Is a change in formation the key to recovering our form?

Credit: Arsenal FC via Getty Images / Copyright: 2022

One thing is for sure is that we are missing Tomy, Tierney and Partey…

The other thing is that Cedric, Nuno/Xhaka and Lokonga are not at the same level as our usual starters…

The next thing is that even when playing Tierney and Partey recently, we struggled to score with open play goals and that recently, we have struggled a lot with putting our chances away when we had them…sometimes due to outstanding GK from our opponent and sometimes due to our own lack of cutting edge (Ode, Laca…).

Another factor is that I have seen Saka and Martinelli getting frustrated a bit more and I don’t know if it is fatigue or just annoyance with the lack of chance creation but it is not good to see…

Without Tomy, Partey and Tierney, we are less effective defensively and offensively and for me, the only way forward is to change the formation to a 343 or 3412…the point is to use our 3 CBs and to use our Wingbacks to really create chances from the wings and to block oppositions on the wings better as well…

Holding has been in top form when coming on for us. It does not mean that he will excel if he starts but I think that he can help us greatly so I d play him…

Ramdale – White, Holding, Gabs – Cedric, Lokonga (or El Neny), Xhaka, Saka (or Nuno) – Ode (or ESR) – Pepe (Saka or Nketiah or Laca), Martinelli

I think that set up would allow us to make the most of our available players, to regain some defensive solidity and add to our width offensively…

So what do you think?


42 Responses to Is a change in formation the key to recovering our form?

  1. Malaysian gunner says:

    Stop trying to pasz the ball through ten defenders.
    The pace of attack is ponderous and predictable

  2. Mark Seabrook says:

    I agree 3 4 3 formation White Gabriel Holding back 3 Saka left back pushed up Tomiyasu or Cedric Right back pushed up Zhaka Laconga Odegaard Midfield Smith Rowe Pepe Martinelli Forwards

  3. fred1266 says:

    When arteta won the FA cup that season didn’t we play a back 3, and if I remember correctly we didn’t score much goals either

    So maybe it actually tactics and not personel

    Cause in the arsene era didn’t aubameyang in the golden boat?

    So from winning golden boat to not able to score

  4. RC78 says:

    Fred – I think it is a bit of both but I like it when managers are a bit more pragmatic and try to find solutions during and in-between games. I find that Arteta has a tendency to have a Plan A and then try to do the same Plan A with different players…We also need a Plan B and sometimes a Plan C. Even teams like Man City, Liverpool, Barcelona, Bayern…adapt during games because they try to find a way to win or at least not lose

  5. fred1266 says:

    I disagree I think most teams like city only have a plan A it just that dey have real quality in there squad so plan A work majority of the time

    An example I can think of Crystal Palace vs city both times this season and city not having a plan B

    From your experience which teams actually change there formation when dey are losing? Only teams I can think of teams low down the table

    Last time I say that with a top team is when chelsea played us under conte and he switched half to a back 3

    When we came back to win against wolves wasn’t us changing formation it was our bench players actually doing something when dey come off the bench

  6. LB says:

    Arteta had a credit note to trade in and he did so on Saturday; that’s to say, it sort of still made sense to give the system that has worked so well for him one more try, it failed — badly — but now with all the good will used up he has got to change things.

    You may have noticed that Lacazette was moved out to the wing at the end of the game with Nketiah playing centrally; Eddie in the middle must have been a dress rehearsal for Southampton.

    As for the backline, its so shaky that a back 3 must be the way forward or at least for the foreseeable future.

    If Arteta doesn’t at least try to change things I predict, like many, that he will justifiably come in for some serious stick.

  7. fred1266 says:

    If u watching Liverpool and city now Liverpool not change how dey playing dey currently losing so let’s see what kloop does

  8. RC78 says:

    City changes shapes during games often with some players attacking or defending different spaces so you could see that go for a 41221 but then during the game that may go for a 4141…Bayern does the same. It is just about game management. The difference is, of course, the quality of their players but as you watch them more closely, you realize that they tend to adapt their shape and game plan BUT their principles remain the same (press….).

