Should Arsenal boss continue with midfield trio after Europa triumph?

Arsenal coasted to a 3-1 win over AC Milan on Thursday night using a 4-3-3 formation to ensure qualification to the last eight of the competition, but will Wenger look to continue with that system?

The Gunners have used a number of different set-ups this term as he tries to get the best out of his squad in different outings, and injuries have often been a catalyst to those changes, but with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey both fighting fit and in-form, it is hard to deny either a starting berth.

There has only been limited opportunities to play both in a first-team capacity since the pair have both suffered with injury setbacks this season as well as in previous years, but the duo did both start against Milan on Thursday night, and it could be interesting to see that system furthered.

Granit Xhaka is the player tasked with bringing the extra defensive stability to free up either midfielder in a central pairing, and he would likely continue to play in the middle of the three to allow the creativity of the homegrown stars to push forward and help out in attack.

Alex Iwobi would likely be the player to lose out most on action, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil’s place in the line-up not in question, and that midfield should create a large number of chances for whoever gets the nod up front between Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Should Wenger stick with a midfield three? Could Wilshere be fielded further up the field?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Ramsey Wilshere


  1. i would like to see Kolasinac tried out in the Granit position with Jack and Aaron either side of him.
    Some real selection problems coming up for Wenger with the injuries now being depleted.
    O.S. What I’d give to have Santi back though, can’t believe he has been gone for so long.
    Speedy recovery Mr. Maestro

    1. Ken 1945, I agree re Kolasinac, as he has played this position in previous seasons with Shalke. However, Xhaka has shown recent improvement playing with Wilshere and Ramsey and probably deserves perserverence, with Kolasinac as an alternative.
      Unfortunately it is difficult to see Santi Cazola returning, given his age, the severity of his injury and the number of operations endured. A replacement player of his ilk should be a priority in the transfer market.

      1. Ozzie,
        Your correct re. Granit and the last three games.
        But as you said, Kolasinac has played in that position before and it might be worth looking at before the Moscow game.
        Sadly your probably correct regarding Santi. I wonder if the club might think of giving him a “testimonial” type game if this is the case?
        I think the support from the fans would be tremendous.

        1. Ken-Santi really was the most wonderful of players for us and if it wasn’t for the injury how different things WOULD be now.How do you replace a player like Santi?Its simple.You can’t.

          1. Phil,
            Impossible question to answer.
            Two other players we have been lucky enough to have in our shirt is Denns Bergkamp and of course Vieria.
            Love to see those two back in a role at The Arsenal.
            Not sure what the future holds for Santi as I don’t think he has any qualifications?

            1. OMG Ken-let’s not start dreaming of these players.They were and have proved to be irreplaceable but weren’t we lucky to have them

              1. One other player before we stop reminiscing is Diaby.
                I really thought he had everything to replace Patrick when he started with the club.
                I believe his story is as devastating and sad as Santi Cazorla’s.

                1. Ken -we will never know.Looked to have everything but just couldn’t stay injury free.
                  I met him once very briefly and he really was the nicest of young men you could wish to meet.It wS outside a Harley Street Consultancy-says it all really.

    2. Ken I believe santi I played his last game for Arsenal,with kind injury he had no competent doctor would advice him to play football again

    3. Your lack of understanding of this role shows through ken. Kola is quite poor defensively his strength is going forward

        1. John0711,
          As I have said before “I love this site” because it records times, dates and input.
          When I post something I always check my facts, so i was disappointed when it seemed I had misled you.
          So I decided to look back and find the correspondence we had, after all it seemed as if I had misquoted some important information.
          After a long search I found the post:
          Imagine my amazement when I discovered from the post the following (dates and title supplied).
          March 14th “Mhkitaryan & Aubameyang can’t save Arsenal on their own.
          Your post timed at 8.36 p.m. said “if he’s in the job a lot longer hes had more chance to win things. However there are two major trophies the CL and PL. HOW MANY HAVE WE WON IN OVER 20 YEARS.
          No mention of GG defence at all. Strange that eh?
          Then I thought I’d read the reply you told me you had supplied.
          Couldn’t find it anywhere. Strange that eh?
          I double checked the next two posts, thinking you had delayed your answer, but nothing there either. Strange that eh?
          Now, it could be that you replied on another post, perhaps the 3rd 4th or 5th after, so can you please give me the details?
          I must admit to feeling a bit relieved in that I think I answered your post correctly, but feel free to enlighten me if I haven’t.

