Let’s applaud Arteta’s tactical genius in win over Liverpool

I have pointed out when Arteta has got things wrong but it’s only right that I equally highlight when our manager gets something spot on.

I thought making the Emirates an intimidating place to play took some beating, yet the decision to play Tomiyasu left back last Sunday was coaching at it’s very best.

Fans are entitled to opinions, but we don’t see what happens on the training pitch every day.

So many at Man City say this is where the Spaniard excelled, his sessions which had attention to detail and his ability to teach players on a 1 to 1 basis. We haven’t always seen that in North London; a lot of talent he has washed his hands of.

Last weekend though he tactically tweaked his system with the opposition in mind, out-thinking one of the best in the world, Klopp.

Before kick-off, with Zinchenko injured, most assumed Tierney was the logical replacement.

Apart from being injury prone, he never lets us down and many Gooners wanted him as our captain.

Yet the decision was to start Tomiyasu on the left, a defender who can play anywhere at the back (has been a centre back for Japan).

Clearly this was a fixture where our boss didn’t feel the need for an attacking full back, instead taking the old-fashioned view of having his full back’s main strength being to defend!

It meant Martinelli didn’t have to worry as much about tracking back to cover any overlap runs because Tomiyasu stayed where he was. Can’t be a coincidence that Martinelli went on to have his best game in an Arsenal shirt.

With the extra height over our two natural lefts back, Tomiyasu in the air cut out the diagonal balls Liverpool played.

Arnold couldn’t get past him, while every time Salah cut inside, he was followed because we had a right footed left back.

It’s rare you dominate so much, that in the end your opponent take off their entire right side.

While Trent was injured, it’s noticeable it was Gomez brought on. Suddenly Liverpool were more concerned about stopping us, accepting that nothing was getting past Tomiyasu.

Like I said, I’ll point out when things are going wrong, but equally it’s only correct to highlight when I see Arteta do something genius…

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith

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Tags Arsenal v Liverpool Arteta


  1. I think Tomy should be a natural competition to Gabriel on the heart of the defense given Gabriel’s inconsistency these days

      1. Agree. Three goals in last two PL games he was caught upfield unsuccessfully trying to create change of play

  2. There is a genuine argument that Tomi is our most important defender because no one can do what he can (playing across the back to great effect). Many didn’t even notice that we played with four central defenders against Liverpool. Good thinking by the gaffer and it worked

  3. Our players were obviously well-trained using the left overload tactics. I agree with your observation about Arteta’s decision to play Tomiyasu instead of Tierney and maybe Tomiyasu was also required to add more protection in our defending set-pieces, because Van Dijk, Matip, Henderson and Nunez are very dangerous in aerial duels

    Two years ago, Arteta said in an interview that his team won’t be able to press Liverpool high up the pitch, because of Allison’s excellent long passes to Salah and Robertson. Allison still lobbed the ball successfully to Tsimikas, but Saka and White could anticipate it sometimes

    Turner also showed a very good distribution ability to bypass Bodo/Glimt’s high press last night, by lobbing the ball accurately to Tierney and Saka. It’d be interesting to see whether he’d be able to do it when playing against a top EPL team or not

  4. A good solid tweak of personal ,I wouldn’t really call it something from a tactical genius swapping one player with another .
    Good all the same that Arteta saw how salah and Co have had Tierneys number over the last few years ,so big ups for that .
    Onto Tierney
    Tierney for me as always been overrated ,yes a good solid left back to no better than what we have seen over the last 2 decades ,now with zinchenko showing us something different and tomi showing how to keep salah in his pocket , personally if tierney keeps fit till the end of the season I would move him on ,no use to us when he’s constantly injured and when he is fit there are better alternatives in the squad .
    Just because he where’s short sleeves in the winter doesn’t make him a world class player it just means he doesn’t feel the cold as much as others .
    Maybe it’s about time we start making a bit of profit form seeking at the right time ,Tierney for me would be a good start .

    1. You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I am confident that your views on Tierney are not shared by a large majority of Arsenal fans nor ex players and Managers, past and present.I am sure the fact that Tierney is held in high esteem by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson,Guardiola and many others with a real knowledge of the game, will not cause you to consider that your assessment of the player might be wrong?

    2. @ Dan Kit
      Are you serious mate?!!!Selling Tierney would be suicidal As for once we have decent back up to our starting defenders.You cannot start selling them we need depth if we want to compete and he will,more likely ,make this left back position his sooner rather than later as Zichenko in the longer term will play further up the pitch and ,if you Ask me, is not as good as Tierney defensively

      1. @pires
        Strange how we sit top with zinchenko in the team who as started 8 of our league games .
        Tierney as missed on average 18 games per season in the last 5 years ,my point was that while he is a solid left back we don’t miss him while he does not play ,when he does start his inability to cut in like zinchenko takes away Martinellis play .
        Tierney is an old school left back that likes to get to the byline and cross in endless balls ,something Arteta as got us away from .
        Zinchenko everyday for me ,and my first point being we should be recouping money on players that do not upgrade us .
        He’s a good solid old school left back but nothing more .

