Arteta challenges his players not to return to bad habits

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Mikel Arteta thinks his players are enjoying their football at the moment and says their focus on the pitch is being rewarded.

When the Spaniard took over as head coach in December, he found a club in defensive disarray. From the outset he stressed the importance of collective responsibility and bit by bit his messages have been getting through.

7 clean sheets in the last 15 Premier League games, including four in the last five, have been the bedrock of an upturn in form. The players have even taken to a formational tweak with Arteta switching between a conventional back four to a three-man unit with wing-backs.

After yesterday’s 2-0 win over Wolves, Arteta praised the resolve of his players and challenged them to keep it up.

“I’m very pleased,” he told Arsenal.com. “They’re playing in a little bit different positions from what they are used to and it’s a formation that we haven’t used much or trained much, but the effort and attention and everything they are trying to do, that’s when it brings the focus and then the results.

“I think they are really happy and that they are enjoying playing with each other in the way that they are training and the way that they are behaving. Hopefully we can continue.

“It’s a long process but the hardest thing is that continuity all the time and that we don’t come back to where we were and go back to bad habits. If we do that then we will compete every game.”

Shkodran Mustafi has been a particularly important member of the defence. Something of a personal project for Arteta, the German has played in 12 out of 15 Premier League games since the boss took over in December.

It’s quite a turnaround for someone who was told they were surplus to requirements this time last year.

“We try to help every player to improve, first of all to feel that we trust them,” said Arteta.

“They can make mistakes, of course, but if they are willing and they are happy to try again, I think they will get the rewarded.

“Musti’s attitude, his training, attention levels, the questions he’s asking and how much he wants to help everybody has been really good since I joined. I think it’s a consequence of his performances.”

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Maul Person

I admit I was right the middle of the Mustafi Out crowd. He still has the odd moment but I really admire how he’s come on under Arteta. I’m looking forward to seeing how Chambers and Holding fare with Mike considering they weren’t seen as liabilities in the same way.

Bless gunner

Holding a liability? I think the problem he has is injury. A fully fit rob is one of the best young defenders in the league

Goonerink

That’s his point, if he’s done this to mustafi what’s he going to do to the decent defenders

Udgooner

Not sure why people are thumbing this down. They all know it is true. Holding should most definitely be first choice.

Qwaliteee

Agreed. Rob Holding’s a better defender than Mustafi. Rob Holding’s Mum is a better defender than Mustafi.

Snagger

And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations they’re quite aware of what’s going on.

HoldenontoArsenal

El Barko de Arteta

Basil mcfawlty

What they’re going through.

Snagger

Yes I realised too late. Should have checked rather than using bad memory.

Snagger

But the message remains the same.

Onenil

Time to turn and face the strange, Changes

Facts&BS

But he is not. The man qualified to make that decision on whom to play and how he wants his team to play has decided that Mustafi is the right person to execute his preferred strategy.

Terence Trent Derby

23 downvotes……what is wrong with some people here?

David C

I still think Holding and Chambers look a bit slow for the modern game. I hope I’m wrong because they’re lovely chaps.

Facts&BS

You are onto something there. Holding is a good defender but when it comes to the way Arteta wants his team to play, there is something he is not doing which is important to how the manager wants his team to play. Holding might be a better defender than Mustafi but Mustafi is much more braver. He(when confident enough) is always willing to attack the ball first thing and most of the time it gives the team the chance to transition from defence to attack faster. Holding on the other hand plays much more safer. He prefers to retreat and… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

We were very good in last game but I do not like that playing from the back determines everything from player selection to system played.

FireflyPat

I’d convert Chambers into a DM. He’s pretty decent in this position…

Reality check

Mikel has tamed him, calmed him down a little. One thing you cannot accuse Mustafi of is lack of effort. May be his eagerness to do well is what makes him rash and overexcited and thus error prone. He’s got character, you can’t intimidate him, will give you back and then some if you try something silly. He has been pretty reasonable even after what some so called fans put him through on social media or even in the stadium. He’s not dirty on the pitch and keeps his nose clean off it. In terms of ability, him, Xhaka or… Read more »

Reality check

Sorry didn’t mean to reply to you.

Qwaliteee

You almost sold it to me. Almost.

