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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Arsenal should play 3 central defenders next season

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has a selection decision to make. And with 3 world class central defenders for 2 spots, it’s a shame to see one sit. Why not experiment?

Sol Campbell is at the edge of his prime but under no circumstances showing it. He was sidelined thru injury this season and is now 100% fit.

Philippe Senderos has been lavished with praise for his work in Campbell’s absence. It would have been unthinkable at the start of the season that this young Swiss international could play his way into the side, but it happened.

And then we have Kolo Toure, who has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few seasons into a thoughtful and athletic defender. Toure looks the Marcel Desailly of old (no snickers, please), with long tackling legs able to extend to the difficult ball.

A way to resolve this selection issue may be to go with a 3 man central defense, with an extra player in midfield. Toure and Senderos have the ability to cover the extra space and Campbell would do well in a central role.

It would require more running on the wings and a shuffle in midfield, but could offer Arsenal a way to get the best 11 on the pitch.

48 Comments:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be a cunt ...you can only play three centrebacks if you've got a libero like sammer or beckenbauer or baresi

6/11/2005 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol lol lol lol lol

No.

6/11/2005 7:53 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Arsenal have the luxury of money.

A host of players can be purchased to fill the role.

6/11/2005 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theres only been one loser who has tried to play three centrebacks domestically and that was Glenn Hoddle

6/11/2005 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3-5-2 is an old out of date system that only idiots like trevor francis and john grogory has used in modern times. The reason for this is that when the opposition plays direct and fast it always draws two centre backs wide wich leaves gaps that are exploited. But Maybe toure with his range of qualities could be a potential cover for our invicible wall Gilberto as he played centre back for Mineiro

6/11/2005 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuggernomics babee

6/11/2005 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"could offer Arsenal a way to get the best 11 on the pitch"

what are you on about?

having 3 central defenders would only work in conjunction with 2 wing-backs.

so we would have the 3 defenders + clichy and lauren (assuming cole fucks off)

We cant have one striker upfront because our only striker who could act as anything like a target man is RVP, so that would mean leaving out henry?

So with two strikers that leaves 3 in midfield. Probably a flat three of gilberto, vieira and fabregas as they are our best central midfielders.

So other than breaking up a winning system just to fit in an extra defender (senderos is looking good but it doesnt mean he has to play every game, tbh I think theres nothin wrong with rotating 3 defenders) it means we have to leave out a left winger in pires/reyes and the poacher freddie.

Nice one Einstein! Good job Wenger is the tactician and not you.

6/11/2005 8:26 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Quite alot of negative response, so let me explain my rationale a bit more:

Arsenal have alot of talent in central defense and are likely to lose Ashley Cole. That leaves 2 of SC, KT, and PS with Lauren.

And you have, who Clichy, has Clichy looked able? I dont think so, yet.

Where are Arsenal's strengths? Central defense, Midfield andup front. You play Dennis Bergkamp in attacking midfield, TH and RvP up front, And make a midfield with Viera, 2 capable wingers, and someone that can sweep.

I do agree on the point of rotating 3 defenders.

And old tactics... whatever, Milan scored 3 in the first half using 'old tactics' and Greece won the European Cup with the oldest system in the book.

Its not about tactics boys, its about getting your best players on the pitch at the same time to win things.

6/11/2005 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think I was a bit harsh with my einstein comment, and i sort of see where your coming from but:

"Where are Arsenal's strengths? Central defense, Midfield andup front. You play Dennis Bergkamp in attacking midfield, TH and RvP up front, And make a midfield with Viera, 2 capable wingers, and someone that can sweep"

are you suggesting something like this:

---------Henry------RVP--------

-------------Bergkamp-----------

Pires/Reyes---Vieira------Ljungberg

--------------Gilberto-------------

----Senderos--Campbell--Toure------

?

because I genuinely cant see that holding up against the best teams. Pires, Reyes and Ljungberg are all attacking minded and lack the disipline required to track back. We would get exposed at the back because of the problems highlited in the post about francis and gregory.

6/11/2005 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets just try this new thing called rotation!

6/11/2005 10:00 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

I agree with you, there is no chance that lineup would hold up.

You'd need to spend money, thats what I meant above, they dont have the horses to pull it off now, but they have 2 wingers RP/FL which are no longer regulars, oh and JR likely to go.

More like:

TH RVP

DB
? PV ?
?
KT SC PS

They need someone in front of the defenders, Michael Carrick comes to mind. And wide, players like Cafu.

Then you have Gilberto, Fabregas and Flamini able to fill in.

