The tactical tweak that could have got Arsenal all 3 points against Liverpool


After yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, many aAsenal fans must now be vindicated to believe that Arsenal are now at a level where they can hold their own with big teams. This also means that quietly, many fans believe that we are contenders but they would not admit that come May 2019 we could lift the trophy aloft.

We must thank Arsene Wenger that despite the failings of this side, he managed to start the process of bringing in top class players and in his later years, without promising Champions League football. He managed to sign Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when there was no Champions League Football to promise them. This all means that despite our failings, we were just a few steps away from resurgence and Emery-style has managed to bring through this resurgence in style.

We must also thank the Board for seeing through the cast of serious contender for Arsene Eenger post to pick the right person with the exact skill sets useful to get Arsenal to take up the resurgence quickly. With examples of Manchester united after the exit of Alex Ferguson, Liverpool with the entry of Klopp, and Manchester City where first Guardiola Season was nothing much to celebrate about, fans must have resigned themselves to about two or three season of messy football before it would pick up. To find Arsenal knocking at the top four rather quickly and dominating an arguably the most powerful Liverpool side in years, is something many must have not thought possible, yet that is what happened.

Emery, inevitably inherited his predecessors squad problems that he has to work extra time to deal with. Squad thinness, defensive fragility and how to play two form players in Lacazette and Aubameyang in the same side without upsetting the balance, are all passed on to him and they are very much alive with him. There are statistics that indicate that Arsenal are more concrete when Aubameyang is not playing, yet he often gets on the scoring sheet. Yesterday, he failed to score but his statistics are reading high and his influence in the game highly got Liverpool defense harassed to a point that the arrival of a new attacking formation got them disturbed out of their cool to a point of conceding almost immediately when Ramsey, Iwobi and Welbeck came on.

Perhaps Emery has been just below all out bold to want to shift the play pattern which would have these two strikers playing together and getting Welbeck to replace one of the two late in a game. Because Aubameyang has played as a winger when the two have been in the field except during Fulham when he opted for 4.2.2. system. It did not go badly but he never deployed the system again.

I think now with the evidence from yesterday, Emery should now not be afraid to go the last mile into the adventure to bring these two players, whose complementary game had been doubted previously but every time they have been deployed, they have been successful in playing off each other. They have been team mates rather than rivals both on and off the field. They have treated their duty as a department where each has a role rather than a situation where one person gets to play and others to wait for their chance. Certainly, Emery has encouraged the cooperation but just. Unai has not played them as complementary strikers often. Klopp himself is reportedly to have described the duo as Van Persie and Dennis Bergkamp, which means he was prepared for a system that the two would combine and play off each other magically, and that was not quite what he faced from the tone of the statement. Perhaps he was just being cheeky questioning the fact that Emery has not found a way to utilize the two as a striking duo rather than have one of them shoved into the wings.

I wish to suggest a system that might help Arsenal deal with these three problems for now and build upon going forwards. It is a generic 4.3.3. system

————————-AMN (Roving Fullback) ——-

With Koscielny and Mavropanos returning soon from injury, Mustafi should be the one to give way. Ainsley Maitland-Niles plays a free role of a roving defender, who will be mobile and fit into either ends where the fullbacks should be, to help out in defending that area when the attack is directed there. He is certainly mobile enough and will be the perfect aid to Torreira in covering any spaces at the back.

Perhaps on the left we have better players but both Iwobi and Xhaka play in the areas of shifting from wingers to Central midfield to support Torreira and AMN when necessary. Cech will have to learn playing with the ball at his feet, as Leno will still need to learn much more.

I will not say that if this was the pattern that Liverpool found yesterday we could have bagged the 3-points, but I suspect Klopp thinks so!

Nicholas Oyoo


  1. Eddie Hoyte says:

    I’ve been away for over 2 weeks and I missed a lot of posts. Glad about the result yesterday. Good signs, Liverpool were lucky and had to play on the defensive end while looking to counter..SMH, and this is a team people claim attacks better than we do.
    Anyways back to your post, your midfield/defense Is suicidal, without wingbacks or full backs we’ll be left exposed. I appreciate your belief but AMN Cant play LWB and RWB at the same time like you insinuated. All our opponents needs to do is whip a long pass to the other wing and then we’re left trying to run over there to defend.
    But that’s your opinion so I respect it, but personally I’d prefer a 4-3-1-2 instead of the 4-2-3-1.