FireflyPat

Musti has been playing better since Arty stepped in. Good on him. Less mistakes made and you can see he’s much more confident with his defending. Everyone deserves a second chance in life to rectify their shortcomings I’d say. I’m happy for him…

Merlin’s Panini

Yeah, fair fucks to Mustafi. He’s been good lately. Let’s hope that continues.

Qwaliteee

I hope your missus doesn’t leave the money for the rent with you if you frequent the local bookies…

Merlin’s Panini

Eh?

Qwaliteee

You’re clearly not a betting man with an eye for a winner. Comprehend now?

Homer

“fair fucks to Mustafi.”

That should comment of the year.
I’m not quite sure what it means, mind, but its awesome on every level.

Merlin’s Panini

That’s pretty standard parlance in North London, isn’t it? but cheers.

VAR will solve the problem

That might get me a punch in the face in Brooklyn if I said that to someone…lol

VAR will solve the problem

Exactly my feeling. Learned something new today

Ben EagerBeaver

Speak of a matching picture for a post title. Haha!

Qwaliteee

The German Frank Spencer….

Qwaliteee
CoNr

I never would of thought I would of said this not even 6 months ago, but Mustafi is by far our best defender, Ever since his mistake that led to Luiz getting red carded, he has been immense at the back.

Definitely not as rash in the last ditch tackle, brilliant in the air and his range of passing looks a lot more assured and is definitely paying back Arteta’s trust in him. With his current form I would be actually be pretty gutted if he left us this summer

Bendtner’s ego

He’s definitely cut down on the mental errors and improved his defending, but playing vs wolves today, you can see he is no where near the ball handling capabilities of Chambers or Holding.

Qwaliteee

I wouldn’t. I’d help him pack and call him a cab. A leopard never changes its spots. A ‘Musti’ (fuck, that has tickled me this morning) never changes it’s ‘Mustiness.’ Seriously, if any of you out there want Arsenal’s defence to prosper, you’ll realise that the sooner we’re rid of Mustafi, the safer our goal net will be.

Sachin

Damn you are chore man.

Qwaliteee

I’ll tell what’s a chore. Having the goals from our forwards and the industry of our midfield let down time and again in big matches by our shocking defence. The common denominator for the past four years has been Mustafi. If you honestly believe he hasn’t still got the odd howler or five in him, then more fool you. A couple of clean sheets against Norwich and Wolves and all of a sudden he’s the new Franz Beckenbauer.

goonshow

Errr – what ‘industry’ of which ‘midfield’ would that be? You seem to be of the one-eyed school who write every defensive ‘error’ down to the last 5 seconds in which it happened. For some seasons, our last line of defence has been cruelly exposed by an absentee midfield – one thing we’ve all seen from Arteta (possibly with you as the single exception, mind) is that defence begins with strikers… Auba and Laca racing back to add pressure BEFORE the ball even gets near our box. Under Emery, our mids and strikers too often hung the defence out to… Read more »

FireflyPat

Wouldn’t you want a second chance in life? He deserves it right?

Ordnance Dave

Let’s not get carried away. Mustafi has definitely improved under Mikel, as have all the defenders, but ultimately Arteta will want a two man centre back pairing. None of our defenders are up to that.

Qwaliteee

At last. Some common sense on here.

goonshow

Agree that we should not get carried away – however, @ Qwali-tawdry(!), nor should we pile crap on someone who, for the last few months, is only guilty of working his bollocks off for our team… and with no small result to show for it.
Be careful what you wish for mate!

Qwaliteee

Be careful? I’ve wanted Mustafi out for the past three years and he’s still giving the ball away and lobbying it into touch from fifty yards. Thanks for your concerns, but I’ll be the judge of what I’m wishing for. It’s an Arsenal defence like we had under George Graham and the first part of Arsene’s reign. Careful enough for you? 😉

goonshow

Those come around once in a generation (and take half a generation to meld together). Why don’t you also with for the Invincbles to make a comeback just in time for the semi vs Citeh, while you’re at it!
Easier to just slag off the players we do currently have though, innit?

Kostas

Our best defender is Sokrates by a mile.
I am nit sure why people write him off.

