Football is a game of 11 players but the arrangement of those players on the pitch is key to how the result of the game would go. At the inception of the 20th century, the conventional formation was the 4-4-2, which two out-and-out strikers, we saw attacking partnership that revolutionized the game.

In the 1970s, the Dutch came with the total football model that made everybody sit up. A possession game that relied on an anchor man in Midfield and a lone striker, it almost won them the World Cup in 1974.

Then came the 4-1-2-1-2 diamond formation employed by Carlo Ancellotti with AC Milan in the early and mid-2000s. Sven-Goran Eriksson came up with the 4-1-4-1 formation in the disappointing 2006 World Cup campaign. Many teams in the Serie A have adopted the 3-5-2  formation while attacking and the 5-3-2 in defending; Juventus and Inter Milan are masters of this act.

Our very own Arsenal is not left out, ever since Arsene Wenger became Manager, he has adopted  the 4-2-3-1 formation. He always seem to play with a lone striker and either a supporting striker or an attacking midfielder behind him. We have seen combinations like Bergkamp-Anelka, Bergkamp-Henry, Van Persie-Adebayor, Carzola-Giroud and now Ozil-Giroud.

However, of all these formations ,one that particularly strikes me is the ‘false nine’ formation (4-1-4-1). these formation has been successfully used by Barcelona, Spain, Germany, Bayern Munich (and Chelsea by Jose Mourinho against Manchester United…lol). Here are the integral components of this formation:

1. A defensive midfielder: this is very important. He plays as the anchor and stays back when the midfielders go forward. Examples are Sergio Busquets (Spain, Barcelona), Sami Khedira or either of the Bender twins (Germany Twins), Lahm or Martinez (Bayern Munich).

2. Fast and Skillful wingers: With no strikers, a source of goals would have to be the wingers. The team would need widemen that would stretch the opponent and open the middle of the midfielders to operate, examples are Robben, Ribery (Bayern), Pedro, Alexis Sanchez, Neymar(Barcelona) , Silva, Navas, Pedro, Mata, Carzola (Spain); Reus, Draxler (Germany).

3. Lastly, the false nine. An attacking midfielder or supporting striker that operates between the lines. He does not act as a lone striker and he is difficult to mark. Examples are Thomas Muller (Bayern), Messi(Barcelona), Fabregas (Spain, Barcelona), Gotze (Germany).


Looking at this Arsenal team, I feel that the false nine is a huge possibility. The team has the essential components that have been mentioned.

1. defensive midfielder- Flamini has the capabilities to function in the role efficiently. Arteta could also come in handy.

2. Fast and skillful wingers: Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Carzola, we are covered though I would not lack against addition in this area.

3. The false nine: Rosicky, Ozil, Ramsey, Podolski, Walcott can come in and do a good job.


Many gooners of steel would be wondering why this article. However, I think it is necessary for the following reasons:

firstly, the gooners are endowned with a lot of attacking midfielder talent: Flamini, Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky would be fighting for a place in the team. The false nine formation would be a way out and accomodate as many as 4 midfielders at a time in the starting 11.

Secondly, if Giroud gets injured, this formation could be way out. At least until January when the boss might decide to get a new striker. Conclusively, this is an alternative and is left for Arsene to try it or not. In Arsene we trust. #coyg


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