3-1-4-2: All Out Attack v Norwich yet Solid at the Back

This is a quick post and I am calling all Gooners to comment with your preferred line up for tomorrow and why.

I am not really interested in your predicted lineup but how and who you would like to play v the yellow and green Canaries.

This is my preferred lineup:

I think 3-1-4-2 or 3-5-2 would give us a solid defence and a multi-skilled midfield, with good runners and excellent passers.

Three at the back allows White to make forward runs and support Partey if required.

This formation also allows us two attackers upfront.

So that is my lineup to kick things off…

By TotalArsenal

81 thoughts on “3-1-4-2: All Out Attack v Norwich yet Solid at the Back

  • I commented on the discussion in the previous post but got gazumped by your “quick and dirty” effort.

    Thanks Total. Good to get our minds back into football, especially Arsenal football. I like the line up, especially as it gives vent to the creativity of both ESR and our Norwegian maestro. 2 am start for me in the morning…

  • Not sure I like that mix T… even so, it’s much better than the one our manager threw together against Man City.
    We are terrible as a team at creating chances, even if Øde will help a lot. One striker at a time for me with this team. We need more creative and tricky footballers on the pitch, and they need to be encouraged to score like Arsene would. That means Saka, ESR, and our new #10.
    I think ESR is a doubt for this one, last I heard. I want a real midfielder with Partey for now, I guess I’d go with Sambi, and I’d make sure one of them is helping shield the defense.
    We can’t have an embarrassing mistake early. It will crush our fragile confidence. The fans will then become a detriment, players will start pointing at each other, and heads will drop.

    I can’t wait to see Ramsdale start. I am over Leno. He thinks he’s too good for us. He can get lost as far as I’m concerned.

  • I worry that Arteta may be unwilling to throw Gabriel and Partey in at the deep end; maybe, one of both, perhaps likely Partey, because we are short in midfield. I also expect he will go for 4 at the back as that gives latitude for wing play, allows us have an extra midfield player (or one who doubles into that role when either full back overlaps) and means only one striker may start.

    In that case, I would expect to see: Leno, Chambers, White, Holding/Mari, Tierney, Lokonga, AMN/Thomas, Odegaard, Saka, Pepe, Auba. It is not impossible too that if Arteta considers Gabriel ready, it is White and Gabriel at CB.

    We would need an attacking but defensively secure team of 11 to ensure the Canaries don’t come with a “play compact and counter” tactic to catch us unawares on our ground.

  • Stuart, I must say your post in the previous thread was such a profound one, delivered by one with such wisdom in the modern times in which we live in.

    In one stroke, you have profiled the Unchangeable/Unchanging God and shown up the futility of man’s quest for near omniscience, given the interplay between good intentions and mercantilism. It is almost a Catch 22 situation with the matter of the vaccinations and the underlying intent.

  • The cup game vs West Brom was simply huge for Arteta given the circumstances surrounding it and the expected result vs Man City, which duly arrived, but the Norwich game is possibly the most important match of his nascent career as a manager, he simply has to win it, nothing else would be bearable.

    It’s a horrible scenario and I’m really hating going online at the moment, the reactions and comments from some so-called Arsenal fans is sickening and the comments of some pundits is nauseating (but not on here I hasten to add) and I’m seriously thinking about blowing out the internet for the rest of this season because I am thoroughly sick and tired of reading total bullshit from all the associated wankers that troll our club.

    I am really not looking forward to tomorrow.

  • Kev, it will be nervous but Arteta’s team will triumph in the end. The efforts of the trolls and pundits, while intended to dampen morale and cause even the players to believe they are not good enough, should serve to get the boys up for this one. It will be about pride and the lads must show they have some left.

  • J, I think you like that lineup a lot really, reading the rest of your comment! 😁

    In the PL it’s becoming harder and harder to create lots of chances. You can throw four nr10s at it and still there is no space. It’s becoming chessball it seems..

  • Kev, agreed we are getting kicked and then, worst of all, kick ourselves in the shins even harder, fed by expectation, a self-declared right to be entertained and shame for where we are right now.

