There is no doubt that under Unai Emery we lost many a lead to so-called ‘lesser teams’ who came back at us after we took the lead, and it could simply be the fact that the players were too unfit to maintain pressure for the whole 90 minutes.
Well, it now looks Mikel Arteta is definitely trying to remedy the problem, and in fact, according to the Arsenal guru David Ornstein, the players are physically exhausted after taking training sessions with our new coach.
“Mikel Arteta’s been in for a couple of weeks now and there are some little things you’re hearing that reflect positively on the new regime and there was one player I heard about who was explaining how hard training is,” Ornstein told The Athletic podcast.
“Not just the demands on players that Arteta is putting on them for matches but training is said to be absolutely exhausting, to the extent that he was due to have somebody come round to his house on a day off and he said to them ‘no I need to lie in today’ – and that was just from training! They’re knackered.
“I think Arteta gave them a couple of days off after the Manchester United match so I think that was Thursday and Friday but training has been very intense.
“Incredibly tactical is the word that is coming out.”
In Arteta’s first game at the Emirates, Arsenal were all over Chelsea in the first half, but we faded to oblivion in the second and Frank Lampard’s side came back with two goals in the last ten minutes. It also happened that we couldn’t keep up the pace against Man United, but as we had a two-goal cushion by half-time we just had to dig deep and see the game out to grab the points. So it is no surprise that Arteta gave the players a couple of days off, but the question is, for that particular game, is were they just generally unfit or were they even more exhausted after training with Arteta?
All we can hope is that the players buckle down to Arteta’s training and get used to upping their energy levels so they can easily last 90 minutes (if not 120 in some games). And stop letting our opponents into the game…