Arteta told he really misses one player who ‘offers Arsenal what no one else can’

Arsenal have been the best team in the Premier League in 2024, and they have swept teams away despite missing several key players.

Mikel Arteta’s side has scored 25 goals and conceded just three in the last six league games, and they have done it without Gabriel Jesus, Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko, amongst others.
Options at full-back have been limited with Takehiro Tomiyasu also still absent, but Jakub Kiwior has filled in well on the left after initially struggling, with Ben White taking up a new inverted role.

Recent form suggests that Arsenal have been fine without their injured stars, but it has now been claimed that Arteta has still missed Zinchenko, despite the Ukrainian receiving criticism prior to his injury.

Have Arsenal missed Oleksandr Zinchenko in recent run?

Speaking on the Arsenal Beat Podcast, journalist Kaya Kaynak explained that despite Arsenal’s strong form, Arteta could have benefitted from Zinchenko’s presence in the team, particularly in the Champions League defeat to Porto.
still think with Alex Zinchenko, when he’s fit, he more or less comes straight back into the team because of what he offers Arsenal that no one else can,” Kaynak stated.

“(Some claim) there’s not been many games in which Zinchenko has been missed, but I think that Fulham game on New Year’s Eve when he was absent, Arsenal really struggled with Kiwior doing the whole inverting thing.

“That’s changed now and Mikel Arteta’s tweaked it, but in Porto for example, and the same goes for (Gabriel) Jesus, I think Arsenal did really miss their experience, and without that, they struggled a bit.”
Should Zinchenko return to the starting XI, White will likely return to his previous fullback role, with Zinchenko inverting where Kiwior could not.

Arsenal’s defeat to Porto saw them deliver a disappointing performance where they did not even register a shot on target. Zinchenko’s experience, which has seen him start in a Champions League final, could have been vital to helping Arteta’s young side maintain their composure at a tough European ground.

In possession, Zinchenko brings what no other Arsenal defender does, particularly in ball progression, as he ranks in the top 1% of European fullbacks for progressive passes, and against a side like Porto who are likely to sit deep at the Emirates, this could come in very useful.

The 27-year-old is perhaps underrated as of late given his erratic form prior to his injury, but Arsenal are better off with him in the side against the vast majority of opponents, with Kiwior or Tomiyasu potentially coming in against more dangerous right-wingers.

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