Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Wolves

Arsenal are currently third in the table, two points above Spurs and Newcastle, and have four more than Chelsea with a game in hand. That is the game against Wolves at Molineux. Winning this match could give the Gunners a five point cushion with just as many games to go. With still some tricky fixtures to come in the run-in Wenger’s team could benefit from some breathing room.

However, looking at it that way inherently implies this game is not tricky and three points are to be expected. It would be foolhardy for anyone in the Arsenal camp to take a win for granted. The hosts are fighting a relegation battle, and even if looks increasing bleak for them with every passing week, one must not underestimate their battling instincts. And how can anyone forget the 1-1 draw at the Emirates between the teams earlier in the season.

In that fixture Arsenal had over 70 percent possession and had 11 shots on target out of the attempted 27. The inconsistent Hennessey was on top form. At the other end Wolves scored with their only shot on target. This can happen again, anytime. That gives hope to teams who strive to avoid the drop. Fighting for 90 minutes gives them a chance. With a bit of luck they can get a point or three.

This game is, therefore, more likely to be about duels and work rate rather than inventive tactics or slick football. Wolves will have to rely on their organization, discipline, and effort. The areas of the pitch where they choose to do so will be interesting to watch. Last season McCarthy’s side were able to pin Arsenal back for periods of the game but they no longer have him as the manager and don’t look like the same side. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to doubt their abilities.

Vermaelen was talking about the importance of the collective shape while defending,

It’s about the organisation of the team. It’s not just about the defenders who defend, it’s the whole shape of the team. That’s really good at the moment…

The same has to continue. We saw the impact of a drop in concentration at QPR. And it will most definitely be repeated if the performance/concentration/determination levels drop. Song and Arteta will again have a vital role to play in front of the defence not only with their movement and reading of the game, but also with their ability to retain the ball and absorb pressure.

The midfield duo’s role will take on greater significance given Koscielny’s forced absence through suspension. Djourou is a good replacement but is inconsistent and hasn’t played regularly in recent weeks. He could be caught out if exposed. One key aspect of solid defences is the inherent depth that prevents a single error from proving fatal. Arsenal will have to show they have this by covering for each other.

Wolves have some quality in the wide areas and, with Gibbs missing due to injury, Santos could have a tough time on the left in his first start since his injury last year. Wenger will probably be tempted to pick Benayoun to provide some support to the Brazilian.

It will be a challenge for Yossi who’s looked good in certain games but is another one who hasn’t quite demonstrated the kind of consistency demanded at this level. On occasion the Israeli has drifted in and out games but did well in a conservative role against City last Sunday. He could do more of the same in this one but one gets the feeling Arsenal will need some of his attacking/dribbling skills in and around the opposition box for greater penetration.

I am also of the opinion that this would be a good game to give Walcott a breather and bring Oxlade-Chamberlain in. The youngster hasn’t started since the home win over Newcastle while Theo has been playing constantly. It could help both but somehow I doubt Arsene will make many alterations to a winning combination as there is definitely an element of risk involved with too many changes.

Preferred line-up,

Szczesny – Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos – Song, Rosicky, Arteta – AOC, RvP, Benayoun

Wolves are on a 6 game losing streak and have been winless for 8. I don’t like saying this but even such streaks have to come to an end. They’ve already forced a draw at the Emirates and will believe they can do the same or more at home. More than tactics or personnel, this one could boil down to who wants it more.

52 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Wolves

  1. Amusan samson says:

    Yes teams in relegation zone as, always been a treat to Aresenal Arsenal draw bolton,lost to QPR,loss at blackburn,so MR.Wenger must be clever about is selection.I think rambo must come in as a second half sub.gr8 analysis

    • Dhruv says:

      Today our record against those teams is going to change because we are going to win 2-0. RVP is due a goal and he is going to score today. I hope Ramsey scores too!

  2. Kayciey says:

    Ramsey should not come near the team…..only then will we win

    • Hillary says:

      Tru man ramsey shud nt bi near da sub bench dat man shud bi offloaded 2 bi loaned

      • i agree that loaning him cud prove vital,he is selfish….he had an option to increase van persies tally but greed took his place

      • Davi says:

        bqrazy andrea – and what would RVP have done in his place? And if he’d missed, would we complain? People need to lay off Ramsey. He hasn’t been bad.

    • Richard Hasseck says:

      Ramsey is 21 years old and missed a year after an horrific injury. He has great promise and captains his country . Fans need to get off his back as he will come back stronger and more effective next year and will be a great player for our club.

      • santori says:

        Here we go again with Ramsey.

        I haven’t quite been convinced by his performance of late.

        Think he needs more aggression defensively and needs to move the ball quicker.

        BUT this nonsenes must stop.

