Has Wenger lost his tactical awareness? Or refound it?

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is probably used to hearing a fair share of angry protesters amongst the Arsenal fans nowadays and he is of course no stranger to having his work criticised. However he probably doesn’t expect to hear such statements as this from a former Arsenal player.

Former Gunner Paul Merson, who is now a well recognised Sky Sports pundit, likes to share his opinion on the club and Arsene Wenger; and usually he doesn’t have a good thing to say about either. There is nothing different this time and on this occasion, Merson is directing his thoughts on Arsene Wenger’s apparent lack of tactical awareness in the Premier League.

Wenger has often been criticised for not having a Plan B approach for when games aren’t going our way and often the lack of change on the pitch, has left the Gunners vulnerable and unable to obtain the points available from the game. Wenger’s implementation of the 3-4-3 formation has seen his approach on tactics change, but for Merson this isn’t enough. The pundit said: ‘If they keep Wenger, I don’t see them getting close to the top. I just think tactically Wenger has lost it.’

Personally although I agree that Arsene Wenger is no longer than man to lead Arsenal forward and his tactical approach is certainly outdated, I don’t think he’s completely lost it. Wenger may still be trying to implement the tactics he has used very much since his first years at Arsenal, however to suggest that he’s lost all tactical knowledge is a tad far fetched in my opinion. Wenger after all did cut his losses in what he believed in, to switch to the 343 formation. It goes against many principles that Wenger is renowned for doing, however the Frenchman noticed it worked for the Gunners and thus implemented it on a full time scale.

Merson continued his statement to explain what he means, by saying: ‘Sometimes you’ve got to play games like horses for courses. (Jose) Mourinho goes to places, sets up and makes sure they don’t get beat, Wenger does not play that game. He opens the game up and says: “You have a shot, we have a shot, best team wins.”

‘That doesn’t work anymore. It’s alright when you’ve got Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Ljungberg, Overmars, Petit, Sol Campbell, Vieira, Lauren… saying: “You have a shot, we have a shot” is alright then, they’ll rip anybody to shreds! But not this team.’

Arsenal held a lot more freedom both in the formation we played and the tactical approach that we had towards our opponents. In the team that Merson mentions, we had the best pick of the bunch when it came to talented players. It didn’t matter what the formation was, or what position each individual was in, they managed to play to a high standard that only a few other teams could match. The players were flexible in their positioning and they’re roles were recognised across the pitch with a freedom of movement, rather than being tactically positioned to play one role and one role only. The game has changed massively since then, with skill, speed and build up play taking precedence over Arsenal’s previous free flowing style of play and therefore that is why Arsene Wenger appears to have lost his tactical edge.

Are Merson’s comments fair? Has Wenger lost all his tactical knowledge on the game? Or is the new formation proof that can still mix it with the best?



  1. dev says:

    to begin with the french fraud never had any tactical knowledge. he just got lucky inheriting a good squad and adding a few exceptional players.

  2. John Ibrahim says:

    Pathetic when the big 5 are in champ league

    How we have fallen

    Next season will be the same story

    Can someone juz ask wenger y?

    1. Meetoopee says:

      Spot on

  3. Red Dawn says:

    Just illustrates that we are not one a big club anymore
    I think Arsenal fans have to come to terms with the fact that the regime in place are not interested in being successful anymore.
    Money is all they are interested in.
    Boycott the games.
    Don’t buy the merchandise.
    When they lose money their interest will wane..

  4. khangunners says:

    I will keep saying and i will repeat it again. Wenger does not care about arsenal anymore. All he cares about is sir alex record of staying most years in a single club. Tactical awareness cmone!! If he was tactically aware he could hve changed the formation long time ago. Lets not deny he gambled and the reason it worked was teams were surprised coz they all knew how we play and due to formation change our playing style changed. Will he learn? How many times hve we had the hope that finally wenger has had a kick up his a… and next year will be different?
    Ill just say arsenal fc has turned into a charity. Where failure is rewarded,where players play only one game or two for the club and they are still pocketing wages. Why is that!

  5. bran99 says:

    this is ridiculous, all the big boys are in the ECL, yes big boys and Spurs are one of them now coz they are better than in most departments. and we are here discussing if Wenger has improved in tactical awareness. if that’s true then we could be somewhere in between those 5 teams in the ECL, or even the winners of the EPL. but the clueless one is always gambling, don’t know what to do at what time.. next season will be worse

    another thing is that he said those who win EPL are those who are not playing more matches in ECL, so we’ll see this time. who wins it? a team that’s in the ECL or Leicester will come back and win it again? I wish we crush out in the EL earlier and concentrate on EPL, and see if the clueless one can win it without more CL matches?

  6. odein4 says:

    Wenger is a clown

  7. Franko says:

    Wenger saw the threat when world class coaches came into the league last season but failed to deal with it. His arrogance, naivety and myopic foresight made him to think it would still be business as usual. I must say its a good think that Man United made it to the Champions league to put more pressure on Wenger to strengthen the team for next season (i.e if he still remains at the club). If he fails this time to win a major trophy or failed to make top 4 next season, then all hell would be let loose on him. No place to hide anymore.

  8. LordZeus says:

    Here is the thing boys. As long as Kroenke is there at the club then nothing will change. The reasons other clubs are genuinely challenging is because they all realised that if you are not actively pursuing success then you wont achieve anything. Wenger has proved himself good at what he does all he lacks now is the directive to win the league. Once he has that pressure looming over him then i know he will win lots. Mediocrity has set in at our Great club and we have stood still for far too long. Hope Usmanov’s bid was genuine and that he ups his bid till he gets that American leech out of our club. Kroenke is the root of our problems. Once he is out then the club can quickly be restored to its former glory

  9. Tony says:

    Mediocrity has always been the thing since wenger began to feel he was untouchable at the club…Sam Allardyce might not have been the best coach in the EPL but for he did something remarkable and honorable when he stepped down after rescuing the Eagles from relegation and that’s what the potato head should have done when he found out that the fans were not united because of him…changing tactics after the deed has been done won’t prove anything right but putting his arrogance and ego aside and stepping down as manager for someone who is hungry and ambitious for silverware will be the best…change must a;ways happen cos it’s inevitable.

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