Why ‘4-4-2 Diamond’ is the way forward for Arsenal

Why I personally HATED watching the Everton vs Asrenal match.

The invincibles – 4-4-2: playing fast attacking expansive football a lot of the times on the break, I can remember one of our most potentially attacking points in any game was during an opposition corner.

League winners last season – 4-4-2: Manchester City

2nd in the league last season – 4-4-2 Diamond, The team that got the most plaudits for playing the most attacking, fast, expansive football: Liverpool

Everton yesterday – 4-4-2 Diamond: they didn’t mess about in a congested midfield playing it gradually up the field as a team and loosing attacking momentum, they already had attackers in place to pass to up the field and so played quick attacking football especially on the break.

THE 4-4-2 DIAMOND IS THE FORMATION I AM CONSTANTLY HOPING WENGER WILL WAKE UP AND TRY, IT IS WHAT OUR TEAM IS MADE FOR!!

Just a quick overview of what the 4-4-2 diamond actually is as I constantly refer to it as a 4-3-3 but it differs a little, in our case it would look like this (fill in your own player preferences as applicable):

Arsenal:

 diamond1

Liverpool equivalent last season (white):

diamond2

A description of how Liverpool use it: 

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2014/03/17/manchester-united-0-3-liverpool-rodgers-continues-with-his-diamond-and-liverpool-win-easily/

And how well they used it against us btw:

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2014/02/10/liverpool-5-1-arsenal-game-over-after-20-minutes-thanks-to-superb-one-touch-football/

Just one of many times Everton used it against us yesterday (I think they nearly went on to score from this but were denied by a last ditch tackle form Chambers)

1 (1)

The left and right midfielders have moved up obviously to support the attack but I hope you can still see the diamond working and producing an excellent attacking move from even a mediocre team:

2

Now conversely for us Wenger has managed incredibly to make players like Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere, OX, Ramsey all look crap by finding perhaps the worst possible way to play them – all out of position and close together in a congested mess, hats off to you there Wenger that takes some doing.

So when we weren’t playing within ourselves all cooped up in a little passing bubble in a non threatening midfield area, when we did manage to break into space what did WE have to force the attack with: (I think three examples will be enough lol)

1.

3

No striking threat within a mile, neither supportive from behind or expansive up ahead and we were left four on one – make something out of that please Sanchez pmsl!

4

2.

5

Same situation again but this time six on one

6

3.

7

This time Sanchez drops deep and passes it to Ramsey creating an almost flat five across the park and yep you guessed it we get an even greater seven on one situation in this area this time.  I don’t know Wenger I think if you play six midfielders in a formation that is all about midfield I think what you’re going to end up with is a lot of midfielders in midfield  pmsl – am I loosing the plot or is that just logic??

8

Once again let’s do some analysis on the options Everton were granted by their formation, I will use the same example because I’m pretty pissed off watching this match over and over to screen print tbh.

So from before, here Everton have a four on five attack with the extra midfielder still out wide for support further ahead than any of our covering midfielders.  Some may say that in the diamond system with Sanchez as the pivot (as I have it outlined in my arsenal example) he would never win that header but what if it was Giroud feeding Walcott and Campbell?  The options are there and it allows for each player to play more of their own game instead of being cramped together with four or five other players all playing the same game as them. 

9

I just felt I had to write this as I found myself more and more falling into the “he was crap” and “he was crap” mentality of blaming players whilst watching a game where all the lads were doing their best actually but were stuck running uphill in a system that just does not support the attacking nature of the team and the fans.

I am sure all this will be turned on its head against Besiktas this week when it all falls into place and Wenger’s wonderful plan unfolds but at the moment our team to me at least looks stagnant, predictable and somehow slow even though we have some of the quickest players we’ve ever had on the pitch – again another argument for an unnecessarily dense and squeezed midfield.

And just in case you needed some more convincing here we are ARSENAL with all our attacking prowess and free flowing football we constantly declare we have, playing a team that definitely did not turn up to sit eleven men behind the ball and so provided the space we all repeatedly get annoyed that lesser teams suffocate with parking the bus strategies and how did we end up scoring??

A one in a million cross that passes six defenders and somehow reaches Ramsey:

10

And an old fashioned take your chances, in the locker of any team in the league – ball into the box:

11

Any thoughts?

Written by: Steve.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Why ‘4-4-2 Diamond’ is the way forward for Arsenal

  1. Philbet says:

    Just wondering what the result was at Everton or where we finished in the league compared to them,thought I had missed there super duper diamond playing us off the park but a quick glance at the league table shows one of us to be deluded and it aint me, I know you mean well but seriously get real and get behind your team and manager for a change, you are killing yourself with over analysis.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Brilliant, analytical and passionate post about the Diamond system, Steve. Something Philbet could only dream about…

  3. Gunner4real says:

    Does it matter how the goals were scored? At the end of the day, we got the result. The thing about the modern game is that flexibility and versatility are very important. These players are not automaton robots who are just going to stay in one place on the pitch just bcos they’ve been labeled to play a specific position. The game of football has gone past that, and it’s time fans get with the program. Fluidity creates unpredictability for opponents. That’s why Sanchez will be an important player for us. He can be anywhere on the pitch and still be effective, even with defending. Confuse the opponent by switching players around all over the pitch, regardless of what formation is being played. That’s the name of the game. We did that last year with great effect. Now we can do it again and do it even better this time bcos arsenal have a lot more attacking options now. Can’t wait for the players to start really clicking and hit the ground running. Arsenal4life!

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    I did not hate to see us play against Everton, though. It was frustrating for a long time and we escaped somehow with a point, but the boys showed fight throughout the game, and that goes a long way.

    Whether the 4-4-2 would make all the difference, I am not so sure about. Wenger has collected a number of very fine, multi-skilled midfielders and it seems to be his aim to get them to play around the pivot of our CF. It takes time to get there, and ever since Cesc left we have been looking for the best shape and player combinations, but I have no doubt Wenger wants to make perfect his 4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1 system. If you have the likes of Jack, Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey, Alexis and Theo…. and Santi, Ox, Rosicky as well… you want to get the very best out of them. I reckon once this starts clicking properly we will be a real force, and it will be Wenger’s very own signature system.

