Wenger touches on tactics and the system

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Arsenal Tactics

As I blogged this morning, the questions asked of Arsene Wenger at press conferences are usually maddeningly inane.

So it was no surprise when the Sky bloke asked the manager whether he was going to make a transfer (free agent), then took some trivial snippets from yesterday’s Huawei video to quiz Wenger about what Arsenal’s future would have been like if he had managed to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba.

And he gets paid money for this.

Rather obligingly though, London Standard journalist James Olley, a regular on the Arsenal beat, was a bit more on point. He said that fans had asked him to ask the boss about the tactical system and how players are being used this season.

“It’s difficult for me to explain all the tactical changes,” he said, “but not a lot has changed. We failed in some big games last year and behind that is the thinking that we have to be more solid in some games. We conceded too many goals in the big games last year.

“We have to find a balance. Look, I added a striker with Sanchez. We have another striker, Welbeck. We have a lot of offensive players, with Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey – and even Arteta when he plays is initially an offensive player.

“To find the balance we have as well to defend and I think we have to find a balance between attacking and defending. That’s why it’s not an easy subject.

Asked if the team were still adapting to the changes, Wenger said, “Yes … yes and no, there hasn’t been a big change since last year.”

All in all, there’s some amount of clarity now. At least we have the manager’s reasoning (to stop conceding in big games), and an admission that there’s still a measure of discomfort with the system, but hopefully it’s just growing pains.

And for the record, Wenger isn’t going to sign Joseph Yobo.

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BillyBatts
BillyBatts

Yeah but Yepes tho

SidGooner
SidGooner

He’s already signed for San Lorenzo in Argentina.

gar14
gar14

Yeah but only cos Lugano is signing, right?

Highberry
Highberry

I really like the odea of adding a truly “offensive” player. Someone who, in the tunnel, would be picking his nose and flicking the contents at the other team. A player who knows how to add insult to injury and literally rub salt into the wounds. Oh well maybe one day

Sheffield Goon
Sheffield Goon

It might be because I’ve just had five pints of rather strong ale, but I didn’t understand a fucking word of what Arsene says above.

growler
growler

we have a tactical system?

Paulus
Paulus

Yes, illustrated in the article picture.

Rectum_Spectrum
Rectum_Spectrum

much lolz

Beagleboy
Beagleboy

Bloggs for Assistant Manager of Diagram Painting!

Mongolian Gooner
Mongolian Gooner

Be more solid? I don’t know, but the high line we seem to try to play with both full backs bombing forward relying on Flamini or Arteta to cover doesn’t seem very solid to me. Actually, the more defensively minded, disciplined approach we had last season was more to my liking. Then we were good defensively but lacked the runners to hurt opposition on the counter. Now that we DO have them in Alexis, Welbeck and Theo soon, we’ve started trying to overload the opposition box leaving no space at all for incisive combination play and runs in behind .Instead our midfield player are stumbling into each other trying to circulate impotent possession in front of the box.

jack jack jack
jack jack jack

You’re remembering the solid defensive displays we put in last season against the smaller teams. Not the completely shambolic efforts away at the big teams.

This current system gives us the 3 in midfield, which gives us far more solidity in the centre of the park than the 2 (with Ramsey bombing forward) and Ozil drifting around doing little defensive work (but working his beautiful magic) at no 10. Our current system is more like the one Germany used in the World Cup.

Anyway, as Arsene said, the world is full of tacticians who haven’t ever managed a game. They might be right, they might also be wrong.

assistantref
assistantref

It doesn’t, though. We’ve conceded in every game this season except against the turks. We look more vulnerable, not less.

Mpls
Mpls

jjj’s talking on paper. The system practiced properly by the players might give more defensive stability. If the two middle midfielders are not both attacking the box.

In reality with 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1 it is still a midfield triangle. But with Jack and Rambo it is more attacking and less defending in nature. One’s got to hang back more and help cover. They’re just numbers on a piece of paper- it’s the players’ actual taken positions and movement on the field that determines how it really works. You could call it a 4-3-3 if you like with Arteta/Flamini most defensively minded of the 3 mids, the outside mids tucked inside, and the wings expected to cover the defense.

This is where managing the roles to match the talents of the players comes into play, naturally.

