What Is Arsenal’s Strongest Starting Eleven?

There has been some debate about who should be in Arsenal’s starting eleven if everyone is fit – especially as Olivier Giroud is in such fine form. But as the statistics show, his goals have come late in games and for me, he is best used as Arsenal’s super-sub.

Earlier on in the season, Arsenal were flying. Mesut Özil was pulling all the strings with Alexander Iwobi and Theo Walcott flying either side of him, and with Alexis Sanchez as the main man. The amount of pace those three possess is scary enough and with Özil finding them with pass after pass, opposing teams couldn’t handle us. They used to say that with Dennis Bergkamp, you could literally run into the space and the Master Dutchman would find you. With Mesut Özil, it’s a similar story.

Another fantastic facet with the front line of Alexis, Iwobi, Walcott and Özil (apart from the devastating runs from deep) was that Sanchez was somewhat of an assist-master himself. As well as being direct, hungry and leading the line with passion, he had that ability to drop deep and pick out a deep lying runner with a killer pass. This season he’s scored 20 goals and given 10 assists, but unfortunately those have somewhat dried up with Giroud as the main striker.

For me, excluding Santi Cazorla who is out with a long term injury, this is the best possible side we have when everyone is fit:

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But who do you think should be in Arsenal’s best starting eleven? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Cohen Bramall Signing Shows Wenger Is Sick Of Pampered Superstars

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Arsenal signing 20 year old Cohen Bramall, from the 7th tier of the football league. The youngster is an attacking left full back and the story goes he was let go from his job at Bentley lifting radiators and the very next day Arsenal came calling.

Certainly sounds like fairy tale stuff!

The transfer fee for him is rumoured to be between £40k and £80k, which is small change for a club like Arsenal and poses hardly any risk whatsoever. In return, they could potentially have a player who could make it at the club, and feature for the first team.

Arsene Wenger has said quite a few things recently and apparently he’s instructed his scouts to look more in the lower leagues and see if there’s any talent there.

The boss has said numerous times that players from lower leagues are hungrier and that sometimes it’s hard to have a 17 year old who has been brought up with the club to fully appreciate what they have because they’ve come through the academies, been paid handsomely and had competitions such as the Champions League as their bread and butter – so for me its inevitable that some of these young superstars are pampered and mollycoddled.

I think it’s a good thing that we’re looking in the lower leagues and it can only be a plus if we unearth a gem or two. These players will be extremely hungry to make it and as we know talent is only half the battle – look at promising players like Ravel Morrison who was labelled the brightest young talent Sir Alex Ferguson had ever seen.

And if anything, it might show a few of our own lads what it’s like to have hunger and passion.

Arsene Wenger has talked about players who he thinks “have it easy”, and you automatically wonder who he’s talking about. Of the top of my head I’m thinking…

Jack Wilshere, Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson, Francis Jeffers…

I Told You Months Ago Arsenal Fans Would Turn Against Mesut Özil!

Over 2 months ago in October, I posted an article saying that Mesut Özil has to be careful that the Arsenal fans don’t turn against him. In summary, the main reasons for this were that the whole contract situation would give Özil a distraction. The problem is that Özil would want a bumper new contract, which in turn would put the spot light on him – with Arsenal fans (as well as Arsene Wenger I suspect) questioning whether he was worth it.

And yesterday I put an online poll asking if Arsenal fans thought that Özil deserved the abuse he’d been getting – and the majority said he did.

He’s been successful for Germany, winning the World Cup – but in terms of club football his achievements have been modest at best.

He’s played ‘top level football’ for 10 seasons and won the German Cup for Werder Bremen, La Liga and the Copa del Rey for Real Madrid and 2 FA Cups for Arsenal.

If you put him alongside players like Philip Neville or even Nani, his trophy collection isn’t as near as impressive.

So my point was that basically seeing if Arsenal matched his ambition was a little rich, as he is demanding Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo money for achievements which are not even on the same planet as the aforementioned players.

The problem now is while Özil is a very good player; he’s not world class. He flatters to deceive and when things are going well, it’s fantastic, but when they’re not going well he disappears.

Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi would disappear when their teams needed them most?

If you compare Özil to the other top Number 10’s in the world, is he anywhere near the best?

Does Mesut Özil Deserve All The Abuse He’s Been Getting? Vote Here Now!

