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Arsenal’s New Look Starting Eleven This Season

Arsene Wenger is a manager that has been at Arsenal long enough to know the club inside out. Down the years, he has employed a host of formations and most have been to him and the club’s benefit. Wenger had been an ardent fan of the 4-4-2 formation but switched to the highly tactical 4-2-3-1 to bring […]

Arsene Wenger is a manager that has been at Arsenal long enough to know the club inside out. Down the years, he has employed a host of formations and most have been to him and the club’s benefit.

Wenger had been an ardent fan of the 4-4-2 formation but switched to the highly tactical 4-2-3-1 to bring out the best in his previous captain Cesc Fabregas and create space for the club’s midfielders because the manpower in that area of the pitch is quite much . At the start of the 2009/10 season, Fabregas became the epicenter of the formation and it yielded much fruit because he had his best season in Arsenal colors scoring 19 goals and making 19 assists.

However, Arsenal ended in another trophy-less campaign after losing the Carling Cup quarterfinal in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City, a 3-1 FA Cup loss to Stoke City, a 6-3 aggregate drubbing in the hands of Barcelona and a 3rd place finish in the Premier League.

Arsene Wenger did some activity in the summer of 2010 to bring in the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci. After employing the same 4-2-3-1 formation for the 2010/11 season, Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie were the players that set Arsenal alight in the campaign.

It also ended in disappointment as Arsenal finished the league in 4th place. The club lost in the FA Cup quarterfinal to Manchester United and was knocked out in the 1st knockout phase by Barcelona. Arsenal’s closest shot to a trophy was the Carling Cup final against Birmingham City that ended in a shock 2-1 defeat.

More transfer activity took place this summer with notable figureheads like Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy leaving for greener pastures. With Arsenal needing the quality to challenge for the Premier League as well as hunt for other trophies, Wenger waited for the last day to bring four new vastly experienced players to blend with the team.

For once, Wenger didn’t go down the ‘all youngster lane’ but at some point in the season, he bought the 18-year Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and he also got a work permit for the 19-year Ryo Miyaichi.

Arsene Wenger’s new look squad is filled up with depth and it’s strong enough to challenge for the Premier League title as well as hunt for other trophies football as a sport has to offer. Here’s my take on Arsene Wenger’s possible XI for the season ahead.

GOALKEEPER: Wojciech Szczesny

Since taking over from Fabianski in December last season, Szczesny has been phenomenal. He put his head down and has worked really hard to cement his status as Arsenal’s new number 1.

His emergence as well as Fabianski’s consistency last season has assured the Arsenal fans that the goalkeeping situation is full settled. Szczesny had two clean sheets in a row at the start of the season but he was also in goal when Arsenal were demolished by their fierce rivals Manchester United.

It must have hurt him to concede eight goals but I’m very confident that Szczesny can be the difference between 3 points and 1 point as the season progresses.

RIGHT BACK: Bacary Sagna

He was probably the most consistent performer of the 2010/11 campaign and he has already picked up where he left off at the start of the new season.

His interceptions, tackles and energy surges down the right will be absolutely vital for Arsenal this season. He also put in a lion’s share of good crosses last season and Arsenal fans will be expecting the same in this current campaign.

LEFT BACK: Andre Santos

With Gael Clichy becoming a forgotten tale at Arsenal, the media Vultures started linking Leighton Baines and Jose Enrique to the club but Wenger surprised everyone by saying that Kieran Gibbs was going to be his first choice left back for the season ahead.

Gibbs played only one game at the start of the season before doing what he was already renowned for, getting himself injured. Wenger played Sagna out of position for a couple of games but an illness paved the way for Armand Traore in Old Trafford and the Senegalese was largely disappointing.

He made a switch to Queens Park Rangers and it was evident that Arsenal needed a new left so Wenger turned to the experienced 27-year old Andre Santos from Fenerbahce. The lad has already notched up 22 caps for Brazil and fights regu;arly with Michel Bastos and Marcelo for a first team place in the Samba Boys‘ squad.

Andre Santos is a full back that’s also adept playing as a left winger and like every average Brazilian with the exception of Denilson and Lucas Leiva, he’s very skillful and he has an amazing technique.

He’s also a decent free kick taker and he has a flamboyant style of play. Just like the Brazilian legendary left back Roberto Carlos, Andre Santos can unleash a surface-to-goal torpedo from his left boot and he can also place the ball when he’s close enough to goal.

His major flaw as a player is his overzealous attacking nature and he’s not that fast enough to track back should a counter attack surface and he tends to be selfish at times because he loves dwelling on the ball but in general he can lead the line as the club’s prime left back with Gibbs as his deputy.

