Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against West Brom

There is a mini-trend that Arsenal just have to curb. The Gunners have gone into the previous two international breaks on the back of defeats – United and Spurs – that have made the fortnight unbearable. It will be nice to have a positive feeling during the upcoming disruption. That means only a win will be the acceptable result at the Emirates against the Baggies.

The visitors had a tough start to the season losing their first three, and four out of the opening five.  Since then they have improved and the loss against Liverpool last week was their only one in the previous five league games.

Hodgson’s side have a better away record than their home form with wins against Norwich and Villa on the road. More interestingly, their opening two losses came against Manchester United and Chelsea in games that were closely fought, especially considering the gap between the sides that one would expect. Arsenal will not have it all their way at the Emirates.

This could be an interesting tactical battle. Hodgson has faced Arsene in the Premier League with four different sides and has achieved a fair bit of success, especially with Fulham. West Brom will not be too dissimilar. Fulham relied a lot on a coordinated pressing effort in the middle third but Arsenal have retained the ball appreciably in the recent games, resisting the pressure applied by quality opponents. If West Brom try the same, they could be clinically dismantled. In this game we might see a more narrow defence that is happy to sit deeper.

However, there are some interesting numbers that could give us a hint about the visitors’ approach. They have collected seven of their total eleven points away from home. And five of their nine goals have come in the opening 10 minutes. We could see early pressure from the Baggies with the hope of forcing a mistake. Subsequently, with or without a goal, they’d ease off and drop back relying largely on counter-attacks and set-pieces.

The best way of disrupting their tactics is, of course, to score early. If Wenger sets his midfield up to absorb this pressure without conceding possession, has one wide player making central runs and another supporting Van Persie, Arsenal could take an early lead in this game which will take the pressure off and change the tactical dynamics. If Song and Arteta push up early on we could see the midfield getting caught in a no-man’s land leading to difficult moments in the defensive third.

Last season West Brom managed 3-0 and 2-0 leads. Those were lethargic performances with a number of individual errors. Arsenal were exposed on the counter-attacks, from a long ball, and via a set-piece. The defence has been better off late but question marks will hang over the back five until a long, solid run is put together.

By and large there should be enough quality in the Arsenal squad to see this one through. Then again, last season I was expecting an easy win so these days caution is the key mantra in my head.

Wenger does have some choices to make in his team selection and it must be a welcome headache for Le Boss. He will have to pick two from Koscielny, Mertesacker, and Vermaelen. The German complements the other two so from a balance point of view either pairing would work. However, I feel West Brom’s biggest threat is on the break and having two quick players like Vermaelen and Koscielny can be an interesting tactical choice. Some might say Vermaelen has already played too much just after returning from injury so the regular pairing of Koscielny and Mertesacker would work best. I guess such a decision is best left to the Boss.

In the middle Song, Ramsey, and Arteta are showing the benefits of playing together. I can’t see any reason for disrupting that combination unless there is a genuine fitness concern. Rosicky, Benayoun, and the others will have to bide their time. Ramsey had a poor game at the Hawthornes last season just after returning from injury. It will be nice if he can put a strong performance in this one.

Up front, Van Persie will obviously get his place back. The choice would be between Theo, Gervinho, and Arshavin. Again I don’t expect any changes unless one of the wide players is tired. Walcott would be the most likely candidate for a breather in that case.

Probable line-up,

Szczesny – Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Santos – Song, Ramsey, Arteta – Theo, RvP, Gervinho.

Here’s to a pleasant fortnight.

28 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against West Brom

  1. santori says:

    Can’t see anything wrong with his line up.:D

    I suppose it will be down to fatique levels but with the break coming up shortly, most of the players should be able to play through this game.

    Let’s get a good win with this one and break the trend.

    Would like to see one of Benayoun or arsharvin on for one of our wingers. Maybe young Coquelin alongside Song to give Arteta a breather.

    If we are secure, maybe Miyaichi (or Ox) for a run out later.

    Vermaelen with either of Koscielny or Per to start. The Belgian is simply influential al round. Excellent going forward, shades of beckenbauer.

  2. Steve says:

    It should be an easy win. We do f*ck up occasionally but it won’t happen tomorrow. There is more experience and maturity in the side. And Almunia and Squillaci won’t even be in the squad.

    Excellent piece on the way Arsenal tracked and signed RVP

  3. James Gooner says:

    I think we should rest RVP for this game. We should play the same team you suggested but play Park instead of RVp. My reasoning is that the team should be on enough of a high from the Chelsea game to put in a good enough performance. Also it would be a brilliant time for Park to start his first prem game at home, against not the best opposition in the league and hook up with Gervinho and Walcott. If it gets to the 65th-70th minute and we have had no luck put Robin on to hopefully score a goal. We cant just put all our hopes on one player, we need to acclimatise Park before christmas properly otherwise he will be out of his depth.

