Arsenal’s team selection was completely wrong in Zagreb

It was a disastrous night for Arsenal as they gifted Dinamo Zagreb their first Champions League win this century. Wenger made many changes and he admitted that perhaps he did not get the balance right in the side. To be fair, only Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs and Arteta were starters that were lacking in match fitness in the side, but it is very dangerous to completely change a defence that had managed three clean sheets in a row.

Le Prof said after the 2-1 defeat: “You know that when you don’t win the game you have to look at yourself and think, ‘I didn’t get it right’. I personally don’t believe that the players who came in had a bad game. It just didn’t work. We know we have to do that again. We were maybe a bit unlucky and maybe lacked cohesion or some competition in some situations. I have to analyse that. It’s very difficult to give you a definite answer straight after the game.”

It was also strange to rest Petr Cech, who has more experience of winning Champions League games than any other player in the squad, but Wenger thought he needed a rest. He said: “Ospina is a very, very good goalkeeper and he has shown that again tonight. Cech has not played a full season so I am trying to give him some rest mentally because for goalkeepers it’s the same as outfield players.”

I would have to disagree with that statement, especially as Cech hardly touched the ball against Stoke at the weekend, and I do believe that the Czech interational would have stopped the first goal instead of allowing the ball to rebound back into play.

In my view Wenger definitely got the team selection wrong. He would have been better to keep the whole of the defensive line-up, including Coquelin, and rotate more of the outfield players ahead of the Chelsea game. If we were set up to not concede then it is highly unlikely we would have lost the game, with ten men or not…

Tags Cech Debuchy Gibbs ospina


    1. Greg this was your post when the line up was announced “Its a good effective line up! Can live with this!”. So tell me what has changed between 1900 hours when you made this post and now? You realize its very easy to say what should have happened postfacto?

      1. Honestly, I respect you for having the patience to search for their post. I wouldn’t bother myself. It will serve no purpose, they will never learn. They know football, why shouldn’t they be allowed to change their stance after the game? It shows you what supporters lurk around here.

    2. Ferdinand said this of Özil about his lack of almost everything as a player (except passing which I think every player does)
      I think that comes from the manager and the other players. If you see a player at Liverpool Stevie [Steven Gerrard] losing the ball with no intention to cover back there is no way he is coming back to the changing room without an ear bashing,
      The 26-year-old playmaker did not however, track back against Zagreb and completed no tackles, interceptions or blocks against the Croatian giants.

      1. Principal of rotation was right but execution wrong……HOWEVER I believe that too many players were well below par. It was somewhat worrying to see how slow Arteta is getting, how much weaker in the tackle than Le Coq is and how he misplaced several passes (dangerously) when under pressure. Was this rustiness, or is time really catching up with him? Ditto Gibbsy he’s better than this.

        We did have a dodgy ref and I can’t help but think that Giroud shouting his mouth off made it ‘personal’ and the guy consequently over reacted to the foul and off he went. Although they threatened, their goal was also very fortunate.

        Long way to go in this comp but like some others Saturday is more important.

  1. I was fine with Ospina. Ospina is an excellent GK

    My big problem was Arteta.
    Arteta should have played against Spurs in League Cup but not CL.
    Coquelin should have played last night.

    Walcott should have started either up front or on the right.

    I think Gibbs, Debuchy, Arteta should have all played in our League Cup match and we should have had a full squad for both last night and Chelsea

    The Spurs League Cup match should have been used to give some of our starters a rest

    1. Fred Cowardly here is what you said when the line up was announced: “I’m happy with this lineup

      Ox on the right
      Ozil in centre
      Alexis on left
      Absolutely perfect

      Giroud should do fine but Walcott will be on bench just in case
      Arteta should do fine but Coquelin on bench.

      Walcott, Ramsey, Coquelin, Bellerin, monreal should all have enough rest for Chelsea

      Very happy

      Compared the comments you made at 1909 hours yesterday and now. Tell us why you are flip flopping. Before the match you thought the line up was good, post match you are saying something completely different. How do you expect people to take you seriously when you behave like a loose leaf that is carried in whatever direction the wind takes it?

      1. By the way I did not post some of your comments that would have caused you heart attack. My point here is that it is not easy to predict ex ante what will happen. That team was good enough to win the game. The opening minutes proved that. A combination of factors took the game away from us. That is expected in any game, otherwise supporters of weaker teams would not even bother attending matches.

