Saturday, May 25, 2024

Arteta pinpoints improved game management as the key to Arsenal’s revival

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s ability to control different phases of games is the “biggest step” his side has taken in recent months and that confidence is high in the camp with nine fixtures left to play.

The Gunners underlined their growing maturity with a comprehensive 3-0 win at Brighton that returned the team to the top of the table after Manchester City had thrown down the gauntlet with a victory at Crystal Palace.

Attention now turns to Liverpool and whether Jurgen Klopp’s men have a response of their own when they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford.

“I think we are in a really good moment,” said Arteta in his post-game press conference.

“We have the squad healthy with a really good energy, with a lot of confidence, individually and collectively, because they perform really well, and we are winning a lot of matches. We just have to carry on doing what we’re doing.”

Since losing to Fulham on New Year’s Eve, the Gunners have gone 11 games unbeaten in the league to revive a title challenge that looked to have slipped out of grasp in the space of three days.

While matters are still not in Arsenal’s hands, Arteta is delighted at how his team has clicked in the second half of the campaign.

“In the end, it’s about performances,” he said. “You have to earn the right to win the games in this league and the teams, they ask you a lot of questions and there are a lot of things you have to control in a Premier League match to win away from home.

“The team seems to be controlling those moments much better and being comfortable in different stages of games, when the teams are demanding all this stuff. That’s the biggest step as a team.”

The collective effort made to keep the ball out of the net certainly can’t be ignored. Arsenal have conceded just four goals in the league since the turn of the year and yesterday kept a fifth consecutive clean sheet on the road; the first time that’s been done by the club since 1997.

Kai Havertz, who was crowned man-of-the-match for his goalscoring performance, says disciplined defence is the key to managing games. 

The boys at the back, what they’re doing right now is outstanding,” he told Sky Sports. 

“Everyone is involved in that, the players up front as well. We try to get the ball high up the pitch, but the way they defend the box is incredible. I think credit to the team for their defending, but we have to keep on going.

“I think when you feel that you are so strong at the back, it helps you a lot. I’m enjoying myself right now, I try to help the team, and that’s what I’m doing and I hope to keep on going that far.”

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HKGooner

One of the “Wow” moment for me in that match was when Kai tracked all the way back from the final third (after conceding possession) and to our own back line and defended and stopped Brighton’s counter. Kai’s speed and determination on that play… Wow

Daveo

We’re the best off ball defensive team I can remember. Recency bias be damned. It’s just so impressive (and calming) watching how we can almost attack teams into our transitions with our otherworldly pressing defense or just lock things down with the most solid team defending in world footie.

Man Manny

Chelsea under Conte were good too.

TeeCee

Oi! You. Mouth. Soap. Now.

Doghouse

our defence has been superb since January, our blocks, corner situations, seldom conceding free kicks outside our box, not giving away penaties, scoring set pieces, playing the ball out with composure, Raya who’s out kicking can be a bit iffy at times he now targets it towards Havertz as he’s the best at heading duels won and holding the ball, Saliba/Gabi have been outstanding, Ben also on his defence and attacking support, the left back conodrum of who we play be it Kiwior/Zinny/Tomi is a hard one for our next game, as Porto proved in CL there are no easy… Read more »

C.B.

Come on United! Never thought I’d say that, ever…

Billy bob

Unfortunately knowing those scummers they will capitulate, liverdross are so flukey, no way they should have won at Forest for example

Daveo

United are basically the anti Arsenal. Arsenal create impenetrable walls and elite pressing – United have absolutely no idea on defense, particularly their team defense, no plan, no structure, no knowledge. Sadly, I think Liverpool smacks them…

Dr. Gooner

They should do, but there is definitely banana skin potential here if United have their finishing boots on. Let’s pray to the football gods for some kind bounces…

TeeCee

It’d help if Wan-Bissaka wasn’t actually Mustafi in disguise.

Dr. Gooner

He was magnificent, other than that silly lunge on Elliott… United got by mostly on luck but also because their fullbacks were outstanding, and because Bruno put his superman cape on and did everything from scoring from the halfway line to defending his 6 yard box in open play. Incredible, Odegaardian work rate. Unfortunately for him though, he plays in a team that’s an absolute shambles when they try to do anything other than counterattack. It’s hard to believe this ended 2-2 but the foobtall gods smiled on Arsenal today!

Ebo

Just saw the result, yessss. Never thought I’d ever say this but THANKS UNITED!! Once again it’s in our hands now… can we win 7 out of 7?

Dr. Gooner

It’s not likely, but it’s also unlikely that our rivals will be faultless for the rest of the season. CL Quarterfinal AVL (H) –> They’re a mess defensively and it’s a revenge game in front of our fans. We’re 2 goal favorites. Book it. CL Quarterfinal WOL (A) –> Classic banana skin. A better than you think midtable team that defends well, no pressure on them at home, on the heels of a trip to the Allianz. Neto will still be out so that’s 50% of their offense, but still a red flag game, maximum focus needed. CHE (H) –>… Read more »

Ebo

Why that’s a fantastic game by game analysis doctor, thank you for that. The only thing I struggle to understand there is Aston Villa imploding, what makes you say that exactly? Their results don’t seem *that* bad, losing 4-1 to City away and drawing with Brentford can happen to anyone (literally both happened to us as recently as last year) and just before that they beat Wolves and Ajax. I had it after Tottenham and maybe Man U as our toughest remaining game, what am I missing? Utd too I think will be almost as tough as Villa and Tottenham,… Read more »

A Different George

Fernandes isn’t a very likeable character, but he was just great today. Paradoxically, he was probably helped by the presence of Anthony Taylor who makes it clear early on that he won’t give you free kicks just because you fall down and wave your arms. It made Fernandes play football which, he apparently remembered, he is pretty good at.

