Does Arteta need to revert to last season’s Arsenal defensive line-up after Fulham debacle?

Arsenal failed to repeat what they did last season: win their first five games, something they’ve only done four times.

After beating Nottingham Forest and then Crystal Palace, Arsenal were keen to bag their third win when they faced Fulham. However, that didn’t go to plan, as they drew 2-2.

If the Gooners had a chance to change anything about their tactical approach after the Fulham game, they’d undoubtedly bench Kai Havertz and tell Mikel Arteta it is time he dropped the tactical approach of using Thomas Partey as an inverted right back; they’d advocate he return him to a midfield role, probably alongside Rice (or with Rice playing a No. 8 role).

Thomas Partey was exposed versus Fulham, as Arsenal’s buildup wasn’t clicking versus the Cottagers. Even Gabby Aghbanolar wasn’t happy seeing him there, as he admitted on talkSPORT: “His running back is an issue. Mikel Arteta’s master plan this season may have been to play Jurrien Timber as an inverted right back. With the Dutch injured, Arteta may have opted to continue with Partey at right back in the absence of the Dutchman. However, that experiment could have come to an end versus Fulham. If Arteta doesn’t revert to the back four of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel, William Saliba, and Ben White, I don’t know.”

Ben White playing right-back could be the way forward. it worked last season. His link-up with Saka worked wonders on the right wing, and then Partey could be left to do what he does best in Arsenal’s midfield again.

Sam P

JustArsenal ShowNEO discusses Arteta’s tactics used against Crystal Palace and Fulham….

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Tags Agbonlahor Thomas Partey


    1. @Vamos,how long do you think MA should wait before reverting to last season line up and tactics? Or as closed as injuries permit it!

    2. If our world class midfielder starts at right back against Man United, then I will be convinced the gaffer lost the plot

  1. I’d prefer to replace Odegaard with Smith-Rowe or Trossard instead. Odegaard is rarely able to make diagonal passes nowadays, because of the opposition’s Christmas tree formation

    Playing two conventional half-wingers would likely produce more crosses, cutbacks and corners:

    …….………..…. Ramsdale
    ………….. White ……..… Saliba
    Partey .……….… Rice …………. Kiwior
    ….. Smith-Rowe …… Havertz
    Saka ………..… Nketiah ……… Martinelli

    In that formation, Havertz could be replaced by Odegaard or Vieira. I believe we can exploit the half-spaces with the runs of our half-wingers

        1. What aerial ability😂😂😂hold up play in midfield? In what way have those attributes significantly contribute to the team so far… If you watched the game yesterday you would see how ineffective he is on the pitch…

          1. If Havertz didn’t win four aerial duels at Selhurst Park, we wouldn’t have dominated Crystal Palace at their turf

            As for the Fulham game, he missed two sitters and has to improve his positioning

            1. Winning 4 aerial duels equals dominance 😂😂😂😂why are u minimising his shortfalls in the Fulham game.. Its not just his finishing that was subpar but several misplaced passes, positional confusion, zero chemistry with teammates, zero creativity, sluggish energy levels, defensively timid… He was just making up the numbers.. If his best performance is against Palace then my friend he is not worthy of a place in this team.. Why do we have to put up with mediocrity in the cutthroat world of the EPL… the team is supposed to be progressing not regressing

              1. We won the ball possession against Crystal Palace. If he didn’t win those aerial duels, his teammates wouldn’t have won the second ball

                As for the Fulham game, he didn’t make any misplaced passes that led to a goal or dangerous situation. He just seemed a bit confused

                1. Remarkable assessment of Havertz !

                  I can’t believe someone is suggesting he is better than Ode based on winning 4 aerial duels which frankly had no bearing on the game!

                  He was hopeless yesterday and his inclusion is why Partey is at RB as Artera wants him on the pitch. But it’s not his best position.

                  The whole pace of Atsenal changed as soon as he came off and everyone around me had the same view of Havertz. At best he should be plan B if we are chasing the gMe and need to pump the ball long. But we never do that and even if we did it looks like he can’t jump !

