Bodo/Glimt aim to control the ball when they visit the Emirates this evening with their coach Kjetil Knutsen warning his side don’t stand a chance against Arsenal if they play like Sp*rs did in the north London derby.
The Norwegian champions made headlines last season when they twice beat Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma in the Europa Conference League and their boss is confident of an even bigger scalp after intensively scouting the Gunners.
“I started watching Arsenal against Zurich to analyse Zurich, but my concentration and my gaze went towards Arsenal because I was thinking, ‘What the hell are they actually doing?!’ Knutsen told his pre-game press conference.
“There are a lot of rotations, so you have to pick them apart and see where are the players who are fairly stable in their role and where are the players who rotate a lot.
“It’s just extremely high-level, high-intensity football with extremely high-level individual qualities. But when you get to see it over time, it’s not very complicated.
“They have a number of rotations with the left-back and central midfielder, who has a lot of freedom, but it’s a lot less on their right side.
“But the way we defend, it doesn’t matter too much where players run because we are very zone-orientated in the way we defend.
“If we played a man-to-man system we would have a huge challenge to face, but we are at the other end of the scale so that’s probably the least of my worries.”
One thing seems certain, Knutsen, who was recently linked with the Brighton job, won’t be asking his players to follow Antonio Conte’s tactics. The Sp*rs coach had his side sit in a low block and was reliant on the pace of his trio of attackers on the counter; a ploy that didn’t cause the Gunners too many issues on Saturday.
“They attack with a lot of people, they’re patient and then suddenly they have that burst in the final third but they will also leave space in behind them which we will have to exploit.
“We need to be aggressive in the low block, high intensity in the high press, and we will have to control the ball.
“Tottenham only defended, Zurich only defended – if you do that you won’t stand a chance against them.”
While the Gunners have failed to win any of our last three home games in Europe (defeat to Olympiakos and draws vs Villarreal and Slavia Prague – all in 2021), we can at least take heart from the fact Bodo/Glimt aren’t amazing on the road in Europe.
According to Opta, in all competitions they’ve won just one of their last 13 matches away from home (seven draws, five defeats), keeping just one clean sheet in the process.
Martin Odegaard says he’s looking forward to welcoming his countrymen to the Emirates. While it remains to be seen whether the Norway captain is selected, he’s been sharing his insight with manager Mikel Arteta.
“They’ve made some great signings and they have an excellent coach too in Kjetil Knutsen,” told the matchday programme.
“They have given him the time to work there and they have a very solid team now. The way they play the game, everyone knows the system and it has been working really well for them.”