The Two Players Allowing Arsenal to Play Three at the Back | Need to Keep Elneny| Willock Key

A back four or a back three this season, that is the question. I have a preference for four at the back, but with the arrival of both Tierney and Luiz, Emery has the sort of players now to make a back-three a success, and in all competitions!

We can argue about our strongest possible line-up with three at the back, but I reckon it will be close to this:

Luiz to lead the defence and bring/pass the ball out from the back and Nacho and Holding securing the wings, with fast and furious Bellerin and Tierney supporting our defence as much as possible. Xhaka can go deep and allow Luiz to penetrate the opponent’s midfield regularly, as he likes to do! Torreira and Xhaka have to find the balance between protecting the back three – especially with AWOL wing backs in our line-up – AND support Mesut in the hole as much as possible. The latter is a challenge and especially Torreira can/should grow into that role. I would be quite excited to watch this team start games once everybody is fit.

But I amalmost just as excited about our possible ‘B/Cups team’ with a three at the back line up:

Chambers and Big Sok can produce the calm in the back three and a less centrally positioned Mustafi can also be effective. But there is also Mavropanos who will want to get some games under his belt.

The centre of midfield could be our undoing with this formation: both Willock and Guendouzi are talented and we have high hopes for them, but playing without the experienced Xhaka or Torreira will make them more vulnerable. Having said that, from what I have seen until now, Willock is possibly to best fit for the B2B position in a three at the back line-up, and I would not be surprised if he dislodges our Uruguayan carve-biter anytime soon. Willock may well become key for our midfield balance this season.

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A shout out for Elneny

Guendouzi likes nothing more than walk/run forward with the ball and look for an attacking pass and he will add value to our attacking endeavours; however, his defensive positioning, reading of the game and rapid ball distributions are below par as yet. This may be controversial, given the dislike many seem to have of him, but imo there is still space in the team for Elneny. There is nothing spectacular about our Egyptian midfielder, but he is a solid passer and hard worker and his forward passes are not too shabby either. Mohammed definitely fills me with more confidence in terms of effective support for our defence and being the more natural partner for B2B-Willockie.

I have no doubt, though, that Kola and AMN will add real width and penetration from the wings and that Ceballos, Mikhi (or indeed ESR) will revel in the hole position. It would also be great to see Martinelli and Pepe play in such a formation, and I expect them both to play in the ‘first team’ regularly, of course.

So except for some worries regarding the midfield-pivot, I reckon we now have the players to make three at the back our main line-up for this season…. You agree?!

By TotalArsenal.

 

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15 Responses to The Two Players Allowing Arsenal to Play Three at the Back | Need to Keep Elneny| Willock Key

  1. CorporateMan says:

    Thank God you are not the coach! How can our record signing not be a starter? I think we will be playing four at the back mostly this season. Our recruitment, pre-season and first game so far, strongly suggest this to be the case.
    We need a front three of Auba Lac and Pepe with Ozil’s creative power behind them.
    Can’t wait to see the Arsenal full complement. COYG!!!

  2. Admir says:

    David Luiz is a key for back three and back three is a key for David Luiz. His experience and passing ability make him a good option in back three while being flanked with Chambers/Holdini and Sokratis/Monreal. As I said before, I’m even less excited with Mavropanos than I am with Mustafi so I’d keep them only as our Europa League options. If Medley can step in, I’d sell Mustafi even before January.

    The thing is, with Pepe in the frame, I believe that back three is an option we should consider only until October when (hopefully) both Bellerin and Tierney will be back. Yes, Pepe can be used as a striker as well but his main quality for us is width he will give us and ability to beat his marker with dribbling in the wide area.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    CopMan, you must not take this too literally. Pepe will of course start many a game but if I can only put two up-front, I think Auba and Laca should start.

  4. henryvham says:

    Hi all..
    3 CB’s will be find for me. all our CB is good enough in that scheme.
    but two strikers, I don’t think so.. cause We certainly can’t drop Pepe..
    I just hope Ozil find his Magic back this season. Somehow I feel he will..
    So OPAL (Ozil-Pepe-Auba-Laca) will shinning bright..

