Arteta and the Arsenal midfield issue – another DM needed?

I know that people will always trot out that famous old football saying about it being a ‘nice problem to have’ when, like Arsenal right now, a club has a lot of competition for places in a certain area of the pitch. But a problem is a problem and the centre of midfield and who to play there is certainly a problem for Arsene Wenger right now.

While the football media and many Arsenal fans are calling for the manager to sign another player to go in there, with the likes of Schneiderlin, Khedira, Carvalho, Bender and many more having been touted recently, Wenger reckons that he already has a hard choice, as he explained in a report on this week.

The boss said, “It’s an impossible job but that’s why I tell you I always get asked two questions, ‘Why don’t you buy more players, and how do you keep them all happy now?’.

“I believe that competition is part of our job. On the other hand you have to get the number right – too many players in the squad goes against competition.

“If you have a certain number of players who think they never have a chance to play, they killed something. Not enough players creates too much of a comfort zone.

“It is tricky, because he is an important player in the build-up of our game. He is naturally a guy who brings fluidity, and gets you out of tight situations.

“My thinking [putting him out wide] was more about physical power in the centre of the park, to win the ball back and be capable of winning challenges. Santi is a more technical player. And also to get him higher up, next to Ozil, to play through the lines, find those two, and combine in the final third.

“It worked sometimes, and sometimes not. The first goal in these games is vital. But anyway, against West Ham, I changed in the second half and brought Cazorla back to central midfield.”

As well as the Ramsey/Cazorla question, Wenger also has the small matter of our club captain Mikel Arteta to consider, along with the soon to be fit again Jack Wilshere. Now the Spaniard has got over last season’s injury, he is already itching to get back into the first team, as you can see from his comments on the Arsenal website.

Arteta said, “I’ve never been like this before, a substitute. When you’re sitting on the bench you just have to keep trying to see things happening, where the danger is, and think what can I do if I go on the pitch?

“Going from the outside to the inside is very different. Outside, everything looks slower, and when you get in there it’s 100mph so you really need to be ready. You have to warm up really well and when you get there you have to be ready to go straight away.

“I’m feeling really good. After a difficult season, when I didn’t play since November 26, eight months is a long time to catch up. All the players are getting applause and you’re getting nothing so you need to work hard to catch up.

“I knew that I was starting at a disadvantage compared to everyone else because when you haven’t played you have to start slowly. The time will come when hopefully I get my reward.”

Realistically, though, can you see Arteta getting a start before the Capital One Cup games come around? And how will Wenger fit Wilshere into the team in a few weeks? And is the real problem not more to do with the defensive side of things, and what we would do if Coquelin was unavailable?

Tags Arteta Cazorla Ramsey Wilshere


  1. TBH…Even though it was pre season but after Chelsea match I was excited about our chances then we lost to Hammers. I tried to convince myself as players were complacent and Sanchez was not playing that’s why we lost and we will repeat 2013-14 season performance.

    Then against CP somehow we won the game and again I thought we are gearing up but after our performance against Liverpool, I really don’t have high hopes. I kmow our CBs were not there but we had all attacking players and still we couldn’t score single goal. If we can’t win against Liverpool at home then what will we against other top teams?

    What Ox has done in last 10 mins other players didn’t do in whole match. I don’t understand Wenger’s tactic. If you can’t buy player that is ok but atleast utilize your available players wisely.

    1. Ramsey doesn’t deserve his spot.
      Giroud is our best option, but clearly a level below what’s needed.
      Alexis seems shattered to me (understandably so).
      Ozil is first on the team sheet regardless, which is ridiculous.
      Coquelin is NOT the savior many quickly touted.

      The defence gets a pass against Liverpool, 2 of the back 5 were new. But that’s our best front 6 and they were absolute garbage, predictable, slow, tepid, and our ‘star’ playmaker keeps passing the buck.

      Arsene needs to get his head out the sand, replace coquelin with an authoritative and composed enforcer, replace Rambo with Ox, and replace Giroud with a player from the very top shelf OR someone who’s clearly on the path to it. I’d love to know the wages these scouts get each week, cos for Wenger to come out and say there’s very few better than what we have is embarrassing. He needs to deliver some home truths to a couple of the squad instead of his default approach of blowing as much smoke up their a*ses as possible. Some need telling “up your level or find a club where you can get away with that rubbish”.

      1. Dude what is it with you and coquelin he is an excellent DM and had a FANTASTIC game today. He was winning tackles and spraying the very nicely today he had multipe 40+ yard passes so your “criticism” is subjective, everyone can see the quality he possesses

        1. i was impressed by coquelin … but in the end he reminds me of gutusso which isnt a bad thing but means he is dogged rather than imperial..never going to dominate the third of field between box and centre line but will give his all to defend it…guess its a matter of taste but he aint a replacement for viera thats for sure

        2. Yep cos unchallenged pings across the park are what constitute excellent distribution. Listen ‘dude’, your grasp of football is patently thin at best. If you think that was an excellent game from a DM vs Liverpool you frankly haven’t a clue. No top class DM charges around the pitch diving into tackles because, while Coquelin follows the ball, top class DM’s read the game to position themselves expertly.

