How to solve the Arsenal midfield problem?

The problem with the attacking midfield in my opinion is not the Arteta-Wilshere axis but the other forward midfield players. When Diaby was having his little surge, hopefully soon to return in reduced games, it was not just his defensive qualities but the fact he went beyond the main strikers on surging runs that made Arsenal so dangerous.

None of our midfield players go beyond the main strikers, to stretch the opponents defence. We play little balls in between defenders for the forwards, especially Walcott, to run on to. In the past we had Pires and Freddy bursting through from midfield and the full backs raiding in their wide positions, sometimes with Thierry Henry wide as well.

Now our players are very static, position wise. This is so we do not leak goals without the defensive cover of someone like Petit and Viera. The problem is that we are too predictable for other teams to defend against.

My conclusion is that yes, Arteta and Wilshere are not the correct players to play where they are, but Wenger has to get these players into the team. Ideally Wilshere would be playing where Cazorla plays, especially as Cazorla has hit the wall, and Arteta would have Diaby with him. We really need another Viera, any suggestions who…?

Jon Gardner.

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54 thoughts on “How to solve the Arsenal midfield problem?

  1. Noldo

    I loved Wenger….he brought so much joy to this club….but sadly that has changed…honestly I hope he can turn it all around…if he can’t by the end of the season….GET PEP!!!

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  2. Kjacko

    The ‘Viera Role’ is what is truly missing from Arsenal, and has been for a few years.

    Surely wenger can see this, he put all his eggs in one Basket(Diaby) and it backfired – now he is to stubborn to admit defeat and invest in a new player.

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  3. D

    Strootman or Capoue either of them would bring strength and stability to the midfield as well as a disciplined DM who would stick to their job but to be honest doesnt matter what we think we are gonna end up with no one we have ever heard of and he will come good in 5 years then leave. I have all the time in the world for Wenger but it is getting hard to stand by his transfer policy when we seem to be missing out on so many players like Holtby and Ba. I don’t care about Ba but Holtby is a tough pill to swallow and if we miss out on someone like Belhanda to the Spuds too well i think this may be our worst season for a long time. COYG

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  4. Neo

    Sign Capoue and play Rosicky in CAM over Cazorla we still could go in for Keisuke Honda Freekick Goals we need someone closer to Cesc also he can play Box to Box and Deeplying playmaker just like Song could.

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  5. PatLloyd

    why do some of you idiots think Fellaini is a CDM! Just because hes big doesnt mean thats where he playes, he’s an attacking midfielder, NOT what we need

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  6. PatLloyd

    CESC FABREGAS- i know most of you will laugh that suggestion off, but he isnt as happy at barca as he was here, just compare how he celebrated for us (when fu**ing mental) and how he does for Barca

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  7. Super kurt

    Fellaini or Wanyama would fill the void vieira left, in fellaini u have the more expensive option but he’s already has the prem experience and would hit the ground runnin, Wanyama is a cheaper option at 21 and but he is a physical specimen and u can put ur house on the fact that Wanyama will go to one of the big clubs we should act fast,
    Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen. Gibbs
    Wanyama Fellaini

    And I think we still need to sort upfront but that’s for a diff day

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  8. londongunner

    have to say brilliant article!!

    your right on the money here!!

    We are very static and very very predicatabley boring!!

    and it always annoys me how thers only one guy in the box! and thats giroud or walcot!!

    we need that dynasim surging runs! was watching old videos of dennis bergkamp! he was the striker yet often set up midfielders running into the box with little flicks and throughballs we need to be predators again!!

    its like we have mental or creative block when we attack, like lets side pass it till eventually sagna delivers and awful cross

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  9. Super kurt

    Fellaini only played attacking midfield this yr he’s been doin great a DM for years so you sayin he’s not a DM he is not an AM either he is a versatile midfielder who can play anywhere in the middle

