In pictures: Arsenal v Aston Villa
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may have stumbled upon a new recipe for success which could be bad news for one of his summer signings. Alexandre Lacazette made his first Premier League start of the season in Friday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa at the Emirates. The Frenchman was rewarded for his stoppage-time equaliser against Crystal Palace earlier in the week.
Lacazette did not score but put in a strong display, playing just off of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He was given a huge standing ovation from the Emirates crowd when cramp forced him off in the second half.
Arteta has rarely played with a 4-4-2 formation, and Lacazette dropping deep often made it 4-4-1-1 against Villa, but it seemed to work wonders.
Arsenal put in their best 90-minute performance of the season and easily could have scored more than three.
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Thomas Partey and Albert Sambi Lokonga shone in midfield, winning the ball back on countless occasions.
Emile Smith Rowe was awarded man of the match and rightly so for his goal and assist.
Bukayo Saka looks at home on the right-hand side and the back five almost picks itself when everyone is fit.
But if Arteta continues with the same formation moving forward, then it will not be good news for Martin Odegaard.
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Odegaard rejoined the Gunners on a permanent deal in the summer.
He impressed on his loan spell last season without really standing out.
But Arteta made it his mission to bring the Norwegian back to the club in some capacity.
It appeared unlikely for the majority of the summer, with Odegaard stating he would fight for a spot in the Real Madrid side.
However, once it became clear he was not a part of Carlo Ancelotti’s plans, Arsenal moved quickly and got their man.
Arteta was clearly delighted when the £35million deal was announced.
Asked what Odegaard can bring, the Spaniard said: “A lot of things that he brought last season. He made us better, we needed more options and alternatives for creativity.
“He is still a really young man but he has huge experiences in clubs already and has unique talents for the way we want to play so I am really pleased the club have made the effort.”
However, there is no place for Odegaard in a 4-4-2 formation.
The 2-2 draw with Palace proved he cannot play alongside Partey in midfield.
Lacazette deserves a run in the team and if he remains fit, Odegaard may have to settle for a place on the bench for the time being.
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