    Yet we have all to play for and the ball will roll again for us today. Let’s focus on that. 🙂

  • Well, I might be conservative, but I would stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation that often worked out just fine.
    I would not consider Lokonga and Smith-Rowe for today, as they were sent home from their last international game. Both are probably precaution, by I expect Arteta to be careful and start them only on the bench.
    My predicted line-up:


    Bench: Leno/Ramsdale, Gabriel, Chambers, Tomiyasu, Lokonga, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Laca/Auba, Balogun

  • Lots of my ‘preferred lineup’ are not likely to be available or may not be up to match/PL speed so today, more than ever, Arteta’s judgement is better than mine! However, making some massive assumptions I would start with:

    Saka/Pepe —-Ode—-Pepe/Saka
    Tierney—-Gab—–White —-Tomi

    My expected starting lineup is very different to that and will not disappoint me. We have a fine squad of players now and I’m expecting whoever plays today to get us our first PL win this season. COYG!

  • Nice one OX10. I like your preferred lineup a lot and whether it’s the actual lineup really doesn’t matter.

    I like the balance of your team, and although I am less impressed with Pepe I understand why you picked him.

  • Watching spurs be completely outplayed by Palace. Same as week 2 Wolves outplayed them and somehow they came away with a win. Now 2nd yellow for Tanganga. Come on Vieira!

  • It’s 4-2-3-1


    Subs: Leno, Soares, Tavares, Chambers, Mari, Partey, ESR, Martinelli, Lacazette

  • TA, I thought that was giving a predicted line up when I wrote:
    In that case, I would expect to see: Leno, Chambers, White, Holding/Mari, Tierney, Lokonga, AMN/Thomas, Odegaard, Saka, Pepe, Auba. It is not impossible too that if Arteta considers Gabriel ready, it is White and Gabriel at CB.

  • I knew Crystal Palace would give the Spuds a game and hence my prediction of a draw. It was always going to be a loss when it later came out that they had 3 key players, including Sanchez and Son, they couldn’t use for the game (Arsenal had more than that number out but who cares, right?). That is the advantage of late predictions, maybe. 😜

    Spurs down 2-0.

  • Very happy with the choices.. this team should be plenty to win today.. Auba up front, good.. I really need to see Saka and Pepe switched.. Ainsley is a big one to watch, I would so love to see him impress us and Arteta. Holding not on the bench? If he’s fit, much prefer him to Chambers since Cedric is there.

  • Ended 3-0. Did I add “the fear of Patrick Vieira” as another factor that could spell a Spud defeat? 3-0 it ends.

    We will need all the luck in our game, with Ref Oliver in charge and Dean as VAR.

  • Arsenal:

    Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Lokonga, Maitland-Niles; Pepe, Odegaard, Saka; Aubameyang.

    Subs: Leno, Cedric, Tavares, Chambers, Mari, Partey, Smith Rowe, Lacazette, Martinelli.

    Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Omobamidele, Williams; Melou, McLean; Rupp, Dowell, Tzolis; Pukki

    Subs: Gunn, Gibson, Gilmour, Cantwell, Kabak, Normann, Rashica, Sorensen, Idah

  • Very bold statement by Arteta, starting with Tomiyasu who has probably only trained with the team twice. Then, he goes for Gabriel and leaves out Partey, possibly to look after the big man so as to give him a chance off the bench.

    Huge call, Maitland-Niles and Lokonga. It was to be expected though, seeing we had two midfielders out of it.

  • Safe to say that Odsonne Edouard was a good signing for Palace.
    His first appearance was a 6+4 minutes cameo, and he managed to score twice against Spurs.

    Let’s hope, Tomi follows suit today.

  • Eris, spuds “fear of Patrick Vieira” is brilliant and probably true. Also I was wondering how much time Tomiyasu has had with team in training. I forgot to mention Ramsdale selection. Brave choice by Arteta and I agree with it. No matter how he is today, we need to support Aaron. I hope he’ll be our keeper from now for a long time.

  • TA, what’s the difference between a preferred and a predicted line-up?
    Can Bergkamp feature in a preferred one? Or somebody unavailable (like Xhaka or Saliba)?
    Or just a line-up based on the players currently available for selection, without any purpose of maximizing the matches?

