Mikel Arteta was appointed in by the Arsenal board for two main reasons, firstly he was an ex-Gunners who understood how the club functions and secondly, he was the apprentice to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
However, after one-and-a-half years in charge of Arsenal, Arteta is still trying to successfully mimic Pep Guardiola’s tactics on his side which is the main reason why they are now on the verge of being knocked out of the Europa League according to Daily Mail’s Oli Gamp
He wrote: “For the Arsenal board, Thursday night’s result was the worst case scenario – the man they sacked outmaneuvering the man they replaced him with.
“Unai Emery’s Arsenal career ended with a whimper as he was axed 18 months into his stint at the Emirates, but Arteta was supposed to offer a fresh new start for a club sorely lacking a true identity.
“But Emery showed he is still the king of the Europa League as he used the weaknesses he is well aware Arsenal still possess to his advantage. Meanwhile, Arteta’s ploy at playing without a striker backfired spectacularly.
“The former Manchester City assistant boss took a leaf out of Pep Guardiola’s book by fielding Emile Smith-Rowe as the false 9, but it left the team lacking sparkle in the first half. Arteta was forced to swallow his pride and bring on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli later on when he realised his tactics had failed.
“But the changes came far too late in the day as Aubameyang entered the fray in the final five minutes while Willian was introduced in stoppage time. Martinelli was given a 30-minute run out but Arteta showed a stubbornness by refusing to rip up his game plan Villarreal were seeing it out.”
This opinion agrees with the situation on using a false nine system in big games is signature Pep Guardiola. But unlike Mikel Arteta, the Manchester City manager has fully trained his side into playing in that system.
Mikel Arteta however has chosen to stick with conventional formations all throughout this season but suddenly he drops a bombshell on his players by playing Emile Smith Rowe as a false-nine.
And forget about the fans and pundits being confused, even the Arsenal players did not know how to react on the pitch.
Thanks to that away goal, Arsenal are still in with a chance but for any magic to happen, the manager will need to keep things simple during the second leg.
Mikel Arteta will have to refrain from using players out of their usual positions and he’ll also have to make sure that all his star players are playing from the start.