How the weakness of the team could be its strength

Liverpool vs Arsenal: The Gunners’ weakness to be negative when passing ahead could turn into an effective tactical strategy at Anfield. (Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)

Premier League football is finally back. Every Arsenal fan watching what was in fact an exciting international break rushed for the return of domestic action to see Mikel Arteta’s side again.

Then everyone remembered it was Liverpool. At Anfield. Under the projectors.

Suddenly, the level of excitement dropped somewhat. But over the years of annual beatings, supporters have grown thick. Losing on the side of the “big six” has become the norm. It’s still hopelessly painful, mind you.

What Arsenal has now is renewed optimism. Then again, those words have been used on several occasions in conjunction with trips to the red half of Merseyside, and two points in the last eight league games at Anfield are all there is to show.

Liverpool vs Arsenal: Gunners’ weakness to be negative when passing ahead could turn into effective tactical strategy at Anfield

But they are a thriving, confident team, fifth in the Premier League table and unbeaten in ten matches in all competitions. There is the conviction of getting a result no matter how incomplete the team is in some departments and after taking into account how devastating this Liverpool side really is.

Arteta was built over the summer and this squad of players is nothing like those who made the journey north and left empty-handed for nearly a decade. From back to front there are exciting players, talented individuals and a collective spirit.

The new signings have had a magnificent impact, playing a substantial role in making Arsenal more solid, structured and fluid.

However, all is not where it needs to be, and one of the team’s biggest weaknesses is their attitude and reaction when they walk past. Ironically, that could work to their advantage on Saturday.

We will learn a lot about the confidence of this group from the way they start this game. Over the past few weeks, there has been a growing trend that has become so common it is even less of a shock: Arsenal are breaking out of the traps, pressing high and pushing their center-backs all the way to the middle line.

This forward-thinking and assertive approach saw the Gunners teams move away and effectively win games in 20 minutes. On display against Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Leicester, this flamboyant mantra is both exhilarating in its execution in the blink of an eye, then biting. Arsenal got those leads and then sat on them.

So how will this work in their favor?

Continued on the next page …

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