Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Besiktas

For the second year running Arsenal have drawn a Turkish opponent in the final round of Champions League qualifying. Last season the Gunners made light work of a tricky game against Fenerbahce so they are favourites to go through at the expense of a team that finished the season 12 points behind the winners of the Super Lig.

I have only seen parts of their impressive preseason that includes wins over Chelsea and Fenerbahce, as well as an aggregate 5-2 victory over Feyenoord in the previous qualifying round. Slavan Bilic’s side come into this game high on confidence and with a strong defensive record. Their main strengths will be their organization, physicality, and hard work. Counter-attacks and set-pieces will be the main offensive weapons.

This could be the kind of game which suits their recently acquired striker as Demba Ba thrives in games where he gets space in the central attacking areas. Karin Frei, Gokhan Tore, and Olcay Sahan are quick, skilful players who can run at defenders and make a decisive contribution in attack. Ozyakup, the youngster who spent a few years with the Arsenal academy, is another talented attacking option at the manager’s disposal.

In order to keep them in check, and to counter the passionate and vociferous home crowd, the Gunners will have to control the ball and play with confidence. Any sloppiness/hesitancy in possession or errors at the start can completely change the dynamic of this game. In a way, this challenge is not very different from playing some of the mid-level Premier League sides except that the Turks have better final third quality and slightly better technical/tactical skills.

Once again, patience in attack, set-piece defending, and sharp tempo could be the key to winning the game. Wenger’s side don’t really need three points from the away leg but a good result here will help them generate some momentum before a tough test at Goodison Park.

It’ll be interesting to see if the manager goes for some changes to his starting eleven. Given the personnel he has, the entire front six could be different from those that started the League opener.

For instance, Wenger could go with – Flamini, Rosicky, Coquelin – Campbell, Giroud, Ox. Still looks pretty strong.

However, I don’t think wholesale changes are needed or advisable. Two or three changes are sufficient to maintain freshness without sacrificing continuity. The Arsenal manager has learnt from previous seasons that a strong line up in away games is the better choice. More changes can be made at home, particularly in a two-legged encounter in which the Gunners hold the advantage after the first game.

Giroud will most probably start as Sanogo has not travelled with the squad. Monreal will be another forced change. Both did well as substitutes in the previous game. One more change may come in the form of Chamberlain starting in place of Wilshere or Cazorla.

I’d like to see,

Szczesny – Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal – Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey – Chamberlain, Giroud, Alexis.

Some might say Santi has not been in the best of form and should be left out. Many fans might prefer to start Campbell in the attacking trio. Ox or Rosicky can also be considered for a central midfield role.

The defence remains the only real area of concern from a depth point of view. Hopefully, we won’t see any injuries.

Wenger has many options and there isn’t one outstanding choice. You can form four or five starting elevens that can do the job and the bench should also hold a couple of quality players in every case. In that sense, it’s more down to the players to perform on the pitch rather than choices of the manager.

P.S. If you’re interested, Youtube has full match videos of their home game against Feyenoord as well as friendlies against Chelsea and Fenerbahce through this beIN Sport Channel.

9 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Besiktas

  1. Rich says:

    Dropping Cazorla or Wilshere for Chambo makes sense.

  2. Tony911 says:

    It’s morning here in Nigeria. So, good morning Desi.
    Like u said, we have lots of options offensively. I would like to see Rosicky and Flamini both start in this game. OX-Giroud-Alexis : Rosicky-Flamini-Ramsey : Monreal-Kozzer-Chamb-Debuchy.

  3. Matt says:

    Wenger loves to use Rosicky in European games, certainly see him starting tonight

  4. roundleather says:

    My thought wld be to name a pacey front3 (Alexis,Joel,Ox),& a middle3(Arteta,Rosicky,Ramsey) that rarely lose possession. We take the game to them from the start. Establish a 2goal lead,then see the game off with 451,Flamini to add steel n Giroud upfront.

  5. Aussie Jack says:

    Good line up Desi, only one name missing….Fabregas!

  6. 8in8 says:

    Blog fantastic
    Thank you

  7. bengana PH says:

    I think Wenger will make few changes in other not to have devastating effect. I think it may look thus:

    Debuchi Cham21. Kos6. M18
    Flam20. Rambo

    Ox Shakira(Roz7). Carzola

  8. Right Cross says:

    Thanks Desi,

    This will be a tough early test away from home and because of the games significance I would be surprised by wholesale changes. If Arteta is fully fit he always starts in front of Flamini because of his superior positional discipline and his brilliant ball movement. However Wenger may have to rest him from games to keep him fresh and perhaps Flamini will start. If so I would expect Ramsey to be deep alongside him to help move the ball out from the back. Sanchez looked good on the left late in the game on the weekend and The Ox could start right. If Flamini starts Wenger may need to stick with Cazorla or a Rosicky wide left to come deeper and get the ball moving.
    Let’s hope for a good result to take pressure off next week.

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