What Is Arsenal’s Best Starting Eleven?

When the season started, most Arsenal fans thought the starting eleven would have been pretty obvious:

Gilberto was arguably our best player last season, and Jens Lehmann wasn’t losing any sleep over Almunia sitting on the bench. You would also say that Rosicky was our best option on the left but injuries have given Abou Diaby a chance and he is scoring goals and making things happen.

People (including myself) were also excited with the prospect of Eduardo Da Silva, who impressed in the Croatian league and has a fantastic goal-scoring record for his national team.

And people were still unsure about Adebayor.

But over our first ten games, you would have to say with the wins we have been recording this was our best line-up:

Mathieu Flamini has been particularly excellent this season, proving the perfect foil for Fabregas to express himself in front of goal. His attitude has also impressed me – he is so determined and just like a young Roy Keane. One moment which sticks in my mind was when Arsenal (via Adebayor) scored the equalising goal at White Hart Lane. Mathieu was the guy who grabbed the ball and shouted at the Arsenal players to run to the centre circle to quickly restart the game – winning is everything to this guy.

And Almunia has won every single game he has started, which is an impressive statistic.

How can you drop him?

And the fact is when Almunia does make a mistake, it doesn’t cost the team points. Most Arsenal fans would agree that after some shocking mistakes already this season, Lehmann’s time as Arsenal’s number one could well and truly be numbered.

Along with most of the young players, Sagna has been another player who has been sensational this season.

He looks like he’s played for Arsenal for years, settled in well and most importantly is an excellent defender. He has exceptional pace and also knows how to make things happen in the final third. Sagna is an an Eboue who can head and defend!

After a shaky start to the season as well Diaby has looked more effective on the left, although it can be argued who is the better passer out of Rosicky and himself.

Many people also tipped Eduardo to be the target man for Arsenal this season but Adebayor has seemingly lifted his performance level to a higher standard – and is currently the Premier League’s highest scorer.

We know that the Diaby, Almunia and Flamini changes in particular have been down to injuries and tiredness from Rosicky, Lehmann and Gilberto but what should Arsene do when they return?

Will he keep the winning formula?


56 thoughts on “What Is Arsenal’s Best Starting Eleven?

  1. Good article. Why change a winning formula. There will be injuries and everybody will get their chance. Flamini and Hleb have been the outstandind players for me.

  2. replace a defender who has loads of international caps and champs league experience and who is our new captain , with a 17 year old reserve?! lol i dont think so.

    hes promising tho.

    Rosicky for Diaby.

    Diarra for flamini & Silva in a few years.

  3. I think our best line up is…

    Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy
    Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas, Rosicky
    Adebayor, Van Persie

    I don’t think Almunia is a very good keeper. Statsically, he is awesome. We have won every game and, before the Sunderland match, conceded very few goals. Lehmann on the other hand made horrendous mistakes and cost us games. The irony is, Almunia has been making horrendous mistakes, but not costing us games, which I put down to a bit of good fortune. His positional sense was, is, and I think probably always will be, poor.

    Diaby is looking a good player, but I’d still take Rosicky.

  4. i will love to diaby in the team he is strong good dribbler can score goals but he is wasted on the wings.

    i am telling you if he improves in his passing then he can become one of the best players in the world.

  5. I’d keep it as it is, and with all due respect Donjohnni bringing back Lehmann would be a huge mistake and quite frankly stupid.

    Premier League teams always fancy themselves at set-pieces as Lehmann goes insane whenever anyone goes near him!

    And Peter, are you on crack?

  6. no im on crack, i think the force from song will be great, spanish players are better on the wing anyway

  7. Peter i think Song is arsenals best player too. But as good as he is i dont think he can play centre back and left wing at the same time.

