Accommodating Chamakh, More On Diaby, Gallas Back + We Don’t Need Joe Cole! (Cesc in a Barcelona shirt? Nice)

Accommodating Chamakh

I’ve sectioned today’s blog into headlines – yep, I do that now and again, when pretty much all the topics aren’t connected and I have a lot to review. I’ll start the article with a quick review of Maroune Chamakh and how to accommodate him into the team. Looking at his game time last season, he was deployed as a lone striker with 5 midfielders behind him – 2 defensive and help from the full backs. Remind you of something? Pretty much the same formula as down at the Emirates. He had Gourcuff behind him – we have Cesc behind our main striker.

The good thing is that Chamakh knows the system well – the bad thing, I suppose is that he’s rival our first choice Van Persie and his stand in from last year Niklas Bendtner for one position. Is it wise to move Van Persie to a wing position? Will Chamakh play “out of position” on the right? Will be revert to 4-4-2?

Possible Choices (presuming we know our back four):

The 4-4-2

Nasri – Song – Cesc – Arshavin

Van Persie – Chamakh

This looks like a winning formula, reminiscent of the days we had Bergkamp and Henry. But it means a few things – Cesc goes deeper – a role that he’s already said takes a lot out of him – if we lose the 20+ goals a season, then can we gain this from Chamakh?

The 4-3-3

Nasri – Song

Arshavin – Cesc – Van Persie


This formation moves Arshavin to the right, Van Persie to the left and Chamakh up top and maybe it’s a bit more true the essence of a 4-3-3. Is it too attacking for us to adopt? Is Nasri effective deeper? Can Van Persie be effective from the left? Can Arshavin be effective from the right?

I’m not actually giving you answers here, but instead posing you more questions…

More On Diaby

Yesterday I mentioned that Jack Wilshere could come in and do a job instead of Diaby / Denilson next to the two immovable objects – Cesc and Song. First time commentor, Zaheer Shah spoke out about his views:

No offense but it seems to me that your the type to only give credit to those who show up in the spotlight, what i am referring to is your incredibly harsh statement on Diaby, not good enough? Did you see how he played in the middle of the season? He was incredible, he compliments our midfield so much in the sense that he combines the attributes of Song and Fabregas, he works hard and the stats show he covers a lot of ground. He is one of our best counter attackers, he has his faults but he has worked really hard over the summer and this season has been his best due to it, he will continue to improve next season and I would start him over Denilson most weeks.

Now, I don’t know if we’re talking about the same Diaby – but the Diaby I saw last season was a) very inconsistent b) gave away possession more than any other player c) constantly made the wrong decisions and d) statistically covered less ground than Denilson, Song or Cesc.

Diaby had a very bad world cup, with the exception of one excellent run – his final ball is just too inaccurate. Of course, he has potential, and of course, he has moments of brilliance, but where is the consistency? His performances last year started better but finished worse than the season before and when you look at our team for improvements, it’s impossible for me to believe that you think he is world class and is the best we can do next to Song and Cesc. Nasri for me is better choice, but bringing in a Melo or a similar player would be the missing part of the jigsaw. I don’t think we need two full time defensive midfielders and that’s why Nasri, Ramsey and Wilshere in my eyes – being more dynamic and more consistent – are better choices in midfield than Diaby.

Let’s hope you’re right and he continues to improves and proves us wrong next season… although I am now wondering if I made
that statement last season….

Gallas Back

There were rumours yesterday that Arsene is still hopeful of Gallas agreeing his new contract and staying at the club… Now how would you feel about that? I am not a fan of William Gallas – he’s too egotistical and too outspoken for my liking. I’m personally glad to see the back of him. Yes, he is a quality footballer but he has too much baggage and doesn’t inspire anyone – remember Nasri saying that no-one actually like Gallas. Let’s hope they stay as rumours and we spend the majority of his wage packet on a new defender!

We Don’t Need Joe Cole!

Personally I don’t think we need Joe Cole – one thing Arsenal have is an abundance of attacking midfielders – look at the two formations above, we haven’t included the likes of Theo Walcott, Thomas Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby, Wilshere or Ramsey – how on earth would Joe Cole get into our team? Now if Chelsea release Alex on a free, that would be a different story!

