How Arteta Adapted for the Arsenal Title Race? Can the Gunners Finally Win?
Arsenal were so close to winning the Premier League title last season. But in typical Gunners fashion, they bottled it right before the finish line. However, this season already seems entirely different. Mikel Arteta has learned a lot since the Arsenal vs Man City title race last season.
Actually, this year, besides Man City, Arsenal has Liverpool, Tottenham, and even Aston Villa to deal with as title challengers. Therefore, Arteta had to adapt and change their style of play. Will this year’s Arsenal title race prove to be fruitful for the club and allow the Gunners to finally become EPL champions?
Arsenal title wins include only three trophies since the inception of the Premier League. This is a time as any for them to finally bring home the gold.
Changes in the Defence
To start with the most obvious change and David Raya stepping instead of Aaron Ramsdale between the posts. The English International has been one of the best shot-stoppers of the previous season. He didn’t even miss a beat when the season started this term.
However, the addition of David Raya has transferred the Gunners’ defence into a more reliable force. Raya’s ability to defend shots one-on-one is what sets him apart from Ramsdale, and he is also a much more reliable presence in the box.
Other changes that Arteta needed to adapt to were injuries to Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey. The Dutch defender played only one game this season before succumbing to injury. Luckily, Oleksandr Zinchenko was able to get back to fitness and slide into the role that he had last season.
Partey started the season as a left-back, with tendencies to slide into the midfield. Essentially something that Guardiola did with John Stones last season. Unfortunately, with Partey going down, he was forced to abandon the change and get back to a more traditional defensive style.
Arteta started the season with a false 4-2-3-1 formation, with tendencies of it changing to 3-5-2. The tactics involved Partey starting as a left-back and sliding into a defensive mid-role when needed. At the same time, the centre-back duo consisted of William Saliba and Ben White. Unfortunately, while they were able to control games this way, their productivity in the offence dwindled, and it’s not that they were conceding fewer goals this way.
Arteta decided to revert back to a 4-3-3 formation that he lived and died last season. The pairing of Gabriel and Saliba should have never been broken up and White fares much better in the left-back position either way.
As far as the midfield goes, the addition of Declan Rice has worked wonders for the Gunners. He covers most of the field, breaks up play and is even capable of making a decisive pass when called upon. He slides well with Martin Odegaard, as the pair work well to command the midfield, making Arsenal title contenders to fear.
A Longer Bench
Something that plagued Arsenal last season was not having enough players that could step up off the bench. This year, the emergence of Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz have helped Arteta to have more options both in the midfield and the attack.
However, he is still struggling with where to play them. The pairing either occupies the third midfield spot alongside Rice and Odegaard or play on the flanks in the attack. Either way, wherever Arteta decides to put them, they were able to step up and sometimes produce instead of injured players.
Both Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli have had injury woes this season. So a longer bench brings more stability to the team and the Arsenal title challenge.