4-3-3 …. Who plays in the front three?

Having sorted out our right flank issues on Tuesday plus deciding who should partner Lucas Torreira on Wednesday, it’s time to shift our attention to the business end of the team and the front three.

When you’re taking half chances and scoring at crucial moments in a game, victories look easy. If the boys at the sharp end are misfiring, as against the chavs 2 weeks ago, it doesn’t matter how many golden opportunities are created, you’ll always struggle.

Unai Emery is still moulding the Arsenal players into new shapes but he does seem to favour 4-3-3 (or 4-2-1-3). The front three are a little undefined as yet. Let’s take a look at the runners and riders.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – yet to break his duck early on this season after scoring for fun during Arsenal’s tepid second half of last season. Has a career average of about a goal every other game and was prolific for Dortmund. Our most versatile out and out striker which is probably why he gets pushed out to the left flank to accommodate Alexandre Lacazette.

courtesy GK Edits

Alexandre Lacazette – only slightly lower strike rate across his career than Auba, scoring at just under a goal in every two. Perhaps our most natural finisher. He doesn’t seem to score many tap-ins for Arsenal which either says something about the type of chances created by his teammates or about his natural positioning as a striker. Seems to enjoy bouncing off Auba, though maybe the pair are better suited to playing together in a 4-4-2?

Danny Welbeck – Danny appears to be 3rd in the pecking order of strikers, though his physicality could make him an enticing prospect as a powerful left sided attacker. Gets into great scoring positions but often seems to lack that killer instinct in front of the posts. It would appear that when everyone else is fit, he is destined to be our best hope of a goal from the bench, Lord Bendtner style.

Alex Iwobi – a starter against the chavs and hammers, Alex is the go-to player for left side wing duties when Auba is chosen at centre forward. This is probably due to his natural ability to take players on. Bit of a marmite player with some choosing to dismiss him outright.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – His high work rate and creativity up front seem to have made him one of the first names on Emery’s teamsheet. Expecting him to be constantly helping wingfender Bellerin with defensive duties is too much of an ask. I keep expecting his goals and assists figures to explode once the manager settles on a final plan of attack. Could he play as the tip of a midfield triangle?

Mesut Özil – Mesut doesn’t appear to have found a conclusive position in Unai’s team structure as yet. He seems the man most likely to create a goal-scoring chance with just one pass that we possess. Does he play left side in a front three or the furthest forward of the middle three? Answers on a postcard. I’d imagine he’s hankering for Arsene to appear and to tell him, ‘just play where you like while you dismantle the opposition’.

Aaron Ramsey – the Welsh Messi would also love the free role in any set up. He’s been used as part of a double pivot, as a box-to-boxer, as a number 10 and a right flanker up front. Like Mesut he’s another who doesn’t naturally fit into any particular slot in Unai Emery’s team structure wall chart. Reading LB’s Cardiff match report from November 2013 yesterday reminded us that Aaron has goals in him. Wouldn’t it be great if he could hit double figures again?

Of the other three who had fine pre-seasons, Reiss Nelson would appear to be off to Hoffenheim this week (hopefully just on loan) and Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah haven’t made the bench in our first three games.

Similarly to choosing a midfield partner for Lucas Torriera, there will always be an element of mix and match when selecting a front 3 depending on the opposition and if we’re home or away.

On paper an Auba, Laca and Micki combination looks to have the most goals in it. Alexandre hasn’t been chosen to start a 90 minutes up to now and if he was chosen, would it mean Auba moving out to the left wing? Choosing a front three might be based on other factors in addition to goals such as team balance, the fabled high press and workrate. It’ll be interesting to see if Mesut can find a natural slot in the new manager’s plans, perhaps starting on that left side but then dropping into more of a number 10 role at times.

It was only a few weeks ago in pre-season that we were talking about an embarrassment of riches up front but we know it will take time for the new boss to find the right blend.

I’m really looking forward to everything clicking into place soon and for the goals to start raining in – as, I’m sure, are we all.

Thoughts? Who  would you have in our front three?




72 Responses to 4-3-3 …. Who plays in the front three?

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha Chas
    Check out 7:26 am on yesterdays 🙂

  2. chas says:

    Ha, cheers Micky.

    It takes me too long to bash out a quick one these days and am never quite sure if you’re going to offer or not.

    For some reason I wanted to make sure that there was a post to complete a full 31 posts for August. It’s not very well written but Fridays are always quiet anyway. 🙂

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    Blimey, a post every day in August

    Wow, trophy for you. Well played indeed

  4. chas says:

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    Talking of the 31’st, might there be any surprise exits given last day of transfers-out?

  6. chas says:

  7. chas says:

    With Ospina and Lucas Perez gone, I doubt it.
    Unless you count Reiss Nelson’s move to Hoffenheim a surprise.

  8. chas says:

    We’re even looking a bit short with Kos, The Beast and A. M-N out for a while.

  9. chas says:

    Fred will be livid when he sees them pishing about in training like this!

