Your Says of the Day: November woes for Gunners; end of 4-2-3-1

Date published: Wednesday 9th November 2016 1:28

Alexis Sanchez: Sidelined again through injury

Arsenal fans wonder if November will be a cursed month, Manchester United fans question Mourinho (again) and Chelsea fans discuss their change in shape under Conte.

Anything to get off your chest? Have Your Say.


November woes

What a crazy world we live in. An idiot elected President of the USA and our star forward injured as November strikes again!

Reports about the injury to Sanchez seemed to be rather conflicting last night. First it was described as a low grade calf tear and they hoped he would be back for the second Chile game. This morning its being reported in some outlets that he will be out for six weeks. If that is the case, he would potentially miss games against United, PSG, Everton and City to name a few!

We all know Arsenal well enough to know that when it comes to injuries, its usually much worse than they first tell us so we will have to wait and see what the club say. If they say three weeks, its probably six or seven!

Let’s say it is six, Alex Iwobi is going to have to sort himself out and fast. Last week a few of us were talking about how he needed a rest from the starting 11 and perhaps we should move Sanchez back out to the left with Giroud hitting some form. That won’t be an option now so its a straight fight between Iwobi and ‘the Ox’ for the LW spot and given how Oxlade-Chamberlain performed last time out, I can’t see him being preferred to Iwobi.

Let’s just cross everything that is isn’t six weeks…


Boring England?

Gareth Southgate: Calm ahead of Scotland clash

Personally I find the England team and players too boring and poor to invest the time into watching them – can spend my evenings much better off. The fact that they come on once or twice every couple of months and I barely hear anything about the national team in between means that I’m really not interested in the team anymore.

Back in the day the team was fun to watch, the players top class and hungry (Beckham, Shearer, Owen in his prime, Campbell, Scholes, Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney in his prime) – you compare the quality of 1998 to 2004 compared to now and it’s almost criminal how far English football has corroded.

Sympathy for the Devils


Too many players who are either under performing or not playing regularly for their respective clubs. Drinkwater and Vardy are shadows of last season. Wilshere has done nothing at Bournemouth other than stay fit; Lingard isn’t a regular at United; Sturridge isn’t playing regularly at Liverpool; Rashford has been poor (but that’s because he’s being played out of position). The list goes on.


Mourinho questioned

When you are an apparent ‘Club in Crisis’, go into a 3-0 lead in the first half against a weak team, the obvious tactic should be to grind them into the ground, score more goals and boost the confidence which has been sorely lacking. It would appear that the new ‘philosophy’ however is to hold what we have – with negative and spoiling tactics. There was no pace in the chosen eleven and players who are over-the-top so maybe we should have expected it, but it was hugely disappointing, except for the performance of Michael Carrick and a slight improvement from our captain.

Big K

That’s entertainment

Liverpool: Huge win underlines title credentials

I love this team, love it more than Brendan’s team because there’s a real sense of unity and responsibility from all the players and they have surprised me by how much they have progressed so quickly. For example, Lovren the week before made a mistake and then five minutes later scored a redemption goal. I’m seeing things I never thought I’d see in a Liverpool team.

As a bonus we’re playing stellar attractive direct team football, it’s a joy to watch!

However, as much as we are playing entertaining football and getting plaudits for it, we have to keep focused and not get lost in trying to be the most entertaining team all the time at the expense of playing intelligent football when it matters. In an ideal world we would win games playing attractive football all the time, but we shouldn’t aim to be Arsenal Mk.II a team known for not having a plan B. The reason why Leicester were so successful is because Raneiri kept them focused, he changed things when necessary and they won a few games by the odd goal, and I hope that we can also develop that sense of adaptability to our game.

I’m not saying we should try to be boring and win games 1-0 but I’m saying we must be aware that sometimes you got to win ugly and try different approaches when plan A doesn’t work.

In fact, I could have saved a few paragraphs and highlighted the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace in 2014. We score three goals, and all we had to do was manage the game and see it out, but instead we were stuck in trying to play pretty football against Palace and we got exposed.

I feel that better game management married with the flair that we have shown already will definitely get us fourth place, and who knows maybe the title?



I think we are managing games pretty well. The Chelsea game was a great example in the second half where we kept possession brilliantly after conceding.

We’re not a West Brom who are happy to sit back and keep a lead, but we can do it well through good passing and movement. This is the tactic we should use as it can also open up more opportunities and put the game out of sight.

I thought we managed the first half of the United game really poorly and showed no patience but other than that, I can’t complain. I also thought we were excellent against what is normally a very stubborn Watford side. Even though it took 27 minutes to score against a hard working team, the players just prodded and probed until the goal finally came. There was no panicking, just an expectation that it come good at some stage…


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Is 4-2-3-1 dead?

Antonio Conte: Manager often animated on touchline

The more a system is used, the more the opposition know how to combat it. Right now 4-2-3-1 has been over used, and by playing other formations you are able to give the opposition a set of problems they are not used to, and therefore find it more difficult to deal with. I suspect more teams will now line up with three at the back, but eventually it will become stale, and some bright young coach will re-invent a previous system to surprise everyone all over again.



I will be too cautious to say 4-2-3-1 is dead. There may be instance where it may be useful playing, for example when facing high calibre opposition who have the ball all the time like Barcelona and Bayern.

But in the Premier League? I’m not so sure of it. Since we switched to this 3-4-3 formation we have blown away teams that we historically used to struggle against, like Everton. But outside the Prem our strengths still lie in the 4-2-3-1.

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