        What I find unacceptable is this over criticism and analysis that is done by people with no iota of football management. To make matters worse they try to magnify peripheral issues to make their arguments sound. One of such magnification of arguments relates to why Cech was not selected and why Arteta played. These players had no direct role in goals conceded, either in the build up or at the critical moments. These are just but stereotype arguments regurgitated to target and vilify certain players. I cannot wait to watch the PL Fanzone where this garbage will be repeated without end.

        The whole team did not click in that match lets leave it at that and focus on the Chelsea game. It was good in a way that Chelsea got a positive result, therefore the law of averages will not work against Arsenal.

        1. Half a team changed for a UCL game is a bad plan. And you can see m comments before the game…i said i suspected Wenger was mentally in the Chelsea game.

          1. This was not directed at you. You might have been vindicated by the results, but to tell you the truth most fans who made comments in the build up to this game wanted key players to be rested. Some even wanted Jef to be in the starting line up although he is injured. I also wanted key players to be rested but hey things did not turn out the way I and others thought they would, that happens. What is wrong is to make an about turn on your earlier thoughts simply because results did not turn out as expected.

            1. I know analyzer, no harm done and I didnt take as if it was directed at me.
              Just took the opportunity to comment.
              And in that sense you have a fair point.

        2. Well executed mr judge analyzer ?
          well… ain’t you going to hang him?
          At least pass sentence,
          If you do the crime, you do the time.. right?
          Just kidding matey ?

          I think we have all been Sentenced to a decade of misery under the deluded one!

          I Agree with the admins post,
          Wenger should have kept with the same back line including Coquelin.

        3. Good post. While I have no problem with resting Coq, Arteta was a huge factor in the loss. He doesn’t win the ball back like Coq and he slowed down play when we had possession. The pace of the game changed completely when Coq came on.

      2. Very sad that you feel the need spend time to search previous posts, copy and paste my comment to attack me

        I admit I was wrong. I had too much faith in our players and I was wrong.
        I’m not a football pundit or specialist
        I’m a human being and make mistakes
        I’m just a friendly Arsenal fan who is willing to admitt mistakes and have dialogue with fellow Arsenal fans

        Please calm down and get a life please.

        At the end of the day, we all (perhaps except you) want Arsenal to win and win trophies. We should be more of a family that has constructive arguments instead of attacking each other.


        1. Why, because it is exposing you? If this blog would have had a proper search I could show how people change their stance after the game. But then again, why care? You have sight on someone to bash, why not leting you do it?

          1. Again, I’m always try my best to be respectful
            I never use “bashing” language.

            You agree with him because you hate people who don’t agree with you. That is your problem. I’ve paid close attention to your posts and you have a very angry and impolite attitude

            You attack anyone who criticised Wenger or Giroud or yourself.

            I on the other hand have humility and will gladly apologize or admitt when I’m wrong

            I would suggest that you look at yourself and change your attitude and manners first before you bash and attack others.

            1. I actually like people not agreeing with me. That’s because it makes me wonder if what I believe is correct or not. You should do the same.

        2. My problem with you is your lack of consistency in reasoning. Your post here does not even show that you had belief in the line up to start with. You put the impression that the line up was a disaster bar Ospina that is why I had to dig up your ex ante comments. If you had faith in the players and so was Aserne and everyone else including me. What I cannot tolerate is this propensity to bash the managers, players, and club management when results do not go our way.

          I am not even angry but looking forward to the Chelsea game.

          1. Again. It’s just not reasoning. Football is also Using your heart. I wanted us to win soooooo badly and prefer not to attack Wenger’s team selection before the match as I want it to work out.

            I said that I thought that the team selection was good enough to win.

            Again, I was wrong

            Am I the only person to have faulty “reasoning” or be wrong.

            I’m not sure why you picked me out in particular to attack when there were others who were happy with the lineup and changed minds afterwards

            If it makes you feel better I apologize to you and everyone for thinking with my heart

            anyway, this has really upset me and I’m going to take a break from this site for a while.

            Again, I’m sorry if I did anything wrong 🙁

  2. Thats what happens when you underestimate opposition…If this was Bayern and even with Chelsea game ahead, Wenger shouldn’t have picked that squad.
    Rotation is good but not by so many and not in your 1st CL game where you need points on the board 1st then rotate when u qualified in final group games..

