Mikel Arteta says he won’t be ripping things up and starting again despite a temptation to do so after Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Having beaten Manchester United the week before, the Spaniard was clearly frustrated that his players couldn’t build further momentum when they returned to the Emirates.
That most of his squad immediately jetted off for the Interlull has left him gnashing his perfect teeth for a couple of weeks. However, it’s also given him time to take some distance and analyse his squad’s strengths and weaknesses more objectively.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Leeds United, he told beIN Sports: “I think you are always tempted after a bad result to change everything you do.
“And I think that’s a really bad temptation because a lot of things are working and it’s really clear on the things that we want to improve on, and how we’re going to.
“The reality is the last game left a really bad taste and the way we lost against Villa with the performance. I just wanted a game right the next morning!
“You want to take revenge straight away. Now it is time to think, to reflect, to be critical about the things you can improve.”
While two weeks without a game does seem like a good time to analyse things, it’s not like Arteta is going to have much player contact before we head to Elland Road. Most of the squad should be back at London Colney today meaning three full sessions before heading north; not exactly much time to press home new ideas.
What’s more with positive Covid-19 diagnoses for Sead Kolasinac and Mo Elneny and others playing lots of minutes with their countries, he has a complicated job picking his side.
Arteta is certainly expecting a tough match. Arsenal sent Leeds into a bit of a wobble when we beat them in the FA Cup earlier this year, but Bielsa’s men recovered their composure to win the Championship. They’ve not looked out of place in the top flight, amassing 10 points so far.
“I’ve been following Marcelo for many years,” Arteta said. “We have some friends in common, some players that they’ve been really attached to him over their careers.
“I have a lot of information on how he works; how he makes his teams play. You know when you face one of Marcelo’s teams that is going to be so intense, so difficult, and you have to be really, really prepared to face that type of opponent.
“We experienced it in January. We had two really different halves, the first-half where it was a shock for our players, just to live that experience against them, and the second-half where we were much better and we ended up winning again.”