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    I was thinking of Ramsey

    Contract running down, doesn’t fit any system, and I thnk he’ll end up as a squad player once Unai settles on one or two systems

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    It’d be interesting to have a regular bloggers Livid List

    Your top Arsenal That Makes Me So Angry Tings

    Fans would get a mention, as would The Press I’d imagine, and that’s before we start on the hot dogs and the total lack of quality Sherry on offer

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    When I say The Press, I refer not to the 4th Estate, but making good players do unnatural things that should be the reserve of lesser footballers

  13. chas says:

    Ramsey going to Apollon Limassol?

  14. chas says:

    Europa draw at 12 today. As if anyone cares which unknown teams are in our group!

  15. mickydidit89 says:

    I assume they play an 80’s style 4-4-2 because that’s the only pattern that works for him. Arsene found this, Unai will too.

    If only they’d asked me 🙄

  16. mickydidit89 says:

    Pot 1
    Sevilla (ESP) coefficient 113.000*
    Arsenal (ENG) 93.000
    Chelsea (ENG) 82.000
    Zenit (RUS) 78.000*
    Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 66.000
    Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) 62.000**
    Beşiktaş (TUR) 57.000*
    Salzburg (AUT) 55.500**
    Olympiacos (GRE) 54.000*
    Villarreal (ESP) 52.000
    Anderlecht (BEL) 48.000
    Lazio (ITA) 41.000

    Pot 2
    Sporting CP (POR) 40.000
    Ludogorets (BUL) 37.000*
    København (DEN) 34.000*
    Marseille (FRA) 32.000
    Celtic (SCO) 31.000*
    PAOK (GRE) 29.500**
    AC Milan (ITA) 28.000
    Genk (BEL) 27.000*
    Fenerbahçe (TUR) 23.500***
    Krasnodar (RUS) 23.500
    Astana (KAZ) 21.750*
    Rapid Wien (AUT) 21.500*

    Leipzig qualified via the play-offs
    Leipzig qualified via the play-offs
    ©Getty Images
    Pot 3
    Real Betis (ESP) 21.399
    BATE Borisov (BLR) 20.500**
    Qarabağ (AZE) 20.500*
    Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 17.500**
    RB Leipzig (GER) 17.000*
    Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 14.285
    Malmö (SWE) 14.000*
    Spartak Moskva (RUS) 13.500***
    Standard Liège (BEL) 12.500***
    Zürich (SUI) 12.000
    Bordeaux (FRA) 11.283*
    Rennes (FRA) 11.283

    Pot 4
    Apollon (CYP) 10.000*
    Rosenborg (NOR) 9.000*
    Vorskla Poltava (UKR) 8.226
    Slavia Praha (CZE) 7.500***
    Akhisar Belediyespor (TUR) 7.160
    Jablonec (CZE) 6.035
    AEK Larnaca (CYP) 4.310*
    Vidi (HUN) 4.250**
    Rangers (SCO) 3.725*
    Dudelange (LUX) 3.500*
    Spartak Trnava (SVK) 3.500*
    Sarpsborg (NOR) 3.485*

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, with the final at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan 🙂

  18. chas says:

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    lovely goal

  20. Red Arnie says:

    well done, Chas. 🙂 a post each day in August! wow! why August? Because it is my birth month?

  21. Red Arnie says:

    Alex and Auba with the other Alex just behind. Plenty of rotation of course

  22. Red Arnie says:

    That 7:53 photo. Where is it? Reminds me of Ely from the Fens 🙂

  23. Red Arnie says:

    JetBlack wow! 🙂 time for some sitar soon, I think. 🙂

  24. Red Arnie says:

    Is it 5 yet? Yes!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  25. Red Arnie says:

    Phil Neville says: “I know every part of their lives”. A bit cheeky, no?

  26. LBG says:

    Mikhi as the mouth of an “oops” face
    ..with shoulders

    1 = Terrier
    2 = Ouzi
    3 = Ramsey (for the moment, and because it’s Cardiff)
    4 = Mikhi
    5 = Lacs
    6 = Auba

    I reluctantly don’t select Mesut for this game and hope it’s not the end. Fully expect team to be nothing like this!

  27. LBG says:

    Doesn’t look anything like I drew it. Sorry folks. Go back to bed.

  28. LB says:

    Still think that the easiest thing for UE to do is to claim that Torreira is still not fully ready and that way he can shoe horn both Ozil and Ramsey into the team.

    I also reckon that it will also be politically easier for him to leave Guendouzi on the bench knowing that the Caribou and the Europa games are coming up and the young Frenchman can be promised to play in those.


    Bellerin, Mustafi, GB, Monreal

    ———Ramsey, Xhaka

    ——–Mkhit, Ozil, Aubam


  29. chas says:

    Just ignore the post, then. See if I care!

  30. mickydidit89 says:

    Very interesting LB

    I don’t think Unai is going to be as political as Unai in terms of shoehorning and so on (as witnessed by his sub of Mesut)

    I think he’ll simply pick his best XI to win away in Cardiff

    If that’s the case, what would be the LB XI?

    I’d go:


    Bellerin, Mustafi, GB, Monreal

    ———Torreira, Ouzi

    ——–Mkhit, Ozil, Aubam


  31. mickydidit89 says:

    Hang on Chas

    Only Arnie, LBG, LB and Moi have commented, and all have answered: Thoughts? Who would you have in our front three?

