Why the 3 at the back isn’t working

Last season Arsenal converted their formation from a 4-2-3-1 into a 3-4-3. This lead to imminent success, winning 9 of the last 10 games as well as the FA cup final, Arsenal had an emphatic end to the season. However, this form has not been carried on into the start of this season. Winning only 3 points from the first 3 games and looking shambolic defensively, Arsenal are already nearing a crisis. Key players like Ox and Mustafi look on the way out and with no imminent arrivals it’s looking very bleak at the club.

The 3 at the back system that Wenger has been deploying at Arsenal this season has been nothing less than atrocious. Conceding 8 goals in 3 games the defence has been vulnerable. The problem all stems from the core of our team. In midfield there are 2 central midfielders but neither offer much protection to the defence. Xhaka is prone to sloppy passing creating chances and goals for the opposition, already this season he has been most at fault to 4 goals. Meanwhile, his midfield partner Aaron Ramsey has more the positional sense of a centre forward, often leaving Xhaka exposed in midfield and contributing little defensively. In addition to this, in defence Arsenal still lack a leader to organise the defence and tell people when they aren’t doing enough. The Arsenal team look to be too nice and there isn’t one stand out player who is shouting out commands or calling players up if they aren’t putting in a shift. Arsenal have been missing these kinds of figures ever since the likes of Vieira, Keown, Adams and even Henry. Leaders who weren’t afraid to voice their opinions if they felt someone was not trying hard enough. Without this organisation in the defence we will see more and more games like we did at Anfield where teams exploit the shaky defence which has little discipline or leadership.

Furthermore, the wingbacks need to offer more defensively. Too often have the wide centre backs needed to defend out wide to cover for the full backs who do offer great threat moving forward but leave us vulnerable to fast wide players who hug the touch line. Liverpool exploited this weakness exquisitely. Using the likes of Salah and Mane to run in behind and stay close to the touch line to spread Arsenal’s defence apart. 

Overall, I would like to see Arsenal revert back to a 4-2-3-1. With the 2 deeper lying midfield players offering more protection to the centre backs and the 2 wingers tracking the opposition full backs to avoid our own full backs becoming outnumbered. This will give Özil more of a free role in his favoured no.10 position where we will see the best out of him. 

TheArseView (@TheArseView twitter)


  1. Excellent piece, my sentiments exactly. Who would be your choice of midfielders to sit in front of the back four? Do we need to bring someone in? I think one decent holding midfielder could be key.

    Liked by 1 person

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