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3 Factors which make Arsenal genuine challengers for the Premier League title this season

Subhadeep Roy
Top 5 / Top 10
03 Dec 2018, 14:47 IST

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 yesterday to move into 3rd position in the EPL. They now have 30 points from 14 matches and are 8 points behind league leaders Manchester City. Arsenal was especially dominant in the second half of the match yesterday and their win was even more impressive given the fact that Spurs had beaten Chelsea and Inter Milan in their two previous matches.

Arsenal lost their first 2 matches against City and Chelsea, but since then it has been a very good run for them. They drew with Liverpool in November and have won 10 of the other 11 matches. Unai Emery, who has replaced Arsene Wenger at the Emirates, has done a good job so far and should be hopeful of a top 3 finish in the league.

We would now take a look at 3 factors which might enable Arsenal to be genuine challengers for the title itself:

#3. Playing with a flexible formation

Lucas Torreira
Lucas Torreira

Arsenal started with a 3 man defence against Spurs to counter the high press and counter-attacking runs of their forwards. However, later on in the second half, they shifted to back 4 as Mustafi got injured and had to be taken off. They have mostly played with a back 4 this season, but Sunday’s 3-4-3 with Iwobi, Aubemyang and Mkhitaryan upfront seemed to work for them.

However, it seemed to be more effective in the second half as Mkhitaryan and Iwobi were replaced by Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette, respectively. Arsenal also has a very flexible midfield as players like Lucas Torriera, Guendouzi and Granite Xhaka can play both as a central midfielder and a defensive midfielder.

Therefore, Arsenal’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Torriera and Xhaka as double pivots work fine. Torriera has been superb this season for the Gunners and one of their better signings in recent times. He can play box-to-box and has enviable ball skills and work rate.

Arsenal also has Mkhitaryan, Ramsey and Mesut Ozil to choose from for the central attacking midfielder’s role and all of them are very skilful players. Emery, therefore, can afford to be flexible while choosing his starting formation and alter it according to the playing style of his opponent. This makes Arsenal a formidable proposition for any team they play against. 

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