How Mikel Arteta outsmarted Marcelo Bielsa in the second half

Mikel Arteta proves once again he has all the tools to be a top manager.

The Mikel Arteta revolution seems to be well and truly underway. We beat Leeds despite starting the game slowly and I can’t help but think that Arteta is set to take us even further than we could have hoped when he took charge.

When I saw the team sheet for this game against Leeds I thought it was a strong Arsenal team, however, when the game started and Leeds United started dominating the play, I began to feel that we may have gotten it wrong this time.

At half time, only a goal was missing in Leeds performance and we desperately needed a response from Arsenal in the second half and we got it.

Whatever Arteta said to the players at half time worked like magic.

The boys came out fighting like they had everything to lose and these are a few things I noticed that Arteta changed.

Apply pressure on heavy touch

In the first half, Arsenal struggled to get near Leeds and they allowed the visitors to control the game, however, in the second half Arsenal closed them down more often and made sure they got the ball when any Leeds players touched the ball heavily.

Press higher up

In the first half, the game was played mostly in Arsenal’s half, but Arteta told his players to take the game to the visitors and close them down in their own half.

That tactic seemed to confuse the visitors and they found it very hard to get back into the game.

Target them for tactical fouls

One thing that Manchester City have constantly been accused of has been tactical fouls. Mikel Arteta instead of asking his players to commit them asked them to invite Leeds’ players to commit them.

Granit Xhaka repeatedly placed himself in a position to be fouled and that seemed to slow the visitors down as well as frustrate them.

This was another masterclass by Arteta.

6 Comments

  1. Abdul Razak Sesay says:

    A true and great analysis, that’s exactly what happened in the second half. Arsenal committed them to too much of fouls especially on xhaka and lacazette. Arsenal were really brilliant in the second half of the game. Great performances by both coach and players.

  2. benex says:

    Xhaka and Lacazette were lucky not to be red carded, like the referee is on our side. Thank God we have Aubameyang, Laca as completely lost is goal sense, he need to be benched, Xhaka is slow , can only survive playing with a hard-working Midfielder like Toreirra who will carry on to do what Xhaka supposed to do primarily. Nelson lack football brain, the guy needs to b loaned to league two club, Martinelli should get involved constantly.
    Holding is a little bit Rusty. Arteta is showing what is capable of, I knew the game will change come second half.

  3. Pauladonis says:

    Seeing the complete difference in the team’s performance in both halves of the game, it seems to me like Arteta and the players prioritized finishing strongly over coming out of the blocks with guns blazing.

    They say once bitten, twice shy. They must have accepted the reality that they are still low on fitness and cannot afford another Chelsea type situation. So, they gave leeds more of the ball in the first half so as to conserve their energy. If that is true, then I must commend all of them for their game management.

    We also needed some luck to make sure the plan didn’t backfire, and it’s good to see that we were prepared to have some luck as well in the game.

  4. Franko says:

    Our first half game plan was too ‘Emery-listic’ for my liking. All I saw was individuals holding on to the ball too long and couldn’t string five passes together but our determination kept us going and thank GOD we didn’t concede. During Emery’s time this season, we were the ones chasing the game because we allowed the opposition to dominate and score first. We always end up losing or drawing those games and it could have happened yesterday if Leeds had converted one or two of their eight chances in the first half. I for one thought we would continue the passing game of the last three matches and not play Emery-ball but good thing we got the win. Upward and forward…COYG!

  5. Godswill says:

    The boys played the second half as if they were not the incapable ones in first half. If it was a tactic, please let’s not try it with a team with competent scorers. But it wasn’t as I noticed that Arteta was not a happy coach then.

  6. Reggie says:

    They got a right bollocking at half time. No tactical masterclass.

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