EFL Thoughts – Rotation Ahead Of A Busy Time

Football is a sport short on loyalty but some city’s never forget a defining manager. Take Stoke for example. Most of us would quite happily take Stoke into the middle of the Atlantic and sink it but not this morning.

The city council, mindful of the £3.7m hit to Tony Pulis’ pocket, is keen to chip in to their Welsh folk hero’s cause and has decided to raise funds by fining the denizens of the Potteries for leaving their bins out too long at Christmas. At £80 a time, that’s 462,500 bins. Presumably they are hoping for repeat offenders to help with bin-a-thon.

News that Stoke had bins surprised me; most of the rubbish was strewn across the streets last time I was there.

I await FIFA’s disrepute charge for making an overt political statement on the site.

Arsène is preparing for tomorrow’s EFL cup tie with Southampton aware that rotation is his biggest task.  The fixture list for the next 19 days is daunting:

30-Nov Southampton EFL Cup H
03-Dec West Ham Premier League A
06-Dec Basel Champions League A
10-Dec Stoke City Premier League H
13-Dec Everton Premier League A
18-Dec Manchester City Premier League A

If anyone is in any doubt about what side we will field tomorrow, that underlines the second string XI nature of it all.

After the 2 – 2 draw with PSG, it’s fairly safe to say that we will chop and change for the Basel game as well. Anyone likely to play in the final three Premier League games of this run who has even the vaguest injury concern, is likely to be rested for the trip to Switzerland.

It would be just our luck that we field a weakened side, succumb to a last-minute goal, only to find that Ludogorets score an equaliser in Paris just as Basel are celebrating.

There is such a need for a unlikey turn of events that we should accept second place and the horrors that it will bring. If we finish top, we’d draw Bayern or Dortmund/Real Madrid anyway.

The concern is that injuries are starting to appear. Whilst Hector Bellerin is close to returning, Olivier Giroud’s hamstring appeared to give out on Sunday. Although Arsène said afterwards it was a twitch – and when anyone mentions a twitch I immediately think of Jack Douglas in the Carry On films which could explain how Ollie ended up on the turf – so we wait and see.

We are short of options up front though. Alexis seems OK but surely won’t be risked tomorrow; Giroud with a possible tweak of the hamstring is surely out which leaves Lucas Perez or Theo Walcott to lead the line unless the manager dips into the Academy side and gives Stephy Mavydidi a runout. Either that or Yaya Sanogo.

More will become clear at his pre-match presser. It’s sign of the precarious nature of our squad at the moment. With Akpom and Welbeck both out until the New Year, Arsène has to manage the fitness levels without necessarily having the depth to do so in the short-term.

It only becomes a problem in the worst-case scenario but we’ve seen the worst-case scenario happen once too often in the past.

It’s only the EFL Cup tomorrow so it won’t be a major surprise if we don’t win it; we haven’t threatened to do so since Abou Diaby did what few rarely get the chance to do: kick John Terry in the head – very hard as well, the lucky bugger. And with no European reward, a meaningless competition took on even less meaning, if that’s possible.

Chapecoense

Since I started writing the piece, I’ve become aware of the tragic events in Colombia. Thoughts and prayers go to those who lost family and loved ones in the crash, as well as the injured.

Heartfelt sympathies to the club’s officials, surviving players and supporters.

’til Tomorrow.

36 thoughts on “EFL Thoughts – Rotation Ahead Of A Busy Time

  1. good morning, my sympathy to all affected by the air crash.

    I expect to see so much rotation the team will resemble a spinning top.

  2. Morning

    Great post Yogi.

    Yes well said concerning the tragedy in Columbia.

    It was lovely foot work by Diaby on that unfortunate day at Wembley.

    I’d love to win the league cup but resting players is key for the PL so if we win tomorrow, great if not we keep calm and carry on.

    Maybe the draw against PSG sealed our fate in that we’ll finish 2nd in the group regardless. Just as I can see the scenario in your post play out, I could of also seen us go to Basel on top of the group and lose there with our strongest team. So yes, resting as many bodies as we can against Basel would make sense to me. Do we even need to turn up?

    Just picking up on what someone said yesterday about Walcott’s comment on Nacho taking the shot. Walcott is a Effing twat and Nacho should give him a slap.

  3. Enough football chat for the present, it’s a beautiful sunny morning, the overnight frost is fast disappearing so it’s time to go out and clear up the last of the autumn leaves.

    Until later.

  4. Since we seem to have a right back problem,why dont we switch to 343 system.

    Martinez
    Gabriel Holding Monreal
    Ox Ramsey coq Gibbs
    Iwobi Perez Jeff

  5. Ospina
    Maitland-NIles—-Gabriel—Holding—-Gibbs
    ————Le Coq—–Bielik———–
    —————-Ramsey—————–
    Adelaide——Giroud or Perez——-Iwobi

    Now, Ox could naturally come in for one of Adelaide or Iwobi, maybe even Ramsey (then moving one of Iwobi and Adelaide centrally with Ox moving to the flanks). I also wouldn’t be opposed to Mavididi playing at CF because he has developed and this would be a good match for him though I know most will say that is a terrible idea.

