Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Marseille

Wenger says the two games against Marseille will be vital for Arsenal’s qualification hopes and fans who don’t want a repeat of last season’s second round draw know results in these two fixtures will go a long way in deciding the group topper.

Nevertheless, I have a feeling Arsene will rotate some of his players and I support that wholeheartedly. Le Boss has modified his rotation policies since about this time last season when Arsenal struggled on away trips to Shakhtar and Braga after making wholesale changes to the starting line-up. Making four, or at max five, changes seems fair given the resources available and would help in maintaining some continuity in a squad that is still a work-in-progress.

Another interesting point that Wenger made was that four points from these two fixtures would be enough for qualification. I believe he will go for a win at the Stade Velodrome but will take a draw.

The big question is – Which players need a rest?

Van Persie is the first name that comes to mind. De Kapitein played 90 minutes in both international games and has featured in almost all of Arsenal’s games this season. He could do with a break and Chamakh could do with a start. The Moroccan might even find it a tad easier in familiar surroundings of the French League.

Walcott and Gervinho played just the one game during the international break so they should be fairly fresh. However, one gets the feeling the home game will be more of a must win for Arsenal so they will probably have to play three games in succession during that time which includes an away trip to Chelsea. Arsene might choose to rest one of the two in this game and leave the other one on the bench against Stoke. Arshavin could start in both games as he didn’t have that much of an exertion last weekend. He can also leave both of them on the bench with Benayoun getting the nod on the right.

The midfield choices are tricky. Without Song Arsenal are not as solid but if I am not mistaken the Cameroonian featured in both of his country’s games. Arteta didn’t and should be fresher. Rosicky missed one game due to a niggle and his injury record is always a concern. On the other hand Little Mozart played as well as he has for a long, long time last Sunday. It would be tempting to keep him in the starting line-up. Ramsey is back from a minor injury and would also be keen to start. Benayoun, if he doesn’t start on the wing, will be another option for the midfield. Finally, young Coquelin will fancy his chances, especially on the back of his Ligue 1 experience on loan last season.

At the back, Mertesacker played in both internationals so he could do with a break. Djourou could partner Koscielny who didn’t feature for France. Santos and Jenkinson will have to start. Szczesny should also be in good shape.

Preferred starting line-up,

Szczesny – Jenkinson, Djourou, Koscielny, Santos – Coquelin, Arteta, Benayoun – Walcott, Chamakh, Arshavin.

I believe that side will have a fair bit of continuity and will also give game time to some players that need it. Others will get a necessary break.

Tactically, Arsenal’s single biggest concern will be counter-attacks. Marseille have pace on the break and players who are at a high level technically. They will ask a lot more of the Arsenal defence from open play than Sunderland did. On the positive side, their set-pieces might not be that big of a threat but that’s a risky comment to make as the Gunners can make any free-kick look dangerous.

A dodgy off-side trap will be punished in this game so the defenders will have to get it right.

I believe Marseille will try to pass the ball more than many of the teams in the Premier League and this could work to Arsenal’s advantage if the Gunners use the space effectively. Arshavin and Walcott can both be potent weapons when there are gaps in the attacking areas.

Since the starting line-up could vary significantly from the one I’ve mentioned, it’s hard to say how this game will turn out in terms of goals. If Marseille get into a rhythm early on, I am not convinced this side has the confidence to turn things around. Although quality on the bench can be pivotal, it will not be useful if the side cannot control the pattern of play. In the other European games a quick start off the blocks has helped the Gunners and one would certainly hope for more of the same. The hosts are struggling in their domestic league and might have confidence issues of their own.

A win will be an excellent result, a draw acceptable, but a defeat will put qualification in doubt especially if Dortmund do well in their game.

On an unrelated note, I want to end with a link to another statistical piece for Epl Index. In this one I have analyzed some numbers from Sunderland’s last two visits to the Emirates.


22 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Marseille

  1. Dove says:

    Frimpong will start. Djrou is unlikely.

  2. alphie says:

    i’d take a risk of Coq n frimpong with arteta uptop as both could cover either wing or counter attacks.mikel’s long range passing could help set counters plus him and chamakh can hold the ball much better so Arshavin can drift to playmake.on the right i’d take ben10 or alex coz i’d rather prefer walcott got a rest,
    Another unlikely option is to play 4 2 2 2
    Ramsey and a defensive mid flanked by ben10 and mikel(crossing ability) or alex .up front mak29 and arshavin or theo.mak29 can play as no.10

  3. Dove says:

    Oh Frimpong is not even in the squad. Sad to see he is the last in the pecking order. When Wilshere and Diaby come back from injury, he will be even further down. Coquelin looks sharper but Frimpong is made Arsenal.

  4. Santori says:

    Don’t think we should underestimate Marseille.

    Chamakh is not in the best of forms. RVP should start and we will need his leadership. The fact that we are so dependent on him and that he is so exposed in terms of number of games played is worrying.

    But I think we need to make a strong start. Have mentioned before that we need an alternate to RVP 4-3-3 which is why I feel a 4-4-1-1 with Chamakh top and either of RVP, AA or Park tucked in would work best, but I don’t think this is the game to try it( not least unless we are 2 up)

    At the back, I would think metersecker/Koscielny should be kept ( not least bc of understanding built up over recent games)

    Marseille has a very strong central midfield so Song is again imperative. Coquelin could come on later to help close the game out.

    Rosicky is in good form and should be played too. Plus I do think we could do with Walcott’s speed out right. LW is a toss up between Arsharvin and Gervinho.