    Not sure if this is clear or not

  9. fred1266 says:

    Don’t really watch bayern so can’t comment but do city really change shape cause to me dey generally play 433 so if day losing and LCM and RCM move higher up the pitch doesn’t mean dey change there shape just means day are attaching more and the quality of the players makes it work

  10. fred1266 says:

    So during the Liverpool game commentator suggesting that pool change to a 4141 but is that really a formation change or just Henderson and and thiago playing higher up because dey chasing

    So what u suggesting is that arteta doesn’t do this? Meaning or formation does vary we just stick to our traditional 4231 but to be fair we don’t have that much quality who on the bench u would bring on for the xhaka or lakonga who can attack

    See I see the appeal for going going a back 3 but do we even know if that would work, one example of doing these formation change is chelsea and dey don’t do to much better when dey do it

  11. Mystereeman says:

    All things said & done the reality is because of current injuries a change in formation is most definitely required. As there’s no like for like replacements for those out injured. A back 3 with wingback has been fruitful in the past. Another thing is I don’t understand why Arteta brings in youth & academy players into the 1st team training session, then heaps praises on them but fail to bring them into the fold. I mean u just have to look at Saka, Smith-Rowe & Martinelli 2c how they grasped the opportunities given to them and with such a good group of youngsters what to say a couple more of them won’t step up to the plate. At the end of the day they can’t be any worst than some of the current 1st team.

  12. fred1266 says:

    We all have to remember it wasn’t arteta who got the likes of saka esr and martinelli into the team it was emery, from watching arteta just doesn’t have the patience to bring you player through Allah pep guardiola

    And that just his style he the one who insisted we signed odegard and also insisted we bring ceballos for another season

    Yea odegard might have been an ok signing bit I still find ESR should be playing over him so all arteta showing is he wants the finish product and not gamble on or promising youth

    Prime example he rather play xhaka and martinelli at LB instead of give Tavares a chance. Remember when hector bellerin had that awful CL game but arsene played him the next game.

    What about freezing out willock and AMN I have always been off the opinion willock should have been kept cause no way xhaka is better than them

    And if we had kept AMN we wouldn’t even have a FB problem

  13. Mystereeman says:

    Yea mate I totally agree with you regarding not keeping Willock & AMN as they would have been good cover for their respective positions. Willock would also have offered a goal threat for the team. AMN hasn’t really done himself justice playing for Roma but he did show signs of ability when put in to play in his unfavorable FB position at Arsenal. Plus Arteta’s also let the like of Guendouzi & Salina go out on loan and if the write ups are true there both flourishing at Marseille. I don’t wanna knock him but I feel he’s gonna do himself outta his job, for being pig headed!

  14. LB says:


    Exactly, as in not playing very much, that is why they wanted to leave.

  15. LB says:

    Saliba is flourishing at Marseille because he is playing, how many minutes would he have got with our 50 million pound signing: White and the best CB we have had in ages in Gabriel, see the point?

  16. Mystereeman says:

    I hear what your saying bout Saliba but going forward for next season surely it’s worth considering a change in formation to using 3 CB’s in some games as each of them are fully capable of carrying out the ball. Plus should they b short of a CM it’ll can also act as good cover 4d loss. I hope he brings Guendouzi back and give him d opportunity to prove himself in the premiership like he is currently doing in ligur 1….. One can only hope common sense prevails.

  17. RC78 says:

    Guendouzi is out everyone…11 Mln EUR, only…but it is what it is.

    Saliba’s future is more in the air…I think AFC wants him back but he wants more visibility in terms of playing time…most likely outcome is a 2 years’ extension followed by a loan

    Fred – at some points, Man City does play in 2-1-4-3 set up with their full-backs playing much higher…but in any case, you are right, their principles remain

  18. Malaysian gunner says:

    MA like Wenger is obssessed with pissession football.How many t imes have we seen how the fm has been defeated by the top teams. In the cl the fm has been repeatedly humiliated.
    Football is a simple game.Ballet dancers especially in the s category are easily brushed
    Believe me,Saints wont concede 6 again .
    Failure to wi will be fatal7

  19. Malaysian gunner says:

    MA like Wenger is obssessed with pissession football.How many t imes have we seen how the fm has been defeated by the top teams. In the cl the fm has been repeatedly humiliated.
    Football is a simple game.Ballet dancers especially in the s category are easily brushed
    Believe me,Saints wont concede 6 again .
    Failure to wi will be fatal.

