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Poll: Arsenal - Rebuilding the Invincibles

Attempting to recreate Wenger's title winning side of 2003/04
Started on 1 March 2019 by OilyJohn
Latest Reply on 7 March 2019 by Griffo
Which Box-to-Box would you sign to emulate Viera's role in the short term? (9 votes)
OilyJohn's avatar Group OilyJohn
1 yearEdited

For a bit of context, I have taken over Arsenal with all of the January transfers applied and holidayed through the first season. We finished 6th in the league with 70 points, made the 1/4 finals of the Europa League, and the Carabao Cup, and won the FA Cup, which sets us up reasonably realistically for next season.

Speaking of which Arsenal are set to lose a number of players at the end of the season, and i will try to keep to that as well, even if it is not in my best interest. So players like Welbeck, Ramsey, Cech, Monreal etc. will all be leaving the club, whether or not I would have preferred them to stay. On top of this, Koscielny has asked to return to France, and although i would have liked to use him this season it'd be wrong for me to stand in his way.

Firstly, for anyone unfamiliar with the Arsenal side that won the Premier League without losing again, Tifo Football has a a brilliant and concise guide to give you a rough idea of how they played and what players Wenger used in his system.

If video isn't working use this link.

I will attempt to recreate this style of play, and while the tactic looks like a simple 4-4-2, I imagine I will use other formations as well to try and replicate it and cater to my players preferences. These may well include 4-2-2-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-1-1 and also dropping one of the MCs to a DM.

The players we already have that i consider to be a good fit for the system and first team ready are currently: Leno, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Iwobi, Ozil and Auba. I will also be making the move for Denis Suarez permanent for £18m who could play as the Pires or Bergkamp roles proficiently.

As for the other positions, Bellerin is great but our right back is going to be the more defensive of the 2, which doesn't suit him, so if someone offers good money for him i might have to let him go. If this happens I would love to bring in Nordi Mukiele from Leipzig, as he's young and fits the Lauren mould down to a tee.

With Koscielny on his way out and the fact that we'll never go unbeaten with Mustafi at the back (he will likely be on his way out), we are left with Sokratis, Holding, Chambers and the youngster Mavropanos at CB so we could really do with bring in another top quality defender. But at the same time i think Holding and Mavropanos are both capable of developing into great CBs. Bit of a dilemma.

B2B Midfielder is another interesting conundrum with Ramsey leaving. Guendouzi can do a good job there but really needs a few more years before he becomes a great player and Xhaka really doesn't fit either midfield role because he can't tackle and he can't run, so he'll be joining Mustafi on the way out hopefully. This means I'm looking for a dynamic midfielder to use for the next few years and mentor Guendouzi. Top candidates as of now are Kondogbia, Allan and Doucoure.

On the right hand side I am weighing up the options of playing Mkhitaryan/Reiss Nelson as a winger, and also Mkhitaryan/Lacazette as a Raumdeuter.

That's all for the intro, next post will be at the start of the season, with transfers and the tactics I'll be using.

This is my first post so many thanks for reading this far.
OilyJohn's avatar Group OilyJohn
1 yearEdited

Summer 2019 Transfer Round-Up

The transfer window slams shut, and it has been very unlike what we are used to seeing from Arsenal. Almost £200m spent and only £55m recouped demonstrates the size of my task here.

Some of the transfers that were already nearly pretty much done before the transfer window:

Dennis Suarez ~ £18m ~ Barcelona
Reiss Nelson ~ End of Loan ~ Hoffenheim
Emile Smith-Rowe ~ End of Loan ~ RB Leipzig
Callum Chambers ~ End of Loan ~ Fulham

Nacho Monreal ~ Free ~ Leicester City
Petr Cech ~ Free ~ Free Agent
Stephan Lichsteiner ~ Free ~ Fulham
Danny Welbeck ~ Free ~ Valencia
Aaron Ramsey ~ Free ~ Juventus

Considering we are only in the Europa League this season, these transfers left us with a very generous £160m to play with, and lots of room for manoeuvre in the wage budget. But even with this healthy budget, there were still a few players i wanted to sell.

Two Dressing Room Leaders Leave

Granit Xhaka ~ £25m ~ Machester United

Xhaka was unfortunately the first to go. His lack poor positioning and tackling, coupled with his inability to get up and down the pitch meant he was never going to be a good fit for either of the CM roles in our system.

Laurent Koscielny ~ £10m ~ Olympique Lyon

Koscielny had already asked to leave before i fully took over this summer, so he is headed back to France. At 33 years old he is an outstanding defender but would have only had a year or 2 left in the tank had he stayed anyway.

First Signings Announced

Hamza Mendyl ~ £2.3m ~ Schalke

A young, attack minded LB, brought in very cheaply and will be perfectly happy to play second fiddle to Sead Kolasinac for the next few years.

