Arsenal won’t finish in Top Four with Wenger’s team selections…..?

After last nights 1-1 draw with Paris Saint Germain at the Parc de Princes, Arsenal fans were quick to berate Arsene Wenger’s team selection. This was partly because it came across as uninspiring, unbalanced and he left out many key players to the side who were supposed to be players that would see us really take the game to PSG.

Wenger made key decisions in choosing to leave out the likes of Cech, Giroud, Xhaka and Perez, with the Frenchman instead choosing to play Ospina in goal, who by the way had a great game despite the pre-match critics, and start with Alexis Sanchez up top. Many fans have had their say but now Arsenal legend Frank McLintock has also appeared in front of the media to show his concerns about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.

McLintock said: ‘I think the balance of the team right from the beginning was very poor. Sanchez is playing up front but he’ll never be a centre-forward, he’s better out wide and cutting in. Why didn’t Giroud start? I can’t believe how we got away with it. I’m delighted, really.

It’s a great result for Arsenal to come out of that game with a point, because I think we could have been beaten by four or five goals, and that was just the first-half! Hopefully we pick a better side for the next game, but if they continue in that vein…well, it’s not filling me with great confidence.’

Arsenal’s team selection really was a big point to debate and although we should be pleased to have gotten a point away in Paris, Arsenal fans cannot help but think that perhaps we were slightly hindered by the fact we didn’t play our strongest available team.
The Gunners legend said: ‘If Arsene Wenger thinks that’s the way forward, I don’t think we’ll get anywhere in the European Cup this season. And I don’t want to say this, but they’re not guaranteed to finish in the top four in the Premier League either. I try to measure my complaints about Arsenal because what Wenger has done in the past…but I don’t think it’s heading in the right direction at the moment.’

I must admit that based upon the approach taken last night, Wenger cannot look to place the blame on anyone else apart from himself. Had Arsenal lost out in France, there would have been far more attention on Wenger, however Alexis truly saved him from mass criticism from the fans. The balance of the team was wrong, not to play Cech (despite Ospina’s fantastic performance) and to leave multimillion pound big money buys of Xhaka and Perez on the bench was a big call for Arsene Wenger to make.

If he has just splashed out almost £50 million on the pair combined, then why on earth is he sticking with an out of position Alexis Sanchez up front, when after five games it has proven that the Chilean doesn’t favour that position at Arsenal.

As McLintock states, if Arsenal continue in that fashion and Arsene Wenger continues to take such an uninspired approach, then Arsenal fans will not see hope and belief in the team this season. It’s up to Wenger to make the decisions but it’s important the fans show their opinions and have their say too. Thankfully it just about worked out for the Gunners.



  1. Break-on-through says:

    Lee Dixon also had some things to say. No Arsenal fan can deny that performance as being pathetic at times. The shape was all wrong, no intent, no pressing as Dixon highlighted. It would worry you. The only saving grace is that it was not our best team, and the defence was new to one another, and the point of course. But you would still have to ask questions on our preparation. Why were these lads not drilled better, why was our game plan all over the shop. Not just with Wenger, we have very experienced coaches. I think so far it’s the theme to the beginning of our season, and nearly every season. We need to pick it up now, the players themselves must realise how poor they all were as a unit. I expect a much better performance against Hull.

  2. Uzi Ozil says:

    Wenger is so unpredictable. Anyway, I hope he finds the balance of the team and play players in their position. Who would have thought Sanchez will still play as a striker after getting Perez..Ok, Perez needs time bla bla bla but you need to play him so he gets used to the team. Walcott is better playing as a striker than Sanchez.

    We also have to improve our off the ball play. We seem to give opponent a chance always whenever we ain’t with the ball.

    We need to improve some certain things in training. COYG.

  3. nikkogunners says:

    I said it before the game in an article posted few hours before PSG game kickoff. My sentiments then were that Arsenal now have the players to dominate both Europe and England but Wenger will be the bane to our opportunities by his fielding…but even me i was surprised he would leave Xhaka and Giroud out…

    In my considered opinion, the system we should deploy is 4.3.3. and the first XI should be as follows

    Coquelin plays in the spot Ramsey should be playing at until Ramsey returns to full fitness and justifies his inclusion to the side. With this system Oxlade, Iwobi and Walcott can fill up the wings as subsitutes and start other games; Akpom, Perez and Walcott can play the Giroud role and We have Elneny to play in any of three spots in the central defense role…

    1. nikkogunners says:

      damn…where is Ozil? where is Ozil? Where is Ozil? Thats the GOOD problems you get with Depth….

