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After much consideration, FIFA apologizes to Barcelona for the transfer ban and will investigate later on.

Telegraph Football ‏@TeleFootball
Barcelona transfer ban suspended pending outcome of appeal

FIFA will allow Barcelona to sign players this summer. Their suspension has been lifted for now

http://bit.ly/1rlB2WB
Vlad What's the point we have Ozil now... We should go for a world class DM who can play as a deep lying play maker...Only offensive signing that can make a difference is that fox in the box or a real winger
Are we getting Cesc back? :-)
you guys think we will still play 4-2-3-1 next year?
I have an incline AW wants to switch back to 442. Just a hunch, I could be wrong.
I have the same feeling thats why i wanted to get an opinion. There are a few teams which are gaining success playing 4-4-2 this year.
We're playing 4-1-4-1
Cuz we don't have traditional wingers. our fulbacks are our width
Yes. Reason being we don't have world class talent in every position and therefore the players require greater support from the players around them, both in attack and defense. Any person who studies football tactics will tell you it's more risky to play with 2 forwards than with 1, you sacrifice defensive cover in order to increase the chance of goals. If you have a look at this season, getting that winning goal hasn't been the problem, we've taken our chances well when we've had our team fit. It's the mentality away from home and maintaining a calmness in big matches that's undone us, playing with 2 up front just means in those matches we'll concede more often. If you want a great example of this, look at how we carved Hull City apart as the gaps started to appear in their midfield playing a 4-4-2.

We've had no problem grinding out wins by keeping clean sheets this season, only once the injuries started did this become an issue, so why would we change formation? So we can win 4-2 instead of 2-0? Where's the sense in that?

For the record we're playing 4-3-2-1 without possession, then changing to a 4-3-3 with wingbacks in attack.
Actually Zilch, do you think we'd do better with counter attacks as opposed to possession based football? I'm not saying we give up our style of play, but I just want to do a comparison.

We have Walcott, Ramsey, Ox, Gnabry, Sanogo, and nezt season, Campbell. They're all very fast players. The art of counter attacks relies heavily on speed, which is something these lads have. Ozil and Cazorla are no slouches either, so how do you think counter attacks will work out for us?
Well yes and no, it's a hard one to explain lol :D

Basically, this season Arsenal's strategy has been to let the opposition have the ball in the middle of the park early on, to set the tempo and also to not allow gaps in our half due to players getting out of position by pressing aggressively. They have however clamped down on allowing any possession in our own third. Arsenal defend in 2 banks of 4, which is easy to spot in every match this season. One of those players, usually RW, also moves forwards when the ball is with the opposition's back 4, creating a 3 man triangle team press, which also rotates to allow for players to not run constantly. This season that triangle has comprised of Giroud, Ozil and Walcott, then later on Rosicky or Ramsey, in order to be most effective.

Without this press, we can't keep our b2b mid forwards, as it would allow too much of a gap in behind for the CDM to cover and therefore would be too risky(remember all the long ball goals because Song wouldn't stay back?), so in order to play a purely counter-attacking game style we would have to play with a world class DM, an absolute destroyer whom we are confident can absolutely dominate as a shield for the back 4 and allow our other mid to stay forwards in the pocket of space between the lines. If you watch our goals, most of the counter-attacking goals are scored because of this man in the pocket. More often than not, Giroud or Ozil wins the ball back with a challenge that causes a stray pass and this extra option(usually Ramsey or Cazorla) is the one who puts the whole move into motion with his first pass. If you recall Chelsea of last season they tried to play like this but were very disjointed due to having basically no link up man in the midfield, it was simply "defense passes to offense" "defense then hangs back". Without that crucial link up man, there is no effective counter-attack. You often see a really promising loss of possession ruined by the very first pass not being sharp enough, this is the area I'm talking about.

What you see Arsenal do instead is play a possession based game where we keep our players closer together, hence the very high line that we always play in defense. If we didn't do this, we wouldn't be able to play such a smooth flowing passing game, since it relies so greatly on players being only about 10 yards apart to allow for proper triangle rotation, eliminating man marking and creating those off the ball runs which we do better than any other team in the league. Because we play like this, what you essentially have is a high line, pressing game which can be exploited by quick players but more often than not, it will be down to poor communication between players or a really lousy pass. So in effect, any counter-attacking goals we score will start fairly high up the pitch and pace is less important than simply making sure the passes are inch perfect.

Hope that makes sense lol. Whenever you think about tactics, never forget that no matter how skillful a player is: 1v2 means he'll probably still lose out 90% of the time, hence the issue with only 1 mid using that tactic.
+1
Hmm... took me a while to understand this (only got what you meant drawing it out) lol. But thanks for the explanation. And yeah, I agree in these circumstances, counters would certainly fail.

But here's where I think, counters will work. When we're defending deep. Say an opponent penetrates our defensive third, with 9 of our players defending (or when defending a corner) So then, when we do win the ball back, we just need someone to hit the ball long and have one of our runners pick it up. Walcott would be the favourite here. All he then has to do is to beat the defender with speed and play a low cross in the penalty are (2010 German WC style) and have another quick player finish it off. Rather than trying to play the ball to the midfield and hold possession, or pass it to midfield before launching an attack.

