Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has admitted that he has used a tactic adopted by Pep Guardiola at Man City to get the best out of Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The Gunners paid around £32m to sign Zinchenko from Premier League rivals Man City last summer.
Zinchenko previously worked with Arteta at Man City when the current Arsenal boss was Guardiola’s assistant.
Arteta has emerged from under Guardiola’s shadow this season as he has Arsenal on track to win the Premier League title.
He has clearly learnt a lot from Guardiola and that is clear with how Arsenal are currently set up. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager often uses a 3-4-3 formation and uses his full-backs in a centre-midfield role.
Guardiola did this with Phillip Lahm at Bayern Munich and Zinchenko at Man City. Arteta has admitted that he has opted to use this tactic himself so Arsenal can get the best out of the Ukraine international.
“It started when I was in Barcelona, we used to play a 3-4-3 diamond and one of the full-backs used to play there,” Arteta explained. “But Pep did it at Bayern for the first time with Phillip Lahm and then that was developed at City with many different ways of doing it with different players.
“So that is the great thing, that you can take all the time things from other sports, other coaches to make yourself better and that curiosity is necessary to evolve and be better.”
Zinchenko has been one of Arsenal’s main leaders this term and he has lauded Bukayo Saka. He thinks the England international is an “amazing player”.
“I wish for him to be in this form until the end of the season because he’s such an important player for Arsenal,” Zinchenko said.
“He’s an amazing player. We knew that. He’s on fire, at the moment and I wish him that until the end of the season. There are no friends on the pitch, unfortunately, he did me, but I will take revenge.”
“I think you have to recognise what he’s been doing. The consistency he’s shown at his age and at this level is something rare to see. He’s taken it with normality.
“If you ask me if he has room for improvement, I would say: ‘Yes – a lot.’ He’s never satisfied, he always wants more and he can still do a lot of things better and more efficiently.”