse luck. I think i’ll go to sleep at 8pm and wake up at 2:30am though. It’s important enough that i can’t miss it.

  13. Charlie says:

    To those who doubt the amount available to spend on players check out this website. If you add 24m from the sale of Nasri to this Arsenal have made a profit of 55m on transfers over the last 5 years. That’s not speculation, it’s a number that can be proven. I don’t think reinvesting this plus adding 20m to account for improving on last seasons’ position of 4th is unreasonable so 75m is a fair number.

  14. inad says:

    my wish is that arsenal qualifys. arsenal players as well as other competing teams in premium do have injuries atleast for their best look at man u, chealse ( Esein) but to arsenal, is a question of squad rather to thin to rely on when injuries hit. so more signings, more assurance

  15. solo says:

    I c us conceding a late goal and getting thrown away. To be honest, that’s how I want it to be !! I want all the dead people in our board (+Arsene and all blind fans) who are making a big thing out of being in CL to wake up!!!. We had our record against the totts and it finished last season, we had one against ‘pool and it ended a couple of days ago, and as for being in CL for so n so long.. it’s not gonna last if we don’t rectify our weak team and spend some FU*KIN’ MONEY!!!!!
    Sadly, I see no ambition the way we r performing in the transfer market.. hopefully a miracle will happen by the end of August!?

    • Zgunner says:

      And I want Arsenal to win 6-0 and shut people like you up.

      • santori says:

        I’ll take a draw at this point.:P

      • Charlie says:

        I’m the first to criticise these people who insult Arsene but i agree with one thing, the club owe us some signings. Come on, they’ve made 55m profit on transfers over the last 5 years and even with the most optimistic outlook you’d say the team lacks creativity now. I’m not complaining because i believe we’ll see a few new signings but people who aks for some money to be spent do have a point.

      • solo says:

        realistically I don’t see it happening, but just for the sake of it.. If we win 6-0 then what??

        We ended up being a club happy to end a season taking meaningless 3 points against a title contender and beating one or two teams 3-0 and ..well, 6-0.

        As fans of the mighty Arsenal that has glory written all over its history, we have all the right AND must demand more when you do the numbers and see Arsenal very high up the richest-clubs list!!!

      • Zgunner says:

        Charlie: I’m not at all saying you don’t need to buy players..

        I always want Arsenal to win 6-0 and I know how unrealistic it is.

        My comment was just a reaction to some scum that I have to read so-called Arsenal “fans” writing… I quote:

        “I c us conceding a late goal and getting thrown away. To be honest, that’s how I want it to be !! I want all the dead people in our board (+Arsene and all blind fans) who are making a big thing out of being in CL to wake up!!!”

        Shameful. I didn’t see one Madrid fan speak this way about their team when they lost 5-0 to Barca last year. In fact, I have NEVER seen the fans of ANY team speak about the team they “support” like this.

        If you wish defeat to Arsenal for WHATEVER REASON… you’re not a gunner… that simple.

      • solo says:

        WOW, so now you’re comparing Arsenals squad and purchasing power with MADRID ???!!!!

        I’m not asking for a 100 Million Ronaldo, I happy with the way Liverpool are doing their business!! u sell ur best player (Torres) u buy 2 ESTABLISHED stars in Suarez & Carroll.

        LAST SEASON was young enough.. now we even make’em younger!!??

        Sorry mate, but the way we’re movin’ is two steps forward and ten steps back. The guys in suits need a wake up call even if it costs us getting knocked out of CL !!!

    • Samuel says:

      What do kids know about money anyway as a Nokia is just as efficient as a Blackberry ,nevermind how much it actually goes for ?

  16. Ideket says:

    The team is not so bad on paper! If only it could play to the best of its potential. Walcott on the break. Van Persie for goodness sake!! I hope we get a couple of Arsenal penalties and goals!

    • santori says:

      Interestingly no Squillaci. The team isn’t as bad as I thought.:D

      Hope they get rid of him to make room for the new Cback. Let him go for free please Wenger.

