Posted on November 14, 2012 by ADMIN

Arsenal back four could soon be history!

Back in the mists of time, when Arsenal used to win things, the Arsenal back four was the stuff of legend. 1-0 to the Arsenal, the offside trap that was referenced in the Full Monty, Adams, Keown and all that. Arsene Wenger is so concerned with the defence this season that he is considering scrapping the old system.

Wenger has been seriously thinking about trying a similar system to the one that has been causing controversy at Manchester City with Roberto Mancini, a back three, or five depending on defence or attack. The Daily Mail reports that Wenger almost went for this system against Schalke in Gelsenkirchen, after being dismayed by the defensive frailty shown against Manchester United.

The system would use three centre backs, Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny, with two wing backs. There are three main problems with doing this for the visit of Tottenham on Saturday. Firstly, it is a new and untested system. Defenders who are already feeling a little vulnerable may struggle to adapt to a new system. Unless Wenger has had the team practising the formation regularly in training, it could make us even worse.

Secondly, it would mean one less player in midfield or attack. Who would lose out? Wenger could go for a traditional strike partnership, Giroud and Podolski, or rotating between those two and Walcott. Or he could leave Giroud up front and play four in midfield and try to get balls in to Giroud and support him from midfield. Then, who would play on the left wing? Podolski, Arshavin or Oxlade-Chamberlain? None of them are really wingers, so we would be playing good players out of their best positions and losing something from them into the bargain.

Thirdly, whatever system you play does not eradicate individual errors, and that has been the main problem recently, as far as I can see. Up to and including the Wets Ham game, Arsenal conceded eight goals in 10 games. Since then, we have conceded 15 goals in seven games. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Kieran Gibbs has been out injured since the West Ham match. The problem was not the system after that, it was Santos. Now Vermaelen has taken over at left back, but his confidence was already slipping and it is not his best position.

What Arsenal need, is for Vermaelen to get over his blip, or for Gibbs to come back into the side. If we go to a back five this weekend, will Santos be left wing back? You might as well forfeit the game.

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52 thoughts on “Arsenal back four could soon be history!

  1. tobias

    I was having a think about a possible line up and providing said players are fit then this could be a good lineup:






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  2. spider

    Its not the back four that will be history, it will be WENGER if this slump at Arsenal continues!

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  3. mrinal

    OX should replace podolski . podolski is too slow . ox has ever shown how he plays in the left wing vs man utd last year . and kocielny is better than mertesacker

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  4. leo

    i would like the 3-5-2 formation would work well for arsenal + it would give theo chance to play upfront

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  5. Sam c

    We need a 442 simple.

    Sagna merts verm Gibbs

    Cazorla Willshere arteta aoc

    Podolski/ giroud Walcott

    Walcott playing off another striker would get him behind, while cazorla and aoc on wings could go to plan b and put crosses in for giroud. Pods and Walcott best finishes so should be CFs. Arteta and Wilshere can decide who holds and who goes on.

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  6. kron

    i don’t like doing this..

    -Walcott————-The Ox-

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  7. SymoD

    Why we even have to host the idea of changing formation at the back in an effort to improve the defence, speaks volumes about these muppets in charge at the moment.

    Did we not just promote a defender to assistant manager? Was Wenger not a defender himself for crying out loud?

    Where is the coaching ffs? Unbelievable.

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  8. adisa abass

    Maybe something like this:
    …………….wilshere cazorla

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  9. Coyg

    It not the first time tv5 is having a blip he’s been having blips since the start of his arsenal career. Box to box cm is a must need, we drawn far too many games an lost games we shouldn’t because we didn’t have that sort of player. Wenger don’t like mivilla, hence why we should go for felliani an he was such a mug for letting song go!!!!! What a fool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. jibber

    @mrinal, so far this season Koscielny is definitely not better than Mert. Mert has yet to concede an own goal, has been in the right position to cut out lethal passes into the box and did well almost all the time, despite his slow pace.
    I do understand Koscielny only played very few games, but as for this season so far, he isn’t better.

    the back 5 idea is workable, but like the article suggested, it’s not the formation this time, it’s Santos.

    and not only santos, Diaby as well. without diaby, arteta has been in so much pressure to do almost all the defending and we lack creativity upfront until the last game.

    and the last game, which arteta actually played more forward, our defense becomes leaky. It shows how reliant we are now on Arteta. If anything, wenger was wrong to have relied on Diaby alone for the box to box hard tackler role.
    We should’ve got an Diaby equivalent like m’vila, though i do doubt his attitude might cause the squad problems.

    talk about replacements, among wilshere, ramsey, coquelin, and Frimpong, Frimpong is the closest in terms of style, but too inexperienced for now, wilshere still needs to get back to full fitness before we can judge. Coquelin can tackle, but could not pass, needs another loan at least.
    Ramsey confuses me when i watch him play. His understanding of the game is just not on par, even though his technique is. But that doesn’t give u a good player.
    our best chance is really to get a tough defensive midfielder in january that has enough experience. Fellaini is best choice, but definitely too expensive for Arsenal.