And Cesc in a Barcelona shirt? Ouch.

Yes, you’ve seen it for real… moments after winning the World Cup, the team, whilst celebrating, donned Cesc in a Barcelona shirt. Looking at Cesc’s face – he does look a little embarrassed, but nevertheless, it happened. For me, I’d put it down to the two “forceful” members of the squad, Puyol and Pique, whom you can see in front and behind him. Puyol looks to have put it on him and Pique’s arm is still pulling it down – with Cesc pushing it up with one arm. Those two (Pique and Puyol) are really nasty pieces of work. It shows a massive disrespect to Arsenal.

Obviously, this would have happened on Sunday night, and it was apt that Cesc did say this yesterday:

“I am an Arsenal player and I am really proud to be able to give this trophy to all the fans. It is for all of them – they deserve it and they have a world famous club. All I can say now is that this is for the Arsenal players, for the Arsenal fans, for the manager and for all of the staff. I have had lots of texts and Blackberry messages. My phone is full. I had a text from Arsene Wenger. He said congratulations, you deserve it. I replied thanks you very much and said this is for all the Arsenal club, manager and players who have helped me be where I am today. I am, really proud. I will never take this medal off, I have two now!”

Whether that was said in worry that the picture would get out or that he really meant it – am I being cynical that I can actually believe the first? I think maybe. But the fact that a) he came out with that statement yesterday is shows a good respect to Arsenal b) the fact he looks embarrassed shows a good respect to Arsenal c) the fact he’s trying to get it off shows a good respect to Arsenal.

Quick update (thanks to @IrishGooner)…
This “prank” / photo was taken yesterday in Madrid NOT on Sunday. It means the statement for the love of Arsenal was genuinely before. Changes the overview of what happened and what he said in relation to the picture!

Quick update (thanks to @IrishGooner)… This “prank” / photo was taken yesterday in Madrid NOT on Sunday. It means the statement for the love of Arsenal was genuinely before. Changes the overview of what happened and what he said in relation to the picture!

His sister said on Twitter yesterday:

Eieii!!! C’mon! It was JUST A JOKE from his friends and he didnt know what they were doing! Not all in this live is an offens!

And couple that little statement may soften the blow – but the debate on whether or not Cesc is staying or going won’t be closed until September 1st – that is for sure.

Finally, congratulations to Niklas Bendtner who announced that his wife to be is pregnant – maybe he has recovered from that groin injury.

Til tomorrow.

  • Zaheer Shah

    Thanks for replying respectfully to my comment, my views on Abou are born out of a passion that I have for Arsenal and him as a player, i don’t disagree that he is a player that causes divisions of opinions amongst supporters about what his role is in the team, whether he is good enough or not etc. The way i feel about diaby is this, since he broke his ankle against sunderland, he has slowly and eventually gained more consistency to his play, he keeps things a lot simpler not and that is hard to notice because everyone will notice a 30 yard killer ball rather than a 5 yard pass to keep the game ticking, he lost nearly a year in playing time due to that injury and i think we sometimes forget that, im not making excuses for him but i see so much talent and potential in him, letting him develop elsewhere would be a mistake in my opinion. His performances mid season earned rave reviews amongst arsenal supporters and the media alike, he offers third man runs better then any other midfielder that could play alongside Song because he has become more disciplined as the season went on, he offers energy and pace and most importantly he offers strength and that is something that is needed in the Arsenal midfield, I feel he is a better option in midfield then Wilshere and Nasri because of his understanding of how to play next to song and his positioning when closing down has improved, i do feel that next season will be a very big season for Abou and if he does continue to gain more consistency to his game, he will begin to get more credit, again thanks for replying to what i said respectfully and if you dont wish to write another article on the blog, you have my email, feel free to reply through that if you wish, Arsenal Till I Die.

