Euro 2016: Final Thoughts & Arsenal Player Ratings


I’m not even going to pretend that I enjoy Portugal’s style of play but there’s nothing worthy of condemnation in it. Criticised by their native media, Fernando Santos identified his squad’s limitations and devised a philosophy designed to win the matches.

They struggled to get out of the group stage, failing to win a match but their obduracy was perfectly suited to knockout football: make your opponent work for openings and hit them on the break. The way the Portuguese played was very reminiscent of Mourinho’s Chelsea and Inter days.


France, the favourites, weren’t as incisive as before. Giroud played well, Sissoko even better but they couldn’t fashion as many clear openings. When Gignac scuffed his shot onto the post in the dying minutes of normal time, you knew it wasn’t to be their night.

Eder’s winning goal came with warnings, the French crossbar had barely stopped wobbling from a free kick moments before. Clattenburg is being criticised for not awarding a free kick to France in the build-up but that strikes me as looking to deflect attention away from some poor defending from Umtiti and then Koscielny.

It was a disappointing end to the tournament for the host nation, one in which they had played well after a slow start. Griezmann may have finished top scorer but he would happily trade that in for a winner’s medal this morning. It will be interesting to see where Deschamps goes from here with the XI.

With a third of his squad 30 or the wrong side of it, he has to rebuild, particularly with both full backs creaking when the Portuguese attacked at pace. With the next World Cup two years away and a tough qualifying group, he will be rebuilding as well as getting the players used to facing competitive matches from here on in.

And what of Ronaldo? You may not like the man but seeing a player withdrawn that early on a big occasion is never pleasant, particularly one of that quality. Unless you support the other team, then you feel a boost. The French players didn’t, peculiarly enough. They became almost subdued for a while; instead of pinging passes around, they were still on top for spells but lacking the verve that your opponents losing their best player ought to bring.

And if we’re honest, the tournament got the winners it deserved. Italy were refreshing, attacking with style and defending confidently. Germany, we knew would be a good side but lack a goalscorer. Hosts France were decent whilst Iceland and Wales were a breath of fresh air. But that’s 5 teams out of 32; the remainder were distinctly average or just plain poor.

Enjoyable matches? Italy v Belgium, Italy v Ireland, Italy v Spain, Iceland v France, Germany v Italy, Wales v Belgium; I’m struggling now but there are possibly one or two others I’ve missed off.

It was, overall, a poor tournament. Tactically dour with the fear of losing over-ruling attacking aspirations. Pass, pass, pass; possession, possession, possession; all with little end product.

Arsenal Players At The Euros

This is my view of the tournament for the players.

FRANCE: Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny

They will both be largely pleased with their contributions. Giroud rediscovered his goal touch in the lead-up to the tournament and established a fine partnership with Antoine Griezmann. That gives Arsène something to think about with, I suspect, Alexis of the current squad most likely to replicate that role. However, it doesn’t preclude Wenger from dipping into the transfer market to strengthen the front line. (8/10)

Koscielny, despite last night’s error, was impressive. With Rami and Umtiti both relatively inexperienced at this level, he provided good leadership at the back, something he can seem reticent to do at Arsenal. Perhaps this will have brought him out of his shell. His club performances are good and continually improving but he’s always seemed reluctant to take charge; maybe he just isn’t captain material in that sense. (8/10)

WALES: Aaron Ramsey

A revelation. Liberated by Chris Coleman and played in his favoured more central role, he shone for the Welsh. Their defeat to Portugal arguably proved that he was more important to their progress than Gareth Bale, not that the headline writers will agree.

Will Arsène tweak formation to free his spirit from the flanks? Much depends on whether he believes we will be more productive in front of goal with a strike partnership in which case, Ramsey is still likely to be patrolling the right side of the pitch.

You feel 2016/17 may be a decisive season in his Arsenal career. (9/10)

GERMANY: Mesut Özil

If you ignore the penalties, there is a strong case for Özil to be considered Player of the Tournament. He won’t be: Griezmann and Payet both scored more but Özil was pivotal in Germany’s run to the semi-final. The Germans creativity focussed around the Arsenal man, with the effortless gliding into space and willingness to come for the ball a continuation from his club form.

Despite that, I still wouldn’t let him anywhere near a penalty kick. (9/10)


OK, so Tomas Rosicky was listed as an Arsenal player but by the tournament’s first game, he’d been released. I love the style of his football and am disappointed we were robbed of his prime years through injury. That he ended the tournament injured summed it all up. (5/10)

Cech was OK as the Czechs limped home, bottom of their group. A solitary point amid the madness in Saint-Etienne was hugely disappointing. Vulnerable to long-range shooting which I hope is not a sign of things to come. (Too much respect for a rating: I want to remember the good times)


A tidy tournament, emphasizing his range of passing. He was willing to mix the defensive side of his game whilst always looking for an attacking option when the ball was at his feet. It’s an interesting combination but like Mesut Özil, I’d keep him away from penalty kicks… (7/10)

POLAND: Wojciech Szczesny

Honestly, did nothing to convince me that Arsenal have made the wrong decision in looking to loan him out with a view to a permanent move to Rome. Injury cost him his place and I thought Lukasz Fabianski looked the better goalkeeper. (4/10)

ENGLAND: Jack Wilshere

Barely worth Jack going, to be honest. 12 minutes against Russia, 55 against Slovakia and 45 in the Iceland debacle. Nothing of note and frankly the only benefit is that he got a little match sharpness ahead of pre-season training. (1/10 – but no England player scored more than 1/10, with plenty getting zero.)