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  12. Aussie Gooner

    if were to use this system i would like to see something like this







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  13. Big Gun

    @kron Yes a 4 4 2 would be a good, solid formation. I like the idea of having Walcott as striker, but at the same time, his crossing has been really good and formed a good understanding with Giroud. I would keep Walcott on the RW and play Giroud, Podolski up front. Play the Ox left wing, as he is quick had a good left foot, and can also cut in and have a whack at goals with his right foot.

    Podolski would play a bit behind Giroud, in a position to capitalize on loose balls and cut back crosses. So many times have we broke down the wing with no one hanging back a little to receive the ball just outside the big box. I have noticed there is ALWAYS space there when we are on the counter and I have wished we just had 1 player like Podolski to run in and hit it first time.

    In defense, I would play Merts and Kossie CB for obvious reasons. I would play Sagna LB and let Jenks play RB.

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  14. The Goon

    Got to go to a 4-4-2
    Sagna mert verm Gibbs
    Ox wilts arte/carz pod
    Walcott giroud

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  15. Henry

    A change in formation to me says a lack of confidence. If we were playing away from home against a quality team and we want to keep it tight then fair enough but we are playing at home against the spuds! It just shows how the gap between us and our rivals has been shortened!
    Once again though Im hearing that it’s all Andre Santos’ fault! Now Im not saying he is a good defender but you look at the stats and it proves that it’s not just Santos thats the problem. We have conceded 5 goals in 2 games while Santos hasn’t been playing! So surely that proves that there is something wrong with the whole team and not just one player.

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  16. Ddog

    i think mertsacker has got some great defensive qualities but his pace really lets him down. it means he doesnt close players down especially when they counter down the wing. he refuses to go and tackle even if he is by far the closest player, he then tries to get into the box but ends up in no mans land and leaves the whole defense in chaos. we saw last week agianst fulham and ive watched in loadsa of other games aswell. although kosceilny hasnt shown the form he did last season we should play him. remebr the seven game winning streak last season tv5 and kos are our best hope in defense, but its true we need gibbs back aswell

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  17. The gamme

    In Arsenal we hear much talk and little or no action. Things can only get better if it gets worst…. Our over reliance on under-performing players has cost us enough, that’s why we clamor for strength in dept. Am afraid as it stands cos there’s no game i watch these days wit the high hopes of beating the opponent comprehensively, hence little teams beat us in our own game. Too bad! What has happened to our beloved Arsenal?

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    mr wenger we need to play players in there best position.otherwise we will not get the best out of the players and at the moment we are desperate for points.we must get this next one right for the sake of arsenal football club.

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  19. LinhDT

    I think that may be a good choice because Arsenal now need simplicity rather than beauty.

    5 defenders, three midfields and two forwards … I mean two forwards maybe good things. Girould and Arshavin, Girould and Chamakh, Carzola, Diaby (Wilshere), Arteta (Rosicky, Ramsey) … maybe suitable for personel now.

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  20. b3z

    once again everybody is a football expert, people complained that wenger doesn’t change formation when necessary now the very moment he makes an attempt people are castigating him honestly…all i want is for our arsenal to start playing like a solid team with a winning mentality. dont care what formation the back room staff go with, as long as it works out…all i know is ,whatever they doing now is not working so they definitely need to switch it up…

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  21. Forde

    We need Gibbs to play this formation, I think Wenger will go with 2 up top seeing as Walcott and Podolski want to be played there or else he will play one of them as a second striker Giroud on his own. I’d like to see two up top but I’d also like to see what will happen with Santi if he does do this in the formation…

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  22. Eosas

    Shame we still have fans complaining about Mert and even more worrying, only reason I keep hearing is PACE. This is football, not a marathon. The one person in our central defence that has hardly put a foot wrong all season is him. We prob should get bolt and put him in there cos he can run ha.
    Verm who is supposed to be our best defender has been struggling, Kos has been ok but also struggling mostly so far this season. Every goal we have had against us when well looked at has nothing to do with Mert and every attack that comes through hin, aerial or ground has been nullified and well dealt with. He does not have the pace, he is not a winger so he is ok but even when he goes forward, the other defenders should be able to cover. That’s why it is a team sport. Give credit where it is due and he deserves some

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  23. omari

    Ox should play left wing coz he is very fast than podolsk and walcot to play right wing this two men will help giroud to score many goals about ramsy he is not better this season,but where is roscky?

