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Arsene Wenger has traditionally always played with a back 4 system. But last season, due to hampered results, his hand was forced into changing to a back-three system that aided him quite well, as the team went onto win the FA Cup. This season too, he has deployed the same system albeit with not the same amount of success as his Arsenal team has tasted 2 defeats in their opening 3 games of the season.
The back-three system allows the wing-backs to bomb forward and this is something we saw towards the fag-end of the season from an Arsenal side that finished at a disappointing 5th place in the Premier League table. But their performance in the FA Cup final against Chelsea made many stand up and recognise Arsenal’s potential could-be success with the back-3 system.
However, it might be time for the veteran Frenchman to shift back to a back-4 system, where his midfield will likely dominate again. Arsenal traditionally have played the midfield-way, so as to speak, but the three-man defensive system meant that there was space only for 2 midfielders in the centre of the pitch. Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey are the 2 men being relied on to perform in the midfield.
The spine of the team was thus weakened by playing 3 at the back. Although it was supposed to be a sound system defensively, Arsenal’s recent disgrace against a top Liverpool team was definitely not a godsend to the fans. Wenger will need to do his homework before the Bournemouth game. Another loss could see the odds being stacked against him and the Arsenal board could begin to lose patience in their pursuit of holding on to their French manager’s tactics.
Wenger should look to focus on the next game against Bournemouth and a win must be the bare necessity for his team. With 35 games to go and a Europa League journey to look forward to, Wenger should look to change to a back-4 again as it could help the 3 midfielders who play in the midfield. That would allow his midfield to dominate games as they always did and free up more space for the attackers to run into.
If the defeat against Liverpool were to be stripped down and scrutinised, it would be summed up as shambolic. Losing 4-0 and looking spineless is definitely something Arsenal should look to recover from. If a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson had lost 4-0 at Anfield, the hairdryer treatment would almost have inevitably been given to most of his players. Arsene Wenger too must look to take real responsibility of his players and set them out with the right kind of tactics.
Changing to a back-4 would allow the attackers to be more influential and they next play a team that nearly drew against Manchester City in the previous league game, before the international break. Playing 3 at the back has become a common sight now and Wenger should look to deploy a much simpler system and try to get maximum points out of the Bournemouth game.