Arteta accentuates the positives as he eyes United scalp

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Mikel Arteta says his side are on an upwards trajectory despite a run of three defeats in four Premier League games.

After a bright start to the season, the Gunners have come unstuck in tough encounters with Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester and have subsequently tumbled down the table.

Ahead of Sunday’s tough trip to Old Trafford – a stadium we’ve not won at in the league since 2006 – the boss reiterated a belief in the evolution of his side and our quest to better manage ‘moments’ in the heat of battle.

“We’ve done it [won games] against some big teams already, now we have to do it in a consistent way,” he said. 

“I’m not concerned about performances because, as you mentioned, you can see the trend and how we are evolving.

“It’s just those margins, how we manage the margins within the games and those game moments when we try to get wins and not lose those games.

“It was against Liverpool, we had two or three chances to do what they did, the same with Manchester City and the one against Leicester which was a different game because they approached the game in a really different way.

“But again, we will go to Old Trafford with the same mindset to go there and try to win the football match and improve. Every three or four days. We are in a process and hopefully we will be a more solid and ruthless team week in and week out.”

While the Gunners can take heart from being on a four-game unbeaten run against United, our away record in the league against the Red Devils is truly pitiful. We’ve managed just five 1-0 wins at Old Trafford since 1985. Chuck in the fact we’ve not beaten a top-six rival on the road since 2015 and there are plenty of reasons to watch Sunday’s clash from behind the sofa.

Getting a win and changing the narrative, is important to Arteta. “It would be great,” he said.

“I think it’s been 14 years since Arsenal have won a Premier League game at United and, after the defeat like we had against Leicester last week, I think it’s the perfect scenario to go there and try to do that.

“Since I was in this country and was watching the Premier League, it (Manchester United v Arsenal) was the most exciting game probably of all season. As well as the rivalry between the two clubs at that moment, because they were constantly fighting with each other for the Premier League title.

“They were tense, emotional, it was passionate, some really good games and situations that occurred there.”

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Gunner J

Less talking more action please!

Johnny 4 Hats

He has contractual obligations to speak to the press. The only person who ever refused was Jose. Let’s not be like Jose.

Biggles

Yes, he has and that’s fine – but it doesn’t mean he has to come out with lame arguments about the lack of “fan connection” being at the root of our poor start, as reported elsewhere on this site.

Johnny 4 Hats

I think poor start is a little harsh. Apart from Leicester things have been pretty good. Didn’t get embarrassed at Liverpool or Citeh like usual. Won two tricky league cup games and are all but through our Europa league group.

I’m not saying Leicester was positive, but let’s not forget we had a perfectly legit goal disallowed and missed a bunch of chances. Arteta can’t really be blamed for circumstance.

We all need to find a bit of positivity here to get back on the right path.

Thierry Bergkamp

Didn’t get embarrassed, but the way they refused to believe in themselves, or try to make something happen was a bit embarrassing, considering how teams like Leeds who played both showed no fear.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah. I suppose it comes down to expectations. Some fans as soon as we signed Partey assumed top 4 was a given. Especially this season, I don’t believe anything is a given.

I also believe this is very much a work in progress and if we dream too big, we will be left sadly disappointed. Apart from two players, this squad came 8th last season. We were fucking terrible and we need to remember that.

Quentin Quarantino

Good point! We don’t behave like a big club. We go to the big grounds hoping not to be embarrassed… not good enough from the top down. We need new ownership I’m afraid!

loose_cannon

Weirdly I’d disagree. These are hardly the unstoppable Liverpool and City sides of the last few seasons, and they’ve dropped points to teams much worse than us. Even at the start of the season, zero points against Liverpool, Man City and Leicester would have been disappointing.

Now obviously none of that is to say Arteta out, but we played below our level in all 3 games and that should be an area of real concern for him.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yup, I think that’s definitely fair. We could have got something out of those games. We almost did had Laca converted against Liverpool and we’d applied a bit more pressure to City.

But the fact that we were even in a position to regretfully look back does sort of show progress. There’s going to be some strange results this season and if we can go on a run, we could still make the most of the unpredictable nature of this season.

loose_cannon

Agree with that, and Arteta is still learning the job despite early success with the FA Cup and Community Shield.

