Using a number of different systems and formations since joining Arsenal, Mikel Arteta recently explained which one he prefers for the long-term.
It’s fair to say Mikel Arteta’s side haven’t quite settled on a formation just yet.
Against Wolves, they played a 4-3-3, but they used a 4-2-3-1 against Molde before that, the same formation they often used pre-lockdown. Post-lockdown, it was mostly a 3-4-3/4-3-3 hybrid, which they now appear to be moving away from.
Whenever it seems like they’re settling on one system, they move onto another. Arteta revealed his end goal in an interview with Nacho Gonzalez, as well as detailing why the team aren’t there yet.
“We want to move to a 4-3-3,” Arteta admitted, in quotes translated by Spanish Gooner. “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 aggressiveness, the effectiveness, the amount of steals we make in the opposition half. I think we have been very steady against some big clubs.
“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.”
It’s a good assessment of the current situation. It definitely feels like certain players just aren’t comfortable playing anything like a 4-3-3 at the moment, and it’s leading to a lot of issues creatively.
The problem is that Arteta needs to take steps to resolve those issues immediately. He can’t sign anyone at the moment, he has to make the best of the players he does have available.
It’s all well and good talking about what he’d like to do in an ideal world with the right players, but he’ll never land those players if Arsenal are in a relegation battle with no trophy prospects.
It’s nice to know there’s a long-term plan in mind, at least. I just hope Arteta can get his team through to the end of it.