EVEN the most divided fans agree that some sort of change needs to happen at Arsenal.
While the biggest possible adjustment – sacking Arsene Wenger – looks unlikely, the secret to the team getting back on track could be as simple as a formation change.
Most clubs have experimented with tactics in recent years and nearly every top team has at least two ways of playing, with a 4-2-3-1 often getting switched up with some of back-three approach.
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Arsenal haven’t changed formation in years – but now need to.
The last change came during the Cesc Fabregas era, with the 4-4-2 being exchanged for a 4-2-3-1 to allow Fabregas to play just off a striker and lose any defensive responsibilities.
It was kept for Mesut Ozil, but perhaps out of laziness than any other reason.
Chelsea’s 3-4-3 has revolutionised and revitalised their squad with minimal additions, and is surely perfect for this current crop of Arsenal players.
Shkodran Mustafi is comfortable at full-back and would be ideal as a right centre back, with Laurent Koscielny’s height and ability as a sweeper in the middle.
Nacho Monreal, who’s played centre back with ease, could switch into a three and copy the mould of Cesar Azpilicueta.
In terms of wing backs, Hector Bellerin is about as perfect an option as you can get, while Kieran Gibbs used to be a winger and could do a great job moving a bit further up the flank.
Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka have shown promising signs of a partnership in the middle, and with a talented back three behind them, they’d have more confidence to do their work.
Alexis Sanchez would have bags of freedom to cause danger as an inside right forward, while the width provided by Gibbs on the left means Mesut Ozil could become a floating inside left forward, fully freeing him of all defensive duties.
Up front, Danny Welbeck’s pace and power would be an asset, but you could easily add Olivier Giroud in there, and he’d be the focus point of the side.
This refreshed approach could help Arsenal finish the season strongly and show to fans that Wenger can embrace and respect new ideas.
It could also look epic with a couple of additions.
Swap Monreal for Virgil van Dijk and things look seriously strong at the back, plus £20m Ricardo Rodriguez would be an amazing and quite cheap upgrade to Gibbs.
Add a fit again Santi Cazorla and the returning Jack Wilshere in the middle, and a top striker like Alexandre Lacazette and there’s so much potential and promise in the side.
It doesn’t take a lot of adjustment to overhaul a team, and there’s no doubt that Arsenal already have a lot good components – they just need to be used better.