How Marouane Chamakh can slot into the Arsenal system: Tactical Analysis 2010 – 11

Marouane Chamakh could essentially pose Arsene Wenger a selection problem this season if Arsenal stick to their current tactical set up, but ultimately he provides excellent cover for a team which has been stretched far too often over the previous few years.

In 2009 – 10 Arsenal played with what was widely regarded as a 4-3-3, but in effect was a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation. This consisted of two central midfielders holding the centre of the park, whilst Fabregas played between the lines. Two wide players, usually Arshavin and Nasri, looked to cut in from the flanks, whilst a single striker played as a ‘false nine’, dropping deep.

Chamakh At Bordeaux

Chamakh actually has the attributes to play in 4-2-3-1, as he played the stiker’s role in this formation at Bordeaux. The team played two slightly deeper central midfielders, with attacking support from three forward midfielders. Their line-up against Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League is a good example of  Bordeaux’s system in action.

Jussie looked to cut in, whilst the two fullbacks went on the overlap, especially Chalme, rather like the system emplyed by Clichy and Sagna at Arsenal. Gourcuff played a more similar role to Mesut Ozil for Germany than Fabregas at Arsenal though.

Chamakh’s role for Bordeaux is clearly displayed in the heat map analysis from the Bayern Munich game. Chamakh dropped deep and wide, in the style that Wenger has utilised strikers for Arsenal since Henry.

Van Persie and Bendtner play in a similar style, evidence that Wenger has signed a player who will fit into the current system. However, this may create selection problems for Arsene Wenger as Robin Van Persie has been first choice for that role for both Arsenal and World Cup finalists Holland. Playing a single striker would mean a choice between the two.

Selection Issues?

Of course Van Persie has struggled with long term injuries almost every season he has been at Arsenal. In effect the signing of Chamakh would just allow another top quality option to lead the line, as Bendtner is still developing, and Eduardo demonstrated last season that playing the lone striker is not his best role.

This would solve the dilemma and allow Wenger to rotate the team, and this may well happen. The team has been in desperate need of extra depth, and Chamakh is an experienced player with his best years ahead of him, and his heading ability adds another dimension to Arsenal’s play.

However, if Arsene Wenger wanted to play both Chamakh and Van Persie Arsenal might see a slight change of system. It has been suggested that the team could play a 4-4-2, but Arsenal have already switched away from the 4-4-2, and the development of formations suggests that the 4-4-2 can no longer always be effective. The 4-2-3-1 allows players to play between the lines, and as demonstrated at the World Cup in South Africa the more fluid sides dominated, with both finalists, Spain and Holland lining up with four zone formations.

In this formation Chamakh could partner Van Persie who would drop deep in the hole. The problem here is congestion in the centre of the field, as both Arsenal wingers look to cut inside, and Fabregas plays best pushing forward. Having Chamakh playing up front in addition means the team could lack balance.

In another case Chamakh or Van Persie could play on the left or right respectively, but considering the depth of support for those positions, and the qualities of the two strikers it seems that they will be used up front.


The last few seasons have shown that in reality Arsenal have almost never had a full strength squad, and so many players have had to provide cover in different positions. This epidemic of injuries means that for me Chamakh will slot in as the lone striker to cover Robin Van Persie.

Not only this but even without injury, the large amount of games that the team plays means that the strikers could play 30 games apiece playing as single strikers in a squad rotation system.

When looked at through the lens of the recent past, there shouldn’t be a selection dilemma, due to the fact that injuries have been so prevalent. If anything Wenger is simply strengthening the side and adding a quality option up front. This should see Arsenal retain their fluid 4-2-3-1 system in the coming season, interchanging Van Persie, Chamakh and Bendtner.

Read more analysis in our Tactics Report

28 thoughts on “How Marouane Chamakh can slot into the Arsenal system: Tactical Analysis 2010 – 11

  1. JB

    excellent article mate, and very interesting analysis for the prospects of the coming season…

    It would be a surprise to see a change in formation, mostly because fitting rvp and chamakh into the same team would push fabregas deeper, and I dont think we can afford to reduce his impact. I could see a 441 played in the event of fabregas being injured, in a similar shape to when we had rvp and adebayor up front…although, i am not convinced arshavin could play a genuine left wing effectively…

    I suppose we just have to put it in the hands of the prof and wait and see 🙂

  2. matt

    also chamack and walcott as good impact players off the bench!!
    this means good depth in attack, looking forwad to the new season!!

  3. Dan B

    I think a 4-1-3-2 will best suit us next season.

    There’ll be no need for two holding mf players if wenger pulls his finger out and signs a world class cb. With song in front and a class keeper our defence will be sorted.

    Wenger also needs to purchase a class midfielder (despite his ridiculous claim that we are “sufficiently” in this area of the field. Yeah! Maybe in terms of numbers, but not quality I’m afraid. Second reason why this type of player is needed is because it willake cesc far happier to stay. I think (so nobody can say that I am wrong) that he should add gourcuff to yhe squad. I would have cesc central mf with arshavin and yoann playing the attacking role wither side of him.

