How the starting line up for next season is coming along at Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

The fiasco of Liverpool signing Fekir but not signing Fekir despite all the papers being certain that he had been signed, has ended with little blame being assigned to Liverpool, reminding me (if no one else) of the lack of balance that there is in the way clubs are treated.

However despite that failure by Liverpool to close the deal, thus far a quarter of a billion pounds has been spent by Premier League clubs, but none of it by Arsenal, according to records based on actual signatures on paper.  So the “news” that “Arsenal have reached an agreement to sign Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos” [Σωκράτης Παπασταθόπουλος] needs to be kept in proportion.  That is exactly what was said about Fekir to Liverpool.

There are however hopeful signs.   Sven Mislintat came to Arsenal from Dortmund, and Sokratis is (until we hear for sure) a Dortmund player.  Curiously, given the non-transfer story of the day, it was Klopp who signed Sokratis to Dortmund.

“Sokratis has his flaws then, but is considered to be a strong character who will not be cowed in any confrontation.”

If he does come to the club it would confirm the viability of the notion that different styles of play will be utilised home and away, and that to this will be added the ability to swap defenders around according to the style of the opposition.

It also means that we have a fair number of older defenders (Monreal is 32) and Koscielny will be 33 next year when he returns.

Once more this seems to confirm the evidence that Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos will all get their chance alongside the older players.   Balancing the older ages we also have Hector Bellerin who is still only 23.   Mustafi is 26.   So it looks like a more balanced squad of experienced defenders and youth.  Maitland Niles is 20.

As for who of the youngsters, Chambers played 24 games for Middlesbrough, while Holding who is 22 years old played 12 games for Arsenal.  Stephan Lichtsteiner, already signed, is 34.

As for the management style, there is one little tale that I really do like…   It is reported that Emery would give USB sticks with selected tactical clips to players relevant to the opposition being faced in the next match.    However he would leave one blank, “so he could know a player was lying about having studied it.”  Probably not true, but it shows an edge.

So what sort of team is emerging here?

I’m still moved by the idea of a different format away from home against that played at home: after all why change the home approach which was so successful last season?

But there needs to be a core of players, that are shuffled around a bit; I think we are looking at Bellerin and Monreal as the full backs with four at the back, and two of the multiple number of centre backs that we have – maybe one of the youngsters and one of the older players at home, and two older players away.

Sitting in front of them we could have Xhaka next to Ramsey who then has a licence to roam forward.  In away games against the toughest opponents Xhaka and Elneny could play next to each other in front of that back four.   Maybe Xhaka and Wilshere in home games.

Ozil I think fits into the perfect number 10 position in the centre leaving a classic three man forward line of Mkhitaryan, Lacazette and Aubameyang.  The argument that Auba ought to be the number 9 centre forward is I think overcome by the fact that such a forward line leaves the most hardened defenders unsure who is going to pop up where.   And of course it gives cover for injury.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Eddie however did get his winner’s medal in the Toulon Tournament as England beat Mexico 2-1.

Mr Wenger finished his career at Arsenal with a win record in first team games of 57.2%.   Mr Emery has a win percentage of 54%.  He has to get up to that 57.2% to avoid the comparisons with a man some Arsenal supporters felt was an absolute failure.



10 Replies to “How the starting line up for next season is coming along at Arsenal”

  1. Xhara is a liability! If he is gunna stay he needs someone either experience next to him who will sit more or unai emery needs to do job on his defensive awareness.

    Last season he didn’t have a clue what was going on !

  2. I believe next season would be very interesting in the sense that everything isn’t set. the unknown as some might call it. I just hope those that criticize very quickly will give the new man time.

  3. While it’s good to speculate on how the Gunners will lineup at home and at away next season for their PL games, it’s equally good if we can be a little bit patient to allow the final 25 team squad be known first before we start speciating on which Gunner should be assigned a particular position in the starting XI team. The signing of Sokratis itself is even looking delayed maybe a fee has not been agreed with Dortmund to allow the transfer to go through. Or contract terms with Sokratis has not yet been agreed.. Or it could even be Arsenal are no longer interested to signh him.

  4. You do realize that you can easily create images of the lineups so we don’t have to read text and imagine it right? Use pictures.

  5. How amazing that a player who had no idea what was going on could actually have the 7th highest rating for pass success rate in the entire premier league. I suppose it was just pure luck and fluke.

  6. @Stephan,

    I readily admit to being an ‘old fart’, could you please provide me with a link to a suitable piece of software that can use non-paid for images and will embed the resulting pictures into a word or Apple pages document.

  7. Well I just had the fortune of meeting a coder/programmer, good thing some of us are forward thinking and perservere.

    All written from my Laptop, baby I missed you, now lets see what happened to my files. I will be having those.

    And I have to agree with Toby, Xhaka has shown nothing like the discipline to be considered holding, I go witht he idea, let him get it out of his system, but we need a DM. Niles in behind possibly. Which in turn endangers the front 3, which is why for me Xhaka is a huge problem.

    I actually prefer Elneny going forward, he has some very decisive balls in him, has shown he has rthe energy and will to box to box (almost). And partnering Ramsey he would understand that his role is the holding one. I really don’t know about Granit, he is looking for those long range shots, which in order to increase his success ratio, he will need to adjust his technique, maybe he can talk to Aaron, who’s technique is impeccable in this domain. Evem studying Gerrard, better Bale, the minimal rise and dip. The proverbial Diasy Cutter.

    But no matter how you cut the mustard, he is a liability. It assists no one to suggest he isn’t and our shortcomings were by and large resultant of individual errors and lax defending either as a defensive unit or as a team.

    Ozil – needs to track back, yes it’s not generally his job, but why he was sold by Real, similarly to Di Maria, pride has no place in teamwork, unless you are talking about playing as if you pride the fact your job is so well paid and so many have naught.

    Iwobi, Willock, Nelson, tracking runners.

    Bellerin, composure for the deliveey.

    Cech, Monreal, it’s simply age. Kos, well I love you so much, I can say nothing, you know and will do all you can, get well.

    Lacazette, is so out of form, I don’t know what to say, if he doesn’t see losing out in WC place a problem, well nothing can save him.

    Mustarfi and Xhaka are having some serious mental problem, at least Pogba came out and said it.

  8. AFC missed out on yet another fantastic manager in……………….Toby – lmao. What on earth is wrong with people that they cannot even realise they they have no knowledge, skill, qualifications or experience in managing a market stall let alone a top football club (or if they have a market stall, it’s not quite the same). Unbelievable.

    Back to the article. I think you’re right Tony. The tactic seems to be to bring in vastly experienced older players for a season or two whilst the great young prospects Wenger brought in mature to become top players. I think it demonstrates that we have a shrewd manager following in the steps of a shrewd manager…………….but I’m sure Toby would do better………….

  9. Sokratis was done last week but will be announced in July so that Dortmund can
    bank the deal in next financial year

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