    3. Which ever way you look at it, its a tactical move and not just a change in personnel.
      First Tierney wasnt injured or fatiqued.
      Also, Salah was subbed having not contributed or created any goal threat throughout the match which is very rare considering his record against us over the years.
      So credit to the boss, Tommy and the whole team in general for executing that perfectly planned masterclass

  5. What a negative article from Dan Smith yet again!!!
    Running down our natural left back Tierney and criticising Martinelli for not defending properly!!!
    If all your going to do is criticise all the time, go and support some other team!!!

    Tongue out of cheek 😂😂😂

    I don’t think anyone saw this selection coming and it was a masterstroke – well done to the manager and player.

  6. Lately Gabrjel has been a liability.
    The Jap could give him a run for his money
    He has been outrun and it wont surprise me he is dropped at some point

    1. ” The Jap?” Not a comfortable way of speaking for a fully evolved person to have to read.
      Poor show for using that retrograde expression!

      1. Dear Jon
        Most of us are not english native speakers so be kind on our potential mistakes even though we’r clearly learning from you’r free lessons in this platform

        1. Pires, I try not to embarrass non native English speakers for poor word choice and not for poor grammar.

          But in his case I noticed his post showed no sign of poor English and therefore I assume his English understanding to be good.

          Hence my comment about that word he used not being one generally accepted as being harmless , by English speakers.

  7. So many at city say this is where the Spaniard excelled and his ability to teach players on a 1 to 1 basis.

    Said on another thread the single act of Tomi at left back was a master stroke, as he kept Liverpool goal God Sala firmly deep in his back pocket.
    It is for these reasons the gaffer rarely shows his hands at press conferences, in the pass he some time over think his tactics, like Xhaka at left back etc.
    Nickname the COACH during his Arsenal playing days, he was never lazy in his thinking.

    I discovered for some time ago the gaffer can set his team up hard to beat and very attacking to score lots of goals.
    Top coaches like Pepe, Klopp and to a lesser extent Brendan Rogers knows this and hence you can always expect a little mind game before they square off.

    But the time is coming when the gaffer will have a big squad with all the players he need.

  8. The fact that Arteta used Tomi in a man marking role against Salah is not ,in my opinion, a stroke of genius, but is an example of good management.Salah and Mane have been instrumental in bringing success to Liverpool during the past 4/5 seasons.The transfer of Mane has weakened the team and nullifying Salah by deploying our best defensive player to confront him at every opportunity was a sound and sensible tactic which proved to be highly effective.Very good management by Arteta but to use the word “genius” is to overstate the situation.

    1. Oh Grandad, given the constant HYPE used so woefully by so MANY fans, surely you cannot be surprised ! Depressed, yes, but surprised, SURELY not!

        1. Absolutely not, we need a commanding midfielder that can play like Partey in his position.

          Herd Bellingham is a little expensive, but this is a area the gaffer has to prioritize in January, but am seeing two very mobile ball playing midfielders in the Brazilian league that could do us well

  9. I read an article not too long ago stating that
    our young gaffer rank ten in the league in terms of points made per match played.

    Top of the list was Pepe, Alex Furgeston, Klopp, this is very good company the gaffer keeping in my opinion, when you take into consideration all those guys ahead had ample time to build their ideal squad and in some cases abundance of unlimited fund’s.

  10. In my opinion Arteta bit off more than he could chew when becoming manager rather than simply coach. He inherited a club in tatters – a crazy wage structure, lazy older players with too much influence, and an unambitious side. I think we have all underappreciated the value of Edu in changing the makeup of the team, and Kroenke and the board in giving him time and money to learn and change EVERYTHING at Arsenal. Apart from the Stadium, Arsenal FC are unrecognisable from the sad club we followed 3 years ago.
    A lot of things have had to be put in place – from recruiting young, humble, technically sound and intelligent young players, to drilling and drilling again the new Arsenal style until it is second nature for every player, to building a confidence to both believe in that style and learn game management, to becoming fit enough to press for 90 minutes. To making the club more accessible and uniting the fan base. To changing management.
    All this has now been done. This leaves Arteta the time at long last to concentrate more on individual player development, and the players the time to both improve and express themselves in the knowledge that they don’t even have to think about where they or teammates should be – it’s second nature. So I can only see this team improving further and doing so quite rapidly.
    Arteta has taken the best from both Liverpool and Man City, tweaked it and recruited the players to suit that style. The only thing preventing this club from either joining the “Big 3” or pushing Liverpool out of the “Big 2” are the greater buying power of Man City and the (for now) greater pull of playing for Liverpool. But football is cyclical, and our day in the sun is fast approaching…

  11. Gabriel is top left foot defender, he’s not getting the protection Saliba gets on the right side.
    You got to be a keen observer to appreciate his quality’s.

