Should Arsenal consider formation change?

Arsenal have adopted the newly fashionable 3-4-2-1 formation predominantly used by Antonio Conte last season, but are we happy with it?

We obviously are happy with the weekend’s dominant 3-0 win over Bournemouth, but we have to delve deeper into the system to really figure out what we want to see.

Arsenal have always been a free-flowing footballing side who focussed on possession of the ball, creativity and stylish play and I’m not 100% sure we achieve what we are looking for with the new system.

Conte made the change to the 3-4-2-1 system because he felt he needed to fix the defensive frailties which had crept into his side, and the change worked wonders as they ran away with the Premier League title last season, and us and Spurs have both since adopted the formation, while others have also tried their own versions of it.

Chelsea’s players have a different make-up to ours however, with their midfielders much more comfortable in the two in front of the defence in the shape of Kante and Bakayoko, while Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey play very differently. Also our wing-backs are both more adept at playing a full-back, while the Blues options are much more confident going forward, and Alonso keeps finding himself on the scoresheet also.

Chelsea play a large chunk of their football on the counter-attack, taking advantage of the pace in their attacking line and wings to hurt teams, but our play is not so direct, as we prefer to build up slowly and with Ozil in our side, there is less room to play in the way the champions do.

Should we be happy with our formation? Does Wenger need to use his imagination more to get the best out of our current squad?

Pat J

Updated: September 11, 2017 — 11:10 am


  1. our midfield is where we usually lose the game
    doesnt help that our defence are as solid wet toilet paper

    defence needs protection and ramsey is not that guy

    1. And Wenger is not that guy who’ll take us forward as well. When he sees Ramsey bombing forward leaving everyone at risk, he just folds his hands waiting for a miracle or a Ramsey’s goal, not realizing how the defense is left naked and prone to counter attacks.. cluelessness getting rewarded handsomely every year – only at Arsenal

      1. Yes, 2-5-3. Kolasinac or Coquelin as DM, Xhaka and Ramsey in CM. BTW, Xhaka is NOT a DM. Alexis and Bellerin at LWB and RWB respectively Ozil, Lacazette and one of Iwobi, Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott up front.

    2. teams and tactics should always take into consideration who we are playing!

  2. FRANK DE-BOER iused to hear you guys sing that he comes manage Arsenal

    boycott, boycott the games,

    1. You’re asking “true and loyal fans” to be disloyal to their “beloved arsenal” how dare you! They “love their arsenal, no matter what” they “will support the club”. Wont happen dude. They are all fanatics. Cant think beyond a certain point. Kroenke’s little lambs. They could very easily start posting usmanov posters around the stadium and wearing usmanov t-shirts. It isn’t out of their power to get the AST to make a move to bring usmanov in. But they won’t do any of that. They’re only bothered about short term issues. Look at the fans after bournemouth game. Most think we can do well this season and challenge. Most are feeling optimistic. This is a complete joke, because it is completely within their power to bring in usmanov. Instead they are happy hearing statements from kroenke saying he wants to mimic leicster city lol. He’s basically told the fans don’t expect shit, we are going to be a solid mid table club with a once in 100 year fluke title push. And these fans still support him. ARSENAL IS OWNED BY KROENKE. ARSENAL IS NOT YOUR CLUB, IT IS KROENKE’S CLUB. ARSENAL BELONGS TO KROENKE. IF KROENKE WANTS HE CAN CHANGE THE NAME OF THE CLUB TO KROEKE’S LITTLE LAMBS AND YOU CANT DO JACK! you want the club to go into good hands then do something!!

      1. So true, well said. Some on the fence think one or two wins will wash Wenger’s fundamental flaws away. Equally, when we will lose a game that will come out and be ready to ask for his head and insult him.

        The guy is structurally no longer the right manager, no result is going to change that. More than half of the fans want him gone, yet as you say, they lack the passion to make it happen.

      2. Kroenke does NOT own Arsenal, he is the major shareholder and cannot do anything like what you say so get your facts right. Also, regarding changing the name of the club, don’t be so rediculous, as if the FA/Prem League would allow that. I don’t know where you, ‘resource’ fella, is based but you know eff all about how English football clubs work and the rules they work under. The AST also do not possess powers like you suggest. I want Kroenke and Wenger out but exactly what are you doing to help the cause apart from making a noise with your keyboard?

    2. What does it have to do with the original post?

      1. If you are referring to me I was answering ‘resource’ – sorry.

  3. We should just go for a 442 because anyway we can’t defend. I can’t believe absolutely no one protested at the game. Just paid their money and sat down like little sheep for kroenke. Kroenke’s little lambs, all of them..

    1. Why should I protest at the game? Although I didn’t clap when Alexi came on though, wasn’t sure his histrionics and sulking wasn’t about to unsettle the team like it usually does. I don’t want to unsettle the team and I don’t want a toxic atmosphere like it was last season at the ground, so will not be protesting and nor will all the people around me where I sit either apparently.

      Keep the protests at home or support someone else- we are 4 games into the season for heavens sake and there is a long way to go yet! You can’t win every game and it would be boring if you did- what would be the point in watching that? Go support Celtic or something if you want a guaranteed win each season- boring!

      1. Ya because kroenke cares about protests at home lol. Keep lining his pockets. Arsenal isn’t your club, its kroenke’s club. It is his team not yours. There is change needed. And you lack the passion and the guts to make it happen. Only if you unsettle the team and boycott games will it make a difference to him. I’m talking about ambition. Liverpool struggled for many years but they showed ambition. Leeds utd are showing ambition, we all want arsenal to show ambition and move forward. Why aren’t we talking about winning the ucl because we know it is impossible. Back in the day we wanted to win the treble. Sooner or later we will stop talking about the league as well.. So stop acting like a well wisher for the club. You clearly lack the passion to make a change. One day you guys will understand that sitting quiet is not helping the club it is destroying it.. Enjoy spending your savings on your season tickets. I’m not talking about this season. Im talking about the last decade. It is all the fault of you fans in the uk..

        1. starting my own just arsenal protest, all in favour of banning remember resource from any future feeds??

        2. Lack passion? Yes of course that must be it- only supported them since the late 70’s and been going since 86. That’s the trouble with us fair weather fans eh- because we aren’t shouting rubbish at our own players and wanting them to lose to prove a point we must lack passion. That comment you have just said is all that is wrong with the modern football fan.

          I go to football and many times come away very happy, sometimes cheesed off, sometimes slightly annoyed, sometimes amazed but always happy that I can be there. That’s football mate! I don’t care we don’t win every game, part of feeling the sting of defeat is part of the excitement of going – if there is no threat of losing what’s the point of watching? Where is the excitement.

          What is not football is all this toxic crap, the banners, the planes etc. The hate against all things Arsenal as we aren’t like the oil clubs etc. Get over it, we never will be and we never have been.

          You blow smoke up liverpools backside but don’t see them winning much? They are in the CL but so what…we have been for 20 years and this year didn’t manage it…again so what, hopefully next season we remedy it so this season try harder and we are in the Europa which will be interesting and is another route to CL football.

          It’s the beginning of the season – a long way to go yet. There are many top teams in the prem now and that’s what also makes it more exciting. Anyone can win it which was proved by Leicester the other year.

          Keep that toxic crap away from the ground, I don’t like Kroenke either, AW is past his sell by date and can be frustrating, so can the team at times- but they are better at football than all of us that’s for sure so can’t shout at them too much.

          In a couple of years AW will be gone, Kroenke will move on as well no doubt – it’s not as if we are about to be relegated either – it is the beginning of a long season – we do not need toxic crap all season long which will still amount to nothing- so keep it at home.

        3. Says someone from Ghana that never goes to a game…..

        4. So says the guy who cant get a single transfer deal right ! Not sure why you are here? Where is your friend Kev… also hiding after he made some bold comments also which never came true !

          Perhaps go to a bookshop and buy a dictionary and look up the definition of ‘a done deal’… you are moaning about the club yet you act the same in the way you post!

  4. I think Arsenal need to modify it a little, to build the attack from the back easier and to dominate with more midfielders in deeper area. But they should not change it back to 4-2-3-1, because Arsenal had been using it for more than ten years and they failed to get any prestigious title with it.

    In Henry’s and Bergkamp’s era, they used a form of 4-2-3-1, but Arsenal had different players with better qualities and the competition level was not as high as it is now. Arsenal have not used 3-4-2-1 for a full season yet, therefore we should not think of it as a failure yet.

    Arsenal had better modify it into 3-5-2, so creative midfielders like Xhaka, Ozil and Ramsey could be supported by a defensive midfielder like Coquelin and Elneny. Arsenal would be more threating with two wide and skillful forwards like Lacazette, Sanchez and Welbeck:

    …….← Koscielny…Mustafi…Monreal →
    …………← Lacazette………Welbeck →

    In the end, using any formation is useless if Arsenal do not improve their system to suit their players’ skills and to match the current competition level.

  5. Three at the back hasn’t really done anything for us. In the beginning it seemed to work, but that was probably more down to our players reacting positively to an unexpected change and our opponents got taken by surprise. Also it was mostly working in the FA Cup, which isn’t really a priority for many teams.
    Since then, it has not helped us defensively or offensively. Nor do we actually have the players suited for it. We have good fullbacks, but they aren’t as good wingbacks. And as you write, we don’t have midfielders that are strong defensively, apart from Coquelin.
    So changing would be wise. But Wenger changing something twice in a few months? Won’t happen!

