Arteta: Winning gets the handbrake off

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may not have scored but Mikel Arteta was encouraged by the cohesiveness of his attacking unit as Arsenal secured an impressive 4-0 win away at West Brom.

Kieran Tierney netted a superb solo strike and Bukayo Saka finished off a tidy team move to put the Gunners in charge at the break before Alex Lacazette poached a second half brace to lift the Gunners up to 11th place in the Premier League table.

Having struggled for goals from open play this season, the performance at the Hawthorns was especially pleasing for the boss, whose players, manufactured a series of chances with intricate pass and move football. There’s still room for improvement, but things are moving in the right direction.

In the post-game press conference, he reflected: “There were moments that I thought we were really good both defensively and offensively and attacking-wise we had movement that is exactly what I want and exactly what we try and teach the players to do.

“In other moments we became a little bit sloppy in certain moments when we thought that the game was won. That’s something we have to improve. But overall it’s close to what we want.”

After a run of one win in 10 matches, three consecutive league victories has eased some of the pressure on Arteta who is now keen for his players to build further momentum at a crunch moment in the season.

“I hope so. The energy and the convincing momentum that you get from everybody that is involved is much more positive.

“I wasn’t that concerned with the performances. We lost games where I felt we were really unlucky and most of them it was our own fault because we made some errors and we lacked some discipline in certain moments.

“But obviously you need to win football matches and now this brings a different momentum, energy and as well the players get the handbrake off and you can see that they are more free to play.”

Five goals in four games marks a notable upturn in fortunes for Alex Lacazette whose form helps to mitigate the struggles of close pal Aubameyang.

The club captain put an end to a scoring drought of his own in the 1-1 draw with Southampton but then suffered an untimely calf injury that sidelined him for three games. While he was a dangerous outlet on the left flank at the Hawthorns, his scoring touch again deserted him.

“I keep saying, we can’t keep putting all the weight on Auba’s shoulders to score the goals. We need contributions,” noted Arteta.

“The midfielders need to score more and give more assists, and we need goals from our wingers as well.

“Laca is in great form and has scored five goals in his last four games, which is what we need from our strikers.

“Auba had some chances today to score and it was the same in the last game or so, but I am so pleased because in the final third we looked lively and there was a lot of movement.

“There is good energy, there is a real purpose and everybody is playing forwards. It’s like we are free to play there and the understanding is allowing us to generate a lot of things there.”

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AMN's cheeky grin

You little bit remind me of someone…

Qwaliteee

He’s nothing like Wenger.

Wenger knew what he was doing.

Daveo

Mesut has ordered an all out attack on Arteta from his PR team?

Jeremy DG

I think some people have made a decision on Mikel and stand stubbornly on the arteta out side regardless of what he does. He could win the quadruple and they’d still be waiting for the moment he loses a game to re-emerge. It’s internet culture I’m afraid.

Qwaliteee

Arteta win the quadruple….? 🤣

How about top four, first?

No, scrub that. How about the top half of the table…?

DPK

Just a little tip on emoji usage. People normally put the one you did when they say something that is funny. Hope that helps.

A P

Looking at where we are now, a quadruple looks pitifully funny.

TungorAdams

8-39, scrub that 😉

santi's thigh grab

That last sentence explains it. I find it interesting that some people don’t have open minds, they come to an opinion about something without the benefit of knowing what will exactly happen in the future but predict the future anyway. Then they are emotionally invested in the outcome of being right to sooth their ego and the rationalizing begins when that isn’t the outcome. I have no idea whether Arteta is going to make it as a manager at Arsenal, he has made a lot of errors, but I have the patience to find out whether he comes good without… Read more »

Jeremy DG

I’ve had doubts about Arteta during the recent run but then I have to remind myself that he’s learning on the job and was always going to make mistakes. The bottom line is that he won 2 trophies in his first 6 months and steadied the ship in the most difficult circumstances. He’s also now shown that no matter how much our form is in the toilet, he can turn it around. That was the big question for me and the last few games have gone some way to answering it. Maybe he got a bit of fortune but he… Read more »

jimbo

The community sheild is not a trophy.

