As I said yesterday the speculation about how Arsenal will look and set up come August is rife, despite the welcome distraction of England’s World Cup exploits. Unusually our club find themselves in a position where many of the key players were not involved in Russia and are all back and working with Emery and his new coaching set up already.
So having tweeted that we should not speculate on the set up I am about to do just that, purely because a few snippets I have picked up, along with the new contracts given and new signings made have made me feel the need. That and an hour spare, having started work early today.
I guess the major coup of the signings, should the club finalise the deal, given how he has starred for Uruguay is Torreira. I have seen many muse over how the tenacious Lucas will fit in and as a result what it may mean for other central midfielders already in the squad and I myself have done so. Many feel the greatest implication are for the roles of Ramsey or Ozil is the newly extended Xkaha is to partner the new boy. Others have speculated that it will be a three-man midfield and assume that this means Ozil will therefore be asked to play from a wider starting position.
Some of those who are involved in the World Cup, such as Xhaha, Iwobi, Ozil, Monreal and others are not at Colney now and are not being exposed to the new coaching regime. They may be hearing second hand from their mates back in Herts of course and if they are for some it will be exciting and for others threatening. Whilst it is early days, the word is that the go to system may well be 4123 with the Arsenal model of 2018/19 under Emery being similar to the high press tactics operated by Klopp at Liverpool. Emery will be flexible I am sure in formations but any midfield or attacking players being looked at will need to be comfortable working the press and fit enough to do it for 90 minutes not in fits and starts.
What is 100% certain is that the 4123, as seems likely, will operate with an out and out defensive shield patrolling in front of the back for, alert to danger and mobile enough to cut that danger out. The chosen man must also be an efficient and distributor and it seems Torreira is this player. Right now at Colney, the man in pole position to stake a claim as understudy is Maitland- Niles who I expect to build on his impressive first campaign.
The two first team midfielders operating ahead of Torreira if we get the deal concluded as expected as the season progresses you have to assume would be Ramsey (signdating) and Xhaka, although given his recent deeper role outings for Ozil, he may have an view on that. I am firmly of the view that 2018/19 will a see squad rotation at Arsenal so we have Elneny and perhaps another incoming to add to the competition, which can only be a healthy thing. Let us not forget that Gilberto, Vieira, Edu and Parlour all appeared in over 30 league matches in 03/04. The key of course is to have such strength that as supporters we are not concerned at the changes or rotation. No one every worried when Edu came in for Paddy or Gilberto because he was that good.
I believe Emery will then operate a fluid front three and unlike most, I expect Lacazette to be the vocal point of the attack. He works well either facing or with his back to goal, which will be crucial in this system. Aubameyang is better running on to through balls and meeting crosses and less comfortable with his back to goal and linking play than the French international, so he will play slightly to the left No doubt, they will be interchangeable but I think this will surprise a few and most may disagree. At present at Colney, our Armenian superstar is operating on the right of that fearsome three. The media at linking Arsenal with different wingers each week and we may well bring one in but with Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang both approaching 30 and established, perhaps a younger player to push and rotate more sensible.
Those returning later will have to convince the coach they fit into the new system and the high press Emery desires. Pressing to win the ball back in the opposition half is not a style all will adapt to and while I expect Ozil will back himself to find a role as one of the two advanced central players or perhaps wide and far from convinced that Alex Iwobi will be needed. Reiss Nelson’s attributes suggest him as a far likelier cover for the wide roles and that he might be the one to compete with any new winger purchased. One has to wonder if Danny Welbeck, whilst undoubtedly being perfect cover, will wish to continue as such.
Most fans agree that Ozil can adapt:
Question. If Emery adopts a Barcalona, Liverpool high energy, high press style, aiming to win possession back in the opposition half can Ozil work that way?
— Dave Seager (@goonerdave66) July 6, 2018
Fascinating and exciting times indeed… Back to work!