Arsenal beat Aston Villa 3-1 at the Emirates stadium on Friday. The Gunners started the match in an unusual 4-4-2 formation, as Mikel Arteta normally favours the 4-2-3-1.
Arteta made one change to the backline as Nuno Tavares started his first Premier League match. Thomas Partey and Sambi Lokonga in the midfield, Smith Rowe on the left, Bukayo Saka on the right. Lacazette and Aubameyang started together upfront.
During the course of the game Lacazette dropped from the front and acted as a deep-forward as the 4-4-2 transitioned into a 4-4-1-1.
The change in formation helped Arsenal as they were pressing high and winning the ball in the final third of the pitch allowing them to transit to attack quickly, resulting into creating a lot of danger and dominating Aston Villa.
It was similar to Arsenal’s invincible’s 4-4-2 that won them the league 17 years ago. The traditional 4-4-2 has however been phased out and evolved into different versions.
Is the 4-4-2 the way to go?
Arteta’s setup managed to utilize Arsenal strike partnership of Aubameyang and Lacazette and also deployed Smith Rowe and Saka on the left-wing and right-wing respectively in what seems to be their best and most effective positions.
This system may be effective against certain Premier League teams especially with Arsenal playing at home against weaker opposition however, against stronger opposition that play with three midfielders like Liverpool or Manchester City it would be a risk that could backfire.