Awesomesauce
Awesomesauce

Or could it be the change in defensive tactics… to have a line of 4 midfielders to press their back line immediately and win the ball back high up the pitch? Of which case it makes sense to push that aggressive midfielder higher up the pitch (Ramsey/Wilshire) rather than sit him next to Arteta. The problem with this is of course what we saw in the Dortmund game… if we can’t keep the ball long enough to have possession near the Dortmund goal, then we will have less people behind the ball when we lose it, giving them more attacking threat. Thus, as Arteta said in his post game interview, losing possession so quickly in our own half was the primary problem Tuesday. This wasn’t an issue for the first goal obviously, but the first goal shouldn’t have happened and was actually a bit of luck. As Immobile tried to cut back, which Koscielney was adjusting to, but on the cut back the ball accidentally hit his other foot and took a nice bounce positioning him past Koscielney and ready to shoot.

Gooneron
Gooneron

Last seasons system brought best and worst of Arsenal but it did work for the most part. Ramsey is really struggling this season. So is Ozil. Wenger should revert to last seasons system but adapt the team to match tje opposition. The team really struggles against high tempo first paced oppositions. We have a slow “defensive” midfield while frighteningly fast forwards. Wenger should build the team based on its strengths bearibg in mind its weaknesses.

But thats his business.

neder
neder

Wenger and adapt the team to match the opposition?!! That’s like using a double negative in a sentence…

GunnerDareMACEDONIJA
GunnerDareMACEDONIJA

Like Ferguson always did with unated against the big teams and taking points always from them home or away.

Sarson Vinegar's Frightening Sarnie
Sarson Vinegar's Frightening Sarnie

Eh? We conceded too many in big games last year but still we haven’t made any big tactical changes. The players aren’t used to the new changes yet, of which we haven’t made any.

Do we only employ players from the autistic spectrum who are totally flummoxed but any alterations to routine?

Wenger: ok wingbacks, I want you to ALTERNATE bombing up the wing so that we’re not left exposed at the back on the counter. Jack, release the ball earlier, you don’t have to dribble through the whole team. At corners, someone try and defend the ball/mark a man. Vic Akers, any chance we can set the alarm earlier that 10am for lunchtime away kick off?

Team: aaaaaauuuughhhhhh splirglefnar gercha dribble dribble.

Wenger: Kiran, Kiran stop banging your head against the wall. Jack, please don’t set fire to that. Why are you crying Vic?! Oh ffs. Fine! Just do what you did last year…

Klopp: Well that was easy.

Sam
Sam

Blogs, as an owner of the Crapsus 4 which had the same problem as your 5. I rebooted the phone twice. Worked. Now do that for all (and there are many) of its idiosyncrasies.

Hoosier Gunner
Hoosier Gunner

It’s AndroBlog. Not ArseBlog. #joke

Looking Forward
Looking Forward

Did anybody, just anybody ask him why is he not playing Ozil in the correct position??

paspartu
paspartu

massive respect to partizan fans !

uefa to launch investigation for anti-semitic behaviour…lmao.. who gives a shit…

lets solve society’w problme through football….yee-hah…

piss off ..leave football alone… go find another ‘vehicle’ to promote your political correctness and fake sensitivities…..

arsenalista
arsenalista

you are such a complete knob. don’t you realize that they’re promulgating a political agenda? that they’re the ones spreading their toxic ideology through society, not the phantom pc crowd. neanderthal

neder
neder

Wait a minute…. are you John Terry?

Arty's Art
Arty's Art

This is disgusting. It isn’t even enough to ‘hide’ it due to a low rating actually. Although, as a Jewish Arsenal fan, it does make me very happy that so many of you would down vote the comment.

Swedegunner
Swedegunner

And maybe you should go and find another ‘vehicle’ to rant incoherently about non-related stuff?

Hoosier Gunner
Hoosier Gunner

Don’t feed the troll, folks!

klop
klop

What did they do?

rossi88
rossi88

So its okay for tottenham fans to be anti semetic but not for anyone else. Now where have i heard and seen this attitude before?? Its all a load of bollocks

Arty's Art
Arty's Art

So we now know what the 88 stands for then…

Mpls
Mpls

It’s not a load of bollocks, and it’s not okay for anyone.

Yankee Gooner
Yankee Gooner

That banner was a disgrace.

cb
cb

I’m not defending the ‘Jews’ or the ‘pussies’.

However, ignoring those stupidities, was no-one impressed with the attempt made to use the ‘Fools and Horses’ logo for a bit of what those Partizan supporters saw as a bit of (misguided) fun? If someone from overseas made that effort for me I’d be impressed that they considered me worth the effort.

Especially if I supported Tottenham and hence had few mates worth mentioning.

OzGoonerGuy
OzGoonerGuy

This is such a massive load of bollocks. Look at the stats of the Dortmund game. If we were so much out of balance offensively, why did we only manage a handful of shots at goal all game?

