So why couldn’t we beat Leeds & Ipswich? 4-4-2 please!

Two cup games vs lower league teams, on paper we should have beaten them with some easy. But in the space of 5 days we saw two very disappointing performances by the Arsenal, but why?

Why couldn’t we break down two defenses who are not even in the same league as us? If we had played well and both keepers made countless saves I could accept it. But in both games we hardly tested the keeper until late on.

NO creativity at all. Yes we had loads of the ball but how many real chances do we create?

And Wenger says we don’t need any new signings going forward?… Sorry Arsene but we are lacking something going forward as well as defensively.

We only seem to look dangerous with the pace of Theo on the wings. Apart from that we have nothing. Our CF looks isolated, and we seem vulnerably at the back.

Personally I feel our main problem is this 4-5-1 that Wenger is sticking with. Its clearly not working.

Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions league we got outplayed and hit on the break, at home to Newcastle, WBA, Spurs Away to Sunderland & Wigan and the 2 recent cup games.

In all of the games above it was the same story, Wenger has to now go back to a basic 4-4-2 with 2 wide men and 2 strikers.

People are slagging of Arshavin and Bendtner but they are NOT playing in there best position. Arshavin needs to play just off the main striker, just like Bergkamp use to.. He is being ask to track back and he is not a natural winger. Its the same with Bendtner, Most of the time he comes on and plays out wide? WHY??

And with Denilson and Song in the team you would think that they would protect the back four? And since when did Jack Wilshere become a defensive ball winner? When he first came onto the scene he was an attacking player with flair who got forward and scored goals. Since he has returned from Bolton he looks more like Lee Catermole.  What happened to that gifted lad with the sweet left foot?

I cant see the point in playing 4-5-1 anymore? We cant break teams down, we cant keep a clean sheet. So can somebody please tell me why we just dont get back to 4-4-2?

Like so….

I challange anybody to tell me that 4-5-1 makes us into a better team?…If we cant beat Leeds and Ipswich what chance do we have against Barcelona

Debate this more on the



  1. dilly

    January 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Been saying to play 442 for some time vs he teams who park the bus/smaller teams. All those time we got late winners last year was because we had 2 St’s

  2. indgunner

    January 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Agree with u 100%…cast your mind back to the 2007-08 season wen arsenal scored in almost every single game..Wen we changed to a 4-5-1 Wenger told us we would be better defensively with the extra man in midfield..But the results speak for themselves

  3. joshmp94

    January 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    y not go 4-1-2-1-2 (diamond)

    eboue Djourou Koscielny Clichy


    Walcott Nasri


    Van Persie Chamakh

    Arshavin might be important on form, but how he’s playing it’s like 10 men. Also song and fabregas with the same centre mid role, not too sure there. Chamakh gives us an extra dimension to our play, and i think Chamkh and Van Persie need to learn to play together, they are both quality strikers, and neither will want to be sub – this would solve it.

  4. andre

    January 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    yeah 4-4-2 is the formation we would score lots of goals and we would defend better as well please lets have 4-4-2.

  5. James

    January 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Wenger is one of the worst tactical coaches in Europe, that’s why. He goes 4-5-1 to protect the defence, yet in the last two seasons we have let in more goals than ever. Personally, I feel the entire tactics was created to accomodate Fabregas. If you put him in a 4-4-2 he has to run about a lot and make tackles, in 4-5-1 he has total freedom. But even then the system still stinks because too many players are out of position, so for all the good Fabregas does, 2 or 3 players are always at 50%. If Wenger had a tactical brain cell he’d change it, but he hasn’t, so forget it.

  6. sleepinggiant

    January 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    The truth of the matter is that a good 451 will always beat a good 442. The former allows complete domination of the game, while the latter is largely a counter attacking system. I would not be against 442, but the truth is we simply do not have the personnel. For a start, Cesc is not a 442 player, particularly now with his bad hamstrings. We would alsoreally need an agressive centre forward (i.e Benzema, Lukaku or Suarez ) a direct player who will score goals. We dont have that at the club, and indeed, irrespecitve of formation, this is just as big a problem as our poor defenders. I dont think we have enough natural wingers – we have a plethora of ‘no 10’s’, who operate in front of holding midfielders and behind a striker – we do not have wingers who are effective up and down the flanks, with the posible exception of the very average Walcott. Also, 442 means we would inevitably have less possession – can you imagine what even average teams would do to our defence if they had any more possession than the scraps they currently get.