    But yes at times, our systems frustrates and is not getting the best out of the players. We should give it time, though, as the additions of Alexis, and now Welbeck, will need time to settle in…. and then there is Theo as well.

    I would not mind at all to see us play your preferred system though, but I don’t think it will happen any time soon…

  5. The Cockie Monster says:

    Reply to Gerry on previous post. As he likes to keep digging me out and I have to reply. If he left me alone, I wouldn`t have to waste my time writing this crap !.

    Nice story and well done on being a hero.
    This is the way I see it, you don’t have to read my comments or comment on them, just ignore them as no one is going to worry that you are condoning them by not commenting !.
    I`ve watched Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle, Jason Mansford and plenty more comedians tell savilesque jokes, with plenty of the audience being women and guess what, these programmes have been on TV, so maybe all the audiences, the TV companies and not forgetting the likes of the comedians I have mentioned must be paedos !.
    You have even started to widen the net saying that there cant be disabled jokes, I presume dementia is off the list as well !, not sure what a racist joke is ?, is it when I have joked about our aussie mates ?, they are a sensitive lot ! ( that`s a joke Prince, Alex and Oz ). I love watching Paul Chowdhry and he takes the piss out of white people and we love it !. Maybe you should put a list up as to what is acceptable in the humour stakes !. I`ve took the piss out of everyone on here in an endearing way and love it when I`m on the receiving end !. I`ve done wit, sarcasm, irony, satire, I`ve done my owns vids, I`ve even done some just using smileys, I`ve done Dr Glic and VCC has been on the receiving end of most, should we ask his opinion on that ?. I`ve tried to be original and imaginative and may sometimes hit the nerve with some, but, it`s always done in a genuine light hearted manner and you insult me by suggesting it`s meant in any other way !.
    Your comments on these matters in the past have left a suggestive accusation lingering in the air and have done the same to NB69 in your comment @16:58 !. I could go on , but it`s becoming tedious !.
    Honestly, you really need to chill out, others have said it in the past, you are making a mountain out of a mole hill !.
    Please, someone give him some drugs !……better still, give me the drugs and the Samaritans number as I`m about to top myself !……..then again, I wont do it because I`m a Buddhist !…..and the thought of coming back as one of he`s dogs is enough to make me top myself….fcuk it !..nearly done it again !.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Cockie,

    I actually despise those self-happy comedians and that sort of humour is not welcome here. Your humour is a lot better and ‘warmer’ than theirs, but on that one occasion you went too far.

    But I also believe you should respect Gerry’s feelings and viewpoints about this and not take it all too personal. Just leave it be and move on, and stick to the rule that if your humour offends someone it is time to stop it. At least on my site.

  7. Highbury Harmony says:

    steve, this is a wonderful read and is a fantastic analysis on the benefits of the 4-4-2 system and how we do have the pieces in place to make it work, similar to Liverpool. We could certainly do well playing in your suggested formation, but I think we have pieces in place that will allow us to be more effective using a different formation, given the creativity we have in midfield that Liverpool lack outside of Sterling.

    I have seen many of your line-ups this season and I question how much you value some of the players we actually have. Leaving one of the best number 10s in the world out of the starting line-up is quite shocking – I truly do not understand why you don’t rate Ozil and believe it is extremely shortsighted to judge his performances at LW as a testament to his overall ability. When Theo was healthy last season, he found him on 3 breakaways in a single game, but Theo unfortunately failed to convert on them. Theo and Alexis should continue on the wing and that’s when we’ll truly see Ozil flourish through the middle. Also, don’t get me wrong, I like Campbell, but he should be nowhere near our starting 11 right now. He looked awful in his substitute appearance against Everton and is a far, far cry from being as strong or clinical as Sturridge. Perhaps he’ll get there one day but for now, he’s nowhere close.

    Walcott and Sterling don’t really match up and the only similarity is utilizing good movement to find space – the former is more focused on finishing, while the latter places an emphasis on ball control and setting others up. Walcott is more of a modern winger, while Sterling looks set to become a “modern” CAM for Liverpool that can interchange with others in attack. For me, the closest thing we have to a Sterling is Chamberlain. If Chamberlain could work more on moving into space before getting control of the ball and being more decisive in the final third, we’d basically have our next “modern” cam.

  8. Sy4 says:

    So Wenger ruined Rambo? Sure….

    The issue is we lacked width and a focal point up front – you have not addressed that at all

    Your formation looks like a 4 3 3 to me really and similar to how we play.

    In a good 442 you need at least one true winger plus athletic fullbacks and a striker to hold the ball up with a pacey partner.

    One big issue was lack of options to pass to and match fitness

    I could grab pictures from the game and draw circles to prove you wrong also but I won’t as it’s one game and your “solution” doesn’t cut it either

    I think AW probably knows more than you to be honest

  9. Nik says:

    There is a reason why the diamond formation is rarely used by any team and that’s because it is very vulnerable. Liverpool are the perfect example with the amount of goals they conceded last season.
    4-4-2 diamond is always outnumbered in midfield against systems like 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1
    being outnumbered in midfield means you cannot develop any pressure, most certainly not against sides that know how to keep the ball.
    The only way you can develop pressure with a diamond in midfield is directly after losing the ball with your two strikers
    Liverpool by the way abandon their system and press man to man up front, it has nothing to do with a diamond anymore!

    Against a diamond in midfield you can push your full backs forward and therefore create an overload on the flanks.
    It is also very vulnerable once you lose posession. The right and left midfielder play rather central which means the full backs provide the width in the system. That means you always have 7 players close to the oppositions box and when you lose the ball you face 3v3 or 3v4 counter attacking situations.

