Did Wenger’s back three delay cost Arsenal title chance?

Before Arsene Wenger finally elected to try the increasingly common formation of using three at the back instead of four, many Arsenal fans thought that the Frenchman was simply too stubborn to change, so in a way we should give the boss some credit.

Although you could argue that the all round effort and form of the players has also improved in that time, since Arsenal came good with six wins out of seven following the terrible trip to Crystal Palace, you have to think that the new formation has worked and wonder what might have been had Wenger switched to it earlier in the season.

In his latest press conference, The Mirror reports that Wenger has admitted that he started thinking about it before the turn of the year, but for various reasons did not give it a go, so was this delay a big factor in the Gunners enduring yet another faltering challenge for the EPL title?

Arsene revealed, “Because we like to attack and it is a defensive philosophy. We were not sure it could hold the team when things were going well.

“People like Rob Holding were lacking experience. I think (we started thinking about it) in November.”

I am not sure about the Holding argument as he has been great and got little or no game time from November before Wenger went to a back three. I can understand his point about our strength being in attack, but just before Christmas we faced back to back away games at Everton and Man City and we lost both. Would a back three have helped to avoid that?

Even if not, should the manager have learned from that and tried it out before the trips to Chelsea and Bayern Munich, games which resulted in losses that just about killed our season? Hindsight is a great thing, but does it show that Wenger should have switched earlier in the season?



  1. Arsenal_Girl says:

    Every season Wenger does something to keep us away from the title

    Last season if Wenger had just signed another top forward, cb and a holding midfielder we could have beaten Leicester to the title

    This past summer he still didnt get a top def midfielder, got a decent forward but hardly played him. Just started Lucas in a few FA Cup matches

    Every season Wenger makes daft decisions that effects our season

    1. Frank says:

      Wenger can’t take the team to the next level, he hasn’t been able to for years. The owner, board and still a lot of fans, for some reason back him. Our fate was sealed before a ball had even been kicked.
      Arsenal won’t win the Premier League again with Arsene Wenger.

  2. yagoonersya says:

    Missing out on transfer will not influence what happens in summer or transfers,protests won’t influence wenger future.The yes men at the arsenal board complete overpowered by wenger Arsenal management is a one man show.wenger is the tree and the vine..sad state of affairs

  3. yagoonersya says:

    Missing out on top4 will not influence what happens in summer or transfers,protests won’t influence wenger future.The yes men at the arsenal board complete overpowered by wenger Arsenal management is a one man show.wenger is the tree and the vine..sad state of affairs

  4. John0711 says:

    Wenger = depressing
    Arsenals future = bleak
    Fans = no balls ( due to some still thinking we are doing the right things)

  5. SynthiagoCazorla_Hvman_Machine says:

    I suspect the major reason many fans are frustrated with Wenger’s is because the man almost always seems reluctant to do the right things.. to take the right actions. Some interpret this as unnecessary delaying and dilly-dallying.

    It’s becoming more obvious that he cannot be handling all that amount of workload at the club (a.k.a Director of Everything) while getting things done quickly. In an efficient model there has to be proper division of labor. But Wenger is happy to do everything all by himself.

    1. RSH says:

      Nobody critiques him, he takes advice from nobody. This is why his tactics are dated/non-existent. Everybody at the club is a “yes man.” SAF was wise enough to realise when things weren’t working, but Wenger is not. Much more stubborn.

  6. Fatboy Gooney says:

    Conte already resting his players for the FA cup final ???????

    1. RAA1395 says:

      Good….we don’t want the blue team to say arsenal beat us because of exhaustion.

  7. twig says:

    Everyone shouting Three At the Back as if it’s a magic formula for success, Lol. Burnley with Three At the Back will probably trash Bayern, ha ha

  8. John0711 says:

    Wenger won’t change even now he will be spouting we only finished 1 point behind fourth
    I home there’s a protest tomorrow

  9. Peter Deed says:

    Wenger is a an arrogant dumb manager.
    He always blames others when team ends the season poorly like fans who want him out, blames referee, defensive tactics used by winning team and the spending power of Chelsea. He refuses to spend money and buy a top striker, CB and CM instead gives 140 k to useless players like Theo and Giroud. He only changes tactics when 4th place is at risk and has zero ambition and zero winning mentality. He is deliberately not wanting to win trophies.
    The only way to kick this fool out of our club is if the stadium is empty, no merch sale and protest every week, and if we keep finishing outside top 4 for next 2 seasons. He will stay for at least 2 more seasons.Lets ruin the next 2 years otherwise he will get another new 3 year contract after that?????????

  10. Break-on-through says:

    Yes I think he should have tried it earlier. Not saying it would have done the trick but with other teams knowing us too well we needed to be a little less predictable. Removing Alexis from a central position was a little strange, at least this formation gives him more freedom to play centrally. Arsene knows himself he is more dangerous in that area, but didn’t want to upset Ozil, nor did he want Alexis at CF for whatever reason, and this formation was a way of getting what he wanted. We have been better defensively since the change, so you’d have to imagine at the least we’d have gotten a few more away points. I’d say we would have gotten a CL place if done earlier, though I don’t think we’d have won the league or even come close for that matter.

  11. RSH says:

    doesn’t matter what he tries, or who he buys. Wenger and the board have created an atmosphere where mediocrity is good enough and accepted. AW will never manage another title winning side in this league, he can go pick up Messi for all I care, it will make no difference.

  12. He started thinking at the turn of the year, he almost bought such and such player, the old fool is only excuses how pathetic we’ve become with this clown in charge….another 2 years of misery and if we are not playing championship, probably with a new manager we might see ARSENAL rise again…….WENGER OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Kedar Damle says:

    Back 3 Formation is good and it is giving good defensive shape for us… We are looking more assured on defensive side of our game… Being attacking is always good but you have to make sure that you are not conceding goal because as far as you are not conceding a goal, you are not loosing game…. But problem we would have In 3 at back formation would be against Chelsea, Tottenham and United… Chelsea and Tottenham also plays with same formation hence Tactically both players cut each other and Currently both teams having more quality players than us so here we will short on our performance…. Talking about Manchester United then they have already broken up this formation easily when they beat Chelsea 2-0 at Old Trafford so they know how to break down this back 3 formation and if it can be done once then it could be done time and time again…. So we need to think about these 3 teams…

  14. Yossarian says:

    Our old formation & style of play was based on copying Barcelona, when they were the most dominant force in European football, with David Dein securing the signatures of suitable players when it was successful. This season he decided to copy currently successful teams like Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, then try to argue that Chelsea were fortunate to win the league due to not having European fixtures.

    Wenger doesn’t have any of his own original tactics and strategies, but rather copies from others and gloats when it works, and hides behind excuses when it doesn’t. That’s why Arsenal are always playing catch-up with the top clubs and top-managers in Europe.

    I used to think Arsene Wenger was a great man. Maybe he once was, but nowadays he is a slippery disingenuous despot who needs to find a life outside managing Arsenal. “Le Prof” really has become “Le Fraud”.

    1. Janssen says:

      So true and so sad. People speak about his legacy and although he was undeniably successful when he fist came on the scene, I think his legacy is out the window.

      Unless he wins another PL title in the next 4 years (yes that’s how long he will stay) he will always be the man who stayed 17 years without winning any real trophies.

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