Arsenal 4-4-2 Change And Season So Far

Spanish manager Unai Emery has arrived at Arsenal and is making a big impact with the Gunners so far. They have won their last nine matches, and with confidence high, he altered their formation for last weekend’s trip to Fulham. With the use of Globall Coach, we’ll break down some of their attributes.

Emery has, in general, employed a 4-2-3-1 system with his side this season which has served them pretty well. But he decided to change to a 4-4-2 formation for the trip to Craven Cottage with players like Mesut Ozil unavailable.

The two ‘wide’ midfield players were Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan who more naturally wanted to drift inside and play more centrally. This wasn’t particularly a problem as full backs Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin got forward well and overlapped as shown in the Globall Coach animation and video examples below.

Another feature of Arsenal’s game we have noticed more this term is a deep lying midfielder. Lucas Torreira has become a key player in this team, stealing possession in defensive areas, keeping the ball and showing good energy, a position which you could argue that the Gunners have missed since the days of Vieira and Petit.

He also plays a key role in starting attacks from this deep position. When the goalkeeper has possession, the defence splits into wide positions and Torreira is generally the one who drops into the space vacated to collect the ball and build attacking situations.

Not necessarily as an effect of playing 4-4-2, as they have shown this more and more in the other formation, but Arsenal are playing a bit more direct with pace and power.

When we say direct, they aren’t lumping long balls forward, more they are playing forward a lot quicker which attackers running at their defenders and causing a lot of problems with the speed of their attacks.

This was demonstrated perfectly in the sublime third goal they scored at Fulham, starting in a deep right back position and breaking forward with one and two-touch football resulting in Aaron Ramsey scoring. Back to front in no time.

In summary, Arsenal appear to be in a stronger position than they have found themselves in recent years. An ability to be adaptable and play different formations can only help, and they have done this successfully so far this season.

It is still early days, but Unai Emery seems to be making a positive impact on The Gunners and it will be interesting to see how it continues to pan out for the rest of this season.

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Paul Harper