Arsenal secured an impressive morale-boosting 4-2 win over Leeds United yesterday.
The Gunners had picked up a goalless draw against the Yorkshire side with ten men in the reverse fixture and it was the third time they faced Marcelo Bielsa’s team since Mikel Arteta became manager.
That win helped the Gunners to move above the Whites on the league table and also get within six points of the top four.
Arteta employed an exciting line up with Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Dani Ceballos all playing.
Leeds have been famed for their relentless pressing and attacking game, but the Gunners out-pressed and outworked them in the win.
Martin Keown was excited to see the set up that Arteta made and praised his selection as one of the most technically-packed Arsenal sides since the days of Arsene Wenger.
He writes in his Mail Sports column: “Sunday’s selection by Mikel Arteta was a return to that philosophy. I haven’t seen an Arsenal side packed with so many technical players since the Wenger era.
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will grab the headlines for his hat-trick but he was getting plenty of chances created for him.
“Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Dani Ceballos – they can all create and there was a good message to press high collectively. Arsenal made Leeds look quite ordinary for most of this match because of that.
“Arteta flooded his team with quality and they overpowered their opponent. They were clever, too. It looked like Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier made a mistake for the penalty but Arsenal engineered that opportunity.
“Arteta’s attackers cut off any avenues in which Meslier could play the ball. As a result, he lost it and Arsenal had a spot-kick to make it 2-0.
“Marcelo Bielsa’s full backs are very important to the way they attack.
“But they were so pre-occupied with Smith Rowe on the left wing and Saka on the right that they could not get out and fly forward. It was once Smith Rowe was substituted in the 62nd minute that Arsenal started to sit deep.
“They didn’t have the same energy in their pressing and that’s when Leeds started to claw their way back. What Arsenal did for the first hour of this match is what Arteta will be looking to build upon. ”
It is impressive to see how Arteta paired Odegaard and Smith Rowe and that shows that he can get the best out of both players.