Never mind ‘Give us our old Arsenal Back’ we need our ‘Old Arsene back!’

You cannot reverse the aging but you can change the mentality back Arsene


I have not written for a while, not because I have been busy, but more because I was keeping my counsel and waiting until I felt I had something worthwhile to say. There has been a huge amount of understandable frustration and some very extreme outpourings of emotion after a poor few weeks on the pitch for our team. I did not want to add to the insane level of negativity but rather wait until I had something positive of constructive to post.

I am an Arsenal supporter first. I support the CLUB, not the manager or its players. I have supported since the early 1970s and have seen some quite horrible periods, far worse than we are seeing at present. However I am not going to sit here and say we should wait for 2014 to compete, or set 4th place as a target. Indeed I would rather win a cup and finish 5th but I know I am in the minority there. No I want success and I want it this season but unlike many I do not see huge signings or a change in manager as necessarily the route to achieve it.

For me the change required is a change of mentality from Arsene Wenger, or perhaps a reversion to the old Arsene Wenger. What I want from Wenger is what any fan should expect from a football coach operating at the highest level of the game – Tactical awareness and tactical flexibility. Right now and for at least 4 seasons I believe we have singularly not seen this at Arsenal.

Arsene has always place huge emphasis on buying intelligent footballers. These are not necessarily always expensive footballers. We don’t buy world class players we create them blah blah blah. Yes Wenger you do buy intelligent players and I would still maintain you and your scouting network are the best at so doing. However what is the point of buying intelligent fluid talent and then asking it to play so rigidly? Our players are so intelligent Arsene that they can easily adapt to changing systems from week to week and shock horror even during a game. So please trust them to demonstrate how good they are and select formations and tactics for games and even during games and stop being so bloody intransigent.

Wenger used to be and inspired tactician, converting intelligent footballers positions and encouraging flexibility and fluidity in his teams. His first title saw us operate with an out and out winger on the left in Overmars, and a converted central midfielder in Parlour on the right. Overmars natural instinct was to play further forward and join the attack and when he did so Parlour tucked in and Vieira and Petit shuffled left to convert to a 433. This type of fluidity was expected and acknowledged. Very early he adopted a 451 away in Europe even using Kanu in centre midfield on occasion to assist ball retention. So what has happened to this chap? Where has this Wenger gone?

Since adopting the 4231 formation full time in 2009 we have seen very little tactical imagination. Yes when at its flowing best with Cesc at the helm it worked and of course it still can be effective. After all Montpelier, Madrid, Dortmund and to a degree Manchester City won their respective leagues using primarily the same formation. The key word in the previous sentence though is ‘primarily.’

All the above teams and most pertinently Man City did not play that formation in every game. Also in the European League most teams do play a similar system, but Arsenal most weeks are not playing European sides last time I looked. No we are mostly playing in the Premier League where numerous sides still play variations of 442 and for me the most effective formation to defeat a side playing 442 is 442 particularly when you have superior players. Yesterday of the 14 teams who lined up for Premier League fixtures, 7 of them played either 442 or 4411. So many feel the system is dead but this is patently not the case and my last blog on how to get two strikers into play at Arsenal was one of the most read pieces have written.

Your bought him Arsene so play to his strengths

I am just so keen to see Giroud play up front with a partner against weaker sides and other sides that play variants for 442. We have in the past week seen a slight variation in our play with more crosses being sent in rather than the usual cut backs and why not when we have the power in the air. Wenger’s inflexibility has already seen off Bendtner and Eduardo neither of whom were able to or wanted to adapt to being played out wide. Poor old Eduardo, playing up front in a 442 looked set to take us to the title in 2008, suffered a horrendous injury, only to return a year later to a team playing a rigid 4231. We began 2010/11 playing to Chamakh strengths as we are now doing with Giroud and he hit double figures by November, only to see RVP return. Subsequently as with Nico and Eduardo before him is only playing time as been out wide, obviously not his position and most now feel he has not cut it at Arsenal. Maybe he is not quite at the level required but all I do now is that on the 2 occasions he has been brought on to play as a second striker he has been superb and help turn both matches around. Those games being Norwich at the end of last term, when we changed to 442 to chase the game and Chamakh cause havoc in Canaries defence, and of course Reading the week before last.

