As Arsenal prepare for a visit to champions Liverpool on Monday night, discussion of Mikel Arteta’s tactics has come to the fore. In the games before lockdown, he played with a back four before transitioning to a back three. Against big teams, Arsenal’s performance have been based on a low rate of possession and a counter-attacking style.
Even with the team looking to play out from the back, it looks and feels different from the classic possession style made popular by Arsene Wenger. The game-plans, however, have born fruit for Arteta and he is not too fussed about style as long as it brings results and suits the players he has in the team.
“At the end of the day, I’m here to win,” he said. “I’m here to find ways to do it. If I’m proposing something very difficult, it is going to expose our team right now and I don’t think it’s in the best favour of the club and the players.
“So every game is different, the players you have available can change your game plans and we have to be able to adapt. I think one way now in football, it doesn’t work unless you are very superior to the opponents all the time,” said Arteta who wants to take a flexible approach each game.
His outlook on playing with three defenders also outlines fluidity in tactics.
“It is three at the back in certain moments,” said the Arsenal boss.
“In certain short spaces of the game, it is not all the time three at the back. Either (three at the back) or four at the back, I have the versatility to play, use players in different positions, and to cause problems to the opponent.
“And some of the time, we have to adapt to what they do and to be more efficient.”
His tactical approach and man management have visibly improved results and the team’s confidence to perform against the big teams, something Arsenal have always struggled to do.
“Results are always driving belief. The plan that we’re trying to put for the player, they have to be comfortable with that. They have to realise that now, we can achieve what we want.
“I think they will feel more secure (because) they will know what to expect and what is going to happen,” he said.
With the core of the team having adapted and bought into Arteta’s ways, one can only imagine that Arteta will find new and exciting ways to get the best out of the players.