Arsene Wenger’s new look starting eleven for the season ahead
Arsene Wenger is a manager that has been at Arsenal long enough to know the club inside out. Down the years, he has employed a host of formations and most have been to him and the club’s benefit.
Wenger had been an ardent fan of the 4-4-2 formation but switched to the highly tactical 4-2-3-1 to bring out the best in his previous captain Cesc Fabregas and create space for the club’s midfielders because the manpower in that area of the pitch is quite much . At the start of the 2009/10 season, Fabregas became the epicenter of the formation and it yielded much fruit because he had his best season in Arsenal colors scoring 19 goals and making 19 assists.
However, Arsenal ended in another trophy-less campaign after losing the Carling Cup quarterfinal in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City, a 3-1 FA Cup loss to Stoke City, a 6-3 aggregate drubbing in the hands of Barcelona and a 3rd place finish in the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger did some activity in the summer of 2010 to bring in the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci. After employing the same 4-2-3-1 formation for the 2010/11 season, Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie were the players that set Arsenal alight in the campaign.
It also ended in disappointment as Arsenal finished the league in 4th place. The club lost in the FA Cup quarterfinal to Manchester United and was knocked out in the 1st knockout phase by Barcelona. Arsenal’s closest shot to a trophy was the Carling Cup final against Birmingham City that ended in a shock 2-1 defeat.
More transfer activity took place this summer with notable figureheads like Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy leaving for greener pastures. With Arsenal needing the quality to challenge for the Premier League as well as hunt for other trophies, Wenger waited for the last day to bring four new vastly experienced players to blend with the team.
For once, Wenger didn’t go down the ‘all youngster lane’ but at some point in the season, he bought the 18-year Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and he also got a work permit for the 19-year Ryo Miyaichi.
Arsene Wenger’s new look squad is filled up with depth and it’s strong enough to challenge for the Premier League title as well as hunt for other trophies football as a sport has to offer.
Here’s my take on Arsene Wenger’s possible XI for the season ahead
GOALKEEPER: Wojciech Szczesny
Since taking over from Fabianski in December last season, Szczesny has been phenomenal. He put his head down and has worked really hard to cement his status as Arsenal’s new number 1.
His emergence as well as Fabianski’s consistency last season has assured the Arsenal fans that the goalkeeping situation is full settled. Szczesny had two clean sheets in a row at the start of the season but he was also in goal when Arsenal were demolished by their fierce rivals Manchester United.
It must have hurt him to concede eight goals but I’m very confident that Szczesny can be the difference between 3 points and 1 point as the season progresses.
RIGHT BACK: Bacary Sagna
He was probably the most consistent performer of the 2010/11 campaign and he has already picked up where he left off at the start of the new season.
His interceptions, tackles and energy surges down the right will be absolutely vital for Arsenal this season. He also put in a lion’s share of good crosses last season and Arsenal fans will be expecting the same in this current campaign.
With Gael Clichy becoming a forgotten tale at Arsenal, the media Vultures started linking Leighton Baines and Jose Enrique to the club but Wenger surprised everyone by saying that Kieran Gibbs was going to be his first choice left back for the season ahead.
Gibbs played only one game at the start of the season before doing what he was already renowned for, getting himself injured. Wenger played Sagna out of position for a couple of games but an illness paved the way for Armand Traore in Old Trafford and the Senegalese was largely disappointing.
He made a switch to Queens Park Rangers and it was evident that Arsenal needed a new left so Wenger turned to the experienced 27-year old Andre Santos from Fenerbahce. The lad has already notched up 22 caps for Brazil and fights regu;arly with Michel Bastos and Marcelo for a first team place in the Samba Boys‘ squad.
Andre Santos is a full back that’s also adept playing as a left winger and like every average Brazilian with the exception of Denilson and Lucas Leiva, he’s very skillful and he has an amazing technique.
He’s also a decent free kick taker and he has a flamboyant style of play. Just like the Brazilian legendary left back Roberto Carlos, Andre Santos can unleash a surface-to-goal torpedo from his left boot and he can also place the ball when he’s close enough to goal.
His major flaw as a player is his overzealous attacking nature and he’s not that fast enough to track back should a counter attack surface and he tends to be selfish at times because he loves dwelling on the ball but in general he can lead the line as the club’s prime left back with Gibbs as his deputy.
