Was Wenger’s BIG mistake his Arsenal team selection?

I am not one of the Arsenal fans calling for the head of Arsene Wenger today as I place a large part of the blame firmly on the shoulders of the under performing players, especially Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud. But the manager has to take his share of the blame.

For one thing, he picked the team which performed so poorly and he decided to leave Ozil and Mertesacker on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes although to his credit he did give Giroud the hook. But Wenger and the fans should have been able to count on this team and would have expected so much more, so where did his selection go wrong?

Well first of all, apart from the two full backs it was the same side that struggled to hold on to the lead away to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Was that performance good enough to not make any changes? Not really and then you have the tiredness element to factor in as well.

The biggest surprise for me was that Tomas Rosicky did not start as he was fresh and a more natural box-to-box player than Ozil or Cazorla. And I have been struggling for weeks to understand why Wenger has not made more use of Theo Walcott who has been back from injury for over a month but has hardly played, even though he scored goals when he did.

I understand Wenger wanting to stand by his players but we have a big squad for a reason. Why not use it? Is this Wenger’s big mistake?

Tags Ozil Rosicky Walcott


  1. The House of Rahman and its representatives demands the first signing to be a new manager before anything else

    Time for a change

    Wenger out!

    1. Care to share a bit more than just “Wenger Out”?

      Selection was questionable
      Impetus was nonexistent
      REACTION to what was happening was criminal (no change of tact/approach)

      That was all based on one game, but it’s happened in several games vs decent teams this year. 9 points from 27 available vs top 6 sides, and dumped out of the Carling cup by Southampton. Said it before, will keep saying it….when a team has a hint of quality of tactical nous we get found out.

      Winning vs City was held up as the example of how we adapt. Exception that proves the rule and no more. The worst united team in decades has beat us over the last 3 games, Spurs battered us this year, Chelsea too. We got out thought at Anderlecht twice and schooled by Monaco.

      Everton this weekend and United in the cup soon… Oh boy

      1. U effing idiots talking about Wenger out as if the team didn’t start well or the team didn’t create chances. It is our players who didn’t take their chances when they got them. Why blame the manager for a miss kick or a goal missed by the players? Everyone has their own view and I am neither Arsene knows best or Arsene out but make some comments that are logical, based on facts and can be proven.

        1. Here we go again, a Wenger brown nose.
          A good manager would have told the team what to do from the touchline, he would have reshaped the team, he wouldn’t have sat there like George Bush in a children’s school reading stories as the towers collapsed!
          But that is exactly what he did yet again.
          The manager is clueless, we heard how it was the players who actually changed the style of play for the City game, now we see Wenger’s style of play back and once again it isn’t working.

          1. No the first tower they said a plane had struck it,Bush thought it was an accident 2 mins later another hit and his aid said we are under attack No one could have thought what to do so Bush,s problem is no way like Wengers .He just does not know now how to call out to the players, his time is up.Step down like Fergi and enjoy what comes Thanks for some Great memories and players.

            1. Step down like Fergie and enjoy what comes? Am assuming u meant enjoy not having championship league football and collapsed like man united did when Fergie left them. I could be wrong but is that it?

              1. No just retire step down what ever. He is human makes mistakes like you,but the players have to take full responsibility for that performance.

        2. No mate I talk about Wenger out because for the Nth time this season, and for the past half dozen seasons, we have been undone when facing a team with any quality or tactical nous.

          Your cool argument to just blame the players might hold some truth if it were a one off. But 9 points from 27 vs top 6 teams this year so far, being booted out the Carling cup by Southampton, getting schooled by Anderlecht, getting mauled by Monaco, and thrashed all last year vs good teams means 1 thing. Either the players are rubbish, or the manager hasn’t a clue how to get he best from them tactically.

          The awkward moment for you comes when regardless of which you choose, the manager gets the blame as he’s the one who bought the players. There’s fact and logic serpico. Feel free to use some of your own.

    2. First and foremost I want to commend Hafiz for his principles and clarity, he has always been true to himself and saw that nothing had changed with ARSENAL, while many, myself included start having hope of a brighter future, our players back in form, believing WENGER could change, at some point I admit dreaming we could make at least the CL semis…..all shattered after watching that awful game, with a horrid team, what a disgrace.
      Where I differ with Hafiz, is that we don’t need to completely overhaul the team, at least not for now, we need to give this team a chance to play under a new MANAGER and then see what happens.

