Stina Blackstenius. Vivianne Miedema. Two names who are widely associated with 1 position. The number 9. However, with two of the world’s greatest strikers in the same position, Jonas Eidevall will need to find a way to accommodate both players into Arsenal’s system.
However, the situation is more complicated than that. With the likes of Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Katie McCabe, Mana Iwabuchi, Tobin Heath and Caitlin Foord also in Arsenal’s squad, Jonas Eidevall will have to look at accommodating everyone, whilst still fielding a competitive team which can sustain a winning performance. So, how will he do it?
Well, both Vivianne Miedema and Stina Blackstenius can also play as a 10, and as a left-winger. So, we’re going to have a look at how the players could function in different roles, and if how that could impact certain players in the future. So, let’s take a look into the attacking depth at Arsenal, and how they can play their best players, without negatively impacting others.
ONE ON THE PITCH, ONE ON THE BENCH
In this option, both players would play as strikers but would have to get used to rotation. This would be similar to the situation around Beth England and Sam Kerr last season and would help Arsenal to have a fit striker on the pitch at all times. This solution is fairly low-risk, doesn’t negatively impact players outside of the striker position, and could help them to gain some stability.
However, this would obviously be an interesting solution, as Stina Blackstenius and Vivianne Miedema wouldn’t actually play together, unless injuries or suspensions required it and would be detrimental to Caitlin Foord’s playing time, through the centre anyway. It also could make Viv and Stina frustrated, and want to lead the line by themself, instead of playing rotation. However, considering that rotation is common in modern football, this could be an overstatement.
CREATOR TO PROVIDER
In this option, one player would play as a 10, and one would play as a striker. The positions would be rotated, but could provide an option for the two players to play together, and for Arsenal to have another player in midfield. This could also allow for someone like Caitlin Foord to get the centre role in matches where one of them needs rest.
However, this would also hurt Mana Iwabuchi, who is already struggling for game time in the midfield and hasn’t played well out wide. It would also mean that one of Jordan Nobbs and Kim Little would have to be benched, as having one of Miedema or Blackstenius alongside Nobbs and Little would be way too attacking.
ON THE FLANKS
This option would see Jonas Eidevall use one of the players out wide, likely on the left. This would obviously allow for rotation between the players, and would be the only option to have Miedema, Blackstenius and Mead in attack together in a front three. This would also allow for one of Blackstenius or Miedema to not have to rely on scoring as much.
However, this method does have its drawbacks. This method will mean that one of Katie McCabe or Nikita Parris would be almost useless at Arsenal, as the club would have 5 players vying for a left-wing spot. This option would also reduce the attacking prowess of one of the trio, as all 3 couldn’t continuously score. The player out of Miedema and Blackstenius would also have less prominence in a match, as the wing isn’t their favoured position.
The conclusion is obviously going to be cliche and boring, but that’s because I’m not here to pick. No matter what Arsenal do, someone isn’t going to be happy. That’s the problem with having depth. You’ve got players who want to start, youngsters coming through, fans wanting new signings and players coming back from loan spells. It’s difficult. At the end of the day, a manager can only pick 11 players to start, and can only play around 14-17 in a single game. So when you’ve got 8 forwards in a team, it’s always going to be difficult to accommodate people. Arsenal aren’t any different.