Thomas Vermaelen took the Premier League by storm in his first season and did well enough to get a place in the PFA Team of the Year. His second season was blighted by an Achilles injury that kept him on the sidelines for the best part of seven months.
This season has started with a bang and was a colossus when Arsenal hosted Liverpool despite playing with the inexperienced Ignasi Miquel.
Vermaelen will be vital to Arsenal this season and the fans can rely on him to put up more stellar performances.
Following the loss of the Invincible defenders Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, Wenger has not bought any defender of great quality with the exception of Thomas Vermaelen and maybe William Gallas.
The likes of Phillippe Senderos, Mikael Silvestre and Sebastien Squillaci have been major disappointments. Wenger relied fully on Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny throughout last season but they still produced moments of uncertainty and complacency in some vital games.
Koscielny produced a horror moment in the Carling Cup final last season while Djourou was at fault for all three goals when Arsenal lost to Stoke City in May.With their recent display against Manchester United in Old Trafford, Wenger felt that it was high time to bring a player that will put them on their toes.
Per Mertesacker is almost 2 meters tall……1.98 meters to be exact. His key attributes are his height, composure, positioning and aerial ability and they’ll be vital to Arsenal this season.
He’ll also be a massive threat during set pieces for Arsenal. Arteta and van Persie can even launch the ball into orbit while playing a corner kick. When the ball lands back to Earth with fire like a meteorite, Mertesacker will still be the first player to nod the ball to the opponents’ net.
This is one player Arsenal FC can clearly brag about. A raw product of Arsenal’s impressive youth academy. Arsenal’s academy is probably the best on Earth. The only academy better than ours is in another galaxy. The Barcelona Mutant Academy.
After spending a lot of time disgracing his elders in the Reserve League, Wenger decided that it was time for him to step up his game. At the milky age of 18, he was sent to a club that has monsters like the Kevin Davies. His spell there was so impressive to the extent of Bolton begging Wenger for him to have a second spell.
Some Arsenal fans thought that a second loan spell would be in the club’s best interest but Wenger slotted him into the holding role in our impressive formation.
Jack Wilshere was very outstanding last season season. His commitment to the cause could make officials do the MRI scan on him again because he does not play like the average 19-year old.
It’s also warming to know that he’s the best young player in the business from the Premier League’s perspective and he’s now an integral part of the English National team.
The most shocking thing about Song is that he’s just 23. This simply means that he’ll probably rule our defensive midfield for 10 more years if he continues to work as hard as he did last year.
With the exit of all renowned defensive midfielders in Arsenal, the panic button was pressed so hard by the fans that it sprang out of the remote control. Wenger simply told the fans that everything was under control.
If Wenger had buckled under the intense pressure and opened Arsenal’s cheque book to buy a new defensive midfielder, the World could have been denied the viewing pleasure of Arsenal’s African diamond, Song.
He did his “dirty” job using a “clean” style. His key attributes are his technique, first touch, tackling, strength, work rate, stamina, anticipation and a canny eye for goal.
He has ‘grown up’ to become one of the finest holding midfielders in the business
Mikel Arteta arrives at the club as the primary replacement for Cesc Fabregas and he already has the pedigree to be capable of that.
Even if Fabregas is a better player overall, Arteta is the sort of player that can provide one moment of absolute quality. He’s also a better set piece taker than Fabregas and this will be to Arsenal’s advantage because the club has canny players that are good at winning set pieces.
Arteta also has a decent passing range and his technique is second to none.
Gervais Yao Kouassi has already turned out to be an amazing signing for Arsenal and his absence due to suspension has been seriously missed by the club.
He has all the attributes of an ideal winger and he can also be a decent inside forward when he wants to be. His trickery on the ball as well as his pace have been used to great effect this season ans it’s going to be important all season long.
Theo Walcott has matured massively as a player and has added certain attributes to his game.
He is widely regarded as a speed merchant but this season he has added goals, assists, composure and tactical dribbling to his game. He showed up with the goods this season in some games and has been very impressive at the turn of 2011.
