Wenger: We’ll start with three at the back

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Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will continue to deploy three centre-backs when the new season starts in August.

The Gunners implemented a 3-4-3 system for the first time in 20 years during a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on 17 April and maintained it during a strong end to the season that included 10 wins in 11 games and ultimately an FA Cup triumph.

“We’ll test many systems,” said Wenger when asked about his tactical planning for the season ahead.

“At the moment, in pre-season, we are in the continuity of the end of last season. In some games, we will play with four at the back and some with three, but at the start of the season we will certainly play with three.”

With Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding still on holiday, the Gunners will rely on Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal and youngster Krystian Bielik for the friendlies with Sydney FC, Sydney Wanderers, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. Width will be provided by Sead Kolasinac and Cohen Bramall.

The boss also touched on his aims for the season, making clear that he’s hoping Arsenal will challenge in all competitions, including the Europa League.

“The goal is simple: to win the next game and win every single game. The Premier League today is highly competitive, there are six or seven teams who can win trophies and every single trophy is very difficult to win.

“We want to fight for the Premier League, we want to fight again for the FA Cup and we play in the Europa League and we want to win that. We have to prepare well to do that. We finished last season well, we won 10 of the last 11 games and we want to continue that and start in a very strong way.”

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37 Comments on "Wenger: We’ll start with three at the back"

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Del boy

3 is the magic number

King 14enry

Hope fully a full season of 3 at the back = 3 trophies. Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup please and thank you.

PeteyB

I’ll be interested to see how good Cohen Bramall turns out to be. With the arrival of the new fellow with the difficult name at left back I wonder if there is a little thought to keep Nacho man permanently in that left of the 3 position. New guy in the wingback role with Bramall (who as far as I hear is also lightning quick) as back up. Of course we’re not short of proper CBs but Nacho looked really good there.
Whatever the case it’s grand to have options. And all the best to Mr Gibbs who’s time surely is up.

bfollinprm

Arsene is on record as saying he sees Nacho as a LCB now (though in a 4-3-3 he’s certainly a LB). He probably partially said that because he wants to promise both Nacho and Kolasinac game time, but it’s also sensible evolution for an aging wide player with a ton of positional smarts.

My wig smells cheesy

Yes, time to big up gibbsie. Always a pro for us and Avery decent man. All the best wherever you go. True gooner

David C

don’t forget the Charity Shield! Jose tells me that’s a real trophy now!!!

Paul

Seemed to work pretty well last season.

Philip

I think it also reflects the hope for one more savvy, dribbling midfielder. Without a Santi, we are three.

Me So Hornsey

Well I’m glad he wants to start in a very strong way. I can’t actually remember what that feels like.

clins

yeah well….we hear this at the start of every season. i’ll believe once i see the results

ben

I’m glad we are taking the Europa League seriously. All silverware is welcome

Anonymarse

Better chance of winning that one

Gonzogunner

Good news. The type of personnel we have and the make up of our squad is suited more to a back three. A back four is just too risky with a midfield lacking cohesion.

Davey

The results at the end of the season with a back three wouldn’t have continued. Just look at the ‘By The Numbers’ about it. The defence was posting almost identical stats, just the keeper was making more saves. We were creating more, however.

It’s just like at the start of last season when we were converting at an unusually high level. An anomaly.

Ooooh Santi Cazoooorla
Ooooh Santi Cazoooorla

Although the stats might be there to reflect that, it doesn’t say about how a 3rd CB may of helped with those extra saves. Sam Allardyce said (after smashing us 3-0) that our lb and rb always push on like wing backs which leaves the 2 CB exposed. Having a 3rd leaves us less exposed and what the stats don’t show is where that 3rd centre back may of put off that striker enough for his shot to be comfortable for our keeper, or he has to check back onto his wrong foot and shoot because the 3rd CB is there. I’m all for it and hope we can see 1 or even 2 young CB’s come through to take a permenant spot in the future if good enough (Holding/Chambers).

Here is what Sam Allardyce actually said by the way. He might be a pie eating fat gravy drinking nob, but he was spot on in his tactics. -“Then it was to use the ball and move it into the spaces behind the full-backs or up to Christian Benteke as quickly as we could.

“The weaknesses with Arsenal have been defensively. They leave Gabriel and Mustafi really exposed. Monreal and Bellerin play like right and left wingers. The wingers come inside with the centre-forward and they’re just left on their own.

“If you can get at them quickly through midfield and wide areas or off Christian [Benteke] you can get in the opposition’s box. You can get chances.

Davey

Actually they do consider that. The stats look at expected goals conceded – which takes into consideration where the shot was taken from.

But go on living in your bubble as we all were at the start of last season when our scored goals were way above our expected scored goals.

We all know how that went.

Matt

Reserve team for the Europa Cup please Arsene. At least until we make the semis and the quadruple is in sight

Baz00r

He needs to decide his back 3 and stick with it during pre-season so the guys form a bit of cohesion. If we can start the season with a few clean sheets it would be a great confidence boost. I think our attack this year should hopefully sort itself out, scoring goals has never really been our problem of recent years.

I wouldn’t mind if he started with a back three of Holding/Merte/Kos. I think three at the back really suits Merte. Swap him and Mustafi whenever required.

TexasGooner6

He can’t. Mustafi, Holding and Chambers are on rest. Gabriel is healing from his knee injury. So right now you have Per, Kos and Nacho. Don’t believe that is the starting 3, week in week out. I do believe the team can continue working on the formation and get more crisp in their understanding of placement, responsibilities, etc…

nelson

and whatever back 3 we play v leicester will have to be without kos as he is suspended.

