IS NORWICH AN EARLY WARNING FOR WENGER TO RETHINK THE PLAYING PATTERN?by Nikko
Arsenal’s fixtures, save for a self-inflicted Champions League ‘do or die’ tie with Olympiakos, up until playing Manchester City on December 21 should have been the kinder of the EPL top 5. Norwich, Sunderland and Aston Villa are all in the last quarter of the EPL standings. However, that seems not to be the case. Unfortunately things are going from bad to worse, seemly.
Injuries appear not letting up as in the match against Norwich we had to replace two players due to injury. The fearful scenario of injury on Alexis Sanchez has proven a premonition. Let’s hope it’s an Ox-Chamberlain/Walcott/Ramsey-like injury that is only short term.
To make matters worse Koscielny and Cazorla also picked up injuries during the same match. And if that’s not enough, Giroud has misplaced his shooting boots and in the last two matches Arsenal have had to rely on Sanchez-Ozil partnership to find the back of the net. Against Norwich I was kind of hopeful that this was going to be one of those days that we score five goals and catch Manchester City, but it wasn’t to be. In the end there was an argument we even survived in getting off with a point.
The prospect of another slip up against either Sunderland or Aston Villa looms large and if the unfortunate happens Arsenal will fall too far behind the leading pack in the EPL race. Maybe Norwich is an early warning that we should respond to, in order to survive a fearful December, so that come January we can seek reinforcement in the transfer window. January and after also promises to be a period where our long term casualties are expected to be returning from the sick bay, a list which includes Welbeck and Wilshere and perhaps Coquelin a bit later in February or maybe March.
I feel that since we have lost our key pairings in both attack (Sanche –Ozil) and Midfield (Coquelin-Cazorla), it is time to rethink our pattern for the time being in order to make most of what is left of our preferable first XI.
Here is how I would set up to ensure we get the goals and defensive solidity that can take through the notorious December.
Bellerin – Gabriel – Mertesacker – Monreal
Ramsey – —-Flamini – —–Campbell
188.8.131.52 Pattern with our usual four defenders with Petr Cech in goal. Flamini plays in the only defensive role this pattern allows and sits in front of the back four. Having lost Cazorla to injury for the time being, a player whose deep midfield role has been one reason we are challenging for the title, Campbell takes over on the left wing with extra defensive duties. He is a hard worker and has proven that he can be mindful to track back as much as attack. Campbell must play on the left wing until Cazorla or Sanchez return, and then he can move to deputize on the striking role.
Ramsey continues to play on the right wing where he has had lots of playing time recently. Ozil, the Assists King keeps his attacking midfield role. For the first time this season, Walcott and Giroud will be sharing the striking duties at the same time. This pattern will utilize the pace of Walcott and hold up play duties of Giroud.
Also with this Pattern, Ozil will have lots of quick moving bodies to find as both Ramsey and Campbell could overload an attack from both wings and at opportune times Monreal and Bellerin can turn up and help in attack. I think if Flamini does not get carried away and stays closer to his back four and Campbell and Ramsey utilize their perfect skills to track back, provide crosses and cut into attack when opportunity arises, we should pull through the December crisis not just unscathed, but perhaps with the necessary wins to keep us competitive.
Should Arsene Wenger re-pattern for more effectiveness and in preparation for a tough December?