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Welcome to your world of sport, welcome to eGO

This is why I do not expect to see many changes tonight. I’ve read a few predicted line ups and there seems to be an urge to see the likes of Lucas Perez, Kieran Gibbs and the like and I understand the yearning to want to see something different, something new especially in the case of Lucas Perez but I get the feeling that Arsene feels he has something now. Our last two performances in the league will have Arsene giddy like a kid and he will want this group of players to continue to grow their relationships on the pitch. Plus of course the season is only a few weeks old, we haven’t really entered into two game a week territory just yet.

The only real question mark I reckon will be that of Granit Xhaka, not because of his thunderbolt shooting but as Clive said on this weeks Arsenal Vision podcast (have a listen if you haven’t already) without Giroud starting (I’d imagine) we lack height from set pieces and power in the middle of the pitch. They have Matic, Cahill, Luiz, Costa and Ivanovic. That could be a little worrying for Arsene Wenger from corners or free kicks around the box, especially as our centre backs are not exactly the tallest in the world. Xhaka would bump up the average number a little

It is pretty easy second guessing the team for the most part. Gabriel should start his first game since his injury during pre season. He couldn’t have timed his return better could he? You cannot expect Gabriel to be perfect tonight given the lack of football under his Brazilian belt but it’s important he changes the direction of his Arsenal career, after a positive start his performance levels have started to deteriorate a little. He was given a chance to oust Per Mertesacker from the starting eleven but mistakes kept creeping into his game and those mistakes were often costly to the team. Since last season Arsene has added a very promising young centre back in Rob Holding and has also spent big money on Mustafi so Gabby really has his work cut out

 

n short, he is still adjusting, it’s about partnerships so I wonder who suits him the most and also that he sees Xhaka as a box to box player. Now I am no manager and I’m one of those weird blokes who actually thinks the Arsenal manager has a better grasp of the game than I do but I really don’t see Xhaka in any other position than deep midfield, sitting distributing and making tackles. So if Xhaka is starting in the midfield, who is the best partner for him given that Arsene apparently wants him to play as a number 8 or maybe that is further down the line

Grant Xhaka has been in and out of the side and if you look carefully, he was rarely included in our strongest teams during the pre season while Francis Coquelin has consistently been in the team, playing alongside various partners. Now is this because Xhaka lacks fitness? has not adjusted to the speed of our game? or some other reason. It certainly cannot be anything to do with the Euros as players who progressed further are already starting regular games (Ozil and Koscileny)

Southampton have been dealing with a few teething problems this season. They have a new manager, have sold a couple of their best players including one of John Cross’ favourites Victor Wanyama. They have also switched to a diamond shape which has taken some getting used to. That being the case, I wonder if we will look to exploit the flanks a little bit. If Kieran Gibbs comes in for Nacho Monreal for example then you would have to assume that Arsene is very much setting his team up for the opposition. With the Saints midfield likely to be quite narrow, you would imagine that our full backs will be more able to saunter up the pitch and provide our width for the afternoon a little more than usual.

You know what I am excited about? Watching Mesut Özil and Granit Xhaka combine for the first time. If ever a deep lying midfielder and number 10 were suited, it was these two guys. Xhaka is great at finding his team mates between the lines in advanced positions while Özil is the master of finding spaces in between the lines

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more