Back in the good old days, when Arsenal were slightly better than they were now, we had a different formation for Europe and away games compared to home games. Home and away in Europe, you’d see the classic 4-5-1 formation, whereas at home against the likes of a newly promoted team, you’d see 4-4-2.
Personally, I think the same applies to the current squad. At home against a lower league team, I think we’re more balanced with Giroud up front, 3 forwards behind and any one of the midfielders to hold (such as Arteta and Ramsey)… but against harder teams or even in away games, when we’re not quite getting a foot in the ground, we’ve got to look at putting in a holding midfielder.
In the previous post, in the comments, suggestions that we should have moved Ramsey outside of the deep two and installed Coquelin are very much merited, and from what I’m hearing today, it sounds like Arsene’s learnt a valuable lesson about balance since the Norwich game. Reports coming in are suggesting the following line up:
Jenkinson – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Santos
Arteta – Coquelin
Ramsey – Cazorla – Podolski
With the injury list of Oxlade-Chamberlain (hip), Fabianski (back), Walcott (lung), Rosicky (tendon), Gibbs (thigh), Diaby (thigh), Szczesny (ankle), Sagna, Wilshere (match practice), it means our bench has issues. Martinez has been on the bench for the last few games, but he is not eligible for tonight’s game, so I think James Shea will get the nod… meaning the bench will be:
Shea, Djourou, Mertersacker, Frimpong, Gnarby, Arshavin, Giroud
On James Shea, the boss spoke during our previous CL game and said:
“He was on the list as goalkeeper No 5 at the beginning of the season and now he is No 2! That shows you how quickly football can change. Martinez is ineligible for the B list and Wojciech [Szczesny] and Fabianski are injured.”
And more recently, i.e. today:
“I’ve spoken to Mannone – we both know mistakes can happen to every big ‘keeper. But I am not tempted to play Martinez. The biggest quality of a ‘keeper is experience. Putting an even less experienced player in now wouldn’t be the right thing.”
As Martinez is injured, I don’t think Arsene was referring to playing him today, more a general comment.
Tonight’s game is very important, we are not in good form at the moment, we have an ever increasing injury list and Schalke are a good team. But, look at that starting XI. It’s pretty good. It can win… At home we’re supposed to have the home advantage, so I emplore anyone going to the game to get behind the team as much as possible…
Let’s create the 12th man tonight and give some confidence back to the team…