Seeing as we struggled without the creative instinct of Cesc in most of our pre-season game it brings me to talk about our formation.
Last season against most defensive teams, we struggled a lot even with Cesc in the team. We played a 4-2-3-1 formation or should I call a 4-3-3..... Anyway both look same in my eyes. Playin' that formation also leads us to play a very high line which I feel makes us struggle a lot defensively and offensively.
The only time I see this formation workin' defensively and offensively thereby relievin' us from the creativity burden Cesc leaves us with when he eventually joins Barcelona is if we defend from the front. RVP, Theo, Gervinho, Arshavin are going to be Key in our Defensive/Creative structure. Closing down the opposition in their own half will free up spaces where we can plug gaps easily without the eyes of Cesc.
I'm a huge fan of the 4-4-2 formation and we have the attackers to play it with aplomb but were it matters is the midfield (2 CMs) which I doubt can do a good job. Yes, we have got Jack, Alex, Aaron, Frimpong but still I doubt they have got the steel to play a 2 man midfield.
A 2 man midfield requires size, hard work and Experience for us to challenge for the title... We might say we have hard work in Jack, Alex and Frimpong but we miss out on 2 key features that's size and experience. Playin' a Jack and Alex leaves us very open defensively in my book but in a 3 Midfield we have the bodies to make up for the size and Experience.
All in all, I'm confident Arsene will play the formation that suits us perfectly and a few tweakin' here and there would put us in the right stead.
Mean Lean's Response
Thank you for the write up. I shall be keeping a close eye on how Wenger reshapes the team if Cesc Fabregas leaves the club. At the moment it is still very much a case of if as long as Barcelona keep offering us peanuts for one of the best midfield creative players in world football today.
Personally I think the 4-4-2 is a little dated these days and when you look around the top teams around the world, hardly any of them play with a two man midfield because so much of the game these days is about control.
Teams with a two man midfield, no matter how strong or powerful are often dominated by three. It could well be a reason why Wenger's team of 2003/04 didn't do as well in European football because the opposition hardly ever played with a matching two.
These days every cat and his dog flood the midfield and at least try and match Arsenal in the middle of the park. Blackpool played two against us and were murdered towards the end of the season and as you all know, we were going through an awful patch.
Having said that, I think there are plenty of opportunities to revert to that formation in games where we are pushing them right back and they are not having much of the ball. Sometimes we stick a little too much when a good ol twist during the game could have worked wonders. I think back to the 0-0 draw against Blackburn last season as a perfect example.
If our current system is played correctly offensively then a change in formation probably isn't even necessary as the wide players are unlikely to keep the proverbial chalk on their boots, so we usually have plenty of movement and rotation. You could see that in Germany this pre season, Gervinho and Walcott often found themselves in central positions.
Anyway, I still find it a little hard to talk about the shape of the team because I still expect in's and out's to happen before the window closes. Which personnel will be anyone's guess.