4-1-4-1 is shite. Arteta as the DM is shite. Ramsey turns to shite.

Stick to 4-2-3-1, it wasn’t busted. Buy Carvalho FFS. Problem solved.

Gabe
Gabe

Guess we have to watch the dortmund match again to see how effective ozil really was.

this aint FIFA bitches
this aint FIFA bitches

should be ineffective.

Goonertom
Goonertom

We only managed a handful of shots because because we couldnt get the ball out of midfield and into the final third and keep it there. They pressurized us very well and all over the pitch. You can have a offensively weighted team and still attack poorly because you defense and deep midfielders get isolated when all the attackers push up and the other team marks tightly and close off your passes.
Thats dortmunds bread and butter and going there playing like we did played right into their hands. But what you should remember is that lots of teams have tried to play the same way against us in the past and failed, dortmund included.
Thing is, that sort of football is actually a bit negative because its completely reactionary, its based around the assumption being out of possession for large periods and winning the ball back, rather than proactively keeping possession and creating your own football. No doubt its effective and wins matches, but as a philosophy, and an attitude to create a style of play around, its not for me.

JJGilheany
JJGilheany

Is there really that much of a need to change the system, maybe more the tactics – tell the FBs they will die if they go past the half way line. First goal against Citeh and Dortmund came from breaks when our full backs were ahead of the ball. No real need for it in a so-called big game. Yes, they give width, but even then, how many assists come from our FBs? That’s the sacrifice I would have made. But then I have never managed a team to an unbeaten season, so maybe I should just shut up and see how this plays out……:)

Nick
Nick

There are no tactics. There is no concept of creating space in the attacking third while there is a natural ability to create acres of space in the defensive third. We concede goals in big games not just because we have no fast defensive midfielder. The biggest reason is the most obvious and frustrating. Because we play with the vague idea that our outside forwards will pinch in to the middle our wingbacks push up into the attcking wide positions. Only trouble is that this is all haphazard.

The Dutch are the best at this type of system, except theirs is a systematic improvisational system. The way this system is supposed to work is the way Ajax and the Dutch national team play.

At kick off yes there is a 3 man back line. As soon as the ball moves to one side the outside back on the ball side pushes up, while the outside back on the opposite side of the field slides into the middle while the outside midfilelder on that same opposite side drops back to create a 3 man back line again.

On the ball side the wing back can be play down the touchline while the wide forward pinches in leaving room near the end line for the attacking wingback to carry the ball and either cross into the box or cut the ball back to wide forward who has just moved inside.

All game long the team slides. To use wingbacks without getting obliterated on counterattacks like Arsenal, just about the whole team has to constantly be aware of the slide side. There is a lot more to total football than just getting multi-functional players. Rinus Michels, Cruyff and LVG are all about tactics and what players are charged to do when they don’t have the ball. Every player has a job to do at all times, allowing attack and defense considerations equal weight at all times.

The idea is to allow wingbacks to attack, whether you have 3 or 4 at the back the whole team has to work together at all times to one practiced end for this to work. Arsenal has no system for defending when the wingbacks attack. And worst of all Arsenal allow both wingbacks to attack at the same time without an autonatic defensive adjustment for even one wingback’s attack, let alone 2.

I think LVG wanted Vermaelen, because as a former Ajax player he knew how to play in a 3 back sliding system.

arsenalista
arsenalista

i agree. arsenal go out with the assumption that they’ll have the ball all the time. that’s how they train. they take no account of what the opposition might do. no tactics just a poorly constructed team that executes poorly.

az ahmed
az ahmed

“At kick off yes there is a 3 man back line. As soon as the ball moves to one side the outside back on the ball side pushes up, while the outside back on the opposite side of the field slides into the middle while the outside midfilelder on that same opposite side drops back to create a 3 man back line again.”

Erm….yes…erm…*squints…. WHAAAAA?

AN Other
AN Other

One thing I don’t understand is why don’t journalists do this more often. It’s always simple hunky dory questions. Why don’t they ask him if indepth questions like why is Ozil is been played on the left if he will be better off in the middle, etc. The whole press goes away and not a single more important questions are tabled to Wenger.

marc
marc

I think they have to be quite generic in their questioning, they can’t ask some thing out right – if you know what i men

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes

It’s supposed to be a press conference about the upcoming game and not an conference for in depth questions about everything going on at the club.

‘Why didn’t you sign a DM/defender?’ has no relevance to playing Aston Villa as the transfer window is closed and only free-agents are available but couldn’t be signed and registered in time for the game.