Thing is, with the quick players at our disposal and the slow opposition defenders, we just might be able to leave them behind. Let's have a look at our rivals' defenders. Kompany, Demechiles, Lescott, Vidic, Ferdinand, Skertel, Toure, Agger, Terry and Cahill are all pretty slow as compared to our runners. I'm pretty sure, we have the legs over them.

So then, theoretically, would this work out?
@Gregmaverick ... What you described is exactly the way
City, Liverpool and Chelsea played against us in those 3 bitter memory games.
what you described is classic counter attack. However in my opinion counter always doesnt equate to defending deep and long balls.. Here is the list that i think would make a effective counter attacking team

1) Pressing hard in the middle and the final third of the opposition
2) Transition from defence to attack in no time with atleast 2-3 pacy players working in unison
3) Fox in the box pacy number 9 ( benzema )
4) through ball vision ( rosicky / cesc)
5) playing against a possession based team

^Good point mate, well it does seem like we fit the bill based on your checklist. Do you think this'll work for us, given the conflict between styles as pointed out by Zilch?
we dont have pacy players other than walcott and ox and only one of them plays at a given time. cazorla and poldi are not fast.(If you watch our last game, for our second goal, you will see how ramsey is much faster than poldi ). Also we have a number no 9 who relies on movement off the ball and teammates around to make 1 -2 passes to beat defence. With our current set up, no 9 needs to more often show his back to the goal rather than face the goal. So i think, with our set up its not a good idea to base our game on counter. This is just my opinion.
I don't believe in the "best formation" ideology to start with. But yes, you can have the "suitable formation" for your team. But that doesn't mean you will win though. I believe players quality is more important than having the best or most suitable formations. I say this because you can have two teams paying against each other in exact same "best formation" but Real Madrid will always beat Hull City any day. So then if Real Madrid plays against Real Madrid in different formations, RM-park-the-bus might beat RM-gunho, RM-tiki-taka might beat RM-park-the-bus, RM-gunho might beat RM-tiki-taka. But then again, you never know. But I am sure you can't have all 10 players as strikers or all midfielders or all defenders. So you've got to have balance. You will need defensive ability, tradition ability and attacking ability. Which ability we need more or which one less, depends on the opposition's level of attack, transition and defense. Ideally you are to be able to nullify all their attacks, dominate all their transition ability and break down all their defense. To do that, you have to look back at your team and gauge how much of those abilities we have and come out with a suitabe formation. But then again, if you have all lousy payers, it will never work. So I say, no matter which formation you play, you need top top players to win.
*see Zilch's long post* he has won the internet again.
No Terry or Cech for Chelsea against Liverpool. City might not have Toure and Silva against Palace.

Could be the decisive weekend
if both cfc and city lose, that'll be just perfect for us when we win on monday night. catching up for 2nd place :P
Our second 11 needs to look like they would have a decent chance of beating our first 11 for us to have a decent shot at silverware next season. This is okay but shows that we need to strengthen in defence and in the CF and wings. Which I guess we all knew, but I still find it useful. We could probably use another midfielder to play in the pivot, but I guess I'll leave that to those more knowledgable than me,I just can't figure out what pairings would work and what pairings wouldn't.
viviano
jenkinson Vermalen ??? Monreal
Wilshere Flamini
Ox Rosicky Podolski
Sanogo
Swap Arteta for Flamini, he's had a better season.
yeah i coudnl't decide between those two, still don't know who I was putting in the first team. I do think arteta is gonna be worse next season, he looks pretty much over it unfortunately.

Any thoughts on who we could sign for central Defence?
Ask Cloudst, he has like 4 CB targets lined up lol
of course xD

yeah i know 4 CB's we could get for starters i know we're trying for Chris Smalling (no idea why i'm pretty United is gonna say no) but it seems we want to switch to a british back line because Hayden is seemingly decided he wants to go to CDM full time.

If we don't get smalling here's other defenders I have been impressed with this season

Shkodran Mustafi - 22 years old, Sampdoria (Serie A)

He's been immense in my eyes for Sampdoria and he's German need i say more? ok you're probably not sold because he played for Everton and you're wondering "why didn't he break into the first team?". Well he got frozen out and sold but he's been a brick for Sampdoria. He's got 83% passing percentage (only threw that out there because Zilch is picky with passing percentage lol) and his overall game is immense really hope we go for this kid :)

Robin Knoch - 21 years old, Wolfsburg (Bundesliga)

For me Naldo and Knoch are extremely good pairing in the bundesliga and his reading of the game is excellent. For 21 year old his game is very mature and he is another option i really think we should be actively shopping. He's pretty well established himself in the Wolfsburg side though might be hard to pry off of them.

Mateo Mussachio - 23 years old, Villareal (La Liga)

While he kinda dropped off recently he's been a largely reliable defender for Villarreal. He's been stellar at times and almost unbeatable at times. He's a great physical presence who knows how to read the game well. he's an option though he might be a bit pricey.

