Arsenal were unlucky at Old Trafford? by Dan Smith
Whether it’s the debate over VAR ruling out our first goal, or the perception that we dominated at Old Trafford and were unlucky to lose, Mikel Arteta’s performance at the weekend has gone under the radar.
Our manager wanted to stress on Sunday that our performance was good enough for three points, and if anything, his players should leave Manchester with even more self-belief, given the levels they showed. Yet did the Spaniard protest a little too much?
Yet again our mentality was our weak point, a lack of leaders able to point out how high we are pressing, a naivety in how we seemed to go all-out attack.
All those words though could be equally labelled at our dug out.
You see Man United controlled this fixture more than you might think at first glance.
Erik Ten Hag noticed how far our defence were positioned up the pitch and how every time they won the ball, how their pace meant they were clean through on goal.
It’s then up to our coach to find a solution to those tactics.
If the opposition realise they are a threat every time we lose possession, why would they change?
If that’s their best route to scoring, why change systems?
Some Gooners have said they would be embarrassed if we set up like that at home.
If you knew that every time your opponents lost the ball, one pass would send your attackers running away from a high line, wouldn’t you, do it?
This notion that Ten Hag would demand a possession-based approach just to be seen more ambitious is nonsense.
He saw flaws in his rivals’ tactics, and it was up to Arteta to change it.
That’s what our boss gets paid a lot of money for, to set up with a system and adapt as the game develops.
Tactically he was out-thought.
If he knows he got it wrong and his post-match comments are deflection, then that’s okay.
The worry is if he truly believes nothing was wrong…
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Arteta: ‘Arsenal need to play with more courage’
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