Before I crack on with this blog, whenever I write this sort of thing, we get a lot of responses on the Facebook page saying The manager or Arsene Wenger. Yes, I want Wenger to leave, but lets be realistic, we will not change manager between you reading this blog and playing Crystal Palace this evening. So lets crack on with things realistically.
Drop Alex Iwobi
I want Alex Iwobi to succeed. He has been with the club since 2004, joining us as an 8 year old when in primary school. Yes, some idiots might point to him being born in Lagos and representing Nigeria, but he is home grown and Arsenal through and through.
But his recent performances have not been up to Arsenal standard.
When he first broke through into the first team squad in 2015, his natural talent was clear to be seen by all, but he needed games. At the end of the 2015/16 season, I felt he could have done with a season on loan at a Premier League club. A chance to get 38 games under his belt at Number 10 in a less pressurised environment.
He did not go on loan for 2016/17 and ended up playing 38 games in all competitions for Arsenal. This year he has appeared 15 times. But has he gone forward since he broke through in 2015? I feel not.
With Arsenal reverting back to 4 at the back, he neither has the ability to play on the wing, nor the enthusiasm to track back and cover his full back. It is stubborn of Wenger to keep playing Alex Iwobi whilst Theo Walcott, who scored 19 goals last season, sits on the bench.
Walcott might not be everyone’s cup of tie, but as a wideman, he is more of a threat than Alex Iwobi.
Alternatively, I would not mind seeing Reiss Nelson get a run out in his proper position as a right winger.
Nacho Monreal has been one of our more consistent performers this season on the left hand side of a defensive 3. But Arsenal have returned to a back four and whilst Wenger’s loyalty to a senior pro is admiral, Monreal needs to be dropped from the centre of the defence.
With Shkdoran Mustafi returning from injury, and Calum Chambers and Rob Holding in the wings, there is no logical reason to play a left back at centre back, bar being loyal to a player who has not really done much wrong this season.
Wenger needs to be clinical, think of the team rather than the individual, and play his strongest central defensive partnership. That means Monreal missing out.
(Note: Since writing this blog, Nacho Monreal has been ruled out with injury. That forces Wenger to make the change)
A left back at left back
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Whilst Monreal should be dropped from the centre, he should get an opportunity back in his natural left back position.
In recent games, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has performed admirably at left back, but he is not a left black.
Time for either Sead Kolasinac to come in from the cold, or Nacho Monreal to play left back.
(Note: Since writing this blog, Nacho Monreal has been ruled out with injury. That means Kolasinac should start)
Drop Hector Bellerin
Against Liverpool, Hector Bellerin did improve as the game went on, but his form this season has been horrible.
Bellerin is brilliant breaking forward from the right back position, but he does not have the ability going forward to play right wing back.
It might only be a slight tactical switch, but in a 3 at the back, the wing backs are the sole source of width. They must be able to beat an opponent like a winger and cross the ball. Bellerin can not beat a man when they have stood him up, and his crossing is poor.
The move back to 4 at the back should suit him, as it allows him to combine with a wide forward and make runs from deeper where his pace is devastating – but since the move to 4 at the back he has been poor.
I would not be too upset to see Ainsley Maitland-Niles move to right back against Crystal Palace.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right back, Reiss Nelson on the right wing. They would get instant backing from the fans.
Drop Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean has been awful this season, losing the ball, looking disinterested, unable to beat a man. He has been poor.
Reports are that he will leave us in January. If true, I do not want to see him on the pitch against Crystal Palace, West Brom, or anyone else.
Danny Welbeck might not be a brilliant replacement, but he is adequate and hass often impressed when playing left wing for England. His late runs from wide into the far post make him a threat.
Stick Welbeck on, and with Lacazette and Walcott/Nelson, Arsenal have a pacey front 3 that will make Mesut Ozil lick his lips.
Hopefully tonight go’s a lot better than last time we played at Selhurst Park, then it is on to the fun of West Brom on New Years Eve.