    Very few teams tried 4-4-2 diamond and the ones that did, had little succes with it (ie. Brazil at WC 2010 and afterwards)
    Liverpool only had ‘succes’ last season because they had the luxury of Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling outscoring most their opponents.

    I hope we are never gonna play a diamond in midfield because it is one of the weakest formations there is.

  10. Milo says:

    Why does Wenger have to create his own “signature” system…Is that your perception, his (Wenger’s) perception, my perception??? I don’t even know. What I do know is this…He won a league title going a full 38 matches unbeaten. That’s a pretty innovative way to garner a league championship in any sport. He went 49 matches unbeaten, as well as a separate streak that lasted around 23 or so games. He’ found and developed great players…I would HOPE that his hunger for innovation, which DOES result in personal accolades, isn’t clouding his judgement or hindering his view of the bigger picture.

    He wouldn’t be copying Liverpool’s, or any other club’s tactical systems, IF he did change formation, as no player, or sets of players play in the same fashion.

    What I do know, is that things aren’t working, and haven’t been working on a consistent basis for a few seasons now, even in purely an attacking sense. When is the last time we lead the league in goals scored, or were even close to doing so??? It hasn’t been for a few seasons now, I would reckon.

    He SHOULD experiment more, but he won’t. I think we all know that. And who’s to say his way will not work. It’s just that if it takes another 5 or 6 matches, how far behind will we be???

    We should be competing for the title this season, no question. It doesn’t mean we will though. I’m not trying to play obvious here. That’s a veiled hint at my opinion.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve’s post has brought forward some very fine comments. We should remember that Steve wrote this post on the eve of the Everton draw and he writes with his heart on his sleeve, which I like about him. I was not able to publish it earlier, but let’s use this as a very fine base for discussion on formations, and show respect to the writer in the meantime. 🙂

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Nik, that is a very strong counter-argument…. I can see that your sport studies are paying off. Did T get in touch yet?

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Milo,

    How is life treating you? Are you still playing music or is the caring for your farther taking too much time of you right now?

  14. Nik says:

    no he didn’t, TA

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry, if you are reading, please check your email! 🙂

  16. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Do not fear Nik, my young fiend. I had a quick look at TA’s mail today but have been very busy.

    Its Dortmund at the Grove right?

    By the way, great comment Steve. Will comment tomorrow, to knackered to give it justice at the mo.

  17. Milo says:

    Yeah TA, I’m playing more than ever now. It’s going really well and progressing quickly. My brother and his two sons, along with his partner (yuck) are moving in, so it’s going to be a bit easier on me to take care of everything and everyone.
    Thanks for asking!
    I can relate to Steve hahaha.
    I don’t know if Wenger is patient (the most patient celebrity/famous person I know of) or if he is stubborn. I guess you can be both…Still, if I were him I’d be tinkering until we started WINNING and scoring more frequently. Then, when that happens, I’d wait for it to stop before changing the formula. I dunno…

  18. proudgooner says:

    Steve,
    Interesting topic.
    We or Wenger player 4-4-2 in the FA cup final, so he is willing to play it.
    I am surprised more people have not asked you why you left Ramsey, Ozil and Cazorla out of you side. lol that is not to say its wrong, i personally would put them in the side myself though.
    I agree with you that we need 2 strikers up top, We simply don’t get enough men forward or in the box and playing 1 striker as your pictures show leaves a very hard job for the lone striker .

    Wenger has been purposefully packing the midfield , its not pretty but the results are what matters, we were 1 – 0 down when the pictures were shown so it ws important not to go gun-ho, as we did not want to go 2 down , which we did
    I think Wenger has a very hard job, everyone is saying buy a DM , play 2 DM’s but if he does this then he can’t play Wengerball, we can’t really have it both ways, or not without a lot of hard work and time for players to truely gel.
    It was much better to watch the we will score more goals then you Wenger sides, but we were not scoring enough goals last season to take that aproch . Give le prof some time with his new players to find the right balance. If we play the 4-4-2 v the Chelsea, Liverpool and City then we could get smashed for 6 again, so i think Wenger is trying to find the balance mate.

  19. H Bo says:

    Nice post Steve very sophisticated with screen shots and all sorts. Just to say well done Gerry it was a touching story eye opening also, I love Cockie and I’m disabled (wheelchair/multiple sclerosis) & black but don’t mind banter in the right vain which I think Cockie does for sure if not I will run him over in my wheelchair but kids shouldn’t be discussed in any manner adults should be able to handle banter but there maybe kids reading as stated and examples should be set I agree.

    Back to Steve if we play 4-4-2 we cannot use our ridiculous amount of Central midfielders or we play them wide as we do already which is why Theo is an integral part of system, he is the only player that hugs the wing and works it there is no room in the middle hence why we always play around the box the only width comes when the full backs catch up with play.
    Wenger feels he has to play Rambo, Ozil, Arteta and Santi every game which then makes Santi or Ozil a wide player as opposed to playing his wide players wide not forgetting we got JW and Rosicky with Diaby always coming back although prefer the Ox centrally in that Sterling kind of role, which really is hypercritical as he plays SaNOgoal as he’s the only striker but not Ox and Sanchez or Campbell or even Podolski as their our only fit wide players in the wide positions.

    Totes Steve has put a marker down now I want post game analysis like this every game with circles and pictures and above all that post game raw emotion not say I agreed but I appreciate it tbh I thought we did okay most of that game bar the 1st goal as second one was foul and offside I think WELL DONE STEVE

  20. steve says:

    I can see that post went down well then pmsl 🙂

    TA, don’t worry about the respect bud lol, i don’t think i have been on here long enough to be rewarded with any yet and to be honest i enjoy harsh heartfelt arguments that’s what its all about mate.
    Its been a hectic day today so haven’t got time to banter with everyone tonight so i will just choose one – Philbet, he’s top of the comments (me being lazy), the rest i will try and answer simply and straightforwardly tomorrow.

