I’ve already written at size concerning the quantity of admin that must be undertaken by Edu, Richard Garlick and Mikel Arteta this summer season on the subject of contracts, departures and transfers. Ideally Mikel Arteta shouldn’t be too concerned within the trivia of that work.
What ought to Mikel Arteta be mulling over as soon as the crew come again collectively for pre-season coaching? What are the important thing on-field components the coach needs to be prioritising with the gamers he already has? Arteta could be very fortunate that he has me to inform him. Listed below are three priorities for subsequent season, past the vagaries of the switch market.
Appoint some generals
A couple of weeks in the past, I wrote concerning the Arsenal assault and why they wrestle to maintain groups underneath pressure- particularly on the Emirates. 2020-21 noticed Arsenal play nicely in bursts however hardly ever have been they in a position to completely dominate groups for sustained intervals of a recreation.
That is largely to do with balance- however I additionally suppose there’s something within the inexperience of the team- and by that, I don’t essentially imply the younger gamers. Gabriel and Thomas Partey have been drafted into the crew final summer season and each have skilled up and down seasons. The Gunners additionally signed Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (extra on whom anon) to a brand new deal and struggled to encourage his greatest type.
I feel there’s an intangible ingredient at play the place Arsenal haven’t fairly labored out who their alphas are or, extra precisely, these alphas discovered final season powerful going for various causes. Gabriel was Arsenal’s massive cash signing for the defence final season, Rob Holding was signed to a brand new contract and Pablo Mari joined the membership; however Gabriel was meant to be the cornerstone of the defence (with William Saliba hopefully developing behind him quickly sufficient).
Gabriel must really feel like he “owns” the defence very like Thomas Partey must develop into the concept he “owns” the midfield. Groups want gamers who step up in these moments when a crew goes chilly. Hopefully Partey and Gabriel will really feel extra part of the crew subsequent season and can begin to grasp this duty extra organically. Each are very front-footed gamers and I wish to see them assist to push the crew up the pitch, aggressively competing for interceptions and transitioning Arsenal from defence to assault extra rapidly.
It was a really powerful season to be a brand new participant in a brand new nation with covid protocols and behind closed door video games. The relief of restrictions and return of followers ought to help that course of and drawing on a few of that camaraderie and emotion may even assist the gamers themselves they usually might want to really feel trusted to step into these “Common” roles.
With David Luiz gone and Hector Bellerin and perhaps Lacazette to comply with, gamers like Gabriel and Partey might want to emerge as the brand new management core of the group. In assault, I feel that’s maybe tougher as a result of I don’t suppose Aubameyang is, or ever has been, the piece you construct round per se, he’s the man you sit within the penalty space and attempt to create for. Nonetheless, whereas we’re on that topic….
Get extra from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
Auba isn’t going anyplace, Arsenal made a acutely aware resolution to award him an enormous contract once they simply might have ended the connection final summer season. They selected to not and now they must make it work. A studying level for the longer term is to not make such crucial choices with no very clear plan of what you’re going to do with the participant you’re investing a lot into.
That ship has sailed now, Arsenal have made their mattress they usually must lie in it. I feel there are myriad components behind Aubameyang’s underwhelming season that aren’t essentially his fault. Arsenal’s inventive deficit has performed into that, in addition to the participant experiencing private points together with his mom’s well being and his personal.
The captain just isn’t completely innocent, after all. His timekeeping this season has been introduced underneath the microscope and as a lot as I feel he has struggled with the crew’s inventive deficit, Auba is a really expressive participant. It’s straightforward to inform when the solar shines and when the storm clouds are gathering and proper now his temper appears as darkish and gloomy because the British “summer season.”
Arsenal can not permit him to emotionally disengage from this crew (and the participant himself has loads of duty to bear there). Final summer season, Auba and Arsenal seemed to be a love story however quick ahead 12 months and if the 2 events aren’t fairly throwing plates at each other but, there’s some passive aggressive bickering that must be nipped within the bud.
The easiest way for Arteta to resolve this drawback is to stability the assault. In equity, we noticed way more of that within the second half of final season with the introduction of Smith Rowe and Odegaard into the crew and the sidelining of Willian. Arteta made the choice to maintain Auba and if he didn’t have a plan on the level that he made that call, he higher get scribbling on the again of a cigarette packet in the course of the summer season.
Discover extra minutes for Gabriel Martinelli
Gabriel Martinelli just isn’t a technically clean participant but. He requires some growth however I actually hope that Arteta doesn’t attempt to clean out Martinelli’s tough edges an excessive amount of as a result of these tough edges are so key to his recreation. The easy truth is, nevertheless aesthetically pleasing it’s to look at, Martinelli helps Arsenal to take extra pictures at objective.
This can be a crew that struggles to maintain groups underneath strain and Martinelli is an ideal antidote to that- the assault wants larger explosiveness and that’s precisely what he supplies. Now, it’s not as straightforward as simply placing him into the beginning eleven for each recreation and watching him go. Once more, there’s that query of stability. A entrance three of Pepe, Martinelli and Aubameyang, for example, just isn’t technically safe sufficient to play collectively.
Personally, I’d look to share Martinelli and Pepe’s minutes as a place to begin. Each gamers are comparatively comparable in that they don’t actually conform to patterns of play however they do conform to spanking the ball in direction of the objective or into the six-yard space quite a bit. Each single minute that was awarded to Willian final season was a waste and a complete drain on minutes that will have been higher spent elsewhere.
If Arsenal, by some miracle, can get him out of the door and exchange him with a extra technical no.10 / huge ahead hybrid like Buendia, then the stability between, as I termed it a few weeks in the past, scalpels and sledgehammers appears higher. Martinelli is a sledgehammer, I’m not saying he ought to play each minute of each recreation at this stage; however rotate him with Pepe in one of many huge ahead positions and perhaps rotate him with Aubameyang within the centre-forward position and also you’re creating a participant who needs to be a key a part of your future technique.
Ushering Martinelli in with one arm and shoving Willian out with the opposite should be the broad plan right here, although that’s contingent on Arsenal getting that additional creator, whether or not or not it’s Odegaard, Buendia or A.N. Different. Youth just isn’t the important thing attribute for Smith Rowe, Martinelli or Saka, their high quality is their most vital high quality. As Arteta reshapes the Arsenal assault nevertheless, their respective ages simply imply that Arsenal can construct round them for longer. That course of has to begin now.
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