Cesc return is on! Kruls the keeper & a shock omission! Have We Seen The End of 4-2-3-1? Pre-Season Starts on Sunday Unless You Follow the Reserves

Morning all,

Another young one seems on his way out as Milwall have given a trial to Arsenal forward Nigel Neita and practically all the newspapers report that Arsenal are going to try and get Fabregas back. £25 million is the amount we have to pay, not a penny more or a penny less and if the player wants to rejoin,  he’ll be ours.

Yeah right!

LadyArse blog reports that Dutch website AD.nl are linking us to Newcastle United keeper Tim Krul. That’s a new one!

Onto the ‘real stuff’…

Later on today, Ivan, Arsene and the boys will board a plush Emirates aircraft and head off on tour. It’s the clubs second pre-season Far East tour and it all kicks-off on Sunday at 13:30 BST against an Indonesian Dream Team side. (Sounds like a television programme….)

I am really looking forward to it, maybe we will get a hint as to how Arsene Wenger will set his side up for the coming season.

I hope Stewart Robson is having a day-off because I can’t stand him giving the most biased commentary when Arsenal play. He was laying into our new by last night as France beat Ghana. He really is a spiteful man.

A typical 4-2-3-1 Set-Up


The 4-2-4 Set-up used by Uraguay and BVB09


I am really keen to find out if Wenger will switch to a different formation (4-2-4) similar to what Mannschaft DFB set-up or how the Bavarians set-up last season to clinch a treble. Even Jurgen Klopp mentioned how difficult it was for the 2 fullbacks to keep defending and attacking in the popular 4-2-3-1 set-up over the course of a match let alone a full season.

Back to the tour and according to Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth website, my favourite youth player Nico Yennaris has not made the cut for the tour this time round. I wonder what this true Gooner, who was a ball boy for Arsenal at the age of nine, will have to do to make it with us. Like Meade, will he be another vertically challenged player with obvious talent that will not make the squad? Or is he just not good enough as some of us think he could be?

Watching him in the next generation and u-21 games, he is obviously too good for that level but is he showing enough to make the jump to the main squad? In my opinion his two bouts of glandular fever recently has affected his stamina and he probably needs matches more than a tour.

Maybe the reason could be as simple as Ivan telling Arsene to reduce the number of players so we could save money on food and hotel cost. With Arsenal you never know.

Another interesting omission is Damien Martinez, our Argentine goalkeeper who has a bright future ahead of him if he is patient enough. The other lucky ones to be give a boarding pass apart from the expected first team players and injury prone players are Ignasi Miquel, Chuks Aneke, Serge Gnabry, Chuba Akpom and Thomas Eisfeld.

The positive news is that we have 2 possible new Cesc Fabregas’s in the squad in the form of Kristoffer Olsson and Gedion Zelalem.

Those who keep up with the youth squad will know that these two boys have talent; all they need is the platform to show their talent but with people like Robson reminding us that Arsenal has not won a trophy for so long it is proving difficult to introduce young talents.

I keep asking myself the question if Cesc had joined us 2 seasons ago as a 16 year old, if he would have been given the same opportunity now as he did then?

Looking at the current squad, we are truly going to be in deep trouble if Mikel Arteta or Aaron Ramsey get injured before the start of the season! Unless of course Arsene pulls a rabbit out of the padlocked bum bag he carries…

Coming back to the topic of the formation for next season, I really don’t think re-using the 4-2-3-1 formation is suitable for a team with Giroud or Poldolski as its spearhead. I understand we definitely need a double pivot because we currently lack a Daniele de Rossi or a Roman Neustadter in our squad.

However, none of the defensive midfielders we have been linked with can truly play a Makele or Gilberto role for us so I have forgotten about that idea.

Some strongly believe that Arsene Wenger is tactically inept but regulars on this site know I think Arsene changes his formation quite often. In fact he used 4-4-2 against Liverpool and Stoke last August and September, 3-5-2 to come back from 1-0 down against WHU in October and 4-2-4 against Reading, Wigan and Southampton. I however, think the man’s biggest flaw is that he is too slow to react at crucial times. Maybe that is why ‘Old Rednose’ described him as the best poker player.

An example of Arsene’s lack of flexibility and reaction was at Old Trafford when Jack was sent off for a second bookable offence, it was clear to all of us that Jack was walking on thin ice.

Arsene obviously understands football and maybe over complicates things on occasions. Had Ramsey not really taken to that defensive midfield role alongside Arteta at the end of last season we would really have been in trouble. In fact against Liverpool at home Arsene played 4-1-3-1-1 allowing Ramsey to sit really deep as the defensive midfielder on his first ever game in that role.

Using the Jack and Santi combination was not working from as early as October but Arsene’s lack of ‘tactical agility’ made him persist with a midfield 3 of Arteta, Santi and Jack, who on paper should have been up there with the likes of Xavi, Busquet and Iniesta but were disastrous to say the least.

(I will leave you faithful experts to debate why that combination did not work out effectively; irrespective of how long they had played together, as the saying goes great players should be able to play together.)

Should Mikel or Aaron get injured, we would be left with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky and Aneke as potential defensive midfielders to face Aston Villa, Fulham or the Scum before the end of August. Mind you, knowing Wenger, he probably has Miguel earmarked for the left footed defensive midfielder he adores.

That scares me to say the least and makes me wonder why Yennaris was not taken on the tour?

I think The Ox will feature more in the central midfield role to accommodate Ryo or Serge Gnabry this season. That on paper will give us a lot of flair and speed but both players lack experience, especially in the case of Gnabry. Aneke could do a Yaya Toure like job for us as he did for Crewe but will the jump be a gap too wide for him next season?

The lack of defensive midfield and centre back covers makes me think Arsene has something up his sleeve for the coming weeks. In central defence, we know Sagna will cover if needed and Miguel has to be trusted or let go because he is not learning from playing at the reserve level.

Looking at the squad makes me think Sir Steve’s post a few days ago had more truth than I gave him credit for.

On that sad note, have a safe and blessed day.

Written by Ginge

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