  17. Charlie says:

    CB – Jagielka (would also be content with Cahill)
    DM – Yan M’Vila (or Schweinsteiger)
    AM – Eden Hazard (or Ganso or Marvin Martins)
    STR – Cavani, Tevez, Neymar or Drogba (all seem highly unlikely to be honest)

    • santori says:

      CBack – Alex. 7.5m target for Juve. That’s a steal even if we throw in a couple million quid more.

      DM/AM – Montolivo. He can play both as a DM and as a deep lying playmaker. Fiorentina has to sell as he is in his last season on contract and refusing to sign an extension (sound familiar?). They made a lot of noise just recently (19th) that they would not sell to a Seria A club (Milan interested).

      He fills two positions for us. First as DM for the 2-3 games Song and Frimps are suspended for and then we can push him into a creative role just behind Jack.

      I think his price is highly negotiable and we can further discount it by offering them Rosicky as a make weight.

      It will also negate our need to find 2 players in midfield.

      Udine isn’t terribly far away from Florence. Hope someone gets a chance to put a good whisper into the gaffers ear.

      Striker – I actually think we can afford to punt on this position with 3 reasonably talented youngsters in Chamberlain, Afobe and Campbell.

      of the 3, I think Chamberlain may be most suited for the role as he has good build (better than Walcott) plus exhibits good anticipation and off ball running.

      The position I am more concern with is still LB.

      Gibbs is too injury prone for my liking.

      Bastos at Lyon would be useful. They will sell on for 15m euros (Before hectic haggling in French).

      He can cover the position for both youngsters but also be deployed out wide on either wing as when Gibbs (or Traore) are ready.

  18. cesc fabregas wannabe says:

    mr wenger, hope you see this…(counter attack)






    with vanpersie more free role..

  19. suguruni says:

    van persie

  20. Zgunner says:

    My preferred line-up:






    Why not give Song the central role for a change? He can be quite creative up front.

  21. santori says:

    Good selection Desi and the most likely one IMO,

    I also agree with you that we may have a better shape sitting slightly deeper.

    I do feel though that Arsharvin may be better centrallybehind RVP, with his ability to release passes to our fast wingers.


    Ramsey (or Rosicky) for AA after 50 minutes.

  22. cupsui says:

    I agree with Desi, i would be happy with either Jenko at right back or Toare at left. But the one difference i would use Arsharvin in the middle for Ramsey, give him and rest and try to build too much pressure on him. I have been saying for a few weeks now i think sharvs will be more effective through the middle; he is certainly more creative.

    Jenko JD TV5 Sagna (just because they looked strong last game)
    Song Frimpong
    Walcott RvP Gervinho

  23. Ogu Reginald says:

    i blve we need get players to help us at champ leag play, bcs we already qualify but need to stregten our defence midfid and attacks.i love arsenal for real,plz bourd do somtin

  24. GoonerGoon says:

    Does anyone else feel that it might do us some good to get out of the Champions League for a season or two. We don’t have the depth to compete in four competitions. What would have been our usual Carling Cup squad played our last game against Liverpool.

    Wilshere’s injured. Djourou, Rosicky, Gibbs, RvP get homesick if they are away from the treatment table for too long.

    If qualification is worth 25M to us, its not like Wenger is going to make any player purchases with that money. I have learned to take Wenger’s word as BS. He said we would make early signings and that we would not sell cesc and nasri as no big club would. Look how that turned out.

    • santori says:


      CL and title are crucial.

      We’re already getting somewhat of an image problem with “big guns” like NAsri and Fab leaving, can you imagine what we’re going to look lke with our 14 season consecutive CL record in the bin?

      Wenger foolishly muttered someting about us not being a big club if we could not hang on to two big names (Why he elected to say this is beyond me)

      The least we need now is at least to qualify for the Group stage and prove our pedigree.

      It will help us attract the players that we want to come to the club.

      This is a dangerous time for the club with competition for names from ready money all over the place. CHelsea and City in the PL are joined by the reconstruction of several Italian clubs and Anzhi.