    Philbet,

    “Just wondering what the result was at Everton”

    The result at Everton was a draw mate, a very lucky one at that, in which we played very poorly in the first half and looked like we were going to get thumped. The £77M pairing of Ozil and Sanchez provided pretty much nothing, second half wasn’t much better and it was only Giroud saving us that nicked us the point.
    There are hundreds of match reports to look at mate but i will post a link to one for you just to be nice;
    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/everton-vs-arsenal-match-report-giroud-rescues-a-point-for-arsenal-after-they-trailed-by-two-goals-9687781.html

    “thought I had missed there super duper diamond playing us off the park but a quick glance at the league table shows one of us to be deluded and it aint me”

    If you missed a super duper diamond playing us off the park i suggest you watch the game mate and not the fucking league table, they were clearly the better team but thanks to some last ditch tackling the league table result wouldn’t have shown that. If you are stuck for examples just watch last seasons liverpool beating us 5-1 or everton 3-0 or even man city who play a 4-4-2 beating us 6-3.
    I prefer the diamond mate but my main point was to get away from this insanely congested 4-5-1 type mess that we seem to be playing atm it just doesn’t show any promise of getting back to the free flowing, quick, top scorers that we used to be.

    “I know you mean well”

    Not really mate no i didn’t tbh, i was pissed off at the time to be so upstaged by i team i consider to be of considerably lesser quality especially with all our new signings – a feeling that was only compounded further at Leicester.

    “get behind your team and manager for a change”

    I get behind my team every single 90 minute match mate, yes even Ozil, when they’re on the grass i support them completely. before and after the game however i express my opinion, i thought that’s what we were here to do lol, its mainly the manager i have a problem with though mate and in particular his stubbornness to change (which i don’t think i am alone in).

    “you are killing yourself with over analysis”

    Yep very true there mate but it interests me and i’m good with software so it doesn’t take to long to formulate, but i take your point.

    hope that helps mate

  21. Neeraj says:

    Steve amazing job putting the article together
    It was a pleasure to read since we discussed the idea a few days ago
    For all the people who are saying this is a 4-3-3 well it is not because 4-3-3 has only 1 striker that is the essence of it having a different name
    But the problem is in a 4-4-2 diamind the no.10 has to be a pure midfielder as he has to track back while defending. When defending the diamond eventually turns into a regula 4-4-2 and the no.10 goes and helps one of the full backs
    I think Sanchez should not be d player who feeds the strikers as he has an amazing shot actually his finishing might be better than both Giroud and Welbeck
    If you hav observed lately we have been playing 4-1-4-1 the main reason for dis is to fit Cazorla, Ozil and Rambo but I think it is not going to work because nor ozil neither santi is ready to be shunted out on the wing so Wenger should keep rotating and play only two. Then we can play Sanchez on the left as we did in the 2nd half at leicester where we performed much better, on the right we should play the OX he gives us the penetration
    If we do as I mentioned above we can fluidly change between 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-2 diamond. When we are playing diamond sanchez will move up to support the striker the CAM (ozil/santi) stays there and rambo n chambo come back to form the two CM positions in the diamond and the CDM will be already there behind them
    What do you think ?

  22. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    Agreeing with HH again, and thus causing the ice caps to melt more perhaps (or less, your call).. I actually think our best formation would be 4-3-3 but, the big **but** (1 “t” not 2 please), to be clearer let me call it a 4-2-1-3, or even more clearly, one could say close to Steve’s preference a 4-4-1-1, which is to my mind what the invincibles played.

    To show you, I would say, all healthy, and all attacking

    Scz
    Back-4
    JW/AR
    Ozil
    Sanchez-Welbeck-Theo

    Ozil would have little defending and lots of pace in front to look through. You can count on Sanchez and Theo to work and come back as required. JW/AR don’t have the height, but do tackle well. See both of them coming through and taking cut-backs

    Same folks as 4-4-1-1 look:

    Scz
    Back-4
    Sanchez-JW-AR-Theo
    Ozil
    Welbeck

    I could live with any of those. We do lack some height/destruction in the middle of the second 4 though. But, I did say all attacking… 🙂

    Sidenote: TA, a little busy but thought to write an intl break article on TWs, the media and the art of seduction (yes, I can pull it together… I think 🙂 ). More on how we let ourselves get manipulated by the media from thinking soundly and honestly, and into some other world of dreams. And in the end all we do is feel bad…

    cheers — jgc

  23. geoffchase says:

    I guess I would add,

    I want to see much more of Ozil putting faster people through. We have rarely had the supporting cast for that with him. We do now in a big way.

    To paraphrase VCC, the ghosts of my 40s are stirring.. 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  24. steve says:

    I find in general quite a few people have a problem with the players i picked (or left out) in the formation but it was just a choice i made at the time and i could have just as easily used Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla etc. That is one of my points tbh, this system suits the actual defined best positions of each player (not what Wenger thinks they should be). For example many would choose Ozil as the top tip of the diamond giving him space and time and multiple options ahead rather than on the left wing in a 4-1-4-1. Come on guys i had to leave some players out and if you disagree then absolutely fine but not really what the point of the post was about, its about the formation. The fact that you are saying i should have played ‘X’ here and ‘Y’ there just shows that you yourself could see these players playing in that system.

    Now for the replies i promised;

    Gunner4real
    “Does it matter how the goals were scored? At the end of the day, we got the result.”
    – Not really mate but then aren’t we the ones always purporting to play beautiful attacking football? Shouldn’t this kind of style actually produce some decent score lines?

    “These players are not automaton robots who are just going to stay in one place on the pitch just bcos they’ve been labeled to play a specific position. The game of football has gone past that, and it’s time fans get with the program.”
    – Just sometimes I wish they would lol, instead of all clumping together in the middle of the park where they all want to be naturally, but I really feel this is down to the player picked. If you had say Campbell and Walcott and you told them to stay high and wide I don’t think they would drift into midfield too often.

    “Confuse the opponent by switching players around all over the pitch, regardless of what formation is being played.”
    – Doesn’t really confuse them much when they are all swapping over in the same little bit of the pitch, in front of the wall of defense – or I should say it hasn’t yet.

    “We did that last year with great effect. Now we can do it again and do it even better this time bcos arsenal have a lot more attacking options now. Can’t wait for the players to start really clicking and hit the ground running. Arsenal4life!”
    – We did mate yes and I hope we can again but we haven’t really hit the ground running that’s for sure, but we’re in the champions league and its early days yet so maybe it will work to great effect soon I was just offering what I think would be a decent formation to try especially when considering the types of players we have.

    TA
    Good argument mate and I take your point I just feel sometimes two up top would give all those excellent midfielders double the options to create for. In my mind the diamond would simply be taking one of the DM pair in our old system of 4-2-3-1 and and swapping him for a second striker up top giving a 4-1-3-2 which is basically the diamond.

    Highbury Harmony
    “but I think we have pieces in place that will allow us to be more effective using a different formation, given the creativity we have in midfield that Liverpool lack outside of Sterling.”
    – Yes very good point mate fair enough, I guess my patience has just been tested waiting for it to click in any real sense and please don’t forget I wrote this straight after the game – good job I didn’t do one for Leicester lol.

    “For me, the closest thing we have to a Sterling is Chamberlain. If Chamberlain could work more on moving into space before getting control of the ball and being more decisive in the final third, we’d basically have our next “modern” cam.”
    – Excellent point mate and much agreed.

    Sy4
    “So Wenger ruined Rambo? Sure….”
    – Not ruined past tense mate, “is ruining” simply by congesting the area he works in and makes his runs through. He is a top man and I am sure he will adapt but I just don’t understand why Wenger is making it so difficult for him lol.

    “The issue is we lacked width and a focal point up front – you have not addressed that at all”
    – Campbell and Walcott – two strikers who can drift WIDE while UP FRONT, and the usual wide support from our attacking full backs. I tried to address it mate I think you missed it. Doesn’t have to be those two by the way, that’s just the two I chose on the day.

    “Your formation looks like a 4 3 3 to me really and similar to how we play.”
    – It’s really not mate lol

    “In a good 442 you need at least one true winger plus athletic fullbacks and a striker to hold the ball up with a pacey partner.”
    – Got, got, got and got lol. When defending the attacking pivot of the diamond (top tip) falls back into midfield anyway to create that classic 4-4-2 midfield while still leaving the two up top.

    “One big issue was lack of options to pass to and match fitness”
    – There were five midfielders pmsl how many options to pass to do you want lol, if you meant up top then that only serves to prove that I am correct in thinking two up top would be more beneficial than that extra one in midfield. Match fitness?? Aren’t all the teams in the same boat mate?

    “I could grab pictures from the game and draw circles to prove you wrong also but I won’t as it’s one game and your “solution” doesn’t cut it either”
    – Please do mate, I could have used more games but wanted to keep the size down. And as for my solution, well I was just trying to think how I would change it – obviously didn’t cut the mustard in your opinion 🙂 

    “I think AW probably knows more than you to be honest”
    – Undoubtedly! Doesn’t mean he’s infallible though 

    Nik
    “There is a reason why the diamond formation is rarely used by any team and that’s because it is very vulnerable. Liverpool are the perfect example with the amount of goals they conceded last season. 4-4-2 diamond is always outnumbered in midfield against systems like 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1”
    -Do you not think that a fair bit of liverpool’s vulnerability came from their poor defending? In any case when defending using the diamond if played correctly should produce the same classic 4-4-2 midfield, as the spear head of the diamond drops to support midfield. By the way Liverpool and Man city who also employ 4-4-2 managed to finish first and second in the league respectively last season so it’s got to be doing something right? With the tip of the attacking diamond dropping back to help build up play from midfield it actually creates a 4-1-3-2 which I think may be more to your liking? That’s the fluidity of the system that I obviously could not show on a static formation picture.

    “Liverpool by the way abandon their system and press man to man up front, it has nothing to do with a diamond anymore!”
    – Seems like its still in effect to me; (there’s even a picture with an actual perfect diamond placement lol)
    http://outsideoftheboot.com/2014/09/02/tactical-analysis-tottenham-hotspur-0-3-liverpool-difference-in-pressing-runs-from-midfield/

    “That means you always have 7 players close to the oppositions box and when you lose the ball you face 3v3 or 3v4 counter attacking situations.”
    – I’m sorry mate but LOL how is that any different to now? Do you not watch the counter attacks against us, with 7 players including our full backs still up the pitch? It happens every game.

    “Very few teams tried 4-4-2 diamond and the ones that did, had little succes with it (ie. Brazil at WC 2010 and afterwards)
    Liverpool only had ‘succes’ last season because they had the luxury of Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling outscoring most their opponents.”
    – We have just as good players to make it work now as Liverpool did then .

    “I hope we are never gonna play a diamond in midfield because it is one of the weakest formations there is.”
    – Okie dokie, but again the top two teams in the league played a 4-4-2 or variation last year.

    Milo
    “What I do know, is that things aren’t working, and haven’t been working on a consistent basis for a few seasons now, even in purely an attacking sense. When is the last time we lead the league in goals scored, or were even close to doing so??? It hasn’t been for a few seasons now, I would reckon.”
    – Exactly mate

    “He SHOULD experiment more, but he won’t. I think we all know that. And who’s to say his way will not work. It’s just that if it takes another 5 or 6 matches, how far behind will we be???”
    – Great point. Yes his way may well work but what’s to say one of the many other formations wouldn’t work straight off the bat, he could put the 4-4-2 diamond in next week and it could produce results straight away, or it could be a disaster – but we never get to know (as you say) because he never tries to experiment. What makes it worse is that we have one of the most multi-dimensional player filled teams in the league so if anyone could tinker effectively it’s him.

