Arteta…The man for the big occasion? by ThirdManJW
Like many, I questioned the appointment of Arteta, specifically, the timing. I had no issue appointing someone with no experience, but at a time when Arsenal were in free-fall, surely, we needed an experienced manager? How wrong was I! I congratulate the board on staying strong, and making this appointment against the wishes of a large section of the fanbase. They saw the potential, and boy is Arteta delivering the goods.
In under 30 games Arteta has already won 2 trophies (which must be a first for a new Arsenal manager), and he’s done it the hard way, beating the best of the best. This achievement made all the more remarkable given what he’s had to work with. He inherited the worst Arsenal squad in well over 30 years, with no idea how to defend, and who’s confidence was at an all-time low. He got the fans onside almost straight away with his press conferences. Arteta seems to have an aura of strength, and confidence about him. He doesn’t mince about, saying what the fans want to hear, and there’s no empty words. Everything said, he backs up with actions. Our weakest areas have been focused on, he properly disciplines the players, and he’s taught the squad how to defend again. This keeps the fans happy, and the squad in check. I am loving everything about Arteta at moment.
I feel the most impressive thing of all, is our results against top teams since Arteta’s arrival. Not just the results, but mainly performances as well. In the past, we were getting absolutely battered against top sides on a regular basis, and that has now stopped. We’re not getting lucky wins. We are earning our victories by outperforming our opponents, and working harder in my opinion. Arteta’s tactical approach has been nothing short of amazing, and he’s somehow squeezing out every ounce of ability, and determination, from seemingly average players.
Let’s have a look at our performances against top sides under Arteta.
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea 29/12/20
In his first game against a top side, we took the lead, and performed really well. Despite Chelsea dominating just before half-time, which continued throughout the second half, Leno was barely tested. We were defending very well until his mistake. Then another individual mistake from Mustafi, as we pushed for the winner, cost us the game. Jorginho should have been sent off though, and that turned out to be decisive. Arteta should have brought subs on earlier, but overall, the ref and individual errors are what cost us. Extremely unlucky to get nothing from this game.
Arsenal 2-0 Man Utd 01/01/20
Brilliant performance from start to finish, and we could have won by more. Deserved to win this game.
Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal 21/01/20
Yet again, what cost us in this game? Individual errors! Mustafi’s woeful attempt at a pass that put Abraham (I think it was) clean through, and then Luiz’s ridiculous, 100% guaranteed red card foul when he knew he couldn’t stop a goal anyway. Despite that, Arteta got us set up just right for the counter, and we fought hard for a point. We did get a little luck on the way, which you need with a man less for so long, but it was a very impressive performance again, given the circumstances.
Man City 3-0 Arsenal 17/06/20
Our first real beating under Arteta. His starting line-up wasn’t great, but it was a crazy amount of bad luck, and individual errors that really cost us. Two injuries in the first half, then the Luiz horror show, resulting in yet another penalty, and red card for him. Not to mention costing us the first goal right on half time as well. Up until Luiz “stepped up”, we were just about holding our own. Not much Arteta could have done in the circumstances.
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal 12/07/20
Yet again, some dreadful errors from our defenders played a key role in this defeat. Although I was a little disappointed with our attacking performance, from a tactical perspective. Especially after we conceded the second goal, where I think Lloris had nothing to do for the last 15/20 mins. Their defense was barely put under any pressure towards the end of the game. Poor defending, but this was probably the first time I really felt Arteta could have done better attacking wise. He never reacted to the goals.
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool 15/07/20
Although Liverpool dominated the game from start to finish, the plan was to clearly let them have the ball, and hit them on the counter. We defended really well, but to be fair, we did get a lot of luck with our goals. This was probably the first time I felt we were a bit lucky to win against a top side.
Arsenal 2-0 Man City FA Cup Semi-Final 18/07/20
Arteta tactical masterclass in my opinion. We defended like lions in this game, and hit them perfectly on the counter. Fully deserving of the victory.
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea FA Cup Final 01/08/20
As with the recent Liverpool victory, we again showed a strong mental resilience to come back from a goal behind. After conceding early, we basically dominated the game, and fully deserved the victory. We got lucky with the Kovacic sending, although Azpilicueta somehow avoided a straight red, despite deliberately fouling Auba, and not going for the ball, when he was clean through. Lampard had no answer to Arteta’s tactics.
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties) Community Shield 29/08/20
Brilliant performance from Arsenal, who were the better team on the day. We defended so well as a unit, that Liverpool didn’t even have a shot on target until around the 70th minute. Their goal was also very lucky, whereas ours was a work of art! Fantastic victory, especially given our depleted squad, and Liverpool almost at full strength.
Against top teams:
Win 5 Draw 1 Lose 3
So, the results have been absolutely fantastic, resulting in two trophies already, but it’s the performances that really tell the story. Despite the City defeat, where we had a man less for over a half anyway, one cannot say we’ve been battered once. We are clearly progressing under Arteta, and he’s setting us up perfectly in these types of games. If this is what he can do with someone else’s squad, just imagine what he can achieve with his own players, and most importantly, better players. Let’s not forget, that Arteta hasn’t had a lot to work with thus far. Really looking forward to this season, and finally seem to have a big game manager again.