Jack Butland ~ £15m ~ Stoke

A proven Premier League GK, he fills a homegrown slot and has signed a contract as a backup player to Bernd Leno.

Blaise Matuidi ~ £24.5m ~ Juventus

Despite being 32, Matuidi's physical attributes are still in very good shape and as a model citizen, he was the obvious choice in the end to bring in as Guendouzi's mentor for the next few years. As well as tutoring our young talent, he is also rated by the media as a world-class midfielder, so can do a solid job for us on the pitch as well.

Pelayo Morilla ~ £3.1m ~ Real Sporting Gijon

At 18 years of age Morilla was signed as a prospect for the future. With such a low release clause and such great potential it was a no-brainer to bring him to Arsenal.

Bellerin Leaves Arsenal

Hector Bellerin ~ Loan -> £50m ~ Juventus

Yes that's right. I said it might happen and it has. Juventus came in offering champions league football so i had little choice. With no shortage of money for the moment, I didn't mind the money coming in next summer as opposed to now. He would have been perfect for the team if he was a left back, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Shkodran Mustafi ~ £20m ~ Liverpool

With 10 Concentration, He would have never been in the team ahead of Sokratis or Holding, so I've cashed in on him, in order to give the rotation minutes to Mavropanos and Chambers.

Arsenal Splash the Cash

Nordi Mukiele ~ £60m + fees ~ RB Leipzig

As soon as Juventus called me and said the words "Hector Bellerin" I put them on hold and gave the new Leipzig manager, Julian Nagelsmann a ring. Nobody fits the mould of our RB slot as well as Mukiele. At 21 years old he has great potential, and is already first team ready. Great physicals and surprisingly good defensive stats for a 21 year old, he was a perfect fit and i was only too happy to fork out the big bucks for him.

Kai Havertz ~ £75m + fees ~ Leverkusen

Mesut Ozil is 30 years old. And at 20, Havertz will start to hit his prime as Ozil falls out of his. For the fist couple of years Havertz will be our 2nd choice in Bergkamp's role. But after that he'll have developed into one of the finest footballers on the planet. A massive investment but that's exactly what this squad needs over the next few seasons. Investment.

And with that, the transfer window slams shut. The goal for this season will be to try and push ourselves back into the Champions League, and to develop some tactics that do the invincibles justice.

Squad Depth Overview

Young Players To Watch

We have a great number of players at 21 and under that aren't too far away from challenging for first team spots. Smith-Rowe and Havertz are looking like the pick of the bunch for the time being.


August Round-Up

Liverpool 0 - 1 Arsenal (Community Shield)

A solitary goal from Mesut Ozil earned Arsenal the first silverware of the season at Wembley.

MOTM: Ozil

Aston Villa 0 - 2 Arsenal

Ozil hit the ground running with another 2 goals either side of half time in a pragmatic performance from the Gunners, and ensured a comfortable win on the opening weekend.

MOTM: Ozil

Arsenal 2 - 0 Newcastle

Newcastle failed to get a single shot on goal in a commanding home performance at The Emirates Stadium. Goals came from Kolasinac and Holding, with Ozil bagging an assist to continue putting together a great run of form.

MOTM: Kolasinac

Arsenal 3 - 0 Bournemouth

Aubameyang got his first 2 goals of the season with Holding scoring another goal as well. Ozil supplied another assist to make it 2 goals and 2 assists in 3 league games for the season for him.

MOTM: Aubameyang

Southampton 0 - 0 Arsenal

A blinding performance from Angus Gunn in the Southampton goal frustrated the Travelling Gooners in a goalless draw at St. Mary's. Aubameying was left ruing his missed penalty at the final whistle.

MOTM: Angus Gunn (not everyday you see a GK get an 8.2!)


A solid start to the season for us to build on, with 4 out of 5 games won and not a single goal conceded.


Basing a story of Tifo is an amazing idea, I love that channel!

September Round-Up

Arsenal 1 - 0 Burnley

A pragmatic performance from the gunners saw them coninue their flawless defensive record this season. An early goal from Lucas Torreira gave Arsenal all 3 points, however the mood was soured in stoppage time, as dressing room leader Blaise Matuidi limped off the pitch with a pulled groin.

MOTM: Lucas Torreira

AC Milan 1 - 3 Arsenal (Europa League)

The first round of Europa League fixtures saw Arsenal journey to the San Siro, for what promised to be one of the most exciting games of the competition. Arsenal saw their perfect defensive record broken within 8 minutes as Bonaventura tapped home after Arsenal failed to clear their lines from a corner. Milan dominated the game with the away side offering very little going forward. On the hour mark Arsenal made a triple substitution, bringing on the youngsters Smith-Rowe, Havertz and Nketiah. With a point to prove, they turned the game on it's head. Havertz fired home to tie up the game in the 74th minute, before a wicked deflection saw Torreira's speculative effort fly past a helpless Donnarumma. Havertz put the game to bed in the last minute of the 90 with a cooly taken penalty after Sokratis was shoved while challenging for a free kick. A fantastic fight back away from home that was reminiscent of the arsenal teams of the 90's sees Arsenal make themselves favourites to take top spot in Group C.

