Throughout the course of a turbulent first full season in charge at the Emirates for Mikel Arteta, the Spaniard has tinkered with the setup during different stages of the campaign. Variations in the 3-4-3 have been on display, particularly the hybrid 3 at the back system which was utilized up until boxing day.But what’s clear is that the former Arsenal captain sees longevity in his side playing a back four in and out of possession. Arsenal fans have seen their club use a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 under Arteta but uncertainty still revolves around which system the Spanish tactician will deploy.Arteta's 4-2-3-1:Emile Smith Rowe’s availability enabled Arteta to transition away from the hybrid 3-4-3 and deploy a 4-2-3-1; a system that the Arsenal boss began with when he took over back in 2019. The Croydon De Bruyne provided the Gunners with a fundamental aspect that was missing previously, a creative link between the opposition defensive and midfield line. The 20-year-old's inclusion into the eleven enabled stronger connections to Arsenal’s front three and was effectively the catalyst in the upturn in results since Christmas. When analyzing this formation, the structure both on and off the ball is very clear to see.1) Build up playDuring the first phase of play, Arsenal progress forward with a 3-2-5 shape in possession. The way this is utilized depends on the starting eleven. Xhaka, a key performer since Arteta’s arrival, usually drops into the left center-back role, giving Tierney license to bomb forward and create natural width. But when Chambers is selected at right-back, the versatile Englishman is the one who drops back and plays as a third center-half, which allows the two central midfielders to remain within close proximity to each other.2) Transitioning forwardAs the Gunners move into the opposition half, the in possession shape morphs into a 2-3-5, with Tierney and Pepe or Saka holding the width initially.The other three attackers consist of two creators who are given roles of facilitating progression and applying creativity when Aubameyang occupies the centre-forward role. The Gabonese international struggles with his back to goal and the presence of two playmakers between the lines helps minimize this particular deficiency.The dynamics are slightly altered when Lacazette leads the line for the Gunners. The 30-year-olds ability to act as a link player from a deeper position is his best quality, which allows the Arsenal boss to select inside forwards who play on the shoulder and attack the spaces vacated by the Frenchman.3) Out of possessionTypically, the Gunners defend in a 4-4-2 mid-block. Central compactness provided by the narrow midfielders and forwards forces the opposition to move towards the flanks; an important advantage with this system and it’s a setup that has created foundations for adequate centre-half protection.What's very apparent under Arteta is that the defensive stability installed within the team has helped reduce the frequency of chances. The key phrase to take is ‘defensive stability without being a defensive team’. It’s easy to nullify attacking threats by defending deep and having no intention to play football. But maintaining attacking principles and having a solid base is a difficult balance to achieve; which Arteta has managed to find with this particular system. Statistically, this point is proven as only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals than the Gunners since Christmas.Arteta's 4-3-3Following Kieren Tierney’s injury against Liverpool at the Emirates, the absence of a naturally left-footed full-back hindered the in-game dynamics. When the 24-year-old was previously ruled out of action within the January period, Cedric and Pepe formed a partnership through the left; a combination that Arteta viewed as a short-term solution. But instead of resorting back to these familiar principles, the Arsenal manager opted for a 4-3-3.