6/11/2005 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gilberto is perfect for the carrick role your suggesting. He's world class at breaking up the play and chasing people down.

players like cafu for wingbacks?

clichy would slot right in at left wing back, hes definatly got the pace and stamina and hes comfortable on the ball, and laruen wouldnt be too bad on the right either as he used to play in midfield.

but still think we'd be a bit lightweight in midfield as far as creativity goes.

6/11/2005 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the stupidest f***ing idea i have ever heard of. sol and senderos should start and leave toure out.

6/11/2005 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Play Senderos and Sol in central defence and Toure on the right.... leave Lauren out..!
Pires, Paddy, Gilberto and Freddie...
And Henry and RVP on top...

6/12/2005 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys I think one thing has been clear for a long time. We need an fn target man because everyone in the team now seems to be afraid of finsihing. When was the last time you saw Arsenal score by a header?

6/12/2005 1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment, "Dont be a cunt".

6/12/2005 1:39 AM  
Anonymous RomfordPele said...

thats the trouble with the internet -it allows idiots like "Football Commentator" a platform. Almost as facile as SquareFootball.com ! "Our strength is central defence" quoth our expert. Well you could have fooled me. Senderos is promising -he is NOT world class -that is plain stupid. Kolo has just had a very average season and Sol is more out than in. Dont even want to think about Cygan in this system. Besides 3-5-2? The whole argument is sterile - nobody plays like this except O Neill, Hoddle at Chelsea and Gregory. Its out of date, not very effective and its dreadful to watch. As was pointed out, you need a libero for this to work - Rio Ferdinand is probably the only premier League player in that mould.

Another thing "football commentator" Arsenal do not "have the luxury of money" to buy a libero and anyway I thought your argument was we had the players in central defence already? Your not making sense. M. Wenger has a modest budget but thank god he is the bloody manager and not you. Are you manging Arsenal from Singapore or something?

6/12/2005 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha im fom singapore and i wouldnt have given this tactic half a chance!

6/12/2005 3:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

henry RVP/bergkamp

pires vieira gilberto fabregas

clichy senderos campbell toure

lehmann

why dont we stick to things we know how to do eh? why break up a system that works?

Flog lauren i dont trust him anymore after he got pwned by ronaldo so bad in the fa cup final.

does anyone else think we should flog ljungberg? personally i think hes past it and in light of his comments over the past few weeks hes starting to sound more and more like a prat

"no ambition" ? wtf do you call building a ****ing stadium and estate from scratch in north LONDON? i think he wants out and personally i wouldnt mind seeing him go for some cash wenger could put to better use

6/12/2005 5:06 AM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

RomfordPele -

Internet gives everyone a chance to speak, thats a good thing.

I said central defense is an Arsenal strength, you stretched that into midfield, not me.

Arsenal are swimming in money. They are one of the richest club in the RICHEST league in the world.

If the gunners dont have money, in your opinion, who does?

I dont think any tactics are sterile. Thats the old world thinking again, I think a team plays to its strengths and a coaches job is to find them.

Do you see Jose Mourinho sticking with a single format?

Can you think of a game where having a 3 central defender lineup might be an advantage to Arsenal?

And Senderos is a Swiss international, so I thought the common definition for 'world class' meant being at or playing at an international level.

Let me put it to you this way, pele:

If I were arsenal's coach, I would look at my team in depth and consider all kinds of options. And sure, I would set the formation up in training and have the opposite 11 try a bunch of different formations in opposition and see how the team reacted to it.

Maybe it IS a stupid idea, but I wouldnt be satisifed if I were coach until the itch was scratched.

6/12/2005 6:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flog Freddie and Cole. And maybe even Lauren. I think we should give Pires another year at same time gives Quincy a chance to develop.
Must get more muscles in midfield..maybe Pizarro or Helb??

6/12/2005 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Liam said...

Dont be such a Fuckin idiot 3-5-2 would never work 20 mil for cole and we can buy ze roberto and have cash left over

Henry RvP

Pires Gilberto Vieira Cesc

Clichy Senderos Campbell Hoyte

Lehmann

6/12/2005 1:49 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

The only thing I find strange is calling me a F* I* for suggesting 3-5-2 and then putting down Lehmann as your keeper.

6/12/2005 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The logic of playing all three completely collapses when you think about it.

For a start of you need more cover for central defence. Playing 3 you need two spares to cover injuries, which means to make it work we need 5 class centre backs.

Or there's the more sensible option of thinking - hey, aren't we lucky to have 3 great players fighting for two places, meaning we've got cover there.

6/12/2005 3:00 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Thats where I agree... you have not rotational cover for such a scheme.

