Plenty of changes are afoot under the new Unai Emery regime.
The refreshing winds of variance are rushing through The Emirates, as the Spaniard implements the struts that will support the foundation of his tenure.
New coaching methods, new coaching staff and most importantly – new tactics.
By and large, he has the same squad that limped to an underwhelming 6th place finish last season. The five new signings are a transfusion of sorts, breathing vitality into the body of the squad, hopefully treating the rust that was beginning to set in at the tail-end of Wenger’s long reign.
Still, it will be what he does with the players who underperformed last year that will define his era. Will the new boys buy into the ethos? More importantly, will the other players adapt in the face of such sweeping changes, especially because of the stark contrast of what they were used to?
Simply put, they have to, but even if they do, the next step is a pretty big one – fine-tuning the tactics and formation to suit the players we have.
One of the big hurdles to this has already become apparent – fitting in Lacazette and Aubameyang into the same side.
We are blessed with two strikers that have a deep relationship with the back of the net. Both have proven they can score goals for fun, and the bond they have created between each other in training seems to be a strong one.
If this happens, we will have a very strong attack, but Emery is known to adapt his side in the face of varying opposition. So if we have a trip to Old Trafford, that would probably suit just one striker, with an extra midfielder to stifle the home side.
When we have a game where we can dictate play, then Laca and Auba will be called for. But that means we need a sacrificial lamb – and each candidate has a certain quality we could really do with to unlock defences.
Mesut Ozil is chief playmaker and the one who can craft a passage of play that goes against the grain. He may have lacked consistency in the past, but we are better off with him in the team than without.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is capable of much. The Armenian scored and assisted 20 plus in the same season in his best season at Dortmund – and there is nothing to suggest that he can’t replicate that at Arsenal. He had promising signs last season, and his link-up play with Aubameyang borders on intuitive.
Then there is Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman’s late runs into the box are unreadable, and often come late in the game where tired defenders are even less capable of stymying him. Ramsey is also a better defensive player than the above two, and can add solidity.
One of these will have to be put on the bench to incorporate the deadly duo of Auba and Laca. The pair could rip defences apart, but we will have to be bereft of one of our most creative lights to make it happen.
Unless we adopt another formation change. We play Ramsey alongside Torreira in the centre of the park, with Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang playing behind Lacazette. It is an extroverted eleven, but it includes our best players, something that could make the difference in the tight games.
Perhaps it could be a plan B? Say we are a goal down with twenty minutes to go, chuck Laca on and switch the formation up – and let rip.
Either way, Emery has some tinkering to do – and this will take time. We may not see our best eleven under Emery for months, but rest assured when it is finally found, we will soar up the table.