With Arsenal struggling to find the right balance at times this season, Arsene Wenger has admitted that a return to a more traditional formation is something that will be explored.
A 4-1-4-1 system was implemented, ostensibly to make the team more secure in ‘big games’, but the team’s best performances have come when playing the 4-2-3-1 that was, for the most part, solid and effective last season.
However, responding to a question at today’s AGM about using the somewhat anachronistic 4-4-2, the Arsenal manager responded diplomatically, saying, “It’s a nice idea, but it still requires balance between attacking and defending. We have many creative players who all want to play in the middle [in the current formation].
“We haven’t got that balance at the moment. In Europe it’s very difficult in particular, but you will certainly see it [4-4-2] during the season.”
Whether that is the case remains to be seen. It’s a formation that has fallen out of fashion for good reasons over the last 10 years, and with teams much more focused on what happens in the centre of the pitch, it would be an oddity to revert to it – especially when we lack the physically imposing players who might just make it work.
Our best guess is that we see him use it in circumstances when we’re chasing a game and need to throw two up front, rather than on an ongoing basis.