The what the hell we do with the midfield thread

Since most of the talk about our midfield gets diluted, I thought creating this thread to discuss the conundrum that is our midfield was a good idea.

While a lot of our suffering last season came from Giroud, Alexis, Ramsey and co shooting like Sanogo, our midfield was probably worse than that, offering shit performances over and over, struggling to keep possession, being cut open by the simplest of passes and shitting the bed the minute pressure was put into them.

So assuming that Xhaka was brought to be the linchpin in our midfield and not to be our penalty taker, the big question is who the fuck plays next to him?

Cazorla all day for me.

Xhaka - Coquelin doesn’t really make sense for us because neither are b2b players.

I’d like to see Wilshere stay fit for the first month of the season before he comes into consideration to be a nailed on starter. He also worries me from a defensive perspective in CM.

Ramsey was terrible in CM last season, yeah he was good at the Euros, but in a totally different system/position. He’ll probably be on the RW to start the season (unless there’s a signing in that position). I still have my hopes that he can get back to his best in his favourite position, especially alongside a player like Xhaka, but he has to work his way back to that and not be handed the opportunity from Matchday 1.

Elneny is decent, probably a safer option than Ramsey/Wilshere, but I don’t think he gives us that attacking thrust we need like Cazorla gives and that Ramsey/Wilshere CAN give.

Just hoping Cazorla recovers well from the injury and replicates his 14/15 form.


Sincerly? I don’t now. Aftet the Euro I would like to see Mesut on the right and Ramsey behind Giroud who work changing their positions during the game.

Near Xhaka, I don’t know if is right to build a partnership with a player with not many years in the squad in the future. Cazorla will remain the first option, Elneny the second with Coquelin on the pitch when we will not have the ball possession.

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I’d love Wenger to say fuck it and just freshen it all up with something new. For example, could we play like Wales in the PL?

3 CBs means we could lose Giroud at set plays. We could actually give Chambers game time. Ramsey wouldn’t be a liability. Our fullbacks are better going forward.

Ramsey/Sanchez Ozil
Monreal Xhaka Elneny Bellerin
Chambers Mert Kos

Or could we fit someone more offensive up with Giroud like Sanchez or Ramsey, and still make Ozil work?

I just have a feeling that contrary to popular opinion, this group has the quality to get into the 80+ points zone but I’m not sure:

Alexis Ozil Ramsey

Is really the answer for 50 games.

We won’t compete for players but with Guardiola here, I wish we would at least compete on innovation. The quality of the PL is poor and I think the biggest innovator will be the biggest winner but I doubt that’ll be us.


No way Ozil should move to the right. Ramsey can have the CM role, with a disciplined Xhaka behind him.

I wish Ramsey could just have some responsibility defensively/not just when he is attacking.

I quite like the look of that set up Craigie. Whether it would work for us or not i really dont know

Can only see us lining up 4-2-3-1. Still need a CB to partner Kos imo. Per older and slower and Gabriel not filling me with confidence at all

I’d assume that Xhaka will start and maybe Coq and Elneny to split games between them? Then where would Santi fit in?

Gonna be interesting to see how the midfield line up at the start of the season

Can’t wait to see what Xhaka brings to our team, and it’ll be great having Cazorla back. I also believe Ramsey will start on right wing, possible Wilshere competing for that position too. Doubt he’ll stay fit though.

Assuming we’ll play our usual 4-2-3-1, the two in midfield should be Cazorla & Xhaka.

Ideally you want to partner Xhaka with someone who’ll have some discipline and sense to know when to hold in MF, in Ramsey & Wilshere we’ve got two midfielders who are often out of position and offensively too aggressive. Ideally we let one of them go eventually, but in my mind they’re competing for one of the 3 offensive positions behind the striker at this moment.

Elneny is the obvious 2nd choice to Cazorla, competent without excelling in any one area and hopefully is used off the bench a lot to save Cazorla’s legs whenever we’re comfortable in a game.


Ozil can play on the wing. I think we can have Ozil and Ramsey interchange and play on the RW. Ramsey showed in these Euros he is an attacking player and not a very good defensive player. His best position is AMF like many of our other players. I believe between Ozil and Ramsey interchanging on the RW we can get the best of both players. Xhaka- Cazorla should start in mid.

