Mikel Arteta is hardly famous for playing the same Starting XI every week, but recently he seems to have been quite happy having Granit Xhaka and Ceballos as his midfield duo.
Sometimes it’s worked, sometimes not, but he has placed the emphasis on these positions ahead of today’s game against Man City. “Everything we do is in relation to the opponent, the ball and where the spaces are,” Arteta said on Arsenal.com.
“Every game is different, every day the spaces are somewhere else and we need to utilise it in different ways with our quality to find the right moment with the right pass against the right opponent.
“That is something we are doing better and better. Game management is a big part. How we had to react on Wednesday night, after going 1-0 down, what we had to try to do straight away – they [all] know the reaction we expect and what the team need in the next five to 10 minutes. Hopefully they are understanding that a bit better.
“It’s about building relationships and the different qualities that the team needs. [Granit and Dani] have been doing really well but we have played with many different ones; Lucas has played there, Matteo has played in that position, Ainsley and Joe have played in those positions too in the pocket, Bukayo has played as an attacking midfielder many games in this position as well.
“So we have players to adapt to different ways of playing and that’s good.”
It is interesting that the Boss has mentioned Matteo Guendouzi in that roundup, as the young Frenchman has been left out in the cold since his ill-disciplined display against Brighton, and also Ainsley Maitland-Niles who hardly ever plays, and has been rumoured to want to leave the Gunners as soon as possible.
I wonder why he mentioned those two, but not the mighty German, Mesut Ozil? We all know our ‘playmaker’ is back in training, as he made that clear himself on social media, but he was yet again left out of the squad against Liverpool.
Is there no way back for him now, with just a few games of the season to go?