  8. Diaby will not be a winger in long term. He is a player in Vieira’s mould. Wenger needs to play him because our team are lacking in physical presence (except for our forwards), not because he is a natural replacement for Rosicky. Also Wenger wants to give him more games. He is the type who can only substitute Cesc, not complement him. Hence both can’t play together as both attacking minded. As for our CB, the best combinations are Toure OR Gallas with Djourou OR Senderos, not Toure & Gallas. Both are too similiar and we would be very vulnerable to aerial challenge playing both of them.

  9. Good show on Sunday,respect to all the boys who turned out.
    “D” would have been proud.

    Again, a honour to have known you.

    The Legend with live on,never to be forgotten “D”

    The Bear,God Bless eie

  10. If you’re right it’s mad Wenger plays Diaby there just to give him games. By God it’s working though.

    Maybe it would be nuts to bring Lehmann back… but I just have a horrible feeling Almunia will fuck up in the big games. Still, I guess you can’t just go on a hunch, but that’s my feeling from the way he’s been playing. The sensible choice is to go with him, I admit.

    It’s mad – we have Diaby, Flamini, Gilberto, Diarra, Cesc and Denilson in the middle. It’s almost depressing that Denilson and Diaby may never break through purely because Cesc has so many years in front of him. They could both be amazing.

  11. I think Lehman is still a world class keeper no matter what his sporadic errors may be, last season he was statistically the best shot stopper in the league with the highest number of saves and needless to say he kept us in many matches on account of our poor defence. Unlucky though some few of his mistakes especially last season and at blackburn cost us points, thats why the mistakes become glaring.

    Almunia only good as a sub keeper, at 30+, he still doesnt get his positioning right i dont thing he has much time to develop. His reflexes are excellent, his game reading and decision making is aweful.

  12. Almunia
    Song Toure Senderos Clichy

    Hleb Flimflam Cesc Rosicknote

    Adebayor VP

    I know Senderos is not ideal but a good defence is all about a good pairing of centre backs. I just dont think Gallas and Toure work together.. I hope im proven wrong.

    I like our strength in depth this season. Wenger has a number of options with Eduardo, Diaby, Djourou(when back), Gallas, Lehman, Walcott, Bendtner plus the talented youth that are coming through faster than ever! I love Arsenal.

  13. When I look at Toure Gallas I feel a bit weak at the knees. They’re too short. if you look at the header we conceded against Sunderland it was teeny weeny clichy vs a man mountain; and if Gallas was there I still wouldn’t feel confident about him getting to the ball. That said, I think Senderos IS TOO SLOW. He is a good player; a confidence player, but against good teams he will get done for pace every time. Sad really! I wish we’d buy a fucking huge stinking centre back.

  14. after january our best eleven will be

    sagna micah richards toure clichy

    hlieb cesc flamini rosciky

    adebayor van persie

    this seems to me to be a combination of players that will rule the premier league for many years to come

  15. Almunia – he is playing well no reason to drop him.
    Toure (the new Mr Arsenal)
    Gallas – only because Djorou is on loan. Like Toure (who is undroppable at the moment) he is great when the ball is played on the ground because his game is based on pace. But put in aerial balls and the defence becomes suspect. Gallas & Toure are too short to be centre backs! Sendoros should have developed but hasn’t, however his Swiss compatriot by contrast is a far better header of the ball and should partner Toure when he’s back, a perfect foil for Mr Arsenal!
    Hleb his direct style of play this season has been a revelation to his form and he is now looking like the player he should’ve been when he arrived, needs a few more goals to boost his confidence
    Flamini – has to be commended for his attitude and overall performances but expect Diarra to take this position by January.
    Rosicky – a far more dynaic player than Diaby, just wish he didn’t injure so easily. Diaby for me is destined to be great but does give the ball away too cheaply and too many times.
    Van Persie
    Adebayor – just needs to keep practising his shooting, with all the chances he has he should be into double figures by now!!!

