The first 30 minutes of this match gave me a lot of confidence in Arsenal’s midfield and attack for next season. I LOVE the 4-2-3-1 we’ve been seeing used with Aubameyang on the right, Ozil in the middle, and Lacazette up front. Ozil is in his best position and Aubameyang looks comfortable on the right while also playing through the middle at times. If Arsenal sign a pacey/powerful left-winger, which seems likely, that front four could be lethal.
The double pivot seems to be great for the midfield as well. I think Torreira next to Ceballos, Willock, or Guendouzi could be a great midfield. I hate Xhaka and I truly hope he doesn’t get playing time over those 4 midfielders I just mentioned. He played a couple good passes tonight but he also was poor defensively and had that horrendous penalty. He cannot be captain, plain and simple. Willock was great tonight and continued showing how well-rounded he is in his game. He’s going to be a wonderful box-to-box midfielder and hopefully gets plenty of playing time in the pivot or in a potential 3-man midfield in a 4-3-3.
Moving on to the defense, Sokratis ruined the game by getting those two yellow cards. It stopped the team’s momentum and never really recovered until the kids came on late. Although it was horrible from Sokratis, he should still be starting in the backline for matchday #1. I thought Chambers impressed again, and hopefully he has truly turned a corner to become a dependable centre-back. I still prefer Holding over him but he’s probably ahead of Mustafi. Kolasinac and Jenkinson weren’t horrible so that’s good.
I thought Saka, Nelson, and Nketiah were great when they came on for the last 15 minutes even though they didn’t score to show it. Nketiah should’ve scored those two chances but I’ll give him a pass. Nelson looked better than his previous appearances, but Saka once again outshined him.
I think the main message to take from this game is that the 4-2-3-1 will definitely be used more this season, and I would guess that it’ll be used in almost all home games. For away games, a 4-3-3 might be mixed in to have more stability in the midfield. Torreira at the base with Iwobi, Ceballos, Guendouzi, and Willock as all great options to round out the final two spots with Ozil on the bench. A front three of Auba and *new winger signing* on the wings and Lacazette through the middle seems to be the likely option.
I’m all of a sudden, dare I say it, optimistic (!?!?!?!) for next season if Tierney, Ceballos, and a winger come in. And if a centre-back came in I’d be over the moon.
The final two weeks of the transfer window should be interesting…..
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