Thursday, April 25, 2024

Arteta: They were absolutely knackered, but they played how I wanted

Having played on Sunday, and again on Thursday night, it wasn’t a surprise that Arsenal appeared a bit leggy in the second half of the 3-2 win over Everton at the Emirates yesterday.

The Gunners rode their luck a little bit, had Bernd Leno to thank for some impressive goalkeeping, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goalscoring quality as they dig out a third successive win.

Some of the defending will not have pleased Mikel Arteta, but he was more than happy with the character of his team and the willingness to put in the hard yards in difficult circumstances.

“The best thing is the spirit that we showed,” said the manager. “Coming back from Europe, three games in seven days and conceding a goal in the first minute.

“The way we reacted, the way we played for 60-65 minutes was exactly what I want from my team.

“The resilience that some of the players showed when they were absolutely knackered and they kept going and going and going.

“It’s exactly what I want. in the last 20 to 25 minutes you could see that energy-wise we dropped a lot. We had a lot of issues with some of the players on the pitch.

“We tried to make the changes to lift it up but to be fair Everton were better than us in the last 20 to 25 minutes and had some chances to score.”

Following the win over Olympiacos, Arsenal stayed in Greece rather than travelling back immediately, as is usually the case, and it seems as if that paid dividends.

“When we looked at the options, if we travelled straight after the game then we would have landed here at 4.30am or 5am, which completely disrupts the preparation,” said Arteta.

“First of all the rest, and second the way they eat. In the plane it isn’t the same as the hotel and then they rest for two or three hours on the plane and then they go back home.

“I don’t really like it. I want to stay together there, eat well, sleep well, travel together and start to talk about the next opponent, or review the game.

“Then we have fresh minds, we can go home, and then the next day we’re ready to start again.”

Rate the players today: Arsenal 3-2 Everton – Player Ratings

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Hmm..I wonder how our fitness levels match with the rest of the league. Are we more knackered because our boys are competing in Europe and Everton arent? Or did our players spend the first half of the season eating pies and drinking beers?


Arsenal had 3 games in a week, while Everton just got back from a holiday.

Runcorn Gooner

At least this week we are Thursday/Monday (with some lesser used players)/Saturday.

If we get through the EL match unfortunately we get back to the tougher schedule from the week after. That’s just a consequence of being successful.


Pretty sure we’re not the fittest team in the league, and could do with more rigor being built into the team.

But for the Everton game I think it was pretty much the 3 games in the week -a lot of the players played all 3 games, and note that it also involved a lot of travel which zaps the energy as well.

VAR will solve the problem

I think ever since Darren Burgess left our fitness level dropped. I rememeber the interview with him few weeks ago… we used to be near the top end in terms of running. Now we are towards the bottom. Fitness is definitely a concern that Arteta needs to fix even before personnel change.


Nonsense, Burgess has been let go from all the top clubs he’s worked for, I don’t think he’s any loss at all. We have Shad and his team who are excellent. . We also run arraaand just as much as we ever did, but just in a more intelligent way. That interview with Burgess was just like the Emery one, trying to remind people that they still exist!


These guys probably come in and implement systems into the club and are paid well for it and then move on to others when its self sustaining, that would explain the pattern of movement.

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

Doubt it. Fitness (Burgess) and man management / tactics (Emery) are a constantly evolving thing instead of self sustaining

Da Boss

We were toward the top in terms of running because everyone used to be out of position. Now everyone is in a more recognised position or system they have to run less. Who knew.


Being in Europe certainly makes a difference, and many column inches have been written about the particular evils of a Thursday/Sunday schedule, compared to Wed/Sat…. In this case I think we can legitimately take issue with the fact that we had 3 games and Everton are just back from their winter break. Of course this is the first year of implementation so some learning to be done, but it could seem straight forward to me to batch the teams in to 2 sets of 10, for 2 weeks so that teams coming from break will play others coming back from… Read more »

Gunner 55

Makes sense. That’s why the FA won’t do it.


When you actually look at the facts of what you just wrote it makes the result amazing.


Well, even if we had the same break schedule as Everton, we would have still had our EL game. If we hadn’t played in Europe, I don’t think that it would have made a big difference to have one or two weeks break beforehand. After one week with the right mix of training and resting, the players should be at 100 %.
What could be done is to have all teams involved in Europe playing in the same week, but that probably needs some heavy fixture shuffling.


Good points. Also Everton players have to face Duncan Ferguson after the game. I’d put in a shift it it were me.

Cliff Bastin

What a manager.


Glad it come good. 1 minute into the game I was imagining all the ‘we should have taken Anchelotti’ pish that would have been doing the rounds if we lost.

Bergkamp 3:16

Let’s not under estimate the importance of this result. This is the kind of game we would have lost under Emery and dare I say under Wenger too. The excuse would be that we played an away fixture in Europe which most of us would deemed as acceptable. While we may not be the fittest team all credit to the manager and the 14 players to get the result they did.

Gudang Bedil

Interesting to see who will Arteta deploy in the Europa game against Olympiakos. Saka needs a rest, same with Auba. I reckon Martinelli will get the nod in the next match with Laca upfront. But Saka will need to dig deep because we don’t have anyone left on left back.

pierre lacapeppe

AMN and Xhaka can fill in there. Of course Xhaka should ideally be rested. Therefore AMN.

Public Elneny

Maitland-Niles? He’s played half a season there for us already and looked at least as comfortable there as he does at RB.

We should have enough to avoid defeat at home to Oly, without resorting to takings risks with the long term fitness of one of our biggest talents

pierre lacapeppe

if we’re getting knackered in every game after 70 mins, surely all the teams would figure this out and save their energy for the last 20 minutes

Never Happen

As long as we’re 3-0 up by then.


Bournemouth tried that in the cup. We still won.


The ideal scenario is (and seems to be the progression) that we dominate possession for those 70 minutes, forcing them to chance so THEY are knackered, then ramp it up.

That’s what we used to do under Wenger to teams outside the top 6 when we were flat track bullies.


*forcing them to CHASE. damn autocratic.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

City having the cup final is a good thing for the players, they can have a week off after what will no doubt be a tough game on thursday. That will probably mean a fixture pile up to come, but worry about that when it’s here. The next few games on paperr don’t look too scary, so some more confidence and work on the training pitch, and a clearer target in sight should have the boys more equipped to go toe to toe with city.


Rotation and keeping the balance between defensive prudence/attacking enterprise is obvious. Its not been easy with Emery and Wenger having had issues with this team before. Frankly Ozil seems to be better than before. His fitness seems to have improved. BUT you could see around 70-80 minutes, there was a drop and he was walking. Arteta demands rightly more output (as did emery first season). But how we marshall the resources on hand is important. Which is why I mentioned many times it is NOT a zero sum game. We need to have TWO quality options per position. Those who… Read more »


Damn, Arteta is a methodical fellow.


Still need to manage games better. That save by Leno late second half crucial. Had he not done it, we would be singing a different tune with yet another draw…worse maybe even a collapse at the end. Xhaka in that instance too slow to come up played them onside. BUT this was an issue all over the pitch as well. Saka made 3 or 4 mistakes, Ozil was starting to walkabout, Mustafi all game had to contend with Richarlison right flank as Bellerin (not 100%) had a struggle coming back. Arteta introduced Torreira for a bit more bite closing stages… Read more »

Tony Hall

It’s going to be a long, slow process and there may be a few bumps along the road but Mikael has turned this team around. He has got them fighting for each other again, running till they drop and not letting their heads go down. It’s nice to see glimpses of the old Arsenal in there and we are finally going up the table again!

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