Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, April 10, 2008

There are four ways to replace Flamini

By 1970’s Gooner

Mathieu Flamini has been ruled out for three weeks after picking up an ankle injury against Liverpool on Tuesday.

He has been fantastic for us this season putting some awesome performances. Trying to replace him will be very difficult indeed but there are four options available:

1. Gilberto

To my great surprise I read that Arsene Wenger intends to bring Gilberto in the starting eleven!

"It is a big blow but Gilberto has a lot of quality and experience," Wenger told "Gilberto can come in and help the team recover and focus."

Well, I really hope that Wenger does not do as he says. I really do. Gilberto, although 31, is showing what you would call in football terms, early signs of Alzheimer’s.

I know I am being cruel as he has been absolutely fabulous for Arsenal up until last season.

But sadly he looks past it. He is slow, can’t tackle effectively anymore which more often than not results in giving a foul away. He also tends to slow the game up as he invariably makes passes sideways or backwards.

Can you honestly see Gilberto chasing and keeping up with Rooney, Tevez or even Ronaldo (if he ventures infield, which he will) with any degree of success?

Just how Wenger thinks that we will beat Manchester United at Old Trafford with Gilberto in the team is beyond me. Yes the team needs more experienced hands but not near football geriatrics.

Arsene has three other more attractive and viable options.

2. Toure in midfield

This is an interesting option in that although Toure has not played in this position before he has the strength and tenacity to be effective enough.

He will also be defending really as he would be playing a kind of protective role in front of the defence.

However this would mean that Senderos will have to partner Gallas in the centre of the defence which would be risky.

For a start his confidence level will probably be very low and also his lack of pace would be heavily exposed due to the way Manchester United play.

They don’t employ a front man as such and they have some very pacy forwards who are very mobile and drag defenders all over the place.

3. Give Song a start?

I have confidence in Song.

He has shown during the Africa Cup of Nations, which I watched avidly, that he has the ability and temperament to perform on the day.

I also watched him play a Premiership match two seasons ago when he was on loan to Charlton against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

I can tell you he bossed the midfield then with a very impressive performance.

4. Play Diaby where he belongs

The fourth option that would also appeal is to finally allow Diaby to start in central midfield where he surely belongs.

He has been improving lately and cut out the frivolous and selfish play which characterized his earlier outings this season on the left wing.

He performed quite well against AC Milan at the San Siro in that historic win.

And of course against Liverpool at Anfield where he scored the opening goal. So he can handle the big occasions.

The Diaby option can bring another benefit.

And that is it will free up a spot on the wing for Theo Walcott to start which he surely deserves.

I hope Eboue is brought back to right back and Toure restored in central defence. At least I hope Arsene Wenger has realized the errors in defence from Senderos and drops him for Toure.

My team for Old Trafford will be:


Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy

Walcott Fabregas Song Hleb

RVP Adebayor

I have a feeling we may surprise a few people...

Ed: Diaby is suspended for OT


Anonymous said...

Diaby's suspended

Anonymous said...

Great post except for the second option. Toure in midfield? We tried this versus lazio in preseason, and he had no positional sense, kept hold of the ball too long or made the wrong pass. Yes he is swift, strong and a great centre-back, but this is because he has the game mapped out in front of him, so he can see things better, and he has a great recovery pace. Wenger won't play him there anyway. At full-back or centre back, he is more comfortable, with more time on the ball, to make up for his recent lack of composure. he in in a dip in form, but will pick it up. Playing ihm out of position is not the answer.

I'd go for Gilberto or Diaby, Gilberto moreso, because he was great on tuesday at what he does (he didn't replace Flamini's energy but he made lots of key interceptions, tackles and blocks, and some great passes too.

We may not be favourites at all but have faith in the replacement.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I would rather start Song, or hell even bring Hleb in from the wing and try and outscore MU. You can't do anything but feel love for Gilberto for how great a purchase he's been. But he clearly does not fit with the team anymore. I fear we're going to get clobbered if Arsene starts Gilberto.

Anonymous said...

Or is Denilson back? I'd start him over Gilberto too.

Anonymous said...

we all pretty much agree gilberto last option, so when he plays sunday, what does this say about wenger?

Anonymous said...