MOTM: Kai Havertz

Chelsea 2 - 0 Arsenal

Arsenal faced their first top 6 opponent of the season at Stamford bridge in what turned out to be a poor display. Goals from Batshuayi, and the new arrival of Tiago saw the Gunners pick up their first defeat of the season.

MOTM: Marcos Alonso

Arsenal 3 - 1 Aston Villa (Carabao Cup)

Heavy rotation saw starts given to only 3 players over 21 years old for Arsenal. Elneny and Havertz both got on the scoresheet alongside Reiss Nelson, who bagged his first senior goal for the club he's been contracted to since he was 7 years old.

MOTM: Kai Havertz

Arsenal 2 - 0 Wolves

A dominant performance from Arsenal saw the take all 3 points and rack up another clean sheet. 16 shots on target to Wolves' 2, emphasised the superiority of the Gunners in a vintage display. The goals came from Aubameyang and Dennis Suarez.

MOTM: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Relatively predictable results in the league saw us in 5th place after 7 games, and very much in the race for Champions League football. A fantastic result in Italy sees our European campaign get off to a fine start.
OilyJohn's avatar Group OilyJohn
1 yearEdited

Player/Role Highlight 1: Thierry Henry

Conveniently enough for us, The Mad Scientist has made a fantastic 03/04 database with all of the player stats copied in from Championship Manager 03/04.

His stats looked like this:

and he had the following PPMs: Runs with ball down left, moves into channels, likes to round keeper, tries to beat offside trap, knocks ball past opponent, runs with ball often and cuts inside from left wing.

With a whopping THIRTEEN stats over 16, Henry will be extremely difficult to replicate. He defined the complete forward. Fast, tall, strong, intelligent, hard working and technically brilliant, he literally had it all. The spearhead of the Arsenal attack, he led the line in a way best represented in FM by the advanced froward and complete forward roles, in the 'STCL' slot in the tactical creator.

We currently have Auba, who possesses the raw speed, the height and the off the ball movement, but not much else; and Lacazette who is more mentally and technically more well rounded but doesn't have the unbelievable 18s and 19s that jump off the page at you. Our third choice, the young Eddie Nketiah, has bags of potential and could most certainly become a first team player. He boasts impressive stats for a 20 year old and will no doubt make a fine poacher one day. His diminutive size and lack of strength perhaps makes him more akin Ian Wright than Henry. This means he'll probably never find himself as our first choice, scoring 30 goals a season, but i will most certainly be keeping him around to play a role in the squad, much like Silvain Wiltord did in the invincibles.

So this leaves us with a need to dip into the transfer market for this role.

Dream Option: Kylian Mbappe

No surprises here, at 20 years old he's pretty much already the finished article to replicate Arsenal's legendary number 14, only lacking slightly in height (5'11") and strength (11), but in every other area he pretty much matches up to Henry. As you may have guessed though, he currently has no interest in joining Europa League Arsenal, and we've got our work cut out for us if we're going to a) afford him, and b) convice him to come to north London.

Anthony Martial

Yet another Frenchman, Martial is far more likely to switch Old Trafford for The Emirates. He is currently spending the season on loan at Napoli, and already possesses the raw speed, dribbling, flair and finishing (mostly) of Henry. Still some work to be done on his mentals, but at 23 there is still plenty of time for him to develop.
Note: would need serious re-training as a striker


The 22 year old Brazilian is the first player I've mentioned to match Henry's 15 strength. Other than that and his aerial ability, he loses out to the 2 aforementioned players in pretty much every department. My most recent scout report estimates his price at £85m - £121 which i would not be prepared to pay for him to be honest. If I were to buy him I would most likely try to unsettle him to lower that ridiculous price.

Youth Options

Moise Kean

The best teenager for this role based on their current ability, Kean is already more agile, more balance, stronger and a better dribbler than Aubameyang, and is more determined, better in the air and has better movement off the ball than Lacazette. He has every chance of becoming a top notch striker and when he reaches that level he should be able to offer something similar to Henry.

Amine Gouiri

The young Lyon player is 12 days older than Kean, but finds himself slacking in terms of attributes compared to the Italian. That being said, he should have simlar potential to Kean.

Aside from these 2, there aren't any players i'm really looking at signing in terms of young strikers. I will continue to update you with any suitable regens I find as the game progresses.
I am really liking this, how did you search for these players specifically to make this work?

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