Wenger hints at 4-4-2 to accommodate new boys

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Arsene Wenger has hinted that Arsenal could play in a 4-4-2 formation next season with Lukas Podolski leading the line alongside Olivier Giroud.

Arsenal fans have speculated all summer as to how the new recruits might fit into last season’s 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 formation; many assuming the left-footed German will start in a wide position while the Frenchman takes over from Robin van Persie in the centre.

Given both players have stayed in London to work on their fitness it looks as though Arsene Wenger won’t have a chance to experiment until the friendly with Cologne on August 12. Nevertheless, the boss hasn’t been shy about outlining his vision for a revamped frontline.

“I think Podolski will play more central for us,” he said in Beijing.

“Giroud is a different target man who would be more the player in a 4-4-2.

“He knocks the ball down, protects the ball well, makes play for his partners, and is a very intelligent player who has great physique, as well as being very strong in the air.”

It has been quite some time since Arsenal regularly played in a 4-4-2 formation. Last seen in the Premier League during the final season at Highbury, it was gradually phased out in favour of 4-5-1 during the run to the Champions League final in 2006.

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Thanks to @SiuFay for transcribing the quotes from a friend’s recording of the event where Wenger was speaking. Well worth a follow while the team are on tour in Asia.

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Dr Baptiste

It was the formation we played while winning lots of domestic trophies, so it may still do well. 4-3-3 and 4-5-1 are fine in the champions league where most European teams play with those formations, but a change back to our winning formation may be a good idea

Anon

The EPL doesn’t have as little non 4-4-2 variants as you’d think. Anyway, why 4-4-2 vs 4-4-2 is easy and exciting for a dominant side is that it’s practically a straight 1v1 match between the corresponding positions of each team. This is why more teams are starting to implement 4-5-1 for midfield dominance, 4-3-3, 4-3-2-1, etc. Martinez implemented a 3-4-3 near the end of last season that had 3 (THREE) players close down one of our flanks when we lost to Wigan, rendering Theo (iirc) completely useless. It’s all about numbers and opportunism. 4-4-2 works on some occasions of course,… Read more »

glory hunter

Not sure we have the right midfield personnel for a 4-4-2;
1st choice midfield duo with a fit squad would probably be Song + Wilshere!

But what about Arteta, Coq, Diaby, Rosicky, Frimpong, The Ox ??

I’ll leave it to Arsene to sort that dilemma out 🙂

Dr Baptiste

I’d go with Arteta and Song as it would be leaning towards the Petit/Vieira style partnership. The Ox and play out wide like and cut in like Bobby P, while Gervinho and (if he’s still here) Walcott can be our Overmars/Freddie.

Then you rotate maximum one or two players to keep continuity/partnerships going and to match the team we are playing.

Fergie the Gooner

I think we just need to be a bit more flexible. It’s seemed pretty obvious in recent seasons that we don’t have a Plan B and in some of the more deperate games we’ve ended up throwing on as many strikers as possible, which has appeared pretty unorganised. I have no problem with 4-5-1 as long as it wins games, but no formation works for every opposition. We just need to have a strategy we can switch to for the occasions when it doesn’t work and if that’s 4-4-2 then I’m happy with that.

Dick Swiveller

I think it is more an allusion to it being a trick we have in our toolbox, something we can use with the players we now have. Wenger said words to that effect when we played 4-4-2 in the CC last year, he’s happy to switch formations when we have the players, I think Chamakh played in that game too so read into that all you want…

VengaVamosVale!

A flat bank of 4 is unlikely, but perhaps a midfield diamond with Song at the base, Wilshere alongside Arteta and Diaby slightly more advanced.

