Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has seen his reputation sky rocket in the last couple of seasons.

After two 8th place finishes in his first two campaigns in the dugout at the Emirates Stadium, Mikel Arteta has since led Arsenal to 5th and 2nd place finishes. The Gunners were close to clinching the Premier League title last time out, but were ultimately beaten to it by Manchester City.

Arteta has transformed the club since his appointment. His success and progressive tactics on the pitch have taken the club forward to such an extent that they can now attract the likes of Declan Rice, despite Pep Guardiola also having wanted to bring him to the Etihad Stadium.

Top level players now want to come to Arsenal to play for Arteta, and it’s Arteta’s vision for his squad that may well bring more silverware to north London this season. Predicting what that vision might look like on the pitch, though, is another matter.

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Manchester City v Arsenal - The FA Community Shield
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A boost to Arteta’s tactical arsenal

Arteta has already proven himself to be unpredictable. His shift of Ben White to right-back and decision to deploy Granit Xhaka in a more advanced role last season exemplified that. Fans should be ready for more surprising tactical decisions this time around.

Despite having been used in a deep-lying role at West Ham United, Rice was unleashed further up the pitch in the Community Shield clash on Sunday. Equally, whilst Jurrien Timber’s versatility was highlighted upon his arrival at the club, as he had previously played as right-back, centre-back, and midfielder, few would have predicted the Dutchman to begin the season as Arteta’s starting left-back.

Fellow new boy Kai Havertz offers yet more flexibility. He led the line against Manchester City relatively well, holding up the ball and leading the press to good effect. It is definitely a role he can grow into and flourish in as the season goes on.

Equally, he will regularly be used alongside Martin Odegaard in an advanced midfield role, and can even fill in out wide if required. His height offers a new dimension to Arsenal’s attack, and allows the team to change up their approach play and test their opponents in a variety of ways.

A big contributing factor to Arsenal falling short last season was a lack of squad depth. This led to Arteta’s starting XI becoming predictable and their tactics were ‘found out’ to a certain extent. This summers’ arrivals and Arteta’s bold tactical ideas have remedied this flaw, which could make all the difference this season.

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