Wenger – Once a Trendsetter himself but now a Follower of Football Fashion

Arsene Wenger in the last week is finally following the football fashion where once he set it by becoming the 17th Premier League manager to play a 3 at the back system in 2016/17. This made me think of a series of 4 articles I write on my old site in the summer of 2015 in which I looked at how Wenger could change the teams fortunes without breaking the bank in the transfer market. At the time I had no idea that by signing only Petr Cech, he was actually going to have to play with the same outfield deck.

One of the systems I looked at was 343 or 3421 and without changing any words this is the article from 16 June 2015.  In light of the past 2 games in makes an good read today, as does the previous blog linked in the site also on a back 3 formation…………..

Arsenal’s most attacking formation possible set for 2015/16? – Hold on to your seats!!

A Formation to suit Super Jack?

Spicing up the tank without breaking the bank – Part 3

Welcome back to my light-hearted musings on how Arsenal might improve by using variation and surprise rather than by spending this summer. To reiterate this is not because I am against new additions or buying new players but more because I believe in the existing players, some of whom might step up in the new season or in an alternative set up, just as Bellerin and Coquelin did last campaign and Ramsey did the one before that.

My next team formation is another variation on the back 3 system addressed in Part 2. However, this differs quite significantly to the 352 I outlined in Part 2. This system is for me the one that for a period gave Liverpool a rich vein of form mid 14/15 and it has two major advantages for Arsenal. I should say I believe this team structure appropriate to change a game more often than to start one but it could still work. It reminds me a bit of the old Wenger when we were chasing a game, particularly in Europe and he would end up with four strikers on the pitch.

The set-up is really 3421 and it can easily be operated without either traditional fullbacks or even wing-backs if the wide men in the four have good engines and work ethics.  The further advantage for this and why it might be seen as a game chasing formation is that it allows the three players furthest forward to have little defensive responsibility.

Laurent Sweeps


The back three would again be two of the four that are not Koscielny who would be stay deepest as sweeper. Give the additional solidity required I would go with Per or Chambers with Gabriel, although Monreal’s left foot is tempting. It would be interesting to see if Gabriel could operate comfortably on the left of Mertesacker.

The middle four requires two sitting centrally and as I am writing this after the England game, I would be tempted to give Jack the nod to sit with Coquelin. The joy of this system is that it allows Wenger to play all four of his current CM’s should he wish to with perhaps Santi on the left of the four and Ramsey on the right. You could also have Santi alongside Coquelin with Jack on this natural left foot.

Jack starred for his country in June 2015

However, given that this is a hugely attacking formation I would leave Le Coq out in my first choice for openers and go with Ox, Jack, Santi and Ramsey, but would but would be happy with Coq of course.  It is a slight risk having Ox on the left but hey Bobby Pires rarely used his left foot and Jack and Santi would be so assured and comfortable receiving the ball from the defence and Ramsey and Alex have such good stamina.

It is worth noting that Debuchy, Bellerin or Gibbs could equally play the wide roles in the 4 but this set up is less about width and crossing and more about swift counter, directness, pass and incisive passing.

The Dynamic due operating off the striker – Wow!


Fluid in front 3

That leaves three attacking berths with two playing just off the main striker. This would be Alexis and Ozil playing just off Welbeck or Theo which if I am honest would scare any defence in Europe. When it did work for Liverpool, it was the pace and trickery of Sterling/Couthino or the vision of Lallana just off Sturridge and it worked. Liverpool’s downfall was inferior defenders and midfielders in the system not the system itself. Having said that Alexis and Ozil are better than any of the LFC combo’s in my book although Walcott/Welbeck over Sturridge is yet to be proven.

Have you own go at the combinations with this one because they are almost limit less and even as I finalise my 11 I am far from certain, so I have added one/two variables.

So many possibles!!

Risky and exciting and as I say a fabulous formation to switch to in game of just prior to KO to surprise the opposition.

Interesting huh?

Time moves on and players change but a good theory in 2015 is proving potentially a good theory in 2017. Or at the very least Wenger know he has it in his armory and can select the system game to game

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