The ‘something different’ approach that inspired Arsenal’s two-goal comeback against Chelsea

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has been credited with inspiring Arsenal’s comeback in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with London rivals Chelsea.

The Blues looked well on their way to all three points as a first-half penalty from Cole Palmer and a fine strike from Mykhailo Mudryk just after half-time put them firmly in control at Stamford Bridge.

After what had been a lacklustre opening hour as Arsenal failed to meet the high standards they have set this season, Arteta turned to his bench by making five substitutions in the space of ten minutes.

The Gunners boss would reap the rewards as Declan Rice punished a poor error from Chelsea keeper Robert Sanchez to reduce the arrears with just under quarter of an hour remaining before substitute Leandro Trossard grabbed an equaliser in the closing stages.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher praised Arteta for doing ‘something different’ to claim a point at Stamford Bridge and identified an unexpected change in formation as the Gunners boss broke away from his preferred style of play and system.

He told Sky Sports Monday Night Football: “Arsenal made substitutions during the game, but didn’t really change their structure, so Emile Smith Rowe had come on, Trossard had come on and Kai Havertz had come on. You look at the setup, Emile Smith Rowe, Declan Rice and Kai Havertz - that midfield three you normally associate with Arsenal and the system they play.

“But keep an eye on Arteta, the game is stopped and he’s trying to get instructions on to the pitch. He waves his arms about and Kai Havertz comes over to Emile Smith Rowe to have a little chat. Something tactically changed.

“But no, it was a big difference as Havertz is going up front, Smith Rowe goes deeper alongside Declan Rice. When the game stops, you see, it’s 4-2-4. Mikel Arteta is saying we can’t play through this team, we had no joy, I’ve made changes, we’ve got to do something different so they go direct.”

Arsenal are back in action on Tuesday night when they visit La Liga club Sevilla for their third Champions League group stage game.