  • Both our academy teams scored 3 goals earlier today.
    Ken Gillard’s U21 drew 3:3 against Southampton (unfortunate draw, S’ton equalized in stoppage time by converting a penalty) and Kevin Betsy’s U23 won against Manchester United U23 by 3:1. Balogun (2x) and Patino scored.

    Now the first team should also put the bar to 3 goals, but maybe conceding none in the process.

  • Pb, I think predicted is the lineup you think the manager will choose, and preferred is the one you would do if you were manager, with the available players.

  • Pepe has been a dross, Martenneli much better. Not sure what does he try to do when he gets the ball. He has been dreadful. Not sure what to expect from him.

  • If Pepe doesn’t shape up, the right sub would be either Laca or ESR. His first touch has let him down a few times now.

    In that first half, I thought we had a couple of good penalty shouts worthy of a second look when first Aua and then Tomi were shoved as they shaped to head or shoot (respectively).

    Saka too has not dome enough, methinks. Offensively, been a bit too tentative. Not enough support for Tierney too defensively speaking.

    We remain on the front foot, largely. Odegaard has pressed furiously. Like the fact we keep going and only heroic blocks have kept this goalless so far.

  • I worry, we will be forced to rush things as the game wears on without us scoring.
    With Cantwell coming on for them, they are introducing a proper fighter. One we must watch.

  • To be fair, Pepe delivered 2 shots on the post and an assist in less than 3 seconds, so he has been our savior tonight…

  • Pepe doesn’t seem in control but got the assist. Lot of huffing and puffing but finally a win.

  • Very pleased with

    Arteta, Ainsley, Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Crystal Palace.

    Very pleased for White, Ramsdale.

    Great defending and pressing by Ødegaard.

    ESR and Partey sub was excellent and paid immediate dividends. Cedric had a huge block too. I love his energy, I wish the “fans” would stop telling us how bad a player he is.

  • I won’t underestimate the import of this win, coming from team that’s been reminded it is a “bottom placed” side. It was hard fought because the visitors also needed a result and the fact we held on for the win is, in itself, a confidence booster.

    After a run of losses (usually two in a row), Wenger would normally look to ensure we kept a clean sheet in the next game then gradually, build back confidence as the wins start to come. The boys needed that and have got it.

    PB, for sure, Pepe instigated our goal and maybe, that’s why Arteta leaves him on despite his penchant for ignoring his team mates’ runs to do selfish stuff. On a day Saka failed to be influential, I guess Pepe was important.

    Gabriel, White, Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Odegaard, Looonga, Pepe, ESR and Auba all worked hard for the side. Onto the next few league wins, then.

  • No TV coverage here in the UK, so I cannot comment on the game. From the radio commentary I took that we deserved the hard fought win. No doubt it was far from brilliant, but we can build on this. 🌱

  • Tomiyasu, Ramsdale and Lokonga were brilliant today. Passing and man marking were much much better, and we’re quicker playing out from the back.

    We are still short in the final third, but I will take 3 points.

  • 8 positives:

    1. The team dynamics were so much better. Ben White and Tomiyasu were not afraid of the opposition and stifled Teemu Pukki.

    2. Ramsdale. So much better than Leno in terms of ball control and vision. Then again, the defense in front of him is our first choice defensive pairing.

    3. Lokonga. Good footwork to build play up front, and for once this season, our play is not left, right, and back.

    4. Gabriel. Solid display from Gabby. Did not expect him to be worse, but did his job well against a direct Norwich attack.

    5. Tierney. Worked well with Auba, who should have scored more. Dynamic mentality as well with the rest of the team.

    6. Pepe. Good distribution and kept running at the Norwich defense, trying to scare them, and made an assist in the end. Good game overall.

    7. AMN. Summed up the hard work and the willingness to venture up front of the team today. We were so passive the past few games, and today is a welcome change.

    8. Norwich. This final point is a kudos to Norwich. Some decisions did not go their way, and to lose by a goal after we hit 2 uprights is kru(e)l. Gave our defense work to do, and hope they will get their points soon

  • Thanks for your eight, 84, and nice touch with your final one. I had a sense from the radio commentary that the additions of Partey and ESR made the big difference yesterday.

