Mizgan Ahmed on 24th November, 2015
Well it seems lady luck has again gone against the Gunners, they already had likes of Ramsey, Walcott out and now with injury to Francis Coquelin, Arsenal’s hopes of a title-winning season is banishing as fast as it can.
Coquelin’s injury has hit Arsenal very hard
Arsene Wenger has so far gone with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Coquelin sitting infront of the back four and his midfield partner Cazorla, moving the ball in forward direction, Sanchez on the left, Ramsey or Oxlade Chamberlain on the right and Ozil as no 10. Giroud or Walcott leading the line.
Now as we see this formation, we can realise how important Coquelin was in Wenger’s system, he likes to get the fullbacks moving as forward as he can and Cazorla was given the freedom to move forward when required because in Coquelin, they had the most reliable cover. Whenever Arsenal get caught high up the field, Coquelin takes the position of either of the fullbacks or go in between the centre backs and try to cut the threat of counter.
But with his injury, Arsenal need to tweak their shape a bit as Arteta/Flamini are not that reliable when it comes to covering for a particular position, they also like to get forward and be more decisive in the final third.
We can have two names for this shape, either a 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-2-1-1 in a descriptive way. We can see here, Sanchez and Gibbs are a bit deeper, this will make Arteta/Flamini’s job a bit easier as Gibbs and Sanchez will solely concentrate on running the lines up and down and rarely think of cutting inside. This could result in Arteta/Flamini and Cazorla to concentrate more centrally, they can play with a bit more freedom and can look to be more aggressive in their plays. Ozil becomes very important in this system, he needs to receive the ball from slightly deeper position and spray it to the wingers or look for Giroud to run in behind. All four wide players need to complement well, they need to make sure one comes back to cover because the midfield players will be higher up. Wenger needs to be more proactive in this system, he can’t let Sanchez and Gibbs to regularly cut inside and allow fullbacks to move very high up the pitch, he needs to get those four players to play as wide as they can and stretch the opponents as much as they can. This shape could result in Arsenal playing a bit more wider which will make Giroud a more effective centre forward because when it comes to winning aerial duels or winning headers, the Frenchman is right up there.
So, we can hope for Arsenal to cope with injuries as effectively as they can and don’t let their season go away from them. It will be a litmus test for the Gunners as to how they get through this period but one must say, Wenger still has the personnel to go through this tough period.