For all those of you checking constantly whether we have bought somebody yet, these are not easy times. I used to be like that, but I have learned not to bother with any gossip unless it is confirmed by Arsenal.com or the BBC. The combination of a relatively low position in the league, our current inability to hit some decent form consistently, and the lack of transfer activities, is making us all restless and grumpy.
Firstly, let me state that I am hoping for 1) a beast of a DM, 2) a traditional winger and 3) a back-up, PL-experienced goalkeeper. If nobody arrived by the end of the month, I will be very disappointed. But, it is pretty useless to talk about potential targets, as Arsene is utterly unpredictable and probably does not exactly know what/who he wants himself at the moment; as per his recent comments.
However, with the return to fitness of Diaby and Rosicky, and the rest of our squad all fit and available, and Theo now being played through the middle regularly, we could potentially see a change in formation to 4-4-2, and I reckon we have the players for it.
For the sake of discussions, let me first give a few of my personal views:
- Ideally, we need a strong, physical DM, who can play football as well;
- Arteta and Jack don’t offer enough in terms of physical strength/ ball winning skills;
- Jack does not wear the nr.10 shirt for nothing; he should play higher up the pitch;
- Cazorla is a great player, but I would play him on the wing; he does not give our team enough shape and purpose when he plays in the advanced midfield position in our current 4-2-1-3;
- Both Jack and Rosicky are our best players in terms of conducting our play i.e. giving shape and purpose to our football: one of them should play in the advanced midfield position;
- Podolski is not a winger, but he has formed a good partnership with his twin-brother Gibbs, and if he could get fitter and sharper he could become fantastic in that position for us.
- I like the thought of Theo and Giroud play together up-front, but it will take time and it will only work in my view if Arsenal start playing in a 4-4-2 formation.
Given the above, I would absolutely love it – and I know I am not the only one who would welcome this – if we were to change to 4-4-2 from now on. In an ideal world, Arsenal could line up in midfield and attack like this:
Cazorla – Wilshere – New DM/Diaby – Podolski
Giroud could be our attacking pivot, and Theo could have a free role: at times adding support to our wing-play, and other times combining with Giroud to create and score goals, or running on to through-balls from our midfielders. The longer Giroud and Walcott would play together the better their partnership would become.
With Cazorla and Wilshere we have two fantastic midfielders who can help on the defensive side as well as creating chances for others. However, it is important that we add more steel in the centre of defence. A fit Diaby could do it, but we cannot count on him for long: therefore, a new DM should be bought as soon as possible.
I would love to see Cazorla and Podolski on the wings in this 4-4-2 formation: they would both add defensive support as well as a real assist and goal threat. Cazorla could be our new Pires, although not playing on the left but the right, and Podolski could be our new Ljunberg, although also playing on the other side. With Ox, Coquelin, Gervinho, Eisfeld, and Rosicky we also have decent cover for our left midfield and right midfield positions.
Cazorla could be cover for Theo and Podolski could replace Giroud, and I would not be surprised if we were to buy another central striker if we were to change to a 4-4-2 formation. I hear some of you say, Arsene will not go back to 4-4-2, no way! You are probably right, but don’t totally disregard it, as I can not see him putting either Theo or Giroud on the bench for long spells.
But, let’s say, Arsene sticks to his beloved 4-2-1-3 formation: how could it work better for us?
Well, as per my personal views above, I would like to see the following formation in midfield and attack:
I reckon Arsenal would play far better football than we currently do with this combination of players. Jack or Rosicky would give our play purpose and structure; a proper DM would give us steel in midfield; or, if and when Diaby is fit, he could form a fine partnership with Arteta (as per the start of the season).
Arsenal could either play with Theo or Giroud in the middle, depending a bit on the opponent and/or current form. There are also good options for the wing, although it would be great if we were to buy a very good, dedicated winger to give us more variety in this area, in the next few weeks.
All in all, plenty of opportunities to further fine tune the team for Arsene, and it will be interesting to see what will happen in the next few weeks.
Written by: Total Arsenal.