  • I have no coverage in Hungary either, but I’m not scrupulous when it comes to watching a free HD stream when available…

    – we finally scored and we won our first game of the season
    – Arsenal kept a clean sheet
    – the lads exchanged/delivered 24 key passes – that’s a lot
    – neither of the debutantes played like a new guy, the cohesion is already there
    – nobody had a poor game; in fact everybody played above average
    – Norwich’s pressing didn’t have any effect on us, the lads played well under pressure
    – most of our attacking players took their fair share of defending
    – the substitutions were reasonably timed and well selected

    – we should be (and are genuinely) happy for a 1:0 home win against the only team in the league that the bookies are sure to be relegated
    – MC scored 5, Liverpool (on the road) 3 against Norwich, in comparison
    – even our single goal can be contributed to luck by some extent
    – Norwich was not that far – in fact only a block away – from equalizing
    – the 52:48 ball possession is nothing to be proud of – to say the least
    – all of the attacking players botched at least one major chance, some even more
    – nobody played particularly well; the ‘played above average’ should insult nobody
    – even with all the creative players on the pitch, for most of the game Arsenal forced Arteta’s signature boring and ineffective wing-attacks, kept delivering useless crosses from the byline

    – while Michael Oliver did his job surprisingly fair, the commentators were biases and overall terrible
    – simply by criticizing Pepe for all his poor first touches (which were fair observations, but weren’t balanced with the appreciation of his great touches) they managed to put across for viewers either not experienced enough to correctly assess a performance, or are susceptible to accept ‘expert opinion’ instead of formulating their own (including a couple of influencers), that Pepe had a poor game; while if the MotM badge were to be awarded he would most likely be the obvious candidate to nominate – with or without relying on statistics – as it is evident if you compare by all 13 ‘player ratings’ available: 5 gives Pepe the single highest rating, 2 other gives nobody else higher than Pepe (joint MotM), at further 2 he is 0.5/1 unit behind the highest rated player, another 2 scores him around the middle/average and 2 rates him (among) the lowest.

  • To be honest, TA, ESR and Partey provided more directness and we almost scored a second.. their defenders were throwing their bodies on the line to keep the scorelines down.

  • Pb, Pepe tried to create openings by running into the box but there were a few defenders surrounding him, and there were times he could have passed to someone near him but he did not.

  • Great observations Pb, Njk.

    Pepe was on a mission from the start. He is one of the players who has absolutely improved under Arteta (who I often criticize). His work rate has doubled under Arteta, he’s not only defending, tracking back more, but winning aerial duels and doing the one thing I was calling for.. using his strength against defenders in the box.

    Last thing about Pepe, not as positive. Watch Ødegaard videos from Sociedad, on corners and free kicks.

    Øde should be doing most of that for us. Pepe should be using his size instead.

    I thought Ainsley looked good using his athleticism to carry the ball through midfield, and the passes he missed were all forward and ambitious.

    Many of those instances where AMN attempted something positive, Xhaka or El Neny would have been passing sideways or back. I’m sorry TA, but it’s true. With Lokonga, AMN, and especially Smith Rowe, we were much more positive, and they are the real reason we had so many attempts.

    Many of the Arteta haters are saying that Xhaka goes right back in to starting every match after his ban.

    I’m not saying he shouldn’t play any more, but we may be able to fill part of our midfield need from our current squad with Ainsley. Work him in, and maybe see why scouts from other clubs, and Southgate rate him so highly. Using him and Lokonga will give much needed breaks to Partey, and energy we need in place of Xhaka at times.

    I’m proud of Arteta for another reason… My guess all summer was right, he wanted Ramsdale in as first choice to replace Leno ASAP. It’s obvious why… — Leno doesn’t give a damn anymore, and wants out. That attitude is a drag on the whole squad.
    Post game, the reasons Arteta gave in complimenting Aaron confirmed it. He talked about Ramsdale energy in rallying the team, taking control, lifting the boys, things along those lines. Almost the opposite of what Leno was giving us. I was hoping he’d start Ramsdale, and I’m proud of him for not hesitating.

