Pep Guardiola took over Bayern Munich just a few short weeks ago and immediately changed the formation of Bayern to a 4-1-4-1 from a 4-2-3-1.
In this new formation, this means that Bayern will now deploy one defensive midfielder instead of two.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has been a staple in that position for his club team. Javi Martínez also occupied that as well, but Guardiola has also planned to move him to center defensive back.
Phillip Lahm also played the role during pre-season camp. A new addition of Thiago Alcântara means that someone will be the odd man out.
That man is Luis Gustavo, who is rumored to be moving to Arsenal.
As a Bayern fan, I’m sad to see Luis go. He has been a great player, and at age 26, he still has plenty of football left to play.
But with those additions and with the staple of players ahead of him, Gustavo will not see the pitch much.
An excellent player, Gustavo passes well, especially in the offensive half. His timely headers and defensive play in the box saved Bayern on several occasions.
He also played well when the oppositions was about to counter, breaking up the play with hard tackles. Gustavo sometimes took one too many risks, leaving the back four defenseless.
But as a player, Gustavo played the position well and will be sorely missed if he leaves. Arsenal will be getting a player that will help them against offensive minded teams in the English Premier League and Champions League.
The new formation means that Bayern will use a single defensive midfielder, leaving them vulnerable to counter-attacks.
These counter-attacks were a killer last year for the team. During Champions League play, Bayern was consistently threatened on the counter-attack.
Due to strong offensive play, the Bavarians were comfortably in control until they played Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Final.
Dortmund’s counter was only stifled by the excellent play of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
As Bayern begins their defense of the Bundesliga title, their formation is the biggest change.
Already their weakest point, let’s hope Guardiola knows what he is doing. Letting Gustavo leave could become a big mistake if Bayern is burned on the counter-attack repeatedly this season.