TeeCee

Magnificent apart from a reckless arse-sliding lunge that was never getting the ball, but does give some twat the excuse to fall over him for a penalty?
Like I said. Mustafi. Funnily enough, it used to cost us points when he did it too.

Dr. Gooner

So much depends on what version of MU shows up today. I read a stat that they’ve conceded more xG in the past TWO games than Arsenal have in all of 2024! They’re a high variance team that can ride their luck defensively and score goals from nothing because they still have some elite attacking talent, so they can still beat anyone on their day, a lot like Arsenal circa 2019. Liverpool is a big derby game and if they have any pride left it’ll be on display today in front of their fans. They don’t want their hated rivals… Read more »

Dr. Gooner

Fergie must be rolling in his wine cellar watching this vintage of United play. No cohesion, no plan, players ill suited for their positions, squad full of misfits, youngsters and has-beens, lack of concentration, determination and work rate from mosts of them. The number of times they had to make last ditch tackles and watch close range strikes fly mercifully over… United are a club in the midst of a meltdown and it was all on display today. That was the saddest excuse for a press you’re likely to see in the first half, only outstripped by the even more… Read more »

A Different George

I think when Nunez didn’t it roll it across to a wide open teammate (MacAllister?) ten yards out, Klopp decided he couldn’t tolerate it anymore. I thought Nunez was terrible today.

Dr. Gooner

Sure, but so was Salah who should’ve scored a hatful. But either of them was still much more likely to score than Gakpo, or Curtis Jones, or Harvey Elliott. When he removed Szoboszlai he disposed of Liverpool’s most dangerous transitional midfielder in a game full of transitions, and when he removed Nunez he removed his only player with elite physicality in the final 3rd. In this game, those subs both made his team less likely to score.

Graeb

If Manure don’t win today, we definitely qualify for Europe next season😄😄😄😄

Goonerrific

That’s the most glass half full statement I ever read.

Man Manny

I’d rather wait and beat Aston Villa to qualify.

Dorset Gooner

We are in Europe! If Spuds lose to Forest that’s steps closer to St Totteringham’s Day, the next challenge.
It’s all a step at a time says MA

Damon

last year that we had a tendency to get a bit cocky, showboat a bit. A bit arrogant. So when we went 2-0 up at Liverpool and west ham and started doing little flicks and maybe not running quite as hard. That’s all gone now. Very determined and focused. Invincibles style. Loving it

A Different George

Don’t think that’s what happened in those matches. We were not overconfident, just the opposite. Too thin a squad, too many minutes for players carrying knocks, a sense of having worn down.

Der32

That’s exactly what happened when Partey tried to flick past Rice in midfield, who then used his hand to win the ball and set the counter in motion from which they scored. VAR was blind as always, but that was a setback all of our own making, spelled hubris. We sure learned from that spell at the end of last season.

PeteyB

Sorry to be that guy, but don’t we have only 7 remaining league fixtures to play?

9 if you include Champions league.

But if we’re including champions league then we have 12 fixtures to go before we win the double.

Rufusstan

No, as of right now its 9. It could be as much as 12, but only if we get past Bayern in the next couple of weeks. Even than its only 11, unless we win the semi (a big ask if its Real Madrid).

Goonerrific

Big asks seem to be our jam this season.

Dr. Gooner

I’d MUCH rather face Madrid than City in the semis.

HKGooner

Totally agree as not sure what City maybe thinking of if we play them in the semi and at the same time we are still in the fight for PL….. one tackle here and there…..

TeeCee

Or we could get “Chopper” Rice to leave a couple on Rodri.

Dr. Gooner

No, not having that at my club, sorry. Don’t mean to be sanctimonious but I can’t condone any such talk as supporter of a team that has been on the end of so many such “challenges.”

Hayduke

Feels both disgusting and futile to want United to get something from this game. United are indeed the opposite of Arsenal when it comes to game management. They are the masters of last ditch defending, and that isn’t a compliment. A huge amount of their defending is done off their feet sliding in. While a huge amount of Arsenal’s defending is done with the ball at their feet. Crafting a half chance where even if it goes wrong chances are they will win the ball back quickly and go again.

Dorset Gooner

But still they took the point that put the title gack in our own hands.

BillyKrystal

Wan Bissaka what were you thinking??

Dr. Gooner

They’re the masters of nothing but their own downfall. It’s a modern miracle that they’ve managed to egg Liverpools’ faces so many times this season. The Scousers had 90 shots in 3 games against them! 90!

Der32

Finally some justice for Babel’s goal that knocked us out of the Champions League undeservedly. What was that 15 years ago now? I was in college and Theo Walcott was a fledgling youngster back then.

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