Monday, April 22, 2024

Arteta: Defensive consistency key to title chances

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s title chances are reliant on his side being defensively solid in the final nine games of the season.

While the Gunners’ cautious game plan at Manchester City wasn’t to everyone’s liking, the disciplined nature of Sunday’s performance did at least underline a growing maturity in the heat of battle.

The 0-0 draw was Arsenal’s 12th clean sheet of the season; three more than either Liverpool and Manchester City have achieved.

“I think that’s going to be critical,” Arteta told TNT Sports when asked about the importance of maintaining such high standards.

“I think if you want to win championships, your defence has to be extremely consistent and very difficult to beat.

“We have that and it’s great to have the players, how they live their defensive phase and the contribution that they put in every ball to make it really difficult for the opponent.”

One man who has been making life hell for opponents all season is William Saliba. For the third time this season, the Frenchman and centre-back cohort Gabriel Magalhaes stopped the prolific Erling Haaland from registering a shot on target against the Gunners.

For his efforts, Saliba picked up the man-of-the-match award from Sky Sports and the manager was quick to salute the 22-year-old.

“He deserves a lot of credit,” said Arteta. “And that’s credit to him, but as well as the people he’s had in his pathway that have brought him to this point in the best possible condition.

“And then as well his team-mates. You know, in the end, you are as good as the people you are surrounded with, and I think he’s very lucky to have the people that he plays alongside and to do the job that he needs to do.”

He added: “More than that [his partnership with Gabriel], I think it’s as well with the holding midfielders and the full-backs and the goalkeeper and the relationship that they have as well, with the coaches to instil that desire as well to defend and defend our house the way we have to do it.”

Arsenal will be aiming for another clean sheet when Luton visit the Emirates. It’ll be easier said than done, the Hatters have scored in each of their past 18 Premier League games, the current longest scoring streak in the top flight.

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Best in the league


Surprised by the Hatters’ scoring run, didn’t think they were that good. We stopped City’s 57 game run so let’s do it to Luton too, plus make sure we get the excellent attacking that we’ve had this year back and get the 3 points.


Not surprised. Judging from the highlights they’ve got to be the most entertaining team in the PL. So many high scoring close games decided in the last minute. The away game being one such example.


Haven’t watched them at all but bottom 3 in the PL implies a weaker side. Sounds like their defence is leaky.

Dr. Gooner

You’ve been missing out. They’re a lot of fun. Full of castoffs from the academies of bigger clubs, guys with quality and a chip on their shoulder. They play football properly too, they press high, they use their defenders to carry and break lines, and they have Ross Barkley 2.0, who at his best looks like one of the premier midfielders in the league. Powerful on the ball, quick on the turn, good vision, good shot, works really hard too. They combine some of the staples of small club attacking like crossing from the wings to big strong forwards, but… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I’m still getting used to the fact we have a good defence.

It’s been a while and the trauma from those years leaves an emotional scar.

We… can… defend…?

Oh, brave new world!


Wait till you hear that we also have good back-up defenders on the bench now.

I know, crazy.

Johnny 4 Hats

*Cedric passes his beer to Partey and starts to warm up*

karl g

The word Mustafi still makes me shudder!


PMSD — Post Mustafi Stress Disorder


Mustafi as defined in the Oxford Dictionary “how not to defend”

Dr. Gooner

Our recruiting flat out stunk in those days.

Dr. Gooner

Environments matter. Mustafi was not a special defender, he was merely a good defender in the right environment and an average one otherwise. But he was brought in to a club that was falling apart defensively because the team as a whole didn’t put a premium on defending. As the big money signing, he was supposed to fix that but instead it made him the fall guy as he kept getting exposed and forced to defend the space behind him by himself time after time. Then in possession he had few options as we lacked a proper orchestrator in the… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Defensive consistency, rotation and a few goals will be key


I’d be all for few changes but I’d go with …………Raya White..Salibs…Gab…Zincks …………….Partey Martin …………….Rice Jesus……Kai……Gabi Mart Wouldn’t like to change back 4 too much . Ogbene will be handful for anyone and good tester for zincks, tomi would be a more solid starter but we should be fine at home . I’d think we need to play Kai the form he’s in and no harm if he got another goal . Jesus needs to hit form just now to boost us . Delighted to have Partey back and he’s type who has to play himself into a game .… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I think today is definitely the best time to rest Rice, who played 180 last week for England, and pretty much every minute this season. White could also sit today out

Dr. Gooner

Can’t see Rice not starting to be honest. Partey is still making his was back from a long injury and Jorginho is not a like for like. I do think ideally Mikel will sub him off as soon as he can but we want to dominate this game and score early and Rice at the 6 gives us the best chance to pin them in our half. He’s got to do a job on Barkley who is very very under rated this season and makes that team tick.

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