How Arsenal can turn a 3-man defence into an attacking formation


It official that this season, Arsenal will finish below Tottenham Hotspurs. If spurs will finally lift the trophy this year, this tie will be a key reason that happened and so Arsenal supporters will have this a season to forget…
However, after the change in system Arsene Wenger has taken us from his obstinate to another obstinate The problem even with the solidity the system brought into defending, is that we have still stayed without our shooting boots.

It is clear that our most effective player in attack now is Alexis Sanchez and he is a better worker when sharing attacking responsibilities. It therefore would make a lot of sense if Le Prof. had also moved to restore our shooting boots crisis too with just one stroke of move.

For the past 4 games when we have used the pattern with one striker we have been outshot, outmuscled, and out possessed. It basically means we have taken in a new character. We are now able to soak pressure. However, at Tottenham, we fell to silly mistakes that are inevitable when being attacked over long periods of the match. If we too were causing similar problems on the other end of the posts, it would have been possible to tie the game, maybe even steal it.

For instance, in that match against Spurs, possession ended up being 51:49 percentages for the home side. However, the reading was very different in terms of shots into goal. The numbers are 20:12 for the home side and out of those, the once on target were 11:4 for the home side. We also had 14:5 corner in favour of the home side again.

Clearly, we are losing some attacking delivery in the channels. My argument is if we were as prolific as the other side, such statistics that suggest we are moving the ball around without getting close to put in in the back of the net is unsettling.

With hard working wingbacks which we easily have in the squad creates a constant ‘extra’ man in the play. During defending other than 4 defenders 5 will be available. In attack, matters are a bit different as one will not expect the wingbacks to fly off their blocks. With a set of highly mobile wingbacks however, the quick transitions that can be generated need to be finished up. With Sanchez playing in attack and his style means he will get out of position to go and get involved in play elsewhere in the park, Giroud being fielded and not effective, supporting his hard work will make Arsenal as dangerous as any other side.

I therefore suggest that our default system 3.4.3 becomes 3.5.2 and from it variation of to This will mean that several things will happen.

1) Ozil will get his preferred central Attacking Midfielder role and now with two strikers to aim his assists to.
2) Sanchez can now apply himself to every situation, there will be someone to benefit off his hard work and the team will score more.
3) Hard working players like Ox, Monreal and Holding will be requited.

The Squad I would put out


I’m aware Perez is injured but should be getting back possibly in the next match. We have Walcott and even Giroud can play there as we await Perez. Perez has performed every time he has been brought in. He should get his chance now that others in the same capacity are not really performing. Sanchez and Perez have been kept away from each other largely because they are assumed to be playing in the same role which is a shame if you ask me.

Welbeck in the left – Left Wingback? Welbeck used to ply his trade in Manchester as a left player, possibilities that Wenger promised him centre forward role to sign up cannot be ruled out but he can match foot to foot the energy Oxlade Chamberlain has on the right wingback. If the left side ticks like the right wingback, we could be in for a super treat. Welbeck will work hard and those who can remember his Hat-trick in October 2014 against Galatasaray will know he can work hard and track back. He will grow into the role if he likes it well enough and we all know he will even get into scoring positions ever so often.

I also tend to think Arsene Wenger is also haunted by his lack of Englishness in the squad which was once branded a French side. Welbeck change of position will rest Arsene’s fears. For me Elneny is a natural partner for Xhaka and other players capable in that role must pull up their performances and consistency.

The three CBs should be well covered when Konscienly is fully fit, but with Mustafi and Gabriel and now Monreal vying for three positions, we should be strong in the back.

Nicholas Oyoo


  1. JembutArsene says:

    Good post.

    I agree would prefer 3-4-1-2 formation assuming if Kokakola is signed.

    I would go with:

    ——–Sanchez —— Perez———-





  2. John says:

    Yes I also go with a 3-4-1-2 as well
    Here my team
    Holding Koscienly Mustafi
    Oxlade Xhaka Ramsey Walcott
    Perez or Ozil
    . Walcott Sanchez

  3. Vanpayslip thought of the day: Ask Arsene, he ain't understanding this, cuz 99% of AKBs don't exist says:

    If we look at the second half of the city game then there really isn’t that much to be changed. The bigger issue probably is regarding player form rather than the system needing further tweaks.

  4. Arsenal_Girl says:

    343 is my favourite formation

    My dad loved and used to tell me about Nesta, Cannavaro and Maldini defensive partnership

    I really think we need to get another solid CD in the summer like Van Dijk because mustafi and koscielny cant play every match
    Also Gabs, Chambs and Holding are not consistent enough. Mert is coming towards the end now.

    And of course we need a Top holding midfielder which we have needed for a dozen years

  5. habtamu says:

    your recommendation doesnt sense to wenger or the board.

  6. Invincibles49 says:

    3 man defense can’t work for Arsenal. For this formation you need a very strong midfield. At least 1-2 players who who have the workrate of 1.5-2 players. Also the flip side of the formation is that you sacrifice the overall possession. So the there needs to be players who are good with winning the ball and holding it for longer duration.

    Chelsea have players like Kante and Matic where as we have Xhaka and Ramsey. Its clear as a sky why for one of these teams , the formation seems natural and for the other, it seems forced.

    If Wenger knows this and still going for it, it shows his desperation to try something new and hope it works. If he does not know this and going ahead with this, it shows that we have had a fraud for the last 16-17 years.

  7. citrenoogeht says:

    I thought Wenger said the serious Xhaka was a doubt?

  8. Janssen says:

    I don’t expect Wenger to stay with this formation. To me, this formation relies in a big way on the wing backs and Ox has been good in this position going forward and needs to be taught the defending bit of it. I just think neither Gibbs nor Monreal are versatile enough going forward to be able to pull this off. If you look at Monreal, who is a solid defender most of the time, he essentially plays the wingback position as if he is a full back in a 4-3-3, that doesn’t work bacuae it leaves Sanchez or whoever plays in front of him too isolated and doesn’t put enough pressure on the defenders.

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