Arsenal boss urged to make these changes ‘sooner rather than later’

Former Arsenal midfielder Michael Thomas has called for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to stop playing so rigid, and to bring more creativity into the starting line-up.

The Gunners have suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats against Manchester City and Leicester, despite enjoying much of the possession and control in those matches, and the defensive approach of Arteta is now coming under question.

“Through Arteta giving the team a more robust look, it has come at a cost to the creative side of our game,” Thomas told CaughtOffside.

“The players are playing very rigid. You need to be able to control the ball in areas that the opposing team doesn’t want to be and suffocate them. I think this will change in time but it needs to be sooner rather than later.

“Mesut Ozil obviously offers great creativity when he plays, but at what cost to the team’s efficiency?

“The team obviously needs more creativity going forward because they simply don’t have enough good efforts on goal. We are used to the frontline being played in behind, but recently everything seems to be in front of the opposition with no penetration or speed in the attacks. Another creative outlet is very needed whether it be Aouar or someone else.”

Thomas continued to name who he believed should get an extended run in the team, with Pepe having fallen behind both Bukayo Saka and Willian since the start of the campaign.

“Pepe still has a lot to give but the creativity depends on Arteta getting the balance right between defensive stability and attacking threat,” Thomas said.

“He has the ability to make the difference and hopefully he does so this Sunday.

“The wide role is not Aubameyang’s best position in my opinion, but the team are not creating enough for him anyway.”

The manager did opt to change things this weekend, opting to start with a 4-3-3 formation for the Leicester defeat, but we still failed to score, although I still believe that our disallowed goal should have stood.

Aubameyang has seemingly gone off the boil of late, although I can’t recall him missing any clear-cut chances, where many of his goals came from him running in behind the defence, those opportunities have not been coming of late.

Has our systems become too defensive? Is the team working too much on stopping our rivals, and not enough on breaking down their weaknesses?


Tags Michael Thomas Nicolas Pepe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


  1. I would love to see a consistent starting line up and formation over a run of games starting ASAP and continuing after the next International break. A line up with a 433 or 4231 formation as some would see it:
    bellerin holding(orChambers when fit) Gabriel Tierney
    elneny Partey
    Pepe Willian saka (or martinelli when fit)
    Auba up top

  2. Our system has become very negative lately, with seemingly every movement and pass orchestrated by Arteta. I am grateful for the defensive improvement and organization, but FFS take off the handbrake when we are attacking and free up the players to be creative and play in from behind rather than try to structure every attack with meticulous planning and micro-managing.
    We have become both predictable and stale, and need to change things up. For me the midfield is not creating the chances we had hoped for, and not sure if it’s the lack of quality or an imposed handbrake, but either way it is not working currently.

  3. Anyone mentioning the name of Ozil to be brought back, gives me stomach cramps. Make partnership of Partey and Elneny/Maitland-Niles. Xhaka should join Ozil in exile island

  4. Living Ozil will keep haunting the club clearly seen in Arsenal’s sluggish performance. No creativity in the midfield, very stingy board who can’t even buy Aoura but still avoid playing Ozil who is their only best creative midfiey

  5. Technically our midfielders lacks clear responsibilities. The question is, out of the three players, partey, ceballos and xhaka, who should be in which position. Please Arteta, highlight the role of each midfielder on the pitch. Otherwise Arteta’s job is in suspense

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