Wenger’s ‘Player Engineering’ needs to include Lacazette


When I speak football engineering, I’m suggesting Wenger’s penchant of looking at a football player, examining previously unseen strengths, bringing in the player to the squad, testing them in those areas and patiently awaiting to see if the results come off.

No doubt, there isn’t a manager in the planet that exercises football engineering of players like Arsene Wenger does. It’s Arsene’s Engineering that brought out arguably one of the greatest ever premier league strikers – Thierry Henry. That particular project worked tremendously. It also worked when Kolo Toure, a striker, was converted into a centre back. Dennis Bergkamp was moved from Centre Forward to Attacking Midfielder and it worked. It also worked when Robin Van Persie was turned from a winger to a Centre Forward. It had good results when Sanchez was moved to Centre Forward and Santi Cazorla into a deep lying playmaker.

But then, during the Invincibles years, Arsene seemed to buy players to fit a pattern of play he had already devised. When Thierry Henry was introduced, he had to encounter 7 games before the shooting boots finally came on and they never stopped for quite some time, establishing a serial performer per excellence in the department. One major aspect that got Thierry over the line was support role played by other players especially Dennis Bergkamp. Perhaps it is something the manager needs to look out for as he seeks to rebuild Arsenal and acquire new players.

This is because, amid this wonderful stories of conversion and digging the diamond out of the rough stones, there are potential diamonds that refused to release the diamonds within – and remained stones – and they are many. Walcott, he never really reached the potential we hoped he would, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Wilshere are breathing hot and cold (someone wonders which games has Wilshere ever won for Arsenal, single handedly?). We have Striker, Giroud, who never really reached full potential. Sanchez went high up and immediately started problems and had to be sold. Lacazette – the jury is out there but imagine if Arsene insists he stays in the bench?

The reason I bring this matter up is that we knew Giroud was a great player in France because he shared the attacking role and played very effectively off another striker in the pitch. Despite this, Wenger’s pattern of play had just one space in the field for the proper striker. So it was either Giroud or Sanchez and rarely was the Sanchez-Giroud partnership tried. Neither was Giroud-Walcott or Even Sanchez-Walcott given a chance to blossom into a partnership.

We could see glimpses of these potential match-ups when Arsenal are suddenly down and chasing a game desperately and sometimes a Central Midfielder will be sacrificed and at many instances it worked. Right now there is the 3-man or 4-man defenses being tinkered with. Players like Oxlade, Walcott, Ramsey etc. have paid for their versatility. They rarely grew into a specialist role.

We now have a new project in the horizon. Project Aubameyang-Mkhitaryan-Ozil as Arsene sees it, based on the decision to bench Lacazette against Everton. When Arsene saw Lacazette-Sanchez-Ozil project, it resulted in Giroud being shut out. Clearly, Lacazette-Sanchez-Ozil did not really achieve much. Last time I checked, Giroud was sacrificed to create a 5-man defense. If Giroud had somehow been added into the Lacazette-Sanchez-Ozil project, maybe it would have been the tipping point for success – but that is for conjecture as we never got that.

If Arsene fails to find space for Lacazette in the Aubameyang-Mkhitaryan-Ozil matchup, it may just fail to get the tipping balance and talents may again be lost out. Consistency and superb performances may just not be found. If Wenger decided to have a 3-man defense that stays back and actually defends like defenders should and reinforce it with three defensive- and attack-minded players in the Central Midfield (Vieira, Gilberto were of this mold but since then we were doing four defenders, Wenger should find three players to compensate for the missing defender) in a tri-anchorage – 2 must be winger-minded players capable of coming inside to help the Central-Midfielder, able to deliver well in the wings and able to provide defensive cover. On the left – Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Monreal can do just that. On the right – Bellerin perhaps. Here we will need Le Prof to apply his engineering to good use until summer. In the centre – I honestly do not know who would steal away the role from Xhaka, Wilshere and Ramsey – At the moment I would go with Ramsey.

With the six places clearly filled (Even if he went with four-man defense and therefore a two-man anchorage – there will be four spaces left to be filled in the team. If we want consistency, let Arsene find a way that Lacazette-Mkhitaryan-Ozil-Aubemayang fill these spots. The ‘Ramsey’ effect of overloading the attack areas means the back is slightly exposed. With Lacazette involved Ramsey does not have to come out too often and that may just be the missing link in defensive solidity. Ramsey has an engine room quite like that which Vieira had, so an arrangement for a super attacking front will not inhibit Ramsey from getting the goals as he still will make these runs, but they will be less frequent as he would need to concentrate more in stopping attacks by the opponent and transforming the defense into counter attacks. I honestly do not want to see Mkhitaryan taken into Cazorla’s role if he enjoys his football with more freedom. That Engineering bit may just fail to work just like it failed at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho when he tried to give the Armenian a defined role.

