A section of Arsenal supporters had concerns over the club’s decision to appoint Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard replaced his compatriot, Unai Emery, back in December and the change in fortunes of the club was almost immediate.
We have been much more aggressive with the ball and a lot more organised without it since he took over. Arteta started off with a 4-2-3-1 with Mesut Ozil playing off our front three. The German played really well before the lockdown but it looks like his time at the club is now over.
3-4-3 formation has been a real success
A combination of injuries and lack of trust in certain players forced Arteta to change his formation to a 3-4-3. Arsenal have had a lot of success in that system with Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos running the show from central midfield, and the wing-backs being allowed to push higher up the pitch.
Arsenal beat Liverpool and Manchester City, won the FA Cup final against Chelsea and lifted the Community Shield with the same formation. The win against Fulham on Saturday was with the same system as well, but Arteta should look to revert to a back four.
Xhaka and Ceballos have been excellent in the middle of the park. But there is always a risk of being overrun in midfield when we play with just two midfielders. Fulham got in behind our two midfielders a few times on Saturday but they couldn’t hurt us.
However, better teams will have a chance to cause more problems which makes the system a big risk.
Offensively too, a two-man midfield isn’t ideal against many teams. Arsenal’s front-three and their wing-backs have been the main sources of creativity in the side. When teams sit back against us, it becomes really difficult to penetrate into their box, which has cost us on a few occasions.
A creative outlet in central midfield along with Xhaka and Ceballos gives Arsenal a better chance of attacking teams through the middle of the park. Ozil would be an ideal number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 but now that he is out of favour, the need for a new midfielder has increased.
Partey or Aouar or both?
If reports are to be believed, Arsenal are looking for at least one new midfielder, if not two. Thomas Partey has been reported as Arteta’s priority target, while Houssem Aouar has also been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates.
Signing both of them would potentially make Arsenal one of the best teams in the country. Partey is an all-round machine in the middle of the park. The Atletico Madrid man can shield the backline as well as drive into the opposition half with real purpose.
Lyon’s Aouar is more of a creator. The Frenchman is excellent with the ball at his feet, is a fantastic dribbler and has incredible vision. A player of his sort is a dream for Arsenal’s front three, who have often struggled without quality service.
Signing both Partey and Aouar is highly unrealistic considering the current financial climate. However, at least one of them is a high possibility, and that will allow Arteta to revert back to a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, which will make Arsenal a very dangerous side in the Premier League.