TungorAdams

My concern was never his talent as manager, the way he got everybody behind him tells it all. My concern Rory was that he had done more than a mistake, it looked like the team spirit was down the drain during that 10 games run. I still suspect there was something going on in the squad, a disagreement of treatment etc

TOGooner

I can understand the people defending Arteta after Burnley even though things looks very grim, because at least you want to cling to hope. Had we lost the past three games I can still see some Arteta supporters defending him, and that would be delusional but at least they would be doing it out of feint hope! The ones who are Arteta out after this game… Arsenal fans who are grinding their teeth at this win because the villain Arteta will stay and we won’t spend in the transfer window (their logic not mine)…that’s a level of internet misery I… Read more »

jimbo

No one is grinding their teeth at any win.
personally id love to see arteta succeed and get us back challenging.
we will see if hes good enough to do it so far the signs arent great seeing as we are 11th in the league and came 8th last season.
The standards some of you have for a club like arsenal are suprisingly low.

Pete Plum

I assume you’re pro arteta and being an optimist I’m in agreement. But wanting him out for valid reasons isn’t an internet culture, he did fuck up the first half of this season and while I wouldn’t have booed the team off, it happened in real life not the internet

A P

True, Jeremy is taking the high horse here. It is alright hoping Arteta can make it, yet remain sceptical in light of his management record, which he was talking crosses and trust the (non-winning) process.

TungorAdams

Totally agree with you

A P

Arteta’s PR team to the rescue once again.

Biggles

Well, AW made some big mistakes towards the end of his extended tenure which is one reason why he was let go of course.

goongot

This qwalitee is a miserable human who comes here just to be a prick. Has nothing sensible to add, and just feeds on being a bully.

Matthinc

I think he’s a spuds fan

Viju Jacob

You are no better, dude.

C.B.

Classic Wenger phrase.

We are starting to look on the up. Gabriel and Partey to return, Martinelli, ESR and Saka looking great, Laca improving and Auba to come back to form.

Looking forward to the rest of the season.

C.B.

And I reckon we’ll avoid relegation….

Fezec

After the Chelsea win I was actually looking forward to the WBA and Brighton games.

I much prefer that feeling to the ulcer inducing anxiety I’d get wondering what new and inventive way the guys would find to bollocks up another game. Long may it continue.

Var Will Solve The Problem

Sometimes it’s about putting your trust on “the kids” not just the “process”!

Fezec

Victoria Concordia Cresit Canicula

Victory through harmony bitches

Mentally Drained Gooner

Ohhh the handbrake analogy..

Twatsloch

May I say that it’s been a joy watching Lacazette put in shift these last few weeks. Even when we were being torn apart by our opponents he was there working his socks off. And the result of that is here now for all to see.

What a game he had yesterday. Man of the match for me!

Cranky Colin

Indeed you may!

TJOY

He certainly was excellent but Saka was outstanding

Daveo

No one ever really questioned his effort and his hold up play is much better than any other striker we have, but what makes a huge difference is banging in some chances. He was quality yesterday. Still Tierney MOTM, I gave him 10/10, not sure a LB could have a better game than that – he was perfect.

David C

He is in a contract year if I’m correct. Do we resign Laca?

After watching so many players quality dip after getting the big contract over 30, I’d say offer Laca a one year extension to keep him hungry.

Biggles

Yes, and the comparison with the problems that Auba is having (and has had all season really) is even more painful, isn’t it.

ron

I fricking love when it’s difficult to name a man of the match due to more than one player having had an indesputably good game. Wish every disagreement amongst fans was along these lines.

Ant Lester

“Forward”
Oh yeah, the advice was in plain sight all along!

truj

Can’t believe it. I was so depressed and negative. And now there were real quality Arsenal play and goals. What’s the true nature of the beast?

