Under Arsene Wenger’s revamped regime, Arsenal have finally changed the system pretty much for the first time since 1996. Arsenal have changed their formation from a classic 442 to more of a 4231 over the years, but our current three at the back system looks revolutionary for the Gunners.
It’s brought a new light to the team and whilst it has restricted the on-pitch minutes for players like Walcott and Bellerin, others such as Rob Holding and Kieran Gibbs are currently thriving in the system. Holding is a gem of the future and a player we all have very high hopes in, whilst as for Gibbs, he seems to have been sitting on the sidelines for some time now. However in the mind of the 27 year old, the change in system couldn’t be much better!
In a Daily Mail report, Gibbs is quoted saying: ‘After a few defeats sometimes you need to change. It opens up new opportunities for me and I’m happy to have got a few games under my belt. That’s always when I feel at my best, when I get a few games. I feel much stronger now.’
‘I think I can adapt to both [left back and wing back positions] to be honest. A lot depends on the personnel on the pitch at the time and how well we can adapt to each formation. We still need a lot of work on this formation, we haven’t been doing it for long, but we can learn quickly, especially in games like this. We are picking it up quickly.’
Gibbs has offered a good balance down that left hand wing, positioning himself well for both defensive and attacking moves. He is of course a predominantly defensive minded player, but he has no fear of going forward and found himself to be a source of many Arsenal attacks when he used to be the Gunners first choice left back. Gibbs started his career as more of an attack minded player before being moved back to the defence by Arsene Wenger, thus as a result he’s no stranger to making bursting runs forward.
The England international has a fair amount of pace in him and whilst his delivery in the final third may not be as good as a more attack-minded player, such as Alex Oxlade Chamberlain on the other wing, he is still capable of linking play or putting a decent ball into the box. The good thing about having defensive Gibbs on one side and the Ox on the other is that during attacks, Gibbs can provide more defensive cover to Arsenal’s back trio, effectively forming into a back four at times.
The 27 year-old is of course thriving at the opportunity of playing more minutes at Arsenal and there have been suggestions this season that if he cannot prove himself to be Arsenal’s first choice left back then he may have to leave the club. However if Wenger, or whoever is in charge next season, sticks to the current system, I see no reason why Gibbs would fall out of the team, unless the manager would prefer to have two more attack minded players playing the wing back rolls, much like the Ox is experiencing.
Has Gibbs done enough to warrant a first-team role?