Arteta: I can’t play the football I want at Arsenal

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 2 min read
Arteta: I can’t play the football I want at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says his desired formation for the team is 4-3-3, but that is unable to deploy them in that set-up currently due to not having the right players.

In the 2020/21 season, FootballCritic shows that that Arsenal have started in a 3-4-3 formation on eight occasions, 4-3-3 four times and 4-2-3-1 twice, with a couple of others thrown in.


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  • It has actually become a staple of how Arteta’s teams play, with three central defenders at the back and two wing-backs as part of the midfield four.

    However, his real desire is to play with a 4-3-3.

    “We want to move to a 4-3-3 but for that you need a lot of specificity in every position but now in five or six positions. We don’t have it,” the Spaniard said ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League match against Rapid Vienna.

    “I think that what we miss is in the opponent’s area and the last part of the pitch. We have to find the key in the attack, that last decision, that last pass, that last cross to create a goal situation, a goal, a shot, a corner, etc.”

    So far as Arsenal boss, Arteta has had to choose carefully which areas of his team to strengthen. Although his team undeniably need freshening up in attack, he chose to improve things further back in the summer.

    Thomas Partey was signed for £45m (€49m) from Atletico Madrid to add steel in the middle of midfield, while £23m (€25m) was spent on central defender Gabriel from Lille.

    Arteta’s choice not to strengthen significantly in creative areas, apart from the free transfer signing of Willian from Chelsea, has left the Gunners firing blanks up top.

    Arsenal are averaging just one goal per game in the Premier League so far, with star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having only netted twice so far.

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