    “I don’t know if Wenger is patient (the most patient celebrity/famous person I know of) or if he is stubborn. I guess you can be both…Still, if I were him I’d be tinkering until we started WINNING and scoring more frequently. Then, when that happens, I’d wait for it to stop before changing the formula. I dunno…”
    – EXACTLY! You legend! That’s quite simply what i thought managing was all about, all I want a bit of tinkering other than just throwing as many similar midfielders into midfield as possible lol.

    Proudgooner
    All good points mate definitely
    Just one question, when you say; “If we play the 4-4-2 v the Chelsea, Liverpool and City then we could get smashed for 6 again”, based on what? We never play 4-4-2 to base that judgement on. I’m not saying you’re wrong lol but we never know because he never tries it out and like you say we couldn’t do an worse than last year lol.

    H Bo
    Thanks mate I like a few pictures to help analysis and the post game raw emotion, well we all love that – its what its all about. Like you say it may not always be right but its always passionate and entertaining 
    When you say; “if we play 4-4-2 we cannot use our ridiculous amount of Central midfielders” we are only sacrificing one, and to me it looks a little congested in there anyway. More to the point (and exactly as you pointed out) with so many in place we find the likes of Ozil and Cazorla on the wings which I feel is very detrimental to both the player and the team. In whatever formation he chooses Wenger is going to have to start making choices about who gets the nod in midfield – he can’t play them all lol

    Neeraj & geoffchase
    Just seen your comments lads and am sorry but I’m going to have to wait till tomorrow to reply, its 4am atm and I’m pretty knackered but I will definitely get on it tomorrow.

  25. henrychan says:

    Steve.. Nice post.. But I don’t like your team.. hehehe..

    First, I never saw a formation like that so call 4-4-2 diamond..??
    It look more like 4-1-3-2 for me.. Or as you said 4-3-3..
    And I wonder WHEN will we play that formation.. now or two-three years ahead..??
    I just can’t see your chosen players will play this season..
    CARVALHO..?? If he didn’t sign for us this season, then I don’t think he will next season..
    Pity said but it true.. hiks..hiks..hiks..

    No Ramsey, No Ozil, No Cazorla, No Arteta.. No Giroud (the prince).. and also No Welbeck..??
    What’s wrong with you..?? hehehehe..
    Walcott play at left..?? Come On.. He is our best RW.. Maybe the best RW in EPL..
    Wilshere also better at Left Middle not Right Middle..
    So I am confused with your view about LEFT and RIGHT..

    If Wenger will play 4-4-2 diamond(4-3-3 for me).. My players will be :
    Szczesney
    Debuchy-Mertesaker-Koscielny-Gibbs
    Arteta/Diaby
    Ramsey-Cazorla
    Sanchez
    Walcott – Welbeck

  26. henrychan says:

    By the way.. We have two more space for players.. And we still can get them for loan.. isn’t it..?? Another CB will be great..

  27. mk says:

    I think the article would be much better recieved without all the petty and uneccessary digs at Wenger.

    While it might be worth a try in some games (preferably with two of our best players in ozil and ramsey in the team and obviously our captain in the middle), as mentioned by others it does leave us vunerable and against a lot of teams we play who sit very deep and attempt to catch us on the counter (who don’t or at least didn’t play in that same way in their games against either everton or liverpool), it may not be nearly as effective as you might hope.

    Also while everton and liverpool both did very well in comparison to the overall quality of their players last season I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them fall into lower positions this season as teams adjust to the way they play, along with Liverpool’s additional europe requirements and missing Suarez’s individual brilliance along with his ability to win ‘penalties’ from nothing.

  28. Neeraj says:

    Thats alright mate you deserve the rest after writing this splendid piece

  29. Neeraj says:

    Also about everyone saying Wenger never exleriments – I think he really wanted to this season but the world cup destroyed our entire preaseason
    And above all it was ozil, sanche, walcott he needed to work with the most and they were all unavailable
    That may be the reason he has mentioned so many times that he wanted the season to start a little later
    Wenger is stuborn agreed but when he is onto something he never leaves it incomplete and we may never get another manager who thinks as much of the team as wenger
    So cherish him while he is here the day he wont is not far

  30. lari03 says:

    Nice formation, but at the moment we lack the personnel to execute it because most of our central midfielders fit into the 3 man midfield mould.
    Rosicky and Diaby being the exceptions and as we know Rosicky is ageing while Diaby is injury prone so we cannot rely on this pair but they would make the midfield duo work exceptionally.

  31. Surely the thing with all formations is being able to use flexibility if the system isn’t working during a match. With our current team I like the idea of a 4-3-3. Similar to Steves suggestions:
    ————————chez——————–
    ————-mert—————–kos———-
    debooshy———————————gibbs
    ramsey—————ozil—————–wishere
    theo————–welbeck—————–sanchez

    Then if this isn’t working it could easily be changed to Wengers current favorite 4-1-4-1

    ———————–chez—————————-
    debooshey—-mert——kos—————gibbs
    ——————-wilshere————————-
    theo——–ramsey——-ozil—————-sanchez
    ——————-welbeck—————————-

    Thus forming a more defensive formation. If a lead needs to be protected then sub Ozil with Flamini or Arteta to work DM with Wilshere.

  32. Gerry says:

    I will quickly defend Steve here, as I was given a preview at the time of writing.
    TA has also explained the delay in publication.

    I think our biggest problem with the first three games was our lack of movement off the ball. I take in the lack of fitness and lack of familiarity between players as being a contributor to this. But there were also examples from last season too?
    Typical example showed in the ‘still’ of our line of five mid -fielders? At least two should have been up there with Alexis.

    I don’t think you alter that with any fixed formation. I outlined my idea yesterday with a ‘fluid’ kite formation in midfield with Ozil holding station either side of the centre line in normal play, and using the energy and stamina of Alexis and Welbeck to do the tracking back. So in defence the kite, in attack the inverse kite.

