Arteta Looking in the Mirror For Next Step of Arsenal Evolution

Arteta wants Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League crown next season and has implemented new ideas at the club since returning as manager.

The double-pivot is an example of this. It allows Xhaka to push up into David Silva-like roles while freeing Partey up for one-on-one challenges with defenders from wide areas.

Pep Guardiola and the master-apprentice relationship

Pep Guardiola was so pleased with Mikel Arteta’s work as his assistant at Manchester City that he handed him control of a Premier League clash against Arsenal in December 2016 as an unofficial managerial debutante. Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling provided impressive goalscoring contributions as his protege stepped into management responsibilities successfully.

Arteta would go on to experience immense success during his three seasons at City, winning back-to-back league titles and an unprecedented domestic treble as first-team coach before leaving in 2019 to take up his new position at Arsenal.

Arteta’s efforts have been instrumental to many of Arsenal’s recent achievements. He has managed to inject an energetic fighting spirit that often lacks at Emirates and push players on to new levels, while simultaneously keeping pace with top sides – this will be his greatest challenge when facing his former boss on Wednesday in their titanic title showdown.

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The Gunners’ fluidity

Arsenal have relied on their positional fluidity this season to breakdown deep-lying defences, and this strategy is key in their success. Francis Coquelin has been outstanding, supported by Granit Xhaka, Kieran Tierney and Flo Balogun who all provide invaluable contributions.

As they move in tandem and shift positions, Xhaka shifted out left when Zinchenko came inside while wingers like Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard overlapped that flank and took on defenders one-on-one.

Movement provides multiple angles of attack and adds an unpredictability that was lacking last season, when Arsenal were too predictable in possession. They still need to improve on their right-hand side but this is a good start; ultimately it will be Arsenal’s attacking options which decide their fate next Wednesday when they meet Pep Guardiola and Manchester City; there can be no higher stakes involved than that!

The Spaniard’s ambition

Arsenal have made themselves a formidable challenger of City in Premier League play this season and may still need some luck on Wednesday when they host them at Etihad Stadium for a top-two showdown.

Arteta has made it clear his team must perform at their best. He stressed the need for “big ambitions” and pushing their limits as far as possible.

Arsenal have shown this through their recent performances. Against the top six (excluding City), Arsenal have recorded five wins and one loss compared to three defeats over Arteta’s three seasons as coach. This shows significant improvement.

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The future

Mikel Arteta’s long-term plan for Arsenal remains firmly intact despite their meek surrender at Etihad Stadium, but with Champions League football secured for next season they must address issues such as poor defending, schoolboy errors and their inferiority complex if they wish to become genuine title contenders again.

The Spaniard must shake off his disappointment of defeat and focus on leading his side through their relegation fight, with an eye toward utilising the coming transfer window to upgrade their squad further.

One of the few bright spots from last season for Arsenal was Stephan Lichtsteiner’s rise. But, to improve defensively, they require a quality replacement for Granit Xhaka and The Telegraph Sport understands they may look to Turkey to sign Sacha Boey – 22 year-old French fullback with France youth international cap and currently on loan at Galatasaray – according to sources close to them.

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