  • Zaheer Shah

    just would like to add, i apologize for the spelling and also if some of my arguements didnt make much sense, its late and im very tired lol, if the discussion continues then ill explain myself in a more structured and clearer way, also my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder made me write this message, couldnt sleep till i explained myself lol

  • wreckedsoul

    i do agree with you that Diaby, despite his talents, still lack consistency. one game, he had it all but the next one he was invisible. Wilshere and Ramsey are both players i would like to see more next season. they have both skill and precision, however lack of experience disturb their development. i read somewhere that Wilshere learned a lot being in central midfielder while he was loaned out to Bolton. i do hope he can help us this season. i am now thinking whether or not he should gain more time again in other club for at least 6 month, that is if Cesc stays and i hope he does. everything depends on the captain, if he stays Wilshere won’t get his time so it’s better to let him play for a while before take him back to us. and as for Chamakh, i hope Wenger can find a suitable place for him because he can be deadly if he’s in the right position.

    if you look at the video, Cesc was clearly unaware of being fooled by his Spanish team mates and he was also uncomfortable being joked around like that, he’s a captain of Arsenal for goodness sake please respect us. he has contract with us and one way to see him play with Barce is to sell him. and for your information, he wont come cheap. he only needed 35 minutes to help iniesta clinched the winning goal. while other barce players tried, and failed, Cesc triumphed with a simple pass but deadly to put away Holland out of contention. i hope Rossell watched the game and it knocked him out badly. he’s now worth 65m. prepare the cash or leave

  • avatar

    how can a man who watches football and writes about it says denilson is better than diaby!! r u madd? look @ the matches that diaby didnt play in especially against man u and Chelsy. i tell u about u ppl who claim u knw about sports. at the moment diaby is the best person 2 partner song.

  • andrew

    the Bendtner comment really was “top drawer.” I did laugh out loud at the groin comment. nice.

  • andrew


    I am one of those Arsenal supporters that complained about Diaby two years ago and then was praising him mid-season last year, then disparaging him again towards the end of the season.

    I agree Diaby physically possesses Viera-like potential. He has shown it on occasion. He is powerful and can move from box to box very well. It is the consistency we want to see. When he has shown improvement over a stretch of games, he then moves backwards and seems to regress. Song has had some troubles with consistency but then settled in this year and was arguably the most reliable player on the pitch all year long. (maybe Vermaelen would best him in this category). Anyways, we all want Diaby to become the player he can but I worry he is more like Aliadiere (great potential but not enough to make it at the Arsenal) than an Henry who just needed to get out of Italy and come under the tutelage of Wenger to blossom.

    I hope you are right and Diaby settles in next season. He certainly possesses the physical presence and skills that seem to work great alongside Song and Cesc but he has yet to be consistent. He gives the ball away too easily still.

  • vj

    guys lets not forget diaby is only 24 he still has his best years as a cm to come flamini after all only blossomed really late as did giberto silva maybe theres hope yet, but the comment does stand that we have better players in that position, i cant really see him starting very many games, once ramsey returns

  • Adam true gooner

    @ Zaheer Shah:

    Listen I think you have passion but your very delluded and do not simpley understand what makes a good player. I suggest you rewatch the 2 games against Barcelona and look at possibly the worst midfield performance by Diaby in a match – EVER! Yes diaby did look adaquete against Hull and Wigan! But not top clubs bar one decent game against Liverpool. Now when you rewatch this Barca Vs Arsenal game over 2 legs you will see Diaby not pass acccurately. Make all the worng decisions. And most imporantly covered less ground than my nan walking to the bus stop. The Barca midfield when they lost the ball closed down sprinting out our midfield. Diaby stood around nd never attempted to close any player down. he looked lazy and lackluster and he may as well been playing for Barca. He is the worst midfield player we have. I believe Wilshere and Ramsey are far superior technically and far more passion and hard working. And Arsenal lack British steel. All these French flops are just foreigners with no loyalty to the club. Just look at fabgregas and his blantent disloyalty to the club. The guy should go and Wenger should get rid of him now. RVP would make a better captain. Diaby should never play for Arsenal again. The guy is shite palin and simple mr blinkered arsenal fan!!!


