Date: 15th June 2017 at 8:41pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger has been speaking about how players need a ‘flexible mind’ in modern football and he also reflected on the 343 formation we moved to at the end of last year.

Speaking to the Official Site Wenger explained that with the pace of the game continuing to get quicker, it was more important than ever that players had an agile mindset to enable them to think quickly.

‘What is certainly a bigger request for modern players is to have a mental flexibility in decision-making. Why? Because a player has to adapt sometimes to different systems, but also because in the modern game, the solutions available for the players on the pitch disappear so quickly that you have to change your mind on the ball very quickly.’

Wenger went on to say.

‘You have to be flexible in your decision-making and not be stubborn. You have chosen a solution on the pitch, but that option disappears again very quickly. I would say 20 years ago the solution disappeared in one and a half seconds, today maybe it goes in 0.2 or 0.3 seconds. I am seeing now players who can’t make it at the top level purely because they don’t possess this flexibility in their mind. Basically, when a player has the ball, he has a number of green lights around him. These lights become red very quickly, so then I have to choose another green light, and if I don’t do that quickly enough, that will turn red as well. That is certainly, when you have to adapt within a system, one of the biggest modern problems the players face.’

Having spoken about the need to be adaptable, having moved to the 343 formation and across ten games picking up nine wins with 20 goals scored and only 7 conceded, Wenger insisted the formation and system was largely unimportant, what mattered was the quality of the team.

‘The system basically is the way you spread your forces on the football field. After, it has one basis: basically the position of each player is the house you have to come back to when you have gone somewhere else. After, the dynamic, the way the different forces on the pitch interconnect, that depends on the game, on characteristics and on the strength of the player.’

He went on to explain.

‘For example, it`s different if you put Gabriel on the right side as opposed to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Of course it becomes a different animation and a different system. With Gabriel, we become more solid defensively. With Oxlade-Chamberlain, you will be more dangerous in the final third. It depends on how the system is functioning. The dynamic depends on the individual qualities and characteristics of the players.’

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