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  24. usmaNOW

    Yes the defense Mr Wenger…something that should have been a top priority and sorted out 4 or 5 years back!

    Might as well throw the kitchen sink at it as long as the club’s bank is not affected…which would upset the board & Mr Kronke!

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  25. Invincibles nice (1)

    Really do like this idea, though it looks on paper to be an ultra defensive setup i believe this misleading as in my opinion you get the best of both worlds when done within the right balance, juve napoli and wigan look very dangerous with alot of options when going forward with even fergie stating that wigans formation very difficult to contend with as wigan usually give a good account when playing manu also juve and napoli seemed to make light work of che, Sagna and Gibbs will basically be wingers giving us alot more needed width safe in the knollege of three good defenders on guard, when defending i believe that we would be much improved at stopping the crosses hence stop the supply and they dont score, also a big plus would be that Theo and Poldi both will have much greater oppertune as striker, if we are trailing in a game we can bring on some very usefull attacking midfielders inplace of our wingbacks who wont be totally missed due to our three CBs, you mentioned that we could have practiced this in training wich i now think maybe unsettled our unit and the cause of individual complete mares for our two best defenders from last season, my guess is they didnt start the season trying this out as there were a complete u turn from our first four games when we only let in one, really do think this formation gives us many more options

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  26. Gooner

    If Wenger tries a 3-5-2 it ould be good because it show’s he is willing to change to improve the squad. Itwould be stubborn to continue with a 4-3-3 when it has proven unsuccesful for Arsenal. 4-4-2 would be good but 3-5-2 would be good because no matter how far up the field the wing backs are, we would have 3 defenders and a CDM in Arteta back at goal to rectify any counters.

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  27. Dan

    A way of strengthening th defence? Or a way of slyly taking Walcott out of the team to try and show we don’t need him.

    Nevertheless, I think a strike partnership with Giroud and Podolski could work. Buy Dzeko and a fourth centre half like Mbiwa and it could potentially come together.

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  28. tissiam


    mert kolsc

    sagna gibbs

    arteta wishere


    theo giroud


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  29. Louis

    Problem isn’t the formation, it’s the coaching and players. For years we have been demanding one or two commanding defenders and instead received Mertesacker. He isn’t absolutely terrible but lets face it, he’s slow and cumbersome despite his height he isn’t that tough either. Look at the selection of central defenders Fergie has to choose from; Vidic, Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans. Now compare that too Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Miquel and Djourou. There is a massive gap in quality, same could be said with Chelsea. We also need to go out and buy a solid DM, Diaby can play the role well but we shouldn’t be pinning our hopes on a player who is forever injured – yes it’s possible he can turn his fortunes around but we are running a football club not a charity. Arteta has adopted the more defensive role well but that isn’t his major strength and he isn’t that physical. Furthermore if you want your best starting line up you should at least be looking to play players in their actual positions!

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  30. Invincibles nice (1)






    When attacking with the options of introducing AOC, Poldi, Diaby, Rosicky, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Mannone. (from the start or during depending on preference)




    When defending with the options of introducing AOC, Poldi, Diaby, Rosicky, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Mannone.
    (from the start or during depending on preference)

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  31. Gunnerineverylife

    The main problem with this formation will be we have to play all of our good centrebacks week after week and if one of them gets injured we will be in trouble again.I believe Sagna can also play as centreback,he has got good tackle,marks people well.

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  32. jamaican goonerr

    Compare this team to the team from as little as 6 years ago and you will realise the team just isn’t good enough ,you could put them any which way you want to you will get the same result ,that’s what you get for letting your top players go season after season and replacing them with crap like santos and ramsey

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  33. andy bishop

    How about 1-2-3-5 and let the fittest and most committed team win…just like it used to be….. The problem is not the formation its the quality of player..four world class players sold in the last two years..enough said

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  34. rocky

    We don’t need to change it, they just need to stop panicking and making stupid mistakes, stop falling over and man mark for dead balls and we’ll be fine.

