Monday, March 20, 2023

Three Things Mikel Arteta Must Do To Ensure A Win Over Manchester United This Weekend

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Arsenal face Manchester United on Sunday desperately in need of three points after suffering a defeat to Leicester City in the last game. The Gunners have drifted off, to an extent, following a promising start to the campaign, but a victory over the in-form Red Devils could go a long way in lifting their confidence this weekend.

Here, at The 4th Official, we will talk about three things Mikel Arteta must do to ensure a win over Man United.

Play Aubameyang In The Number Nine Role

One of the main reasons behind Arsenal’s misfiring offensive unit is the lack of form of star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Following a promising end to last season, the ex-Dortmund star simply hasn’t been able to settle into the left-wing role as it has now become easier for opposition to isolate him in the wider position.

Therefore, it is about time Arteta deploys him in his natural number nine position.

What makes Aubameyang one of the best strikers in the Premier League is his positional sense and movement, which could be ideal assets for Arsenal in those central areas of the final third as they look to breach the Manchester United defence this weekend.

Three things Mikel Arteta must do to ensure a win over Man United - Auba must play as a striker.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on October 17, 2020, in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Reiss Nelson Should Get A Start

Arsenal have a number of options in the wider attacking department heading into this game. On the right flank, Willian is a favourite to start, with Nicolas Pepe offering Arteta with an option from the bench which he can utilise in the second half.

The problem with these two individuals, however, is that they’re quite inconsistent. More importantly, they find it difficult to take on defenders and aren’t direct enough to cause much havoc to the Manchester United defence, which is usually quite disciplined, especially at home.

That is where Arteta could entertain the idea of deploying Reiss Nelson. The Englishman was phenomenal in the midweek clash against Dundalk, and his eagerness to beat players with his quick footwork potentially makes him an interesting option on the flanks.

Play With Three Regular Midfielders

With Nelson starting and Aubameyang operating at number nine, another key change Arteta should make is to relocate Bukayo Saka in the left-wing position. The Englishman is much more suited to that role, thanks to his immense technical prowess, combined with an ability to cross the ball.

Saka featuring at left-flank should, more importantly, allow Arteta to deploy three fully-fledged central midfielders at the base of 4-3-3. It could be absolutely important against a Manchester United side, who arguably have the most in-form midfield unit in the league at the moment, led by the mercurial Bruno Fernandes.

Arsenal’s ideal response would be to follow the Tottenham model by deploying Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey with Dani Ceballos operating in a slightly advanced role. It should overall provide better protection as well as more creativity in the middle of the park.

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