Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side face Galatasaray on Tuesday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
Arsenal are determined to collect a victory and overhaul Dortmund to finish top of Group D, but for Galatasaray, this match is irrelevant.
They’re four points behind Anderlecht and cannot even qualify for the Europa League, although the Turkish side will be hoping for a confidence-boosting win.
"Prandelli attempted to play a three-man defence with regular holding midfielder Felipe Melo in the centre of the back line. Hamzaoglu will play a very different system"
More pertinently, the players will be trying to impress new manager Hamza Hamzaoglu, who replaced beleaguered former boss Cesare Prandelli less than a fortnight ago.
At the Emirates, Prandelli attempted to play a three-man defence with regular holding midfielder Felipe Melo in the centre of the back line, which proved a disastrous approach as Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners. Hamzaoglu, however, will play a very different system.
Most crucial has been the return to a formation featuring two strikers, which should see Umut Bulut and Burak Yilmaz up front together.
“Galatasaray has a history of playing with two strikers,” says Bulut. “Prandelli would normally only play me in the second half of games [but] Hamza knows us well and has shown trust in me and Yilmaz. This has improved our performances.”
Indeed, Galatasaray have a 100 per cent record under the new regime, and Yilmaz hit both goals in a 2-1 win over Akhisarspor at the weekend.
Although a diamond midfield is possible, a 4-4-2 seems most likely. Melo will revert to playing as a tough-tackling holding midfielder, with hardworking Emre Colak and Wesley Sneijder also featuring. The Dutchman’s creativity was used in a central role at the weekend, though he could start from the flank.
Selcuk Inan is suspended having been dismissed against Anderlecht, while flying Portuguese winger Bruma should be used on the flank, and can counter-attack extremely dangerously.
The defence seems more settled in a traditional back four. Aurelien Chedjou and Semih Kaya are both solid, no-nonsense centre backs, while full backs Tatik Camdal and Hakan Balta are reasonably conservative and attack sporadically with guile rather than finesse.
Hamzaoglu says Galatasaray’s “first objective will be to push Arsenal back into their own half,” and while the Turkish side have nothing to play for, Arsenal can expect a tough test in a hostile atmosphere.
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