I want to analyze a new tactical innovation that we are seeing in these first weeks of preseason about the 3-2-2-3 shape that some of the most important teams in the world are using. The 2 authors of this idea are Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta.
We start with Manchester City, last season when they played with this system out of possession used De Bruyne and Haaland in the first line of pressing.
Gundogan dropped down to accompany Rodri, so Stones moved to the defensive line being one of the center-backs.
This season, instead of jumping to press the attacking midfielder on the right side, it’s the one on the left side, which makes Haaland change his position, although the main difference is on the right wing. Last season 3 players on the right side had to shift his position in the defensive transition, which could cause an important structural weakness. The question is if Guardiola is doing it due to the absence of Kevin De Bruyne or Pep considers that this new idea is safer to defend quick attacks that include long balls against the backline or switching plays to the right wing.
In Arsenal’s structure we are seeing the same idea, in this case with the signing of Havertz. It’s the German who is in charge of jumping to press from the left, instead of Odegaard doing it from the right as they did last season.
In this new role out of possession, the Norwegian now moves to the double pivot with Declan Rice.
The main difference between the two teams continues to be that the player who moves from the defensive line to midfield at Man City is a centre-back, while at Arsenal it’s a full-back. A new tactical solution in a system that will continue to evolve in the coming months. We’ll see if this idea remains when the season begins and serves to improve the transitions of both teams.