5 Changes Arsenal Should Make to Get Offense Clicking
Arsenal's offense has gone through its ups and downs his season and there a few things Arsene Wenger and his staff should do to get things clicking.
The departure of Robin van Persie was supposed to be offset by new arrivals Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, but the duo only has six goals between them so far.
Changing how these two players are used, as well making some other tactical and personnel changes, are moves that should be made to help the Gunners offense find its groove.
Here are five changes Arsenal should make to get the offense clicking.
Play Lukas Podolski as a Forward
This option is a no-brainer.
It has been frustrating to see a clinical player like Lukas Podolski spend almost all of his time on the pitch playing wide on the left while the likes of Gervinho gets a consistent run up top.
Podolski is a forward plain and simple and utilising him in the left-sided role that he is used to with Germany is of no benefit to him or the team as a whole.
The attacker may have a fantastic goal-scoring record while playing on the left in international games, but he has done his best work centrally when playing at a club level.
When there are injuries to a majority of the team's wide players it is understandable, but the fact that Gervinho has been considered over Podolski for a central role is baffling.
There is no problem if he drifts out wide during the game as long as he is the man leading the line and finishes chances created by his teammates.
Podolski is the most accomplished goal-scorer in the side and Arsene Wenger should play him in his best role for the good of the team.
Play with More Width
In retrospect, Gervinho is a winger and should be providing much needed width for the club. In the last few games especially, it seems that Arsenal has been lacking in that aspect of their play.
Part of this is due to the inefficiency of Lukas Podolski(due to fatigue most likely) and Andre Santos down the left as well as Aaron Ramsey's tendency to cut inside.
Right now, the attacking players who do line up out wide all have a tendency to drift inside and sometimes that clogs up the space for Santi Cazorla to do his work.
When the fullbacks play as they are supposed to, as Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Bacary Sagna usually do, there is a solid amount of width in the team's build-up play.
Arsene Wenger and company could tweak things slightly to give the Gunners an advantage. While there is no true out and out winger like a Jesus Navas in the side, Gervinho, Theo Walcott and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain stand out as players who could fill that role.
On one flank, Arsenal could play a true winger and have him and his fullback creating constant problems by overloading that flank, much like Schalke did on the right against the team.
Those players could provide an outlet time and again while the winger on the other flank cuts inside to help with possession and allows his fullback partner to create the width.
It may not work perfectly all the time, but it would give the Gunners some strength on one flank in particular and allow the central players an outlet to help stretch the opponents defense.
Play Santi Cazorla Out Wide
Santi Cazorla has proven he is the best player in the club to play behind the forward, but the club may be best suited if he lines up in another of his positions.
The little Spaniard would be the perfect player to start on the flanks and drift inside, as he has played that role many times during his career in Spain to great effect.
Playing him in that position with players who are more comfortable centrally like Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Andrey Arshavin would open up a whole range of possibilities for the Gunners on the attacking end.
You would like to play the best players in their best positions, and while there is room for debate as to whether or not Cazorla is better here or centrally, it would be better for the club if other players lined up where they were most comfortable.
Cazorla wouldn't be less effective because of this position.
Play Mikel Arteta Further Forward
This idea should be tested by Arsene Wenger but it won't happen for variety of reasons.
The first one is that Mikel Arteta's play in a deeper role has made him arguably the best defensive midfielder in the game right now as Bleacher Report's own Sam Tighe has pointed out.
The second reason is that moving Arteta forward would mean playing the likes of Francis Coquelin on a regular basis. This is not a knock against the young Frenchman, but based on performances thus far, it is better for the squad defensively that the Spaniard plays where he does currently.
Moving Arteta forward doesn't mean that the team would lose his defensive capabilities, but it would provide Arsenal with a more potent attack.
It's interesting that when looking on statistics at Whoscored.com, Arteta has seen a dip and a rise in two key statistics this season. His pass completion percentage has gone up from 90.8 percent to 93.8 percent and his key passes has gone down from 2.1 to 1.3 per game.
Arteta could still dictate from deep and continue his excellent passing completion, but moving him closer to Santi Cazorla, as you will see in the next slide, would prove beneficial to the Arsenal attack.
This change is unlikely to occur, but it's one that should be made.
Play in a 4-3-3
All the previous ideas lead back to Arsenal playing a 4-3-3.
Podolski could play in his favoured central role, Gervinho could provide width and work with Bacary Sagna while Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta would work closer together for the benefit of all.
The weakness in the squad, from an experience standpoint, is Francis Coquelin playing as a central midfielder. There is also the worry of defensive work from the two wide players.
Santi Cazorla should have no problem tracking back, and in the event that Gervinho does not produce a similar workrate, then playing Jack Wilshere on that side centrally could provide Sagna with more cover.
None of these ideas take away from the fluidity of Arsenal's play and defensively Arteta could drop back to make it a 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1, rather than the opposite structure the club currently has.