Wenger on three at the back again and tactics

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Arsene Wenger spoke about using three centre-halves again, in the wake of Sunday’s 2-1 win over Man City at Wembley.

The stand-out performers on the day were the three men at the back, and the two wing-backs either side of them – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nacho Monreal – and as you’d expect the manager was quizzed about after the game.

Asked if he should have implemented the system sooner, he said, “Well, yes. I like your question, because it shows exactly what our job is.

“No matter what you do, even if you get it right at some stage, people say ‘Why didn’t you do it earlier?’

“It’s like the opposite is right, is wrong as well. If you get your starting line up wrong, you change it at half-time, people say ‘You see, he is a tactical magician!’ because he changed the team at half-time.

“But they forget that we got it wrong at the start! So you can always judge on both ways.

“I think what I did is just to give a bit more security to a team who conceded three goals in the last three away games, at West Brom, at Liverpool, at Crystal Palace and at some stage even to focus on something different for the players recreates some confidence.”

Asked if he thought his decision ‘brave’ at this point of the season, the 67 year old continued, “I don’t know. I’d have to look back.

“During the season I made some tough decisions. We have gone through a difficult period. I don’t know, but it’s my job to try to get it right.

“When it goes well, we are happy.”

Read today’s Arseblog: Arsenal 2-1 Man City: Gunners show mettle at last to reach the cup final

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31 Comments on "Wenger on three at the back again and tactics"

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Paul

Good he took the chance. It has improved the Ox, Gabs and Holdish.

VintageFuzz

Which Paul are you? 😀

canon 10000

Hey Paul should we assume that have you killed the other Paul in a hand-to-hand? If you haven’t listen – Arsenal fandom is big enough for 2 or even 3 Pauls.

OnlyGoodInPractice

but 4 is too many

joshhimself

Five is right out.

Anonymarse

Everybody should call themselves Paul

btw

Don’t mean to be obtuse, but why is this even an article? Wenger was asked about 3 at the back and he gave some non-answers that don’t really tell us anything except that Wenger gets defensive whenever a journalist questions his decisions.

poly

He is pointing out the fickle nature of the media

yaya san\'golo kante

Don’t mean to be obtuse, but why is this even a comment? No one asked you anything and you just gave some non-answers that don’t really tell us anything except that you probably don’t know what defensive means.

Tasmanian Jesus

Can easily happen when a person dont know the meaning of the word they would hate to be.

Dave

Don’t you just hate it when people say I don’t mean to be obtuse and then go and exactly that?! It’s like me saying I don’t mean to punch you and then turn around and punch you. Of course I meant and so did you!

clins

dont want to look like moaning after a win , but the question the journalist asked was relevant . fans have been asking for a change something in tactics for years . granted he did finally changed his tactics , but what a time to do it, we’re almost out of the top four and out of the champions league . if he was a good manager this change would’ve been introduced a long time ago. its looks more like , look i can change too to appease growing fan discontent . its a little bit too late for me . if anything it just reaffirms what the fans have been saying over the years about wenger being too stubborn to change.

Bouldy\'s bald spot

I thought Cambo was excellent at ring wing back in this new system. This formation either has brought a new confidence to the players or Wenger using a formation
that brings out each player’s strengths (i.e., Gabriel, Holding, chambo, etc.)

IamaGoober

I was super sceptical about the idea of Arsene deploying the new formation in a game of that magnitude. I didn’t really see it paying off for him. But I am super happy that it did. It would of been so devastating to see it, if he had tried it, yet City still managed to negate it and put us to the sword – because I think that would of been a really sad end to his Arsenal career.

I’ve always maintained the upmost respect for Arsene even though I still think he should go, but seeing him celebrate the way he did yesterday was such a great thing to see. It really disproves the whole ‘he’s on 8 million a year, he doesn’t care,’ talk that gets thrown around quite a lot these days now.

I just really hope the players have the bottle to show up at Wembley against Chelsea and go again. Because it would be the most Arsenal thing of all, to put in a great performance against City yet totally choke against Chelsea in the actual final – but that’s for another day.

