Formulating the formation…..
Written by Guest Blog : armourysquare
What is the ideal formation for any top class team? Now if you would be talking about a team like FC Barcelona, their ideal formation is 4-1-2-3. On the other hand a team like Real Madrid, shall tend to play the 4-1-4-1 formation. Now each formation is unique. If a team is defensive and it prefers to get a lead and hold on to it, then it prefers the 4-3-1-2 formation. Something like Inter vs Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Similarly if a team has the sole purpose to out-score their opponent by a huge-margin, such as a team like Barcelona, then they may not even play the holding midfielder.
Now lets come to Arsenal. Wenger this season has tended to go for the classic 4-3-3 formation, something like Barcelona. With the quality of players we have, this is, somewhat, the ideal formation for Arsenal. Now what is an “ideal formation ?” In my opinion, an ideal formation is that which is suited to each player, where each player performs the role he is most comfortable with. Jose Mourinho’s Internationale, was set up in this manner. And they are currently – ”Champions of Europe.” Now managers tend to swap formations according to needs. There is nothing wrong in this tactic. I mean if you are losing a crucial game, with 5 mins left, nobody will play 2 holding mid-fielders ! I mean that’s common sense.
But the starting formation for any game is crucial. I mean that sets up the game entirely. A team shall know what the other teams mentality is i.e whether it is to sit back or attack aggressively. Accordingly the team shall adjust. Now coming back to the core of the matter, in my opinion I say the best formation for Arsenal is the 4-1-1-1-3…confused, well hold on.
We have our back four, solid and firm (touch-wood). Then comes Alex Song. Up front the 3 attackers are the “usual suspects.” Marouane Chamakh will be in the middle. To his left will be the “Little Russian” and to his right, ”Theo.” After them will be the crux of the formation. Cesc is a world-class player, and last season he brought out the attacking mid-fielder instinct, to play behind a striker. Currently he is sitting back a bit, but that’s because he is not entirely fit. In the coming games, I’m sure the boss will bring out that instinct in him again. So Cesc can play that role behind Chamakh. This way he has a view of the entire attack force of the team and can easily pick out the killer cross or pass, as that’s his forte. For the past few seasons, Wenger has developed Abou to be a bit more defensive than attacking. And let’s be frank, that guy does defend well, he is big, strong and can hold of players. Compared to the Patrick Viera, he does fill in for Song when required. But his natural play is attacking, I mean if you notice him in the Blackburn and Blackpool games, he did make a significant amount of runs forward. So why not play him, not in the holding role but just a bit in front of Alex and behind Cesc. In this role, both his attributes are satisfied. It is something like the Bastian Schweinsteiger or the Sami Khedira role in the German team. Those 2 played the holding role along with each other, but occasionally bombarded forward alternatively. This exact tactic can be used by the team when starting a match. When each player is suited to his role perfectly then only can his efficiency increase and he can be completely utilised.
Now, just to be clear the formation we usually use i.e the 4-3-3 formation is very very similar to mine, but in this formation Diaby tends to partner Cesc more. In my opinion he should definitely partner the Spaniard, but much less, and at the same time he should not be Songs new pal…otherwise we may have something like Liverpool, and one can see the state of that club. In this way, the counter-attack threat and chance of conceding are both reduced, and more cover is provided for the back-four. If the formation of the German team is adopted then we will just be unstoppable. The reason I am writing about tactics is because in the last game against Blackburn, I noticed that the goal we conceded was because there was a huge gap in the midfield, in front of the back four. Also, most of the back-four were high up the pitch (except Kosher and Gael). Even last season, we fell victim to the counterattack twice in 2 weeks. If we stand firm at the back, we shall concede less. That is the secret of a good defense and a confident team- To not concede.
A 2-0 win against a top-team, in my opinion is better than a 3-1 win. Because, that shows reluctance, stubbornness and firmness – NOT TO CONCEDE….the same-thing Inter Milan had last season in the champions League. In fantastical words, ” The Defence is a Fortress, it should never be breached “. If we get this mentality, Arsenal will be unstoppable. And as you know, our attack will always do their job…so no use talking about them (+7 goal difference is a result of their work, and it is impressive !).
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