If Gilberto is leaving why not play who will be with us next season. The only way the likes of song and walcott willget big game experience is to play them now. Other wise why are they in the squad. Song has been with us for 4 seasons and has hardly had a sniff. If they don't play they go elsewhere and we just become a feeder club for the likes of brum and blackburn etc

Anonymous said...

Diaby is not a defensive midfielder and is often rash in the tackle. He has apparently had sessions with Keown to improve the defensive aspects of his game but I am not sure if he should be played against a Man Utd team who will most likely play a three man central midfield. Anyway, I think he may be suspended like a previous poster stated.
Best bet is to play Fabregas, Gilberto and Hleb in the centre to make up for Flamini's dynamism and put Walcott and Van Persie on either side of Adebayor. (This is presuming Van Persie is fully fit of course).

Anonymous said...

I think Gilberto is over his dip and he has played much better in the last 2 games. He will take up that invisible wall position in front of the back 4 while we effectively play with a 3 man midfield in front of him (or 4 if Wenger goes 4-5-1). Most people are suggesting we were undone by inexperience on Tuesday, yet they're also dismissing the experience Gilberto brings? Song was great in the ACN, but he has not featured in the PL since his recovery from injury. It seems unfair to throw him in at the deep-end for a must-win game. If we don't win this one, there will be 4 more games for Wenger to experiment.

Anonymous said...

It has to be Song.....we all know what kind of perfomance Gilberto will put in and it won't be a positive one. Haven't got anything to lose really so time to take a bit of a risk with the team selection in view of next season.

Anonymous said...

Wenger is a muppet, bring in Gilberto he's havin a larf, give me Song any day of the weeks over the other options.

Anonymous said...

As much as I want us to be as close to United as possible at the end of the season, I also feel we might as well treat the end of the year as preseason and get some real eye-openers for next season like someone else said.

Try Song in the middle with Cesc. Gilberto's going and the result is pretty unlikely to matter at the end of the season so let's see exactly what Song can do. Walcott needs to start. I think we're really lacking some freshness lately and as much as he wants to start I wonder if maybe Cesc should be rested too. Hleb could then play in the middle with Song, Walcott on either wing and Diaby on the other (he could interchange a bit with Hleb since they're both best inside but can also offer something out-wide).

Whoever's fit up front with Clichy, Gallas, Toure and Eboue (as much as I wish it wasn't) at rb.

Or even play Song at cb and Toure at rb.

Whatever team we field tomorrow it's always going to be relatively decent so if we lose with the best we can manage from a depleted squad 1-0 or lose 3-0 with a more experimental squad but something can be learned from it I'd taker the 3-0.

Not that Wenger will take a chance though. As great as he is his stubborness is infuriating.

Anonymous said...

I will go with Gilberto, any time. He is a proven pro and the only DM available atm. Toure - a big NO! What's the point playing im there as he is a CB and he will play CB next season. And we know Wenger is grooming Song into a CB and he seems to be doing great there. Since Diaby is not available, Gil is the best option available. And I don't buy the crap that why should Wenger bother playing him there since he may not be with us this season! He is with us this season and that's what matters! BTW,Gil, I have criticised him before, is undeniably a true pro!

Anonymous said...

u know, when diaby signed, there were immediate similarities drawn with viera.... i have a feeling next season he will explode... his pace is better than viera, his eye for goal more keen. i see him starting in centre next season with cesc. theo will start too, for sure. guys ARSENE KNOWS. he knew what he was looking for when he bought these guys... he needed to improve on aresenal's telismans: viera (diaby), bergkamp (RvP), petit (cesc), cole (clichy), lauren (Sagna), henry (theo). rosicky hasn't worked out though, so we miss our freddie & well bobby P is irreplaceable. we must get quaresma, ribery or maybe even ronaldinho? i bet wenger could get him back in shape..

Kimmono said...

Gilberto or Denilson.

If you want something like The Flamster, then Denilson is the only way to go.

I bet he changes the way we play and goes for Gilberto.

Anonymous said...

