Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, March 07, 2008

Wenger’s three options available for team selection at the JJB

By 1970’s Gooner

How unfortunate that Arsene Wenger will not be able to field the eleven that so comprehensively gave AC Milan a hell of a beating as the confidence and momentum that has gathered up has been enormous.

It has been enriched of course by wide acclaim from everywhere including the press, both from the grudgingly English and the more generous Italian. Even the Milan supporters applauded the young guns off the field.

However Diaby and Walcott played in a friendly at London Colney against Kroenke’s Colorado Rapids two days after that epic but energy sapping win.

How Wenger must be ruing that decision as they have become unavailable for the proper league game at Wigan’s beleaguered JJB stadium.

This is compounded by Eboue’s unavailability due to the red card he received at Old Trafford and Rosicky’s continuous and possibly chronic muscle problems which leave Arsene Wenger with restricted choices for the midfield and forward positions.

He now has three options open to him:

1. Bendtner up front and Denilson on the wing

Revert to 4 4 2 (instead of 4 4 1 1) and draft Bendtner in to partner Adebayor up front.

He will be hoping for more of what happened in the last seconds of the Villa game when their differences were put aside as Adebayor headed the ball towards Bendtner to slot home.

Although one visitor to this site suggested that Adebayor was trying to pass to Gallas rather than to Bendtner!

The Fabregas and Flamini partnership can under this scenario be kept intact by playing Hleb in his normal position on the left of midfield and bringing young Denilson to occupy the right side of midfield.

2. Gilberto in the middle and Fabregas on the wing

Another option under the 4 4 2 formation that Wenger has favoured this season is to draft Gilberto in central midfield alongside Flamini and push Fabregas on the right side. Bendtner and Adebayor will spearhead the attack.

Wenger has brought Gilberto in the midfield and pushed Fabregas to the right not so long ago against Blackburn.

This was only last month (11th february) at the Emirates where Arsenal ended as 2-0 winners with Senderos scoring early on with a header from a corner.

And you may remember that Fabregas was often played on the right of midfield in his “younger” days as part of his education, just as Diaby is deployed these days (although reasons of expediency also play a role in Diaby's case).

Under this option Arsene will rely on experience which is now assuming more importance as the vital run in for the title gathers pace. It does however mean that the Fabregas and Flamini partnership that served us so well is broken up.

3. Gilberto middle, Fabregas and Denilson on the wings

The third option is to keep the same formation (i.e 4 4 1 1) and as many of the players that started against Milan.

This means that Adebayor will be supported by Hleb up front. Gilberto will have to be drafted into the middle so as to release Fabregas to play on the right and young Denilson to fill in on the left of midfield.

This option contains the most chopping and changing with two players being played out of position as against only one player out of position in the other two scenarios.

My personal choice will be to draft Denilson on the wing and Bendtner up front. In this way changes are kept to minimum but more importantly the Fabregas Flamini partnership will be kept intact. I also have my doubts about Gilberto’s pace and match fitness.

It remains to be seen what Wenger will choose but he does tend to go with proven solutions. This means that he may choose the same formation he adopted against Blackburn at the Emirates.

He has to keep faith with Senderos though who had a pretty good game at the San Siro and give a chance for Toure to recover fully from his injury.


Sagna Gallas Senderos Clichy

Denilson Fabregas Flamini Hleb

Bendtner Adebayor

Prediction: 0-3

Ancelotti, Maldini, Kaka, Gattuso, Berlusconi you took a hell of a beating! (plus player ratings)


Anonymous said...

Ye, that all sounds brilliant apart from the fact that Denilson is possibly out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury. Bendtner is a must for this game.

Anonymous said...

Diaby was actually injured in the Milan game and didn't take part in the friendly.

Traore on the left of midfield could be a possibilty but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

To anon 7.02
Denilson came on against Villa mate and was sub at Milan! So go and get your facts right!

Anonymous said...

There are rumours on some blogs that Denilson was injured in the friendly game, but has not confirmed that so I'm not sure. I would expect to see Gilberto and Bendtner in place of Diaby and Walcott with the same formation as played against Blackburn.

Anonymous said...

To anon 7.41
You are so sound. your right it's not physically possible to get injured between matches, what was i thinking?

Anonymous said...

to anon 8.10
are you suggesting denilson got injured on the bench at milan? or do you know somwthing we dont?

Anonymous said...

Can someone clarify this Denilson thing, all these injuries are killing us.

Anonymous said...

Denilson is available. Only players who will definitely miss out is Eduardo,Rosicky,Diaby and Walcott! Song and Toure are a little doubt and Van Persie will start on the bench. Nothing about Denilson was written up on the website or in another news sources.

Anonymous said...

What about Keiran Gibbs? Would he not be worth a shot on the left wing?

Anonymous said...

According to the Boss, Denilson is OK and available. For the poster who suggested Gibbs, he's stuck at Norwich where he's been getting more stick from fans than quality minutes on the pitch.

I WISH Gibbs were available.

Someone who IS around the place and could be useful at Wigan is Nacer Barazite. He's looked great since returning from injury, he's a big-time talent who's stayed under the radar with all the purring over Vela -- and he would be right at home at the JJB.

Realistically, though, as someone said Arsene tends to stick with a formula he's used previously -- which means Gilberto and that scares me because it breaks up the midfield partnership which is at the heart of our team.

I suspect that even against Wigan, it'll be safety-first with Gilberto in the middle and Cesc pushed wide, with Hleb in his 4-4-1-1 role.

But if we get into ANY trouble in the second half, expect to see RVP on to partner Ade, Hleb back to the wing and Bert to a seat.

Wenger uses the phrase "short" when a guy isn't ready to start -- and that's how he described Robin after the Thursday friendly v Colorado. I think he figures Robin can play, but not at real effectiveness for more than a half-hour.

Meanwhile, I just can't picture AW starting Ade and Bendtner together. He loves Niklas' impact off the bench -- although maybe having RVP around will change that.

It's going to be a funny looking side, in any event. And SO close to having almost everyone but Eduardo back for the run-in.

Cross your fingers.

Anonymous said...

Traore would be an option Wenger might consider and if Traore fails to deliver as he has this season then he should sub him at half time and bring on RVP!

Anonymous said...

I think he might go for a 4-4-2
He should keep cesc and flamini toghether with hleb on the left, and a real winger from the reserves, who are having a good season. just my opinion but it wont happen. Sorry for Theo, he would have started this game, and have a real impact.

Anonymous said...

Why cant Flam play left wing? He used to do well at left back..

Anonymous said...

The first thing wenger must not do is break up the cesc flam partnership.

Anonymous said...

Denilson on the wing doesnt sound too bad at all. Howver, it might be a good game to test Gilbo's match fitness, due to the fact that we will need experienced heads during this run in. Despite this, there are many other youngsters that we can call on. Barazite has been knocking them in and could be deployed as a left winger or in the "Hleb role" just behind Ade. Also, Armand Traore could be given a go on the left hand side of midfield. With rosciky continuously injured, he could try his wits at left winger so that we could have another replacement. Simlarly woth hoyte. I think we should use this match to test our squads strenght and adaptability.
This is a particularly narrow formation, and playing the intricate "Wengerball" game on the horrendous pitch at the JJB will be difficult and this formation is probably not the best. Because of this, Wenger will most likely stick the two totempoles upfront and rely on the to bring in tht other midfield players.

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