Bob

I think that could be a really good formation for us. Much is made of the width that it doesn’t give, but in games which we are expected to dominate in terms of possession, having two strikers in and around the box, 4 midfielders passing the opposition out of shape, and overlapping fullbacks for with, in addition to the natural fluidity of our play, then it could be a decent option (massive sentence! sorry ;)).

adi

Santos has been playing at LW in pre-season. A gibbs-santos left wing, Sagna/coq/jenks-Ox/Cazorla (IF he comes) RW, Song, Arteta, Jack, Abou, Coq, Ramsey at cm. Arteta also played at LM for everton in his last season there. Theo, Giroud, Pod, Rosicky(passer), Chamakh (who seems to be staying) at striker. That team can flip formations easily.

YorkeBeats

Does really say much to hint a change back 4-4-2? just says thats more the role he’s used to. Playing Podolski in the middle could also be as an attacking midfielder/forward in a 4-3-3.

Im actually real excited about this season.

Carlos

Did we not play 4-4-2 at times in 07/08? With the dream-team midfield Rosicky – Flamini – Fabregas- Hleb?

I know Hleb drifted quite often but I think it was nominally a 4-4-2

L

Carlos, we sure did. We played 4-4-2 pretty much all season, and also in 2008/9 as well (in the league, that is), the 4-3-3/4-5-1 was introduced as the main formation in 2009/10.

Los Polandos

My thoughts exactly. Adebawhore and Rvp/Eduardo (whoever was fit) were usually deployed up front that season. Unless my Alzheimer has taken its toll.

merdebag

I liked the 4-1-3-2 italy played at the euros, would be interesting to see arsenal try that one out

Terry

Was good, but quite narrow

Bob

Hey, we have our very own Pirlo in Songinho, so it could work! 😀

KP

Every striker has dry spells at some point during a season and 4-4-2 means you can afford to have one of your strikers off the boil while the other picks up the slack. What’s the betting Chamakh would’ve got his mojo back if he had played through it alongside RiP instead of warming the bench and getting 10 minutes here and there?

Kurtis Fehr

Could be good for us to return to this formation, with Ox, Gervinho, Theo and possibly Carzorla on the wings putting constant balls in and a rotation system in the centre to keep everything fresh, it’s likely to be more successful than the 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 formation. Perhaps the best thing is that Theo could be a super sub for Podolski up front, which could be our main tool to getting him to extend his contract! Plus this new formation is clearly not working for Arsene, he needs to return to his winning ways. I for one and feeling very… Read more »

walter the gunner

anything will do me good ,its the goals that matters.can’t wait to see poldi and Giroud bagging in goals!!!

Gandalf

I dont know about changing back to 4-4-2 can get easily overrun, like when we destroyed spurs during their visit to the Emirates with that formation,just a thought. Glad im not the manager tbh.

Hardy

Arsene just couldn’t help but note ol’ Olivier’s physique eh?

Daryl

I don’t think we can quite play a straight 4-4-2, it doesn’t accomodate Walcott, Gervihno or Chamberlain really. Plus we have some great CM and to lose a slot for one of them would be a waste. I can definitely see us in a 4-3-1-2, assuming RVP is going: ____________SCZ___________ SAG_____KON____TV5_____GIB ____ART____SON____WIL_____ ___________OX___________ ______GIR_______POD_______ With Walcott up top in place of one of them when the opposition allows, or going to a 4-3-3 with Walcott and Podolski wide of Giroud. We have options at least, last year there was no back up plan, no b-game for the stokes and wolves… Read more »

Bob

The 4312 works killer in FIFA with a Neymar like player in the hole, and if FM is enough to get Moyes to sign players, then we should obviously look to FIFA for tactical advice 😉 I kid I kid, but I do think it would compliment our personel 🙂

TG

I think you’e very optimistic to put Wilshere in that lineup. He still needs some months to get fully fit again, and when he will be back he will certainly need some more months to get back to his best.

Gary

He’s a defender, he’s an attacking midfielder, he’s a left winger, he’s a striker…..wait he’s brazilian- andre santos. Please get me a fine goal, like the fine man you are.

Craig

Good call, I wouldn’t be surprised if Santos played left wing from time to time

Caribkid

Shoot, he was our best attacking player against the Malaysian II. He was playing on the left, in the center and on the right with much success.

