Henry not convinced by Arsenal’s back three

Thierry Henry Arsenal Transfers

Arsenal’s move to a back three helped bring about three wins before Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at White Hart Lane, but it has always felt like something Arsene Wenger was using more becuase he had to do something rather than some masterplan.

Perhaps it’s telling that in our last two games, we’ve reverted to a back four mid-game as the manager has looked to get more from his side. Against Leicester it was about finding a goal to win, and against Sp*rs to try and find a way back into the game.

Speaking on Sky Sports afterwards, former Gunner Thierry Henry said he remained unconvinced about the shift to the new formation.

“The thing that worries me the most is the way they are playing,” he said. “The back three looked like it was all over the place.

“Arsene used to say he wanted to play against teams that played against him, not teams that play all at the back, anti-football. What I saw here was, especially in the first half, Petr Cech bypassing the midfield and going long to Olivier Giroud all the time.

“Something I saw that was well prepared was on Tottenham goal kicks they were going really high to force them to go long.

“You cannot play in a back three and just expect it to work well in three or four games. It takes time. From what I’ve seen I wasn’t reassured because of the way they played.”

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74 Comments on "Henry not convinced by Arsenal’s back three"

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Q Mantis

Won’t make a difference what shape wenger plays. Something is seriously wrong and he can’t fix it.


Good manager


If loosing the FA cup will make Wenger leave, then I’ll grab that with both hands. Hopefully we finish way down the table and miss playing in Europe altogether. Let’s start from scratch with a new manager and system.

I hope Stan kroenke gets the pox


We are in Europe regardless of our final league position because of the FA cup. Chelsea are already in the Champions League so therefor we are handed entrance into the Europa League be default. So ironically finishing in the top 4 is now really important.. because we don’t want Europa League next season, the scheduling for that competition will completely shaft our season, Thursday night + Sunday night matches..

The thought of it now sends a shiver down my spine. Arsenal on Thursday nights? Jesus, what has happened to us.


If almost all your CBs are 5’11 and weak its not easy in this League.
Except the tall one is a snail and too old, and been on leave for a year, yet he gets a new contract, a lot of things are wrong at the club!.

uncle D

W hat great help TT! It was not a thrashing and Tottenham are second in the league! Arsenal fans in general are entitled fans! 3 wins out of 4 games!!!

Mein Bergkampf

It’s almost as if we have a manager clutching at straws, unable to motivate players for a – North London derby – with – Champions League Football – at stake. If we can’t get the boys moving for this, it sure as hell doesn’t matter what formation we play. Still, it distracted us all for a couple of weeks…

An Ox-sized Coq

If the players needed to be “motivated” by someone for this match of this magnitude, the issue isn’t with the manager.


I agree. This fixture, motivation enough.
Clearly though there is issues within the club. No players appeared to have a ‘I give a FARK and want to win’ attitude there today. Everytime Spurs had the ball they had the freedom to take their time and setup for their attack, when Arsenal got the ball immediately under pressure and did sfa with it. Was a shame, was expecting this to be a tense game but it was just a one sided affair really. Lucky not to get flogged by a big scoreline. Cech though, made some super saves again still got it for an ol fella!


They play for Arsenal, that should be motivation enough to go on the pitch, give their all and act like they give a shit.


All the players are vetted on their attitude before purchase and drilled on a daily about the club’s heritage and history. They know what it means to play for Arsenal. However, footballers get paid a sh*tload of money now, are detached from the fans, and have incredibly large egos. They play for their pocket now, not just the club. Some of our players may be looking towards the exit door, trying to avoid an injury in order not to disrupt their summer plans. Why would anyone want to play in front of a toxic and unsupportive fanbase? We are not helping are we.

Blaming it all on Wenger is the easy way to vent yet we are ultimately watching 11 players not giving their all for the shirt, consistently enough. The lack of respect, energy and commitment is embarrassing from all. The players’ confidence went a while ago. We have embarrassed ourselves as a club and a fanbase. 3rd cup final in 4 years and it is crisis talk!?

