Following the appointment of Unai Emery as Head Coach Arsenal are in a transition period having been with Arsene Wenger for 22 years. The first game ended in defeat against the champions Manchester City where they went down 0 – 2. In this game they struggled to build attacks having problems playing out from the back with Cech (1) looking very uncomfortable in possession. Even at stages in the Chelsea fixture where they lost 3 -2 , Arsenal were forced into errors when building from the back but this did improve. They created numerous chances but failed to take them and were punished through poor defending from the back four. You can see an improvement in their form throughout the 3 matches played so far with Emery looking to impose his own philosophy on the side but this will take time.

In this analysis we look at how Emery wants his Arsenal team to attack in the opposition half. Here are some key points from the games v Chelsea (A) 18.08.18 & West Ham (H) 25.08.18

  • Centre Backs Mustafi (20) & Papastathopoulos (5) & Central Midfielders Xhaka (34) & Guendouzi (29) formed a “box” shape. The two central midfielders looked to stay central and hold their position allowing the front four to rotate.
  • Full Backs Monreal (18) & Bellerin (2) looked to get forward and play very high. Both would be in the final third at the same time leaving them exposed on the counter attack.
  • Mkhitaryan (7) plays inside the pitch and drifts into central areas rotating positions with Ramsey (8). Bellerin (2) would then have the space and license to run forward penetrating in behind like in the Chelsea game where Guendouzi (29) picked him out with a defence splitting pass.
  • Iwobi (17) mixed his game up a little bit more but generally played in the half space and this gave Monreal (18) the space to burst forward and deliver crosses. It also opened the channel area up for the run of Ozil (10) or Ramsey (8). Iwobi (17) would get into excellent positions when the ball was in the final third from the right for cut backs from Bellerin (2) & Mkhitaryan (7).
  • The front four would look to overload central areas and leave the wide areas for the full backs. The one change between the Chelsea & West Ham fixture was Ozil (10) being replaced by Ramsey (8).

It will certainly be interesting to see how Emery develops this Arsenal side going forward, but from what we have seen there is enough to be optimistic about going forward.

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