The matchup between Aston Villa and Arsenal was expected to be a wide-open affair. Aston Villa and Arsenal are the bottom two teams in shots per game against. Aston Villa gives up 18.5 shots per game and Arsenal clocks in at 18.3 shots against per game. The wide-open action was compounded by a first-half red card to Arsenal right-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The wild match ended with the 10 men Arsenal clawing back from a 2-1 deficit to snatch the late 3-2 win.
This tactical analysis will provide an in-depth analysis of the tactical cause of Arsenal getting caught in end-to-end matches. Arsenal is giving up four more shots than they take per match. This analysis will focus on Unai Emery’s intentional tactic of pushing both full-backs into the attacking third and using their midfielders to cover these wide spaces.
Aston Villa lined up for the match in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Tom Heaton in goal with a back four of Frédéric Guilbert, Björn Engels, Tyrone Mings, and Neil Taylor. Marvelous Nakamba sat in front of the back four with John McGinn and Jack Grealish in central midfield. Mahmoud Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi were the wide attackers and Wesley the target forward.
Arsenal countered with a 4-2-3-1 alignment. Bernd Leno was in goal and the back four consisted of Sead Kolašinac, David Luiz, Sokratis, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Granit Xhaka and Mattéo Guendouzi anchored the midfield with Dani Ceballos playing a more attacking role. The front-line trio was Nicolas Pépé, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Bukayo Saka.
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