I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at the match stat after 10 minutes of play. We had actually made attacking moves and despite the attempts of Reis Nelson, Saka, and Maitland Niles to play terribly, we actually looked like a team focused on breaking down our opponents, closing down players and running at opponents. Despite getting a draw, I felt like we could be a lot better and the players finally understand their roles.
The past few weeks have been so "cringe" for us that watching our games have been an absolute drag. This wasn't the case yesterday and despite going one goal down by half time, I saw some genuine intent, fight but most importantly, quality in the way we play.
Employing Arteta was always a risk and we in fact were hoping for a low budget Pep Guardiola. I assume the idea behind this deal was to bring on some of that Guardiola-ness that Man City has enjoyed, you know; forward-thinking and innovative style, and what I saw yesterday was truly encouraging.
Arteta came in and made it clear as to what kind of manager he was going to be. Players will have to get in line or get out of the team. He made it clear he wasn't going to condone all that petulance and carefree attitude that these players have put up all season. His influence was evident from the get-go and you could see how everyone was on their toes. Shithousery and complacency dropped, and even Ozil had to keep his chin up despite being substituted(he'd normally throw a tantrum).
We ended the game with a draw, thanks to a late goal by Auba but the main points I could take from the game were the fact that;
- Players look genuinely interested in playing football.
- More emphasis on attack and ball retention
- We focused on the basics; ball retention, simple passes, closing down opponents and moving the ball from side to side to create openings.
- Granit Xhaka was gargantuan in midfield and it'd be sad to see him leave
- Lacazette is lacking confidence
- Saka isn't a left back, so I can't judge his defensive input, however, his crosses were awful.
- Reis Nelson isn't quite ready for the first team; the boy needs to cut out his excesses and just do the basics.
- Nicolas Pepe didn't start, wtf?
We go up against Chelsea at the Emirates on Sunday and right after that, it is Manchester United. Arteta has to drill his instructions into the boys and hopefully make a good impression. 6 points in those two fixtures will put the fear of God in other opponents when they see us in the fixture list. Until we meet again, Up the Arsenal.