Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta continues to demonstrate that, post-Arsene Wenger, he is the man to lead the club to new heights. 13 games (in all competitions) into the season, the results so far can’t help but agree that Arsenal are not a one-hit wonder, as some claimed last season.
But how have they performed in the 13 games?
In these 13 games, they won the Community Shield against Manchester City; in the league, they are unbeaten in 9 games thus far this season with 6 wins and 3 draws (they are third in the league, two points behind league leaders and North London rivals Tottenham); and they have won two of their three Champions League games (they lost the other to Lens).
As they say in calm water, every ship has a good captain, and Arteta transformed the faltering Arsenal he took over into one of the toughest opponents destined to have a say in not only English football but also European football.
Though you may be thinking about our memorable Champions League win over Sevilla on Tuesday night, I can’t help but recall the 2-2 draw in the London derby.
The Gunners came from behind to force a 2-2 draw with Chelsea last Saturday, turning things around in the end after a poor start and falling behind by two goals. That comeback demonstrated Arteta’s team’s maturity as well as the team’s character to fight back and not give up.
Apart from the draw with Chelsea, there have been numerous occasions this season where Arteta’s team has done all possible to get results. They also didn’t play well against Everton at Goodison Park, but they won by one goal. The same thing happened when they faced Brentford away in the Carabao Cup and won by a goal. The dramatic late 3-1 win over Manchester United demonstrated an Arsenal team that is mature and capable of holding on.That said, the real test came when they faced last season’s league champion, Manchester City. That was a match in which Arteta demonstrated the progress his team has made; his tactics and game plan did everything to prove to Pep Guardiola, whom he worked under, that there’s a new sheriff in town. Notably, Arteta this season is 2-0 versus Guardiola, having defeated him in the Community Shield other than the league.
This Arsenal team has reached a point where they can collect “good results” even if they are not at their best. What a team!
Players receive all of the credit for Arsenal’s outstanding performance, but Mikel Arteta’s efforts should not be overlooked. He has assembled a dream team and, in doing so, has instilled discipline and found a way to switch tactics after tactics to get the best out of his team while maximizing their abilities and bringing the best out of them.
That’s why when Arteta says, “We are on a journey still, a lot of games to play for, a lot things can happen, it shows you how difficult it is to win in the Champions League, especially away from home.” I can’t help but think that Odegaard and Co. just need to, at the end of this season, crown Arteta’s fine job at the Emirates with Champions League glory.
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