Arsenal DNA, play for the badge and Rosicky time! – Reading v Arsenal thoughts post Bradford.

Jack deserves more from those around him

It was a long drive home on Wednesday morning, with plenty of time in the car despite a sore head to think on the debacle of the night before. I did not want to get too involved in the twitter melee, but whilst normally restrained and known for positivity, Tuesday‘s cup exit has driven me to the brink. The gutless, passionless performance by and Arsenal side was up there with the worst I have seen from my team and Wenger’s interview which I had not seen but heard about defies belief.

However as is my want I will leave the post mortems to others, some of whom seem to actually enjoy seeing Wenger on his knees and endeavour to look ahead. Not to the end of the season, not to the transfer window but to next Monday. The Reading fixture thankfully is on the Monday, giving Wenger and Bould time to work with their beleaguered squad. Yes despite the vitriolic envious bile that Steward Robson spouts they do still speak and they will be on the training pitch side by side. The question is have they learned anything from the team’s weak and bewildering display against Bradford? I hope so, I truly do.

So here’s what I have concluded and you will be surprised to hear it is not that tactically we should change to 442 or 441. Although it would not be a blog of mine if I didn’t fit it in somewhere! No my suggestions for Monday are more around passion and who deserves to pull on the shirt against Reading and please let it be Red and White or yellow as I never wish to see the Purple strip again. So it is not a long piece but it is one that will pull no punches. Team selection and formation therefore basically will be decided by who deserves to play and who quite frankly until they prove otherwise should be dropped, rested or sold.

Starting on with Tuesday’s disgraceful team performance there are certain players who should be dropped without any thought at all. These incidentally are all players I have defended and indeed on occasions championed, but now is no time for sentimentality.  This is not only based on Tuesday of course but a cold night in Yorkshire froze out the last of my compassion. Podolski, Gervinho, Sagna and Ramsey should be nowhere near the team on Monday. I am sure I don’t need to explain myself but Gervinho and Ramsey are simply not good enough at present, and the position Aaron has been asked to play is nothing to do with this. Podolski was anonymous and I am being kind. He may deserve a run through the middle but he needs to earn that right by coming off the bench and performing as we know he is able to. He is a world class player on his day but so far we have seen on only 2 occasions since August. Bacary Sagna has been the best right back in the EPL on and off but his work rate on Tuesday evening was deplorable. He barely tried to overlap Ramsey when playing against a league 2 left back and his occasional cross hit the first man.  Sorry Bac but show you want to play for this team or take a hike. Chamakh I have defended you but no more…..

Enough negativity for a few moments and let’s dwell on the positives from Bradford and astonishingly there were a few. Well 3 to be honest, namely Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the maestro Tomas Rosicky. Most of the media and social media comment has been about Jack and to a degree I would endorse this but Mozart did more in 50 minutes than even Jack. TR7 was a pocket dynamo of action, enthusiasm, energy and enthusiasm and quite simply he MUST start the next game and I would go as far as to say in Cazorla’s position. (One note as @modgooner pointed out Rosicky should have been nailed on for a penalty.) The Ox too showed the passion and drive so obviously lacking in his older colleagues.

What about those on the brink of my wrath? Well with those who were neither very good nor appallingly bad I am looking for the Arsenal DNA factor. There are players who I feel love the club and want to play for the shirt. These guys will be hurting and desperate to get back on the pitch and make amends. In this bracket I place our skipper Vermaelen. He may not be captain material ultimately but he loves our club. He signed a contract willingly and has committed his future long term without excessive fuss or demands. Players like this we need. Per Mertesacker we hear wore and Arsenal shirt as a boy and had always wanted to play for us. More Gooner DNA we need at this difficult time. Szczeney grew up in Poland a Gunner. He may not have top class ability, but his confidence and desire to succeed at Arsenal match Wilshere’s. Lastly Kieran Gibbs, who we inherited when the Don’s shipped out of London 8 years ago. He has been here since he was 15 I belie he will be at the heart of this team for years to come.

By my reckoning with those who played for the badge on Tuesday, combined with those who I believe have and will, we have 7 of my starting eleven for the next match against Reading. My final four are Mikel Arteta, Olivier Giroud, Carl Jenkinson and Santi Cazorla.

I have not mentioned Coquelin who did little wrong but not much too well either on Tuesday but Arteta must come back in. It must have killed our proud Spaniard being sat on the bench watching his team mates flounder against inferior opposition and felt like a knife turning as others missed spot kicks only days after he had confidently converted 2. Arteta has not been at his own highest standards of late but he was back at it versus West Brom and we all know our record without him. Well all of us apart from our manager it would seem.

Our new French musketeer Giroud is a shoe in. Bergkamp or Henry he may not be and of course never will be, but I sense and read quotes that illustrate he has already taken us and the club to his heart. Even when playing below par he chases lost causes and battles for each 50/50 and that is what we need right now

“You have to keep confident. The atmosphere around you and the support of fans, it makes me feel better and better. I feel very emotive and proud to play for Arsenal. When I heard the fans’ song [for me]… when I came here for the first time, I heard this song and it made me want to die on the pitch for the fans.”

