Arsenal tactics – Should we copy Liverpool and England’s diamond formation?

Arsenal’s Formation in 4-4-2 Diamond– The Liverpool and England Way By Supertuur

In the 2013/14 season two teams really stood out with their goal scoring capabilities, Liverpool with Suarez and Sturridge and City with Augero, Negredo, Dzeko and Jovetic. Besides the quality of their strikers what was the other reason they scored so much? They played 4-4-2, although in different variations. Today I will focus on the formation Liverpool and recently England play which is the 4-4-2 diamond or also known as 4-1-2-1-2.

How would an Arsenal team look in a 4-4-2 diamond formation?

The defence would look the same as it is now with positions well known to most of our fans.
LB = Gibbs/Monreal
CD = Koscielny, Mertesacker, Chambers
RB = Debuchy/ Bellerin

There will be more pressure on defenders with 4-4-2 than with the current 4-2-3-1 system that Arsenal currently plays.

The bottom of the Diamond (occupied by Gerrard at Liverpool) is a crucial position where you need the capabilities to defend, make decisive passes and do the occasional goal shot from outside the box or just at the edge of the box. Ramsey could do this role but will have to hold back on the attacking part thereby reducing his goal tally. Arteta would look good as well or even better as his passing is superb. Flamini would be ok on the defence side but I think he lacks the decisive passing that is needed for the fast counter attack. We have seen Wilshere take on the role for England and he did not do too bad.

Left side of the diamond I could see Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey and Wilshere. On the right side of the diamond I can see Walcott, Rosicky, Gnabry, Oxlade Chamberlain and even Sanchez as he does not mind doing dirty defending work.
The top of the diamond is where Sterling plays at Liverpool; this is where I see Ozil, Wilshere or Carzola.Carzola will offer the most goal threat, Ozil has the best passing and Wilshere can be the middle ground of these 2.
As for the centre forward positions I see the left centre forward position taken by Welbeck, Podolski and Giroud and the right centre forward by Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott and Sanogo.


Positives about this Formation
We will use our strikers and wingers much more. We can find pairs of strikers that work well. City used Negredo/Aguero at the start of the season, Negredo/Dzeko at the middle and Dzeko/Aguero at the end of the season. This season they start with Jovetic and Aguero . We may have a use for Podolski which under the 4-2-3-1 system is not working well. We will not be over reliant on a strong holding CF like Giroud whom we need in a 4-2-3-1 formation. We have 7 strikers for 2 positions and we can rotate to see which combinations work best. At the middle of the season we can see which ones to sell or loan out.

Arsenal will score a lot of goals and can make more use of the counter attack. Ozil will have two centre forwards he can put the balls through. We can take out one centre forward and drop back to 4-2-3-1 with ease and play more on possession and defend the score line, when necessary.

Negatives about this Formation
Defensive duties need to be higher up the midfield. Arsenal will concede more goals but you have more chance to outscore your opponent. My biggest worry is that Ramsey or Arteta are not up to the level that Steven Gerrard is with his position at Liverpool. Distribution, defending and scoring from outside the penalty box are his strengths. Ramsey will not be used to his full strength as he is now in our current 4-2-3-1 system.
The width will come from the full backs only. Which is not so bad as especially on the left side we still lack true wingers.

Could this be the formation where Arsenal get goals and Ozil finally shines in his role? With Welbeck apparently not as good at hold up and play as Giroud is, is this the formation we should go for? Love to hear your opinions.

Tags Gerrard Liverpool Sanchez Walcott welbeck


  1. I think it could work, but your right side of the diamond players are too offensive. Liverpool play Gerrard deep with Henderson right and allen left, and you have to say it works well. So if anything..

    Debuchy Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
    arteta/Flamini/Shame it’s not a new CDM
    Ramsey Wilshere
    Sanchez Giroud/Welbeck

    1. I like your setup. Wilshere played the Gerard role for England. You think he can do it?

      As far as the right both Ox and Sanchez drive forward but don’t mind doing dirty work.

      I still think Wenger will stick with 4-2-3-1 and if we push up the opponent we go 4-3-3.

      1. Before signing Welbeck, I would have said that we should have most definitely used this formation and also mentioned it in many comments. Giroud needed a second striker. I got slated for suggesting the use of these tactics.

        Now we have welbz, I would say stick with three ahead of Ozil in the hole. Just like Walcott has been saying.

        As much as it pains me to bring this up though, we still need a CDM to break up attacks.

        1. I agree with you guys completely. And the CDM, definitely needed. If Wilshere can make the deep lying play-maker role his own, which he has the abilities for, then we definitely need someone like Carvalho.

          The lack of width would be a problem, although Wilshere and Ramsey could aid the full back when they push forward for the overload, combining with one forward helping out, most likely Alexis with Welbeck (then maybe Giroud) acting more as a true forward. But this is where a cdm would be critical! I think Alexis acting as a second striker would confuse opposition as he drifts just behind Welbeck from side to side.

          It would be interesting to see how Alexis and Welbeck would combine, with the latter finally playing as a central striker.

