The Forgotten Men…

Morning All…

It’s Thursday. There was no game yesterday and there is no game this Saturday. I feel a little lost, it’s like pre-season all over again… and so, erm, how are you today? Okay, what to write about, Arsenal stuff… hmmm….

I’ve been watching a lot of X factor recently (well 3 weekends worth) and it’s fascinating! I know it’s been going on for ages, but it’s the first time it’s caught my eye and I really think it’s a two horse race between Lucie Jones and Danyl Johnson… both are amazing singers. Lucie seems like she loves to sing and boy can she sing and Danyl seems to love to sing and put on a show…

Hmmmm….

I’m off to Oxford this weekend for a Spa weekend, which should be awesome, really looking forward to doing something relaxing, massages et al… you guys up to anything interesting?

So, having waffled a little, it’s time to look at the forgotten men, starting with Theo Walcott…

The golden boy (well, our only England Internatonal), Theo has finally returned to action against Blackburn this weekend, and that’s brilliant news for us. Since Rosicky has returned, the front three of Rosicky, Arshavin and Van Persie have looked deadly with Cesc just behind them. With Theo returning, the big question is how he’ll fit into this team? I’d prefer to move Rosicky further back – well to replace Diaby and then have Theo on the right…

Song

Walcott – Cesc – Rosicky – Arshavin

Van Persie

It would make sense long term to do this, but that would probably mean we have no game changers on the bench, well, that’s a lie, Carlos Vela and Eduardo are definitely game changers. But I wonder whether it will upset our defensive stability. Of course, after the International break, Arsene has also revealed that Samir Nasri should be back and that poses another dilemma.

Samir could easily fit along side Song / Cesc in the midfield three but where would that leave Walcott / Rosicky? It’s a nice problem to have…. If everyone is fit and we play the same first XI as we did against Blackburn (except Almunia in goal), we would go into games with a bench of Fabianski, Eboue, Denilson, Nasri, Walcott, Vela and Eduardo – that is a seriously strong bench… I’d rather have these options that no options obviously…

Denilson is my preference between him and Diaby. Yes Diaby is probably more technically skilled but Denilson is just more apt at ball retention and thinks quicker. I personally think Denilson has come a long way in the last twelve months. I really like him. And Djourou of course is the other forgotten man – he accelerated Kolo Toure’s departure with some really stellar performances last year and it was such as shame he got injured. But with Gallas and Vermaelen playing so well, he’d have had to make do with a bit part role. He’ll come back stronger and I have a good feeling that he’ll end up taking over from Gallas in the future.

Armand Traore is a player that I thought I’d see more of, but with Arshavin in good form, Clichy our resident left back and Gibbs and Silvestre more able back-ups, I have some question marks on how he will get into the team. He’s a capable left back and also a capable winger. I’d rather have him in the team, than not, but definitely think the 4-3-3 doesn’t bode well for him now. Arsene has been speaking to Traore and it’s obvious he thinks he not quite ready.

“I’ve talked with the boss. He says I need to work hard and be patient and that’s what I’m going to do. I played a good amount of first-team games at Portsmouth. I think I’ve learnt a lot and have improved. But I will need to work on my positioning defensively because there’s a lot of stuff I can improve on.  I need to start using my right foot if the boss wants me to play left-midfield. [I will have to] learn how to go inside and dribble with my right foot.”

And finally the goalkeeping department… who would be your first, second and third? Almunia, Fabianski and Mannone?

Okie dokie, let’s talk!

  • Debs

    As for the goalies, I’ll have Almunia, then Mannone, and Fabianski.
    For all the stick Almunia’s been getting this season, I think he’s really a fabulous goalie. Remember all the talk of Almunia for England?! He kept us in a number of games last season, and he had pretty good stats at the end of the season. He maybe hasn’t had a stellar start to this season, but neither did all our players. Robin didn’t score any goals for a while, but he’s back in goal-scoring form now. Arshavin didn’t start well either, but he’s on fire now. Maybe it’ll be the same for Almunia, we’ll see. But I definitely rate him as our first choice ‘keeper.
    Mannone has impressed in the short time he’s played, and has probably made a case for being number 2, as opposed to being no 1. It’s a straight fight between him and Fabianski for 2nd spot, but he’s slightly shading it at the moment…

    As for our attacking ‘problems’ lol, I hope Wenger doesn’t think of letting Rosicky go as a result. It seems he wasn’t convinced Rosicky’ll make it back, that’s why he got Andrei. But Rosicky’s been absolutely brilliant, and I hope he gets a new deal and no injuries!

  • Berth

    yeah debs; experience matters in goalkeeping. Alumnia, mannone and fabianski. I don’t like fabianski

  • Debs

    Berth, I do like Fabianski. He sometimes seems like a rabbit caught in the headlights, but I think he would be an awesome goalie in the future, the keyword being ‘future’. He can only get better with experience. And if I remember correctly, he also had one of those awesome games, like Mannone against Fulham, last season, so the potential is definitely there.

  • James

    I’d have our fourth choice keeper in goal. The young pole who’s name i can’t spell. He’s better than the listed three. I’d personaly move rosicky back into diaby’s position next to cesc, (rosicky works hard tracking back anyway), leave arshavin cutting in from the left, have van persie cutting in from the right where he plays for holland, and have eduardo up front. Who in the world could cope with that attack?

  • Arsefan101

    In terms of attacking talent, this is what Arsene has been saying all along – the reason he got rid of Adebayor is because we have so many attacking players.

    The good thing is when they are all back, we can rotate and rest everyone properly with the knowledge that we will still have a strong team.

    Based on the last three games for both Fabianski and Mannone, I think Mannone is really pushing for the #2 jersey. Wojkash Szechny is also very capable, and Arsene also highly rates him – I think we’re very well endowed in the GK dept – despite not having a fashionable International… as everyone always says!

