Arteta Does It Again! By Dan
While Aubameyang will get most of the headlines for yet again scoring at Wembley, the most pleasing aspect is yet again rookie Arteta out-thought one of the best managers in the world.
Liverpool fans suggested their defeat at the Emirates was down to the Champions downing tools, and no doubt will suddenly be referring to this fixture as just a friendly.
In the FA Cup Final Chelsea used the referee as an excuse.
Yet, including Man City in the Semi Final of the Cup, that’s 4 times now that we have won a big game due to our tactics being better.
Maybe if you do it once you can call it luck, but when you keep winning despite the opposition at times dominating possession, that’s not a coincidence.
At times yesterday our opponents had near 80 percent of the ball. Yet that was deliberate from us, that was part of the game plan, to soak up the pressure, then hit on the break, knowing we have a striker you can rely on to be clinical.
I said before many Gooners won’t be used to this. If you’re like me and grew up with Arsene Wenger, the idea of altering formations or styles depending on the opposition would be an alien concept to you. That’s because the Frenchmen believed in his ethos and wouldn’t sacrifice his principles no matter what. His stance was his way gave us the best chance of winning so why worry about what others are doing? In the glory days of Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp, Pires, etc maybe you could afford to think like that. Yet Arteta is smart enough to recognise this squad’s limitations.
Part of finding any solution is admitting you have a problem, and the Spaniard being honest about how far away we are from those at the top takes more skill then you think. It’s not easy to hold your hands up and say there are issues.
It takes a certain personality (especially so early in your first job) to refuse to tell people what they want to hear and share with your players, staff, fans and employers that certain aspects are wrong.
Long term our coach wants to press high and control the ball, but he’s looked at our weaknesses and found ideas to give us the best possible chance of winning a match. It takes incredible man management to do that. First of all, to get a group who had lost all confidence under Emery to believe they could beat sides so many points ahead of them in the table.
You can be on the training pitch for hours doing drills, but you can only do what Arteta has done if players believe in what he is saying.
He’s taken Footballers, many who are used to being on the attack and being positive, and is getting them to run, to track back, to defend as a unit, while convincing them that when the odd chance arrives they are good enough to convert them.
Vieira once said that while working with Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan he was taught that it’s okay to acknowledge that another team is better than you, but that doesn’t mean you accept losing to them. It simply means you have to find other ways to win.
So, while there are games where we can get three points simply because we have talent who are technically better, when that’s not the case we are prepared to run faster, work harder, fight more. You couldn’t always say that about Arsenal over the years. Our last three performances at the Twin Towers have simply been very un-Arsenal like.
Naturally, the assumption is that if he gets the players he wants then our manager has even more ideas to try. Logically he’s only going to get better the more experiences he garners.
If we had an ambitious owner, he would start to see he might have someone special in that dugout capable of some amazing things, I’m just worried that Stan Kroenke won’t match those ambitions to take that extra step.
It’s only fair that I wait till October to judge this transfer window, but ultimately I fear we will fail not due to who our manager is but who he works for.
The only thing I would change from our performance is I would have loved Auba to have put on the Black Panther Mask although he did pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
The Gabon International teams are nicknamed the ‘Panthers’ and their star man has admitted in the past how the mask/character was a representation of himself.
Upon learning the sad news, he tweeted: ‘We all feeling it!! May you Rest in Peace. You gave us so much Hope and strength thanks for everything’.
So, I guess there was some kind of destiny about Aubameyang scoring hours after hearing one of his heroes had passed away.
On behalf of everyone at Justarsenal, RIP Black Panther.