My suggestion breaks down with injuries for sure.

My idea was really only to use it when it was a good tactical move, not really a formation for the whole seasion...

6/12/2005 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A way to resolve this selection issue may be to go with a 3 man central defense, with an extra player in midfield."


Rather different from what you're saying now.

Just because you have 'too many' players for a possition doesn't mean play them all, it means COVER. It's what you're supposed to do.

To be honest it's a bit laughable the way so many people say 'oh so and so is good so must play' without actually thinking it through to it's logical conclusion.

We need a first team, and then plenty of cover. That's what Wenger is getting, not silly naive tactical ideas (especially ones that are so out of place with the way the game is played).

Also - it's not a Wenger tactic because it gives the onus to the opposition. You're basically swapping a full back type for an extra centre half, and therefore losing attacking potential and creativety.

Madness.

6/12/2005 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your post is sensible. All the comments here have not offered any descent reason why this system is not workable besides a repeating each other or comments they heard on TV – apart from one or two.

I don’t think 3-5-2 is a permanently good system to use in the Premiership. It could be tried for specific games but a long-term strategy on 3-5-2 has not proved to be a long-term good winning formula (i.e. being positive and trying to win rather than trying to spoil the opponents game only). 3-5-2 allows you to win the midfield battle but leaves you vulnerable in defence. It also can leave you ineffective in attack because in counter attacking the other team is nearly impossibe since 2 of your midfielders would have been withdrawn to defending the wings and so any supply to the strikers in a counter attacking situation would have to come from the middle. The middle is usually where the opposition would be concentrated when they are attacking. So 3-5-2 only helps win midfield battles. But if you are Arsenal, with Gilberto and Vieira there are few battles in midfield that you would be on the losing end of so effectively, you would just be depriving yourself of a solid defence and counter attacking options.

But I still think Arsenal should try 3-5-2 occassionaly. The main reason is because I think Van Persie and Henry need to play more together and Arsenal need to start weaning themselves off Bergkamp who cannot possibly stay another year after this. Vieira has had Bergkamp infront of him for 7 years and Henry has had Bergkamp behind for 5 years or so. We need to learn to play without him. Van Persie and Henry work much better than Reyes and Henry. So Arsenal can try 3-5-2, not with Dennis but with Henry, RVP, Fabregas (in a free role – Fabregas in my view has the next best vision in Arsenal after Bergkamp and Pires). Then Pires (or Reyes if he’s still there) Vieira, Gilberto and Llungberg (or Hleb whom I think will be good for RVP or Reyes if Reyes is central. Hleb can dribble and get past players, Freddie can’t). Then Toure, Sandero and Campbell. There is some merit to 3-5-2.

6/12/2005 4:09 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

I agree with most of what you say, and the CLEAREST example of why 3-5-2 is not a full time system is what happened to Milan in the champs league final.

Milan were desperate for a new formation and a stiff coach didn't change tactics to protect the lead. The team stayed vulnerable at the back.

When the opposition doesnt have a prolific striker or uses a single striker (as a starting formation), tactically 3-5-2 stands up well.

I wouldnt play it against the Brazil.

Another point:

I wrote the article looking ahead a bit:

Does FL or RP figure in Arsenal's future? Reyes? Cole?

And Bergkamp, as was mentioned above?

Changes are coming to Arsenal guys. Like it or not. So who fits in, long term?

In my opinion, Rio Mavuba of Bordeaux is incredible, Michael Carrick looks fantastic. Arsenal need to shore the holding midfielder spot up first, along with the goalkeeper.

Reyes/cole could easily get you the $ -and they want to go.

6/12/2005 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arsenal don't need to change their formation, when they are on form they are the best team in the country. They need to get better players in a couple of positions like right midfield and maybe a striker. 3-5-2 only works if you have wing backs as good as cafu and carlos we have full backs and wingers.

6/12/2005 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting idea, but we don't need a new formation.

Neither Reyes or Cole will be leaving as you seem to think. We just need a new right back as Lauren lets us down against the top wingers.

6/12/2005 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3-5-2 is shit...try being a commentator about some other sport because you know nothing about football.

6/12/2005 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you sleep with Men?? That is the only outcome i got from such a useless blog.

6/13/2005 12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is nothing wrong with 3-5-2

its how you use it

6/13/2005 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DB doesnt have the fitness to play full 90mins anymore... forget it

6/13/2005 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we've got quite a feww good midfielders too - Gilb, Paddy, casc, Falmini, Reyes, Freddie, Bobby...

shall we play a 7 man midfield?