Awesomesauce
Awesomesauce

I get the feeling Ozil STARTS on the left to accommodate Aaron and Jack both into the squad. First, the heat map proves Ozil plays all over the place regardless of where he starts. Second, I feel if the team has to go through some growing pains to allow Jack and Aaron to learn how to effectively play at the same time, then Arsenal will be much the better for it. Jack and Aaron are 22/23 respectively, both on long term contracts, and both with huge potential. If we can deal with the learning phase this year and let those two gel, then Arsenal will be a force for many years to come with those two together. Arsenal fans have complained about the lack of bite in the center of the park and both Jack and Aaron have that tough tackling and smart intercepting ability, while at the same time have great attacking vision. We don’t need an ogre DM to be the physical presence if these two can gel. However, I suspect in the near future Wenger will look to find a very athletic DM to give them more freedom in attack.

diefenbaker
diefenbaker

Yes lets sacrifice established players for the sake of potential. Gosh I heard this tune rehashed again from the days when we didnt have money.

We have a big midfield, nobody not playing well DROP them!! If the likes of Ox and Jack wants to run into 4 players drop them. If the likes of Ramsey is off form , drop them. At this stage its not going to matter, we’re losing anyways, we’ve not played good football in a long time, the Citeh match was an exception.

If Sczc leaking in silly goals drop him! Whats the point of making super saves and letting in dumb ones the next moment and than mouthing off to the world how disappointment you are.

We’ve shipped off most of out deadwood and now the cycle begins again. All the time and investment on these players and this is how they play.

All these players never learn, they are not improving, only talk of they’re potential, while the club suffers. Drop them all, play professionals like Rosicky.

Things are not as bad as before…yet. Let us not repeat the same shite with players and tactics over again.

Hi-brid
Hi-brid

So, in summary, it’s difficult because we have to find a balance between attacking and defending?!? When exactly did this particular epiphany dawn?

sisypharse
sisypharse

Well I hope that clarified something for some of y’all. I didn’t get jack s*** out of any of it. I, too, wish the journalist would ask more pointed questions but I guess that’s like asking a politician to speak straightforward, it will get you in trouble.
Idk, frustrated. Come on you Gunners, come on Arsene, let’s show some heart, creativity and at least a modicum of the butt load of talent we have on our team.!

neutral
neutral

yeah, while Arseblog concludes that “All in all, there’s some amount of clarity now.”

Wenger says ““It’s difficult for me to explain all the tactical changes,” he said, “but not a lot has changed. …”

I think he is completely bonkers, how is it that we are crowded out when attacking and left wide open when defending. Players are static. Many more teams play pass and move football better than us.

Wenger needs to go, I just hope Arsenal are lining up a good replacement.

Ces1ne
Ces1ne

Exactly, how we got “clarity” from 2 sentences where Wenger contradicted himself is beyond me!!! The players are having trouble adapting to changes that weren’t really made?? Huh???

Awesomesauce
Awesomesauce

I too would like to know all the answers as to what Wenger is trying to do. And so does 19 other EPL managers. I can’t think of any other sport in the world that the fans expect the managers to spell out their tactics. No good manager spells out there tactics. Why would anyone just hand this info to their competitors rather than force them to spend the necessary time to study and try to predict your tactics? We may all disagree with what we “think” Wenger is trying to do, but surely we can’t honestly expect he will just tell everyone his game plan.

Ruelando

Mr. Wenger you seem to be lost or confused, the formations is not the problem its the players who should be covering the attacking players and protecting the back four, that is where the problem lies, the attacking side of the team should be left to the five individuals in front, the individual(s) place should be the sweeper for the back four by cutting out attacks and also get plays started.
Our present options lacks a positional sense especially when the opposition counters, lacks pace or the ability to keep up with the counter, lacks the capacity and strength to deal with physical pressure from the opposition and does not have the mental capacity to read plays. This has been our major problem DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER FOR YEARS.

Last season saw us lose our pacey wide players which then allowed teams to press us high and nullified our attack by swamping our fragile midfield. This year Mr. Wenger you have the pace and the fire power to actually trouble not only the small teams but the big teams, but you prefer to use your pets and play the players in positions that do not suit there skill set. You have better players who can offer more defensively on the bench , which not only sabotage their progress, but stop the small progress mad last season.

arsenalista
arsenalista

what’s most worrying is that wenger seems okay with getting hammered and humiliated. he’s bothered, but no overmuch. on with the next game and all.