Chamakh an asset if used correctly Arsene

My point really that Wenger must begin to show the flexibility that his successful peers have done over the years, If we have intelligent players, as he continually informs us we do and I agree, then use the whole squad and adapt style and formation to suit opposition and circumstances. You only really need to look at Sir Alex Ferguson and Man United to confirm my argument. Would Wenger have done what Fergie did yesterday? Change a formation at half time bringing on Hernandez and taking off Young and sticking Rooney at left midfield? This paragraph from one of the top United blogs (Redrants) sums it up for me….

“In this past season, Sir Alex Ferguson made use of several different formations which he altered depending on the players available to him, the team they faced, and the strategy he intended to use. His main formation for most of the past season was a 4-4-1-1, which is very similar to the 4-4-2 that has been the mainstay of his managerial tenure. But he also used a 4-4-2, and a 4-3-3 against some weaker Premier League teams, while he used a 4-5-1 in most of the Champion League and Europa League games. He also made use of 4-2-3-1 in the occasional League game including the season finale against Sunderland.”

The above just crystallises my point so aptly. Ferguson has won every honour over an incredible career, and still does it mostly with a 4 man midfield. However he is prepared to change the selection and tactics week to week, opposition to opposition. I call for Wenger to stop playing the same players and same formation each week and to use the squad properly. Stop playing players out of position to suit a formation if it is not essential to do so. Stop being so stubborn and play systems that are right for the opposition and variety is the key. If every other manger knows exactly what our game plan is because it has been identical for 5 years it is easy for them to set up to nullify. If they don’t know until an hour before kick off if we are lining up 4231, 4132, 411 or 442 they cannot prepare.

In addition allow the players to adapt during the game and trust their judgement. One of the best 55 minutes of football we have witnessed at the Emirates in recent times was the fight back against Spurs in February. Why was this so dynamic and effective? Because we showed flexibility and fluidity on the pitch. This I what I wrote the day after and I stand by it now:

“However what has intrigued me was the subtle change to the formation, as we attacked with pace against Spurs, because much as we hate to admit it they are a good side and they just could not live with us for 55 minutes, even with an extra defensive midfielder thrown on.. The rigidity of our formation normally allows teams set up well, and to keep us out due to the slowness of our build up, without the incisiveness of Fabregas. For me the selection of Benayoun was perhaps the key but catalyst was Walcott. Theo on several occasions including for his second goal was well in advance of RVP and there is no doubt that for long spells in the second 45 we were set up as a 442 with Theo playing as a second striker to devastating effect.

What was so impressive for me however was how the midfield 4 remaining so effectively adapted the formation to allow Walcott his freedom.  To me players shifted into a very flexible diamond. Rosicky was in the main at the fore of the diamond, Benayoun naturally tucked in slight from the left and either Song or Arteta held the base and the other the right dependent largely on who initially received the ball from the break down or from the defence. Having said that there were times when Benayoun stayed back and Song and Arteta were ahead of him and if you watch Theo’s second it was Rosicky who held back. Now as I say I somehow doubt this came from the training ground and it worked so well due to the maturity and experience of Arteta, Song, Rosicky and of course Benayoun on the day. The discipline of this flexible diamond allowed Walcott to play further up than he has this season, support RVP and most crucially utilise his pace more directly rather than in vain on the wing. We have to be honest and accept he could easily have had a hatrick and his finishing was lethal.”


Theo moved up beyond RVP to devasting effect. v Spurs Do it Arsene!

Steve Clarke and David Moyes have both demonstrated admirable so far this season how to both use a whole squad effectively and to change formations from game to game to suit the opposition. Moyes has primarily played 4411 with Fellaini just behind Jelavic, but he has changed this on occasion to a 4231 and also used a conventional 442 ,often in the second half using Anichebe or Mireles as a second striker. Similarly Clarke, always recognised as a top coach has been rotating 4 strikers in Long, Fortune, Lukaku and Odemwinge in various combinations with Gera as well on occasions and the set up is different almost weekly.  The table of course does not lie. Both West Brom and Everton have impressed so far and it is their manager’s ability to adapt tactics and team set up week to week that lie behind the success.

So never mind this give us our Arsenal back we need our old Arsene back and our Arsenal will follow. Play the opposition in front of us each week and set up the team accordingly. If we are playing Stoke, Sunderland, Norwich, Reading etc who are playing 442 play 442 because our 11 players will be better than theirs. We don’t need 3 in midfield against Charlie Adam and Glen Whelan, against Cattermole and Laarson nor against Jay Tabb and Mikele Leigertwood so why play 3 against them. No play 442 and let them worry about our attacking prowess. Also be prepared to be flexible in a game as we did against Spurs in February. Our 4231 can easily morph into a 442 with a diamond with Podolski or Walcott joining Giroud and the other dropping in either temporarily or permanently during a match. Trust the players Arsene and let them use their intelligence and for the love of God select the team and tactics  week to week and game to game not season to bloody season.

