Exclusive: Arteta still believes in Arsenal star, change in position could be an option, says expert

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta still believes in struggling left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko and could potentially move him further forward into a new position to get the best out of him, according to Charles Watts.

Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his latest Daily Briefing column, Watts stated that Zinchenko is still someone who could have something to offer the Gunners, even if he’s finding it slightly more difficult in his second season at the Emirates Stadium than he did in his first.

Watts believes Zinchenko has become something of a scapegoat among some Arsenal fans, and while some criticism is justified, it’s perhaps a little over the top, and won’t necessarily lead to the Ukraine international being sold.

In fact, one solution could be to utilise his quality on the ball in a more advanced role, so he’s not then limited by the fact that he’s not always the most switched on to his defensive duties.

Zinchenko transfer: Don’t write Arsenal left-back off yet, says Charles Watts

“Some of the criticism (of Zinchenko) is justified, but some is a bit harsh in my opinion. When you look at what went wrong for Arsenal on Sunday for example, I’m not really sure Zinchenko was at the heart of it,” Watts said. “But, judging by the amount of criticism that has come his way over the past few days, you would think he was. Yes, there were a few errors of judgement in the second half, one of which could easily have been very costly. But there were also good points in the first half which could easily have led to Arsenal opening the scoring.

Oleksandr Zinchenko in action for Arsenal

“And that’s always been the thing with Zinchenko – there are undeniable positives, but there are also obvious negatives. The thing is that right now, probably for the first time since he joined, the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives. Arsenal’s side has evolved at pace under Arteta. Last season Zinchenko was an essential part of it, but now his place in the starting XI is up for debate.”

He added: “I wouldn’t say we are definitely approaching the end of Zinchenko’s time at Arsenal. I still think he could have a key role to play in this squad, potentially even higher up the pitch where his defensive deficiencies could leave the team less exposed. He’s a quality footballer who is having a difficult period, but Arteta believes in him and it’s far too early to write him off as an Arsenal player.”

More Stories Charles Watts Mikel Arteta Oleksandr Zinchenko

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  1. Title winning Arsenal Squad

    Defensive Occupiers / Dominators – Saliba, Magalhaes, Tomiyasu, Partey, Rice, Kiwior, White, Omar Rekik, Taylor Foran, Ayden Heaven, Zane Monlouis, Alex Kirk

    Offensive Occupiers / Dominators – Havertz, Chido Obi Martin, Mika Biereth (This is where Arteta really needs to invest and scout for the right fits)

    Defensive Playmakers / Controllers – Jorginho, Elneny, Rosiak, Myles Lewis Skelly, Zinchenko, Lokonga, Patino, Reuelle Walters, Norton Cuffy, Timbre, Jack Henry Francis, Tavares

    Offensive Playmakers / Controllers – Odegaard, Emile, Trossard, Vieira, Ethan Nwaneri, Eddie

    Wingers / Drivers – Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Marquinhos, Nelson, Tierney

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