    1. i disagree bro.
      chelsea early kick off 3 days later- flight back from croatia- we needed to rotate.
      he got few things wrong but it happens

      saturday is much bigger for us

      1. and if we loose Chelsea that would mean loosing 2 cause you tried hard to win 1 only…But you do have a point with the early kick off and flight, esp since Chelsea had a home game yday too….But our players need to learn to come to terms with playing after few days esp since its just the start of the season…Ozil,Carzola,Kos and Gabs might be picked on Sat – what about their rest time…

      2. I agree we needed to rotate Muff, but man he did make like half the team changes.
        You cant put two let alone half the team in UCL to play together, when they havent even played at all (Debuchy , Gibbs, Arteta…even Ospina, havent played in a considerable time)

  3. I was worried about the DM position this summer and was hoping Wenger would get Kondogbia, Schneiderlin, Krychowiak etc

    However, last night made me worry even more. I know it’s just one match, but Arteta looked absolutely terrible.

    If Coquelin has a long term injury, God Help us.

  4. Ospina
    Bellarine Gabi Kos Gibbs
    Coq Ramsey
    Ox Ozil Theo
    I know its a bit of a risk starting both OG and Theo at the same time at the moment due to options at ST but I feel they both need some play time to get back there grove and Sanchez needs some rest. Sanchez should have come on at a later stage depending on how the game was going.

    Santi should have been rested too and Arteta and Debuchy start in the game against Spurs.

    1. The only two problems I have with your lineup is dropping Alexis and Cazorla

      Overall Cazorla has played better than Ramsey since the start of the season. It made sense to start Cazorla. He may not have played great last night but hindsight is 20/20 vision.

      Alexis is our best LW and even when he isn’t scoring he plays very well. Alexis played well last night like he has been in our other matches this season. Alexis is WC.

      Otherwise, I agree with your lineup

      1. Noted mate.

        My proposal to drop both Santi and Sanchez was not based on form or there performance but rather to give them some rest and have them ready for Chelsea. God forbid had Sanchez gotten injured with our upcoming games it would be a disaster. Sanchez was rushed back plus he always plays an intensive full blooded game and Santi is a key player in his 30’s, a breather once in a while would be good and I think Ramsey would have done the job too.

  5. The team was not bad, Arsene Wenger Is, and has been all summer. We can’t get better with Arsene Wenger Wenger as d manager. We will win one to two games, but will never be a force. arsene can’t motivate the team. There’s no competition for places. When players make mistakes Or cost us games, U don’t see them feel d pain or react to show remorse. We need a change, we are a top club. Arsenal isn’t Spurs, Everton, Liverpool or even Manmohan Utd. We are Arsenal, we are a top top team. And we should play like one. Wenger Out!!!!!!

  6. totally agree sih this article.
    He messed it up.
    I am no manager but ffs to change 6 players!!?? this is UCL u know…teams get ere because they deserved not because they were handpicked…!!!

    He gambled in a stupid and disrespectful manner. He total underestimated Dynamo, and that can be from a rookie but him man….totally disappointed.

    He put all the eggs in the Chelsea game basket and totally ignored this one.

    I did say it here…i was seeing too much on Chelsea like if we had won this one already and he proved me right with that team selection…damn.

    I hope he wasnt trying to prove right his attitude in the ransfer market and i really hope it was just that he underestimated Dynamo!

    1. bro think about it like this..if giroud had been sent off- would we have lost?
      fine margins bro.
      u must have noticed the way the ref was going on…i swear ive not seen someone act so unprofessional in a while, slowed our game down , time an time again

      1. Fair point and granted.
        But still, it was a bad plan and bad plans have influence on the good side of things. I am sure Girouds frustration came from the unfair bashing and the non stability felt by those changes.
        Also…Gibbsy and Debuchy…Arteta. Again, i see and agree with your pint but that was too many changes in a lineup for a UCL game

    1. i respect the fact wenger rotated- im in agreemnet that we were right to focus more on chelsea game…an yes execution was wrong…it happens

      im perplexed as to why everyone is going so mad, this competition is nothing to us anyway but a money spinning brand profile project

      the league is where its at for us!

  7. We actually missed Bellerin and Ramsey in yesterdays game. OX is good but He must learn what to do and what not to do when tracking back. Its not a coincidence that He either score an own goal or gives away the ball in deadly areas in the middle of the pack. Anyway, lets focus on Chelsea’s game now…..At this stage, i will be happy with a draw against Chelsea. I JUST DON’T WANNA LOSE…..

  8. can anyone tell me whats happened to gibbs?
    he was englands new left back at one point

    monreal and coquelin- to be wrapped in honey infused cotton wool

    1. lack of game time…He should’ve been give game time at the Stoke game (i did suggest this before that game, Analyzer), rather than being throw in directly into and away CL game…

  9. It was also strange to rest Petr Cech, who has more experience of winning Champions League games than any other player in the squad, but Wenger thought he needed a rest.