    He may make an occasional error, like anyone, but he’s also a great shot stopper like Leno. Many more positives to his game.

    I counted four terrific passes from Ben White. I expect even more as he gets comfortable with Gabriel and ventures forward more. Gabriel was his usual self and we are lucky to have him. Might have been a different game against Lukaku and Chelsea.

  • I fully agree with you, Njk84. Pepe didn’t have a particularly great game, he was ‘only’ alright.
    Statistic-wise he had the same 6 shots than Saka and Auba, but he managed to hit the target 3 times (Auba 2, Saka 0), created the same chances (6) that his fellow attackers combined, managed 3 successful dribbles 3 (AMN further 2, the rest of the team none), and what impresses me he always passed before being fouled which I highly appreciate, while young Bukayo drew game-high 4 faults. But anyone can tell you (most of all TA) that stats are just one part of the story, so albeit his impressive output he had many shortcoming including many poor first touches and the missed passes (being selfish at times) where involving others would have been the better choice.

    So Pepe wasn’t the standout player by any means, but he wasn’t the liability that Arsenal should get rid of the next window, as many claim. So far he is our best outlet at RW, and the only player yesterday who were capable of creating something from nothing – this being a niche skill in our current squad.

  • Cheers J, I can only add that XhakaALWAYS looks for the most efficient passing option and seldom makes the wrong choice. Granit looks where the ball needs to go before he receives it, and that is why managers and dare I say the connoisseurs rate him so highly. 😏
    I am pleased to hear AMN had a good game. The Arsenal commentators had mixed views on him.

  • It was more the aspects of Ainsleys game T, , and a forward energy that impressed, he won some balls with a little steel too. Intangible stuff. I like to keep in mind that the more progressive passes will always have a lower completion percentage. The 4 midfielders that played yesterday, Sambi, AMN, Partey, and ESR were all driving forward using athleticism. Was refreshing, but may not be right for every matchup of course. I’d just like to see more league game time worked in for those 4 who are the future. And, as you have been saying, Smith Rowe looked great in midfield when we needed to attack.

    I bet you can see the Ben White passes from the game on YouTube. You will like them,, I know.. The people criticizing his price should take note.

  • I used to get 4 4 2 magazine on a fairly regular basis, it was in the main a well thought-out, sensible and intelligent publication that wrote on a number of world wide football subjects and topics both current and historical.

    4 4 2 also has an internet presence, a web page so to speak, let me give you a flavour, their most up to date post states that Arsenal were interested in Tammy Abrahams and were looking for him to replaced Alex Lacazette, they got this information from ‘a source’…

    Turns out it was from Frabizio Romano the well known go to ITK who was prevalent during the recent window which close almost two weeks ago.

    The writer of this breaking news wasn’t named, it was obviously someone from admin who ‘broke’ the story and I have to say that I was impressed…

    Yep, nobody can ever say that the 4 4 2 web page isn’t determined, I mean jus5 like the RCMP they always get their man or story, even if it’s a fortnight after everyone else….

    And so it continues, sigh!

  • What a difference a win makes?

    A Monday with no sackcloth and ashes to negotiate makes a pleasant change, it’s quite enjoyable reading the positivity online even if it is tinged with caution and the early warning of the threats posed by Burnley on Trent. A week to prepare should do the trick…

    Just been listening to some tracks laid down by an interesting Scottish band, atmospheric almost psychedelic in some parts, I really enjoyed the production and ideas in sound. It definitely made my cuppa go down all the sweeter, despite the absence of sugar. 😉

    And now the High Street beckons so I must take my leave of you dear fellows.
    Onwards and Upwards….

  • Morning all,

    Here are last weeks results :_

    1st – GN5, Total & Eris with 4/6 plus 2 points for a correct score and 1 point each for most correct predictions = 7 points
    4th – OX10 with 4/6 plus I point for most correct predictions = 5 points
    6th – PB, Madhu & Kev with 3/6 = 3 points.
    Season to date:-

    1st – PB with 31.00
    2nd – Eris & OX10 with 26.33
    4th – GN5 with 20.00
    5th – Madhu with 18.33
    6th – Total & Kev with 15.00

  • These are the selections for next weekend.

