Arsenal FC: Why Wenger Should Play Both Van Persie and Chamakh for Gunners

Vijay MuraliAnalyst IMarch 20, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08:  Robin van Persie of Arsenal celebrates with Marouane Chamakh (L) as he scores their first goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Arsenal and FK Partizan Belgrade at the Emirates Stadium on December 8, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger will be relieved by the break due to Internationals and will have some time to inspire the Gunners to forget their recent setbacks. Arsenal will need to come back strongly after a string of unfavourable results which has resulted in them being elimated in all cup competitions.

Their dreams of winning the EPL title suffered another setback with the draw against West Bromwich Albion. But the international break will provide the opportunity for some of the key players to be fit for the rest of the season.

Arsenal will welcome back the services of Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Alex Song for the game against Blackburn while Aaron Ramsey, who needs games, will get more playing time for Wales.

Though Arsenal missed a number of key players for the West Bromwich Albion clash, Wenger did have a number of quality players at his disposal including the likes of Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner who were on the bench.

The trio of Jack Wilshere, Song and Fabregas have established an excellent understanding between them and form the first choice midfield for the Gunners. However, their captain has sustained recurring hamstring injuries which has ruled him out for a number of games this season.

Arsenal have struggled to create many clear goalscoring opportunities in the absence of Fabregas since he sustained an injury in the game against Stoke City.

Wenger has persisted with utilizing the same 4-2-3-1 formation with various combinations used in midfield in the absence of any one of the key players.

However, in the absence of Song and Fabregas, there is too much pressure on young Wilshere who has done excellently in most matches this season. The lack of creativity in the absence of Fabregas has forced Robin van Persie to drop deeper to collect the ball from midfield.

An excellent example is the game against Manchester United in the FA Cup where Van Persie looked threatening whenever he was on the ball but was isolated for most part of the game. He had to drop deep into midfield and helped Arsenal create opportunities. Wenger has persisted with the same formation throughout the season and has only altered personnel if needed.

The 4-2-3-1 formation is an excellent formation for Gunners who thrive on the understanding of Van Persie and Fabregas for this. However, in the absence of Fabregas, Wilshere has bee marked tightly and has struggled to impose himself on the game though he has been excellent in most games.

In games against weaker teams with an average midfield, Wenger needs to implement the two striker system he discarded a few seasons back. Song and Wilshere can play in the 4-4-2 formation while Samir Nasri and Walcott/Andrei Arshavin will play on the flanks. Marouane Chamakh can play alongside Van Persie in order to provide more thrust to the attack.

Though Chamakh lacks the finishing ability of Van Persie, he is a striker who has the experience and his presence will add another dimension for the Gunners. In the earlier games this season, Fabregas and Van Persie were both injured and it was Chamakh's vital goals which played an important role in keeping Arsenal within touching distance of the leaders Manchester United.

Van Persie has played as the attacking midfielder whenever the duo have played together but they have to be given time to adjust themselves to this two striker formation.

However, he is best when he is afforded any space inside the box where he can exhibit his devastating shooting abilities. This is the primary reason why the Dutchman should play as a striker and not as an attacking midfielder.

Chamakh has shown great ability to link-up with midfielders and bring them into the game. Though the Moroccan was suffering from fatigue at the start of the season, he is looking sharp in the last few games and deserves to start games again for Arsenal alongside Robin van Persie. Though he has been criticised unfairly by some supporters, a return of 11 goals by the end of November guarantees that he is a quality player who can deliver the goods.

The advantage of Manchester United over Arsenal is their ability to play different formations and they do have the players to be successful in various formations. Arsenal do have the quality to play using different tactics and Wenger should gamble with two strikers if there is an opportunity to apply the pressure on oppositions. The advantage with Chamakh is his work rate and he is sure to track back to help out his team mates.

His work-rate will be important if Arsenal decide to play a 4-4-2 formation as he will be covering for some of his team-mates. There are a number of decisions that Wenger should make but after a string of poor results, the French tactician could revise his tactics to accommodate his two frontline men.

If Van Persie and Chamakh can establish an understanding, then Arsenal could have found the tactic to employ when the talismanic Fabregas is injured.