Personally I don’t see anyone replacing Flamini’s work rate or tackling in midfield in the Arsenal ranks. I think we will miss him at OT and maybe also next year unless a replacement is found. The Liverpool result was heartbreak and I think Arsene should now start to focus on the defensive side of things. I’d would revert to a 4-5-1 and play Gilberto and Song together. Although I agree with most of you guys here, I am not a huge fan of Gilberto these days – I think he’s lacking sharpness and does not seem match fit anymore.

My lineup would be

Eboue Toure Gallas Clichy
Song Giberto
Walcott Cesc Hleb

Anonymous said...

The obvious replacement for Flamini would be Lassana Diarra. Huh! What's that you say? SOLD?!?!?

This has been our biggest mistake of the season. Diarra has tenacity, skill, and no lack of pace. Why he was sold in January I don't know. So what if he was unhappy at his lack of games. He signed the contract and should have been made to play. He would have got plenty of opportunities anyway, and we could have given Mathieu or Cesc some well earned rest.

Anonymous said...

"we all pretty much agree gilberto last option, so when he plays sunday, what does this say about Wenger?"

It says he is manager of The Arsenal, not a whingeing little no-mark, glory hunting pencil-dick.

Anonymous said...

I would have liked to see Diaby in his original position and having seen Song at the ACN i have to say i am very impressed, however we shouldn't expect instant results from a lad with limited premiership experince.

I have just read a story of 365 stating that Denilson (anotgher option) is 'MISSING!' (or his current ability to play/injury/fitness has not been stated on the Arsenal web site)... Can anyone clear up his current status?

Anonymous said...

My formation=a-4-3-3


1.Gilberto shouldn't try to play killer pass.
2. If Eboue doesn't come to defend in time, Toure should move to RB and Gilberto to move in DMF-CB position for that period.
3. RVP and Walcott should switch wings

ADVANTAGES--that are not in ur formation
1.Hleb plays best in that position.
2.Walcott starting
3.No Senderos
4.Toure owns Rooney
5.With Hleb in centre, Manure won't kick only Fabregas only, there will be 2 men to mark rather than 1.
6. With RvP and Walcott on wings, Evra and Brown will think twice to get forward.
7. Playing without Eboue on Right Wing, is a biig plus.
8. Final ball of RvP and Walcott is wayyyyyyyy better than Eboue's or Walcott's.
9. Fabregas and Hleb in centre can f**uk any team's defense.


Anonymous said...


You say that Gilberto would not keep up with Rooney, Tevez etc and then say you would play Diaby there?!?! Diaby is an average, lazy attacking midfielder.

I really wish the comparisons with Vieira would end. He is big and black but that is it. He is not fit to lace Vieira's boots.

As for Song, don't make me laugh. He has neever been anything but out of his depth for arsenal in the prem and it would be somewhat of a risk to put him in against Utd.

As for Kolo in midfield, you say this would mean Phil starting alongside Gallas. Where have you been the last 3 games? Phil WILL start alongside Gallas. If Kolo plays in midfield then Eboue will be pushed back to right back and Walcott will start on the wing.

I expect more accurate analysis from a website called 'Arsenal Analysis'.

My mum could analyse better than you mate.

Anonymous said...

We beat there asses last year with Adebayor alone up front.

Gilberto is bad, really bad and we will not win at Old Trafford with him. But one thing is for sure, we need to have either him or Song in the squad. The only other option would be Djourou in midfield. I think Gilberto will be played but I would like Wenger to take a little risk and put Song in there. Common, he is older then Anderson, and he only has to battle with Carrick.

RvP is wasted on the wing so if he is available he should start up front. Hleb on the left, Walcott on the right.

Senderos was awful last time but give me him instead of Eboue any day. I want the same defence as last time, too many chances are dangerous, and playing Eboue is really dangerous.

Unknown said...

wtf are you all talking about? Wenger ain't gunna experiment in a game as big as this. Expect to see:

Gilberto for Flamster
Gallas and Senderos CB
Toure RB
Eboue RW (subbed on the hour for walcott)

Van Persie (assuming fit) and Adebayor with the other usuals.

If Walcott or Song starts I will be amazed and much more confident that we can get something!

Anonymous said...

too many missed chances today but i did not expect arsenal to win. arsene has to LEARN to bench certain strikers before their head becomes too big and they explode! i think ade needs a rest for the last few games - poor guy deserves it.