England were hopeless, even by our low standards.

’til Tomorrow.

79 thoughts on “Euro 2016: Final Thoughts & Arsenal Player Ratings

  1. C says:

    So Portugal sans Ronaldo huh, don’t think many saw that coming. Wonder how this will effect Kos and Giroud because if you don’t think it won’t then your naive especially when you consider it was on home soil and before the tournament they were joint favorite and thrn after they beat Germany were overwhelming favorites.

  2. C says:

    Tend to agree with those ratings Yogi.

    Kos won’t be happy with his defending leading to the tournament winning goal. Giroud was exactly what we at Arsenal have seen fot 4 years heading into our 5th. Both had good performances all tournament long.

    I thought Ozil was brilliant minus the penalties ofcourse. You can’t blame him for Germany exiting as he was constantly making things hapoen. Shame Muller struggles at the Euro’s. Xhaka’s defensive work was a joy to watch, tough tackling and quickly after thr ball. He will do well and that is before you get to his range of passing.

  3. C says:

    Hayden is off to The Barcodes on a 5 year deal, good luck to him because he has the goods to play in the PL if given thr chance.

  4. C says:

    Janssen set to have a medical at Spuds.

  5. DeiseGooner says:

    To my mind Ozil seemed to have started in the wide positions for Germany but continually dropping deep and moving inside and still ran the show at times. Ramsey started centrally and pushed forward and look great.
    So.. do we use those positions @ Arsenal next season?

    Alexis – Ramsey – Ozil

  6. Terence McGovern says:

    I personally thought the England V Iceland game was superbly entertaining and merited being included on your list. Not enjoying the result should not disqualify the game. It will be remembered for decades.

  7. Pete the Thirst says:

    @C have you had an expresso?

  8. Pete the Thirst says:

    @YW agree with pretty much all of the Arsenal players reviews. Interesting to see Koscielny over-powered by Eder. Reminded me of the times Drogba used to make minced meat of him every time Chelsea played us.

    Koscielny is a decent player, but needs a big lump next to him to do the dirty work. I thought another player we were linked with, Ashley Williams, had a great tournament. Shame we didn’t follow up our interest.

  9. Orson Kaert says:

    Looks as if you’re right there C, Hayden’s name has been removed from the official list of players on in the last hour or so.

    Good luck to him, I hope he makes a success of his career.

  10. Michael says:

    The one thing Pep Guardiola did successfully was destroy the future stars of German football ie , Muller and Gotze. Just can’t beleive they became so bad in couple of years .

  11. C says:


    Ozil didn’t move outwide until the match against France, otherwise he was playing in his #10 role. Low had to compensate for losing both Khederia and Gomez so he brought in Schweinsteiger and Can.

    Lets keep Ozil centrally.

  12. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Terence McGovern – a name from the past. For some reason I have an image of you, Rhys Jagger and Myles Palmer having a debate while doing a session of pilates.

  13. C says:


    No not yet, just one of those morning were I feel good after my run.

  14. DeiseGooner says:

    @C oh i agree Ozil at #10 is the way to go. But Ramsey has stated his case for a further forward central position. Unless of course a partnership with Xhaka lets his attacking game flourish from slightly deeper starting point. Getting a working midfield from Xhaka, Coq, El Neny, Ramsey, Cazorla & Jack will be a ob for Le Boss.

  15. DeiseGooner says:

    @ Pete – Kos lacked his game long physicality against Eder for the goal. I thought he as he was booked (incorrectly – Clattenerg the tit) just before so didn’t want to take the risk.

  16. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Deise we’ve seen it many times before though. Big forwards cause him all sorts of problems. Think back to Andy Carroll last season. He must have nightmares about Drogba.

  17. C says:


    If Ramsey can keep it simple then I think he will and can keep his form up for Arsenal. Tend to think with Ozil and Xhaka more of the passers, and Ramsey will be the ‘runner’ of that midfield. I think there will be “different” midfielders for Arsenal next season based on who is playing as the 3rd midfielder since I’m pretty sure if Ozil and Xhaka are fit for the vast majority of the matches, they will start.

  18. silvergunner says:

    Clattenburg is a waste man as my young cousin so eloquently puts it.
    Still France failed to take advantage of their territorial advantage during the 90 mins and looked decidedly tired as extra time continued pogba didn’t look the £100m signing but those who still watch Italian football know how good he is.
    Sissoko is a strange one how can a professional footballer be so polarising in terms of performance for club and country?
    I think come the world cup the French team will be better equipped.
    I still don’t understand why Deschamps refused to take Ben arfa he has been unplayable the season just gone.

