Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Newcastle

On paper, Newcastle’s visit to the Emirates is another eminently winnable game for the Gunners. The Magpies have won 2 and lost 7 of their last 9 games. They’re also without an away this season. That’s relegation form by anyone’s reckoning. Their current plight is an excellent example of the difficult nature of performing consistently on a year-on-year basis. Injuries, European exertions, transfer speculation surrounding key players like Dembe Ba, and other issues have all worked against the Geordies.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are coming into this game on the back of three straight wins. Fitness concerns are diminishing, although how long that will last is anyone’s guess. They’ve also had a midweek break.

All signs points to a straightforward win for the Gunners where they dominate possession create many chances and score some goals. But I’ve a feeling this game will be decided by a narrow margin, which means it could boil down to individual moments in front of goal. A great save, a big tackle, an extraordinary finish, a refereeing blunder, anything could be decisive.

Newcastle have a couple of key players injured. This has affected their creative abilities but they do have goals in the side. Ba and Cisse are exceptional finishers and possess the ability to convert half-chances. Their basic problem is that the duo have limited abilities outside the box. This has made it difficult for both to perform in the same game as only one can spend time as a central attacker.

In this game, Pardew could take a gamble and play both up front in a 4-4-2 with a strongly defensive approach behind them. Two banks of four, disciplined football, and direct attacking could maximize the opportunities for their two best players while protecting their goal. It’d be a very short term approach but when the team is in trouble anything that stems the rot is worth a try. Still, I’m not sure Newcastle will go that way. Such an approach has the potential of giving Arsenal a lot of room in the central third and, as we’ve seen, the Gunners look a completely different team when they’re allowed to build the game at their convenience.

Pardew will probably set his team up to compete in midfield and they’ll show a genuine desire to score. This will provide gaps for Arsenal to exploit, particularly in the wider areas. Both teams will get half-chances and the manner in which either or both attempt to convert promising situations into goals will be worth watching. There should be goals in this game, three at least.

Arsene has a strong squad to pick his starting eleven. The first major choice is in the central striking role. Walcott and Giroud are the prime candidates. Now that Rosicky is back, my personal preference would be Podolski down the middle with Little Mozart on the left and Theo on the right, but I’ll be surprised if we see that trio in those positions.

Rosicky’s availability poses a fresh dilemma for Wenger. The Czech star brings certain useful qualities to the side and would fit in nicely with Cazorla and Co., but where does he play? On the left Podolski has offered decent balance, on the right Arsenal need some pace, and the midfield trio is already very strong. There is a possibility of bringing him in for Wilshere, it’s at least worth trying, but Jack is the biggest hope for the future and every game he plays now adds something to his experience.

Koscielny is another player who deserves more time in the middle. Will Wenger rotate his central defence?

We might see,

Szczesny – Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere – Walcott, Giroud, Podolski.

At this moment, it’s not difficult to visualize a win, draw, or defeat. Newcastle have enough to frustrate the Gunners if certain moments fall their way. Arsenal have the better team, better form, and a vastly improved fitness situations. It’s up to them to make it count on the table. Wenger’s stronger bench might play a part if it’s still tight late in the game.

I’m travelling this weekend and might not get the chance to write about the game on Saturday, particularly if the performance is not inspiring.


18 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Newcastle

  1. Major_Jeneral says:

    its a tricky 1 at home If d team are resolute and focused and do take their chances well d game and dis focus must b 90min

  2. manani wycliffe says:

    a must win

  3. 'koye says:

    Errrr, I think we’ll win quite easily. Their confidence is low and they have many players out with injury. We have had a good break and we have got players returning. I just don’t see anything other than a straightforward win.

    (Hope I’ve not jinxed it)

  4. Dianjuh says:

    Hey Desi? One more game before the transfer window is open. Release the deadwood, free up some space and cash. Shop for team balance. I have said time and again that we do have the quality, we lack the balance to perform consistently. Am sure Wenger knows what to do, will he do it? History is pretty much against us! But we have to keep grinding results until then…

  5. Manthan Davda says:

    Perfect Team hope to get all 3 points…..

