Saturday, May 25, 2024

“We were outstanding” – Arteta reacts to clinical win at Brighton

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal produced an “outstanding” performance as they brushed aside Brighton to return to the top of the Premier League.

Bukayo Saka’s penalty split the two sides at the break before man-of-the-match Kai Havertz gave the Gunners some breathing space with a near-post finish from Jorginho’s cutback.

As the home side pushed to reduce the deficit, Arsenal were steadfast in their concentration at the back and killed the game in the closing stages on the break as Havertz fed substitute Trossard who dinked home.

“I’m really happy, it was a big performance,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “They haven’t lost here since August and that tells you the story, they are a really, really good team, extremely well coached.

“They make life really difficult for you, but I think today we were outstanding and we needed that level to beat them today.

“We showed a lot of quality in certain areas of the pitch and with the ball we were really connected. we had real purpose and clarity about where to attack, when to attack against a shape that they had that was slightly different than what we expected.

“And then without the ball, we were so disciplined. When we were high up the pitch, they are the best team in the league at breaking that press and then you have to track back. And then we stayed really disciplined and we were really humble to be in certain positions, to be patient and regain the ball.

“We prepared [for their tactics] because they did something similar to against Liverpool away, [something] which they never do, and they did it in the other side today. We prepared because we knew that it could happen but we didn’t know the approach.”

This time last year, Arsenal’s title challenge started to crumble as injuries and fatigue took a toll on a squad that hadn’t expected to lead the way for so long. Bukayo Saka said the players feel “more comfortable” and Arteta agrees that last year’s experience, plus the addition of top-quality recruits, is working in their favour.

“We are all older, you can tell, especially me. We have obviously went through our moments together. The chemistry that you build within the team is very important.

“We signed some tremendous players as well, which always helps because it’s about them. And then I think it’s a good moment because the squad is healthy, you know, and the momentum is good, the energy around the place is good. And we’ve been through it already and I think that helps.”

Asked about opposition managers lauding his side’s excellence, and particularly how hard it is to score against them, Arteta continued: “Well, that’s really good, because that means that our collective organisation is very strong, but as well the desire and the love for defending from the players is there. And it has to be there, if not you cannot do it.

“You saw the reaction of the team-mates to Gabi’s [block at] 3-0. That’s them, that has nothing to do with me, that’s the spirit within the team and how much they want to win. That’s really good to see.”

It remains to be seen whether Arsenal end the campaign with any silverware. If they do, it’ll be a monumental achievement, but either way, Arteat deserves plenty of plaudits for putting together a squad who look genuinely impressive in every department.

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Henkamp

Here’s how a United fan described Odegaard in another platform I frequent: “Odegaard is nuclear powered; either that or he’s a T-800 in a meat-suit. He can’t be bargained with. He can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop running.” Our captain played more than 120 minutes of football against Porto, 150+ minutes of football for his country during the last int’l break, and still leads the press selflessly; harrying and hassling opponents even when it’s 94 minute on the clock. We need his chant to ring around the Emirates… Read more »

Dr. Gooner

Had the same thought. Unbelievable athlete.

Henkamp

Used to be that players with flair were not expected to do the dirty work. But how that has changed. And he is up there with some of the best “defending-attackers” in the world! So, so lucky to have him.

Ebo

I was always impressed with Cesc and how willing he was as our most creative player to track back and close down opposition players and play tactically, that wasn’t what creative maestros tended to do at the time… I suppose he learned that from Pep growing up at Barca, who are probably most responsible for that changing that notion, with Xavi and Iniesta and Messi pressing like deadly vipers, we were victims of that a few times. Well Mikel also learned it from Pep, and now Odegaard is probably the best representation of that philosophical change on any football pitch… Read more »

Ebo

Meant to add, Cesc was fairly diligent defensively for a creative midfielder for that era but if he played now Odegaard would make him look like a lazy snail-paced diva, there’s simply no comparing

Henkamp

Totally agree with your sentiment. Can’t count the number of times I saw Cesc track back to make a robust tackle at the edge of our box all those years ago. Sanchez was another one… And he had that Barcelona connection, too. I guess that’s not a coincidence!

SG_Gooner

Ok, let’s buy Pedri, Gavi, and Yamal 😀

Adebanjo

Now that will be the life.

Dr. Gooner

I’ll let them keep their academy darlings and take de Jong…

Rufusstan

I’d add that Rice’s addition has made it even better. They have both learned off each other. Odegaard has upped his defensive game even more using #Rice’s performances as an example. At the same time, Rice has learned that being a defensive destroyer does not preclude you being a creative midfielder as well if you are in a structure that lets you (and have the talent to do both by the way).

