While the WOBs (Wenger Out Brigade) insist Wenger is nonchalant and stubborn in his approach, the switch in formation from 4-2-3-1 to a refined 3-4-3 tells us otherwise. This new system has brought about a breath of fresh air. Although this change has admittedly arrived late to say the least, with six games left in the season. Majority of the loyal fans have had enough of him, but this tells us Wenger isn’t bowing out without a fight. Question is, why has this change taken so long to implement?
4-2-3-1 lineup last used in the 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace
3-4-3 lineup against Middlesbrough, game ended 1-2 in favour of Arsenal
It is indeed still early days but what is most interesting about the new system is how it accommodates the club’s most important players. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey and even Olivier Giroud all start in this system, this gives them flexibility to either work the ball into the box or play with Giroud as a target man. What cannot be overstated, the stability it brings to the team defensively, with Laurent Koscielny, Robert Holding and Gabriel Paulista coming in, Arsenal no longer wobble defensively. Hector Bellerin who has put in a number of woeful performances recently has been rightly dropped. The setup was a piece of work for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday, seeing them come out on top after an intense 120 minutes of football, reaching the FA Cup finals will definitely come as a big boost. There is finally a semblance of light at the end of the tunnel.
Although certain positions have to be strengthened in the summer, a number of players have to be shipped out, Arsene must be willing to splash the cash. Nacho Monreal and Oxlade Chamberlain won’t cut it as wing backs if they are to challenge for the title or even a Champion’s League spot next season, reinforcing the wingback positions seem a top priority. While it’s going to be a big ask, considering Chelsea are in search for players in similar positions, it will be interesting to see how that little tussle turns out. The quality of wing backs in the world football is noticeably poor, the Arsenal board will have to go all out for the few available talents, this might be tough because of their seemingly restrictive budget.
Next season is going to be fascinating, seeing as they are due to miss out on Champions league football, with a questionable squad depth, Thursday night football is not exactly the luxury they’ll be willing to have. Shouts are out for Allegri or Simeone to come in but with both Atletico Madrid and Juventus in the semifinals of the UCL and their current levels of success, signing for Arsenal will be a massive step down in their respective careers. They are left with Thomas Tuchel who isn’t entirely proven in world football. The board will definitely want to avoid the “post-Ferguson” situation seen at Manchester United, which was caused by hiring an unaccomplished replacement. At this point, the best option might be to stick with Arsene.
There is no doubt Wenger is still under watch here, but switching tactics is the first step to turning what can only be described as a crisis around. His recent comment on Alexis Sanchez saying he’s going nowhere next season only indicates both parties will be signing new deals. Tough times ahead but there’s a glimmer of hope for Arsenal fans.
This post was written with the help of Imeh Usoro. Twitter @JACKS_N