      Lets try that Again: 4.3.3. in the configuration of and this will be the first XI


      1. Godswill says:

        I’ll take this line up. I thought it was going to be this against PSG.

        1. Break-on-through says:

          Not really happy about people settling on Giroud with Perez going wide, it’s still way too early. I think you have to be strong enough to drop any player if it gives your team a better chance. Mour would, and Pep would do it. Away at the big European clubs you cant have a passenger, even if he’d block off space for passes and get behind the ball to make the shape look better, this would be a big help. I think the first line up is more suited for winning a tough European away game. One of our problems was PSG having strength and numbers over us in CM, there three to our two, and Cazorla being one of ours just made it that bit tougher for us. The wide-men thrown into the mix and it became a disaster.

  4. Uzi Ozil says:

    Yes where’s Ozil but we should be able to tweak our formation without Ozil. Injury can set it, he can be out of form and some games we could drop him. My point is Ozil is essential to this team. When he is poor, it affects the team. When he isn’t playing, our passing game in the final third is non existent so we should be able to tweak our formation sometimes. Well, that’s Wengers headache. This team can cause harm to opponent if the right tactics and players are implemented properly..

    If you look at the team, our strength lies in the midfield so let’s use that strength properly and dominate games in the midfield and not allow opponents breeze pass our midfield like no one is there..

  5. richy1971 says:

    Yeah wenger got fortunate because cabana could have had a hatful of goals, but he didn’t. As game went on the display improved. Let’s not forget this is still a good psg side whose movement and pace were good. However, the team he put out got a good point as with the league win against the saints this team has shown that without a first team starting they are capable of getting results last season and in previous seasons would have lost both those matches. This squad is stronger and more capable even with second choice players in squad depth has improved greatly. Ospina is very good keeper and showed his worth ok Cech maybe slightly better but Ospina is still a number one keeper so to have two very good keepers is a bonus. Let’s also remember this CB pairing has only played two games together and will take time to build an understanding. I feel and believe this squad can get to the quarters at least this year maybe even further. As for the league if they can be consistent then they can challenge and win it even though they will need to be dig deep and perform to do that.

  6. seckie says:

    Five years ago I have come to the conclusion on Arsene Wenger…… He is mentally derailed. I don’t care what you all think! Someone should prove me wrong.

  7. Ugabooga says:

    So why not stop complaining and let us select our own team on this site.
    Then when Wenger picks JA team no one here can complain and stop these moaning articles.

    Just saying

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      Hahaha ? Give up man! ?
      You strike me as one of those kind of people that always trys to manipulate the folks around you into doing what you want ALL of the time! ?
      The thing is, The fan’s on here are always stating their own opinions on their prefered starting lineups. So what difference do you think that it would make if there was a vote on it?… Do you really believe that Wenger will take any notice? ? Or that it will stop the moaning even if Wenger did pick the starting lineup that everyone voted on ? ?

  8. jonm says:

    Article says cech should have played instead of ospina.

    Ospina playing for arsenal in 2014/15 season, best stats in PL by a long way. Outstanding performances for columbia in WC and copa america. Double saves against messi and aguerro. Rated by messi

    I think the deal with Ospina to persuade him to stay is thay he plays the CL and cup games. We have to honour this. Otherwise he should have been sold and Shez kept at arsenal.

    So, saying Cech should have played is the same as saying that the backup keeper should be Shez not Ospina.

    I am much happier with cech and ospina than with cech and shez.

  9. The12thMan says:

    What fans need to realise is Perez is not girouds replacement. Perez is girouds back up!!!

    And that is my gripe about the purchase of Perez. All of our striker positions are now filled up. We have three out and out strikers now in Giroud Welbeck and Perez. as it stands Girouds is still the best out of the three. Unless either Welbeck or giroud leave/get injured we ain’t seeing another striker for another two – three years.

    I can appreciate why ospina started. Based on le coqs performance against Southampton I can see why he got the nod. But to not start Perez is really telling in my opinion. Wenger doesn’t rate him as the answer!