    • brentCPH says:

      i like that idea but i really hate the thought of starting two games in a row without Van Persie when he’s fit and can play. Imagine he gets injured in a couple months anyway…then we may regret resting him unnecessarily in games like these

      • One Man Van says:

        We will have to play RVP if we want to feel confident about winning..Otherwise we will be struggling, and this reflects our lack of genuine striking options.Park is not a target man.He scores most of his goals as a midfielder/link man does. That leaves Chamahk, who is waiting for an astral alignment to hit some form, Is there any other premiere league squad with only two strikers? I fear if there is a goal drought just around the corner if the skipper gets hurt as we have no reliable striker to take over..If we did we could rest the skipper when needed.We have got the depth now in defence and in the creative department-lets not weaken the impetus by having a lack of options up front.It’s not about the one man team BS but having the armory to do the damage.The team is developing into a combative unit now and the finishing touches need to be added quickly.

    • Charlie says:

      He has had a week to recover, i really don’t see the need to start with him on the bench. Don’t underestimate the opposition, we need our best XI on the pitch to be confident enough of getting a win in this one and still sitting in 7th place a win is vital.

  4. T2T says:

    I thought Arshavin and Park played well together against Bolton in CC. If we want to rest van Persie, let’s Arshavin play as the AM behind him.

  5. zaragooner says:

    Agree with the line-up though I hope we will rest Arteta. The lad has given everything in his past games, but knowing that we will have interlul for 2 weeks, I don’t see it necessary..on paper, it will look as an easy game but West Brom has the best away record. So I don’t want the team take this game for granted. Hope to see Theo and Gervinho fully utilized their pace before West Brom come and sparked our midfield trio. I still think we will win big.. 3-0 for The Gunners..COYG!

    • Unpark Park says:

      If we rest the hard working Arteta we should park Park in behind the Van to give us a chance to utilise his work rate and develop a link with our skipper.This could lead to a bit of a goal flow from our Korean-we need another scorer to hit double figures and thats what we surely bought him for..Jenkinson needs to continue gaining experience with two quality CBs alongside and one on the bench-thats a luxury for us and we should take full advantage-not play our 3 best CBs at the same time.Ramsey is now first choice because he has been allowed to play his natural game-he is sudddenly giving us the performances that he gives Wales.

      Jenks Mert Konch Santos
      Theo Song Ramsey Gervinho
      Park RVP

  6. ilham surtila says:

    wanna see this……..



    ……………song bilong………………


    ………………van the man………….

  7. OBA says:

    Always a DESI stuff
    3 points for

  8. Dove says:

    Great analysis.

    As far as the line up is concerned, I think we need to have Rosicky in place of Ramsey. That would help us to retain possession and unlock the tight defence. Bring Arshavin if the score remains the same at half time. We need to have players who can open up the tight defence.

  9. we should start this line-up.Sczesny,Jenkison,Santos,Konslyn,Mert,Song,Walcot,Arteta,Van persie,Rambo,Gervinho.

  10. Prolonta says:

    Obviously Koscielny is in the best form of his life, resting him in two games at a stretch wouldn’t be fair for a defender that has been immense this season. On the other hand, Arsene needs to be cautious with ‘The Verminator’, he has played almost 180 mins since his comeback. Resting him in this game wouldn’t hurt that much. I’d like to see Per n Kos in d starting line-up today. My predicted score line- 3:1 in our favour. C’mon gunners

  11. eddie says:

    It doesnt make much sense to rest Van Persie so that he can get injured playing friendlies for Netherlands next week!!

    • Charlie says:

      Netherlands already qualified so how about they do us a favour and don’t risk injuring our captain ? that’d make a nice change. They can play our lad Ozyakup instead.

  12. Uthman says:

    I wil suggest this formation. Sczyney jen, kos, verm, santos theo, song, mikel,gerv arshavin van persie.

  13. Debeliever says:

    Arsene wenger only need a win 2day. Dats wat we fans also need. Cheer up guys every thing wil be alright. Lol

  14. akanbi olamide says:

    wat a terrific line up to use,itz great there is notin wrong wit it.

  15. mohammed says:

    the best imformation dat he can used nd his mind will be at rest, to probably put Koscielny to play nd then pair vamerlin with Mertesacker nd santos, bec Jenkinson is nt confortable f playing dat wing, bec dere vis no confidence in him, is nt yet mature to big, an need to set a record today, bec last season, we are beatin and drew d second game, i tink he try dis information

  16. felix ilayesa says:

    i will prefer sczyney, jenk, kos, mert, santos, song, arteta, ramsey, ox champ, gervinho, van persie.take out ox and bring in theo after the break ,then brig in arshavin,for gervinho 20 mins to time.arsenal will win 3-0.

  17. Lukeemmanuel says:

    I luv this lineup, we always pray 4 3point. Nothing more nothing less. And for van percea we always need him for the startin lineup, becouse of scorin goals 4 d team and 4 d fans in general as well as fightn on his higher goal scorer. So i pray that d victory will b ours.

  18. abamatt says:

    in absense of sagna, wenger should try kos6, met4,tv5 and santos to see how it works. After all he expirement worst things than that.

  19. I want wanger play alex and rest walcott arshavin

  20. Ayanfe says:

    I’ll like dis if dat is going 2 be d starting line up

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