I am just praying the players put in a shift until the end of the season and give Arsene an opportunity to finish his Arsenal career on a high.

If he wins the FA Cup by beating Chelsea, and rescues top 4 from this absolute mess of a season. I think it would be the best way for him to bow out and really solidify his legacy as a true great.

canon 10000

It still won’t be a great way to bow out. This is Wenger, not goddamn Pulis or Moyes. Wenger has had his worst season for us, there is no denying it – the 6-0s and the 8-2s were supposed to be exceptions …this year Arsenal have been dire when they needn’t have been. There is also no denying that very few people have had his back, fans, players, board, media, everyone. Then again… I accept that great managers have been fired despite doing more than what Wenger has over one season – Pellegrini, Del Bosque and Ancelotti come to mind. If we were Real Madrid, or PSG even, Wenger would have been gone in a blink.

But I love Wenger and I respect him. I am not convinced he has nothing more to give to Arsenal or to us as fans. If he stays you won’t hear me complain.

IamaGoober

Yeah – but This year has been really tough, but if it is the end of an era, I think the fans can accept the poor league and European campaigns etc.. yet still look back on Wengers time at Arsenal with fondness. But I think if he signs for a further two years and things get worse, or they repeat themselves again, I think that then will really tarnish what he has done for Arsenal.

He had all those years when there allegedly wasn’t the money to spend on the squad, so he had to work with those limited resources for 10 years. So he had kind of earned the opportunity to have a real crack at it from 2013 onwards (when those financial restrictions loosened). But since then till now, we’ve spent a fair bit of money over that time and unfortunately he still hasn’t been able to win the league. Not through lack of effort, but probably because he’s a bit out dated and the game has passed him by, but there is no shame in that. That’s life. Especially in professional sport. But at least he tried, and the club rightly gave him the opportunity to try and recreate the glory days of 03′

So I think he should acknowledge the fact that he gave it his best efforts, accept that in order for the fruits of his labour to really be achieved he needs to use (the potential) FA cup win as an opportunity to move on and let another younger more in touch manager, almost a version of his former self take the club forward. As he has done all that he can do now.

wizardry

The best thing about this formation is we are able to play two CMs who are relatively ok at defending. And considering most of our players fit this category, it’s really a step in the right direction.

canon 10000

I get the feeling it is temporary. I’d be surprised to see it in regular use next season. It is more than working now though. Results, confidence and smiles all around. TBH I wish we fix the midfield once and for all over the summer regardless of what the formation/manager/Brexit situation is. Last night it was obvious what difference Busquets and Casemiro make to their gloriously attack-minded teams…

wizardry

How about Niles? He looks more and more ready to step up every time he plays. Let’s see how he performs in the pre-season evaluate our options. My biggest concern is the RB position (sell two, buy one) and the curious case of Danny Welbeck. He’s not a good winger and he’s not a great striker. I feel like he’s stopped developing. We Say Theo is shit but he’s got a century of goals, and many, many assists, including some very important ones (while being injury prone).

canon 10000

Echoing my thoughts! Niles has a serenity about him just like Holding. I also am hoping that Coq can step up and learn to be more sensible in possession – Arsenal coaches are great at grooming attack-minded midfielders and it’s not like Coq is too old. He might never be Kante but he can surely improve on his current abilities. At RB, could it be that Chambers might be competition to Bellerin next season? Surely he’s too good to go on loan again? Welbeck and Theo (and Perez too) are both good but they are the sort of players who thrive when good things are happening around them rather than be the lone difference making individual a la Hazard or Sanchez.

Arsepedant

I imagine it will be Chambers competing with Hector next season and Debuchy will be playing for FC Nobody in Narnia.

Indian Gooner

I think he has got to stick with these three at the back even after Mustafi..returns back..
I don’t think he has done anything great to just walk back straight into the starting eleven.
Both Gabriel and Holding have been immense ever since..we started playing three at the back and I say stick with it. Let Mustafi work his way back into this team if he wants to.
Nothing against Mustafi.. but these three at the back are just doing so fine.

Al Gilmore

People get hung up on formations but to me it’s more about positions in possession and out of possession.