    Good news Aston Villa has extended Douglas’s Luiz contract, the irony of this it will force us to go for a more commanding midfielder with a higher ceiling,

    Maybe Edu could head back to Brazil

    1. Agreed ,seems Gabriel is becoming the new scapegoat,he’s a solid unit who will get better and better ,silly talk from some fans making a meal out of nothing .
      If him and Saliba are our main paring for the foreseeable,I’ll be happy .

  12. Gabriel has made some silly decisions and for that he was singled out
    Very good defender but Still learning his trade.
    I personally am very happy our defence has grown and got stronger over the last 12 months
    The team like the manager is still growing and learning so there is still a long way to go But so far so good

  13. If Gabriel should be made available in January, Arsenal wouldn’t have hand to sell him.

    It is extremely difficult to find a commanding left footed defender like Gabriel, just ask Juventus,
    A recent check on a few stats shows only Saliba in the league better him,
    Was suprise to see Van Dyke and Man city Diaz behind him, that may help explain our position on the table , just hope the scapegoating dosen’t turn into abuse.

    But gooners fans have to be smart and allow our boys to make mistakes, it was a beauty to see how gooners cheer on Saliba when he score an own goal.

    1. Gabriel is a very good and effective center half. The mistakes he made were as a result of more pressure on his side of field. The Spurs penalty was not his doing, it just happened that he was the player that had to make the tackle. Ball should have been cleared earlier on. He complements his errors by his attacking contributions and goals. Fans should stop trying to always have a scapegoat. Saliba scored and own goal he was applauded and this gave him more confidence. Scape goating Gabriel could lead to loss of confidence. I hear some fans already calling for him to be dropped for Tomi bla bla bla. Football is not ABC, let’s support the team to play better, no over criticism for now, all the players are giving their all…

      1. Jay
        You hit the nail on its head
        But our fans must get smart as Liverpool fans and support the entire team, yesterday Xhaka today Gabriel tomorrow Ramsdale, when will it stop.

        Have seen Luis Suarez done far more at Liverpool yet he never walk alone.

  14. It was indeed tactical genius on the part of Arteta to play Tomi as LB. Not only does Tomi have a better defensive acumen than Tierney but he handled Salah and co. better than what Tierney would have done. Not undermining Tierney in any way, he is great going forward and in his crosses, but for this match Tomi was the right man as LB and it was a master stroke by Arteta. I think Tierney will get his place back as LB for the Leeds game and Tomi/White will play as RB. Also hoping that Zinchenko returns back fit asap considering the congested fixture schedule, we need as many players fit as possible to play.

    1. Arteta used Niles on Salah and that worked too. I believe the trick was a tall left full back good with headers and comfortable using both feet.

  15. English, I admit is not my native language but from this ststement “I have pointed out when Arteta got things wrong but it’s only right that I equally highlight when our manager gets something spot on” it shows that you are overly negative than positive on Arteta why not “when he gets things right and when he gets something wrong” instead. So I point it out when our language betrays the overall view of our manager. I think the wrongs while sitting a top the log are on the lower end when compared to the right ones. Let our language match our team’s exploits on top of the log if we are true fans🔥

  16. Gabriel is doing great. Everyone makes mistakes. He has to cover more ground because of the new role of the left back that the arrival of Zinchenko at the behest of the manager has created, tactically. Arsenal fans seem to always need a scapegoat regardless of how things are going. Arteta and Xhaka all this while, and now recently Ramsdale, Saka, and Gabriel. Frankly, it is exhausting.

    1. I don’t think fans are making a scapegoat of Gabriel but merely pointing out the fact that his errors have contributed to no fewer than 5 goals in 9 league matches.The fact that Zinchenko is being used as an excuse for the loss of goals on our left flank is not surprising because he is not a quality left back, and never will.The combination of these two players will, almost certainly give rise to more fragility in our defence which is unlikely with Tomi and Tierney in place.These are my observations on an area of the Team which I perceive as a potential weakness which may have to be addressed by our Manager. I consider Zinchenko to be a very skilled central midfielder who excels for his Country in that position.While I have yet to be convinced that Gabriel is the real deal he has a lot of good attributes and I genuinely hope our coaching staff can help him to improve his composure and positional sense which are the areas which let him down in my opinion.

      1. Grandad @zinchenko playing as left back Moving into midfield while on the attack and then in turn allowing white to Move over into a back 3 with Saliba and Gabriel as completely changed our tactics ,we saw a different set up
        last season with Xhaka dropping into the left back position while Tierny moved forward ,this time around we have gone into a back 3 with 3 solid CBs rather than going with the traditional back 4 last season where xkaka dropped back
        In turn given us an extra player on the attack with zinchenko moving in field which tierney cannot implement as good ,results and Arteta overlooking tierney suggest I’m on track with my opinion ,Martinelli gets more freedom playing with zinchenko as he does not hog the touchline as he plays as an extra midfielder when attacking .
        My post above yesterday was not to down play how good tierney is as a player ,that’s not in doubt ,like I said a solid old school left back but the game and us have moved on ,and maybe zinchenko is not as good defensively but overall he’s the better option,league position and goals against would agree with me unfortunately for you and your own opinion.

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