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What Ramsey showed at the Euros is he’s a good player when playing for a team that allows the opposition possession and has a lot more space for him to exploit.

Playing for Wales and Arsenal are significantly different, it’d be silly to compromise Ozil for Ramsey.

For now Ramsey has that right side and he needs to make it his own, but it’s not good enough long-term, ideally we sign an intelligent dribbler who’ll work diligently out of possession (Mkhitaryan :cry:) but I imagine Wenger is looking at Wilshere and Iwobi long-term.


Wilshere will probably occupy one of two positions; RW/CM(Cazorla’s offensive replacement). Bit-part hopefully until he can pick up appearances for some time rather than the flash in the pan stuff and never seeing him again.

Ramsey has RW position for the moment though, Xhaka effectively shoe-horning him out (theoretically speaking), which makes me think we won’t sign a winger of any sort this window. We possess a much more dynamic midfield however (after adding Xhaka/returning players) adding a poacher/finisher #9 will suit this team better than have Giroud toe the line.

     Alexis  -  Ramsey/(Fast Person(s) that often loses the ball)
Xhaka - Cazorla/Wilshere/Elneny

Wenger needs to be able to squeeze goals out of that midfield. That would be a primary concern this summer, coupled with an ideal #9 to boot. Thankfully, the strikers we have been after so far have been in the form of a poacher/finisher type, as opposed to the clogger, 442, lead the line, “Zigic is tall” bastard that we’ve come so accustom with in recent years.

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I’d blow up the entire stupid system that we run. Wenger calls it “interchange”, I call it “always out of position”.

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I don’t think any discussion of the midfield really needs to involve Wilshere. Poor guy is made of glass.

No way would I sacrifice Ozil on the right for Ramsey. I guess that Ramsey will start out on the right since Wenger won’t be signing a wide player. I guess the question is if anyone thinks that the Ox will come good or is that position for Iwobi longer run?

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I’ve been thinking and right now I think that we can only have 2 of the 3 following options with our current options,style , formation.

  1. Özil playing at N°10. (or in reality playing with a N°10)
  2. Effective possession football.
  3. Defensive stability.

I think that things like playing a midfielder in the wing or even Cazorla in the midfield are simply stopgap solutions that don’t really address the real issue, that our current setup is not viable.

IMO, Ozil as the 10 and Xhaka-Elneny behind gives us all three. Xhaka-Elneny will be very sound defensively - they both can really tackle and have positional discipline and awareness - and that combination can really pass and move the ball as well.

We’re more likely to see Xhaka-Ramsey or Xhaka-Cazorla behind Ozil, both of which will be weaker defensively, but Xhaka-Elneny is an option.

Yeh I think Özil at #10 and Xhaka - Elneny behind is solid. It gives us everything there and I think it would work so well in big games. I feel like Wenger will neglect Elneny starting in favour for Ramsey, there’s no way he has a great tournament and doesn’t get a sniff of first team action.

Hopefully Xhaka is deployed with the ability to use his long passing range, it would really help us get behind those deep defensive lines and ultimately gives us another route to bypass Özil as the sole creator of things. Teams expect us to go through Mesut in build up play. I think this season he’ll do well as that ‘ghost’ type of player in 14/15? if the dynamic of our game changes with Xhaka’s involvement. We didn’t have that last season so that’s a massive improvement.

Elneny impressed me as much as anyone in that recent match against City. He’s gone up in my estimations but he still offers very little in terms of creativity and ball carrying ability which Cazorla has in spades. Cazorla also for me has very underrated positional discipline and awareness in the CM role, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for him to partner Xhaka from that point of view, unless Coquelin’s athleticism and ability to quickly cover the ground really hid Santi’s deficiencies when they were partnered together, but I’m inclined to believe the former: that Cazorla was competent in those defensive aspects during his time next to Coq. I guess we won’t really know for sure until we see Xhaka-Cazorla though. Ramsey on the other hand would definitely be a risk of leaving too many wholes open in midfield.

The only one I’m very against playing b2b next to Xhaka is Coquelin. For Liverpool I would play Xhaka-Elneny and Santi at 10.


Well the midfield has taken a slight hit with Ramsey being knocked out a month.

So it still is a position of good depth and the hopeful starts for Ozil and Xhaka this week.

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