Talking Tactics: The 4-2-2-2

By Darren Spencer you can follow him on twitter @darrenspencer95

You’re all probably as disappointed as I am. Yes, the ref made two bad decisions which gifted Chelsea two goals, we played well in the second half, Jack Wilshere is a great player, etc, etc.

Wenger was forced to put Santi Cazorla on the left wing because we don’t have any decent left wingers available. Chamberlain and Podolski were injured and ill respectively, Gervino is at Afcon and Arshavin is totally out of form. Although after Santi played poorly on the left wing during the Swansea game, I was surprised that Wenger didn’t change it up. Cazorla is an integral part to Arsenal’s attacking play. He already has 6 assists in the Premier League and his creativity was evident when he played a near-perfect pass to Walcott for our solitary goal from the centre of the field, not from the left. I think Santi is a great player, but not a natural winger: he can’t influence the game enough.

When I typed “4-2-2-2 formation” into Google, the links were almost exclusively Fifa and Football manager forums. As far as I know only a few teams use it in Brazil and one or two in Italy. This is not a formation I would suggest using all the time, but without a natural left winger and Walcott playing well up front I think it would have been effective against Chelsea.

The idea is to have our normal back four with two defensive midfielders, namely Coquelin and Diaby, and two attacking midfielders: Cazorla and Wilshere. Two out and out strikers in Walcott and Giroud.

On attack we have our four best passes of the ball in the middle of the park to control possession. Sagna and Gibbs can continue to make their usual attacking runs and crosses with Wilshere and Cazorla supporting; one of the defensive midfielders can cover defensively. Coquelin or preferably Diaby can also attack occasionally. Giroud is very good at flicking headers from goal kicks and defensive clearances but I don’t remember any of his headers finding one of our payers. We don’t have players in central areas to receive the second ball. With the two attacking midfielders and fellow striker making runs beyond Giroud, there is a better chance of us getting good possession in their half. Cazorla and Wilshere can use their creativity to put through the great passes for each other and the strikers from a central area or if either of them use their pace to get past their opposite number they will be in a good position to shoot.

Defensively we have a back four and two defensive midfielders. Wilshere and Cazorla should be instructed to cover the opposition full-back’s attacking runs, but if they are too far up the field Diaby and Coquelin can cover. Giroud would help with defensive set pieces with Santi and Theo available to counter-attack. If they are attacking a lot, Wilshere can drop deeper and break up their play.

I really like Wenger as a manager and think he is the right man for the job, but sometimes he needs to be a bit more ballsy. It’s not a tried and tested formation but maybe it’s worth giving a try…


  1. This formation would be a worthwhile venture, although i would prefer to have Wilshere and Arteta as the deep lying "pivots", with Cazorla and Rosicky in the more advanced midfield roles; our four most creative players, playing together. Such is their combined talent, there should be no necessity for an out-and-out defensive midfielder as ball retention should be assumed. Having said that, it would allow for Diaby to sit alongside Arteta and for Wilshere to take Rosicky's spot when he is inevitably unavailable.

  2. Have to agree with you there ben. I would love to see Rosicky back in the fold

  3. Thanks for the feedback. I agree with you! The team selection I mentioned was for the match against Chelsea. With the versatility of Wilshere and Diaby we can use many different combinations in the midfield.