Are Arsenal struggling because of the change in system? by SE
For a whole lot of reasons — acceptable or aberrational — Arsene Wenger decided to adopt a new system, 4-1-4-1, replacing the in vogue 4-2-3-1 system. Two and a half months into the new season, and the Arsenal players are yet to adapt to the new system, which subsequently is failing to produce the enviable results. So what really is causing the problems for Arsenal? Is it the players who are failing to come to terms with the system deployed by their manager or, is the system incongruous to Arsenal’s style of football given the kind of players Wenger has at his disposal?
What is the 4-1-4-1 system all about?
This particular system is not much different to the 4-5-1 which is a defensive formation deployed by managers who want to play on the counterattack. The problem with playing 4-1-4-1, in Arsenal’s case, is that it is less fluid when compared to the 4-2-3-1 system and, more importantly, the lack of a No.10 can be sabotaging. With the presence of a No.10 it becomes easy to link up the play in midfield, as there’s always an extra option to pass the ball to.
Why the North Londoners are struggling to play effectively?
Unless and until yours is a well-rounded squad, with players being able to play in more than one designated position, it does take time for any crop of players to adapt and assimilate their way into a new system. This process can be tedious, which is exactly what is happening with Wenger’s wizards. In addition, players — Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Debuchy — coming into a new club ought to be given time to settle into the style of play, as much as to their new environment.
The big question would be why Wenger didn’t persist with the 4-2-3-1 system, for which the answer is very simple: If you want to accommodate all your stars — Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Welbeck and Olivier Giroud — in your starting XI, 4-2-3-1 is not the best possible answer. Playing 4-1-4-1 neither is, but it enables Wenger to get the very best of his attack-minded midfielders who like to be freed of their defensive duties and just thrive on motoring forward.
What is the way forward for Arsenal?
I doubt Wenger reverting back to playing 4-2-3-1, albeit the newly adopted system isn’t currently functioning as well as he would have liked. The problem for Arsenal is a mixture of the players finding their way into the new system, which can work well when played to perfection, and the number of newcomers who invariably will take time to get used to their new surroundings. But the bottom line is that it will take a bit of time before we get to see the Gunners flourishing in this new system.