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Arteta defends tactics change with bizarre driving metaphor

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta used a curious metaphor about his daily drive to the Arsenal training ground in a bid to defend his recent tactical changes.

Arteta has come under fire for using Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey as a right-back with licence to roam forward in Arsenal’s first three Premier League games.

Arteta’s experiment follows Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp using defender Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola doing the same with centre-back John Stones.

But the results have been mixed for the Gunners, who have opened their title challenge with unconvincing wins over Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace, followed by a draw against 10-man Fulham.

Asked if he felt like reverting to last season’s approach for Sunday’s clash with Manchester United, Arteta likened the dilemma to the challenges he faces commuting from his home to Arsenal’s London Colney training base.

“Every morning I come from my house to Colney. Sometimes I leave at six and I need to go to the windscreen because it’s icy. At six o’clock normally I go Finchley Road and then the A21 because it’s faster,” Arteta told bewildered reporters on Friday.

“Now Finchley Road is 20 miles per hour so sometimes I take a back door. But then I go on the M25. But depending on if it’s a school ride I take one exit. If it’s after seven o’clock I take a different exit and then I go.”

While the notoriously traffic-packed M25 — a motorway that circles the outskirts of London — has driven many a driver to distraction, Arteta was attempting to use his bizarre answer to illustrate the different tactical choices he faces against varying opponents.

“One day I have a flat tyre, what do I do? Maybe I have to replace it because there’s a garage there. So every game is a different story guys. A different story,” the Spaniard said.

“If we have another injury we’re going to have to do something else. If Bukayo (Saka) is not there we’re going to have something else. So the M25 won’t be good enough. Maybe we’ll take another one.

“If I speak to a taxi driver that has learned the whole of London for 20 years, I know nothing compared to him because he will tell me all the streets and options at the best time.”

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