  19. DeiseGooner says:

    Sissoko has better players around him for France than he does at Newcastle. There have been games for Newcastle where he has looked the player we have seen at the Euros just not enough. I reckon we would have got more out of him than we did from Rosicky & Flamini combines last season but we choose to stick with those 2. Now with Elneny and Xhaka in and Jack back (hopefully) a move for Sissoko looks a non starter.

  20. andy1886 says:

    Silver, Ben Arfa has a refutation for being trouble. I’m pretty sure that Deschamps thought that his potentially disruptive behaviour would be a risk that wasn’t worth taking even though he had a great season.

    With Sissoko my guess would be that in his day job he doesn’t always put in the effort he could but given the chance of glory with his country in front of his own fans then he pulls his finger out. Newcastle fans are probably rightfully annoyed that he doesn’t perform like that regularly for them, he clearly has the ability.

    @C – which ever way you look at it AW has to change the way we play because clearly the current system isn’t getting the best out of our players. Common sense dictates that you look at your resources and work out how they can best function as a unit rather than have an idealised system and try and fit sometimes ill-suited players into specific roles.

  21. C says:

    Come hte World Cup, I tend to think they will be fine as long as Coman continues to develop which he will, and Martial and LAcazette continue to imporve and score goals. When you consider that France were without Varane and Zouma at CB and the lad we were supposed to sign but didn’t in Djibril Sidibe, they will be fine in defense. Plus you also have players in midfield like Rabiot, Kondogbia and Imbulu who will push on as they have been. I know most don’t follow the U21’s but outside of 3 or 4 players (Yaya, Thauvin (who could still regain his form) and one or 2 others) France could well have the vast majority of their youth side that won the World Cup 2 years ago.

  22. C says:


    I tend to agree with that, our current system doesn’t work but doesn’t get the best out of the players. I think we are almost caught between two different styles based on the personnel that we have. The thing that we have to do is build a style of play around our core and best players. System aside, their needs to be a style based on what Ozil, Sanchez, Xhaka, Bellerin, Kos, Ramsey(if he regains his form but as Yogi points out, this year is massive for his future at Arsenal). I think players like Jack, Ox, Theo, Giroud, Elneny, Le Coq are all players that need to play their specific roles in the style. A system can always be adjusted but a style of play is what we need.

    In the early Arsene years we were defined by a style based on power, pace and creativity with the likes of Viera, Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Freddie and that lot simply overwhelming people. During the Cesc era is was about playing possession futbol with Cesc, Nasri and Mozart pulling the strings. I think with Ozil, Sanchez and Xhaka we should have a style based on high tempo and quick playing futbol that would suit Ozil and Sanchez.

  23. YW says:


    The opening twenty minutes aside, it was a poor match. England were uninventive, laboured; Iceland controlled but equally unadventurous. If England had equalised, I doubt that Iceland had the wit in that match to reassert themselves on the match.

  24. silvergunner says:

    @ andy1886 I agree with you on Ben arfa but as a coach you should be taking players of that exceptional talent he could have been the difference maker against that stubborn Portuguese back line.
    Yeah something went wrong with sissoko at Newcastle as there is too much of a difference in the level he put in for club vs country, he was France’s best player by a country mile.
    @ DeiseGooner I agree there are better players in the French team but his performances for club where below par and kudos must go to Deschamps in sticking with him after the stinker of a season he has had.

  25. C says:

    I wonder if we are in the Icardi sweepstakes?

  26. silvergunner says:

    @ c I wouldn’t mind Icardi would prefer Griezmann, Aubameyang or Higuan though.

  27. silvergunner says:

    Just realised we missed out on Umtiti. Shame he looks a really promising defender.

  28. C says:


    I know, I would prefer one of those 3, but from teh start I was thinking Lacazette, Icardi or Lukuka would be the real or potentially real targets.

    Agree about Umtiti, he will do well at Barca next to Pique.

  29. C says:

    So Pelle is off to China and its not Austin leading the line for Southampton.

  30. silvergunner says:

    @ c I like Lacazette too but looks like he’ll stay on at Lyon….

  31. C says:

    So the Euro Team has been revealed and ummmmmm, yea:

    GK: Rui Patricio, Portugal
    Defenders: Kimmich and Boateng, Germany; Pepe and Guerreiro, Portugal
    Attacker / midfielders: Kroos, Joe Allen (yup that Joe Allen), Griezmann, Ramsey, Payet, Ronaldo

  32. philmar says:

    France looked like a team playing its 3rd games in 8 days. A sharper Griezman would have pounced on the Gignac post rebound. Watching France reminded me of AFC – great passing of the ball but players too tired to make the often unrewarded runs required to pull defenders out of position. The FBs played high up the pitch and like AFC not enough quality crosses were sent in. I hate this about tournament football – they play the finals with tired team has a disadvantage playing with 24 hours less rest.

    Sissoko was the best player France had. Diligent in defense and made marauding lung busting runs up the middle. He justified his inclusion. As much as I like Xhaka’s leadership qualities I feel Xhaka is just going to be another of our 10 accomplished passers of the ball. IMHO we need a cutting edge to our perimeter passing possession game. Sissoko actually runs at defenders and causes panic and disorder in the defense as he often draws 3 players out of position to stop him. He’s clearly been bored and unmotivated in Geordieland and needs a challenge. An EPL title run would have provided that.

