Mikel Arteta may have given Oleksandr Zinchenko a licence to roam the pitch but the Ukrainian won’t escape the manager’s wrath if he makes costly mistakes taking matters into his own hands.
Recruited in the summer to add an extra dimension to Arsenal’s play, the summer signing has been a revelation at left-back, regularly moving infield to add numbers in the centre of the park while creating space outside him.
Zinchenko’s tactical and technical nous, coupled with his derring-do on the ball, has made him invaluable to a team that has previously struggled against opponents with a low block. Against Everton, he underlined his credentials with a fantastic assist for Bukayo Saka after venturing forward into a position usually occupied by Martin Odegaard.
As with any high-risk tactic, it doesn’t always work and the Gunners have also suffered when his passes have gone astray; Aston Villa bagged an opener two weeks ago capitalising on a loose play by the former Manchester City man.
Facing the media ahead of Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth, Arteta was asked whether Zinchenko could actually start games as more of a traditional creative player.
“He can and he adapts to certain positions in the field in a great way,” said the Spaniard.
“Sometimes he occupies those spaces, so we will see. Sometimes teams pose you questions and you need Alex in certain positions – he can play wider and higher up the pitch as well, so he is comfortable there. It’s good to have that versatility with players.”
For all the praise, there was also a warning from the manager who responded to a question about his assist on Wednesday night.
“If he gives the ball away and they have a counter-attack and they score, I would be really upset!
“But like every manager, he puts a great ball in, Bukayo is inside and he scores, happy flowers! We are all happy.
“He has the freedom to move in certain spaces like he does and the action where he receives the ball, especially in certain games where we face a certain block. But at the same time, we require a certain discipline in positions to do what you have to do.”
“Happy flowers” is my new favourite term. This team makes me happy flowers
Makes me wanna change my nick already…
Looks like arteta is supplying the slogan for next season’s mug offering
A mug with flower stems with badly drawn arsenal heads on each stem with the slogan happy flowers
Is “Chapeau” out of fashion now?
We can have both, we are the Arsenal
‘Happy flowers’ sounds like urban slang for weed!
I’ll be having some happy flowers later tonight 🤣
Pass it along Gunnar!
Aaaaah. The pungent smell of Happy Flowers wafting on the North Bank Highbury at 3.00pm back in the day….
Happy flowers clearly refers to opium.
You’re some damn active testicle! LOL.
“Happy Flowers” and “happy hours” a match made in heaven. Happy Friday all
There’s a band called Happy Flowers. Their music was used by the CIA to torture prisoners in Iraq.
“No no no!! Please!! Not Side Two…!!”
”Yes…..Side Two……Then we have The Dave Clark Five, Leo Sayer, Kylie and Jason, Mister Blobby, Adele and plenty of Phil Collins…”
If Arsenal wins the league this season the day will be called Happy Flower’s Day!
Happy Flowers wishes everyone a Unhappy Meal!
His roaming comes with a caveat.😀
As it should, but it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t roam. He has leveled up this team. Watching him closely on the pitch is an absolute marvel. As with every player he makes mistakes (not that many, but some). Against Everton in the first half he gave one away in our half and it turned into a big chance for Everton (I’m sure this is EXACTLY the moment Arteta is referring too here), but you could see how pissed he was at himself and he apologised to everyone around him (what a character). Then from that moment he bossed the game.… Read more »
When Tierney came on for Zinchenko for the last 10 minutes against Everton, he played Zonc’s game. Including giving the ball away once, though he charged back and won it back.
We noticed that, I wonder if that will be something he does rather than leave for a club that plays with a traditional left back.
We should try to keep Tierney. Don’t want to go full Man City and slowly get rid of all full backs.
He’s a good passer, maybe he can do it
In fairness, Zinchenko losing the ball against Villa was in a relatively safe area; a lot of other things had to happen for it to result in a goal. But yes, inevitably, if you play like that (and not just one player) you will sometimes give up a dangerous counter. That puts a lot of responsibility on the back two and the number 6 to prevent those counters from turning into goals. The model is Puyol/Pique with Busquets in front of them: Gabriel/Saliba with Thomas Partey.
You can see how much more risky the Zinny tactic is alongside Jorgs vs alongside Partey. Jorgs gives me heart palpitations against counters (he’s really slow) – Partey is the absolutely pinnacle of #6. He is complete – almost the prototypically perfect player for the role. Long may it last. IMO Partey is the best #6 in the EPL and arguably in world football right now.
Yes and no, the thing is he still has left back defensive responsibilities, so when he’s that high up the pitch giving away the ball there’s often going to be a gap at the back for the opposition to take advantage of. I’m sure there’s a system in place to cover for Zinchenko when he goes up (Xhaka going to left back, probably someone else covering for Xhaka etc) but any system like that is going to be imperfect, especially when you’re low in numbers because your left back has been taken out of the play, so he kind of… Read more »
TP is that system. The man is a freaking beast!
Hey blogs, happy flowers to you
I like M.A as a nonsense manager.
Zinny has been brilliant for us. If MA has given him license to roam , then he has to accept that this can return to bite us. I will take it…he has been so creative for us….His twisting /turning , changing the direction of play , his incisive passing has just been a joy to watch.
He has shown desire and committment and wants to show Pep that he was never a Mcity sideshow….pure class.
What Arteta is saying is very correct. I think Zichencko for all his efforts and contribution to the team has to be more disciplined otherwise it’s going to cost us at some point. The moment he loses the ball fast counter attacks can be set through that wing and he becomes the target. We haven’t experienced the danger so far because Martinelli, Xhaka and Gabriel are helping to cover him.
Any title winning side needs a maverick or two though.
The element of surprise is very powerful.
I love this, a sly response to Pep’s Happy Flowers speech!
If Arsenal are considering paying stupid money for Rice, why not go after Jude?