Arsenal tactics – A perfect formation for our current players

Can Wenger learn from the legendary Herbert Chapman?

Hi all, Middy here again with an interesting thought for you all, can Wenger learn from the legendary Herbert Chapman? Herbert Chapman played a WM formation, in numbers it is a 3-2-2-3 formation, it allowed for narrow play while pressing as soon as the team lost the ball, the formation lends itself to possession based football as well.

We all saw against Zagreb at how Arsenal defenders can play with three centre-backs when Wenger finally made a tactical change after Giroud got himself sent off. Yes they looked ‘dodgy’ at times but I would like to point out that they do not practice the Herbert Chapman formation and as such, it was new to them and they had to improvise. Even after saying that, I hope people will remember that we didn’t concede another goal after swapping to three at the back.

The 2 holding CM players are obvious to everyone right? Coquelin and Cazorla, our Giant Midgets, they may be small in size but they control the CM to such a high level that other players have to look up to them.

I personally think that now is where the real genius of the formation kicks in, two ACMs who can be of different types along with three Forwards, only one of those have to be a striker. Arsenal fans will know that Bellerin wasn’t a RB when he came to us, he has become one of the world’s best and for me, he only has to show that he can consistently play at that level for a full season. He was a more attacking player originally though and that can be encouraged again for the right sided attack with the added bonus of him being able to press high up the field and cause the opposition to make mistakes. Same thing on the left side, this time the player is Gibbs.

So let’s recap at what we have so far…

3 CB who can defend.

2 holding CM who can defend and also pass accurately.

2 defensive minded forwards who have the pace to get in behind the opposition but also have experience at defending.

That is so far 7 out of 10 outfield players who can defend.

Can we bump that up to 8 if we include Alexis as 1 of the ACM?

For me, the only thing that is missing is a passmaster in the ACM spot to help unlock the oppositions defence, I think we can all agree that Ozil can do that, also if the rest of the team is so pressing then Ozil can relax on that side and focus more on his good points, drifting into spots and able to thread the ball through to players who run.

Players who run…

We have Theo, again we seen how defenders sit back to deal with his pace and how that creates space between the oppositions def and mid, unless the opposition is happy to sit back, Theo will create chances for others just by being on the pitch and constantly looking to play off the last mans shoulder. Think of that pace as well, Theo in the middle and Bellerin on the right, a high line would be suicide for oppositions.

This WM formation will mean Ramsey gets more chances to play in the middle.

The Ox can develop more as a central player which is what he wants to do.

Wilshere (if he can stay fit) will be able to play in the middle which is where he prefers.

So everyone, is it time for Wenger to open a history book and learn from Chapman and apply that to modern football or is he right to stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation?


Tags Bellerin Gibbs Ozil Ramsey


  1. 4-2-3-1 is all the rage these days. You can play any formation provided you have the right players for it. You can’t just change formation and expect players to do better. Probably a 4-4-3 or a 4-4-1 is what fits better our team. Or maybe even a 4-1-3-2 diamond. Hell if I know. What I know is that we can’t experiment in the middle of the season.

      1. No amount of tactic will make average players a title winning team.
        Sunderland are always in a relegation scraps for a reason.
        No tactic will make mertesacker turn faster . Playing Gabriel in the last few days has enable Kolcieny to press forward and become the second man doing defensive midfield duty.
        No amount of tactic will stop giroud from sticking to defenders like housefly on shit .
        He is simply incapable of losing his marker.
        No amount of tactic will make Ramsey to start making accurate 6 yard passes.
        No amount of tactic will improve Wilshere’s first touch .
        I can go on and on .
        Without the players with in game intelligence to adapt the tactics on the pitch , forget tactics . It just does not work .

        1. I agree in general so thumbed up but wilshires first touch is excellent certainly one of best English players in that department it’s his third or fourth touch where there are problems…

        1. Yes you are bad or drunk lol ?
          and what about the 4-4-3?
          Is that when the ref isn’t looking?
          sneak that extra player on ???

    1. I’ll take the 4-4-3 formation over any other if the refs allow us the 1 extra man 😉

      I agree we can’t expect the players to suddenly change but I will say I was pleased with what I seen the other night when we went to a back 3, we had a couple moments where we looked vulnrable but I am giving the players 100% credit for not conceeding with 3 at the back when they are used to 4 ^.^

      Maybe it is something we could do with practicing in training sessions?