  33. C says:


    Yup, he does look like he is set to stay at Lyon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lukuka stay at Everton for at least one more year either. There has been talk that Icardi will leave Inter.

  34. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    I thought Portugal played a very smart game. They knew they could not try to play open attacking football against a team that was better then they were. Maintaining ball possession is relatively easy but scoring goals is always the most difficult thing for any football team to do. Good defense requires organization and commitment but its not nearly as talent dependent as scoring. Good defense will usually stop a good attacking team. Like it or not football is about getting results and defending and hitting on the counter attack is the best way to bridge a talent gap

  35. philmar says:

    Payet was great in the group stages….wilted when the games were being played every 3 or 4 days. He should not have started vs. Portugal. I was hoping Deschamps sat Payet, started Kante and pushed Pogba up higher in the pitch. I guess he felted Pogba was need to defend against crosses to Ronaldo, much like Sissoko and Pogba stayed back to defend against Muller. After 90 minutes or even sooner knowing Ronaldo’s aerial threat was gone, Deschamps still had one unused substitution – i’d have taken off Matuidi and thrown on Kante and pushed Pogba upfield to support the attack. He helped engineer the 2nd goal vs. Germany up-field.
    Deschamps waited too long for his 3rd substitution.

  36. philmar says:

    JOE ALLEN?!?!?! Sanches of Portugal was better. Future superstar.

  37. C says:


    Yup, Joe Allen ahead of Sanches, Ozil and a couple others.

  38. silvergunner says:

    Thought Ramsey and Allan combo for wales was good and but Allan only looked good as he had the industrious Ramsey alongside of him.
    Ramsey was player of the tournament imo.

  39. Goonerton says:

    Portugal campeões da eurocopa!

    Amazing how anybody from England in their right minds can criticise their style of play when here in England we have won jack shit since 1966 and not ever looking like winning anything since 1966.

    England and Wenger would be a match in heaven because Wenger is an expert in lowering fans expectations and making them absolutely forget what they use to be or what they are more then capable of and still have the love of his followers who will also try to convince you that it’s because of this and this and not because he has no clue only his tired knackered out vision.

    Is your master sorry I mean our manager back in town to sort out our playing staff or is he still playing Guy Smiley in france and giving updates on who he nearly signed, didn’t sign, wanted to sign?

    Where’s JJ nowadays?
    So many questions but no fucking answers.

  40. philmar says:

    WOW that Euro team is particularly poorly selected. Ronaldo had maybe only 2 good games.

  41. C says:


    I thought Ozil was player of the tournament for my money.

  42. Bill says:

    Regarding Ramsey. IMO, The problem for him at Arsenal is our style of play does not fit him very well. He is dynamic player with a great engine and he thrives in an open high tempo less organized and less disciplined sort of game where he can use his engine to move up and down the pitch and he can makes runs into open spaces in the attacking 1/3. Unfortunately for him our slower tempo build up and ball possession allows the defense to set up in the penalty box and there is rarely any open space in the attacking end for him to run into. I think he gets frustrated and starts to try to make something happen and it usually does not work. If we are passing the ball around the midfield for 72% of the game then his fantastic engine becomes less of an advantage. Cazorla is clearly much better at sitting behind Ozil maintaining ball possession and holding his position and picking passes. In reality Elneny or even Iwobe are probably just as effective as Ramsey if that is going to be the job description. Sitting behind Ozil and staying disciplined mostly neutralizes the things that made Ramsey a difference making player for Wales and when he can’t use the more dynamic part of his skill set he becomes distinctly average as we have seen for the last 2 seasons.

  43. philmar says:

    I agree Bill.. He is best when we have a lead and the opposition is chasing the game and the game is stretched. I often feel Arsene should not always start him out of his best position. I’d prefer if he was held back and introduced when we have a lead. He could help kill the game. And when Ozil needs a rest we can start him in the #10 role.
    You don’t shoehorn your 10 best players out there without regard to roles.

  44. Goonerton says:

    All the best for the future Isaac Hayden. You never got a chance and would not of no matter what or how you played.

    came in to the first team twice I think? but when you did you showed natural class with your touch and much more intelligence than Francis Coq but, unfortunately for you and other above average English Youth at Arsenal you will never ever get a chance as long as the current manager we have is still there doing what he likes for himself while his drones look in awe.

  45. HenryB says:

    You may recall me boring you guys, once or twice …… and maybe a bit more …… saying I could give a rat’s ass for these rubbish Euro international tournaments, and Sunday’s final was never going to get me to change my mind. 🙂

    But, I was horrified when I tuned into the last quarter of the game, and saw Sagna taking an age to organise a throw in which resulted in him throwing the ball to a Portuguese player and from the resultant foul they almost scored off the bar.

    A timely warning to him not to mess about. 2 or 3 minutes later he repeated the performance and again threw the ball to Portugal which allowed Eder to score the winning goal.