  10. Big G says:

    Nobody can predict how the top 4 will finish but the usual teams should be up there in the mix. For years now Wenger has been a law unto himself and more often than not (I can’t remember the last time he didn’t) has made his premier league target of reaching the top 4. It does seem however that his team selections are becoming more and more unorthadox to say the least but I guess Wenger must have his reasons for making such choices. The contenders for the title have all strengthened and not many fans would back against Man City with Pep in charge (not my choice) taking top spot with the other 3 places up for grabs but there are a lot of permutations to take place that can and will have an effect on the outcome. Arsenal may not be nice to watch or playing well at the moment but I for one wouldn’t back against Wenger \ Arsenal finishing in the top 4 once more.

  11. rkw says:

    the failure of wenger is changing his line ups endlessly despite his waffle about building cohesion … need a consistent best 11 for most epl and cl games and can experiment for cup games … along with his failure to instill a pressing culture in the players remain his biggest weaknesses …oh and his absurd favouratism towards some players …. ah forget it …just need a new manager

  12. LutenantDan says:

    I think Frank McClintock is right in a way, we aren’t going to make any major inroads into the Champions League or the Premiership due to not only the team selection which has been baffling for what seems an eternity to me. However, some Arsenal fans and others might think all is well !

    The worst thing about it for me is it’s not just the team selection which is poor, but the way we go about our performances. We still think that we can pass our way to glory against teams that can do it much better than us, even when under considerable pressure. Or, teams that are not too bothered about making 85 passes and topping it off with the perfect goal but are happy to put in the graft and play more direct.

    We’ve got too many so called, creative players and the manager is constantly bending over backwards to accommodate them. But we saw the other night and on many occasions over the past four years, that when we’re put under any sort of pressure, the ball becomes like a hot potato and we can’t even pass five yards to get out selves out of trouble. With all that creativity we again huffed and puffed and got ourselves a draw which was fortuitous at the best.

    People keep going on about Giroud not starting and how he could’ve made the difference. Well anyone that’s seen Giroud play over the last couple of season will know that wouldn’t of been the case. He’s yet another example of given such a free reign in the name of creativity, where he never seems to be in the box where he could make a difference. Instead, he sees Carzola, Ozil and others having fun with their party tricks and linear passing and thinks, I’ll have some of that and finds himself in our midfield. So, if the ball is actually played up front either by luck or by choice, he’s never there to be the beneficiary. And, if he is up front, he constantly plays with his back to goal, trying to finesse the ball down in a hope to do something fantastic but never achieves even the first part of that task as he always ends up on his arse, flailing his arms about at the referee.

    This is because our team has been given too much licences to express themselves, more so in the name of art rather than football and as result we don’t have any collective cohesion or force. We still want to, or are forced into playing short passes across the pitch which might get us five yards closer to the opposition goal, but when you’ve made 12 short range passes and are still 50 yards away, with no striker in the box…..then you aren’t ever going to score any significant quantity of goals.

    We’ve really got to mix some pragmatism into our game in order to get the team functioning for the better. We’ve got to have full backs and wingers than can actually take they’re man on and provide for a striker that can always be available to benefit from this forward momentum and that can anchor the striker to afford to stay high and in the box. He also needs to benefit from some long range passes or even punts into the box. If a ball is constantly being played forward to your strikers from deep, it makes it hard for the opposition and constantly puts wear and tear on the oppos defenders. Meanwhile, if the oppos midfield tries to press to stop those long punts, then the space they leave behind them can at that time be exploited by our creative players and wing support.

    But no….Bellerin will go some way forward, find out he’s not got the skill to get past his man. Check back and get caught with the ball or, play it in field where it becomes a series of linear passes for the next minute or so before we lose it or it goes back to our defence or goalie.

    I’ve said it time and time again, it’s not just about the selection. It’s more to do with how that selection is directed to play.

    Wenger is a good manager and we’ve got some excellent players but methodology and utilization is key. Unless we get that basic right McClintock and anyone else that has their doubts about Arsenal will be proved right over and again.

    I’ll probably get loads of thumbs down because of my comments but until I see some major changes in the way we line up and go about our footballing business, I’ll never expect anything more than just being a top four premiership side which turns up for the champions league every year that has no hope of winning either.

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      Nice Article Dan ?

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