Should Emery tweak his formation to stop leaking goals – and score more?


Arsenal are finally with a win, but the Gunners struggled and if you look at the numbers it’s even worse. We dominated in terms of possession. 61% to 39% is huge enough, but it was only in latter stages of the match that we build up our numbers.

I think by now Unai Emery must be aware that when Lacazette and Torreira are in the game we are far more dangerous going both going on the offensive and we are more compact on the defense.


Clearly Unai would have done us a favour in signing a wing specialist. Despite being linked to a host of them, Arsenal did not buy a Winger. In this first XI, Aubameyang works from the left wing and Mhkitaryan on the other to cover some wing responsibilities. We know that these players have a skill set to harass defenders from the wing. Aubameyang thrives in speed exchanges and that’s what Lacazette brings to the game. The fullback will cover the other wing responsibilities. Somehow Welbeck can be better involved through this system. Players like Rowe, Nelson and Nketiah should get games too so that Emery integrates them into the side and system.

Ozil or Ramsey in the free number 10 role would do wonders. In this situation, both players are forward focused and rarely carry out defensive duties. Whomever is fit for the match between the two gets to start. If they both are not up to it, we can try either Mkhitaryan or Iwobi in that role.

In this side, we have Mavropanos or Holding replacing Mustafi. Clearly, the defense partnership between Mustafi and Sokratis is not working properly, and last season Mavropanos helped us in the latter stages of the season and should be given a chance to try and strike up a more cohesive partnership. Holding is a speedier player and can defend well on his day. Perhaps the partnership that would click will have him as one part of the pair. With this system, with the wings having shared responsibilities, the fullbacks will be much more keen on their responsibilities to defend and despite Emery wanting a high line press, they will not go too far off in advance to be caught out – like they have been doing this season. They will have better choices of when to advance high up or not to.

We have been missing goals that we should be scoring and we have also been trailing most of the matches under Unai Emery, perhaps this will be the balance that Unai has been looking for that we can start being pre-emptive as opposed to chasing games. Chasing games might be a great character that Arsenal did not have in plenty but sometime you will run after a game and the final whistle will get there before you do. It’s important to stamp our authority in matches.

Should Unai Emery adopt a variation of 4.3.3. with the system change to

Nicholas Oyoo


  1. Key to our season is a 4-4-2. Auba and Laca need to play together.

    Aubameyang Lacazette
    Welbeck Ramsey Torreira MKhitaryan
    Monreal Koscielny Sokratis Bellerin

    When you have that much offensive power, you use it!

    1. I think we need a 3-4-1-2
      Lichsteiner Sokratis Monreal
      Bellerin Gondouzi Torreira Welbeck
      Lacazette Aubameyang

      The reason being our midfield are yet again the problem this season, dont know what the coach see in Xhaka, Gondouzi was playing all over the place on saturday, he was positionally undisciplined, Bellerin are starting to look good going forward, but he is no defender, and just behind the strikers i feel Mkhitaryn can do a good job.

  2. Less tweaking formation and more playing players in proper position. Ozil on wing doesn’t work at Arsenal with Emery’s pressing style. Mhki is also disaster on wings because he is weak defender; he was poor at Utd and will continue to be poor when asked to defend.

    Welbeck will do everything Emery asks on the wing; defend, press, attack in channels, late runs, etc…
    Auba is poor up top in Premier League with the physicality, but on the wing with Laca up top we have sharp teeth in the attack.

    Ozil and Mhki should battle for a 10 spot, both poor at defending and pressing on the wings. Xhaka terrible DM, but decent deep playmaker with Torreria as DM, and Guendouzi or another CM to dribble and play B2B.

    Preseason I thought Emery found his best 11, but have yet to see it in 3 games this season. Fitness is a bullshit excuse no one is buying or believing. Pogba starts, Kante starts and continues to absolutely dominate, too many others to name.

    Our preseason lineup could have buried West Ham, Welbeck could have put in a real shift defensively in pressing as well. Ramsey back to his mediocre best as a 10, B2B, or a striker in the City match.

    Emery great at subs, but frankly Mr. Shankley unimpressive at choosing starting 11; so far.

    1. Durand, totally agree Lacazette, Torreira and Lichtsteiner must start. Aubameyang on the left and either Bellerin or Welbeck on the right. Either Ozil or Mhikataryan as No 10, but not both in the same team. Ramsey to be sold.

  3. Should i say yes or no as i have no ideal what being a coach at highest level of football is. The closest i come to be a coach is teaching my two year old son to kick balls with both his legs.

    1. Mobella, hopefully you are coaching your son to be “two footed”, rather than “two legged”? (LOL)

  4. I think belerin should be transformed into a winger and linctiner behind him but unfortunately we don’t have adequate cover so belerin will remain as a right back with welbeck on the other wing with nacho behind him torira guendozi ramsey in the middle laca / auba up front on the press move the ball to the channels to stretch their defense ….easier said than done

  5. Tweaking?

    No. Emery needs to look at what each player brings to the team and then play them according to their strengths. Otherwise he risks failure.

    What, a back four? What is the point of this extra man? Are we not paying the bucks for a better team? It comes from the old 442, when the team simply swept the ball and the attackers tried their luck up front. The idea was to not concede, and get lucky on the break, as the enemy would have to attack in numbers leaving gaps behind them. Oh, the good old days!

