Reactions are still pouring in post the loss to Tottenham on Sunday and the former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has learnt his voice to the topic. Writing for the Daily Mail Martin stated:
There were positives for Arsenal. Dani Ceballos was promising in midfield, while keeper Emiliano Martinez was probably their best player. But Arteta needs to decide which way he wants his team to play — three or four at the back — and buy players who suit his preferred system.
Harry Kane and Son posed problems. We saw Shkodran Mustafi diving in — maybe that’s because he doesn’t feel he’s going to get cover from Luiz behind him. Choose your system, Arteta, and buy accordingly.
Arteta has played with a back three since losing Pablo Mari to injury during the game against Man City after the league restarted. Little is known if this approach is a tactical preference for the young manager or an option designed to limit the weakness of the current crop of defenders he has at the club. The back three has offered protection for Arsenal in recent games with the Gunners keeping three consecutive clean sheets before the draw against Leicester and subsequent defeat to Spurs.
However, while the discussion on which formation the manager should play is relevant, a deeper review of the goals conceded does not lend credence to the back three being the issue. Kolasinac made an individual error with the bad pass to David Luiz for Tottenham’s first goal and the second was conceded off a corner with 5ft 10in Kieran Tierney tasked with the responsibility of marking at 6ft 2in Alderweireld for the Spurs winner. Both goals might have been conceded despite the defensive shape.
Arteta has already spoken about the importance of stopping individual mistakes stating at the press conference after the game against Spurs
“Yes. If we minimise the mistakes that we do and we keep playing like that, we’re going to win many, many, many football games. Because we’re going to make it really difficult for the opponent. I’m sure of that. “There’s been various things since I’ve joined that cost us games.
Expectations are rife that new signings Pablo Mari and William Saliba will break much-needed stability to the Arsenal defence next season. But with the former seemingly injured till November, it might be a while before Arsenal fans see that defensive pairing in action.
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