    I think starting Ospina was a good call. It wasn’t Ospina who made us lose the game – we’ve won several games with him anyway. Ospina was one of the top goalies in the EPL last season, and it’s important we give him a few games here and there to maintain his sharpness should Cech get injured/lose form/get suspended.

    1. I enjoyed watching Ospina again and I dont blame him for either goal, I think he helped stop it from being worse.

      It made me laugh when he came out the box to defend and beath the opposition to the ball, he even had the calm mind to pass it afterwards instead of just kicking it up the field.

      I feel lucky that we have both Ospina AND Cech, 2 great goalkeepers ^.^

    2. Those who say why Ospina and not Chech are brainless AKB’s trying to divert the attention from the real Arsenal problem which is Wenger. Striker and DMF was raised by fans pundits and all who know Football but this mad man ignored all of that refused to do any transaction except Chec, and as a matter of fact his ballance sheet was plus, meaning he used transfer window to increase the profit for the greedy owners. Arsenal football club, fans , games all did not matter to him. Profit, profit and Profit because is now AFC ( Arsenal Financial Corp).
      This guy is the enemy of Arsenal and he must be kicked out of the club by force. He is not going to leave on his own, he is making 8 Mper year! Wenger Out.

  10. When I commented that Wenger is more of a father figure at The Arsenal and no longer a tactician, some guys were prepared to jump on my neck. I hope you are beginning to comprehend what I’m trying to convey. The man did a horrible job in selecting and organising his troops last night. If we go to struggling Chelsea and lose again, then more serious questions need to be asked of Wenger. For me, he’s now well gone past his sell by date!

  11. The OX is a worrying case. Brilliant player but, costly misplaced passes, a famous hand ball and now an own goal is putting question marks over him. Would he start for City, Barcelona or Chelsea – I really doubt it. The mistakes are becoming more and more frequent. More disturbing, is that he doesn’t get enough goals and assists as he should.

    1. The problem with the Ox is that he thinks it’s all a childish game; talks too much on how the team is firing on all cylinders and this that and the other and that’s it with him. He flatters to deceive! My advice is shut up, put away all the gimmicks, knuckle down and play this beautiful game for which you are paid handsomely and if the Manager doesn’t know how to make you understand you play for the Arsenal, the fans soon will. Ask Eboue!!!

      1. He got sent off when he shouldn’t have.
        Shouting at the ref and his lips looked like he swore to the ref… that is a card! Players shouldn’t do that and Giroud let the team down with his immaturity.
        His 2nd yellow was a tackle that he shouldn’t of even put his foot in for, it was only ever going to endf up in a free kick in a potentially dangerious area, you just step into the player and give them no space, not swing your foot wildly! That was Girouds fault.

        their 2nd goal would have been intersting, would they have scored if Giroud had been on the pitch, offering us more height in the box?

        Whos fault was it that Giroud got sent off?
        Giroud fault.
        So yes, blame Giroud, call him a lazy sod and hopefully some of it will get through all hat hair gel he wears and he learns to put effort back into his game.

        1. Shouting at the ref? He almost got killed when someone undercut him. I see shouting at the ref 100 times each weekend. No cards.

  12. I had no problems with the team selection, keeping sanchez ozil cazorla kos and gabriel meant the spine of the team was there, what I had problems with was the ability of players to step up their game, arteta, giroud, debuchy should have been much much better, they were flat and uninterested, this was a pointless and easily avoidable loss and if we snatched that first goal we would have won.
    Regardless, next game for me personally is a biggest game of the year, beating chelsea at the bridge would do wonders for our confidence as we still haven’t really showed up this season and would be a beautiful kick to the balls of the special one.

  13. It wasn’t completely wrong!! We played like kids that’s all. Sanchez n ox on wings, ozil n cazorla in midfield. Arteta as DM. We should have played well against this team. They aren’t great, but made them look like world beater!!
    Giroud is low on confidence n he was pathetic. Ox didn’t do well. That’s d problem with him, he plays well as substitute. Kos was switched off.
    Gabriel was awesome, he did some very good takes.

    1. Arteta as a DM, we should of played well against them.

      Did you not watch the game?
      Arteta and his slowness allowed them to pass the ball around in our half way too often.
      Any fan who watches Arsenal would have known that Arteta is slow and not as likley to get to lose balls…

      We played an opponant who had gone 41 games unbeaten, unbeaten in their league last season, they was a team playing with confidence and credit to them, they played some nice football. The way they attacked was a reminder of how Arsenal attacked when Wenger 1st came to us… If you had watched the game and been a fan longer than 5 weeks then you would have seen that as well.