Those are my choices (smalling being their as well)
+1
Damit Cloudst , can you leave some for us ?
BTW any reason why France is producing lot of quality young defenders ? Zouma , Varane , Laporte ,Mangala etc
France has always produced high level defenders. There is at least one great defender every generation. Before this bunch, there was Mexes, and before him, the Desailly and Lebouef generation. And even before that, Laurent Blanc. So.. yeah. Not too surprising tbh.
I remember we wanted smalling when he moved to united. I don't really know what Wenger see's in him but I don't doubt he'd be a beast after a couple years of wenger tutelage
no chance anyone has highlights of the under 21 game Diaby played in?
I'd say its a while before he can genuinely compete for the first team, he is a form and rhythm player so I think he won't start hitting his straps until midway through next season. I just know he is going to show everyone how good hi is next season, and pay back Wenger 1000 times for the faith he has shown.
nice to see him back and he did well in the 45 minutes he plays but i mean look this scar



but i think he might just play, its not wenger he's really pushing because he wants to be fit for the world cup.
if he can play in the world cup that would be amazing, he'll be ready to have a good pre season start strong next year. he could be on the best mids in the PL
abu diaby should absolutely not play in the worldcup

he needs to strengthen and rehab properly. I would be really surprised if they found a place for him in the France squad. he is going to be so rusty
I think the world cup is a bridge too far for him. He hasn't got the time to force himself into the team, though he was their best player at the last worldcup. I kind of hope he doesn't go, works on his fitness all through the break and then comes into preseason and the early season fresh as a daisy and strong as a bull with a big point to prove.
That's a huge scar! Surprised they did old school knee ligament surgery they usually do arthroscopic which leaves very small scars
He'd be lucky to even play at all in any of our remaining three games + fa cup, let alone the world cup!
I wish he would just forget the world cup...Focus on next season...remember when we conditioned nasri after france missed the last world cup..he became a beast..
That Chelsea match put me to sleep. I hope they don't make it to the final if they plan on parking the trailer again. One would think they would try to get an away goal.
Kevin Mirallas is done for the season :)
why the smiley face?
+1
never like to see a talented player like Mirallas go down to injury. Wish him a nice recovery :)
+2
bit of a shame for the belgian national side, they are gonnna have injury clouds over a few attacking players going into the world cup, they are my smokey to take the whole thing!
Euro 2016. Mark my words, Belgium will be on the level of the traditional power houses.
http://vk.com/m.funny_foot?z=video63965543_168221627%2F68b0ae1cf512d81be5

Enjoy :P
Chelski are really taking there chances here. Mourinho's Phalanx tactic basically gave up any chance to bag the all-important away goal. If Atletico score at the bridge, Chelsea are screwed. I think this is going to bite Mourinho in the a$$...
+4
Let's hope so
+8
The plan is to win at home and not care by how many goals, its better then looking to score a away goal and risk losing 1-0 or 2-1 its alot smarter then you think.
So you don't think a 1-1 score would have been much better?

And wheres this confidence of "winning at the bridge" coming from? Does this mean Atletico would just come there to sell groundnuts rather than plan and torment you guys? I really can't decipher the smartness or cockiness in this
+1
I for one would gladly take 1-1. But as most of u know we have trouble scoring away goals. Plus with Atleti's strong home form, viola! This is Mourinho footbal everybody. Not everybody's cup of tea.
Obviously 1-1 is better but more of a risk, we couldnt afford risking going in the second leg with Atletico having something to defend if we lost today, definitely wont be easy to win at home but at least we wont be at a disadvantage.
Yep, playing Atletico in the second leg when they have a lead is playing into their hands. This forces both teams to play to win and Chelsea have the advantage at home
advantage is to atletico because of an away goal rule. if atletico scores 1 chelsea will have to score twice to win the tie.
19th Century Football as JM put it when they played West Ham...What was difference here?

+9


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Form
PTS
GD
GA
GF
L
D
W
Pl
Pos
80
52
44
96
5
5
25
35
1
75
41
26
67
6
6
23
35
2
74
56
35
91
6
5
23
34
3
70
21
41
62
7
7
21
35
4
69
23
34
57
6
9
20
35
5
63
2
49
51
10
6
19
35
6
57
16
40
56
11
6
17
34
7
49
5
45
50
12
10
13
35
8
46
-15
54
39
17
4
14
35
9
44
-10
49
39
13
11
11
35
10
43
-13
41
28
18
4
13
35
11
37
-10
48
38
18
7
10
35
12
36
-4
51
47
17
9
9
35
13
36
-9
43
34
18
6
10
34
14
35
-14
49
35
17
8
9
34
15
33
-13
54
41
13
15
6
34
16
32
-28
56
28
19
8
8
35
17
30
-34
65
31
19
9
7
35
18
30
-42
77
35
23
3
9
35
19
29
-24
57
33
19
8
7
34
20
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UEFA Champions League Table

Form
PTS
GD
GA
GF
L
D
W
Pl
Pos
12
5
6
11
2
0
4
6
1
12
3
5
8
2
0
4
6
2
12
1
9
10
2
0
4
6
3
0
-9
14
5
6
0
0
6
4

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