You need two players for every position - it’s a real football saying isn’t it?
Pretty logical really isn’t it – you can cover injuries, compensate for lack of form, not to mention replace those players who have temper tantrums or unexpected sore backs.
It is fair to say Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have two players for every position - but it is totally different.
Our unbalanced squad and lack of quality often means that the manager has to play two players to cover the role of one.
Many of us will remember Patrick Viera being called a one-man midfield - well Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos (or the alternatives) are essentially a four man midfield.
Why? Here's why: Xhaxa has the proverbial ‘cultured left foot’ but has pretty much no right foot at all. He is our best passer but is often out of position or caught on the ball. Ceballos seems neat and tidy and is effectively Xhaka’s right foot.
So you have two players doing the job of one
We don’t seem to be able to come up with a stable back four that is good enough to boss a game – so we have to have an extra defender there to do the job of two.
David Luiz can pass but is inconsistent with his discipline and positioning as witnessed by his sending off at Manchester City.
While, Shkodran Mustafi is good in the air and with the ball, but goes to ground too quickly and makes lots of individual mistakes - so we compensate by playing an extra centre back.
In other scenarios we play Kieran Tierney as left centre back when we would prefer in at left back or left wing back. We simply don’t have another left footed centre-back with Pablo Mari out injured) that we trust there with all due respect to Sead Kolasinac – who didn’t exactly cover himself in glory during the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Tuesday evening.
If we analysis the structure of our forward play, we appear to have a lack of creativity – meaning the last three managers have tried to squeeze Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette into the team together as our major goal threats.
Square pegs in round holes is a tad harsh but the pair are certainly not the duo up top in the old school 4-4-2 formation.
This means we sacrifice a creative player on the left to have a goal poaching striker in that position. Our No9 seems now seems to be a false nine.
So once again we have two players possibly doing the job of a single player
All of this means plenty of players playing out of position or the manager sacrificing one part of the team for another, finding ‘work arounds’.
At best this policy is a quick fixe rather than long term solutions and at worst it unbalances the team during a match to compensate.
The best teams currently play variations of 4-3-3 with a ‘5’ at the back on occasion when needed.
We are really no where close to doing that and solving that issue has to be Mikel’s aim for the long term I am sure.
The transfer window may provide some of the answers but I bet the Arsenal head coach cannot wait to spend money this summer in order to have one player for every position.
Whether he gets the funds he needs is another matter entirely…
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