Why Arsenal will NOT switch to a 4-4-2 formation

After yesterday’s 4-1 win over Premier League strugglers Sunderland, Arsenal fans and pundits alike questioned whether the two goalscorers for Arsenal could effectively play together.

Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez where Arsenal’s goalscorers for the day, with two goals from both. Alexis played the full 90 mins, whilst Giroud a second half substitute, scored two goals with his first two touches in the game. Arsenal were drawing 1-1 with the bottom placed club until Giroud made his impact on the match. His performance suggested that perhaps the Frenchman deserves to regain his place up front again, instead of being named on the bench. The issue is that Alexis Sanchez is also continuing to blossom in front of goal, in his new converted position for the Gunners. Should Alexis really be removed in order to accommodate Giroud up front?

A few have suggested that both players could be positioned up front, in a old fashioned 4-4-2 formation. I don’t however think this would be entirely effective for the Gunners. The issue in my opinion is not having the pair partnered up front, but rather what the formation does to our midfield. It would mean that Ozil has to drop much further back in the middle of the park, instead of being able to play behind the striker and support the wingers. This means there’s more defensive duties required from this role. Defensive duties would also increase for our wide men, possibly Walcott, Chamberlain/Iwobi, who would no longer be wingers but wide midfielders. There would be a lot more ground to cover and playing as midfielders rather than wingers would mean that their positioning and movement for attacks may become more restrictive.

Finally we’d also lose a CM or CDM from our lineup. There would no longer be places for two out of Cazorla, Xhaka, Ramsey, Coquelin and Elneny, but rather just a single player to partner Ozil in midfield. Due to the competition for midfield places, I don’t think that would be highly effective either.

Of course Wenger could utilise a 442 diamond, which keeps the widemen as wingers and Ozil as a CAM, but it leaves Arsenal with just one central midfielder to cover a lot of space in midfield and to protect the back four. I think that could be a risky move with Arsenal’s passing style of play.

At the end of the day, we won’t know if 442 works for the Gunners unless Wenger decides to try it. However just by looking at our first team regulars and the style of play we are used to, I’m not sure Arsenal would become any more effective by playing two strikers instead of one.



  1. Arsenal_Girl says:

    I prefer our current formation.
    I prefer having 3 CM on the pitch: Ozil, Cazorla and Coquelin/Xhaka
    With 442 we will sacrifice one

    I think its good to have Giroud on the bench for the time being as Alexis is doing well up front and Giroud will get hungry for goals and hopefully score when he comes on

  2. josh37 says:

    This title only needs a one word answer…. Ozil

  3. Olivier's toe says:

    I don’t see why we can’t use 4-4-2 against teams that ‘park the bus’. It certainly worked when Wenger put Giroud on alongside Sanchez on Saturday, and we probably could have used it against Middlesbrough last week.

    1. Arsenal_Girl says:

      That’s a good point.
      We could have used Giroud against Middlesborough with his Areil cpabilities

  4. gotanidea says:

    Go back to 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 will also be good, if the team can utilize the formation well. Take a look at what happened to the teams that employed these tactics, e.g. last season Leicester City and the invicible 2004 Arsenal.

    Remember our strongest formation ever?


    Lauren – Sol Campbell – Keown – Ashley Cole

    Pires – Vieira – Gilberto – Ljungberg



  5. Iffybright says:

    ozil is not versatile to drop deeper, he doesn’t have the industry to play from the wing….Arsenal can only play that formation only when ozil is injured….Wenger does not have the balls to drop him.. wenger and ozil fans sees ozil as a god…to them, ozil is undroppable or can’t be shifted to another role….. once Sanchez is deployed to play behind the main striker, Arsenal will be unstoppable…Wenger knows this, but Ozil is just a barrier to him……Sanchez deployed in that position will give us the league title…he is a machine

    1. gotanidea says:

      If Wenger drops Ozil, he won’t be able to sell him with a good price. Better using him until a team seals an agreement with him. It’s hard but the truth… Ozil is not suitable for Arsenal slow tempo and high possession football. The good things about Ozil are he is a very good finisher and a very unselfish player. He will be dominant player in a team that plays with high tempo, like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Leicester City. For teams like Arsenal, Manchester City and Barcelona, they need players with close ball control, like Cazorla, Messi, Neymar, Xavi, Iniesta, Turan, Isco and Sanchez.

      1. seckie says:

        What the heck! Ozil not suitable for Arsenal slow tempo and high possession football???? Where on earth did you get that phrase from? I advice you stay off the crack gotan-no-idea!

  6. Kostafi says:

    Good article and I should point out we play a pseudo 442 without the ball when the match is won with Ozil and Sanchez up front together attacking from the front- It might not seem obvious from TV commentary but if you watch the shape of the team- the 2 banks of 4 are clearly visible. As for Giroud playing as part of a 442- 1 CM would need to go which would weaken the team. A 442 with Giroud-Sanchez up top can only work (to win games) if a CAM (like Ozil) is sacrificed and 2 CMs play side by side Xhaka-Ramsey or Santi-Coquelin where one of the two offers a bit more going forward. the extra creativity will have to come from wing play.

    Alas this is not a problem for Arsenal at the moment, or this season. Giroud is an excellent Plan B and actually plays better both for Arsenal and France when he feels the need/threat to prove himself. He scored a few off the bench last season when Wenger decided to start Walcott, did the same for France during the Vardy rumours and the Benzema boos, and again last weekend after he had lost his place. It is definitely better for Arsenal when his position is threatened. There will be other games like Boro where his strengths will be needed, add a packed November with Spurs, Man U Bournemouth, 2 CL including PSG and League Cup vs Southampton- what we need is a Plan B when A is not working not 442.

  7. Break-on-through says:

    If Ozil plays well then it automatically becomes a diamond. Also has no-one thought that Ozil could play as striker in a 442. Like Bergkamp did in Gotanidea’s formation above. It would be Ozil and Alexis though because I think Ozil and Giroud would maybe not make enough runs.

    1. gotanidea says:

      To repeat the invicible success, I prefer to use our current squad with the formation below:


      Bellerin – Mustafi – Koscielny – Gibbs

      Walcott – Cazorla – Coquelin – Iwobi



      We can also use Perez, Ox, Ramsey, Xhaka, Monreal, Holding, Debuchy, Gabriel, Elneny, Ospina, Akpom, Sanogo and Wilshere as the backup squad. I know some of the squad players I mentioned are hated on this forum 😀

  8. Swizz says:

    I dont think 4-4-2 is our style however a 4-3-1-2 would be. Bellerin and gibbs/ monreal are practically our wingers every game anyway and ozil would stil keep his cam spot. Also u gain a extra cm spot so. I think we would be playing to our strengths if we used that formation

  9. Jim A says:

    If there is a corner or set piece, we are an inferior team if OG is not on the pitch.

  10. leo...fourteen says:

    4-4-2…with ozil in the match day squad…its impossible

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs