Should the Arsenal ladies manager change system?
The 4-3-3 system is the default system for women’s football in England and has been for a long time although Mark Sampson with the England senior team has been recently trying the 4-4-2 diamond system with mixed results.
4-3-3 has been the Arsenal Ladies main system for more than a decade now.
Vic Akers did use the 3-5-2 system until 2004/05 while he was using Kirsty Pealling and Clare Wheatley as wing backs, but he reverted to 4-3-3, when Alex Scott signed back from Birmingham City Ladies.
With the current squad, I am not sure 4-3-3 is the best system to maximise the skills of the current players.
As previously exposed, the squad lacks depth on the wing position, either at full back or as classic wingers.
If we consider that all the new signings will be starters in 2015, the team could look like this: Chamberlain, Scott, Stoney, Rose, Mitchell, Williamson, Nobbs, Losada, Sanderson, Sanchon, Carter.
Losada has just been signed and she is a superb ball-playing technically skilled attacking midfield but again she is another central player to add to the numerous players available in that position.
As a reminder the only natural wide player that can play forward is Rachel Yankey while at the back only Alex Scott and Emma Mitchell are wide players.
There is no doubt other players can cover those wide positions. Leah Williamson has covered at right back and left back last year while Danielle Carter can do a decent job on the wings but seems frustrated when playing there.
Could the 4-4-2 diamond system be the solution to the squad unbalance in wide position?
It does make sense, with the two attacking full bombing as they always do the side of the diamond are central midfield players that offer balance to the team with their ability to go forward but also to track back if the ball is lost and the full back caught up in a high position.
In that system Jade Bailey would be the lone defensive midfield player, with youngster Frances Steele as her understudy. At the top on the diamond, Vicky Losada or Kelly Smith could alternate with Carla Humphrey as an alternative.
On the right side of the diamond Jordan Nobbs, who does this job for England, or Leah Williamson would fill the position while on the left side of the diamond Rachel Yankey or Caroline Weir.
Youngster Taome Oliver would be the third choice and back on both wings.
Up front you would have to choose two players from Lianne Sanderson Natalia Sanchon, Danielle Carter and Freda Ayisi with Carla Humphrey again a back up option.
This system would certainly make sense by maximising the strength of the individual players by playing them in a natural position.
A third system would actually make sense – a 3-4-1-2 by using a back three and wing backs, as you only need two wide players and eight central players, which would fit the current squad.
The coach would have to choose between Jade Bailey or Vyan Sampson at center back alongside Rose and Stoney, then have Jordan Nobbs and Leah Williamson in their natural central midfield position.
Kelly Smith or Vicky Losada in the playmaker position and again the 4 forwards fighting for the 2 strikers starting places.
Pre-season games are coming soon, we will know if Pedro Losa sticks to the usual 4-3-3 system or moves to another one but remember the famous phrase – systems do not matter, what matter is the team’s on and off the ball animation.
Arsenal Ladies U17 beat Hampshire U17 10-0 in the League on Saturday and will hope for a repeat next Saturday in the FA Youth Cup quarter finals against the same opposition.
England U17 will play a triangular tournament during half term against Germany and France and a few Arsenal players have been selected in the squad, one of them Chloe Kelly.
Arsenal Ladies Development team played superbly away to Millwall and won 4-1, therefore qualifying for the FA WSL Development League semi-finals where they could meet Liverpool or Birmingham as those teams are likely to go through as well.
We have a young midfielder named Alysha Stojko-Down who has made great strides this season and I am hoping she will get a chance with the first team soon.
There are so many players in the first team in her position that it is unlikely but she has been in excellent form the whole season.
There is also a first team friendly behind closed door tonight but no indication on place nor the opposition.