Let’s analyze the tactical problem that Arsenal has this season. Last year Arteta played with Zinchenko as an inverted left back. However, this season by having Declan Rice, Arteta leaves Zincenko wide, having less influence in possession.
Furthermore, with the signing of Havertz, who occupies spaces in which Zinchenko could move to generate superiority, the Ukrainian touches fewer balls per game. Due to the areas in which he receives and the lesser importance he has in the team, his confidence has decreased, losing more balls.
Zinchenko is a player with a higher offensive than defensive level, so the left back’s main weakness is seen when the team is out of possesion. In the game against Liverpool, Klopp’s team constantly looked to switch the play to his side, either isolating Salah to play 1v1 situations or overloading that side, forcing Zinchenko to jump and make more decisions.
Not being as important in possession, every time he makes a mistake in defense, his error seems more evident. In this cross he decides to give support to win the aerial duel in a 2v1 but Gakpo prevails and Salah finishes completely free.
The aspect in which he has to improve the most on a defensive level is in the positioning in the 1v1. He usually leaves too much space for the ball holder, making dribbling easier.
These weaknesses are seen in Liverpool’s goal. Poor positioning on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s long ball, he hesitates whether or not to jump to intercept the pass, poor body orientation and once again makes a bad decision with his positioning, as he takes several steps towards the line, allowing Salah to cut inside, as he does when he tries to take-on. Zinchenko does not have the reaction speed to turn and block the shot, scoring Salah the equalizer.
We’ll see if Arteta waits for Timber’s return, looks for another alternative in the squad or Arsenal decides to sign in this transfer window, but due to Arteta’s idea this season Arsenal has to find a solution to this weakness in the defensive line.