        He is young and he is a strong talent.

        Seems like now that Arsharvin is in Siberia, Walcott has finally picked up some steam, the idiot.s of the world ahve to pick on someone.

      • Dhruv says:

        Looks like what Ramsey is lacking in is confidence and his finishing will improve once he starts believing again in himself.

      • richie says:

        I don´t understand all this either! Yes Ramsey slows us down because he takes 3 touches instead of one, but Er halo he´s been out injuried for 2 years and he´s only 21 – Being in this team with Arsene as his coach (have some faith) he´ll come good because he certainly has the potential! I´m expecting good things to come.

  3. This lesson should be learned by every player,esp.NASRI,PEOPLE marry each other bez they love each other but not the wealth that one posses.

  4. This lesson should be learned by every player,esp.NASRI,PEOPLE marry each other bez they love each other but not the wealth that one posses.ARSENAL stay focused and u wil win massively.ars 3-0 wolv

  5. Lawal saheed says:

    Ramsey should go loan

    • santori says:

      Did Walcott get into any better a situation last game? he had one good shot at goal over a longer period in the game.

      Chamberlain came in slightly later but I don’t remember him effecting the game at all.

      You should loan your thoughts out somewhere-else where logic doesn’t come into play.

    • richie says:

      Whats with the Ramsey bashing? Alll he needs is a another pre-season and more games to move to the next level, He´s already a good squad player, Lawal you were probably one of those who said Song wasn´t Arsenal quality? Or Koscielny?

  6. Wanduta edwin says:

    Ramsey shud not b included even in the subs otherwise we gonna loose

  7. Winner says:

    Wenger should start with the same eleven that started against City. I think Theo needs rest, but if we win this one he can be rested against Wigan. My observation is that AOC tends to give away the ball more easily than Theo and also that Sagna has a much more effective combination with Theo. Therefore away from home, against a team that is likely to come out battling I would prefer the Theo-Sagna axis.
    The key to winning this game is to dent the Wolves confidence early. Two quick early goals should do that. Failure to do that was our undoing at QPR. Whatever happens Wolves should not be allowed to settle down.

    • santori says:

      We should have the mentality to put all teams before us to the sword without mercy.

      It’s six games left and we can see the end point.

      After all the hard work to claw back from the bottom, it is time to finish and finish with strength and purpose.

      Let the lads know that their reputation is still at stake and we are not across just yet.

    • David Andreassen says:

      I’d say this is the game to rest ppl in and not the Wigan one. That back five of theirs is not easily penetratable and wigan got more to play for than Wolves since Wigan actually got a realistic chance of stayin up.

  8. Dianjuh says:

    Hey Desi, Your analysis I never seem to disagree. the line up is OK IMO as need to keep a inning team and I feel apart from technical abilities limited with Walcott, he and AOC are pretty much alike. I would give AOC he nod to start here and bring in Theo at around the hour mark. All in all there should be no excuses for anything less than 3points.

  9. ozziearsenal says:

    Why all the hate mail against Ramsey is young great potential skill full very good engine and he is still learning his trade Ramsey and Jack are Arsenals future midfield pairing and you can never knock his work rate gets into good scoring positions don’t worry goals will come.Mr Wenger is trying to play him back to form.

  10. Gary says:

    Good lineup.
    As long as Ramsy is away, there is always hope we will win!
    Only when he comes on do things get screwed up.
    Why is AW the only fool who doesn’t accept that ?
    So sad.

    • santori says:

      Typical short sighted rubbish again.

      You probably said the same thing about Song before he came good (@23), or Walcott more recently or for that matter Rosicky when he just came back from injury.


    • David Andreassen says:

      What a load of utter crap. Howcome so many Gooners have the memory span of a gold fish?

      The last winning streak we had (this fall) Ramsey played every minute and did well.

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        am not so sure Rosicky can start 3 games in a row so whether people like it or not, he will start atleast one of these 3 games and be sub in the other. Which one is upto the gaffer. And no AOC is not ready to play there if ppl want to suggest that and we dont have others fit. If Arsene tried to play him and bring his confidence, its only logical as currently he’s al we ahve when rosicky does not play. What if Rozza gets suspended/injured/whatever?
        Now i dont want to be negative but when you are the manager u try and prepare for every possibilty.
        On current form definitely he does not get into arsena’s first 11 but we should just encourage him as HE WILL PLAY as we have no one else. irrespective of whether he s young talened,blah blah. That doesnt matter as there is no one else to fill for rozza and there are still 6 games left.
        Dont count ur chickens and say we have diaby/wilshere who might comeback knowign fully they havent played PL for a long time.

        We need ramsey and we need him confident and raring to go and HE WIll PLAY. Doesnt matter what you and me think

    • richie says:

      Gazza mate there´s only one fool around here check your mirror.

