Finding Thomas Partey’s partner and big Willian dilemma – Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal to-do-list

Heading into the international break, Arsenal’s start to 2020/21 has allowed them to build much-needed momentum before the season resumes at Manchester City.

Winning three of their first four Premier League games has given Mikel Arteta a solid base to kick-start the campaign, as has the progress made in the Carabao Cup.

Despite this start to the season, there will be areas for improvement. For instance, performances haven’t been consistent enough, new additions will need to be worked into the side and the Spaniard will need to decide what his preferred formation is moving forward.

Here, assess Arteta’s main areas to address before the Gunners return to action on October 17.

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Que systema, senor Arteta?

Arteta has been very consistent in many aspects of his management since taking charge of Arsenal in December.

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The most blatant example of this has been his man management. From his first press conference as then-head coach the Spaniard was remarkably clear on the demands that he’d put on his squad. If those were not met, there would be consequences as Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil have all learned in that time period.

A similar sense of consistency has been seen in the way he shapes up his side. Upon arrival he opted for a 4-2-3-1 and stuck to that right through until March when football was halted. Immediately after the restart, the 39-year-old attempted a switch to a 4-3-3 without a No.10. which didn’t have the desired effect, forcing another switch to a 3-4-3.

When assessing Arteta’s current system 3-4-3 may have to be used loosely considering the actual roles players take up. At left wing-back, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka constantly take up central areas acting as extra midfielders, while Kieran Tierney can be a more…