Tactics Column: Arsenal 2-0 Man City – Pep beaten by pressing and patience

What a difference a week makes. After a pretty lethargic performance led to disappointment in the north London derby, Arsenal have only gone and (with a dash of luck) beaten Liverpool and (with a dash of excellence) beaten Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta was understandably thrilled.

“We are really happy for what happened in the last four or five days, to beat probably the best two teams in Europe is not an easy thing to do. A lot of credit goes to the players for what they are doing and the performances and the level of fight and decision-making they are showing on the pitch.”

Fight and decision making were crucial on, they always will be, but there was a hell of a lot more than that behind the win.

Arsenal lined up with a few changes from the side that beat Liverpool on Wednesday, with the inclusion of Ainsley Maitland-Niles the only real surprise. His place in the starting XI led to discussion over whether it would be a back four or a back five. It was the latter, as it has been in recent weeks. Man City were expected to be in a 4-3-3 shape but surprised Arsenal early on by using Kevin De Bruyne deeper than expected, alongside Ilkay Gundogan to form a 4-2-3-1.

1st half…