So as we finally heard the news many Arsenal fans have been longing to hear, Arsene Wenger is leaving, with it, it brings sadness but also excitement of what next and especially who next?
In this series of articles I look at some of the favourites, I look into the tactics and players they may fit into the Arsenal side should they join Arsenal.
The first part we look at the most talked about guy regarding the Arsenal job…Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus, he’s won league doubles at Juventus and won the last league title for Milan, just to name a few achievements.
A man who isn’t one to stay around for long having not been in a job longer than his current stay of 3 years and 8 months at Juventus, with reports this being his last season at the Turin giants. This fiery, 50 year old, Livorno native, will be a wake up call for any lazy Arsenal player who doesn’t put in the work on the training ground, a coach famed in Turin for blow ups at players if they make mistakes or fail to implement the tactics he set out for them. Allegri drills his players within an inch of their lives, making sure every player knows exactly what to do and where to do it.
Not viewed as an out and out attacking coach like some of the other names on the list, but he is not a defensive coach either…he’s a nice all rounder I’d say. Benefiting from inheriting and then enhancing one of the best defensive groups of the current generation, with players such as Buffon, Chiellini, Barzagli, Lichtsteiner and until recently Bonucci. Like many coaches Allegri has made the foundation of his success on a great defence which then gives the players in attacking areas the license to score.
When Allegri took over at Juventus he kept the system that wasn’t broken the trusty 5 3 2 of Antonio Conte, but in recent seasons he’s adopted a more solid back four back-line with the 4 2 3 1.
As you can see here in the picture he plays two sitting defensive midfielders in front of the defence, to give license to other attackers to do damage. Also a feature is to have a hard working target man on the flank in the shape of Mandzukic, he works tirelessly for the team defensively but also providing a player to win and keep the ball in the final third as well as score the odd goal.
The attacking 4 players work hard to press, to hurry the opposing team, so they can win the ball higher up, but they do this job exclusively most of the time as the rest of the team are happy to not press and stay holding their defensive shape.
Offensively the plan is to have wing backs supporting and over load the final third with other players making runs into the box and central midfielders lurking outside the box to build play or shoot.
When defending as you see in the second picture the wide attacking midfielders drop back to create almost a defensive back 8 unit or two lines of 4, it’s very hard to break down usually although as with most 4 4 2 formations, can be outnumbered centrally by teams that play 3 in the middle of the park.
In using the more defensive and potentially fluid 5 3 2 formation, Allegri sacrifices the creative craft of players like Douglas Costa, Dybala, to go for a more hard working, athletic overall starting 11.
In the picture you see Dybala move up to partner Higuian as a front 2, although the one difference at Arsenal would be Aubameyang and Lacazette filling those two roles instead of say an Ozil or Mkhitaryan supporting Lacazette etc.
For this formation to work as previously stated you need all the players to be running hard, constantly working either in defence or attack. The defensive back 3 start the attack moving the ball around, the wing backs change positions quickly, they can be attacking wingers in the final third just as quickly as they can be full backs. The most important part of the team is 3 man midfield who like the full backs hold many responsibilities, defending and screening the defence as well as trying to support the hard working front 2.
It’s potentially a big summer of change at Juventus with Allegri possibly leaving as well as Legendary goalkeeper Gigi Buffon likely retiring. Other players with uncertain futures are centre back Giorgio Chiellini whose contract runs out at the end of June and tireless midfielder Sami Khedira, who has a year left on his contract and is very likely to leave also, both would be perfect additions to the Arsenal regular 11. Another player heavily linked with Arsenal is Bernd Leno who will fill a problem position behind the sticks, while also replacing the expected David Ospina.
Recently linked Radja Nainggolan of Roma would be a player that is everything Arsenal having been crying out for in midfield, he’s fiery, he’s hard working and he might snap Dele Ali’s neck if he dabs in front of him, which is worth signing him for that reason alone in my books, he can play anywhere in central midfield be that as a destroyer or creator.
I got into football as a kid watching Italian football in the afternoons and ever since I’ve been hooked on tactics and the continental side of the game. I’ve written about Italian football in the past among other things but now it’s time to write about, the embodiment of how I see the beautiful game, Arsenal. Hopefully writing things and opinions about the game you haven’t seen before, I like a bit of a joke too.