The Tactics and formation that could win Arsenal the League title – With or without Ramsey


Arsenal can surprise the division this season if certain things are put together very quickly before the first two matches, against two of our biggest rivals. These games may go a long way to confirm or approve Arsenal’s new set up and the challenge for top honours. Many people are saying it will need a bit of some time for Arsenal to build a challenge.

However, Arsenal in my view have the potential to put out a superb challenge just this season. For that the following needs to happen.

Play Pattern
A generic play pattern that will make use of the various strengths that the squad has amassed from the recent signings as well as the new situations obtaining. For instance, Mesut Ozil has retired from international football and his legacy will undoubtedly need to be delivered from club football. Ramsey may no longer be in the team but still there is an Arsenal that has powerful frontal attack prowess boasting two lethal front men in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Fitting these two attackers in the same starting XI would be a mouthwatering prospect and perhaps necessary as Arsenal have struggled in their pre-season often having to come from behind to recover from a losing position.

There are new recruitments with the signings of Stephan Lichsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. These signings are all making a claim for a positon in the first XI. The question of how to achieve a high line pressing game, and balance attacking with defense are all important considerations. There are also the missing natural wingers in the squad and Unai Emery has been busy trying to get a winger recruited but maybe that might not happen. There are also the young players in the squad who need roles to develop their talents. The other important consideration is which are the first XI players and why those players should start.

I would go with a completely new set-up if Ramsey will have left and if Ramsey was to stay eventually. In the set up, we will have a new false-nine role for Mesut Ozil, we will have two Attacking Midfielders one playing a more advanced role while the other playing slightly ahead of the defensive midfielders. Aubameyang and Lacazette will operate as wing forwards with responsibilities in the wing but also as forwards. The same wing roles will be shared by the advancing full backs.


Aubameyang has been doing well on the left side as a full winger. If given half-wing half-forwards role, it will just be the right role for his skill sets. Lacazette has not operated in the wing for a while but if given the half-wing and half-forwards role, he would need to learn quickly and fit himself into the mold. He certainly has the skills. The two forwards will have to get into a telepathic understanding on who moves into the centre forward position during an attack depending on where the ball is. This will also be important to be shared with Ozil who is in the false-nine role. If these three can sync their movements and the two forwards sync their play with the fullbacks, Arsenal will be in a good place to get superb goals.

In a case where Ramsey remains in the side. Then it is Guendouzi who will give way and Ramsey will move in an advanced role alongside Mkhitaryan in this setup. Mkhitaryan and Ramsey will be asked to play box to box roles so as to cover the defenders and support in attack likewise.

Why I went with Guendouzi over Xhaka is because Xhaka will need to relearn his duties in the new role and Mavropanos over Mustafi because Mavropanos has shown the capacity to step-up and Mustafi is still not improving. I also went Lichtsteiner who I would suggest to be withdrawn early in the second half because Bellerin needs to up his game to reclaim his place and perhaps watching Lichtsteiner will help him. There is Leno Vs Petr Cech where I have felt that Petr Cech had his chances in the previous season and he has to regain his focus to keep his spot as number 1.

Integrating The Youth
Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Gedion Zelalem and Joe Willock are some of the players that are have been knocking on the door for first XI involvement and just like Emery did with Kylian Mbappe when he was at PSG, these youthful players need to continue getting opportunities to train and play in the first XI whenever they play well in their academy roles.

Arm Band
The issue of Arsenal captains has been a fearful story of exits and staying out of the first XI. Being made Arsenal captain has always been like a curse to one’s career at Arsenal with many leaving very soon they became captain or finding their route to first XI a problem.

These fears should not continue and the person who should get the Arm band should be Mesut Ozil. He can be deputized by Monreal. As Captain, Mesut Ozil who has the inner need to achieve huge results in club football to lock his legacy, will be driven, and in his new duty as the false nine he would take it upon himself a responsibility to build the understanding of the attacking unit as well the balance of attack and defense.

Unai’s Conte Surprise
Unai Emery can bring the surprise Conte brought to the league when he switched to 3-defender formation. If Emery Conte adopted the formation, he may just bring the surprise to the league too. And his first casualties could undoubtedly be Manchester City and Chelsea as they won’t know what hit them.

What do you think of that line-up?



