Arsenal recommence their Premier League campaign on Wednesday evening against Manchester City. Here are three ways Mikel Arteta could set up.
The Premier League restarts this week. Competitive play kicks off on Wednesday evening with Arsenal travelling to Manchester City in the second game of the night. It is a daunting task, given City’s dominance of English football over the past few years, but Mikel Arteta worked under Pep Guardiola at the Etihad and has proven to be a tactically astute manager since his arrival in north London. He might just a trick up his sleeve.
As such, here are three ways that he could set up as he looks to build a team that is capable of near-impossible.
3. Drop Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil has been central to Arteta’s plans thus far. Immediately reinstated to the starting XI, Arteta built the midfield around the German, who started in his favourite central attacking midfield position behind a lone striker and with pace and movement all around him.
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While Ozil did not deliver his creative best, he was much-improved from his time under Unai Emery. This was the best two-month period since he signed the bumper new deal in January 2018. However, while he is unique and has been integral to Arsenal’s system under Arteta, he might not suit a trip to Manchester City.
Arsenal will be chasing the ball. The midfield will have to cover vast spaces, track runners, press at the right time, and maintain distances throughout. They will also need to attack City with fast-breaking counter-attacks and sharp movements in transition. These are not moments in matches that suit Ozil’s more creative instincts. He is slowing down, is not disciplined defensively, and can go missing when he doesn’t see regular touches of the ball. Perhaps, then, Arteta would be best dropping his star creator.