    When the back is forced into a contemporary system, this is how it looks:

    Aubameyang———-Lacazette——–Mkhitaryan [5. Strength! $100M+]
    ————————Ozil/Ramsey———————- [4.OPEN: KEY AREA OF WEAKNESS]
    ———–Gunedouzi/Xhaka—–Torreira————– [3.OPEN? KEY AREA OF WEAKNESS]
    Monreal—-Mavropanos—Sokratis–Bellerin [2. Strong? $ 75M?]
    ————————-Cech———————– [1. Strong.]

    So, the thinking behind 4213 is wrong! There is no easy connectivity between the back and front, starving the forwards of directly attacking balls. (Then fans say that Ozil is bad, or Mhki is bad… ) When we score, those goals are after many, many passes with no flaw; and that means, less final balls for the striker and wingers, as usually, there will be a break down in passing. Too many touches and lose the ball, too many passes and lose the ball.

    Three at the back made more sense when controlling the ball and building up the play, as the key was controlling the middle, or the transitional area with an additional passing target for a possession game. So a team harrying the defenders have to very careful not to be by-passed with a diagonal pass.


    A B
    3 4 [Middle 3 vs. 4]
    4 3 [Back 4 vs. 3]
    1 1 [Czech]

    The passing lines from system A or the 4312 are weaker than those from system B or the 3412. Having four mid-fielders offer more targets and a faster transition to the front three You want more from Ozil, get him an extra midfielder.

    The three at the back is better for the defense, as they are more less going to have to stay back and defend. Not be wing backs and get lost in the attack as Bellerin often does.

    What Emery needs to do is get to a 3412, and play both strikers. Then use Ozil or Mkhi at #10 as the near supply line for tikki-taka, or use the mid-field through ball for fast attacking. Even back field clearances from Czech and the back three can be lose balls to use on the break, old style.

    Suddenly the two strikers are menacing on the counter counter as either can score. Supply can come Ozil/Mkhi or from any of the middle four. So, two strikers have six suppliers of the ball. A back four cannot defend with the lines of attack coming at them so quickly.

    ————————Auba———-Laca——–—————— [Well supplied attacking threats]
    ———————————Ozil/Mkhi/Iwobi—————— [#10 seeing holes and directly play]
    Welb/Niles—–Guend/Xhak—–Torr/Elneny—–Ram/Bell [Fluid center dominating & supplying]
    –—–—Mon/Kola——Koz/Sok/Mus—–Lich/Bell——–– [Defense focused on clean sheets]
    ———————————-Cech————————–—— [Top defensive General directing play]

    The control of the middle by the Welbeck/Niles, Gunedouzi/Xhaka, Torreira/Elneny and Ramasay/Bellerin, would be enough to not just enable the attack, but slow down threats before it reaches the back line.

    Emery himself said that balance between attack and defense is key. Well, Mr Unai Emery, deploy the actual system that can achieve balance. By artificially playing pressing at any costs to achieve balance, Emery has made this team weak than it needs to be.

  6. It’s quite clear to me that both Ozil and Xhaka need to be rested. Their work rate and attitude do not match up to a team that will challenge. Playing Laca and Aubamayang together is crucial. It makes us DANGEROUS. Mkhitarian is a confusing one. His passing can be as wasteful as sin and along with Ramsey we lose possession in positions that encourage counter attacks. On the other hand, he can score and create.
    I do think we need to play Torreira and Guendouzi together as they look like they can get that football double act right. The team does not look balanced as a whole at the moment and they need to stop this habit of Cech passing out to players being pressed. Stupid. It wasn’t so bad against the Hammers but borderline suicidal versus City and Chelsea. Bellerin gets caught out of position so much I would play Lichtsteiner for a couple of games to show Bellerin how to defend. To me Xhaka is a liability. He has no pace and constantly out of position. Guendouzi is already a better player.
    Its good to see Theo doing well at Everton and shows how we desperately need a winger in January, like Leon Bailey, if we really want to do what Liverpool are doing. He could be our Mo Salah/Sane/Dembele. Just a few thoughts on our current crop. We are easily about three top signings away from being challengers. Will Greedy Stan spend the Adidas money? I doubt it.

  7. I am puzzled by Emery’s comment on why Laca is not starting, he mentioned he needed more possession of the ball, which is odd, because what i have seen so far it is when Laca enters the pitch our possession of the ball improved. Torreira was also a part of the reason. Another point is if Emery is playing the pressing game which leads to more direct attacks there is no need for the possession of the ball tactics.

    I can also say Mik/Ozil/Ramsay should not be allowed on our wings, let them compete for the number 10 role, let Iwobi, Welbeck, Nelson and Aub compete for the wide position. They have the skill set required to work in the wide position.

    Guendouzi is a wonderful kid that needs the game time to improve, his ability to roam has its pro/con, losing the ball in crucial positions is not easily forgivable (bail out by the keeper), he must understand his importance to the team in Midfield and can not be so casual in his approach. If we are playing 2 midfielders close to the defence they will have to understand one sits and one roams in close proximity, not miles apart with huge spaces in between. would love to see a Xhaka/Torreira pairing for a while with Guendouzi coming off the bench for the up coming matches

  8. Against Cardiff:


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