Public Elneny

He’s a very good pure defender, but no good at all playing out from the back. Causes so much unnecessary pressure

Whether I prefer him to Mustafi or Luiz swings back and forth depending on how recently those 2 have cost us points. Ultimately though, if we are going to be able to consistently keep teams at arms length and sustain pressure of our own, we need all our defensive players to be good with the ball. Probably better than Mustafi is even

FireflyPat

Arty will extend his contract I’m sure. He actually deserves it I’d say…

Michael

Im particularly impressed wit the turn around of Musti. David Luiz remains our best ball holding defender, he gets some odd games where his mistakes are so glaring but rivals don’t see games like this where he produces assured performances. We still need improvement though at the back. Mikel has been good, though I still think we had no reason losing to Brighton. There’s hope

Qwaliteee

Hope? There’s Man City and the Spuds on the horizon. Squeaky-Musti time…..

goonshow

And there you go again – wishing a shocker on an individual when it could well cost his (and our) team a vital 3 points.
Roll on down the Lane, why don’t ya?

Qwaliteee

I’m not wishing, I’m WARNING Big difference. And that makes me a Spud, does it….?! 🙄

FireflyPat

Hahaha…have some faith in the team mate…

Tim

More clean sheets and good habits, boys!!

Goo-nerd

Speaking of good/bad habits, is there an explicit instruction to the players not to play through the middle? There was space to drive into and passing lanes through the middle but Ceballos and Xhaka chose to pass outside every single time.

Ben EagerBeaver

It was painful TBH. I kept screaming, “Move with the ball”. Hopefully it was a tactic.

Sachin

They had a three man midfield team with two forwards waiting to break. I don’t know how much of this was Arteta’s plan but it was beautiful to see a semblance of control.

Till our players level up to the likes of Santi, Sagna, Kos and ahem Arteta in this team I’m cool with a little safe passing. Especially when we have fast ninja forwards flying off the wing who can magic a goal.

Public Elneny

This is one of the major things that Thomas Partey will hopefully bring!

A Different George

The downside of three at the back is obviously that there are only two midfielders. When those two are Ceballos and Xhaka, both of whom (whatever their other qualities) are slow, the consequences of losing possession in the middle are greater. Especially when outnumbered by a quick, talented, opposition midfield. So, safer to pass outside and use combinations between wingbacks and wingers to transition to attack.

Goo-nerd

Def agree that it’s safer, especially away at a side that close to us in the table. Just frustrating when the pass is so clearly on but they just turn and pass it back to the center backs without even looking up. With Mustafi and Kola you have some recovery pace at the back.

Homer

“play through the middle…”

With whom in the current Arsenal squad, pray tell. Ceballos? Xhaka…? These just are not the players for that.

Come on man. We convincingly beat Wolves despite being the clear and obvious underdog. They have been a better side than us for a couple seasons. They are still way ahead of Arsenal now. And still people whinge how we did it. Shees….

Goo-nerd

Wow, looks like I really got you worked up there fella. You might wanna speak to a therapist if a comment about Arsenal playing down the middle sets you off. Chill out.

Ceballos and Xhaka are more than capable of a defense-splitting through ball from deep.

Drogheda gunner

No they haven’t. We’ve came ahead of them every year for the 40-50 years. This fanbase always over reacting. It just seems like that as they are on upward trajectory and we’re on a downward. But hopefully now we have arteta that gap will become a lot clearer

Jay song

Arteta’a red army

Javoroncov

New contract for Mustafi?

Qwaliteee

Fucking hell! Are you serious….?!! Nurse, call the doctor and give this patient a sedative.

Qwaliteee

Since that muppet joined us, we have not qualified for the Champions League. Coincidence, much…..?!! 😆

Goonerink

Why do you have to be so offensive towards other arsenal fans?

Are you a troll? Or do you just like controversy?

If you are going to dig out every poster with a different opinion then stick to twitter or go back to 4Chan.

We have no desire to engage with people who can’t behave maturely.

Sachin

Qwalitee is a 13 year old pimple studded aspiring incel.

goonshow

And that’s being nice.

Qwaliteee

Well, this is indeed a great honour. I thank you all. 👋

Qwaliteee

Good effort! 😆

Artetas Assistant

He apparently has a son, so he’s grownup, so he’s just sad inside. Misery loves company 🌹

A Different George

Since Mustafi was left off the Germany squad, they have failed to win a World Cup. Coincidence?

Qwaliteee

Side splitting. Crack! There goes another rib. Now, I don’t suppose you have any idea as to why he was left out of the German squad in the first place? Come on, smart arse, let’s have the answer in the form of another one of your knock out one liners.

goonshow

Since he was INCLUDED in the Arse team, we haven’t qualifed for CL – your words.
Since he’s been EXCLUDED from Germany, they haven’t won a WC… fact.
It’s ridiculously shaky logic… but it’s your logic mate. Have the balls to own it, at least

goonshow

God!! You’re onto something – 1 player in a 23 man squad has cost us CL qualification every season! Why didn’t anyone else see that, I wonder?

Qwaliteee

Truth hurt, does it?

Artetas Assistant

Boy you’re sad inside 😆

Javoroncov

Since xhaka joins we havent qualified for CL
Since Auba…Laca…Bellerin…Leno…keep going man 😉
Mustafi is a warrior, and now he has proven that with proper coaching he can improve. Anyway he got 1 or 2 years left so even if we want to sell him for a good price we need to renew.

Qwaliteee

Champions League, here we come! 😆

Goonerink

Just because people are saying one thing isn’t true doesn’t mean that they believe the opposite is.

IDK why I’m even arguing with you. I’ll just point you to the rules section before you get yourself officially warned or even banned.

Artetas Assistant

That’s right, here we come 😆

mjc1892

I have a feeling Arteta is happy with what he’s got at the back. KT (fast becoming my new favourite player) and Kola, Bellerin and Soares, Saliba, Holding, Luiz, Mustafi, Sokratis, Chambers, Mavrapanos with AMN as a utility player across the fullback roles. To me that’s a selection of players simply in need of better coaching, and their huge upturn in form since Emery left is testament to that. I think we just need a better functioning midfield ahead of them and they’ll look a far better defensive line. I’ve not seen him play but assuming Saliba is as good… Read more »

Reality check

Can’t argue with that, when settled, that has a making of a very good defensive unit. Love Rob, that FA cup final performance proves he’s got it. Injuries permitting, he’s going to mature into a proper defender. His last outing wasn’t bad either.

Ray Parlour's ice cream van

Generally agree, however, I think we’re starting see MA’s plan – it’s not built around individual players, but on a system. The four players you noted are part of the plans, but I think MA will be swapping them in and out to suit the system and quantity of games – one of the first things he spoke about was playing every 3 days at a high intensity – it’s not possible to do this with the same back 4 every game – needs a squad and options in each position. All in all we have the basis of a… Read more »

The Peter Simpsons

I agree – the mark if any good coach or leader is inspiring others to give their best and our man seems to be doing just that. While I’m on I do of course wish Leno a full and speedy recovery but have been very impressed with the calm assurance of Martinez which cannot be underestimated in this little run we’ve put together.

Qwaliteee

‘Musti’ 😆 I do hope you know what you’re doing, Arteta, because asking ‘Musti’ to stop doing a ‘Musti’ is like asking Frank Spencer to quit being accident prone. It’s not going to happen. What WILL happen is that we’ll be seconds away from a precious result and ‘Musti’ will ‘Musti’ it all up. Again.

DB10

Seems like you’ve set out to troll

Qwaliteee

Oh, but of course mate. Just because I have a different opinion to your blinkered naivety. Jeez……

A Different George

No, not because you have a different opinion, but because you always insult someone, and repeat both your opinion and your insults over and over.

goonshow

Many of us have ‘different opinions on here, mate. It’s just that we don’t all sink into the cess-pool of personal insults and consistently wishing ill on our team.
Take off your blinkers and have a think about it. For whatever reason, OUR team (including Mustafi) is on a good run – maybe lend your voice to supporting them rather than persisting in your pale crusade against one individual (and anyone who has ‘a different opinion’ ?

Qwaliteee

When have I ever wished ill on this team? I have warned about the consequences of not playing Ozil against Manchester City and keeping an error-prone Mustafi in the side. As for banter, if people dish it out, they get it back. Simple as that

Martin

You’re a qwalitee con troller 😂

Qwaliteee

Very good, for someone named Martin.

