All of the players in Arsenal’s squad have their own roles to play and because they have been executing Mikel Arteta’s idea to perfection we have been getting incredible results. As of now it has resulted in us being league leaders, nobody foreseen a situation where Arsenal would be topping the table six months into the league.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal tactically have been fairly strong since the day he took over as a coach, we saw hints of it in certain games such as the win over Liverpool in the Community Shield Final in 2020. However, we simply did not have the right players at the time in order to execute his plan week in, week out.
Eventually Mikel Arteta got his players and while it was a slow process, it was a very important one. The signing of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus have made the biggest difference in our squad. When I say Arteta did not have his players, this is the list of players he was missing…
Aaron Ramsdale – a goalkeeper who is not only a good shot-stopper but also comfortable with the ball at his feet, and also has the ability to pass really deep into the opposition’s half and with high accuracy as well.
Ben White – a player who played as a center-back in his first season and then under Arteta’s guidance turned into, dare I say, one of the best right backs currently in the league. He is progressive and efficient in possession, and a great presence physically when defending;
Takehiro Tomiyasu – Another one of Arteta’s hidden discoveries. Tomiyasu is a unique player who excels technically and is a very frustrating player to go up against defensively. He also is incredibly comfortable playing with both his feet and these abilities enable him to play anywhere across a back 4. Last season, when Kieran Tierney was out injured, Tomiyasu took his spot at left back and performed very well proving how flexible of a player he is. Tomiyasu is struggling to find minutes on the pitch but that shows us about the level of performance required to play under Arteta. Tomiyasu is an incredible player and serves as a brilliant depth for the entire defense.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – Zinchenko has been an exceptional talent ever since he joined Manchester City. We signed Zinchenko after failing to sign Lisandro Martinez from Ajax at the start of the season, however, I think it’s fair to say that we should all be glad we got Zinchenko instead. His ability to operate on the left-back position is simply incredible, while he may not be the best defensively he is still a defender who does his job. He also makes up for it with his brilliant technical security, flexibility and ability to invert at the right moments. All of these abilities are exactly what Arteta wanted in his squad.
Gabriel Jesus – Another player who formerly worked with Mikel Arteta at Manchester City. While Gabriel Jesus may not operate as a conventional #9, he still is an incredible player for Arsenal on the pitch. Mikel Arteta has given him more of a Center-forward role than a Striker role. Gabriel Jesus’ ability to link-up, dribble, run in behind and press aggressively is precisely why Mikel Arteta brought him into the squad. He is evidently a massive upgrade over Lacazette, while he may not have all of the goals to show it, it is important to note that the goals do not define his contributions on the pitch. He is an important player and has definitely brought-up the quality of play by joining Arsenal. While he is currently injured, Eddie Nketiah is filling in for him and has been doing an amazing job, however, I reckon we are all hoping to see Gabriel Jesus back in action soon.
But the question still remains to be answered– Which player makes the biggest difference in our squad?
Well, while all of the players in our starting 11 do make a difference in their own way, for me, it is Thomas Partey’s contributions on the pitch that makes the biggest difference:-
Thomas Partey – Partey has been an integral part of the success we’ve had this season. His ability to penetrate the defense with the long passes is something I reckon isn’tspoken about enough, he also always positions himself well in every scenario, which helps Arsenal massively not only defensively but also going forward. The way he covers the defense is vital and often helps us regain possession in the midfield itself, after which he has the habit of making just the right passes. He is a player who Arsenal circulate around and the reason we can do that is because Partey makes it easy to do so. The main reason Thomas Partey is a crucial player in our squad is we simply do not have the depth to back him up, his absence in our squad is a huge hit. We do have Mohamed Elneny, however he simply cannot do what Partey does and Albert Sambi-Lokonga still isn’t a fully developed player.
It is important to point out that Oleksandr Zinchenko is a very close second. He performs the role he is assigned to another level, he does not just “do the job”, he absolutely blows it out of the park while doing it. Every game it doesn’t become hard to notice that Zinchenko’s abilities are something that helps our team massively. The way he inverts, how secure he is with the ball in his possession and his ability to operate in the midfield as the “extra” midfielder is something that enables a lot of the plays we create and also finish. But for Zinchenko, we do have the likes of Tierney and Tomiyasu to back him up, the two these players can perform this role of being an inverted left back, maybe not as good as Zinchenko but good enough to keep the system functioning. Zinchenko is simply brilliant and of great value to our club.