The first phase of the campaign always provides the managers with the opportunity of trying out various things, especially from a tactical perspective. Arsenal, to that end, have quite an exciting squad this season, which should enable Unai Emery to become a little more creative.
In this article, we will discuss three new things the Spaniard could implement in this early part of the season.
Guendouzi and Ceballos in the double pivot
Arsenal have recently received an injury scare with key midfielders Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira both picking up knocks during the ongoing international break. Their fitness will be assessed soon, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will be fit by next weekend.
At the same time, it will offer Emery the opportunity to deploy Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos in the double-pivot, as alternatives to both Xhaka and Torreira. These two players have a set of different skillsets and could complement each other well.
Guendouzi has already impressed the onlookers with his ability to close down the opposing ball-carriers. As for Ceballos, he too has made quite an impression by providing energy and creativity to the table. The Spaniard is also an excellent ball-carrier. Hence, it will be interesting to see how these two players play alongside each other in midfield.
Giving Mustafi a second chance
Shkodran Mustafi was one of the most inconsistent players in the Premier League last season. The German international was extremely complacent and made a host of unforced errors that caused Arsenal to drop a lot of points.
As a result, Emery has decided not to include him in his plans this season. However, the Spaniard is currently devoid of reliable defensive options following the departures of Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal. Konstantinos Mavropanos is out injured while Rob Holding is yet to get back into action following an injury layoff.
Therefore, giving Mustafi a second bite at the cherry may not necessarily be a bad idea. The ex-Valencia defender is still quality, and it will be interesting to see if can dethrone either David Luiz or Sokratis as the club’s first-choice centre back. Deploying a three at the back is also an option.
Persist with a 4-3-3
In their recent game against Tottenham Hotspur, Emery employed an intriguing 4-3-3 formation, with Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang operating as wingers while Alexandre Lacazette spearheaded the attack.
It offered Gunners the much-needed pace that was crucial on the counter, especially in the second half. Pepe, in particular, used his trickery to cause havoc on the far side. As for Aubameyang, he used his intelligent movements and drifted into a more central area, ultimately scoring the equaliser.
But most importantly, it was Lacazette, whose ingenuity and clever positioning sense inside the box deceived the Spurs backline. And given their performance against the Lilywhites, Emery should definitely persist with this 4-3-3 attacking shape in the coming matches.
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