  11. Flavour says:

    Ramsey is not a bad player, he threatens the opposition a lot which can cause mistakes so he should be trusted. He will come good eventually. He lack the eyes of Wenger to see the future. When Arsenal was 17th we were written off but I remember Wenger saying his team has the quality and that they will come true and yes we did. Ramsey has the quality and very soon we will start praising him like we priase Theo after he was bullied by fans in the Spurs game. The reason Wenger is Wenger is because he is very patient, longsuffering and never gives up on potential.

    Ramsey missed that one goal. How many clear chances did RVP missed in the QPR game?

  12. Shevo says:

    All you moaners get off Rambos back. Its the same short sighted idiotic view that was held by some fans about Alex Song and Kos during the early stages of their first team career. Now look at them. Every player goes through dips in form, we just need to support them through it just like we did the team when they were struggling at the start of the season. Now let’s get 3 more points against Wolves to cement 3rd place and stop this constant player bashing.

    • santori says:

      Absolutely agree. Shows their acute lack of knowledge and reactionary attitude. The same lot who probably wanted Wenger out at the start of the season.

      • santori says:

        That said, not hoping that Wenger starts Ramsey out left (tucked in) in the 3-3-3-1. That experiement worked against Everton under circumstance but has been not surprisingly found out of late.

        Santos will definately neeed some cover.

        Wonder if we may see Diaby at some point.

  13. Nero pet says:

    If u say ramsey is young what of wilshere that had only half season loan and won pfa @ 19 buh rambo has never looked like a real talent for consecutive 8matches so call spade a spade

    • santori says:

      Song didn’t come good till 23.

      Koscielny has blossom this season following a shaky first season.

      Your point?

    • David Andreassen says:

      Well, Wilshere didn’t have a season out due to injury until now, come back as the season start next year and moan about him too why don’t you?

      Besides Ramsey looked brilliant up until that Shawcross assault (rated higher than wilshere at the time by everyone who knew anything).

      No one moaned about ramsey when being an integral part of our midfield who got our fisrt winning streak this fall and actually got us into the game at all (from 13:th to 5:th I believe) but I guess some ppl can’t remember that far back.

  14. santori says:

    optimistic about tomorrow if as per usual cautious.

    Agree with the line up. Not sure if Wenger will play Chamberlain though. I think Chambo is immensely talented but still a bit naive. Probably better as an impact sub toward 60 minute mark.

    Would absolutely like to see Benayoun give us another big game. He has IMO been a little underused.

    As you mentioned, Song and Arteta will have to help screen both Djourou AND Vermaelen well.

    Also Santos needs to be careful. He lacks the pace of GIbbs to recover from a copromised position.

    Otherwise hope we get some seperation from the rest of the pack and don’t F it up like we did against QPR.

    RVP to end his goal drought with a hat trick. 😀

    • JJ Pittman says:

      Very much agree with your point about Santos. Don’t know if it’s selective vision on my part, but it seems both Santos and Gibbs tend to drift both up and and into the middle rather than patrolling the sideline relentlessly in the middle and final thirds as Sagna almost always does. This is scary since Santos lacks Gibbs’ pace. However, think Wolves will not have that much to offer against us.
      Our real need is to put a few more in their net earlier. So often easier said than done by our guys.
      Arteta sure has been good for a “panic buy”.

  15. Nero pet says:

    What has ramsey done dat diaby,denilson bentner, vela has nt done for the team VERMINATOR missed last season buh is he useing that as excuse nt to play better? Ramsey mental strainght is poor and lazy PERIOD

  16. Arsenalisaculture says:

    Desi sometyms i just wish d playas n coaching staff wuld just peruse ur posts b4 each game. Am going 4 an emphatic win today with any 3 goal margin or more…

    • VanTheManPersie says:

      Desi is really good my friend, but we have no clue what goes on inside the dressing room and there are so many variables inside a manager’s head which never comes out.
      I remember fergie said he brought on Giggs after halftime at that age when ti was not happening for united in an away agem (maybe wigan..dont remember) because he thought Giggs is “fantastic” on softer,muddier surfaces. Giggs came on and created two on that day and he played centrally.
      If you think Desi’s arguments are compelling, you will be blown over if managers like Arsene,SAF even Mancini who the media will be castigating, discuss their tactics adn their logic behind team selections,strategies,etc.

      They are human and make errors, but you dont get to where they are unless ur very very special.

      Tactics work, tactics fail. Hell, if aguero connected that header or ballotelli scored with is bicycle from 3 yards out and city won 0-1 inspite of playing poorly, ppl would be dissing Arsene now.

