Sunday, February 25, 2024

Arteta on coming from behind, rotation, senior stars & Smith Rowe’s injury

Mikel Arteta was delighted with Arsenal’s 3-1 win against Leicester on an afternoon when his much-rotated starting lineup relied on good performances from senior stars to recover from an early setback.

When Youri Tielemans put the Foxes ahead on six minutes it looked like the Gunners were facing an uphill battle at the end of a week that involved a round-trip to Greece. However, an equaliser from David Luiz, a penalty from Alex Lacazette and Pepe’s second half tap-in completed a comfortable comeback.

After the game, the boss faced the BT Sport cameras. Here’s what he had to say…

On showing character to come from behind to win…

I’m really proud of the team, the character that we showed, the personality that we played with, how we reacted after a disappointing start again when we conceded the goal really early. It puts you, against this team, in the worst scenario because they want a game where they have space to run in behind. But then we looked composed, we looked confident, the energy around the team was really good and we created some good moments and scored some good goals. Overall, I think we deserved to win.

On rotation and his preferred system…

It depends on the players we have available, the moment that the team is living and the game plan that we want to produce against certain opponents. It’s not that I have to rotate, I want to rotate and I want to give the chances to the players because they deserve it; the way they train every day, how they are all the time behind the players who are playing. The only way to do it is to play. You can use any words to motivate a player but at the end, they have to be on the field, I’m so pleased that even making a lot of changes we were able to produce this performance.

On senior players stepping up…

They are the ones who have to drive the boat forward. Then we can add something with the young, talented players that we have. But it cannot be the other way round. They have to take that leadership [role] and be accountable when they are in the team. They are the ones who need to produce the performances week in, week out to give us some stability.

On Smith Rowe’s injury…

It was a muscular injury, he wasn’t feeling very comfortable to carry on playing so we have decided to take him out. Hopefully, it’s not too much [damage].

On having a week to regroup…

It’s going to be strange because we’ve had so many games in a row and not much time to prepare. It’s good to recover some players physically. The amount of games they are playing is crazy. They need a breather. We then have a patch before the international break that we have to get results in again.

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Wasn’t expecting most of that performance apart from the early goals conceded.

Still trying to understand how we have given so many games away that we could have won. Hopefully something has changed for the team that will continue from now.


What’s cost us in a very competitive league, is our consistent ability to do ridiculous things In small margin games, we’ve got to remain composed There’s been improvements since Boxing Day in our performances, but it’s hard to gauge how much, because we were coming from such a low bar Having 2 attacking midfielders in Smith-Rowe + Odegaard certainly makes us more dangerous with the ball, and there’s some promising signs Pepe is developing in the right way I’ve got this nagging feeling though, that 3 full backs for 3 positions, isn’t enough It was negligent going into the season… Read more »

santi's thigh grab

Don’t think it was negligent, we needed to get wages off the ledger and Kola offered nothing defensively or offensively, so not really negligent keeping him away from the side. It’s a bit of a gamble which tbf we had to take during the pandemic season because we have no money.


“….. it’s negligent not getting in another left back to compete with Tierney with this hectic schedule.”

I reckon that they did take a serious look at it in the last January window…but found no right option to be available at the right price/cost ….hence….


I thought we’d be lucky to get a point today. There may be something in just playing away that has been a factor. Also, I think it’s to do with a lack of firepower generally for whatever reason, but that seems to have been largely corrected. We’re still prone to defensive errors but that’s not such a negative if we score more freely. A more experienced manager may have helped – understandably MA is still learning so hasn’t got the “seen it, dealt with it” depth of knowledge available to someone who has been around the football block a few… Read more »


Glad ESR injury is not serious. Hopefully he’ll have a good week to rest


I somehow feel that even Xhaka should be rested. Not my fav player though but he is becoming a vital cog in Artetas overall system, hence its important that he stays fit until the end of the season.

Also did anyone else also notice that PEPE plays well when he is around a decent RB?

Heavenly Chapecoense

Pepe should be able to perform whoever the RB is.


Football isn’t that simple though is it?

Bellerin tends to cut inside and thus forces Pepe outside where he is pretty useless. Cedric on the other hand goes outside, taking a defender with him, and allows Pepe room to cut inside and do what he does best.

Pepe isn’t a winger and with Cedric he doesn’t have to be one.

santi's thigh grab

Question is, is Bellerin making that independent choice to cut inside every time or is the manager directing him to do so.


Bellerin is a decent RB, Soares is a decent RB, long season, big squad, grand theories of footballing quality are a bit pointless.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Yep I think Xhaka has played every game since Boxing Day; including the FA Cup match.
Partey and Elneny in the middle against Burnley on Saturday should be fine.

Timorous Me

It’s Burnley, so I’d probably go with the more creative player in Ceballos. But we all know it’s going to be Xhaka anyway. The question for me is if Partey can start that game, and the Olympiakos one on Thursday, and then the NLD the following Sunday. Seems like a lot for him at the moment, so then it’s a tough call of when to keep him on the bench.

Man Manny

Saka manages to do well irrespective of who plays RB.
Just saying.


Actually, Saka was able to assist the winning goal against Benfica, after we changed to 1 vs 1 on the right wing. There were several poor crosses from Bellerin while we were 2 vs 2, and the combination plays weren’t great either.


