Football: Unai Emery's high-pressing tactics strike a chord with Arsenal stars

Arsenal's Manager Unai Emery's (above) approach was summarised as "high pressure and positioning" by striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal's Manager Unai Emery's (above) approach was summarised as "high pressure and positioning" by striker Alexandre Lacazette.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Peer inside Unai Emery's tactical toolbox and it can be, pun intended, an arsenal of formations, passing patterns and various methods to choke opponents to concede possession.

An attacking 4-3-3, a traditional 4-4-2, a conventional 4-2-3-1, an unusual 4-1-2-2-1 formation, inverted wingers, twin holding midfielders, high pressing... these are all the shapes and strategies the Spaniard used in his career so far at Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain.

While it is unclear what formation he will instil at Arsenal, the Gunners have made it clear they are out to impose their style on their opponents at the 2018 International Champions Cup (ICC), starting with the match against Spanish LaLiga side Atletico Madrid on Thursday (July 26).

Striker Alexandre Lacazette summarised Emery's approach succinctly, saying: "High pressure and positioning. We want to keep the ball.

"This (the pressing tactics) can be good because we can have the ball higher and we can have more chances than last season."

The Frenchman was speaking on the sidelines of an event on Wednesday for club sponsor Emirates, where 200 fans were in a race to iconic landmarks like the Merlion Park and Empress Lawn to take wefies with the Gunners. Other players present were Aaron Ramsey, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Shkodran Mustafi.

Midfielder Ramsey, known for his dynamic box-to-box play, welcomed the new manager's tactical thinking, saying: "I'm looking forward to playing the way he wants to play. It's very exciting and all the players are really looking forward to the season and, hopefully, we can hit the ground running.

"It's always difficult when a new manager comes in and for it to click straightaway but, hopefully, that will not be the case. I'm encouraged by his ideas."

Mustafi added: "Unai has given us a few different ideas tactically. He is a fan of a different kind of football from Arsene (Wenger). It's difficult to compare because they have their own thinking about how they like to play football and, to be honest, I am happy with both.

"From what I have seen in the last few days, Unai's a manager that you can be successful with."

While Arsenal are in Singapore to do serious pre-season work, there are light moments too. Last Saturday, an Arsenal fan tweeted a video of Lacazette scoring against new Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, then playing for Roma, during his days with French club Lyon. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spotted the post and tweeted an emoji.

Lacazette, 27, said: "It was funny because I know I had scored against Alisson in a game a few years ago and Auba is always trying to do something to make me laugh."

Having scored 14 goals last season for the north London club, he shrugged off the notion that he is too similar in style to play alongside the Gabonese, who has netted 10 times in 13 Premier League games since joining Arsenal in January.

He explained: "Of course, we can play together. We had already played together (for half a season), I was in front and he was on the left. Maybe we can be together in front."