Ox is IN and Walcott’s OUT for Arsenal at Bournemouth

Theo Walcott has paid the price for his struggles in front of goal for Arsenal recently, as Arsene Wenger has dropped the England international to the subs bench for the trip to Bournemouth today, with the improving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in to play in the wide forward role on the right flank.

The Ox has not had a great season so far but he has looked a lot better in the last few weeks and now he has a great chance to force his way into the first team on a regular basis. Let’s just hope he grabs the chance with both hands because Arsenal are badly in need of some goals and a win today.

Wenger has also reacted to the pace of the Bournemouth attack, with the boss well aware of the danger of former Gunner Benik Afobe, by starting with the Brazilian centre back Gabriel next to Koscielny and Mertesacker on the bench. Flamini starts ahead of Coquelin and I can only assume that is because the younger player is not yet fully up top speed after his injury lay-off.

Cech
Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal
Flamini, Ramsey
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez
Giroud

Subs: Gibbs, Mertesacker, Ospina, Walcott, Campbell, Coquelin, Iwobi.

Will this Arsenal XI get us back to winning ways?

Wanyama to be NEXT Arsenal midfield transfer?

I am really not too sure about the Arsenal transfer rumour to be honest, especially if the talk about the young French midfielder Francis Coquelin being back in training and close to an Arsenal return are true.

But Metro are reporting that Arsene Wenger has not finished strengthening the Gunners in midfield this month and is planning to make the Southampton and Kenya star Victor Wanyama the second Arsenal signing of the January transfer window.

Arsenal have been linked with the powerful and combative Wanyama in every transfer window for years, dating back to when he was impressing north of the border with the Scottish champions Celtic. But after Wenger completed the transfer of one central midfielder in Mohamed Elneny, it seemed as though the Frenchman was done.

But the prof said today that he was still unsure about the best position of our new player and in Arteta and Flamini we have two player that might have reached their sell by date. So would the Saints’ star be a good player to sign this month and would Wenger sign two players in the same sort of position like this?

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While the Arsenal squad has been wracked with injury problems, Arsene Wenger has at least had some good news with the England international striker Theo Walcott returning to the squad and Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny also coming back off the injury list.

Only one of those three returning Gunners is in the starting line up chosen by the bodss though, with the France international centre back completing the strongest possible Arsenal back four alongside Mertesacker, Bellerin and Monreal and with Flamini preferred to Chambers in the holding role in front of them.

Aaron Ramsey is the man Wenger thinks can replace the injured Santi Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in for Alexis Sanchez, although we will have to wait and see which of the flanks he and Joel Campbell will be used on. This is a massive game for Olivier Giroud as well because he will be under pressure after a couple of poor games and with Walcott sitting on the bench ready to replace him.

Cech
Bellerin, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny
Flamini, Ramsey
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Campbell
Giroud

Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Walcott, Chambers, Iwobi.

Sunderland will surely set out to frustrate Arsenal so the first goal, as well as the timing of it, could be crucial. Let-s hope we score it and before too long as well.

BOOM! Arsenal title hopes gone after BIG Cazorla injury blow?

Three months! Can you believe it Arsenal fans? The bad news just keeps coming in waves for us at the moment and I have a horrible feeling that this could be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

According to a report in The Guardian the Spaniard, who was thought to have picked up just a minor knock against Norwich, has actually damaged ligaments in his knee and that means a long spell in the treatment room.

In fact the three months being talked about puts his return about the same time as his central midfield partner Francis Coquelin. So in a matter of weeks the Gunners have had the heart ripped out of the team and this is going to make it very hard for us to keep up the title race.

At least we have Aaron Ramsey fit again and I think the only real chance for Arsenal is for the Welshman to rediscover the form of two seasons ago when he was scoring and setting up goals for fun in that box to box role. But he will also need to forge a solid understanding with Flamini, Chambers or whoever plays next to him.

Can they do it, or have Arsenal just seen the Premier League trophy slip away once more?

Wenger – Arsenal star will NOT be good cover for Coquelin

It was one of the injury problems that Arsenal fans had most feared this season, along with other key players like Alexis Sanchez. But with Arsene Wenger having failed (or chosen not) to sign what we think of as a proper defensive midfielder for years, the role of Francis Coquelin in the Arsenal team was seen as perhaps the hardest to fill.

Now we have three months to get by without the French midfield warrior and there has been a lot of talk about who best to use to fill his boots as well whether the boss will need to sign a new DM in the January transfer window. For now at least Wenger must make do with with the options already in our squad.

While the two obvious choices are Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, once the club captain is fit again after yet another niggling injury, the manager has mentioned that Calum Chambers might be a good option as he has been getting used to the position in training.

Quite a few people have also suggested that Aaron Ramsey, just back out the treatment room himself, might be the best choice but Wenger does not appear to agree with that one. As he explains in an Arsenal.com report, Wenger feels that it would be wrong to play the Welshman in that deeper role because it would be a waste of Ramsey´s main talent.

The Frenchman said, “Ramsey is more an offensive player. I will use him sometimes there [centrally] when the game demands, but is he naturally with Cazorla a balanced pair? Defensively, certainly, it’s a very adventurous one!

“I used Ramsey on the right because he gives us a balance, because we have Ozil who is an offensive player, we have Sanchez, we have Giroud or Walcott and Cazorla so to balance a bit defensively, I use Ramsey on the right. That’s where I will certainly continue to use him.

“He is not afraid to tackle but he likes to go in the box and he has a good timing of runs and he wants the ball and he wants to go forward. If you take that out of him, and you say ‘look, you have to sit now, and sit there and wait,’ you kill his strengths.