    As one of the comments above, Geoff?, said, have Ozil to spray the passes out to whoever sprints passed him. We now have the pacey players to do this. So I am also with HH and his new found optimism 😀

  33. Gerry says:

    TGM @22:40 – I refer you to H Bo@00:50 first paragraph. End of!

  34. Gerry says:

    H Bo – I am eternally grateful that you have not threatened me with a wheelchair run for not very subtle inclusion of you in my response yesterday 😀
    I think you understand I was not intending to encourage such, just the explain the rationale for their absence. I was not a ‘hero’ in the story,just the right person in the right place at the right time. Trusted by parent and boy to do the right thing.
    I never question humour, only the subject matter, which you so succinctly put my feelings to a tee.

    It is especially good that your circumstances have not detracted from your character or sense of humour. Long may it last.
    Many thanks

  35. Xavier says:

    Too Many Formations… Definately not my strong point. Nice seeing all the suggestions though (even if its giving me a headache) lol. And good post Steve. You did set out a marker (like PG? said) with the pictures and circles and stuff. You just got yourself a post analysis gig on bkers me thinks. Whatchu think TA? 😀 😀

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    It was Hbo, Xavier…. These sort of posts take forever to load, so definitely not suitable for regular match reviews. However, I agree that Steve should become one of our regular match reviewers…. If he wants to. 🙂

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    H bo, great response and thank you for your openness about your health situation. I reckon your contributions to the blog have been fresh and to the point, which I love. Are you up for writing a post for us, or do you rather just take part in commenting?

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Terry, good man. 🙂

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Really pleased to hear that, Milo. At your age it is important to find a good balance between caring for others and self development. If you ever want to put up a link to a performance you did, or are about to do, feel free. Any Bachesque or Beethovenesque is fine.. 🙂

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve at 4.33am (what sort of time is that?!),

    Yes I like us to have more support for the striker as well…. But but but, we will have this soon with 4-3-3 or 4-2-1-3 as well. Once Ollie/Welbeck, Alexis and Theo play UPFRONT together we will be banging them in like no tomorrow. 🙂

    We do need a solid DM though, but that is another discussion.

  41. Nik says:

    Steve if you look closely at the picture with the diamond in the link you posted you can see that its actually man to man and they just happen to be in a diamond shape at that time
    Balotelli covers Capoue
    Sterling covers Vertonghen
    I can’t really identify the players on the far side, but you can see the man to man coverage
    and the Liverpool player close to the half way (Gerrard?) should be a little futher forward or further back because he’s not really covering anything or anybody
    If you take a look at the picture directly above you can see again how Liverpool press man to man

    I’m sorry but I really have to admit that our strikers cannot match what Suarez and Sturridge produced last year.
    And Liverpool’s bad defensive record came from a lot of poor defendig (yes), but also their formation.
    Nowadays the game has become so tactical that the formation plays a huge role. For example Crystal Palace and West Ham last season. Their defenders are definitely not as good as Liverpool’s yet through their formation they produce a lot of clean sheets. Surely Liverpool would have scored less goals, but who knows maybe they would have reached more point before Xmas and could have won the title.

    For us its obvious that a defensive midfielder is lacking to provide cover when we go forward. One that can do both sides of the game, sit between the centre backs to create the play and defend well when we don’t have the ball. Unfortunately there is not a lot of those in the world. I can’t really judge Carvalho as I’ve not seen him play regularly. I still regret that Alex Song had to go, because he was perfect for that position…

  42. H Bo says:

    @TA TBH I may muster the nerve one day to write a post will never be as snazzy as our Steve but may take you up on your offer.

  43. Alcide

    Actually I think we may have a SWAT team….. Sanogo, Welbeck, Alexis, Theo 🙂

  44. Alcide says:

    Hmmm, a 4-2-4 formation 🙂

  45. Special Weapons And Tactics 🙂

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    That’s great H bo! 🙂

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    No Alcide, TAO and WOW were mine… I think it was Hehehehenry! 🙂

  48. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers for the in-depth reply Steve and I agree that lineups can be a personal choice and that we should not look too much into it. However, I do notice that a lot of your lineups omit two of our best players in Ozil and Ramsey, so I wanted to bring that up ;).

    I think I agree with the overarching theme of this article, which is that we have the players to be flexible in our formation and strategy and that should be explored more in depth, opposed to Arsene’s use of the same old, “reliable”. But again what the f*ck do I know, I’m just an armchair manager hahaha!

    JGC, this is getting creepy mate – if we see anymore eye to eye, people may start think I’m posting and logging in with your account! I’ll have to write an article now and see if you disagree with it to test this theory.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Superb Warriors Always Gunning

  50. Totes
    Excellent….. if we can’t play a 4-2-4 then how about Sanchez, Welbeck, and Theo

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    You missed out nr.4…

  52. AwayGunner says:

    Steve – Magnificent post..

    I love the idea of formation experimentation and I really do believe we have much of the player versatility required to execute. However, I have always been a fan of possession football and feel that when we do control for extended periods in and around the opponents box, it takes a serious toll on their individual and collective stamina. While this approach hasn’t resulted in the boys shipping bags of goals of late, given the rightly timed strategic shift in the latter parts of a game (to your proposed 4-4-2 for example) it could prove to be money in the bank. I liken it to a boxer working the body early on..

    A defender myself, I don’t necessarily feel that an attacker covering ground with or without the ball is always the main contributor to my fatigue – Instead, it’s relentless pressure, whatever the form. Where one is tuned in on all levels – psychologically, emotionally, and of course physically.. When you have 9 or 10 men behind the ball in your own box, things can get really frantic and when things are frantic, one tires quickly (at least I do..).

    Also, if you’re of the mind that our 4-1-4-1/4-2-3-1 gives us a more defensively resolute posture (as I think I am, at least with the latter), said resolution would be maintained throughout the periods of the match where the other team is dangerous (before they’re tired).

    If AW could embrace a more reactive system of football, identifying the right time in a game to pounce and or flood (via formation shift) I think we could get the best out of this team.
    4-1-4-1/4-2-3-1 to the body, 4-4-2 to the head..