    Eh, caramba — what was going on — so near the end of full-time what was he up to?

    Glad he now plays for Man Citeh.

  46. Bill says:


    It’s hard for me to accept that Ozil would be the player of the tournament. I realize that stats do not tell the whole story but he only had 1 assist and 1 goal in 6 games and he missed a couple of penalties. The Germans and Spaniards probably lead the tournament in ball possession but that does not win games. Ozil always looks elegant and his individual technical skill is always eye catching . However, the main job for the creative axis of Ozil/Kroos should be to set the tempo and make something happen but the German team looked a lot less dynamic then they did in the last world cup. Perhaps this group of players is starting to grow a bit stale in the same way that Spain has.

  47. C says:


    But is a more open high tempo style perfect for Ozil too? I think more than anything Ramsey’s issue at Arsenal is Ozil. But its strange that you say that he doesn’t play well in a slower tempo when that is exactly what Wales play when they can’t immediately counter but also, his best season at Arsenal was when we played slowed through Giroud he and Ozil. I think the major difference between Wales and Arsenal is that for Wales Ramsey and Bale are CLEARLY their best players so Coleman has given them absolute freedom of movement with no real roles or responsibilities but for Arsenal, he isn’t and because of that he struggles with filling “his role” in the team which is not only being disciplined but still being that ‘runner’ of getting from box-to-box. There is little doubt that if Ramsey got back to playing simple and relishing his role as a box-to-box that we wopuld get the best out of Ramsey especially when you consider that the likes of Sanchez and even Ozil are more than willing runners but both are quality passers and because teams focus on stopping them that there will be space for a disciplined player to take advantage of the created space.

  48. silvergunner says:

    @ c fair play Ozil did have a good tournament but for me Germany without Ozil would have functioned in much the same way whereas Wales without Ramsey looked dire lacking any creativity and industry from midfield.
    Dunno if this true but alex manninger is training with Liverpool with a view to a perm move as number 3 keeper…. Blast from the past!!!

  49. C says:


    The Germans were fine until they needed Muller and he failed them. Now I know its harsh to call Muller out but he is their goal scorer and for him to have NEVER scored a goal in the Euro’s is a large reason why Germany got knocked out. I honestly believe Reus would have helped a tremendous amount as Gotze is terribly out of form for both club and country. Draxler played really well and Gomez was exactly what they needed because he was doing what Muller hasn’t done at a Euro tournament and that is score goals.

  50. silvergunner says:

    @ Bill the Ramsey conundrum is a tough one to solve and we signed Xhaka just to complicate things further….
    I think that one of Wilshere or Ramsey will be sold this summer, my money is on wilshere.

  51. C says:


    I don’t think this German side functions without Ozil because they well and truly lacked creativity apart from Ozil. I think the difference is that Germany has more talent (naturally) than Wales and because of that when you take away Ramsey the talent definiciancy is ever more crystal clear. This German team is missing something and while Ozil in the attacking third was magnificent, unlike the Welsh strikers, the German strikers couldn’t finish off their chances. I mean how many times did Muller miss chances that he normally buries for Bayern or at the World Cup.

    I also think they are asked to play 2 drastically different roles, Ozil seems to be asked to be the fulcrum of the German attack and create as many chances as humanly possibly while chipping in goals and shooting more. Ramsey seems to simply be given absolute freedom to do as he pleases and have the rest of the midfield and wing backs cover for he and Bale.

  52. C says:


    I’m not so convinced of that because Jack seems to be Arsene’s “favorite” so I doubt he would sell Jack or Ramsey. If it did have to happen, I could see Arsene selling Ramsey and persisting on with Jack.

  53. Aaron says:

    As I read earlier: a big middle finger to uefa for allowing 3rd place teams in. money grubbing scum…
    Clat messed up the call that led to a goal. Kos on yellow, but then again he was basically limping through the final.
    Can’t stand defensive futbol” lets be creative and pack 10 in the six yard box. Easy to do this but difficult to make a creative attacking team- it takes a genius really.
    Portugal won in the moaniho way- anti futbol. Need a rule change to award attack minded teams- something like no offside if you have the ball in the opposing sides half! That way space can be created to the end line without worry. Another idea, how about adding another few f’n referees on the pitch, not just lineman. Like the soccer organizations can’t afford it! Or here is an idea, video replay..sheesh how lame.
    Still need an attacker with pace and one more defender. I say this again, if Arsenal do not pick up either of these before the transfer window closes they will be doomed to the proverbial 2-4th place due to injuries and lack of goals!

  54. Bill says:


    “But is a more open high tempo style perfect for Ozil too?”

    I think it would be a better style for Ozil. The main job for the midfield is to set the tempo and dictate the pace and style of play. Ozil is our best individual player and our talisman and we have built our system mostly around him. It makes sense to believe the he should the team leader and the one who pushes the team forward. It seems strange to me that wherever Ozil goes now days he is sabotaged by poor finishing. I think part of the problem is that is more difficult for the forwards to finish when the chance follows dozens of passes and the defense is packed into the penalty box. The scorers can be closed down quickly and they have less time and space.

