Should Arsenal Revert to a 4-3-3?

June 26, 2007

The players are capable, the passing game is right. Should Arsenal revert to the formation used by the great Dutch teams of the past and present? Arguably, that is the way forward for the Gunners. A surplus amount of central attacking midfielders and not a single out and out winger, this formation would suit the players at Arsenal and could change the meaning of attacking football as we know it. Currently, the Gunners play a standard 4-4-2 formation with four central defenders, two central midfielders, a player on each flank and two up top.

However, in recent times Wenger has moved towards playing central attacking midfielders on the wing. The likes of Rosicky and Hleb, although performing on the wing will reach nowhere near their full potential if they are continued to be played there. All of the players at Arsenal now that Henry has left would flourish in a 4-3-3 formation. The same back five could be used (Lehmann/Fabianski, Eboue, Toure, Gallas, Clichy)- but the major changes would be in midfield and up front. In a 4-3-3 , generally you have a defensive midfielder sitting in front of the defence and nullifying attacks. This player would be Gilberto, who has proved over the seasons past that he is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

Slightly ahead of Gilberto, two attacking midfielders are played- two that can create attacks by either a defence splitting pass or a driving run. These players must know how to defend as well, so for the two attacking midfielders I choose Fabregas and Diaby. Fabregas can play from deep, sending in wonderful through balls for the strikers to run onto while Diaby can play as Vieira did, winning the ball with a crunching tackle and then trying to set up a quick counter attack with a run through the middle of the field.

Up front, there are only two options for the lone striker- Adebayor and Bendtner. Although Van Persie and Walcott could play at the head of the trio of forwards, they are best suited slightly wider. Adebayor and Bendtner have the aerial presence to be able to knock down balls for other players as well as the pace to latch onto any through balls provided by the Spanish wizard Fabregas. In the wing forward positions, I would like to see the likes of Van Persie and Walcott, as well as Rosicky, Hleb and Ljungberg. The wing forwards can constantly swap over, go wide or cut inside- making them near impossible to mark for opposing teams.

Could Arsenal win trophies with this formation? It is hard to see why not, as this formation allows all players to play in their favoured position while containing a certain amount of unpredictability. It offers the option to play Arsenal’s beautiful passing game or the option of hoofing the ball to the frontman if needed. Arsenal have finished fourth in the league and trophyless these past two seasons- this new formation could change it all.

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