    You are the blog royal 🙂

  32. chas says:

    Fair enough, Micky, but the post wasn’t entitled ‘pick your team to play against Cardiff.
    If it was it would encroach on pre-match territory.

    Anyway, Europa.

    We have Sporting CP so far.

  33. chas says:

    And Carrier Bag!

  34. chas says:

    Vorksla to complete the group

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    Haven’t see the draw but it’s a fix 🙂

  36. Red Arnie says:

    A fix as in a dose of the contraband stuff? 🙂

  37. mickydidit89 says:


    I’ll be clear, everything with the word Europe in it is shit 🙂

  38. LBG says:

    So Portugal with Nani ………and Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Those Thurs night look like they are going to be terrific!

  39. LB says:

    Ooops, sorry I misunderstood the post, I thought it was about picking the attack. There has to be a context so I took that to be the next game which is errr — Cardiff.

    The defence picks itself, its a given, except Torriera and he affects how the attack is picked, so I thought I was answering the question.

    I sense humour in all this and that is the way I have taken it.

    A post every day in normally boring old August takes effort and without your effort this site would be a lesser place.

  40. LBG says:

    Sporting takes me back to a winning trophy season after a long, long drought, George G and Big Raddy, and running around Highbury with the Fairs Cup.

  41. fred1266 says:

  42. fred1266 says:

    Terrific I think not

  43. LB says:

    Thursday football………..ohhh, the shame.

  44. chas says:

    Haha, LB, you’re right.

    I was hoping there might be a few suggestions as to different front threes that might be chosen depending on what type of opposition we were facing.

    I also like your ‘normally boring old August’ which is, historically, usually the best month for blogs because there’s still that hope and expectation in the air at the start of a new season.

  45. fred1266 says:

    Were even those to other clubs from

  46. chas says:

    I was also wondering why Laca hasn’t been picked to start yet when he seems everyone’s obvious choice, but I suppose Emery is just working it out bit by bit that he’ll have to play Auba on the left if he uses a front three.

  47. chas says:

    Look at 12:42 and you’ll see.

  48. Red Arnie says:

    “A post every day in normally boring old August takes effort and without your effort this site would be a lesser place.” hear hear. 🙂

  49. LB says:

    UE is still pandering.

  50. Red Arnie says:

    Pander, ha ha ha.

  51. fatgingergooner says:

    I’d be tempted to go with Özil, Auba, Laca front 3 but Mkhi would be close to a start depending on opposition and if he wants an extra attacking midfield player. Tbh though with Emery in charge and deemed such a studious manager who looks at every detail, I suspect we will see a bit of rotation depending on opposition.

  52. fatgingergooner says:

    A poor EL draw for us. Trips to Ukraine and Azerbaijan are not what we want. I’d like to see some youngsters used in those 2 games.

  53. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m expecting a decent season from Iwobi this year. I know a few aren’t keen on him but I see a bit of improvement from when he first came in and I think he could really push on this year when he gets a chance. He works hard and Emery will like that. If he can improve his end product then he will be twice the player he is now.

  54. Big Raddy says:

    I agree about Iwobi and think he has a future at AFC.

    And that we should send the kids out to Qarabag and Poltova. If we pick up 9 points from the home games it is done

  55. LBG says:

    “Skip” needs some support, Peaches!
    You need to beef him up as well.

  56. fred1266 says:

    Instead of lacazette and aubameung learn to score together they learning to damn

    This club under emery never seesis to amaze me

  57. fred1266 says:

    Quick question after reading micky comments about ramsey not fitting any system and end up a squad player

    If emery finishes 6 this season u all think he will be sacked or will he be given 2- 3 years in charge

  58. LBG – don’t you worry about Skipp, he’s doing just fine 😉 …….. except his team is losing 😂

  59. LBG says:

    Like his range of pass and confidence on the ball.
    Shame he’s a Spud, and even if he has a gorgeous “mama”.

  60. fred1266 says:

  61. VP of Oz says:

    I’d like to see no midfield, all out attack and solid defense


    Bellerin, Mustafi, GB, Monreal


    ________Ozil, Mikh

    ——–Welbs, Lac, Aubam

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Fred. They will keep him for at least 3 years, it is the Arsenal Way (apart from Howe and Rioch)

  63. fatgingergooner says:

    It would take a pretty tragic season for Emery to leave in the first year. Nothing surprises me these days though.

    I’ve gone into the season with very little expectation, so I don’t really care where we finish. It would be nice to see a real direction by the end of the season though, with the manager having us playing his way. I would imagine a lot of Arsenal fans feel the same, but there will be those who expect miracles straight away and they could become a problem for the manager if things don’t go so well straight away.

  64. fred1266 says:

    I at least want champion league football planning my trip this year is awful

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    With just one game a week it seems as though the season hasn’t really started or perhaps after a long holiday I am just not up to speed.

  66. fatgingergooner says:


    Nothing like a midweek trip to Azerbaijan to kick start the season!

  67. chas says:


  68. FUNNY T-Shirts are an American tradition.

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