  2. gotanidea says:

    The dynamic 4-4-2 worked very well at Fulham, but Emery and his assistant were very busy in commanding their four attackers to keep swapping positions

    Agree with 4-3-3, but your formation is not it and Arsenal don’t have skillful CMs that have high mobility like Silva, De Bruyne, Coutinho or Thiago. If Emery has to use 4-3-3, I would like to see:

    Bellerin . Mustafi . Sokratis . Monreal
    …Maitland-Niles ……..Guendouzi

    1. ozziegunner says:

      gotanidea, Xhaka has hit form; how can you leave him out?

  3. JJPawn says:


    Leno’s weakness is his decision making compared to Czech. In games like this, it is a hard decision, but I think Czech would be better, especially in organizing the back, as the player know he knows the game. Another area, for example, he would pick the counter attack path faster, and throw the ball to the correct MF. Leno even messed some of those. I think Leno is younger and needs to know the team better and understand the game better.

    Emery is lucky to get away with it so far.

    We could have won this with Czech playing less from the back, along with Welbeck starting in place of Mkhitaryan, who is good for Europa L now. The Auba-Mhki connection takes place in a difference league, and I was wrong to expect it to re-kindle. Mkhitaryan is also desperate to score, to be relevant. Welbeck is much better: speed, work ethic, scoring, being unselfish, tough…

    Having Welbeck being a viable threat along with Laca and Auba would have freed Özil to do his work better to distribute to a fast forming trident as the wings transition to attack position with the striker. Welbeck would have been a threat in front of Kolašinac, making the latter more potent. Welbeck would have make most of their counter attacks difficult too with his speed. Mkhi does not have the speed, and should be use as a back-up to Özil.

    Now add that left side threat with Welbeck to the Bellerin attack from the right that was occurring and we could have destroyed Liverpool, whose defense is suspect when you get behind them, and that is possible as they play that high line. Emery misses on how to exploit the high line with raw speed, while exposing Arsenal to it. Lucky Emery not have conceded three!

    It is all about creating mismatches, which Emergy does not seem to get. We loaded only one wing yesterday, so Liverpool gratefully took the point away and could have had more.

    Emery is excellent at working the players and getting more out of them, but he is tactically naive compared to the top coaches. So far Emery have improved side by simply being the coach, focused football on the field, while not worrying about the club. Nice luxury to have, but he needs to be tactically better.

    1. snowden says:

      @ JJPawn
      November 4, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      It’s good we have you to advise the manager as to what he should do and thanks for sharing your expertise with us.

      Who is this ‘Emergy’ person you refer to? I have never heard of him/her.

      As I write this i expect our owner is counting the money he has taken out of the club this weekend. When he has finished counting (sometime next week) I will call him and suggest he appoints you manager of ‘Football Theory’ at Arsenal. You are the best. What salary do you want?

    2. Kenny Rolfe says:

      JJPawn, Cech reads the game better than Leno? That is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve read on this site in ages. Have you been watching Cech over the last couple of years. Every time the ball is hit over the back four he comes, he stops, he comes, he stops, he then gets caught in no man’s land. His decision making is almost as bad as he footwork and as for Unai lacks any tactical nous, how do you think he’s dramatically changed the side in just a few months. Players like Iwobi, Bellerin, Mustaffi and Xhaka that were terrible last year are suddenly are looking like decent players, Sorry mate but I think snowden summed you up perfectly.

    3. khitb77 says:

      WOW! I mean WOW!

      You’re actually suggesting you know more than our manager, more than any manager?

      You take deluded Football Manager armchair fans to new heights!

  4. Midkemma says:

    Plan A) 4312

    Plan B) 4231

    Plan C) 4141 – High Press

    Plan D) 4141 – Control Possession

    Plan E) 451

    Many team plans, hard to predict which one we will use and we can tailor our gameplay to who we are playing… To show the right amount of respect without being overly cautious or underestimating.

  5. Luckyville says:

    I’m in awe of Torreira, that guy is a beast in human clothing, but firstly Emery to me is Arsenal’s signing of the season, tirelessly on the touchline always giving instructions putting the players constantly on their toes, he’s such a motivation for the players during games. Also special recognition goes for Leno, he ooze confidence when with the ball and reminds me of Manuel Nuer with his composure against an opposition attack. Generally the whole players deserves an applause… Happy times to be a sooner.

  6. I says:

    You guys always amaze me we players favouritism. Now how many competitive games has AMN played through the middle that you want him to bench those who have playing in the position. Though the guy is a good prospect, he hasn’t earned a starting spot yet.

    The formation suggested in the article shows why everyone cannot be coach.
    Drawing Liverpool at the Emirates is nothing new to our club. We drew them in Wenger’s last year.