End of constructive rant


Until next time thanks for reading.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter –


You may also like...


  1. Pingback: Arsenal News
  2. I can only agree with you Dave. We have to have flexability, as you say we have intelligent players, who should be trusted to know what to do. Maybe that is the problem, the thought process that goes into playing different teams every week has been taken out of their hands. They have no fluidity because they have no freedom
    Of thought, no gut reaction. This cannot be good for any player, as you have already said, AW has to trust his players after all he picked them. Otherwise his stubbornness will be read a arrogance. Thanks Dave

    1. Sorry … but Arsene does not do flexibility. I don’t believe he ever has. Nor do I (and more important … ex Arsenal players) believe he has ever been … a tactician. He won lots early on when he grafted stars on to an existing back 5. Since he prematurely broke up the 2nd great team he has never looked like repeating. Unlike (say) ‘Arry who adapts a system to bring the best out of top players …. Arsene has a fixed formation into which players must fit – despite playing out of position. He has in fact ruined some (eg. Arshavin, Eboue) and failed to develop correctly others (Walcott, Chamakh, Denilson) How ? Because they have been played out of position or hardly at all. But hey … this intellectual genius takes no advice from anyone and is never wrong.

  3. Realy strong advice to arsene wenger..but will he change his tactics when he’s buzy doi bussiness n pleasing the board ..?? WE WANT OUR ARSENAL BACK.

  4. Seriously?? Inflexible? Intransigent? We play an incredibly fluid mix and do alter when the game demands it. We played 4 2 4 for a while against Reading and often end up with two at the back.
    I read this because you seemed to suggest you were going to be positive and sensible and yet it’s just more Arsene bashing isn’t it? Shan’t make the mistake again.

    1. You could not be more wrong and if you go back and read previous blogs I have never questioned Wenger’s position. I just want him to mix it up and change formnations

    2. I think the point is that Arsène of old was a lot more flexible and possibly less stubborn than the Arsène of today. He is still a great man but he seems less willing to adapt his tactics from game to game.

      I’m glad you mentioned Reading because when we went to 2 strikers we scored 6 goals. Clear proof that a 2 striker system makes us a lot more dangerous offensively than just 1 striker. The Arsène of old would use this formation more regularly rather than as a desperate tactic to overcome a humiliating 4 goal deficit to a lesser team.

      Arsène is still the man for us but he could do with being more like he was a few years back and I think it’s down to not having a friend in the boardroom who will tell him he’s being stubborn and blinkered like Dein used to do.

      All great leaders need support and Wenger isn’t getting it and that has given him dictatorial control over the team to his own detriment.

      If you mistake this as an anti-Arsène rant then you need your eyesight checking.

    3. Not inflexible / Not intransigent ? Hahahahah. So why has Wenger played so many out of position to suit his inflexible /intransigent system. Perhaps you think Arshavin is a left winger ? Ramsey is a right winger ? Arteta is a defensive midfielder ? Eboue was a wide right midfielder ? Walcott is never a fast, roving centre forward ? Manone and Fabianski are keepers (??) No, don’t even go there, your opinions are not worth reading.

      If we ever go 2 at the back … it is because (like at Reading) we are desperately chasing the game. Do you seriously think Wenger called it from the dug out … like move to Plan B or C ?? Hahahaha

      Do you not understand … every team in the whole world knows how to play against us … because we ALWAYS play the same. Repeat …. Wenger does not do flexible tactics.

      And I can tell you this. In house Wenger is considered … just like his external image …. completely obstinate. He will never admit he is wrong. But so might you and I if paid £7m (that’s right) per annum.

  5. Boycott

    I have said this on more than one board, they don’t listen and they don’t care what we say, they piss down our backs and tell us it is raining. If we continue to be scammed by this board and don’t make our voices heard when will it ever change???

    I know it is often said that we should stop spending money to boost share values, well we really should.
    Boycott a game entirely, leave the stands empty, it is the only weapon we as fans have and we should use it!
    Forums, online posts, petitions and the footballing community laughing at us make no difference to this board.