  20. fred1266 says:

    Well hopefully dey would concede at least one

  21. LBG says:

    -A change of formation is essential.
    -Xhaka must never play left back.
    -BOdeguard must be used positively in ATTACKING third where he creates. Dropped back by Arteta at weekend, gets lost, AND, Saka and Martinelli getting frustrated at lack of “creativity”.
    -Only one I would not have loaned out is Balogun.
    – Together with change of defensive formation, must start taking chances, AND starting games at full pace, with dynamic ( sometimes risky) passing. Pedestrianism will not work in last games.
    – Still wonder if Laca needs a break from his roll.

  22. fred1266 says:

    I think u meant to say xhaka must never play again

  23. LBG says:

    Of course, I would love to get rid of the X ( and preferably to Moaninho, so that he can have his own new nightmares!😁). BUT….for some reason Mikel is still convinced that he is not a useless liability; squad members SEEM to still appreciate him ( when things go well, perhaps). So will/ when will it happen? Someday we will be relieved of the Swiss albatross, Fred.🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞

  24. fred1266 says:

    U still attending games LBG restrictions finally lifted so hopefully I can catch a game next

  25. LBG says:

    Generally not, but very pleased to say the Vines Boys will be visiting The Home of Football to see The Arsenal cement their Champions League place on the last day of the season.
    Hoping that some kind of normal service will be resumed for 2022-3, but complicated.

  26. pbarany says:

    I think it has to do more with the line-up, the mindset and the tactics than the actual formation.

    Maybe it could make sense to rest half the team and send the following line-up against Southampton:
    Leno – Soares, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares – Lokonga, Xhaka – Martinelli, Odegaard, Pepe – Nketiah

    Form recovering by definition shouldn’t assume formation change. It could be a shortcut, but could backfire just as well. I prefer rotation and better tactics.

  27. RC78 says:

    Tactics / principles are hardly going to change with Arteta…

    I just want to also highlight that it was indeed Emery/Ljungberg that brought Saka and ESR to the team rather than Arteta so while I am sure he certainly helped them reach a new level of performance, he is not the one who brought them into the squad.

    I know I am in a minority but I think Pepe could help us…I ve seen his games at the ACN and vs France and he is looking sharp. He totally made fools of the French defense to be honest but as mentionned, he was playing higher up the pitch almost as a forward.

    Ramsdale – White, Holding, Gabs – Ced, Lokonga, Xhaka, SAKA – ESR (or Ode) – Pepe, Martinelli (? or Nketiah?)

    Let us score some goals!

  28. pbarany says:

    I’m with you, RC78, on both Pepe and the Saka/ESR credit.

    And I just cant get my head around why can’t tactics change under Arteta. You cannot play the same way against a team parking the bus in the own box thus resort to counter-attacking and a team that has a strong midfield and will beat you at ball possession.

    I mean it is great (no irony intended) that we have a system that worked many times against the stronger of the below-top-6 teams like Leicester, Aston Villa and Wolves. But the manager must be able to tweak it to the occasion, as it can become predictable.

    If a coach has only one tool to recover form, and that is change formation, then the basics are missing there.

  29. fred1266 says:

    Well the vines brother will have to make exceptional to attend a few games next season

    Really excited to go to my first CL game

  30. fred1266 says:

    RC Emery did it again really wish him all the best think it real next

  31. Mike M says:

    Watching Chavs tonight made me think it’s got to be fitness that makes them as good as they are. They create so many chances over and over. I’m thinking if that ball goes in to Laca or even Martinelli (just because he’s young and inexperienced to be fair) does he get there? Second balls in the box from crosses and knock downs, we hardly ever get to them never mind create a chance (they should have won tonight). Same thing with Klopp and Pep. Worryingly even Conte too. These guys coach their players to be sharp. We seem a little blunt in comparison, in everything we do. Crosses, defending, midfield passing. There’s a huge gulf. I’m not sure if Arteta just doesn’t have anything to work with or he’s just not a good enough coach. I tend to believe we’re short on top quality. He coached for long enough under Pep to know this stuff. Xhaka is still our benchmark as far as I’m concerned. He’s having a decent season, works very hard and I’m going to credit his with a very good attitude. But, at the end of the day, he’s just not good (athletic) enough at the top level. Hopefully MA can turn it around in the run in but we’re really struggling right now. I think he’s building a culture which is vital but I think we need a lot more difference makers.
    Go Gooners !!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. fred1266 says:

    Anyone saw the turn by parejo to set up Villarreal equaliser that how u run a midfield , so u don’t have to be the fastest or best defensive am looking at you xhaka

  33. LBG says:

    Mike M
    Excellent point. Think it may be more to do with fast twitch muscles and reaction time scores, together with distances apart.
    Stretching defences with Saka and Martinelli playing very wide means gaps between attackers are often significant as final ” chance creating” pass is made. Laca is not lightening quick in his reactions, despite much of his goalscoring to have been made close in. Neither is BOdegaard, Partey, X, or even Smith-Rowe. ( This is also illustrated by number of times we have created shooting chances recently – “shooot” – and then see what seems like an ” easy” full bloodied block by defenders.)
    The two who perhaps break the mould are Saka and Martinelli ironically. Speed of feet and action, which is another reason for suggesting Martinelli could play centrally.
    Question :- who can we buy with the speed of reaction to second balls of Salah, Mane, Djota, Aguero, De Bruyne, Dalgleish, Fowler, Law……and will take the average 10-15 “easy” goals at the same time? Mbappe?

  34. LBG says:

    Disappointed if Mikel agrees to Barcelona interest in Gabriel, even with a potential swop in the offing!
    Hoped with the return of Saliba, our centre backs would be White, Saliba, Gabriel and Holding ( our Stevie Bould), with the option, as I’ve said before, of three at the back with White in front.
    That said, for those with better Spanish knowledge, who could we nick from Barca?

  35. pbarany says:

    Fred, well said. Respect and credit to Emery, who keeps showing time after time that you don’t need a world class squad if you have a world class coach. I wish Arsenal had a coach like Emery in the post-Wenger era…

    LBG, rumor has it that we could swap Gabriel for Memphis Depay. He was quite efficient at the beginning of the season, but lost his place after Torres, Auba and Traore arrived. Now Barcelona still in the marker for additional strikers, and are interested in Lewandowski and Lacazette. Yes, they are morons, but they will try to cash in Depay – who was a free transfer but/therefore is making big bucks at Barcelona. Reportedly 230k – which might be affordable to Arsenal, but firstly these wages never really worked out for us,m and secondly you need to be an A+ player to make that money, so I don’t think this swap deal will materialize.

  36. LBG says:

    Memphis Depay, second rate cast off.

  37. pbarany says:

    Don’t tell me, tell it to Edu. 🙂

  38. LBG says:

    Wont leave until he wins ” something special”. God help us! Boris ‘ the buffoon’ Johnson AND X . Somebody get him a winning scratchcard, please!

  39. Mike M says:

    Although I’m not going to take my Xhaka comments back, I feel he’s been very committed this year, He’s apparently looking for a way out after we lose two games. I really hope he leaves.
    LBG, I think there might be some training methods that develop those reflexes, obviously predicated by some athletic ability. I could be wrong.

  40. fred1266 says:

    Rc how was the voting

  41. LBG says:

    Mike M
    Re training methods. Definitely true, but my understanding from my training is even top rank sportsmen start with what they are born with naturally and, although such things can be improved, each has a limit.
    Usain started with close to super human fast twitch fibres, then made himself the best of all time by training his body and mind to close to human perfection in terms of sprinting.

  42. RC78 says:

    Fred – voting went well. Still annoyed Far right is in the final…but what can we do?

    From Barcelona, go for De Jong, Dembele if you are gonna take someone although Dembele is out of contract this summer. They are not gonna let their gems like Gavi or Pedri leave so De Jong would be good for our midfield I support if we get anyone from there.

    Rams – Tomy, Saliba, White, Tierney – Partey, DE JONG – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – NUNEZ

    For example

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