    1. ken1945 says:

      I, you are quite correct in that we did draw last season.
      The difference between the two results, however, is the manner in which we played.
      Yesterday’s game saw us pressuring from the very first whistle.
      Liverpool were strolling 2-0 up and became complacement, allowing us to perform a very creditable fight back last season.
      It was totally different yesterday. At no time did Liverpool play with the swaggger and arrogance that they did in the corresponding match last season.
      We pressed them, at times dominated them yesterday and I never felt that we would actually lose the game.
      They certainly knew they had been in a game of football.
      I felt the same when we lost to Chelsea 3-2 earlier in the season and they must have felt they got away with murder by taking the three points.
      There is a difference in approach, attitude and belief this season, and, while not trying to stir up ANY negative feedback, can I suggest the feeling amongst the fans and players that WE can decide the way the match will be played, unlike the last two seasons when we let teams dominate us.
      Good point regarding AMN, his turn will come sooner rather than later of course!!

      1. Dalinho says:

        Your correct mate
        Liverpool were on the ropes and relied on manes pace to counter attack which led to there only goal while Emery’s tactics destroyed klopps team for 90 mins and the only reason we didn’t get all 3 points was the lack of end product from mkhi who is playing as a make shift right winger!
        If we sign Nicolas Pepe or Lozano or Saha for that right side we will kill games like yday but it’s just the beginning of our rebuilding next season I want to see this:
        ………………… Lacazette
        Cup team

      2. ozziegunner says:

        ?Arsenal’s midfield totally outplayed Liverpool, even if I would have preferred Welbeck instead of Mhikataryan. Torreira, Xhaka and Ozil were great and Mhikataryan worked hard; bad luck about his missed chances.

      3. I says:

        I agree with your opinion. Indeed the motivation and confidence among the players this term are quite good

  7. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Ok, Leno made one mistake Saturday but how many has Cech made in the last couple of years. Every time the ball is at his feet you fear some disaster is going to happen. Why do you think we look better at the back now? It’s because Leno gives everyone confidence when he’s on the ball. What do you want to go back to? Cech fumbling around like he did against Blackpool. He’s made the same mistake in nearly every game he’s played in this season. Leno will learn from that mistake, his decision making is excellent , he reads the game much better than Cech, watch him, when the ball comes over the top of our defence he’s where he should be on the edge of the box stick with him, have faith in him, he’s the future

  8. antonioro says:

    Playing on the wing is nothing new for Auba.He played that at St Etienne and was briught to Dortmund as a winger.He olayed as winger at Dortmund until Lewandowski left.Having no replacement for Lewa,Auba was pushed central attacker.I still believe Ozil is surplus.One good game in a while is not enough.Better to have a less talented replacement with a hard work ethic,covering the pitch in attack AND defense.In my humble opinion,Mikhi can do that better than Ozil.Too much time we play 10 against eleven because Ozil doesn’t count in the team,especially in a phisically or away games.

    1. Babasola says:

      This exactly how I feel about Ozil
      He’s talented
      But pple say that as if one can play in Arsenal or any EPL team without being talented
      Everybody in the team is talented
      What are the extra things u bring to the fur ?
      We can improve on him
      And even Mhki
      This is the EPL u’ve either got to be physical or by “RESILIENT”
      Look at David Silva – u can’t call him a physical player – but he’s a Work Horse
      I remember Benayoun too – that a player has a small body frame doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have a LION inside of him

      1. Babasola says:

        Ozil is like Chelsea’s Fabregas right now
        Yes he can still pass and assist yet he’s not good enough to make Sarri’s team
        Arsenal’s Fab could pass and assist all day
        But that was just a part of it
        Arsenal’s Fab wanted to dominate all midfield, all the time
        Never caves in to any opponent no matter how physical and brutal they get
        He was a fighter and a winner
        We carry Ozil too many times
        Like u said – almost all away matches
        HOLD ME TO MY WORDS PEOPLE, WHEN TOTTENHAM vs ARSENAL comes (the away fixture)
        Ozil will be substituted if he starts, if it were Wenger I wouldn’t say this
        But I know Unai will always remove whoever is not contributing
        And it is certain he won’t
        He just doesn’t, whenever the going gets tough

        1. arsenal#7 says:


          We have heard enough bs about Ozil last season. Get over it. The player is world class and we don’t have many of those. It is amazing how many fans above are actually
          want Welbeck on the starting line up yet you want to leave Ozil out.
          This is simply an indication of why most of the posters should keep their day job.
          Leave the team picking and tactics to the pros. This goes especially for the article writer.
          A roving fullback? AMN ? Seriously?

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