Emery could switch to a midfield diamond to take Arsenal to Europa League glory against Chelsea

Aditya Devavrat 07:53 29/05/2019
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  • Unai Emery.

    When you’re looking to win a game like the Europa League final, having someone who’s done it three times already on your side can only be a good thing.

    Arsenal manager Unai Emery won the competition on three successive occasions during his time in charge of Sevilla, an achievement that must be giving the team heart as they prepare to take on Chelsea on Wednesday.

    The Spaniard has already proved himself an able tactician during his debut season with the Gunners, and he’ll be backing himself to demonstrate his command again in the final.

    Here’s a look at how Emery’s tactics can plot an Arsenal victory. Check out our tactical preview of Chelsea here.


    Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Chelsea back at the Emirates in January was achieved with Aaron Ramsey playing at the tip of a midfield diamond, with Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, and Matteo Guendouzi behind him.

    Playing Xhaka at the base of midfield would normally come with risk as he often gets caught too far forward and is still in need of improvement defensively, though he’s come leaps and bounds this season, but the presence of Guendouzi and Torreira mitigates that. The young duo can cover for their Swiss colleague.

    Emery’s concern will be whether Mesut Ozil will be up to the task of filling Ramsey’s shoes, with the Welshman out with injury. If he can come close to matching Ramsey’s work rate, and add his brilliant playmaking, Arsenal will be a tough nut to crack for Chelsea.


    Ozil is almost guaranteed to start in Ramsey’s absence, and though he’s known for his brilliant playmaking ability he might be needed more to finish off attacks against this Chelsea side.

    Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are both players who can play out wide and indeed enjoy drifting into that space, and they could thrive doing so against Chelsea’s full-backs.

    Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson Palmieiri both enjoy getting forward, and are encouraged to do so in Maurizio Sarri’s system. But that will leave space for Lacazette and Aubameyang to run at Chelsea’s defence and pull them apart.

    Ozil doesn’t embark on the same midfield runs that Ramsey does, but there’s no reason he profit from his strikers’ wide runs. The attention they demand should give Ozil the time and space to be at his best.