Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has been making use of his 4-4-2 diamond, a formation that has otherwise provided much success to the team, most recently in their game against Chelsea, where they won 2-0. But it’s an old formation and possibly may not have the staying power that the coach hopes for.
Unai Emery has faced a number of physical and psychological quandaries since taking his first season as head coach : putting Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the same XI, and the position of Sead Kolasinac, who has a ton of attacking power, but with a number of defensive vulnerabilities while playing as full-back.
It was clear that Emery’s strategy was to play Aubameyang and Lacazette together without having to give up the numbers within the central midfield, but it also means that he needs to play a back four and make use of Kolasinac as a full-back, rather than the wing-back role, where it’s clear the player’s shortcomings are coming into focus. It’s a tense time for the team – but their latest win against Chelsea proved the mettle of his forced hand and could see favourable numbers within the online betting scene.
During their match against Chelsea, Emery was forced to play Aubameyang and Lacazette at the front while Kolasinac took on fullback, and hope that the Bosnian player wouldn’t be exposed too much. The plan worked well, with the two strikers giving Chelsea endless trouble during the final third. Kolasinac took on his defensive position well, and the midfield was more than able to keep their opponents at bay throughout.
The structure of the midfield was the key to their success against Chelsea, and the four in a diamond at the midfield made all the difference. Granit Xhaka making up the base while Aaron Ramsey plays as the attacking tip, followed by Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to either side. This gave Emery the chance to play both strikers while not conceding control of the middle of the field, which was what happened in their loss of 1-0 against West Ham United, where the replayed the same front two, but decided to pair both with the back three while Kolasinac played as wing-back.
Right now, the 4-4-2 diamond is the best system that the team has, and it’s proven that it works well for them. But the past has also shown that it’s a formation that will not work as a long-term solution.
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Originally created in the mid-2000’s when teams were shifting from a two-striker setup to one striker, and managers still wanted to keep two centre-forwards while having the benefits of another central midfielder that gave another level of control over the middle of the pitch.
The diamond was the final answer. Without natural wide players, however, fullbacks found themselves overwhelmed, and were dealing with an overlapping fullback and a winger. There’s less space, and ultimately the 4-4-2 diamond experiment came to an end – which is what will most likely happen again.
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