      It’s very competitive out there for top talent.

      We must prove ourselves to still be an attractive proposition to talented and hungry players out there.

      • GoonerGoon says:

        Well mate, a part of me wants to exit the CL so that we can focus on winning possibly one trophy this season. I would take the FA Cup given the situation we are in. Getting into the CL gives us that pedigree but it does not change anything with regard to players. The underlying point is that we did not bid enough for Mata. We could have triggered the buy out clause but as usual we wait till the last minute when the Russians or Emiratis hijack our deals. Not the first time it has happened.

        Another part of me wants us to exit the CL so that Wenger’s hand would be forced into making some wholesale changes. We are dealing with a lot of mediocrity in our team. Wenger is content in qualifying for the CL year after year with no further ambitions. For atleast 3 years our team has been on the cusp. With a few more additions to the team we could have gone on to win the Premier League 3 years ago when we were leading the table with 11 games to play with a 5 point gap or even last year.

        Something needs to be shaken and the CL seems to be that trigger for me.

      • ShessyNaijaboy says:

        Wenger was right and statement that we will be perceived as a small club if both players are sold, was not foolish. It is up to the Board to do what is necessary to retain Nasri and Fabregas by paying competitive wages (especially in the case of Nasri).

    • Charlie says:

      Like it or not your clubs’ reputation in the world is based on which competition you play in, World Club Championship, Champions League, Europa League or none of the above. Failing to qualify is not just a loss of money but a loss of reputation and ability to attract top players.

  25. Mutlade says:


  26. SoCal_Gun says:

    This is a 100% must win

    ….and since nobody new will be joining the team (Wenger says Chamberlain and Gervinho replaced Cesc and Nasri) it will be a real opportunity to see how the rest of the season will unfold

    • ShessyNaijaboy says:

      Wenger didn’t say so. It’s misinterpretation like this that attracts unnecessary hatred for the manager. Read the statement proberly. He only said he had bought Chamberlin and Gervinho who will prove good in future. At the same breath, he confirmed shopping for new players to strenghten the midfield.

  27. G4L says:

    Crashing out will be the bitter pill we desperately need. The board or the manager will be forced into a more decisive frame of mind. We must get out of this limbo one way or the other. Right now it seems Arsenal FC are frozen in time while the world is flying by.

  28. T2T says:

    Have both Song and Frimpong sit deep protecting the back 4 (whoever is fit)… Let us put speed out wide (2 out of Walcott, Gervinho, Miyaichi, Oxlade-Chamberlain) with either Rosicky or Ramsey centrally and v Persie as a single focal point. An alternative is to put Walcott up front with RvP behind him and 2 out of Gervinho, Miyaichi, Oxlade-Chamberlain
    My preferred line-up
    Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Traore
    Song, Frimpong
    Miyaichi, v Persie, Gervinho

  29. Carmelo Pace malta says:

    How the heck you keep including walcott in the line upis baffloing,he is already a failure,cant control the ball properly,never beats a player on 1 on 1 situation,bad passer of the ball,as i already said,the only good thing that he is good at,is running,so he should concentrate on the forthcoming london olimpics,and leave FOOTBALL to the truly gifted foodballers,something that theo isnt

    • Samuel says:

      Mine and numerous other Arsenal fans exact sentiment,Walcott is rubbish and should be confined to the B -team only playing in
      the Carling Cup,Fa Cup and other minor competitions but the E
      nglish media need a so called hero (Englishman ) at the Emirat
      es to sell their newspapers otherwise Theo wouldn,t get any game time if Arsene had his way ?

    • Zgunner says:

      Frustrating Walcott is far from my favorite player at Arsenal mostly because he talks too much rubbish to the press. Though he’s inconsistent, and I wonder if he fits the winger role, I still think he is a good player and has given Arsenal much strength up front in the past. I would like to see him playing in the striker role.

  30. HadNUFF says:


    What are your thoughts on Arshavin taking over Cesc role in the midfield, where his experience and creativity could be more effective?