Maybe a change of manager will help and is all we need, maybe the players have lost faith in him… I just don’t like what I am seeing from the players and more importantly, the fans. The willingness to assume he is the problem and not question those above him (who are reliant on him) is saddening.


What? Copying a system other teams are using and not having the tactical understanding to make it work?

Shock horror

We’re a fucking car crash. Manager out of ideas players not playing for him and an owner who doesn’t give a shit


Henry not convinced?!? My Nan isn’t either…and she’s been dead for some time now.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

I love Henry but yeah this whole piece was always going to be Captain obvious announcing that shit smells. I’ll enjoy a holiday weekend and a cup final, and then try to forget that football exists for awhile.

Spanish Gooner

Blogs I want to apologise to you because if Wenger re-signs this summer I’m taking a year off because frankly, I don’t enjoy Arsenal football club in its present form and I’d rather spend my time and money on something that makes me happier. So I want to apologise because that means I will no longer play my tiny part in bringing well deserved income to your genuinely outstanding website. You’ve been one of the few things that make being an arsenal fan bearable at times over the last few years and if you’re ever in San Sebastian I owe you a beer.

Rob Pyres

A Gooner can choose to Gooner however he wants to but in my opinion a Gooner should Gooner all the time, through thick and thin, better or worse, through the highs and lows etc..not only when things are making you ‘Happy’ – you can’t just take a ‘year out’ from being a Gooner because times are tough surely?!


Yeah but most other teams’ fans know their club will at least try to sort things out during the bad times.

No way

Most other teams are a bigger mess than we are. Were 6th in the premier league and in the fa cup final. With a chance to make it 3 fa cup wins inn4 years.

It’s clear in comparison to what we are used to things are going badly but most other teams would bite you’re hand off if you offered to swap.

Donald\'s Trump

Most teams are not The Arsenal.

I hate this argument. Who gives a fuck if Orient fans would jump at the chance to be where Arsenal are.

We are massive. We are The Arsenal and don’t you let Wenger make you think otherwise.


Most other teams don’t have the financial resources that we have. Even Spuds wage bill is half of ours. It’s talk like that which can turn us into Liverpool or Everton.

We can accept mediocrity and the odd final (do you really see us having much chance of 3 in 4; we should be 4 in 4 but lost at home to Watford ffs).

We should take a year out from Europe – anyone really want Mickey Mouse Europe League? – and get basics sorted under new manager like Chelski did.



Hassan Hassam

Exactly, OUT of Europe for a Good few Years even! WHO exactly is it that Benefited from Arse-ne’s 20 or 19+yrs of Champions league Football each season? NOT the Fans surely Not! When having to Witness Thrashings of 1-5,5-1, 4-0,4-1 etc etc? Oh Yes, financially the Club did and it Translates into an American Owner who does NOT even Bother to Watch (And Bear the Hammerings like ‘Us’ Fans) ….. those Games. +Plus the Board of sir Chips & Co. the Chief Executive Ivan the Terrible as well going a Long way towards PAYING Mr. Wenger’s £7m+ Salary!

Runcorn Gooner

Totally correct.Too much over reaction to the situation.It is not crisis.Leeds,Blackburn,Villa,Coventry,Orient etc are crisis.
We are going through a period of uncertainty and will rise again.
Never forget that Chelsea were only formed in 2003.Spurs have virtually won nothing in Living memory.


“Arsene used to say he wanted to play against teams that played against him, not teams that play all at the back, anti-football. What I saw here was, especially in the first half, Petr Cech bypassing the midfield and going long to Olivier Giroud all the time.”
Therein lies the truth regarding the myth that Arsenal still play some of the best passing football in Europe. People used to justify ticket prices by saying how the team plays beautiful football, when in truth, this club haven’t consistently played good attacking football since the era of Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie. Its static, predictable, side ways passes that create little. No surprises that in recent games we’ve barely had more than a few shots on target.


My friend you can’t say that

those who believed we had turned the corner and aw was a genius, a phoenix rising from the ashes, because we had put a few average performances together will cry.