    The resounding sound of silence in an empty stadium might make them take notice but I doubt it.

    The drop in share prices caused by the worldwide news coverage that such an event would receive would have them spitting up their champagne and reaching for the phone…

    Our joint responsibility is more than supporting Arsenal, in this situation we need to man up and step up to make something happen to save the club from mediocrity.

    Are you a real Arsenal fan prepared to do something for the club or are you just gonna continue bitching and procrastinating?

    If you can grow some balls then let’s choose a date and BOYCOTT!

    I doubt there will be enough consensus to make it happen but I would like to put a date forward; Sat 24th November.

    Let’s get together and make something happen.
    Go now and re-post this and that date for a boycott, let’s see if this has legs, let’s see if you are real Arsenal fans, let’s work together to make our voice deafening by our silence and save our club.

  6. For the past 4 or 5 years I have been saying exactly what you have written above. Total inflexibility. I watch other managers talking to their bench, discussing tactics, bits of paper being pointed at, hands telling players what to do. Do we ever see Wenger doing that? Sometimes it’s necessary.

    Even Wenger’s normally brilliant scouting system is inflexible and goes for the one type of player. I’m of the belief that a couple of larger players would make a difference, we are too lightweight. A good BIG center forward alongside a goal poacher like Giroud would help. Plus a big Viera type in midfield.

    As for the defense, what’s happened. Koscielney only gets into his stride after a few games, Vermaelen has lost the plot and as far as a left back is concerned…. Gibbs is great when he’s not injured but we need a number 2 for his position.

    I don’t want this to sound ALL doom and gloom but the signs have been there for quite a few years now and many just say “In Arsene we Trust” well when is it time to withdraw that trust? It could be that we become so ‘average’ that we can’t get the players we need because they don’t want to join us!! God help us if we don’t get into the CL at the end of the season.

    Please Wenger, I’d love it if you would prove me wrong.

  7. Whilst I agree we do need flexibility, and Fergie is a great example of in game tactical subs (the 2-1 game last season at Emirates was a great example of this) you are wrong with one point.

    ‘Would Wenger have done what Fergie did yesterday? Change a formation at half time bringing on Hernandez and taking off Young and sticking Rooney at left midfield?’

    Yes, Milan away last season. Also if you think back to last season how many times he tinkered the roles that the midfield 3 played (eg Song pushing up into that CAM role)

    1. Don’t believe that was Wenger. Sometimes the players take it on their own backs to change. Sometimes it is obvious that it is needed. You never see Wenger changing things from the sidelines.

      1. It was commented on in post match interviews several times last year that it was a tactic from Wenger as Song was a different kind of option and due to his position there was a gap to exploit

  8. Your piece is intelligent, interesting, and spot on. I would like to add that there must be reasons why AW’s approach is as inflexible as you surmise – and the whole of Arsenal fandom agrees. To me, there are three thoughts to support his position. I would love for feedback. 1) He, admirably, aspires to the beautiful, attacking football played in the south of Spain having established this system at every age level at the club – would changing tactics week to week go against “playing the Arsenal way.” 2) His changing to a 4-2-3-1 from a 4-4-2 of yesteryear occurred at a moment in time that involved switching to the Emirates, the rise of Cesc, and relative dominance of talent we had relative to other teams in the league – we were usually top three in squad talent, no? That is no longer the case but I believe he doesn’t see that. He gives unconditional love and support to the players, in spite of some’s inability to repay him in the form of loyalty (RVP), playing time (Diaby), productivity (Rosicky, Arshavin), or incisive, inventive attacking technique (Ramsey). 3) All the players who left were the best at the club for the last several years. You have to wonder why it is the best players, the ones with the most drive for success, etc. I of course understand the money aspect, but I will close my comments with pointing out what Cesc said in the weeks after returning to Barcelona – “I’ve learned a lot tactically, personally…I know my position on the pitch a lot more. Before I was free to do whatever on the pitch at Arsenal, and I wasn’t tactically good…I was playing wherever I wanted, up and down. Here I have to work much more for the team, individually, and think about the team tactically.”

    This last point is my strongest. I do not believe that there is a lot of tactical teaching or whole team tactics taught at Arsenal. So, the individual technique aspired to at all levels of the club often fail to gel into an effective attacking and defending unit. I mean if one table doesn’t lie, what of several successive league tables from 2007 to now?

