Not too long ago, for the first time in a long time Arsene Wenger decided to really mix it up and change to a back 3 when they visited the Riverside stadium 5 games ago. Since then they’ve recorded 4 wins and just 1 defeat against rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Wins over Manchester United, Leicester and Manchester City since the win against Boro would suggest the alteration has worked and while performances have not been blistering and particular executed in the Arsenal way it has at least dug the club out of what was a previously horrific period. While such a change is naturally not always going to breed the perfect recipe, Chelsea have very much showed it can be inspired with what is surely going to be this years champions showing the way that such a system can be so effective. Here are some thoughts on why I believe Arsenal could do with following in the same fashion.
Sanchez and Ozil
These are the two key players of Arsenal football club therefore you are always wanting them to play to their strengths and this should do the trick in a 3-4-2-1 setup. In a similar way that Hazard has really benefited at Chelsea with a more free role, Ozil can enjoy the same license to go out and express himself without the real defensive responsibilities that he simply lacks. The German for me is a hindrance at times which is mad for someone of his ability, he lacks certain ingredients to push a team for the title so playing fully to his strengths could reap the rewards and the former Real Madrid man linking play in an advanced role with the freedom to roam is exactly what player and club need. Sanchez’s attitude and ability means he has the adaptability to easily play this role, keeping hold of him is another matter altogether…
When you look at the current Arsenal setup, they are never going to be in a prime position to instantly connect with such a vast change but they do have the capabilities to be successful with this setup in my opinion. The wing back positions are specialist positions that are crucial to the success of executing a 3 at the back formation. In recent weeks Oxlade-Chamberlain has excelled in this area, demonstrating a lot of qualities and balance to his game, with Bellerin in the ranks you have what should be a natural wing back with the Spaniards attacking his strength. Monreal has also impressed in games since this switch, Gibbs is also capable however the left side is an area the Gunners should look to be improving regardless of formation. Central midfielders Ramsey, Xhaka, Coquelin and Elneny are also suited to this formation with Santi Cazorla also a great option to have when he returns. Arsenal have plenty of options for this key area, they could do with strengthening once more but the foundations are there to make them more resolute which bar the Spurs game they have been.
credit Ronnie Macdonald
Whether Wenger is at the Emirates or not, a 3 at the back can continue Arsenal’s slick philosophy but also deliver results I believe by obtaining more of a balance. When using wingers I believe this is a real weakness of the clubs. Of course Sanchez is world class but when deployed as a striker, he is not supported by the level of ability needed to push for major trophies. Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi are simply not good enough in this department which would make the change an easier move rather than having to spend millions on wingers when there doesn’t seem to be an obvious candidate that can take Arsenal up a level.
The actual formation is suited to an attractive style as well, getting the wing backs high up the pitch and with plenty of rotation in the centre of the park, plenty of passing football and interchange could breed success at the Emirates. There’s no doubting Arsenal have work to do, they have that regardless of the tactics they operate with but this change could be inspiring for the club, it could be the future.
What do you think Arsenal fans? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by jelm6