3 reasons Arsenal should stick with a back four
Their season is starting to drift
It was less than a month ago that Arsenal offered a reminder of how good they can be in their 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
The Gunners were incisive and pressed aggressively, making them worthy winners of the North London derby.
But they’ve failed to win their last three league games, leaving them in seventh place.
Arsene Wenger used a back four, his favoured system, for the first time in league action this season in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with West Ham United.
Arsenal were poor at the London Stadium, but that doesn’t mean Wenger should revert to a back three just yet. Here are three reasons why should stick with it, starting against Newcastle United on Saturday.
No Aaron Ramsey
One of the major beneficiaries of the move to a back three was Aaron Ramsey. The Wales international was able to make his trademark attacking runs, safe in the knowledge that there were three defenders behind him.
The Wales international has been ruled out of action for three weeks, which means he’ll miss big games against Liverpool and Chelsea.
Without Ramsey, Jack Wilshere could get a run in the team. Wilshere doesn’t make Ramsey’s runs into the box, which means there’s less reason to have an additional body in defence.
Improve the Football
The move to a back three was supposed to tighten up Arsenal’s defence. But there’s little sign it’s done so this season. The Gunners still look vulnerable at the back. They’ve conceded 20 league goals, the joint-most of any side in the top seven.
They’ve also lost some of their sharpness going forward. They lose a midfielder with three centre-backs on the pitch. A back four would help to restore their ideal balance and make their football more entertaining.
Suits the Squad
Hector Bellerin hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks. But that may be because he’s played every minute of league action so far this season.
There’s no obvious replacement for him at right wing-back. Mathieu Debuchy doesn’t have the legs to perform that role, but he’s looked decent in his Europa League displays at right-back. He could fill in for Bellerin in a back four against smaller sides.
The likes of Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Alex Iwobi don’t really suit the 3-4-3 system either. They could all make a greater contribution in a 4-2-3-1, giving some of the regular starters a breather.
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