Man Utd Vs Arsenal – Tactical Preview

by Ritesh Gogineni

Manchester United’s game against Arsenal on Monday the 13th of December promises to be an exciting tactical battle with two of the most experienced managers of the premier league at helm.


In this post we look at Arsenal and the possible formation they can line up with on Monday night. Of course all this depends on whether Fabregas is fit for the game or not.

This season Arsenal have generally lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation (right).

Arsenal’s in form player this season is obviously Samir Nasri.The Frenchman has eclipsed Fabregas with his scintillating displays this season.His two goals against Fulham showacased his brilliance and what he can do with a ball at his small feet.The problem for Wenger is that if Fabregas is deemed fit to play against United then Nasri wont have much of the ball as he would like to have,this problem becomes clear against Tottenham in the second half.

At half time, Harry Redknapp substituted Lennon and brought on Defoe, essentially switching from 4-4-1-1 to 4-4-2 which means Van Der Vaart would play on the right. We all know that Van der Vaart isn’t a winger so the Dutchman just tended to drift infield. However, Spurs had no problems defensively as Arsenal do not build up play on their left hand side.

What Wenger should have done is asked Fabregas to pass to the left to Arshavin and asked Clichy to overlap, which the full back could have done easily as there was no one to pin him back. Even the lack of width for Arsenal is highlighted in the second half as both Bale and Van der Vaart played narrow, and for Bale’s goal both were in a central position. You can clearly observe that in the highlights below.

Problems For Wenger

1.Centerbacks – With both Kosceilny and Vermaelen not available for this fixture, Djourou and Squillaci will be expected to start. Even though both of them are not bad defenders, whether they can perform at the top level remains to be seen. With Rooney beginning to look like last season’s Player of the year,this is going to be a tough test for both of them

2.No Width – Unless Wenger suprises us and starts with Walcott, Arsenal play quite narrow if the full backs are stopped going forward. Both Nasri and Arshavin have a tendency to come inside rather than going on the outside and delivering crosses.

3.Tendency to attack down the right – Arsenal usually build up play from the right hand side with Fabregas, Song, Nasri and Sagna as you can see on this chalkboard from The Guardian.

However their counter attacks usually originate down the left with Clichy. The problem for this game is that United have got a very strong defensive left side and a pacy right side.This comfortably  counters Arsenal’s threats down both flanks.

Park and Evra both are very good defensively especially Park  with his endless energy keeps running for 90 minutes. Nani’s good form this season should peg back Clichy and Rafael this season looks like he is matured and ironed out his defensive mistakes.

Having said all this, Arsenal have a very creative bunch of players who can create something for nothing,but whether they can do it in the big games as well as defend resolutely remains to be seen.

4 Responses

  1. jonny says:

    Wheres the podcast boys?

    1. Kevin Coleman Kevin Coleman says:

      New one in production, we’ve had to change some things having lost the studio and the host.

      Tomorrow, or Tuesday at the latest.

  2. Patrice says:

    No width whith Nasri on the right? What matches have you been watching? Sagna and Nasri have been living on the right side of the box until Theo comes on for Arshavin and Nasri moves left. Some of Nasri’s best goals have come with him getting behind the LB and running right at goal.

    1. Ritesh Gogineni says:

      by width i mean getting to the byline and putting crosses in,Nasri tends to cut in rather going past the outside of the LB and Sagna doesnt overlap as much as Clichy does.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply