A short term reactive change of tactics instead of long term unwavering stubborn genius – is it too much to ask of Wenger?
My analysis of the match and how we approach it:
How do Villa line-up and how do they play?
Villa line up in a 4-3-3 which morphs back into a 4-5-1 when they don’t have the ball, they are comfortable defending and will rely on this to initiate their greatest strength in the counter attack.
How do I think we should line up and play?
For most people this is a given: the 4-1-4-1 is a formation well documented as having success against the 4-3-3 and it would make sense to turn up ready to play using it, especially since it is what Arsene has been trying to develop recently and that this would be a perfect time to see a much needed good example of the formation performing well.
I am definitely not most people though lol. I would plan to do two things; surprise the opponents with something they wouldn’t have planned for, and secondly (with such an obvious villa counter attacking game plan), play to their weaknesses rather than their strengths.
Instead of playing possession football high in midfield which is what Villa expect and what they will be waiting to break down to create counters from, let us sit deeper as a team and draw them out and onto us, and then attack at pace with our own counter attack. It is something that is quite the reverse of what we have been trying to do as of late, but with Villa playing at home straight off the back of a win against Liverpool it wouldn’t surprise me if (especially in the first half) they completely obliged us and committed a lot of resources up the field.
So what formation do I suggest to implement this tactical surprise, and do we have the personnel to pull it off?
You are a bunch of lucky buggers as the wonders of google have saved you the torturous endeavour of reading the novel I had planned for you regarding the formation I want to use, and how it can be used to destroy the 4-3-3. It was on the seventh!! page of google results (yes I like to do my research lol) that a result popped up using the exact example I was using to demonstrate my theory.
It was Italy vs Spain in the confederations cup in 2013 – “Steve you muppet” I hear you say, Spain playing 4-3-3 went on to win that game on penalties. Yes that’s true but for any of you who watched the game you would have seen a very different picture than the score line suggests. Spain were obliterating everyone, but against this Italy side they were completely subdued and outplayed through formation and tactical play. With the higher level of attacking threat Arsenal have over Italy, and when used against a team like Villa, the result could be the high scoring game we really need to kick start our season.
Now instead of reading two pages of writing explaining my reasoning behind this, you can simply watch this video J
Yes it’s a 3-5-2 (Gerry will be pleased lol)
But do we have the personnel to make it work?
Actually due to injuries, drops in form, rotation of players and square pegs in round holes, I really think that now more than ever we do.
Firstly who do we leave out?
Szczesny – I would rest from CL match to give others a chance at starting
Ramsey – dropped in form lately
Ozil – dropped in form lately
Arteta – looks off the pace
Zelalem – still too inexperienced at this point
Diaby – AWOL
Debuchy – Injured
Wilshere – injured
Gnabry – injured
Giroud – Injured
Sanogo – Injured
Walcott – Injured
That’s 12 players out from the squad of 30 (if you include Bellerin and Hayden, which I do).
30 – 12 = 18 players left
18 – 11 (starting XI) = 7 (named subs)
Perfect, at least my maths add up, even if the rest of my plan doesn’t lol.
Who’s left then?
Ospina – I would give first choice
Martinez – I would use as cover
Bellerin – Not really a defensive RB, perfect as a wing back though
Chambers – Great ability and potential looks like he could bring the freshness and composure we need in DM
Monreal – Looking a little off the pace atm but still defensively sound so maybe take the crazy running up and down the pitch out of his game and watch him flourish as left CB
Gibbs – Back from injury and looking fast and sharp as usual, this kid was born to play as a wing back.
BFG – The big guy looks out of place playing off side traps in a stretched team but in any other situation he’s still solid as a rock so a deeper sitting compact defence may help him shine in this instance.
Koscielny – First name on the team sheet
The OX – Looks fit and raring to go, fast and able to battle
Rosicky – Desperate to prove he should be in the team and I feel with good reason
Cazorla – Hasn’t really been given the amount of time that Ozil has to try and prove his worth so this could be his chance
Flamini – Proved he still has it in him to hold the line at the mancs and now fully rested he provides tried and tested experience at DM
Coquelin – Unproven but I want to see what he can do, could also be an excellent choice to shore up midfield if we actually find ourselves with a healthy lead
Hayden – Unproven but bags of potential and provides cover for a number of positions: right wing back, DM, CM or at CB, an excellent option to have on the bench if something goes wrong
Welbeck – Shows good movement if not absolute clinical finishing yet, let’s get him on the score sheet
Campbell – Performed in preseason, unproven since and deserves a chance
Sanchez – Hungry and determined as always
Podolski – World class striker
Put it all together and what does the team look like?
Starting eleven and subs (on the right)
Do you think this could work and win without the Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere trio? I will leave it up to you to comment, but please mention your preferred line up also.
Btw I rang Arsene to discuss this line up and the response was:
“Take a break Steve ffs, its Villa not Barcelona! Stop calling me on this number, and stop that Cockie Monster bloke from poohing on my front door step!”
That was the boss’s response, what’s yours?
Remember this is a formation for a one-off game in which we have a host of injuries at the moment, this is not a long term change.
Written by: Steve