You are 100% correct. Our football is poor, slow and unattractive to watch. We are dining out on a treats gone by reputation. No top young players will come to us if given the choice of other teams. Sadly in comparison to spuds they are on an upward trajectory and ours clearly the opposite. As Danny Murphy so well put on motd2


You watched that??? Call a psychiatrist now someone.


I’m not sure I know Wenger’s philosophy anymore. You want quick movement, passes and a pacey attack but Giroud starts and welbeck sits on the bench. Is it that he considers Giroud as a pacey striker?

Hank Scorpio

It seemed to be gelling until we decided to bring Gibbs in & insist on playing that one-paced plodder Giroud.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

There was no team fighting for us today and that lies on the shoulders of all players, not just Giroud and Gibbs. They know enough to be ashamed but seemingly not enough to learn. When will the implosion cycle end…

Lack of Perspective

I thought gibbs was our best player yesterday.

lovely arse

A bit off topic but man I miss Santi. Forget the rest of our midfielders,, Cazorla made everything tick. Plus, he’s a happy chap. Even more off topic, Theo and his bouffant have to go.

Bloody Hair Ljungberg
Bloody Hair Ljungberg

I dont get the negativity surrounding club right now.. ok we lost 1 game after an amazing run which took us to cup final. By beating MAN CITY!! Of course they can lose 1 once in a while and we lost to 2nd team in table. So whats the big deal. And what kind of explayer talks shit about his club! Certainly not a legend (ahem-snake-ahem)

Mental Shock

Come on! wake up to whats happening.


I read the first line of your comment, then I knew you were talking bollocks.
I should have stopped reading at that point but unfortunately carried on. When you called TH14 a snake, that reinforced my initial view on your comment.

Winterburn 87

We have lost 9 games in the league so far


Everything is tip top. Nothing to see here


I guess he is just not cut out to be a pundit..for all his football mastery on pitch he is quite thick and lacks clarity in thought..for all the negativity, I personally believe that just like this season, we lost a massive opportunity today.Yes we lost but the game was far closer than what it is made out to be.It has been a very strange season from Everton to city to bayern to today…we could have won them all. I don’t think the manager should change the system because at the end when he had reverted to all attack and mesut coming deep and creating those balls…that is all we have missed someone who can evade the first challenge and link defence to attack..that is why petr was hoofing all those balls up the field…since Santi’s injury we have been very poor in possesion and it showed today with 3 or 4 players loosing the ball around 20 times


How delusional you gotta be to thumb this up ? trantino would make a movie about you 13.


Delusional 13 or Bloody Haired Dumbs


As per usual Henry misses the point.

The back 3 is not the problem.

It is the best solution for the inbalance in midfield with the personel we have on hand in Granit and Ramsey (or Coquelin)

We had plenty back to defend the first goal but were caught ball watching.

In very least the back 3 kept us pretty solid first half but we did not add enough impetus on the other end start of second half and handed them the initiative.

Again, thought Wenger should have started :

1) Walcott and Alexis in a 3-4-1-2 instead of Giroud bc Spurs would come at us and cede space behind.

2) Gibbs was a mistake. Prefer the Ox on the left and Bellerin on.

As such, he should have made some changes second half but he is prisoner to his own ideology…as are we.

Changes come too late to affect the game and by that time, the players on the pitch are lost never mind fighting spirit.

Donald\'s Trump

If you think we were solid first half you must have been watching the wrong channel. And why would you play Ox as left wing back when he’s never played there before.


When is Henry going to stop protecting Wenger, and say his time at Arsenal is up?


Agreed, we haven’t looked totally convincing with 3 at the back, bar the last hour of the City game including extra time. With a back line of Kosc, Monreal and Gabriel with Xhaka and Ramsey holding, it’s easy to see why


Gabriel has had enough chances now

One good game in five

Absolute liability the rest of the time


I’m sure he will play well under a different manager. We have no defensive organisation.


Could say that about most of the team, not just defence. Everyone is playing below their potential


We have no midfield. We can’t even control possession on throw-ins. We stoke punt the ball from keeper to striker. And Gabriel is worse than cygan.

