WHAT’S THE BEST FORMATION FOR ARSENAL?
Since Wenger’s arrival at Arsenal, we have seen him deploy 2 formations mainly. We played with 4-4-2 upto 08/09 and then a 4-2-3-1 to get the best out of Cesc Fabregas.Now that Cesc has departed and we don’t have a player of similar style, so what is the formation to get the best out of the current players at Arsenal??
The first formation in question is the one we played last season, 4-2-3-1. Some people might argue that it was a rigid 4-3-3 but it wasn’t. In a 4-3-3, The wingers or wide forwards are in a more advanced position than the most advanced Central midfielder. At Arsenal, the CAM is more in line with the wingers than the two holding midfielders, operating as a second striker sometimes to press the opposition’s Central defender. Cesc, and more recently Rosicky and Ramsey have played that role at Arsenal.
If we play a 4-2-3-1 next season, the lineup would be like this…
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Theo Wilshere Podolski
Robin van Persie
This is the ideal lineup with this formation. We can play Ox in place of Theo or Rosicky in place of Jack but player selection is another matter. This formation gives us the edge vs teams who play 4-4-2 as we enjoy most of the possession because of 3 CMs vs 2 of the opposition. But, There in lies the problem for us as teams play defensively against us, giving us most of the possession while they sit back and force the play towards the wings, which ultimately leads to crosses and everyone knows how bad we are at converting those crosses, especially when only 1 striker is up against 2 defenders. (CHELSEA comes to mind)
Now, the formation with which Arsene won all of his trophies, 4-4-2. (OR a 4-4-4-1 as some people might suggest, but the point is to have two strikers). A possible 4-4-2 can be something like this.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Santos
Rosicky Arteta Wilshere Gervinho
Robin van Persie
Again you can change the personnel as you wish. This formation has that Aerial threat upfront which we lacked along with the technical ability of Robin and Giroud (not another Chamakh, I stress). I’d like to bust one myth here that 4-4-2 is dead.. Really? Manchester United won almost everything with a 4-4-2. Spain won Euro 08 with Villa and Torres upfront. Manchester City last season played with 2 strikers in majority of their games. Despite that, 4-4-2 is a risky formation to play vs Big teams. I still remember that United always played 4-5-1 against us to counter our midfield play, And whenever they switched to 4-4-2, they struggled against us. Exception being the last game vs United at the Emirates.
The last formation in consideration is a bit unconventional for the English game, its a 3-5-2. Many people have suggested on twitter that we should play a 3-5-2 with this setup..
Koscielny Mertesacker Vermaelen
Coquelin Arteta Chamberlain Song Gibbs
Robin van Persie Podolski
I remember someone saying on twitter that with a 3-5-2 with Mertesacker as a sweeper and Song shielding the defence, we’ll cope well with the counter attacks which the opposition mount whenever our possession breaks in the opposition half. Interesting point. But 3-5-2 is more of a counter attacking formation in my opinion, which Napoli displayed last season.
There is no doubt about the versatility of our squad. We have a bunch of players who can play in more than one position. Gibbs, Santos, Chamberlain, Rosicky, Podolski, Theo, Robin, Song, Coquelin are all versatile players who make the squad flexible and allow us to have more options.
According to my tiny brain, we shouldn’t just play a 4231, it makes us predictable. Our players are capable of playing different roles, then why not utilise them to good effect?? We should be able to play both the 4231 and the 442 according to the situation. When teams like Sunderland (and Chelsea) come to the Emirates only to park the bus in front of their goal then there is no point in playing a 4231, They just sit back and defend, so why not play to counter them? If we start with 442 vs such teams then it will give us more chance of getting a goal. Giroud is so good in the air as well as with his feet, he gives us the plan B vs such teams (indicated in my 1st article). So to sum it up..
Play 4231 vs teams who will play attacking football like City.
Play 442 vs teams who park the bus and play long balls.
Play 352 vs teams like Norwich and Wigan at home.
That’s it, I think….