Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal players that they must be more versatile and unpredictable this season as the Gunners look to get their hands on the Premier League title.
After seeing Arsenal come up agonisingly short to eventual champions Manchester City, Arteta sanctioned the expensive signings of Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber this summer, signalling a clear preference for players comfortable in a number of different roles.
That is a key part to Arteta’s approach to the new season, with the boss admitting he wants to be able to rely on more players in different positions to help him vary Arsenal’s style of play.
“We are going to need to do that in a different way, for sure,” he explained. “It’s a different context that we have this season. One is down to competition for places but as well the players we have and interactions, positions they can occupy as well.
“A lot has changed as well. The games are longer now, more minutes to play as well and how we start and finish the games will be critical so it’s something to bear in mind as well.
“I I love it. Because it gives you more options, better players, more chances to do what you can when you have to change the game, we have to change things and we’re going to ask players to do it naturally, not to force it when you don’t really know when that fits.
“But teams in the Premier League, their managers and staff, after two or three games they know and they try to find a solution. But it’s not about the solution. It was more about us.”
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Unfortunately for Arteta, he lost a key part of this new vision when Timber went down with a serious knee injury in the opening game of the season, but the boss wants the rest of his squad to step up and fill the void.
“After just joining to have this injury is a big blow for him. We recruited him intentionally to add to the team and now we have to adapt and move on,” Arteta said recently.
“He has been very good, to be honest. He’s a special character. He’s in a good place, so we are all willing to help him, but it’s going to be a long journey.
“I’m thinking about the resources we have in the team but he would have given us different things on both sides of defence. It’s an opportunity for everybody. We need everybody.”
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