    Early season is always so dynamic and interesting (and frustrating), I wish they played every damn day so we could watch them grow at an accelerated rate. The anticipation is killing me..

    Cheers

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment, AwayG. 🙂

    Tiki taki with a central hub is what this Arsenal team is all about, and once we get it right it will devastatingly good.

  54. The Cockie Monster says:

    Very impressive Steve, if it`s the same as my 3P system, which was instrumental in the invincible team ( which will come out in Wenger`s long awaited book under a chapter called ..” how I nicked Cockies 3P`s ! ) being, er, well, basically, invincible !,….. then bring it back !.
    Personally, I only use the “Diamond” system when I`m playing away….like with next doors neighbours wife, but you probably know it as the 69 position !. I could draw a diagram, but “Bypass” will choke on his keyboard !.
    Thanks H Bo for your story !. I too am currently disabled, but only because I`ve been tied up by my neighbour !……..memo to Steve….”The Diamond system needs a plan B if you get exposed from a fast moving angry neighbour counter attack !”. However, I`m not black !…..I`ve got brown hair fast becoming grey, I`ve blue eyes, red blood, my piss is yellow, my pooh ranges from chocolaty brown to caramel in colour depending on what I`ve eaten !, my bogeys are green and being in Cornwall, I have a lovely Theo sort of tan, yet weirdly the hairs on my arms and legs have gone blond, so basically……..I`m a coloured man !. hahaha
    Now that we are best mates, I need a favour !. I`m always looking for a cheap way to watch our favourite team !. You have the wheelchair and Arsenal FC have a wheelchair section and even better, they let the `chair pushers in for free !. This is a better idea than my last con !. Now if anyone moans about what I`m about to say, then I`m going to sing….la la la la la la la very loudly, so don’t bother !.
    I was casing the Emirates stadium for an easy entry at one game, when I saw a blind man and his guide dog walking about, so I put some whisky in a bowl for the guide dog to drink out of and within seconds the dog was all over the place with the blind man stumbling into a “big issue ” tramp and his dog !…a fight broke out when the tramp said…”look where your going mate !” and the tramps dog started to shag the blind mans under the influence guide dog !. I dived in and took the Blind mans white stick, dark glasses and Red membership card !. What a bastard !, it took me nearly an hour to try and decipher the braille card for what turnstyle to go through ! . Anyway, I got chucked out after only ten minutes by some suspicious stewards, when I jumped up into the air and shouted…..” are you fcking blind Giroud !….you had Theo to your right and Ramsey to your left and you`ve hit it out of the ground !”………A steward escorted me out of the ground as I protested my innocence ….” I`m blind you fat ugly ginger bastard and the ginger doesn`t go with the yellow jacket and cruched velvet turquoise flares !”.

  55. Roger Walugembe says:

    Very nice analysis

  56. proudgooner says:

    Steve,
    Hello mate, they is a couple of reasons i said that about we could get smashed for 6 again, but the could is an important word, as we could also smash them for 6 playing 4-4-2 but i don’t think we would i do think it would turn out bad , given time when our strikers have gelled it will be better but the main reasons are.
    Our top 4 rivals all carry a massive attacking threat.
    Wenger made tactical mistakes last season, he even came out and said it after i believe it was the Chelsea game. The week before we played a weaker team i think it was West Brom but i am not sure. In that game he played Arteta and Flemini. V Chelsea he played just Arteta which made no sense. But he did it and went to gun-ho. V City we must start with Flem-teta imo , stay in the game and get a feel for it, then weigh up your options. The other which is more risky is try and get a lead then throw on Flem-teta to defend it. So if you play 2 DM’s then 4-4-2 is just not possible. Or it sort of is but you will lose the battle in midfield then probably the game.
    City just have so much attacking threat and we are not scoring enough goals last season and so far not enough in this 1 either.
    It is just finding a good balance between defence and attack, especially v the top 4
    I like the thought of 4-4-2 a lot but we are not ready yet and v the top 4 would always be to risky imo
    i am now think the starting 11 of–

    ————————————back 4 and keeper we know————
    ————————–Flemini————————–Arteta———————–
    —–Alexis——————————-Rambo——————————-Ozil
    ——————————————–Welbeck———————————-

  57. proudgooner says:

    TCK,
    Lol you could always try and be the mascot next time
    Imagine VCC doing it being in the line-up on his zimmer with the other kids.

  58. proudgooner says:

    TCM even lol

  59. Peter says:

    I would have ramsay in ply of the Ox. I would then replace the Ox with campbell

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

  61. H Bo says:

    Cockie is the best but yeah if you wanna join me more than welcome it’s buy 1 get one free and a reduced rate, so when your heading to London give me a shout I would be honoured however I may need to bring nurse as you will probably have me in stitches oh and my membership is purple.
    Back to the post HH said it well it’s about the use of different formations when the standard one ain’t working it just don’t happen except when he goes all out and just sticks loads of strikers on and says get a goal which makes us have no formation it’s ridiculous.

  62. Gunner4life says:

    Steve

    I appreciate your response to my comments. As an off topic, one thing that frustrates me a lot is when fans oversimplify the game of football by focusing on one factor, like buying new players, and ignoring everything else. Factors such as fitness levels, adaptation period for new players, team chemistry and so on. All these things are ignored bcos for some fans, it’s just as simple as buying falcao or cavani. That’s why I’m glad there are blogs like this out there that focus on analysis. Does anyone rate Roberto Martinez to be our next manager? Love the guy! Heard him speak on tv prior to the Everton game and I was so impressed. He’s very knowledgeable, articulate and looks hungry to succeed. Like the young Wenger when he first came to England. Not that Wenger is not knowledgeable and articulate now. He’s just stubborn. I guess that comes with getting older. Change becomes extremely difficult.

  63. Pingback: Kerrankin maaottelut eivät haittaa, vaan oikeastaan päinvastoin | FinnGooners

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s