Arsenal Debate: How Emery can get the best out of our brilliant front line

The Arsenal Front Three by Joe Allyson

Hey gunners, for the lack of a better title, I’ve referred to it as the front 3, but not the entire article will reference a 3 so maybe it should be our brilliant front line.

Ever since the Spurs game, I noticed one problem that Unai Emery is likely to face with the current front 3. How to use them all in a way that makes them effective. Against 5pud7 we played a 4-3-3 with Auba on the left and Pepe on the right. Contrary to popular opinion, the midfield was ticking and getting the ball forward. The issue I saw was that when Auba gets out onto the wing, the natural typical winger in him comes out. Rather than find ways to cut inwards and shoot, he tends to drive outwards, cut back onto his stronger foot and cross. Not that I have a problem with his crossing, but I don’t want my most prolific player turning into Antonio Valencia.

The one person who seemed to understand how to move in this sort of 3 was Pepe. Repeatedly switching wings to probe for space (see his assist as proof).

In my mind, I would have thought Auba can somehow replicate a Thierry like sort of movement off the left flank, being that he has both the physical structure and the technical requirements to do it. He’s fast, probably faster than Thierry was, he’s a decent dribbler, nowhere near as good as Thierry though, and his finishing is on par with Thierry’s. I just don’t think he’s bold enough to attempt the audacious repeatedly. I wish he actually had Pepe’s self-belief.

Fast forward to yesterday, the manager did something that looked like it would be a solution. We lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation with both Pepe and Saka as midfielders and Ceballos playing in “the hole”. Much as I don’t think Unai will permanently play this formation, I think it’s the best possible way to get the best out of all the three of them. Saka and Pepe were given the license to roam inwards off their wings, Ceballos was operating in the gap behind Auba and the midfield had a proper block of 4 at all times when defending. I think Laca could slot in right there where Ceballos was, with his high octane pressing game and tenacious work ethic. The added advantage would be that Pepe would also be closer to goal with his license to roam, and his ball retention would create a whole lot of room for Laca and Auba to be deadly.

I must say though, personally, I’m excited and grateful. I remember a time when it was only a dream for Arsenal to have any of the best players in the world in any position, and if we had any then Barcelona was coming any time for them. Now we have them, they are ours and there’s a multitude of them at the same time.

Good times indeed.



  1. Not play Xhaka would help.
    Play Ceballos and/or Wilock
    Xhaka is next to useless out there and especially don’t make the mistake he made at United by starting 3 defensive minded midfielders

    Even defenders like Bellerin and Tierney can help our attack

    Our front line needs assistance and creativity from behind

      1. I second that @ Innit!!

        I swear to god Xhaka has something on Unai that he is being held to ransom for!!!???

  2. The formation yesterday was good but I questioned playing Ceballos in that role. Laca would be more suited there but it all depends on the instruction he was given. Let’s see what formation he plays next

  3. The is simple for those who watch us for whole games. We have zero creativity. We got rid of Santi Cazorla….look at him even now for Villareal. We let Aaron Ramsey go, we let Jack Wilshire go and Emery has no idea how to use Mesut Ozil. We have NO creativity. No magic at all. We are very BORING.We have the attack, by next year we will have maybe a defence with, Bellerin, Tierney, Holding and Saliba for some years. We desperately need a magician in midfield. In fact we have the anti-magician….Xhaka. The most boring player ever.

    1. Sean
      Jack was always sidelined with an injury or two
      Arron wanted to leave for the big bucks,though we left it too late to tie him down
      Ozil head has not been right for us for a long time
      Santi is my biggest regret

  4. So much is been said about yesterdays performance. If Auba got that 2nd goal I doubt this place would be this toxic. Sometimes players have an off day but we cant blame the coach all the time.

    This team seriously misses Lacca, not jut for his goals but his overall contribution (pressing / creating chances / creating space / etc). Pepe needs to find his feet asap or the youngsters will take his place, no need to make excuses for him, he needs to improve his decision making and we are yet to see him shoot with real purpose. His seems to be abit one legged for now which makes his game abit predictable.

    Once we have our first choice front 3, first choice fullbacks and the coach gets his midfield selection right I believe the performances will improve. However I for one will not complain if we keep winning pretty or ugly.

  5. Good question.Well it starts at the back.Our best back four,Bellerin, Chambers,Holding and Tierney have the talent to play a higher line,which in turn will push our midfielders,say Guendouzi, Willock and Ceballos into more advanced positions to get closer to the front three.Lacazette has the all round ability(like Firmino of Liverpool) to link up the play and create space for Auba and say Martinelli who are both good finishers.Quite simple really.It’s all about selecting the right players to make it work?Let’s hope Emery can see it that way.

    1. Viju Jacob

      Keep telling you:
      Keep your powder dry and make judgement at the end of the season

      1. When it’s too late, Allan?

        Btw, our powwow last evening was deleted, so it isn’t there anymore.

        Sometimes debates do get a bit agitated, just because of the passion we gooners have, but I thought it was a decent exchange.

        In any case, u respect where you are coming from, while I’m in no mood to agree with goes against the ethos of our club

        1. Viju, you are so set in your dislike for Emery that it has become impossible to have rational discourse with you.

  6. The only thing PEA is on par alongside TH is his finishing.
    Henry was faster I can remember each time we were on the counter, and whenever Henry got the ball and took it to the side pitch, forger it because you ain’t catching him.
    My Barcelona and United friends back then used to tell me how they dread Henry getting the ball and running with it from the middle. Also against better defenders and some of the best the EPL has seen.
    Not to mention Konami giving him Speed 19 on the PlayStation 1. On PlayStation two, his speed was 98, Speed Accuracy 99.
    I remember using him a lot to win games then because of his pace.
    Though it van be argued that maybe PEA is faster, but I think it’s because it’s fresh on our mind.
    Henry also had mad pace, more better than PEA on the ball while running.