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  35. theOx @jamie9lashley

    If it was to be 3/5 at the back, I’d imagine we’d copy city, with mert verm and kosc in defence, 4 of sagna(wingback) wilshere arteta gibbs(wingback), cazorla roaming attacking mid, and 2 of poldi walcott and giroud up front

    Kosc mert verm
    Sagna arteta wilshere/diaby gibbs

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  36. Darule

    The 4-4-2 formation would be great. Give Chamak a run with Giroud use both the right left backs to send on some crosses into the box since both are good with their head.

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  37. james

    arsenal has no wide players so i say added cover for the always forward full backs is sensible. i would much rather jekinson in place of sagna in a 352. also no lazy midfielders allowed at all, got the ball get up the pitch get back with out it. a two of giroud/chamakh and podolski/walcott suits our squad very well. also gervinho would make a very good left sweeper in this formation meaning santos is really not needed.

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  38. schizznit

    if santos were to play, he should be an attacking position, not defender…

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  39. Saton81

    Sagna Kosicleny Vermaelan Gibbs
    Diaby Arteta
    Cazorla Giroud Podolski

    yes i know Diaby is injury prone but when he plays we seem to play a lot better… and have a lot more strength. This will mean sacrefising walcott to the bench but he’s proberbly off anyway otherwise his contract woulda been singed by now. Cazorla will have 2 play on the right. He can cause all sorts of problems. He can cut in and have afree role also

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    The real problem is the fact that we dont have a cover for Gibbs and a proper DM. Our back four has conceded fewer goals than any team in PL this season, besides from Man City and Stoke, and thats by 1 goal.

    The truth is we have a settled back foyr when Gibbs returns, but no cover. Also, we keep hoping Diaby comes back and stays fit, but he’s always injured, and the truth of it is that we need to find someone we can rely on in the DM position, someone disciplined (fellaini maybe, just a suggestion).

    COYG,Get a result against the spuds!

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  41. Gunners4life

    Before we can consider any formation aside this present one, we need Gibbs back because we have been playing awful since his absent.

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  42. Charlie

    Obviously 5-3-2 is the way forward. How can so many of you not see it. You just need to look at the wingers

    Cazorla (potentially)
    Ramsey (FFS)

    Now name one of those that is actually a winger ! Walcott and Podolski want to play as strikers and are better there. Gervinho has shown that he plays better in the middle. Oxlade-Chamberlain is being developed into an attacking central midfielder according to Wenger. Arshavin plays in the Cazorla role very effectively for Russia and as for the last two no comment required.

    That’s why Arsenal shouldn’t play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. How about the lack of creativity you ask well we have one of the most technical attacking defenders in the league in Vermaelen so what better than to play him in a 3 man defense allowing him freedom to roam forward when the opposition sit back ?

    Finally look at the best crossers in the team which are arguably Jenkinson, Sagna, Gibbs and Santos (IMO). If you look at the stats I expect Arsenals’ Full Backs create more goals from crosses than our makeshift wingers so put them in a position to do that more often.

    In summary change to 5-3-2 Arsene. You seem to have developed a blind-spot for wingers and this is the formation that suits the squad you have. It will take time to adapt but above all if you can’t buy players to fit your tactics alter your tactics to suit your players. The recipe for failure is to have players in the squad that don’t match the tactics that you play.

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  43. AJ

    Santos may be a bad defender. But he is good going forward. We just need to use him properly.

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  44. hamid

    This is a good idea. There will be a lot of rotation on the second forward position, which can be a good thing. I hope that Gervinho and Poldi don’t make too much fuss about sitting off the bench if this formation goes. But since Wallcot is injured for who knows how long, I see Poldi as a starter for the rest of this half of the season. Just don’t start with this formation against Spuds, I guess it takes time to settle in the new tactics. And if this one goes, then comes January another quality center back is necessary for the sake of the rotation in the back. All other positions are covered. Coq and Ox can cover for Arteta and Jack, Arshavin for Cazorla, Ox possibly for Cazorla, when Diabi gets back to play two more games before he gets injured again, he can cover for either one of the back midfielders, or Santi. Little Mozart can cover Santi’s position. We need another striker to come in for Giroud and that’s it. This shit could really work.

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    Fans have no business selecting players for the coaching crew. Football formations should be flexible and adaptable depending on the opponent and the goings on in a match. Why Arsenal can be beaten by any team including the one I could coach is the fact that we play a regimental or fixed formation easy to predict and easy to dismantle. We need better planning than what we have now. No fixed formation but good fixed performance.

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  46. qwert

    try jenks in left back its not the same as the right obviously but he can do it.. or sagna.

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