There is much chatter at present about who we should buy mixed in with depression that Wenger will class Diaby and Rosicky as new signings. Most seem to want a new defensive midfielder to replace/challenge Arteta. Many want a physical box to box Vieira style beast to replace/challenge Wilshere and Diaby. Lastly everyone wants a new goal getting striker to challenge/replace Giroud. Well now we are clear on all that STUFF today’s blog will ignore all of it and deal with the reality of the existing squad we have now virtually all fit and what we might do tactically and rotationally during the forthcoming busy fixture jam staring with the visit of the Champions.
You all know this is going to be a 442 piece don’t you?
Well it sort of is but perhaps will a difference and I have covered this ground once before when I reviewed our tactics in defeating Spurs 5-2 in February. What I am keen to assess it the ability of our squad/team to morph from 4231 our generally expected (by all opposition teams!!!!) starting formation into a fluid 442 in certain games. This happened against Spurs and it certainly happened recently against Reading.
The key to this for me is to have wide players who are equally effective in the 3 behind the 1 or in a 4 behind the 2. Let me elaborate and use this example. The likes of Pires and Ljunberg could play wide in 4 as they did but could easily have adapted to play wide in the 4231 we play today. However from the same squad Reyes could not have done the same. The Spaniard was a striker/winger rather than a right/left midfielder.
In the present squad we equally have those who can adapt to both roles and those who cannot. When it comes to playing right of left midfield or right of left winger the following players can adapt with ease: Podolski, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain and even Cazorla at a push could do either job. Walcott and Gervinho can play effectively as wingers but I personally do not see them as adapting to playing wide in a 4 man midfield. Ramsey I feel could play right midfield but have seen nothing to suggest he can play effectively as a winger, although Wenger seems to disagree.
So why is this important and what might it mean in practice? This of course is only relevant if we look to change tactics during the match as we have on occasion, but not often enough for my liking.
I guess what I am driving at is that if we set up as 4231 and would like to be able to switch temporarily or permanently during a game it is fundamental that one of our wide men can move seamlessly to striker and the other can tuck into a conventional wide midfield role. So for example if we set up as we have with Giroud centrally and Walcott and Gervinho either side we would struggle with this tactical transition because in my view neither can play right or left midfield in a 4 at the required level. Conversely setting up with Theo right wing and Podolski or Rosicky left wing makes the transition easy, because both, particularly TR7 as he did in 07/08 are effective at left midfield.
The absolute best example of this is action was the fabulous second half display in February versus the old enemy. It worked precisely because we set up with Theo on the right wing and Yossi on the left. The game turned as we morphed to 442 with Benayoun tucking to left midfield, Rosicky moving right and Song and Arteta sitting centrally. This intelligent transition saw Walcott unleashed alongside RVP to devastating effect.
There is little doubt that in a slightly different way we morphed during the match with Reading with Cazorla advancing into a 10 role behind Theo and Podolski and Ox shifting to left and right midfield respectively.
So where does this leave us for the next few weeks and a busy schedule beginning at the Emirates on Sunday? Well for me if we are to surprise our opposition, particularly as I fee City will line up as a 442 it would be useful for us to be able to do the same either from outset our during the game.
Assuming Giroud is passed fit tomorrow the starting 11 arguably picks itself, with possible exception of which 2 centre backs. (For me leave out Per who was left for dead to often last week and can’t seem to jump without a Pogo stick!)
This could well be the starting team and how it is conventionally set up at kick off:
This however is how it could look at times during the match given the intelligence and experience of our midfield. Whether it is the players themselves who make this decision during attacking phases of play. Or whether Wenger instructs this subtle change, both Podolski and Santi, like Rosicky and Benayoun on that superb day against Spurs in February, can handle the LM and RM roles.
Now as I hinted earlier in this article it is my view that we are blessed with several players who can adapt or play either wing or wide midfield. This being the case with a tough playing agenda I can see Rosicky playing in the Podolski role on occasion and he also gives her the ability to make the transition.
What is also possible of course is that Ramsey to Oxlade-Chamberlain could start as right wing instead of Theo and the transition would involve Podolski moving up front alongside Giroud, Santi moving to Left midfield and Ramsey/Ox to right midfield.
This conventionally set up would start as such:
The in game or permanent transition would morph to this:
The key of my message here is not the actual team selection as I am sure many will have other thoughts. But more the fact that we have a quality core of players who can play well in slightly different positions and we should use this to our advantage. Both in during games and for certain matches
Ironically this system change could even allow Santos to show us what he is actually capable of at left midfield, although I am far from convinced he will get the chance. I feel strongly that Rosicky should have a key role to play in the coming weeks as he above anyone in our ranks is comfortable and to my mind effective anywhere across the midfield in either formation. If Giroud does fail his fitness test I would love to see TR7 drafted in. This would allow us to start with Rosicky and Podolski right and left wing with Walcott up front but easily allow us to push Lukas alongside Theo if Plan. A is not effective.
I have referred to it before I know but I am convinced it is our predictability of formation that allows teams to plan and counter us so well. A greater utilisatiion of the transition from 4231 to 442 in games or for certain teams can only benefit our results. Not only because it has worked already to powerful effect and that we have the intelligence and flexible players to take advantage but also because of the element of surprise.
Whatever Wenger decides for the City match I am confident result and is we do demonstrate the flexibility and fluidity of formation we should have too much for a 4 man midfield. likely to be made up of Milner, Silva, Garcia and Barry. Don’t shoot me on Monday but I am having a free punt on 3-1 and make your money go further with free bets on offer at many bookies at the moment. Checking FREEbets will give you the best latest options.
Until next time thanks for reading.
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