    So, its as simple as this – we would need about £150 million of talent to produce a championship winning 442, and this is a formation largely of the past in any event. It would be cheaper, and ultimately would be more beneficial, to simply buy better players to reenforce what is a superior system.


  7. mackin

    January 14, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    oh men this is why i love your blog. you speak my mind every time. I’ve been against this 4-5-1/4-3-3 for a very long time since it was first adopted. and lets be real, wenger adopted it only to copy jose mourinho when he first came and dominated. Even ferguson adopted it but united failed to win anything with it which is why they switched back to 4-4-2 with someone partnering rooney.
    Arshavin is a quality player with lots of ability that isnt being tapped in his current position. It just shocks me that someone that claims to be a professor of football management cant see what others can clearly see. during the invicibles era and before that we always played 4-4-2 and the football was fantastic with two forwards that could play off each other. now its all dreary with even the main striker having to drop back and switching to the wings just to touch the ball e.g van persie, chamak and bendtner

  8. subterraneo

    January 14, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I don’t see why it has to be one or the other i.e. 4-5-1 or 4-42. Why can’t it be both?
    Why not use whichever system is more appropriate to the opposition?

    These are supposedly world class footballers, so they should be able to adapt quickly to whichever system is used. It would also remove the predictability, if they could change formation mid-game.

  9. B

    January 14, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    The 4-5-1 is also the system that so recently demolished Chelsea, and that has the club in the title race. I agree that Wenger isn’t a tactically great coach; in fact, against those teams that decide to clog the area and play no football beyond longball counter-attacks, we might be better served with the system you describe. But against the best teams in the world, the extra midfield man in what is most accurately a 4-2-3-1 makes a huge difference. I defer not to Wenger’s tactical acumen on this point – notice that Barcelona, Madrid, and even City all use the same system. Even the top three teams in the World Cup all used a 4-2-3-1 (or at least something much closer to it than a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1).

  10. Jonny

    January 15, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I’m a Leeds fan so don’t see Arsenal that much so I’m probably wrong here but how about a 4-2-3-1. It seems to be the ‘in formation’ right now with a lot of teams (including Leeds) playing it. It seems to be working for us and maybe it would for you.


    Sagna Vermaelen Djouro Clicy

    ——- Song — Fabregas ——

    Walcott —Nasri——–Wilshere

    ———–Van Persie————–

    Although you might want to change the personnel around a bit that is roughly what it should look like. It would allow Fabregas to sit back and play passes without having to move too much, it would also allow more cover for the defence whilst still being very attacking. Both wingers need to be very hard working and be able to track back as well as get forward and get into the box to support the striker.

    If you invested £50 million (I know that’s a lot to Arsenal who try not to spend much) then you could become a a major force in Europe I think you need A keeper, I like Sczcesney (sp?) but I’m not sure if he’s ready to be a CL teams number 1, you probably need someone with more experience. You also need 1 or 2 very good CB’s another winger and possibly another CM to play the holding role instead of Song.

  11. weedz

    January 15, 2011 at 1:14 am

    It`s taken a Leeds supporter to point out the truth. We don`t play 4-3-3 , we play 4-2-3-1. And have all season.
    Why play 4-4-2 when we haven`t got ONE natural winger in the squad. There is nobody who can take the ball to the line and cross it in, consistantly. And I`m talking the fullbacks as well. We are a squad that keeps the ball on the groung and have done for most of Wengers raign
    IMO there is nothing wrong with our present formation, but we are making our offense too narrow in attack and therefore too easy to read. Some of the team are not getting around enough and the attack is stalling because defenders airn`t being pulled out or stretched out of position.

  12. badras

    January 15, 2011 at 6:54 am

    the 4-5-1 formation only works if you have a striker that is ace at holding the ball up like leeds have got becchio who can bring players in with ease. leeds changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation which works very well for attacking. i hope arsenal dont play walcot on wednesday because he was the only threat arsenal even had.leeds are good enough to be in the prem league almost now a few tweeks and they will be i wouldn’t worry about not beating leeds but losing to ipswich .what a joke

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