Pick the team that was winning matches at the beginning of the season.

This summer buy a dominate center back and holding mid and then find the next santi carzola.

We looked like garbage out there.

Donald\'s Trump

Arghhhhhhhh it’s not the players that are the problem. Wenger has been through a bazillion players and still can’t get it right.


Watched the interview & maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think that’s what he meant.

He’s concern was there hasn’t been any clear strategies about what the team are suppose to be doing, no matter what the formations. He hinted that without offending Wenger directly.

Because after this game we all can see that Sp*rs really play like a team, their players know what to do & where to be, they pass the ball with clear intentions, while we played like a bunch of players just thrown together and play for the first time! And it’s been going on for us this whole season.

So numb right now. 🙁


Formation and tactics are useless when your 11 players aren’t playing at the level they are required to play. I give up on this team. The rebuilding will be extremely hard, especially as it won’t start until at least 2 more seasons after Wenger has wasted some more funds.

Donald\'s Trump

It would help if they knew what they were meant to be doing. Sanchez and Giroud randomly like to press, the others hold position. How is that ever going to work.


The City win was such an obvious false dawn that it almost doesn’t quality as a false dawn because there have been so many false dawns. We are getting to the point where Arsenal fans can categorize false dawns by type, the same way Hawaiians classify waves and the Inuit snow or ice.

This one has a similar quality to that other 2-1 win over City a few seasons ago at the Etihad. Arsenal came out with new tactics to counter the opposition, we all nearly fainted with surprise, then went on to play a tight defensive game, and crafted a canny 2-1 away win against favored opposition.

The word was that Arsenal had turned a corner, blah blah blah. That was in December. Then Arsenal reverted to type, in what was, at that point, already a familiar farce.

The problems are off the pitch. Formation changes = rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.


I care fuck all about what this guy has to say in his shill pundit job. The defensive line wasn’t the problem today. Midfield weakness, turnovers, shit possession, and a toothless front 4. Two of your most important players (Ox had made himself important in this setup) combine for 40 turnovers and you’re going to lose the match.

Alexis doesn’t get some end result back into his form I’m dubious he’s worth what everyone says he’s worth.


Agree. Alexis has been pure shit for a long time now.

No way

The free kick at boro wasn’t too shabby and then winner against city was ok. If anyone else could score as regularly we wouldn’t have so many problems.


He’s dropped off in form heavily, and when he constantly dribbles it into dead ends putting the rest of the team under pressure by losing possession trying to take on everyone, not passing when it would help, and then waves his arms around when someone else turns it over, well, that’s not 250k – 300k material to me. He’s had to many pedestrian games lately to warrant it.

Donald\'s Trump

I like turnovers. Especially M&S Apple and blackberry turnovers.


In arsene we trust….is there really any chance to send him to france to compete for the french election as the president of france

Random Witness

When you see the number of comments on Arseblog news articles are down in the twenties from the usual hundreds, you can guess the state of #Arsenal football club.


Sick of most of these ex-players and pundits who don’t know what it takes to manage a football club. Dennis is probably the only person whose opinion i’d value. Rest all lack objectivity and spout a load of nonsense. No disrespect to Titi but the difference between Dennis and Thierry is Dennis has integrity.

Donald\'s Trump

Sick of these managers that used to know how to run a club but now are utterly clueless because they think it’s still 1996.


Without Wenger we would have faded into obscurity especially after the emergence of your chelsea’s and city. Be happy we managed to stay relevant in what was perhaps the defining period in the history of this club. It takes one guy to fuck it all up and luckily for us we have the one guy who has some common sense in a world that is deprived of that quality.
Sure, he has his flaws and we may not win big trophies under him again but I fully trust that the guy knows when to walk out. He has earned it and I’m sure he’ll leave us in a strong position.

Donald\'s Trump

Arghhhhhhhh these deluded myths again.


still hold my stance until Kronke flogs the club we are cast in concrete, give me Usanov and his dirty Russian money any time soon the rot is at the top and has seeped through the club injecting poison through out


Say what you like about Abramovic, but he’s there every week, cares about his team like a real fan and makes quick decisions when it goes wrong. Perhaps on occasions his decisions are too much like a fan’s but the title count is rising at Chelski whereas ours is now the history which they are trying to achieve.


