We initially witnessed Mikel Arteta’s new system against Nottingham Forest in the season’s first game, and it appears that he is adamant about sticking with it.
The primary distinction between the new system and the previous one is the substitution of an attacker for a defender.
This makes sense when Arsenal controls the ball for 70–80% of the game because the extra attacker can aid in dismantling the opposition.
Particularly when playing against clubs that defend with a 5-back, as Forest did in the first game, it makes sense.
Isolating Gabi Martinelli and Bukayo Saka on the wings, where they can go one on one with a defender, is a key component of Arsenal’s strategy.
The opposition’s three centre defenders can be occupied by players like Kai Havertz, Eddie Nketiah, and Martin degaard, which enables Saka and Martinelli to be isolated against their respective fullbacks.
Both goals in the contest versus Forest were scored in this manner. The first goal was made by Martinelli, and Saka then sprinted in to add the second.
How Thomas Partey fits into this new system
Thomas Partey is playing a hybrid role in this new system, which is similar to what John Stones did at Manchester City.
Partey is a right defender for Arsenal when they are defending. But as soon as he gains control of the ball, he slips deftly towards midfield, freeing Ben White to move to right back.
While Partey’s job in this system may seem unnecessary to some, it’s vital to keep in mind that he won’t play much right back when Arsenal controls possession for 70–80% of the game.
He will be in charge of the midfield instead. I don’t believe Arteta will use this new strategy against any of the league’s elite teams. But it makes sense against a more passive enemy that is weaker.