      1. Arteta isn’t coq everyone knows that. But Whole team was good..but they didnt play well. Wenger has to play arteta, there is no other choice..its his mistake not to buy any DM. N he wants coq to be fresh in Chelsea game. Apart from this, we should have beaten them easily.
        First is mistake from ox n second one by kos. Both of them had pretty bad game.

  14. Sometimes I hate attitude of some players. Yesterday Walcott – he is saying “losing one game isn’t end of arsenal” something like this. We should be critical abt ourself. Loss is a loss, now one game next another. Everyone knows its not end of it! Just shut up n play. Don’t miss sitters against Chelsea as u did with stoke!!

    1. Yes we lost, we know why we lost as well, Giroud was a lazy lump and he let every attack that went through him to break down… he gave the ball away SOOOOOOOO many times.

      If I was Theo then of course I would be possitive, the other CF just shown why Theo should be the starter.

      “Don’t miss sitters like you did against stoke”
      He scored though and we won.

      I bet if you was a fan when Henry came then you was beging for him to be sold in the 1st season wasn’t you? Or are you a fan of Arsenal after we achieved things?

      Theo scored against stoke.
      Theo came on last night and scored YET AGAIN.
      Yes he could get better, I bet he will be more clinical if he can get a long run of games in the CF role, untill he is given the chance like Henry was then how on earth can you complain about a CF who is scoring!!!

      1. Dude wat r u talking.. Walcott said “its not end of arsenal”.. He doesn’t the loss seriously, talking as if nothing happened. We will never win CL if won’t these silly losses seriously (Monaco n Dynamo). We should play as if its end of the world!!
        BTW, he scored after 4-5 chances or so. Yes, he scored finally. I think he scored 10 out of 10 games that’s not bad. But that’s not good also. Chances missed by he/giroud can make huge difference against team like Chelsea. So, I’m asking to stop talking non-sense, work hard n be clinical. Walcott is the only striker we have now..he should be bit responsible.

  15. Supporter- person who approves of and encourages someone or something ………..
    SUPPORTER, it’s Not about who’s wrong and who’s right…Everyone wants to analyse the game nowadays instead of enjoying it….

  16. if we loose 2 chelsea on Saturday nd wenger had not changed d 11, we will still moan about d team not being rested. dat 11 was gud enof 2 win zagreb but dey didnt turn up. It wil hurt d more if we loose 2 Chelsea especially after d rotation.

  17. 2 players who have to pick their game up or get sold/released.
    Giroud and Arteta.

    Giroud was a lazy lump AGAIN, I have supported that man since day 1 and this season he has let me down. Last season he came back from injury and he was charging GK down, he would press defenders, he would contribute towards the teams pressing higher up. That caused chances to happen last season and Giroud got goals because of that. This season though he seems to expect everything to be handed to him on a silver plate… I don’t like to see lazy players wearing the Arsenal badge. Oh and for a ‘big guy’ he sure goes down easy currently, maybe we should send Giroud with Zealaem to Rangers? Learn how to use his size again.

    Arteta wasn’t lazy, he just wasn’t quick enough to get to lose balls or to close down people quick enough, the opposition had too much time in the middle and that allowed them to swap sides of play at any time they wanted! Maybe he could still do the job as long as he had Coquelin alongside him, Arteta is good with his passing and calm enough to play the ball out from the back…

    When Wenger made those changes we seen a massive difference, Coquelin was getting ‘stuck in’ and removed the time they had, we was defending much better in the middle of the pitch. Theo and his pace created a LOT of space which allowed us to press, as soon as he got that goal they dropped deeper. He should of been on from the start.

    For me, I would prefer to see Campbell play as Theos backup now rather than seeing Giroud on the pitch again, Giroud needs to put the effort in otherwise Arsenal fans will get upset at him and show their hurt… I dont think Giroud enjoys being boo’d and we dont want to boo one of our own players, Giroud isn’t doing anything tho to stop it from happening. I’ve supported the guy and will happily chant his name again IF he eats humble pie and put the effort in that Akpom would have! and we loaned him out :'(

  18. Looking back to the transfer window, I am still confused by the fact that Arsene Wenger sees no need for improvement in his squad.

    Where is the steel in the squad? The team is not only small, but soft.

    Where is the leadership in the squad? I don’t see much. No Vieira, no Tony Adams, no leader period.

    It is more than skill Arsene. The team needs toughness and leadership!

  19. am I d only 1 feeling’ not confident’ about Chelsea mach. we wia on top of d table wen man u 1 Us at old Trafford n dey wia struggling much worse Dan Chelsea. I hope it doesn’t hpn agn

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