Head coach Arsene Wenger has consistently lined his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent seasons, but, with the absence of defensive midfielders this term, he has opted to play a more attacking line up.
Whilst a good idea on paper, with Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey all able to occupy the four attacking places, it has placed a heavy defensive burden upon Mathieu Flamini in defensive midfield, and he has failed to cope in the solo role - with the Gunners conceding 11 goals in nine Premier League games already this season.
The lack of midfield cover has been the cause for the North Londoners interest in Real Madrid and Germany international Sami Khedira, who the cub are attempting to sign for a cut-price fee in the January transfer window. Whilst a strong player, he is unlikely to be able to cope in the deeper midfield role by himself, and former Arsenal man Perry Groves believes that the wide attacking talents of Sanchez and Cazorla need to provide more movement to help the deeper midfielder out.
Speaking to Standard Sport, Groves - who played for the club for six years before leaving North London in 1992 - said: “When Arsene plays 4-1-4-1 with Santi Cazorla left and Alexis Sanchez right, they need to be more flexible.
“There needs to be more movement in general play but also when it is over their side of the pitch, they need to keep their width because Arsenal are too narrow, too often.”
Groves - who played as a left winger for the Gunners - offers advice that would not only help the club in the defensive phase of play, but it would also create a more dynamic attacking force, rather than relying upon the same overused methods. With Danny Welbeck in the centre of the pitch, the club are suited to playing a more traditional wing-based game, and the former Manchester United forward could benefit from playing with midfielders who leave the final third of the pitch to Welbeck alone.
With the number of injuries endured by Arsenal at the present time, Wenger is restrained by player selection when choosing his team on matchdays, however, when his full playing squad is available, selecting a formation that benefits both attacking and defensive aspects of play can do nothing but help the club in their search for success.