    One side of me can forgive pique, puyol, reina etc. for the barca shirt prank as they’ve just won the world cup…however, to them it wasn’t a prank, it was almost certainly serious and just another example of their disrespectfor Arsenal. If anything displays the monstrous, out of control egos that exist at Barcelona, it’s the fact that two of their players hijacked Spain’s World Cup celebrations for purely selfish Catalan motives. Cesc is just a trophy to them – they have spoken for him for months and now they hijack his personal moment in the world cup celebrations and take that moment away from him by embarressing him infront of Wenger, his Arsenal team mates and the fans who he loves. Disrepectful to Arsenal, disrespectful to Cesc.It’s just the latest episode from a bullying club who have acted appallingly all summer long. There is a right way and a wrong way to conduct yourself when it comes to a transfer and even though I thought they couldn’t get much wronger they’ve managed to achieve just that. It’s not too much to expect basic manners and decency from people, Barcelona have shown time and again that it’s simply beyond them. This will only strengthen our resolve, asking price will be up another 10 mill…unfortunately they’ve really put cesc in an uncomfortable position, how does he look his Arsenal mates in the eye now? Their childish disrespect may just work – if it does then they should be ashamed…

  • devday

    Quick update (thanks to @IrishGooner)…

    This “prank” / photo was taken yesterday in Madrid NOT on Sunday. It means the statement for the love of Arsenal was genuinely before. Changes the overview of what happened and what he said in relation to the picture!


    If thats the case then he needs to stop acting like a prick and f ff to Barca – bloody lady boy

  • devday

    @ GLONDON:
    No no no, the stuff he said about Arsenal was actually before the prank – of which he didn’t want to part of – it’s a good thing… Cesc wants to stay!

  • ArseneKnows

    I am genuinely proud and amazed at how Cesc handles himself given the massive massive peer pressure he’s under. I can’t believe how mature he is. I think he has behaved admirably, honourably and impeccably throughout!

    What a star, what a leader, what an example!

    Cesc you are the tops dude!

    We all know that one day he will probably go to Barca (unless he looses respect for them….)but in-the-meantime, he will honour his relationship with Arsene – and I believe he will do nothing without Arsene’s consent.

    Cesc is a good good man.



    whew thanks for that


    Reuters: South Africa. Fabregas is the best ever in the World. Without him, Spain is close to nothing. Fabregas, born in North London, sudden Prince Of England club Arsenal was raised by their manager, Arsene Wenger who single handedly coached him to becoming what he is now.

    Captain of Arsenal that single handedly won The World Cup 2010 for Spain scored 58 goals for Spain en route to winning their World Cup, was crowned the Golden Ball, Golden Boot and hailed as the World’s best ever ahead of Pele and Maradona.

    Upon this, Fabregas’s price has just raised up to 80 Million Euro’s. The World’s greatest player was seen shy when Carles Puyol and co forced him to put on a FC BARCELONA jersey. So much so, he really couldn’t wait to take it off. He wished that he brought the glorious colors of Arsenal to the World Cup.

    With him along with 9 other French young boys, 6 other Dutch boys, and an estimated God knows how many foreigners, North London club, Arsenal look to dominate the new season of The World Premier League held in England where only the best of the World Play.

  • jay-o

    arsene should make a bid for iniesta would shut barca up for a bit and hopefully put them on the defensive

  • Pete

    Heres the video clip when Cesc had the Barca shirt put on him:

    Seems to come across as more of a wind up by his Spanish team mates than anything else.

  • steve

    @Adam…you claim to know about football, yet regard Abou Diaby as the worst midfielder we have, sighting his poor performances against Barca (along with most of the team), to illustrate your point. You then follow the well trodden and xenophobic path of – British is best, as shown show graphically during the world cup! And the piece de resistance, too many foreigners (French), while suggesting a Dutch captain! Remember; Paddy, Thierry and Petit, you tit! Save this post and we’ll see how much can change in a year! Don’t forget, a couple of years ago people like you (no patience) said the same things about A.Song, now our most combative and consistent performer, bar none.

  • Kodjo

    I have written about Diaby in the past…and went back and forth with Dev on his assessement. I’ll simply say that go easy on this guy…give him a good pre-season and a full season …and then make your assessment of him. As far as i am concerend the missing ingredient in his game is consistency…yes he went missing in some big games….but he did show up in other games as well

    on chamakh’s position…it could go either way which also depends on the opposition…giving that rvp is the best crosser of the ball and deadball expect… i wont be surprised that he is shifted to the wings and chamakh who is the better header of the ball…..played in the middle to be at the end of crosses if need be

    chamakh could also play on the wings since he appears much quicker than rvp….who will drop into midfield as a disguised midfielder allowing chamakh to accelerate down the wings ala henry…, ronaldo….or even pires

    however if we play teams like barca where the centre forward needs to cover a lot of ground by putting pressue on the defenders (cos they join the attack to out number the opposing midfield) then you could see chamakh playing thru the middle as he has the better engine and endurance than rvp…

    alternative they could swap roles in pressurising the defense as rvp and kuyt did in the world cup finals….