Should Wenger put his engineering skills to work to ensure 6 out of 10 roles are given to Defense and Central Midfield and the four remaining are filled by what is called the LMOA quad-attack?



  1. gotanidea says:

    Kolo Toure was a striker? Wow… What a poor guy. Mustafi used to play as a striker as well, which might explain Toure’s and Mustafi’s aggressiveness as central defenders.

    Wenger has incredible “player engineering” skill, proven by the success of Cazorla, Van Persie, Henry and Bergkamp, and I think he can make LMAO work well together, if he really wants to. But he does not seem to trust Lacazette’s ability too much anymore.

    If LMAO play together, the other six outfield players must have more defensive minds and one (or two) of LMAO must be willing to track back as well. Ideally Ozil and Lacazette improve their work rate.

    1. Nikkogunners says:

      Yeah, Toure started his career striking, then moved to midfield. When he came to arsenal he was recruited as a midfielder. But Wenger turned him into the finished article in the Central Defense…

    2. John Ibrahim says:

      Carzola, Van Persie were all wingers when they started their careers

  2. Trez says:

    Giroud left a much better striker than he was when he came here. As for Lacazette, he simply needs to improve Physically. I never thought he’d be this slow. He does edge Aubamayeng out in terms of Technical ability and maybe even finishing; Auba pace will always come in handy for us.

    1. chris says:

      Wenger has never devised formations and tactics to get the best out of players. He expects players to fit into his game style – even if they can’t. Actually few of his youngsters really made it and several expensive stars went backwards.

  3. Will says:

    Your point becomes moot in the last paragraph where you expect Ramsey to sit deeper to help Lacazette. Ramsey’s main priority when he plays is for him to get into advanced positions to score, I can’t see him wanting to sacrifice his own chances at goals to help Laca and would inevitably leave us exposed at the back and typically overcrowded in the advanced positions.


  4. Tony says:

    sell laccazate bye a DM. we dont need him should have brought Auba in the 1st place.lacca is a 2nd gear stricker anyway

  5. Kedar Damle says:

    We have and media has overlooked easily about Lacazzate presence in team after arrival of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan… But Lacazzate is amazing talent.
    I think it will be very good if we play diamond 4-4-2
    Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi Kolasinac


    Mkhitaryan Ramsey


    Aubameyang Lacazzate

    We can have 2 up top with Ramsey Will be slotted as Box to Box role and Wilshere with Deep lying Midfielder to control midfield.
    Rest 4 will be given freedom
    We should sell Xhaka on Summer and buy Jorginho
    from Napoli… He is terrific defensive midfielder talent and can pick long passes as well… He can be directly slotted in place of Wilshere and then Ramsey and Wilshere will compete for further in midfield..

  6. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

    Tony, if you had your way in selling Lacazette based on his scoring record in the number of games played in his first season in the EPL, you would have probably shown similar lack of patience with Henri when he didn’t score in his first 6 games. Heaven help Arsenal if Lacazette was sold and Aubameyang suffered injury! To be successful at this level, 2 quality strikers are required.
    From my recollections Dennis Bergkamp always played as a number 10 just behind firstly Ian Wright and then Thierry Henri; his role could not be called “an attacking midfielder”.

  7. GoonAR says:

    lol @ ppl that say sell Lacazette…. Welbeck going to replace Auba up top?

  8. Grandad says:

    Well said Ozzie.

  9. Jeffy says:

    Laca is superb guys, how can we sell him and remain with Welbeck, I support that point of buying Jorginho, what a defensive player he is with vision, long passes, positional discipline, keeps and controls the ball well. I think left wing Laca/Iwobi , central Ozil, right wing Mickie and Auba upfront it will be superb and fearsome attack that will distruct defenders apart

    1. Kroenke Out says:

      Jorginho or Fabinho in Xhaka and Elneny out –

      Without breaking the bank we can get a fantastic DM and finance at least half the purchase price with the sale of Xhaka and elneney.

      Add a top defender and we will have a balanced squad ready to compete for all the marbles

  10. mark says:

    I think there is more pressure from fans/media to buy instantly successful players, and so the blooding of new exciting prospects is further down most managers priority list, especially in the cauldron of the Premier League.

    Wenger has become a victim of this too even though he still gives players chances. The game is so results driven now that patience is no longer in evidence with the top teams and to a lesser extent the middle and bottom teams.