  1. i would go 4 1 2 2 1, 4 2 3 1, 4 3 3 , 442 in that order. the first looks like an inverted tree with no cam and ozil on the wing.

  2. nice article but you need to understqnd something nicholas,

    coaches such as unai emery,pep guardiola and jurgen klopp who like to press like to play a formation that facilitates this pressing.

    only two formations are good for pressing
    the 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1
    liverpool and city use the 4-3-3.

    but unai emery likes the 4-2-3-1.
    but looking at the arsenal players we lack good wingers so playing a 4-2-3-1 means we will lack width so unai emery might just use a more possession based 4-3-3 for the time being.
    when he gets two wingers next season he might revert back to his preferred 4-2-3-1.

    so this season we will see a 4-3-3 that will look like this

    albeit will be more posession based.more like mancity

    Leno(sweeper gk like ederson)




    i know its not a popular formation we have but l

    1. We have seen how lame Ozil was, when playing as a winger

      The only formation Emery could use to accommodate Ozil is 4-2-3-1

      1. played as a right wing at werder when he first lit up the bundesliga and at RM as well.


        bellerin …..mustafi ……..movropanos/sokratis……. monreal


        ramsey xhaka/torreira

        ozil/miki auba/iwobi


        with the wing backs moving up when he got the ball it looks like this


        mustafi sokratis

        torreira/xhaka ( sitting deep infront of the two def)

        torreira /xhaka ( covering the open space whilst moving up)

        ramsey( bombing forward)

        bellerin ( width) montreal ( width)

        ozil ( tucking in to dictate play and use bellerin to create width) auba( running-channels)
        laca ( switching with laca and creating space for midfield and wingers to run into)

        it’s a guess on who and how whe are gonna play, and i think i might be on to something. let’s see! could easily be 4-3-3 we have been experimenting pre-season.

    2. Laca should be in the first eleven I think that nobody knowns which place is more suitable for each player. But I think Mkhitaryan either will loose his place among the starting eleven therefore, or his role will be different, more deffensive one. For me personally, the ideal eleven for starters should be something like this!

      Cech (Leno not ready for now)

      Bellerin (Liechsteiner or Mustafi or Chambers)………Mustafi (Liechsteiner) ….. Papastatopoulos……. Monreal

      ………. Gendouzi…… Ramsey (Elneny)

      Ozil (Iwobi)

      Mkhitaryan ……… Lacasette…. Aubameyang

      But the I prefer the following lineup for the season


      Mustafi…… Papastatopoulos….. Coscielny …..Monreal

      Gendouzi…. Ramsey… Torreira (Kolasinac)

      Mkhitaryan….. Lacazette ……. Aubameyang (Wellbeck)

      Or this one

      Cech / Leno

      Liechtsteiner…. Mustafi….. Coscielny……. Monreal…..

      Bellerin Xhaka Torreira …….. Kolasinac

      Lacazette Aubameyang

      4-4-2 or 4-3-3 are our optimal lineups..

    3. Remove Mustaf and put Mavropanos, replace Bellelin to Lichtsteiner play 4-3-3 and the team will perform well this seasson. Ramsey shoudl not be sold.

      1. Maybe we have to put the most fitted players in the squad in the beginning and the first lineup is especially for starting the season with pride and honour! 🙂 . Among the following I would prefer the 4-2-2 one system, because it looks really great for us and suitable for players we have . There we have a very strong lineup with powerful squad all the field mostly in the wings and you can rotate them from back to forth as you like and transform it. And of course, it gives us depth at the front and every team can loose from us terribly if we start playing it! The team then must be strong in the wings, because I prefer Bellerin to play little bit outwide so as Kolasinac, and each of them can help in deffence both Liechtsteiner and Monreal. We saw many times how useful is Kolasinac in such a role. We’ll look a very solid! I prefer this because it is similar to Wengers 3-5-2 when we played really well for some time! But I think that if a team is allowing goals with three at the back, you have to play it with four. Bellerin and Kola, in other hand, has quality and speed in the wing backs position. It’s so easy, but we have to sacrifise someone in the starting eleven. What do you think? 4-4-2 is our best option, but everyone should be fit.. If not, we can always use the other systems..

