A lot of talk over the last few weeks would be how would we line up if Olivier Giroud picked up an injury. Like many others, I held my breath as he limped off the pitch last weekend against Sunderland. Whilst Giroud is a brilliant physical specimen – his last 4 seasons he has played 42, 43, 52 & 57 games for club and country – it is inevitable that he will pick up an injury.
Were that to happen, it would potentially cause a catastrophe as we have no top class 2nd choice striker in the squad. An injury prone postman in Yaya Sanogo and Nicklas Bendtner (cnut) are our only two proper striking options in the squad. That is not good enough and it would cause a worry.
Writing a few things down on paper, messing about with players in positions and formations, I have come up with a good possible solution were Oliver Giroud to get an injury. It would see us move from our current 4-2-3-1 formation to a narrower 4-3-2-1 Christmas tree formation.
The defence does not need to be talked about for obvious reasons. As we move through the midfield, it would see us have 3 central players in front of the defence. This would make us a tad bit more defensive, but also allow us to sit deeper. Jack Wilshere & Aaron Ramsey on the left and right of the 3 would be a given. The central would be either Mathieu Flamini or Mikel Arteta, depending on injuries. This would allow Wilshere & Ramsey to cover the full backs when play is down that side, whilst still allow us to have 2 men on the inside.
Ahead of them, we then have a narrow two in behind the striker. No points for guessing who these would be. Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla. They would then sit behind Theo Walcott.
This would see us line up:
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Ramsey Arteta Wilshere
Whilst the formation is narrow, what it would do is get the best out of all the players on the pitch. There would be no point in playing a wider formation with Walcott upfront. He does not have the height or heading ability were we to whip crosses in. What he would require is through balls. Over the top, or quickly in behind. By playing both Ozil and Cazorla in behind him, he would have plenty of ammunition. Also, with Theo up top and Ozil and Cazorla behind, it would leave the opponents with a quandary with how to defend.
Defend deep, and it leaves Cazorla and Ozil on the edge of the box to fire in shots. Defend high, and it allows Walcott to run in behind.
The 3 man central midfield then allows the front 3 to neglect their defensive duties. We are essentially playing with 7 of the outfield 10 with a defensive mindset. This allows Cazorla, Ozil and Walcott to concentrate on attacks, and allows us to sit deeper. This in turn would mean that Cazorla, Ozil and Walcott would spend more time on the half way line, allowing us to launch quick counter attacks.
With a midfield 3 of Ramsey, Arteta & Wilshere, we can certainly play quick counter attacking football. All 3 are excellent passers. All able to either clip the ball over the top of the opponents defence from deep giving Walcott plenty of space to run into, or play the ball shorter into Ozil or Cazorla to build up an attack.
Yes, playing 4-3-2-1 does mean a narrower style of play, but it should still be a winning style. One that should see us put out a strong enough XI to win most games.
Now does anyone know Arsene Wenger’s email address so I can let him know the plan?