Rashford or Calvert-Lewin depend on Arteta’s desired 22/23 formation – Either, neither or both?


Either, Neither or both?

Yesterday I read that Arsenal are vying with Atletico for the signature of Lautaro Martinez from Inter, and are favourites to land Dutch winger, Cody Gakpo from PSV. Both are exciting links but yesterday’s news suggesting Arteta was ready to lure Marcus Rashford and that Arsenal had a pre-contract deal with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, are perhaps more interesting and indeed more likely.

I have seen Arsenal fans write both off, suggesting Rashford has lost his mojo and that Calvert-Lewin will never be the same post injuries. Just imagine if Arsene Wenger had taken that attitude with Kanu, Overmars, Vieira and even Bergkamp, all signings deemed failures or injury plagued at the clubs he signed them from.

Unwanted is often just unloved

The truth is, in my humble opinion, is that both Rashford and Calvert-Lewin are quality players, who for differing reasons have slightly lost their way. The first, is in need of a new challenge and a manager who believes I him and the second needs a run in a better team, free of injuries, to return to his peak. In all honesty, I think the questions should perhaps be more about what how Arteta wants to play and set up his team in 22/23, hopefully with the extra workload of European fixtures, and whether either England star compliments the chosen style.

If the plan is to play as we are at present, then a younger, more mobile goal hungry central striker like DCL seems an obvious fit. The Everton player has the hold up and link play, which although not at Lacazette levels can improve, but he adds pace, an aerial threat and more clinical finishing. WE certainly need to look beyond this season and indeed the end of the last campaign and look at the goal scoring record of 2019/20 and 20/21, where he was at a ratio of a goal ever other game. In the Premier league he hit 16 in 32 appearance and this form took him to the point where he was the undisputed heir apparent to Harry Kane for England.


Laca upgrade

If Arteta does want to continue with a focal centre forward, and we accept he does not see Martinelli I the role then a fit Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with a full pre-season, is an attractive option. Having just turned 25, he undoubtedly has his major development years ahead of him and this fits the Arteta mould of buying players he is confident he can take to the next level in and Arsenal shirt. The concern, as I said is that Arsenal will require more than goals from a striker and his assists column since he broke into the Everton first team is very light.

Of course, Marcus Rashford brings both goal and assists, so the questions here are again about playing style fit and perhaps wages. I very much doubt Edu/Arteta would bring in a player who, on current salary would be Arsenal’s top earner, when the likes of Saka and Odegaard are pulling up trees for the team at present. That said given Rashford’s public personality and the person he sees to be, I suspect he would fall into line with Arsenal’s pay structure if Arteta sold him the right vision.


Can he play through the middle?

So, we are back to whether Rashford fits into Arteta’s vision for 22/23 and for the current United man, I think the structure would need to different to that to suit Calvert-Lewin. Whilst Rashford, as all Arsenal fans will painfully recall broke into the first team as a central striker, he has not regularly played there for his club or his country, thanks initially to Lukaku at Old Trafford and obviously Kane for his country.

It is hard to see Arteta deploying him wide though, because Rashford will not leave his hometown team, to be a rotational option like Pepe, or an understudy. This is a player who simply wants a coach to show faith in him and play him every week, and it has shades of the Welbeck transfer perhaps. Another Manchester lad who lost faith in the team that made him and wanted a fresh challenge.

Like DCL, Rashford only 2 seasons ago, playing mainly as a wide forward was free scoring, with 17 goals in only 31 league outings. There is no doubting the 24-year old’s talent, but for him to slot in at Arsenal, I feel Arteta would need to move to a more obvious 433, with Rashford given the central role between Martinelli and Saka. I am far from convinced he has the attributes to play the sole striker role that we currently utilise.

Because of the players differing attributes, I believe that both are unlikely and if I were a betting man, my cash would be on Calvert-Lewin, as I feel that he is the more obvious upgrade to Lacazette, in the present system which is working well for Arteta and his players.


This is the full, unedited version of Dave’s Sun Football Fan View column from yesterday.

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2 Responses to Rashford or Calvert-Lewin depend on Arteta’s desired 22/23 formation – Either, neither or both?

  1. Gavin March 31, 2022 at 8:52 am #

    Neither not good enough for man poo or Everton

    • Dave Seager March 31, 2022 at 9:23 pm #


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