POINT OF NOTE TO ARSENE: BEST DEFENSE IS BUILT UPON COMPETENCE IN ATTACKING, PERIOD. by Nicholas Oyoo
Here is my dream lineup based on the current Arsenal transfer stories; Play Pattern 3-2-3-2 (3.5.2)
My squad Vision would be as to have each slot rotatable with at least two dedicated players and a third player available.
Central Forwards: Aubameyang, Lacazette, Perez, Welbeck, Akpom – Bring Back Perez from loan and Play any 2 in a match. If not Sell Perez and Welbeck and buy one accomplished striker and one young striker.
Attacking Midfielders: Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Malcom, Iwobi, Reiss Nelson – Bring Back Joel Campbell from loan. Play any 3 in a match. Possibly buy one more player.
Central Midfield: Ramsey, Wilshere, Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Joe Willock – Replace Ramsey and Elneny by selling them and buying new players. Play 2 players in a match.
Left Back: Kolasinac, Monreal – Pick one player in a match – Need one or two more players
Centre Back: Koscielny, Mavropanos, Mertesacker, – Pick One player for the match – Need to replace aging Koscielny and Mertesacker – 2 More players for a two-year transition. One senior and one youth system.
Right Back: Bellerin, Mustafi, Rob Holding. Pick One player in the match. One more player from the youth system would be ok. I note Mustafi and Holding have been doing Centre Defense a lot, but I feel they can push Bellerin for this role and bring balance into the squad.
Every player in the squad knows, their playing position, knows their colleagues/competition and training needs for the position. Wenger must stop this madness of utility players. Players who are rotated into every position and have no specialty. It is one way that he has succeeded in not making his players tick. Granted, Monreal, Koscielny and Mustafi can play several roles here in defense. But they must be developed into a single position holders and only used in other parts in times of crisis.
Arsene Wenger used to play with Ljungberg and Pires as the wingers and with the two Centre Forwards, Henry and Bergkamp, it was devastatingly effective and helped solidify the defense. Despite the fact that we had four defenders, this squad will have three Attacking Midfielders and any of the players can venture into the wings including the very mobile centre forwards. All we need is some high level discipline from our two Central Midfielders (Xhaka and Wilshere) as well as asking the Attacking Midfielders to help in defending too.
Wenger has the personnel to start with in defense if he keeps the formation suggested here, 3-man defense. He will just need to realign his defenders like I have suggested. Then he will need to sign to replace ageing defenders.
Question; – Can Ozil track back? We have seen in recent times Ozil playing deep to pick the ball. Can Ramsey track back? He has never been known to do it but remember we have been playing with one centre forward, leaving spaces that excited Ramsey. With two CFs, he will understand the need to track back. Can Mkhitaryan track back? There were suggestions from other quarters that he can even be made like Cazorla and Arteta who were converted into deep playmakers as he has many of the qualities possessed by these two that made them such revelation in their new roles. He in deed would learn to track back.
The great Thierry Henry had one critical underrated arsenal in his armour, he could go back in defense, pick the ball from there and execute a counter that sometimes he went alone, or played off another player, sometime scoring himself or making an assist. If Aubameyang comes in, we will have a terrifyingly speedy front two with Lacazette too in there. Lacazette certainly likes to go backwards to get the ball and Aubameyang is one of the quickest players in the planet. Starting an attack from deep should not be a problem.
If Bellerin faces a number of games in the bench because a quality player like Mustafi is after his slot (Even keeps it for himself), he will style up and play his best. Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal is a mighty battle on the left and each player will have to deliver given a chance to play. We need to look into the market for one more signing to push, even replace Koscienly. We need a keeper to push, even replace Cech. If these players are helped by a heavily attacking side (One that can turn the game in a flick), it will force the opposition to be cautious and careful, even scared to attack us with abandon. If they know that any mistake will give an equally good player a run in the first team, mistake will be only those that are inevitable, not out of complacency, which Arsenal have been victims of. I suspect a two Man Centre Forward and a highly attacking front 3 Midfield forces defensive first players to stay rooted in their responsibility to defend first. When Wenger switched to lone attacker, our defenders had to take up new roles not just to assist in attack, but became attackers themselves, which is not a bad thing itself, but many times they ended up being caught out.
It is the reason, Arsenal could go an entire season and 49 games, unbeaten. It is what has happening with the greatest teams’ world over. Starting 2009, Wenger sacrificed attack to build up the defense and it was worse when he moved to 3-Man defense and it was actually 5 defenders and two others in the midfield to shield them. That meant 3 men to attack, which has resulted in invitation of the opposition to attack us being that it was easy to cancel out our chances, which will come in weakly and poorly executed, not because the players are not as good but because there is just too much to do in order to score a goal with that Arsenal set-up. The good players we had made it look less of a load. In the game against Bournemouth recently which we lost 2-1, We did not have Ozil and Sanchez and it was clear how this load is huge.
The mark of a good team is the realization that to win a match, means the team must score goals. The team must as a default be set-up to score, not to stop the other team from scoring, however, because wining needs also stopping the other side form scoring, there will be enough players to work on that role, dedicatedly. Keeping the other team fearful of losing the match means they will not be able to fully deliver their attacks as well as they would want to, and that the first line of defense. The second line of defense becomes helping the opposing side to make mistakes and lose steam while attacking, by stopping their attacks, sometimes reclaiming these attacks and recycling them into our own attacks. That’s what team work is. It is not that invincible Arsenal 2003/04 was made of the best players in the league, even if they actually were. There were other equally good players all over the league, but it was their team work that was devastatingly efficient and effectively.
In my view, Arsenal does not have a defense problem. Arsenal has the problem of not being able to attack competently and in this window, this problem can be sorted out if Wenger is willing to field the first XI made off his potential PENTA-PUNCH of ALORM (Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, Ramsey and Mkhitaryan).
What do you think?