    Bottom-line is it would be good to see much of the same team work together at very least that they continue to familiarize with each other. Marseille are strong oposition and not to be trifles with.

  5. I believe its the best time to Win this game and Give themselves a good chance to Qualify for the Knock-out. From last season its learnt , toping the group give themselves a better chance to further progress in the Tournament. Put foorward a good team.
    Preferred starting line-up,

    Szczesny – Jenkinson, Mertesacker , Koscielny, Santos – Song, Arteta, Rosicky– Walcott, Robin, Arshavin.

    Sub to be used : Park,Ramsey,

  6. jerry says:

    pls, we can’t afford to loose this game. for me, i prefer rosicky to
    ramsey.

  7. Isn’t Park ahead of Chamakh in the pecking order ?

    I would play:

    Szczesny – Jenkinson, Mertesacker , Koscielny, Santos – Song, Coquelin, Rosicky– Gervinho, RVP, Arshavin.

    Bring on Park for any of the front 3 @ 60mins

    Then rest RVP for Stoke, play Chamakh instead. for 2 reasons.

    1. We can’t afford for RVP break a leg ala Ramsey.

    2. Chamakh can help out with defensive headers and his strength and hold up play will be particularly useful.

    Overall, I would like Wenger to use Coquelin, AOC and Park alot more. Especially because Arteta for me has been very, very disappointing.

  8. Gooner says:

    Arsenal will win!!!!

  9. faraz says:

    Arshavin,song and mertasacker will play.

  10. Desi, If you have access to information on how many goals Arsenal concede from free kick strikes at goal, since Alumunia in comparison to the rest of the League or Top 6. Another one might be goals conceded from strikes outside the box. I just have a hunch that it seems to be more than the average… the data behind it would be interesting.

  11. Oxford says:

    I think that selection will be a terrible gamble and could spell doom for us. No one need to be told that this game is very crucial and in crucial games, nothing should be left to chance. For God’s sake, Djoroụ just came back from injury and i don’t think Wenger should start him in a crucial game like this. Inshort, i think we should strictly stick to thesame team that featured in sunday’s game.

  12. T2T says:

    @writeonarsenalHomer, Park is not in the squad…
    Squad: Szczesny, Fabianski, Jenkinson, Santos, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Djourou, Rosicky, Arteta, Song, Walcott, Gervinho, Benayoun, Coquelin, Arshavin, Ramsey, van Persie, Chamakh

    We need to rotate, Marseilles is a very good team, some players need games, etc, etc

    Szczesny
    Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos
    Benayoun, Coquelin, Arteta
    Gervinho, Chamakh, Arshavin

    OK, why these players: The back five is currently our best and should be kept intact. Barring any small knocks, there is no need to break them up. I’d have Benayoun in front of Jenkinson as he can provide experience and some cover. Also, Walcott is a perfect example of an impact player coming on around 60 minutes when the other players are starting to get a little bit slower… Song is a beast in MF but Coquelin has played well and with 2 experienced players around him should allow Song to get a breather. Arshavin is playing well and should be fresh from only having played 20-25 minutes on Sunday. His tricks is a challenge for anyone. Gervinho is an off/on player but both he and Chamakh is very well suited playing against French teams. I really want van Persie and Rosicky to get some well deserved rest to keep them fresh and nurse their “fragile” bodies.
    On the bench, we would have Song and Djourou as possible reinforcements if someone in the back gets injured or we need to hang on towards the end. We would also have van Persie and Walcott that should terrify any opposing players if they are introduced with 20-30 minutes left. Rosicky and Ramsey on only if there is a problem in midfield or, towards the end, to give Ramsey some matching.

  13. Toye says:

    whats happening to Park Chu?

  14. boyo says:

    We have to rotate players, it is a vital game but so is every league game. I agree with the writer that we need about 4 changes to keep some guys fresh

  15. AC Gooner says:

    T2T, I like that line up.

    I think Merte can play again and JD seems way out of form now. No risking that.

    Need to rest some in our midfield so changes needed there. I am very excited by Le Coq and hope he plays tonight.

    Walcott should earn his starting position back by coming on as a sub and dazzling us.

    Would love to see Chamack score.

  16. coob23 says:

    never even think about playing djourou, he has no confidence and is shocking atm… sorry to say but i think he needs to leave. keep the back 4 intact exactly, they need as many minutes together as possible… think we should play a 4-2-3-1 to try and negate how good they are on the counter.
    also, if anyone fancies a bet, they are as shot of confidence as we are, and i think that whoever goes into the lead, will panic and end up losing this game. if we could come back and win from behind, the relief and confidence boost would be huge… c’mon boys

  17. marseille are a very good footballing team with very good attackers upfront…and i see this game as a decisive one aswell for both teams so i aspect we go with a very stronge and best Arsenal team…personally i would preffer a 4 4 2 formation…
    Sczeny
    Jekinson sacker kolsheny Santos
    Rosicky
    Song Colquen Arteta
    RVP Gervinho.
    Then Wacoot can come from the bench wen the Marseille defence are weak….and Wenger have tto read the game before making changes…Park should aswell be given play time

  18. Sona says:

    WHERE IS PARK??????

  19. Arsenal4 says:

    i am gonna wakeup at 2.30 AM for this game … whoever play, they better fuckin win this game … or an entertaining draw will do.

  20. madoka says:

    plz wenger bring eden hazard to match with garvinio in wings coz walcot injuries and match fitness in big clubs strong players like that one of stoke city.you know walcot is not a straggler like holding the ball well or accurate crossing passes to van persie to score, sometimes try two strikers at the second remaining 20munites you get good result, arsenal are better at first half in scoring goals

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