The 4-3-3

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?

  • Berth

    4-3-3 or 4-4-2 does not matter to me or make any difference as long as the team defends collectively.The 2007 season saw us play 4-4-2 and we nearly made it. This current formation isnt bad but for us to ve a good return this year we need flexibility and options of playing 4-4-2 or other formations; depending on the opponents strenght and the cause of a match … The point being that the formation should be used flexibly. And please WENGER make Arshavin less defensive; he is 28.

    The news from antfield looks unhealthy; looks like we sold our early form last season to Liverpool.

  • Berth

    The season is very nascent but I can almost predict what the end will look like. I forsee happy times in Emirate come May of next year. In reality, Liverpool are out, Man U will follow suit and then Chelsea; can a true Gunner please claim it.

  • devday

    Very true… but early days for us and early days for Liverpool… we’ll see how we fair after the two Manchester away games… if we’re still unbeaten then we’ll be in a good position…!

  • devday

    Come on you Gooners!

  • Fabrez

    4-3-3 has worked for us bcuz the balance is there. Defensive Song… Attacking & Creative Cesc… and supporting Denilson. Then u have Edu, RvP & Arsh who r technically class for a front 3. As Berth said, we have shown we can play 4-4-2 back in 07/08…

  • Fabrez

    also, i was looking at the age & experience of the front 3… along with Cesc…we def have wat it takes. And Rosicky and Nasri can play the Cesc role or in the front 3. I still feel the need for a solid defensive signing. Bar injuries, i see silverware!

  • syah

    ive always fancied the 4-3-3 formation. ever since i used it a while back playing pro evolution soccer. the magic of the formation is that goals come through the middle or from the sides. its a dynamic formation. just like our beloved arsenal squad we have this season.

    everything complements each other and im sure this is shaping up to be a positive season for us fans too. i cant wait to watch the manchester games. cos it would be a good early indication of the strength of the team that arsene has.

    i dont think we should worry about the lack of goals coming from the strikers though. i feel that a 4-3-3 formation needs a fox-in-the-box kinda striker.(no not francis jeffers) sooner or later our strikers would hit the g-spot.

    so yes i love the 4-3-3 formation. ive never heard anyone saying arsenal has not been effective so far so thats a good sign!!

    In arsene we trust!!

  • Yemi

    I think the boss is talented enought to know that the formation will change based on the opposition. see what martin oniel did against liverpool yesterday, he played a 4-5-1 so as to stifle out liverpools midfield and it worked for them

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Looks like we could loose Cesc for up to 3 weeks. AW is apparently back in for blaise Matudi for around 5m.

    As far as the 4-4-3 formation is concerned it kind of works well but we have not mastered it by any means. The wide men upfront seem to play too defencive IMO and get caught in midfield to often…hence no goals from them yet. I think in time we will use it to devastating effect.

  • VJ

    big news cesc to miss out against celtic (expected) but should be AVAILABLE for saturday. plus WALCOTT i hear is included in the squad

  • devday

    Arsene: “Tomas Rosicky is back. Not for tomorrow, but he was in normal training today. He could be in the squad on Saturday if needed.”

  • Fabrez

    Wow…just listened to Arsene’s press conference… Didn’t say anything about Theo but said Vela could be back in 2-3 weeks, Rosicky has resumed normal training so can be back for Man U and Cesc is a possibility for the weekend too as he’s not strained his hamstring but just aggrevated it. For once, I enjoyed hearing the injury news…lol!

  • Marc Callan

    My only concern is he playing through the injury to play against united, I just hope he doesn’t aggrevatite anymore…Great news about Rocisky and Theo…

    Hope all is well in Gooners land

  • Leeroy.N

    I would not play him at all this week or at the weekend. His health should be number 1 priority no matter what cup or who you are playing. I would change the dynamics a little and go with someone else within the squad. The and Rosicky should not be ruched back too. Glad to hear they are healthy, but should only be used as a 15-20min at max for the next couple of games. IMO.

    Win, Lose or Draw… Gooner Til I Die!!

  • Berth

    Leeroy – a half fit Cesc is better than a fully fit Diaby; I rather we play Cesc in the man u game than hav someone else in that midfield; its important. Rosicky should be involved too since one cannot predict the future.

  • Leeroy.N

    BERTH – I definatly hear where you are coming from. But would you really risk aggravating an injury and making it worse? Imagine he played through this week against Celtic and weekend Man U, and we got a good result, but it ended up with him being out for the next few games.. or even a couple of months. Would it be worth it then? I have to disagree. We are struggling to cope with the injuries we have.. there is no point adding to them intentionally. I think some people have to let go that there are still plenty of match winners within our squad. Fabregas is amazing, please dont get me wrong. But if the team had some fans view of his importance, they would never be able to win a game without him on the pitch.

    Win, Lose or Draw… Gooner Til I Die!!

  • hello

    .
    I trust Arsene to do the right thing with regards to injuries…

    I’d prefer to loose to Man U than for Cesc to aggravate his injury and put him out for a few weeks… no point in risking our most key player. One loss at this stage does not equal disaster.

