Arteta aiming for even more tactical flexibility


One of the most interesting aspects of Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Southampton was the way Mikel Arteta’s players switched formation during the game.

When the team sheet was released it looked like Kieran Tierney would play in his usual left-back position as part of a back four. However, as soon as the game began, it became obvious he’d been asked to tuck in next to Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi whenever Southampton threatened.

That left space for Bukayo Saka, well-versed in the responsibilities of a wing-back, to add an extra body in defence. In possession, Saka pushed up the touchline, offering far more of an attacking threat.

Coming days after Hector Bellerin used passages of play at Brighton to operate as an auxiliary midfielder, Mikel Arteta has shown he’s more than happy adapting roles and responsibilities depending on the opposition.

After the game, the boss explained his thinking, hinting he’s hoping for even more flexibility in the future.

“We will change the game plan in relation to what we want to generate attacking-wise and as well how we can constrain the opponent and how we can better control their strengths,” he said.

“As well, with the players we had available it was the best fit for everybody to play in their position and be more comfortable, more secure about their jobs.

“We don’t have the flexibility that I would like right now to change more things, but it’s part of the process.”

After a tough first week back after the Covid-19 lockdown, this evening’s win against Southampton was most welcome. The boss was particularly pleased with the way his squad managed the game.

“We have to develop and we have to evolve as a team,” he said.

“There are a lot of things that we have to improve, we have to recognise and we have to probably go through in a negative way to learn. But they are so willing.

“They want to do it and the way they follow us is incredible. I never criticise the effort or how much they want it.

“I was a little bit critical about how we competed and how we gave the opponent points. That’s a disappointment.

“There are small details and I know we are a very, very young team with a lot of inexperience but in the Premier League we have to manage these moments. We cannot play the same way for 100 minutes, it’s not possible.”

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While a lot of people are complaining that its similar to Emery that we are too focussed on the opposition. But in the last two games although they’ve been boring but we’ve controlled them overall. The lack of attacking ability is partly due to confidence and partly due to lack of the right personnel. I remember liverpool having snooze fests and throwing away games 3 years back when Klopp came. Arteta has shown a lot tactically already and just needs the right backing from the club. If the club can spend like how they did on Pepe then this a… Read more »


Under Emery we had tactics. They were the wrong tactics.
When Arteta tries something it usually works. Saka had loads of dangerous possession on the wing.

Cultured Determination

Therefore the tactics are tailored to saka. They bring the best out of him, and he should really sign da thing. 5 year contract with option to extend for 5 more.


All I’m going to say is the tactics are great when we have the players to execute. Right now we don’t have the right players and so it’s a little vague when you watch how we execute these tactics. ALSO the biggest thing is notice is the RB situation is not good. I watched Liverpool the other day and Liverpool attacks with both fullbacks. Trent was up and down so was Robertson. Since Wenger we attack less with both fullbacks. More so Arteta brought this style of the auxiliary RB tucking in the RB for cover so Bellerin doesn’t overlap… Read more »


Well. Perhaps you should manage AFC, and not Arteta… oh wait.
Never mind.


We had tactics under Emery sure… But his tactics were absolutely attrocious. We had no plan apart from cut backs from the wings


I agree partly but totally disagree on the excuse for the attack. It’s more likely we are more solid defensively at the expense of attacking. It can’t be the worst thing in the world if you look at Atletico Madrid. Since Arteta came in we have improved in defence massively when you look at the stats. In Attack, we have had less than half the number of shots the opposition has had against us. It has to be a tactical thing. If we can figure out how to win them 1-0 or 2-0 it will make a lot of good… Read more »


I don’t think we have took a major hit in the attacking front. Our attack wasn’t great under Emery as well. Losing players like Ramsey really shot our attack a lot. Arteta has really improved our defensive stats. Not getting >20 shots against us a game now


Off topic slightly, but is there any truth to the rumours about Guendouzi’s possible sale – or is it just the media leaping on an excuse to crank out a story? I wasn’t a fan of his behaviour against Brighton but I do think he has a potentially big future at the club.


He is a decent sqaud player with some fire in the belly which can be channelized better. I don’t think he should be sold right now. Give him one more year atleast.


People tend to forget how young he is. At that age with the minutes he’s had already, we would be crying to sign him from any other team. He has had some good games, some bad games and obviously some average games but so has every player we have. What I’ve observed is that as a fanbase we tend to exaggerate things when we scapegoat our own. Mustafi should never wear the shirt again. Well now he’s wearing it and doing ok and few complaints mostly those hating ti agree he’s turned it around a bit. Same as Xhaka but… Read more »


Nothing I’ve seen from Guendouzi would have had me crying to sign him from another team.


It’s the media just being the media i.e. a bunch of thunder cunts. Guendouzi is no shrinking violet and Arteta has probably had no alternative but to drop in order to show who’s boss. That’s no cause for concern; Bertie Mee was always having run-ins with Charlie George. And there’s certainly no reason why we should think about selling the lad. He has the potential to become a fine player, he’s young and just needs to channel his excess enthusiasm back into his game. I’m sure Arteta will get the best out of him. And really give the cunts in… Read more »


Have not seen the match yet so refraining from commenting on performances.   BUT have to say Arteta’s strength is his tactical imagination.   He’s got a knack for it.   The other parts of management :   Man Management and Market knowledge a bit more in question the latter particularly if with insufficient support.   BUT tactically Arteta seems to have good ideas.   Again have not seen the match so hard to comment but flexibility indeed needed in the squad. We need all players to perform so we have various options.   Particularly in midfield, feel we lack… Read more »


Good comment. Two quibbles. Vieira and Diaby are the past. Lets not be prisoners to it, eh? Thats one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – problems with Arsenal Support. Those days are long gone. Let them go, support the players we have. (And let’s see it we can’t agitate Raul to the fooking door!)   Also good point on technical ability. Its like all the silky control and pass/move of the AW days has been forgotten, or at least this crop can’t do it. Last weekend at Brighton, I swear I saw a pass to Nelson that… Read more »

Naked Cygan

Arteta made a tactical mistake by not appealing the red card for David Luiz for the City game. Had we appealed, and failed, it would have kept him out or an additional game. Now he will be back sooner….

Me from here

I see what you did there


With return of Xhaka we were a lot solid today. Can we get Santi back please along side him <3


Well, we somehow managed to keep a clean sheet with Mustafi in the side. That’s a collector’s item and kudos to Arteta for generating it. Now comes the tricky bit. Maintaining it…..

Pratap Nambiar

One victory does not a summer make….we badly need a spine. I never thought I would say we miss Koscielny and even Monreal at peak. As fans we must be consistent…sell Luiz and Mustafi. We need a really strong CB to lead and guide the defense.

Terry Phelan

Just sayin cause I never get a comment accepted immediately.
It’s the same on every attempt…….this one too, I declare confidently😎

Terry Phelan

Yep , there we are……”Awaiting for approval”


Imagine if we had lost the game , we would have lost faith in arteta ,

we need to start buying premiership players who have proved themselves good and can adopt so easily , Chelsea and Liverpool bought players from outside England and became total flops, that didn’t deter them , remember Andrey shevichenko, Fernando Torres, etc ,

get cheap buys of 15 to 20m organise the team be the level of Leicester or wolves then start attracting super stars ,

We need a very strong center back , need a strong deep 6 and we need cotinhnuo