Mikel Arteta has hinted that Arsenal could chop and change their starting lineups in the next couple of games as they look to spread minutes around the squad and try to remain unpredictable for opponents.
The Gunners have no new injury worries ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Everton and will test midfielder Thomas Partey in training today as the Ghanaian tries to get up to speed after a couple of weeks struggling with a thigh issue.
In his absence, Arsenal have relied on new boy Jorginho while fellow January signing Leandro Trossard has also had decent game time.
Asked about Partey in his pre-game press conference, Arteta said: “He hasn’t obviously trained much, he only had a session but he will train today. It is what it is, he was out for a few weeks and he needs to get the rhythm.”
He was then pressed on whether he’s likely to further tinker with his starting lineup after resting Eddie Nketiah for Saturday’s win over Leicester.
“We assess that situation every single day,” he said, “the fact that we have options right now and have some players coming back from injuries, gives us alternatives which is going to be crucial because players that can maintain the same level for 10 months, it’s just impossible.
“We need to change and we have to generate more alternatives and be ore unpredictable sometimes for opponents as well. We have those options now.”
Two players who’ll be hoping to figure in the final third of the season are Jakub Kiwior, signed from Italian side Spezia last month, and Emile Smith Rowe, who underwent groin surgery in September and hasn’t started in the league since April.
Both players featured for Mehmet Ali’s under-21s last night as they went down 1-0 to Chelsea at Kingsmeadow. Both looked tidy during the first half and were subbed off later in the game before the home side grabbed their winner.
“Really good [to see them play],” said Arteta. “Obviously they needed some minutes and at the moment they haven’t had much exposure for different situations, Jakub and him [Emile]. It was great to see them on the field because we’re going to need them in the next couple of games.”
Arteta has acknowledged in the past that it’s difficult to keep players happy when they aren’t starting games but he’s not worried about the long-term impact that could have on their contract situations. Rumours have started circling that Kieran Tierney isn’t happy and that Newcastle could tempt him north in the summer.
“I’m not thinking about that, I’m thinking about the best for the team and playing the players who’ve earned the right to play minutes, which they all deserve and we’re going to try to do that in the next couple of games,” said Arteta.
The Gunners head into the match knowing a win will extend the gap over Manchester City to five points. The occasion also serves as an opportunity for quick revenge over the Toffees who ended Arsenal’s long unbeaten run in the league when the two sides met a month ago at Goodison Park.
Better start with Trossard and throw Nketiah towards the end or we need s goal. Trossard’s overall game up front is better than Nketiah’s one excellent skill. If Partey is not fit, go with Jorginho.
Would be a shame to lose Tierney but with Zinchenko playing the way he is, Kieron isn’t going to get a look in for a while
Agreed and reading between the lines, sounds like Tierney’s getting a little pissed off but it is what it is.
I’m more pissed off that I’d cleared my evening to watch the match tomorrow and then Andrew said it’s not on TV this morning, Grrr!!! Thanks, Blogs! ha.
He’s a great player but unfortunately it seems we want a midfielder in that position instead of a traditional full back.
It looks like he will go and we will sign somebody else in the summer.
There’s just a few things that Tierney does and I think “Hm, Arteta won’t like that”. For example, Tierney has a real propensity for the up-and-under. I don’t think any of our other players do that very regularly. It shows a bit of a composure deficit and implies that Kieran doesn’t love operating on the ground in tight spaces, which is what ArtetaBall is all about. But the reason I’d be reluctant to let Kieran go is that Zinchenko is injury prone and it is a position which has cost us season after season (ironically because Tierney’s been injured). IF… Read more »
Tomiyasu or Kiwior at left-back could be the options if Kieran leaves, it would be a shame if he did but he wants to play – I’d certainly be hoping for more than the quoted £30m if he does leave, especially as a chunk of that will go to Celtic (15% I think?).
Seems Tomi is preferred, or was at least
Wasn’t that more to do with defending against wingers that cut inside?
I remember Tomi was preferred for the Liverpool game as Salah constantly cuts in.
But yeah, you’d be fucked off if the first choice LB gets injured and the manager sticks the second choice RB on instead of you.
