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3 Things Arsenal must do to get a positive result against Manchester City | Premier League 2019-20

  • This article looks at three things Arsenal must do if they are to get a positive result against Manchester City
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 09 Mar 2020, 16:57 IST

Arsenal FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Arsenal FC v West Ham United - Premier League

As the race for the top four heats up, Arsenal find themselves travelling to Manchester City, looking to keep up with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea ahead of them.

Mikel Arteta's Gunners are growing in confidence and are unbeaten in 2020, although they've been knocked out of the Europa League. Arteta's only Premier League loss as a manager came against Chelsea and the Spaniard will be looking to get a result against his former employers.

Manchester City, on the other hand, will be hurting from the defeat in the Manchester Derby and will be looking to consolidate their hold on second place. It will be an extremely difficult game for Arsenal and here are three things they must do to get a result.


#1 Play Aubameyang centrally

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is wasted out wide. The Gabonese forward is arguably the most potent forward in the league and should play in his best position. In the recent past, Aubameyang has been shifted to the left-wing in order to accommodate either Alexandre Lacazette or Eddie Nketiah up top.

This has created an imbalance within the side as Aubameyang does not possess the qualities of a winger and more importantly, neither Lacazette or Nketiah are good enough to warrant moving the best striker in the league to the wing.

Against City, Arsenal will not have much possession and will play on the counter. Aubameyang has the pace to punish City and offers more of an outlet than Lacazette, who is struggling for form as well. Arteta needs to play his talismanic striker in his best role if Arsenal are to trouble City's goal.


#2 Switch to a midfield three

Arsenal FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Everton FC - Premier League

It would be foolish if Arsenal try to take the game to City. The Gunners, unfortunately, are not good enough to bypass City's pressure and play out from the back. The biggest worry for Arteta will be being overrun in the midfield. City's combination of Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan will keep the ball well and overpower Arsenal if the visitors play a double-pivot.

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Furthermore, with Lucas Torreira out injured, Arsenal do not have a recognised defensive midfielder. Therefore Arteta needs to make the switch to a disciplined midfield trio. If this trio comprises of Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock, it would offer the Gunners a good degree of discipline and shape in midfield, preventing City from cutting through the lines.

The important factor is that Arsenal's midfielders must be ready to help out their teammates in the wide areas as well, to counter the threat of Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez. A disciplined showing from the midfield can lay the foundation for Arsenal to mount counters and make the most of their chances.


#3 Start Gabriel Martinelli

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal FC - FA Cup Fourth Round
AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal FC - FA Cup Fourth Round

Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli has been a revelation since his move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer. The winger is just 18 years old but already has 10 goals in all competitions this season.

His pace and dribbling will be vital for Arsenal on the counter. Martinelli punished Chelsea with a spectacular solo goal at Stamford Bridge, showing how useful he could be in a counter-attacking setup. In the reverse fixture between the two sides, the Brazilian was one of the few Arsenal players who tried to make an impact.

He has to start against Manchester City based on his form and what he brings to the team. Martinelli has a good understanding with Bukayo Saka. The duo can cause City serious problems on the flank, given Mahrez's advanced positioning.

If Martinelli and Saka can isolate City's right-back, they have the pace and skills to create chances. Furthermore, playing Martinelli on the left and Nicolas Pepe on the right will bring more balance to the side.

Published 09 Mar 2020, 16:57 IST
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