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes

Would you be stressed out and sobbing in front of the players if you lost or showing some backbone, keeping calm and not getting the players worked up into a frenzy and over-complicating things?

arsenalista
arsenalista

losing 6-0 to chelsea should cause you to tear the blueprint. to look proactively for solutions. or to at least make the team difficult to beat. but somehow, he’s okay with just letting it happen.

arsenalista
arsenalista

i’m not really referring to his manner, but the more the tactics (or lack thereof). if the passing game isn’t working, if the midfield’s not gelling, you try to protect the team, and trick to nick a point on a counter.

fresh prince
fresh prince

Nick you are obviously wrong. As paspartu seems to think, the players should know what to do when on the pitch because you know the whole point of having a manager isn’t telling the players what to do.

AN Other
AN Other

My assessment is that both flamini and Arteta are too old to handle the holding midfielder job. You need pacey a individual who can get about a bit. Flamini is completely ineffective. Doesn’t break play, doesn’t distribute the ball well etc. Also, mertsacker is getting old and slow so he stays back as much as possible but that opens up the midfield for opposition players to run into.

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes

You’re right 30 is too old to be playing football. Forget experience, ability to read the game and a stable partnership that is being left exposed time and time again; what we need are inexperienced young defenders to run around….

arsenalista
arsenalista

i think flamini just isn’t that good. he’s inconsistent, a decent enough player but he gets caught out. arteta was awful against dortmund — weird that arsine fielded him considering he’d obviously be rusty.

arsenalista
arsenalista

you can be older and be effective in the holding role.

Ed
Ed

…Pirlo…

Henry
Henry

People should know what to expect from wenger by now. He is stubborn but the worst thing about his stubbornness is it takes and embarrassment for him to rethink and change the obvious. He talks about everyone knowing everything but come the end of the season and we don’t win a major trophy it would be down to his flawed management and not lack of funds that he has been hiding behind for ten years now.

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes

He’ll hide behind the FA Cup and throw the community shield at you.

Zack

The thing I don’t understand is Arsene passed on the chance to buy Fabregas because, as he said, Ozil has usurped his position. But that position sure as hell wasn’t left wing.

The “we need to play Ozil at 10” thing seems like a massive oversimplification, but I still agree with it. Additionally, the 4-2-3-1 of last year was much more solid defensively, but only when our midfield pairing was Arteta and Ramsey. Hopefully Wilshere can find a role in it, but that would mean either playing him at 10 or having him be far more cautious with the ball in the Ramsey role, which kind of ruins his game.

arsenalista
arsenalista

i think his feelings were hurt. he was annoyed about cesc betraying him and let his pride get the best of him. adding cesc was a n-brainer. if only to strengthen your team and stymie chelsea from taking him.

Eric Blair
Eric Blair

He had apparantly gone on strike to force his move to Barcelona through, if I was Wenger I wouldn’t have taken him back either.

I don’t think Wenger has ever said that Ozil is in Fabregas’s position and that is why he couldn’t come back. Wenger is a classy manager and he would never enter a mud-slinging contest with those blue bastards across the city.

An important piece of advice for Gunners everywhere. Forget Fabregas, he left us when we really needed him and for too low a fee due to his behaviour, and now he plays for the enemy. He is the enemy, he and all those bunch of cunthounds led by the cunthound supreme, it’s time to accept that this is the reality and to stop romanticising the player everytime something goes a bit wrong with us.

terryisacunt
terryisacunt

I’m surprised no one mentions a 4-3-3 formation. I mean with players like wilshere, Ozil and Ramsey in midfield and Alexis and cazorla on the flanks, i think we can control games. Keep position and the goals will come. Especially since we haven’t got a functional DM and our defence are horribly out of form.

Play to your strengths arsene!

WengersNoseHair
WengersNoseHair

I’ve also been thinking about a 4-3-3. As we all know, Wenger generally isn’t one to make big changes to the formation. Last season was almost entirely 4-2-3-1, with occasionally 4-4-2. So this discussion is purely academic, I reckon.

The biggest problem I have with a 4-3-3 is where does Ozil fit in? He won’t fit into the midfield three, as he’s not really a central midfielder. Think of the type of players who do well in the midfield of a 4-3-3: Iniesta, Xavi, Pogba, Vidal, Di Maria, and in our squad you can see Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey playing there, but not Ozil.

And he wouldn’t really fit in as a forward in a 4-3-3 either. Yes, he can play there and do a decent job, but you wouldn’t be using his best qualities as a wide forward, or as a CF, or false nine, or whatever.

