'Debut from Jesus and Arteta's Arsenal formation choices'
- Credit: PA
Arsenal won their second preseason friendly with a 5-3 victory over German side Nurnburg on Friday afternoon, with Gabriel Jesus making his debut.
Jesus impressed in his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt, scoring a brace and being heavily involved with a further two goals, giving the Gunners a glimpse of what he’ll bring to the side.
Whilst preseason is not the best barometer of what we’ll see during the season ahead, it is good to see new players settling in quickly and gives fans a number of key things to look out for.
At the start of the second half, being 2-0 down, Mikel Arteta brought on Jesus to play alongside Eddie Nketiah, switching the formation to a 4-4-2 to accommodate Arsenal’s forward duo.
It remains to be seen exactly how Arsenal will line up this season, but with Arteta in having two strikers he trusts at his disposal, exploring the option of playing both together could be revisited throughout preseason. When trailing in Premier League games it would offer a new dimension to Arsenal’s play, particularly with both presenting strong aerial threats.
Staying with formations, it is also worth watching out for whether Arteta is favouring a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 with an attacking midfielder.
With Fabio Vieira joining up with the team soon, and an ongoing battle between Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli on the left, we may see Arteta deploy an attacking midfielder more often to squeeze an extra attacker in.
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Despite finding a rhythm with the 4-3-3 during the second half of last season, it is clear that Arteta is keen to have other options in his pocket to keep opponents guessing, some of which will be tested during preseason.
Then there are the loan returnees who are yet to depart, some of whom may potentially play a big role this season.
The likes of Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland Niles and Reiss Nelson have all featured in the Gunners’ opening two games with potential outgoings for each having stalled. A standout preseason may see one or more of these players earn a place in the squad for the season ahead.