Tactical Change Required to Bring Back Glory Days
The last couple of seasons, seeing our midfield overrun, Wenger changed from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3. This added more players in central midfield where too often we had lost vital games, but the flip-side meant that the striker was isolated.
For 4-3-3 to work you need at least one of your three central midfielders to get into areas to support the striker. At Arsenal this has not worked, this season nor for the past couple of seasons. It is time Wenger to change back to 4-4-1-1 with the player “in the hole” being either a second striker or an attacking midfielder.
For this formation to work we need two work-horses playing in tandem in central midfield, a throw back to the Vieira and Petit partnership. Song and Wilshere will work ideally in this formation, they both have energy, strength and stamina to get up and down the pitch. People who say this is a suicide formation, I say look at Manchester City Yaya Toure and Barry or De Jong or Tottenham Parker and Modric (can anyone honestly say h is a tough tackling midfielder?). It is all about a mindset, it also requires your central defenders to be solid.
Robin van Persie, a great striker that he is, could and will cause havoc if he played just off the main striker. This will give van Persie greater freedom to maraud where he wishes. He will arrive late in the penalty area for crosses and the opportunities will be endless for him. Playing this formation will require the two wide players to track back and be more involved in midfield. Arsenal’s great sides of recent years had good wide players, Pires, Ljungberg, Overmars and Limpar. All were masters of the wing, great crosses of the ball and scored goals aplenty.
What Arsenal lack at the moment is numbers in box. How many times have we heard commentators state that there is nobody in the box for Arsenal? This is down to the 4-3-3 formation, van Persie is on his own, Ramsey is not in the box, and even if he is, his finishing is woeful. A 4-4-2 formation should have both strikers, the other winger and one of your central midfielders all in the box, whilst the full-back will also be in support of the attack, whilst the second central midfielder will provide cover.
It makes no sense to play 4-3-3, especially against lower teams like Sunderland, Wolves, Blackburn or Leeds for 80 minutes, then when we haven’t made the breakthrough throw on another striker and start getting the ball into the box and hope 10 minutes of 4-4-2 will achieve what 80 minutes of 4-3-3 have failed to do.
It’s time Wenger woke and smelt the coffee and made a tactical change that will help bring success to the club.