Arteta Shows Next Part Of The Process by Dan Smith
Even before our winning penalty on Sunday I was ready to write how we had seen the next step of Arteta’s plan at Old Trafford. I don’t judge things as black and white as only judging things on a result.
All you can ever be is the best version of yourself. While I don’t believe our owner has always done that, I believe our manager has those standards. In our defeats at Anfield and the Etihad we were not. We showed too much respect to the opposition, focused on their strengths instead of what we do well.
In winning the FA Cup, our rookie boss showed he could organise a team to be tough to beat. While doing that he demonstrated that he could get the very best out of limited resources.
In the semi-final in particular the Spaniard changed the mentality of a squad who had lost belief under Emery. Our coach was honest enough to admit the huge gap between us and our rivals, but that didn’t mean he tolerates defeat; it simply means you find new ways to win.
If, like me you grew up with Arsene Wenger, you were not used to the Gunners tactically changing based on the opponent. We wouldn’t have been able to comfortably see out a 1-0 win away from home a year ago. That’s come from hard work on the training pitch and man management skills to make players believe.
The next stage of our development was to press the ball and win it back quickly. You can tell our boss has been mentored by Pep Guardiola. Even back in his Barcelona days, Pep prioritised retrieving possession within seconds of losing it. United couldn’t play out from defence because of how well we pressed.
It begs the question of where was that urgency at City or Liverpool?
Yet yesterday’s result will only encourage our players to carry on that work ethic every week.
Aubameyang said something post-match which I think a section of our fanbase need to listen too. Our captain spoke about ‘trusting the process’ the new regime has introduced. Part of that process’ is being honest enough to admit we have limitations.
We wouldn’t have hired someone who’s never managed before if we were not prepared to take little steps.
We employed someone with a vision, smart enough to know that due to not having the unlimited funds he had in his last work place that this will take time. It might mean every window he’s allowed to insert one piece of the puzzle but at least he has an ethos, something Emery never had.
He of course can’t publicly admit it but Arteta will expect inconsistencies from this group, he knows there will be bad days ahead.
This was never going to be a case of wave the magic wand and all will magically be fixed. That’s why I’m happy he wasn’t pressured into changing his methods.
Some Gooners wanted Auba down the middle. It’s natural that they are so passionate to see us return to our former glories, now that the defence is fixed, they want us to fast track to the free-flowing style that is part of our DNA.
Arteta though is like that strict teacher at school, refusing to move on till he knows what he has taught you is embedded in your head. At the moment, his lesson is defending and a high press and if he has to sacrifice our attacking threat until we get the foundations correct, he will.
Some might talk about the chances the likes of Lacazette is missing, but you can’t underestimate how much work rate by the front three was crucial to our win. Again it takes man management skills to get strikers to defend from the front. I wouldn’t be shocked if our manager is willing to sacrifice goals for the sake of that hard work.
The reason I was so quick to question those predicting a title challenge and winning a Champions League in three years is because if we give Arteta time, I believe we might have someone special. Yet by comparing Arteta to Mr Wenger after a couple of wins, it only creates hysteria when he loses.
Let’s try to not get carried away when we win, so we don’t be too negative when we don’t.
Let’s Trust The Process.