William Saliba’s injury has had dire consequences, with Rob Holding simply not having the tools to replace the France international, but last night Jakob Kiwior showed he could be a worthy deputy as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners.
Since the injury, fans have been crying out for Mikel Arteta to tweak the system to get Holding out of the team and ensure Arsenal get back to the quick build-up play that has brought them so much success this season, but the boss has persisted with him.
With each passing game, it has become more and more obvious that he isn’t suited to Arsenal’s style of football. Against Man City, he looked lost with the most basic tasks, which forced Arteta to finally change tack and give Kiwior his shot.
3 things we learnt about Jakob Kiwior against Chelsea
1. Left footer at RCB wasn’t a problem
Much of the doubt around Kiwior was playing a left-footed defender as a right centre-back, given Arteta’s obsession with specificity, but it wasn’t an issue on Tuesday night.
For much of his career, Kiwior has played in midfield and is more than comfortable moving his feet and releasing the ball off his left or right in tight spaces, and that showed against Chelsea
After a nervy first few minutes where he lost an aerial duel and misplaced a panicked pass, he settled and became extremely composed. Arsenal started playing the one and two-touch football at the back that we’ve seen all season, and Gabriel once again looked relaxed.
With Chelsea being in freefall, last night was the perfect game for Kiwior to make his debut and play this way, as it allows him to settle and build his confidence ahead of Newcastle, which will be a wholly different experience.
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