Bellers is overrated.. we need a better tackle back there


I quite like coming from behind.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

That’s what happens after a hard tackle in the box.

Johnny 4 Hats

We always know how to cock it up…


Especially if she’s bent over lol


Can we be happy with this win? I fear it means even more Willian and Luis. Based on Willian’s season thus far, the last 2 games have been outliers. I fear that it will feed Arteta’s delusional belief in Chelsea has-beens.


We should never have given him a 3 year contract at his age but let’s at least be happy when he (finally) plays well.


gallas was the start lets hope willian is the end

“have to drive the boat forward” – I wonder if that’s a Spanish idiom? Emery would be very proud of that quote.


Earlier in the season he was saying something about how everyone can get on the boat or everyone has a chance to get on the boat.
The boat has slowly been filling with water ever since and is sinking but is still just about afloat.


Good ebening!


I wonder if Deeney can see our cohones looking up from the championship? 2 displays of character in a row.


Yeah really showed our cohones this season 10th in the league that’ll show deeney


Work in progress but we would have lost those games in previous seasons.MA and Round slowly changing the mentality.


Weve already lost 11 games this season with 12 games still left.
Are we still going to be a work in progress next season?
Or will it be reasonable to expect to start seeing some results from this so called change in mentality?


So called change? When was the last time you saw a player waving their arms at a teammate blaming them when more than likely it was their own fault? Not for a while and these are the small changes that build a team. He has to be given time and if that means losing a few games it will work out in the long run hopefully. Just brielieve .


Arteta is really starting to come good. We play good attacking football and look like we have a fairly solid system at the back. He’s rotating well so I’d expect us to keep up our reasonable form coming into the business end of the season.


I fully agree with this, I bet 99% of people (myself included) looked at the line up and thought we’d lose, but here we are 3 points better off.


Im happy we won and long it may continue, and I hope you are right
but If we win the next 11 games, we get the same points as Emery’s first season, when we also got in EL final.

Therefore, to better Emery’s first season we need

  1. 11 wins and a draw to get 71 points, or
  2. Win the EL final.

I’m not really interested in comparing anything to Emery’s first season, especially his points tally. What does it achieve? They’re different managers working in very very different circumstances.


…and under Emery, I felt we were constantly deteriorating. Whereas under MA I can see the green shoots of recovery – and at least it looks like we’ve got a plan.


Totally pointless comparison with Emery’s first season. The slump got worse in his second, and has deep roots in the late Wenger years. Therefore, Arteta needs to be given TIME. He’ll need up to three seasons – several transfer windows – to bring Arsenal back to the top.4. This is an inconvenient truth to many fans who think it ‘unacceptable’ that a club is transitioning from one era into another, and keep demanding instant gratification and short term success. Arsenal had an unprecedented era under Wenger that lasted 20 years, with consistent top 4 finishes for the first and only… Read more »


3 years my arse.
This is arsenal mate not some fucking Mickey mouse mid table club. Stick your 3 years up your arse. If we don’t see a massive improvement next season your Messiah arteta will be gone.
Top 4 next season should be the bare minimum.


Glad to see you read the recent article by Andrew regarding not being toxic to each other on here.


Look I get that position in the table is important but there are other factors in judging a manager’s performance. If you looked at league position in isolation you’d think our 2016 season was a great year for us.

santi's thigh grab

I think the point of his post was directed at a portion of our fan base that tend to have emotional outbursts and takes without any context because they got used to winning over a long period of time. It’s unclear to me how this turned into a sense of entitlement where one’s own self worth is dictated by the fortunes of a football club. Check it at the door Jimbo, you are the problem.


100% this. I can see comparisons now with early George Graham teams.


How many attempts did Leicester have on our goal today? To be worse than Emery, Arteta needs to let our defenders go on a walkabout and allow Leicester 20 more shots on goal in a game. Remember Watford?

charles agbeko

Arsenal slow but now galloping


It was great to experience a win and over Leicester for that matter, however there is still a lot of work to be done. The players have thus far let Arteta down and they have to rise to take responsibility.


Arteta also let himself down with a lot of second guessing and over rotation in many instances. Today could be a one off or a change of pattern. This team should be performing way higher in standard when considering teams less expensively put together like Leicester, Villa, West Ham and Everton above us. Arteta should not have any excuses. As I mentioned before game, we should be beating Leicester Its also on the onus of the gaffer to find the right mix and motivate the players, get them to execute what he wants. Thus far he has been hit and… Read more »


Still not a fan of too much changes particular at Cback and it kind of showed for their goal early on with both Cbacks starting somewhat tentative. but the players elevated their station today. Looked a bit of a wash out at start with selection the usual suspects – Willian, Pepe, Elneny and Luiz…like a reserve team Arteta was throwing into the fire almost as if throwing in the towel on the league. but the quick interchnage of (short) passing working thru tight congestion, collective pressing high up and general positive forward play a refreshing sight and unexpected. Whether this… Read more »

santi's thigh grab

Enjoying your posts more, thank you.

The Arsenal

Really impressed with Mari whether you think he was at fault for the goal or not (personally Elneny was most culpable). Didnt put a foot wrong afterwards and we restricted Leicester to very little. We have been most solid when Mari has played

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