  2. Why is Wenger starting welbeck on the wing with both walcott and ox on the bench? i understand that they have been injured but welbeck seems lost out there, even with his pace. There is a reason why United sold him instead of keeping him as a bench winger.

    1. If Wenger still believes that Welbeck can be our main striker one day, he should loan him out to a mid-table team, where he can as much as he’s able to, and build up routine and confidence. He’s going nowhere being a winger on the bench – and he’s especially not going places, trying to be a striker from a wing position, like he did yesterday.

  3. Wenger forgot that champions league knock out match is a two legged battle. Playing so open even after we were playing shit shows he has no clue to do well in big games. At this rate I am worried MU will knock us out of the FA cup

  4. team selection? I’d pick the same team, only changing Welbeck with Walcott or Chambo. His faults as a manager lies elsewhere, like motivating and preparing the team to be as sharp as possible in big important matches.

    We lose more often than we win big matches against either a contender for top4 or knock-out-stages in CL.

    Also, Wenger kind of contradicts himself in some statements concerning tactical mind and invincibles.

    He once said that if he did not have the tactical skills required to be on this level, then how is he the only manager winning PL without losing a single match – or something like that.

    Then now, with the documentary about the invincibles that Arsenal on facebook posts alot of clips of, he (or someone else, didnt really look into it) said that they didnt care about the opposition, they just went out on the pitch and played their own game – every match. If this is true, then he is a genious in building teams, not being a tactical mastermind.

    1. Regarding the comment that the invincibles just played their own game regardless of the opposition. I also picked up on that comment. I think it is Wengers basic pholosophy that if you play well you will win and not to tailor your tactics to the opposition. Problem is it does not seem to work now. Other teams have worked out how to play us. Fergie apparently covered this in his autobiography, not sure exactly what he said but something about Arsenal being most vulnerable when they had the ball.

      1. Here is an article on what Ferguson wrote in his autobiography

        “In later years we learned more about Arsenal’s thinking,” wrote Ferguson. “Arsene had a template of how he sees his players and the way they play. We didn’t need to win the ball against Arsenal, we needed to intercept it. You need good players who can intercept.”
        Ferguson then noted how Cesc Fabregas would nearly always “twist the pass round the corner then run to get it back on the other side of the defender” for Arsenal. Ferguson’s instruction to his players was thus: “Stay with the runner, intercept the pass, then counter-attack quickly”. The space for those counter-attacks was usually to be found in the wide positions where, whether home or away, Arsenal’s full-backs were invariably lingering in their opponents’ half in the often naïve expectation that their team-mate would not lose the ball.

  5. Gibbs, Welbeck and Mertesacker had nothing to do on the pitch…
    Monreal has proven is value and he is a better defender and smarter.
    Walcott was on the bench… Why??

    “Arsène Wenger lets rip at suicidal Arsenal after dismal Monaco defeat” (The Guardian)
    Yeah, f*ck you too, fake manager… Been found out long time ago, but still hang to the position.

  6. Sorry to say but the “ox” did more on the field than ozil, with the few minutes he was on including a goal!

  7. Only heaven knows why ozil wasn’t substituted, he had a poor game by his standards, and thomas rosicky wasn’t brought on to replace him! Yes tactical mistakes was made and we paid for it!

  8. Wenger seems to just sit there. How about, “Gibbs get back in position.” “Mert stay back.” Inner dialogue, “Why the f8ck have I not been playing Szes.” Seriously, I’d rather have my long Pole than Ospina. To me the key is Ozil. He should never start with Santi. Santi is ten. Ozil is ten. Rosicky has been great recently. I think we can all see the weaknesses and strengths in Welbeck and the Ox. Would’ve been a good game for Walcott to start and possibly Gabriel. Monaco frustrated us. Got us out of position and were clinical. Somebody must have paid Giroud off, he’s usually not THAT bad.

    1. Schez warmed up at half time ball juggling and didn’t have his gloves on, yea he really takes things seriously

      1. Everybody turned on him, including everyone on here, after a couple bad games. I get putting Ospina in, but is not number one. All three of those goals could have been saved. Not saying Szes would have done it, but this guy is a great keeper and has been for us in the past. But honestly, not one players fault. I blame Wenger the most for not doing his job.

