Arsenal’s tall order

WTTGT Writer: Thomas Koornhof

When we review Arsenal’s 2010/11 season, it is almost a unanimous decision that the defence was the greatest concern and the reason the Gunners could not cross the finishing line on so many occasions.

It is also well known that set-pieces contributed to most of the goals conceded. In attempt to solve this issue, Wenger plans to “add height” to his defence by dipping into the transfer market. Players like Samba, Cahill and Mertesacker are all linked with a move to the Emirates.

Now, while this height helps with clearing aerial threats at goal, the attributes of these players might open way to direct attacks. So it is in a way a sacrifice of one defensive tactic for another. But, what if it were possible to not need any sacrifices?

By beefing up Arsenal’s midfield, they are forcing the opposition to rely on long balls and risky passes, thereby cutting off the lack of quality attacking options, and also reducing the pressure on defence. Perhaps a change in formation could be the option to do so?

Moving from a 4-3-2-1 formation to a 3-5-2 formation, would mean Arsenal have more control in the midfield and an obviously greater range of attacking options. Also, Arsenal would then effectively have room for Nasri and Fabregas in central midfield positions (provided that both players stay for another season). Wingers can play on either side of the midfield duo (Walcott, Hazard, Arshavin, Downing to name a just a couple), while someone like Song can occupy the defensive midfield role. Van Persie can then be paired upfront with another top striker and this attacking formation, with the quality Arsenal possess, would be scary for any team to face.

While it may seem risky to pull out a defensive player (from four to three), in open play the risks are diminished by the natural way Arsenal play their game. In one word, possession. While when defending set-pieces, it is easy enough to bring players back to fall into defensive positions.

To conclude, if players like Samba and Mertesacker were to don the red and white, their presence would be priceless from set-pieces. At the same time, their less fluent ground game would be less of a concern with more emphasis and possession in the centre of the field. More attacking options, check! More strength in attack, check!

It’s easy being a football manager…

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3 Responses to Arsenal’s tall order

  1. armagharsenal June 19, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    In my opinion 3-5-2 would be a nightmare. Teams like Chelsea that play a 4-3-3 would have a field day. If they had Drogba Torres and Malouda up top they wouldn't really track back and when the ball breaks down they could have 3 on 3 on attack. A player like Song would been occupied with Lampard so we would be relying on Walcott and Arshavin to help in defense but they wouldnt get back. I think we would be exposed all the time.

    If I was the manager I would Fabregas for 40million and Bojan. I would sign Samuel Eto'o and Eden Hazard with that 40 million. Also I would sell Denilson Rosicky Vela Arshavin. Id sign De Rossi to tighten up the midfield and id also sign Chamberlain. At the back let Eboue and Squallici go and sign both Cahill and Samba. With this squad you could easily play 3 formations and change it in a game if you want. My team would be
    Szczensy
    Sagna Cahill Vermaelen Clichy
    Nasri De Rossi Wilshere Hazard
    Eto'o V.Persie

  2. bluegreenius@hotmail.com June 19, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    we need defenders that can defend properly, particularly at set pieces. I see absolutely no loss of any aspect in defending by replacing djourou,koscienly and the muppet squillacci with samba and cahill.
    In my vision i could see vermaelen either rotating with samba and cahill, or playing him either at left back or as a midfield destroyer.4-4-2 would be a better option….but when the game flows the formation gets flexible in any case.
    I think with that attention to defense and a top quality striker, I am very confident we can win the league next season.

  3. SPENDSOMEMONEYARSENAL June 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    For even suggesting a 3-5-2 shows that you haven't got a clue about football. It would be the biggest risk in history and would make a frail defence even weaker, there is no logic in it. It might work on Footy Manager mate but you're deluded if you think it would improve us. A solid defence is the only thing that will improve us.

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