Connect with us


One simple tactic adopted by Mikel Arteta that made Arsenal duo the best in Europe



Arsenal have had a very productive season and currently sit eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Mikel Arteta has the potential to go down in history as one of Arsenal’s greatest managers.
The Spaniard has been on a rollercoaster ride in north London since being appointed head coach in December 2019. Over the past two years, however, ‘the process’ has shown monumental progress thanks to the spirit Arteta’s elite tactics.

His side are currently top of the Premier League table with just ten games to play, eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City, despite the defending champions having one game less against their title rivals. The Gunners’ last game came on Sunday when they beat Crystal Palace 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium, with one of Arteta’s principles being applied throughout. Arsenal’s two top scorers in La Liga this season are both wingers, in the form of Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, and that’s certainly no coincidence. Both youngsters have improved by leaps and bounds under Arteta’s guidance, averaging 37 goals and assists in La Liga this season.

This form hasn’t gone unnoticed either, with Sporting CP defender Jeremiah St Juste hailing them as the best wingers in Europe. Asked earlier this month if Saka and Martinelli were the two best wingers in Europe, St Juste replied: “Yes, I think so. They have a lot of quality and they prove it at the highest level every week, so it’s going to be an exciting challenge.”

One of the reasons for this is the way their manager orders them to take the ball. It may sound trivial, but it’s actually essential to how Arsenal play. Arteta wants his wings to have an open body when they receive the ball, so they can see everything in front of and beside them.

His wingers must receive the ball with an open attitude as they face the opponent’s goal. This way they can run on the ball making it easier to take the lead rather than receiving with their backs to goal making it easier for opposing full-backs to defend.
“The lines are here because I don’t like creating lines between wing players,” says Arteta when explaining how he wants his full-backs and wingers to interact in an old video of him coaching the Wales under-16 team, which he continued to win the shield of victory. , when he earned his A license coaching badges. “Why? Because that’s how the full-back suits the winger (down to his feet). His back is on goal. He can’t take the game forward. There’s always someone on her buttocks. He can’t play forward.”

“If you do it like that, the angles you do, you always get the ball like that (open position towards the opponents’ goal).”

It may sound complicated but against Palace, Arteta’s principles were seen in full. Here White waits in possession, waiting for Saka to move inside before playing a perfectly weighted pass into the 21-year-old’s path.

This allows Saka to easily receive while running and finish to make it 2-0. And not only does Saka benefit from Arteta’s tactical intelligence.
The aforementioned Martinelli also has the task of positioning himself in the same way. Against Leicester City last month, Leandro Trossard kept the ball high, waiting for Martinelli to come on.

Trossard then plays the ball inside the movement of the Brazilian international, once again allowing him to easily run to the ball without losing control. The result? A goal, of course.
Many of Arsenal’s goals under Arteta feel like this, almost like dancing in a show that has been constantly rehearsed in advance. That’s because they are.

The Spaniard’s offensive schemes are choreographed, with each player in position for a reason, not just for the fun of it. In some ways he borrows from mentor and current City boss Pep Guardiola when it comes to attacking principles. “You start high and wide. After that you can do whatever you want,” said Arsenal icon Thierry Henry describing life as a winger for Guardiola. But Guardiola himself refuses to credit much of the work Arteta did during his tenure as assistant coach at the Etihad, particularly the way he improved Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane during his three-and-a-half years at the helm. North. “I have nothing but good things to say about Mikel Arteta,” Sane told The Independent in 2020.
“Since we started working together he has helped me a lot on the pitch. He tried to improve my football, he told me what I did well and what I did wrong and he tried to work on it.”

Of course, both Arsenal wingers still have a long way to go before they can be compared to Sane and Sterling in terms of cover. The pair won two league titles as City widemen before Sane joined Bayern Munich. But Martinelli and Saka are now more than newcomers to the block. They are both world-class talents and are on course to become the title-winning Gunners duo.