View From The Sphere

Time Wenger reverted to tries and tested formula


It is still undetermined whether or not Fabregas is on his way out of Arsenal this summer. Barcelona have been strongly linked with the Spaniard, but yet no offer has been put on Arsenal’s table to consider.

So in light of Cesc’s probable exit from the Emirates, will Wenger be tempted to revert back to a winning midfield formula which saw his side lift a number of trophies in the past?

When Wenger took charge of Arsenal 14 years ago, he decided to execute a solid and reliable 4-4-2 formation. The system proved very effective as he saw his Arsenal team conquer the Premiership title three times, as well as lift the F.A cup on a number of occasions (4 times to be exact). Within these title and double winning teams, Wenger applied to solid centre midfielders in the middle of his line-up, both of which could attack and defend.

Arsenal have had a number of great midfield partnerships in the past, none more so than the classic French duo of Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira. Both Vieira and Petit could defend and get forward when they were required too. The two Frenchman seemed almost in sync when they were on the field together. When one went forward the other sat back and this was constant throughout their years at Arsenal which made them one of the best pairings in the English game and possibly the world.

Wenger kept this method for several years, whilst witnessing new partnerships in the centre of midfield as the years went by, such as Vieira and Edu, Gilberto and Vieira, Gilberto and Fabregas and most fresh in mind Flamini and Fabregas.

Historically this has been Wenger’s best system, so why has the Frenchman decided to revert to a 4-3-3 (4-5-1) formation in recent years? Arsene’s army have not been able to lift a trophy since switching to their latest formation, so why does he keep implementing it?

Many fans will like the new pattern of the team, but some (like me) don’t understand why he insists on a shape that hasn’t brought any form of success in the past 6 years.

Arsenal do boast a number of midfielders in their squad, and maybe this is a reason why he sets his team out in the way he does. More importantly, many Arsenal fans will feel the system of the team is utilized in order to accommodate their captain and talisman Cesc Fabregas.

But with the dark clouds of Fabregas’ possible departure looming over the Emirates, should Wenger’s most successful winning formula be executed once again?

The answer to this question for some of the fans would be ‘yes he should’ but not all will share the same view for different reasons. But with the club unable to capture silverware again last season, it maybe time Wenger went back to what worked best…the 4-4-2 and two solid centre midfielders who can attack and defend like Vieira, Gilberto and Petit once did.

Well, Wenger certainly appears to be thinking about it for the upcoming season’s campaign. Le Professuer recently signed Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh which gives the impression that he and Robin van Persie will be spear heading Arsenal’s attack this season. The only question now would be, which two midfielders (if he chooses to go back to 4-4-2 next year) can create a partnership so good and be amongst the likes of Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit?

Wenger may have the two already in his squad, but if he hasn’t, then he may have to go out and acquire them this summer. Then again, it remains to be seen if Wenger goes back to 4-4-2 at all, we’ll have to wait and see.

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