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Talking Tactics

Why Trossard is key to avoiding another upset against Everton

Adrian Clarke 26 Feb 2023

Adrian Clarke explains how the Belgian's movement has revitalised the Gunners' attack

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in midweek.

Leandro Trossard (ARS)

Starting Trossard as a left-sided false nine can help Arsenal avenge their recent defeat to Everton when the sides meet again on Wednesday evening.

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The January signing from Brighton & Hove Albion impressed in that role for Mikel Arteta’s side on Saturday, using his varied movement to pull Leicester City out of shape.

With Trossard consistently placing himself between the lines or rotating positions with Gabriel Martinelli, he gave an air of fluid unpredictability to the Gunners’ build-up play.

That was lacking in Arsenal's 1-0 loss at Everton less than four weeks ago, when Eddie Nketiah stayed central and the two wingers hugged the touchline. 

The Toffees were able to nullify the threat of Arsenal's front three by using three strong midfielders to clog up the half-spaces either side of Nketiah.  

Given the success of Arteta’s tactical adjustment against Leicester last weekend, the Gunners' manager will certainly consider using the same approach against Everton, as the leaders seek to win their match in hand and go five points clear.

The top two

Pos Team Pl GD Pts
1 MCI 38 +61 89
2 ARS 38 +45 84
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There was no discernible difference between the positioning of Trossard and Martinelli at King Power Stadium on Saturday.

The pair were always on the move, happy to interchange roles, and were well supported by overloads created by Granit Xhaka and Oleksandr Zinchenko behind them.

Arsenal’s winning goal was the perfect example of how Trossard and Martinelli’s combination can hurt opponents.

Trossard pulled wide to the left, dragging central defender Harry Souttar out of position and leaving space for Martinelli to sprint into.

Mixing up their angles, Arsenal’s attackers may look to replicate this type of scenario against Everton.

Trossard's assist for Martinelli

While Nketiah has done a fine job filling in for the injured Gabriel Jesus up front, scoring four goals in nine starts, there is a sense that Trossard’s style can help to get the best out of Martinelli.

Earlier in the season, Jesus drifted left to combine with Martinelli, and because they worked together at speed, defenders found them difficult to contain.

Nketiah prefers to stay central, leaving holes for team-mates to exploit either side of him, but opponents have found that ploy increasingly easy to contain.

As Martinelli has been unable to exchange passes as often with the front man, the Brazilian has sometimes looked isolated out on the wing.

Trossard’s interpretation of the striker role is similar to that of Jesus, which has encouraged Martinelli to dart into the penalty area more frequently again.

Martinelli stats with different strikers
  Nketiah Jesus Trossard
Matches 9 13 1
Goals 3 5 1
Assists 0 2 0
Mins/direct goal involvement 216.0 169.6 90.0

Martinelli’s goal and assist record alongside Jesus is markedly better than it is when Nketiah leads the line.

Nketiah does a terrific job for the side but rarely vacates the areas that Martinelli loves to run into.

While Nketiah may feel a touch unlucky to lose his place, Trossard’s positioning and style has greater potential to add welcome variants to the way Arsenal attack, which they will need against a stubborn Everton side.

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