Monday, July 17, 2023

OPINION: Potential benefits of playing Jakub Kiwior in Zinchenko role

Preseason is the ideal setting for clubs to try out new tactical innovations, and Arsenal took full advantage of it in midweek as they drew 1-1 against German outfit FC N├╝rnberg with Jakub Kiwior playing in a different role.

The Gunners made various positional adjustments for their friendly clash at the Max-Morlock-Stadion, with one notable experiment being the use of Jakub Kiwior in an Oleksandr Zinchenko-esque inverted role whenever we found ourselves in possession.


Despite the unspectacular context, this choice attracted widespread intrigue among supporters and showed great promise throughout its brief 50-minute exhibition. This might indicate Mikel Arteta has found another hybrid option that could prove useful during the 2023/24 campaign.

Our Polish defender looked perfectly comfortable in an unorthodox post, and here are three potential upsides to his selection for any future midfield assignments.

#1: He could be a capable deputy for Zinchenko

Although Zinchenko got plenty of game time in his debut season, he has an extensive injury record that makes him too unreliable to be our only invertible solution.

Persistent calf strains and a minor knee issue saw the Ukrainian miss 15 matches across all competitions last year, and such unavailability would no doubt hurt Arsenal in their fight for both domestic and European crowns next term. As the saying goes, the best ability is availability.

But Kiwior might provide the answer as he is a skilled operator on the ball and would slot naturally into midfield if called upon- having played there almost exclusively during his first campaign in the Spezia senior team.

An excellent progressive passer who can turn on a dime, Kiwior’s profile has catapulted him beyond Kieran Tierney in the pecking order and helps mitigate the danger posed by any further Zinchenko absences.

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