Unai Emery will have to take responsibility for the comprehensive way Arsenal were beaten at Anfield by choosing to play with a midfield diamond that didn’t seem to be practised enough.
In my experience, a diamond only properly works when you can count on good possession. Maybe he thought Dani Ceballos was so good last week he deserved to play behind the front two again.
But Burnley at The Emirates isn’t like facing Liverpool at Anfield. I am all for trying different things tactically but the problem here was that it didn’t look as if Arsenal players had worked on a system that I know from experience requires good understanding between team-mates and an awareness of the opposition strengths and weaknesses.
It seemed that Unai Emery’s Arsenal hadn’t practised enough with the diamond system
Dani Ceballos impressed against Burnley but Liverpool at Anfield is a different proposition
One of Liverpool’s greatest strengths most people would agree are their full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, who are arguably the best partnership in Europe.
And yet by lining up so narrow because of the diamond, Arsenal were playing right into their hands and allowing them to bomb up the pitch at will and rain in free crosses on the Arsenal goal.
By bringing Granit Xhaka back to be at the base of the diamond and asking Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi to play either side, the two young lads were getting out too late to stop Alexander-Arnold and Robertson. It was cross after cross.
And though Liverpool may not have scored directly because of it, Arsenal’s problems set the tone for the 3-1 home win which in all honesty was more comfortable than that.
Why would you devise a way of playing Liverpool that helps their key players? If you are relying on Nacho Monreal to go out and meet Alexander-Arnold, Willock needs to alert to stop Mo Salah. As I said, the diamond works when you have the ball – not when you want to stop Liverpool.
Young midfielders Matteo Guendouzi and Joe Willock were under constant pressure