Mikel Arteta says he made his players rewatch Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on Thursday so he could show them how close they ran the reigning Premier League champions.
While the manager accepts his players made fatal errors losing possession in dangerous areas in the second half and lacked efficiency in the final third, he says everybody around the club knows now that the gap with City, not long ago a chasm, has closed substantially.
Asked if his players can match City week after week, he said: “I’ve seen it with my eyes in two games but the level of efficiency has to be extremely good in every single ball to beat them at the end.
“We are in that journey, we want to be there but the team is highly motivated. Just in case they didn’t see it on the pitch or didn’t feel it after the game because of the result, I showed them yesterday [the match].
“You have to give credit to a team when they beat you, but, for sure, when you analyse the game again, I think that we lost it.”
He added: “They [the players] realised on the pitch and they feel on the pitch when they are coming against the best team this league has had in decades, how they performed against them. I sense a lot of belief.
“They were hugely disappointed not to get the result but not that long ago, we were looking there [at City] and we were so far [away] and needed to improve. Now we are closer but it wasn’t enough because they are much more efficient than us.”
Asked what he hoped to achieve by showing them a replay, he added: “More clarity, just in case they had any doubts.”
And whether Arsenal are even more motivated, he added: “Yes, I think so.”
The Gunners head to Villa Park tomorrow for a tough match against former coach Unai Emery. Thomas Partey faces a late fitness test but Emile Smith Rowe could return to the squad.
Ups and downs in every season, let’s hope the downs have finished and we can head back to the ups of the first half of the season.
Certainly, the title wasn’t won or lost in that City game. I said before the game that I actually think our chances of the title would be better if we lost to City. 3 points is 3 points, sure, but at the early stages, everyone was “Yeah, wait a few rounds, they’ll fizzle”. We didn’t. Then finally people started saying “Well, they’re obviously contenders now!” – and perhaps now, people will write us off “They had a nice run, but they’re done now” – and that might just take a little weight off our shoulders. We’re the hunters now, and… Read more »
I hope you’re right. I agree that the defeat against City wasn’t “make or break” but it was a big blow nevertheless and, along with the FA Cup defeat, shouldn’t be underestimated. I certainly don’t agree that it improves our title chances to drop points against City (or anyone else). I guess that I don’t see leading the PL for so long then losing badly at home to your biggest challengers as a positive. Your “hunters” scenario assumes we can get back immediately to the kind of winning form we had in the first half of the season, doesn’t it.… Read more »
Well, quite clearly winning is much better than losing but a little perspective wouldn’t go amiss. I don’t think we lost badly as you say, in fact I strongly disagree. They took their chances while we didn’t but we weren’t outplayed, which is what you would expect from a team that has been playing in the same way for a number of years and has cost billions to assemble. I’m not claiming poverty but our resources aren’t the same as theirs. The Everton game was, as someone else said, a sucker punch waiting to happen and against Brentford we didn’t… Read more »
There’s no gold without the furnace. There’s no metamorphosis without pressure. You fall and you rise… that’s just the way of life.
I like your narrative which makes a lot of sense but it would’ve been better if the team we’re hunting is Man city. You certainly don’t want those guys ahead in a title run in.
** isn’t Man city
Listening to the Arsecast, I heard that City had the lowest pass completion percentage of any match since Guardiola arrived. I heard that they passed long about double their usual rate. I already knew we dominated possession against a side that *always* has the ball. We were the better team, unquestionably, in the first half. The problem, as you indicate, is that we are almost certainly the only team in England, and one of the few in Europe, who can actually play as well as them. They will be expected to win against every other Premier League opponent. So, if… Read more »
The title was lost dropping points to Everton and Brentford in a week. If we don’t win today then it’s the nail in the coffin.
This chimes nicely with Blogs blog this morning (which made me feel a bit better after Wednesday’s disappointment). Feel like we need 9 points from our next 3 games to keep pace and hopefully overtake MC again. But man our luck ain’t there, Everton away with new gaffer bounce, probably 2 points nicked by incompent officials v Brentford, Partey (and obvs Jesus) out v MC. Emery’s Villa away, then a bang in form Leicester away. No one said it was gonna be easy, but fuck me you need a bit of luck on the way, so hopefully we get a… Read more »
No extra motivation should ever be required when there’s a chance you could win the league.
Yes, but that’s not the case in reality or we’d still be five points or more ahead of City wouldn’t we?
That’s a very empty statement. Winning the league is a marathon not a sprint, and holding motivation and confidence at the maximum level for the best part of a year is not easy, in fact it is the number one impediment to elite level in any top level sport.
So don’t reduce this most critical variable to a glib one-liner. That’s the job of sky sports pundits. Instead we can help give them that extra motivation as supporters, because at this level any extra percent boost can be crucial.
Let’s face it, everyone needs to be more motivated and – most importantly – for that to show itself on the pitch (against Villa, first up).
Whatever selection Arteta tries, he knows that we must regain our lost momentum quickly or City will probably begin to pull away at the top of the PL. If they do, given they’ve been around this course so many times recently, it will become more difficult to catch them.
They are just a goal difference ahead of us, and we have a game in hand. We just need to relax and play our game and see where this takes us.
Did anyone see how absolutely pathetic Villa were against City last weekend? Watch tomorrow how they become prime Barcelona for the day.
The team to beat in England now is the Arsenal.😀
Watching a replay when we lost is a harrowing experience for me- I don’t know about the players.😀
I’d like to think that it stings for them, but that they’ll also be able to watch with a professional’s mindset, i.e. they’ll be able to watch themselves and quickly understand the moments where they executed the game plan and moments where they fell short. And analyze how they could have adapted to the challenges they faced. More of an intellectual exercise than an emotional one.
The key problem with this team isn’t motivation, it’s the quality of defending right now. Just look back at the last 5 goals we’ve conceded: all were due to bad defending. From the failure to properly defend from a corner at Everton to the three at home to City (all caused by giving the ball away), we’ve been terrible in defence recently. You can’t defend like that and win titles. Arteta needs to get the players out on the training ground and sort out this problem. We were excellent at the back in the first half of the season: we… Read more »
Agreed, can probably chalk it up to lack of experience but we knew we would have blips with such a young team, particularly in defense where mistakes get punished. The silver lining is we are still well in the title race and next year everyone will be another year more experienced, not only playing together but also chasing titles.
Off topic, but I’m a lifelong Gunner from Utah, USA. I coincidentally have a chance to travel to London for work over the 3 March weekend. The only live match I’ve ever attended was a pre season in Los Angeles. Is there any chance or process for securing a single ticket to the Bournemouth match?
Probably best off asking this in the Arses section of the main blog, more people read those I believe
If you are only after a single your chances are decent. If you are a red member you could pick one up on the ticket exchange, if not and you have some dollar you can pick a ticket package up from tour companies but it will obvs cost a lot more than face value.
Losing against Mancity is not end of the road for the Gunners. The greatest setback was dropping points against Everton and Brentford. Well now that we have won against Aston villa and have regained the first place let’s maintain the tempo and never drop any point carelessly again. We are still on track for the title this season.