You’ll do for me Ollie!

Jenko is a ‘Gooner’ like Jack, pure and simple. He watched his heroes from the stands as did his father before him. For me he is an Essex Gooner born of an Essex Gooner and the last combination like that had the surname Groves. Carl you can be our new Perry Groves. You have the same passion and the same desire to succeed in N5, your spiritual home, and if we are being honest bags more talent than our Perrance. However lest we forget our ‘Tin Tin’ Groves does have 2 league titles to his name. Somehow I feel Carl’s bedroom means more to him that RVP’s…..

Move over Sagna True Gooner DNA in town


Last a by no means least I hope Santi does play but not where he has been starting. The adulation from the fans is admirable but this week was unwarranted. A world class midfielder on form, alongside Jack Wilshere should have had the freedom of Valley Parade. I found myself frustrated at the continual chanting of ‘Santi Cazorla’ when it was Jack and TR7 who deserved the praise. Santi is being found out at present and needs a breather from having to conduct the orchestra. We should leave that honour to the old composer himself ‘Little Mozart.’ I have been waiting ages for Tomas to return and to use this wonderful image courtesy of @tine_rosickyfan:

The return of Little Mozart – Conduct the orchestra Tomas

You’ve probably worked it out but just to illustrate how it will look:



I see the three behind Giroud as very flexible and would like to see Ox and Santi continually switching flanks, and if Mozart moves out either can drop into the CAM role. The beauty of this team, aside from it leave s out all the under performers, is that it had all five of our most effective play makers in the team together. Jack and Mikel can create from deep but have the necessary discipline and steel to play holder and pivot whilst in front of them are 3 players all equally comfortable in any of the three positions. Add to that the fact that the advanced 3 behind the striker can all play CAM or wide so should invite greater movement and fluidity.


That’s enough for today. I have tried to draw something positive from my worst night as a fan at a match in over 20 years and this team just could be it. A team full of youth and experience, grit and flair, discipline and flexibility, and packed full of players who either have Gooner DNA or damn close to it. I commend this starting eleven to the house……. Every one say AYE and I will leave you with the image Wilshere DNA



Wilshere DNA cannot be bought



Until next time thanks for reading.

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  1. i think TV5 needs a kick up the bum from bould, i think he is now our third best centre back behind BFG and LK6 , who have , in my opinion formed the best centre back pairing we have. I would like to see us go for yangwa m-biwa tho….. very good article dave, enjoyed your work recently =)

  2. Remarkable post. Made me forget the fuss of un-football-related from Arsenal HQ. Eventhough I started to believe whenever Arsene picks a starting IX, there’s a scene of Foreheadinho doing an outstanding goals at Colney.

  3. Liked what you have written what we should do is get Berkamp and Henri to get together quickly and have babies. DNA sorted

  4. nice article. I do want to see the same lineup as that but alas I am no wenger. hence I cannot and am not positive about this lineup. I doubt arsene will kick the underperformers out of starting lineup. rather I expect them to get sort of rewarded. no matter how horrible they play, arsene always trusts our underperformers and gives them sweet starting positions and us fans frustrations.

  5. Wilshire was poor last Tuesday. He spent the first half walking about watching Ramsey struggle to get the team moving and the second half running sideways with the ball. Ros is different class when fit. He played in a side that could get the ball forward quickly by passing and then- miracle of miracles- moving into space. Ros and Rambo and Gibbo are the only Arsenal players who are doing this. The rest are too idle. We won’t beat any decent team in any competition until 10 outfield players get at it. 3 is not enough!

    1. Totally disagree although Jack was poor 1st half. You must have been at a different game to me when it comes to Ramsey

      1. Ramsey did nothing all game. Barely completed a forward pass, let alone move to collect the return ball!
        Sagna shouldn’t be in the side at the mo.

    2. Sorry but Rambo was absolutely ineffective and lethargic, Jack was average (by his own standards)and Little Mozart was the only player moving the ball at pace. If the others had his footballing brain and his application we would not have performed so ignominiously.

  6. I agree with everything here; I was nervous the minute he put out a first team (that’s what it was, no doubt about it). If a younger team gets knocked out, then it can be a learning curve, but our strongest available side (minus Arteta) deserved to get beaten on the night. I think they just got complacent, and should be dropped for the next game. All of them, even Jack (although, he was our MOTM). Great post Dave

  7. Best 11 you have suggested . I will go on to say that we don’t need a striker . We need another technical player who plays on the wing . WE have missed Benayoun the most this season . WE already have Podolski to play as striker and Wenger has converted a certain dutchman from being a No.10 to a goal poacher . I don’t see any reason why he cannot do it again .

  8. Losing the match was painful, losing it with our first team makes it even more painful. Things must change. Wenger must stop defending the players. After dat performance, a lot of them do not deserve to play for us again. Players like Chamack,Gervinho should be sold in jan. Gervinho missed an open net!! Wenger, in his stubborness even played him for 120 minutes. Wenger is fast losing the plot. If care is not taken,he will drive us into mediocrity. His post match comments says it all,he should be ashamed of himself. I was in tears on tuesday and I am sure a lot of people must have cried that day. We cant take this anymore. Dare I say that Wenger must leave even if he secures a champions league spot for us.

