HERE IS HOW UNAI MIGHT WIN THE LEAGUE! by Nicholas Oyoo
Arsenal can surprise the division this season if certain things are put together very quickly before the first two matches, against two of our biggest rivals. These games may go a long way to confirm or approve Arsenal’s new set up and the challenge for top honours. Many people are saying it will need a bit of some time for Arsenal to build a challenge.
However, Arsenal in my view have the potential to put out a superb challenge just this season. For that the following needs to happen.
A generic play pattern that will make use of the various strengths that the squad has amassed from the recent signings as well as the new situations obtaining. For instance, Mesut Ozil has retired from international football and his legacy will undoubtedly need to be delivered from club football. Ramsey may no longer be in the team but still there is an Arsenal that has powerful frontal attack prowess boasting two lethal front men in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Fitting these two attackers in the same starting XI would be a mouthwatering prospect and perhaps necessary as Arsenal have struggled in their pre-season often having to come from behind to recover from a losing position.
There are new recruitments with the signings of Stephan Lichsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. These signings are all making a claim for a positon in the first XI. The question of how to achieve a high line pressing game, and balance attacking with defense are all important considerations. There are also the missing natural wingers in the squad and Unai Emery has been busy trying to get a winger recruited but maybe that might not happen. There are also the young players in the squad who need roles to develop their talents. The other important consideration is which are the first XI players and why those players should start.
I would go with a completely new set-up 18.104.22.168 if Ramsey will have left and 22.214.171.124. if Ramsey was to stay eventually. In the 126.96.36.199 set up, we will have a new false-nine role for Mesut Ozil, we will have two Attacking Midfielders one playing a more advanced role while the other playing slightly ahead of the defensive midfielders. Aubameyang and Lacazette will operate as wing forwards with responsibilities in the wing but also as forwards. The same wing roles will be shared by the advancing full backs.
Aubameyang has been doing well on the left side as a full winger. If given half-wing half-forwards role, it will just be the right role for his skill sets. Lacazette has not operated in the wing for a while but if given the half-wing and half-forwards role, he would need to learn quickly and fit himself into the mold. He certainly has the skills. The two forwards will have to get into a telepathic understanding on who moves into the centre forward position during an attack depending on where the ball is. This will also be important to be shared with Ozil who is in the false-nine role. If these three can sync their movements and the two forwards sync their play with the fullbacks, Arsenal will be in a good place to get superb goals.
In a case where Ramsey remains in the side. Then it is Guendouzi who will give way and Ramsey will move in an advanced role alongside Mkhitaryan in this setup. Mkhitaryan and Ramsey will be asked to play box to box roles so as to cover the defenders and support in attack likewise.
Why I went with Guendouzi over Xhaka is because Xhaka will need to relearn his duties in the new role and Mavropanos over Mustafi because Mavropanos has shown the capacity to step-up and Mustafi is still not improving. I also went Lichtsteiner who I would suggest to be withdrawn early in the second half because Bellerin needs to up his game to reclaim his place and perhaps watching Lichtsteiner will help him. There is Leno Vs Petr Cech where I have felt that Petr Cech had his chances in the previous season and he has to regain his focus to keep his spot as number 1.
Integrating The Youth
Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Gedion Zelalem and Joe Willock are some of the players that are have been knocking on the door for first XI involvement and just like Emery did with Kylian Mbappe when he was at PSG, these youthful players need to continue getting opportunities to train and play in the first XI whenever they play well in their academy roles.
The issue of Arsenal captains has been a fearful story of exits and staying out of the first XI. Being made Arsenal captain has always been like a curse to one’s career at Arsenal with many leaving very soon they became captain or finding their route to first XI a problem.
These fears should not continue and the person who should get the Arm band should be Mesut Ozil. He can be deputized by Monreal. As Captain, Mesut Ozil who has the inner need to achieve huge results in club football to lock his legacy, will be driven, and in his new duty as the false nine he would take it upon himself a responsibility to build the understanding of the attacking unit as well the balance of attack and defense.
Unai’s Conte Surprise
Unai Emery can bring the surprise Conte brought to the league when he switched to 3-defender formation. If Emery Conte adopted the 188.8.131.52 formation, he may just bring the surprise to the league too. And his first casualties could undoubtedly be Manchester City and Chelsea as they won’t know what hit them.
What do you think of that line-up?