Saturday, October 23

Granit Xhaka’s injury leads Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta into a tactical dilemma


Granit Xhaka's injury leaves Mikel Arteta at a tactical crossroads

Xhaka’s injury highlights the importance of the midfield duopoly

You may still divide opinion among the Arsenal fan base, but Granit Xhaka remains a vital piece in Mikel Arteta’s arsenal, and that importance was demonstrated in the Gunners’ 3-1 victory against Tottenham in the Derby of the North London.

Xhaka was at the center of the action alongside fellow midfielder Thomas Partey when Arteta’s troops scored three wins out of three after a trio of losses at the top, but now consigned the Spurs to an identical fate after the Nuno Espírito Santo’s regime escaped to a flying start.

But Xhaka’s injury, which is expected to keep him away for at least 6-8 weeks, has potentially ruined Arteta’s tactical plans.

Despite a brilliant start to Arsenal’s career from Sambi Lokonga and the potential resurgence of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, neither player is capable of the efficient nature in which Xhaka can operate as the deepest option in midfield while he is. in a central pair.

Arteta’s tactical options

The Xhaka-Partey duopoly was one of Arsenal’s key assets in the final stretch of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, as the Gunners rampaged through a brilliant period in such a way that it almost ended in a late finish towards the European places.

Granit Xhaka's injury leaves Mikel Arteta at a tactical crossroads

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 1: Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka during the preseason friendly between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on August 1, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins / Getty Images)

Despite its almost moving to AS Roma during the summer, Xhaka was and continues to be valued at the Emirates by Arteta, players and coaching staff alike, and how he is replaced over a period longer than your red card suspension It is a difficult question to answer.

Certainly the absence of the influential Swiss midfielder puts on hold Arsenal in a 4-3-3 under Arteta At least on paper, but the tactical versatility of Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Ødegaard could come into play.

Both Smith Rowe and Ødegaard have been deployed in midfield before, and the desire for a free-8 among a midfield trio can certainly be seen in the Emirates while offering central depth to temporarily fill Xhaka’s void.

It remains to be seen if Arteta is willing to test that theory over a two-month period, but with the current core options now starting to spread, it’s hard to see the Arsenal boss want to use three out of four players at once without understanding. the risk of further injury problems arising.


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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 6 eleven 14
2 Manchester city 6 eleven 13
3 Chelsea Football Club 6 10 13
4 United manchester 6 8 13
5 Everton FC 6 5 13
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 6 3 13
7 West Ham United 6 5 eleven
8 Aston Villa 6 2 10
9 Brentford fc 6 3 9
10 Arsenal FC 6 -5 9
eleven Tottenham Hotspur 6 -5 9
12 Watford FC 6 -2 7
13 Leicester City 6 -3 7
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6 -2 6
fifteen crystal Palace 6 -3 6
sixteen Southampton FC 6 -3 4
17 Newcastle united 6 -7 3
18 Leeds United 6 -8 3
19 FC Burnley 6 -6 2
twenty Norwich city 6 -14 0
Player Team Goals
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 5
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 5
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 5
Maupay, Neal Brighton and Hove Albion 4
Fernandes, Bruno United manchester 4
Sarr, Ismael Watford FC 4
Benrahma said West Ham United 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3
Ronaldo, Cristiano United manchester 3
Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea Football Club 3
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 3
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 3
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 3
Raphinha Leeds United 3
Greenwood, Mason United manchester 3
Doucoure, Abdoulaye Everton FC 2
Saint-Maximin, Allan Newcastle united 2
Jesus, Gabriel Manchester city 2
Townsend, Andros Everton FC 2




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