So with a 4-3-3 I don’t really see how Ozil fits in, and let’s not forget, he’s our most expensive signing ever. You probably want to build your team around him. At Real Madrid he was the no.10 in a 4-2-3-1 set up to counter-attack (generally).

trev
trev

Imagine how things would be different if we’d signed Isabella Rossellini?

GraduateGooner
GraduateGooner

I think we’d benefit from swapping out Ozil and Rambo for a few weeks, bringing them off the bench if need be. Santi and Ox should be starting in their place. How Ox isn’t starting every game at this point is ludicrous as it is. Everytime he’s come on he’s looked absolutely killer and provides that instant impact on games. This rest for Ozil and Rambo might be a solution to their dip in form, as game time clearly isn’t helping. Wengs said that it was a mental predicament for Ozil and I reckon this rest is needed for him to refocus, call Sammi K and reminisce about their wondrous summer, and in turn hopefully regain that ruthless German efficiency and be all vorsprung dutch technik again.

arsenalista
arsenalista

why not give ozil a break? wasn’t the sentiment last year that he needed one during the winter to regain his sharpness. but now he’s being played to find fitness…?

Nick
Nick

Among other stuff that doesn’t make sense, I don’t understand not giving Campbell a go. He has come up through the school of hard knocks, like Sanchez. No nurturing academy, he’s been playing against men in one first division or another since he was 16. How anyone could think of starting Ox, nice non-scoring non-assisting falling-down one-dribble-too-many guy that he is, I don’t understand. Then again I am not English.

az ahmed
az ahmed

Exactly. Oxlade runs arraaahnd type of player, but his passing is a bit poor as is his shooting. Maybe he can play in the position Arteta is being made to play. At least he has pace, strength and is not a bad tackler.

fresh prince
fresh prince

A 4 3 3 still requires a DM otherwise who will do the defending. Unless your full backs don’t go forward at all?

GoldCannonGoonerBang
GoldCannonGoonerBang

Is that guy without any movement arrows Ozil?

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes

It’s Arteta but he’s moving really slowly….

az ahmed
az ahmed

All the above. It is a metaphor for the Arsenal.

Toby C
Toby C

If the aim is not to concede in big games, why are we only playing one defensive midfielder, why do our full-backs attack so much and why do we appear to be unable to retain possession?! Leighton Baines said last night that he and Coleman are allowed to get forward if one of the midfielders fills in behind them. What an amazing idea!

Man Manny
Man Manny

The impression I have from this article is that Arsene is changing tactics to forestall a repeat of the big defeats.
If that is the case, I think it would better to have a flexible system per match. The former formation served us well in the other games. Maybe that may explain our struggle in the games against Crystal lalace and Leceister city.

Ed
Ed

Am I the only one who thinks a diamond would work for Arsenal?

Szczesny
(Debuchy) Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Arteta
Wilshere Ramsey
Ozil
Sanchez Welbeck

I really like the way Liverpool are playing a diamond at the moment, and one of the reasons it works is that they’ve got players like Henderson who run ALL the way back and ALL the way forward. Now, we’ve got Ramsey and Wilshere, both of whom have great stamina, and both of whom are better footballers. This formation gets everyone playing in their “correct” position, and stretches the game lengthways as Arsene likes to do.
The beauty of this system is that (aside from our defence) the second team lines up perfectly as well, with every second choice player playing in an ideal position:

Ospina
Chambers ? ? Monreal
Flamini
Ox Rosicky
Cazorla
Walcott Giroud

Obviously this formation would require a great deal of discipline from fullbacks and midfielders, but…

Ed
Ed

Also is there any news on Diaby? Is there actually a possibility that Wenger didn’t sign a DM because he genuinely wants to play the LANS card?

WengersNoseHair
WengersNoseHair

Like everyone else I have been wondering about the new tactics. We shouldn’t read too much into Wenger’s comments, as he obviously doesn’t want to give anything away, as he is famous for. I have my own guesses about what’s going on.

Firstly, I think in the back of his mind Wenger is worried about Wilshere and Ozil. We all saw how Ramsey came alive last season. Wenger has spoken often about how it’s only a matter of time before Wilshere and Ozil start playing to their potential. Ramsey was so important for us last season, that even though he’s started poorly, Wenger has decided to continue playing him. So somehow he has to fit in all three of Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey in the team, which means one of them must play on the wing. Wenger has said how this season will be important for Ozil and Wilshere, and my guess is that he’s trying to play them into some type of form.