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  10. Gunned

    Suggesting any player for any role is ridiculous coz wenger doesnt even bother wht we want or whether it is right or wrong. So, jst like an idiot statue we wll hve to luk wht wenger does whether it is right or wrong we cant do anything but the london fans can do by raising their voice against dis f**king idiotic board nd the f**king ba*tard wenger.
    Just need an Evolution of glory days

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  11. will share

    Arsenal needs a player that can run with the ball torwards opposition…oh diaby did that so well vermalean also can too but he can’t do it freely cause he is at centreback put him as DMF and there we have our DM now buy a CB wenger please

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  12. adam

    We aren’t going to sign anybody in this window and it will result in us be kicked out the top 4. Even the spuds show more ambition. Why don’t we play like this against city on sunday: Szczesny

    Jenkinson mertesacker koscielny gibbs

    arteta vermaelen


    chamberlain cazorla


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  13. artillery1

    Arsenal have good squad, WEnger will not spend a penny!

    Oke Wenger dont buy, but plz Play player on Proper Position, plz!

    Ramsey on Wings!!!

    Ox Rosicky On Bench!

    plz b a man!

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  14. Briano

    Just sign M’Vila or Diame!!!The are strong players that we need but Wenger thinks very player should be a low gravity skillful player!!!Theres more to football then that!!!

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  15. KING

    gerv the headless chicken is confident of scoring the winner for cote d’ivoire to win the afcon……keep dreaming nut.

    meanwhile szczesny has iterate his desire of being a gooner. hope the board don’t destroy players like him and jack by fielding them in a team consisting of players like squid, gerv, etc…

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  16. artillery1

    Wenger Dont waste Giroud, let in ROSICKY, he is only 1 who provides Decent services!

    League 1 top scorer is not average player n he has shown it!
    All Alone , creating chances for others n him self!

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  17. Individyouall

    Wilshere is actually great at driving the ball forwards but he’s not playing in the right position. As is Rosicky, but he’s not even getting playing time at the moment. That was a hugely underrated part of Song’s game as well. Whilst I rate Arteta, his desire to collect the ball from the centre backs and springboard an attacking movement just isn’t the same. I don’t feel that desire is present in Cazorla either. He drifts out of games and becomes isolated far too often for my liking.

    Whilst I agree with Wenger that Fellaini can be “unplayable” at times as an attacking midfielder and his aggression and strength are what Arsenal need at the moment, they don’t need someone in that position.

    For me, Wanayama or McCarthy would be good options to fill the void left by Song. Even M’Villa, but I admit I know nothing about him apart from what I’ve read. Such a signing would leave the following players fighting for the following positions:

    Anchor Man: Wanayama/McCarthy/M’Villa – Arteta – Coquelin
    Box to Box: Diaby – Arteta – Wilshere – Ramsay
    Playmaker: Wilshere – Cazorla – Rosicky

    Freeing up Cazorla from having to play every game as the Playmaker could mean that he could be used on the wings sometime, which could be useful for defensive teams that need unpicking rather than offensive teams liable on the counter attack. Plus of course, that could give Podolski a few more chances up front.

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  18. S.H


    You obviously don’t know much about Fellaini. He has always been a DM, but Moyes has shifted him further up the park this year. Good move. Learn some boy!

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  19. YK

    Diaby is back, but for how long? I don’t know? We better shop for a backup!

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  20. sansabonsam

    Buying new and overpriced star is not the only solution……wenger needs to use some of the young talent in the team…….even he could play Andre Santos at holding midfielder……..there is enough talent within the team…….wenger needs to use the hungrier ones……not the usual complacent players……

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  21. Greg

    Play rosicky more to add steel and sign capoue and mbiwa for extra cover!