                  Crazy comments

                  1. The conventional yardstick for successful performance of an offensive-minded player is the number of goals scored, assists, and finally influential passes in build up to a goal. Havertz has scored a big -0- in thall those categories. Did I leave out winning aerial duels? Dang!!

                2. My friend winning duels is a clueless story. Can you favor a very lazy player like havartz with duels.? we need a player who can help the team not disappoint

        1. Arteta is just over-complicating things. Just play the best players in their best positions! I like Havertz and think he will be a great signing for us one day but that day ain’t now and the last thing he or Arsenal needs is his confidence getting destroyed.

      1. Ben the current situation is that, the squad is being “rebuild ” experimentally as they claim. But is this the time to do that? Arteta is now joking

        1. The system mostly worked last season and I thought the signings of Rice and Timber perfectly complimented it but for some reason Arteta now wants to play Partey at RB and completely dismantle a back 4 he has spent 18 months putting together. Nonsense.

    1. I’m your all-knowing-mind, we should bench our best playmaker Odegaard in order to accommodate Harvertz? Pathetic

    2. Are you serious? Odegaard was our player of the year for a reason. Havertz currently isn’t worthy of making the bench

    3. @gotanidea yea, I think we should stick with a winning formular and just make it stronger. That’s why I love Jogin Klopp who doesn’t tweak his formation too much. There is no need for one of the best Midfielders in the Epl (Pathey) to play as an inverted Rback Zichenko who does that at Left side is no Pathey. Also Gabriel has a connection at the back with Saliba and he commands the back line. White supports BSaka with his runs. Even PeP has been playing Walker more regularly, why not stick with White at right full back?
      I hope Arteta’s too many ideas don’t come to hurt him. 2 inverted full back will take time to perfect.

      1. When Pathey was removed and White returned to full back the game changed When Kiwior returned to CB and Zichenko came in the game changed. Players who won footballer of the years are footballers who do what they know how to do best. Arteta should make player perfect on their skill set and not always tinkering. Kevin de brune, Carzola, Ramsey Bekamp and the least ontinues… are players who Excell at their skill set. If care isn’t taken too many versatility could make a player “jack of all trades and master of non”
        Havertz was deployed as CF in Chelsea/Germany, now he is finding it difficult to be a master at AMidfield where he started and excelled in Leverkusen. He now needs to return to basics.

    4. Havertz must start from the bench. At the back, the old back four that played almost all the games last season must continue to do so. Rice will complete the middle with the exception of Xhaka.

  2. The more I look at it,the more I realize that Havertz’s position or performance are not our biggest problem;Partey’ s is. It’s not about Partey’s quality but his being unsuitable/uncomfortable in that position. Someone yesterday made the remark that the trio of Havertz, Timber and Rice were bought as a package with the aim of all of them starting which means they were sought of ‘custom made’ for the line-up. We never really got to see it unfortunately, but I can picture Timber performing better than Partey in that hybrid RB/RM role.
    That said, injuries are inevitable and it is up to the coach to tailor the tactics to the available players. Partey in that role seemingly unbalances the team.I understand the rationale behind the inverted fullback tactic but Partey isn’t suited to it in my opinion- based on what we’ve seen in our last five matches.

    1. Haverts being on the pitch means Partey is played as inverted RB. Arreta trying to fit Square pegs into a round hole.

  3. Seeing the way caicedo and Enzo were deployed, we see caicedo patrolling while Enzo operate further forward to link up with the other forwards. So it’s not rocket science that partey and rice can work together in midfield but it seems arteta has an obsession with playing Kai in midfield . He should not be starting games at the expense of players that are already familiar with the style of play. I have said it at the beginning of the season that he is not what arsenal need to replace xhaka. Kovacic or amrabat or lavia or even the underappreciated ward-prose would have been ideal. Kai’s presence against manutd next week will cost us because he will be a passenger in the game. bench asap .if it’s not broken don’t fix. Arteta should stop this manicial tinkering

  4. All is not bad as we are making it out to be, just a step back to basics and we are as good as gold.

    The gaffer says we are ten times better against Fulham yesterday than we were a campaign ago and he may very well have a point.

    Fulham did not bear Arsenal yesterday, Arsenal gave Fulham a point, we have the neccessary players to turn it on and off, it’s the constant fidgeting with the team that lead to confusion and in the end a stalemate.

