Mikel Arteta says his side are playing at a ‘different level’ after watching Arsenal cruise to a 4-2 win over Leicester City at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners raced to a two-goal advantage before the break courtesy of a Gabriel Jesus brace, the first a delightful lob, and then kept Leicester at arm’s length in the second half as Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli each scored just after the visitors had pegged the home side back through a William Saliba own goal and James Maddison strike.
After the match, Arteta praised the way his side have developed their game in the final third.
“You can see the interaction and the speed of execution, it’s a different level now,” enthused the Spaniard in his post-game press conference.
“The rotation can be the same and the way that they can execute it at that speed and be that precise is completely different. It’s much more difficult to defend.”
Asked about the importance of playing instinctively, he continued, “Within that structure, within that shape and within that unit you have the freedom to decide and occupy any space, and they know that and we work on that every day.”
It certainly helps Arsenal’s cause that they have a striker as deadly as new recruit Gabriel Jesus.
Not only did the Brazilian open his Arsenal account in the Premier League, he also laid on two assists. It bodes well for the rest of the season.
“We know what Gabby can do,” said Arteta. “He scored two and assisted two and he’s still disappointed in the dressing room because he said he could have scored four.
“That’s the standard, that’s the mentality that if you want to go to a different level you need that mentality. I wouldn’t like to play against him.
“I have never been a defender but I can imagine that they don’t enjoy it. He’s so mobile, so intuitive and is always sharp and proactive to play in any moment and any phase of the game and he’s a real threat.”
Having spent a lot of time on the bench at Manchester City in the last two seasons, the challenge for Arteta is to get the best out of Jesus on an ongoing and regular basis.
“I think he’s played 18 starts in the last two seasons and we are going to demand him to start a lot of games, so we have to manage that load and the way that we train is different,” said Arteta.
“We have to be on top of that and hopefully we are.”
Towards the tail-end of last season, Arteta spoke openly about the need for Arsenal to score lots more goals if they are to challenge the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool for honours.
While Jesus has been signed to help with that, he’s also buoyed that other players, lifted by the Brazilian’s presence, are getting in on the act.
“I think it lifts the standards with the way that he’s training every day and the way that he’s talking and the way that they are connecting.
“I think it’s very natural, but at the same time it’s pretty impressive to do it that quickly, but then we are asking other players to score goals as well.
“Granit is arriving in the box and he should have scored last week and he could have scored two today because he had another header, and that’s what we need.
“If you want to be at the top then we’re going to have to score a lot of goals and we cannot rely on two or three players.”