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  22. true goon

    Cazorla has hit the wall? When was that?Cazorla’s more creative than jack.You’ve been watching too much Gary Neville.they work well together,jack just come back and is developing his game,i can see him getting more goals in the future.
    The real debate is the balance in the midfield between defence an attack,its not right.Alot of teams play with 2 holding midfielders and 1 attacking midfielder who plays behind the striker like stoke,which is a bit to defensive for Arsenal.Other teams like Chelsea have 1 DM mikel and a box 2 box midfelder like Ramires(a player Arsenal would die 4)aswell as an AM(mata),i believe this is the right balance,so what we need is a true DM in Artetas position,then Jack needs to progress into a full box to box midfielder.Because as it stands we have 3 creative midfielders in midfield,no ball winners, unbalanced.

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  23. gooneray

    I agree totally with a system change for sure I would go 41212
    Sagna/ kos/ Verm Gibbs
    Jenkinson Mertasaker

    M’villa or top DM/

    Arteta/ Whilshire/
    Diaby Rosicky/


    Walcott/ Giroud/
    Gerviho Podolski

    WE are not that bad with cover from defensive midfielder accross the back for and our full backs bombing forward { they do now but with no cover) leaving us bare at the back. With a couple of additions this tean would be such a force with speed and power going forward and much tighter at the back

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  24. Rory

    here is a suggestion which im sure wenger must have thought of to experiment, not for city, too risky, but if we get through fa cup to play brighton.

    Then we have Giroud, Rosicky and Chamberlain for subs. that’s a class line up! hope it would work, having podolski and cazorla cutting in on their stromger side :)

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  25. true goon


    Ba’s a bigger loss than Holtby.Ba already plays in the Epl and scores goals for fun,this is very hard to come ny as we are starving for strikers.
    Holtby on the otherhand is a promising player but we on’t really need an AM,We have Cazorla,Rosicky, and Eisfeld(i’m not counting Ramsey),Holtby would have been a welcome addition,but not essential right now,but a striker is.We all know Arsenal don’t stockpile players,if we bought him it would mean another more essential postiion would be sacrificed

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  26. Juggie

    Sneijder will be a great boost for attacking option. If Galatasaray can try to sign Sneijder, why not Arsenal?

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  27. tobi

    All we need is confidence in this team. I think they all lack confidence except for Jack and Arteta..they all start panicking when they concede. Vermonator who is supposed to be the leader has also lost his steel since he became the captain. We need one 6ft skilful box to box midfielder like Etiene Capoue to replace Diaby bcos he’s injury prone. As for Wingers? Bring Gnabry and Ryo..Let them start from bench. I heard some people say these guys are faster than Theo himself so since Theo will be playing from the middle henceforth, let these guys come up.

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  28. Uche

    Two words. GET DIAME! Another two words. PLAY ROSICKY. These two players make surging runs, are unpredictable and can be seen all over the pitch hassling the opponent wherever the action is. Diame is big, strong, scary and good on the ball. He is the next yaya toure and needs a big coach in a big club to really get him the attention his performances deserve. His buy out clause is only 3.5 mil. Arsenal makes me sick.

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  29. Dom

    Felliani could be an option, however he isn’t one of those players who surges through with the ball at their feet. Moussa sissoko could be an option as he is very versitile and loves to surge forward and would be cheap at the reported £6 million fee due to his contract running out soon.
    The best option in my opinion is Strootman, his powerful and skilful surges through defences are something to admire. He can play the holding midfield role very well and burst forward in the break or when there is an opportunity. However I think Strootman does need to have some more coaching to be fully effective. Van Gaal seems to of been able to get the best out of Strootman with Van Der Vaart by his side. Strootman with Wilshire or Arteta would be a perfect partnership.

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  30. Gavin

    Fellaini would’ve been the prefect buy this summer, but they wanted to give coqulin a try. They said they were happy with the squad, which we believed. Then they sold robin and Alex and never replaced them. Seems all year that’s what was missing, a 2nd striker and a stout def midfielder. I’d like to see paulinho or howedes brought in from schalke, move TV to CDM And buy a striker. Villa, negredo, Lopez, doumbia, remy, negredo, lukaku, Wilfred bony, anybody? We need a striker, any of those or anyone else, just not gervinho. The squad looks more outdated than it did 2 years ago. Should’ve bought cavani a year ago

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  31. T2T

    The difference:
    Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole
    Ljungberg, Vieira, Gilberto, Pires
    Bergkamp, Henry

    Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
    Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere
    Walcott, Giroud, Podolski

    First of all; how many of the current team would replace any of the team 10 years ago?
    Second, they play differently. Try playing – this includes the players having different roles as well.

    Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
    Cazorla, Arteta,, Wilshere, Podolski
    Walcott, Giroud

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  32. Ayo

    A good Defensive Midfielder will bring balance to the team.The midfield is not balance @all. Mr wenger Pls buy us a good DM, a goal keeper and a striker. Please Mr Wenger

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  33. dude

    If it was up to mr bean idiot wenger , he would have 11 ramseys playing

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  34. Andrew

    The current Arsenal team are too soft. The defense intimidates nobody. They are frail and undersized. How many times does Koscielny or Gibbs or Sagna get knocked down during a challenge? Answer: frequently. As for Mertesacker, how is it that Arsenal got the only pacifist German on defense? Whatever happened to the days when Tony Adams and Martin Keown earned the respect of the opposing team? Steel has been replaced with butter.

    Remember when Arsenal used to win things? Vieira ruling the midfield with solid, tough defenders behind him. Now look at todays’ Gunners. Tiny delicate (except Wilshere) midfielders in front of skinny passive defenders.
    Does anybody wonder where the trophies went?

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  35. RASD KY

    I guess the solution is pretty simple play either Bosscielny or Verminator as a DM buy a powerful CB like Sol Campbel.

    Never start a game with Ramsey or Gervinho.

    Push Carzola to the wings and play Rosicky.

    Our Ex gunner Kyle Bartley did not too bad on proving his worth as a CB when he recently played against us but there are super candidates out there for CB we can consider trying our luck again on Jagielka.

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  36. RASD KY

    Its worthy noting that with our current trend and Le Prof still on the helm, it won’t be a big surprise if we have the following as our starting line up soonest.

    Djourou Squilacci Mertserker Santos
    Gervinho Denilson Ramsey Park
    Chamakh Bendtner

    After all they still are all Arsenal players. In fact all are first team players.

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  37. gooneray

    @true goon The width comes from the full backs who spend most of their time next to podolski and ox at the moment so they get in the way of each other and we end up with no one in the middle so the crosses are aimless. Also the Arteta, diaby, wiltshire etc combination will look for the in pass and get more involved in the game. At the moment our two CB’s get more touches of the ball in game play than our CM. In this system there would be more width and more cover for defence

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  38. Charlie

    I honestly believe if we are going to stand a chance of competing again we need to spend big.
    Goalkeeper Butland
    Centre Back Yanga Mbiwa(can play DM too)
    Left Back Luke Shaw (looks very promising)
    Defensive Midfielder M’vila (cheap) Capoue/ Strootman any of these 3 players I’d prefer M’vila out of all of them personally
    Midfielder Felliani Isco
    Striker Lewandowski

    This will cost a lot of money but it is something we have to do or we are going to keep slipping away and out of touch with the manchester clubs. I feel all of them players will add something we really need. We have to spend money the quicker the better

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  39. Charlie

    I watched the preimier league seasons yesterday. The unbeaten 2003/2004 honestly it was shocking how much we have degressed it was a joy to watch us we were solid we had leaders the vieras the campbells.

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  40. true goon


    Gibbs and Sagna are only able to get into those positions bcoz of interplay with Ox and Podolski i.e Ovcrlaps.if they were removed it would leave the team stretched out there.

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  41. stefan

    I think M’vila, Cazorla will be fit in that position, that is not the only problem with Arsenal. Strong central defender and good goal keeper is needed, Mertesacker is a bit slow at that position. With Mbiwa, M’vila and Shaw, Asenal can be better on 4 3 3,If Wenger want to spend to get best Arsenal back on track. Good Luck Guys!

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