  2. Honestly this formation looks very promising, and would work for almost all of our players. The only probelm is that it is hard to work without wingers. It’s been Wenger’s philosophy for 17 years and I don’t see a 62 year old man changing his tactics.

    1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with our style of football, we just aren’t allowed to play it often. Most teams know that if they try and play Arsenal at football, they will lose. That’s why so many teams sit deep in their own half and defend against us.

      We can’t play our style of football when teams are defending for so much of the game, we’re forced to just keep passing the ball around them and wait for an opening because they’re so reluctant to come out. What our team needs to do is improve on how we break teams down when they do sit deep. Bayern and Barca face the same problem every game – maybe learn from them, though most premier league sides will try to attack us more than la liga/bundesliga sides attack Barca and Bayern.

      Teams like Chelsea haven’t faced this problem as much because they haven’t been as much of an attacking side, they’re very defensive, so teams try to attack them in the knowledge that they’re less likely to get punished than if they play against us or, now, Man City. Though Chelsea’s attack is a lot stronger this season, so I expect more teams to ‘park the bus’ against them too now. The same can really be said for Liverpool now – they’re also recognised as more of an attacking team now, teams will go defensive against them too rather than the box-to-box style of recent years.

  3. Dear Wenger:
    Please give Chuba Akpom a shot in the first team, he’s English, 18 years old, pace, power, finishing, confident and strong, looks so sharp! I really rate him highly.

      1. Matt
        Wenger will not change his philosophy.. Akpom will certainly be a sensation as would/will Gnabry if they were allowed to flourish and given a real run in the team.. Players only benefit by playing against top opponents week in week out .. They need to test themselves against the best , granted it could wreck their development if they don’t have the right attitude but Rooney was given the chance at 15/16 as was wilshere.. Rooney maintained his level (dubious at times) wilshere promised so much yet injury has hindered his development at times..
        So to say akpom should be given a chance is totally plausible.. He’s got all the attributes you mention.. Wenger may think time is not on his side (Wengers) and isn’t thinking of the future.. Who knows..
        But there’s plenty of players which showed huge potential as a teenager and in the youth teams that we all thought should be given a run in the team.. But never quite made it..
        Luck, fate , manager liking you or saying / doing the right thing at the right time may just be the break you need.. I guess we will never know (unless we became a manager…)
        Let’s just hope for 3 pts come Saturday …

        1. @Matt
          Hard to know until he’s played against top opposition. Unless you’re basing your comment on their U21 appearances, then Yaya beats Chuba hands down…

    1. To give Akpom a chance we need to loan out Sanogo or Campbell. We do have too many forwards as is. I can see Akpom play for Capital One cup though.

  4. I like sanogo I believe that when he starts scoring then there’ll be no stopping him but. How is he picked over akpom that’s kid is gonna be legend, I watch him and I see henry even more so after that second goal tonight

    1. he used to bag for fun on the old football managers. and they are never wrong when it comes to future talents 😀

  5. I prefer the “park the bus” formation against Chelsea and United. All them forwards and attacking mf are scary (Costa, hazard, Remy, Drogba, Fabregas, Falcao, RVP, Rooney, Di Maria, Mata)

  6. how would we use our wingers more? the formation plays 3 central midfielders and a CAM in front of them. there is no room for wingers hence why Raheem Sterling was converted into a CAM

    1. Exactly. Arsenal do have wingers on the right but we lack specialist wingers on the left. Why not use the 4-4-2 diamond and we can rotate and develop our strike force much more.

  7. Who knows what team Wenger will chose.
    personally I would play the passing / possession game the first half and 2nd half hit them with pace Welbeck and Ox on at about 55 minutes with Sanchez moving left, Ox right and Welbeck down the middle interchanging to cause problems

  8. Even Rosiky as he ups tempo.

    Sanchez Caz Pold

    2nd half

    Ox Rosiky Sanchez

    I think our defence can hold its own without subs

  9. FYI: my thinking is to maintain possession and tire City defence which we can do, it will make our speed all the more deadly

  10. Nice one I think. The problem is, I can’t see the old man changing his Tactics- we know how arrogant he is of his own tactics. Secondly, suppose the Le prof. Thought this way, we don’t have a Gerrard-type player that can offer cover to the back four. So, let’s just pray some miracle to happen against city

    1. Gerard used to be CAM now he sits more back now that he is older. Do Arsenal not have a CAM that can do the same. You need a sweeper with a good passing capability short and long.

        1. that’s eventually where he will end up but he has to learn his position before he can just be played there. he played the Gerrard role for England but he wasn’t convincing. it’s easily done though, look at Arteta and Gerrard. at least Wilshere can run unlike those two

          1. @DanielC1989
            I’ve always felt that Jack was a DM who thought he was a CAM. He could be a “Roy Keane” type of enforcer. Just with better passing ability…

            1. I don’t understand where you guys are coming from or what you are saying. Jack is BEST going forward, when the ball is at his feet and he can use his burst to get away from people why do you want to make him into something he’s not so damn bad

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