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Arsenal, Pt. X: Boom-Xhaka-Laca!

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That wasn't a bad performance considering we were missing our two most important players, had some calls against us, and were playing away to Stoke in the rain.  But conceding that goal was especially frustrating because of how familiar it felt.  Acres of space between midfield and defense has become the signature of the late-era Wenger Arsenal, and it doesn't look to be any different this year.  We well get torn apart by Liverpool if we don't change our approach.

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Also, MONREAL IS NOT A CENTER BACK.  If Mertesacker is fit, he should be playing there.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Arsenal is trying to appease Ox by fitting him into the side, but the team would be best served with Kolasinac at LWB and Bellerin at RWB.

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4 hours ago, texans_uk said:

Wenger out chants will start early me feels this year. 

If one more result goes against them, there will be parts of the stadium starting it, imo.

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Early days still but I'm just not seeing where the balance in the team is going to come from. Wenger seems to be going out of his way to play as many players out of position as possible, though I guess hopefully with Koscielny coming back there we might actually get to see more centerbacks playing center back moving forward. Kolasinac being shunted inside so that we can accommodate Oxlade-Chamberlain is puzzling but it seems like something that will continue. 

Subs yesterday were horrible, taking Kolasinac off to keep Bellerin at left back was absurd, as was taking off Lacazette rather than Welbeck. 

Ramsey might as well have been playing as a center forward yesterday, the goal came about in part because there was zero cover for Xhaka when he lost the ball and it was just so, so easy for Stoke to break, such a familiar goal for us to concede. Wenger needs to find a happy medium between shackling Ramsey completely and giving him complete free rein and he used that to basically take up the positions that Lacazette was supposed to be taking. We'll be helped by having Koscielny who is able to step up and help cover defensively in midfield but we need better than just hoping others can provide last ditch defending to make the midfield structure work. 

Speaking of Lacazette, it's clear there's a lot of gelling left for him to do with the rest of the squad. Early on yesterday he was making some great runs in behind but nobody was willing to pick him out and kept opting for the shorter balls (similar to what Henry pointed out in his Sky analysis of the Leicester game). Seemed as the game went on with Ramsey and Welbeck both gravitating forward and central that Laca kept coming deeper and deeper to receive the ball. Ultimately we didn't pay 50m so that he can fill in for Ramsey as an outlet for Xhaka/Ozil recycling possession, we need him making those runs and we need our creative players to see those runs. On the bright side I think Alexis is exactly the kind of player who will look for those runs and try to pick Lacazette out, so if we do hold on to him there's some real potential in Lacazette/Alexis as a strike partnership. 

Edited by BaltimoreTerp

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I really like Ramsey as a player, and he's been one of the best performers these last two games, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that we can't accomodate him and Ozil in the team together.  Like BTerp, I'm excited to see what an Alexis-Lacazette-Ozil front 3 can do.  But I think Xhaka needs defensive cover beside him, whether that's Coquelin/Elneny/some new midfield signing (in my dreams).  I'm only interested in seeing a Xhaka-Ramsey partnership for games at home against lesser opposition.  Otherwise he should be a rotational player for Alexis or Ozil.

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12 hours ago, charger-man said:

I really like Ramsey as a player, and he's been one of the best performers these last two games, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that we can't accomodate him and Ozil in the team together.  Like BTerp, I'm excited to see what an Alexis-Lacazette-Ozil front 3 can do.  But I think Xhaka needs defensive cover beside him, whether that's Coquelin/Elneny/some new midfield signing (in my dreams).  I'm only interested in seeing a Xhaka-Ramsey partnership for games at home against lesser opposition.  Otherwise he should be a rotational player for Alexis or Ozil.

I think you are right but I doubt Wenger gives up on another of his guys. I think Ramsey is a talented player and his appearances for Wales show he certainly has the ability but as @BaltimoreTerp said he was so far forward basically the entire second half that he was in the areas that the attackers should be in. He's at his best when he has a license to roam but he can't be getting in the way of the forwards or clogging up those parts of the field. 

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5 minutes ago, texans_uk said:

This can't continue to go on like this. 

It will until 2019. Still can't believe they gave him 2 years. I don't agree with resigning him last year but you could justify a year by year deal but giving him 2 years after constant disappointment is just hilarious.

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23 minutes ago, texans_uk said:

This can't continue to go on like this. 

Kroenke doesn't care and Wenger is incapable of real self-reflection. It absolutely will continue like this. 

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3 minutes ago, BaltimoreTerp said:

Kroenke doesn't care and Wenger is incapable of real self-reflection. It absolutely will continue like this. 

Surely he cares about his bank balance. Arsenal fans need to send a message with their feet. As long as there are mugs paying 60 quid a week nothing will change. 

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9 minutes ago, texans_uk said:

Surely he cares about his bank balance. Arsenal fans need to send a message with their feet. As long as there are mugs paying 60 quid a week nothing will change. 

Reality of the Premier League now is that they're all swimming in so much money that you're never going to get the critical mass needed to trigger that change. Everyone already knows Wenger is finished, the fans made lots of noise last season and were just mocked for it and Wenger got his extension by quoting philosophy and getting a placebo bounce from his first tactical change in years. Season ticket holders can cancel and there will always be a tourist to take his place (I literally went to my first Arsenal game last spring because of this). It will get a lot worse before it ever gets better. 

Edited by BaltimoreTerp
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This is only the third game and already the environment is this toxic....

BTerp is right, there's nothing the fans can do at this point.  The anger from last season that could've led to change has been ignored and now will turn to apathy.  But absentee Kroenke doesn't care because the money will keep rolling in.  I just can't believe how much Wenger continues to tarnish his legacy by staying on like this.

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11 hours ago, charger-man said:

 I just can't believe how much Wenger continues to tarnish his legacy by staying on like this.

This gets me too. His pride is getting in the way of his dignity. He's the most successful Arsenal manager in history and there's a real threat he will leave with under a huge cloud. 

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