    Thanks for reading…A shrink

  9. I want all arsenal fan to understand dat our problem is not on d formatn but on d board inability or passion to win trophy

  10. I agree with you Dave, always using same formation is costing us lots of points and its boring as well. Wenger will surprise us with Ramsey on the right wing but never with new tactics and formations. Oppositions know exactly whats on offer from us and they are planning well against us…its eating my head

  11. Spot on Bosco…
    today perfectly proves that exact point,City looking clueless and limp looking like they were heading to a 1-0 defeat v’s Spuds, after an hour changed to 352, and even though it was an old dinosaur in Maicon coming on it proved it was the change of formation and not necessarily the wuality of the player in each position that turned it into a 2-1 victory..
    then likewise as Liverpoo set up in a 352 probably playing for the draw, conceeded and looked like they had no ideas,switched to a 442 in second half,and got their draw,but actually looked the better team overall, and noticably chelsea probably only created one clear cut chance in that 2nd half even though Pool had 1 defender lass than 1st half..
    you only had to look at our first game of the season, v’s sunderland,they were playing 1 up fromt and literally 1,nobody else wanted to cross our halfway line,but we stuck with the 1 up top,basically 1 man v’s 5 or 6,and basically gifted them a point thus dropping 2 ourselves,whereas 2 strikers couldve pulled defenders away thus leaving space for those behind to come in and score…
    one of the biggest problems for me is the current formation we play isn’t getting the best out of our most intelligent, and what should be our most dangerous player – Santi Cazorla, he has been shite in the last few weeks,and i dnot buy the shit that he’s tired or struggling to adapt,tired for trying to figure out the system maybe?
    just play him on the wing, where he has been playing for years,his deliveries and passing ability and scoring skills could actually give us our new Bobby Pires,on the Rmf or Lmf, with Arteta and Jack central, maybe Ox on left then we’d all of a sudden have the 4 strikers to rotate in Poldi,Giroud,Theo,Chamakh.. also plenty of cover for widw position’s – Theo,Andrei,Ox. and for the middle, Coq and Ramsey…
    it makes total sense, i think switching to the 442 or variant of it would seriouslt benefit
    1) Poldi – wouldn’t have to play as basically a left back
    2) Giroud – has looked much better with 2nd striker with, and with Santi supplying him, should thrive
    3) Chamakh – same as above
    4) Walcott – chance to play up front. Or with 2 in middle even his bad passes might find someone,and would be starting counter-attacks from much further up the pitch not from right back
    5) Cazorla – playing a role he’s more comfortable with,and he’s not afraid to deefend so Rmf/Lmf is perfect for him
    6) Jack – would have more space in front of him to either see passes or drive into himself..
    pphew , so after all that i agree, i think, haha….

    But my fear thats been brewing for a while now,is that no matter what system we play,we’ve got too many nice guys…
    Along with being intelligent and clever they seem to be nice..
    As johnny Giles calls them “Posh Boys”, “they have no Divil in them”,
    as he says all the great players, who learn on the street,always keep that street streak in them – the flash of “the Divil”, where as the “Posh Boy” comes onto the street with all the skills and speed, but is swept aside by the street hardened players.. anyway thats just another problem that i can see, but we’ll start with the formation change and maybe that will help them find their “Divil” again…

  12. Great article Dave, one of your best so far!

    I agree with everything you have discussed here.

    Unfortunately, I dont think we will get our old Arsene back 🙁

    His stubbornness won’t let him do it…if he’s convinced about something, very rarely can anything be done to change it.

  13. I really agree with this article.. I just hope that Arsene or somebody who knew him would give it a read to Arsene.. I want ℳ℘ old Arsene Wenger back.. Arsenal missed the glory!

  14. Here are some things which all Arsenal fans should read, so that they are able to watch the entire season without getting a heart attack. Let us not discuss the Fulham match because we all know it was a fair result (Although in my opinion Fulham played better football). Few things which I want all Arsenal fans to understand and accept:

    1. We are not going to win the Premier League (Although that is clear since the last few games but I see many people still hoping).

    2. We will crash out of the Champions League – either in Group stages or in Round of 16 (It actually does not matter).
    3. We are not going to win any other league cup.

    Our only aim for this season should be: Getting 3rd place in PL – If Arsenal achieves it I think it will be more than what they deserve (especially after seeing the way they have been playing in the past few months).