At this point in time, he’s Arsenal’s highest goal scorer and his goals were instrumental for the Gunners in their Champions League knockout play-offs against Udinese
Robin van Persie should be highly regarded one of as the most lethal strikers in the business this season because he scored almost half the goals Messi and Ronaldo scored in just 5 footballing months last season.
Provided he stays fit this season, rVp will definitely surpass the 30-goal mark. That’s if he stays fit though.
The new signings have been very good and very late in the day but Wenger has made more signings than most supporters would ever believe.
Some supporters will still not be happy, and will moan about all the players that we havn’t brought but Arsenal supporters don’t realise just how lucky they are to have Wenger. They have been used to playing in all the top competitions as if its their right.
Hard work by the Arsenal manager and his team will once again make the club competetive, if the club can shake the football authorities off their back, and not have anymore suspensions, the club stands a chance of winning the league.
Wenger has been watching all these new signings for a long time and he has left it as late as possible to acquire their services for as little as possible.
Just what a good manager does, sell high and buy low, that is why Arsenal in good hands and will be for the foreseeable future.
I just wanted to share my views with my readers.
A post about the proceedings happening in the Arsenal world comes up in a bit.
Posted on September 4, 2011, in Arsenal, Premier League and tagged Alex Song, Andre Santos, Bacary Sagna, Gervinho, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Wojciech Szczesny. Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.
I would play RVP on the left, Gervinho on the right, with Park/Walcott/Chamakh in the central attack. RVP’s not a lone striker. Great squad, it’s big enough now to handle some of the injuries we get. Can’t wait to see Benayoun play, and Ramsey and Rusisky are getting into form. Then there’s Chamberlain and Miyaichi. Bring it on!
I’m drooling with the prospect of watching Benayoun play too 🙂
great bro..but do u think walcoot is good as the lone striker?..he is speed merchant,i think he is more effective as 2nd striker/winger…
Yeah. Wenger could use him as a striker when the chips are down
perfect formation dude!
cheers! it sure is
Manchester United’s academy is far far better than Arsenal’s academy for your info. Paul Scholes, Beckham, Neville, Guiseppe Rossi, Cleverley, Welbeck, Giggs, Roy Keane to mention just a few…….
baba Kossy’s 1st comment in my blog…*rings bell like Wazobia*
Excellent work, Gunners 4 life woo.
thanks mate. Gunners for life
I think this’s is a beautiful blog,wenger did well cos wt arsenal needs now is vastly experienced/players mixed wt young talents.as wilshere is on d sidelines,i prefer a midfield of song rosicky&arteta,defence line of sagna/permerte/tv5/santos,then strike force of walcott vp,gervi,manu are lucky 2hv played us b4 ds signins,thnks 2d board for their misbehaviours,bt w’ll definitely get back to the top.for swansea game wt suspensions i’ll go for a midfield of;arteta/frimpong havin served his/either ramsey/rosicky,then front of walcott/vp/park,subs park for arsh,walcott for banayoun&ramsey for rosicky or either way,but is high time we change to 442 to accomodate more attacking midfielders&also insert miyachi gradgually into the folk.whether we are loosing or winning i remain a gunner till i sleep2wake nomore!!
Thanks mate. The 4-4-2 formation could be another option for Arsenal when the chips are down
An analytic gooner. A lot of reserves then! I would luv to see wilshere become an attackn midfielder while frimpong supports song. On d whole our players r MULTIPURPOSEFULL
Frimpong will do a decent job for Song when he goes for the Nations Cup
Personally I’d set them up like so:
Bacs – Per – TV5 – Santos
JW – Song
(RVP In free role anywhere in the last 1/3)
Park – Walcott
RVP Is much more deadly from distance then he is up close, let’s face it! This way he can slot in anywhere in the final third, and let Park, who is an out and out striker play alongside Walcott who’s pace on the last man down the center would be devastating. Also have song as the main holding midfield man and let Jack come forward and attack at times, the bench would also look like:
Fabianski, Frimpong, Gibbs, Kos6, Arshavin/Benayoun, Rambo, Gerv/Ryo/Oxlade
There is so much room for rotation. Also if you were to substitute say Park for Gerv/Ryo/OxoKid/Arshavin you could then easily just slot either Theo or RVP into the CF position and play a standard 4-2-3-1. Dunno, just an idea really.
its cool mate mate. The idea is alright but putting RVP behind would mean that a wing would be crippled. since you’ve already written down the midfield trio.