  6. Spec says:

    Fingers crossed we round up 2012 with a win… COYG

  7. Anum moses says:

    We nid dis game more dan anytin wenger sud try nd mak a beta squard.

  8. ileri says:

    This team is ok but we still need 1 striker and 1 defensive midfielder.

  9. unknown yet says:

    In Wenger I still trust … All he should stop doing is being a dick head and start flowing with the latest trend (reasonably tho).. First and foremost, contract the rebel then burn off the dead woods finally balance up the team

  10. Micheal says:

    In arsene we trust….a dying arsenal fan….a must 3point

  11. Right Cross says:

    Thanks for your intelligent work Desi,
    I would like to see Rosicky used out wide on the left too and Podolski given a game through the middle. I too doubt this will occur but Rosicky could combine well with our midfield and provide help with controlling possession while leaving space outside him for Gibbs to exploit.

  12. Jenason Nibson says:

    Pls we need alot of aggressiveness in approaching this game as well.

  13. Gerry Lennon says:

    Unusually negative Desi? Well cautious at the very least. I think their injury list is key. Without Cabaye to spray intelligent passes about means the rest have to work harder. Without Guttierez, who will run for them all day, that task will faller to less energetic types. Also, had they won 3-2, not lost 3-4, their confidence would not be so fragile as it will be today, especially if we get an early goal?
    Then we come to our team. Unchanged in two, won two. However, I do think if Theo has not signed the contract on offer by mid-day then he will find himself on the bench(and probably bye,bye, Theo?). Tiote will be back, and I cannot see him letting Theo skip past him without getting in a hefty tackle or two. Whether he can stay on the field for 90 minutes is another question. Cazorla and Wilshere will also have to guard against the physical stuff too, but let’s hope the Ref is up to it?
    So the team I expect to start is with just one change; Giroud for Theo. AOC is better starting the game than an impact player for the last 20 minutes. His driving runs will keep their defence on their toes. Likewise the Podolski/Gibbs pair on the left. Arteta will have to share the load in cutting out balls to their strikers.
    Positive substitutions will also be key. Rosicky for Wilshere is one possibility if he has taken a battering, Theo for the Ox if Giroud stay on, but drops deeper when they tire. State of the game may dictate who comes on for Podolski, but Kos may be best if shoring up a winning margin?
    Should be a big margin win?

  14. Jenason Nibson says:

    We need to approach the game with alot of aggressiveness as well.

  15. Gbangu says:

    Hi Desi. I like reading ur blogs. U always go to every angle of an issue. However, as we are going into jan window n by ur assessment of the squad, which area of the team n which players ‘ll u suggest for reenforcement. A blog will b nice

  16. Nick from Portugal says:

    Strongly agree with Gerry, the Ox is better on from the start, while someone like Ramsey seems better as a sub. I would play Giroud thtough the middle and Walcott on the wing with Ox on the other, hold Podolski back on the bench.Same defense and midfield, but knowing Arsene it will be an unchanged team..early couple of goals would be sweet, the longer it goes without a goal the more dangerous it is for us……

  17. pizzy05 says:

    Good write up, desi.

    I said earlier this month that I hoped that Swansea could be our catalyst for better results and “Teamgeist” this season. I assert that the momentum j̶̲̥̅ڪ still on.

    Today marks only our second home game since the Swans, so I expect a determined performance and a deserved win for the gunners. I am hoping for a goal at least from Giroud today thou, it’s that type of match and it’s been a long time since his last one

    We should watch out for counters though, their forwards A̶̲̥̅̊я̲̣̥ε̲̣̣̣̥ clinical when given space to run into.
    Finally, if anyone reading j̶̲̥̅ڪ going to the game today, PLEASE, BE VOCAL I̶̲̥̅̊N̶̲̥̅̊ YOUR SUPPORT OF THE TEAM. SUPPORT THE ARSENAL, SUPPORT THE PLAYERS, NOT JUST THE PERFORMANCE.

    COYG!! PURPLE REIGN!!!

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