Mikel Arteta says the way Gabriel Magalhaes’ reacted to the defensive error that allowed Fulham to take the lead against Arsenal was indicative of the defender’s changed mentality.
The Brazilian was far too casual as he attempted to carry the ball out of defence on 56 minutes and paid the price when Aleksandr Mitrovic forced a turnover of possession on the edge of the box and ruthlessly finished past Aaron Ramsdale.
Clearly annoyed with himself, Gabriel, with the help of his teammates and support from the terraces, quickly put the mistake to bed and ended the evening as the hero by grabbing a late scrambled winner after Martin Odegaard’s deflected effort had levelled the scores.
In his post-game press conference, Arteta was asked how important it was that the centre-back was able to get back on track in the space of the 90 minutes.
He said: “It’s just the reaction of everybody after the goal straightaway, the reaction of the stadium, just gives support to that player, belief and then the player has to show courage to continue playing.
“This is part of football, mistakes are part of it and it’s going to continue to happen. But it’s about how you respond to that and I’m really pleased.
“It’s not a coincidence because Gabi, the way he’s changed his mentality and the way he approaches every single day, is different to a year or two ago.”
Asked to elaborate on what exactly the Brazilian has changed in his life, he continued: “He looks after himself every day, what’s the most important thing in his life, apart from his daughter and his family, is how consistent he is every day in his habits and how much he really wants to become one of the best.”
Coming from behind to win matches was a rarity last season and the manager thinks getting over the line against Fulham is an indication that his squad are maturing. It certainly helped that a packed Emirates were roaring on his team in the closing stages.
“We’re more grown up, we have more alternatives, we have matured as well and playing in front of these supporters helps because they are driving you as well. Then it’s about belief. A lot of that is about belief and the confidence that you can do it and really believe that you can do it. Now we have that belief.”
Fostering a better connection with the fans has been a key ambition of Arteta since he took over in November 2019. It’s been a slow burn – the pandemic certainly got in the way – but it’s fair to say the Emirates rivals any stadium in England for atmosphere at the moment.
“I don’t know top teams, winning teams that don’t have that connection with the club and with the supporters,” said Arteta.
“I’ve just seen a person that I really like, and love I would say, that I haven’t seen for a while, it’s the first time he’s been to the stadium for two years, and he’s said it’s the best he’s seen it, ever, since he was at Highbury. So, well done.”
Well done indeed.
And the youngest team in the PL! Top of the league and we are on the up!!
Just a coincidence I’m sure but the oldest average age team in the league – West Ham – currently bottom. (Of course they have a game in hand later today).
Was that “person” Arsene by any chance? I hope so!
I thought he hadn’t been back since he left, 4 and a bit years ago?
Quick one, does the ref still get his payment from fulham since we won the game or nah?
Man tried his best I reckon.
Who did you see….
Don’t do us like that Boss!
A fan in another thread said they spoke to David Dein today.
Wonder if that was the person Mikel was referring to.
Is he referring to AW at the end?
That’s what I want to know….anyone?
I think Alan Smith said it.
Yahoo Sports (where ese?) quoted Smudger as follows:
On the Emirates atmosphere, former Arsenal player Smith said: “It was electrifying in here today. The fans are feeding off a really exciting young team. The noise levels in here, I haven’t heard it like that for a good 10 years. Every good team needs good support and Arsenal have got that.”
Smudger is an Arsenal legend and fair play to the fans, they could be heard singing loud all game.
He wasn’t talking about Alan Smith.
Smith is a regular at the Emirates doing punditry with Sky Sports.
i thought cazorla
Arsenal fans have this deluded thinking that amazes me. Maybe it’s because the club has made many poor signings over the years I don’t really know. Or maybe because they ve gotten used to signing village players for mediocre fees. They every player should be peanut Wolves are asking for 60m for Neto and some deluded people think it’s too much. I mean the same Neto just signed a 5 yrs contract back in March and u think 60m is too much? In thesame window Antony is going for 100m euros, Gordon being priced at 80m, fofana going for 75m… Read more »