Sunday, March 3, 2024

“I wasn’t pleased with our organisation” – Arteta reflects on win at Watford

Mikel Arteta says he wasn’t pleased with Arsenal’s organisation at Vicarage Road despite his side beating Watford 3-2 to secure a fourth consecutive Premier League win.

On a day when the home side created plenty of chances, the Gunners’ were thankful for ruthless finishing to cap off three moments of real quality in the attacking third.

While Chico Hernandez’s overhead kick cancelled out Martin Odegaard’s fifth-minute opener, fine strikes either side of the break from Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli ensured we had enough breathing room to get over the line even though Moussa Sissoko struck late.

After the game, Arteta said his players made their lives unnecessarily difficult.

“We had great moments today again attacking but I wasn’t pleased with our organisation,” he told Sky Sports.

“The structure we had to be prepared when we lose the ball to control certain spaces which against Watford are key. If not, it becomes that transition game, if you don’t finish the action you have to deal with the counter.

“We suffered and we could have conceded some goals there. We didn’t dominate the game exactly the way we wanted to do. Credit to Watford as well but a lot was down to us.”

Despite the shaky moments, Arteta knows full-well that maintaining a winning run and climbing up to fourth for the first time in two months is a big moment for his squad.

“We know how difficult it is in this league to be in the position that we are in,” he said.

“We have earned it. We have come a long way as a team and today again it showed how difficult it is to win a match in the Premier League.”

On how his players are feeling, he added: “Yeah, [they are] very happy because they know again how difficult it is to win any game.

“We’ve done four in a row now, we have another run of three matches in the next week or so, let’s go for it. Review, improve a lot of things from today as well, review the positive things, get the momentum going, the sprint going and let’s go to the next one.”

Arteta was also quizzed on his role in the build-up to Martinelli’s goal. The Spaniard was quick to retrieve the ball as it went out of play and in giving it to Saka to take a quick throw, he caught Watford on their heels.

“I saw an advantage and I tried to take advantage,” he said. “I think we all have to be alive, that’s the way I live the game and that’s what I try to transmit to the team as well.”

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Top 4 with three games in hand over our next two rivals. Work on our organisation and we definitely have a chance. COYR!

Heavenly Chapecoense

Really like Arteta expressing dissatisfaction on something after a victory that put us in a strong position. It is what we need at Arsenal. Two-goal advantage, we always stop being serious in attack.


Offensively, that was probably our best game of the season. Odegaard pulling the strings and Saka was looking Henry-esque today. Partey has been superb, Tierney was actually driving at the defense again. The game was really comfortable until the 2nd Watford goal but even then I wasn’t worried about conceding a third.


I thought Tierney had a stinker. That left side was an issue for us all game today except for the interceptions Tierney made from those right to left diagonals. Watford direct play exposed Tierney, Xhaka abd Martinelli who more often than not were caught flat footed. Defensively Gabriel, White and Ramsdale all looked rackled from the start. I never felt this less secure in a game since the first 3 games of the season. I hope it was today’s only bleep and we get our act together going forward. Saka, boy what a talent. Odegaardz Partey and Laca all are… Read more »

Martin R

Best attacking performance of the season against a Watford team who played well above theselves. With the exception of the last few minutes I never felt remotely insecure. Tierney was excellent today driving forward and I’m not sure how you found both Martinelli and Xhaka wanting. With the odd exception Ramdsdame, White and Gabriel defended well. I must have watched a totally different game to you.


Correct about the left side.
Their 1st goal felt like an easy cross.
The 70th minute the carved us open with similar fashion.
Their second was also from left. They have found a gap between Tierney Xhaka and Martinelli


Glad Arteta pointed out the defensive lapses today. A better team would’ve punished us. The team is picking up momentum at an important stage of the season, and hopefully Arteta will push the players to keep improving and end the season strongly. COYG!


We’ll need to shape up, Leicester and Villa have players who can hurt us, not to mention Liverpool. Still we are doing what we need to do so far, another big 3 points today to keep pressure on the others.


Top ball boy.


On the US broadcast the commentators loved it, with one of them joking that it was Arteta’s first assist in 8 years.

And on the live text on BBC Sport some twat complained that the goal should have been disallowed because Arteta was well out of his technical area. I’m sure that guy is loads of fun at parties…


I love playing ‘Spot the Spurs fans’ during the BBC text comms of our games & that bloke was definitely a culprit for qualifying as one of that lot

Funsho Patrick

We’re 4th…in march..not December…with many games to spare…wake me up! I’m dreaming….

Abdul bakar

Our 5 &6 were off today, poor in possession and defending. Ben white in particular for the 2nd goal, even the 1st was poorly defended by the team. beautiful 3 goals but the team need to learn to defend together without living space. Not a vintage performance but we got the 3point which was the most important. Let’s rest boys

ESR’s shinpads

The problem was the change in shape that had Partey playing as the sole CDM with Odegaard and Xhaka playing ahead of him when usually Partey and GX sit alongside each other. Granit can’t play that role as he’s just too slow and so whenever we lost the ball they could break quickly as Xhaka was more advanced than usual and couldnt recover his defensive position quickly enough leaving Partey and the back four exposed. I don’t have an issue with the formation at all and I like that away from home against dross like Watford we want to play… Read more »

A Different George

A recent, excellent Tactics column pointed out the opposite is true. Because Xhaka is further up the pitch, it is often now Tierney or Smith Rowe–both with much more pace than Xhaka–who are in position to counter the break when we lose the ball high up the pitch on the left side. (This also accounts for a lot of Tierney’s lower involvement in the attack.)

ESR’s shinpads

That’s a fair point – I think one of the sky pundits touched on it as well a couple of weeks back. It didn’t work on Sunday though as we were constantly exposed down that side. Looked like KT didn’t know whether to cover inside for Xhaka (I’m not having a go at him – it’s just the role he was playing) or cover out wide and ended up often doing neither. Still we won so all good 👍


First goal conceded could have also been avoided. Cbacks ball watching and too far off danger man on the cross. Even with the sloppy concession of their second, we could also have been more resolute. Xhaka’s cross was uncalled for but our reaction to their subsequent attack was also naive with Gabriel unnecessarily going to ground. Several poor balls out from Ramsdale today as well adn Gabriel also had a couple of nervy panic moments not to mention one from Cedric poor touch fortunately less punish because of their (lack of) quality. We needed to also kill the game off… Read more »


The first goal you’ve got 3 of them standing in front of Dennis watching him doing nothing with the ball 🤦🏻‍♂️, Stevie Wonder could’ve seen the overlap from Ferminia upcoming so why couldn’t one of them? It wasn’t Ramsdales best game I’ll say that, he said on Ben Foster’s podcast that he gets easily distracted if he has nothing to focus on(crowd chants, stadium announcements etc) & it was definitely one of those types of performances from him, maybe Spunky should give him some tips on how to keep his concentration next time his at the training ground


I was angered more with their second goal and the early one in the opening seconds that was disallowed.

Both due to daydreaming minds not on the job in hand. We need to focus more.

ESR’s shinpads

Neither of their goals were great defensively. I’m increasingly confident though that Mikel will point them in the right direction. And better we make mistakes at Watford and learn from there than elsewhere, when it is likely to cost.


If we can tighten up at the back and focus on playing the simple ball from the her back rather than the “aren’t I great” clever one, that invariably loses possession, then this team really will go far.

It’s all there physically. It’s the mentality that needs work.

Good to see that Arteta recognises that and is all over it. Fair play to him, this is the exact kind of thing that separates the great managers from the also rans.


*from the back

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