Arsene Wenger’s desperation to prove to his critiques that he is not tactically inept was made bare when Arsenal lined up with three men in defense in the game against Middlesbrough on Monday night. The outcome of the game was positive but will the Gunners be able to sustain this system?
Arsenal have struggled away from home, losing their last four away games in the League. Wenger resorted to playing a trident of Koscielny, Rob Holding and Gabriel Paulista at the heart of defense and they were flanked by Nacho Monreal and Oxlade Chamberlain who played as full backs and attackers.
That system was a complete departure from the norm. We usually lined up in a traditional 4-2-3-1 formation but this new tweak in formation made no difference. The biggest difference i saw was more commitment from the players as something was fundamentally wrong when we played Palace.
Boro have been poor all season which is why when Ayala and Downing had the chance, they couldn’t punish Arsenal. It is not like the defense wasn’t penetrable, our opponent failed to take their chances and i think we should revert to what we are known for at least for the now.
As usual, Wenger spoke after the game and revealed why he changed his formation.
The first time in 20 years, that shows you that even in my age you can change. But sometimes when a team lacks confidence, just to add something new to believe helps to focus and overall the fact that we conceded three at West Brom, three at Crystal Palace, I felt it was needed.
It worked well in the first half, we didn’t give any chances away and we were quite solid on set-pieces. In the second half on one or two occasions, I felt we could have been a bit more dominant in the air, but overall yes [it worked].
The form of Arsenal has been that of confidence and quality. Some of Wenger’s first team players are not world class and his inability to read a game has cost us alot. Even if he continues at Arsenal, he’ll need to reinforce this squad than merely change formation.
Lets get some top-notch players in the midfield, attack and defense.