      The margins at that level are so small. Lets leave the managing to the managers as theya re closer and in far better postion
      than you, me or Desi will be.
      Thats why Desi is never disrespectful to any manager with statements like “WHy on earth” adn thats why I come here:)

  17. i don’t want 2 c the so called Rambo

  18. Mike says:

    No one’s saying KILL Ramsey. The simple fact is wether a great player or not he is not in good form right now. Therefore the wise thing would be to use him less especially when the points matter most and given he substitutes people in better form. If we where still in other competitions then we can employ his services. All we are saying is he shouldn’t bench people in better form. Okay! So why not use Fabiansky in place of Schezny cos he has talent or Djourou in place of Koscielny. You it as Ramsey hatred but now no chances need to be taken. Simple

    • Charlie says:

      It is a chance to play all your best players 3 times in a week. Either you gamble with a player off form or you gamble with the fitness of your star players, there’s no simple answer.

  19. Am one of those gunners dat enjoys reading ur tots.I hav no doubt to ur opinion.We need our 3point with atleast 3 goal wit RVP on score sheet

  20. Charlie says:

    Nobody has mentioned the relatively short recovery time after a very gruelling match where there were some hard tackles from City. I think there will need to be more rotation than some are suggesting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gervinho and Chamberlain simply because they will be fresh. I don’t know whether Coquelin is available but if so I have been impressed with him so far and I think he deserves to play while Song or Arteta is rested. This suggestion will be met with disagreement but I think Rosicky will struggle to last 90 minutes in this game so I think either Ramsey should start or they should play a half each.

  21. nadjulius says:

    i ma gonna be honest here, but i am one people who thought Ramsey was going to take the gunners by tsunami magnitudes before the injury,. 12 months on, i am forced to change my attitude towards him yet i still believe a seasons loan to Bolton should help the lad. I am confident the he is class but just seems to shrink infront of goal (its not his duty but he SHOULD take it up once called for–what if he missed at 0-0 both at Emirates and Everton). Is it about confidence, carelessness or lack of technique – which ever, he should work on that and FIRST.

    Away from Ramsey, I think arsenal should find the game at wolves much easier than the one we played at QPR. They(wolves) came at emirates and managed a 1-1 draw, but considering the statistics that day as laid out by Desi, I come to beleive it was just shere luck (ars 1 -0 man city is as flattering to mancity as ars 1- 1 wolves was the last time around)

    Benayoun had a great game and I hope our Le Boss gives him another chance. Santos did well against City and should become Arsenal’s Bale ( this guy is immaculate going forward). Song, Arteta and Rosicky have a great combination and I expect them to start the game too. I woul love to see AOC starting with Walcot ( this guy is not skilled but like le boss, I want him on the pitch dispite his continous loss of possesion – u can never know which minute he will strike) each occupying a different wing but continually switching positions as the game allows. over all my starting 11 shouldnt differe from yours Desi and thank you for that great post.

    Prediction: wolves 0 2 Arsenal ( van perie and benayoun/rosicky)

    Nasri (You made the wrong switch). Its not money that makes you a great player but the passion you have for the game(Rosicky should be your mentor here), and winning is not about money but mentality—chelsea did so because they had a coach (mourinho) who sowed that seed into the players. Manchini doesnot, and so does city.

  22. Charlie says:

    My mistake, Gervinho is injured but I still think Ox should start for either Theo or Benayoun depending on how fit they are and how Arsene wants to play it tactically.

  23. wolfie says:

    We’re resigned to going down, you guys should win this easily….attack down the left, Zubar our RB is never there…having said that….you will get as much joy down the middle or right…PunjabiWolf

  24. Shiv says:

    Just hope the match officials are up to it. The officiating this weekend has been appalling to say the least…. And all tilted to favor the bigger clubs. Vantastic is due for goals – big time. Hope the supply line is on the same wavelength. Twal, so liked by le prof, could learn a thing or two about putting in crosses from gareth bape …put in an incredible one in the match against norwich, with awesome pace and swerve across the face of goal in the 1st half. But Sp**s being sp**s, no one got a foot to it and saha was not even in the six yard box. Here’s looking forward to less ramsey bashing and more goals from the gunners.

  25. koye says:

    loz at wolfie… sad how your chaiman/board messed things up with the firing of mccarthy. just unbelievable.

  26. Chikezie Chinke says:

    I strongly believe they will not make the same mistake they did against QPR – complacency. Although QPR is a stronger fighting team than wolves, this game must be taking very serious so as to be placed in an advantageous position. In fact the remaining games should be treated with the same way and mind set in which the Man City game was handled. That was an awesome performance. I will like to go with Desi,s line up for this one. I have a strong feeling its going to be a great game for RVP. The best of luck GUNNERS.

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