Pep Guardiola has switched up his tactics against Arsenal, it's fully caught them off guard
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has thrown 'a tactical spanner in the works' for their Premier League title clash against Arsenal, and it appears to have caught the visitors off guard.
It was a typically energetic start from the reigning Premier League champions, who dominated proceedings early on.
In fact, with six minutes on the clock, after some great hold-up play from Erling Haaland, the inevitable Kevin de Bruyne charged towards Arsenal's backline before firing past Aaron Ramsdale with a powerful shot into the bottom corner.
De Bruyne, a man for the big occasion, has scored eight goals for Pep Guardiola's side this season. This will no doubt go down as one of the most important.
OH Kevin De Bruyne! 🎯— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 26, 2023
A great takedown from Erling Haaland who passes to De Bruyne for a stunning run and finish! 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/Ex4pyouHVJ
City have certainly been the better side in that opening 45 minutes, and as Twitter account EBL points out, the unpredictability factor has appeared to deceive the Gunners.
"Instead of building in a 3-2-5 with an inverted fullback, City are building in a 4-2-4," the account writes. "Arsenal are matching up in a 4-4-2, but the problem is KDB is free between the lines if they're aggressive."
De Bruyne has taken full advantage of those spaces, linking play as he so often does. So how will Arteta respond in the second half?
The Gunners will have to come from two behind after John Stones fired past Aaron Ramsdale with a bullet header, moments before the half-time whistle was blown.
Pep has thrown a tactical spanner into the works. Instead of building in a 3-2-5 with an inverted fullback, City are building in a 4-2-4.— EBL (@EBL2017) April 26, 2023
Arsenal are matching up in a 4-4-2, but the problem is KDB is free between the lines if they're aggressive, and if they're not a CB is free.. pic.twitter.com/PZGynmXMCw
Pep really is a genius, man.— EBL (@EBL2017) April 26, 2023
Arsenal's only logical hope of having a tactical advantage in this game was to nullify City's build-up, but Pep changed system to prevent that and now City have an overload in either A) the build-up or B) in midfield if Partey press and leaves KDB...
Ahead of kick-off, Mikel Arteta suspected the Citizens had been 'working on something' for the crunch clash.
When asked if he believed Guardiola had any unusual tactics planned, Arteta told BT Sport: "For sure, this can happen in minute one, minute 20 or it can happen in minute 60.
"It can happen with subs, it can happen with shape. With Kyle Walker playing in the team, they are playing without any left-footers in their backline. For sure they have worked on something, like we have. At the end, it is down to the players."