Is Wenger in a Fix?

August 13, 2010

Arsenal FC has not won any silverware since the FA cup of 2005, and Wenger will be hoping that this season the boys deliver something. With plenty of options available up front and in midfield, Wenger will be in a fix and have difficulty in selection of team and formation. Though many of Arsenal failures are due to individual lapses of concentration and errors, still the right formation and team selection can do wonders.

4-3-3 Formation:

The first option is to stick with the 4-3-3 formation. Last season Arsenal used the formation to greater effect. It was very pleasing to watch and they scored plenty of goals in the first half, though some defensive deficiencies were present.

Pros:  Upfront in the role of a lone striker, Van Persie excelled last season till he was injured. Even Bendtner played better as a lone striker than when on the wings. Chamakh, we have seen also is effective as a centre forward. With this formation, Arshavin, Rosicky, Nasri and Walcott have more room to play. It also gives a freer roaming role to Fabregas and it brought out the best in him last season. The full backs also come more into play and as a result more scoring opportunities are created. Players like Wilshere, Frimpong and Diaby will excel in this formation.

Cons:  If we are to keep this formation than one of Chamakh and Van Persie would have to be played out of position if both are employed at the same time. Nasri is also played out of position on the wings. We saw what he can do in the central role last season in the match against Porto in Champions League. This also leaves some very wide gaps in midfield and if the team loses the ball upfront, swift counter attacks are very damaging as happened in the matches against Manutd and Chelsea last season. The defensive midfielder needs to be on his heels all the time to protect the defence as margin of error is very less and a slight mistake can be devastating.

4-2-2 Formation:

The second option is to go back to 4-2-2 formation.

Pros:  With Chamakh and Van Persie teaming up in front, we are sure to see plenty of goals. Chamakh can hold the ball well and if deployed just behind Van Persie the effect can be lethal. It makes the midfield more packed up and the counter attacks can be nullified more easily.

Cons:  With this formation, Wenger will have hard time in selecting the midfield. Fabregas won’t have the freedom to move freely as he would need to support the defence as well. Players like Diaby, Denilson and Wilshere will have to be played more to have a balance between attack and defence and as a result Fabregas would have to be played out of position on the right. The wider players will also need to be constantly on the alert.


I think that we should keep the 4-3-3 formation and play a lone striker and if Van Persie and Chamakh both play, Van Persie can be utilized on the wings. In midfield, two should be stationed behind Fabregas or anyone played in the playmaker role for shielding the defenders so that the playmaker has freedom of play. Two defensive midfielders would let the wingers to have more opportunity to come infield and the full backs would provide the necessary width. For this  formation to work better than last season, Arsenal will need to press and defend as a team more efficiently.

Whatever Wenger chooses, he would need to quickly find the right formation and balance for any chance to deliver a trophy this season.