    This then leaves 2 spaces up front for chamakh and rvp to play together, which by the way with the mf mentioned above I feel would work fantasticly.

    Wish I could just find out if arsene would agree, shame he probably doesn’t and we will be watching almunia shit in goal, Walcott flop wide right and nasri taking centre stage in mf leading us to another trophyless season all whilst watching and cesc winning it all in a barca shirt.

    God I pray not.. Please wenger bring back the magic!

  4. 1nil2thearsenal

    Nice article, a lot of good information. That heat map really shows what type of player Chamakh is to those who have not had the pleasure of seeing him play. Only thing about your maps I have an issue with is why is Denilson in there, Diaby is clearly 1st choice over him in that position and has been the past year.

    1. I’d agree with you that Diaby is probably first choice, but Denilson was injured last year and still played 25 games to Diaby’s 31.

      The diagram was actually based on a match against West Ham where Denilson played, that’s why he’s been included.

  5. Aussie Gooner

    C’mon guys…you know the prof is a genious.
    we’ll be right no matter which way he goes.
    Just sooooo glad to have Chamakh in the side. He’s brilliant.
    Being an Aussie, I love Mark Schwartzer but I would go all out for someone
    younger like Shay Given. He appears surplus to requirements at Citeh.
    Why not go for him at a million miles per hour.

  6. K-TR7

    i think aw built our system around spain and dutch total voetbal. i think we may see ourselves next season forming a kind of 3 man defence with song playing a modern sweeper if we are caught on the break.when we are dominating i see sagna,kos/dj and vermy forming a defence with song ahead of them.clichy may be pushed forward allowing AA to play as an inside forward in between the right cb and the lb.chamakh will occupy the left cb and the rb leaving rvp and cesc with free roles with only mf markers to escape from.the water carrier,diaby/eboue,will get chances to make runs from deep on the right providing temporary right wing football is about widening the pitch as wide as possible and i think aw may be thinking along those lines…i may be wrong but thats how i view it.

  7. Edin

    I am pretty sure that it will be Van Persie and Chamakh starting together in most games.
    Wenger will change line ups according opponents when wanting a more defensive stategy go with song, diaby and fabregas in midfield with one striker. Chamakh definitely gives us more options to rotate and actually i feel pretty good about the team now. We need one more CB, a solid goalkeeper (preferably not Schwarzer), and maybe another CM that is very good at beeing a DM. Overall the team looks pretty solid and actually we have good options for different stategies according to opponents.

  8. Really fascinating piece.

    I like Chamakh. I’ve watched him a few times and Bordeaux and more so since I heard we were interested. He’s quite a slight-of-frame player, but a lot stronger than he looks. He’s quick, good with the ball and very good in the air – much better than Bendy.

    Hopefully, if he settles well, he’ll be a bloody good addition.

    If you’re interested in having a peak, I’ve started my own blog dedicated purely to the Arse (we shared links a while back when my blog had another name – J.A.F.O).

    I still read yours everytime you update, and it would be great if we could share links again – you’d be helping me out immensely with gaing a little more exposure.

    Gracias amigo.

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  10. arsenal fan

    chamakh is a quality player.i saw his play in the qf of cl against lyon and single handedly took them to the sf scoring goals in both legs.i think 4-2-3-1 is best with chamakh leading arshavin rvp and and may be diaby or denilson along with him.we need a gk.AND WHEN IS RAMSEY RETURNING???? IS HE FIT ENOUGH NOW????i think he should get in the 1 team

  11. vikram singh negi

    RVP can go right, Arshavin/Nasri/Dudu can start on the left while Chamakh plsys the false 9 role.

  12. Doc

    Arsenal should use this formation

    Arshavin Chamakh Van Persie

    Nasri Fabregas

    Clichy Vermaelen New Defender Sagna

    New GK

  13. Damn_Gallas

    I would even consider shifting RvP to the left replacing arshavin so that chamakh can play centrally, especially when arshavin starts his lazy attitude again.

    Similarly, RvP can play on the right as well, not necessary as the lone striker.

  14. By Jove, an intelligent new Arsenal blog. How remarkably refreshing.

    Do you think you could cite where you got the heat map from? Are those available for different players / games?

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  16. Damian

    The 442 is the best system by far altering from it was only done by Wenger because the players are not good enough eg Diaby he is a nothing not a striker not a winger not a creative midfield not a defensive midfielder only in a 451 can he play the 433 was BS 4 the fools it was a 451 no 1 plays a 433 they are all 451 flat 5 or 2 3 almost the same the Invincibles played every game 442 because the were good enough Viera never needed an extra midfielder

  17. kingd100

    i like this you should do more of this, can you give some thoughts on the defence of arsenal please where we what wrong , what can done to improve

  18. mc mabis

    i’m looking foward to see arsenal in the 4-3-3.where arshavin v.p and chamakh can play alongside each other

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