Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Leicester City

It’s always hard to gauge just how a promoted team will play. They sometimes come up with a style that was successful in the Championship and discover that it just doesn’t work in the Premier League. A team that becomes used to winning and topping the table suddenly has to deal with defeats and a scrap at the wrong end. Adjustments have to be made and are not always successful. On the other hand, some promoted teams do really well and produce a fair few surprise results. Often mentioned as favourites for relegation, these sides can hit mid-table heights, even reaching the top half.

Leicester came up with an impressive record. Only two teams have been promoted with more points than their tally of a 102 since the formation of the Premier League. Reading managed a whopping 106 points in 2005/06. They followed it up with an impressive effort in the Premiership as they finished 8th. Sunderland clocked 105 in 1998/99 to gain promotion, and they too got into the top half with a 7th place finish the following season in the top flight. Leicester haven’t played enough games for us to judge just where they will finish but they’ve done enough, with a draw against Everton and a narrow defeat at Stamford Bridge, to show they’re not out of place in the big money league.

Their style of play doesn’t seem too complicated. Reliance on hard work, organization, discipline, and concentration can pay dividends. They’ve the second lowest possession (37%) and the fourth lowest pass completion rate (74.3%). The season is just two games old but I don’t expect them to change these stats drastically. Arsenal controlling the ball and the hosts trying to control vital spaces in the central areas of their half should be the norm on Sunday.

It that sense this game should be similar to the one against Palace, but just a little harder as this is away from home. Arsenal will again have to break a deep seated defence while protecting themselves from transitions and set-pieces.

Fast passing, runs in behind, combination play, clinical finishing…I think we’ve covered such topics often enough over the last few years as this is a typical Premier League game against a fighting opponent from the lower half of the table.

Defensive issues are well known too. Palace scored with their first shot on target. Everton did the same. Wenger’s side have conceded 3 goals from 5 shots on target in two League games. Gifting opponents goal scoring opportunities has long been the bane of Arsenal.

Leicester have some pace and trickery on the wings and play with two forwards who possess useful physical qualities, so they can be a threat on counter-attacks, from long balls, and set-pieces. Absolutely nothing new. It’s going to boil down to number of mistakes made and the degree of luck Arsenal have.

Wenger has quite a few options with his team selection. I’d really like to see something like,

Szczesny – Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal – Flamini, Özil, Ramsey – Wilshere, Alexis, AOC.

Wilshere produced some interesting performances when he played on the right flank last season. He can be more influential when cutting in because the body shape and angle would help him pick a wider range of passes. Such a role would also keep him closer to the dangerous attacking areas with fewer defensive responsibilities. Özil back in his best role obviously helps the team. Oxlade-Chamberlain should have more shooting opportunities when cutting in from the left onto his right foot. He also has a decent enough left foot to go on the outside and deliver balls into the box. Sanchez could move into the wider areas on the right when Wilshere cuts in and he can constantly look to get in behind with two or three players in good positions to pick passes. It seems to me this system can get the best out of a lot of players.

That said, I won’t be surprised if Wenger stays with Wilshere and Ramsey in the middle, particularly if he sees that as a combination for the long term that needs to be given time to gel. This would most probably put Özil back on the left. It might be worthwhile swapping the German and AOC even if Wenger wants to play Jack and Aaron through the centre.

Arsenal have been playing every three days and rotating players can help. Chambers for one of the defenders and Rosicky for one of the midfielders are definitely worth considering.

Last season Arsenal had a very good away record against teams in the bottom half as they picked up 28 points out of a possible 30. The only draw came away to West Brom relatively early in the season. Gaining points in the big games will only matter if the Gunners can replicate this dominance over the weaker sides. Anything less than three points will be a significant setback.

15 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Leicester City

  1. kinasuki says:

    Hard to argue but when you have Santi Cazorla going into form, its counter productive to send him to bench.. The problem tho is our 3rd wheel slot between Jack and Rambo.. I think the average position map on CP game shows exactly the problem of those 2, they occupy the same position.
    Ozil on left seems to be the effect of having Nacho at LB. Gibbs prefered to bomb forward a bit more then Nacho.

  2. Rich says:

    Ox on the left, Ozil on the right works for me.

