Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Chelsea

The fixture list is definitely a little harsh on Chelsea as this game comes just two days after their big League encounter against Man City last Sunday. But then you look at the amount of money they’ve spent and the options Mourinho has and there seems little reason to feel sympathetic. Demba Ba, Eto’o, Mata, De Bruyne, Willian, David Luiz, Obi-Mikel, Essien, Azpilicueta, and Schwarzer could all start regularly at many of the Premier League teams. Mourinho will probably have to rely on no more than a couple of youngsters.

With a team that strong, tactics would become irrelevant unless Wenger puts out a competitive midfield. Should he? That is the question.

It would be interesting to see Wenger’s record against Mourinho. Is it P8 W0 D4 L4? The Portuguese manager is exceptional at setting his side up to not lose. And then he usually has enough quality players and good enough ideas to nick a win.

Given the number of changes Wenger will have to make, it seems safe to assume they will concede a goal or two, at least. The Frenchman’s teams work best when there is continuity and the players have a feel for the game. That doesn’t work with wholesale changes.

With that in mind, Penalties might be Arsenal’s best hope and that too only if they can remain defensively resolute for the duration of the game and extra time.

Flamini and Arteta are absent so Wenger has to either go with a youngster like Hayden as the defensive player or start both Jack and Ramsey. I’d just throw Hayden in at the deep end and see what he can do against the likes of Mata, Willian, and De Bruyne. Wilshere and Rambo have bigger fish to fry soon enough. Even then, Wenger will probably have to play one of those two. Jack should get the nod if he is fit (problem is nobody seems to know whether he is fit or not!).

Rosicky could get a nod at the top of midfield with Bendtner leading the line. Gnabry deserves a go against the big boys and he could have a very interesting battle on the right if Mourinho plays Bertrand at left back.

Fabianksi, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, and Monreal should get a start and that leaves a couple of places to fill. Mertesacker would be the ideal partner for Vermaelen because the German is exceptional at reading the game and can be a calming influence.

On the left of midfield, the choice seems to be between the youngster Miyaichi and Cazorla. Santi seems the better choice as he’d bring experience and technical qualities to the side.

I’d like to see,

Fabianski – Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal – Hayden, Rosicky, Wilshere – Gnabry, Bendtner, Cazorla.

That seems like a strong enough side to me. But does it stack up against the team Mourinho can field? It’s a shame Flamini is injured.

Arsenal have some pace and trickery in that midfield. They can trouble the likes of Mikel and Essien if they move the ball quickly. But pushing up the pitch in numbers against any Mourinho side is always a risk. Wenger might be tempted to play Vermaelen and Koscielny together if he wants pace in defence. That will make the game very, very interesting but might make Fabianski’s life miserable.

Avoiding early mistakes will be extremely vital. Going behind will force the Gunners to be even more adventurous and the scoreline could potentially get bad enough to defenestrate all confidence while giving weight to questions about the squad’s qualities and depth.

Bendtner’s movement and link play will have to be top notch. Gnabry or Rosicky will have to continuously join the attack on the defensive line or look to get in behind. If Chelsea have Kalas and Bertrand in the back four, the Gunners should look to force mistakes through their movements by engaging these youngster and forcing them into choices and areas out of their comfort zone.

This tournament is a complete waste of time in my opinion. So I don’t really care about  the result of this game. As long as the key players are able to get a break and those who play don’t get injured, it will be a success in my book.


11 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Chelsea

  1. Tosin paul says:

    Arsenal might lose this game

  2. Gerry Lennon says:

    My thoughts exactly, re your last sentence, Desi.

    I would have been slightly more inclined to have Hayden at CB and Yennaris at DM – less likely to make a rash challenge?

    But then I am not sure if he’ll risk Jack from the start either, but the cynic in me suggests he is probably more ‘expendable’ for the next three games? Whereas I would save Santi and Ryo does provide width.

    Like you have said, their reserves provide a strong challenge, so not confident of a positive result, but a good time to see how the academy boys fare?

  3. bradster says:

    I agree Desi, why burden our tired looking first team with this game. Give the fringe players and youngsters a chance.
    Santi could do with another run out for an hour to get a bit more match fit.
    Ollson and Frimpong for me in the pivot roles with Rosicky ahead, Gnabry and Cazorla on the wings.
    I’d also like to see Hayden partner Vermaelen and give our central pairing a rest.

  4. T2T says:

    It seems like many of your readers Desi agree with you regarding the importance of this CC game. I’d like to win the game – and the cup, but not at the expense of any of the other competitions we’re in.
    A few years ago, Wenger had great success in playing a youth team strengthened by fringe players in the first team squad and players coming back from injury. That did bring us the cup final against Chelsea 7-8 years ago. Let’s do the same here. Start with the best players from the Academy (i.e. the team playing in the UEFA Youth League) strengthened with e.g. Fabianski, Vermaelen, Cazorla, Bendtner.

  5. Wallace says:

    like your team and also your take on the competition. sounds like it might be Kos & Ramsey rather than Mert & Jack in the side though. if Ramsey does start i’ll be astonished. hope Gnabry is passed fit, and will be interesting to see Hayden up against some quality opposition.

  6. Am suprise y Arsenal players always injured

  7. John says:

    Not sure why we are bothering with this game every first team player should be rested we have bigger matches coming up in PL and CL and I cant see us winning this one.

    The question Arsenal fans need to ask themselves is would they be happy with a league cup and no CL football (with Liverpool and Spurs improving each year its getting harder and harder).. my answer to this question is no … its a poor trophy that would not appease the fans desire to be winners only a PL win or CL will do that imo.

  8. NIkhil says:

    I’d rather have Ramsey in place of Wilshere and play wilshere in games against Liverpool and Dormund who press a lot while defending. Reason being Ramsey, not taking anything away from his performances this season, sometimes dwells on the ball a lot more than required and his game is not suited for these kind of oppositions. Also, I’d like to see how Wilshere fares alongside Ozil.

  9. ayokunle says:

    Great analysis as always…i think we shouldn’t take this competition less seriously coz if we win,its gonna be a major confidence boost for all d players and Ǻ♍ sure y’all know how important confidence is to players…wish d team all d best tonight

  10. Antique Gunmen says:

    Let’s hope every aspect runs perfectly into Chelsea’s favour. If there not, Mr. Complaint 2014 -The Only (Special) One will talking thrash again. That’s his exceptional skills you forgot to mention. Mou-aning every difficulties for his side.

  11. Mickey Finn says:

    This is the best blog for Arsenal football tactics, IMHO.

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