        1. I think this is the first time in years that there is a genuine reason for going 442, other years I didn’t feel we had the players to best suit it. This year I think we do, some might say except wingers, Mkhitaryan can play that role he’s clever enough, and we have youngsters itching to play and they’re at a stage that allot of youngsters made the grade with. Bellerin could even be switched to winger, as a winger defensively he’d be a good one, but he’d need to start learning routines in training.

  3. Nice write up and good formation,would have loved if the boss can use it and if the boys can adapt to the formation easily.

  4. winning the title does not look doable.
    There is not enough quality for that.
    we still have to see how lichtsteiner torreira sokratis guendozi and leno fare in the league and whether chambers cech xhaka and mustafi will improve.If mavropanos will prove to be first team material.
    If aubameyang lacazette ozil and mikhitaryan can find a connection and be top top quality this season.

    sorry to add this but kolasinac bellerin elneny welbeck and perez are average/mediocre players. Dont see them being arsenal standard sorry

  5. Arsenal could try Ozil as a false nine, but I don’t think it would work. Ozil easily gets robbed because he lacks the skills to protect the ball

    We can see how the best false nine in the world plays, Lionel Messi. He consistently produces good through balls, dribbles, first touches, passes and shots, which are required to be a consistent false nine

    Or we can see the best false nine in Premier League, Firmino. Despite less skillful than Messi, he is better physically, which makes him able to withstand the opponent’s pressure in the front

  6. Kanu was asked this question and he said Arsenal needs a miracle to win the PL. And hes right.

    First our defense seems a tad dodgy. Esp centre back and Bellerin. Maybe im wrong and we will have the best defense in the league. Who knows?

    Next we have a very good attack but City is better: Aguero, Mahrez, Sane, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling and even Jesus

    Last not just City but we need Liverpool, United, Spurs and Chlsea.

    So I predict with great confidence that we wont win the League this year.
    Sorry to dash your hopes. Just keeping it REAL

      1. Simples, go in very late on De Bruyne and when Aquero comes over to you to have a go just kick down on his ankle while you point in the other direction. Have Ospina do it, or Willock, someone we wont miss. All is fair in love and war.

    1. Innit, Realists get so often shot down by the many hype merchants on here. I appaud you for staying with realism, as I always like to do, since it helps, not hinders our clubs chances by being totally honest about where we are today. My own realism tells me we will be far more competitive under Emery BUT that we still carry much deadwood that will take time to move out and we have insufficient quality to seriously challenge for the actual title, The gap twixt us and the eventual winner, probably City, will be far smaller than last year and looking further ahead, things are rosy, now that we finally have real PROFESSIONALS in charge.

  7. If Monreal and Kolsanic cant play who plays LB? Niles?




    ……………….Torreira…Guendouzi. ..

    Aubameyang. ……..OZIL………Mkhitaryan


  8. Looking at the personals we have at our disposal at the moment, I think we will do better with 4-2-3-1 with Ozil in that no.10 role supplying through balls to Auba and Laca, with Gwendouzi and Torreira sitting in front of the back 4.


  9. Arsenal will win the league..believe me..believe Chiza…as long as things go to plan.. No injuries to our key players and stuffs like that then i assure you Emery will bring the title for the first time to the paradise of football……be confident..believe me….keep calm and trust Emery

    1. I do trust Emery BUT I don’t ever trust your judgement, as it is excitable, ill thought through, if at all, and based only on what you crave ( as we all do, even us realists) will happen. And as for “as long as things go to plan”, well, my excitable and enthusiastic friend, life shows us that they don’ t go to plan , over a long Prem season. To be clear, I love your passion but passion alone without sensible analysis and sound judgement harms rather than aids Arsenal by being wrong about where we are right NOW. I mean no criticism of you as a man but those in charge need realism, constantly. You do not win titles, ever, by foolish excitable hype. If you wish to come back at me, then please do so, but do try to be sensible and real in your analysis of why you think I am wrong. Personal abuse is the last resort of the ill educated.

  10. Always wondered why Emery hasn’t given 3-4-1-2 a trail.
    It’s just about the best formation for the personnel we have.
    With 3-4-1-2 we would in one swoop be correcting most of deficiencies while accentuating our strong points.
    – It corrects Arsenal’s lack of width.
    – Ensures Özil plays in a 10.
    – Ensures Aubameyang & Lacazette both plays without one needing to be moved to the defence.
    – Solidifies Arsenal’s generally suspect defence.
    I have always thought it’s a no-brainer, no?