    Football goes in cycles and this tournament again points out that ball possession and passing for its own sake are losing their effectiveness because the defenses have adapted and its very difficult to break down and organized defense with slick passing moves. Even the worlds best ball possession club teams have evolved towards a system that emphasizes the skill set of their forwards. If you are going to build the team around the midfield the way Arsenal and Spain and in this tournament Germany have done then the midfield has to move the ball forward more quickly and create different types of opportunities. IMO. The trouble is obviously that is much easier said then done.

  55. C says:


    I disagree with we have build the team around him, I think Arsene still plays the way he has since Cesc arrived and Ozil, like Sanchez has found their way to fit his system. Look at the way Ozil played pre-Arsenal and when he plays for Germany; much more freedom and willingness to play at pace. Rarely playing the slow down style we play. Sure Germany had a lot of possession because look at the other teams in their group: Poland, Northern Ireland and Ukraine, all of them were lucky to even be in the tournament so they were always going to simply drop back and hope to nick a goal. Look at how devastating they were against Slovakia , hell even Italy was a neutral affair. But also look at the fact that they had the 3rd most chances on goal, finished 6th overall as a team for goals (which is quite high when you consider that their main goal threat Muller didn’t score a single goal and had plenty of chances), they conceded only 3 goals all tournament (only Italy, Poland and Switzerland were better). So they played futbol and defended but you have to look at the overall picture.

    I feel that if Arsene well and truly designed a style (not a system but a style) of play that gets the best out of Ozil, Sanchez and Xhaka that they sole focus would be on quickening the tempo and pressing higher up to the pitch. When you consider at the Euro’s Ozil and Ramsey had the most tackles won in the attacking third, it shows that a higher tempo with pressing higher suits Ozil (Ramsey as well). So maybe the focus is the mentality of the manager and not the player. I mean Ozil had quite a few attempts on goal that he would never try or take for Arsenal. I think its a managerial mentality that we have seen through the years much more than a player mentality.

  56. philmar says:

    We could use a player like Rosicky in his prime who was direct. He attacked defenses rather than pinging the ball in clever small deft triangles at the perimeter of the opposition bus. If our plan is to small pass the opposition to sleep and then lob the ball to Giroud then we need someone like a Griezman that is willing to make the late run in to the box to smash the ball home. Santi’s striking boots are both wrong footed and Ozil prefers another clever deft pass to shooting. Elneny skies the ball as his technique more often than not fails him. A player like young Poldolski who had a quick and powerful release would help.

  57. Bill says:

    For what its worth. Germany was certainly a much more dynamic and a better team in the world cup when Ozil started on the left wing. Ozil out wide would allow the team a lot more tactical flexibility and I think we would be more dangerous having a player with more of a scorers mentality playing off Giroud.

    Even slow footed Giroud seems to play better in a more dynamic team like France. I know its a broad generalization but I think the ball possession ethos makes it more difficult for the players whose job it is to score the goals because they are working against a packed defense. The ball possession players thrive in that sort of system because they can ping the ball around midfield without a lot of pressure for 75% of the game. If you are going to play ball possession you need to be able to press aggressively for 90 minutes the way Barca did so will in the Xavi era and still does to some extent today. They would run 35 yard counter attacks after dispossessing the opposition in a dangerous area. The other way to make the ball possession ethos work consistently is to have overwhelming talent upfront the way Barca does now.

  58. Bill says:


    You may be right that the style is dictated by our manager. It was dynamic and attractive at first but like most things it eventually goes stale if not periodically changed. Unfortunately the manager is going no where so its up to the players to freshen things up. I really thought that Ozil would change things when he came but I guess that is much easier said then done. After a while it becomes easy to settle into a certain style and it becomes even harder to change mindset which is what happens when things go stale such as they have for Arsenal and Spain. At least in this tournament Germany is headed in that direction.

  59. nicky says:

    I wonder whether Arsene will have a re-think over Arsenal’s future usage of Ozil and Ramsey, following the displays of both during the Euros.
    You ask for a change of style and it may well be that with the odd signing still to come, there is an opportunity not to be missed.
    Or is it too late for him to change?

  60. C says:


    There is no doubt about Arsene dictating our style and system, think about the difference in style with his persistance with CM’s everywhere, its about trying to play his 10 best players (as somebody mentioned earlier) as opposed to playing an XI and style that fit. I think there are certainly times when you see Ozil playing “his style” and how dynamic Arsenal look (think well adn truly the first half of the season and then at various times throughout the rest of the season strikers on form or not. I think the influence must come from the manager wanting to adapt because with Ozil and Sanchez we should be quite the dynamic force even when teams drop deep but it doesn’t seem to be so.