  16. Peter your comments made me laugh out loud. Great stuff, honestly. Playing Hleb with Song at centre back whilst Song also plays on the wing is the funniest thing I’ve seen in days. Really good job 😛


  18. Yup, i really think Diaby is in the team because Wenger wants to give him more Premiership experience. Remember Fabregas played more at the right flank when he started out before Vieira left? It’s unfortunate that someone in the CM will have to leave. We have too many players there; Fabregas, Flamini, Gilberto, Diaby, Denilson, Diarra, Song & coming up soon Merida all vying for 2 spots. Unless Gilberto is converted to a CB, I am afraid he could be the first to go. Song could be the next unless of course he varies his game & be an utility player filling up in CB, RB & CM. Denilson for his trickery & skills can be played as a winger (conversion ala Hleb & Rosicky). Some may argue that he can play as 2nd fiddle to Fabregas as both are very similiar but if we analyse Wenger’s system, he likes to have players with different attributes to complement each other. Similarity will kill of each other,s game (e.g Henry & Reyes both liked to drift to the left before cutting in) So the future in the CM would be Fabregas OR Diaby with Flamini or Diarra

  19. I think a lot of people think we still play with two CM and two wingers. It is becoming obvious that Wenger has a new tactic that is developing – 4 CM, to provide the strength in the middle, regardless of who is attacking. That, I believe is the reason that he has become an obsessive hoarder of central midfielders. In this system, the onus is far more on the full backs getting forward, with the respective cm covering their attack. I think the days of us playing with out and out wingers a la Overmars are long gone

  20. I’m sure Wenger is thinking that there are are 4 starting XI’s: The first for Premier and CL, the second for the League and FA Cup, the third and fourth after players leave for the African Cup.

    For League and FA Cup (based on current form and injuries)

    Hoyte Gallas Silva Traore
    Eboue Denilson Diarra Walcott
    Eduardo Bentner

    For the Premier and CL:

    Sagna, Toure, Senderos, Clichy
    Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas, Diaby
    Adebayor, Van Persie

    In January (until the lads come back from Africa):

    Premier & CL:

    Sagna, Gallas, Silva, Clichy,
    Hleb, Flamini, Fabregas, Rosicky,
    Eduardo, Van Persie

    League & FA:

    Hoyte, Song, Senderos, Traore,
    Diaby, Denilson, Diarra, Merida,
    Bentner, Walcott

    There will be more injuries (likely Hleb–he’s getting beaten up) as well as the African Cup changes. Not sure Diaby can play on the right for the League and FA.

    I’d also like us to make a bid for Richards, but I don’t think we’ll get a chance until next year.

  21. Arsen will but a left sided midfielder come January mark my words. Richards would be good but i think he is just using the media to get a better deal from man city. Also expect Gilberto to either go january or at the end of the season.

  22. I have high hopes for Eduardo.. I think he will find his feet and become a revalation… and look out for Sir Tomasz.. He is class and will start tearing up defenses.. if only he can get over this Owen syndrome of injuries he seems to be dealing with….
    at the moment I would take Almunia and let Mad Jens work for his position back… but give the new boy a chance.. and look for a starter come January… for now.. we are on form and we gotta believe that AW see’s our defensive frailties and is working on it… Arsene Knows

  23. Why does the past (but mostly deserved) reputation of Gallas immediately earn him a place in the starting eleven? Arsenal with Gallas defending has looked vulnerable at the back against competitive sides even when there is no Senderos in sight to blame and even when the ball is not in the air. And although Gallas has not had what could reasonably be called a scintillating or even great performance as a Gunner, nor even a particularly long run of games for that matter, this has not stopped him from publicly and repeatedly criticizing others (including Arsene) when any complaints should have been kept to the changing rooms. Given the fantastic team spirit and harmony at this moment, the last thing the boys need is the ever inflating ego of another self-absorbed 30-year old from Guadeloupe.