Santi’s Phonebox

You can add Havertz to that list as well. The Captain is a beast and sets the fuggin standard as determined by the manager. His performance raises everyone’s performance. I love watching Ode go into beast mode pressing, setting the trigger, and how everyone kicks it up a notch to get the ball back. This is a side playing with huge belief at the moment. OGAAT.

Bleeding gums Murphy

The way we are playing and barring injuries I think we can go unbeaten. This is a special team.

North London Forever

The baton should be passed … now it should read “In Arteta We Trust”
And it would be brilliant if Arsene could unfurl such a banner

Adam Goon

STADIUMS GET EMPTIED EVERYWHERE WE GO!

Gunnergetback

Possibly our best all round performance of the season. We had everything. A joy to watch them grow.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I never saw the match.
If it was better than Newcastle, it must have been excellent

Henkamp

Mental how we just set up a screen before the 3rd goal and invited Brighton to pull it down. We gave them absolutely nothing through the middle and they were just passing from side to side. Ridiculous structure, that.

The physicality of Rice + Saliba + Gabriel makes that defense a nightmare for attackers. Because even when you somehow get past the structure and into the box, them 3 will appear and bully you.

Tankard Gooner

Simply outstanding is how I’d put it also. Major keyword on everyone’s mouth after today’s game was ‘control’. This is something that has been synonymous with City115* and the way they’ve won so many titles in the last few years. This season I feel we have earned the ownership of that very word, that practice of doing it over and over again, not running out of gas. Whatever the table is after 38 games, this team has shown immense growth in mentality, the kind you need to win the PL. We are there in terms of the makeup. Now it’s… Read more »

Snagger

What MA is saying to DeZerbi ” I was going to knee slide for third goal but only a test with nothing to play for would do that”

Snagger

Twat ( effing autocorrect)

Ebo

we had real purpose and clarity about where to attack, when to attack against a shape that they had that was slightly different than what we expected. Anyone know what he’s talking about here? Need that tactics column asap. One thing we might not talk about enough is how this might be one of the most intelligent group of players that Mike’s assembled here… Rice, Jorginho, Odegaard, White, Havertz, Zinchenko, these are all guys who you can see share Arteta’s passion for understanding complex tactics and diagnosing what’s happening on the pitch and adapting. I wish I could understand even… Read more »

Tony2

Hi Ebo. Bit late to the party but here goes. Watched hours of bloggers from not just The AFC and discovered this. Pep plays thru 5 vertical lines MA8 plays thru 6. He has changed the complexion of football. Old skool was diamond formation MA8 has created the hexagon formation. Whether defending or attacking there is always at least 6 players 10 yards apart who can receive the ball. It is unique. Also we are the boa constrictor the anaconda of football teams. We can’t get bullied. We can shit House. We’ve learnt the dark arts and can apply our… Read more »

Ebo

Interesting mate! Any videos about this stuff (6 vertical lines, hexagon formation) you can link to?

Tony2

Yeah there’s an arsenal stat blogger statman and a n other who’s name escapes me (corner or summit) but said this (hexagon) in Feb. Goldbridge (utd fan) and another young lady utd blogger and even a spurs blogger have called it. Apart from Goldbridge their names escape me but wow they are spot on. Enjoy surfing but when you catch the wave (the bloggers podcasts) its worth it imho

Tony2

The Afc blogger is on YouTube.. A different knock

Ebo

Oh man, I looked up two of these, does EVERY single one of them HAVE to do every SINGLE title with two words CAPITALISED like this?? Sorry I can’t deal with that sort of clickbaiting lol… must be my old millenial/borderline gen X genes 🧓

Dr. Gooner

The Athletic does a nice in depth review of various hot topics which is fairly classy as these things go.

Me2

Given the strength of Brighton at home this season and our record against them there I would say that alongside the S***s game away this was our most difficult remaining game.
A massive result for Arsenal and an excellent performance. I feel confident we will win our remaining home games and I suspect that by the time we come to play Man Utd they will have little to play for in the league.
All ifs and buts but yesterday’s game was a massive hurdle overcome.

Ebo

Utd might be battling it with West Ham and Newcastle for the Europa places till the last day of the season which, while funny, is still something tangible and a lot of income for the club. Plus they will never be happy to give Arsenal any points at Old Trafford, if only for the sake of their fans and our history. So I think they’ll be well up for it.

But even still, they’re not that good and if we play like yesterday we should beat them.

Spanner

There’s always going to be goals when Maguire’s in the team.

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