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If you were to ask most Arsenal fans what formation their team played during Sunday’s 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, most would say 4-2-3-1.
On paper, this is how the Gunners lined up against the Eagles…
However, in practice, Arsenal’s formation at Selhurst Park was an outrageous 2-4-2-2, as discovered by Gunners blog All Arsenal.
These heat maps show where Arsene Wenger’s players spent most of their time on the pitch. Using them, All Arsenal writer Ashley Attlee revealed just how Wenger’s 2-4-2-2 system looked.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny both remained in their normal centre-back positions, but full-backs Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin spent much of their 90-minute stints in Palace’s half.
Aaron Ramsey was meant to be on the right flank, but the roaming Welshman played effectively as an attacking central midfielder.
Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez relished his wide role. The Chilean hugged the left touchline, and spent most of the match in a very advanced position.
Alexis was the Arsenal player who spent most of the game closest to Palace’s goal.
Arsenal’s second most attacking player, based on the heat maps, was Mesut Ozil, while traditional striker Olivier Giroud generally occupied much deeper positions.
This is what Arsenal’s real formation was at Palace…