Mikel Arteta says he'll be 'very upset' if 26-year-old Arsenal player loses the ball
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta says he'll be 'very upset' if 26-year-old Arsenal player loses the ball

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta spoke about Oleksandr Zinchenko’s positioning ahead of the game against Bournemouth tomorrow.

The Gunners are flying in the Premier League at the moment. They are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, and there’s a good chance they will go all the way and win the title.

Summer signing Zinchenko is one of the biggest reasons why Arsenal are where they are.

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Mikel Arteta says he’ll be ‘very upset’ if Oleksandr Zinchenko loses the ball when he’s out of position

Arsenal signed Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City for an initial fee of £30 million plus add-ons last summer (Sky Sports), and that is proving to be an absolute bargain.

The Ukrainian starts at left-back, but Arteta’s system allows him more freedom than almost any other full-back in the Premier League. He’s sometimes seen on the right flank – that’s how much he moves around.

Arteta was asked if he encourages that type of freedom as many other managers would be furious if their players wander so far away from their original position.

The Arsenal boss said, as relayed on HaytersTV: “If he gives the ball away there and we get a counter-attack and they score, I will be very upset (laughs).

“He has the freedom to move in certain spaces like B (Bukayo Saka) does in the action where he receives the ball, especially in certain games against certain blocks.

“But, at the same time, you require certain discipline in the positions to do what you have to do.”

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Zinchenko plays a high-risk-high-reward sort of game and that has made a huge difference at Arsenal.

Yes, if the Ukrainian loses the ball in certain areas of the pitch, Arsenal will suffer – Ollie Watkins scored against them last month after Zinchenko was dispossessed higher up the pitch.

However, when he gets it right – which is more often than not – Arsenal become considerably more dangerous. They’ll almost always have an extra man in midfield than their opponents and that helps them have a real impact in the final third.

Arteta has every right to be upset if Zinchenko loses the ball in a dangerous area, but we’re sure he’ll still encourage the 26-year-old Ukrainian to play with the freedom that he has done since the start of the season.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images
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