    It is important that Wenger now plans for the season with only this aim (i.e. finishing 3rd in Premier League) in mind. Here is what I think some of the major problems are:

    1. Too much passing going around. Note that much of this passing is aimless. Sometimes defenders (Per/Kos/Thomas) also pass in order to clear the ball in situations when all you are required to do is kick the ball out of the stadium. Most of the passes are on ground – Arsenal never try to play long ball or lofted pass. Passing along the ground might work against some teams but if someone parks the bus – which teams usually do against Arsenal – nothing happens. What I want to see – more passes through the air and less on the ground.

    2. Players seem to be too slow in their movements. This is also related to Arsenal’s obsession to pass the ball on the ground. Biggest culprit today was Ramsey and Arteta (it was an off day for him actually). Ramsey was simply horrible. When he got the ball – he could not think where to pass the ball – he kept the ball with him for too long and it was nicked by some Fulham player.

    3. Not making optimum use of left flank. Our left side is seriously screwed. Santos has been banned for not performing. Vermalaen is not able to come forward. Podolski is isolated. We are virtually useless whenever the ball is on the left side of the pitch.

    4. Players not making intelligent runs. So Arsenal wants to score their goals via passing – Well for that YOU NEED TO MAKE SMART RUNS! We somehow manage to get the ball to the opposition penalty box and then just do not know what do to – we aimlessly pass around until someone losses possession and off everybody runs to handle the counter attack.

    I am not angry because Arsenal has so many problems – I am angry because Wenger is doing NOTHING to solve these problems. Each and every match Wenger is playing with the same strategy and hoping to win – Wenger is waiting for our team to click. The Arsenal players do not seem to play with any kind of urgency. I was simply disgusted by the casual passing attitude of Ramsey and Coquelin today.

    I am just hoping Walcott stays with us this January. Also I would like to see Arshavin start in place of Podolski. The only issue with that is Arshavin is also bad in tracking back in case of a counter attack/helping out Santos. I want to Santos to start on the left and I want Arshavin to play too. Obviously playing these two could work while attacking but while defending we need to add one more person to help here. Why cannot we have a mid-field player help Arshavin protect the left flank? I am still trying out to figure the formation/strategy. The reason I want to play Santos is because he is good when he is attacking but when he loses out the ball he does not have the pace to track back. Also if you observe Santos while defending – he always lunges forward with his foot towards the opponent which has only 2 outcomes – Either Santos is successful to disrupt the opponent and get the ball OR the opponent gets past him easily (Santos cannot even get back!). Someone needs to tell Santos to stop sticking his leg forward and instead stick with the opponent.

  15. Wenger will not change.Don’t expect to see the Wenger of old,he is not coming back today,tomorrow or any other day.Its not only about tactics,he can’t motivate the players any more.They are not playing for the manager.Just look at Sagna’s body language,he is already gone.Wenger just needs to go, period!

  16. Fellow gooners,
    Totally agree wenger needs to set out a team dependent on who that team is!!
    I also add this below, what are the AFC fans views?

    Wenger may need to go upstairs, however i am 99% sure that its the board that is undermining Wenger, he has one arm behind his back when it comes to transfers, the board tie him down.Its the board that has to GO, Hill-wood is a arrogant etionan who like Kroenke who also does not understand what its to be a footy fan let alone AFC are pocketing the shares.Fans WE have to protest directly to the board by there feet not going to emirates and MAKE that distinction.
    Every AFC fans knows we need a wc striker, strong midfielder and centerback in January otherwise its another season gone,also we never have had our best 11 out Diaby is always injured its crazy, look at MU dare i say it, Rooney or RVP not scoring fucking little p comes on, i am sick to death the board ARE killing my beloved AFC not Arsene!!!!!!

  17. Great blog!!! As I see it for the past few weeks the team has been playing without confidence.This stems mainly from santos and now verms.We seem to have gone very negative.Backwards and sideways to pers.The left wing is non existent.We used to moan about us trying to pass the ball into the net but I don’t think we could do that now.Feel very sad!!!Cheers Bob….

  18. Many thanks for all the feedback and comments. The diverse nature of the comments is indicative of the division in our fan base. Great shame it has come to this but hard to see how it can improve without something changing.

