Yes, we know the results have been poor - winless in their last nine matches. Yes, we know the defense continues to struggle and are consistently prone to errors that cost goals - Arsenal haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 11 matches.
And the Arsenal attack has no cohesion whatsoever. Eight goals in the previous seven matches, which came against Wolves, Vitoria, Leicester, Southampton, Frankfurt, Norwich and Brighton. The Gunners are routinely out shot and rarely look like the more threatening side in a match, let alone for 15-20 minute periods.
The formation of Arsenal has remained fairly static for the past few years, under both Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery - the 4-2-3-1. Occasionally, both managers has gone to the three centerback formation when facing top tier opponents. But it’s fair to say that nothing at Arsenal has routinely worked for a while. Thus, Ljungberg should use this opportunity to be a bit more adventurous in his formation against West Ham and the personnel he selects.
Arsenal need more energy
Alexandre Lacazette has had a few goals lately, but for most the match he appears frustrated and most likely to rival Mesut Ozil in pace. The Gunners have lost the ability to quick strike, instead favoring slow play that builds up and rarely results in shooting chances. Against the Hammers, Ljungberg should consider Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the main man up top with two attackers beside him who can challenge the oppositions back line and stretch the defense.
Nicolas Pepe proved in the second half against Brighton that Arsenal need him on the field at the moment. He takes defenders on and is one of the few players we have at the moment who likes to dribble. On the other side Freddie may prefer Bukayo Saka, but I’ve been pushing for Reiss Nelson to get another shot, having been out of the team for a while.
A midfield three could put Granit Xhaka in the center with two speedier options on either side. Mattéo Guendouzi, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lucas Torreira offer plenty of option to help in the attack and also provide additional coverage for the defense.
Hector Bellerin didn’t have his best game against Brighton, but once he works back into form is a Champions League level right back. On the left, Kieran Tierney is still finding his footing, but Sead Kolasinac had one of the better performances on Thursday. With the short turnaround to Monday Freddie may choose to rotate the two.
In the middle of the backline, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi are too slow to allow Arsenal to push forward and have the speed to recover. David Luiz plays his best in a back three and likes to go adventuring a bit more than an Arsenal defense needs at the moment. Rob Holding needs time to rediscover the form he had before his injury last December - that should start now. While Calum Chambers has played utility man long enough to deserve a go at CB.
It’s a younger Arsenal, with Aubameyang the only player over 27. Until something clicks there is no use in slightly modifying the 4-2-3-1 with most of the same actors get called upon time after time. Let’s attack West Ham.