Arsenal tactics – How can Arsenal start dominating from the start?


Unia Emery is a bold manager. He will watch the players and make his decisions even if it affects the high calibre players Wenger, for instance, feared to touch. He will take the decision. It has got Arsenal on an unbeaten run of 16 matches, though in the recent past, something is happening that he needs to come out bolder than ever – Arsenal are not scoring goals with the frequency they need and also Arsenal are slow off the blocks. The fact that Arsenal have not led a game going into half-time is reason to worry.

Against Wolves, in the 76th minute, Emery had Kolasinac pulled out and replaced with Mkhitaryan. Unless Xhaka was asked to take the left back role, Arsenal were playing with three defenders and yes, they were exposed, but also the equalizing goal eventually came. With Aubameyang and Lacazette on the pitch, often we have Aubameyang playing on the wing, where his best traits are underwhelmingly deployed. It also affects the pitch bromance Lacazette and Aumabmeyang have in the game. When deployed as a duo – which has happened once, and was against Fulham – Arsenal were huge winners of 5-1. Clearly, taking a game and dominating it for Arsenal might need the resolution that Lacazette and Aubameyang should both play as forwards. Often this season, the story has been about balancing attack and defense.

One system that can do that, and stop teams like Wolves playing on a counter attack and fielding the brick wall in defense, I believe, is one that gives concentrated attacking roles to our best and superior side. Otherwise, after Wolves, the template to stop the Arsenal might be borrowed from Wolves. could be the best system for Arsenal to finally take off from the first whistle to the end.


The three defenders must be strict and disciplined to defend first before venturing out. The Wingers should play like Wingbacks and attack equally as defending, and also give assistance in the central midfield area too. Ozil should work hard to find the forwards with defense splitting passes, spraying his passes all over the place. Aubameyang and Iwobi to do what they do best, attack from either wing fronts to stretch the defenders and Lacazette to play his inspired central forward role. Aubameyang and Iwobi being assisted from the wings will give them the support that will help them become fearless in executing their duties.

It will be an even bolder Emery and a chance to win games more convincingly.



  1. jon fox says:

    This would be a wide open defensive and crazy formation. A back four is imperative.

    1. jon fox says:

      Further to my post above, it is madness to play BOTH Ozil AND Mkhi together. Neither are workers. A year or so from now I am convinced neither will be here, for the simple reason Emery demands all out effort which neither are capable of giving. How long are we to keep wanting-at least some on here do, though not me – creatively talented but largely non productive players in the team , just in case thay have one of their rare good days. This is madness frankly.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Anyone who knows anything about the game wouldn’t put Bellerin at left back and Kolasinac at right back. That’s how you line up and don’t say it doesn’t matter what way round they are because it does. Also, we have enough problems playing two central defenders , now you play with one. Take Mkhi out, replace him with Holding.

        1. jon fox says:

          Kenny , Good to see some of us oldies have better real respect for a proper defence than some on here. Some young fans have scarcely EVER seen a top outfield defender here to compare with the past greats. Not to mention our previous manager too, who was in my opinion complicit in ruining what defence we had by non coaching and by a suicidal long list of duff so called defenders bought over many years since George Grahams defence retired. In my opinion Wenger has only EVER bought a tiny few top class outfield defenders. Cole was here already, Campbell was on a free, so that leaves Lauren, who was a converted midfielder and Toure who was hardly an Adams, Bould or Campbell in any case. Kos was good but never true world class and over his 22 years I always thought he simply couldn’t really teach defenders or recognise top ones. His long list of dreadful CB’s is damning, including the appalling Mustafi. His wilful neglect of the vital decade long hole at DM since Gilberto, who was not just a pure defender and so doesn’t appear on my short list of his good buys, was a sackable offence even by itself.

    2. gotanidea says:

      Agree that the author’s formation is crazy, but a back four is not always the necessity

      Some teams can be domestic league champions with a back three, like Capello’s AS Roma, Allegri’s Juventus and Conte’s Chelsea. But interestingly there is no team with a back three formation won the Champions League in the last ten years, not even the mighty Juventus

    3. Lupe says:

      This is the most ridiculous formation and tactic i have seen yet. No team in world football sets up like this, the balance is all wrong. Even on football games like fm and fifa, this would still be unrealistic.

  2. gotanidea says:

    Playing with only one pure CB and two attacking-minded small-built fullback in the back will guarantee a lot of goals… from the enemy

    The last time I saw a crazy formation like that was Luis Enrique’s 3-2-3-2 with two inverted wingbacks. Barcelona managed to turn the table against Emery’s PSG, but that formation was proven to be unsustainable for La Liga

    Arsenal do not have to dominate from the start, because Wenger’s Arsenal often had a lot of possession without any good result. They just need to score first and prepare for quick counter-attacks afterwards, which need pacey and skillful wide players that have good finishing and excellent first touches

  3. snowden says:

    Another applicant for the post of Football director of Tactics at Arsenal.

    If anyone else wants to apply get your application in A S A P., becaues the closing date is 1st January 2050

  4. I don’t know, using 3 defenders with 2 regular wingers operating as fullbacks sounds like indecisiveness to me. Do you want an extra defender or not? If you want an extra defender then play regular fullbacks as fullbacks with an additional defender between the usual CBs. If you don’t, then eliminate one CB and play regular fullbacks on each side of the remaining CB and maintain the wingers as they are. That means there should be an extra DM to compensate for the fewer defenders which would be I guess El Neny? Is he a DM? I think he is. Anyways, your system could work even without 2 DMs though I’d feel a bit exposed given how many chances we normally gift our opponents. Instructing Auba and Iwobi to operate as fullbacks though to me would seem to underutilize them and I think it frustrates players eventually like it did to Chamberlain and Nelson. Of course my opinion is superior to nobody’s on this site I just wanted to put that out there before I get any backlash.