  9. Great post as always Dave, but for once, I find myself disagreeing with you on some things! Firstly, I didn’t think The Ox had that great a game at all. His final ball was lacking and he never really managed to beat his man with conviction I felt. He’s a talent and I hope he can pick himself up and be the world beater we all think he will be, but on Tuesday that wasn’t there in my eyes.

    I’m loving the new ‘cut throat’ Seager in relation to some of the players. Can’t argue with a dropping of Gervhino, Podolski, Chamakh and Ramsey, but isn’t Walcott back? Surely he should start on the right with Santi on the left?

    I agree that Sagna didn’t have his best of games, but I thought it was an isolated incident to be honest. His form in other games hasn’t been drastically different from previous seasons, so my own personal opinion is that he has to keep his place.

    Keep up the good work mate.

  10. Agree with most of your points but one. The casual way in which you wrote off Bacary Sagna.. If there is anyone in this team who can have a bad day in the office and still not be criticised too much it is him.

    I like Jenko but I dont think he is better than Sagna yet. Whenever CJ plays there is an insane amount of pressure on Arteta because CJ is not yet capable of bringing the ball out on his own. This is something that BAc does week in week out without fuss.

  11. Great post as always Sir Dave. Completely agree on all of it. Pity could not buy you a drink post-game. But if AW does listen to you, we should have some ‘spectacularity’ on Monday. I hope he (AW) saw and took note that when 3 creative/quality midfielders exchange passes (Ros+JW+SC) how efficient+beautiful it all becomes. It looks like The Arsenal again. Can’t he see it. Doesn’t he miss it too. I hope we get another player like that in Jan for contingency (injury). But mostly I am relying on the brilliance of little mozart and the grit of the prince to take us beyond May safely.

  12. Great post Dave! Good to see someone trying to be positive and I as well have realy struggeled to be positive this week. I’m watching Wenger with my “sceptical glases” intill January and after that I will decided if he still is the right man to take us forword. Itill then I remind sillent… Anyway I agree with your team and your reasons for it, lets hope Wenger do the same! I think we will be fine as long as the players start to act like they believe in AW and the system he wants to play. COYG!

  13. I agree 100% Dave, every player should be aware that if they do not put in a performance they will be dropped. Maybe then we will have not just 11 players but 23 fighting for a place. We were woeful on Tuesday and the problems have to be sorted, sooner than later.I am keeping my fingers x for Thomas, we really do need him to keep fit, as he was the one shining light in a bunch of energy savers !!! No not fair there were a few Per reminds me of TA more & more. He is a giant & I love him. TV5 is up & down but he is a tryer. I will not write AFc off, so everything is crossed at the moment for the lads to pull things out of the bag.

  14. First off, great article. I fully agree that we should be focusing on playing guys who display the Arsenal DNA. If one doesn’t bleed Arsenal, I don’t want them. On that note, I just recently watched the film “United” about the Busby Babe’s and the Munich air disaster, and while I still hate Man U, I couldn’t help but find myself loving the carefree fun they played with and the absolute passion they felt for their club. It wasn’t about them, it wasn’t about trophies or money, it was about stepping out on the pitch and honoring the game of football and the supporters that made up the club family. Players like Jack and Ox give me that feeling. TR7 does the same, though he’s a bit older. I’d even love to see a kid like Eisfeld (who may be a younger version of TR7 – his impact at reading last round was huge) get a role on the bench and a run out from time to time.
    We may not always like the youth movement, but if the youth have the Arsenal DNA, I say let them play.

  15. All the goes will concede this season is from the stupid verminator u all call captain, is not in form he always make one mistake or another, if not own goal he will fall down, if not dashing opponent a goal he will leave them to score, if not giving them unnecessary free kick that will lead to a goal he will give them a penalty. As for me am fucking tired of his aggressiveness towards the ways he marks. Assuming it was djuorou that is making all this mistake all of u will write a post about him and jduorou has not done anymore damage than Verm has sone this season. To make it wost can’t even convert a spot kick, let him watch from the bench and see.

  16. Agree with everything u said. I also think once Diaby comes back we should play Diaby-Rosicky-Wilshere & Cazorla out wide.

  17. I thought the players you mentioned were very poor. However, it doesn’t mean i think they ate poor players, just on the night. Love CJ’s bedroom.

    Good blog as usual. We all get a bit fed up at times and none more so than Tuesday. However, it’s the bigger that counts.

    Cheers dave.

  18. Very enjoyable read.

    But its worrying to see no space for walcott. And I had the feeling that you’d suggest 442/4411/451 formations in the article at some point….?
    Lets fit Theo in this team until he leaves.

    1. Adhi the blog was written based on fitness and DNA. At time I wrote I though he was injured and doubted his DNA. If Theo fit and ants to play for the badge he will always be in my team

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