Mikel Arteta tells his players that they must enjoy doing this one important thing

Mikel Arteta wants his players to enjoy defending

Arsenal’s 1-0 win against Olympiacos was their third consecutive clean sheet and the first time since April that they have gone on such a run.

Mikel Arteta was impressed by the teams defensive performance last night and he has encouraged his players to enjoy the act of defending.

Defending was one of Arsenal’s biggest problems under Unai Emery and they could easily pass for the most open side in the division when the former PSG man was their boss.

However, they have become a better defensive unit under Arteta and the former Arsenal captain doesn’t want that to change.

Arteta admits that his players can lose the ball during the cause of a game but he has instructed them to always win the ball back after losing it.

He was also full of praise for his wide players who always came back to held defend and made it harder for their opponents to create anything or to run at their defence.

‘I tell them they have to enjoy defending as well,’ he said as quoted by Arsenal.com.

‘It is a big part of the game and like tonight, if you give simple balls away, you better run back and get that ball back as quickly as possible.

‘But they play with a big heart. I see a lot of big efforts that a team, instead of splitting it just joins together really quickly.

‘The wide players before used to have different behaviours now they are tracking back everybody.

‘I think we are doing a lot of work on that to stay as compact as possible in many situations when we don’t have the ball and yes we are pleased with that because it is a big part.’

Arteta is spot on singling out the defenders for special mention. They have been immense in recent games and are starting to look a formidable unit. They may be prone to the odd error but most defences are these days, it is how you handle those mistakes and recover from them that is important.

It also helps if you actually enjoy it, as Arteta has so rightly pointed out.


  1. What Arteta has done with our defence with no differerent players, AS YET , than before is little short of miraculous. I have no illusions though that it still contains clowns but the clowns, thanks to the whole team supporting the defence, AT LONG LAST, are being neutered at present. But they remain clowns and will not become van Dykes, despite some of the ridiculous realism ignoring comments on a recent thread, which incredulously claim that Mustafi is now a good player. Good grief!

  2. Agree JF.Defensive responsibility is a major aspect of the success of Man City where attacking players work like demons to close down and win back the ball.Aguero is a classic example of a striker who was obliged to work harder off the ball to satisfy his Manager’s requirements.He has become a better all round player for it.This is the point MA is getting across to the Arsenal players.

  3. Its amazing to see the structure and organization MA has brought to the team.We are defending quite well.Yesterday the standout playees for me were leno,mustafi and saka who are all part of the back end.Defending is an ART.Mikel ARTeta is a good artist.

    Love defending!!,whenever i hear or see that phrase i remeber the performance by atletico madrid against liverpool.

    1. 😃😃 don’t get carried away just yet….. they overturned a three-goal deficit against Barça last year…. I know Atletico is a lot more resolute when it comes to defence, but I won’t be celebrating just yet….. I’ll wait till the actually get knocked out 😃….. what I’ll give for them to lose a game in the EPL, I’ll even prefer that they win the CL again, if that means they’re losing at least 2 EPL games this season….. one of the has to be to us of course 😃….. anyways, that aside…. I hope we keep our winning streak alive in the next game and beyond….. COYG!!

  4. Just remember how Leno saved 3 goals!

    Let’s be real, Yes! our defense is getting way much better. Yet, they should be focused 90mins, PL teams have good if not great attackers and they will not miss such easy goals. However, I admit that we are all happy with the defense performance and they are getting better each and every game.

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