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Midfield focus

Flexibility is going to be key for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal this season. Although he has remained fairly consistent in the way he has led the side [on the pitch], his desire to take his players to another level tactically has always been present.

At the start of his time in charge, he decided to keep things simple with a traditional 4-2-3-1 shape. This was fairly successful as the side’s defensive record improved and slowly but surely, draws transformed into wins after the February winter break.

Since the restart in June, those who watch Arsenal have become much more accustomed to seeing a 3-4-3. This began mostly as a means to an end as it gave the side greater defensive stability but Arteta has improved Arsenal’s play in possession with this system.

In the midst of this, however, it must not be forgotten that the Spaniard attempted to switch to a 4-3-3 immediately after the restart.

We have been looking at how Arteta’s tactical plans could benefit Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock.


Emile Smith Rowe stands to benefit from Mikel Arteta’s vision of giving Arsenal tactical flexibility. (Image: Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)