Losing matches is just something you have to deal with in football, but defeat to Manchester City helped to give us some insight about who should play in Arsenal’s midfield trio, at least.
Starting the match were Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Aaron Ramsey, and in the first-half none of them were particularly convincing. Ramsey couldn’t get involved half as much as he’d have liked, Xhaka looked a little sloppy, and whilst Guendouzi grew into the game as it went on, he needed to do better for the first goal.
In the second-half, Ramsey only last nine minutes before being replaced by Alexandre Lacazette. That meant Mesut Özil dropping into the midfield three, and 15 minutes later Lucas Torreira joined him, replacing Xhaka.
Undoubtedly the trio that ended the match performed much better than the one that started it. Özil hadn’t been particularly effective on the right, but he looked much better in the middle and made a couple of dangerous runs forward off the ball.
Mkhitaryan also looked better shifting to the right-hand side, so there was a double benefit to the change.
Then you look at Torreira specifically, and he made a very good competitive debut in Arsenal colours. He played a couple of great balls over the top, one of which would’ve resulted in a goal if Aubameyang held his run for a few milliseconds longer. He looked lively defensively and on the ball, and surely has to start from now on.
Who else should start?
With Torreira as a guaranteed starter, I’d be very tempted to put Mesut Özil in front of him, considering how well it worked in that final spell. It gets the best out of him and Mkhitaryan, and allows Aubameyang and Lacazette to fill the other two attacking positions.
That leaves Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi to fight it out over the third spot. Mohamed Elneny is also an option, but right now it doesn’t seem like he’s in contention for the starting eleven.
Who you pick will probably depend on the game, with Ramsey more of a goal threat whilst the others provide better defensive cover. Guendouzi looks like a good mix of creativity and defensive solidity, but perhaps his inexperience will count against him at this stage.
Arsenal play Chelsea on Saturday, so we’ll get another look at the best third player for the trio. It promises to be another exciting weekend of Premier League football, and for btts and win tips follow this link.