    Very exciting…!

  • wills

    I agree with the comments of having Almunia as #1 and then competition for the back up spot between Fabianski and Mannone. Considering Fabianski has had surgery, I wouldn’t expect him to come straight back into the #2 spot, if I was Arsene, I may give him a game in the reserves to get his fitness back, or maybe he’ll be back for the CC tie against Liverpool?

    I can’t wait to have Nasri back, at the start of last season he was superb, and although his form dipped a little, he’s a quality player and I think people forget how young he is. Both Raymond Domenech and Wenger believe he can play in the ‘defensive’ midfield position, which may mean that whilst Denilson is out, our midfield 3 with be Nasri, Cesc and Song. That will leave Walcott, Rosicky, Arshavin, Eboue and Vela to battle it out for the wings, as we’ll still have Diaby and Ramsey as back up for the CM positions.

    I’ll be honest, at the end of the transfer window, I was shocked that we didn’t sign any one else, but looking at it now, it’s a good job we didn’t, we’ve more attacking players than any other team in the league. There was an article in the Times this week, about an Arsenal/United XI. The only attacking player from United, was Rooney (alongside Cesc, RvP and Arshavin), which just shows our attacking talents.

    The future is looking good for Arsenal, it’s just typical though that the international break has to come around as soon as we get some good form up! Lets just hope there’s no new injuries!

  • Yemi

    Alumina, manone, fabianski

    I’d move diaby to the bench and replace him with nasri.

    ——————Alumina————————

    Sagna——Gallas———–Vermerleen—–clichy

    ——————–Song————————

    ———–cesc—————-rosisky————–

    Theo——————–RVP—————-Arsavin

    On the bench Dennilson, Vela, Edu, Bendtnar, Manone, Merida,

    By the way, have y’all been been watching merida in the junior world cup? simply outstanding

  • Adeniyi

    To be sincere .. I feel Wenger will be in a bit of dilemma when everyone is fit. The squad looks so large that Walcott, diaby, Eduardo,Vela, Denilson,Eboue, Bendtner, Ramsey can be on the bench from the formation below
    ——————Alumina————————

    Sagna——Gallas———–Vermerleen—–clichy

    ——————-Song–Nasri————————

    —Arsavin——–-cesc—————-rosisky————–

    ——————–RVP—————-

    second choice
    ——————Alumina————————

    Sagna——Gallas———–Vermerleen—–clichy

    ——————— Song–————————

    —Theo———- cesc-—————-rosisky————–

    ______Arshavin________

    ——————–RVP—————-
    The good thing is Wenger can rotate easily and the players are very comfortable in the various positions. If we are to bring in some of the players on the bench we have

    ——————Alumina————————

    Sagna——Gallas———–Vermerleen—–clichy

    ——————-Song–Denilson————————

    —Theo——–-cesc—————-Nasri————–

    ——————–Eduardo—————-

    which is still a strong first team. Which ever way you look at it the attacking options is so many. Defensively, we might be short as Slyvestre and Senderous are not total convincing but Ebuoe is still a very good cover at RB while Gibbs, Traore have also impressed on LB. Ultimately there are two players that can more or less play in each position comfortably and this is so joyful to imagine.

    Anyone Reckons? Any Objections?

  • wills

    @Adeniyi, Wenger definitely will have a dilemma when everyone is fit! Looking at my personal first XI below (when everyone is fit), we have so many attacking options it’s ridiculous!

    ———–Almunia———-
    Sagna–Gallas–Vermaelen–Clichy
    ——–Song—-Denilson——
    Arshavin—-Cesc—-Rosicky—-
    ————RvP————–

    Bench: Fabianski, Gibbs, Nasri, Walcott, Ramsey, Bendtner, Eduardo.

    That’s leaving out Diaby, Vela, Senderos, Silvestre, Wilshire, Eboue, Djourou not to mention players like Merida, Watt, Traore etc.

    Wengers only problem, apart from keeping everyone happy, seems still to be the lack of a backup CB (Djourou looks class but out until April!)

  • Yemi

    So quiet in the world of arsenal !!!

  • devday

    The International Break is killing us!!!

  • wills

    Just read the match report from England U-21′s game, staring three young Gooners. won 6-3 and looked like a great game! Gibbs managed to score the opening goal and an own goal, Wilshire was quite quiet, and guess what….Walcott was brought of injured at half time!!!! Only a ‘dead leg’ apparently but lets hope that’s the only injury to come out of this international break!

  • Debs

    Yeah, I watched the match. Wilshere showed a lot of skill, getting past players, tracking back, but it was just his final ball that was lacking. He’ll come good when he plays more regularly. Gibbs scored from a Theo cross, set up the third and scored Macedonia’s third. Pretty eventful game, I’d say! Lol. But minus the own goal, he had a great game. Theo was lively throughout. A shame he couldn’t come out for the 2nd half, but not really a surprise, given how little football he’s played. He should be alright in a few days, hopefully.

  • wills

    Yeah Debs, totally agree about Wilshire, once he gets a few consecutive games under his belt, he’ll be brilliant. I can’t wait to see him in action against Liverpool in the CC.

    Pearce has said that Theo would be fit if Capello decided to call him up into the full squad for the home game, should there be any more injuries today.

    Gibbs is starting to look really good, and pushing Clichy for that left back spot. Hopefully Wenger will give him a couple of starts against some lesser opposition to give him a chance.

  • JDD

    When evryone is fit

    Mannone
    Clichy Vermaelen Gallas Sagna
    Song
    Nasri Fabregas
    Arshavin Van Persie Rosicky

    Djourou Eboue Denilson Bendtner Vela Eduardo Walcott