THE ‘AMPHIBIAN’ SYSTEM ARSENAL SHOULD PLAY FOR EFFECTIVENESS by Nikko
An amphibian lives part in land and on sea. It is the epitome of multi tasking. In football I want to use this characteristic to describe players that fit several roles and achieve a very effective quality in term of football outcomes – and why Arsenal perhaps has this very set of players that can actually pull this off.
Currently, the Arsenal has managed to score 5 goals against no reply in the last two games. Arsene called it a perfect week of football. I wish it was results achieved against Man City and Barcelona, and then it would have been ultra perfect. That’s what the amphibian system is deliberately designed to try achieve. Against Olypmpiakos and deep inside Greek territory where they rule supreme, Arsenal achieved performance at the peak of our powers in an elite competition that we were already ruled out. In fact there were spirited suggestions that Arsenal should forget Europe and concentrate on domestic title challenges.
December, January and February are very critical months for a team that has ambitions to lift titles. We have started our December so well and if we can keep firing on all cylinders and stopping our opponents from breaching our defensive lines, then we will be truly back to the Arsenal at closest to it invincible powers.
I feel that the current system we deploy has some inherent inhibitions on our players. They have to be fielded out of positions and have to readjust themselves to these unnatural roles which leaves them plying just above average but below their world class potentials. That the case of Ozil this season being allowed his preferred role and we all can see why he is the most expensive player in our history. Ramsey has found some game time in his favoured role, unfortunately due to our ritualistic injuries. Suddenly the super power Ramsey is on visitation at the Emirates all over again. Of course there were exceptions with players like Bellerin whose switch has worked.
Today, therefore I want to suggest a system that I will call the amphibian system because most players will get roles that are in betweens in order to be able to utilize their uttermost powers
Here is the squad at the current fitness profiles.
How this works …..
1) We of course go with Petr Cech who stays in position as normal
2) Mertesacker and Koscielny (or Gabriel) are our centre back pair as normally.
3) Chambers, is the very first variation, he plays just ahead of the Centre back pair in the first amphibian role of Half Centre back – Half Defensive Midfield. This means he plays very close to the centre back pair that he will become the third Centre Back when need arises but will become the Defensive midfielder when that role is necessary. We know he is being tried in the DM role and we also know he can play in the central defense.
4) Monreal and Bellerin are the second set of variation. Obviously these players are wingers in DNA and by asking them to play the amphibian roles of full backs and winger by taking up the wingback roles will not be asking what they are already doing, only that they have to defend first and attack later in the current set up. In this amphibian role if they fail to play in the wing well we will be asking why just as when they fail to play well as fullbacks.
5) Ramsey gets to play central Midfield box to box but with right wing bias so that it will be responsibility of someone else in the left wing bias role. He is expected to offer huge assistance to Chambers and where situation demands he turns up as the attacking midfielder with a bias to the right wing.
6) Ozil gets to keep his central attacking midfield role as he is doing right now. He can take either wing when the situation permits.
7) Sanchez operates in the Central Attacking roles with the left wing bias. He can operate from the left wings but also come into play on the left areas of the box.
8) Walcott plays in as the second striker with the right wing bias. He is expected to pop up in the box, get behind the defenses and run through the right wing when there are spaces over there.
9) Giroud gets to play Centre Forward as is normal. In this set up, when Giroud get to play through his strongest attributes of building up play, and hopefully looking to bring in his team mates into attack by holding up play, we are sure that someone will turn up and we will not have to risk a dangerous counter being mounted on us. We will have after all achieved the extra man by allowing players to cover their roles and a bit of an extra that builds up to the extra man.
One thing I will not want to forget to point out is that my biggest motivation with this amphibian system was to pair our two strikers in the match. Giroud and Walcott in the same squad as complementing strikers is a fearsome prospect, as their separate ways of play offers us a little bit of everything you would want in striking partnership. I believe we all have noticed the goals started flooding in when Giroud and Walcott started playing together. It is not a coincidence that in Giroud’s breakout season at Montpellier he was a second striker and fed off a team mate to score those many goals. Campbell will be the third striker and will be brought into play from the bench and in case any of the two are injured of suspended.
The system is a loose 3.5.2 but do not be fooled by the numbers. Be impressed by the fact that if we took up this system, most of our players will be operating at their optimal best positions and we will build up space to carry into the match an extra unseen player. At the current powers we are able to deliver against teams that are not at the pinnacle of Europe. With extra powers added through this system we are able to face the top sides in Europe.