      1. Please refer to “Ozzie” and his comment above at 1.44 a.m.
        My lack of understanding of this role must be catching, thank god we have you to put things right.

  2. Atletico is the only threat to the Europa league glory then we would be thinking about supercup and all this is not beyond the realms of possibility #believe

      1. Wenger has won seven fa cups ,a historical achievement.And he will never be matched on this as Gerard once said,so stop your negativity

        1. I’m not belittling the FA cup pires however we should be competing with teams for the PL and CL we haven’t done this for years
          We have money in the bank
          One of the best stadiums
          Highest prices
          On of the biggest fan bases
          We spend millions on players
          Yet we havnt competed for the title in years
          So where is the problem ?

          1. Two word answer…bad mistake.

            Just like every other manager in the history of football, Wenger has made errors.
            Can ANYONE name a manager who hasn’t?
            Just hope our next manager proves to be the exception to the rule, or his life won’t be worth living!

  3. We have played with both a 3/5 and a 4 at the Back enough times to believe the players can adapt to both these formations as and when required.Against Stoke at Home you would feel a 433 ( which is really a 4321) is what is required.Without understanding too much of CSKA Moscow you would feel the same formation would be what is required bearing in mind we are at home and need to win the game.The 2nd leg in Moscow line up will depend on the first leg result.If we have a 2or3 goal advantage then you can argue playing a 3421 (which is a 5221).However playing a 3/5 at the back will most likely see Jack left out.
    At least we have the options now which is not something we ever had previously until around this time last year when we were leaking goals all over and Wenger quickly introduced a 5 at the back to make things more solid.
    We look fairly solid at the moment (last 3 games) but bigger tests to come in Europe where Wenger May decide to tighten up.

    1. Adding on from this-Wenger always played with a 442 when during his first (full) season of 98/98 and stuck with that for over 10 years until changing to a 433.
      It’s the players we have that ultimately decide how we line up.
      I’m Wengers early years he never strayed from a 442 and let our opponents be concerned about us.Those days are long long gone to such an extent that we no longer let the opposition worry but it is us that seem to run scared of even the modest of teams we face.

      1. You are almost spot on with all of it. The only part I would differ a wee bit our first change from the 442, we went to a 451, which looked more like 4231, and all the big teams made the same move of formation. Other tan that you have followed our progression very well and have an understanding about it.

  4. I think 442 is the best formation we can play with at the moment, it will make us look solid in the Midfield for we have two world class strikers with different qualities. Lacazette9 is a hard working striker with good passing and shooting ability and Auba14 is an inbox striker with great ability to finish well. 433 is a very good option for the home games against the smaller teams for we have to dominate and control the game like we have done in the last three matches. As for the big games, we need to be more solid in Midfield. Imagine this
    This would be great for away games and it will give rest time to Ozil and the two strikers as we can rotate the three of them as we can play one of them as point man and Ozil behind the point man or play the two strikers as we can use Ozil as super sub.

      1. I like the triangle formation, it blocks gaps between players if done correctly.

        If they move as a team, the striker blocks gap between 2 playmakers. The 2 Playmakers block a gap each from DM to the player outside of him. The DM blocks the gap between 2 CB’s, that is an important gap to block and watch out for. Same goes for the players either side of DM, they block the gap from CB to FB. By blocking gaps I mean cutting out passing routes, if they play as a team this formation makes the greater positional sense for the types of midfielders we have.

        Even if they have to shimmy far out wide to help stop a threat, they can move along and cover each others area until a chance to reset shape comes along.

  5. A 4-3-3 system is favoured by Barca,Real Madrid and Man City and Bayern, the top four teams in Europe.It suits the attacking philosophy of Arsene Wenger which is to his credit.Unfortunately we do not have the top quality defenders these teams have nor a dominant DM.Nevertheless it is the best system for our current team which is top heavy in attacking midfielders hence the need to play Ozil and Mik in wide positions.In my opinion the most balanced central midfield would consist of Elneny,Ramsay and Wilshere.Elneny was first class against Watford yet was left out against an average Milan side to accommodate the ever present Xhaka who will no doubt feature against CSK.

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