How Wenger won the battle of 3-4-3? Tactical analysis
FA Cup final-2016/17- Tactical analysis: How Wenger won the battle of 3-4-3?
Arsenal had few injury problems as defenders Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Paulista were unfit for the game. Moreover, Laurent Koscielny took a red in the final game against Everton which suspended him from the FA Cup final. Still, with some cleverness and astuteness showed by Arsene Wenger, Arsenal surprised Antonio Conte and his men to record their 13th FA Cup win in the English football history.
Arsenal led 1-0 in the first half and should have been 3 or 4-0 up with the sort of dominance they showed. Chelsea did get a goal back through Diego Costa. Arsenal quickly got a goal back and restored the lead to win the game 2-1. Let us check how Arsenal played to outclass Conte’s 3-4-3 that won him the Premier League!
Arsenal played 3-4-3 formation in which Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, and Nacho Monreal were the centre-backs trio. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played as left wing back in the 4 man midfield due to the absence of Kieran Gibbs. Hector Bellerin provided width on the right-hand side.
Granit Xhaka was the most important man in Arsenal’s midfield. He played in the pivot role in front of the back three with the maximum support amongst all Arsenal players. Whenever Chelsea players came near the ball, ball was passed to Granit Xhaka who controlled the game with series of short passing.
Arsenal were well drilled to move the Chelsea players from here to there. Chelsea weren’t pressing with high intensity and on the other hand Arsenal were counter pressing with intensity. Danny Welbeck started to press as soon as ball was passed from the back three but he didn’t press the back three which helped Arsenal in pressing and winning the ball back in midfield.
Welbeck maintains the gap from Luiz, Sanchez and Ozil are eagerly waiting for Chelsea backline to play the ball out. Xhaka and Ramsey pin down Kante and Matic to limit passing options for Chelsea making things difficult for them in the opening exchanges.
Rotating Mesut Ozil in midfield and the front three helped Arsene Wenger dominate the midfield and launching quick counter attacks as well. Ozil, Ramsey and Xhaka dominated Kante and Matic in midfield.
Arsenal used pass and move football in the final third to create some very good chances, Welbeck was stretching Chelsea backline repeatedly. For Ozil’s chance Welbeck dragged Cahill away to create the space for Sanchez to pass the ball to Ozil when Ozil could have easily scored.
Arsenal counter-attack in the second half, Bellerin had a chance to score himself once and once to find Ozil. This sums up the FA Cup final and the tactical battle between Conte and Wenger.
Arsene Wenger got it absolutely spot on with his team selection, tactics and substitutions. Playing three at the back was essential to stop the likes of Hazard, Costa etc from coming into the game, playing Mertesacker proved to be the master stroke.
He adjusted the wingback positions as Oxlade played on the left hand side where he did particularly well, combining Ozil with the midfield helped Arsenal to keep the ball with more comfort. And as soon as he brought Giroud, he assisted and Arsenal took the lead very quickly. So everything went Arsene Wenger’s way as Arsenal lifted the FA cup for the record 13th time!