    Burnley v Arsenal *
    Wolves v Brentford
    Aston Villa v Everton
    West Ham v Manchester United
    Tottenham v Chelsea *
    Valencia v Real Madrid *

  • Burnley v Arsenal………… A (0-2)
    Wolves v Brentford……… D
    Aston Villa v Everton…… A
    West Ham v Man Utd….. H
    Tottenham v Chelsea….. A (1-3)
    Valencia v Real Madrid.. A (0-4)

    Beat that Total 😉

  • Burnley v Arsenal * A 1-2
    Wolves v Brentford H
    Aston Villa v Everton D
    West Ham v Manchester United D
    Tottenham v Chelsea * A 0-2
    Valencia v Real Madrid * D 2-2

  • Burnley v Arsenal * 0-4
    Wolves v Brentford H
    Aston Villa v Everton H
    West Ham v Manchester United H
    Tottenham v Chelsea * 2-1
    Valencia v Real Madrid * 1-1

  • Burnley v Arsenal * A (1-3)
    Wolves v Brentford D
    Aston Villa v Everton A
    West Ham v Manchester United A
    Tottenham v Chelsea * A (1-3)
    Valencia v Real Madrid * A (1-1)
    Week 5 Points

  • T,
    There’s very little I enjoy more than watching the Arsenal already knowing a positive result. This will be even more fun for you because of all the new players focus on.

  • Hahaha! Looks like I am going for the “top 4 trophy”, in a worst case scenario. Nice going in the predictions game, gentlemen. Well done, GN5.

  • Burnley v Arsenal * A (0-2)
    Wolves v Brentford H
    Aston Villa v Everton D
    West Ham v Manchester United H
    Tottenham v Chelsea * A (1-2)
    Valencia v Real Madrid * A (1-2)

    PS: GN5, your La Liga game prediction shows Away side as winner but stated result is a draw.

  • My corrected predictions.

    Burnley v Arsenal * A (1-3)
    Wolves v Brentford D
    Aston Villa v Everton A
    West Ham v Manchester United A
    Tottenham v Chelsea * A (1-3)
    Valencia v Real Madrid * A (1-2)

  • Noticed something with mine too; West Ham v United should read a Draw. Sorry. So, my reviewed predictions are:

    Burnley v Arsenal * A (0-2)
    Wolves v Brentford H
    Aston Villa v Everton D
    West Ham v Manchester United D
    Tottenham v Chelsea * A (1-2)
    Valencia v Real Madrid * A (1-2)

  • Total, I understand that you live up in Scotland. Is the EPL not available up there? I understand from mates back in England that the costs of watching football remotely has become obscene. It may be less expensive for you to emigrate. I pay the equivalent of 10 quid a month for EPL and Champions League, a package which includes all games live and available for later viewing. What are the costs where you are?
    Kev and yourself piqued my interest. Are we talking the Peatbog Faeries? De Rosa?
    I appreciated our result against Norwich, worth rising at 1.45 am to watch live. I also appreciated Mikel’s comments about the previous two weeks being the greatest of his career in football. He acknowledges the way the club and his family supported him in the midst of tense adversity. We often learn more about ourselves and those around us in the valleys than on the mountain tops. He seems a man of some depth, depth acknowledged by Pep and recognized by those close to the club.

  • I do hope Arteta is watching this Burnley side as they have shown an improved side to the “style” we have come to know them for. First 27 mins was all Burnley at Goodison Park, with the hosts (Everton) appearing to recover later, to cut down the visitor’s 66% possession stats to something closer to 55%.

    We would have to be at our stoical best to beat Burnley next game day.

  • Stu-art(eta),

    3pm kick offs on Saturday are not telivised in the UK. So we just cannot watch them other than on a stream which I prefer not to do.

    Good to hear you can watch so much footie for a handful of pounds a months.

    Good points about Arteta.

    Re music. I emailed Kevinski a link to a band based here in Edinburgh

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