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3 new tactical wrinkles Mikel Arteta has introduced

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 20: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal FC at American Express Community Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Brighton, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta showed off a new system and approach in Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton. Here are three new tactical wrinkles he introduced and whether they are positive amendments.

Arsenal’s match against Manchester City was very difficult to properly analyse. Because of the superiority of Pep Guardiola’s team and David Luiz’s red card early in the second half, it offered a very different context to normal matches. Saturday’s loss to Brighton and Hove Albion, however, was much more akin to the routine Premier League games that the Gunners will play. And Mikel Arteta introduced some interesting tactical wrinkles that have not been seen before.

Here are three amendments he made to the team and whether they worked or not.

(Photo by Gareth Fuller/Pool via Getty Images)

3. Starting in a 4-3-3

Prior to lockdown, Arteta exclusively used a 4-2-3-1 shape. He added his own ideas to the basic shape which made it look a little different at times, but the foundational shape was the same as the much-used formation. For a large part, it was a successful system that suited the players he had available to him, especially Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil who do not as easily fit into a 4-3-3.

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However, on Saturday, with both Xhaka and Ozil out of the starting XI, Arteta switched to a 4-3-3-based shape, one much more reminiscent of Manchester City’s 4-3-3, which is where Arteta developed as an assistant coach. This, it seems, will be the future of the team and the players who are added to the club must fit this system.

In modern football, this shift is a positive move from Arteta. Arsenal looked much more balanced in this shape than they did before lockdown. They were rarely exposed on the counter-attack by Brighton and dictated play for large periods throughout. The 4-3-3 is here to stay, and that is no bad thing.

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