Probably our best winger at this point.

Gooner1

I wouldn’t understand how 4-4-2 would work with the players we have. Coquelin, Diaby, Song, Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky competing for 2 places in the middle. Frimpong, Eisfeld & Aneke wouldn’t even get close to a chance at anypoint either. Also if do switch to 4-4-2 and RvP leaves, we’d need another top striker to come off the bench.

Gunner

rosicky, song, diaby, wilshere, ramsey, arteta, frimpong, coquelin

7 players for two CM positions

the ox, walcott, gervinho, carzorla(possibly)

4 players for two wing positions

who needs RVP?!

Gooner1

You forgot about Ryo!

Gary

Speaking of hleb, this guy was really awesome for us but it all went downhill for him the day he left the arse. Barcelona just didn’t work out for him, stints at birmingham and where’s he now germany?. (don’t think so). Flamini too, not so succesful i’d say. Great footballing careers just faded for them since they left.

Gooner1

Just today “Alexander Hleb has joined his former club BATE Borisov on a free transfer after he was released by Russian club Krylia Sovetov Samara”

Nickgooner

Imagine the attacking frontline of:

Song/Diaby, Arteta/Wilshere/Rosicky, Walcott/Cazorla, Chamberlain/Gervinho, Podolski, Giroud.

While a few question marks surround injuries and form you cant deny that’s a pretty sexy line up right there!

If we do go 4-4-2 again I reckon we can expect another striker coming in…….

Gooner1

What about back up strikers?

Gunner

well bendtner is maturing

Nickgooner

Well hopefully Niang and another coming in? Walcott might get moved up front this year too.

Bob

You’ve got to think that Chamakh might have a chance of recapturing even a slither of form if we did go 442 🙂

Bernardrieux

Bob, you mean sliver.

Ams

Seeing our possible starting 11 makes me so excited for season. More confident that ever & Giroud *Swoon*

Merlin's Panini

I think we should just sneak on an extra player. I can just imagine it now…

“Why don’t you just make eleven stronger and make eleven be the top number and make them a little better?”

“…we’ve got 12.”

Dick Swiveller

Whoever thumbed that down needs some serious film education, strange thing is there seems to be a lot of gooners that believe Arsene actually does think like that…

Maxtom2k2

Guys i dnt care about d formation arsenal uses, al dat matter most is d winnin mentality of d team, also mr wenger u need a utility player who can play 2 or 3 position at d defance department of d team 2 avoid probs, becus we dnt av a gud cover for our full back player

jai jawan

i don’t know whether this sounds stupid, but i would really like to see a 3-5-2 formation (visualise a 3-2-3-2) with any of sagna/ per/ kos/ TV5 in the back 3 song/ arteta in deeper midfield roles – backed up by coq/ wilshere/ ramsey (yes, ramsey – his ability to keep the ball moving constantly will serve well in this role) whenever injuries raise their ugly heads wilshere/ diaby/ rosicky/ ramsey in the central attacking mid role walcott/ gervinho/ ox/ santos in the wider roles – rosicky/ ramsey can fill in at times with ryo thrown in as a surprise… Read more »

jai jawan

damn… that was long! apologies.

Caribkid

Juventus used that formation successfully last year on many occasions and so did Italy in the first 2 games of the Euros.

I definitely think it would work against the long ball hoofers in the BPL

gunnerjoe

442= Arsenal winning trophies again ? I hope so.

Nick

I think a proper 4-4-2 will definitely suit our current crop of players with Giroud & Podolski up front. The 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 that everyone runs fine if you’ve got a CAM with vision, pace, creativity, etc like we had with Cesc. Trying to force it doesn’t work.
I’m getting more excited for the season to start. Can’t wait to have some proper football.

I know it’s a day removed but congrats to Henry, Beckham, Donovan & the rest of the MLS All-Stars for beating Chelsea!!!!

