Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wenger changes formation and tactics but he is really creating a monster

By 1970’s Gooner

Wenger told a lie when he said recently that he had gambled enough with the team’s formation and personnel on the field.

How else can we explain the transformation that we saw unraveling before us during the game against Roma? A game that threatened to turn into a rout bar the goals that should have been scored plentiful.

Wenger made radical changes both in the formation and the deployment of the personnel within that formation. These changes were designed to bring creativity back into Arsenal’s game but also adopted a fast paced all out attacking approach.

To say that he gambled enough in the games prior to this Champion’s league encounter is taking the mickey really. Or maybe he tried to lull Spalletti into a false sense of security. Whatever, it worked.

Firtsly, Wenger adopted a 4 2 3 1 formation where Robin Van Persie was the front player with Nasri brought in behind him to act as the principal playmaker. Bendtner was deployed on the left and Eboue on the right wing. The two central midfielders were Denilson and Diaby.

This worked a treat.

Not only did it surprise the opposition it more importantly allowed Nasri to show all his playmaking ability at which he excelled.

This is a change that we have been asking for on this site ever since Fabregas became unavailable.

But Wenger kept insisting on the dull and sideways passing of Denilson and Song.

Now not only did the team find its creativity in midfield it also had some sort of width, in Bendtner and Eboue, which helped stretch the field and provide the spaces for Nasri, Diaby and Van Persie to weave their magic.

The second change involved making Van Persie the main man up front rather than Bendtner.

Van Persie played very well indeed, receiving the ball and bringing players into the game.

But more importantly he posed a real goal threat.

Thirdly the team played with lots of pace and high tempo. This did not allow Roma to settle nor have time on the ball. The excellent Diaby and Denilson chased everything and challenged for every ball and all players when in possession pushed forward at pace.

Eboue made runs with the ball from midfield into forward areas, went passed players and sometimes found his man. Nasri whenever on the ball dictated the high tempo with his quick passing and probing.

But the most important change was the full attacking philosophy adopted.

One of the two central midfielders, Diaby, was allowed to be forward minded rather than being defensive (which is what both Song and Denilson are when they are deployed).

But more importantly the two full backs were allowed to take the hand brake off and resumed their forays into the opponents half; an approach that we were beginning to think was a thing of the past.

Add the much improved Eboue into the mix and the only players that were restricting themselves to just defending were Almunia, Gallas and Toure! This was a team that had only one thing on its mind: Attack.

Are we likely to see this formation, but above all, philosophy adopted form now on?

I hope so!

Wenger begun a project a few years ago based on youth and versatility. He nearly won the Premier League last year bar the injuries that beset a thin and relatively young squad. That would have been his greatest triumph.

When you consider that there is Fabregas, Eduardo, Adebayor, Walcott, Rosicky and Arshavin yet to come back the capability, versatility and more importantly the quality of the depth of this squad is frightening.

Like a monster that grows in size and tenacity by the minute. It will soon be ready to engulf anything that lies in its wake…


Anonymous said...

Great post!! Good analysis without being too clever!

Goonbrother said...

Good post. As brilliant as this team and formation was last night, wenger seems to make gambles like this in europe and not in the league, remeber fenerbache, we had a great fromation with diaby shining then, we came back to stoke and lost!!, but i hope wenger starts to use these sorts of fromations in the league, am sure of Roma couldn't cope the like of stoke and fulham will find it hard too

Anonymous said...

You either don't go to games or you haven't been paying attention. Wenger employed this formation in latter parts of the Portsmouth, Bolton, and West Ham home games and the Hull away game. Each time with a great deal of momentum gained, mostly succesfully. The only surprise is why he hasn't stuck with it continuously. By the way, it's more of a 4-2-1-2-1, as Nasri plays a bit deeper than the two wide players for the majority of the time.

Wrighty7 said...

Nice one 1970's!

aqqe said...

I've always said that the fans are truly underestimating the squad we have. If Denilson and Diaby can keep playing like they do now while Cesc hits top form then we will win the PL title next season. We'll do a Bayern Münich. =]

In my opinion, this is what we should play. Cesc in Diaby's role, Denilson in his own, replace Eboue with Arshavin and his penetrative play, with and without ball, and put Walcott on the right with RvP dropping deep to link up play in between them. Not a team in the world would withstand that. And still there is Rosicky, Adebayor, Eduardo, Vela etc on the bench.

Sagna Djourou Gallas Clichy
Fabregas Denilson
Walcott RvP Arshavin

Anonymous said...

finally, something positive about arsenal for a change! great post!

Anonymous said...

i couldnt agree more with post, this could be start of something hugee.

Anonymous said...

Good post! The formation worked like a charm. I don't understand why wenger choses to be defensive by bringing in song! Roma started having more chances when he came on. I think denilson is turning into a little gattuso!

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