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Arsene Wenger's tactics against Spurs were wrong - here's what he should have done

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
Three at the back was a nice experiment. But against Spurs, Arsenal really needed to stick with what they knew. With three central defenders, they've given away more shots and taken less. This was not a game to continue with their new formation. What's worse, the wrong players were picked to execute Arsene Wenger's tactics.
The choice of playing 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 (whichever you want to call it) could be dissected until Wenger decides to actually say whether he's staying. Right now, I'll take you through the line-up that should have started at White Hart Lane.

First, Arsenal's formation: I'd have started with a neutral 4-2-3-1. Without the ball, they'd switch to a 4-4-1-1 and in attack, a 4-2-1-3. This would have provided protection to their defence, which is still unstable and look ready to leak goals at any time. In addition, the space "between the lines", where Spurs thrive is minimised. As for their full backs, it'd be a straight one on one, which eliminates what was seen on Sunday, where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was facing both Heung-Min Son and Ben Davies on his own for the whole match. As for the line-up, see below.

The Back Five



Petr Cech - He's been shaky this season, but after 10 years and 13 trophies at Chelsea, he's the keeper you want. In a game of such magnitude, Cech is the shot-stopper you'd rely on.

Shkodran Mustafi - He's a good defender who started off well but hasn't recovered from his injury. A natural right back being played in the middle. Why? Mustafi is a ready-made alternative to the nonsense of trying to convert Oxlade-Chamberlain into a wing back.

Laurent Koscielny - The club's captain, best centre back and leader by example. In addition, Koscielny is an Arsenal player that didn't need reminding how important the north London derby is to the supporters.

Rob Holding  - The young Englishman had a superb game against City. He looked assured, composed on the ball, and defensively competent - everything you want from a centre back. It's a shame he's not considered good because he didn't cost £50m (yes City fans you know who I'm talking about). Holding deserves more starts than he has got this season. I hope he gets more matches next season.

Nacho Monreal - No debate really. What was the other option, Kieran Gibbs? No.

Who's holding it together in the middle?



Mohamed Elneny - An under-appreciated squad member. He plays simply. Elneny's discipline and calm demeanour were just what Arsenal needed in central midfield. As a player, he's better equipped than Aaron Ramsey to physically and tactically deal with opposition attacks.

Granit Xhaka - His willingness to sit deep and spray passes to a rapid front four could have proved crucial in a game like this. As a wannabe box-to-box midfielder, Xhaka could have also ventured forward, knowing he'd have cover behind him if out of position. Alternatively, he'd have the option of holding his position as there are four players ahead who would make his job easier.

The front Four



Theo Walcott - The (not so young) speedster brings experience to the game, being the longest-serving player in the squad. He knows the importance of this match against Arsenal's fiercest rivals. Also, Walcott's pace would have caused problems and made Ben Davies think twice about venturing forward.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain  - Through the middle, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been dangerous all season. His dynamism from a deep-lying position, in a Pogba at Juve-esque position, could have been the perfect role for the Ox. His runs from deep would have made him harder to track.

Danny Welbeck - With a work rate second to none, he'd have given Kieran Trippier nightmares. As Welbeck showed when he eventually came on, stretching the Tottenham defence. Imagine if he actually started the Spurs game. How different could it have been?

Alexis Sanchez - He cut a disinterested figure out on the left. The Chilean said early on in the season he wants to play through the middle. Yet for some reason, 19 goals and 10 assists in 31 games is not enough evidence to grant him his desired role or extend his contract. If Wenger's not careful this summer, Sanchez could be turning out for the blue half of London next season. I could actually see riots if Wenger let that happen.

With this starting eleven, I am confident the Gunners would have got a positive result against Tottenham. They could have pressed high and pounced. In addition, Arsenal would have been allowed to defend resolutely and counter attack to devastating effect.
Tyrone Chambers

I know most people either love them or hate them but I a massive fan of Manchester United. I'm not afraid to speak the truth. Writing it as it is, bold enough to say it in the way no manager or player could say in public. I write about all things football but I love music as well, both listening and playing, keen drummer.


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