Highbury Harmony wrote (in the previous post):
Hard to accommodate an Ozil like player while remaining in the current formation, though!
I’ve seen Partey play some exquisite passes and same with Dani and Saka (even Xhaka too). I feel like part of the problem is our front three are all more inside forwards than true wingers looking to create. The chemistry and directness is still not there yet, as the understanding of where to move and pass to, in order to combine and break down a team is still a work in progress.
Fulham game aside, we looked our best in attack this season with Willian central, Auba up top and Saka/Pepe on the wings. If Arteta dares to move to 4 at the back, there could be a solution. I am maybe just a bit naive to think there’s still more we can maximize in the 3-4-3 to create more chances.
I agree with HH. An Ozil like player is unlikely to get a foot in, unfortunately. Also a good point about chemistry. I think our attackers simply get outnumbered a lot at the moment, so excellent mutual understanding and blind connectivity is key. However, if you look at Pool and MC they push up and then have the numbers around the oppositions’ boxes to do the passing and finding the gaps and cracks. They also have established that vital chemistry between the attackers. Numbers + chemistry = increase in chances and thus goals.
It takes us a lot of effort to get to the same potential overload situations at the moment. We still sit too deep and don’t dare to push up quickly, because we cannot afford to fall back into ‘Emery-ball’ in which we create and give away equal numbers of chances with the hope that we score one more than them…
It is a work in progress and for me it is vital to sort out the right wing of the team next.
Ceballos has a tendency to veer leftwards, where Xhaka is at home. We need him, or most probably Partey, to sort out the right side the way Granit bosses the left side of midfield. That is why I am so hopeful Partey will make a big difference in terms of improving our attacking play. He can do the b2b in an athletic sort of way. Only Elneny could do this until now, but I see him more as back up to Granit.
So Partey (and Ceballos as back up) can help us with the link up on the right, and Arteta will now have to put his plan in place for our right side of the team. It is not clicking at the moment, although there was progress v the Blades before the international break.
Arteta will need to get the right set of players together. Who should be our nr1 RCB, nr1 RWB, nr1 RFW? Their style of play and key skills need to fit well with each other and make the whole more than the sum of its parts. I have a feeling that Holding has won the RCB spot, that there will be a battle/competition between Hector and Soares (and AMN) for the RWB position, and that Willian is ahead of Pepe for the RFW role (like you I see Auba and Pepe as ‘Inside Forwars’).
So I am most excited about the way Partey will play and how he will help us to get the right wing working much better, and with that improve our attacking play significantly. For me he is the missing link. I see potential in Ceballos and it is great to have him in the squad but I think Partey will push us to another level. Mikel has to make some difficult decisions, but I reckon sooner or later we will see an established right side of Holding, Soares, Partey, Willian/Pepe – with back up of Bellerin for Holding (if we play 3 at the back, until Chambers is back) and Soares; Ceballos for Partey; and, Nelson for Willian/Pepe.
Finally, I am hoping that we will have a player who occupies the area in front of the opposition’s D a lot whilst connecting well with our central midfielders AND fellow attackers. Laca has been our main player for this and Willian did in my opinion a good job of it on Saturday. The false nr9 things makes sense when we have lethal attackers like Auba and Pepe on the pitch. We need a proper goal threat from such a player so I am happy with either Laca or Willian to play there. The latter is the better passer, and the former the better finisher but they are both great players and will benefit tremendously from a well-balanced and constantly connecting midfield and a much improved right wing.
My final, final point is whether we can improve further on this ‘false 9’ position and whether there was genuine interest in Aouar this summer? Or do we have an even better internal alternative? I would play a young man in that position, one who can defend like a full back or a DM, can dribble and can pass billiard balls when others are playing cricket and can score goals from all angles and even with his head. 🙂
By TotalArsenal and Highbury Harmony