  5. snowdennw says:

    Just to show I can be serious. We watch a game and we form an opinon of what we see.

    This is a big mistake for we have no idea of the whys and wherefores the manger is playinhg that particular team, the tactics and in some cases why he has chosen a position for a player.
    We can only ‘think’ we know and for some people it is a case of ‘Because I think – therefore I know.’

    All we know is for example. A good pass, a bad pass. We can conjecture all we like but it doesn’t make us right or or wrong, the manager good or bad.

    What we do know is that the manager comes to us with a good football reputation. This is first year.
    He is finding his way and all the time learning.

    He has players he inherited and brought players to club.

    His learning has given us hope that in time we will be first in a competition.

    We support the manager win or lose, successful tactics – failed tactics. We support him and the players.

    The overall evidence is that the football part of the club deserves our full support.

    Unai knows what he is doing – we don’t.

    1. Durand says:

      Seems fans knew what they were doing when they posted about Ramsey not working in the team aye? Emery seems to feel the same apparently. I would also add the same about Mhki not working out with Ozil in the starting 11 as well. A third point would be starting Cech over Leno with Emery’s build from the back style. Leno is far more comfortable on the ball, and is proving himself to be quite the keeper as well.

      Bashing your fellow gooners universally often fails to significantly prove the point and stand up to scrutiny when tested. There are many diverse opinions between us ( yours and mine included), but when a vast majority tend to unite around a theme I’ve found it often holds true.
      The examples I’ve listed above I would submit as evidence to this forum, as well as the overwhelming view of Mustafi’s quality as a starting CB.

      Ken 1945 often defends comments against Wenger which he feels are without evidence, and I tend to comment against generalized negative statements regarding the entirety of our collected fanbase.

      However, this is only an opinion much the same as the one I chose to comment on, and can be taken or left as the reader pleases.

      1. jon fox says:

        Great post. Just to be clear I assume you meant to say “Mustafis LACK of quality, and NOT his quality?

        1. Durand says:

          correct Jon, lack of quality is being kind regarding Mustafi. Most would say disaster waiting to happen with his recklessness.

      2. snowden says:

        I accept your point about Ramsey and the fans. However we do not know why the manager persists. Remember Arsene persisted with the none scoring Henry.
        As in all aspects of life sometimes ‘Plan A’ works sometimes it doesn’t. The question is always how long do we persist until we say no we need a new plan?

        In football only the manager can deciede when to end the trial of ‘Plan A’.
        For some fans every game in which the plan fails the manager is ‘useless’ ‘doesn’t know what he is doing, etc. etc.’. If in the next match the plan works ‘We have a great manager.’
        To sum up.
        Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder. Football is not. (In reference to the understanding of it.)

    2. ken1945 says:

      snowdennw, now that’s what I call a really brilliant post.
      You cover all the angles that we, as gooners, discuss and argue over, in a sensible and non- argumentative way.
      I agree with absolutely everything you say, along with the replies from Durand and Jon.
      Every now and again someone submits a post that encapulates everything the rest of us, one way or another, are trying to say.
      More power to your elbow sir and can we have some more of your intelligent insights please?

      1. snowden says:

        Ken you embarrass me. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  6. Break-on-through says:

    I was with you right up til the formation you came up with. Three players in so many lines would over stretch us. If the ball is being switched quickly enough between the flanks, we would be bare as an orangutan’s ass. One in the centre would happen often yet that is an area many teams like to overload play when facing us. Two at least but you’d see someone dropping back making three, we’d have to watch the flanks, so one guy allot of the time up against numbers. Our games are end to end, so Torriera on his own or if he’s lucky Ozil might drop back to help. That would be catastrophe, you want the other two midfielders playing like wingbacks. This only helps the defence but only when they make it back, and the front three but only when they’re pushed up. Midfield is where the battle is fought. After everything you said just before the formation. I expected to hear you saying that we should go with a four four two. Or a three five two. Did not expect that mesh up.

  7. Sue says:

    OT would have loved to have gone to the Emirates tonight to watch Brazil v Uruguay… oh well it’s on ITV4. Strong line ups… hope Torreira comes through unscathed

  8. Aubamezzette says:

    Its in the midfield bench Ozil for Guedouzi n play a 433 formation.
    also start Iwobi on the Leftwing n bench one of Lacazette n Aubameyang or play Lacazette in RightWing till January when we get proper wingers..
    …the central midfield trio will help the team dominate possession more.

    1. Aubamezzette says:

      Or Bellerin in RWF

  9. RSH says:

    I dont know if tactics or formation is the issue. Notice how when we go 1-0 down at HT we suddenly have extra pep in our step. We dont have it when the game starts. I have no idea why. Emery surely has told the team by now we have to start quicker, yet every game we start by looking lethargic.

  10. Innit says:

    Bellerin is not good at defending. He is more of an attacker. So if you want three at the back we need three solid defenders.

    We need to keep 4 at the back except for the odd game when Emery believes it would be advantageous to play three at the back. Sometimes it’s possible. However, our defenders are generally average.

    Looking forward to having Koscielny back. He may not be a TOP CB anymore but His experience will be useful

  11. Goona says:

    Just pretend every opponent is liverpool

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