I personally would go for chambers mertesacker and holding and if i had to switch id go mustafi over mertesacker

Rook

We seems to forget that we ll win our first silverware on the 6th of August, sad Kos ll miss the match.

baz00r

How many games in Kos suspended for? I didn’t realize that the community shield constituted a competitive fixture? meaning he would play?

Martin

The Community Shield is not considered as a competitive games so Kos will miss first 2 Premier games

Martin

He could play as it’s not considered a competitive match so ban doesn’t apply

Bould\'s Eyeliner

You mean, mustafi, mertesacker, holding.

Onaya Akaranga

Mention to me the probably squad that will be playing next season at the start in August first eleven

Saurabh

It would be fun to see 3 sets of defenders for this season

Kos-mustafi- will be there for all the important matches and the third being holding/monreal/sead any of the other defenders suited to the match.
(Sead at the back,if we get lemar and he plays on left)
Per-gab-chambers probably for not so tough matches in Fa and Europa

Chambers-per/gab/sheaf-beilik for EPL cup.
Everyone would get enough game time
Kos can rest his heels and per would get to help the youngsters improve.

This is considering Gibbs, debuchy, jenko are sold/released.

Ben

I would actually have faith going into every big game away from home with 3 at the back – safety in numbers and all that. Not saying we’d win every game, just that I’d be more confident it wouldn’t be a mauling. The debate is who the 3 cb’s are.. Would love to keep Holding in, and Nacho, but Nacho makes a terrific wing back, but then I’d like to see Kolosinac get a gig. A real headache for Arsene!

bfollinprm

Can Bramall play on the right?

IamsterdamGooner

I actually hate you Cohen Bramall!!!😡

John Lukic

wait, what? Why?

Cornelius P. Snuffington III
Cornelius P. Snuffington III

I doubt we’ll get an explanation but I really wish we would. So personal, there must be a story here.

Domi

Translation:’I am not innovative/ brave enough to try that myself but seeing that Chelski won the league with 3 at the back, and me trying that out toooooo late when we lost any chance at the title, I saw that it works so I will keep on doing it as with any other tactical change I stumbled on in the past’. (see Coq/Cazorla axis etc.).

When Chelski changes to 6 at the back or city change to 2-8-0, our genius manager will then try that as well, sometime in April ’18.

arsepedant

Yawn.

Santori

Well can’t blame him. Its been working well.

But I do like to see us have some tactical flexibility and be able to switch to 4-2-3-1. That will entail fixing some midfield issues with an additional body able to hold the ball better.

Likely next season :

………………………………..Lacazette/Giroud/Welbeck………………………………
………………..Ozil/Iwobi………………………………….Alexis/Walcott……………..
……………………….Granit/(new player)…..Ramsey/Coquelin……………………..
Kolasinac/Monreal……………………………………………………….Bellerin/The Ox
……………….Koscielny/(Gabriel)…..Mustafi/Per….Holding/Chambers…………..
………………………………..Cech/Ospina/Martinez……………………………………

Santi getting fir will be the bonus. likely Elneny on the periphery covering for Santi but I’d much prefer Jack if anything (then again fitness)

IF we do go to a 4-2-3-1, who we can bring in in midfield will be key :

…………………………………….Giroud/Welbeck……………………………………..
Alexis/The Ox………………………Ozil/Iwobi……………………Lacazette/Walcott
……………………..Granit/Coquelin………(New Player)/Ramsey………………….
Kolasinac/Monreal…………………………………………………..Bellerin/Chambers
………………………Koscielny/Holding….Mustafi/Per………………………………..
……………………………………..Cech/Ospina…………………………………………

Gabriel and Santi recuperating.

I think it will give us another option to break teams down but the midfield addition will be key. We miss the nous and technical ball retention ability of Santi for two seasons now.

Santori

Bramall has a potential slot in a season or so with Monreal likely stepping down.

Still too early to tell if he will step up but there is promise there.

Bielik is another to keep an eye on with Koscielny also aging (per likely gone after this season into Academy stalwart)

Maitland- Niles I like but where? Personally prefer him to Elneny but Elneny is peripheral even at this point IF (and we should) add another mid to compensate for no Santi for two seasons now.

The Jeff is out injured. He’s a natural player and could also come into factor although Nketiah is also pushing now.

Interesting times as always at the Arsenal.

Jacob

Personally this is the best news from his press conference.

With the interest in Lemar I was slightly worried we may be looking at a return to a 4-2-3-1, as Lemar doesn’t really fit into our current formation without dislodging either Sanchez or Ozil (I actually don’t think it’s impossible that he could be a better option, and natural successor, to Ozil over the course of a season in that position). Really glad to hear that this we’re gonna stick with the formula that did us so well last year.

Nothing wrong with 4-2-3-1, but Ramsey and Xhaka aren’t good enough defensively for it, not yet. Ramsey at his best is very good defensively and can replace Coquelin as the energetic, high presser that our midfield needs. He, Alexis and Laca will all effectively press opposition defenders, and I remember in his best season (13-14) he was leading THE LEAGUE in tackles by Christmas. But he can only do this when he’s fit, and although its reassuring to see him get a full pre-season under his belt, we all know his record. Xhaka was good positionally but a little suspect in one-on-ones defensively last year, though I expect this to improve. The worry we all have is if one or both get injured/suspended. I’d love to think the Ox could slot it when needed and start all Europa/Cup games in CM (you’d assume this is the least we’d offer in terms of reassurances as part of his contract) but is he actually good enough in CM? If not we should be trying to flog and replace him. Its strange how congested that area of the pitch is and yet we all still worry about the quality in the position.

I’m personally quite excited for Europa as we do have a few squad players who have something to prove on a Thursday night. The thought of Chambers, Mertesacker, maybe Bielik, maybe even Bramall, The Ox, Wilshire, Walcott, Elneny, Welbeck, Giroud, all using those games to force their way into the team could be really exciting.

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