    Regarding the article, a 4-3-3 formation is the best with a midfield selection without Xhaka

    1. It’s funny really, because I can remember when we first signed Aubamayang, Henry was interviewed on things Arsenal generally and he was asked who he thought was faster and he said “Auba definitely” though it might be a compliment but I don’t think it is.

    2. Auba is slightly faster, believe me, but EPL defenders (and elsewhere) these days are faster so it seems Henry was faster when he played against slower defenders. Bellerin is probably a little faster than Henry was as well. Auba and him are both rated among top 10 fastest players right now and physically football has improved in the last 15 years.

      But you may be right that WITH the ball Henry was faster than Auba because he was so damn skilful.

  7. I have to ask .. are our attacking midfielders providing good deliveries to our strikers? I don’t think so. We are now missing those well weighted penetrating passes for our forwards to latch on to. Ozil used to deliver those but not anymore, now.

    How about playing Martinelli just behind the frontliners? His close control and energy can offer us some attacking options. And he’s not shy to shoot from 20 yards out, as seen when playing against Standard Liege recently.

  8. My formation would be –



    Saka, Guendouzi, Chambers, Pepe..

    Tierney, Luiz, Holding, Bellerin..


  9. Sean
    Jack was always sidelined with an injury or two
    Arron wanted to leave for the big bucks,though we left it too late to tie him down
    Ozil head has not been right for us for a long time
    Santi is my biggest regret

  10. Food for thought Saka & Martinelli but even though Pepe on his way of his best. Emery should make him this / some game play from bench he would be ok.

  11. Who else are not looking forward to the next two weeks
    1. No Arsenal football
    2. 🙏 Praying that we get no injuries from internationals
    3. No Arsenal football lol

    I get soooo freaking bored

    We also have 3 matches close together when players return

    21st Sheffield, then 3 days later
    24th Europa league, then 3 days later
    27th Crystal Palace

    1. Darts is on, Innit 😉
      Then the carabao cup.. on the 30th?
      I agree with you though, these international breaks are absolute pants, I can’t stand them… defo won’t be torturing myself by watching Kane & co

  12. PEA may be a bit faster than Henry was, but finishing? No way is he on par. Henry was just one of the best ever, and Auba, good though he is, cannot be compared to the greatest.

    1. Aubameyang is already there and can be compared with Henry. Henry scored 274 club goals and Aubameyang has 245 so far according to transfermarkt. And it is just a matter of time that Auba surpass Henry. Aubameyang can do 4 more active years in soccer and will hit over a century of goals.

  13. Part 1.

    If tierney is playing he will run and hog that flank. Auba then can slip into CF alongside Laca and allowing the RW – Pepe to come in field and generate a triangle option of 3 for tierney.
    My top 3 option would be Auba Laca Pepe. I think they also really want to play together. Saka Nelson Martinelli will get games but feeling the pace of a full season for youngest will soon show after jan time.
    So options is good

  14. Pepe is on the right truck if I might lick it in ways.Auba was good though he never pressed that much,ceballos was running the show,Guendozi was abit okay but not as usual,chambers was the ideal man behind the left,David luiz was the king of the match,Kolasinac can’t defend or attack,papa sokratis needed Rob holding to fill the gaps on his side,Bornmouth were running wild in to those spaces.Xhaka tried but not yet.Generally I could have not take off Nicolas pepe,he was good.Mesut Ozil is done with the red and white shirt,he is GREAT legend. LEGEND-Mesute’-German Is RED.

  15. Part 2.
    The table does not lie. But I would suggest we are available were we should be.

    Man U make up the bottom part of the table that are full of teams struggling for form.

    Of the rest, crystal palace – with 3pts ahead of Spurs leads the current race for 5th. While Chelsea and Leicester sit 1 pts behind us who sit one point behind city.

    In my opinion chelsea should be where we are if it wasnt for an odd game against united away first game of the season. Equally maybe we should of held out against Watford and sit 1 point ahead of city.

    Our goal difference is poor, yet I appreciate we are trying to get to the stage of a fully fit squad – Tierney Laca Bellerin Holding… but we, based on this should be below Leicester and Chelsea on goal different.

    Alot of take about boring attacking football and issues with 3 DCM is real. We need to score more or atleast put away more of our shots. We have 6 shots on goal less then city. We sit 3rd in this table with city top with 34 shots on goal in 8 games.
    We average 3.5 shots per game (2 against Bournemouth).

    Equally, if we didnt concede against our closest rivals in liverpool and spurs then we would of conceded 6 to date then 11 as it is. And the goals we did score in them games means we would of won 1-0 at Anfield and 2-0 against spurs at the emirates (sorts of results we think is achievable and acceptable). Whilst sitting joint top on 21 points with liverpool. Obviously we know we are not good yet enough to do this.

    The point is, the numbers are small for us to resolve then say it is for united spurs everton Southampton or city currently.

    I think this international break is going to do our nut in isnt it!😂

  16. My prayer is just for Xhaka to pick an injury that’ll last like 2 months or more. Then Torerria plays his fav position. Simple!

  17. We got some pretty good fixtures ahead for the nxt 2Months,hope by then most players form will improve.Going by the display in 1st half,there is hope.Nature has it cause how to balance things.It has happened to Miles,soon Sokratis will pave way,who knows if chambers will grag that holding midfield role,nothing is impossible.Ask Saka

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors