Tactical Jargon That Helped Arteta’s Arsenal Defeat Leeds United
With Arsenal’s porous defence, it was an easy pick for punters when it came to Arsenal’s FA Cup Clash against Championship side, Leeds United. There was definitely going to be at least a goal on either side of the pitch but with the Gunners running out winners only by a small margin.
Did it turn out that way? A small margin it was, but also a clean sheet at the back as opposed to what many would have predicted. Mikel Arteta was at the heart of it.
The Spaniard who learnt the ropes under the tutelage of one of the world’s finest managers, Pep Guardiola made some tactical changes that stopped the blistering attacks of Leeds. He oversaw Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Manchester United and was going to see another despite the number of injuries that had shortened his squad list.
Let’s take a look a major tactical change that helped the Premier League giants edge out their opponents.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos at right back
Mikel Arteta would have been described as being insane for playing the Greek man at the right side of a four-man defence. The Gunners looked like they were in for some more big trouble in fact, when Nicolas Pepe repeatedly pointed his finger as if to show the Greek where he should stand.
Not since 2015 had Sokratis played in that position Zand he definitely couldn’t handle the breakneck counter attacks played by Leeds. Putting things in perspective, they are only second to Liverpool – in England- in that department.
Even in that 2015 game against Borussia Dortmund, Sokratis never showed himself to be the finest of crosses. He is definitely not built for that spot.
An injury to Hector Bellerin must have limited Arteta’s option. However, the tactical intelligence to deploy Sokratis at right back rather than the more natural Maitland-Niles was spot on from the Spanish gaffer.
That said, the Greek man helped Arsenal absorb the blistering moves of Leeds. Arteta knew that since the departure of Giroud, there was none other who could win aerial balls in advanced areas. Somratis was that man for him, winning all aerial duels in his first 25 minutes.
Arteta’s gameplan was to absorb all of Leeds feral and organized attacks when they were still energetic and unleash his dragon when they had become weary and frustrated. It worked!
After the interval, Arteta moved Ozil, Pepe and Nelson upfront and with Guendouzi and Xhaka’s help they could break down Leeds defence like they ought to. Dealing same pacey breaks as their opponents did in the first half and helping them score an all-important goal.
Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United it ended.