But the most frustrating thing about those games is the sense that we hamstrung ourselves. Willian as a false 9, Aubameyang on the right; what might have been with more conventional tactics? We can still have a great season of course, but I doubt we can do it carrying on like that.

lessthanthesumoftheirparts

Exactly. Young manager or not, it doesn’t help if you marginalise your best players. Page 1 chapter 1 of this season’s book should have been get Auba in the penalty box. Instead, game after game after game we see him either tracking back or swinging crosses from the touchline. I know Arteta’s learning on the job, but these kind of decisions could have been better made by a 12 year old.
It’s poor management, and I’m not going to make excuses for him. Today is a big game to show he really is learning.

Name*

It is particularly jarring since it wasn’t too long ago when Raul called fans “noise”.

BillyKrystal

Getting so many tough games out of the way early could actually benefit us. City, Liverpool, United all away are the three toughest fixtures we have. If we can manage good away results at Chelsea, Spuds, Wolves, Everton that would be an improvement. And of course that’s if we vastly improve against “lower” opposition.

Turan Yilmazgul

Totally agree with you.. Less talking , Win games.. When you ‘ Win ‘ you can talk!

Guns Up

What, like an FA Cup or something?

Henrypiresberg

He walked the talk. Didn’t he?

viegunner

very, very big game. win and the leicester defeat is very much made up for (emotionally, not point-wise). lose and the doubt regarding arteta will grow.

i’m a fan of him, and losing at old trafford is not a shame if the performance is right. but we already lost against pool, city and – at home – against leicester – we really can’t lose this one, too.

Biggles

Unfortunately, we can lose this one as well. That’s not to say we will, but even to get a point it will require a level of performance from the whole team, for the whole 90 minutes, that been largely absent this season. Arteta is blaming the absence of travelling fans as a factor in our poor start. That’s daft of course as the statistics in the article suggest – no win at Old Trafford since 2006 and no away win against a “top 6” team since 2015, and that’s WITH travelling support! I think we may get a draw but… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

We were winning because Auba was in top form. Arteta can’t compensate for his goals because Laca and Pépé aren’t scoring? Maybe Arteta knew we weren’t going to score and tried to avoid conceding.

Merlin’s Panini

Because of recent results this game is now a must win for me. Yes, those were hard games, but we have to start getting something from them and we came back with zero. If we don’t start picking up points against the top teams we can forget top four again. I know it’s early days still but if, after this, we have lost four games from seven it won’t bode well for the rest of the season. I do see what he’s trying to do for the most part (unlike with Emery) but we need to start taking the initiative… Read more »

Jamiet

I don’t think this team will get top 4. We look more of a midtable cup team these days relying on our star striker to nick us a goal.

Biggles

I have never thought that a top 4 finish was very realistic and I’m pretty sure that Arteta will be satisfied with an automatic Europa League place – but we’ll have to start improving soon to have that in the bag come the end of the season.

johnnycash

6th would probably be par for this team. but we need to start seeing some kind of attacking threat and settled team/ system/ style of play. If we get 10 games into this season and arteta is still saying he isnt worried about our performances and that we evoling id be quite worried. Hes already had half of last season to have a look at the players and we still dont have a settled team or system. maybe thats his style to change the team/ system to suit the opponent. but it does make for pleasent viewing. unfortunately the squad… Read more »

goonshow

I feel you’re being a tad disingenuous… yes, he’s had some time now to look at the players and/but there is still ‘plenty of dead wood’. Those two are either or mate – not reinforcing arguments! Do you then blame Mik for inheriting a ‘passenger-heavy’ squad? For not being able to get rid of them because of historical (and perhaps ‘hysterical’) contractual mismanagement? Let alone some very decent players being ushered through the bargain basement exit-door as ‘surplus’; and the one we did keep -our highest earner – becoming ‘unplayable’! Or perhaps you blame him for the global pandemic that… Read more »

johnnycash

Im not blaming anyone . We need to start seeing improvement and fast or this season will quickly go the way of last season in the league.
You can only blame gazidas sanlehi wenger etc for so long. Adding players like soares mari willian luiz to an already bloated squad is questionable, As are the tatics.
we all want him to succeed but The jury is still out on arteta.

goonshow

And yet… we just beat Manure at OT.

Oh ye of little faith!

