Should Arsenal revert to a Back Four with Partey in front?

Back three reducing chances of winning!

Would resorting to a back four really change much going forward?

Another Arsenal legend has decided to have his say after Arsenal’s recent loss to Manchester City in the Premier League.

The Sun has reported that ex Arsenal player Tony Adams has “urged Mikel Arteta to switch to a back four” following the 1-0 defeat against Manchester City on Saturday.

As Arsenal released their starting 11, it became clear that Arteta stuck to a back three with three central defenders and two wingbacks in the form of Bellerin and Tierney on the right and left. But Adams has said that by selecting this formation it is causing a huge lack of creativity in the final third, which is why we failed to even score a goal against City.

Speaking to Premier League Productions Tony Adams was reported as saying: “I think it’s time for a back four. I’ve been saying it since the start of the season. It wins you cup games, it doesn’t win you league titles. If he wants to build for the future. I think he’s got problems with Hector [Bellerin], I think his defending today wasn’t very good at all. But I’d like him to go to a back four.

They’ve got Gabriel now, get him a partnership. They’ve been unlucky at the start with [Rob] Holding going down but get them into a back four. They look like they’ve a holding midfielder now who’s got a bit of presence and build for the future.”

Gooners do you agree? Should Arsenal try out the back four option and stop using the left and right-backs as wingers, or will it be a case of the more he tries the back three with wing-backs the more it is likely to work out in the end?


Shenel Osman

Tags Adams


  1. We should revert to back four and play 4_1_2_3 effective relay, transmission and killer passes; from effective wing backs, for Counter attacks and Deffence. Try during training before implementation.

  2. “Back three reducing chances of winning!”, it’s actually the opposite. Our defence has been so bad, that it has improved our chances of winning.

    A back three has yielded two trophies, and we have won all our games this season, apart from two, which were Liverpool, and City away (two hardest games we will play this season). Yes, we’re not creating a lot, but it’s false it to say it’s not working.

    1. Mr Sheep, you’re back with your usual deep thinking comments!

      Hey the government over here in Australia, are arresting and fining people, just for being outside. But I guess it’s for the best though isn’t Dan. I mean, the government would never lie to us, or get it wrong now would they?

      I am with you Dan! #believeallthegovernmentstellus

    2. TMJW, We have had our disagreements in the past, esp about the pandemic.

      BUT I have to say how much you and I are on the same page, about SO MANY Arsenal matters. I like that you stand your ground and tell so many of these , mainly juvenile fans, how little many of them think, REALLY THINK, before writing such reactionary tripe!
      Your post above is true, obviously and provably true but so many of these juveniles who write nonsense don’t want TRUTH. IT FRIGHTENS THEM and shows up their silliness.

      1. Cheers jon!

        I do enjoy your posts as well a lot, and you’re right, most things we see eye to eye on.

        I just enjoy my little battles with Dan kit.

        1. Ok are discussion once again gets taken down ,not sure why at all ,but once again Jon’s stays up .🤔
          Looks like he’s aloud to call everyone names ,but we have a friendly argument and it gets pulled

      2. Oh dear Dan, you really have a poor grasp of what’s REALLY going on. As usual, it’s just the typical childish name calling from you, because you have nothing substantial to say to counter my argument. Do you even realize that there’s nothing actually wrong with the term conspiracy theorist? It’s simply not believing what you’re being told, mainly from people/groups of authority, especially those that are politically motivated, until all evidence has been reasonably evaluated. Do you even realize what propaganda is? Have you not heard of it?

        I find it funny, because you use conspiracy theorist as a negative term to make people like myself look foolish, yet it’s those like yourself who blindly believe ANYTHING they are told, without question, who are the real fools.

        So you agree that it’s perfectly ok to fine, and arrest people for being outside? No questions asked? Please answer that question!

        What’s really going on is the fourth industrial revolution. Just check out the World Economic Forum, before you start with your next round of name calling.

        And ask yourself one simple question. Why now? Why are governments only now making huge changes, all in the name of apparently protecting us, when we’ve had millions die over decades because of the highly contagious flu?

        Exactly like Corona, the flu also mutates, rendering any viruses often useless, and in fact, the opposite. Last time I got the flu, was because I took the vaccine. Never again!

      3. Dan kit, you and I may disagree on some matters regarding the Arsenal, but I am one Australian who agrees with you on our Governments’ (particularly State) approach to this pandemic. The second wave is now hitting Europe and as for the US, it is a disaster.

  3. The back 3 has made it diffficult for teams to beat us and score more goals against us, whereas the back 4 makes it easier for us to create and score. I think the formation should not be generalised but rather should depend on the opponent. I feel for the EUL game and the Leicester match on Sunday we can revert to a back 4, but again I am worried about Bellerin defending. The guy is great going forward but should also concentrate on his defensive duties to provide more cover to the central defence. Also I feel the partnership of Louis and Gabriel is fine as Louis offers us both experience and the ability to provide precise long balls and also can take free kicks. The midfield 3 coould be Partey-Ceballos-Xhaka and also ESR can be trained for the role of creator. Instead of putting Willian as false no.9, MA can try him in the creative midfield role in the mould of Barkley or Mount.

