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Arsenal round-up: Formation change; Sanchez ready to return; Monreal on defensive issues

Jake Jackman

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Arsenal are going to welcome Bournemouth to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow and the Telegraph report that Arsene Wenger is considering changing his formation. He had started the season with a 3-4-2-1 formation, but he could be ready to go back to the 4-2-3-1 that he has favoured during his managerial career. The team have struggled with defensive balance and a tweak to the formation might help solve that problem.

The Gunners need to be flexible when it comes to tactics and be able to switch depending on the opposition. Arsene Wenger appears to lack that and the 3-4-2-1 formation hasn’t looked to be well coached, which is why the Frenchman should go back to the 4-2-3-1. This is what he has coached for most of his managerial career and he understands what is required to make it successful. The lack of quality central defenders at the club is another reason why the change would be worthwhile, as there isn’t an obvious candidate to be the third centre-back.

Alexis Sanchez is raring to go after the international break and ready to prove his quality in the Arsenal team. It would have been disappointing for the Chilean to miss out on a move to Manchester City, especially after an offer was accepted by the Gunners. However, he can’t afford to sulk and lose form in a World Cup year. His latest post on Instagram suggests that he has returned to North London with the right mentality.

The supporters will be delighted that he has remained at the club, but it will only have been a decision worth making for the club if he applies himself on the pitch. There are few better players in the Premier League and if he performs to his ability, he could help Arsenal to have a great season. It is encouraging that he looks ready to put the transfer saga behind him, but it remains to be seen how much effort he is willing to put in on the pitch.

Nacho Monreal is the latest Arsenal player to admit defensive issues and attributes the problems to the negative atmosphere in an interview with the Evening Standard:

“I have to say that in the last three games we have conceded eight goals and this is a lot,” 

“This year we won the Community Shield. The problem is the last two games we lost and the atmosphere is a bit nervous, but I think from tomorrow if we play a good game and get three points, we will have more confidence and we will improve.

“We need to improve a lot. Our target is to win the Premier League, and obviously we can’t win it if we keep playing like we did against Liverpool.”

The defensive record at the beginning of this season is a huge concern and the main reason that Wenger should change back to a 4-2-3-1. It is the system that his players are most comfortable with and they can no longer afford to take risks. They need to rebuild their confidence and start to build up a good run of form, before they are cut adrift of the top.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Arsenal

Arsenal and Chelsea receive huge boost in pursuit of Aleksandr Golovin

The London rivals have been given an edge over Juventus in the pursuit it seems.

Jamie Watts

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Photo: Getty Images

London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have recieved a huge boost in their pursuit of Russian maestro Aleksandr Golovin, after the play-maker’s father revealed he is currently learning English, in quotes via Russian outlet Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Italian giants Juventus are said to be courting the CSKA Moscow midfielder closely, with some reports even claiming a deal had been agreed between the two clubs (Calciomercato). However, the new revelation from the player’s father suggests the move is anything but a formality, and Chelsea and Arsenal remain in the race.

“He [Golovin] now has one thing on his mind: the Russian team. But if such proposals are made, I believe that he will go abroad, play abroad,” the Russian international’s father claimed.

“Their football is of a different level, there is nowhere to hide. Speeds are different. I’m sure my son will be able to play at a new level. It will be more difficult with a foreign language. But I know that he has already started learning English.”

Photo: Getty Images

Arsenal have no plans of slowing down in the transfer window after agreeing a deal for 34-year-old Stephan Lichtsteiner and closing in on Lucas Torreira. SportBILD claims that a deal for Bernd Leno is also close to being completed, as personal terms have been agreed. And now it would appear Unai Emery is keen on continuing the pursuit for Golovin.

However, they will face stern competition from west London, as Chelsea have expressed an interest in signing the 22-year-old, with the Express claiming that the club are looking to quickly encore the managerial appointment of Maurizio Sarri with the Italian’s long-spanning target.

CSKA are said to want £22 million before they would be willing to do business for a player they regard as one of the most influential in their squad, while they also assert that a sell-on clause will be part of any deal, to ensure they dont miss out should the player’s market value drastically increase in the future, according to The Sun.

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Ever Banega could be the midfielder Manuel Pellegrini is looking for at West Ham

Manuel Pellegrini should look to act now if he’s serious about landing quality midfielders this summer.

Jamie Watts

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Valencia midfielder Ever Banega is reportedly being courted by Arsenal this summer, according to Gazza Mercato, as Unai Emery has managed the Argentine international at both Valencia and Sevilla. But West Ham should be looking to get in on the action.

The reports claim the 29-year-old’s agent will fly to north London to hold talks with the Gunners over a potential move, but Manuel Pellegrini will surely throw his name in the hat once the player arrives in the capital.

At the reported fee of £10.5 million – with his contract set to expire imminently – the former Inter Milan man could very well become the bargain of the summer, in a frantic market where players of his calibre go for five times the fee.

Photo: Getty Images

Pellegrini has been tasked with getting West Ham back to playing attacking and progressive football next term, and has identified a midfielder as the key to ushering in his new philosophy. The Chilean boss has courted the likes of Javier Pastore, Yaya Toure, Mario Lemina and most recently Jack Wilshere, but progress has stalled recently on the first three, and Banega could present a key opportunity to land a serious player on great terms.

The fleet-footed play-maker bases his game around control and creativity, buzzing around receiving the ball to feet frequently, before crafting attacks using his exceptional vision and passing range.

Photo: Getty Images

Banega’s impact was incredibly noticeable in Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Iceland at the weekend, as a second-half introduction sparked Lionel Messi and co into a far more dangerous outfit. The little maestro was constantly available for the ball and kept pressure sustained for long-periods, acting as the catalyst for building attacks after a disjointed first-half display.

And his style would certainly elevate the Hammers’ play next season in the England. Banega is that good, he could quickly become recognised as one of the finest Premier League midfielders and Pellegrini may regret letting him go to Arsenal uncontested.

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Fans criticise Jack Wilshere omission after Jordan Henderson’s ‘toothless’ England performance

Gareth Southgate’s bold decision is already being questioned.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner ensured England started the tournament with a victory, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of the points in Volgograd.

After a promising opening 20 minutes, England’s shortcomings in front of goal were punished as Tunisia were awarded a penalty – using VAR – and Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot, heaping pressure on Gareth Southgate’s outfit to score a second.

But creativity was scarce from the Three Lions, in what was a stressful and frustrating half to watch for the nation.

Photo: Getty Images

And Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has come under fire for his performance in the heart of the midfield, with many believing that Arsenal‘s Jack Wilshere would have been more creative and imaginative in central midfield, if he wasn’t omitted from international duties this earlier this summer.

Henderson frequently opted for possession over creativity and was guilty of taking too many touches in the midfield yesterday, particularly in the second half and the speed of play was directly affected as a result.

Here’s the Twitter reaction:

By no means did the 28-year-old have an awful game, but his choice of pass was often safe and as a result England lacked impetus and drive in the second-half, until the additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added a spark in the final third.

Gareth Southgate will often opt for control in central midfield against tougher opposition – with Belgium on the horizon – but against the likes of Tunisia and Panama, the side can afford to take more risks and be more inventive, and the decision to leave Wilshere at home is already being questioned after just one game.

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