    We are all guilty of putting pressure on teams to compete which means they feel obliged to buy ready made players that can hopefully do that. Of course it’s always happened, but with ever increasing financial gains to be had managers don’t have the time to develop players like they used to. The England team is a classic example of this. The younger England teams have had great success, but the senior team struggles, precisely because the up and coming younger players don’t get their chance at the top level.

    So basically we should applaud Wenger for giving Iwobi a chance even though he is not always perfect…who is when they are learning their job in any field??? Very few.

    Money is ruining the game in some ways and improving it in others, but it’s here to stay..sadly..

  11. John says:

    Wenger’s team selection is full of his favorites……….players he made written or verbal promises to…….and youngsters who want to leave because of lack of opportunities…….

  12. killamch89 says:

    Some of you here are freaking retarded. After years of calling out for top class stirkers we now have aubameyang and lacazette and you idiots want to sell one of them? It’s Lacazette’s FIRST SEASON in the premier league. Not everyone will adapt right away. Would you call David Silva a flop after his first season? Salah? De Bruyne…I could go on. City has Gabriel Jesus and Aguero – Do you lot want us to go back to Welbeck as backup striker (cringe) if Aubameyang gets injured? At last a position that has been a weakness for us in years gone by we finally have two top class strikers. The amount of consistent top class strikers in Europe is so low and we have two of them. If somebody told me after last season we would get Aubameyang and Lacazette in the same season I’d think you were touching the white stuff. I’m tired of us running the one good striker into the ground. There are four competitions per season and we will always have quality up front.

    1. Kroenke Out says:

      Yes! a team with ambition needs two good strikers.

      Now DM, CB and competition for Bellerin and a Top Goalkeeper.

      We are still short of quality required to compete with the top teams.

      1. killamch89 says:

        I agree

    2. @killamch98
      Thank you for your top class comment …

      1. killamch89 says:

        I try to educate the masses because this is the first time since the invincibles era we have had two top class strikers. Now when the media asks about strikers we have Aubameyang and Lacazette and even the young Nketiah(already better than welbeck and he is only 18.) We need a couple more wingers, a couple CDMS, a CB, Two GKS(rate neither of the ones we have) and a rb as competition for bellerin.

  13. Simon Williams says:

    If you play 4 at the back – which actually means only static defenders with Right/Left backs often bombing forward-

    You need 2 defensive midfielders

    We did that previously with Xhaka & Wiltshire – worked well.

    If go 3 at back – you only need 1 defensive midfielder –

    And that means Xhaka at present. Who isn’t good enough defensively to do that job.

    So generally think we have to use back 4 – this also gets best of Monreal at Left back – who has been spectacular in last few matches

  14. JJPawn says:

    First, it is important to note that Laca has to play in the Europa league to ensure CL for us. Top four is a possible, but not like a dozen games left. Lacazette has to be focused there. So, please stop this nonsense of incessant attacks on Wenger.

    Before attack our manager think comparatively.

    We can all see that managers really do not know what they are getting until after a player is there for a few months.
    * Does Mourinho have a problem with talent? Look at Pogba and United with so much money spent.
    * Pep inherited a team that won the EPL by undermining the previous coach, then Pep spent hundreds of millions to win… this year’s EPL crown. He is vulnerable to injuries, and if they cannot field good sides, that system of play breaks down.
    * Chelsea have issues despite the money, and having won with the previous group of players, Conte is on the way out.
    * Liverpool not yet there. (They may lose Salah to Real in the summer.)
    * It seems that the Spurs are best so far with home grown talent. Kane wants to stay, maybe? Or will he go to Real?
    * Wenger has issues spending money… unless he gets value.

    The truth is that each fan base has problems with their managers, but more of the hate in public is on Wenger. Like other managers Wenger has made mistakes. However, it seems Wenger’s main issue is that for some he has not moved on to another club. Rather than loyalty, it seems fans and pundits desire change.

    Maybe they ought to ask Burnley. Change is not as good as it sounds; if you have a great manager hold on to him. Without Wenger the Arsenal brand is weaker, especially overseas. The team is being re-done minus the weaker British/English players.

    Has Wenger tinkered with players? Yes. Won some and lost some. Soon, with proven players on the way, he will not have to worry about tinkering.

    As he now has money to get finished players, we should see better results. Mahrez or Lamar would have one wing fixed. A Manolas would take care of the middle…

    Remember what Wenger has said: there are many players running down their contracts. So, in the summer Arsenal will get some good talent for free given how good the wages are, and also given the current attack.

    We just need CL football to get some of the best in. Then, we will be ready to try to attack City and United, not just the other three top sides.

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