Too many cooks, some say, spoil the broth and for Wenger, it is has been something of a headache in forming a synergy of his players into working out a constant strategy this season. 4-2-3-1 was the template for last season, but with injuries hitting us hard plus a collection of a lot of similar players in attack, a change has been inevitable. 4-1-4-1 hasn’t exactly paid off in the absence of a true monster in defenisve midfield, with neither Arteta nor Flamini satisfying the requirements till now.
Against Burnley, Wenger did not have as many options in midfield in Wilshere’s absence and with Ramsey still short of fitness, leaving only Tomas Rosicky as the only other option. And so, taking advantage of Alexis’ strength and amiable versatility, Wenger elected to pair the captain with Flamini again as was the case at the Stadium of Light.
Alexis has been a real blessing to the team as his adaptability in various positions has given Wenger the leverage to try out different set ups. The Chilean has played in all four forward positions to considerably good effect, but as Wenger himself admitted post-match, playing him through the middle could just be the perfect placement. That, as the following factors, may have favored the adoption of 4-4-2 against Burnely.
Efficient Wing Play
On the back of recent poor performances, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s energy and pace was needed to be on top gear. Thankfully, he was at his menacing best. Cross after cross he whipped into the box, stretching the Burnely defenders with more space for Chambers to overlap and join in the attack. Chamberlain’s ability to drift into central midfield with a burst of pace also meant that we never were really overwhelmed number-wise in the center of the park.
Burnley Set Up To Soak, But Could Counter.
Perhaps, it was not so wise to have started the game with what appeared to be a defensive minded set up with a double pivot. Sean Dyche was never going to set his team up to take us on gong-ho, seeking rather to break up our advances and soak it up for 45 minutes.
Having survived that going into the interval, they were always going to be more threatening after the break, again factoring in the Arsenal proclivity to cave under pressure. In this sense, the two old heads in Arteta and Flamini would have come in crucial, to keep the team’s defensive shape while making through the pressure from Burnley.
But again, seeing we needed a goal, one of the two had to go and it wasn’t a surprise to see the floodgates open when Arteta was subbed for Ramsey. The shape may have unaltered a little in front with later substitutions but seeing the chances Podolski and Alexis still got playing through the center, you can’t deny it could be a tactic Wenger will look at considering more frequently.
However you could say that the boss should have gone into the game against Burnley with a single pivot, exploring the options of the players on the bench.
One very important thing Wenger needs to copy from Chelsea boss; Jose Mourinho is how to change tactics when approaching different opponents.
We take on an Anderlecht side that is full of pace and beautiful counter attacking football tomorrow at the Emirates. would you suggest we go with 4-4-2 once again or revert to 4-1-4-1? Share your thoughts.
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