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Talking Tactics

Early-season lessons: Arsenal bursting with creativity

Adrian Clarke 19 Nov 2022
Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, Arsenal

Adrian Clarke analyses how the Gunners have blossomed into a free-scoring team

With the Premier League paused for the FIFA World Cup 2022, Adrian Clarke reflects on notable tactical changes in the season so far.

Here he looks at how Arsenal have soared to the top of the table.

Arsenal

The surprise leaders have consistently produced fluid, attacking football, scoring in every single match they have played in 2022/23.

This is a far cry from last season, when Arsenal blanked in five of their opening 14 matches.

One of the key factors in their blistering start this time has been the creative output of their five most advanced players.

Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka have all delivered between six and 10 goals or assists already.

While some teams rely on one or two individuals, Arsenal have shared the load evenly with their sharp and imaginative quintet. 

Indeed, the Gunners are the only Premier League side to boast five players who have created over 20 chances.

Chances created after 14 Matchweeks*
2021/22 2022/23
Saka 21 Saka 29
Smith Rowe 18 Odegaard 25
Odegaard 15 Martinelli 23
Sambi Lokonga 12 Jesus 22
Pepe 11 Xhaka 20

* including assists

When it comes to creating chances in open play, after Matchweek 14 last season Bukayo Saka led the way with 17.

At the same stage this term, all five of Mikel Arteta's primary forward players had created between 19 and 22. 

Their attacking threat now comes at opponents from all angles.

Also in this series

Part 1: Newcastle the press masters
Part 3: Spurs the set-piece specialists

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