Three key issues for Arsenal against Crystal Palace as Arteta’s new-look side must improve against Vieira’s tough team


THE greatest show on Earth is back this weekend – and it all starts with Crystal Palace vs Arsenal on Friday night.

If Arsenal are finally going to crack the top four this season this is exactly the kind of game they need to be better in than last season.

There are three key areas where this opening day fixture is going to be won or lost by either side.

Last season saw the incoming Palace boss Patrick Vieira build a mixture of players who were young and hungry blended with older players with a point to prove – and Palace progressed to finish safely in mid-table.

Arsenal, on the other hand, suffered a more difficult season and a late season collapse saw them miss out on a top-four finish.

This summer has seen the Arsenal board back their Spanish coach Mikel Arteta to the hilt.

The club have been busy with the signings of Fabio Vieria, from FC Porto, and Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, both from Manchester City, and they probably come into this match as early favourites.

Movement in the Arsenal build-up

Mikel Arteta is a very modern coach whose style incorporates positional play, similar to that of Pep Guardiola, and aggressive vertical play, similar to Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

One of the most important things for Arteta’s side is the way that they build up the play from the back and move through the thirds of the pitch.

Arteta has been intent on expecting his team to play out from the back since he took charge but this concept does not come without risks as players can make mistakes or be caught in possession.

We are likely to see both sides line up in 4-3-3 formations and often when matching up tactically in this manner it can be difficult for the team in possession to create space to move the ball through the thirds.

Arsenal are now in a position to create space with more rotational movement in the midfield.

This will typically come with Zinchenko positioned at left-back as he will generally look to get into positions in the channels or even the central areas as his side are building out from the back.

This can then be combined with the moments from the Swiss international midfielder Granit Xhaka, who has a tendency to move out to the channels to create space and options.

These rotations will make it notably more difficult for the Crystal Palace midfielders to cope with the ball progression from Arsenal.

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