Danno5

I think that’s enough now. We all have an opinion and it’s not always going to be what you agree with.

Dave cee

Hi qwalitee, interested to hear how we would have performed better with Ozil playing

Qwaliteee

Well, let’s see now. There’s his skill set, his control, his vision, his passing, his ability to read the game, his dead ball options, his link up play, his experience, his vice captaincy, his knack for weighing in with the odd goal and the fact that he’s respected by every single player in the Arsenal dressing room and would probably start in 95% of any team on the planet.

Apart from that, nah, I can’t think of a single reason why we might have performed better with him in the side……..🙄

goonshow

‘There may be his skills set’. But here are his cold, hard stats: 2017/8 – 25 shots, 8 assists 18/19 – 8 shots, 3 assists 19/20 – 5 shots, 3 assists. In the face of the above clear declone, the only performance stat that has remained consistent; ONE tackle per match. That’ll be just the one, then. In Arteta’s plan for rebuilding the mess that we’ve become over the past 5 or 6 seasons, there is no room for anyone who can only be arsed (ouch!) to make ONE tackle per game. No matter how talented they may be –… Read more »

Artetas Assistant

I’m sure your son thrives under your nasty unforgiving management. He’s gonna be a world beater 😆

Nick

comment of the year right here

Merlin’s Panini

Unrelated to this I just saw the Leverkusen keeper’s howler yesterday. Reminds me of the time they trolled Cech on Twitter with a photo of Leno when he made a rick. Would be fun if everyone posted Leverkusen twitter photos of Leno. Not that I’m petty minded or anything.

karl

The best defenders keep a cool head. Although much improved, Mustafi and most Arsenal defenders still have the instinct to jump in and take a chance.

Yesterday was a good display, but you cannot imagine there won’t be individual errors with the players we have. All three central defenders worry me.

Qwaliteee

You and me both, pal. Would you trust this defence against Man City in the FAC Semi or (the realms of fantasy) Utd/ Chelsea in the FAC Final? Would you trust them in a friendly against Bishop’s Stortford? I wouldn’t.

Jimbo

Some of your comments might be valid had Mustafi played no part in our last four wins. But he’s played a significant part, so maybe better defensive coaching is helping his performances? Would you have trusted this defence away to Wolves? You should have done, because they kept a clean sheet.

Whatever, you’ve made up your mind and won’t listen to this. But take a look at the ratio of thumbs up/down your comments are attracting.

Qwaliteee

Mate, I don’t give a flying fuck about thumbs up and thumbs down. I don’t need anyone to tell me what’s right and wrong with our side – I know, and so should the rest of you. Does Mustafi have to drop yet another series of almighty clangers before you finally wake up to him? Thumb this down all you want – the guy isn’t good enough and never will be. As I said before, we’ll be in a hard fought winning position or seconds from a precious result and he’ll fuck up again. I guarantee it.

goonshow

‘I don’t need anyone to tell me… I know, and so should the rest of you’
Whoa!! That medieval attitude to discussion and reflection kinda says it all… you might want to close that window before the last shred of your cred flies out too?

Artetas Assistant

Good thing neither his life nor success depend on your opinion. I pity the people whose success or motivation to do better even partly depends on your opinion, starting with yourself. Spit on your belief that a guy never comes back from the dead, it’s only true for your dark soul. Shithead

Jimbo

Yawn

Sachin

What’s trust got to do with anything. They aren’t raising my 4 year old. I would ‘support’ this team no matter what because they are trying and improving.

If half of Arsenal fans expected as much of themselves as they do of their players (and not go green at the joy of other team’s fans) they’d never dare snipe at Xhaka Mustafi Ozil Kola or whoever is the doormat of the week.

Qwaliteee

“What’s trust got to do with it?” A lot. This defence can’t be trusted. Only a matter of weeks ago they threw away a perfectly good opportunity for three points at Brighton. A couple of clean sheets and all of a sudden people are comparing them to George Graham’s back four. “That was a Graham-esque win.” I tell you something, George would have gone fucking mental if he’d been coaching this lot.