  9. There mite ve been problem wif his selection ..but his main problem is his tactics and discipline…OMG…
    I ve neva seen some bunch of professionals who lacks discipline as we ve in arsenal…
    Wengers post match statement is always d samefin after each loss….words without action.
    As d old saying goes…only a fool will continue doing the samething and expect a different result.
    I ve been wengers sympathizer for years until he bought ozil…I had just one conclusion…the old man can spend actually but he can’t spend wisely…a change is actually long overdue

    1. Ozil’s stats at Madrid were awesome, so How does it make it an unwise spend at the time.

      Also, Ozil has played very well since coming back until this game. And Cazorla and rest of the team played just as bad.

      1. Premier league where mata who had a better stat than ozil was relegated to the bench and again…ozil wasn’t in madrid’s plan that season…santi carzola was soft wen he came..but he has improved in tackling and winning the ball back for the team…check fabregas stats, his amount of tackles and interception won dis season and u will be surprised.
        Its not only bt the assist and goals sir, for a midfielder..u ve to have defensive awareness.
        Again..arsenal was just an oppportunity for ozil to get out of hell..we were neva his 1st choice just like robinho to mancity in 2008…itwas all abt the money.
        Then again wenger will neva admit his failure on his purchase nd expect ozil to play every mtch for us…no mata ao shitty he’s playing.
        ..I like good football but I fink I will choose strong heart over this

  10. wouldve prefered wilshere to at least be on bench
    walcott in for welbeck
    chambo in for ozil wouldve tracked back and helped let cazorla play CAM
    defo need new world class CF
    mertesacker was absolutely terrible for the 2nd goal gabriel and chambers to take the spot for rest of season with per warming the bench
    we dont seem to have a good attacking game and a good defensive game at the same time if we can get it together i think (with the best line-up) there is a small chance of us winning 3-0
    hope we do COYG

  11. Are we so bad that we also tend to make good players look bad at Arsenal? Gervinhio at Roma is a star. Very dengerous, very good.

    1. Gervinho used to miss the ball when he was like 6 yards from goal, I find it very difficult to believe Wenger could have affected this.

      1. How I wsh u can teLl me which arsenal player doesn’t miss open goal..he just came to the club and he had to go for african nations cup both season he was wif us. He mite not be good enough for us then but he.was by no means our worst player..he was a scape goat….am soo happy he’s doing well @ Roma

  12. It seems to me Wenger can never win,if he play Welbeck,people say he should have played Walcot or OX AND VICE VERSA IF THEY DON T PERFORM.
    I do think wENGER has evolved ans is less rigid in his selections,he try whatever he can.
    SOMETIME HIS team selection perform sometime they let him down but don t fool yourself,this team is not a champion team under any coach in the world.
    We still need a big DM, a world class finisher and gabriel to replace MERTSAker in the big games.

    1. And who exactly is responsible for assembling this team that wouldn’t perform under the best managers in the world?

      Wenger is certainly not one of the best managers in the world but is solely responsible for this team because it sure as f@ck wasn’t George Graham!

  13. Wenger team selection is better when he has less players to choose from due to injuries. The problem comes when has 2 or 3 players available in each position than he becomes indecisive, dithers, procrastinates and fudges by playing players out of position just to keep them all happy.

    1. Maybe that’s why he uses old training methods and fitness regimes.

      Keep people injured so his team selection is better?

  14. Maybe but the players on selected should have been abke to put up a better showing, they let arsene and the fans down badly. Lack of in game leadership and vocality was a big issue. I do believe we could have sacrificed either ozil or cazorla and started ox this would have given us some fight and physicality in mf. I personally hope to see gnabry back soon we need more players with boxer physiques not ballerinas!

  15. Our selection was limited in my opinion. Only real consideration was Walcott instead of Welbeck but my issues lay with the lack of defensive midfield options, an issue we have tried to address. The lad who scored there opener was someone a few of us alerted to signing when he was at Sevilla…this is a question I would ask the club…Why didn’t we sign him??
    He was what we needed but we couldn’t select him because he doesn’t play for us. Maybe in the summer?
    That team needed Vieira and Gilberto instead of Coquelin and Cazorla. Maybe then we would of seen a more confident Özil and Sanchez, maybe then we wouldn’t be talking about how an exposed Mertisacker is awful!

    System 4-1-4-1 is fine, but personal needs to be looked at. We spend £100m this season so I am disappointed we haven’t addresses this lack of league challenge. But I am confident we want to improve and do good things

  16. I am not even sure if Lionel Messi would look average if he was playing at Arsenal under Wenger guidance…!!
    Ozil has become an expensive and useless commodity… And I am sure he could be amazing under another manager…!!

