Saturday, February 24, 2024

Arteta hails defensive efforts of Odegaard and Auba

Mikel Arteta thinks his players are growing in stature and reserved special praise for the efforts of Martin Odegaard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for their contributions to the 1-0 win over Burnley.

The Norwegian grabbed the headlines for his match-winning free-kick but it was the midfielder’s defensive shift, something matched by captain Auba, that really struck a chord with the boss.

“I think we are building some leadership in the group,” Arteta told “It’s a really young group, with a lot of players under 23.

“Martin is the captain of the national team and Sambi was the captain at Anderlecht. Martin has this capacity to do that [lead] with his talent, taking the ball in moments where others probably refuse to, but as well with his attitude, his rhythm and the way he presses and puts people under pressure.

“He’s probably the first to do [those defensive responsibilities]. I was really impressed with Auba as well – I think his rhythm and high pressing was fantastic.

“It was a real commitment and purpose because you can go to try and win the ball or put pressure [on] – but you can tell when you are really doing it or when you’ve been told to do it.

“There was a big meaning behind it and when you go to places like that, when you are having difficult moments and you want to start to get results, I think you have to go to those basics and have every single player do that, even the ones that came on – I think they were superb, lifted the momentum of the team and took us to a different level. I think that’s really important.”

On the importance of defending from the front as a team, he added: “Absolutely. It’s a whole unit that has to be compact and stay compact the whole time. The only way to do it when the ball is moving is to have everybody moving. If somebody starts to walk, the distances start to get split, the unit breaks and there is nothing.

“As well, the coaching, I like that there is a lot of coaching going on around the team. Young players are starting to talk and communicate and that facilitates a lot of things in the defensive phase.”

Able to pick from a near full squad – only the suspended Granit Xhaka and injured Mo Elneny miss out – Arteta is still expected to ring the changes when AFC Wimbledon visit the Emirates in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

The boss is hoping that whoever he fields – he was coy on what he might do on that front – can continue to build momentum heading into Sunday’s north London derby.

“After the difficult start we had in many different aspects, when you start to win two games, you can win the third one, it gives more momentum, more confidence, everyone is back and it starts to create a different feeling,” he said.

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Johnny 4 Hats

You know, I’m starting to feel like character is a more important asset than talent. And I think for too long this club has bought predominately with talent (don’t laugh) in mind. A talented player with an ok attitude will likely not get much better and certainly won’t help you out when the chips are down. But a good player with an excellent attitude will improve, will work hard and will give you that bit extra when things are tough. All six of our new boys seem like great characters. I don’t know a huge amount about Tavares but the… Read more »


Well said; and you can add Gabriel to the group from last year and Tierney and Martinelli from the year before that. That’s nine new players, all 24 and under. All talented and with real strong character. [Saliba next year? We’ll see…]


Saliba is a character alright that’s why he is on loan like Guendouzi.

Ghost of Fabregas

I completely agree with this, but I feel there is room to include belief to attitude or as a component to attitude. We used to have players, especially up front, who believed they could. That belief caused them to attempt things that seem to have been trained out to some extent in the modern game (maybe this is just an Arsenal perspective). Not only would they attempt “the impossible” but they pulled it off as well! Don’t believe, don’t try, don’t score. A great example (non Arsenal but always sticks in my mind) is Luis Suarez’s final season at Liverpool.… Read more »

Naked Cygan

The big test will be on Sunday. No need to risk anyone from the first team tomorrow and hopefully, Charlie Patino will get some game time

Gunnar Eli

If few u-21 guys are fit. Would be good to get few minutes. I somehow always want a b team but with older guys for experience sake. But martinelli needs to start at least..


Balogun needs to start too. There was really zero point in keeping him around the team if he doesn’t play in games like this. I’m sure Lacazette is going to start, but I’d much rather see Balogun and Martinelli given chance in this game that could be easily argued as our least important fixture of the whole season.


Laca will start as captain and play behind Martinelli, Balogun and Nketieh, with Sambi and ANM anchoring behind. He’ll be replaced bt Patino on 76 with Arsenal 3- nil up


He looked like a fish up a tree against Brentford.


Well we better sell him then. First premier league start ever, but he’s obviously a waste of space.


I don’t say this to mean they didn’t put in a shift (I think they all did do pretty well defensively even the forward players), but the data from the game doesn’t really back up what Arteta is saying: “67 – Defensive Pressures for Arsenal, the fewest that they have had in the Premier League since StatsBomb has collected this data (going back through he 2017-18 season).” As Scott highlighted in the “by the numbers” this was likely due to the “route-1” approach from Burnley. Seems a weird moment to praise our high press, which remains an area that needs… Read more »


Maybe there are other numbers that they collect that might give added meaning.
For instance cutting off passing lanes so that Burnley go long ball but in specific areas that Arteta was happy with.
When collecting data Statsbomb will have a specific definition for what they consider to be a high press, whereas Arteta might be using the term in a more conversational manner.
Just though I would add a few caveats rather than assume the manager is trying to mislead


The only way to cut off a Burnley pass is to have Giant defenders hovering around the box to clear the inevitable barrage of long-bombs that will be raining down. I think he is really trying to build positivity around the team – I mean it is a big part of his MO: positive talk. But without a doubt, our high press (or lack thereof) is a part of our game we need to improve. With Odegaard, Saka, ESR, partey, Sambi and even Pepe and Auba (both have shown they can get press if asked to) we have the pace… Read more »

A Different George

Obviously Burnley do rely on “long-bombs” into the penalty area more than most teams. But they don’t actually fire a long pass or cross every time they touch the ball. They sometimes attempt to keep the ball; they even have midfielders. So, of course you can cut off their passing lanes, force them to attempt more long balls more quickly, from further out, with less chance of success. I saw plenty of that in the match, whether or not each counted as a “defensive pressure” and whether or not the total was as high as in other matches. You know,… Read more »


You’re like an addict. Arteta says something; you are compelled to give a long winded explanation of why what he is saying isn’t true. It genuinely must be exhausting for you.