“He [Ramsey] can do [the deeper role]. It is not that he cannot do it, but he can do it [more effectively] with Coquelin. Cazorla can [play alongside] Coquelin.

“Cazorla and Ramsey is a bit [attack-minded] and you know in my mind I have seen that the turn of our results last season was when I went for a bit of stability and put Coquelin in there. Now I am a bit cautious on that front and I do not want to unbalance the team.

“Arteta is not a Coquelin-type but he is a tactical player who loves to sit now because he is less [focused on] going forward.

“In my mind I always had Arteta and Flamini and Coquelin. But Arteta was injured so I played always Coquelin. Now with Arteta and Coquelin both injured we are of course a bit short. That’s why I play Chambers for 10 or 12 minutes to see how he positions and we are happy because he can do it.”

So have Arsenal got enough without Ramsey to cover for Coquelin?

Arsenal team for Sheffield Wednesday – Giroud to start

Arsene Wenger has so far been proved largely right in his decision not to sign a striker in the summer transfer window and he now has two different and effective option to lead the attack in Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott. Each brings a very different skill set to the side and are seen as the better choice depending on how the manager thinks the game will pan out.

Arsenal travel to Swansea at the weekend and the Welsh team´s style of play as well as the fact that they have a good recent record against the Gunners and their win last weekend means that it should be an open game, set up for the pace and counter attacking threat of Theo.

That is why I expect Giroud to start the Capital One Cup game at Sheffield Wednesday tonight. Our other first teamers will be Petr Cech, one of the centre backs, Flamini and the Ox. So this is how I see Arsenal lining up.

Cech
Debuchy, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs
Flamini, Bielik
Campbell, Chamberlain, Iwobi
Giroud

Would this team be able to carry on Arsenal´s recent run and get the Gunners into the next round of the league cup?

Arsenal starting XI for EPL away day at Leicester

This really is a massive game for Arsenal; as a win would confirm that the Gunners have bounced back from two damaging defeats in a row and would leaves us looking pretty good for a Premier League title challenge, while a defeat would sap all the confidence gained from a north London derby win and confirm that it has been a well below par start to the season.

So there is no doubt that Arsene Wenger wants his strongest line up out there, although an injury problem to Coquelin is not allowing him to do that. Santi Cazorla is back after a one game ban and I think Wenger has to stick Flamini next to the Spaniard in the middle to give us energy and bite.

Gabriel is serving his ban but I think we would have gone with the first choice pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny anyway and I see no reason to change at full back even though Gibbs was impressive against Spurs. I don´t really like playing Ramsey on the right but the boss does and I think he will again, with Walcott replacing Giroud in the middle.

Cech
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal
Flamini, Cazorla
Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis
Walcott

This team should be well capable of bringing the points back home. COYG

Arsenal tipped for transfer of midfield warrior!

I am not sure how well the young Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin will take the Arsenal transfer rumours linking Arsene Wenger with the potential signing of Mehmet Topal, because the Turkish international would be in direct competition with the Frenchman for his place in the Arsenal starting line up.

We do not know for sure whether it is the Gunners that have made an offer to Fenerbahce for the 29-year old, but a Metro report has revealed that the bid of around £5 million has come from a club based in London and Arsenal are said to be the favourites.

The report claims that our Premier League rivals Chelsea and Tottenham are also interested in this midfield warrior but if it really is Arsenal that have made an offer, then you would have to assume it to signal the end of the line for Mathieu Flamini in his second spell as a Gunner.

Wenger lets back-up Arsenal DM Coquelin stay on loan!! Is he MAD?

I cannot believe that Arsene Wenger has not decided to recall the French midfielder Francis Coquelin to Arsenal. Instead, the manager has allowed the 23-year old midfielder to stay with the Championship club Charlton for another month.

I know that Coquelin has only made one appearance for the Gunners so far this season, when he filled in at left back in the Capital One Cup defeat to Southampton and I agreed with sending him on loan in the first place. It will give the versatile Frenchman some valuable competitive football and some experience of the rough and tumble of English football, but we might need him.

Surely Wenger could have sent him back to Charlton in January when Mikel Arteta was back from injury and the winter transfer window was open. I have got a horrible feeling that Mathieu Flamini will now pick up an injury or get sent off and suspended. Then the decision to leave Coquelin on loan will look misguided and short sighted at best and plain daft at worst.

Who the hell is going to cover if Flamini does have to miss any games in the next few weeks? Not Diaby who is still not fit and not Jack Wilshere who is out for three months. Calum Chambers? Oh no we need him at right back. Someone from the academy? And who is the best defensive midfielder in the academy? That’s right Arsenal fans, it is Francis Coquelin.

Wilshere AND Ramsey to start for Arsenal in Swansea

Because of the injury through absence of the Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta and the well reported problems that the Gunners have had in the centre of midfield, including a slating from the TV pundits about our collapse on Tuesday night, Arsene Wenger knows that this is a key area for today’s Premier League away game against Swansea City.

And with the Welsh club being well known for their hard work and good possession of the ball, I expect the Arsenal boss to try to deal with this by playing both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere in the centre. I also think he will play our most defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini in front of the back four in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

The problem is who misses out and I think it is likely to be Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard may be brilliant at keeping the fluency going and has a great eye for a defence breaking through ball, but Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain offer pace, power and a fantastic work rate which could be more important today, at least in the first part of the game.

Both Ramsey and Wilshere have the quality to create and score goals as well as giving us energy and fight. And if it is still all square or if we need an equaliser, then the likes of Cazorla, Walcott and Podolski are the players you want on the bench.