‘I have to say’ Arteta’s match preparation is like no other

Shkodran Mustafi has revealed how Mikel Arteta has changed Arsenal’s preparation for matches, by instigating a clear plan for each opponent.

The German had become a scapegoat for criticism prior to the Spaniard’s arrival as coach, but has returned to being a key player when fit, and looks set for an extended run in the first-team once again, having regained fitness just before David Luiz and Rob Holding fell foul of injury.

Mustafi looks set to start tonight against Dundalk, and has given an insight into how the manager works behind the scenes, and how much work he does in training on the opposition.

“From day one, everyone believed in what he was trying to put on the pitch, how he wanted his team to play,” Mustafi said in the pre-match press conference (via Arsenal’s official site).

“I think it made it easier for every single one of us because when you know what you have to do, when you know exactly what’s going on on the pitch and how you have to play your part to make the team strong, it’s what helps the most.

“I went on the pitch and I knew exactly what I had to do, I knew exactly what the coach wants from me and this made a lot of things easier.

“I have to say, I have never had such detailed training sessions. We are working in great detail about everything. Of course, we try to do our football first but then we analyse the next opponent and see where we can defeat the opponents with our strength.

“He always has an idea of how he wants to play the next game and not every game is the same. He analyses the team so well that when we go to the training pitch, he knows exactly what he wants to do, what we have to train to then be prepared for the weekend.

“That’s the positive thing, when you go into the game you have that picture that you had in the training session, you have the same picture in the game and that helps you a lot.”

The defender was linked with a move away from the club this summer, but after his resurgence under Arteta it should have been no shock that he stayed, and Holding or Luiz may well struggle to displace him should he return to the form of last season.

Do Arsenal put too much preparation into the opposition, and possibly need to work on their own strengths some more?


Tags mikel arteta Shkodran Mustafi


  1. Woooow perfectly prepared to perform a draw.. the same way emery tried to play..
    i watched some videos of arsenal of 16/17 17/18 and one has to say even at the worst, the team played beautifully under wenger and had better results than emery und Arteta so arteta still has a lot to prove..

    1. One thing Arteta still has to learn in regard to this is how to be tactically dynamic. It’s good to plan for the opponents one would face but what happens when the way they trained to play against the said opponent is not how the opponent actually plays on the match day(exactly what Leicester and man City did). How do you adapt to that tactical change by the opponent then during the game. This is one area I feel Arteta is still lacking and hopefully he will keep learning on the job.

  2. Please do not misunderstand what I am about to say by over emphasising a relatively minor point. I merely say that at times, it IS POSSIBLE to be too rigid in formation and that with exceptional players in creative positions – of which we currently have too few, which makes a key difference – a less rigid formation can work wonders in fluidity andflowing football.

    But first any sensible manager needs to instill defensive solidity, which MA to his enormous credit has done. More flowing football takes time and esp needs gifted players. More gifted by far too than our current midfield, en masse!


  3. I am just glad that we have look more competitive against the bigger teams and that we starting to plug gaps in the team like with party as a big strong DM.
    I am also glad we now plan more for the opposition rather than when wenger just played the same way over and over which other managers had figured us out. I do agree Arteta needs to still learn about what to do when the opposition changes their tactic Vs what we planned for but we not his players so maybe he does.

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