Craig Velociraptor

It’s not the most exciting game of the season any more.

It’s wishful thinking that Arsenal fans will buy into a ‘project’ the same way as the Liverpool fans did.

There are too many people, outside of the club, making a living off of the club. The content and agendas they create are designed to keep the natives restless.

Biggles

No sure about the logic of that argument. Sounds more like a conspiracy theory.

Alex

An agent speaking about the club as if he is running it is no conspiracy theory. Proof: he is able to sell his average players for (too) good money.

Bugziie

Solid point you make Craig. It baffles me how commentaries and opinions about Arsenal from “fans” quickly degenerate into negativity, creating a toxic atmosphere online and dare I say it with physical conversations. There are few places online you find reasoned debate and patient anticipation amongst Arsenal followings. Arteta delivered a trophy in his first half season, with a team of players considered to be the whipping boys of the top half of the league. Barely six games into 38 game season the doom peddlers are out enforce castigating and pointing fingers. I often wonder how such people make it… Read more »

Futsboller

United are flying at the moment, and there is suddenly a good deal of competition to get into their starting lineup, so let’s hope Ole mucks it up and gets the balance wrong (starting Matic would be key to that). And let’s hope we have more to offer in attack than long-balls to Auba on the left wing. I imagine we’ll set up quite defensively, which is the smart thing to do, but if we don’t come out of the gates super-aggressive in pressing and fighting for every ball, knocking back their confidence a bit, it will be a frustrating… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

When Willock and Nelson play well and put in starting XI following game, they always underperform. I remember the game against Forrest a couple of years ago.

Futsboller

Well, let’s try again and see what happens this time. If your theory is correct, the United game, which they won’t play, is enough of a gap that their good performances again Dundalk shouldn’t have any impact on their performances against Molde or Villa.

Bleeding gums murphy

If only the premiership teams were on par with Dundalk. 😂🤓

Malaysian gunner

If Arteta plays tikae taka, Arsenal will lose. This style is suitable in Spain. The epl is a mix of different styles.
If the gunners take a long time to get to the box, they could be vulnerable tothe
sucker punch.
Its about time Abu is due a goal. Why not break the drought at OT

Jamiet

He doesn’t play tika taka. He plays. Pass it around the back then lump it forward or play it into the channels for our front 3 to chase. The build up in midfield is non existent.

Futsboller

Indeed. Lampard has his men playing Wengerball in blue, but he’s got the personnel for it — one touch, short distances, continuous movement, several avenues of attack. A striker with 4 attacking midfielders buzzing around him. They’ve been porous at the back at times and I imagine they’ll continue to be that, but it’s pretty football. We don’t have the personnel for that kind of football anymore; Arteta has been playing to our strengths and minimizing opposition chances in the process; the next phase, now that we’re too predictable, is getting more movement into and play at the top of… Read more »

BongoGooner

“They were”…

Frog

The process. I’m sick of hearing about it. Hey boss, try this process: put your best players in their best positions.

Auba

Saka . . . . Pepe.

Santori

Lease, its a must win.

Heavenly Chapecoense

A five-word comment? This is not santorian?

goonshow

He’s in literary lockdown – PC has a mask on!

Thierry Bergkamp

The second to last paragraph. Oh I miss those days.

sAMa

Any link to watch the Manu game free? I can’t watch it at the viewing centre cus of the ongoing curfew in my state. I’m from Nigeria.

Yando

Download the Navscore app then login

Or try Viprow

Santori

I see we are down to 12 spot with the Arteta revolution and 5 or 6 teams ahead of us outside the top 4 spots have or will have played a game less.even if we win tomorrow.

Futsboller

Meaning what, exactly?

goonshow

Meaning Santa is a sad fella whose glass is eternally half empty.

We just beat Manure- oh ye of little faith

sAMa

I don’t like it how any time we face
big teams Arsenal suddenly become underdogs. I mean, when will we ever be considered favourites?

Futsboller

When we win the league.

Biggles

Quite and with all the “big” clubs either winning or drawing today, that dim and distant prospect is even further away (although is was never realistic this season anyway).

Biggles

When we win one (and then more, hopefully) away games in the PL against the big teams for the first time since 2015. And don’t forget, although there’s been an improvement, our overall home record against them isn’t that great either. Humiliating really!

goonshow

We just beat Manure… OH YE OF LITTLE FAITH!!!!