I’m not sure if the 4-1-4-1 formation is an attempt to help Wilshere and Ozil find their best form. I think Wenger *would* change the formation if he thought it would help those two; he’s done it before, when we used a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 to accomodate Fabregas, when we had previously used the 4-4-2. I even vaguely remember Wenger saying something about letting someone go to accomodate Fabregas in the new formation.

I don’t think the new formation is about being better defensively. We were quite good defensively last season with a 4-2-3-1, except of course for the big teams away. Obviously a 4-1-4-1 is more attacking, at least on paper. My guess is that Wenger does actually want to team to be more *offensive* with then new formation, despite what he says in the press conference (playing it close to his chest etc.). He has spoken about how we didn’t score enough goals last season. The top two teams scored at least 30 goals more than us. He tried to address that with bids for Higuain and Suarez. In the end we got Sanchez and Welbeck. Maybe Wenger thinks that we still need a little more, and that the 4-1-4-1 will help us? I don’t know, but that’s my guess.

And I think he’s using a 4-1-4-1 because we don’t really have the players to use a 4-4-2, or 4-3-3, or some other more attacking formation; at least I’m guessing that’s how Wenger sees it. The problem, of course, with a 4-1-4-1 is the defence. I don’t think the formation itself is a problem, but how you implement it. The defensive problems away from how against the big teams was down to the midfield not working hard enough defensively. For me it really is that simple (or maybe I’m just that simple). The formation doesn’t really matter that much. Even a 4-4-2 can be really solid defensively, it all depends on how the *entire team* works defensively, their defensive shape and structure, which is different from the 4-1-4-1 or whatever is set down on paper at the start. That’s why I hate it when people single out one or two players after a poor defensive performance.

Those bad performances away last season were because the midfield as a whole did really poorly in their defensive duties. And as big a fan of Wenger as I am, I think it is at least partly down to his tactics. The fullbacks playing high up the pitch isn’t necessarily a problem. Actually most teams do it. I watched Everton play Wolfsburg in the Europa League last night, and often Baines and Coleman were near the byline at the same time. That really isn’t a problem. The problem is how the whole team defends. I must confess I haven’t the slightest idea why we have had such notable failures defending as a team.

But Wenger did say he wanted to impose our game on the opposition. That our best form of defence would be imposing our attacking game on the opposition. My own little guess is that either Wenger, the players, or both, took that a bit too far in our thrashing last season. We won’t dominate Man City offensively for 90 minutes. I think we didn’t get the right balance between imposing our style, and buckling down and doing the hard defensive work. On the basis of the Dortmund game, it looks to me like Wenger is sticking with this idea of imposing ourselves on the opposition. Who knows, maybe it will come good? But for now it isn’t working.

A last word on Ozil. Wenger and Joachim Low both recognise Ozil as their start player. So did Maureen at Real Madrid, and the German fans who voted him their best player several years in a row. His first season with us he got off to a flyer, then slowly lost his form. I wonder if Low thought playing Ozil out wide would somehow help his form. I also wonder if Wenger has spoken to Low about Ozil. I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility, considering that Ozil is their star player. I don’t buy the nonsense about Wenger trying to convert Ozil into a winger. He’s playing him on the wing because he thinks it will help him get his form back. How, I’m not quite sure. I’m not bright enough to answer that one. I think the current 4-1-4-1 is some mixture of trying to play more attacking football, and trying to help Wilshere and Ozil reach their potential (which may inadvertently have hurt Ramsey’s performance. I think he prefers starting deeper in a 4-2-3-1 and making late runs, rather than staying high up the pitch. That also helps our defensive shape, I think.)

It is interesting, though, that even last season, even when Ozil was nominally playing as a no.10, Wenger asked him to come wide to collect the ball and make his plays. I think it was a deliberate tactic from Wenger, because there were one or two games where Ozil was left high up the pitch, on the wing, while the team was defending; and Ozil often came out to the left, as his heat-map from last season shows, even though Ozil prefers going out to the right. So I think it was a clear part of Wenger’s tactics to get Ozil to drift wide last season.

What this all means, I can’t make head or tails of. I’m not saying my interpretation is correct, that’s just the way I see it. Also, managers at the top level, like Wenger, have a far, far more nuanced understanding of the game than keyboard monkeys like us.

santori
santori

Frankly as I have mentioned before, this whole thing about tactical formation is a bit moot.

Wenger likes to manage his team with the least interference necessary. his approach is a bit laissez faire and there are both positives and negatives with it.

Recognising his strength is in the market and buying/developing players, his aim is to find a system to best express the greater strengths of the players on hand.

Currently we are extremely strong in midfield (although you wouldn’t think it with recent perfromance.