  19. A highly commendable right up most especially when many have lost the motivation to write. As much as I bliv in our players and the coach to turn things around, one begins to wonder how soon that will happen considering the length of our current poor run. It’s amazing how Wenger will keep playing a player even when that player is obviously off form. This he will continue even when better players are on the bench until such player is injured or suspended. Asharvin and Theo are good example of this from last season and now Ramsey. This same inflexibility will still keep these players out even when they start making significant improvement in their play. Ramsey can do a job once in a while from the right side of our MF but not everytime. He was able to put a good shift against city but has been terrible in subsequent games. I think Wenger expected so much from these players and the present form of the team has taken him off guard. I still bliv the team will soon bounce back, but how good enough that will be will depend on our league position at the end of the season. Already, a familiar trend is in motion.

  20. Arsene is stubborn period, when giroud was at montpellier he wasn’t a lone striker played alongside this nigerian fella shld be (utaka) and secondly 1 thing I have come to realise is that whenever Wenger puts on his favourite long jacket arsenal we don’t do well. nb: (not making this a joke am serious) I understand that england is cold, “bt that jacket is a no no!” And get the tactics well… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, southern africa gooner out!!!

  21. OK, so continuing from our discussion on twitter…

    We sort of already play a 4-4-2. If you see how we defend, with two banks of four, and then Giroud – Cazorla up front. Cazorla is the second striker, it just happens to be that he is more of a midfielder than a forward and he is instructed to combine with the midfield more to help us keep possession and link up attack and defence.

    At Arsenal no.10s have been very important. Everything goes through them and they are the creative hub. It used to be Bergkamp, then Cesc, now Cazorla.

    There isn’t so much of a difference between 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 except that the second striker is slightly deeper and the wingers play higher up.

    You could put Podolski or Walcott in our formation and everyone would call it 4-4-2. The problem with that is that neither of them, or Giroud, or Chamakh, can play as a proper, Arsenal worthy, no.10. They are not technical enough or creative enough. They don’t have the vision needed for that role.

    With RvP in the team it was possible to pair him with another striker so he could play as a no.10, which he was capable of. Right now our best second striker is Cazorla, or Rosicky or Wilshere. Play them there.

    There have been calls for Walcott to play up front, and I don’t believe he can cut it there. The problem is his simple inability to hold onto the ball with his back to goal. Doesn’t have the strength or first touch to be able to hold it in tight areas.

    If you can have a proper second striker, I wouldn’t be against putting Cazorla on the wing, to give us more creativity out wide.

    I also agree that a bit of pace is needed in the team – without Gervinho and Walcott we are too slow.

    But, a change in formation wouldn’t fix our problems. Especially since we hardly play a rigid formation going forward. It is fluid with players exchanging positions now and then and making diagonal runs into other zones often. Our movement and passing isn’t good enough right now but that is hardly the fault of the formation.

    So in summary, yes if we had a striker who could play as a no.10 then it would be an option to go with 2 up front in a more open formation. But the difference wouldn’t be that great.

    And it shouldn’t be – as chopping and changing too much isn’t good for a creative, passing team. Football at the top level is so quick that you need to know instinctively where your teammates will be and the obvious downside of changing systems and personnel is that it adds that extra split second to every decision on the pitch.

    Man United have changed things around mainly because they have struggled to find the right system, to find defensive solidity and control in midfield, and to fit in their new signings. They have also survived some very poor displays thanks to fortunate red cards and some RvP brilliance. They seem to be settling, though, and with a 4-2-3-1 system with Rooney behind RvP.

    For us, the 2 strikers up front has only really worked when we are chasing the game with nothing to lose. Against Reading, it was more of a 4-2-4 as Wenger said, almost everyone was staying forward and no tracking back, with Reading sitting back more and more. We could afford the risk of a counter attack, but not in a EPL match at 0-0 we can’t.

    Has to be a system that offers more control, and more creativity from deep. Playing against parked buses is all about creativity from deeper positions, and runs from deeper positions, rather than putting on more strikers. Wenger started with Poldi, Gervinho, and Walcott in the opener against Sunderland, and regretted playing “3 strikers,” as we lacked creativity, with only Cazorla creating anything.
    In some situations you want pace, strength, direct movement and finishing that a striker can give you, but in other cases you want more players who can control the ball in tight areas and play accurate passes. I would say against parked buses the latter is more important than the former. With the plan B being to bring on the strikers and focus on crosses.

    Here is a rambling piece I wrote about this issue.

    1. We are not poles apart and I would agree that our system can be moire flexible but I don’t see it often enough

      1. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the follow.
        Appreciate good discussions.

        I agree that we are not poles apart. I think where we differ is that you would like to see more rotation/more changes, I am happy with keeping things the largely the same if they work.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *