Mikel Arteta follows Klopp’s Liverpool blueprint as Arsenal partnership emerges

Central defence has long been an issue over at the Emirates, yet Arteta has seemingly taken a leaf out of the Liverpool manager’s book when it comes to bolstering his back line

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Mikel Arteta has long been an admirer of Liverpool ‘s playing style – previously waxing lyrical about their ability to transition from defence to attack in one swift movement.

Following Liverpool’s 3-1 home win over Arsenal last term, the Gunners’ boss noticed a trend in Jurgen Klopp ‘s side’s play – particularly in the defenders.

After Anfield stalwart Virgil van Dijk played a pinpoint pass into the path of Mohamed Salah, all Arteta could do was praise the Dutch central defender after the game.

“We tried to put them under as much pressure as we could but Van Dijk plays 60 yards to Salah and they are out,” Arteta explained.

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Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are crucial to Liverpool’s playing style



“This is real quality and that is why they have spent the money they have.”

Just 10 months later, the Arsenal boss would part ways with £50m to try and emulate that switch of defence to attack in a single pass by purchasing Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back Ben White.

Despite being famed for his ability on the ball, White’s arrival at the Emirates did not come without questioning – man suggesting the Gunners had overpaid for the 23-year-old’s services.

Boasting just one season’s worth of Premier League experience at the Amex, White has shocked and impressed in equal measure since making the switch to north London – forming quite the partnership alongside Brazilian Gabriel Magalhaes.

White and Gabriel can just about communicate on the pitch given the language barrier, but that has not translated in their respective performances.

When White and Gabriel have played alongside each other, Arsenal are yet to taste defeat and have shipped just four goals in eight games.

Victories over the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City have been impressive – Gabriel even scoring at the King Power, but their sternest test is up next.

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A trip to Anfield, in which both White and Gabriel will have to face the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and the world’s most in-form attacker in Salah.

Liverpool’s potent front three will most likely keep White and Gabriel busy all evening, though Arsenal will be hoping to cause problems for the two defenders their current centre-back pairing is modelled on.

Though White and Gabriel have some way to go to emulate the achievements of Van Dijk and Joel Matip – the Arsenal pair play in a way that boasts striking similarities.

Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White boast more clean sheets than goals conceded in their Premier League careers when playing alongside each other

Gabriel the more physical of the two, his aerial prowess is a trait Liverpool have long had in their armoury thanks to Van Dijk, who regularly asserts his dominance on opposition forwards.

White, meanwhile, has made his marauding runs through the middle of the park somewhat of a trademark at Arsenal – something both Van Dijk and Matip have in their locker, both so technically gifted.

White the elder of the two at just 24 years of age, Arsenal fans are rightfully excited over a central defensive pairing that could provide the bedrock for success for many years to come.

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