  • RVP

    i dont think chamakh is coming in as a starter

    song-diaby/new dm
    arshavin fabregas nasri/walcott
    van persie

  • Zaheer shah

    This has turned into a good debate lol I feel famous now :) no matter what people think about diaby or anyone, i think it’s great that we all have a great passion for the club and just want the club to succeed. Come on you reds!!!


    Fabregas is staying. I’m right and I will be proved right. Arsenal Football Club hold ALL the cards in this sorry pathetic display by Barcelona and it’s players – however great their actions on the pitch may be, their actions off it are worthy of your average three year old. All along AW and Arsenal have largely maintained a dignified silence going right the way back to May. I fully expect that silence to be maintained whilst Fabregas goes on holiday. I also expect every Arsenal-hating moron in the country – from those pathetic Talk Sport commentators (you know the ones) all the way through to your average Spud continually living and breathing in the hope that he will go and that their bravado and boasts hold out. Unfortunately for them and joyously for us, they won’t. And here’s the simple reason……..Cesc is under contract. He’s an Arsenal player and we’re not prepared to listen to any offers. End off. I’m sure AW will also have no trouble in translating that into as many different languages as Barcelona may need. Footnote. Can’t wait for us to STUFF Liverpool at Anfield and rip the proverbial water out of their pathetic goalkeeper.


    just to say pretty annoyed at the barca shirt on cesc, makes me wish holland had won the world cup, i understand the joke and that in pure happiness we all do crazy things, but i think it was dis respectful, there wasnt any real need to it, I’ve just see the video on and for some reason reina was right in the middle of it- for what reason?

    i get cesc’s sisters point that it was just a joke but giving barca’s whole attitude about this like they own him and its ‘what the God’s want’ that cesc be back in a barca shirt, just find the whole thing kind of taste-less especially as this whole saga is kind of strained already

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Chamakh will play on the right of the front 3 to start but all three will have the freedom to move around the three positions.

    My predicted line up:

    GK (hopefully Frey)

    Subs: Djourju, Gibbs, Eboue, Rosicky, Bendtner, Walcott and Vela

  • Berth
  • RVP

    off topic but thierry henry has joined new york red balls glad 2 see he has left barca

  • vj

    henry is never off topic, plus any arsenal fans hoping for any other GK than schawazer sorry but he is pretty much certain

  • Aussie Gooner Dave

    Still think we need another defensive midfielder and we need backup centrehalf. Think we should play 4-2-3-1 system

    GK (even thought Im an shouldn’t be MS)
    Song – ????????
    Arshavin – Cesc – RVP

    Barring injury 2010/2011 Champions…Go Gooners

  • theantifickle

    Wow. Wow wow wow! All these diaby fans…can you please list his strong attributes? What is the point of bursting forward with the ball to lose it or simply run into an opposition player on most occasions? You guys rate the burst, but for me..without a final pass…its useless! Hes not good enough. Denilson, bench player at best. So hes had a few games, so what? Song. Works hard, good player. He lacks football intelligence. The ability to read a game. This is all fine against the smaller teams, but against the bigger teams (look where we dropped points last season), these players crumble! You can all chant his name, but as long as a player like diaby is considered a valuable arsenal asset, we wont win anything. Wake up!

  • theantifickle

    Arshavin – Ramsey – Walcott
    Fabregas – Song/Eastmond – Nasri
    Clichy/Gibbs – Kochielny – Vermaleen – Sagna
    GK (hmmmm)

    Come on ramsey! He was amazing before the injury in my opinion. Walcott has to drop the little boy routine and have some venom about him. Eastmond will be alot better than song. Nasri tackles better than song, and is brilliant on the ball aswell of course. Big shame we didnt keep campbell. Wilshire, ramsey, gibbs and eastmond…my hopes are with you 4. Would also like to see vela given more of a chance.