Arteta: We got the reaction we wanted

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Mikel Arteta says his players will have learnt a lesson from their poor first half showing against Leeds United but was pleased he got a reaction as Arsenal went on to secure safe passage to the FA Cup 4th round with a 1-0 win

The Gunners, so impressive against Manchester United on Wednesday, were second best all over the pitch as Marcelo Bielsa’s side implemented their high press and quick possession football in a frenetic opening 45 minutes. 

After a rollicking from the boss, who said he’d warned them about what to expect, there was a marked improvement. Reiss Nelson grabbed the decisive goal on 55 minutes and there were numerous chances to double the lead as the visitors tired. 

Reflecting on the way the game panned out, Arteta said: “The first 35 minutes, we cannot play with that rhythm against a top side like them who batters opponents every three days. 

“I tried to tell them before the game, to convince them that is what they should expect but I think they had to experience it.

“If they play like this, they were going to suffer and [Leeds] were going to make you look like a small team. If you change that, you start to win duels and start to win the ball much higher up the pitch and you are better organised with a much better body language, then I think you are going to enjoy your profession.

“It is a physical issue, but it is also mental and [about] heart. We did much better in the second half than the first, and normally everyone is saying we are dropping in the second half because we can’t maintain. Look how they finished the game today.

“We got the reaction we wanted. We try to convince them every day to play in that certain way and hopefully, they learn a lesson today.”

Arsenal’s reward for a hard night’s toil is a trip to Bournemouth in three weeks time.

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Oneofbellerinscornrows
Oneofbellerinscornrows

Love it

Archer
Archer

I like how Sokratis celebrates a good tackle more than a goal ?

Mootilated
Mootilated

Sometimes tackles like that are worth more than a goal. His yesterday was.

OdalGooner
OdalGooner

Warmed my heart to see him puffing himself up and high-fiving the other defenders. Gained a massive amount of respect for him yesterday. Can’t accuse him of not having heart. Love performances like this, with lots of passion and fight. Loved seeing our keeper bossing people around and playing with authority. We’re fortunate to have two very very good keepers in our squad. Not something we’ll feel every day, but in a squad that does lack some depth, it’s satisfying that we have two ambitious and talented (and hard working!) keepers to choose from. Best possible problem to have!

Gunnerali
Gunnerali

Was hopeful about Mikel’s appointment as manager but nervous that he may not be up to the job. Still early days but have to say mighty impressed with what I’ve seen so far, here’s hoping it continues!!

SB Still
SB Still

Yup. Wish the hierarchy had acted 6-8 weeks sooner!

Arsenio
Arsenio

6 to 8 months.

Ryan Colaco
Ryan Colaco

“If they play like this, they were going to suffer and [Leeds] were going to make you look like a small team. ”
This. This is why the fans were so damning of the last regime. It is so good that Arteta is determined to not let the players fall into that funk or get comfortable, and that the players respond to that pushing.
Even the best of teams can have off phases. But what matters is to recognize when that happens, keep fighting hard – if not harder, and not giving an inch to the opponent. The results, beyond that, become less relevant – and, for the most part, would follow on from that kind of effort.

db10s
db10s

You know what worries me. The fact this is how we react just after 1 win. We fall back in the Emery comfort zone.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Stop blaming Emery…Arsenal teams have been like this for years and years.

Duno
Duno

Arteta did NOT underrate the Leeds team at all and it showed in his team selection. He was also really pissed and I’m not surprised with what Laca said he said at half time. Dude is confirming he’s no bluffer. He told them to play a certain type of way and we were a bit lax like we are playing under the old regime. Also, players are more likely to take a scolding when you’ve got a plan and all they have to do is execute your CLEAR instructions. Long may the fire up the arse continue.

DAF
DAF

As much as I loved the victory over Manure, THIS victory fills me with even more hope that Arteta can really be a catalyst for change at Arsenal.

If you ever needed evidence of his management style taking effect, this was it. I’ve not seen such an improvement after half time for many, many years. And it was EVERYONE that improved, not just one or two.

At last it looks like we have a serious manager!

Jordan
Jordan

Lego hair now has laser eyes.

Dublin Gunner
Dublin Gunner

Think I saw his head turn 360 degrees too…

Magic City Gooner
Magic City Gooner

*Schwarzenegger voice*
“Come with me if you want to win the league.”

Dark Hei
Dark Hei

At half time, Arteta uses his patented hair spray treatment on the players.

Arsemusic
Arsemusic

It’s very refreshing that Arteata names the issue and makes it clear it’s not what he wants, the players responded with a great 2nd half so we know they can do this. Arteta has now named and shamed that first half it’s on the players head if they drop another stinker like that.

ArsenesLongSufferingZipper
ArsenesLongSufferingZipper

Am assuming the blood red wolves eyes pupils in this picture was part of the “death stare” he gave the team at half time. Thanks Blogs.

Vieira
Vieira

Arternator!

Rocastle7

Follow, follow, follow
Arsenal are the team to follow
and there’s nobody better
than Mikel Arteta
He’s the best Lego Spaniard we know ?

Little Bit Handbrake
Little Bit Handbrake

I can imagine Mikel saying to himself as the game ended “There is NO WAY I am going to be made to endure the agony of watching my team play like they did in that first 45 minutes!” I honestly believe such a display is deeply repugnant to him, like a personal offense.

But given that, I’m incredibly impressed that he is also able to cast his vision for the players in terms of the pleasure they should behaving from their profession. That is first class psychological leadership: the disgust-powered, Gale Force 12 hairdryer, followed up with the vision of them as satisfied, happy professionals.

Oregoon

Agree. Particularly since he said, ” I was mad because they did not RESPECT what we told them about Leeds.” Great response, as we showed Leeds for who they are; a team that can deal out the pressure, but can’t take it.

Santori
Santori

We got a reaction but what we want is performances without need to have to resort to hairdryer treatment.

We’ve seen 10 game unbeaten spells under Wenger or Unai. We’ve seen those managers get this team over Chelsea and United before.

Fans here bc we beat United suddenly imagined we are transformed by Arteta. That has not been the case yet.

We are yet to replicate our performances over BOTH halves under Arteta.

Thereafter we will need to replicate match performances over subsequent string of games.

We are very far from that at the moment and the danger has (as always) been both fans and players believe they are already there.

I thought Arteta pushed everyone tighter second half and the midfield was transformed. This has been part of the issue as we tend not to work as a unit. Also we could see more bodies gambling forward to press tight together or attack with numbers.

Again the moment we took Leeds out of their comfort level, we reaped benefit with our superior individuals.

Midfield in particular was Jekyl and Hyde.

Same players but more positive momentum by entire team and we were suddenly way more dynamic and on the front foot. Ozil dropped more to help with the ball, Granit and Guendouzi were more dynamic, Nelson and Pepe closer to the backline helped.

Work in progress. Replicate effort over both halves is going to be the brief for now.