Hank Scorpio

What odds we play a midfield trio of Xhaka, Ceballos and Partey with Laca upfront

Greg in Seattle

Barf, but pretty high odds.

Ceballos hasn’t been convincing for a couple of starts. We’ve put in better, snappier performances with Elneny. I’d actually like to see a base of the Elneny and Partey and see if Ceballos can sit between the front two lines more.

Re Laca, Mikel needs to decide how much longer he can afford to let him try to play his way into form, versus his pitch time not upholding the premise that all are equal and playing time is earned on merit.

johnnycash

ceballos is too slow to play futher forward

johnnycash

and why do we need to play 2 players as a base in midfield we are already playing with 3 centrebacks. so negative and boring to watch

goonshow

If he doesn’t play Mo’Nenny – I may have to join Wade’s mollycoddling camp (much as I currently disagree with that view). Mo for solidity, Partey for power and penetration and perhaps Dani to regain his missing creativity…

Or Joe instead of Dani. Give it a full go, why dontcha?!

RedandWhite

I’m tired of seeing so many complain about Arteta as if he has a squad full of stars. Regardless of result some of you need to remember this is a poor squad of players. Auba, Gabriel and Partey are the only really top players in this team. We have talented youth but some of you anti-Arteta act like he’s under preforming which is false. Give him time to get rid of most of these players and build a squad that can compete. And if it doesn’t happen look at the people above him for not giving him the tools he… Read more »

johnnycash

2 transfer windows in. maybe too soon to judge but he has made some strange decisions regarding transfers. when you are signing the likes of soares mari willain and giving luiz a new contract you will have problems if you add dead wood to the existing dead wood.

Pakgooner

Leno, Saka, Gabi, KT as well

Wade

He’s underperforming through not believing he has stars. If you believe in players, and they feel you believe in them, they raise their standards. If you mollycoddle them while waiting to buy better players, the team picks up the vibe, and underperforms.

Even his strategy is mollycoddling. Play our team of stars with abandon, trusting our improved defense, and you will see what Arsenal can do. Even more so as even bigger stars are added, but we still have a team of stars. Self belief is everything.

goonshow

Where can we find your interviews with Arteta, online? Would be informative to see them?

mrugunner

i dont understand why fans get into the narrative that we can’t be top 4! the players are paid well (prolly too well) and must perform. but i think it’s actually coz they’re paid too well that they dont bother when they know fans accept being average. we have seen the team improve but that’s what expected considering how bad we were and still are. hopefully transfers and renewals will be better assessed now that all IG dross is out. MA has also not helped himself with underwhelming signings of mari, willian and renewal of luiz. if he keeps playing… Read more »

mrugunner

we have players who could play in any top 4 team in every position (GK,D,M,F).
leno, KT, hezzy, gabby, partey, saka, auba. even pepe if he was used properly.

goonshow

I wrote most of these thoughts as a response to a comment below that Arteta has ‘had enough time to look at our players’ and should therefor be showing a better upward trajectory. But felt this warranted being a self-standing post as I truly believe we have the makings of a new managerial legend and so, must be patient with him. And whilst I don’t place as much stead in the ‘lack of fan noise’ argument, I do feel we need to keep some perspective on the task Mik faced… and still faces: We cannot blame him for inheriting a… Read more »

Wade

One has to believe in the team as it stands. He’s got pretty decent players, he is playing them too carefully, and he is attacking too slowly. Sure, players and contracts will get better over time, but in the meantime we have a strong team. If the players and opposition get the impression he’s mollycoddling a weak team, we have already lost psychologically.

goonshow

Just watched the UTD match – to the 2 muppets who downvoted my plea to keep faith… why dontcha just feck off down the Lane!!!

Wade

Emery reincarnated. Changing formations, chameleon, playing out from the back. I personally believe in these guys, Pepe, Laca, even if Arteta does not.

Its possible to do quick long passes without losing possession, I hate this slow strategic spreading of their defense, the opposition sees straight through that.

Bob

The Arteta honeymoon would be officially over if we lose to manure.

Bergkamp2Wright

Anyone know if is Luiz still out?

I’m having nightmares about Mustafi lining up against Rashford and co…..