Will

I like this formation, the problem is that it offers very little width – something which we should try and have given we boast pace on the wings from Walcott, the ox, miyaichi, and possibly cazorla. This is the formation that ac Milan use, and that problem of width is precisely how teams roll them over in the champions league ( spurs a couple of years back and us at the emirates last season). I fear that should we use the same formation, teams would work it out quickly – for example, an united would have nani and Valencia bombing… Read more »

Bill

God I loved Alex Hleb so fucking much. *sigh*

the only sam is nelson

4-4-2 to accommodate new boy, traditional forward, Grant Holt

that’s what my inside source tells me

so who’s the runner? who’ll bomb on? those flicks won’t nestle in the net on their own. take a bow, kevin nolan? oooh the trembling excitement!

you think scez knocking the ball onto sagna’s head with pinpoint accuracy last season was a coincidence? no. it was practise for this season’s secret attack weapon. scez -> holt -> nolan -> GOAL

all those midfielders are just wenger trolling, he’s having a laugh with us

mmmmmmm idle speculation based on nothing. tasty.

Merlin's Panini

That is a dark and twisted vision of the future. End of days type of stuff.

the only sam is nelson

we will need back up for holt, though. fear not, however – heskey is available and apparently in advance negotiation with ivan.

Gary

So it’s true, heard the two were in a holiday in Ibiza discussing personal terms.

Rectum Spectrum

the idea of us going back to a 4-4-2- gives me a hard on the size of the danube. Its aggressive. you need a middle 4 who work like dogs for the team, every week though. dogs. would explain the lack of any links to creative midfielders (we have enough if we’re playing 4-4-2, and instead wingers and back up forwards.

Rectum Spectrum

we need hard working, mature wingers. Theo would be an impact sub in such a formation. would you be happy to rely on him week in week out to support sagna, as well as blitz down the wings?

Like for yes, comment for no

RobSchneiderDerp

Good. I think we need the option of a plan B. The wing attack can be great and the 4-3-3 can be very exciting, but is not ideal for forcing on every single opponent we play. I think we need a few rotating formations.

Irony

Most systems are very fluid now aren’t they? For example, when Yossi played up front on the left he would drift in and create a kinda of 4-4-2 anyways.

Rectum Spectrum

two strikers!! imagine Arsenal having two proper strikers on the pitch at the same time! sexy.

Jarl Frantzen

Arsenal (and Barcelona, Real Madrid, Shitty and so on) are not playing 4-5-1. Norway plays 4-5-1 and that is an insane defensive line up, with a muscle man on top. Like John Carew a couple of years a go. Arsenal have been playing 4-2-3-1 the last seasons, and there a big differences. Like we are supposed to have to sitting midfielders, but Song has become more of a Iniesta light than a Vieira light. Most of our midfielders are so good that they can play in every role. They just need to work faster and harder defensively. Especially the first… Read more »

Lord Teddy Ears

I love the idea of us having the team to be able to switch between the various formations 🙂

Elly

I can’t help but think that this would suit the strikers we have at the club a lot more – not just thinking about the 2 new guys here either, my money would be on Chamakh to start being a LOT more useful if played with another striker in the side. With those 3 in some sort of rotation I reckon we could actually be in for quite a pleasant surprise this season, however the midfield is slightly a problem with this system as others have pointed out. The fact that we have too many people competing for 2 midfield… Read more »

chris

I think the biggest thing about 442 is actually being able to have a more disciplined approach to our defensive game and thats what we really need quite a bit as we can’t keep shipping in more and more goals a season.

Gary

*farseblog……..like for this and blah blah for that.

OxInTheBox

Just read all the above, I’m hoping for two up top but shit we gotta stop shipping goals, I’ve smoked alot of green and have a awful memory but I havn’t forgot that last year we let in plenty of goals (especially whilst being on top) and it begs me to ask who would be the petit, vieira, flamini, gilberto type ball winner in a 442?