Today’s topic for conversation is the 4-3-3. Some people call it a 4-5-1, others a 4-2-3-1, others call it a 4-1-4-1, but ultimately, in shape it’s a 4-3-3.
This season has seen a change of formation and it’s something that has personally taken me by surprise. I’ve always been a 4-4-2 man… remember the days of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp up front, with Robert Pires on the left and Freddie Ljungberg on the right… Remember Overmars and Parlour? Remember Wrighty and Smithy? Two wingers, two strikers, 4-4-2.
Arsene’s recent change to 4-3-3 did have been a little bit perplexed pre-season, especially with a defeat to Valencia, but the more I see it, the more I am beginning to like it. We definitely have the players suitable for the formation and the two best teams in the land last, playing some of the best football around – Man United and Barcelona, had adopted a 4-3-3. Man United had Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney and Barcelona with Messi, Eto’o and Henry.
Players such as Eduardo, Vela, Arshavin and Walcott are without doubt suitable for right forward and left forward roles, with players like Van Persie and Bendtner also comfortable across the front three. Van Persie plays the outside right position for his country and is a position we’ve seen him drift into in recent games. Bendtner has been playing on the right and has defintely impressed me. Players like Cesc, Ramsey and Diaby can play more forward, whilst allowing us to have two defensive midfielders to sure up the defence.
Cesc is a player who really does like the formation as he can express himself more and he commented on what the formation does for him in his pre-match article in the weekend’s programme:
“We are playing a different formation this season, and of course that’s up to the boss, who knows us better than anyone. He looks at us from the outside so he knows what is best for the team. It is true that in this position I don’t have to run as much. I can still do a lot of running, but sometimes it’s more in my own way. For the last two seasons, I was finishing the game really really tired because I was defending, I was attacking, I was pressurising and usually there was just two of us in the middle against three from the other team. It was tough to be honest. Sometimes people don’t realise how much you have tun in midfield.”
And Alex Song likes the formation too, allowing him to play in a more defensive minded role:
“I am the first defender in the midfield, if you like. That means Cesc and Denilson can push forward a little more. I’ll stay in the middle so that I can stop counter-attacks and close passes down. But we see also that when the other guys lose the ball they come back immediately to help out too. I like playing in this position and just want to keep trying to do my best all the time, helping the team to move upwards.”
And of course Arsene has hailed the new formation too, but remains open to changing it if required.
“We have played a 4-3-3 formation early in the season and there are many benefits from it. But it is not a definite system – it can change in some games and I might move to a 4-4-2. At the start of the season, I wanted to play high up the pitch, making a threat in the opponents half early in the game.We like to do that, because we are an attacking team and it gives us the opportunity to use our character.”
At first I was apprehensive of the new formation, but it has totally grown on me, what do you think?
4-3-3 for the title?