Arsenal, Chelsea and the Back-Three Success Story…..

Last season Chelsea got off to a wobbly start in Antonio Conte’s first season at the Bridge, but after Arsenal hammered them 3-0 at the Emirates, the Italian boss decided to change tactics and go with three at the back. It turned out to be incredibly successful and the Blues pulled away to build an unassailable lead at the top of the Premiership.

Arsene Wenger took a bit longer to realise the strengths of the system, and it was only after a disastrous run of results, including a 3-1 embarrassment at Stamford Bridge, that Wenger finally lined up with a 3-4-3 formation for the first time in 20 years, and that also signalled a massive upturn in form. The Gunners legend Martin Keown thinks that this set up will now be the norm next season. “Well I think with the group, football is essentially a numbers game,” Keown said on

“By playing three at the back and having one midfielder just sitting in front, which Xhaka was very good at, it allowed Ramsey to get forward and we weren’t in any danger with the counter-attack any more.

“That’s really been a problem over the past six or seven years. I can think of many occasions when the counter-attack has really undone Arsenal and that balance wasn’t there.

“The system is now in vogue. We’ve seen a Premier League team win with a back three, an FA Cup team, of course Arsenal, winning with a three, and I can see no reason why you’d change that next season.

“It’s been a real success story. We’ve won nine of the last 10 matches.”

And of course we also beat Chelsea in the Cup Final, which was the first time in the season when both teams were using that system against each other. We will be able to yet again assess our team against Chelsea in the Community Shield just before the season opens again.

We could ask why Wenger didn’t catch on sooner, and maybe we would have kept our place in the Top Four, but to look on the positive side Arsenal can now go into next season with a much more confident and positive outlook and try and extend their winning run.

Wenger now has the formation and the team to make it work, so having beaten Chelsea at their own game once, perhaps we can believe that we are now better than the Champions and go all out for the League title next season?



  1. It will be even better with Cazorla back and Lacazette (if we sign him)and if we keep Alexis or find a replacement

    But yes 3 at the back was very successful

    1. And now Monaco chairman just said he is powerless to stop players from leaving the club. We are waiting!

  2. I think arsenal will line up i a 442 with giroud as one of the strikers..we will play a 442 like wingers invincible days he has the players now with xhaka sitting, lemar the pivot box to box ozil on one side alexis on the other and lacazette giroud..

  3. If and once teams find their way round the formation, to get goals against teams lining 3 at the back, I hope Arsene is not again toooo late to tweek things again and continue to get results. Arsene is not so good with changing tactics anymore, a hammer in his tactics undo him usually.
    All the best for us next season.

  4. There seems to be a disprepancy between AFCs defintion of big players and ours hopefully they mean big players this time not by being a few pounds overweight but being in the WC calibre it was overwhelming to sign welbeck we took utds reject and they took RVP.

    1. I know. This really worries me. Wenger’s definition of quality is not often the same as ours
      Wenger probably thinks Ramsey, Giroud, Walcott are Top class players akin to , Coutinho, Aguero and Hazard

      For example, I don’t think Lemar’s quality as a LW is the same as Alexis (maybe one day but not right now) so I hope Lemar is going to give us depth and not replace Alexis (if we get Lemar and if Alexis leaves)

  5. I think a wenger will play a 442 with giroud and lacazette up top..
    alexis ozil wide and xhaka ramsey middle .. invincible days and if we sign Lemar then he can play across the midfield

  6. On transfers….., am I the only one not really excited about lacazette?. For me the only strikers left in the world are Suarez, Aguero, Lewandowski, Kane, Costa, I’ll include Mbappe, (but I’m not sure I’ve seen enough of him. so far, he’s been impressive), and Zlatan, (but he’s old, and apparently already past his best). And to think that for the same fee we’re about to pay for lacazette, we could have got Suarez a few years back, is just hurtful. In the meantime, until the deal is finally announced, I’ll keep hoping it’s a smokescreen for Lewandowski *laughter*

    1. Even if we have gotten Suarez would he had stay in the club up till now? He’d have left like Sanchez is leaving.

      At Arsenal; we groom stars for the world.

      1. Couldn’t disagree more. We made Van Persie into player he became. Only had one good season after he left-

        Similar story with many other players.

        Arsene bought Sanchez as a wide player, and turned him into a potentially world class striker. He always had the drive – give him that – but I honestly don’t believe he would have grown, or been given the flexibility if he had gone to a Man U or City

        If he wants to become the best player he can be- he should stay at Arsenal

    2. Lacazette is better than Giroud and will be one of the best in the premier league is not Greizmann, Lewandowski, Aubemeyang or Higuain but he is probably the best we can hope for and most realistic

      I am excited by Lacazette if Alexis stays or we also replace Alexis by someone like Rodriguez, Reus or even Shaarawy

      But if we get only Lacazette and lose Alexis, we will not improve in fact the other way because we had gotten rid of a World Class winger/striker for an excellent French striker (who hasn’t proven himself yet in Pl)

      My point is if we get Lacazette and keep Alexis =awesome
      If we lose Alexis, get Lacazette and a Top LW
      Either way, I would also upgrade RW too

  7. Wenger actual have the players to do a back four or three, I think it should depend on the opponents, against the top 7 I hope it will be back 3

  8. Did adjustment to back 3 did the magical turnaround or was it down to fighting to save their faces from shame, especially knowing fully well the fans will turn on the players after series of bashing on Wenger. I hope Wenger’s boys does not become “naïve and jaded”again the moment the league kick off.


  10. Our worries should come when teams find ways to break the back three formation and our manager is finding it hard to come up with a solution asap…we wait for the new season

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