Arsenal HeadlinesMatch Analysis

How Arsenal could line up with Aouar, Gabriel Magalhaes, Saliba, Willian and Ceballos

Mikel Arteta will hope Arsenal’s transfer business this summer provides him with greater squad depth and tactical flexibility going into the new 2020-21 season.

A key example of that is in defence, with Arteta preferring to play a back-three during Arsenal’s run to FA Cup glory last season.

The £25m signing of Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes will provide competition for fellow left-footed centre-back Pablo Mari, while long-term he looks like an ideal partner for the right-footed William Saliba.

Arsenal could line up in a back-three of Gabriel, David Luiz and Saliba next season – but Arteta may opt for a pair of Gabriel and Saliba going forward.

The Spaniard is believed to be keen on playing a 4-3-3 formation long-term, with Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin the two full-backs should the latter not leave this summer.

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Emi Martinez will hope to keep his place in goal with Bernd Leno short on match fitness, but long-term Arteta must decide who his No1 is.

Martinez is happy to stay at Arsenal, but wants assurances over his game time and he has offers to leave.

In midfield, Arsenal will lean on Dani Ceballos, who has returned for a second loan spell after forming a good partnership with Granit Xhaka last season.

Thomas Partey is another player who could join in midfield, but right now Arsenal have currently not activated his €50million (£45m) release-clause and Atletico Madrid won’t accept a lower fee.

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Ahead of that, if Arteta goes for four in defence, we could see a new attack this season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may start on the left and Nicolas Pepe on the right, with Willian playing as a No10. Interest in Houssem Aouar could change the front four and push out Alexandre Lacazette.

Willian was signed from Chelsea due to his versatility and, while he will play wide at times, he can also be deployed through the middle.

“We had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions,” said Arteta.

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Willian typifies the new tactical flexibility Arteta will hope to get from his squad and the added depth he will want to have.

In attack, Lacazette should lead the line. The Frenchman is attracting interest from Juventus, but as of yet there have been no concrete offers for him.

(4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Ceballos, Xhaka; Willian, Aouar, Pepe; Aubameyang.


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