The 3-4-2-1 is arguably the predominant tactical trend in the Premier League of late. Antonio Conte’s implementation of the shape at Chelsea last season not only led his side to the title, but kick-started a wave of systemic copycats.
Arsenal were among those to deploy the formation on the back of its success elsewhere, breaking away from the 4-2-3-1 that had for so long been Arsène Wenger’s personal preference. And, having enjoyed some success in the form of an FA Cup win, they have continued with it this term.
uMAXit have broken down Arsenal’s use of the 3-4-2-1 in the latest of their tactical analysis videos. Making use of illustration and theory, they explain why the system has worked as well as highlighting several issues the Gunners’ must solve.
Among the traits highlighted are Wenger’s unorthodox use of the outside central defenders within his back three when building possession from the back, as well as the forward forays of the wing-backs and the movements off the ball in attacking areas.
However, several defensive problems are dissected. uMAXit show some of the difficulties Arsenal face against counter-attacks, as well as why – despite the extra centre-back within the shape – they aren’t always solid at the back.