Mon. Oct 19th, 2020

Arteta’s got problems with Bellerin & must switch to a back four, says ex-Arsenal captain Adams

2 min read

A club legend says the Spanish boss will need to address issues at the back in order for the Gunners to challenge for top titles

Mikel Arteta has “got problems” with Hector Bellerin and must switch to a back four, according to ex-Arsenal captain Tony Adams.

Arsenal suffered their second loss of the new season at the hands of Manchester City on Saturday.

The Blues ran out 1-0 winners at Etihad Stadium thanks to Raheem Sterling’s 23rd-minute strike, with the Gunners ultimately missing the chance to put pressure on Premier League leaders Everton.

Pep Guardiola won the battle of teacher against pupil as one-time City assistant Arteta failed to mastermind the downfall of his former employers, despite a disciplined performance from the Gunners.

Ederson made three superb first-half saves to keep Arsenal at bay, while David Luiz and Nicolas Pepe both wasted good opportunities from free-kicks in the second period, but the home side always seemed in control of proceedings.

City defended resolutely and edged the possession stakes to overcome the Gunners’ high press, with most of their best attacks stemming from the left as Bellerin struggled to keep the likes of Sterling, Phil Foden, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva at bay.

Arteta has often preferred to use a 3-4-3 system while trying to turn Arsenal into a more compact defensive outfit, but Adams believes a more traditional formation would suit his old club far better going forward.

“I think it’s time for a back four. I’ve been saying it since the start of the season,” the former Gunners centre-back told Premier League Productions. “[3-4-3] wins you cup games, it doesn’t win you league titles – if he wants to build for the future.

“I think he’s got problems with Hector – I think his defending today wasn’t very good at all. But I’d like him to go to a back four. They’ve got Gabriel now, get him a partnership.

“They’ve been unlucky at the start with Holding going down but get them into a back four. They look like they’ve got a holding midfielder now who’s got a bit of presence and build for the future.”

Adams added on Bellerin and Gunners No.1 Bernd Leno being at fault for Sterling’s all-important winner: “Arsenal have pressed them and they’ve played around the press very well.

“Hector Bellerin again, and the goalkeeper, I always look at it defensively.

“Man City were too good, they passed it around – he [Foden] steps inside Hector too easy.

“The goalkeeper is pushing it into the danger zone. You’ve got to push it away out of the danger zone, and he’s [Sterling] had a tap-in, which is disappointing.”

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