Is Rodrigo the missing part of the Arsenal jigsaw?


21 games unbeaten and counting, Arsenal faced a rather unexpectedly tough game against Huddersfield Town AFC. Having sailed passed the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Bournemouth etc., it looked relatively the easier outing, especially at the Emirates. Looks can indeed be deceiving.

David Wagner brought his charges to the Emirates with one thing in him mind – Stealing points, as much as he could. Plan A was to get a draw, but plan B was a creepier idea, beat Arsenal shockingly by scoring that unlikely goal and parking the bus to prevent Arsenal from equalizing.

He got help from an unlikely source, Arsenal squad was battered by injuries, thanks to the tough matches Arsenal had endured in the recent run of games, and suddenly there was no attacking midfielder as both Ozil and Ramsey were unavailable. In the defense, Rob Holding also was out injured and Emery opted to start Lichtsteiner in his place, and a 3.5.2 pattern where he had three central midfielders to support Lacazette and Aubameyang rarely starting together in attack.

It was a match that Emery had to withdraw two of his starting 3 defenders, and withdraw Lacazette to bring in the Iwobi-Mkhitaryan partnership as the game wore on and Arsenal looking uncharacteristically off colour. It was a match that had 9 yellow cards and 33 fouls. The entire Arsenal backline was yellow carded.

The match showed something very clearly, Arsenal would struggle to play without an attacking midfielder. Guendouzi tried to fill the big shoes but some spark was missing all through the match, and it took some moments of brilliance from a quickly upcoming goal threat combination of Aubameyang and Torreira. Just like in the previous match, Aubameyang was able to find Torreira, who had to deploy a spectacular bicycle kick to score the only goal of the match with just seven minutes of regulation time to go.

With Aaron Ramsey’s fate looking sealed as the club opted to withdraw a contract offer that was on the table, meaning he will be released, and Mesut Ozil’s mysterious injuries, Arsenal may need to cash in on Ozil too. The person that looks likely to match, even surpass Ozil’s exploits at Arsenal is none other than Udinese Calcio’s forward, Rodrigo de Paul. Rodrigo is an Argentinian international of 24 years old with 4 caps to his name since October 2018. His statistics are impressive as he has scored 6 times and made three assists this season in the Serie A and one goal in the Coppa Italia.
Rodrigo used to play left wing, but it seems this time round he has taken up a central role and is thriving in it. Rodrigo also has something in his game that Ozil does not have. He can dribble tenaciously past a number of defenders, creating a directness in his game that would be useful to bring in Lacazette and Aubameyang into scoring situations. He has the Torreiraristic/Messiristic urgency in his game, which can only get better with a better set of players around him. He is also versatile and can play both wing and the attacking midfielder role. He comes affordably and is still young. It’s time Arsenal picked up this emerging football gem. In January, this is how Arsenal could line up.


Is Rodrigo one of the missing pieces of the puzzle at Arsenal?

Nicholas Oyoo


  1. kev says:

    The formation in itself is unsustainable and we should stop wasting our time on something that wont last.If Arsenal want Aubameyang and Lacazette to play together the best thing they can do is start looking for serious top quality wingers for a 4-4-2.,This is the only sustainable way Lacazette and Aubameyang can actually play together for an entire season without one having to lose form for a long period of time as a result of playing on the wing.Right now its easy to play both because the team lacks quality but if we want sustainability in their partnership the 4-4-2 is going to be the most sustainable way for both over an entire full season in the future.The painful thing is Unai Emery does not usually use this formation so I don’t see it happening but hopefully they improve their performances when out wide otherwise in the future one would surely have to go to the bench if Arsenal play one top.

    1. Midkemma says:

      Arsenal do not need wingers like traditional wingers, Emery doesn’t play them as players who hug the line for width. Emery plays inside forwards, who cut in and in all honesty make the team narrow without a fullback overlapping and being the teams winger.

      For the formation above and considering Emery over my own preferences…

      It is fine for the right situation, I do not consider Emery a 1 trick pony when it comes to tactics, Wenger maybe but not Emery. The formation listed in article will be situational.

      Auba earned his move to BvB from being a deadly winger, you claiming he can not do it is wrong, Auba has done it already and he got 41 goals in 97 games for St Etienne playing as a right winger… and lets not forget he was younger and less experienced at St Etienne compared to BvB. BvB also played to Auba strengths as a CF, this was not possession based but more counter/hit on break.

      That is not how Arsenal play, we build out from the back and we do not just kick it forward for runners, we pass it out from the back.

  2. Vicky says:

    Very well then what ever can make this arsenal team win major titles again. Am in.

  3. Grandad says:

    In a word no. Rodrigo is not as talented as Ozil nor Ramsay. Our priorities are to bring in upgrades at left back and centre back.Mustafi and Kolasinac are simply not good enough for a club with aspirations to win the Premier League.

    1. Soccerboy says:

      Hello!! Did you say Kolasinac? Kolasinac has been one of the best performers for arsenal this season. Maybe you really watch the games.

      1. Midkemma says:

        Kola has been good since Emery went to a back 3 to accommodate Kola def issues.
        Kola needs to work on his def side if we wish to use him in a back4 over a back5.

        I have not missed a single game this season, like I didn’t miss a single game last season or the one before that. I put up with a lot of poor streaming sites when the games are not shown on live TV but I have not missed one in YEARS.

        I thought I better say that incase you told me to watch some Arsenal games because I mentioned the flaws in Kola.

    2. Midkemma says:

      Please give Emery time Grandad.
      Look how people was moaning about Bellerin but now he is not our liability when defending is he? Emery done good 🙂 We wanted a manager who can turn our def players around and we all knew it would take time, if Emery can’t get them playing at a high enough level of quality then yeah, sell them. Let’s give Emery the time though?

    3. Tissiam says:

      Wtf?how many goals sead hss been involved recently?and important ones he won us points,are you of them who don,t watch ganes abd made their opinions by reading the internet and because of players like him we are non longer pussies!how many times does he put the panic in the opposite defense with his crossess?

  4. khitb77 says:

    It won’t help us this season but I want Reiss Nelson to be a first team regular next season, with Smith-Rowe also in the side, possibly as a central attacking midfielder.

    As such I don’t want us to sign a winger.

    I think we do need to strengthen at the back, because only Holding and Mavropanos are under 25 years of age and the next youngest centre back we have is Mustafi, who just isn’t up to scratch. Left back is also another position where we need to sign someone, I love Monreal, but he’s 32 and suffering from more and more injuries.

    I’d also like Eddie Nketiah to get the opportunity to prove himself more than he’s had so far.

    If we played it right, we could see Nelson, Smith-Rowe and probably to a lesser extent Nketiah as first team regulars next season. That would play into Kroenke’s idea of the club being self sustaining.

  5. Alldwayfromafrica says:

    Really you don’t want us to sign a winger because of your dream of Nelson actually fulfilling his potential before next season? That’s just being bias cause we clearly need a winger right now like yesterday…

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