Arsenal tactics: The three formations Arteta can switch between this season

Arsenal dominated the 2023–24 PL season, managing to be in top spot for 248 days, but unfortunately a few slips towards the end of the season saw them lose the title to Manchester City.

The 2023–24 season presents itself as an opportunity for Mikel Arteta and his now-weaponized squad to reinvent themselves, do things differently, and hopefully win their first league title in years.

Aaron Ramsdale, David Raya (if he joins), Ben White, Jurrien Timber, Tomiyasu, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Jakub Kiwior, Kieran Tierney, Oleksander Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz, Emile Smith-Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, and Riess Nelson are the players I believe will play a key role in Arsenal’s title charge.

There’s hope that next season the Arsenal boss will inject some unpredictability into his squad; this may see him embrace squad rotation. For an effective squad rotation, Arsenal may need to set up differently on the pitch to suit different players’ strengths; hence, which formations could we see Arteta employ next season?

Here are three formations I believe will be on show next season:


In this formation, Havertz can play behind Jesus, who is to lead the attack. Saka and Martinelli play as side midfielders, while Rice and Odegaard play deep as central midfielders. This formation could get the best of Havertz, as he will have enough freedom to tap into his attacking instincts.


Jesus could lead the attack in this formation; Havertz and Odegaard could start behind Jesus as the two attacking midfielders.

In midfield, Partey and Rice could form a double pivot that could be a nightmare for opposing midfielders. Timber and Zinchenko will feature as inverted fullbacks, while at defence, we could see Gabriel, Saliba, and White form the back three. Such a formation could be used once in a while when Saka and Martinelli are given much-needed rest, which they will need to stay fresh.


Last season, Arteta fully embraced this formation, and we may see him use it often next season.

Of the strongest line-up Arsenal fielded last season, there may be two changes. We could see either Declan Rice or Kai Havertz taking over the Granit Xhaka role, playing as one of the two eights. Thomas Partey may continue as the sole holding midfielder. Timber may take over the right-back role from Ben White. The beauty of this formation is that, at times when the team needs to be defensive to protect the lead, Arteta may switch it to 4-2-3-1 instantly.

Which formation do you think is best suited to get the most out of Arsenal next season? And do you advocate for Arteta to be rigid with his formation, or should he be tweaking it to catch opponents off guard?

Tommy Tactics

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  1. Arteta successfully brought Arsenal back to UCL with the dynamic 4-1-4-1/ 4-3-3 formation when we don’t have the ball and 3-2-4-1 formation when we have the ball

    I don’t think he would change it, unless we lose our first three EPL games

  2. 4-2-3-1 without an inverted FB tactic and 4-3-3 with an inverted FB tactic.the first against top teams the latter against low-block teams.COYG!

  3. We need at least 4 possible pivots and 3 different types of inversions for these formations….otherwise it just won’t make phase 5-17 possible!

  4. 4-2-3-1. TBH, I am struggling to see where Havertz would be in a starting 11. He really doesn’t look like a box-to-box midfielder who could keep Partey or Rice out, he isn’t a wide player like Saka or Martinelli, and he surely can’t be selected ahead of captain Odegaard in the advanced midfielder role. When we first bought him I assumed he was there as competition for Jesus up front (meaning Balogun and Nketiah would both be sold), but apparently this isn’t the case. I don’t really get it.

  5. PS: How about 3-5-2?

  6. When playing the Citizens and Liverpool a 4 : 2 : 3 : 1 formation can be use.

    When playing the low block teams we switch to a 4 : 3 : 3 formation.

    When playing a top half team 3 : 4 : 3, but if we should go behind we switch to a 4 ; 3 ; 3 and throw everything at them

  7. By evidence of all the uncertainty regarding comments it seems Arteta has been succesfull.

    The ‘element of surprise’ can play a crucial factor on the outcome “of a ‘war’. The lack of knowledge about the plans & strategy of your adversory will reduce your chance of victory significantly ceteris paribus. Against tactically & analatically superior managers of which Pep is the best holding your cards to your chest is paramount.

    This unpredictabilaty wrt our tactics & formation has been deliberately created iot confuse opponents imo. Imbedded deep down into this cloud of uncertainties & confusion is an organized, structured & systematic art of war.

    The only thing left now is to see whether the student has mastered this art in order to become a MASTER himself. Can’t wait for the fight!!


  8. Teams will intend to physically challenge Arsenal to high intensity in the opening minutes. The only way to break this is the same way Arsenal romped last season; to put counter pressing players. That’s why I think Zinchenko will be first choice LB as he is the player very important to control and suffocate the opponents with passing and movements into the midfield. Overloading in opponents’ weak department should be the order of the day.

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