    Bellerin is one of our best runner.. no doubt about that.. and yes he will fit in more as RWB than as RB.. but why we keep hoping on Bellerin while we have our MotM.. Niles.. who can give us so much balance in attack and defence.. with as good as Bellerin is crossing the ball..??
    We never know what will happen to Bell after a long injured.

  5. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    3 CB’s will be fine for me. all our CB is good enough in that scheme.
    but two strikers, I don’t think so.. cause We certainly can’t drop Pepe..
    I just hope Ozil find his Magic back this season. Somehow I feel he will..
    So OPAL (Ozil-Pepe-Auba-Laca) will shinning bright..

    Bellerin is one of our best runner.. no doubt about that.. and yes he will fit in more as RWB than as RB.. but why we keep hoping on Bellerin while we have our MotM.. Niles.. who can give us so much balance in attack and defence.. with as good as Bellerin is crossing the ball..??
    We never know what will happen to Bell after a long injured.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Admir

    I have updated your comment and taken the ‘justification’ bit out… Are you okay with a title like: Why Arsenal Will Not Be Finishing in Top Four This Season?

  7. Pony Eye says:

    Interesting post, TA. The first thing I take from it is that we have strength in depth.

    On the 3 or 4 arguement my preference tactically is 4 at the back. Apart from that our squad is front heavy. One extra defender means one more top front player on the bench which wouldn’t be the most efficient utilization of our resources. What more, Kroenke would begin to ask big questions if £72m becomes a regular bench warmer. Everything enters into the calculation.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    HeheH, Bels is a bit ahead of AMN both in defence and delivering the final ball, so naturally we are assuming he will be nr.1 once he has returned. I don’t think Emery will play the PALs together a lot this season. IF we were to get used to that way of playing what would happen if one, or God forbid two, got injured? Pepe, Laca or Auba coming on with 30 minutes to go will be a real boast to the team, so I expect Emery to pick mostly just two from the power-PALs to start with.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points, PE. As I wrote earlier, I really don’t expect us to play the PALs together a lot this season… we need to keep some firepower on the bench/ for the cup games..

  10. Pony Eye says:

    I think so too. Mostly 2 at a time, PA, PL, LA. Every now and then PALs.

  11. Admir says:

    Works for me, TA. 🙂

    As for the whole Bellerin-AMN comparison… I thought that our winning goal v Newcastle resembled of the Özil one against Bayern in 2015-16. Bellerin intercepted a pass, made a strong run and a cross that was put away by Mesut – now AMN did it in co-op with Auba. I hope AMN will keep improving his game. In a world where City can pay around 150 million pounds in three years for their full-backs it’s good to produce one ourselves every once a while.

  12. geoffchase says:

    TA et al,

    Hmm, interesting choices, I think horses for courses and we now have the depth and variability to do it. In particular, we can now seek to create matchups that might benefit us. Thus, the various combinations of PALs. I could also see something like:

    3-2-1-3: This is for attacking teams that sit back perhaps.
    == PALs up front wtih Ozil behind, backed by 3 backs (your call) and 2 DMs (Xhaka, Torreira, say), which leaves Tierney and Bellerin out in your shapes

    4-2-3-1: for big teams where we want 4 backs (including Luiz, I am more comfortable with that,

    == (1 PAL up front supported by Ozil with 2 of (Tierney, Bellerin, AMN, Pepe) wide, 2 x DMs, and a back 4 of Luiz/Sok/Holding/Chambers (esp if Tierney and Bellerin are up front some), which is all very defensive and counter-oriented.

    These are hardly set in stone, nor perfect. They are just to show the different shapes and focus we can have with the various players at our disposal this year.

    A side-effect, there is far less definite “first on the team sheet status” for anyone.

    cheers — jgc

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Geoff, all agreed. There are more options even if the first one you gave us does not add up to 10! 😀 So you have another player to play with in that formation. Too many options can also cause problems of course, especially for someone who likes to tinker, but let’s hope Emery has a clear picture of how he wants to play this season…

  14. geoffchase says:

    Whoops,

    I’d add in a third DM – B2B or move up Luiz to DM, and bring in Chambers with Sok and Holding.

    Cheers — jgc

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Light on the wings, Geoff, and we them to get behind the walls of woe! 🙂

    New Post New Post 🙂

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