Former Arsenal star believes back-three short-term fix?

Sol Campbell has claimed that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will revert back to his favoured four at the back, with a solid addition or two.

The Gunners recently reverted to the newly fashionable 3-4-2-1 formation, currently sported by Chelsea and Spurs who occupy the top two spots in the division, as well as being tried out by Manchester United, Everton and Man City this term.

Despite Wenger’s 100% record with the new system, Campbell believed the switch is only short-term, with a back-four to return when he can trust in his defensive options.

‘I think if he [Wenger] gets a settled back four I don’t think he will want to play three [at the back], Campbell told

‘I think you can play three naturally if you have a really defensive midfielder who understands when to drop back and go forward. Like [N’Golo] Kante or back in the day Gilberto.

‘I like someone who can move into that position and maybe the centre halves can split – they can cover the middle as a three but then after that they join back into the midfield pack.’

‘That’s probably why he’s set it out for three [in recent matches]. He hasn’t got someone who can just drop in there and feel comfortable in the centre-half and play that position for 10-15 seconds and then drop back in [to the midfield]. I don’t think he has got that player yet.’

The former Arsenal, Spurs and England defender revealed who he would target to six those problems.

Campbell added: ‘I think there’s a few [options Arsenal could target]. I think with Van Dijk – he’s definitely one to look out for. He can definitely add a lot.

‘His height, his experience, he’s shown what he can do. I think he’s got some more levels, there’s a few more levels for him to go.

‘In a better team I think he will progress very quickly. Passing wise, knowledge about where to stand on the pitch in certain scenarios. I think that’s got better over the years.

‘I think he will probably go, depending on where does end up. I think someone like him would definitely add to Arsenal.

‘Harry Maguire as well, English defender, I think he will grow as well. He’s got two good feet, mobility is good for a big man, English as well. He could definitely do a job.

‘I think those players could easily make the difference. They [Arsenal] should look and see what it happens.’

Van Dijk most certainly stands out as the type to stand-out in our side and make a huge difference, but I’m not sure Harry would displace Rob Holding, who is impressing despite his young age.

Would you take McGuire or stick with Holding? Are there any other Premier League defenders you could see us taking a further look at? Will Wenger stick with a back three?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal McGuire Sol Campbell van dijk


  1. back 3 or back 6 we wont win things under wenger.he is the most useless big name manager ever.

  2. What would you give to have a Sol Campbell in this team. Awesome player and a great leader, even at Tott he was something else, then around the top players he looked a man mountain. I’d definitely take Van Dijk, now even more so after getting Sols seal of approval. Not sure about the other one, the way he mentioned England twice would have me a little suspicious.

    Not sure if he thinks these two would make a good partnership, or if he’s saying that this young-fella would be good for our squad depth. But like admin says we already have Holding, and Holding out of every young defender in England has no less a shot at being first team than any of the others.

    Holding reminds me a little of Rio Ferdinand. He’s good with positioning, very aware of surroundings, calm on and off the ball and good with his feet, however, he goes aggressively into tackles and attacks the high balls. Not completely the same players but similarities, Rio was more aggressive I’d say but Holding’s still very young.

  3. If most of the teams in Premiere switch to three central defender formation in the future, then Arsenal will probably counter it by a four central defender formation.

    The fact is there is no team has won Champhions League with a three central defender formation in the last ten years. Even Barcelona only used three central defender formation if they lacked of players.

    Arsenal can use any formation and they will get similar result as long as the quality of the players remain the same. They have to find better players and stop playing with the basics of football, in which each Arsenal’s player only possess the ball for maximum two touches then release the ball quickly to the nearest teammate. If Arsenal wants to dominate and create more chances, they have to find players that are able to keep the ball for at least three touches and has good vision for chances.

    Regarding Holding, he looks more talented than our other defenders. Arsenal should only look for a new central defender if they really lack of that. Otherwise finding a new playmaker and better midfielders is more necessary, as I don’t think our current midfielders would be able to bring Arsenal to the next level.

    1. I’ll be honest here, I don’t like Mustafi’s height for a CB. Koscielny I felt the same but he made up for it, he never lets a lad go unchallenged which makes a difference, but there have been instances when a dead ball team took advantage of our height. Along with Vermaelen, Arsene takes chances with this type of thing, that’s three CB’s over the last five seasons who are six foot or a little under, I think TV was 5.10/11. That’s why Van Dijk looks so appealing to me, that and he’s a ball playing CB which our teams look for, but this is one who’s not small and he likes the physical test.

      Koscielny is getting on, maybe tell them we’ll give them Koscieny the following season on top of money up front this summer, and on top we’ll also give them Chambers on loan with a view for permanent deal, see what they make of all that.

      1. The height of a central defender should not matter too much, as long as he has good anticipation, marking, passing skills, the ability to read the game and accompanied by a strong tall defender. That’s why Mascherano became a very important player in Barcelona. His ability to become their first attacker is crucial. And Barcelona’s newest central defender, Umtiti, is not tall either, but possess good technique and speed. They don’t have to worry if their opponents use tall target man tactic, because they have Pique.

        In Arsenal, I think Pique’s role can be performed by Holding, Chambers or Mertesacker, but I agree that Van Dijk would be a great addition. It is difficult to get him though, because the other top Premiere League teams are chasing him. He will not be available at a low price.

        I don’t think Arsenal will buy another central defender, because they have got Holding, Chambers, Gabriel, Koscielny and Mertesacker. Most likely they will get a thirty million plus midfielder to replace Ozil.

        1. You have a point even though extra height is preferential. Reason why I don’t like it mostly is because him and Koscielny are our first pair. Both of them are lacking a little and in this league I think it’s a risk. You mentioned players from Spain, but you won’t often see anything like that in an English or Italian league as these appreciate the art of defending, Spain are all about goals, that league lets in more goals than any other top flight.

  4. Koscielny hasnt always been wordclass, in terms of career stats, Mustafi has much better expeiernece than Kos, if you give him time, Mustafi can be better than Kos

  5. From what Sol says, a player of Fabinho quality would do the job and we have been linked to him.
    Bielik is a CM but playing CB, he will be able to do that type of role if develops as promise is showing.

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