6/13/2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Henry Owen

Pires Vieira Gilberto Cesc

Clichy Senderos Campbell Toure

Frey

Simple as that folks!

6/13/2005 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, give me an example where 3-5-2 would suit us more so than 4-4-2.

You don't pick your best 11 based on individual ability, you pick your best 11 based on what works best as a team and gets the best results on a consistant basis. You seem keen to keep arguing a point about Milan in the champions league final, they played 4-4-2 and were ripping Liverpool apart for 45 minutes, then Liverpool got goals back, not from Milan playing 4 at the back but due to lack of concentration and over playing. Once Liverpool got the equaliser, it was all Milan again.

Let me use an example about trying to fit in your best players but failing miserably.

Brazil vs Argentina. Brazil opted to play with 4 forwards in Ronaldinho, Robinho, Kaka and Adriano. Did it work? Fuck no. Why, because you can't just select your best crop of players expecting them to win the game. They lacked strength in midfield and had too many numbers upfront and it was easy to mark. Argentina ripped Brazil apart untill Brazil took off a striker for a midfielder which gave them a more suitable formation of 4-3-3 and gave them a little more width (allowing Ze Roberto, who should never be a holding midfielder, to get down the left a bit more).

When you have width to your team, you wll ultimately create many more chances than trying to play through the middle. You need to be able to spread the ball about the pitch, switch it from left to right and get in behind the oppositions full backs. 4-4-2 works perfectly as the full back can over lap his winger and vice-vercer. It is also more suitable defensively as the centre halfs know their role and can't get dragged all over the pitch. If a striker tries taking the centre back out wide, the centre back doesn't have to go because he knows he has a full back who can do that job, it keeps the defence in order and creates much less confusion.

The shout about needing a target man purely on the basis that some of our players are scared of scoring is funny as hell. Yet again we have finished another season as the top scorers in the league, with 2 out of the top 3 individual scorers in Pires and Henry. If we were to get someone who added more of a physical presence up top, it wouldn't be because he would automatically just hooth the ball at goal, but because it gives us an extra option if and when needed. There's no real target men in world football that could walk into our team, we don't play that kind of football and I hope to god we never do again. We play fast, inter-changing football with great ability to counter and keep the ball as much as possible through slick, clever, quick passing. We create chances for fun most of the time and it shows. Just because our lads miss a few chances here or there doesn't mean we need to change things round. Footballers are not machines, they are human, they play at that level because they are part of the elite group of footballers the world has to offer.

Defensively we have been VERY sound over the last 15 games of the season, attacking wise we havn't stopped scoring and the midfield has looked as solid as ever with Gilberto back in the side.

As for Jens, he's done himself a lot of good since he came back into the team. Hasn't put a foot wrong and has given all he's got. Is he good enough to keep goal for Arsenal next season? Yes he is, and I wouldn't complain. However, he does need some stronger competition, either Wenger finds a good younger keeper to be his number 2, or goes in search of a real star like Carlos Kameni who would push Jens all the way and ultimately, if he plays as well as he can do, would become number 1 in due time.

We need a few additions to the squad, a goalkeeper, a right winger, a striker and then perhaps a versatile defender and whoever else is about thats at the right price and has a good future (I'm sure Arsene has his eye on a few young frenchies or ivorians).

4-4-2 has brought us the quickest amount of success I can remember under Arsene Wenger and we know how to play the formation pretty damn well. you don't need to change to a 3-5-2 for any reason as it doesn't offer you more width, it doesn't offer you a better defence and it doesn't mean you will score more goals or suddenly dominate a midfield through numbers.

I think I've said enough, don't you.

Chris 'Goon'

6/13/2005 2:48 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Chris, thanks for the post.

I read everyones opinion, including yours. I've listened, and the opinions (in general) I've heard make sense, enough sense, and enough reason have mounted.

I'm ready to make the climbdown.

It's not a good fit for Arsenal. Its not a bad idea, but its not the right team at the right time.

The clincher for me was needing 3 defenders for cover. I cant argue with that logic, if it had occured to me while I was thinking it thru, I would have probably abandoned the article. In a way I am glad I didnt, since its sparked a decent debate.

A few points:

The comments about 'old' systems of play is silly enough to write an article about it. There is nothing 'new' in football, every tactic has been tried, re-hashed, and re-tried again. How old is 4-4-2? Come on. So you mean when a coach is trying to protect a lead by subbing and going 5 at the back, he is using 'old' tactics?

Milan very often play 3 main defenders, Maldini Stam and Nesta. Cafu runs the sideline and Gatusso and co. fill in the gaps. I saw that same thing with Arsenal, as I think they could be effective in a similar system.

As far as playing thru the middle, they play center alot... DB sits up front center, in front of the strikers, often receives balls from the edges, or dishes them out there for crosses. How often has PV passed a ball strait thru center to DB?

cheers

6/13/2005 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I'm not saying we don't play through the middle, but what I was saying is that you need to have good width play, having 2 men either side who can do that is invaluable to the side, otherwise if you do keep going through the middle, the opposition will catch on and fill the gaps so Dennis can't play those perfect passes through and Paddy can't find the gaps. it's a hell of a lot easier for a team to mark one wide man, who happens to have to not only defend a winger, but attack a full back, thus often leaving a side lacking at the back or up the flanks. Cafu through all of his experiance has mastered the art of when to go forward and when to stay back. He isn't the best of defenders in the world (hasn't got a toe in Maldini's boots) but is always back when needed. However, that is the 4-4-2, he's used to playing in a 4 for club and country. At Roma it was different, they used a 5-3-2 whilst Cafu and Candela were there. It worked to some extent but never gave them the success perhaps they at times deserved.

You talk about a Libero, having the money to spend on a player to fill that role. Tell me, who would you pick to play there, realistically, and how much would you be willing to spend on him? There's not too many about in todays game, and those that are around of a high standard would be pretty hard to take away from their current club whatever the fee.

We're not Chelsea, we don't have £100,000,000 to spend at the drop of an eye, we're not Manure and can't offer most players stupid wages like Chelsea also do. This summer we've got more cash to spend that we have had in several years, due to the money we were given by Emirates for the new stadiums naming rights. A top class Libero should not be top priority, never mind on the list anyway. A pacy/skillfull right winger to compete with Freddie and a striker who gives us a different option (whether that be one who plays off the shoulder of defence or gives a little extra physical ability) as well as a new keeper for the squad are our priorities in my opinion. Using our money wisely to get those players should be our main focus in pre-season. We may also need to get Ryan Garry some games with the first team during our friendlies to see if he still has the potential to make it at Arsenal, just incase we do lose Ash.

Chris 'Goon'

6/13/2005 4:44 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Chris,

There are 2 players I would jump at:

Holding midfield: Rio Mavuba of Bordeaux -- man, if he touches down in the UK

Carlos Kameni of Espaynol -- best GK prospect in earth

14m lbs will get you both of them.

6/13/2005 4:50 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

I meant on Earth

Article about tactics

6/13/2005 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn right you should climb down, you fucking spastic. You're saying Wenger should change the formation even after all he has achieved ? So you're saying you know better than Wenger ? By the way AC Milan don't play 3 centrebacks they play cafu and maldini as full backs and nesta and stam as centrebacks. Why do you suggest we copy AC Milan anyway, they just lost to an average Liverpool team. Only international teams can play 3-5-2 like the Germans used to with Sammer or an old Mattheus as the libero. 3-5-2 doesn't work in the Premiership and I think you've embarassed yourself by suggesting it.

6/13/2005 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big fan of Carlos Kameni am I. You are right, he is the best keeping prospect on the planet. I'd take him or Casillas, obviously though the latter would be hard to get unless Madrid did sign a new keeper (been linked with Buffon a fair bit).

For me, a perfect summer of signings would be Kameni, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stevie Sidwell, Michael Owen and Jack Hobbs.

Unfortunately, we could never get both SWP and Owen as together would price us out. I'd therefore drop Owen from the subject matter and look elsewhere.

Chris 'Goon'

6/13/2005 4:56 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

"f*** spastic"

Does that describe my writing or yours?

Climbing down is part of life, like you should do, mr spastic

6/13/2005 5:16 PM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Chris-

SWP is incredible. He's great to watch.

Its a shame the negotiations broke down. UK players are so expensive.

If anything, Casillas would head down spanish alley to liverpool :-)

6/13/2005 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your predictions and evaluations are fucking shit. This is the shittest weblog on the net, even worse than your probable bum chum myles palmer. You're not sports journalists ! give it up.

6/13/2005 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arsenal play the most flowing style in the world when they are on their game

6/14/2005 5:38 AM  
Anonymous Nturtle said...

It would be interesting to see people own up to a name when swearing at others on this blog - I think it's downright shameful. Everybody is entitled to a view - argue/discuss and post constructive criticism - you wouldn't blast somebody like this on the street would you?

I just say Arsenal need a proper "Plan B" and whether it is 3-5-2 is debatable. I think I would favour 4-3-3, since we counter-attack so well, and that helps introduce a stronger attacking "target man" mentality.

6/23/2005 7:44 AM  

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