    Now imagine the baying for blood if Toure’s (or Clichy’s) part in Sunderland’s two goals had been played by Senderos? Yes, we all notice when Senderos is clumsy or has goals scored against him, but is it mere coincidence that he was in the back when Arsenal did not concede a single goal during the recent run of games or during the record number of games in the European Champions League? Or that he was in the back for Switzerland when it became the first team in history to be eliminated from the World Cup without conceding a single goal in regulation play? One should perhaps count the number of long balls and passes in a game that somehow finds their way to Senderos who somehow happens to be in the right place at the right time. It has become a habit to decry the goals scored against him, notably by Drogba last year, yet if I remember correctly, Drogba scored 32 goals last year when Senderos was not in any way involved and the defender (or in many cases, the multiple defenders) involved in each goal was not ridiculed. Look, although he is more developed than Tony Adams was at his age, nobody obviously is claiming Senderos is the best defender in the world, but we do have to best use what players we have and that is not accomplished by pairing Kolo with Gallas.

  24. Almunia
    Sagna, Toure, Silva, Clichy
    Eboue, Fabregas, Diaby, Eduardo
    Van Persie, Adebayor

    Almunia – getting better
    Sagna – better defender than Eboue, good athleticism
    Toure – Best tackler in the league and anticipates danger. Excellent reader of the game
    Silva – gives a bit more than Senderos to the team, adds creativity and aerial threat.
    Clichy – Best player this year, really showing what an excellent player he is.
    Eboue- Cant ignore Eboues pace and eagerness to get forward, defenders cannot cope with him
    Fabregas – Best footballer in the world
    Diaby – Viera clone and can score goals now as well
    Eduardo – Mark my words this player will set the premiership alight when he really gets going
    Van Persie- killer left foot, hard working and touch of genius as well.
    Adebayor – Touch of old fashioned centre forward type with smart footwork for a tall man. Good outlet for route one football when required.

  25. sorry to be boring but i think its a case of


    Sagna toure gallas clichy

    hleb fabregas flamini rosicky

    RVP adebayor

    and he will swap/change around rosicky/diaby, gallas/senderos, sagna/eboue, flamini/gilberto

  26. Heyyy… everybody forgotten Haavard Nordtveit? Best stopper of his age in Europe, according to his country’s U-19 coach..

  27. Hey Guys!
    You said a lot of things i have to agree with. First of all i think Gallas hasn’t done enough for us by now, and he hasn’t proven that he should be first choice especially beside Kolo, as they are not a really good pairing.

    I would love to see MIcah Richards in Arsenal colours, a pacey, tall, hard tackling player, who can also play at full back, and is a confessed Arsenal-fan. At such young age he is one of the best defenders in the league, i think Arsene should have gone for him in the summer, as Richards has spoken about his admiration for Arsenal last season.

    An other who impressed me is Diaby, i just love the way he plays, first time i saw him play i could not beleive how a man with his upbuild can move so swiftly and elegantly. Although he is not a natural born left winger, Wenger may develop him into one, as he offers a different option from Rosicky, who can be intimidated much easier. In certain games Diaby might work on the left side, for example when i was watching the CL final against Barcelona i felt, that Diaby might have been a proper replacement when we were still winning, had it not been for an extremly frustrated Dan Smith of Sunderland, who just a few weeks before could not take how Abou was rounding him time and time again.
    And although Wenger is not famous for changing formations too often, i would love to see us playing with Flamini/Gilberto/Diarra alongside Cesc and Diaby in a three-man midfield with Hleb in the hole (i think he was astonishingly good when he had to play behind RVP because of the injuries to the strikers) and the two most in-form strikers (whoever they are, because i think all four are capable of being the best for a period) ahead of them. I guess a 4-3-1-2 will never happen, but it is just good to think about it.

  28. What do people think of offloading Gallas as part of a player plus cash bid for Micah Richards. Gallas is a has been, all we have had from him is biching and injuries, and then for some unknown reason he’s a contender for captain. Arsene obviously has faith and needs to save face over the cashly swop. If William pulls his finger out, stays fit and works hard, all well and good, but I can’t see it happening.

  29. Come on guys the question is What Is Arsenal’s Best Starting Eleven?… not what dream players we’d like to see at Arsenal.
    Micah Richards is not an Arsenal player… or maybe we should add in Messi, Kaka, etc. into the mix!!!!
    Out of interest, I rate Richards and do not think we need Kaka or Messi!