But from everything I’ve heard and seen of Tierney, the lad is not a sulk. And hopefully he’ll bring that determined intensity onto the pitch the next time he plays.
I assumed it was because Tomi is more comfortable in midfield but it started off against Salah. It happened a few times.
I am certain it was for Salah, and it worked very well indeed. But Salah is (was?) one of the few opponents that you would be willing to man-mark–knowing that you are taking your own player out of the game as well, and thereby disrupting all your patterns. Zinchenko’s position and quality at left back, playing higher up and further inside, is obviously important to our attacking patterns–but it means there will be the occasional dangerous counter that Gabriel must deal with alone. That is a risk worth running against most wingers, though not Salah at that time.
Maybe we just need to sign more midfielders, it seems like almost every position is a midfielder now.
Caicedo – RB
Rice – LB
I like it!
Over to you Edu…
Probably would work tbh
Couldn’t the lad at Marseille come back?
I just think it’s too much of a nuanced role for Tavares.
Zinchenko uses his footballing intelligence to know when to support Martinelli and when to hang back, when to fill in for Xhaka and when to stay at LB.
Tavares would just be like “I’m fecking legging it up the field every time we get the ball”.
Excellent point. Tavares is a real “go go” player. Who unfortunately does not always appear to know where he is supposed to go. 🙂
Sounds like it’s going to be tricky finding good backup for Zinchenko, and with his injury record we’ll need it.
If we’re looking for a midfielder to play the Zinchenko role, and we’re looking to spend big in midfield for a Partey partner, maybe Xhaka is the ideal backup, it isn’t as if he hasn’t done it before.
Didn’t work before because xhaka was too important elsewhere. Less true now.
Guendouzi? (Marseille sometime start Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Tavares, and Alexis and, as far as I can tell, they are all playing well.)
Saw the highlights from their PSG game. Tavares must’ve taken 10 shots from 25+ yards. They all weren’t terrible efforts but he’s a wild player. He can make these rampaging runs which terrify defenders because it’s so unexpected. But for every one of those he makes 3 bad defensive lapses. And gets caught high over and over. Our fullbacks now do too, but not every time. I think we need a cool hand there as Zinny backup if it won’t be KT.
Yeah I just hope that opponents don’t learn to consistently counter the inverted full back/midfield hybrid role Zinchenko plays, and then find ourselves without a quality conventional left back to return to basics with
But Tierney is in his prime years now, he can’t afford to wait around hoping that will happen
Presumably he’ll get the Lisbon games.
I can see him joining Newcastle. Much closer to Scotland
I guess Tomiyasu and Tierney are starting, Trossard and Jorginho too.
Tierney starting would give a different dimension that would put Everton thinking .
Right now Everton belive Zinch will come.infield and they will pack midfield and not play a right winger whereas if Tierney keeps wide then they haven’t haven’t pace to track and we overload on the left .
I’d love to see Partey and Jorg, giving Part a licence to push up be great
Besides that White is back inform so I wouldn’t drop him
Troassard at 9 again to allow
Marti and Saka get in behind hopefully
Tierney starting to give us that width seems to be a great idea and it will be interesting to see how much Mikel is prepared to tinker with his system when the situation is right.
tavares to the rescue
I wouldn’t mind Tavares coming back, but not at full-back. Does anyone remember what a crap left back Gareth Bale was before the Sp*ds played him further forward?
We have definitely improved in all departments from last season but I am starting to notice in our last 5-6 games an old pattern which tends to bit is in the a$$. We seem to have a great first half and then drop off in the second half or the other way around. We need to aim to play great for the full game, not just the first half or just the second half. Hopefully we will get the 3 points tomorrow and put some more pressure on City.
A club only gets better with better players. The fallout of this is that good players will sit on the bench longer than they would want, especially if there no enough cup competitions to create more game time.
Tierney was a fixture last season when he was fit, but we have Zinchenko now, and the gaffer prefers him, and we can all see why. Tierney has to be patient: the Europa comes back soon; there will be CL football next season. There will be enough football to round. He is a quality defender and we need him around.
How are Chelsea going?😎