Lisa

That’s a lot better! See, you can be an amazing, passionate Arsenal fan and still be respectful. You just need to do it more.💜💜

Artetas Assistant

I need to practice this level of patience!! 💜💜

marcus

Excuse the hindsight, but I always thought Andrew’s written opinion re Mustafi was harsh & unfair, not something he often is, but it seems to me that Mustafi always tried and had good traits, such as his aggression, but had too many errors in him and that was is fault of his coaching. Its early days but he’ll be rivalling Lazarus if he turns around his Arsenal career. There was something in that performance vs Wolves from the whole team that took me back a good few years to a time when we could pull out a performance of authority… Read more »

Qwaliteee

“Mustafi’s errors were the fault of his coaches”…..?! Are you for real? Before he joined Arsenal, we had made the top four for the last twenty – yes, twenty seasons. How many times have we made the top four since, during the last four seasons? Try NONE. Zero. Zilch. 0.
https://youtu.be/1lGzwiR6sgE

Artetas Assistant

Maybe he’s a lovely emotional guy that needs a hand around his shoulder and love around him to bloom. You should look at who needs this approach around you especially as you’re currently like a permanent bitter manager they can’t transfer from their lives, I’d hate to be them at the moment 😆

Artetas Assistant

No tree thrives in radioactive environment.

Mark

What has holding done to be placed behind mustafi and kolasinac?

HoldenontoArsenal

Trust in the man who actually knows. Take a cruise on El Barko De Arteta

Sachin

Prolly doesn’t use good product on his hair. JK. Holding will get his gametime soon enough. The question is what have Luiz Mustafi and Kola done to placed ahead. The answer is: look at the damn clean sheets.

Artetas Assistant

Yeah, they kinda balance themselves out. Kola is bad on the ball and has a ball player beside him, Luiz isn’t most athletic and has athletic duo beside him

Dave cee

Unexpected but are we looking at a Mustafi contract extension or just a better transfer fee? It is an actual dilemma now

Qwaliteee

The latter, although it’s highly improbable. The former is insanity personified. https://youtu.be/1lGzwiR6sgE

Artetas Assistant

Bitter guy 😆

Qwaliteee

Not at all. Mustafi’s mistakes have lead to us conceding goals that have cost us points, cup ties and Champions League places. As an Arsenal fan, that should register in your brain as a negative. Still, you’ll learn. Whilst Mustafi is in the side, we’re at the mercy of his fuck ups.

Public Elneny

Still not totally convinced by Mustafi’s renaissance. He’s been ok, that’s all – though obviously a massive improvement on previously. Partly because he’s staying on his feet and reading situations better, partly because this is a much easier team to be a centre back than Wenger/Emery’s omnishambles of the previous 3.5 seasons Still think we should look to move him on this summer, and bring in 1 extra to replace him. 1 major thing in his favour is that he’s reliably fit and available, which I don’t think you can say about any of our other CBs. We could find… Read more »

Artetas Assistant

Agreed. Kolas on the ball ability will be less challenged in Bundesliga, epl is a different monster

Clement

I like mustafi attitude and the he has pick up thing’s may Lord be with him to his football the way is going now and keep improving the sky is the limit

Santori

Been performing very well Mustafi. I mentioned even when with Wenger that he started for a reason. His distribution long balls diagonally to left flank whilst not Granit is on par with Luiz. Plus he also wins plenty of headers for us and whilst some used to criticise him for being overly aggressive coming to half way line to challenge players, this as I mentioned before with Emery is exactly how Arteta and gaffers before want our Cbacks to do. The issue more the back up when one of our Cbacks push up and that is a systemic issue. As… Read more »

A Different George

Pretty good explanation. That goal you mention is a perfect illustration, it was caused by three defensive errors, none of which would be fatal without the others. (1) Martinez fails to come out for a long throw, which (however good for a throw) is nowhere near as hard-hit as a good corner or cross, and is therefore in the air a long time and close enough to be caught or at worst punched clear; (2) Holding’s misjudged leap which, apart from failing to clear, made the ball’s falling to Kolasinac completely unexpected; (3) Kolasinac, despite being surprised by the ball,… Read more »

Architect Lawani Felix

We need to be more focused now and to keep up the winning mentality and tempo, I still strongly believe that Mateo Guendozi should be recalled back to the team, he is a very good player and young, he long time to develop his career in our club, he should be pardoned and given another chance.