Thereby the idea behind the team’s current set up is to have a CF and a DM as reference points.

With players like Santi, Ozil and Alexis versatile enough to switch flanks or come in centre, the best approach would be to have a fluid system.

therefore a 4-14-1 and easily morph into a 2-3-2-3 if the full backs pushed higher beside the holding/recylcer in Arteta and the wide forwards push up.

Or we could drop the link player (nominally Jack or Ramsey) back into a 4-2-3-1 without losing the fluidity of the midfield 3 swapping spaces. Or we could add more direct players into the midfield mix (Something we haven’t done much yet this season) in Campbell, Walcott, Ox or Podolski on at least one flank (not all at once of course)

There is also the vertical envelope to think of. Currently the player best able to provide penetration from centre midfield is Jack where Ramsey is more a vision player/pass and move. The other player able to afford us this extra dimension is of course the elusive Abou Diaby.

If we had to retreat into a shell, we normally drop into a 4-5-1 formation although we have to be careful we do not drop too deep against better teams, something we were guilty of in germany, where learning to keep shape and compact lines pressing higher (which Ozil and Ramsey were unfortunately absent on) would have brought better dividends on the night.

There is also of course and unexplored ability to play a 4-2-2-1-1 with one of the wide attackers taking turns to pinch in and support Welbeck or whichever CF in a quasi 4-4-2.

So relally, it is hard to descirbe the formation we adopt because it could be all of the above depending on phase of the game, player selected and circumstance.

What is clear however is Wenger refrains from putting in too much input from sidelines preferring the team to work out the issues on their own. This has played to detriment for us against the top teams with more tactically aware and adept managers (and better players)

the devil is in the details and Wenger has consistently not managed to switched things around quick enough during a match. By the time change is implemented, damage has generally already been heaped on. In the case of Dortmund, an injection of nervousness had overcome the team and we were not able to provide a magic moment (courtesy of Welbeck’s finishing) to dig ourselves out of the mental block.

So he is correct that discussing a tactical strategy is difficult. It is a very lose set up and Wenger’s biggest advantage is that he has always bought players who have been great which covered up his tactical defects (not saying he is the worse manager tactically but against better managers, he can be found out)

The reason why it is more difficult for him to flatter to deceive however (Europe aside), is the number of tactically astute foreign managers in the English game now combined with higher quality forein players across the board from the top teams to the relegation candidates. Plus where Xenophobia once proffered and advantage to Wenger in his ability to cull from a golden generation at start of his reign, the market for non local players is now being pinched both by entry of lower clubs and by the appearance of several oil rich club who can out bid (stock pile) players we would have nominally had access to in years past.

Hence the importance for Wenger to concentrate on tactical minute. But he hasn’t done so. It’s one thing to set the team up wrong and realise you have made a mistake (say playing two out of form players in Ozil and Ramsey instead of the nimble footwork of Santi against a congested BVB midfield), but it is another to wait too long to enforce necessary changes to turn things around during a match. this is the major problem I don’t believe he has come to self enlightenment on as yet.

n11gooner
n11gooner

#findramblingpete

houstongooner
houstongooner

Arteta is so good at analysing games except when he’s on the pitch. Smh. You don’t have to be an expert tactician to get the better of wenger who would make the same mistakes every time. Losing key players in the last couple of years used to make me think our problems were as a result of adequate playing personnel. Now it’s a combination of both. Wenger ain’t no longer good enough at the elite level. Believe it or not, I absolutely love wenger (he’s such a great person beyond football). But sentiments aside, he’s past it. Mr. Gazidis, what’s the succession plan? How long shall we continually be a ‘big’ but mediocre club? Thanks in advance for all the thumbs down lol.

Flavio
Flavio

Hi, lots of talk about tactics and formations, but, the reality is we passed the ball very poorly. Either to the wrong spot resulting in interception, to no one, given away, or too late, our midfielder with back to goal and a man on his back. If we execute those passes properly we succeed against pressing teams. We shit the bed. We used to be able to play quickly, with confidence and precision. I see a bit to much hesitation in our build up.

Az Ahmed
Az Ahmed

Formation is not the real problem. If you don’t work hard and have discipline during a game, then you will get destroyed. The entire team except maybe a couple of players was atrocious against BVB.

Nick
Nick

I think it time we try and play without a DM.
It seems the whole point of playing our current formation is we are acommerdating ozil , wilshire and Rambo
Why not go back to 4-2-3-1and play
Schz
Chamber, mert,kos – Gibbs
Rambo-whilshire
Alexis – ozil -Ox
Welbeck