Please explain the quality of our high press? I mean Scott show empirically how that was one of our poorest pressing games in our history, but Mikel is telling us how exceptional our forwards were in making defensive pressures. If I see something that doesn’t add up to the data then I’ll question it, I guess you just prefer to trust what people say and swallow whatever you’re told – easier way to do things I suppose.


It’s not just this though, it’s everything. I don’t swallow whatever I’m told.i just choose not be so obsessed with the manager that I pick on everything he says. He picks a poor team or the team plays badly, I will trash him. He says something in one of the endless press interactions all managers have to do these days…..frankly I couldn’t really care.too much.
You just never stop. It’s exhausting & desperately boring to read. I don’t know jow you have the time or energy to keep doing it. Like I said, you’re like an addict…..


Utter BS mate, You’re just selectively picking what you want to see. The last two weeks I’ve praised his team selection and the way the team has played. He’s played a young team and at higher tempo, which is exactly what I’ve been asking for. Totally happy with that (see Gabriel article, Norwich player ratings). But you just want everything to start from scratch and nothing that has come before now to not matter. I’m happy to give him a chance (again) because he’s finally done something different, but he should well and truly still be under big pressure. We’ve… Read more »


Anyone reading your 2nd paragraph & some of my criticisms of Arteta on here will be under no illusion that you are the one talking utter BS.

You mention Gabriel article…someone said they had not forgotten how good was & what did you say – ‘Mikel forgot, I guess he just needed to Mari’. Yeah, love that positivity alright

You’re not in my head at all believe me. You’re.just hard to miss given the way you have become the new santori. Anyway, I’ll leave you to it. Won’t be responding again.


Jeez you spend a lot of time and energy interacting with people that provide “exhausting and boring” reading material. Until next time you feel the next to take up your usual vendettas against differing opinions. Adios amigo mio!

A Different George

I was also thinking this reminded me of Santori–but in fairness to him, he actually tried to analyse what he saw (at great length) and his comments–though not his dismissive tone–were often quite perceptive. I haven’t seen too much of that from Daveo.


Insightful comment bro.Im still Arteta out if we are aiming for top 4.But good take none the less



Man Manny

Yes. I watched the game again. Without the tension of a live game, I was able to see things I had missed. Auba and Ødegaard really put themselves about defensively. I also noticed all our 6 signings finished the game, and that was a really young team. If you take out Auba and Pepe, the average age of that team is 23. I imagined that team about 2 years on: Auba would have been replaced by a younger, and hopefully equally good, striker. The back five would have developed a chemistry together; same goes for the midfield and attack. I… Read more »

No disrespect to the Crazy Gang but Arteta would ideally pick the team that plays Sp*ds first, and then work backwards from there.

He won’t make 11 changes but I’d like to see something like this;

Wimbledon; Leno, Chambers, Holding, Mari, Tavares, AMN, Patino, Pepe, Lacazette, Martinelli, Balogun.

Sp*ds; Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Lokonga, Smith-Rowe, Odegaard, Saka, Auba.

Naked Cygan

Pepe will start against sp*rs. He will drop ESR most likely.


Would prefer him to be praising their attacking. We need to step that up a lot. More goals please.

Disarmed Gunner

Here he is talking the big talk after beating two relegation fodder teams. Start getting us up the league mate. Until then, keep schtum and stop with your philosophical ramblings. One of your primary failings is how you’ve ruined Aubamayang. Guy was banging in at least 20 goals a season on average under Wenger and Emery until you arrived. Could care less if he defends.

Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta

We didn’t even beat either of these teams convincingly and we conceded “Emery levels” of shots/chances against them. It’s not even the philosophical ramblings that worry me. It’s the fact that the man exaggerates details to cover up the fact that he is underachieving. No, Turf Moor is not this fortress he portrays it to be. At Turf Moor, Burnley collected 23 out of 57 points in 2018/19, 28 out of 57 points in 19/20, 18 out of 57 points in 20/21. No, we didn’t create lots of good chances. Like in the away game at Sp*rs last season, passing… Read more »


Well said. 👍🍺


Well said. 👍🍺

Papi Chulo

Despite Mikel hyping him up, Auba has been poor. His build up play is poor, always has been. The chemistry between Laca- ESR and Odegard was obvious last season, better interplay. Start Laca in the NLD!


Laca gets more like Kevin Campbell by the day – a jaded, past it, tired, overweight, heavyweight boxer, one decent sucker punch away from hitting the canvas for the final time.

At least we’ve had a fairly good goal return from Laca.

Campbell was finished as soon as George Graham promoted him from the youth team.

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x