In the heyday of Arsene Wenger’s reign in N5 the phrase “Arsenal’s DNA” came into common parlance and most people understood what it meant.
It stood for a style of play that was attacking, intelligent, skill-based and successful. It was in opposition to what were then the ‘traditional’ values of the English game: blood and thunder, physicality, “let them know you’re there,” defenders told to “just hoof it.”
Wenger’s teams, while perfectly capable of standing up for themselves physically (especially his early teams) preferred to win with greater skill.
And the idea of having ball-playing defenders was more or less pioneered in this period.
That was Arsenal’s DNA under Wenger.
But what is the club’s DNA under our new boss, Mikel Arteta?
Is it too early to ask that question?
If not, what answers might we consider?
We would like to propose that the Arsenal/Arteta DNA can best be described in one word: flexibility.
Flexibility in players (Saka, Maitland-Niles, Smith-Rowe, Tierney, Willian and others all used in different positions).
And flexibility in formation, depending on circumstances such as the nature of the opposition, the phase of the game, whether or not we are in possession and so on.
How would you describe Arsenal’s DNA under the leadership of Mikel?