Daveo

Martinelli’s return and running – the factor that really changed momentum of the team. Add in what ESR brings and Saka showing why he is one of the best prospects in European football (is the EPL still European football?). Youthful exuberance. It’s about 1000x more interesting.

Cranky Colin

Sir: I’ll have you know that the Martinelli model……. is not fitted with a handbrake.

Artitty

Haven’t seen it mentioned much, but Mari has been excellent the past few games. Holding seems far more relaxed having him by his side and while his pace may lead to the occasional tricky encounter, seeing Mari defending corners is incredibly reassuring.

Artitty

Also, would be intrigued by a Mari-Gabriel lefty pairing.

Daveo

There is a reason why the left-foot, right-foot combo works so well and is so highly desired by the big teams. It allows playing out from the back so much more effective and eases pressure rather than CB having to turn back inside to get the ball out. Holding deserves his spot. He has been exceptional. Tough call, but Mikel can really only play one of Mari and Gaby…both deserve it. This is what depth looks like friends!!

Jeremy DG

I’m surprised this hasn’t got more attention on arseblog. Mari hasn’t put a foot wrong. I like his distribution, his aerial presence and his positioning. He’s calm, intelligent and assured. He also clearly vibes well with Holding. In defender terms, Holding and Mari both are relatively young and can improve. I read recently on here something along the lines that Holding and Mari were always going to be limited players but they were ok for now. I don’t buy that at all. I think both could become hugely important.

santi's thigh grab

Both are hugely important right now. Both can start for now but I would like to get a another younger right footed CB to pair with Gaby (someone like a quality Saliba because this one is apparently shite but I’m having a hard time believing it) and then we are all set at the back. Clarity in squad positions is nice. Still need a creative partner for Partey.

Pete Plum

Completely agree. Reminds me of Holding playing in a back 3 alongside Mertesacker and I think Monreal? Level heads and sensible defending.

EddieRitchie

Since switching to a 4-2-3-1, we’ve been much better. Some critical notes towards Arteta are that he didn’t change tactics sooner and was reluctant to try the young-uns.
With Partey back in the fold for Xhaka (who I thought was absolute shite last night) and a new CM who has good legs, we can go places.
Auba deserves time. He’ll come right. One of the best in the world on his day and I think we’re lucky to have him.

Martin

I assume you write Xhaka off before the game starts. He was excellent last night and formed a good partnership with Ceballos. Your agenda against him does you no credit

EddieRitchie

I have no “agenda” towards him whatsoever.
In fact, I wish he was brilliant. Watching him last night, I simply thought he was complete rubbish. Mr backward-sideways pass.

DPK

He wasn’t rubbish, he wasn’t excellent. He was decent. He is what he is. I can’t understand why we are still having this debate.
If we are serious about getting back to challenging the top teams he’s good enough to be a squad player & no more. For the time being, he remains more than that, but that is down to the absence of better options. Might as well live with it & hope we get the best out of him.

SarcasmB0t

“Excellent” is surely overcompensating in the opposite direction.

He was fine. 6/10. But then again, the opposition was particularly poor. His passing and movement were still as slow as ever and most of his passing was safe and backwards.

If Ceballos isn’t there to move the ball forwards, we’re talking about another terrible Xhaka display.

Xhaka is a hugely limited and mentally weak player who’s been holding the club back since the arrived.

Daveo

I would say 7/10, he was solid, but WBA let him play, they gave him space. It’s insanely bad coaching by Fat Sam to simply allow Xhaka that much time and space on the ball. But hey, it’s fat Sam. Otherwise I agree, I really hope we don’t fall in love with Xhaka again for the 100th time and watch him struggle through games and cost us goals when teams play him like they should – press him at every chance and take away his left boot. Do that, draw us on and play on the counter and it’s almost… Read more »

Viju Jacob

Which game did you watch?