We are all still reeling from the Manchester City defeat from yesterday and with defeat, comes the blame game. Arsene Wenger is blaming the referees, and some fans are blaming the team. Others are blaming the manager, and some are blaming one man in particular – Mesut Özil.

But is it deserved? There are videos going round of “Özil’s intense pressing” and at times the lack of effort exerted by the German was pretty astounding. Yet some Arsenal fans think the criticism is too harsh, and that a lot of Arsenal players let themselves down yesterday.

So what do you think? Is the criticism deserved or is it too harsh?

Cast your vote here and leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Manchester City Defeat Is A Massive Disaster For Arsenal’s Entire Season

I tried to be positive after the Everton defeat but after the Manchester City one, I am less so. The Everton game was not a disaster. It was the first defeat in the league since the opening day of the season and we were unlucky – the game was carefully poised at 1-1 and we had 2 shots blocked on the line and a stone wall penalty denied by Mark Clattenburg, a referee who is notorious in giving awful decisions for Arsenal.

A big reaction against Manchester City was essential. The main issues from Tuesday’s game was the lack of urgency or effort from the team – we went 1-0 up and then let Everton back into the game. Arsene cited suffering physically but that is a poor excuse, these are professional athletes who should be in top top shape. Too much is made of tiredness these days.

And the reaction was positive – after 5 minutes Arsenal were ahead. A nice slide rule pass by Hector Bellerin to Alexis Sanchez was moved onto Theo Walcott, who finished coolly and put the Gunners ahead. That early goal should have been the springboard to push on but just like the Everton game, we lost a lead in a big match.

Look, I understand that scoring an early goal and sitting back was probably the perfect scenario for Arsenal – Leicester City showed that Manchester City are extremely suspect at the back, especially from counter attacks. And with Alexis, Walcott and Iwobi we had the perfect players to execute that game plan – unfortunately it didn’t pan out like that.

The first half was good – and we were unlucky not to be 2-0 ahead when Monreal was marginally offside. And unlucky yet again when Sane scored early into the second half when he was ‘more offside’ than Monreal was.

I’m as angry as Arsene about the officials and he has a point about them being massive cunts*, but we still had more than 40 minutes of football to save our season.

Our performance in the second half was abysmal. We weren’t losing yet the players had already given up. The only player who actually cared was Sanchez and that is going to be a massive problem. Alexis Sanchez is in the middle of contract talks and he knows he’s in a team of players with no spines. Nice guys to train with – perhaps, but winners? No.

He’s won the Copa America twice in recent seasons and the issue is that while the Chilean National Team isn’t filled with the most talented players in the world that doesn’t matter – because they fight. They fight for each other and that’s why they win. That’s why although nations like Brazil and Argentina have better players, they still come out on top.

I would be shocked if Alexis Sanchez signs a new contract, based on what he’s seen and experienced in this Arsenal team.

It speaks volumes that we’re 9 points behind a Chelsea side who are less talented that us. But the difference is they have a squad full of winners and leaders. We don’t.

Then we have Mesut Ozil. He’s a player like no-one else. He can do things other players’ only dream of. But his biggest flaw is that his style of play isn’t to drag a team off the floor and drive them forward. Only players like Steven Gerrard or Patrick Vieira can do that. The problem is Ozil needs the team around him to do the work if you like.

But if the rest of the team aren’t moving or running into the space Ozil is pretty much useless. He is a supremely talented player but isn’t going to win us a game unless he has someone to assist – he’s hardly going to go on a run and beat 5 players to score, or even slam one in from 30 yards.

So I’m not sure about the criticism for the German. On one had he tends to disappear but on the other he needs people to provide for. I’ve seen his body language a few times this season where he tries to play someone into space but their movement isn’t right so he throws a hissy fit. But that’s because he wants the other players to pull their fingers out.

The loss to Manchester City is a disaster because it exposes Arsenal as a team who always bottle it and crumble any time games go against us. All the big games this season – Tottenham, Manchester United and now Manchester City – have seen us collapse. The performance in those games was lethargic and looked to me about the players not believing. Arsene talks about playing with the handbrake on and that sums those games up perfectly – we were afraid.

So apart from blowing our title race out of the water by Christmas, we also have issues with contracts for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil – players we can’t afford to lose, yet might not want to stay.

* May not have actually used those specific words.