Should Arsenal stick with 4-3-3 for the rest of the season – or not?

Last season when Arsenal were going through a very difficult patch, Arsene Wenger suddenly shifted to three at the back to bring extra defensive solidity to the team. This tactic worked and suddenly the Gunners went back on a long winning run. Now we have the opposite problem, with our top class forwards all struggling to put the ball in the net and Wenger has now shifted back to his four defender formation in our last two games. So Wenger was asked if he thought we should continue with this set-up, and he replied: “It’s possible, yes,”

“Especially, I think we were mobile at the back, built the game up well and it gives us one more player to go forward.

“When you don’t score as much as you want, sometimes you look at every single thing and that is why I went for it.

“It was a bit nervy at the end, because we had not taken our chances. We couldn’t finish the game off. But what is most important today is the three points.

“I knew before the game that this is a tricky one because we play three games in six days and that we have not rotated a lot. So I thought it could be a tricky one, but as well the three points tonight are a relief for the team and overall we deserved it.”

That is all very well, but were those two clean sheets more due to the fact that we were playing very weak teams that mostly just wanted to defend against us? And to be honest the change of formation didn’t help our attacking capabilities either as we only scored once in the 180 minutes!

I’m not convinced personally, and I think that Wenger will switch back to three at the back next week when Mustafi returns. We simply have to stopLiverpool scoring and the extra defender will be needed.

What do you think?



  1. I think we should be flexible enough to twink things during different games depending upon the opposition or we can switch tactics during a game if things are not quite going our way…

  2. I think Wenger would use 4-3-3 to man-mark Liverpool players, like what he did in the Manchester City game. The 4-3-3 formation will only work if Arsenal can use quick skillful wingers and if they can create successful fast counter-attacks.

    Sanchez is a bit slow and usually used as a left winger, whereas his strongest foot is the right one. Ozil and Wilshere are not wingers, they have been tried in wings and failed. Walcott is quick, but he always falls into offside trap and does not have enough skills to go past the opponents constantly.

    If Wenger can get players that have good combination of pace and skills, Arsenal could be more threatening in counter-attacks. Someone like Mane, Salah, Sane, Sterling, Rashford, Chamberlain, Pedro, Hazard, Bale, Mbappe, etc.

    1. Exactly what I meant to say. A single formation will not work against every team so we need flexibility and for that we need the appropriate players….

      1. Believe it or not, if the team was better and the manager was better at drilling the players then a single formation can do wonders.

        Swapping formations can hurt players if they do not know the formation they are swapping too, we have seen AFC players look a bit lost while in the 3 CB formation, okay they look lost defending most times 😛

        Swapping formation and they look lost at times, worse than normal.

        Wenger needs to get AFC to buy him a couple of TOP CM players and then revert to the 4231 formation, the formation he has played with since day 1 and only recently changed it due to personal not being good enough.

        Vieira and Petit.
        Vieira and Gilberto.

        WTF are we doing with Xhaka and Rambo in CM? Any wonder we have needed an extra CB??

        Who has seen that Jack doesn’t play ahead of the ball as often as Ramsey? Surprised that Wenger was happier to try 4 def with 2 CM who wasn’t playing ahead of ball? Iwobi was the advanced one most the time from what I remember off the game, yeah Wilshere did push forward occasionally but he was back a lot more than Rambo normally is.

        For me, the flexibility in the AFC team was being able to kinda swap formation for moments of the game, not swapping formation for the whole game. Typical example is Vieira, he was a B2B but look at how many have called him a DM. He played DM role at periods but also AM at periods.
        DB10 was a CF but he played a lot in the AM role.
        Heck when Wenger 1st came to AFC I recall that the formation was listed as a 442 but in the game itself it was a 4231. As DB10 dropped deeper, it allowed Pires and Ljungberg to make more direct runs into the box and be more of a goalscoring threat rather than sticking to the byline and constantly whipping in crosses.

        It is part of the reason why Wengers training has been likened to teaching rather than drilling on the training ground, Wenger likes his players to know what to do and not be dummies who need to be told to run back to defend, kinda why he is rarely on the touchline telling his players what to do.

        I am not saying this is right or wrong, people are different and different methods work… but if you can’t even get to your method then you are drastically increasing the chance of failure.

        In the words of Akala; “Dog sh|t can not be polished”

        Think of that line and now go through the Arsenal squad.

  3. No matter what formation, arsenal needs to drop berllerin. He’s been poor recently and offers almost nothing going forward.

  4. Formations don’t matter that much when you have too many average players and one of your best players is busy thinking about going to Manchester City.

    BUT to answer your question.. YES
    Bellerin/Debuchy… KOS..Mustf…Kolsanic

    Drop Xhaka for Coquelin

  5. The problem is not the formation. It is the manager. He gets exploited time and time again. He does not plan for the opposition.

  6. Problem with back 3 is that we do not have the right players for it so many play out of position e.g. Bellerin, Ozil and it also does not suit other players like Xhaka and Kos.

    Ok so let’s face facts – we aren’t really going to win a major trophy. We weren’t going to win one a few years ago but we used to play mesmerising football. Wenger can’t win a trophy of note but he can build a team to play amazing football. He needs to go back to back 4 and start getting this team to entertain again. Once that happens we can think about where to go next.

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