The duck

CAM position is so crucial. We need a proper backup for ESR!

richard ray

He can’t play every game. I hope the rumors of looking for an attacking mid are true and if they fall through I hope we can try to use that other one we have….

jimbo

ozil

Onenil

The 1 Jan comments section on ESR had a group of people calling for Arteta to be sacked. That was after winning 2 in a row, now it’s 3, and it’s only West Brom, but we played beautifully.

A5000m555

Lacazette playing well means the club will have to think carefully about what they do with him in the Summer. I have always liked him as a player, but with youngsters knocking on the door and the club’s bad record with players running down their contracts, a tough decision needs to be made.

AMN's cheeky grin

The problem with selling Laca is that I don’t think either Auba or Nketiah would do as well linking up play in the 9 and a half role. They’re both predominantly finishers, and it’s better to have some variety in your strikers.

Maybe Balogun could replace Laca, but it’s hard to tell seeing as he never plays!

Fatgooner

It was a nice win and a good performance yesterday, but I’m not getting too excited. Let’s face it: West Brom were dreadful. This was the side that only a few days earlier had been spanked 5-0 at home by the might of Leeds United. Yes, I know they drew with Liverpool, but so did Newcastle. Defensively Albion were a complete shambles yesterday, and they didn’t offer much going forward either. If we can beat Liverpool or Manchester City then I’ll begin to believe that we’ve turned the corner. Arteta has been lucky recently: after Willian and David Luiz became… Read more »

EddieRitchie

Just take the 3 points. A month ago it could’ve been a different result!

Twatsloch

I agree with Fats. Be happy for the win but remain cautious. We are far from out of the woods yet.

Daveo

Yes, I tend to agree Arteta was a bit lucky with the Willian and Luiz situation. I’m sure he would have played them if available. Now comes his true test of character. Can he resist bringing them back in, and can he resist relying on Xhaka once Partey comes back? If so, I think we can make a strong run. Drooling to see Partey play with ESR, Martinelli, Saka, Laca ahead of him.

santi's thigh grab

Partey is an Arteta player which means he will play regardless of form. His form is likely to be good which bodes well for us but I still have this niggling feeling on Arteta regarding his belief that players can come good by continuing to play them, when results say otherwise aka Willian.

Matthinc

Be interesting to see if this hunch about Arteta is bourne out over the coming seasons. We don’t want to be like the England test team of the 90s either!

DPK

To be fair, it would have been hard to turn to the kids (specifically Martinelli & ESR) before Arteta did, because both were injured.

MojoWillneny

Not being hard on Auba, something just feels way off with him, rather it be his commitment to convert half chances or his body language on the pitch, it’s just felt off from him for several months. But it’s a great sign that we’re now getting results even while Auba struggles. I want to blame the club administrators for somehow undermining his belief in the project, but that’s mere speculation and probably off the mark. Whatever’s going on, he will become himself again for sure. And Partey will recover from injury. Adding an in-form Auba and Partey to this current… Read more »

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

Winning gets me off

Billy bob

I do wonder what the plans are for Pepe, does Arteta give him a go at some stage or is he looking to off load him in some sort of swap deal? I’m sure Pepe would be great in the right set up but not sure whether he suits the 4-2-3-1 formation? On the face of it you would think he should!!!

Matthinc

It’s hard to see his role right now.

karl

The difference is moving forward and breaking quickly, where a player would have turned around and passed back a week ago. I just hope Arteta will work on merit now, instead of automatically bringing back serial under performers.

Having two wings that function gives the opposition a decision to make now.

Merlin’s Panini

That bloody handbrake. Should buy an automatic.

Biggles

Good result. WBA really are a bit of a “Curate’s Egg” team – good in some games, terrible in others – over a short period. The vital thing now is for MA and the players to keep building momentum from the recent winning run. We’re still in the wrong half of the PL so there’s a long slog still ahead to get up the table in a meaningful way. I think the best scenario we can hope for given where we are now is scraping into an automatic EL qualifying place, but even that’s going to be a very tricky… Read more »

jimbo

ohh yes that well know phrase a bit of a curates egg team