Arsenal legend urges Arteta to change his formation if he wants to win the title

Tony Adams has urged Mikel Arteta to return to a back four and ditch his current wing-back system.

The Gunners have been using a back three and wing-backs for much of the time that Arteta has been at the club.

The formation has proven to be a good one for the Gunners, helping them to win the FA Cup and Community Shield this year.

However, they have signed Thomas Partey this summer, who is a very decent defensive midfielder.

They have also started struggling with the back three and wingback system. 

Adams reckons that it is time that they return to a back four because a back three can earn you cups, but if you want to win the league, you will have to go with a back four.

He also claimed that Hector Bellerin is a problem for the Gunners at the back.

Speaking to Premier League Productions via Mail Online, the ex Gunners skipper said: ‘I think it’s time for a back four. I’ve been saying it since the start of the season.

‘It wins you cup games, it doesn’t win you league titles. 

‘I think he’s got problems with Hector (Bellerin), I think his defending today wasn’t very good at all.

‘But I’d like him to go to a back four. They’ve got Gabriel now, get him a partnership.

‘They’ve been unlucky at the start with (Rob) Holding going down but get them into a back four.

‘They look like they’ve a holding midfielder now who’s got a bit of presence and build for the future.’

Tags Tony Adams


  1. Agree. A back 4.
    Bellerin,luiz,Gabriel, tierney
    Partey, xhaxa
    Pepe /Willian cebellos Auba
    Dont think that’s too bad.

    1. Please Luis out and Gabriel is the right person for the position. Get holding back Berlin and tierney. Party Ceballos Lacazette auba and peppe

  2. Exactly what we are all saying. I dunno if he is just being stubborn, is too close to the system or just has no clue.

    It is obvious that previously teams under estimated arsenal and through everything at our leaky defence and poor positioning. This has now been fixed and we have adapted since Mike took over.

    This apparent change was gradual and allowed us to win the FA Cup and a number of big games. Other teams have recognised this and seen that actually we are no longer push overs. Because of this they now treat us with a bit more respect and defend more carefully.

    However, I still beleive with playing from the back it invites more problems and invites teams to pressure us more intently. This just leads to mistakes and goals where other teams take their chances. The game against City we did not play bad and we did not play well. Had we had more chances and less pressure on us we could have won.

    Having said all of this I see why arteta may still want to use the 3-5-3 system against opponents who have more creative teams with a bit more fire power ( top 6). But in doing this teams will not know which arsenal to expect and this will again give us more leverage.


    Play partey
    Don’t play willian
    Use variety of 3-5-3 and 4-3-3

  3. A back four might be the way to get more creativity from the midfield but Arteta’s problem is finding a partner for Gabriel. None of the other CD’s are up to standard which is why Arteta reverted to a back three initially. We were all hoping that Saliba would be integrated into the squad but alas Arteta is of the view that he is not ready. I still rate Leno as a good shot stopper but in Martinez we had a keeper who would hold on to shots rather than just parry them and he was a lot better at passing the ball when we play from the back. The transition from the back into midfield is slow and from midfield to the forwards is almost non existent, which is why we see little creativity in the final third. We desperately need one of two ball carriers in midfield as once the opposition set up defensively our midfielders only option is passing square or back. The plan to use Willian at CF also backfired and I hope Arteta scrap the idea as this was a disaster.

  4. Adams is just spot-on on this issue as well.

    I began to respect Adams right from his previous observations on Leno.

    However, he leaves out some important improvement points needed;;;

    1. We all would like to see our players TACKLING & CLOSING DOWN PLAYERS as a unit, not a special individual midfield player!!!

    2. Tempo at which we play games needs to increase multiple times.

    3. Our coach should be more bold to bench lazy players;
    Remember when Pepe was injured and he chose to leave the field using a wrong end of the field, leaving us one man down. That was pure laziness from him and the physio.
    Arteta should take a leaf out of Mourinho’s reaction when Dier chose to go for short-call during a match.

  5. Bring william to Arsenal was another problem we have now he should be bench and we use Pepe, and Nelson since we have now Partey

  6. Besides Arsenal present formation, some players lack that conviction when closing down opponents. They’re giving opponents to much time and space to pick a pass, if that continues they not be competitive enough for PL title or top 4. Arteta need to work on his players fitness and pressing. Together with their skills, their game will increase dramatically.

  7. Arteta puts Luiz name first on his sheet, then Ceballos who plays most game defending, not as a playmaker or attacking midfield. Rarely see him above our half.

    Unless Holding was injured, I don’t get why Luiz is there.

    Ceballos is no DM, rather see Niles on the pitch which he didn’t play last.

    He had it all wrong from defense, midfield to attavk.

    Why on earth did he play Willan as 9 and not as a 10?

    Is he trying to make a Henry constantly playing Auba as a Left winger?

    Don’t we have one of the best LWinger in UK & Europe in Saka?

    All he had to do was to move up Saka as Left winger, play Niles in middle instead.

    Move Auba to center. Just common sense if you have golden shoe & best winger in EPL, have to play them there!

    Auba is better on the other wing if anything, allows to play Laca in center, switch up.

    Auba Laca Saka

    This is best EPL attacking line up; in 1 word ; AubaLacaSaka!

    Unreal stuff to see him play Saka lower & Willian as a center forward is simply nuts!

    Is Saliba injured, even on 1 leg he be better than Luiz!

    We have squad to fight for titles but not right 11 on the pitch.

  8. You do not change a winning formation 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. The flying wing back formation is both attacking and Deffensive

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