  6. If anyone thinks that we are going to do anything more than get comprehensively smacked against Chelsea then I’m afraid you are deluded.
    Not only is it Chelsea, but it’s also at Stamford bridge. when was the last time we even put in a performance there, let alone get close to taking the three points
    The exact team that got annihilated at anfield TWO games ago is suddenly going to go and win at the home of the Champions – please.

  7. It ok wth 3-5-2 bt if wilshere and Carzola get back its beta we drop Ramsey he is always left behind in tough Game wth ozil xo 4-3-2-1is Gdy. And i hâte Wenger he us wasting WALCOTT I Adore That Lad men . The Game of L.Pool he wld have nn a threat. Again in chlsea’s Game he shld play i cant wait seeing him in the ground .

  8. I’m all up for trying different formations, but the most important thing is playing the guys in their natural positions.

  9. Whatever the formation I am just hoping for a solid performance. We haven’t done very well at stamford bridge lately… so I’d love to come away with something as I hate Chelsea

  10. I am not so fussed about formation. I am not convinced Wenger understands 3 at the back but no matter how we play, if we play with dedication and discipline for 90 minutes and press and play as a team we can do well in any formation. If we start to play like individuals, like Ramsey bombing forward and leaving Xhaka on his own we become an easy team to play against for a team skilled enough to take advantage of the massive spaces we leave between our lines.

    I have a preference for 3 at the back but no formation will make up for fundamental errors and “naivety”.

  11. Conte switched to a system that made the best use of the strengths of the players at his disposal. Can Wenger come up with a system that makes the best use of his players? It is something to use a system that is fashionable, but quite something else to create one that works best for you.

    1. At the moment it looks to me that we are leaning on 2 thoughts. We switched to 3 at the back yet we want to hold on to our desire to attack and outscore our opponents. 3 at the back was not designed for that style. If you attack with reckless abandon then 3 at the back is actually easier to play against. 3 at the back requires discipline (don’t bomb forward at every opportunity), it requires clinical counter attack build around speed, and in its best form it relies heavily on team pressing, ie getting the ball back as soon as you can when you lose it with the whole team in a compact space pressing. We often only have one or two guys pressing and we too often have Ramsey abandoning his defensive responsibilities.

  12. 4-4-2, but if we had better, strong DM and CM instead of the average Ramsey and soft and rough Xhaka. The Henry era we had a complete team with better players, now we have selfie takers..

    in the middle we had Vieira and Gilberto, who formed a wall before another wall infront of the GK. Now we have nothing and the man who gets paid 9m a year can’t figure out why the team is soft and gets humiliated every season with no major success at all

    Every invincible player is class way above any average selfie takers we have now

  13. HB – Kostafi – Sead/Nacho
    Le Coq – Iwobi (until Jack or Santi come back)
    Welbs Alexis

  14. Hold on; ‘Arsenal have always been a free-flowing football side’?? Sorry all you young things, but this has only been the case since AW became manager. The reason you sing ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ and ‘one nil to the arsenal’ with irony is that both things used to be true. AW brought exciting, attractive football to Arsenal and bolted it onto George Grahams defence. Voila, le double.

    1. Yes gworm, the article writer is obviously about 12-15. I too went through the 70s, 80s and 90s and we were in the main “hoof it up front” a la Wimbledon a lot of the time. Wenger brought in beautiful football that made us the most attractive team in England.

  15. Given the lack of quality at centre back (just compare with Spurs) Arsenal should really limit their weaknesses in this area by playing a flat back four which should currently consist of Bellerin,Holding,Kos and Kalasanic . Mustafi lacks the height and speed to cope with strikers in the Premier League and will be exposed against the likes of Chelsea .A 4-2-3-1 system which works well for Man Utd and Real Madrid should be deployed subject to either Ozil or Ramsey being used as no 10.We cannot carry these two in the same side in view of their defensive deficiciencies.In the absence of a top quality defensive midfielder I would play Elneny along with Xhaka. Sanchez Welbeck and Lacaz should complete the starting lineup v Chelsea

  16. I keep getting the feeling that we would be great with two upfront, and Ozil behind as a proper No.10.

    With this type of formation we would need to use Coquelin as an old-fashioned defensive midfielder, with his main priority on protecting the back four, which is what he’s best at.

    Bellerin – Mustafi – Koscielny – Kolasinac
    ————— Coquelin ——————–
    Iwobi/Walcott – Ozil/Cazorla – Sanchez
    Giroud/Wellbeck – Lacazette

  17. I can’t wait for Wenger to use a front three comprising of Sanchez Lacazatte Welbeck….in a 4:3:3 formation where we use a three man midfield of Wilshere Coquelin Xhaka…and our back four shld be a combination of Kolasinac Koscielny Mustafi Bellerin and Cech d GK #MYOPINION# WE SHLD JUST TRY TO DO WITHOUT OZIL IN OUR FORMATION AND LETS SEE HOW IT GOES

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