Thursday, 17 October 2013

Tough Decisions in Midfield

Our plethora of talent in the midfield is well-documented and I'm sure we all agree that this is Arsenal's strongest area. Due to injuries, the midfield has basically chosen itself, until now. According to Walcott, Cazorla, Ozil and Rosicky will all be available for the match against Norwich this weekend. I'm obviously more concerned about the game against Dortmund on Tuesday and I don't expect anybody to be unnecessarily risked against the Canaries.

Now the debate starts. Who should play in Arsenal's midfield? The official website has 15 players listed in the first team squad that are fighting it out for the 5 midfield positions (wingers obviously included). I don't think anybody (including the players themselves) would expect Frimpong, Zelalem, Miyaichi and Diaby to start. Gnabry will probably be on the bench when Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski return but has a chance of playing at the moment.

The defence and striking position is covered at the moment. Somebody that hasn't watched Giroud play this season could make the argument that Podolski or Walcott should start up front, but most Gooners agree that the Frenchman is the right man to lead the line on current form.

Another factor when considering the personnel that should be chosen is deciding which midfield formation will be used. Wenger has recently been switching between two defensive midfielders and three attacking midfielders; and a defensive midfielder, two attacking midfielders and two wingers. Wenger is willing to play certain players in a variety of positions, for a good example: Ramsey has been used all over the field over the past year and Cazorla changes between attacking midfielder and winger, although I prefer him as a midfielder.

With the unavailability of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski I would use the 2 defensive midfield formation. For me, the defensive midfield spot is a straight toss up between Flamini and Arteta. I think that both of these players are great. Although I see Arteta as first-choice over the course of the season, I think we can afford to bring him bask slowly. Therefore I would start Flamini at the moment.

Ramsey is a definite starter and can play either as the other defensive midfielder or as the other attacking midfielder (depending on the formation chosen). Ozil gets the central attacking midfield position with Cazorla on the left and Walcott on the right. For the match against Norwich I would probably play Gnabry, Rosicky and/or Wilshere as the side attacking midfielders/wingers and bring on Cazorla and Walcott quite early in the second half if we're struggling or later on to get some game time if we're comfortable.

Wilshere and Rosicky don't even get a look-in for their preferred positions in my team at the moment. Hopefully Wilshere's form improves because I do believe that he has great potential. Rosicky is also a good player, but his injuries make it even more more difficult to compete against Ramsey and Ozil for the central attacking midfielder positions.

Midfeild choice against Dortmund (assuming they're fit)

                                                             Flamini, Ramsey,
                                                        Cazorla, Ozil, Walcott

Who do you think should start against Dortmund?



  1. Walcott won't be ready. Gnabry should play as the right winger instead, he's in good form and just needs a few first-team games in a row.

    1. I think we'll see WIlshere played centrally with Cazorla and Ozil roaming on the wings. The downside is that Walcott's going to struggle to find a space on the pitch. As much as we need his pace, he's still too one-dimensional, and with the other midfield options we have, he's looking increasingly like an odd man out, and that was even before Ozil arrived. The growth of Ox and Gnabry were already suggesting to me that Walcott will have to produce, and he wasn't doing much of that before going out with the injury. I'd like to see him back, but he's going to have to earn it.

  2. I would like to play ozil, ramsey and wilshere as midfielder
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