The Mikel Arteta revolution might be taking time to build momentum but the new head coach is pleased the Emirates crowd continues to back his players.
When the Spaniard was appointed in December he was quick to highlight the importance of repairing the relationship with supporters whose frustrated grumbling had turned to outright jeering in the final weeks of Unai Emery’s tenure.
The Gunners dropped further points from a winning position yesterday as Sheffield United grabbed a late 1-1 draw.
Afterwards, Arteta told Arsenal Player: “The fans were terrific, they were right behind the team and they appreciated every action as we were pushing them.
“I’m so thankful to them because compared to how it was a month ago, I think it’s completely different.
“We have to keep trying to convincing them and encouraging them to keep doing it, and hopefully they can deserve and enjoy more good results.”
Four wins from 12 games at the Emirates and a goal tally of just 18 goals highlights how poor we’ve been at home this term.
Not extending our advantage in games where we’ve nudged ahead has been particularly costly. Yesterday, John Fleck’s deflected effort cancelled out Gabriel Martinelli’s opener with onlly seven minutes left on the clock.
One goal leads are not enough, agreed Arteta. “Yeah and there’s a history of [nerves in the stadium],” he told his post-game press conference.
“It makes it even more. In the Premier League we are 1-0 up and in the last 10 or 15 minutes you have to be careful, because anything can happen.”
Asked if player fitness was a problem, Arteta seemed to suggest it wasn’t as simple as that.
“They all went full gas and I think they all tried really hard,” he noted.
“We put them under real pressure every time and we didn’t allow them to come out the way they do, to generate the overloads in wide areas and control the second phase, or put balls into the box. I don’t think that was the case.
“Maybe in the first five or 10 minutes, we had to figure out the game a little bit but after that I think we did.
“Then when you’re 1-0 up, the last 10 minutes things change. They changed to a back four and they started to commit more bodies forward, and then they’d have six players in front of the ball.
“It’s more difficult to control when they play long balls or second balls like this. It’s not easy.”