  11. I’m not putting a damper on your high hopes but Winning the league is not going to happen & I’ll tell you why;

    1. Squad depth
    We are no where near City,Pool,Utd & Chelsea as they have 2 good squads we have an okay starting 11.

    2. The teams mentioned above all have winners in them &are quality, again we have a few quality players where as they have in near every position, Man Utd only slightly better off than us.

    Aguero, Jesus, Mahrez, Sane, Sterling…
    Salah, Shaqiri, Mane, Firmino, Chambo…
    Morata, Pedro, William, Hazard,
    Rashford, Lingard, Sanchez, Lukaku,Martial
    Auba & Lacazette!!
    Attack wise we are way off as we don’t have a winger in the squad or as many good players to choose from.

    1. If Shaqiri, Mahrez, Pedro, get into the strike force of those teams, so too then Ozil, Mkhitaryan and maybe Ramsey.

      Nketiah & Nelson. Martial, Lingard, Stirling, Sane, Rashfrd, aren’t that far off from where our two are now, they got their chances and took them.

  12. No playing guys out of position, no forcing players out wide..
    Aubameyang and Lacazette leads the line in every match.
    the best is 4-3-1-2

    Aubameyang………… Lacazette.

    Pace, Steel, Creativity and agility all in one team

      1. that tactic has a huge flaw we would get murdered by liverpool, man city, chelsea, west ham, etc…any team that has pacy wingers and i’m saying 5-6 at least!! a winger getting a free run every time with a direct ball at our fullbacks, don’t see that working in the PL sorry to burst your bubble 🙂

        that tactic 4312 along with the 442 are outdated, yes 442 that everyone think we should go for because we have 2 strikers. we don’t play counter attacking football, we play posession football and that won’t change under emery so 442 maybe against world class teams for more defensive minded approach but against weaker teams i want to see us dominate.

  13. I am very excited about the season ahead and hope to see the improvement in our play as we move into the second half of the season. I am also hoping (not counting on or expecting) for a 4th place finish. But anyone who thinks we will challenge for the title doesn’t understand, IMO, the challenge ahead and the strength of our competition.

    Be happy we have reason to hope for improvement but expect to finish double digits away from 1st place when the last ball is kicked in anger.

  14. Out :
    Ramsey, Ospina, Perez, Wellbeck
    In :

    Formation 4 – 3 – 3
    ———————————— LENO. ——————————-
    —————– MKHITARYAN ——– OZIEL ———————–

    1. Ramsey and Guendouzi can be help to Torriera, I’d prefer if at least one of them played rather than going with two playmakers as well as three strikers. Xhaka could also be a playmaker, but unlike M.O. & H.M. he will “try” to sit next to Torriera and provide a solid base. Ramsey has the game pace to look good with Torriera. Guendouzi has the positioning to give Torriera some license. Xhaka’s passing range and brute force could be ideal beside the little warrior. We need to find the best combinations in midfield. That line up of yours says to me, defenders defend, and attackers attack. I reckon against allot of teams it might be a fine system, they’d chew allot of teams up. When I pick a line up, I generally have the toughest games in mind, and look for better balance.

    2. If Arsenal want Dembele they just in to write these words in capital blocks in the contract – Hangout with teammates…then this formation will be workable

  15. I wouldn’t sit Mkhit behind Ozil like that, they’d be wanting the same space. Ramsey at least you’d know he would run on ahead of Ozil which defenders would find harder to stop. I don’t like the formation, no width except for fullbacks and it could be out wide we get tested most this season. 433 I think it will be or 442 if we want Auba and Laca playing the way it says in article. 4231 or 433 I reckon will be used most going by preseason.

  16. Woo woah woah…dembele is in londong for arsenal medical i hear…
    How true is it?

    Yes, i know that we were being linked with dembele right from the begining of the window but we have beem linked with the likes of higuain ,suarez etc before as well..

    Just as i commented on a different thread few days ago..i think this transfer,ig it happens ,could be a boost to our chances of signing a mega money kit deal next year.