  30. Rosicky is a better player than Diaby, but Diaby is more effective. He has an excellent shot on him as demonstrated against Derby. And even against Sunderland (although both disallowed) the two ‘goals’ he scored were fantastic finishes.

    Agree about Flamini, he’s been outstanding this year. Gilberto looks lost at the moment and probably rattled because he is used to starting every game. But obviously there’s no point getting rid of him because sooner or later Fabregas or Flamini could get injured.

    Not sure about who should partner Kolo in defence though. Senderos is prone to mistakes but Gallas doesn’t look comfortable either. We could really struggle when Toure leaves for the African Nations!

  31. It’s the wrong question! Wenger is developing total football, that means a squad of players who are multi-talented and are capable of playing comfortably in more than one position. Some examples, Eboue right back or right midfield, Walcott right midfield or striker, Diaby central midfield or wide left, Denilson wide left or right or central midfield, RvP frequently played wide on the left before becoming a central striker, this pre-season Gleb played as a half-striker to great effect, etc, etc.

    This approach not only provides flexibility during matches but facilitates a more fluid style of play with positions being interchangeable, players able to drift inside or move out wide and still know what they are doing. Also if you have experience of other positions you are better able to understand the needs of the players currently occupying those positions, when and where to make a pass.

    It’s total Wengerball. Asking what his best 11 is, is to miss the point of what Wenger is building at Arsenal.

  32. ___________ALMUNIA
    ______ADABAYOR_V.PERSIE coz eboue can drop back on the right and run up, hleb behind the stikers coz thats where hes best-

    yep thats what id pick

  33. Fabianski(Lehmann)

    Sagna(Eboue, Hoyte) Toure(Gallas) Sendoros(Djourou) Clichy(Traore)

    Hleb(Walcott) Fabregas(Diarra, Denilson) Flamini(Gilberto) Diaby(Rosicky)

    RVP(Adebayor) Bendtner(Eduado)

    Diaby can play across the middle as Gallas can play across the back. Eboue can come up to right mid from right back, Flamini can drop back to left back if need be, Gilberto can drop back to CB if needed. Walcott on the right moving up forward if need be. Think thats what Arsene is doing to turn some players more versatile by providing them with play time and yet at the same time train them to take up more position in the team….brilliant! Arsene Knows!

  34. THE FOLLOWING players are clearly first choice:
    Toure, clichy, Sagna, Fabregas, Hleb, RVP and Ade. so 7 of the 11 are unquestionable.
    for me Rosicky has to be in there as well but some say Diaby.
    I would have either Fabi or Almunia in goal not Lehmann
    I would have Gallas or Djourou with Toure. not bothered which one.
    so that just leaves central midfield. mmn tricky one. Flam has had a great season, but Gilberto has been there and done and offers more calmness and defensive stability. then of course there is Diarra. my choice at this moment is Gilberto but that could change weekly.

    I have been disappointed with Eboue this season uo til the other days subs appearance. I was really hoping he could make that right wing spot his own, but I am not so sure now. If you offer me Hleb and Rosicky as wingers I would prefer that with Walcott to act as supersub.
    I want to see more of Diarra but I think he could usurp both Gilberto and Flamini one day.

    Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy
    Hleb Gilberto Cesc Rosicky
    RVP Ade

    subs: Walcott (supersub), Flamini, Djourou, Eduardo, Fabianski

    not even on the subs bench: Diarra, Denilson, Diaby, Senderos, Eboue, Lehmann, Hoyte, Bendtner, Song and Traore.

  35. almunia is a good back up keeper, solid but not world class. Lehmann is/was a world class keeper, but prone to odd the high profile error or two. Remember that save from Solsjkaer(?) at OT last season? I’m not sure Almunia can make those saves and perhaps the CL final was indicative of the faults of both keepers. Jens would have probably saved one or both of Barca’s goals..
    Keepers aside our starting lineup has the ability to be fluid, with at least a couple of hungry players challengingin each position.
    Vive L’Arse

  36. I’m in the Almunia camp, but as you say Sam that save at OT against Ole was immense. Lehmann is capable of making some vital and outstanding saves while Almunia has yet to show us that yet.