    DIABY can handle Man U, he had a great game against them early last season… I am a big fan of his and i believe he will truely step up to the plate cook the cake and eat it… mate!!

  • hello

    .
    All you DIABY haters will be turned… i assure you!!

  • Berth

    Hello – Am afraid Diaby cannot improve in my eyes. Its difficult to see how if men like Rosicky (my sweet heart) and nasri comes back to the squad. He is an average player and I see limited chances especially with Theo, Arshav, Thomas, nasri having a fight for a particular position.

    Wenger is trying to convince the fans and himself that Diaby looks like Viera; its as simple as saying that bently looks like becham when playing. Diaby lacks ball control, confidence; unsure of his abilities, low mental strength,lacks class and a whole lot;he is better off a fringe player in the absence of key players.

  • Leeroy.N

    True about Diaby NOT being Vieira, but there’s no point trying to a 23 year old Diaby to a Vieira at his prime at 27,28 and 29 just as he was leaving the club. I think Diaby has done well, he too had to recover from a horrific anke break which threatened his career a few years ago. It take mental as well as physical strength to get over that and recover from it. It happened just before the end of the season 2006 (im sure). Imagine what kind of player he could have been NOW if that wouldnt of happened to him, right then before Vieira had left. But You have to admire his fight and drive (I know I do). He’s a good player, who is STILL young enough to get better. He knows the team in and out, knows the Prem, League cup, F.A. Cup like the back of his hands and is setting his sights on bigger things. I wouldn’t right him off.. not now, not for a long time. I hope he proves his worth to those who dislike him. I would rather him in my Mid, than someone new to the team and new to the Prem. IMO

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!

  • Leeroy.N

    HELLO – Didn’t see that post. Well said. I’m with you on Diaby all the way.

  • kuka

    …..I am really glad to see players who have “steel” in them and who possess the internal desire and determination to overcome an injury. Such players do pick up injuries and are eager to get back to the pitch and play. In the previous seasons we have seen our players stay out for close to 4 months because of “minor” knocks. I do think that, in addition to modern medicine, it takes individual / Internal stamina for a player to recover fast enough. If CESC is ready to play, put him in there. If Rosicky is healthy and ready to play, please please get him into the team. I am dying for the time, we shall have the full team out on the field and on the bench. Probably then, we shall not have the excuse of injuries etc etc……

  • Leeroy.N

    KUKA – Definatly, that is really our own main downfall is the inuries. A season we go injury free.. or as few or as little as possible is the season we become invincible.

  • VJ

    guys good comments but i have to go with leeroy on this one. we put to much importance on these big clashes. a game against pompey is just as important as a game against man u. by beating man u we dont get more than 3 points. remember man u were the worst against all of the big clashes and still won the league. risking our beloved captain for match and then being potentially out for 3-4 weeks or more might not be worth it. though it is also true we might not need him for other games where 3 points are almost a given. it is a tough decision but luckely we have the best man to make it. we will have to see if wenger will risk him. till then IN WENGER WE TRUST

  • Berth

    leeroy – there is no justification to what you are saying as regards giving time to players to recover. If there is any club in the premiership that ensures players are fully fit before they play its Arsene’s Arsenal; sometimes he gives them over time to recover at which point fans like me start overeacting. Honestly Wenger has been too cautious in the past with Rosicky and so many like him – Its also important to state that in some clubs like Chelsea, Terry has a nagging back injury but still plays, Mikel had injury in the FA cup final 2 years ago but still played the whole 90 minutes; that cannot happen in Arsenal, because Wenger is always meticulous, infact his been too cautious which at some point is good for the player and at the sametime detrimental to the team especially when such player is urgently needed.

  • Berth

    * for players to

  • Berth

    V.J – There is a point in that too; maybe am being too selfish with Fabregas, but am also desperate for success this time; I look at the league, the way the season has started and the players we have and I tell myself why not just win and win with style; beating manu at Old trafford is not bad; and it can be acheived with confidence which at the moment I see surfaces in the team once there is a Fab. I need that win oh!!! as much as I need the premiership and CL; its long overdue.

  • Leeroy.N

    BERTH – I know hundreds of players play with injury, whether it be just playing through the pain or those special injestions that are availabe. My point is, IF he is so important and integral to the team, would you play him, knowing (if you watched the tackles fly in at Celtic) how players TRY to deal with him and how much he runs on the pitch. Dont get me wrong, and forgive me if I gave the wrong impression. I want him to play every minute and every game ahead of anyone else in the squad we have available. But there is nothin wrong in looking after your players be them 1st choice starters or fringe players.

  • dave

    sicky back training again and we loose fabby i just hope we dont rush fabby back and he really breaks down lets hope so a week or two is better than a month or two

  • dave

    4-3-3 4-4-2 4-5-1 it doesnt matter what we play as long as the team plays the same type of football we ahve player for years under wenger nice to see us having more shots from outside the box just this curse with injury holding us back i just hope for a couple more players before the window shuts

  • Fabrez

    Just copped my Arshavin home jersey & Dudu away jersey. So excited about later & this season on the whole!! The future is bright, the future is red & white! :D