In a rare moment of luck the first half of my question was answered by Wenger when he informed the Australian press and the anticipating Arsenal fans the world over that his players will be tested in different systems this pre- season, but reassured, “At the start of the season we will certainly play with three (at the back).” Thanks for that.
Now, it’s encouraging to hear the plan is to continue with the successful 3-4-3 system. However, I question the effect, or rather lack of a positive effect, not playing our actual formation (the 3-4-3) during the friendlies ahead will have on our players, especially our new arrivals. Lacazette, nor Kolasinac have played much in a 3-4-3 formation to my knowledge. And really, every player would benefit from it. It’s reassuring to see Wenger has opted for the 3-4-3 system in our first two friendlies though, and hopefully we’ll see it much more this pre season, because in a time when tactics are most paramount, I’m concerned we’d waste valuable time on simply improving match fitness, not system fluidity if we do not.
Wenger continued, “We’ll test many systems,” adding, “In some games, we will play with four at the back and some with three.”
So it’s fair to assume we’ll see the 4-2-3-1 and/or 4-3-3 systems at some point this pre- season. But will Wenger amend the 3-4-3 system to a more threatening formation? Unlikely. But would it be worth considering, instead of the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 systems? Yes, I’d propose a high pressing, aggressive 3-4-1-2 system.
It’s not an alien system to the players as it’s quite similar to the current 3-4-3 formation, with a few tweaks. The 3-4-1-2 system would put a massive burden on the wings backs, as there would be less of a wide presence from the midfield, however, the attacking power would potentially be awesome, and it would see the exciting partnership of Giroud and Lacazette up top together.
The back three would operate the same as in our current 3-4-3 system, but applying more pressure at opposing attackers. The wing backs would have an extremely important wide responsibility, having to play as a winger more often. The central midfielders would play similarly to our 3-4-3 system, as they would control the pace of the game but still having to help in attack. The number 10 behind the strikers (Özil), would have a free roaming role, often drifting wide and being the one to constantly look for through balls to the wing backs or strikers. The two strikers would always look to receive through balls and be ever- present in the box for crosses.
It wouldn’t be a formation we’d use against the top teams, but something worth considering when we’re in need of a goal, or playing a low- sitting, defensive team like Stoke or Burnley. A classic 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 is too predictable, and in my opinion, less effective, especially against defensive teams.
I think a new system with two strikers could repair some of the damage if Alexis leaves as well. Simply replacing him with someone of similar skill and efficiency is impossible. So, amending the system would be a more profitable solution.