    But Lehmann makes too many mistakes. Teams know they can rattle Lehmann and that is a big problem. Our defence gets exposed and the defenders don’t know what to do – will any of back four pass the ball back to him anymore?

    The real test for Almunia will be against the big teams this season. If he can get through Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and the big European teams without conceding sloppy goals then he’ll be Arsenal’s number one.

  37. first team
    ———-van persie

    currently this seems to be what arsenal play well with

    second team

    this team are for subs and injuries
    eduardo is starting to look like solsjkaer with his super sub scoring of goals after subbing
    denilson and diaby could swap but this team allows for a full set of players to swap with.

    last year arsenal were weak because of inexperienced sidebacks, this year with the addition of sagna and hopefully gallas getting injured less this allows for a team with more strength.

    Arsenal scored as many goals as chelsea last season but conceded far more, with more experienced and fewer injuries to sidebacks arsenal can really make a meal of all championships and cups.

    walcott seems to be destined for the right wing ala wiltord, but he might still become great enough to play striker later on, remember wiltord was a great player even though it wasn’t his natural position and scored many goals

    with gallas resigned to being captain the belief arsenal have to keep gilberto is uncertain, what flamini gives a team is forward motion, emotion, determination and deep shots on goal, gilberto has more control and patience on the ball while giving the team time to regroup and heading ability. To be honest they both could play that position, and i just chose flamini due to energy he gives a team. Gilberto has greater stature though its just too difficult to choose.

    senderos may have not got better for a while, but it seems we have the old senderos back, powerful heading, good tackling and team work. Gallas seems far too emotional and will run up the pitch with toure, where senderos will stay back and leave the work to toure senderos and toure therefore seem a better match than toure and gallas, gallas as a sideback however would be fine, but clichy does a much better forward job, and gallas is more better defensively, setup with senderos i would prefer clichy

  38. SEAMAN

    END OF.

  39. I think our starting XI should be also follows:


    Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy

    Hleb – Fabregas – Gilberto – Rosicky

    van Persie – Eduardo

  40. Whats with eveyone putting Walcott , Djourou , & Eduardo in the first team all about, when Hleb, Gallas, and Adebayor are doing so well.

    Ridiculous. Walcott has alot to learn.

  41. ————-Fabianski—————




    Van Persie-Adebayor-Eduardo


  42. its all a thing of formation, line up, and training. if we get that right, we could win the lot. mine you ask? well i will tell.
    clichy (fast – so would have been able to save bales free kick)
    adebayor F.merida song bendtner

    senderos lehmann hoyte djourou

    flamini RVP

    Reasons… (underlined)
    ive stated clichy, so ill move on to Rb, Cb, Lb, Rm, Cm, Lm, St
    adebayor: posesses the stamina of a beaver, could be jumping up and down from tht right flank all day long, and tall to defend set peices
    F.Merida:i put him cb because i belive his fiesty, strong, and can pick a god pass, all the attributed needed for that crucial cb position.
    Song: Song .. enough said
    Bendtner : same as ade really.
    senderos: strong and quick and will be wiping vintage senderos crosses in all day, will create a good right flank partnership with adebayor.
    lehmann: his not scared to go into a challnge, also he has some skills in his locker, he will be the more anker role, a bit like a viera, makelele.
    hoyte: will be our english kaka
    djourou : same as phillipe.
    flamini: has a great touch and finish on him.
    RVP: he will do untill january when arsene proberly will shift him off and replace him witth a titus bramble/sheva type of player.
    Thanks for listening, i hope you were to arsene 😉 x

  43. ha.. sagna at right back not song.. i must have been on crack to type that. If song played for spurs he would be there best player though.

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