Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side welcome Galatasaray to Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
Cesare Prandelli isn’t a typical Italian coach. Instead, he’s comparable to Arsène Wenger in terms of his emphasis upon positive football and team-work, which should make for an interesting tactical battle.
Prandelli depends upon a solid spine. In goal is Uruguayan Fernando Muslera, a fine shot-stopper, but suspect on crosses and long-range shots. He’s protected by the powerful centre-back pairing of Aurelien Chedjou and Semih Kaya, who are both extremely dominant aerially.
"The 19-year-old Bruma could be Galatasaray’s main counter-attacking threat with his direct dribbling"
Full-back has been more problematic, though. Alex Telles is a classic Brazilian left-back - he loves scampering forward but can be unreliable defensively, potentially leaving space for the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck to sprint into. The alternative, veteran Hakan Balta, is the opposite: solid defensively but lacking in attacking thrust.
Tarik Camdal can play either side but should start at right-back - he’s good in a positional sense, but not the tallest. Veysel Sari is an unspectacular alternative, while Yasin Oztekin is a winger who has been used in defence, which is probably too risky in this game.
In the centre of midfield, Prandelli is unlikely to waver from the duo of Felipe Melo and Selcuk Inan. Melo's discipline is always a concern, but he remains an authoritative, tough-tackling holding midfielder. Inan plays a more refined role, and has a responsibility to hit dangerous passes into attack.
Wesley Sneijder should play as the classic No 10. The Dutchman retains an ability to find space between the lines, and play penetrative through-balls towards Burak Yilmaz, a pacy, mobile striker who works the channels and makes runs in behind the opposition defence. This combination could be a real threat if Arsenal’s defence plays high up the pitch.
The decision for Prandelli, then, is whether to field a second striker and a third central midfielder to make a 4-3-1-2, or field two wide players to create a 4-2-3-1. Either way, 19-year-old Bruma is likely to start, and could be Galatasaray’s main counter-attacking threat with his direct dribbling.
The presence of Blerim Dzemaili, a hard-working and tactically disciplined defensive midfielder, would indicate Prandelli is playing 4-3-1-2. If Yekta Kurtulus plays, however, it could be either system - he is capable of playing in the centre, or on the flank.
Prandelli always keeps the opposition guessing. With right winger lcan Adin and veteran strikers Umut Bulut and Goran Pandev options from the bench, Prandelli is also capable of changing the game with clever substitutions.