    I am still not sure if this level of transfer can happen to arsenal or if it is a loan move or all bogus news made up by the media.

    Tough times to be a gooner. :p

    1. Every kit manufacturer needs some high profile names to sell the shirts across the world. Currently the high profile players that the kit manufacturers can look at are auba,laca and ozil. And before auba and was only Alexis and ozil. Infact having only 2 world class players in the team was the major reason we could only negotiate 30mil with Puma. While the likes of chelsea,Manutd have negotiated upwards of 65mil.

      And also Puma were aware of the fact that there is a lot of negativity at arsenal during wenger which also resulted in decreasing shirt sale revenue as many fans opted to not give a single penny untill wenger is gone.

      Now it has changed, there is a lot of positive air around the emirates, and hence this is the right time to get a high profile signing and by the mid season(when the kit deal negotiations happen) we would have 5 (auba,laca,ozil,dembele,torriera)super stars to sell loads of shirts.

      1. “Infact having only 2 world class players in the team was the major reason we could only negotiate 30mil with Puma”

        No it wasn’t, we had 2 of the top 5 shirt sales at the time while other clubs might have had 1 in the top 5. If you look at the teams around Arsenal at that time and the players they had at that time… having TWO of the top 5 sales was a big selling point.

        Gazidis is pathetic at contracts though.

        Just go through Arsenals contract history for sponsors.
        We get what might sound to be a great deal… only to be blown out the water by a true great deal.
        People was moaning at Wenger for contract lengths but Gazidis allowed contracts to run out, not only player but sponsorship ones as well, just go do the research. I already did. The volume of sponsors drop for a few years! Not a one off… not something to sweep under the rug for a multi billion pound company.

        I have used Ed Woodward of UTD as an example of how we should expect a top CEO and to point at what a top person can do, can more than double the business income and then use that income to invest in players to keep the brand growing.

        Gazidis is happy with being tight fisted and that doesn’t sign players.

        The big names we have are thanks to people pushing the club to sign them for us.

        Auba is here due to Sven and look how long it took Gazidis to open the bank to pay for him, ALL WINDOW LEAVING ZERO TIME TO BUY A DEFENDER WHICH THE MANAGER WAS ASKING FOR!!!!!!

        As for the negativity of Wenger, I spoke to just as many people in real life that was boycotting any spending till the CEO acted like he had ambition, if that meant sacking Wenger then it meant getting a new manager… but also backing that new manager. Emery hasn’t been backed fully and I know many people still not spending because they feel like the board is selling them BS YET AGAIN.

        Instead of getting a Koulibaly, we got a Sokratis. Well done Gazidis for showing such fantastic ambition =.=

        1. ?Unfortunately even if Gazidis leaves Arsenal still has Kroenke as majority shareholder. Kroenk’s vindictiveness denies Usmanov a place on the board and the opportunity to inject money for players.

  17. Whoever we play, whatever formation we use, our farcical defence and inexplicable habit of rewarding underperforming players with shiny new contracts will cost us points from the the first kick of the ball to the very last of the season

    1. With a new coach it would appear there is a change ( for the better) in the work rate, which was our undoing last season. While we were one of the best teams at home last season, our challenge came with the away matches where our defense capitulated to any team that got in our faces. What I am seeing in training and preseason matches gives a lot of hope. Consequently, whatever formation we play, we must have square pegs in square holes, while ensuring the attitude on the field does not show us as timid. Winning the league though will not be this season, may be next. My hope and prayer? Top four finish.

  18. Perfect sett up Nicholas. Just comment though, Petr Cech in goal instead of Leno, based purely on Petr’s great game against Chelsea. My man of the match.
    So Arsenal “Lets get ready to rumble”

  19. Nicholas, I agree precisely with your line up and am heartened to see that it excludes Mustafi, Xhaka, Cech, Elneny and Bellerin from starting. I regard ALL these as not good enough for Arsenal FC completely. Though you would have Bellerin coming on later, whereas I would not do so. I disagree with Ozil as captain and with your reasoning. To my mind he would be among the worst possible captains. I do accept that until Emery can get enough time to get all Wenger’s deadwood out from the club, that some would need to play as back up. BUT NOT AS FIRST CHOICE. NO WAY !!!

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