  61. C says:


    I think there is certainly the possibility with a more mobile clinical striker to change Arsenal for the future and specifically the way that Ozil and Ramsey are used. For Wales, Ramsey enjoyed running the channels which at times is difficult with a more stationary striker so maybe with a more mobile striker and Ramsey playing next to Xhaka we will see the best of him again. I think Xhaka’s discipline and more importantly deep playing ability will free Ramsey to push forward and not have to worry about picking the ball up from the CB’s or needing to be that “outlet” that we see from Santi that doesn’t suit Ramsey. The key thing for me with Ramsey is that he makes sure that he keeps it simple and understands that he is a cog and not “The” cog like he is for Wales. I think something like:

    Campbell/Ox/Theo or new RW——-mobile CF—–Sanchez

    That would allow us to play at tempo and high press while forcing Ramsey to be disciplined but also allowing his to push forward while Ozil does what Ozil does!

  62. santori says:

    Spot on analysis and fair judgement Yogi!

    Thought Ozil was decent but you always get the feeling he can do better.

    Ramsey I agree is best played behind the striker. His instinct is to attack into the box. Wenger having him wide seems more an expedient to fit him in with Ozil but truthfully, they fight for the same spot.

    I think the other thing to take note is 3-4-2-1 used by Italy and 3-5-1-1 used by Wales. Refreshing tweak to the 4-2-3-1 to accomodate strengths and weaknesses in those teams using fly backs and one we can take note of as option against stronger teams but that may necessitate us reinforcing (Seriously) at Cback for more options if we play 3 there.

    Its unlikely Wenger will opt for this as he has both Granit and Coquelin and his instinct will be to be more positive/attack minded but we need to have a bit of pragmatism some times.

    And we can all take a page from Iceland and Wales. Play without fear and show no respect to stronger teams

    I thought aside from these two teams, Italy was also impressive but so were the Croats.

    Have no problem with the 24 team format as it gives some of these minnows like Hungary the chance to qualify better.

    Tactically the games were competitive and interesting I felt, not open and naive. Of course the later do make for more interesting matches with goals galore but if you understand the game better, the former can be equally intriguing.

    One of the stand out for the finals, Sissoko should not be at Newcastle and is certainly playing to be noticed.

    England were wretched.

    To me unless you are the gullible press, Wenger politely declined the job for good reason where the FA seem frankly to be in dream land if they think ur gaffer can turn things around for them in 2 years to world cup.

    That sort of job needs someone like Fergie. Wenger is a more holistic approach and takes time to effect.

    Fergie’s discipline and hair dryer may be the sort of necessary measure to whip this young English team into shape. But as we know, he’s Scot.

    Next to him likely Alladyce is a reasonable option as he always knows how to cut his clothes to his cloth.

    Conte is one for us to keep watch of as he takes the helm at CHelsea.

    Wenger has doen some business early with Granit.

    We will have to wait for the market to sweat on price a bit I feel before we can make a move for our striker.

    As can be discern at the moment, there are some ridiculous prices being thrown out for say Pogba to United (at100M) if he should elect not to of course go to Madrid and CL. Even Hulk went to China for 47m.

    Unless you think we should be so wanton with money, patience particularly for a self financed club is a virtue.

    Wenger is one of the most savvu in the market. Cech and Santi bought for comparatively nothing under the radar, Ozil brought in where he could have been the target of several other clubs who could have afforded him. And generally he has been spot on with his top signings, Granit, Ozil and Alexis.

    Development of Iwobi, Bellerin, Coquelin and Campbell (many of whom were said to be not Arsenal standard by cup half full people) also show he has not lost touch with his ability to transform players which is also why Granit may be attracted to Arsenal.

    So a bit of patience necessary in the market.

    My worry with recruitment is not as much striker than at Cback IMO that will need a bit of rejuvenation.

    Otherwise, been an enjoyable Euros for me bar result in the finals.

  63. santori says:

    Midfield :

    I think Granit and Coquelin are in contention for DM.

    Coquelin we have seen pairs up well with Santi less so with Ramsey. Maybe Ramsey may pair up better with Granit.There is also Jack to consider in the link role.

    TBH, I think Ozil should have competition/alternative from Ramsey in his role. Its where Ramsey is best attacking the final third and his instinct is to move into the box.

    Elneny will be a utility and should any of these players get injured or fail to perform, the hardworking Egyptian will make up for his deficiencies in pure running.

    Maybe, we may also see a bit of Zelalem and Jeff.

  64. Bill says:

    The flaw in your logic in the comment to Nicky is the fact that it’s our midfield which dominates the games and maintains the ball possession and they are the ones who dictate our tempo. We have played with teams that had a lot of pace upfront but we still get bogged down. Even slow footed Giroud can get involved when the entire team is moving forward with more pace. Everything else being equal we would all certainly rather have a pacey CF but that in itself is not going to cause a dramatic change unless we could find the next Suarez or Henry who can change the pace of play by moving the ball forward himself. The reality is that we have a very pacey team but the positive influence of that pace is significantly degraded and the whole things churns sloooooooooowly when we have 72% of the ball possession and most of that possession occurs with the defense set up and organized in their penalty area

  65. santori says:

    On the wings, we have plenty of players coming through too.

    Campbell, Ox, Iwobi will challenge for one flank (as maybe Gnabry) and the other is Alexis.

    I personally like the idea of Wenger getting Draxler.

