Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal were not just beaten in the League Cup final. They were half humiliated as Pep Guardiola’s side showed the world the difference in quality between both the teams. The Gunners never even showed up for the game and missed out on lifting the first silverware of the season. But they have a great chance to bounce back this week, as they welcome Manchester City to the Emirates in the Premier League.
City are running away with the league title and do not really need all three points from this game but Pep will settle for nothing less. Arsenal, however, need a result from this tie, to keep their hopes of a top-4 finish alive but what can Wenger do differently to tackle City’s dominance?
Here are three tweaks Wenger should make to stand a chance against the might of the Citizens:
Revert to the 3-4-3
The French manager used a 3-man backline sometime late last season and stuck with it for most of the start of the current season. But after a run of disappointing results, he decided to move back to a four-man backline, which did give them a better chance at winning games.
However, Wenger’s men were completely outplayed in a similar system at Wembley and there is no reason for the manager to stick with it. In a 3-4-3, Arsenal can actually have more numbers than City in the midfield and in attack and have a shot at containing them.
Or a 4-4-2 / 3-5-2
A system that has not really been Wenger’s MO, the French manager should definitely give this a shout. Though Alexandre Lacazette is out injured, Arsenal can use Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang alongside Danny Welbeck, adding a different dimension to their attack.
The Gabon international spent a long time alone, without much service and having a partner, especially a target man like Welbeck, will surely involve him more in the game. It might not be a fail-proof plan to victory but is certainly worth a shot.
Do a Liverpool
Wenger has his own ways of getting results but when not much works, it is not too embarrassing to steal a page from a competitors triumph. Jürgen Klopp’s men worked their magic on Manchester City by frustrating their midfield and depriving them of service from the back.
They blocked passes to the defence from Ederson and made sure that he went long. City are not a dominant force in the air and is one of the very few weaknesses that can be exploited. So Wenger can set up his team in a similar manner and have Pep chance his system and push him out of his comfort zone.