343 to 433, what are Arteta’s options if not Aouar?

Sticking to 343

Arsenal’s transfer policy should be built around the formation Mikel Arteta chooses to play.

Currently we play 343 but there has always been the though that Arteta will switch to 433.

Perhaps the thinking behind him switching has always been misguided and that Arteta will actually stick to 343 for the season?

Aouar is a fantastic player, but he has excelled for Lyon in a midfield 3 or on the wing, where he is able to drive forward.

343 with 2 in the middle does not suit Auoar.

What is suits is Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka. And Arsenal target Jorginho.

A midfield containing Xhaka and Jorginho would be a worry due to a lack of mobility. However in a 343 this is not exposed as much.

Playing a midfield 4 means that your central midfielders rarely get pulled out wide. They will cover less ground than in a midfield 3. You can play more static midfielders in a 2 man central midfield than a 3 man as the wing backs cover the wide areas alongside your wider central defenders.

In a 343, spending big on Aouar does not make sense.

Relying on who we have

If Arteta is planning to go 433, maybe the club have decided that there are internal options who could be as good as Aouar?

Aouar is a small-ish, technical midfield who has an eye for a pass and is good at driving the ball forward at his feet.

In Bukayo Saka and Willian Arsenal have two players with similar attributes, both at different ends of their career.

Our friends at Gunners Town make a fantastic case as to why Saka could play central midfield in a 3.

Utilising Saka or Willian as part of the 3 would see us line up something like:

Ceballos Xhaka Saka

Willian Xhaka Ceballos

Willian Xhaka Saka

Saka might not be the big money signing that Aouar is, but that does not automatically mean that he is a worse option than Aouar.

The reason Arsenal might not want to waste spending £60million on Aouar is they feel that he would not be a £60million improvement on Bukayo Saka.

Arteta and Edu will also know that fans would back the decision to play Saka more centrally, and would not get on the academy products back as he settles into position.

Thomas Partey

The final option would be a deadline day push for Thomas Partey.

Whilst he would not be the attacking dynamo we crave, he would provide further solidity in central midfield.

Partey on the right hand side of a 3 would allow Arsenal to play Nicolas Pepe on the right, free from defensive duties.

Hector Bellerin would also have the freedom to push forward with Partey dropping into a right hand defensive position in the same way Jordan Henderson and Fabinho do to cover Trent Alexander-Arnold when he attacks.

Arsenal would then have the options of Ceballos, Saka and Willian on the other side to provide the creativity.


At times we do get a bit obsessed by new signings, ignoring what we already have at the club.

If Bukayo Saka played for West Ham and had the season he did last year, and Arsenal signed him for £40million with the plan to move him inside, we would be excited.

Keenos

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