    I don’t think he was as ready a season or so down and may have had his growth restricted from our previous structure but now with need for a striker to help Giroud (and someone with different attributes), he looks possibly a candidate who can develop into the sort of hybrid RVP player with height, pace, technical skills but also intelligence on the ball.

    And he has utility on the wings.

    Whether Wenger thinks he can develop him as such or prefers less risky options (but maybe higher priced) like a Morata who is already used to a CF role (should price cool down)will be the question)

    Unless we are replacing Walcott, I don’t think Lacazette is the best option for us.

    Most teams in the Euros play a strong CF for a reason because of the tactical defensive set ups they face (and we will likely too) There is a reason Giroud (and Gignac) were selected ahead of Lacazette by Deschamp.

    But prices are high right now. Which is why there is little action unless you are UNited and willing to spend over the odds out of CL.

  66. Bill says:

    I am skeptical that we will have to stomach to spend the really big money to improve our attack and we are never going to be an attacking juggernaut with this system and these players. We might consider the idea of refocusing our strategy on defense. That is the best way to get results when you can’t outgun the other teams at the top of the table. It worked really well in the first half of the 13/14 season. I don’t know what got into the team but we had the best defense in the league at Christmas and we were leading the table by 7 points despite being heavily outgunned by Man City and the Suarez lead Liverpool team. It costs nothing to spend time on the training pitch working on organization and its very effective from the standpoint of getting results.

  67. C says:

    Deschamps pickef Giroud a d Gignac and neither scored in the Final and France won fuck all so he must not be that smart.

  68. C says:

    That should read:

    Deschamps picked Giroud and Gignac….

  69. andy1886 says:

    I can see no reason why prices will fall towards the end of the window, in fact the reverse is quite possible. Supply is limited, everyone has money to spend, as time runs out desperation grows. Waiting for a bargain late on looks like folly to me.

  70. Wilberforce says:

    We need to sign Sissoko he is amazing. Newcastle have clearly targeted the French league over the last few years and have signed some top quality players.

    I’m not sure why are so slow at selecting these players. But Sissoko would be a great signing and he could play behind the strikers and we could love Ozil to the left wing. I love his dribbling ability and directness and he can score great goals. Come on Wenger go and get him NOW!!!!

    It’s also sad that Henry will likely walk away from coaching at the club. He won’t turn down 6million a year at Sky. I do see Wenger”s point as you can’t have one of your coaches criticising the team so openly even though it’s all valid.

  71. Damon says:

    As we’re talking formation again and fitting our best players into their best roles, I’ll repeat an idea I had a week or so ago that no one bit on

    Arsene has previously played with 5 at the back and a thee man midfield. I dont think we have the players to do that. Not enough CB’s or full backs. The full/wing backs need a superb engine and superb positional awareness. I’d suggest our two starters have one and not the other of those two


    How about 4132?

    Granit is like our double pivot of last year, two players rolled into one. Distributor and destroyer. He is the “1” and sits in front of the four, sweeps up and drops in to cover full backs caught up field. That leaves Ramsey, Santi, Jack and Ozil to fight fortune three more advanced roles. Those would be fluid and interchangeable, letting them all get to the areas of the pitch that they naturally are drawn to. It would need a lot of drilling and discipline to respect the formation, as they’d have to manage in game who goes where and when defensively

    The Doubled edge to that sword is that a fluid midfield is very hard to pick up when attacking and often forces overloads/pulls wide players centrally leaving space

    That leaves Giroud and Sanchez up front. When everyone is fit I think it would be interesting to try it. Whilst I can’t say that nobody would have to adapt their game, I don’t think I’ve put any square pegs in round holes?

  72. andy1886 says:

    Morning Damon. I think that there were one or two replies last time, mine was that I’d be concerned that we would be vulnerable out wide. Bellerin maybe has the energy to get up and down the pitch okay, Nacho? I’m not so sure. And if the opposition opt to just go down the wings (the opposite of what we usually do) then I think that we’ll struggle. Also worth remembering that without Per we are not great at dealing with crosses, so encouraging the opposition to go wide would be a bad thing.

    I may have mentioned this before ( 😉 ) but I’m all for a traditional 442. The only problem being what to do with Ozil. Another wide player with a goal threat would also help, and Campbell could play the Parlour/Freddie role…..

  73. Damon says:


    Sorry, I ddin’t see that. Yes, I appreciate that it leaves us exposed wide, but is that really that much different to now? Ramsey just drifts centrally. Sanchez is good when he’s left at covering, but I’d rather put that nuisance centrally, more potential to cause immediate damage with a turnover and goal.

    I did add that it would need a lot of discipline for the central three to not leave FB’s totally exposed. And yes, I was alluding to Bellerin having the engine and not the know how, with Nacho being the opposite.

  74. andy1886 says:

    Fair comment Damon, actually when I’ve seen Campbell play he’s been very industrious at tracking back, he gets the odd goal, so I’m not sure why Wenger dislikes him. Sometimes I think he would rather pay a whole bunch of technical ballerinas to dance around the pitch rather than employ a more rugged style and actually win games. Unfair maybe, but he doesn’t help himself with his fixation on a certain style of player and a refusal to see and address obvious deficiencies in the squad.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: