Mikel Arteta is facing one of the biggest challenges of his career as manager of Arsenal, tonight, as he comes against his former collaborator Pep Guardiola. Here are the tactics Arteta is likely to employ in a bid to stop City’s overpowering attackers.
And, here’s who you’ll want to choose for your fantasy football draft.
Mikel Arteta’s preferred formation
Arteta’s managerial style closely resembles that of Guardiola. This should make the match all the more interesting. It’s easy to assume that Arsenal’s manager is merely a pupil of his former colleague. However, it warrants mentioning that both men received much of their inspiration from Cruyff’s method while both were playing for FC Barcelona, and both worked to create Man. City’s domineering side.
Arsenal is likely to start the game in a 4-3-2-1 formation. It is what Mikel Arteta has used most often and should help guard against similar 4-1-2-3 used by Pep Guardiola.
Arsenal’s defensive duties against Manchester City
Both Arsenal and Manchester City have looked vulnerable on the counter-attack, with spaces often left open between the lines. Individual mistakes have also proven costly for Arteta’s side this season.
Manchester City is without a doubt the favorites for tonight’s clash. This is not only because of the difference in standings. It comes as a result of Guardiola’s determination to exhaust his chances of winning the EPL title before yielding to Liverpool’s success.
The Gunners are likely to depend on their two defensive midfielders, Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos, to drift lower in a bid to overcrowd the central areas where City have proven to be the most threatening.
The back four will work create as little width as possible and force City’s players into wider areas. Ideally for the Gunners, City’s Sergio Aguero will have only crosses to supply his attempts on goal.
Aubameyang and Lacazette’s roles
Arsenal’s offensive hopes rest especially on striker Alexandre Lacazette, and wide target-man, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Arsenal and City use similar tactics, and so they also share many of the strengths and weaknesses.
Arsenal will hope to hurt City on the counter-attack, especially when directing passes on the wings. Here, Nicolas Pepe and Aubameyang can make use of their speed and strength against Kyle Walker and Olexandr Zinchenko.
Key to Arsenal’s success in the final third is Mesut Ozil, the team’s most controversial figure. If the game catches the German midfielder on a good day, which has not always been the case, he can create magic while playing between City’s defense and midfield lines.
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