  3. Gerry says:

    Yes, it will be a tricky game, as you rightly point out. But I hope we do not have to rely on luck?

    I think you team selection will be spot on, if AW sees it that way? The big problem that we don’t see, is just how draining 5 matches in 15 days is on the players. The last being particularly tough.
    There are a few certainties on who will play, and despite Ospina making the bench, Szczesney should start. As will Ramsey, who was ‘rested’ last time. Ozil too, given the public support from AW, and most probably in the position you suggest. Debuchy and Monreal – Gibbs not ‘ready’ until after the Intl break – And Mert and Alexis make up the core.
    So will Koscielny if he’s fit. Wilshere may drop to the bench given the number of games he’s played, but more likely drop to the deep role alongside Arteta. Ox had a hard game last time whilst Rosicky has yet to start, and I think the latter will get the vote.
    The final spot I think may go to Campbell in the middle or on the left. A lot will depend on how serious Arsene is on keeping him the squad? If he is to be loaned(again?), or worse, imo, sold, then he will not feature, even on the bench? But this would be an ideal time to give him some playing time from the outset so he has a chance to work his way into the feel of the game. With Sanogo likely to be fit, there would be cover on the bench if it did not work out.
    I think AW is a little unsure if Campbell will do a bit more ‘off the ball’ movement when not involved, instead of giving the appearance at times, that he is bored unless someone gives him the ball?
    I could give my usual plug for Bellerin to play right midfield, probably at Wilshere’s expense, to keep Debuchy in the defensive half. That would allow Ramsey to help out Monreal on the left, and leave Arteta as the spare man in the middle?
    It also means Chambers on the bench as the ultimate utility man.
    We shall see, but defend tightly, and make the most of our attacks. As the home side,the longer the game goes on the more they will feel the need to press, and the last 20 minutes will be when the game should swing in our favour?

  4. Olem says:

    Ozil on the right , sanchez should play central role the attact

  5. Olem says:

    Ozil on the right , sanchez should play central role in the attact

  6. claes says:

    I like the idea of rambo and wilshere playing alongside eachother with flamini behind as the enforcer. as much as i like Ozil, Wilshire definitely does more defensively than him. Having as for the front. I would like to see sanchez and the ox on the outside with campbell filling the target role that giroud usually occupies . It was evident in the WC that campbell can take that responsibility especially if he has spees on both sides to feed it to.

  7. abachaghana says:

    looks a fair starting XI in terms of balance but i think with very little defending expected, rosicky with his direct and vertical passing could give wilshere a breather and chambers for debuchy’s rest is worth considering too. Diaby is a player i will love to see controlling games of this nature from the dm position. Anyone with a help with what’s happeining to him? Big ups Desi, big ups gooners for foreseeable three points

  8. Right Cross says:

    Interesting team selection and reasoning Desi. Ozil’s touch and vision is needed to unlock that difficult congested central area. In these types of games and with Sanchez centrally inverting the wide players makes sense. Monreal and Debuchy will be overlapping and putting in any crosses from wide areas and any cutbacks. Combination passing, driving at the edge of the box and trying to get in behind are likely to be AOC and Wilshere’s roles. Perhaps even AOC might shoot better from the left…

  9. abachaghana says:

    again, the idea of playing cambell as a striker also itches tongue. The guy didnt look inferior physically at the WC even against the defence of the uruguaians and the italians and he knows how to use team mates fantastically at the focal position coupled with his tricks and speed, i think AW should look to shape the guy up as a striker. COYG

  10. My line up – Szczesny; Debuchy, Per, Kos, Monreal; Flamini, Ramsey, Ozil; Sanchez, Sanogo, Chamberlain.

  11. Shiv says:

    It will be interesting to see Arsenal play without Giroud. Sometimes last season I felt Arsenal played a very refined version of the long ball and in the absence of their target man, the team is likely to struggle.
    Also the areas requiring reinforcements from transfers are yet to be addressed.
    Playing Ozil or Santola on the left flank exposes poor Monreal. Doesn’t make any sense to play them together.
    Last season many corners for arsenal got converted into goals against us. Is it because of the way we’re set up? Hope this weakness is ironed out.

  12. bewithram says:

    Alex Song — Nowhere >>Arsenal >> Barcelona >> Nowhere — familiar route

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