Strengths and Weaknesses of Arsenal playing a 3-5-2- Could we play it?

As this formation has been talked about on social media this week, about how a 3-5-2 would suit the team, I will do a piece about how this formation will suit the team, in my opinion. This formation can adapt to a 5-3-2, so allows for a strong midfield and attacking options, but also allows for a strong defensive unit, if used correctly and used well.


Arsenal 3-5-2


As you can see from the above formation, Arsenal definitely have the players available to play a 3-5-2/3-4-1-2. As Sagna and Gibbs are both fullbacks who like to get forward, this formation could suit the team very well and allow for greater options in driving the team forward.

Another benefit of this formation is that it allows Lukas Podolski to partner Olivier Giroud, in the common big man and quick player combination. As Podolski recently said he’d like to play as a central attacker, this would suit him more. This is because it would allow him to play off Giroud and form that combination with him, which would trouble opposition defences.

The 3-5-2 formation for Arsenal allows the team would allow for the club to play all 3 central defenders, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Vermaelen, also. As there is often some debate about which players should be playing, if all the players are in good form, that could be a massive benefit for the team and offer greater defensive security.

A further benefit is this formation with the use of wingbacks could push the opposition wingers back to perform more defensive work. This would allow the Arsenal team, with the likes of Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta to perform better as it would mean the team was under less defensive pressure.


This formation doesn’t allow the team to play our attacking wingers in that position, such as Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Andrey Arshavin, etc. This is due to the need to defend in the structure of this formation- opposition strikers + wingers could create 4 v 3 for the opposition if the wingbacks don’t defend in the structure.

Arsenal have a lack of central defensive options that could adequately play this formation, as Djourou and Squillaci don’t possess the ability to play week in, week out at a high level. This could mean the team could play only when the 3 first choice central defenders are available.

Another negative is that opposition teams that are good on the counter attack could get in behind and outnumber the Arsenal defence quite swiftly. As Mertesacker isn’t the quickest, this could also mean he could be caught out by a fast striker with runners either side of him, giving the striker options.


This formation would allow Arsenal to get greater use of a number of players in the team, such as Lukas Podolski in his more favoured central position. The problem being that the formation excludes too many wide attacking players from the team, which would then mean they wouldn’t be playing very often, and would not be happy. So, this formation could be playing for particular games but as a general rule, this formation wouldn’t be our stock standard formation. It would, however, allow for adaptability.


4 thoughts on “Strengths and Weaknesses of Arsenal playing a 3-5-2- Could we play it?

    • Yes you’re quite correct that Walcott wants a central role as well. He could be a back up in the front 2. As for the Ox, yes he could play in the midfield. Just not sure he’s creative enough, but has done reasonably well at times there in the past.

  1. I think arsenal shld play 4-3-3. Per & vemaelean centre while fullbacks Gibbs and sagna, they shld play monreal more often… mids the shld play wilshere at LM, santi at AMC or CM. arteta at RM. while, podolski LWM giroud ST & Walcott RWM. Oxlade will also have chance. And I think arsenal shld improve on the defense…. Sometime when meet players like RVP or adebayor, it can be quite venerable.

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