Arsenal tactics – How Arteta should line-up when we play against the Low Block

Should we change our formation against the low block) by Vinod

Another frustrating match with Brentford playing the same way Everton did and we did not have an answer to open their defense. Our wingers are not able to do anything but pass it back to the centre, unable to run forward. Everytime the ball goes wide, it is a certain inevitability that nothing is going to happen, but go back to the centre. Simply our wingers could not find the answer against a low block.

If Gabriel Jesus was playing this would not have been the case as he would take down a couple of defenders, opening space for Saka and Martinelli to come to play. But Nketiah is not capable of what Jesus can do and is a different type of a player. We have City next who would not use the tactic, but Villa, Leicester and Everton before Jesus is going to get back are going to deploy the same tactic after seeing how we are struggling.

We need to change to a midfield diamond with Jorginho sitting back, Partey, Xhaka and Ødegaard completing the diamond. With this formation we can have more players through the center and we can penetrate through the center more effectively. If they are smart we need to be smarter to counter their tactic. Their full backs will have nothing to do, and we will take their 4 wide players out of their game and we can overload more attackers against less defenders through the center.

I believe we need to do this to ensure we will have a perfect run till Gabriel Jesus returns.

Vinod  (Greenlantern67)


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  1. The formation which you have mentioned here looks good on paper but it’s not practical because in this formation either we will have to loose Saka or we will have to play him up front along with Nketiah which is not his favoured position..
    He won’t thrive there..
    Certainly we can’t drop Saka…
    I believe we can drop Xhaka and play Zinchenko with Partey in CM and play Tierney as LB
    This will reduce burden on our LW whoever is playing by not being isolated on left flank because he will get the support of overlapping runs from Tierney and also Zinchenko can dictate the play the way he does by playing as inverted LB

    1. I agree with your idea. No need for massive tactical changes a couple days before City.

      Zinchenko better in possession and more mobile than Xhaka, and Tierney will overlap on LW helping Martinelli.

      I would also replace White with Tomiyasu so White can rest and regain some form.

      If Odegaard struggles or Nketiah I would be quick to bring on Trossard who is currently playing well and confident.

      I’m no expert, but same lineup and same tactics aren’t working, so something has to change; don’t have to reinvent the wheel though to find productivity

      1. Well said, my friends, it’s not time to make many changes but based on what I saw from MA he prefers to start with Xhaka.

        I guess we will play with the same formation and players, let’s hope our players will be thriving for the win. Otherwise, this game will decide if we can compete for the title or just qualify for the CL next season.

  2. The game against Brentford calls for a great ball carrier in my opinion, that’s the game for a Bellingham or to a lesser extent Smith Rowe.

    We need to move the ball quicker from defense to the final third.

    Tossard plays with more experience than Martinelli in my opinion, he releases the ball quickly before he is corner or lockdown, so he is a little less predictable so he becomes effective.

    But you can see why the gaffer wanted to sign the Caicedo kid, he’s very mobile in these situations.

    Am not worried about these low block teams, soon they will have no place to hide.

  3. Man City successfully used 3-2-4-1 formation against Aston Villa tonight, which is similar to ours when we have the ball:

    ……………….….. Ramsdale
    ….…. White … Saliba .. Magalhaes
    ………..….. Partey …… Zinchenko
    Saka . Odegaard . Xhaka . Martinelli
    ………………………. Nketiah

    We used 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 on paper and when we don’t have the the ball, but it became 3-2-4-1 when we were attacking

    The difference was Man City were better in set-pieces and attacked Aston Villa’s half-spaces frequently with De Bruyne/ Silva on their strongest sides. If you don’t believe me, see their formation on LiveScore and watch their extended highlights on Hoofoot

    Unfortunately, Smith-Rowe is still injured and Odegaard/ Vieira/ Xhaka can’t reach the right byline as often as Smith-Rowe does, because of their strongest foot. De Bruyne is able to make diagonal passes from Man City’s right wing to the left side, despite being right footed

    I’m sure Arteta watched Man City’s game tonight and would likely be inspired to deploy similar tactics against Aston Villa. We might get a disappointing result against Man City, but I believe we’ll bounce back at Villa Park

  4. No need to change our formation, a few changes in personnel will suffice combined with more interchanging of the front thee which should comprise of Trossard, Neketiah and Saka.Tierney should be brought in to enable Zinchenko to replace. Xhaka who has looked off the pace against Everton and Brentford.

  5. City is a must win game now loose that and the tittle is going to City got to the stage that don’t think even a draw will benefit us it’s a straight win or bust situation on Wed!

  6. I am sure we would get back to winning ways soon.

    Arteta should try and see some tired legs and give them a rest.


    Trossard. Odegaard. Saka.

    Jorginho. Partey.

    Tierney. Gabriel. Saliba. Tomiyasu.


    Martinelli, Xhaka, Zinchenko, and White need to rest a bit.

  7. So, it’s official. We were robbed of two points on Saturday. In spite of that it was still a winnable game for Arsenal. It’s also too late to cry over a wasted transfer window. It’s up to the coach to make the most of what he has. Some realities from the Brentford game. You need at least one speedy wingback who can cross a ball. Zivchenko is an important player but he is not a play maker. Xhaka is only as good as the players around him and he is missing Jesus. Nketien is a luxury we can’t always afford. Over reliance on Saka and Martinellii has made our game plan too predictable. Ben White is a centre half. A fit Emile Smith Rowe would be just like a new signing.

  8. Inverted wingers are stopped easier by sitting deep and forcing them wide. To beat a deep lying defence you need height in the box and crosses early. You need to draw teams out and pass quickly. You also need players who can shoot from outside the box.

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