Poor old Mikel Arteta, he has arrived at Arsenal to take over a team that can’t win a game and keeps surrendering a lead when they are in front, and he tries his damnest to change the training regime and the mentality, but the same thing keeps happening over and over.
We have won just one of his 5 League games in charge, and he feels frustrated by his team looking in control and then bottling it in the end. The boss told Arsenal.com after the game: “I’m very disappointed today. I think the performance deserved three points and I think we lost two points. In the Premier League, if you don’t put the game to bed then in the last 10 or 15 minutes this type of team just need a long ball, a second ball, a set-piece, and you can give the points away. That’s it.
“Yeah and there’s a history of [nerves in the stadium]. It makes it even more. In the Premier League we are 1-0 up and in the last 10 or 15 minutes you have to be careful, because anything can happen.
“I don’t know what was done before. I think they tried to do the best possible thing. I inherited a team that was in a difficult situation and we’re trying to improve it as much as possible. I don’t know. In the second half, Sheffield United didn’t generate any efforts on goal – it’s just one long ball, a second ball and then someone put it top bins from an incredible angle. It’s difficult to control it.”
Arteta was then asked if he thought the players were still suffering from not being fit enough to last the full 90 minutes, but he disagreed with that. “I think they all went full gas and I think they all tried really hard.” he continued. “I think we put them under real pressure every time and we didn’t allow them to come out the way they do, to generate the overloads in wide areas and control the second phase, or put balls into the box. I don’t think that was the case.
“Maybe in the first five or 10 minutes, we had to figure out the game a little bit but after that I think we did. Then when you’re 1-0 up, the last 10 minutes things change. They changed to a back four and they started to commit more bodies forward, and then they’d have six players in front of the ball. It’s more difficult to control when they play long balls or second balls like this. It’s not easy.”
Well, he doesn’t sound very happy, which is unsurprising as he thought they would now fight to the end under his guidance, but it looks awfully like things haven’t really changed that much just yet. I sincerely hope he can get the team back up and motivated for the trip to Chelsea on Tuesday. The Blues will be hurting after battering the Newcastle goal this evening and then being hit with a sucker punch in the last minute. They probably feel the same as the Arsenal team right now, but who can recover the best before Tuesday?