Squad goals :Stef reports on Arteta’s Rotation against Luton

Squad goals :Stef reports on Arteta’s Rotation against Luton

Squad Goals: Stef reports on Arteta’s rotation against Luton

By Stef – The North Bank Podcast

Without everyone realising, there is a new addition to the match day routine. An hour before kick-off, people will check their phones for the announcement of team line ups. The person whose phone signal or battery life is strongest can bask in the glory of being able to announce the information, like some ancient protector of religious scrolls. Then the debates start. Whose predicted line up was right? Is the manager right or wrong to change things up? Why on earth are they playing HIM against THEM?

We were in a cafe on Holloway Road when news came through that Arteta had made 5 (FIVE) changes to the starting line up from the Man City game on Sunday. Everyone expected 1 or 2, but 5? Surely that was too many? On the flip side, maybe this was the game where changing the team carried the least risk.

In hindsight, it's easy to see how it all paid off. The opposition were there for the taking. Despite their spirited showing, this is a Luton team that has been beset by injuries. Arteta could bring in some players who simply needed minutes to build their fitness (Partey/Zinchenko), and others who needed a chance to prove that they deserved more (Nelson/Smith-Rowe). Winning 2-nil, at something of a canter, topped off with Smith-Rowe getting Man of the Match made for a good night's work all round.

And, what a time to realise there are options in the squad that mean Arsenal could possibly sustain their excellent form even further. There will be tougher challenges to come but knowing when to give fringe players time to sharpen and shine is a fine art. Arteta is a novice manager learning how to do this. Last season, we all know how it ended. Once one or two vital players gave way to injury or burnout, results began to slip. There appears to be no sign of that happening at the moment.

Another aspect of this is that Arsenal are now able to adjust personnel according to the opposition. If said opposition are likely to give up lots of possession, then Zinchenko provides quality touches and progressive passes when he steps into midfield. If the opposition attack with physicality and strength then the likes of Kiwior, Tomiyasu and Partey can, in their own ways, look to combat that. With regards our own attack, Havertz is growing into his centre forward role that provides steel, Trossard provides some silk and Jesus adds his own special brand of chaos. All in all, it's looking pretty healthy going into some big, tough games.

None of us expected so many changes against Luton and no one can predict what will happen in the league and the champions league. What we do know is that it's going to be equally tense and exciting finding out.