  17. Shezn warmed up at half time with no gloves on juggling balls he really takes the game serious
    Walcott swapped shirts at full time and when given stick by fans gestured that he isn’t bothered
    I can’t stand Ferguson or Maureen as people but as managers they struck fear into the TOP players, they know if they don’t perform they get replaced
    Goroud miss at least 3 sitters 8 yards or closer, the Monaco fans were chanting his name after he went off, how low have we become
    The ground is so quiet even in big games we chant 1-2 songs usually Arsenal, Arsenal
    The stewards will throw out fans with winger out banners but allow away fans to incite hate in the ground and do nothing
    Yesterday was my worst visit to the stadium in yearsm treated like crap, players who don’t even want to work hard or players below standard

  18. sanchez is going to end up the very same as ozil …. a dead loss . this is all wengers mishandling of his very best players . he is killing the team , his ambition is championship football . and pretty soon he will realise that ambition .

  19. We were sitting two seats below Monaco fans sitting laughing and taking the piss, and no one seemed to think that that’s wrong, I’ve been to away grounds to watch Arsenal sat in the home team stand and respectfully stay quiets if we score, as a punch in the mouth often offends, I’m amazed at our home games, so many people who don’t even speak English and seem to treat the game as a Sunday afternoon tea party, where are the old Arsenal fans born and bred Arsenal, I’m all for a multi cultural look but let’s not lose anyone in the race to become global. I can remember as a child my father taking my to see Stoke City who always out sang the away teams and the passion flowed through to their players, what’s happend to Arsenal , what was the quote from Roy Keane
    Our club is in a downfall last nights
    Ossian average
    Gibbs -plays like a winger
    bel- looked out of his depth
    Kos can’t play both Cb on his own
    Le coq found wanting in possession
    Welbeck 4th choice Utd plays ever week for us, says it all
    Sanchez poor last night tries to do too much
    Santii- felt sorry for him, tried, kept getting pulled back and no movement in front of him
    Ozil 1/2 things either he doesn’t suit the premier or doesn’t suit wenger approach
    GIroud not good enough no where near stevie wonder could see that
    And finally wenger 10 years ago ahead of his time, now NO PASSION, NO TACTICS, NO FEAR FACTOR, = no job

  20. Gibbs deserves a great criticism too, almost as much as per, where the H*ll was he for both the 2 goals, may be he thinks he is a winger after all, and not a left back. To make it worse: he was as wasteful going forward, not a single cross was done that day. Not singling him out though.

  21. All well and good picking the team after a defeat, I looked at most comments on here before the match and 90% of people chose the team that wenger did. The other 10% selecting at least 9 of the players that wenger did. This was about players getting it wrong. The manager and coaching team not doing enough to inspire and calm the team, whilst the home fans were once again pathetic. All in all it was a sorry excuse of a performance all round, but I wouldn’t put it past our team to win 4-2 in the away leg and go through on away goals. I can well see us having a 3-0 lead at half time, then monaco pulling 1 back to square the tie. Then arsenal scoring with 5 mins to go to make it look safe only for monaco to grab a quick response and leave us sweating and defending for the remaining minutes.

  22. Maybe it`s just me but I`ve always thought Wenger`s weakness was player and team selection.
    I`m not qualified to criticize him on tactics or motivation although observation, common sense and professional comments lead me to believe he`s not the `professor` he has been heralded to be.
    Speaking as a rugby coach I can honestly say I wasn`t the best but I inherited players that needed little instruction, even at training, and as such we swept all before us….I was lucky. Maybe Wenger was similarly blessed?

  23. After all said and done the bulk stops at the managers table. It has been proved time and again over the past couple of years that Wenger has lost touch and has remained stuck in his once successful formula that has ceased to provide results. In my opinion the only permanent solution to our yo-yo performance is for Wenger to quit the stage now and give way for a younger world class coach like Diego Simone. I have said this in a couple of forums and i say it again, i know many people will disagree with me and thumb me down but the truth is that with Wenger still at the helm of affairs, Arsenal cannot win the EPL or UCL.And can take that to the bank.

  24. Walcott and Rosicky should have started in place of Welback and Ozil. And later on we could have brought on Ox as some substitution which we might not have needed if Wenger was able to pull his head out of his arse in time.

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