In the old 3 at the back sweeper system you had 2 markers and a spare man. That spare man stepped into defensive midfield in possession to make the extra midfield but out of possession covered the markers.

But in essence when you play with 2 CBs you really need a DM who does pretty much the same job as the old sweeper did except he sweeps in front of the CBs not behind them. And we had Coquelin doing that job superbly for a good while and then something caused him to start thinking he was better than “a lowly DM” and started getting ahead of play instead of always having play in front of him.

And even yesterday, as gritty a performance as it was, Citeh had 4 or 5 clear chances and 2 or 3 came straight through our midfield because we don’t have 1 MF who instinctively stays goalside. Even when we were 2-1 up and should have been defending with 9 men and attacking with Ozil/Welbeck on the break, we didn’t all get goalside and no one on the pitch recognised that their biggest threat was coming from 1-2s between DeBruyne and Toure. Neither Ramsey or Xhaka ever stood on either of those players to cut out supply. They got ahead of play and then ran in between the two as the ball got played around them.

We will never won big matches until we find a genuinely defensively sound DM. I have said many times that when people talk about the Invincibles and how we dont have a Bergkamp or Henry or Vieira or Pires any more….i would say, what we really miss is a Gilberto. We haven’t had a genuine Gilberto type midfielder since he left. And it is why we don’t win big matches.

And I don’t see 3 or 4 at the back making any difference long term until we find that piece of the puzzle. Because there isn’t a defence in the world that will keep clean sheets against good teams with world class players constantly running at them 1v1 through midfield.

steve

The 19 yr old from Napoli, Amadou Diawara reminds me so much of Gilberto in the way that he plays, closest I’ve seen for a good while.

canon 10000

I disagree about Coq. He was forced to do a job in the absence of Santi, at a time when Xhaka was trying his best to add to his expansive red and yellow card collection. He is still our best DM but the one with the most limited ball skills. I hope he can adapt and improve further.

kaius

Coquelin’s our best DM because he’s our only DM. He’s not been able to maintain his performance level through changes of partner and formation. That flaw has cost us dearly, but I don’t blame him. He was being picked despite being miles behind the archetype of an Arsenal defensive midfielder.

One major difference between him and Vieira, Gilberto, Cesc and even Alex Song is that he offers no attacking threat, which is why it was mistake for Wenger to ask him to play high up the pitch to help our attacking players to press. You don’t want your DM doing that and leaving his defenders and our central midfield area exposed, especially when he’s not skilled enough to capitalise on winning the ball high up the pitch by providing key passes, assists or shots on target.

So Xhaka often found himself exposed, and got several shocking refereeing decisions. He did a good job positionally against Yaya Toure yesterday, even though Giroud or Ramsey could have helped him out more instead of giving Yaya time to survey the whole field and pick out runners.

Al Gilmore’s only saying what we all know – until we find an athletic, technical, dominant defensive midfielder we’ll always be on the back foot in these big games. Coquelin is not that player.

canon 10000

Let me admit that I am rather fond of the underdog Coquelin and maybe that’s why I find it hard to dismiss him. 🙂 He came out of nowhere when we were dying for a swift, tackling midfielder. If he could do a job then when everyone thought he wasn’t cut out for it maybe he can surprise us still. All players evolve and at different speeds. I am not averse to an upgrade, however, if the club chooses to go down that route.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Wenger is right on this. Commentators and pundits just have to criticize no matter what their own point of view was before the game. Most of them said Xhaka was a good signing at the beginning of the season. Heard one of them say a couple of weeks ago Xhaka was the worst signing in PL history.

Bergkamp\'s Buttcheeks
Bergkamp\'s Buttcheeks

Guess they forgot about Soldado

Dan Hunter

Xhaka has nothing on Eric Djemba Djemba. Man Utd had some of the worst signings in history – Taibi, Veron, Anderson, Kleberson, Falcao, Di Maria, Bebe, Bosnich… the list is endless

Jack Chatterjee

I just hope next season the team is capable of playing a few different set-ups. And hope we change the set up based on the oppositions strengths and weaknesses

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