          You’re just excited when you see a player go to ground to win the ball, completely oblivious to the fact that he’s doing that 9/10 because his positioning was terrible and he’s desperate to make up for it. Learn football, watch someone like Busquets then come back to me about what being an excellent DM entails. I know you haven’t a clue when you start thinking unchallenged crossfield passes are evidence of stellar passing.

          1. agree with you so what are the options?…not a huge admirer of busquets mainly coz he goes down too easily…whatever happened to javi martinez…know he tore his ligaments but was a quality player at one point and doesnt seem to be on guardiola`s radar…bender is also an option..

            1. Plenty options out there, Gonalons would be my choice at 26, 6″2, captain of lyon, experienced, great defender, great passer. But you have quality deep midfielders from all over, Veratti, Krychowiak, Itturaspe, Carvalho, Illarra, Gustavo, Toulalan, Moutinho, Motta, Marchisio, Nainggolan, Witsel, Bender/s….

              Plenty of options with varying characteristics/ages/prices/styles. This idea there’s none better is laughable.

  2. Some here saying things like ” we should be thankful we Never losT”, that’s just pathetic a thing to say. An ambitious fan would rather say it’s a shame we could not win and played very badly.

    1. For ambitious teams like City and United I’m sure you’re right. Literally no sign that Arsenal are keen on signing anyone, we’ve already passed on about a dozen that could’ve added plenty.

  3. At times you need to reshuffle and refresh what you have regardless of how attached you are to that asset .
    Arteta and flamini should have been released .
    Wilshere should have been sold to man city and the money ploughed toward buying either of Vidal or Schniederlin.

  4. A team full of international players should be playing much better than this.
    But as usual the person who is paid to be responsible for this escapes responsibility as he does every season.
    If Arsenal are to challenge regularly Wenger HAS to go.
    Or doesn’t twelve years of premiership failure tell you anything?

  5. Dzeko, jovetic, Tevez, Dybala were available for less than 25M
    but Wenger wants French Striker even if he was a donkey like Giroud

  6. We don’t need so much of these number of players for competition as much as we need them to be avialabe when injuries inevitably set in and puts most of first-choice options out for periods. As regards them being match-ready when they are called upon; the cup games are there to keep them fit. Players like Arteta, Flamini or Rosicky are intelligent enough to know this.

  7. The team will get better, but lost points in this league is difficult to catch up on, the lost of points at present have nothing to do with our need for a DM, it has more to do with people who cannot be substituted.

    The game also has to do with the coach tactical awareness, taking of a physical presence and putting on a forward lost in the game does not make sense, then adding to that putting on a wide player who added more drive to the game without no one to serve with a cross, this rubbish with Ozil, Ramsay and Sanchez can not be substituted MOST STOP, other players most be given time to make an impact

  8. Yet this same 11 – 12 players
    went 20 games + only 2 losses
    at the back end of last season.
    So is it slow start or what?
    Newcastle (A) Stoke (H) Chelsea (A) Leicester (A) United (H)
    plus 2 ECL games and a Capital one game in between.
    Oh and in case you don’t know
    the window closes in a week.
    Busy interesting times right up ahead

  9. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score.Simple as that.I have a feeling that Wenger discourarages the players from shooting outside the box.Coutinho alone had more shots on target than our entire team.Lord help us

  10. In other words we have too many players…
    so forget about any new signings ?
    Wenger always has an excuse for a poor result,

    Hey! Wenger sell some player’s .. Maybe we might put a winning run together ?

  11. The simple fact is we have too many central midfielders. The only thing preventing a crisis in the squad, is the midfielders not being fit at the same time. When Wilshere is back, maybe Giroud will go to the bench so we can fit them all.

  12. Sometimes I wonder whether the referee decisions do have a big impact or not…. In tomorrow’s game we were denied a beautiful goal by an offside call(it was a close call but still). Secondly, we were also not given a penalty when Giroud was fouled… all of Thierry, Neville, Jamie agreed all day long that it was a penalty but we were not awarded…. And despite these two decisions, we had other chances but we couldn’t take them due to ineffectiveness or brilliant defending by Pool.

    But think upon this, in the City away game last season, we had a few good chances on the break, but we couldn’t score all time. We had those two goals because of a penalty and a free kick. Now wonder if that penalty wouldn’t have been given and that Giroud goal would have been called offside, would we have still won the game? Most likely a draw I think.
    I know that decisions could be in our favour also sometimes due to luck, but to have a fair game, I think most of the decisions should be given correctly. Whether that should take help of video action replay or not.

  13. @ champagne Charlie, although I agreed with most of what you said I cannot about coq.

    I’m not one of these deluded fans who’s going to say he’s world class far from it but I do think the lads shown massive improvement and on yesterday’s game he alongside Cech n probley Gabriel was our best player.

    The likes of busquest who you mentioned plays for barca let’s not go there yes he’s a top d.m but so are the rest of his teammates n he is very likely to come under the kosh like arsenal were in that first half. Coquelin doesn’t have any support in the tackling dept in midfield that’s where the problem lies ozil santi world class yes but are they going to put a shift in???

    now Ramsey is bang average a headless chicken why he plays should be the topic??
    Gary neville was spot on yday arrogance-wenger the reason this team aren’t genuine title contenders.

    We ain’t buying jack n 4th place Is the reality at best.

    I just hope it’s his last season and we go all out for Pep guardiola nxt year.

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