    1. I’m not sure I entirely agree with this.
      Fulham’s chances came primarily from errors rather than the setup.
      “Fidgeting” as you say is necessary as some players who were key parts of the formation last season have not been available.
      We have largely dominated the play but have not been as efficient as we should have been. If we had the narrative would have been different.

  5. Arteta is destroying is hard earned handwork. why benching GABRIEL, why pushing Party to an unfamiliar position, and what is Havert doing in the team? Arteta should stop this nonsense and go back to our regular starting lineup. White, Gabriel, Saliba, Zechecko, Partey, Rice, Odegard, Martinelli, Saka, and Nkethia.

  6. The worst thing Arteta ever did was making me agree with Gabriel Agbonlahor. Unforgivable!

    Zinchenko’s defensive fragility was highlighted last year but he didn’t have Declan Rice as support then. Does Gabriel fill me with confidence? No. Should he play until a better alternative can be sourced? Yes, absolutely! A lot of the times he was caught out last season were due to Zinchenko’s poor positioning, but I don’t see that being such an issue this year.

    Arteta needs to reinstate the back 4 and have Rice, Partey, Odegaard as the permanent midfield trio so Zinchenko can join them when in possession. Rice will help him defensively far better than Xhaka did, so I don’t see that being such an issue now.

    I don’t even care if he chooses to play Tomiyasu at LB as long as the rest of the defence has White at RB and Gabriel alongside Saliba.

  7. If our Manager refuses to change our set up,the prospect of Rashford exposing Partey at RB is scary.

    1. Didn’t he expose Partey in midfield last season too? May be best to leave him out completely for this game.

    2. With all honesty I’m dreading next weekend if we play as we are playing. It could be a pretty depressing post match curry, seeing I have to meet a load of em’ after the game.

      Of all the teams that could expose our early season form would be Manure, and they are pretty awful at the moment according to my Manc mates.

  8. In answer to the headline and article… yes.

    He has bought 3 players to strengthen the team from last season and I assumed we would be able to implement in game tweaks within the game.

    So far, with this set up we are worst than last season and due to his stubbornness he will continue to play this inverted full back which has now been found out and we are not very good at it, especially the defensive aspect with Zinny and Partey

    If he wants to play without overlapping full backs then just play the double pivot in midfield in which Partey plays very well and 3 at the back. This formation/tactic has not shored up the defence , if anything it looks and performs awfully.

  9. Why not just strengthen and reinforce last year’s squad? We were dominate, in 1st 90% of season, played beautiful free flowing football; the envy of every club except city.

    Unfortunately Dr. Mikel Frankenstein decided to create this monstrosity to fix something that was not broken.

    Our backline is significantly weaker with White at CB over Gabriel.

    Midfield weaker with Havertz playing like Ozil in a B2B role and Partey part-time midfielder and out of position RB.

    Saka is a shadow without White overlapping, Odegaard is a recycler rather than a creator, and Arteta is seeking to recreate chemistry that we already had.

    Ego maxed out, full speed ahead results be damned.

  10. No one is talking about Magalhaes being benched. is this not the confusion around the team management. i fear the worst awaiting us if Arteta doesn’t make up his mind on this.

  11. The attacking fellas also need to bear responsibility for this draw. The number of clear cut chances created and the number of goals underwhelms the rate of possession and domination we had. Two freek goal really. We can do better and we will do better.

  12. The gaffers experiments with Partey at Right back haven’t gone that bad, stats-wise we have created more, dominated possession more and Parteys contribution has been higher, albeit the 3 games so far is a smaller data set, then the whole of last season. I’d like to see us use this formation/set-up more but leave the experiments until the last 20 minutes of games, when we are leading by 2 or more goals. That way introducing Haverts slowly into the team, whilst we are cruising for a win, instead of piling the pressure onto him from the off, when he’s barely had the chance to train with the group and gel.

    I don’t care what team Ten Haag put’s out when they see this line-up, I’m sure their confidence of getting a result against us will drop:

    White – Saliba – Gabriel – Zinchenko
    ………………Partey – Rice……………………
    …….Saka – Odegaard – Martinelli…….

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