I believe Arsenal should look at the use of three centre-backs this season, with the additions of Saliba and Zinchenko giving us reason to tinker with the side.
Guest post by Jon Vines
As one of those ‘older’ Arsenal supporters (I am now in my 60th year of regularly attending matches, with my season ticket already burning a hole in my pocket with the excitement of a new season), I look forward to discussion on possible formations for our new squad.
With the return of a newly matured Saliba, the ever improved polishing of Gabriel and White, I would like to propose a move “back” to three centre backs. Fitness not withstanding, and of course it probably was the chief reason for our “downfall” at the end of last year, we now have three talented (both defensively AND attacking) fullbacks in Tierney, Tomi and Zinchenko. The Arteta way is solidity at the back and a fast break counter attack going forward. With those three (or Holding) at CB, and, depending on opposition, any one from Partey, Lokonga, Zinchenko or even White, in front, I believe we have a sound base for that tactic. That base will be enhanced if those three “creative holders” – Partey, Lokonga and Zinchenko – can be encouraged/feel confident enough to both use the forward “dynamic” passes that Thomas always had in him, for instance, AND to sometimes push forward to add weight to attack.
The use of those three could certainly be tailored to the opposition. We were faced regularly with teams sitting back in recent years, which we found hard to break down. In my experience, there are two main methods to break down such defences. Wide attacking, preferably to the goal line and a cut back cross to oncoming attackers. And, those very dynamic passes that by-pass lines of defence with their accuracy.
On some occasions, and against more open teams, the back four option will still be appropriate, showing off the attacking and crossing potential of specialists Kieran and Zinchenko, and even less-so for Tomi and Soares, with the opposite wing holding back when action is down the other end in that instance.
The creative and attacking options are many and varied, and I believe the extra 20-30 goals required for success are now attainable.
I would be interested in your, and other readers views on this tactical suggestion.
Would you be happy for a return to a back five in certain matches next season?
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