      1. Yeah, lucky Middy, he gets to keep his brain so he could write more nice articles.

    1. Thank you but I’m glad he hasn’t, he has more knowledge than me and I wouldn’t like to try and pick teamsheets, I am happy to do it in thought experiments but I think the pressure would cause my brain to freeze 😛

      Of course I play football games BUT they are just games, if they was any indicator of how good a manager I could be then I would of won the UCL a dozen times over… I fear in real life I would get us hammered lol.

    1. If you unbalance the team and put Kos in the middle why not take out Coquelin and add Cazorla? He’s as much deep lying as it gets, can defend but also creative and passing god.

  2. Arsenal 2014-15 finances:
    Pre-tax profit: £24.7m – up from £4.7m
    Turnover: £344.5m – up from £301.9m
    Cash reserves: £193m – up from £173m

    i.e. we could have easily spend 90m in summer now lets see what happens in jan

      1. Bayern had debt around 275m & they have already paid that off they borrowed exactly 346 million euros (£275m) in a 25-year plan till 2030.

        while we are paying 35m a year for stadium

        1. That’s not the question. You suggest that we could have paid 90 mils from 193 (which were short term deposits for the aforementioned reason) on transfers. Which is not the case. Do you know that Adidas signed 900m Eur sponsorship with Bayern? Do you know that T Mobile pays 40 mils A YEAR to which Deutsche adds the difference up to one billion if Bayern continues to dominate? Why is this even a comparison between Arsenal and Bayern finances? What are you trying to prove? Bayern borrowed because they needed the money right away to build. Should they stroke a deal for instalment pay they wouldn’t even bothered borrowing.

            1. Nope, I did not said that. I have said earlier that Arsenal could have borrowed as much money as they wanted if they really needed to pay 100 million in transfers. Arsenal is a solvent club financially, any bank would borrow them.

              1. Arsenal is a Bank..
                They give plenty of loans out each year!
                The customer’s are always charged high rates
                and left feeling overdrawn ?with no value for money returns ?

                Take me back to the Good old day’s when Our best football was once watched from a noisey North Bank!

  3. Hey, but since we are at having fun here’s my 4-3-3 (because as the article says we need a defensive formation) for the chelsea game (this can transform in the normal 4-2-3-1)


    There you have it, defensive on every level. Should you attack AFC style, you switch to


  4. Team against Chelsea picks itself, which is a good thing. I am hoping with Theo up front, we get another goal from him.

    Instead of playing Ramsey out right, I would play Cazorla out left and Sanchez out right and put Ramsey and Le Coq in the middle of the field. this would help us own the middle of the park with our energy and tackling. They dont have Matic so we could really overpower them in the middle.
    Cazorla although great, does not have the same type of energy that Ramsey possesses and makes the midfield look a little lighter in comparison.

    This one is for all the marbles, we beat Chelsea and we push them to the edge and keep pace with City, we loose and we bring Chelsea back in to the competition and possibly loose pave with City.

    1. Cock fears no one. Matic or no Matic, Cock owns midfield. #CockPower

  5. Arsenal wage bill £192m last yr. New contracts issued will see go past £200m this season

    giroud is on 130/w while higuian is on 80/w (after tax)+ how many world class players we have

    1. Then is worth putting the figure for Giroud after tax which is basically the same if not lower. HMRS are a bitch too, you know.

        1. I don’t dispute that. But both are strikers in their national teams and they play pretty much the same role there, none of them being the main striker.

  6. For me, the only 2 positions that are up for question tomorrow are at CB and CF. Will Arsene continue the Gabrielny combination, or will he insert the BFG back into the team? Will Arsene go with Theo or Giroud? For one I feel certain, but the other I do not.

    At the moment I think the boss should continue with Gabriel. My only real concern here is how involved will he get with Diego Costa? I think Paulista’s aggressive nature will bother and torment Diego Costa, but will Costa be able to wind Paulista up and get under his skin and cause him to get in foul trouble early? I hope not, but fear it could be so. Either way, still Paulista for me. Kos is able to play so much more freely when he’s not rooted to his position making sure he’s always behind the BFG to cover.

    Theo or Giroud? We’ve seen in big games like these that Theo can be completely anonymous in the build up play because Terry and Cahill muscle him off the ball every time he attempts to receive it with his back to goal. Conversely, no one, not even Giroud apparently, feels comfortable or confident in his ability. As we all pined for over the summer, a player with the combined attributes of those two is exactly what the team needed, but as it stands, we have a quick player that likes to get in-behind and offers us no true threat in the build up or aerially, and then on the other side we have a strong player with back to the goal and in the air that offers us no true vertical threat in behind.

    Arsene has tended to get this decision wrong in big games thus far. If Chelsea come out and attack and push high up the field, then Theo is the play. If they sit in then Giroud is the play.