  31. Samuel says:

    Arshavin is passed his sell by date already and should be sold to that same Russian club that just bought Samuel Eto,o from Inter Mi
    lan and are paying him (Eto,o ) a small fortune on his weekly wages,so time for the little Russian to go back home ,we can make
    a good profit on him ,just do it ?

  32. Ajinkya says:

    Good article. I couldn’t think for myself being disturbed by the events that have happened lately at the club.
    Son and Frimpong is a very good idea. I also agree with the point that the attacking department will have to show some extra sharpness, and if we score a goal it will be a good step ahead in terms of confidence. Hope Frimpong keeps his cool. He breaks up play really well and he is very vital in today’s game. At last we can say that we really have a real pair of good defensive midfielders.
    Hope we go through, both the team and the club as a whole through the situation it now is in.

  33. Finnish Hit says:

    Good article as normally. Too many Fantasy Football Managers in the comments area, though.

    A bonus is Traore saw lots of Serie A football last season, although mostly from the bench. I presume that’s a good reason to play him if he’s fit enough.

    As for Desi having thoughts about possibly dropping out: I would guess Arsène could play the reserves and youth players in the Europa League! Thursdays disrupt the domestic games; and what aplayfield to blood the youngsters for future Champions League games!

    • critic says:

      I was also thinking on the same lines. But that would mean hammering in reserve league. Arsenal fans will won’t accept that. :p

      • Finnish Hit says:

        Actually reserves only play 2-4 games a month, usually on Mondays, and there are plenty of Youth team players available for that step up.

        Although I agree wholeheartedly that the Reserve League is our best chance of a trophy this season. 😉

  34. Phil23 says:

    The exact line up I’d like to see start. A very strong team imo. 1-1.

  35. critic says:

    In my opinion Arshavin/RVP should come in as CAM with bendtner leading up front, as a decoy.

    NB can hold the ball well upfront and bring others into play. This way Rosicky and Ramsey can have the much needed break for OT trip.

    Plz god, no more injury…..plzzzzzzzzzz

  36. Brayo says:

    I would fancy Song playing alongside Djourou as a centerback Wenger has been previously quoted as considering Song as a CB when he was urged to sign players last season, this would give TV5 an opportunity to play as a leftback a role which he used to do when playing at Ajax, this would further make Sagna play in his preferred rightback role then finally Dench master aka Frimpong should play as a defensive midfielder he did a great job over the weekend but he should tone down his tackles an octane lower lest he gets sent off again. This would bring parity between the midfield and the defense.

  37. Brinks says:

    Desi, apologies for an off-the topic comment.
    I feel the biggest problem of Arsenal is not the board, Wenger or the players. It’s the fans, most of them who became arsenal fans during the successful period of late 90’s and till 2004. They made the most of that success and are now frustrated to see no trophies in cabinet, under the delusion that trophies are the only means of success.
    Look at Everton and their fans. For me, Moyes has done a great job in keeping them in the top ten for most of the seasons, without any money at his disposal, while the likes of spuds have spent enormous money. (The same money that the arsenal fans are crying to be spent.). They could have gone bust like leeds and portsmouth. Instead, he chose a better path and that’s why I don’t see a crisis in the minds of the everton fans.
    Many of us howled at wenger to sign Arshavin, and most of them want to get rid of him now. We did most of the part in getting Adebayor (who could at least score 30 goals in a season and could be considered a value addition even by Real Madrid) out.
    If people can’t realize that every club is not manchester city and chelsea, funded by millionaires to touch a trophy, at least think that it weren’t you who prompted Wenger to buy henry, ljunberg, pires and campbell and to sell anelka.
    A football philosophy is something that isn’t built on trophies. The success that barcelona (and so Spanish National Team) enjoys now, was built by the legend Johan Cryuff in the early 90’s. If you think that you are better than a manager who achieved so much, and groomed players like George Weah to be world beaters, then so be it. Live your life crying and moaning. I would rather enjoy my team play, support them, leave those in charge of doing what they know, and do something like Desi.

  38. Claver says:

    Come On u Gooooners!!!!

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