  6. Truth be told:
    Since we seem to have a right back problem,why dont we switch to 343 system.

    Martinez
    Gabriel Holding Monreal
    Ox Ramsey coq Gibbs
    Iwobi Perez Jeff

    I tend to feel you may have something there if the truth be told, Truth be told.

    YW has a point about ‘risking’ both Gibbsy and Nacho, so maybe a chance for one of our budding U21 stars, maybe? 🙂

  7. Great post Yogi

    Arsene has been by far the most aggressive manager to use the league cup as nothing more then a chance to “blood youth” (whatever that means) and rest his starters. It would be nice to win that trophy just once but I certainly accept the logic of devaluing the importance of winning this competition for the sake of resting players. Myself I think we should prioritize getting as many minutes as possible for players who are in the 12 -25th position on our first team depth chart. After that as Arsene can knock himself out using as many academy level players as can fit into the remaining spots in the line up.

  8. As an aside, I have no idea where we came up with the idea that Arsene does not rotate. That is one of those myths that has been repeated so often that it morphs into conventional wisdom even when its not true. Look at the line ups we have played in the PL and CL games in the last few games and in this whole season. Arsene has always been far more generous then any other manager in the world with time off in the summer, and he always been the more aggressive with rotation and playing weaker line ups in the league cup and FA cup. The only exceptions to the latter came when he was desperate to break the trophy drought with league cup in 2011 and the years we won the FA cup in this decade. For most of the Emirates era those 2 tournaments have been mostly considered expendable and used for rotation.

  9. YW,

    Yup, 3 year old. She knows how to make oatmeal and toast, but that early, the only thing on my mind was a strong cup of coffee!

  10. Bit much to ask Holding to come in a play the centre of a back three, with Gabriel and Monreal the other two, IMO

    He’s been impressive, but not so much so that I’d ask him to do that.

    I’d let Ramsey have Ozil’s slot tomorrow though. Ox should get a run out, maybe even at right back?

    Truth be told:
    Since we seem to have a right back problem,why dont we switch to 343 system.

    Martinez
    Gabriel Holding Monreal
    Ox Ramsey coq Gibbs
    Iwobi Perez Jeff

  11. Ospina
    Maitland-NIles—-Gabriel—Holding—-Gibbs
    ————Le Coq—–Bielik———–
    —————-Ramsey—————–
    Adelaide——Perez——-Iwobi

    That’s my line-up, mixing senior players with the youth most close to breaking through (or in Adelaide’s case making the bench several times.

  12. Arsene on Sanchez:

    “I think Alexis adds to his game a desire to fight for the team and as well, he’s a winner, he wants to win the game and he does what it takes to win the game,” said Wenger.

    “I believe on a tactical front he has improved much more, he works much more for the team and when it’s needed during games, he works very hard for the team.

    “I think he has improved a lot on [running effectively]. He’s more conscious of his responsibilities and he is an intelligent player. He understands what he has to do and I believe he’s more willing to help the team.

    “He has the instinct of a real striker,” added the boss. “He wants to hit you, he wants to go at you. When he gets the ball, he runs forward and he runs at any defender. He shows, maybe sometimes to excess, that dribbling quality is an important quality for a striker.

    “It’s his game and you do not want to take that out of his game. His dribbling is provocative, it’s not retention, it’s provocative, to create damage.”

  13. I think the idea that Arsene does not rotate is another example that we see what we expect to see when we watch football. We form a conclusion and then search diligently for evidence to support the conclusion rather then the other way around. Anyone who has been married for a while knows how good wives are at finding evidence to support their predetermined conclusions. Someone is always responsible when something is a mess or something breaks and its predetermined that its never them. 😉

  14. Bill, @4:39

    That’s called bias confirmation — you may recall that I have mentioned this several times. 😀

    An example: C is a good football man able to hold his own in a discussion with anyone: however, he is putty in the hands of a 3 year old daughter, and a right old softee. 😀

    Orsey is a good bloke with a lot of interesting opinions: but he can be a right old nag! 😀

  15. Henry

    Thanks for the info. I will remember the term bias confirmation. Just like the fans of any club we expect that our team gets more bad ref calls going against them so that is what fans see when they watch a game. We want all of our players to do well but we unintentionally analyze the performances of those players we like more favorably then we would analyze a similar performance from a player we don’t like as much. We all do that to some extent, myself included, although some of us are more prone to do that then others

  16. ‘morning Henry, you missed out a word there, between “coach” and question mark there should be the word “driver”.

  17. Truth be told:
    Since we seem to have a right back problem,why dont we switch to 343 system.

    Martinez
    Gabriel Holding Monreal
    Ox Ramsey coq Gibbs
    Iwobi Perez Jeff

    This is actually a good line up provided Soton do not take the game way too serious by playing their first team. I really do not expect them to seeing as they also have had European engagements.

  18. google tells me that wonderful image is from Ballad of a Soldier – ? Something you can recommend?
    I don’t know how you find all these great old film stills, but thanks.

    Pity tonight’s game isn’t on TV but apparently the Evening Standard has a live stream, or so I was told. Just hope Perez doesn’t go off injured after 15 like poor Debuchy. When you’ve been out injured for a long time, hammies can twang easily. People forget just how good Debuchy is/was.

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