Manchester Metropolis return to Premier League motion this weekend as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal head to the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s facet comfortably brushed the Gunners apart of their first recreation of the restarted 2019/20 Premier League season, profitable 3-Zero on the Etihad Stadium again in June.
However Arteta received one over his previous colleague with a 2-Zero win at Wembley within the FA Cup semi-final.
Arteta has improved Arsenal significantly since his arrival in December 2019 and the board backed him with a hefty-sized switch funds this summer time. After strengthening his defence with the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes, Arteta secured his No.1 goal within the type of Ghanaian worldwide Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.
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Partey has been on the Gunners’ radar for over 12 months and, with the 27-year-old finishing his transfer throughout the worldwide break, he’s line to make his debut in opposition to Metropolis.
Guardiola opted for a two-man defensive midfield pivot of Fernandinho and Rodri within the first two Premier League video games of the season and he appears set to revert again to that to stop Partey from dominating the midfield.
Arteta has rotated his personal midfield choices within the opening weeks of the brand new marketing campaign, however he’s anticipated to begin Granit Xhaka as a lone holding midfielder, with Partey and Dani Ceballos simply forward of him.
That may enable Arsenal’s new man to run at Metropolis’s defence and create possibilities for the attackers forward of him, however the onus will probably be on the hosts midfield to disclaim him the area to take action.
Partey’s trademark for Diego Simeone’s facet was making line-breaking passes into Joao Felix and Saul Niguez and stretching the area in behind the opposition midfield.
Nonetheless, his inventive talents would be the focus at Arsenal, with perceptions about him being a solely defensively minded operator set to be debunked by a brand new position below Arteta.
There are two foremost methods Metropolis will try to nullify his affect, blocking his personal possession supply and denying him that each one essential area.
Xhaka will look to play balls into the area the place Fernandinho and Rodri are, so the main target will probably be on Kevin De Bruyne to chop off that offer line and utlise his personal menace of working off the Swiss worldwide.
Ceballos is extra completed in possession than Xhaka and he’ll look to hyperlink up with Partey by way of the area between De Bruyne and the 2 holding gamers.
While the Spanish worldwide might be squeezed into errors, closing the hole between midfield and defence will probably be essential to dulling their affect.
Fernandinho has been uncovered to gamers working in behind thus far this season and Rodri is way extra comfy with the sport being performed in entrance of him.
If Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte push their line of defense up excessive they’ll suffocate Arsenal and Partey within the centre of the pitch.
However this tactic shouldn’t be with out danger as the upper line of defense clearly creates the choice for Arsenal to play extra direct and play straight to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
Nonetheless, Dias, Laporte and Kyle Walker will all fancy themselves in one-on-one conditions if Arsenal are diminished to going in opposition to their recreation plan and bypassing Partey.