Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughArsenal should play to their strengths - a tactical look at the Gunners - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Arsenal should play to their strengths - a tactical look at the Gunners - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Arsenal should play to their strengths – a tactical look at the Gunners

Whilst the Gonzalo Higuain story continues to rumble on, and the Argentine appears no closer to a move to the Emirates than he did about a month ago, what type of formation will Arsene Wenger use this season, regardless of whether the club manages to sign the striker or not.

4-2-3-1 is in fashion at the moment and many clubs are attempting to utilise this lineup to great effect. The two players in front of the defense can help provide cover for the central defenders as well as link up play with the more attacking based individuals. The attacking trio in support of the lone striker are often fairly narrow and given the freedom to interchange positions, which makes it very difficult for the opposition defenders to mark them. Chelsea have used Hazard, Mata and Oscar to great effect in this system, as have Real Madrid with Ronaldo, Ozil and Di Maria.

Arsenal have also used this system with varying degrees of success. Theo Walcott has often been played as a right sided attacking midfielder, with Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski occupying the central and left slots respectively. However, with the superb acceleration and speed of Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, I can’t help but wonder whether Arsene Wenger would be better off reverting to a 4-4-2 formation similar to the one he used with so much success upon arriving at the club.

Although Oxlade-Chamberlain is not left-footed, there is now an abundance of players that are placed on the ‘wrong side’ in order to cut in from the wing and create shooting opportunities. Arjen Robben is probably the most famous example, but there are others as well and it certainly seems to work. With Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain hugging the touchlines they could regularly create 1 v 1 opportunities with the opposing left and right backs, and there are very few that would be able to cope with their pace.

Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere could form a central midfield partnership that has all the necessary attributes to do extremely well; both are excellent technically, Wilshere can tackle and break up opposition attacks, whilst Cazorla has the ability to pick a pass that no-one else is capable of.

When you look back to the title winning teams of 2002 and 2004, Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires provided the width in midfield and were able to supply the balls for Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp to finish. Before this, Marc Overmars and Ray Parlour were the ones getting up and down the flanks, and although football has changed somewhat since then, it is still a viable option to play with four in midfield if the personnel suit it.

My preference would be the following:

                               Podolski            Giroud

Oxlade-Chamberlain      Wilshere      Cazorla      Walcott


I look forward to seeing whether Arsenal manage to sign any other players before the end of the transfer window but if they want to win a trophy then I believe that this line-up would be their best bet. The Gunners have gone too long without a trophy and need to make sure that they give themselves the best possible chance by playing to their strengths, most notably the speed of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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