The 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa probably came at the right time and should serve as a wake up call for Arteta and his squad.
The defeat to Aston Villa was a loud alarm for change. A change in the tactics, formation and even players, Arteta needs to galvanise the entire system that has failed to be viable. Below are the changes Arteta should make with immediate effect.
1. It’s time to go back to the traditional 4-2-3-1 formation
For the majority of this season Arsenal have played the 3-4-3 formation which won them the FA cup. But it is evident that this formation is reserved or a bit defensive as it has up to 7 defensive players with only 3 attackers.
Arsenal have scored a meagre 9 goals in 8 games in the League this season with some of the poorest attacking stats in the league and in their history.
The problem with 4-2-3-1 is Arsenal don’t have an attacking midfielder (No.10) who can create chances for the attackers. Ozil is out of the squad, perhaps Willock could play in that role or maybe Ceballos.
Arteta should figure out who can best fit that no.10 role. In conclusion Arsenal must play with a back four against the weaker sides and only switch to the cautious 3-4-3 against the stronger teams.
2. Aubameyang needs to lead the line as the centre forward
Aubameyang has majorly played as wide forward on the left with Lacazette or Nketiah playing centrally.
Lacazette has been abysmal in front of goal missing tones of chances, Nketiah doesn’t offer much whether he starts or not. Arteta even experimented with Willian upfront which was quite disastrous.
Why not play your best striker and top goalscorer in his primary position and see the result. Aubameyang himself has struggled this season only managing to score 2 goals in the league one of which is a penalty.
3. Bring back free flowing football to Arsenal!
Arsenal traditionally played the attractive and fluid flowing football, perfected by Arsene Wenger.
Under Arteta Arsenal have become more reserved, of course he has made Arsenal more solid defensively but he has neglected the attacking aspect.
Arsenal under Wenger and even Emery would have an average of 15 shots per game, 12 under Unai Emery. Currently Arteta’s Arsenal register 9.1 shots per game on average and are way below their average expected goals.
Shots on goal increase your chances of scoring goals, which increase your chances of winning a game. Arteta must work on the teams attacking aspect.
Play short passes, move the ball forward to the final third and avoid unnecessary back passes, shoot more at goal. Play the Arsenal way!
4. Under-performing players should be benched
Some players have been out of form for a good amount of games like Willian and Lacazette but Arteta opts to start them.
The decision to play Willian ahead of Pepe is quite puzzling. Besides his impressive debut Willian hasn’t contributed much, why not start your club record signing or even Reiss Nelson who has shown signs of brilliance in training and Europa League games.
Lacazette needs to be benched until he rediscovers his form and hunger to play for Arsenal. Some players could burn out from playing too many games like Saka.
Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe should be rewarded with some first team football.