If we go into 4-4-2, RVP can play well bahind Park
Good line up mate…. But the recovery speed of Per, Andre Santos and Arteta worries me! Despite some mistakes Clichy and Gibbs have incredible speed. Johan and Koc have excellent speed as well…. My point is we should be flexible specially at home against teams who counter and park the bus. 4-4-2…. 4-1-3-2… Will bring the best of Van persie and give theo/park/chamach/gervinho etc to use their various skills score more and pressure 18 yards and in the opponents. I will go against sweansea…. Woj …Sagna. Thomas V.. Per… Santos. Song infront of them. Arteta.. Ramsey.. Yosi Bena…theo.. Plus… Park and Persie upfront. Ofcourse Song not available…, we shall see how the boss lays this one…. Cheers.
You have a point mate but Mertesacker’s football IQ can make up for his lack of pace. Andre Santos might be a worry if he faces a winger as fast as Lennon
Song is ineligible to play at Swansea, Frimpong?
I know. The line up is for the entire season
we can nw win all titles.
Yes Sir. I’m with you on that
prof you did the right job.
Most definitely 🙂
Indeed, we can now boast of q’ty signings so lets all & sundry suport dem. Hwever, d club wil b complete if Hazard & M’villa ar brought in on January transfers.Guners 4 lyf.
yes bro. We are ready
arsen wengers first game for arsenal he played 5 across the back when we are playing the stronger teams this is the format that can get results away from home
sagna verm pers kos santos
hmmm……it didn’t look like 5 though
Am happy wt our line up nw.it ds we wll carry somthin ds season.gunners till i die.1 luv mates
Yeah. The lineup is very decent. One love bro
the new additions are great.january should bring HAZARD,M’VILLA and CAHILL and wenger will have sweet dreams.Wenger should also bring THIEVY[french youth] from the spanish league,he is good for the future.
he might bring up Hazard in January
I can’t wait to see my new boys play.atlast we can watch and boast wen seeing arsenal play again like other clubs. But in all arsenal is great! Come on let the league start now. Gunners till am gone to heaven!
me too mate. Gunners for life
that would mean a need for a cover for SONG/FRIMPONG in that intensive unit.the position involves a lot of knocks and counterknocks which means suspensions and injury inspired absentees. wilshere news doesn’t look good. wenger was right when he discouraged him from going to the under21 tournament.the kid played a lot of games last season.
That’s true. He’s getting the effect of the burnout he suffered last season
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN
let’s wait nd c. I know arsenal will always be on top.up gunners…….
Sorry, mate. Even your optimism can’t conceal the facts that Arsenal have taken one point out of their first nine, have won TWO of their last 14 Premiership games (relegation form), and that the new additions, while an improvement over the current squad, do NOT give us a team that can legitimately compete with the top four. (Look at the squads side by side. At best, we will be in a dogfight with Tottenham for fifth.)
Now Wilshere is out till December. Who will deputize for him? We have no other quality holding midfielders. Frimpong has potential but is not ready. We lost two world-class players in Fabregas and Nasri, and did not replace them. (Benayoun and Arteta are solid pros, but that’s it. The former is past his best, the latter is brittle.) And now we must read how Wenger ALMOST bought Mario Gotze, Eden Hazard, Yann M’Vila, but in each case left it too late or did not bid enough.
I am a season ticket holder and a working man having to suck up a six percent ticket hike and what will be a seventh season without silverware. Meanwhile, the club runs yet another profit in the transfer window. It’s outrageous. And sunny-siders who preach the wonders of Wenger and how we are lucky to be as good as we are simply allow the current situation to continue.
You have a point but I’ll stick to my optimism :p
Good write up bro. I’m excited to watch this new team play. I think we have depth in most areas to keep us in competition. I saw Andre Santos play at Copa America for brazil, he overlaps TOO MUCH. And in a fast paced league like the EPL, that can be an issue. But on the bright side, we have a SKILLFUL Brazilian.
Ideally, I hoped we signed cahill and vermaleen played left back, but this can work also..
I hope that he won’t be exploited then 🙂
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