OPINION: ARTETA NEED TO MAKE SOME ADJUSTMENTS TO BALANCE THE TEAM BY I
I couldn’t watch the match against Aston Villa live on TV due to personal commitments elsewhere but I was surprised when I saw the result after the match and saw the reactions from fans and pundits. I noticed that most of them hardly spare Arteta and his team some tolerances. I just had to go and watch the highlights of the match myself to ascertain how the boys played.
From the bits I watched, I noticed the team that was more ruthless in attack won the game, while the team that couldn’t stop the repeat of a pattern of errors in the match lost. We couldn’t stop a repeat of allowing them to have movement advantage when they cross balls into our eighteen yards box. In one of the goals they scored, just two players out-positioned our six retreating players. I was ashamed to see that situation.
Despite the situation above, I won’t write off the effort Arteta has put into the organization of our defensive set up. In fact I see the Villa game as a rare situation.
I think Arteta needs to take a bold step in going to the next stage of rebuilding this team. Though I don’t expect him to throw caution to the wind simply to impress the media. He needs to work on some players in the aspect of giving options in our approach to attack.
Our current attack has a pattern that depends on movement between the fullbacks or wingbacks and the wingers before our strikers are fed. This system is not suitable for a team that is accommodating strikers where one of them has to operate from the wing, as the passes hardly reach them, simply because the approach is largely predictable.
He should encourage the likes of Bellerin to dribble and go behind defenders on occasions while the midfielder covers him. Same with Tierney. Though Tierney is better at crossing the ball than attempting to dribble defenders. This is probably one of the reasons we play Saka ahead of him.
Saka as well needs a menacing partner to combine with him on occasions at the edge of the box while Auba moves inside the box. Players like Willian, Pepe and Nelson can help.
The two midfield players at the base should feed the forwards without taking much risk. Partey does this though. We need more legs here. Elneny is not doing badly at the moment. I expect Ceballos and Xhaka to show some fight but they aren’t. I am glad Arteta is working with who wants it more.
Then at least two or three players in the team should be able to shoot the ball on occasions at the edge of the opponents box. They need to be trained to do this more often.
I believe Arteta has something new for us after this international break. We will see.