“4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1? What do you think, Jim?”
Did you watch the England game last night? I didn’t. I was tempted to sit through it purely to watch Jack Wilshere like a hawk and wince every time a psychotic , bulky Ukrainian went within close proximity of him. I chose against doing such a thing and instead watched Iron Man 3.
With glorious, delicious, beautiful football of note returning at the weekend, and Gooners drooling uncontrollably over Mesut Ozil, I thought I’d share with you all what I consider our strongest 11 should everyone be fit.
I’ve hardly seen Emiliano Viviano play, but Italian keepers come with some pedigree – Massimo Taibi aside. Given his recent excellent performances, Szczsney would be the No.1 at Arsenal for me, although I hope our Italian friend breathes down his neck for the position as much as possible. I’ll try to ignore the fact he looks terrifyingly like Manuel Almunia. Fabianksi can be placed into a glass box that reads, “open only in the event of absolute necessity”
Thomas Vermaelen is back in training, and within a few weeks should be match fit and available. The question is; would you break up the Mertesacker-Koscielny partnership to accommodate our Club captain? As far as I’m concerned, no. Since Thomas was injured, our back 4 has looked solid, and ‘Merterscielny’ are a duo that compliment each other perfectly. One has speed and tenacity, the other has a calmness and intelligence. They work too well to separate, and I’ve long stated I don’t think Vermaelen and Koscielny is a pairing that works.
Sagna is the obvious choice at right full-back. Gibbs and Monreal are fairly evenly matched, and I’m not at all concerned which of them starts as they are both very good players. On current form, Gibbs would get the nod.
Here’s where the selection headaches present themselves. Assuming everyone’s fit, and Jesus has miraculously replaced Abou Diaby’s glass skeleton with one that actually heals from time to time, we have plenty of options to fill the 3 central positions.
We all know Mesut Ozil will occupy the main attacking role supporting our offensive 3. The real debate comes in regarding which players will operate directly behind him. This is where I think we need Matheiu Flamini. He gives us something that’s long been missing in our midfield; aggresion. He may not be the giant marauding DM we all cried out for, but he is not to be f**ked with. Remember the fixture at The Emirates against Fenerbahce when their players decided to kick Jack across the pitch for the last 30 minutes? Imagine that situation with Flamini in the side. Would they have gotten away with it? I doubt it. Someone would be hospitalised and missing a leg.
Add to that the positional discipline and maturity he’s picked up from his time at Milan, and he’s a starter for me. Alongside him is a tough choice. Jack hasn’t been at his best, but perhaps he’d be a little more free to express himself with Flamini alongside him taking care of the dirty work. Aaron Ramsey has shown some exceptional form thus far, and I can’t really come up with a case for dropping him. Both players would shine if you took the bulk of the defensive responsibility from their shoulders. For reasons I can’t really explain, I think I’d go with Jack. Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey and Diaby would make for very good options from reserve.
Giroud as the main focal point is a no-brainer. In fact, it’s really the only choice. Yaya Sanogo is going to need a bit of time to adapt, and I’d sooner we dug up Hitler and placed his corpse in the opponents penalty box than see Bendtner lolloping around up front.
Either side of big Olivier I’d go for Theo and Santi. Some think Santi will lose the ability to create if placed on the left, but I disagree. I think the potential for him and Ozil to interchange will cause all kinds of problems for teams trying to mark them. Theo’s pace and finishing from the right should see a few more goals for him with the service he’ll be getting. Again, The Ox and Podolski make for excellent options when it’s time to rotate.
So, I’d go with this line-uop:
Arsenal’s best starting XI?
That’s just my preferences, folks. Who would you select given a full squad from which to choose? The comments are below, and they are eagerly awaiting your thoughts and line-ups. Let me know a few.
I shall return tomorrow with more. As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.