View From The Sphere

Would a 5-3-2 formation work for Arsenal?


The beauty of this formation is at any one time we could have up to six bodies attacking, leaving three behind to basically defend with the option of the two defenders, who take up the ‘stopper’ roles, having the option to go out and close down the lucky advancing opposition forwards before they reach the 18-yard box, defended by the ‘sweeper.’ With what’s been mentioned, it’s clear to see that the opposition would struggle to break down the team, and would find it difficult to counter.

Here are some of the problems I think we could encounter though.

The fact that the natural width mainly comes from the wing-backs means they need to be fit and energetic in order to aid the attack and track back simultaneously. Should they fail to do so throughout the game, the system would be flaw and not work well – not enough chances created up front and a bare back three left to fend for itself. The system has strict requirements for its wing-backs, there key attributes being stamina, acceleration, pace, work-rate and natural fitness. For me, Sagna, Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson all have these traits. Andre Santos does not have the required work-rate to play in thei role however. So the only legit player we currently have that could play in the left sided wing-back position is Gibbo.

This formation is rarely used in modern day football, due to the fact that some formations counter it fairly easily. If the opposition faced has very strong, pacey wingers it would push us back because the wing-backs cant leave their positions in fear or pushing up and leaving gaps behind, which also means we would be outnumbered on the flanks, and our two men up top safely marked by the opposition.

The wing-backs are the engine of a 5-3-2, in my opinion. Creating, passing and crossing whilst defending like any full-back would at the back.

I could go on for ages about this proposed strategy but like any formation it has a lot more to it.

Whether or not Wenger and his coaching team decide to press ahead with the change remains to be seen.

But would it work for us? I think not.

Yes we have the personnel so suit its requirements and it would sort our defensive issues. However, when we’re pinned down at the back, outnumbered in the middle of the park and have our strikers firmly marked, I fail to see where our goals would come from, especially considering the fact that the wing-backs are what makes this formation tick.

In my view, this formation has no place in modern day football. It gained its praise in the days when Brazil, Argentina and Germany used it back in the day, but it’s since fallen out-of-favour, so I say let sleeping dogs lie and find a better strategy.

Our successful 4-4-2 formation wouldn’t go amiss right about now.

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huge Arsenal fan, love the team and all that comes with it.follower of all kinds of sports, football being my first love, yet to attend my first arsenal game but i am planning too, some time in the not to distant future. i enjoy writing as well, that's how i ended up here, never looked back....


  • hottspring says:

    let’s have a balance putting more bodies behind makes your opponent concentrate on attacking U. by constantly attacking them we reduce their attacking creativity let wenger choose the formation. in my case I prefer 4-4-2 ,451 and 433

  • Junior says:

    I see the formation more as a 3-5-2…. Walcott wouldn’t take on the RWB role meaning he moves to a more central striking role. Gibbs, Sagna and Jenkinson are strong both offensively and defensively. A midfield three is kept!! Only question is where does Gervinho possible fit in. It’s worth a go I suppose! One thing I do agree is all 3 CB’s on the field doesn’t sound too healthy should one get injured

  • topemagnus says:

    I have assess this formation on a chalk board and realized that we will look more dangerous attacking with the 2 strikers and it will help conserve the players energy. It is more of 3-5-2 than 5-3-2

  • Charlie says:

    I’ve written about this a few times so this time i’ll summarise. Arsenal have NO natural wingers and a player in TV5 who is perfectly suited to the sweeper role. If you were fitting the Arsenal squad into a formation that allows everyone to play in their best and favoured position that formation would very clearly be 5-3-2 or 3-5-2. A manager must match his squad to his formation, that’s key, so in this situation I think the formation must be changed.

  • Charlie says:

    Just to add one more thing if Arsenal did change they’d need another CB. Best option would be Sakho because he’s a big strong unit (something Arsenal don’t have) and can cover for the LWB position where Arsenal lack depth. Problem being that PSG are probably paying him >100k per week now which puts him out of reach.

  • Charlie says:

    Regarding the man marking you play with a target man and a runner. If the opposition mark the runner (Theo or Gervinho) they’ll get turned and left for dead. The target man (Giroud or Podolski) needs to be able to hold off their marker and lay the ball off or beat their marker in the air.

  • mark says:

    our defense was great the first few games. dunno what happened. diaby made a difference wiht his mobility. i think its more about discipline than formation. i wouldn’t like to see a 5-3-2 formation as its overly defensive. sagna is useless as an attacking winger anyway. right now we don’t have good wingers but it will change in one or two seasons with Campbel, Ryo, Gnabry.

  • barry says:

    a 5-3-2 or 3-5-2 will defitely work. who says its a formation of the past. juventus won the league unbeaten last season playing this formation and they still use it now. inter have started using it and check out the results. i think it is worth a go. we will creat many more chances with this formation

  • Allen anpes says:

    You know Wenger is right for picking up a defensive mode and i pray it works by the grace of GOD, the formation which i really want them to use is the 4-5-1 formation so that it will ease Gervinho,Cazorla&Walcott form of play whom i suggest walcott takes the middle central role,Gervinho the right central role then Cazorla the left central role thereas arteta for the right wing,then chamberlain for the left wing.For now i think they need to concentrate on defense and setpieces.In my suggestion on team plan,they should try as much possible to gain possesion of the ball and use the opportunity to strike the ball well & also try as much as possible to score alot of goals as possible in the 1st half,then in the 2nd half they should focus on defending the opponents from crossing half of their area and they should try alot of setpieces from outside box it really helps alot.

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