Monday, July 4, 2022

Arteta wary of Coutinho as Gunners gear up for Villa

Despite Wednesday night’s defeat to Liverpool, Arsenal can safely say the block of fixtures since the warm weather training camp in Dubai has gone very well.

Five wins have seen the Gunners climb up to fourth in the Premier League table and another against Villa would see us close the gap on third-place Chelsea (in FA Cup action this weekend against Middlesbrough) and give us breathing room on Manchester United (who aren’t in action) and at least one of West Ham and Sp*rs who play each other on Sunday.

It’s an enticing carrot ahead of the Interlull but not a fixture that Mikel Arteta’s squad can afford to take lightly.

The Villans have beaten us on our last two trips to Birmingham and look a much more dangerous outfit under Steven Gerrard compared to the side that laboured to defeat at Emirates Stadium in October in the closing stages of Dean Smith’s reign.

“Very good,” was Arteta’s assessment of Steven Gerrard’s work so far at Villa Park.

“They have had some positive results in the last few games. He’s changed the shape, he’s changed a few things that the team is doing. He’s brought a different energy again to that stadium I think. I’m impressed with what he’s doing.”

He added: “I think he’s got on very, very well so far and what he did at Rangers I think it’s remarkable and I don’t know if he gets the credit that he should do because I’ve played there, I know how that club goes and how he turned it around and what he’s done at Villa, so I think so far he’s done really well.”

One of Gerrard’s first decisions as manager was to sign-off on the recruitment of Philippe Coutinho with whom he had played at Liverpool.

The Brazil international – heavily linked with Arsenal during his ill-fated spell at Barcelona – has impressed on his return to the Premier League getting himself on the scoresheet three times and making three assists.

Arteta is acutely aware of the need to keep the creative midfielder quiet.

“He’s one of them,” said the boss. “Obviously the team activates a lot of things when he’s on the ball and he’s in dangerous areas. He’s contributed a lot when he’s in their attacking phase, so obviously it’s something that we need to bear in mind.

“His ability to create goals, and to create chances, and to unlock spaces when they don’t exist – that’s a quality that he had (and continues to have), when he was at Liverpool.”

Including tomorrow’s trip down the M4, four of Arsenal’s next five games are away from home.

On how tough that run is going to be, Arteta said: “Very, because every game in the Premier League is extremely difficult to win. We are going to be playing very difficult matches, like the rest of the teams.

“The thing is that we have some games in hand still. It’s not (simple) again, but performing like we did against Liverpool for the majority of the game. If we do that we will be close to winning (those) four matches.”

For the time being, Arteta won’t get sucked into all the chat about Arsenal ending their Champions League exodus.

“When we do it I will tell you,” he replied when asked what it would mean to him to lead the Gunners back to Europe’s top table.

“It still hasn’t happened. There are still 11 games left for us to play and a lot of things could happen, and that’s what we are playing for.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

Yes Coutinho looks dangerous.

But please, no one laugh at the subtext which is he’s come in to replace Buendia who *allegedly* chose Villa over Arsenal but is having a distinctly average season and not looking anything like a £35m player.

I really don’t like Villa. I don’t like Emi saying he took a step up to join them. I don’t like their bids for ESR and I don’t like the Buendia saga.

I hope we fucking kill them.

Forget about it

I like that you are nuanced. I hate everyone that isn’t Arsenal.

Johnny 4 Hats

I weirdly like Norwich. I think it’s because when I was young they had that Ruel Fox and Jeremy Goss team. And I quite like their kit.

Gunner

Maybe except Boro who dumped off Spurs (let’s take a moment to laugh at that) and Manchester United

Abhi

Did you see Antonio Conte’s comments again about the rescheduling of the NLD? Was he such a cunt back when he managed Chelsea? I don’t think so. It’s the vile stink of spurs (shit) imbibed into his DNA from his closeness to them. I want us to spank them, villa, Everton (coz of Lampard), not to mention the refs that hate us, the media, the pundits, fuck them ALL. This end of the season is as personal I have felt in a long time, for the Arsenal to show all the whole bunch of them what a set clowns they… Read more »

Tapps

I also really fucking hate Gerrard – or, at least, the Liverpool fans that idolise him and claim he’s the greatest midfielder. Two words for you lot: Patrick. Vieira.

Johnny 4 Hats

I just hope we don’t slip up tomorrow.

Oops. Sorry Steve.

djourou's nutmeg

he was a great player who commited his life to the club and values he thought were worth it. never talked shit, never sold, never cheated. one of the few classy players in the premier league outside arsenal. you don’t have to idolise him but you can at least respect him and his career.

A Different George

I am worried a bit about Villa’s attack, but I think they probably should be more worried about Arsenal’s. I’m pretty sure Countinho and Buendia won’t be as successful at neutralising Martin Odegaard as Henderson and Fabinho were. And with Lucas Digne, a very good fullback, apparently injured it will be up to 47 year old Ashley Young to stop Saka. Oh, and Villa will probably also be without one their most effective centre halves, a decent guy named Calum Chambers. Good luck, Emi. Actually, although I have a soft spot for many former Arsenal keepers, like Fabianski, I am… Read more »

Bergytime

As long as we don’t take the M4 tomorrow, I think we’ll be fine 😉 It’s going to be tight though.

Franz Biberkopf

“When we do it, I will tell you.”
I love the way Arteta is managing the media and the expectations around the club.

Qwaliteee

A touch of the Wengers about that one.

Yep. Don’t give the media anything. If there’s one thing those cunts have, it’s a perpetual agenda to build us up in order to knock us down again.

Fuck ‘em.

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