    I believe I may rue this decision, but I’m going to say it’s Theo for me. He’s been scoring goals, and I can’t imagine how that earns you a spot on the bench. Again, I think the true probelm, should Theo fail, is that he is the lesser of two evils, as neither one is the true complete threat that we need.

    1. Is Theo really so anonymous againt those type of teams when his willing to move across the backline and pace creates space for players like Alexis and Ozil?

      Theo isn’t a pass master like Ozil, he isn’t a tricky dribbler like Alexis, he isn’t tall and strong like Giroud… He has to play to his strengths and that is his pace which puts fear into oppositions defense.

      If Giroud starts then I will bet that Chelsea will play a higher def line until they can get a goal and squash out the space for our game changers to make much of an impact, how-ever I feel more confident that Theo will at least cause Chelsea to defend deeper and as such, force Chelsea to play with gaps between their def and mid or play a LOT of players behind the ball and try to hit us on the counter.

      Thats the type of difference that Theo makes, he may not be the type of player to have the most touches but he is a constant threat which helps bring in teammates.

      Arsenal do not need to play into the CF and build atacks arround the CF, we have Ozil. Ozil can hold the ball up better than Giroud, he may not be as tall or strong but he can keep the ball and release it at the right time unlike Giroud recently.

      1. If we play Theo, Chelsea wiLl sit back to defend, they won’t dear come out as much. But if we play Giroud, Chelsea can afford to play 11 outfield players without a keeper.

          1. I would not risk to put a psychologically destroyed Giroud but hey, you never know with Wenger. He’s the one living with them every day. What do I know?

      2. I don’t disagree with you regarding Theo’s movement along the line whatsoever.

        What you can’t neglect, however, is the fact that just about every goal kick or long clearance out of the back has been and most likely will be won, by Terry, Cahill, or Matic. Even when Giroud is up there they’ll play Matic behind Giroud to challenge the first ball, and if Matic doesn’t win it they’ll have Terry or Cahill behind to pick up the second ball.

        So with that in mind, Chelsea may not sit as deep as you think, if we can’t retain a ball coming out of the back. In games past they’ve been able to win that first ball and peg us back into our own half. All clearances that Giroud can usually hold or knock down to someone underneath him, will have to go behind Terry and Cahill and force them to retreat towards their own net if Theo is the lone high man.

        Again why I say the perfect player for us is a combination of Giroud and Theo.

  7. Sir chips “Finally my thanks go to Stan Kroenke for his continued support and guidance, my
    fellow directors, our management team and entire staff”

    for what ?????????????

  8. Sir Chips “We now have 27 partnerships around the world.SC Our stadium tours
    continue to attract increasing numbers of visitors. More than 197,000 toured
    the stadium last year.”
    don’t let them see our trophy cabin

    wonder if this is a divisionary tactics

  9. Sir Chips: “The Club has had a successful year both on and off the pitch. We are in a robust position across all key areas of our activity.”

    apart from goal scoring

  10. 3-4-3 Works for me on all manager simulation games!
    You get bored after going undefeated for Ten Seasons ?

    1. You think Maureen and Arsene would shake hands tomorrow? Looking forward to what happens…

      1. The reasons why Wenger refuses to shake hands with MoaningHO… Is because of what he said to wenger,
        On the first and only occasion, when they actually did!

        MoaningHO” I just knocked one out and now you have my David on your hands”

        Wenger ” You dirty,CAN’T… why? .. you can’t do that”

        And that’s the truth ??????

  11. Would love to see William Carvalho in an Arsenal shirt. Big, strong box to box player, he be perfect in an Arsenal 4-2-3-1 formation along side Coquelin? Imo! For now has to be santi/ramsey along side him. Only if the big man Diaby had stayed injury free

  12. Arsenal post £24.7m profit and have cash reserves of £193.1m

    No chance at CL, PL or ticket prices going down but at least the folks at the Top are getting richer

  13. Arsenal made £28.9m on transfers out incl sale of Vermaelen & cancellation of option to reacquire Carlos Vela arsenal have £228m in bank as of June 1 including (£35m of unavailable reserve)

  14. Ya all forgot the motivating aspects.

    that’s what you don’t see in this current crops.

    they seemed to be lost in LALA land courtesy to me wagner-bean.

    the will to fight like you’re in actual war zone during the game, remember viera?

    BTW aside from that, if we have to deal and take the best out of this average crops,

    i will try 3-4-1-2 formation:






    I like to go with 2 strikers, as running wide from inside forwards type, especially when lost ball possession.

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