Wenger cares more. The difference is Abramovic has money and can quit whenever he wants but Wenger doesn’t have that kind of money and he is a servant of the club and does it with all his heart.
Owning Chelsea might be an entertainment for Roman but it sure as hell is not an entertainment for Wenger.

Faisal Narrage

Do you know how you can tell Wenger didn’t make the change for tactical reasons but for the sake of it? Monreal at CB.

He’s basically playing Monreal at CB because he expects to make an offensive sub in the game and expects to change back to a 4-man defence, and it’s easy to do with Monreal, who just reverts back to CB. It’s a 3-man CB in name only, because he’s already playing with 2-CBs and does so for the inevitable change to 4 at the back later in the game.

It shows he has no intention of actually using this formation for a specific reason.


Spot on.


We started drifting this season when Wenger was not bold enough to keep giroud as a a bit part player after he was banging in the goals as a substitute. More of a case of if ain’t broken don’t fix it..we are a joke right now..


Arsenal fans seem confused as to what is wrong with the club and on-pitch performance. Some say a new manager will fix the club, others say it needs restructuring, some want to stick with Wenger arguing the club is in serious need of new players. What is the problem? A big and very important summer ahead. I love Wenger but IMO he really needs to get new faces in for the first team. I really hate that he is made out to be a dictator, but he needs to act and sell players that are not performing. If he does not do this then I will accept that he needs to go. Let’s give him the chance to change. He deserves the chance.

Yorkshire Gooner

Wenger’s biggest (recent) f*ck up has been turning Fabregas down. Joining Chelsea was unforgivable, but ultimately what has cost us this season is the lack of players prepared to run through a wall for the club. Without Jack, Rosicky, Arteta, Flamini, BFG or Santi we’ve been left with a team of quitters that have been carried by Sanchez, and now he’s given up they’re all being exposed. Need some players with balls to stop the rot.

not so fed up

Basically Wenger should have gone after we beat villa in the FA cup, the new manager could have then purchased kante and other players we could/should have got to make us in regular contenders/winners


Kind of strange seeing everyone debating how bad things are especially if you started supporting Arsenal around the time Wenger joined the club.

I’ve been to matches under George Graham when we never had a hope of anything seen far worse situations.

The problem I have is the quality of the squad and the players especially the so called English core that racks my fucking nerves with the exception of rob holding the rest of the fuckers are no better than denilson on a good day.

When the invincibles were playing even the kids back then we’re of the caliber of fabregas and van persie which is planets above what we have now.

If Wiltshire stays were he is he will fit in just fine if Gibbs goes who will notice and as for Walcott 100 goals in what 11 seasons he would have been moved on from any top club I’m sorry but that’s a disgrace Ramsey and his injuries sell him none of them turned out to be players that should have been anywhere else but at the Southamptons of this world

We would need about 5 world class players to bring this team to the next level and a manager that can attract them but if anyone thinks getting rid of Wenger is going to be anything other than a backward step unless we can find a really top top manager who can attract and make the changes needed with the support of an owner who doesn’t care then give me some of that weed your smoking

Imagine the yank bringing in a Moyes and giving him no money….

Hassan Hassam

maybe Not relevant here, but to Think we had an OPTION on Cesc Fabregas who was ‘Our’ captain before leaving AND a Good 2 Years Wiser/More Matured to LEAD this Team …….. AND as usual, Arsene’s Self-EGO got Priority Over an Entire Club as well as ‘us’ (Matter NOT) Fans!!!!! if you are a ‘YES sir’ type like some of these ‘WATER CARRIERs’ in ‘OUR’ Current Midfield then you are Always IN? such as the ClueLess Coqualin, the X-rated XHAKA, the Ram-raiding RAMSEY & Defensively Invicible IWOBI???? The lot of them are No where Near Good enough than what we saw with Cesc & Wilshere Against the Might of BARCELONA; No LESS!!