Will The New-Look 3-4-3 Formation Fire The Gunners To The Top Four?
After the highs of an FA Cup semi-final win at Wembley, Arsenal are back in Premier League action against Leicester City knowing that a win is needed to keep hopes of a top-four finish alive. The Gunners lie in seventh place in the Premier League table, seven points behind fourth-place Manchester City with, you guessed it, seven matches left of the season.
Champions League qualification seemed an impossible task for Arsene Wenger’s men just a few weeks ago. Fives losses and a draw in eight Premier League matches sent the club into turmoil but after two huge victories in seven days, the Gunners are back with a new-look formation.
Arsene Wenger surprise everyone by scrapping his regular 4-2-3-1 and switching to three at the back. The 3-4-3 is the first time Wenger has played without four defenders in over two decades and it has certainly worked so far. Two 2-1 victories, one an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City and Arsenal fans have some hope again. But things will not be easy.
Seven points is the gap between Arsenal and the top four and while they have a game in hand, the Gunners are anything but the favourites. You’ll get 6/1 for Arsenal to secure Champions League qualification, well behind Manchester United at 13/8. The bookmakers think Liverpool are the most likely side to drop out so simply visit William Hill online to know more about Premier League betting.
Arsenal’s fate will be decided in the next two weeks. After taking on Leicester City at the Emirates on Wednesday, the Gunners travel to White Hart Lane for a North London Derby just seven days before a top-four faceoff with Manchester United. The final match of the season sees Wenger’s men take on sixth-place Everton at the Emirates.
So, the Gunners have a tough fixture list but with it comes opportunity. Seven wins will probably be enough and there is a quiet optimism among Arsenal fans that that isn’t totally out of the question.
The 3-4-3 worked particularly well against Manchester City with the defence looking solid throughout. Rob Holding and Gabriel Paulista were hugely impressive while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nacho Monreal popped up at vital moments for the Gunners.
One potential worry is attack. Arsenal have scored four goals with the new formation but two came from set plays. The thing which will worry Arsene Wenger is the relative lack of chance creation from open play. But that can change.
As Wenger discussed in his pre-match press conference, the formation is flexible. Gabriel Paulista can be pushed out to right-back with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing further forward in a regular 4-2-3-1 if required. There are also options further forward. Danny Welbeck impressed during his cameo at Wembley and both Theo Walcott and Lucas Perez will be eyeing a starting spot in this front three.
Arsenal have seven cup finals before the cup final but if they keep playing this way, they might just do it.