  4. We should alternate between the current 3-4-3/4-3-3 hybrid and a more attacking 4-3-3 depending on the opponent we face. Could we have scored more goals vs liverpool and man city with a more attacking approach, absolutely but we could have also get our asses whooped. Without partey our midfield was too soft to go too attacking especially with the level of the “smaller” teams this season. If liverpool and city can eat 7 and 5 goals we can do worse.

  5. 433 depending on the opponent and players fit and competitions.
    But I think we are thinking 343 is the reason limiting our creativity no I think not , the likes of atalanta and fiorentina score loads of goals playing 3 at the back player’s matter.

  6. Agree.
    We must play 4 at the back which will make us play an additional midfielder and i think that can increase our creativity and more importantly control.
    Playing 3 at tge back is a defensive measure which was taken at a time we struggled defensively but now we have a strong spine in my opinion

  7. Much depends on available personnel.
    In the long ago days when we had top proper CB’S like Adams, Bould, Campbell AND full backs who COULD DEFEND, like Dixon, Winterburn, Lauren, and Cole, then yes, a back four is fine.

    But in the last decade we have had one decent CB in Koscielny and one half decent full back in Sagna, plus at long last one more in Tierney, and the rest , all of them have been substandard at the standard our great club NEEDS. Gabriel too looks hopeful but its very early days as yet.
    So much fan hype of poor to moderate defenders has been given, esp by young fans, who are too young to have EVER seen a REAL top defender wear our shirt. This lack of knowledge has distorted the view of those fans and TBH, they are not in a position to even know how good our defenders USED to be and regularly so!
    So my view is that until we get good enough CB’s AND good enough full backs and wing backs, then the three CB’s give us far more defensive solidity – which after having suffered such a decade of poor defence, mightily pleases me, who LOVES proper defenders – and until we have proper standard defenders in all outfield positions, then we are better staying with the back three.

    I do see that we lose some creativity in midfield with that but even then ,UNTIL we get a hard working,top class creative attacking central midfielder, like Cesc Fabregas at his peak, then I’d stay with what we have now.

    Being a practical fan, rather than a fan of cavalier style over substance, I will ALWAYS go for what what gives our team the most success in points gained. That is the only sensible way to think.

    1. jon, agree with you totally, that a lot of fans have never seen a top class Arsenal defense, just as they have never seen too class midfielders.

    2. Agree with you guys, i have always thought a back three was better for defending but everything is dependent on the players you have to do specific jobs. We do have a very good left back who can defend, we dont have a good right back. We have players who are better in a back three but we can also adapt to a back four as well but its all dependent on the players we have available and the teams we are playing.

  8. I am not a great fan of Tony Adams, the pundit, but in this instance I agree with him wholeheartedly.With Gabriel and Partey in place, there is no need for Arteta to delay changing to a flat back four which should in my opinion comprise AMN,Saliba,Gabriel and Tierney.I acknowledge the decision to ease in Saliba, but such is the lack of real quality, and pace at CB he is a risk worth taking in my opinion.

  9. With a back 4 means the 2 midfield wingers need to get back and help out or cover when Hector or Teirney bomb forward. That is vital for it to work so is Pepe and Auba up for that with a midfield trio of Partey, Xhaka and Cabellos or Willian infront?

    We know a young Saka is so I’d be playing him on the left side with Kieran. If Mikel started Willian v City then Laca may have no future, was a bad decision but then why is Auba no at CF to make runs in behind?

    My Starting 11… 4 3 3

    Leno (imo should of kept Martinez)

    Bellerin Holding Gabriel Teirney
    Partey Xhaka
    Pepe Auba Saka

    Since Holding is out for 4weeks then I’d have to turn to Luiz but if Mustafi is fit then has to be him, was playing well before his injury hopefully keeps that up, last year of his deal too!

    What about Saliba? Is he ready and when can he play? I’d like to see him in some capacity in the senior team even off the bench!

  10. Will a back 4 stifle our versatility? That’s the question. A back three is fine imo when with the ball we switch to a backfour anyway and then many players return to their best positions. We see KT being a LB, Saka being a LW, Auba being a striker (more recently). Its just that the shift towards the right is not more prominent. Whoever is on the right of the midfield is usually tasked with facilitating play from deep, and our RCB does not yet have a good understanding with our RB. IMO the formation is fine, MA just needs to explore everything he can get out of this formation before switching it. As for the creativity question, our players make in behind runs less often and are generally.marked well. Saka bursting through wings did provide some good moments against city and Sheffield. Ceballos has shown his creative genius also Xhaka at some points. Heck even Elneny has shown some creative over the top passes. So I ask do we need a bonafide midfield creator? When we can have internal solutions regarding the problem? And yeah a traditional back 4 maybe a solution going forward as stated by MA that Partey gives him many options. We can only hope so.
    Onwards and upwards.

    1. ………………….. Leno……………………..

      Amn. Partley. Tierney

      Pepe. Cabbello saka

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