CENTER BACK: Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen took the Premier League by storm in his first season and did well enough to get a place in the PFA Team of the Year. His second season was blighted by an Achilles injury that kept him on the sidelines for the best part of seven months.

This season has started with a bang and was a colossus when Arsenal hosted Liverpool despite playing with the inexperienced Ignasi Miquel. Vermaelen will be vital to Arsenal this season and the fans can rely on him to put up more stellar performances.

CENTERBACK: Per Mertesacker

Following the loss of the Invincible defenders Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, Wenger has not bought any defender of great quality with the exception of Thomas Vermaelen and maybe William Gallas.

The likes of Phillippe Senderos, Mikael Silvestre and Sebastien Squillaci have been major disappointments. Wenger relied fully on Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny throughout last season but they still produced moments of uncertainty and complacency in some vital games.

Koscielny produced a horror moment in the Carling Cup final last season while Djourou was at fault for all three goals when Arsenal lost to Stoke City in May.With their recent display against Manchester United in Old Trafford, Wenger felt that it was high time to bring a player that will put them on their toes.

Per Mertesacker is almost 2 meters tall……1.98 meters to be exact. His key attributes are his height, composure, positioning and aerial ability and they’ll be vital to Arsenal this season.

He’ll also be a massive threat during set pieces for Arsenal. Arteta and van Persie can even launch the ball into orbit while playing a corner kick. When the ball lands back to Earth with fire like a meteorite, Mertesacker will still be the first player to nod the ball to the opponents’ net.


This is one player Arsenal FC can clearly brag about. A raw product of Arsenal’s impressive youth academy. Arsenal’s academy is probably the best on Earth. The only academy better than ours is in another galaxy. The Barcelona Mutant Academy.

After spending a lot of time disgracing his elders in the Reserve League, Wenger decided that it was time for him to step up his game. At the milky age of 18, he was sent to a club that has monsters like the Kevin Davies. His spell there was so impressive to the extent of Bolton begging Wenger for him to have a second spell.

Some Arsenal fans thought that a second loan spell would be in the club’s best interest but Wenger slotted him into the holding role in our impressive formation.

Jack Wilshere was outstanding last season season. His commitment to the cause could make officials do the MRI scan on him again because he does not play like the average 19-year old. It’s also warming to know that he’s the best young player in the business from the Premier League’s perspective and he’s now an integral part of the English National team.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Jack Wilshere will be ruled out for at least 2-3 months through injury.


The most shocking thing about Song is that he’s just 23. This simply means that he’ll probably rule our defensive midfield for 10 more years if he continues to work as hard as he did last year.

With the exit of all renowned defensive midfielders in Arsenal, the panic button was pressed so hard by the fans that it sprang out of the remote control. Wenger simply told the fans that everything was under control.

If Wenger had buckled under the intense pressure and opened Arsenal’s cheque book to buy a new defensive midfielder, the World could have been denied the viewing pleasure of Arsenal’s African diamond, Song.

He did his “dirty” job using a “clean” style. His key attributes are his technique, first touch, tackling, strength, work rate, stamina, anticipation and a canny eye for goal. He has ‘grown up’ to become one of the finest holding midfielders in the business.


Mikel Arteta arrives at the club as the primary replacement for Cesc Fabregas and he already has the pedigree to be capable of that.

Even if Fabregas is a better player overall, Arteta is the sort of player that can provide one moment of absolute quality. He’s also a better set piece taker than Fabregas and this will be to Arsenal’s advantage because the club has canny players that are good at winning set pieces. Arteta also has a decent passing range and his technique is second to none.


Gervais Yao Kouassi has already turned out to be an amazing signing for Arsenal and his absence due to suspension has been seriously missed by the club.

He has all the attributes of an ideal winger and he can also be a decent inside forward when he wants to be. His trickery on the ball as well as his pace have been used to great effect this season ans it’s going to be important all season long.

RIGHT WINGER: Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott has matured massively as a player and has added certain attributes to his game. He is widely regarded as a speed merchant but this season he has added goals, assists, composure and tactical dribbling to his game. He showed up with the goods this season in some games and has been very impressive at the turn of 2011.

At this point in time, he’s Arsenal’s highest goal scorer and his goals were instrumental for the Gunners in their Champions League knockout play-offs against Udinese

CENTER FORWARD: Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie should be highly regarded one of as the most lethal strikers in the business this season because he scored almost half the goals Messi and Ronaldo scored in just 5 footballing months last season.

Provided he stays fit this season, rVp will definitely surpass the 30-goal mark. That’s if he stays fit though.


Submitted by Gooner Daily


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